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Accomplishing Missions

An article in the Christian Science Monitor draws an interesting comparison between the swaggering bravado of George W. Bush and his dressing up in a flight suit and declaring “Mission Accomplished” and Barack Obama, who actually accomplished the mission of bringing the perpetrator of 9/11 to (some kind of) justice.

According to the former Afghan Foreign Minister, Pakistan president “Musharraf skillfully played the American administration, throwing ‘dust in Bush’s eyes.’” Indeed, it was Pakistan who said in 2002 that bin Laden was almost certainly dead, and then later told us that bin Laden was on a kidney dialysis machine, living (barely) in a cave in Afghanistan. Bush not only fell for those lies, he repeated them publicly. Obama was able to track down and kill bin Laden because he wasn’t buffaloed by the Pakistani government.

And yet, those people who confuse bravado and arrogance with true leadership criticize Obama because he “didn’t have the guts to release photos of bin Laden’s corpse”. They continue to attack Obama no matter what he does or says, even though he has accomplished an amazing number of things in the last 2 1/2 years:

  • stabilized an economy that was on the brink of collapse
  • stopped thousands from losing their homes to foreclosure
  • reformed our health care system (something that other presidents tried to do and failed
  • passed reform of Wall Street and new consumer protections
  • negotiated a significant reduction in nuclear arms with Russia

And did all this while facing ferocious opposition from conservatives, Republicans, and corporately-sponsored Tea Party fanatics, not to mention from the most popular “news” channel.

So, can you name any accomplishments of George W. Bush?



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Everyone who reads this post knows I am not a huge fan of President Obama, in fact until the last several months I considered him an intern to the role of leader. He has had a few significant achievements and what I would say are failures or to be polite missteps. Every president has some of both. Bush, although hated by the left had some significant accomplishments as well as failures or missteps.

    He brought freedom to 2 countries and 50 million peoples who lived under some of the most repressive governments on the planet.

    In 2002 he signed (at the time) the largest nuclear arms reduction treaty ever.

    One of his most notable achievements IMO was his ability to rally the nation (during a recession)after 911 and restore a sense of nationalism and oneness amongst our people.

    I know there are people right now chomping at the bit to nay say, strike down or diminish any likeness of an achievement, bbut they are there. Just like Obama’s achievements. Pundits and bloggers can say what they want and rant n rave, but at the end of the day what is, will be.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the families and friends of those who gave their last full measure in service to this great nation and ask God to bestow grace upon those living and fallen. I’d also like to thank all the men and women serving around the world for their service and sacrifice so that we may have the opportunity to disagree with each other. In places where some of them serve that was not possible before to openly criticize a governement. Our military gave them that opportunity just like those that gave birth to this great nation. We’ve forgotten many of their names, except for the famous ones, and can’t imagine the suffering that many endured all for this idea of freedom.

    Thank You!

    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  2. I am not a fan of Bush. But I will give him this win: (AIDS relief money in Africa).

    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  3. ThatGuy wrote:

    I don’t think calling Obama an intern to the role of President is anywhere near fair, especially in comparison with Bush, who spent nearly three times as many days on vacation in his first year as Obama did during his.

    Freedom to two countries is a stretch, particularly in the case of Afghanistan, where the Karzai government stands as one of the most corrupt on the planet.

    His ability to rally the country after a massive intelligence foul up, part of which was in his own cabinet, I might give you. Though he used it to garner support for a wholly unrelated war, I won’t go into how that decision caused Afghanistan to become the debacle from which our current President is now trying to pull us.

    Bush had his accomplishments, sure, but if you look at the state of things on his election night compared to the state of things when he left office…

    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  4. Jason Ray wrote:

    I think it’s fair to say Bush had some accomplishments during his tenure. Some things people call “accomplishments” (like passing an unfunded trillion dollar prescription drug bill) should probably not be listed.

    PSgt, although I am generally in agreement with many of your points, in the case of 911 and post-911 I think any President we’ve had in my lifetime (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter) would have reacted exactly the same way as Bush, and gotten the same positive response from the country. I applaud that Bush acted as a President should in those conditions, but let’s face it, ity wasn’t hard to decide what to do there.

    I do think that Obama has accomplished an amazing amount especially given the incessant stonewalling from the Republicans, and I think Bush’s term created far more damage than any positive accomplishments. Maybe that’s another way to think about it – other than threats to multi-millionaires, what has Obama done in his tenure that has damaged (or increased the damage on) the country or the citizens? The only item I think anyone could claim there is the impact on deficit which, frankly, is far more due to Bush and the Republicans than to anything Obama has done.

    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  5. Don wrote:

    He brought freedom to 2 countries and 50 million peoples who lived under some of the most repressive governments on the planet?

    Iraq has a marginally functional government (it took months to create a semi-functional government after the elections last year), a lower standard of living than under Saddam (although it’s rising), and a power hungry mullah who is most likely waiting patiently for US troops to pull out to truly flex his muscle. Bombings are a persistent problem. The press is not wholly free, but under a significant level of state pressure to not report negative news about the government ( ). The generation of power is just now reaching what it was in 2000. The verdict is not yet in.

    Thatguy has Afghanistan pegged correctly and I’d even go a step further: the Taliban will be back in control of most of Afghanistan within 24 months of NATO pulling out.

    It could just as easily be said that the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan were overthrown by the military might of the United States. Don’t get me wrong, the two governments that were forced out were extremely raunchy, but we did invade and conquer and only in Afghanistan did we have a reasonable justification.

    On the larger question, Bush II did have accomplishments, but I have a hard time finding many that were truly positive and, I’m sorry, but the negative things he did far outweigh any of the more positive ones. Bush did drive through the SORT with Moscow. He also entered into treaties with India with regards to civil nuclear energy (a good thing) that allowed India to continue to produce nuclear weapons without signing the non-proliferation treaty (a bad thing).

    Bush 2 furthered the fantasy that reducing taxes led to a strengthening of the economy and creation of jobs. I have yet to see a truly credible study that demonstrates this and our nation’s experiences under Reagan (with Bush 1’s continuation of many Reagan policies) and Bush II clearly speak against it’s viability. Bush 1 called trickle down economics voodoo economics (even though he practiced it for much of his administration) and yet his son has quite possibly contributed to the economic ruin of this country by taking it to a whole new level (massive tax cuts with massive increases in government spending, in this case war dollars).

    Many of the things that one might find to be positive, others will find to be negative. I support a woman’s right to seek and receive an abortion without the government interfering. Bush took steps to make getting a legal abortion harder and harder. Bush worked mightily to increase the influence of conservative religious views in the governing of the US (I think that’s a bad idea while others think it’s a great idea). I could go on and on.

    Internationally, the bottom line to me, though, is that Bush 2 drove this country further down the path of being a military bully, a path that will not lead to a strengthening of our country or a solidification of positive relationships with the rest of the world. Although I think Obama’s Nobel Prize was a joke, I also believe it was strongly indicative of the viewpoint of much of the rest of the world that the US wields its military might with a swagger and disregard of the impression it leaves with other peoples of the world.

    Domestically, the bottom line is the strongly negative swerve to the right that this country is experiencing. Although I think the lie and deception apparatus of the right wing can take much of the credit for this swerve, the administration created much of the angst that is driving the tea party and was, at a minimum, an engine of division and mouth piece of disdain for those who have a different view of where this country should go.

    Whew. Time for a beer!!

    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  6. oregonbird wrote:

    Stabalized an economy – yes. And stopped right there… except that the gap between rich and poor continues to grow – public administrators salaries are increasing in 2011 by more than 10%, while yet more workers lose just enough hours to become ineligible for employer health care, and for the nth year in a row, lose real income rather than receive raises.

    Stopped thousands from losing their homes – true. And yet, recently signed off an agreement not to investigate or prosecute any past false foreclosures, while handing the choice of future procedures and investigations over to the bankers. Hundreds of thousands of deceived homeowners are legally enjoined from going to court.

    Reform of Wall Street and health care? Where? CEOs and the Top 2% incomes went up precipitously in 2010/11. They are ignoring the new, nearly toothless regulations, and Holder is ignoring them. (God knows what Holder is doing, certainly not his job.) With millions of new patients on the horizon, Health Care is building no new facilities, investing in no new doctors or nurses, fighting tooth and nail against streamlining information retrieval. It is *accepting* and encouraging legislation that puts political limits on medical procedures – unless the *private* companies charge extra for those services… because more money somehow clears up the terrible moral dilemma.

    I want Obama’s administration to shine like the sun too. But it isn’t happening, no matter how pollyanna we act.

    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Bush had an accomplishment. Two single people living together paid less in taxes than a married couple. Bush made the standard deduction for a married couple equal to two single people so they pay the same taxes. I believe this is set to expire if Obama allows the tax cuts to expire. Hopefully he will extend this equal deduction as over 1/2 the households in the US are no longer Married couples.

    Iraq is a travesty. Do you want oppression? Or do you want freedom where if you leave your house to get food to stay alive, you are in fear of your life? By the end of 2006, 600,000 Iraqis lost their lives. Men/women/children. Saddam knocked off no where near as many. We bombed their Universities to take away their center of living. People just lived in Iraq before Bush if they obeyed the rules. Since Bush Allowed Al Queada in because he didn’t secure the borders before he invaded, Iraq has the same situation as Afghanistan (that Reagan for Afghanistan) Iraq had Christians. Most have fled. Ah, yes, Bush gave the Hard Line Islam freedom in Iraq. Reagan gave the hard line Islam freedom in Afghanistan. Read the books Don.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink
  8. Don wrote:

    @Ebdoug: To which books are you referring? Seems we’re looking at this from pretty much the same side of the fence, especially if you’ve read any of my earlier posts about Iraq, yet I feel a certain animosity from your musings. Oh well, must be the weather.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ebdoug – don’t listen to too much main stream media concerning Iraq. Yes there is turmoil at times, but compare that to our country’s first 25 years. People back then must of been thinking “what in the hell were we thinking”, but we perservered and persisted although we could have easily broken apart. Look at out first 100 years.

    Iraq is gettting stronger and they will be much better off in the future. I have spoken to regular Iraqis just trying to feed their families and they like the new Iraq, they like to vote. No one from the government will come for them in the middle of the night never to seen again because they spoke poorly of Saddam or voted for someone else. They know the price of freedom and what it feels like and they will never return to tyranny of their own free will. Actually it is safer statistically to walk anywhere in Iraq then some of our cities.

    In Afghanistan, there are thriving cities where there were none. People go to markets, small businesses are popping up everywhere in these relatively safe areas. Only problem is Karzhai. He will bend to whoever he thinks will be in charge. If we leave, the Taliban will return, kill him and take over. If we stay, we get more of what we have now, endless struggle.

    One day in the not too distant future you’ll be able to vacation and see the birthplace of civilization. Tour the Zigurrat the sits on the ancient City of Ur and see what is nbelieved to be the remains of the house of Abraham. Just like you can visit France, Germany, Japan, Korea and many other places thanks to Uncle Sam.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 5:48 am | Permalink
  10. il-08 wrote:

    At over a Trillion dollars, it is a vacation only the richest of Americans (the ones who made money out of this mess) will be able to afford.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink
  11. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Yea IL-08 and just 2/3rds of what our deficit spending has been in each of the last 3 years. When looked at that way almost sounds like a bargain.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink