It’s fashionable in the last year of a second-term administration to try to distance oneself from the President. For the three two-term Presidencies that I’ve been alive for, only one of them sought out the current President for help, and even he tried to distinguish himself from his predecessor.
These last two Presidents have had this in spades. In 2000, Al Gore wanted to disassociate himself as much as possible with then President Bill Clinton—and who could blame him? Only the second President in the history of the nation to be impeached, one that mainstreamed a sexual practice, and taught us to question the basic meaning of words.
President Bush is being discarded, in much the same way, because of the War in Iraq. Let alone that the situation there is much less of a problem than it was just a few short months ago and that the surge appears to be working. Wars are unpopular the longer they wear on a democratic nation (even those that are a democratic republic).
True historians won’t be able to tell for some time to come whether this was the right move on his part—if they will ever. And this is because what will happen in Iraq has yet to be written. The question that we can answer, though, is was he justified in going in, given what he knew and what we know now.
Certainly, at the time I supported the war, and I believe that we must stay and see the thing through, but did we go in too hastily? Did going into Iraq make us safer because of states like Liberia who allowed us in because of the determination of our President? Can we credit Al Queda’s diminishing ranks to us taking the battle to them?
These questions are all tangled up in the post’s question—was he wrong?