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John Farmer wrote a piece for the Star-Ledger Editorial page which I found both comprehensive and convincing. He pointed out, as have many others these days, that Bush is being blamed for a number of serious problems: the Katrina incompetence, reckless spending-and-borrowing, a politics-driven Justice Department, the Iraq war with its legacy of torture and global disapproval, the economic collapse. But according to Farmer, there is one issue which stands out above the others.
Bush's great event was the world-altering 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. But in the days and months that followed, Bush and his political consigliere, Karl Rove, employed it to divide the country along ideological and political lines rather than unify the nation as they might have done bringing Democrats into a war-time government of national unity.
It was the great missed opportunity of the Bush presidency.
My own opinion is a little stronger than that, not that I think I'm a political analyst or anything. I agree with those who have pointed out that after 9/11 there was a calculated and systematic program to raise the fears of Americans in order to elicit support for a war that we had no business engaging in. It worked extremely well, but turned into such an unwieldy debacle that public opinion gradually and consistently plummeted.
The outgoing president is extremely unpopular. Yet his supporters are not shy about commenting, just take a look at the remarks generated by John Farmer's article.
What's your opinion? Was Bush really that bad? Did he mean well at least? If suspicions about what his administration did after 9/11 are true, that they manipulated the American public in order to drum up support for the war, a natural question would be, "why?" Was it because they sincerely believed it was best for the country and the world, or was there a more sinister motive? Did they act to solidify personal power or to enrich themselves and their friends? Did they perhaps act out of some exaggerated American-centric ideology?
What do you think?