The "Worst President" and His Management Claims
another Bush-embracing e-mail making the rounds. History buff and scrupled
Republican Richard Harden of Huntington Beach, CA and Professor Cary
de Wit, of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, are fighting ignorance
From Richard Harden: "That is not perspective, it is distortion. Unfortunately, cold truth doesn't travel as well as entertaining fiction but if this response could travel back up the e-mail chain to the author of the original misinformation, we might all be spared further nonsense.
Letter: "We didn't start the war on terror. Try to remember, it was started by terrorists BEFORE 9/11."
Richard Harden: "Indeed it was and not a one of the perpetrators of any of those acts of terrorism against us was an Iraqi or a member of the Taliban.
I will not address the 'casualty count' as a measure of the success or failure of Presidents except to say that if that were the only criteria, then Coolidge might be our best and Lincoln our worst.
On to the history!
Letter: "Germany never attacked us: Japan did."
Richard Harden: "That's true, and FDR never tried to convince us it was the Germans! Within a few days, Hitler declared war on the U.S. then we declared war on Germany.
Letter: "Truman finished that war and started one in Korea, North Korea never attacked us."
Richard Harden: "Harry Truman did finish WWII but he hardly started the Korean War. Soviet-armed North Korean armies poured over the internationally-recognized border into an unprepared South Korea. There were so few U.S. troops there available that it was seriously considered abandoning the Korean Peninsula. The war was fought by and authorized by the United Nations."
Letter: "John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962."
Richard Harden: "Again, President Kennedy did not start the Vietnam war. It was a continuation of the civil war that followed the French withdrawal.
Letter: "Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire."
Richard Harden: "Hard to argue there. But this is history in 20-20 hindsight. What were his options? Could he realistically have allowed the North Vietnamese to take over South Vietnam in 1965?"
Letter: "Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent,"
Richard Harden: "That conflict was fought by NATO within NATO's operational area, i.e. Europe. As supporters of this ill-starred war in Iraq can attest, the French have rarely consented to anything the Americans have done since D-Day!
Letter: "Bush has liberated two countries,"
Richard Harden: "'Liberated' maybe. Occupied, definitely. We now have massive Army forces in those two countries. National Guard men and women have been torn from their lives here and sent to fight shadowy enemies in these countries with no end in sight. The cost cannot yet be counted. Recruiting for our armed forces is understandably down."
Letter: "Bush did all this abroad while not allowing another terrorist attack at home"
Richard Harden : "Nor do we bother charging the 600 people we hold without legal recourse of any kind in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Most of them are probably dangerous people but if so, let's prove it openly. By the way, nobody has been convicted of any crime related the World Trade Center attacks. Good detective work there, Mr. Bush."
Letter: "Worst president in history? Come on!"
Harden: "Come on indeed." -- rdh
The Taliban may have been crushed, but it has sprung back with a vengeance, and women in Afghanistan are hardly feeling liberated.
Regional tribal warlords rule most of the country, and opium production is up to pre-Taliban levels.
There were UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors in North Korea until Bush called Kim Jong Il a pygmy and named NK to the Axis of Evil. NK then kicked them out. As far as I know, NK hasn't allowed inspectors in since.
Bush didn't put nuke inspectors in Iran or Libya, the UN IAEA did.
Libya's cooperation with IAEA is credited by most of the people involved (not politicians or the press) to long-term, persistent diplomacy and delicate negotiations over the past decade. By the way, it's spelled Libya, not "Lybia."
IAEA is the same agency that Bush and Cheney attempted to discredit
Other than that, I couldn't agree more with Mr. Harden."
A BUZZFLASH PERSPECTIVE
otherwise noted, all original