Would Bush have been blamed if he hadn’t ousted Saddam?

posted at 4:01 pm on July 3, 2014 by Allahpundit

Specifically, asks Robert Kaplan, would he have been blamed if the Arab Spring had erupted on schedule and a nervous Saddam (or the even nuttier Uday Hussein) brought down the hammer on Iraq’s Shiites? I asked a variation of that question myself recently.

The proper response, I guess, is “Blamed by whom?”

The Arab Spring was, as its name suggests, an exclusively Sunni Arab affair, whatever its pretensions to universalism. But Sunni or not, it spread its magic by way not only of social media and electronic communications, but by way of the Arabic language. For example, demonstrators in Yemen were inspired by demonstrators in Tunisia. And because Iraq’s Shiites are also Arabic speaking, it is likely that they, too, would have been inspired to revolt against a totalitarian and Sunni system that Bush, in this scenario, would have left in place.

A Shiite revolt against Saddam would have had one of two results: either Saddam would have crushed it with his trademark level of brutality that would have left tens of thousands dead; or, the revolt would have succeeded, with a sectarian war and the break-up of Iraq as a consequence. That, too, would have led to a scale of bloodshed comparable with the Syrian conflict. The idea that a soft landing was possible in Iraq following Saddam is probably naive. Fiercely secularizing Baathist regimes that use utter brutality to contain explosive ethnic and sectarian rivalries do not result in a soft landing.

Here is a paradox to consider: if George W. Bush had not invaded Iraq and the country violently blew apart in the course of the Arab Spring, Bush would have been blamed for not ridding Iraq of Saddam when he had had the chance. As someone who supported the Iraq War, this is a convenient paradox for me to entertain, even if I have to live with the facts as they exist, which declare the Iraq War a mistake.

Question one: Would the Arab Spring have happened at all if Saddam’s regime had been left intact? Hard to say, of course; who knows what sort of history-diverting regional shifts he might have caused between 2003 and 2010? Maybe he would have ended up brawling with Iran again, which would have drawn Iraqi Shiites back into Baghdad’s fold and maybe even drawn Syria in on Iran’s side. But yeah, quite possibly popular uprisings would have happened at some point. Political repression and economic stagnation have been constants for ages there, and when the pot did finally boil over, it happened in Tunisia and then Egypt, two African countries further removed from Saddam’s influence than his immediate neighbors. It’s possible that the Arab Spring would have developed without the war — which, ironically, a lot of Iraq war critics were quick to argue after the first dictator, Ben Ali, fell in Tunisia three years ago. “You can’t credit Bush for that!” they insisted. Fine by me. Let’s take the Arab Spring as a historical given, then.

Which brings us to question two: If Bush had left Baghdad alone, Ben Ali fell, and then Iraq exploded when the Shiites caught democracy fever, would Bush have been blamed for not having overthrown Saddam circa 2003? Principled hawks would have blamed him for sure. Principled doves and isolationists wouldn’t have. But what about the huge swath of middle-grounders, the partisans who may lean toward or against interventionism but not so far that they won’t instantly reverse positions to criticize a president from the other party? Specifically, what would the 2016 Democratic nominee-in-waiting — who does lean hawkish and who voted for invading Iraq when public support stood at over 60 percent — be saying these days about Bush’s culpability in not acting? Her own husband, as president, sure did seem to think Saddam was a threat. If Hussein had ended up killing thousands of restive Shiites and Kurds (which he’d done before, of course) in the name of suppressing an uprising, Hillary, Kerry, and the rest of the fickle Iraq hawks would have hammered him for shirking the world’s “responsibility to protect” and for dooming the region to a sectarian apocalypse. “Of course they would,” you might say. “That’s just politics.” But that’s my point. For many of Bush’s big-name critics, this is just politics.

In fact, even if Iraq had managed to avoid the maelstrom, with terrified Shiites too frightened to challenge Saddam despite being quietly egged on by Iran, Bush would have been blamed for that too. Look at the beating Obama took from hawks for not being bolder in supporting Iran’s Green Revolution in 2009. If Dubya had stood pat while Tunisia and then Egypt caught fire while Iraq’s Shiites wavered on whether to make a move on Saddam, he would have been pounded for not seizing a golden opportunity to aid domestic opponents in ridding the world of the Hussein boys once and for all. This is what baffles me about the people trying to blame the U.S. invasion for Iraq’s current clusterfark, which now involves the Shiite government rooting out Sunni “sleeper cells” inside Baghdad itself: Of all the arguments against the Iraq war that are available, the idea that it’s somehow irretrievably responsible for bringing thousand-year-old sectarian tensions to a head is one of the toughest. If you want to dump on Bush, stick with your best argument, that whatever might or mightn’t have happened to Iraqis over the past 10 years if we had stayed out, at least this counterfactual begins with 40,000 American soldiers spared from certain wounds or death.

Exit question: I asked this the last time I wrote about Saddam amid the Arab Spring but let me ask it again. How would he have reacted to Iran getting into the uranium-enrichment business? Even if he had refused to counter (or couldn’t counter because of effective sanctions and inspections), how would Iran’s nuclear edge on its archenemy in Baghdad have affected the odds of a Shiite uprising in Iraq? If the Shiites had squared off with Saddam and Saddam had gone into massacre mode, would Iran’s nuclear program still be, ahem, “peaceful” and “energy-related” or would it have already taken a military turn? One bomb would have meant a lot to the balance of Sunni and Shiite power next door.


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Yes

NOMOBO on July 3, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Historically, Bush Sr. was blamed for leaving Saddam in power and consequentially led to the second invasion.

So, in short answer to your question, yes, he would have been blamed. Just as Obama would have had Qadaffi not been toppled.

Nethicus on July 3, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Bush would have been blamed if an rogue asteroid hit the Earth

NOMOBO on July 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

All roads Lead to Mecca at least for ISIS:

Now that the Islamic State has issued a declaration that Muslims around the world must adhere to its recently announced caliphate, jihadist fighters say Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia will be the next targets after Jordan.

Sources say the Islamic State, former the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (or Greater Syria), is a rival to Saudi Arabia, even though both are Sunni. However, like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State abhors monarchies. The Islamic State is hoping that the Saudi army will revolt against the King and join its caliphate.

The area between Iraq and Jordan, into Saudi Arabia, is mostly desert, allowing the Islamic State to make major inroads into the kingdom before meeting resistance.

Saudi Arabia is aware that it could be the target of the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the recently announced caliph or leader with the title of Khalifah Ibrahim. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz recently met with newly elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to obtain counter-terrorism assistance if there is an attack on the kingdom.

http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/isis-puts-bulls-eye-on-mecca-medina/

davidk on July 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

When it comes to the left, any sentence that begins with “Would Bush have been blamed if… ?” the answer is “Yes.” To the left it’s Bush’s fault if they have crabgrass in their yard.

alchemist19 on July 3, 2014 at 4:07 PM

There is an attempt by jihadist organizations in the Gaza Strip to unite under the common banner of the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

Contacted by WND, Abu Saqer, one of the top leaders of Jihadiya Salafiya, which represents al-Qaida ideology in the Gaza Strip, confirmed the attempt to organize various jihad groups to fight Israel under the ISIS umbrella.

Saqer claimed there is also an effort to recruit jihadists to ISIS from inside the West Bank, particularly in the Hebron region.

While the exact nature of the ISIS presence in Gaza remains unclear, the group’s flags were seen flying at a funeral this past Sunday for two terrorists eliminated in an Israel Air Force strike last Friday, Israel’s daily Maariv newspaper reported. The terrorists’ coffins were reportedly also draped in ISIS flags

http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/palestinian-jihadists-seek-unity-with-isis/

davidk on July 3, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Of course he would. The left were never criticizing Bush on principle, as has been amply demonstrated by their silence during Obama’s continuation of many similar policies.

The goal of the left is (and always has been) acquiring political power so they can enrich themselves through cronyism and graft.

Hypocrisy and even outright lying (the war was for oil, etc.) by the Dems and their media fanboys is just part of their strategy.

Blacksheep on July 3, 2014 at 4:11 PM

This Middle East experiment is essentially over – GWB fostered democracy, elections, women’s rights, education. Barack Hussein Obama tore all that down for his own political benefit.

Obama ousted Mubarak – and installed the Muslim Brotherhood.

Obama ousted Quadaffi – and we lost Libya and 4 American heroes.

Yeah, Obama screwed up the middle east and I think that was part of his strategy – blow up the whole effin world including the USA. For the Caliphate.

Key West Reader on July 3, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Bush has been blamed for Mooch’s hot flashes !

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Would Bush have been blamed if he hadn’t ousted Saddam?

…is the Pope Catholic?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

After 6 terms in office, it’s high time that Bush stepped down..

Just saying…

Torcert on July 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM

The United States government is actually suing a private American business for discriminating against Hispanic and Asian employees because they don’t speak English on the job.

It involves a Green Bay Wisconsin metal and plastic manufacturer that fired a group of Hmong and Hispanic workers over their English skills, “even though those skills were not needed to perform their jobs,” according to the feds. More importantly, forcing employees to speak English in the U.S. violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, says the Obama administration.

Here’s the twisted explanation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws; the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group. Therefore, according to this reasoning, foreigners have the right to speak their native language even during work hours at an American company that requires English.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2014/07/u-s-sues-american-co-requiring-workers-speak-english/?utm_source=twitterfeed

davidk on July 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Oh please, Saddam had oil and weapons and practice. He would have squashed resistance even more so then the Iranian regime.

rob verdi on July 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

This Middle East experiment is essentially over – GWB fostered democracy, elections, women’s rights, education. Barack Hussein Obama tore all that down for his own political benefit.

Obama ousted Mubarak – and installed the Muslim Brotherhood.

Obama ousted Quadaffi – and we lost Libya and 4 American heroes.

Yeah, Obama screwed up the middle east and I think that was part of his strategy – blow up the whole effin world including the USA. For the Caliphate.

Key West Reader on July 3, 2014 at 4:11 PM

…yes but…but…but…but no one is dying over there now!………………………..ask the media!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Here’s the twisted explanation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws; the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, which includes the linguistic characteristics of a national origin group. Therefore, according to this reasoning, foreigners have the right to speak their native language even during work hours at an American company that requires English.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2014/07/u-s-sues-american-co-requiring-workers-speak-english/?utm_source=twitterfeed

davidk on July 3, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Yet in mexifornia , mexifornia I teel you ,
you HAVE to speak English to be on a jury ?
That’s deescreemeenacion !

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Carrying over my comment from the Headlines…

Saddam Hussein’s death, especially if it were not of natural causes, would have set off much the same 4-ring circus we have their now with 3 differences:

- The 4-ring circus would have gone chemical.
– There wouldn’t have been the “purple finger” democracy experiment.
– The US casualties that happened 2003-2011 would have merely been delayed until the calls to “de-chem” Iraq (mostly from the same crew that still blames Bush) became too much for whoever was in the Oval Office to ignore.

There would have been an outside chance of the 4-ring circus not going chemical, which would also have likely not resulted in the US casualties. Then again, I wouldn’t have bet on that outcome.

As for the additional questions from AP:

Question one: Would the Arab Spring have happened at all if Saddam’s regime had been left intact?

There wouldn’t have been an Arab Spring, but that wouldn’t have mattered in the case of Iraq. Dictatorships have a nasty habit of ending in violence, even if the dictator dies a natural death, and especially when there’s more than one group chomping at the bit for power (in this case, 4).

Exit question: I asked this the last time I wrote about Saddam amid the Arab Spring but let me ask it again. How would he have reacted to Iran getting into the uranium-enrichment business?

Given the sanctions against Iraq would have ended quietly without the 2003 invasion, the light at the end of the tunnel, while somewhat-related to the Sun, would be a lot hotter as Iran and Iraq nuked each other and (at least in Iran’s case) their other enemies.

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Exit question: I asked this the last time I wrote about Saddam amid the Arab Spring but let me ask it again. How would he have reacted to Iran getting into the uranium-enrichment business?

I think you’re asking the wrong question.

What would have GWB done during the June 2009 Iranian protests? The one where Neda Agha-Soltan died. This was the point where the United States should have sent a message to the Iranian government by supporting those protesting the 2009 presidential election (Iran’s, not ours). Instead, at the height of the protests, the filthy rat-eared bastard spent the morning golfing at Fort Belvior and then took the brats out for ice cream. He had the opportunity to send a message then and did nothing which was the message that makes your question utterly moot.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

I missed question 2:

Which brings us to question two: If Bush had left Baghdad alone, Ben Ali fell, and then Iraq exploded when the Shiites caught democracy fever, would Bush have been blamed for not having overthrown Saddam circa 2003?

You can bet your bottom dollar, and not just by the Right. After all, for the Left, there is nothing a Pubbie can do that is the correct decision.

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Whatever happened, the Lefties would have found a reason.

It must kill them Dubya stabilized Iraq (not to mention that the WMDs were there), only to have it all screwed up by their anointed Messiah.

formwiz on July 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Argghhh! I left the typo from the Headlines comment.

THERE =/= THEIR
(repeat 99 times)

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Why? Hussein was hardly the biggest threat in the Middle East. Bush went after Hussein simply as retribution. To finish up what his father started.

rickv404 on July 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Why? Hussein was hardly the biggest threat in the Middle East. Bush went after Hussein simply as retribution. To finish up what his father started.

rickv404 on July 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I seem to recall Congress nearly-unanimously passing, and Bill Clinton signing, a law that set as official US policy the replacement of Saddam Hussein as Iraq’s leader in 1998.

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Why? Hussein was hardly the biggest threat in the Middle East. Bush went after Hussein simply as retribution. To finish up what his father started.

rickv404 on July 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I seem to recall Congress nearly-unanimously passing, and Bill Clinton signing, a law that set as official US policy the replacement of Saddam Hussein as Iraq’s leader in 1998.

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

I also remember a long march to combat which included trips to the United Nations, talking to allies, and giving Saddam Hussein the opportunity to stand down. Funny but I don’t remember any serious talk of this being a personal vendetta.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 4:36 PM

He was also responsible for the Cuban Missile crisis, He called the Russians stupid in his 6th grade history class and they responded.

Sven on July 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM

But of course. Here’s Al Gore in 1992, against the elder Bush:

The Democrats counterattacked on Tuesday in the increasingly bitter political debate over foreign policy experience, with Al Gore declaring that if President Bush and Dan Quayle ”are such whizzes … why is it that Saddam Hussein is thumbing his nose at the entire world.”

Carter, too, said the ”recent success” of Saddam in his nation’s standoff with the United Nations over military inspections ”doesn’t show to me any particular advantage to having experience in the White House.”

ddrintn on July 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM

And this is a priceless example of projection:

The former president, during a news conference at the Carter Library, said, ”One thing that concerns me very deeply is the politicizing of foreign policy.”

What don’t the Democrats politicize?

ddrintn on July 3, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Would Bush have been blamed if he hadn’t ousted Saddam?

What is this, Stupid Question Time at HotAir? Would the Confederates celebrate the Fourth of July? Is Hillary losing her grip on reality?

Here, I’ll give you a more pertinent one. Hey HotAir–Why is it that comments are removed from this blog when they include the correctly spelled name of the West-Central African country beginning with “N” and ending with “R”?

Take your time.

spiritof61 on July 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

So, why is Clinton NOT being blamed for not killing Osama when the opportunity presented itself to him ? Why did the Clintons use that opportunity to become agents of wahabis instead ?
With their history of dead bodies along their rise to the top, and after 9/11 2001 and 9/11 2012, Clintons are Killionaires now !

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Why? Hussein was hardly the biggest threat in the Middle East. Bush went after Hussein simply as retribution. To finish up what his father started.

rickv404 on July 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

This ignores several facts, which are Kryptonite to low-information types like yourself. Stop watching so many Mikey Moore movies, OK?

1. Pappy Bush was restrained by the UN before even liberating Kuwait; in addition many of the Arab countries signed on to his coalition only on the condition that liberating Kuwait would be the only mission. None of them wanted to oust Saddam.

2. (Democrat) pResident Bill Clinton cruise-missiled Baghdad in response when Saddam tried to assassinate Pappy Bush a few years later. That assassination attempt was prominently cited in the 2002 Iraq War Resolution.

3. That 2002 Resolution cited at least a dozen reason to go into Iraq. Many Democrats, including the presumptive 2016 pResidential “candidate”, also signed off on all of those reasons. Including the reason I cite above.

As I said, lay off the Mikey Moore. And once again, O’bama thanks you for your vote in 2008 and 2012!

A+

Del Dolemonte on July 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Why? Hussein was hardly the biggest threat in the Middle East. Bush went after Hussein simply as retribution. To finish up what his father started.

rickv404 on July 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I seem to recall Congress nearly-unanimously passing, and Bill Clinton signing, a law that set as official US policy the replacement of Saddam Hussein as Iraq’s leader in 1998.

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

I also remember a long march to combat which included trips to the United Nations, talking to allies, and giving Saddam Hussein the opportunity to stand down. Funny but I don’t remember any serious talk of this being a personal vendetta.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 4:36 PM

That long march to combat lasted over a year. But low-info units like 404 can’t be bothered with reality.

Del Dolemonte on July 3, 2014 at 4:57 PM

He was also responsible for the Cuban Missile crisis, He called the Russians stupid in his 6th grade history class and they responded.

Sven on July 3, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Dubya was seen running from the Grassy Knoll too :O

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Why? Hussein was hardly the biggest threat in the Middle East. Bush went after Hussein simply as retribution. To finish up what his father started.

rickv404 on July 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Easily the shallowest of all misrepresentations of Bush’s actions.

Saddam was the greatest destabilizing force in the region because of his support for international terrorism, his relentless pursuit of WMD, his willingness to use them, his penchant for invading his neighbors, and his near-total lack of judgment.

The UN sanctions were close to being lifted, the Oil for Food Program had turned into a UN bribery machine, the IAEA had completely missed Libya and Syria’s nuclear-weapons programs, and Saddam had created dual-use facilities that would’ve allowed him to rebuild his arsenal extremely quickly.

Sometimes it pays to actually research these things instead of just parroting others’ slogans.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 3, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Do you know where that missing Malaysian jet is ?
In Dubyas ranch in TX , hidden under the grass
;-)

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Here, I’ll give you a more pertinent one. Hey HotAir–Why is it that comments are removed from this blog when they include the correctly spelled name of the West-Central African country beginning with “N” and ending with “R”?

Take your time.

spiritof61 on July 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Nager?

A Chair of Some Kind on July 3, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Do you know who shot at Killery when her plane was landing in Bosnia ?
Dubya :P

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Would Bush have been blamed

By this point in the question, you already know the answer.

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 3, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Would Bush have been blamed if he hadn’t ousted Saddam?

…is the Pope Catholic?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Actually, about that….

RINO in Name Only on July 3, 2014 at 5:10 PM

What is this, Stupid Question Time at HotAir? Would the Confederates celebrate the Fourth of July? Is Hillary losing her grip on reality?

Here, I’ll give you a more pertinent one. Hey HotAir–Why is it that comments are removed from this blog when they include the correctly spelled name of the West-Central African country beginning with “N” and ending with “R”?

spiritof61 on July 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Yes, the CSA would celebrate July 4th. They saw themselves as the true keepers of the Spirit of ’76 legacy.

No, Killary lost her grip on reality long ago. There is nothing else to lose.

And finally, stop whining about stupid stuff. Try posting a comparison between Michelle Obama and a furry Star Wars character or mythical creature of the Pacific Northwest and you will be similarly blocked. Though they have yet to ban the word Yeti.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 5:11 PM

…is the Pope Catholic?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Actually, about that….

RINO in Name Only on July 3, 2014 at 5:10 PM

For the record, I meant this mostly facetiously, not looking to start a religious flame war. On the other hand, if we do have to replace “is the Pope Catholic?” with something more tautological, then “would Bush have been blamed for X?” is a pretty good candidate.

RINO in Name Only on July 3, 2014 at 5:13 PM

That long march to combat lasted over a year. But low-info units like 404 can’t be bothered with reality.

Del Dolemonte on July 3, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Can you imagine the way the left would have reacted if GWB had gotten us into war by multiple minor bombing campaigns or gradually increasing the number of troops in harm’s way a few hundred at a time. Obama did both.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 5:13 PM

So, why is Clinton NOT being blamed for not killing Osama when the opportunity presented itself to him ? Why did the Clintons use that opportunity to become agents of wahabis instead ?
With their history of dead bodies along their rise to the top, and after 9/11 2001 and 9/11 2012, Clintons are Killionaires now !

burrata on July 3, 2014 at 4:54 PM

You know the answer to that, but for the benefit of those who don’t know what a rhetorical question is, the answer…

Because…DemocRAT!

Steve Eggleston on July 3, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Sometimes it pays to actually research these things instead of just parroting others’ slogans.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 3, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Rickv404, subscribes some brand of right-of-center politics (it’s hard to tell sometimes) but he always ends up using lefty talking points to disparage his greatest enemy: George W. Bush.

And Bush would absolutely be blamed: he was blamed for 9-11 itself after all!

thebrokenrattle on July 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

The evil genius of George W Bush can not be underestimated.

He has managed to force the hand of the “smartest man in the room,” the “Chicago Jesus,” the “Magic Negro,” et al

J_Crater on July 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Sometimes it pays to actually research these things instead of just parroting others’ slogans.

A Chair of Some Kind on July 3, 2014 at 4:59 PM

Rickv404, subscribes some brand of right-of-center politics (it’s hard to tell sometimes) but he always ends up using lefty talking points to disparage his greatest enemy: George W. Bush.

And Bush would absolutely be blamed: he was blamed for 9-11 itself after all!

thebrokenrattle on July 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

The Left blamed Bush for 9/11 because after it happened, they saw his job approval skyrocket to levels none of their Presidents could even dream of.

Oh, sure, they also blamed him because it happened on his watch. But they can never tell you what he could have done to keep those attacks from happening, and then they get even angrier when reminded that the attacks were in fact supposed to take place before he was even elected.

Even today, whenever I ask a Leftist how Chimpy Bush could have prevented the 9/11 attacks from happening-in a manner that they would approve of-they suddenly decide they have to go “into conference”, because they know they cannot answer me.

Del Dolemonte on July 3, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Rickv404, subscribes some brand of right-of-center politics (it’s hard to tell sometimes) but he always ends up using lefty talking points to disparage his greatest enemy: George W. Bush.

thebrokenrattle on July 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Oh! You mean 404 is a Ron Paul acolyte. The type that was stealing his momma’s good sheets to make a banner to be hung at the overpass near the truck stop.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 5:29 PM

As usual, foreign policy is not a strong point over here at Hot Air.

The question needs to be reframed. The question is, had the U.S. not invaded Iraq, what were the available options.

The U.S. had three options in 2002 regarding Iraq:

1. Leave sanctions in place, leave Saddam in place.
2. End sanctions, leave Saddam in place.
3. Invade and depose.

We forget that sanctions were very unpopular at the time – the Left had been caterwauling about how the sanctions were killing innocent Iraqi children, and the Right was annoyed that the sanctions were not working, while enriching Saddam’s inner circle and U.N. bureaucrats. It is highly likely that, had we not invaded, the sanctions would have been dropped.

Now, had the Bush administration pushed to keep sanctions in place, the Left would have pilloried him for killing Iraqi kids. Had sanctions been dropped, given his history, a revived and emboldened Saddam would likely have committed some sort of atrocity on elements of his own population; he would also have mucked around in his neighbor’s business, flaming regional tensions; and he likely would have joined the nuclear race once more. Had any of these possibilities come to fruition, Bush would have been blamed.

Invade and depose was actually the smart move, for a host of reasons. That the occupation was botched is another argument entirely.

I am the only person I know who started out opposing the invasion of Iraq, and then supporting it when I garnered more information. Time has only strengthened my revised opinion, no matter how much the U.S. blew the opportunities such action afforded.

As for the Arab Spring, I don’t quite understand why it is being discussed in this context. The Arab Spring was the result of two factors which are in reality one: American weakness and lack of resolve, and deliberate U.S. policy implemented by the Obama administration. Had Bush not invaded Iraq, there would be no Obama, and no Arab Spring.

Joseph K on July 3, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Why would this even be in doubt? Bush’s father was blamed for not taking him Hussein out when he had the chance. Leading Democrats agitated for war against Iraq for years afterwards. Opposition to the war in Iraq was mostly political.

Long Legged MacDaddy on July 3, 2014 at 5:44 PM

I do know the an Army Anti-Tank platoon showed up on a nice sunny day with HUMVEES and put a dozen or so missiles (TOW-2A) into a steel reinforced concrete building and KILLED both of Saddam’s Satanic Spawn: Uday and Qusay Hussein
The recovery of Iraq was from that point onward was mostly up to the Iraqi’s themselves and they couldn’t get it done.

Missilengr on July 3, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Meh. After 9/11 someone was getting invaded. It could have been anyone, Saddam just raised his hand.

Theworldisnotenough on July 3, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Political repression and economic stagnation have been constants for ages there, and when the pot did finally boil over, it happened in Tunisia and then Egypt, two African countries further removed from Saddam’s influence than his immediate neighbors.

Egypt would not have turned into a massive C/F under President George W. Bush. President Bush would have supported Mubarak while urging him to move ahead with fair elections, and not given him the bum’s rush like the idiot Barry did.

President George W. Bush would also not have favored the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere.

slickwillie2001 on July 3, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Oh! You mean 404 is a Ron Paul acolyte. The type that was stealing his momma’s good sheets to make a banner to be hung at the overpass near the truck stop.

Happy Nomad on July 3, 2014 at 5:29 PM

That’s probably true; I don’t remember seeing him praise Luap Nor but it’s consistent with the Paulian style of erratic and reckless politics.

thebrokenrattle on July 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

There is an attempt by jihadist organizations in the Gaza Strip to unite under the common banner of the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.

Contacted by WND, Abu Saqer, one of the top leaders of Jihadiya Salafiya, which represents al-Qaida ideology in the Gaza Strip, confirmed the attempt to organize various jihad groups to fight Israel under the ISIS umbrella.

Saqer claimed there is also an effort to recruit jihadists to ISIS from inside the West Bank, particularly in the Hebron region.

While the exact nature of the ISIS presence in Gaza remains unclear, the group’s flags were seen flying at a funeral this past Sunday for two terrorists eliminated in an Israel Air Force strike last Friday, Israel’s daily Maariv newspaper reported. The terrorists’ coffins were reportedly also draped in ISIS flags

http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/palestinian-jihadists-seek-unity-with-isis/

davidk on July 3, 2014 at 4:09 PM

If the time comes for the best-equipped military in the ME to actually fight, -will they, or will they run for their estates in London and France?

slickwillie2001 on July 3, 2014 at 6:16 PM

As we predicted, the Obama regime’s anti-suspension policy is backfiring. Los Angeles teachers complain unsuspended violent kids are intimidating them and effectively ruling their classrooms.

In 2011, the Education Department accused the Los Angeles Unified School District of discriminating against black boys, who were suspended for bad behavior at a disproportionate rate. The agency ordered it to reduce suspensions in the hopes that unruly minority students would stay in school and graduate.

“The district shall develop and implement a comprehensive plan to eliminate the disproportionality in the discipline imposed on African-American students,” the five-page decree says. The superintendent agreed to “modify its policies, procedures and practices.”

While suspensions may be down at LAUSD, student violence and misconduct are not. Offenders just aren’t being sent home at the same rate they were before the federal order. And they’re getting younger and bolder.

“Last week I was terrified and bullied by a fourth-grade student,” a teacher at an urban L.A. school said. “The black student told me to ‘back off, b!tch.’ I told him to go to the office and he said, ‘No, b!tch, and you and no one can make me.’”

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/070214-707228-thugs-run-classrooms-thanks-to-school-suspension-ban.htm?p=full

davidk on July 3, 2014 at 7:07 PM

mmmmBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

williamg on July 3, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Here is a paradox to consider: if George W. Bush had not invaded Iraq and the country violently blew apart in the course of the Arab Spring, Bush would have been blamed for not ridding Iraq of Saddam when he had had the chance. As someone who supported the Iraq War, this is a convenient paradox for me to entertain, even if I have to live with the facts as they exist, which declare the Iraq War a mistake.

That “facts” do not support such a Kaplan’s conclusion that the Iraq War was a mistake.

I’ll illustrate by making two realistic extensions to Mr. Kaplan’s hypothetical scenario.

1) Without the Iraq War Saddam survives several years, long enough to thoroughly undermine the UN sanctions and/or to see them lifted. “Arab Spring arrives in Iraq. Saddam and/or his sons murder hundreds of thousands (again). The US establishes a no-fly zone over part of Iraq. A sizable city on the US mainland is struck by a deadly WMD attack. American casualties, dead and injured range in the hundreds of thousands. US intelligence suspects but can not prove Saddam’s involvement in the WMD attack. The US is unable to retaliate and is forced to withdraw from the Middle East by fear of follow-up WMD attacks.

2) Rudy Gulliani wins the 2008 Presidential election and in early 2009 garrisons northern Iraq with US troops and airbases. Persian Spring comes to Iran in 2009/2010. The US pressures Iran, cuts off Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Iranian Islamicist regime falls to a pro-democracy movement. Arab Spring comes to Syria and civil war is avoided because the Assad regime has no foreign supporters of note…

Mike OMalley on July 3, 2014 at 10:11 PM

I believe he would not. We broke Iraq in 2003 in the mistaken belief it was stockpiling WMDs, and partly in hope of making a more just order in the mideast, something that was beyond our power. Because of this, we must take responsibility for what followed after.

If we had left them alone — George Bush could only be blamed for things blowing up if he is somehow judge, jury and executioner for the nations of the middle east, responsible for setting up and toppling governments for the betterment of everyone. He is not. If we had left them alone, then freedom, democracy, dicatorship, or annhilation is totally on them and their choices.

The United States has no responsibility to overthrow governments merely because they are tyrannical. We are ‘the friends of liberty everywhere, the guardians merely of our own’.

pendell2 on July 4, 2014 at 10:15 AM