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Author Topic: The Worst President Ever
Ron Lambert
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I found this message posted on another forum. Obviously it presents a pro-Bush point of view, but that view is not really skewed that far from reality. Everything said is fairly said, even though some will regard it as provocative. See what you think.
quote:
Some liberals have claimed President Bush is the worst president ever. They complain about his prosecution of the war in Iraq. Let's look at the "worst" president and mismanagement claims.

FDR led us into World War II. Germany never attacked us: Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.

Truman finished that war and started one in Korea, North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.

John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us.

Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.

Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent, Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

In the three years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Lybia, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. We lost 600 soldiers, an average of 300 a year. Bush did all this abroad while not allowing another terrorist attack at home. Worst president in history?

Come on!

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but...

It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation.

We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Teddy Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick, with Mary Jo Kopeckne inside.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

So are those liberals who claim that President Bush is the worst president ever right in their assessment? Or is it more likely that they are the worst historians ever?



[ April 23, 2004, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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Wwolfs
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quote:
It took less time to take Iraq
So that Iraq thing, it's all settled, right?
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It took less time to take Iraq
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So that Iraq thing, it's all settled, right?

"Taking" Iraq was the easy part. Doing something with it is hard.
"Taking" is what the Huns or Vandals did. What about the "liberation" part -- the part that makes us different?

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Everard
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" found this message posted on another forum. Obviously it presents a pro-Bush point of view, but that view is not really skewed that far from reality

Of course, the message misses the point... Bush isn't called the worst president ever by people who think he is, because he launched a war and people are dying. If you think that is the reason he's being called the worst president ever, as the person who wrote this obviously did, you aren't paying attention to what people are saying, and so will respond to the wrong arguments. Thus, while the facts in this are accurate, they aren't addressing the topic.

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Ron Lambert
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Saddam's army was obliterated. The Republican Guard no longer exists. There are Al Qaeda foreign agents doing what they can to cause trouble, and there are a couple of Shiite and Sunni mullahs trying to wage their own pocket-sized insurrections (each wants to dominate Iraq in the new government).

Those may be just minor details to some. But not very many people would seriously controvert the fact that two divisions of U.S. ground forces, aided by some continents from other nations, and supplemented by air power, decisively defeated the sixth largest army in the world in only a few weeks, with incredibly low casualties on the Coalition side, compared to previous wars.

Now we are in the occupation phase, trying to set up a stable democracy in Iraq. Or would it have been better if we had just bugged out and let the country collapse into a multi-way civil war, like happened in Yugoslavia when the communist regime fell?

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witless chum
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So who is the worst president ever?

James Buchanon seems a solid, traditional choice. Let the country slide into Civil War and did nothing because his party were the ones going for secession. Was corrupt, LIncoln ran as "honest Abe" not because he was seen as hugely honest, but because Buchanon was seen as famously corrupt.

Both the Adames were apparently great men and unsucessful presidents. I wonder why modern politicians fade away after being president. Adams spent years and years and a congressional gadfly. Clinton or Old Bush could do the same things, I'd be happy enough with Clinton as my congressman.

Dan

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Everard
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How about Millard Fillmore?

Well, actually, you could put any of the presidents between jackson and lincoln on the list of candidates for worst president, and it wouldn't be a problem.

Another bad string between lincoln and roosevelt, though not as bad as the earlier string.

Lyndon Johnson,

I'll wait and see on GWB, but he's definetely working hard at making the list.

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WarrsawPact
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Wwolfs:
So, that Germany thing, it's all settled, right? Or do we still have tank divisions there after almost 60 years without a war there, despite having absolutely no looming enemies within 1000 miles of our bases there?
So, the South Korea thing, it's all settled, right?
So, the American South, that's all settled, right? Slavery? Racism?
So, that Waco thing, it's all settled, right?
So, that Florida 2000 thing, that's all settled, right?

Let's apply your logic evenly, shall we?

It's NEVER "settled."

However, Iraq's old and tyrranical regime has been swept clean out of power and the tyrant himself captured and ready for trial by his own people, who were previously unable to rise against him.
The Taliban is just about toast.

That's two regimes that we know for a fact supported terrorists, who were in fact very open about much of their terrorist support. Can't get much more open than signing public $25,000 checks to families of "marytyrs" who died blowing up innocent Israelis... or harboring terrorist groups that you use to attack the ethnic Kurds on a regular basis.

Saddam is as settled as he ever can be. And he was removed from power in a ridiculously short period of time. The sheer stupefying quickness of the Coalition advance, despite several "setbacks" like a giant dust storm, is unprecedented in military history... and THIS, after a decade of neglect to our military services.

I can understand it if you think Bush ios a terrible president for other reasons, but let's be realistic about the first combat phase of the war in Iraq. It was an unprecedented success.

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Wwolfs
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I vote for Andrew Jackson as worst pres ever.

quote:
It's NEVER "settled."
That was kinda my point, WP. It is extremely silly to say that Bush is a better president because his blunder took less time to execute.

As for pointing to the first phase of Iraq as a success, well that's silly, too. It would have been hard NOT to succeed with such superior numbers and superior tech. Nobody ever said that we COULDN'T win in Iraq. That was never even an issue. It would be like me beating up a 13 year old. Ok, maybe not completely like that, but it was hardly a fight of equals.

Exit stratagy is just as important, though. In this case, exit strategy was MORE important, because the initial invasion was all but foregone. Did the administration have a viable plan for exit? No? Then it's a failure. Perhaps it's not a failure on the same scale as Vietnam, but it's a failure of the same type.

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Murdok
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Isn't Millard Fillmore a Cartoon Duck?

Oh - Sorry, that's Mallard Fillmore, a more conservative quack.

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Ron Lambert
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Everard, I have a question in regard to what you said here:
quote:
If you think that is the reason he's being called the worst president ever, as the person who wrote this obviously did, you aren't paying attention to what people are saying, and so will respond to the wrong arguments. Thus, while the facts in this are accurate, they aren't addressing the topic.
This sounds like you agree that there are people saying that Bush is the worst president ever, and you apparently know what the reasons are that they give for claiming this. Setting aside the war, as you suggested we should do, what are the actual reasons why some people claim that President Bush is the worst president ever?

Personally, I would not contend that he is the best president ever, but I would really be interested to know why anyone would really believe he is the worst president ever, especially considering some of the other candidates you and Witless chum and Wwolfs suggested. (By the way, I wonder why no one mentioned Herbert Hoover, who was president when the Great Depression hit, and then did nothing effective about it.)

[ April 23, 2004, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: Ron Lambert ]

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David Ricardo
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Disclaimer: I do not feel that George W. Bush is the worst President ever, even if I do criticize him sharply.

On to the main topic: Ron Lambert, I really wish you would not post inaccurate factual information without actually checking it first. Sometimes I wonder if you just enjoy slandering past American heroes.

Let me shoot down the blatant inaccuracies:

The insinuation that FDR thrust the United States into an unprovoked war against Germany is flatly untrue. Germany declared war on the United States first on the morning of December 11, 1941. After this German declaration of war, the United States responded with a declaration of war against Germany on the night of December 11, 1941. You cannot blame FDR for declaring war on Hitler's Germany after Hitler's Germany had already declared war on us. Here is the relevant text for the Congressional Declaration of War against Germany:

quote:
Congressional Declaration of War
on Germany December 11, 1941

The President's Message

To the Congress of the United States:

On the morning of Dec. 11 the Government of Germany, pursuing its course of world conquest, declared war against the United States. The long-known and the long-expected has thus taken place. The forces endeavoring to enslave the entire world now are moving toward this hemisphere. Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty and civilization. Delay invites great danger. Rapid and united effort by all of the peoples of the world who are determined to remain free will insure a world victory of the forces of justice and of righteousness over the forces of savagery and of barbarism. Italy also has declared war against the United States.

I therefore request the Congress to recognize a state of war between the United States and Germany, and between the United States and Italy.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The War Resolution

Declaring that a state of war exists between the Government of Germany and the government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same.

Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the government and the people of the United States of America:

Therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the government to carry on war against the Government of Germany; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States

That is one blatant slanderous lie against FDR shot down.

As for the insinuation that Truman started an unprovoked war in North Korea, and North Korea never attacked us -- well, that is a blatant falsehood. North Korea declared war on the South Korea on June 25, 1950. South Korea and the United States had already signed a mutual defense assistance treaty on January 26, 1950. Under the terms of that treaty (signed several months before North Korea declared war), the United States was honor-bound to aid its ally South Korea to resist the North Korean invasion. By attacking the United States's ally of South Korea, North Korea did indeed provoke military reaction from the United States.

Link found here on page 167: http://www.state.gov/www/global/legal_affairs/tif_01b.pdf

Two falsehoods down.

As for the slanderous claim that Clinton was offered Bin Laden's head on a platter by the Sudanese government three times and did nothing, that is simply untrue. Despite covert back-channel CSG attempts to ask for Bin Laden from the Sudanese government, Sudan repeatedly rejected our offers each time.

Al-Turabi, leader of the NIF government in Sudan, repeatedly rejected the CSG requests for his close friend Bin Laden:

quote:
...The government of Sudan was dominated by the National Islamic Front, whose leader was Hasan al-Turabi...

As is well known by now, Turabi and bin Laden set up several joint projects...The two radical fundamentalists were soul mates, sharing a vision of a worldwide struggle to establish a pure Caliphate. The two also socialized together, taking meals at each other's homes. In bin Laden's spare time he went horseback riding with Turabi's son.


(Against All Enemies, page 136-137)

quote:
...The facts about the supposed Sudanese offer to give us bin Laden are that Turabi was not about to turn over his partner in terror to us and no real attempt to do so ever occurred.

Had they wanted to, the National Islamic Front government could have arrested bin Laden just as they had arrested the legendary terrorist Ilyich Sanchez ("Carlos the Jackal") when he was uncovered in Khartoum by CIA and then by French intelligence in 1994. Carlos, however, was a lone wolf doing nothing for the NIF. Usama bin Laden was an ideological blood brother, family friend, and benefactor of the NIF leaders. He also had many well-armed followers.

(Against All Enemies, page 142)

The above accounts about Sudan were also confirmed by Steve Coll in Ghost Wars (I do not have a Ghost Wars text handy to quote, however).

That directly contradicts the slanderous claim that Clinton did nothing while Sudan offered bin Laden to us on a platter three times. Clinton's CSG was actively trying to get bin Laden, but al-Turabi (leader of NIF Sudan) refused to arrest and turn over his good friend bin Laden.

Three slanderous claims down.

I will not even bother arguing George W. Bush's accomplishments because I am not trying to argue that Bush is the worst President ever. I have, however, proved that most of Ron Lambert's "facts" against FDR, Truman, and Clinton are just slanderous lies (the JFK and Johnson stuff is factual though).

[ April 23, 2004, 06:29 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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jedilaw
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Regarding the "Germany never attacked us, Japan did" meme: I'm assuming that the jackass who came up with that one never bothered to read a history book about the war. He leaves out that whole part where Germany declared war on us as soon as we declared war on Japan. We didn't choose war with Germany, Germany did.

For all those who say "Iraq isn't Vietnam", I'll see your bet and raise you one "Iraq isn't Germany, either." I'd also throw in a "No sh1t, really?", but it's kind of an OT response.

That being said, yes, we prosecuted a brilliant military campaign against the Iraqi regime. The victory was, AFAIK, unprecedented in modern warfare. BUT, that doesn't mean we've shown that the end result of the war is going to be positive, as it was in Germany. The end result could well be reminiscent of Lebanon circa 1983, in which case the lighting defeat of the Iraqi army will be a footnote, not the main story.

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Ron Lambert
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I don't agree with everything in the anonymous article. I do agree of course that saying that Germany never attacked us is a silly point, and was unnecessary for the argument. It is technically true. Japan attacked us. Then when we declared war on Japan, their Axis ally Germany declared war on us, and of course we had to reciprocate. Everyone knows that.

The real point was how many lives were lost prosecuting each war--WWII, Korea, Vietnam--and comparing that to how many lives of U.S. and Coalition forces have been lost in Afghanistan and Iraq, and asking whether that is any reasonable indicator of who is the "worst president ever."

I don't think the writer of the article was a very good writer. I did take the liberty of cleaning up a few things in the interest of better rhetorical style toward the end, but I did not wish to make wholesale changes throughout.

Perhaps I should not have made the blanket claim that the statements were basically pretty fair. The main points were. But I was thinking that some points were only technically true. Germany did not attack us first; North Korea did not attack us first; and North Vietnam did not attack us first (unless you want to count the Gulf of Tonkin incident). But obviously that was not the whole story. Those deficiencies detracted from the strength of the article.

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Ron Lambert
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Or how about President Zachary Taylor, of whom I read:
quote:
Such men as Clay, Webster, and even General Scott himself, were passed over, and General Taylor, whose nickname was "Old Rough and Ready", who was a slaveholder, who was ignorant to the last degree, and who had not voted for 40 years, received the nomination and was triumphantly elected, defeating Cass, the Democrat, and Martin Van Buren, the "Free Soil" candidate. On his accession to office, March, 1849, President Taylor found a Democratic majority in congress, and a dozen important questions, such as the admission of the new state of California, the settlement of the boundaries of Texas, and the organization of the new territory acquired from Mexico, confronting him. The turmoil of politics was too much for the old soldier, and on July 4, 1850, sixteen months after his inauguration as president, Taylor was stricken down by an illness which terminated his life five days later. He was succeeded in the presidency by Millard Fillmore. His son, Richard Taylor, was an officer in the Confederate army, and one of his daughters was the wife of Jefferson Davis.
Or what about President William Henry Harrison, who was the first of a number of presidents to succumb to "Tecumseh's Curse"?
(see: Tecumseh's Curse )

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WarrsawPact
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Hehe, about Germany declaring war on us:

What do you think Iraq did when it repeatedly violated the cease-fire agreement for over a decade?
We were legally in a state of war with Iraq for many years... every month gave us a few new excuses to invade Iraq and finish the job.

So, if a state of war is all that's needed, rather than simply an attack, the war on Iraq was fully justified.
---------------
The person who posted the original quote was arguing against people who claimed that we shouldn't go to war unless we're actually attacked, that no war except one of explicit self-defense is justified. We heard plenty of that before we attacked Iraq, and you all are very aware of this.

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David Ricardo
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Personally speaking, I actually feel that the United States had legal justification for invading Iraq under international law. There was enough leeway in those U.N. resolutions for our international lawyers to reasonably argue that our military action was legal.

On the other hand, I also feel that invading Iraq at that time was a relatively stupid idea.

So, it was technical legal for us to invade Iraq at that time, but it was a stupid idea (in my humble opinion).

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TomDavidson
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"I don't agree with everything in the anonymous article..."

So what DO you agree with in the anonymous "article," Ron? Because, let's face it, it would be a much less effective article if it actually dealt with the truth, sans distortions and false analogies.

[ April 24, 2004, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Yossarian5555555
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There is no real way to say which president is the worst ever, because there is so much to take into account. There really are no historical anoligies because everything we do now affects the country and the world differently from how it would have decades ago. So while Bush is an awful president and by most ways that you could rate it he would be the worst ever, you can never really be sure.
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RickyB
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We have divisions in Germany and South Korea because we want to, not because all hell will break loose if we pull out. Even during the cold war, we lost....how many troops in Germany? I mean aside from accidents.

Yes, those are finished and Iraq isn't. Anyone who equates the two in terms of "mission accomplished" is a demagogue or a moron.

As Everard said, Bush isn't in the running for worst president just because he launched a war. It's about why, and how. Germany was a direct threat. Iraq was not. 6th largest army in the world...Please. Are we still getting all hot and bothered over the military achievement, which was never the challenge or the point?

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Ron Lambert
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Tom, I did say what in the article I agreed with.

Everard, you said that people who say President Bush is the worst president ever are not doing so because of the military actions he has taken. I would still like to know what the reasons are then that people give for saying that Bush is the worst president ever.

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Everard
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Sorry, was out with hatrackers all yesterday evening and into early morning...

Most of what I've heard from people who talk about Bush as the worst president ever is that he's losing our allies, actively widening the wealth gap, actively rolling back environmental protections, actively putting the nation deeper into debt, putting all the economic burden for his programs onto the shoulders of people who aren't yet tax payers, his cowboy attitude, inept diplomacy, and more, but thats a good list, I think.

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Ron Lambert
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Thanks Everard. I guess those are perceptions people are entitled to make if they choose. I can dispute criticisms based on the war in Iraq, but if someone chooses to perceive President Bush as a Cowboy, that is harder to dispute, since it is a subjective opinion.

About all I can do, I think, to counter those claims, as ask how President Bush could be worse than President Zachary Taylor, who was elected just because he was a popular general who won a great battle, despite the fact that he has been described as ignorant about everything, hadn't voted in 40 years, and was a slaveowner. Talk about a cowboy....

Or what about the Democrats' favorite Republican villain in history, Herbert Hoover, who presided over the Great Depression and didn't do anything about it? How could anything Bush is doing now be worse than that? At least Bush hasn't collapsed our economy yet. In fact, it seems to be growing. (I will say though that I am also deeply disturbed by the titanic size of the National Debt, and the vulnerability it gives us, should anything really go wrong. John McCain and Al Gore were the only candidates four years ago who really seemed serious about wanting to pay it down.)

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TomDavidson
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"Tom, I did say what in the article I agreed with."

Where?
You say that you think the main thrust makes sense, and that the broad points were "pretty fair," even as you admit that they're at best half-truths.

But I can't find any post from you in this thread where you pick out a single statement and say, "I agree with this; this is completely true."

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Everard
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Ron-
Zachary Taylor, while certainly a bad president, didn't do a lot to harm the nation. His successor, Millard Fillmore, on the other hand, certainly did, and as such, I think is a worse president. Taylor mostly did nothing... he didn't help any problems, but he didn't really hurt them, either.

Edit: You know, I want to add something here because I do taylor a disservice. Taylor PROBABLY gave some inspiration to Lincoln years later, as he threatened the south with personally leading the U.S army into the field against any "persons... in rebellion" against the U.S, and hang any prisoners as traitors to the nation.

End edit.

Many of the points which I raise suggest long term damage to the united states. Whether that turns out to be the case or not, will go a long way towards our understanding of Bush as a good or bad president... its still too early to tell, in terms of foreign and environmental policy. In terms of his economic policy, well, thats NEVER going to be agreed upon, because of the nature of our understanding of how presidential economic policy affects the economy.

Personally, I think that in the long run we'll view president bush as the transition president between the American Republic, and the American Empire. Whether thats bad or good depends on your world view, but he's irrevocably launched us on an ideological war of transformation... and we won't be able to escape from the fact we are now committed in two nations central to the political stability of a region that has about 800 million residents.

[ April 24, 2004, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
David Ricardo: That directly contradicts the slanderous claim that Clinton did nothing while Sudan offered bin Laden to us on a platter three times. Clinton's CSG was actively trying to get bin Laden, but al-Turabi (leader of NIF Sudan) refused to arrest and turn over his good friend bin Laden.
Bill Clinton was offered Osama, by his own admission. Here's a recording of a business luncheon at the Long Island Association in 2002. It's a little hard to hear, so here's a transcript:

quote:

Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan.

And we'd been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start meeting with them again - they released him.

At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.

So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan.


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David Ricardo
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Nice quote, but I have seen this one before. You are just interpreting it incorrectly. I will corroborate what actually happened with excerpts from Ghost Wars, Against All Enemies, and the 9/11 Commission:

quote:
At CIA headquarters, the unit set up to track Kasi was located in the Counterterrorist Center. A few partitions away was another small cluster of analysts and operators who made up what the CIA officially called the "bin Laden issue unit."

The unit had been created early in 1996 to watch bin Laden, who was then living in Sudan.
By that point, the United States had decided for security reasons to close the embassy and CIA station in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, where officers had previously been collecting intelligence about bin Laden's financial support for Islamic radicals in North Africa and elsewhere. In the spring of 1996, Sudan yielded to international pressure to expel bin Laden. The Saudi found sanctuary in Afghanistan in May.

(Ghost Wars excerpt link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A59775-2004Feb21?language=printer)

quote:
Turabi and bin Laden decided to relocate al Qaeda's leadership to Afghanistan to reduce international pressure on the NIF and to help the Taliban finish putting another nation in the Calihpate.
(Quoted from: Against All Enemies, page 142)

This explains the Clinton quote of "they released him." Sudan was not releasing bin Laden from its custody; bin Laden decided to leave to lessen the international pressure on Sudan.

quote:
9/11 Staffer Michael Hurley: "In exchanges beginning in February 1996, Sudanese officials began approaching U.S. officials asking what they could do to ease the pressure [resulting from U.N. sanctions]. During the winter and spring of 1996, Sudan's defense minister visited Washington and had a series of meetings with representatives of the U.S. government..."

Hurley: "To test Sudan's willingness to cooperate on terrorism, the United States presented eight demands to their Sudanese contacts. The one that concerned bin Laden was a request for intelligence information about bin Laden's contacts in Sudan.

(Quoted from: 9/11 Commission Transcript)

Obviously, the quote about "the Sudanese wanted America to start meeting with them again" refers specifically to talks about about lifting U.N. sanctions -- not about "offering" Bin Laden into the hands of the United States. As I described above, it was obvious that "they released him" refers to bin Laden's decision to leave Sudan to relieve international pressure off the National Islamic Front government in Sudan.

quote:
Snatches, or more properly "extraordinary renditions," were operations to apprehend terrorists abroad, usually without the knowledge of and almost always without public acknowledgement of the host government...Nonetheless, the proposed snatch in Khartoum [Sudan's capital] went nowhere. Several meetings were held in the White House West Wing with Berger demanding the snatch. The Joint Staff had an answer that they used whenever asked to do something that they did not want to do:

• it would take a very large force;
• the operation was risky and might fail, with U.S. forces caught and killed, embarrassing the President;

• their “professional military opinion” was not to do it;
• but, of course, they would do it if they received orders to do so in writing from the President of the United States;
• and, by the way, military lawyers said it would be a violation of international law

(Quoted from: Against All Enemies, pages 143-144)

In other words, the Pentagon felt that a Khartoum snatch would require lots of troops and be too risky. They also said it would be a violation of international law (because Osama had not been charged with a crime against the United States yet). This Pentagon excuse of "international law violation" is exactly why Clinton said "he[bin Laden] had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him."

quote:
But in the 1996 discussion of Sudan, Berger turned to George Tenet, asking if CIA could snatch...Tenet responded that they had no capability to do that in that hostile environment, nor could they find a friendly intelligence service that could (or would) do it.
(Quoted from: Against All Enemies, page 144)

Meanwhile, the CIA refused to go for the snatch operation because they had no "capability" and could not "find a friendly intelligence service that could (or would) do it." Saudi Arabia, however, had intelligence assets in Sudan that could have gone for the snatch operation, but they refused to do it. This is why Clinton said "So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, 'cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn't and that's how he wound up in Afghanistan."

I hope that I have now cleared up everything for you regarding the Sudan-Clinton-bin Laden conspiracy theory. Usually things like this are easy to understand if you don't just rely on right-wing conspiracy theories from Newsmax.

[ April 24, 2004, 08:40 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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bearcatmark
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Only time will tell whether Bush is "the worst president of all time", but I will agree that his presidency has been bad for America. The notion of Bush being a cowboy is subjective(though he tries to portray himself as such to certain people). However the fact that the gap between the wealthy and average person is widening under Bush, the fact that Bush is rolling back environmental policy, and has several former lobbyist for polluters running the EPA, dramatically worsening the debt, allowing porkbarrelling to continue by signing porked barrelled bills into law, and lightening the economic burden of the wealthy while placing far more on the lower classes are all matters of record. These types of things are particular disturbing to liberals.

Bush is also actively trying to put descrimination into the constitution. He has cut funding for important scientific advancements such as stemcell research, refused to acknowledge the consesus among the science community of global warning.

Also the lack of solid Diplomacy seems plenty apparent(you can believe the president doesn't need to diplomatic, but for those who see the necessity to get along with the rest of the world instead of rule over it, diplomacy is important).

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TCB
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The original post implies that the quality of a president is determined by the length and number of lives lost during their wars.

While the president is often the one who picks the fight (although as David Ricardo pointed out, FDR and Truman didn’t), the strength of our army and quality of our generals obviously plays a hugely important role in those things.

Good presidents can wage long, costly wars, and bad presidents can wage short, bloodless wars.

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WmLambert
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And in both cases, the contemporaneous view of the President often changes to another, more objective view, over time, as the 20/20 hindsight of history has a chance to look back and see what else was going on.

Contrary to what was posted earlier about the Sudan offering up bin Laden, we could have had him. Yes, we had no covert HumInt capabilities anywhere in the Middle East and Africa at the time. We couldn't have snatched him. Anything we could do was at the expressed charity of our allies. We didn't even have up-to-date maps - and the Pentagon realized that. But he was available to be given to us. Adding to what David Ricardo posted, our CI consisted of a mere handful of bureaucrats in Washington, they had one interpreter who could read Arabic, and hundreds of thousands of Electronic intercepts that made up almost all of our Intel. (Note: NO HumInt.) The White House authorization to our allies to capture bin Laden for us was expressly forbidden by the Clinton White House - as reported in the 9/11 Commission hearings this month. Clarke expressly said we didn't allow his capture because it was considered an indictment problem rather than a military matter.

At this time period, we knew where bin Ladin was because we were able to track his up-link phone system - which he thought was untraceable. We couldn't have taken him, but the Mossad, or MI6, or even the Sudanese military could've taken him at any time with our ElInt pinpointing him for them. A few months later - some stupid congressman in the Intelligence Oversight Committee, bragging to a reporter how clever we are, mentioned the ability to track bin Laden through his celphone. The reporter, equally as stupid, reported it on CNN and bin Laden never used a celphone again.

The chance to take him was lost - and it was as simple as that. This was almost the identical situation as capturing Noriega or Milosevic. International law says you couldn't do it. But once he is in custody, there is no violation or remedy under international law. The Clinton White House didn't want to do it because they feared International opinion, not international law.

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David Ricardo
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WmLambert, do you have credible sources for those assertions? I see no quotes or links in your post. Please do not throw around sloppy "facts" without actually presenting the actual excerpts and transcripts.
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pickled shuttlecock
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Please do not throw around assertions such as "sloppy" before you know that what's referred to by the modified term is sloppy. Also, please refrain from using scare quotes around "facts" until you're proven that they're otherwise.

In other words, you've committed the same sin. I suddenly recall something about motes and beams....

[ April 25, 2004, 04:36 AM: Message edited by: pickled shuttlecock ]

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Van Aaron
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I remember a lot of people calling Reagan the worst president ever when he was in office. I don't seem to hear that much any more.
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Everard
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Yeah, people said that about Clinton too. *Shrug* I don't think its an analysis that can be made during the actual presidency.
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bearcatmark
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There couldn't have been too much talk of Reagan as the worst president ever seeing as how easily he was elected and reelected. However, I would still contest that Reagan was the start of the new mold of republican presidents(which i think are terrible for the country). A republican like Nixon believed in progressive taxation, made efforts to protect the environment, didn't always side with big business, didn't operated with huge deficits, didn't contribute to the widening of the wealth gap.

Reagan started the policy of ignoring/hurting the environment, cutting taxes for the wealthy, contributing to a widening of the gap between rich and poor, siding with big business, operating with huge deficits, he supplied hussein with weapons, he allowed weapons to be illegally sold to iran(whether he knew or didn't know). So I would say a case can be made for Reagan as at least a president who was bad for America on many levels

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Adam Lassek
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Thank you David, I think that explains the quote to my satisfaction.

However:
quote:
Usually things like this are easy to understand if you don't just rely on right-wing conspiracy theories from Newsmax.
Condescending remarks like that certainly won't get you any friends here. I happened to have found a copy of the audio clip on Newsmax, and a transcript of said clip. That was the extent of my "relying" on them.

[ April 26, 2004, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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jedilaw
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All rehtorical flourish aside, is it necessary for Bush to be the Worst President in History in order for him to deserve a single-term presidency? Carter wasn't the Worst in History, either, and he was justifiably canned. I'm all for one-term and out in this case, and I don't need to concoct some strained argument that he is worse than any of his predecessors before I can feel comfortable in saying "no way will he get my vote, and he shouldn't get yours either."
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Van Aaron
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I don't know if you're too young to remember, Bearcat, but there were an awful lot of people who hated Reagan with a passion, notwithstanding the fact that he was reelected easily. Ev is correct that the same is true of Clinton. This time next year, perhaps we will be able to say the same of Dubya.
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David Ricardo
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Adam, I apologize then for being excessively condescending. I am just a little tired of having 9,521 people citing that Clinton-Sudan-Bin Laden conspiracy theory from Newsmax when George Tenet has clearly testified under oath that Sudan never gave us any offer to take Bin Laden.

If you want to understand the whole bin Laden timeline in the most unbiased yet copmrehensive way, I recommend reading Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. All of his reporting is clear documented by meticulous footnotes, and he offers a treasure trove of information about Bin Laden. I would probably cite more relevant revelations from Ghost Wars, but I was too cheap to buy his book (I just read it while I was in Barnes and Nobles).

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witless chum
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I see I didn't sucessfully derail this thread. Oh, bother.

Lyndon Johnson?
IMO his actions on civil rights and the welfare state cancel out part of his actions in Vietnam.

Hoover?
He was damned no matter what. But he wasn't seen to do anything. Roosevelt did, as was seen to do, 500 things, but whether they worked at a macro level is debatable at best. On a micro level, they helped people. Judging from people I know (or knew) that lived through it, that meant a lot to them.

Neither of Hoover's two predecessors were any great shakes, either. I don't think Harrison or Taylor are fair because they didn't serve long enough.
Anyone want to nominate Kennedy? He came closer than anyone else to destroying this country (nuclear war.) But you could argue that he made us safer in the long run by showing the Russians we weren't to be trifled with. Nuclear war isn't horse shoes, either.

As to FDR and Hitler. Roosevelt, IMO, did all he could to maneuver us into war with Germany. The U.S. Navy was engaged in a shooting war with the Germans in the Atlantic before Decemeber 7, because we were convoying supplies to Britain to a midway point before turning them over to the Royal Navy, so I'd argue FDR (IMO rightly) provoked war with Hitler.

Dan

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