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Entries in Stephen Walt (2)


A Friendly Reminder: Why George W. Bush Was A Terrible President

An admission: while I spent years watching and writing about the Bush Administration, I have not rushed out to buy a copy of George W. Bush's ghost-written autobiography. I have not watched or listened to one of his many media interviews.

All it took was Bush's take-away headline yesterday morning --- the false claim that his approval of torture via waterboarding prevented Terrorist Attacks in the United Kingdom --- to  reinforce years of conclusion that the 43rd President was/is a) lying b) immoral c) blissfully ill-informed d) all of the above. 

And I do not think that hundreds of pages of text can do more than this Bushian comparison, made in his television promotion on Tuesday: 1) Torture was not wrong 2) What was wrong was pouring vodka into my sister's aquarium, killing her goldfish.

Stephen Walt, however, did have the patience to go beyond the puffery to offer an incisive critique of Bush's "Delusion Points". He begins with an essential case for not giving in to historical revision/forgetting:

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Israel-Palestine: What the US Should Do Now on Settlements (Walt)

If I were President Obama (and you can all be glad I'm not), I'd call my entire Middle East team into the Oval office for a little chat. Here's what I'd say:

"I made a promise to the American people, and to the world, that we would achieve 'two states for two peoples' during my first term. When I was in Cairo more than a year ago, I said this goal was in "America's interest, Israel's interest, the Palestinians' interest, and the world's interest." And I meant it. I trusted each of you to help me bring that goal about, and I've taken your advice for over twenty months. Let me be clear: it isn't working, and I'm not one who is satisfied with failure. Nor am I going to reward it. So I am telling each of you now: If you can't help me get this deal done within one year, I'm going to fire every one of you and get some new faces in here."

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