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WP: Exit Bush, Shoes Flying


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/15/AR2009011503149.html

Good article. Below are the first paragraph, and the last lines.

Except for Richard Nixon, no president since Harry Truman has left office more unloved than George W. Bush. Truman's rehabilitation took decades. Bush's will come sooner. Indeed, it has already begun. The chief revisionist? Barack Obama. Vindication is being expressed not in words but in deeds -- the tacit endorsement conveyed by the Obama continuity-we-can-believe-in transition. It's not just the retention of such key figures as Defense Secretary Bob Gates or Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner, who, as president of the New York Fed, has been instrumental in guiding the Bush financial rescue over the past year. It's the continuity of policy.
He leaves behind the sinews of war, for the creation of which he has been so vilified but which will serve his successor -- and his country -- well over the coming years. The very continuation by Democrats of Bush's policies will be grudging, if silent, acknowledgment of how much he got right.
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I would love to see a comparison done after Obama has spent a year in office, to see just how many of Bush's policies have actually stayed versus how many Obama either got rid of, or changed.

I have a feeling the results would be a little lopsided.

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Pragmatically, the question is how many would he like to undo, but can't for practical reasons. For instance, Iraq. Almost everyone agrees that a full immediate and total withdrawal would be disasterous. However, if many had their druthers, we would get out and would never have gotten in. So, is staying in Iraq an affirmation of Bush's policy or cleaning up his mess or a bit of both?

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Pragmatically, the question is how many would he like to undo, but can't for practical reasons. For instance, Iraq. Almost everyone agrees that a full immediate and total withdrawal would be disasterous. However, if many had their druthers, we would get out and would never have gotten in. So, is staying in Iraq an affirmation of Bush's policy or cleaning up his mess or a bit of both?
Inheriting an army in the most dangerous spot in the world at a time when the war is going very well is almost a best case scenario for Obama. He will get any credit for any action that goes well, Bush will get blame for any that goes poorly. I would be surprised to see any significant withdrawals until Obama is firmly established. A couple of years at least.
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Pragmatically, the question is how many would he like to undo, but can't for practical reasons. For instance, Iraq. Almost everyone agrees that a full immediate and total withdrawal would be disasterous. However, if many had their druthers, we would get out and would never have gotten in. So, is staying in Iraq an affirmation of Bush's policy or cleaning up his mess or a bit of both?

The ongoing war against terrorism and it's sponsors, has been made easier, not easy, but easier, for Obama, with the removal of one of it's biggests sponsors, both physically and financially, in Saddam Hussien and his sons. Also by the removal of the taliban government in Afghanistan. I don't see how anyone could see these as anything but undeniable facts. You might argue how it happened, but not the fact that they are gone.

And, there is no mess to clean up. There is only to finish what was started. Most of the heavy lifting is done, in Iraq. Afghanistan will be difficult to finish, for sure. But, it too will be easier with Iraq out of the picture.

The time for diplomats to do their work in Iraq, is better suited for today than it ever would have been with Saddam, or his sons. They would never have just gone away. And the risks they posed were too great to keep passing the buck to the next administration to deal with. It was never going to be easy, or pretty, but it had to be done. Sooner, rather than later. Taking the Iraqi threat off the table was necessary, and in the end successful. Obama has a chance to further the success, which he will get credit for, deservedly so, if he does. Or, he can flush it all down the toilet. I doubt he'll flush.

He may never be able to say it out loud, but once he is privy to all the intel, he will be glad to have the tools in place to continue the fight against terrorism left by President Bush & Co. And, he'll understand why some of the things that were done, were both necessary, and well thought out.

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