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September 29, 2005

Bush: Covert Agent for the Left

The debacle of the Iraq War has left the American people questioning use of the military as part of foreign policy:

The war in Iraq has left Americans skeptical about the use of military force as a tool to spread democracy, according to a poll released on Thursday. Seventy-two percent of those questioned said the conflict has made them feel worse about the use of military force "to bring about democracy" down the road,
Bush has made the skeptics case against military solutions to foreign policy goals better than anyone could have. In this, he has undermined the ideological success of his GOP predecessors.

Starting with Ronald Reagan and continued by Goerge Bush Senior, the Republican right had carefully rebuilt the credibility of use of military force as a tool of US power. Step-by-step, first with the tiny island of Grenada, then the attack on Panama, the case was made that US military force could be used successfully. The Gulf War continued this careful strategy, as an overwhelming use of air power meant that the Iraqi forces were forced to retreat from Kuwait with a tiny number of casualties by the US. When Reagan had stumbled in Beirut with the car bombing of the embassy, he had quickly removed US forces before the political damage was too large. Bush's Dad refused to send troops into Baghdad in order to avoid casualties and horde ideological capital.

Bush has said that political capital is meant to be spent, and he has been a wastrel with the ideological legitimacy for use of the military offensively overseas. While this is a tragedy for both American and Iraqi dead, the cause of peace in the world may in retrospect owe Bush a debt.

Posted by Nathan at September 29, 2005 02:05 PM