Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Reply to Friend

My economist friend responded to my email. I don't feel it's right to print his email but it basically said 1) he wasn't as anti-Bush as had been reported but 2) he did feel Bush had screwed up the war on terror overall and asked "how much should you punish a CEO who has a good objective and screws up implementing it?" This is my reply:


It is important to have realistic standards. So on the two biggest battles in this war, we have overthrown the hostile regimes of two countries with a combined population of 50 million with about 1100 combat deaths. This is incompetence? This is unprecedented in the history of warfare. Remember how everyone was talking about Afghanistan being the graveyard of empires? How invading Iraq was going to cause hundreds of thousands of refugees? Of course things haven't gone perfectly, but I still think they've gone pretty well.

As to cutting off oil money, I agree with you. But I'm sure there were all sorts of ways to criticize Roosevelt during WWII. Bush simply isn't following the strategy (or as he would say, strategery) you or I would follow. I'm just not sure I want to call him incompetent. In three years since 9/11, Afghanistan has had real elections and the people are excited about it. Iraq is on the verge of having real elections in at least 80% of the country. Libya has exposed and given up a WMD much larger than anyone suspected it of having. Iran and North Korea, while still major problems, have at least been put on notice that we are willing to use force against our enemies. The rest of the Middle East is seriously talking about political reform for the first time in decades. The second intifada has been soundly defeated. The financing of terrorists using oil money has been seriously disrupted. Thousands of terrorists have been killed or captured. A good number of terrorist cells in the US have been disrupted. And there has been no further terrorist attacks on the US (knock on wood). Again, I wish we were doing more like building up the military to the size it was at the beginning of the Clinton administration, but overall I still think this is a record anyone would have been willing to accept on Sept. 12.