The historians miss the point. They debate whether George W. Bush is the worst President in American history. With six years done, I believe he is, but that does not fully address the magnitude of what is happening.Andrew Sullivan says the following in response to a George Will column.
I would put before the house this proposition: that George W. Bush is the first catastrophic President in American history. Even Richard Nixon at his worst, was a capable foreign policy President who opened the door to China, made negotiating progress with the Soviet Union, and with his many crimes and failures did not endanger world security.
America today stands on the brink of an arc of chaos, crisis, bloodshed and religious war that not only engulfs Iraq but could engulf the entire Middle East. For the first time in history our President cannot credibly be called the leader of the free world; in fact he has angered and alienated the overwhelming majority of people throughout the free world.
Double-down or get out. Those remain the only real options, in my view. Increasingly, I lean toward getting out completely, and finally giving the region the civil and religious war it so obviously and deeply wants. We had our chance; and we blew it. Bush doesn't or won't get this; and it's pretty clear he has little or no grip on reality. The terrible costs of our withdrawal are primarily on his hands; but they are also on the hands of the Iraqi factions who prefer tearing each other apart to dealing with the modern world.What few seem to realize is that Iraq is no longer about a jihad against the west it is now a continuation of the 1,400 year old religious war between Shia and Sunni and US troops and treasure are stuck in the middle. Religious wars, like a things religious, are irrational. We combine this with an irrational occupant of the White House who is being "advised" by a group of irrational zealots, the neocons, and we have a recipe for irrational chaos. Sully is right on the money when he says the people of the region deeply want this irrational civil and religious war and there is nothing the US can do about it. Bush 41 and Brent Scowcroft new this would happen if they marched to Baghdad and so the chose not to.
He may continue - forcing America into a brutal period of political civil war to save his own face. He won't save his own face - it's too late for that. And my bet is he will do nothing on the scale necessary to save Iraq. This is the consequence of re-electing a patent incompetent, who is now reduced to enforcing the policies of the man he defeated in 2004, with none of the advantages Kerry would have had. If Bush finds 50,000 to 75,000 troops, we'll know he's serious. But I suspect he isn't. He never has been, has he?
So what to do? We need to get out, no question about that, but we need to engage Iraq's neighbors in a way that they will fill the void we leave but not go to battle against each other in the process. That's really what the ISG report is all about. I suspect most if not all of the members recognize that training the Iraqi army is a delusional pipe dream. We are after all simply training them to kill each other. The Saudis have made it clear they will not stand by while the Iranian backed Shia massacre the Sunnis. This is a recipe for a regional war that will impact the entire world.