Thursday, February 10, 2005


The word "legacy" has been thrown around a lot lately. The way that history remembers the Bush administration seems almost to take priority over what is actually happening under the Bush Administration. Despite all the pomp and triumph following the election, in the days before the inauguration, things weren't looking so good for the GOP. Polls were steadily dropping as the media aired more and more dirty laundry from Iraq. Social Security reform was unpopular on both sides of the aisle. The air was ripe for dems to say "I Told You So."

Then, there was the election in Iraq.

Personally, I was ready for the worst: insurgent interference, corruption, low voter turn out or at least a general disillusionment with the so-called liberation process. But even nay-sayers have got to admit, the Iraqi election went well. It went so well, in fact, that some liberals are left with a bad taste in their mouths. How do we resolve all the mistakes and cover-ups and crap with this genuine public demonstration of independence and determination? I tend to agree with Biden, who suggests that Iraqis see elections as a step towards ending the American occupation. But no matter what the reasons and impulses, a happy ending in Iraq will put a Bush legacy in the bag. As Jonathan Schell writes,

There was, I confess, a momentary temptation for someone like me, who has opposed the war from the start and believed it would lead to nothing good, simply to scant the importance of the event, or react to it defensively, or speed past it on the way back to an uneasy confirmation of previous views. But the impulse passed. After all, hadn't I been irked that the war's promoters, including the President, had refused to admit a mistake when they had not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when they had failed to foresee the insurgency that soon broke out after Baghdad was taken, when American forces, encouraged by memos penned at the top levels of the Administration, had committed widespread acts of torture? More important, when masses of ordinary people act with courage to express deep and positive longings, shouldn't one give them their due? But most important of all, wasn't full acknowledgment of the magnitude of the event necessary for any real understanding of what might happen next in Iraq?

Now, death tolls are back up to pre-election levels, but nobody seems to notice. Moreover, “success” in Iraq makes me nervous about what’s next. Confidence, in the hands of the current admin, is a dangerous trait. It leads to situations like this.

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