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More Dangerous than Trump? George Bush (43)

Don Rose 10 September 2019 No Comment

Tom Perez, head of the Democratic National Committee, recently called Donald Trump “The most dangerous president in American history,” echoing similar sentiments–including a comment by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz who gave up his independent presidential bid for fear of helping Trump.

    There’s no doubt Trump is extremely dangerous. He is the most bizarre, untruthful, incompetent, self-aggrandizing personality ever to hold the office. He has committed horrors such as those at the border, tearing children from parents’ arms and caging them in atrocious pens. He has deeply exacerbated our racial and ethnic divide. As a climate-change denier he pulled out of international environmental pacts and reversed clean air and water regulations. He alienates allies and promotes enemies. His trade wars threaten a major recession.

    Fortunately, he has not yet led us into a shooting war with Iran or elsewhere–unless he decides he needs one for re-election.

   Those acts –and more too numerous to reiterate–qualify him for the title, but at this moment in history he still ranks second in absolute destructiveness to George W. Bush.

danger

   Yes, “W,” the semiliterate bumbler who tried to privatize social security and whose economic policies–or lack thereof–set the stage for the 2008 economic collapse and worldwide recession. But his worst crime in this new century was invading Iraq.

   The Iraq war– as a fraudulent, misguided response to 9/11–triggered the most horrific consequences of our times, much as 100 years ago the first World War and its immediate aftermath defined the last century.  It’s clear by now Iraq was a needless war–long on the neocon agenda–pressed on Bush by his controlling vice president, Dick Cheney.

    Bush understandably invaded Afghanistan to defeat Al Qaeda–perpetrator of 9/11–which was based there. Soon the terrorist group was on the run, headed for Pakistan through Tora Bora. But rather than purse that winnable  fight, he made arguably the worst military decision in US history, and gave up the pursuit to focus on Iraq.

     The Iraq invasion and occupation was badly mismanaged, unsettling the entire Middle East–which was volatile enough with Sunni-Shiite as well as Israeli-Palestinian hostilities. It gave rise to the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL) leading to Iranian dominance there.

   Like a domino effect–hate that term!–came the failed Arab Spring, continuing chaos in Libya, rapid conquests by IS and the brutal wars in Syria and Yemen, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and creating our world’s leading problem, millions upon millions of refugees.

   The refugee crisis has unsettled not only the Middle East but much of Europe, giving rise to right-wing “populist” leaders in Poland, Hungary and Italy, threatening European unity and stimulating Brexit  and the political dissembling of Great Britain. Yes, Tony Blair’s support of Bush’s war led to the decline of the Labor Party there.

   I have oversimplified in this brief space–much more could be added–but the essential truth is there. Today’s worldwide chaos is largely a direct result of Bush’s war. That makes him more dangerous than Trump–at least at the moment.

**
Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

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