The End of an Error

I apologize in advance to my Republican readers who deserve better than this.  Please know I take no issue with you personally.  You may, however, wish to skip over this one.  Any comments that are abusive, personally insulting, or slanderous will not be approved, responded to, or read.  You can disagree…but you don’t get to name-call.  I’m going to assume that at least most of us are adults and can deal with this though.  For those who are offended, I thank you for your tolerance, and I am deeply sorry if it comes across that I am not similarly displaying it.

————

Today is January 19.  Tomorrow, Barack Obama becomes the new President of this country.  At one point, I was so excited about that I almost forgot…  Tomorrow, George W. Bush leaves the White House.

 

I’ve made a concentrated effort to be kind in victory in the wake of Obama’s election.  I genuinely respect my Republican friends and I hope the times forthcoming are less difficult for them than the past eight years have been for us Dems.  However, no matter how much I may respect my friends and those who I believe are the MAJORITY in the Republican party, who mean well and have to do the best with the candidates they’re given…I will never respect George W. Bush.  The man has run this country into the ground both domestically and in the eyes of other nations.  I have never been so happy to know that someone was moving in my life.  I hope his sofa gets lost en-route.  I only hope Mr. Obama can do something to renew some of our street cred with the world.

 

To mark Bush’s departure, I wanted to provide everyone with a brief timeline of events that will perhaps go some way in explaining the outrage that 73% of the country has been displaying during Bush’s term.  This is a timeline, dating back to the year 2000, chronicling just a FEW of the things that have been done by the Bush administration that have been morally questionable in the eyes of many.  (Keep in mind that I am addressing the ENTIRE administration, and whereas some of these items were not direct actions performed by Bush, they would have at least met with his OK.)  I have done my best to remove any editorializing (save for a couple of light-hearted jokes I couldn’t resist) and just present solid facts.  Unfortunately, I fear that this is still going to come across fairly brutal.

 

Enjoy!

 

  • November 2000
    • Bush declared winner of election while it was still too close to call, resulting in mass confusion. The initial error is traceable to his brother Jeb’s political district.
  • December 2000
    • Bush officially declared winner, even though a majority of Americans did not vote for him. Whereas this was a fair win based upon the rules of the electoral college, the majority of American voters (the Popular Vote) did not elect George W. Bush. This has happened four other times in American history, last occurring in 1888 when Benjamin Harrison won. Harrison lost by less than 100,000 votes, comparable to Bush losing by more than 500,000 votes. (And before anyone chalks that up to population increase, the same situation in 1876 occurred when Hayes lost the popular vote by over 200,000…so numbers — as we all knew already — aren’t everything.)
  • March 2001
    • Bush denies new standards for arsenic in drinking water. This would lower the EPA’s final arsenic standard to a level equivalent to an outdated standard established in 1942. As a result, some areas of America continue to enjoy water with 90 parts per billion of arsenic, rather than the EPA recommended 10 (or less) ppb.
  • May 2001
    • Administration plans to privatize many FEMA functions, thereby weakening their response capabilities. At this time, the FEMA director stated that there was a strong possibility for a “catastrophic disaster” to America should a hurricane hit New Orleans.
  • August 2001
    • Bush takes a month-long vacation. During this time he receives an Intel briefing titled “Osama bin Laden determined to strike in US.” Upon receipt of this briefing, the President lept into action by continuing his vacation.
  • September 2001
    • In the wake of 9/11, during clean-up and rescue efforts, the White House pressured EPA officials to downplay the risks of breathing the air at ground zero.
    • Days after 9/11, Bush delivered the statement that: “This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while.” Thereby using the term “crusade” (a religious term to the nations soon to be bombed), and also — for the first time in American history — officially declaring war on an abstract concept rather than a nation or alliance.
  • December 2001
    • John Ashcroft states that critics of the Bush Administration “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”
    • The Bush Administration, having identified Osama bin Laden as the man behind 9/11 and noting that he is suspected (if not confirmed) to live in Afghanistan, begins planning to declare war on Iraq.
  • January 2002
    • Gitmo opens. Bush declares to the world that the “Geneva Conventions don’t apply there,” thereby sanctioning the United States of America’s armed forces and government officials to employ torture techniques on anyone detained, regardless of justifiable proof of guilt.
  • March 2002
    • The White House asks the NSA to begin placing wiretaps with no warrant required.
    • Bush states in a press conference that he is “not that concerned” about finding Osama bin Laden, who in 2009 has still not been brought to justice for his planning of 9/11.
  • August 2002
    • Justice Dept. lawyers draft the now infamous “torture memo.”
  • November 2002
    • GOP jams Democratic phones in New Hampshire election; White House is tied to one of the jammers.
    • Bush aggressively opposes and tries to thwart the creation of the 9/11 Commission. Upon failing to do so, he names Henry Kissinger to head it. Kissinger’s relationship with the Commission lasts less than two weeks.
  • January 2003
    • In response to errors in the State of the Union Address (in which the President claimed, among other things, that Iraq had bought arms from Niger, and in which the foundation of the Iraq War was laid) the official line delivered by White House officials is that the President “is not a fact-checker.”
  • February 2003
    • Colin Powell presents Iraq intel to the UN which was shortly thereafter noted to be at best misinformed, or at worst falsified.
  • March 2003
    • The US invades Iraq, dropping the first “Bunker Buster” bomb at Bush’s direct order before the designated time that the entire world was informed the war would begin (that is a war crime, by the way).
    • Bush clearly states at multiple times that the effectiveness of the war will come down to the “single question” of WMDs. Update as of 2009: Though discarded materials were found that were buried sometime in the 1980s, there have as yet been no Weapons of Mass Destruction found in Iraq and all appearances indicate that the country was disarming as they had been claiming (which was the primary reason given for going to war).
    • FEMA is downgraded and made a small part of the Department of Homeland Security.
    • Halliburton wins a now infamous $7 billion, 5-year, no-bid contract in Iraq.
  • April 2003
    • In response to looting by American troops in Baghdad, Donald Rumsfeld concisely states, “Stuff happens.”
  • May 2003
    • “Mission Accomplished” is declared. (2009 Update: Over 4000 American troops have died. Control of Iraq has yet to be handed over to its native leadership. Troops have not been removed. Bush himself concedes that use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” was a “mistake.”)
  • June 2003
    • Bush becomes first President to visit Auschwitz concentration camp while in office. Emotionally overcome by what he sees, Mr. Bush declares, “We just should have bombed it.” Of course, he was referring to the train track leading to the facility…but funny nonetheless.
  • March 2004
    • At the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner, Bush mocks his administration’s inability to find Saddam’s apparently nonexistent WMDs, stating, “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.”
  • April 2004
    • Infamous Abu Ghraib photos are leaked. Bush says he’ll “make sure this doesn’t happen again.” (Keep in mind, this follows his previous authorization of torture practices at Gitmo in January 2002.)
    • Professional American football player turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman is killed in Iraq by friendly fire. Administration initially spins the story to indicate he was killed by insurgents.
  • June 2004
    • Dick Chaney marks his second anniversary of claiming links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. He does so by claiming to the media that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda are linked.
  • September 2004
    • In an example of the effectiveness of the “War of Terror,” the Justice Department admits its 2003 prosecution of a “terror cell” in Detroit was filled with “mistakes and oversights.” They proceeded to ask for the convictions to be overturned.
  • December 2004
    • Bernard Kerik (Google it) named to head Department of Homeland Security.
  • March 2005
    • Despite previous precedent with the bin Laden Memo, Bush cut his vacation short to campaign to keep Terri Schiavo alive. Schiavo was later declared brain dead after an autopsy, as she probably had been for many years. Schiavo’s case took place within Jeb Bush’s jurisdiction.
  • August 2005
    • Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans. As the storm approaches, FEMA staff is told to stand down by government mandate (remember, they are now part of the Department of Homeland Security). Wal-Mart delivers relief supplies in FEMA’s absence.
    • FEMA chief Michael Brown (of whom Bush states, “Brownie’s doing a great job down there.”) e-mails colleagues about how he looks on TV stating, “I am a fashion god.” He resigns 2 weeks later.
    • We won’t even talk about the rapes, robberies, murders, looting, and “Superdome” incident…or about the fact that Bush’s mom indicated that those left in New Orleans at that time were getting what they deserved. 2009 Update: Many parts of New Orleans have never been repaired, a severe lack of federal funding/assistance has been given, and much of the population did not return. Whereas when tornadoes hit the St. Louis area and knocked out the power for less than a week in 2007, federal aid was sent, the town was declared a disaster area, and the National Guard was mobilized.
  • September 2005
    • Bush says, “No one thought the levees in New Orleans would break.” A video later shows he was warned about it well in advance.
  • October 2005
    • OSHA finds high levels of formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. More than 100,000 storm victims are housed in them anyway.
  • January 2006
    • Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to corruption. Upon being asked for his thoughts on the matter Bush replies, “I don’t know him.” Abramoff is informed of Bush’s comment and responds, “Perhaps he has forgotten everything.”
  • February 2006
    • Dick Cheney shoots a man in the face. The victim later apologizes.
  • April 2006
    • Six retired generals ask for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation. Bush replies: “I’m the decider.”
  • November 2006
    • Bush declares before midterm elections that Rumsfeld “isn’t going anywhere.” One day after the vote, Rumsfeld is issued his walking papers.
  • December 2006
    • Seven US attorneys are asked to resign for not being, in the words of a top Justice official, “loyal Bushies.”
  • February 2007
    • Washington Post finds roaches, mouse feces, neglect, and angry wounded vets at Walter Reed (probably the nation’s most famous and highly regarded veteran’s hospital). This follows the administration’s 2005 declaration that Walter Reed will close in 2010.
  • March 2007
    • Cheney aide “Scooter” Libby is convicted of lying; Bush commutes his sentence.
  • May 2007
    • “Terrorist Watch List” now has 755,000 names. (In 2008 it surpassed ONE MILLION names.)
    • James W. Holsinger Jr. is noted in the press for saying he thinks gay people can be “cured.” He is nominated by Bush for the office of Surgeon General. He is never confirmed.
  • June 2007
    • Cheney claims he is “not part of the executive branch.”
  • August 2007
    • Red Cross declares that the CIA’s secret prisons use methods “tantamount to torture,” thereby violating international law. This forces AG Gonzales to step down. He had previously testified before Congrss about misdeeds under his watch in April, using the phrase “I don’t recall” a hefty 64 times.
  • January 2008
    • Bush issues “Economic Stimulus Checks” in a time of recession and encourages America to “have confidence in the economy.”
  • February 2008
    • The New York Times uncovers a buried Army report blaming the White House and Pentagon for the declining state of Iraq.
  • March 2008
    • Bush tells GIs in Afghanistan he’s “a little envious” of them. He later delivers a speech hailing Iraq effort as a “victory.”
  • April 2008
    • “War on Terror” Update — The GAO finds the US has no plan to defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
  • May 2008
    • Bush says to honor the troops, he hasn’t golfed since August ’03. (He was photographed golfing in October ’03, incidentally).
  • July 2008
    • While leaving the G8 Conference, Bush reportedly punches the air verbally declaring, “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”
  • August 2008
    • Bush vacations to his Crawford estate. This puts him past his 950th day away from the office and his 499th day on vacation. He officially becomes the most frequently vacationing President, easily surpassing Ronald Reagan’s vacation record of 436 days.
  • September 2008
    • Officially acknowledging the recession, and in contrast to his January issuing of “Stimulus Checks,” Bush declares that the US is set to take “unprecedented measures” to tackle the financial crisis. Refers to the bailout of financial markets as “vital to easing crisis.”
  • December 2008
    • Bush has shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist who is fed up with the American presence in Iraq. Mark that…a JOURNALIST, not an insurgent.
  • January 2009
    • In an unprecedented move, Bush declares that incoming President Elect Barack Obama will be denied use of the Blair House, an official White House residence. The Obama family arranges to stay in a hotel until allowed access to the White House. Obama had hoped to use the Blair House to facilitate his children’s commute, as they begin school before his inauguration. Bush, who once stated that he desired to be known as the “Education President,” declared the Blair House off limits because it was being used for “receptions and gatherings” of OUTGOING Bush officials. (The Blair House was later opened to the Obama family during the Inaugural week.)
    • Bush gives his final address to the media, in which he defends his administration, saying “…I thank you for giving me a chance to defend a record that I am going to continue to defend because I think it is a good, strong record.” Bush leaves office with an approval rating of 27 percent – the lowest since Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. When asked to describe any mistakes he may have made, he names the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal as a “huge disappointment,” the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as a “significant disappointment,” and he said that his decision to display a “Mission Accomplished” banner on a US aircraft carrier in May 2003, after the early stages of the Iraq war, was a mistake. (Incidentally, the White House party line during this time period was “We did not place the banner there. We didn’t know it would be there.”)

 

Bush closed his final press conference by saying to the media, “Sometimes you misunderestimated me.”

 

You know sir…for the first time in eight years I think I agree with you.

————

George W. Bush Picture of the Day (Obama’s term begins in ONE day):

Perhaps the biggest joke of them all…

bush-mission

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2 thoughts on “The End of an Error”

  1. i’m not a republican – and i did vote for Obama (in fact, if i’d been motivated enough to find a way to vote multiple times, i would have)
    but i have been giving Bush endless chances to win my respect over the past 8 years. everytime he screwed up or mis-spoke (AGAIN!), i would forget it and wait for that one redeeming moment of his presidency.
    i remember almost everything in your timeline – and i am surprised that you spoke w/out bias; just stating the facts of his administration.
    yeah, all hope of respect in Bush is now gone. but also, now, i don’t feel bad for disrespecting an ex-president.
    thanks for pulling all this together. it was informative (esp. for my sister, who was out of the country during the whole “dick cheney shot someone in the face” thing. she was reading this and was like “wtf?” yeah. hilarious)
    happy inauguration day.

  2. Thanks for the comment. (And I laughed at the idea of you having to explain Cheney shooting a guy in the face.)

    The only way I could write about it all without getting enormously pissed off was to write it all as neutrally as possible. Just state it and move on…then I looked back over it and I was kind of shocked at how much there was and how numb to the anger we’ve all become — me included. It’s just been such a weird, confusing 8 years.

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