January 17, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Bush's greatest failing

As the final days of the Bush II presidency wind down, pundits are getting in their last licks at the beleaguered chief executive. In today's Washington Post, columnist David Broder took note of Bush's humble, reflective state of mind as his term ends, but bemoans what he considers to be:

the greatest moral failing of the Bush presidency -- his refusal to ask any sacrifice from most of the American people when he put the nation on a wartime footing after the Sept. 11 attacks.

I made that same point on several occasions, such as January 2007. Bush seemed totally unaware of the vital moral dimension of the war against Islamic extremism, seeming to think that we could defeat them by using high-tech weapons, without mobilizing the American public. I have made no secret of my strong disagreement with Bush on a number of issues, but I also give him credit where it is due. One thing is almost certain: History will judge George W. Bush more favorably than one might suspect based on current public opinion polls. The same was true of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Gerald Ford.