Yesterday, Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
As for Bush’s legacy, it will be left to future historians to weigh his responsibility for keeping us safe from another 9/11-like attack for seven years, the now increasingly likely victory in Iraq, AIDS relief abroad, new expansions for Medicare, and federal support for schools versus the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, the error-plagued 2004-2007 occupation of Iraq, and out-of-control federal spending. As in the case of the once-unpopular Ulysses S. Grant, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman, Bush’s supposedly “worst” presidency could one day not look so bad in comparison with the various administrations that followed.
And what about the years 2004-2007 in Iraq? Here’s Hanson’s “Sizing Up Iraq” from December 2004:
First, is the United States winning its engagements on the ground? The answer is an overwhelming yes—whether we look, most recently, at Samarra or at the thrashing of the Mahdists in Najaf. The combination of armor incursions, constant sniper attack, and GPS bombing in each case has led to decisive tactical defeat of the insurgents. Our only setback—the unfortunate pullback from Fallujah—was entirely attributable to our wrongheaded constraint, as if we somehow felt that releasing the terrorists from our death grip would either placate the opposition, empower the Iraqi government, or win accolades from the international community.
And in his 2006 “Winning the Iraq Wars” he not only claimed we weren’t making mistakes, but that no alternative strategy was possible at all:
Note also that after the hysteria over body armor and unarmored humvees, the Democratic opposition offers no real concrete alternatives to the present policy .
Why not? Because there are none.