Friday, January 02, 2009

Bush's final whimpers (#5 of 2008)

The Bush administration gave a coup de grace to 2008 in responding to the punitive Israeli attack on Gaza. When asked if they had been told of the attack in advance, a spokesman noted that a few days earlier the Israeli cabinet had flagged publicly that it could not tolerate the rockets from Gaza.

To date, neither Bush nor Rice have said anything about the assault on Gaza. One of Bush's signal goals of this term - peace for Israel and Palestine - has been quietly put out with the garbage.

Meanwhile, Laura Bush is making her own attempts at expiative rewrites of history. The Iraqi journalist who threw the shoe at Bush? It proves there is freedom in Iraq (never mind that he had his bones broken on arrest, and was tortured in jail). The "9/11" attacks: well, they didn't happen again under Bush's watch (never mind that they happened the first time, with clear warnings).

Bush doubled the US budget deficit in his tenure; the cost to the US of the Iraq occupation has been estimated at $3 to 5 trillion. That goverment spending deficit has been attributed almost entirely to security costs and tax cuts - see discussion here).

Bush's fondness for abstinence pledges over sex education and contraceptives has been a truly dismal failure. A study published in the journal Pediatrics (reported here) shows that those who took "the pledge" are equally likely to experience sex before marriage - but their use of condoms and other contraception is noticeably lower. The implication is that, in the US at least, this policy has simply resulted in more disease and unwanted pregnancy.

Spending any more time or energy on this is unwarranted. Frank Rich of the New York Times addresses this subject far more eloquently and rigorously than me (read in particular about Bush's own, risible, 'mission accomplished' publicity, which inter alia touts foreign disaster aid, while ignoring the Katrina fiasco in their own backyard).

2008 is simply the year that saw out a particularly bad and deeply unpopular president.

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