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Low, but still out of reach
Following the election in 2008, Republicans felt they were “blindsided” and maybe complacent in their efforts to keep the White House. But not to worry. Come 2012, after years of economic hardship, coupled with major attempts to make President Barack Obama look bad, the GOP was confident it would recapture its rightful place.
With four years to make the case, plus learning from previous errors, the inevitable return of a Republican president would come to pass.
It should have been in the bag. The confluence of local, national and global events from the end of George Bush’s second term and throughout Obama’s first left the president teed up and ready to be swatted into the high grass, maybe never to emerge. The aberration that was Obama soon would be forgotten.
Only it didn’t happen. Republicans blew an extraordinary opportunity. That’s not only embarrassing, it’s humiliating.
It started during the early part of 2012 when the circus called the Republican presidential primaries paraded across our screens for way too many weeks. The GOP assembled a clown college of aspirants who leveraged 15 minutes of fame into one embarrassing bow out after another. For example, Michelle Bachman flashed in the pan, Herman Cain’s 999 added up to zero, Rick Perry lost his memory and Newt Gingrich fluttered along under the wing of a casino magnate. There were others but you get the picture.
If this was the best and brightest the Republicans had to offer, should they not be mortified looking back on it?
Eventually, the pretenders gave way to the contender, the photogenic, connected, sure-fire Mitt Romney. How could this guy lose? Championing a health care plan from Massachusetts then claiming a similar plan for the U.S. was a terrible idea? Asserting that 47 percent of voters were moochers? Advocating that millions of people should deport themselves?
Whatever the reason, Romney and the Republicans lost decisively. The 2012 presidency was low hanging fruit; ripe and ready to be plucked. But they couldn’t gather the crop. How embarrassing is that?
Invasion was right thing to do
I share a recent writer’s expectations about having someone with both enlisted and combat “grunt” experience serve as secretary of Defense, but also know enough about leadership in stressful situations and Middle East combat history to take issue with remarks about former President George W. Bush.
I’ve attended numerous military leadership schools, had various leadership positions during my 22-year military career and have just graduated from a law enforcement leadership course titled “Leadership is a Behavior.”
Leaders are responsible for obtaining the most current, relevant information available before making decisions instead of merely speculating.
Because of my experiences as a cavalry scout leader and a senior intelligence sergeant, I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of that arena.
Bush didn’t trust the findings of the United Nations weapons of mass destruction site inspectors. Iraqi army guards at those sites were uncooperative and hostile enough to run inspectors off. This disrupted the inspection operation and caused months of delay likely resulting in continued hiding of weapons.
Saddam Hussein’s rhetoric presented reasonable suspicion that he had WMDs and there was a vast desert wasteland in which to hide them.
It was apparent Saddam Hussein’s influence had to be eliminated to attain an accurate status of WMDs in Iraq.
No action by Bush would have satisfied any liberal. If Bush hadn’t invaded Iraq and a WMD from that region had been used against this country, he still would have been attacked by the liberal left. It was what it was.
After the Operation Desert Storm cease fire and the liberation of Kuwait, we had neither captured nor killed Saddam Hussein. I knew we’d have to go back someday because there was no credible authority for a definitive cease fire treaty.
Brutal military drawdowns after 1993 by Bill Clinton, Dick Gephardt and others cost our armed forces deterrent value and likely encouraged Saddam Hussein to emerge from hiding and become unfinished business until his execution in 2006.
George W. Bush and our troops did just fine considering the game they inherited and the hand they were dealt.
Harry M. Braxton Jr.