Good-bye, President Bush . . . and thank you.
The Washington Post's David Ignatius interviewed retiring US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, who succinctly sums up the defining event of President Bush's presidency: the 'surge' in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Though I can criticize much else, that one leadership decision by President Bush, in my eyes, redeems his legacy.
I previously discussed Bush's '3 am call' on the counter-insurgency 'surge' in Iraq here.
From "A Farewell Warning On Iraq" by David Ignatius:
The key to success in Iraq, insists Crocker, was the psychological impact of Bush's decision to add troops. "In the teeth of ferociously negative popular opinion, in the face of a lot of well-reasoned advice to the contrary, he said he was going forward, not backward."Ambassador Crocker's other key point - that President Obama's decisions on Iraq must be made with the understanding that current events are part of a long arc extending into the past and our next actions will shape the future - is worthwhile, too.
Bush's decision rocked America's adversaries, says Crocker: "The lesson they had learned from Lebanon was, 'Stick it to the Americans, make them feel the pain, and they won't have the stomach to stick it out.' That assumption was challenged by the surge."