A reader has an insight:
Looking at the comment by Rich Lowry you highlighted today ("for all his swagger and protectiveness of executive prerogatives — is becoming a disturbing study in lassitude in the executive branch"), it occurred to me that you can read it two ways. One is that Bush, as has often been noted even by allies, is rather intellectually lazy, incurious and generally detached from things that call for close attention or expertise (such as the Presidency, fighting wars, etc.). That's not the Lowry we all know and love. The other - and the point I think Lowry tries subtly to make - is that Bush didn't exert enough power in the execution of the war. He should have listened more to Cheney. We needed more executive privilege, more top-secret decisions, more "commander-in-chief" type leadership, whereas Bush preferred the comfortable position of simply being another branch of a democratic government. There's also a clear dig at the generals there - if Bush had just kicked their asses a bit more, they might have gotten something done.
What we needed was more troops, more allies and an actual post-invasion plan (which Rumsfeld vetoed). Even then, it would have been tough. What we didn't need was more bombs, more torture, more executive secrecy and more unilateralism. But the terrible lack of that list of horribles seems to be an emerging theme on the denialist right. My reader continues:
I predict that we will start seeing a new meme emerge from the Right (and linked to approvingly by Reynolds): Bush just wasn't tough enough: he countenanced treasonous dissent in the press and in Congress; he was too cautious, too afraid of ticking off the ACLU and all those bleeding heart Europeans; he was too soft on the generals and failed to expand the war to Syria and Iran when he had the chance. That, combined with "the Iraqis were a bunch of incompetent ingrates" will comprise the Right's assessment of this war over the next two years.
We'll see, won't we? But given the dreadful record of much of the conservative intelligentsia these past few years, I wouldn't be surprised.
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