Talk:George W. Bush

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 Definition (1946–) 43rd U.S. President (Republican), elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004. [d] [e]

Editor plan and guidelines

  • A general principle of all articles about political figures: it should be impossible to determine whether the authors are supporters or opponents of the subject of the article. Citizendium is neither Democrat nor Republican.


This needs much improvement.

For starters, it should at least be stated that Bush lost the popular vote in his first election, though he won the the Electoral College.

The statement "reelected by 3 million majority over John Kerry in 2004" is misleading; the figure should include popular and electoral vote, and express the popular vote not only as a number, but as a percentage of votes cast (3 million makes the result sound less close than it was).

Russell Potter 15:50, 28 April 2007 (CDT)

I just fixed it. :-)
Looks much better! I do think it may be tricky to have the best overall information on a person who is still living and still serving as president -- that real estate boom may soon be (or may already be) a bust! -- but it's certainly worth trying. It will give us all a course of isometrics in the school of — (The Constabulary has removed an initialism here. Please use plain English instead, for example, "unbiased" or "neutral" ) —. Russell Potter 18:45, 28 April 2007 (CDT)
I agree, the real estate thing and a lot of other "markers" were added by Richard. Also I don't know why the Plame intelligence leakage Affair and NSA wiretapping scandal were erased, are they not important enough? Yi Zhe Wu 19:55, 28 April 2007 (CDT)
The Plame scandal was not important enough. (The prospect it would bring down Rove would make it impoirtant but that did NOT happen.) NSA wiretapping issue was minor affair likewise. The real estate boom affected tens of millions of people (and seems to have ended now, but was a major factor in the economy for years). What we have in the article is just a list of markers ("events" is not quite the word), with only a couple words on each. A real article on the Bush years will have a paragraph+ on each item. Richard Jensen 00:05, 29 April 2007 (CDT)

Someone needs to invoke the neutrality principle for this article.

Neutrality? that's unlikely given the high octane topic. There are no neutrals out there that we can cater to, in my opinion. The best we can do is list all the main issues right now. We have even STARTED to write the article. Richard Jensen 10:35, 29 April 2007 (CDT)
What do ya mean by high octane? Is this an metaphorical expression? But I do agree that writing an article on the current president will get into a lot of neutrality issues, and it's very very hard to write about him neutrally. Anyways, we only need to wait till 2009 when he steps down any indeterminate issue about him will be resolved. Yi Zhe Wu 11:24, 29 April 2007 (CDT)
"high octane" is an old-fashioned expression for an explosive issue that burns red hot. The article should avoid explicit partisanship --that is very hard for any one editor to do, but it might work out ok collectively. Richard Jensen 11:44, 29 April 2007 (CDT)
A good example of explicit partisanship is the use of the political rhetoric "scandal" with the Attorney General's firings. US attorneys serve at the will of the president; other presidents have dismissed them for a variety of stated reasons, but most are partisan, whether stated or not. The terms here should be neutral to keep from taking sides in a political controversy. David L Green 22:16, 5 May 2007 (CDT)
It's not a partisan issue. It's the Republicans in Senate (11 of 12 on Judiciary) who've attaCKED Bush and most called for Gonzales to resign. Richard Jensen 13:08, 6 May 2007 (CDT).


, winning 51% of the votes and a 3 million majority

U.S. presidents are not elected by popular sovereignty. Rather, the votes in each state are counted. Whoever "wins that state" gets all its electoral votes.

It is only a matter of historical curiousity, not constitutional significance, when a candidate gets a majority of electoral votes while an opponents gets a plurality of popular votes.

Agitation to change the Electoral college sometimes crops up, typically from partisons for the losing candidate. Perhaps we need an an article on election reform or Electoral college reform. --Ed Poor 11:22, 10 May 2007 (CDT)

I disagree -- it is not merely a matter of historical curiosity who gets how many votes in the popular election. Obviously, with the Electoral College system with each state's slate of electors, the popular vote is rarely reflected by the Electoral College vote, although there have been a few instances where the winner of the popular vote won in the EC. Stating the facts in the matter (popular vote, electoral vote) seems the best, most neutral way to reflect this. Russell Potter 11:27, 10 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree with Ed. It sounds like sour grapes. For example, would one say, "In a strike shortened season, including three wins by non-union scab players, the Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl." I think a better alternative would be to say, "The Washington Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos to win the Superbowl." And at some appropriate point mention the oddity of the strike-shortened season.
Of course, if you think this detail about the popular vote is fair / important, why doesn't the Bill Clinton article mention that Clinton did not come close to winning a majority of the popular vote in either of his Presidential races? Will Nesbitt 07:46, 21 July 2007 (CDT)

Bin Laden and 9/11

I have moved the article away from saying that UBL actually directed the attacks to what I believe is strictly accurate: that he has claimed responsibility for them. If this is wrong, revert. I have also mentioned the repercussions of the Iraq war. John Stephenson 02:47, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

Photo to illustrate (foreign) opposition

George W. Bush's presidency has often sparked controversy. This protest took place in Vienna, Austria, in 2006.

The photo to the right can perhaps go on a section about opposition to George W. Bush and his administration. Or not. It's there if anyone wants it in the article. John Stephenson 03:02, 15 May 2007 (CDT)

American Presidents have been protested across the world in a good many places. I would oppose this picture because it would take more than a thousand words to put this into context and proper perspective. Similarly, I think it would be silly to show Bush being mobbed like a rock star by crying overjoyed supporters in Armenia. Will Nesbitt 07:38, 21 July 2007 (CDT)
I think it could find a place somewhere, though the article is yet to develop sufficiently for it to be included. (And to agree with Will for once... you're right, 'state' is better than 'claim'.) John Stephenson 08:46, 22 July 2007 (CDT)
John, perhaps it does have a place in the article. The question which remains unanswered is why is this important but the pictures of swooning masses in Eastern Europe and Armenia mobbing Bush with joy and love are not in the article. I don't think either one is newsworthy. This is because every public figure has supporters and every public figure has detractors. More importantly a picture of one faction or another gives and impression which may or may not represent reality.
As a resident of the Washington DC area, I can tell you that I can't remember a day when there wasn't a protest at the Whitehouse. Sometimes there are more than one protests at the same time. Sometimes there are rallies. When you see them in person the protest looks impossibly small like 20 people (10 of whom are 100% pure nutflake). Then you go home and watch the exact same protest on the evening news and the camera angle gives a totally different impression. You can't see the people playing frisbee nearby, the homeless man who is there ever day and the taxi picking up a fare. Once ever 5 to ten years you see something like the Million Man March (about 100,000) or a massive anti-abortion protest (bussed in church groups) or the Hispanic rally before the immigration debates. When you see the shot from a helicopter, it's a newsworthy protest. When you can see the people's faces and read their signs, it's probably a half-dozen kooks. That doesn't mean that many people don't agree with the kooks. It just means, the protest isn't that big a deal. Anyway, thanks for the (albeit grudging) admission above. ;^) Will Nesbitt 09:11, 22 July 2007 (CDT)

Analysis & Justification of a Deletion

I think a good many conservatives are disappointed with the Bush presidency because Bush is a "compassionate conservative", i.e. a liberal, when it comes to government spending. There is a good deal of analysis that indicates that Republican spending had as much to do with Republican losses in the House & Senate, as Iraq. This analysis might not be correct, but it's out there. Therefore, since the experts can't agree on why Democrat gains in the House and Senate were made, I think we should be careful to avoid conclusions. It might be best to just stay out of the analysis game altogether (because that's where the arguments lurk) and stick with the facts. Will Nesbitt 07:38, 21 July 2007 (CDT)

I tried to edit this sentence:

Many talk radio hosts who had been staunch Bush supporters turned against him, denounced it as "amnesty," and mobilized Republican opinion against the measure.

But I couldn't find a way to both report a good many facts relevant to this sentence without ballooning the verbiage and thereby implying that the topic is more important than other subjects covered in a single sentence. Without any prosaic artistry here are some facts which I think are relevant to this sentence, but are not mentioned:

  • Many talk show hosts are conservatives
  • Many conservatives supported the President and the Republican party, but many conservatives are now unhappy with the party because of explosive government spending, lax immigration enforcement, mishandled war efforts
  • Every political talk radio program attempts to mobilize opinion about something.
  • Talk radio struck a chord with listeners with this particular topic. Many people from diverse political affiliations opposed the proposed legislation
  • Many Americans thought of the proposed reforms as "amnesty"

In the end, this issue could be / will be an article in and of itself. On this page it seems to make more sense to avoid political characterizations and stick to the most easily reported facts. Will Nesbitt 07:38, 21 July 2007 (CDT)

One edit away from quitting

An important part of this project is working with others. I would like to collaboratively edit but I am not willing to devote my life to hammering against a brick wall. Will Nesbitt 06:30, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Just to drop my 2 cents. It seems the most recent edit war has been in regards to the following statement in the introduction "However, due to the prolonged conflict in Iraq, numerous alleged scandals in the administration and an explosion of government growth and spending, he lost public support and in 2006 the Democratic Party won a majority in both houses of the Congress." I'd have to agree with it's complete removal, atleast from that location, because it seems out of place. If people still feel the need to add the information elsewhere, it should be easy enough to back some of these statements up with public opinion polls and the like.
Also, I would just like to say to Will, that I don't think you are ever going to find a utopian editing experiece when it comes to controversial articles. Problems may not get solved immediately, but you picking up your ball and going home isn't going to solve the problem either. :) --Todd Coles 10:07, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Will, how about focusing a while on much less controversial topics? Just a suggestion.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 12:04, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

I appreciate the kind words and suggestions from both of you. I don't expect anyone to agree with me, but I do expect either collaboration or a free reign. I've posted my reasons for taking a break on my user page. Will Nesbitt 12:35, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

I think that this article seems to lack some "warmth" for its subject, perhaps because it lacks any personal biographical details, such as about Bush's childhood and family. It also doesn't really explain why so many voted for Bush, or what qualities he had that made the Republican's choose him.Gareth Leng 16:52, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Gareth, political analysts who both like and dislike Bush describe him as having a very high emotional and intuitive intelligence, which isn't really reflected — nor that he tended not to go through decision alternatives as did many other presidents. It's also needful, I think, to establish the roles of Cheney, Rice, and Rove.
As Will said, public opinion polls, from reputable organizations, are more informative — yet I don't see any. I'm afraid it still gives the sense of a President who might well have been reelected had it not been for silly term limits. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:59, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Two Small Changes

Now that the man is no longer in office and the controversies (at least on this page) are dying down somewhat, perhaps we might do some editorial revising of this entry? I'm going to risk two small changes to the second sentence: First, U.S. Presidents don't inaugurate; it isn't a transitive verb. They are inaugurated, that is installed in office, by others - specifically the swearing in at a public ceremony by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme court. And, U.S. Presidents aren't just inaugurated in January. The date set by law is January 20.

Roger Lohmann 12:21, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

And Three More?

Now, how about another correction? GWB didn't "defeat Al Gore in a controversial election" as the article currently states. The very absence of detail here is prejudicial: All U.S. presidential elections are controversial; that's what makes them interesting. Although the larger meaning is still debated, the facts in this case seem to be missing here are that (1) GWB lost the popular vote, (2) won the electoral college vote (itself not all that unusual a circumstance; it happened before), was subjected to a law suit disputing votes in Florida (the famous "hanging chads" case) and (3) the matter was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that was itself quite controversial. For purposes of accuracy, the CZ article should allude to these three points, which it is presently silent on. But before adding these changes, I would like to give those who disagree a chance to respond here.


I'm hoping the strictly wording changes I've made in the third sentence will raise no controversy at all.

Are We Booming Yet?

In hindsight, the phrase " the boom (and later correction) in real estate" expresses a highly partisan view of the recession that began in 2007. Some restatement is needed, don't you agree?
Roger Lohmann 12:33, 13 June 2009 (UTC)


I just reorganized the material somewhat (I changed nothing in the text) to make the article more logical. Hope this helps. Michel van der Hoek 23:52, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Iraq War

I've removed the statement

As a result, Iraq has become less acute a topic in US political discourse and some credit Bush with winning a very high-stakes military gamble.

at least without very strong sourcing. Indeed, I've added some sources indicating that there was widespread electoral concern that Bush shouldn't have been in the casino at all. Unquestionably, there are ideologues, discussed in Iraq War and subarticles, who believe it was a wise decision, but the electorate doesn't seem to agree. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:25, 1 August 2009 (UTC)


Howard, I see that you removed part of a sentence about the pardoning of Scooter Libby. I really think that without that qualification the sentence would sound like conservatives are merely whining about Libby's verdict. They may well have, but that's not the point in this article on CZ. The whole argument put forward by Republicans why Libby ought to have been pardoned rather than simply have his sentence commuted, apart from the legal implications (commutation would keep him a convicted felon and lose him his lawyer's license), is that they did not believe any crime occurred, so Libby could not have committed perjury. Whether you agree with this reasoning or not, at least adding these few words puts the thing in context. Since the sentence is presented as an argument from conservatives, readers can be left the freedom to interpret this fact on their own. We're suddenly adding so many details in this article now, can't we add this handful of words too? Michel van der Hoek 20:42, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Adding so much detail? His education, military service, work in the private sector, and service as governor? One of many examples that Carmona was not the only individual complaining about his interference with science? Actually, I think I'm adding sourcing for what reads as an apologia for Bush. There have been a number of statements about the war and other matters that were flatly opinionated and wrong. I suggest you look at the Iraq War articles in much more detail.
You reverted "because of the absence of an underlying crime." It's not that simple, and there were multiple charges against Libby, which did not include violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Since the sentence is presented as an argument from conservatives"--how about naming them?
The Libby details belong in its own article (or with the Plame matter), not in the George Bush article. The material here is greatly oversimplified, and it is not specific to George Bush. The fact is that George Bush chose not to pardon him. That is what is appropriate in a George Bush article, not what "conservatives" (a term that is used very broadly here) think about it. A President doesn't have to give any reason for a pardon, commutation, or other action that is solely discretionary for him. It's not a Republican or conservative decision, it's a Presidential decision. Perhaps Bush, a genuinely intuitive man, believed, in his heart of hearts, that Libby indeed should lose his lawyer's licence for quite separate reasons. Those "few words" do not put anything in context in my opinion, but, indeed, come across as some partisans — I won't say "conservatives" or Republicans, since some recognized conservatives and Republicans despise Bush (or what he's done to the Party) — are whining about a very ...interesting... legal interpretation, which was not supported by the courts. There is some very interesting sourced material about Rove vs. Frum opinion.
Howard C. Berkowitz 20:54, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I really don't mind all the stuff you're adding and I fully agree with you that we ought to balance completeness with overcrowding with facts that belong in other articles.
As for Libby, I do not quite understand why the words I put back in are such a big deal to you. I think they do put things in the political context of the day. The facts of the criminal case against Libby are that he was charged with several counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements--all of these charges stem from the impression of federal agents that he was lying about the Plame Affair. Several Republicans and conservatives have commented that Libby had no knowledge about the offense (because there was no offense: Armitage leaked Plame's ID, not the White House) and therefore could not have lied about it. So the whole prosecution was illogical and his conviction was based on statements he made that did not match other people's statements. I don't have any sources ready for this at the moment, but I am sure I can drag them up from my archive somewhere--please be patient, I have a day job too, and I work on all sorts of stuff at the same time. Of course, CZ can make a whole new article about the Plame Affair and be more detailed there.
I am afraid your next-to-last sentence (previous comment) makes no sense to me (What do you mean?). Michel van der Hoek 21:38, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
In a George W. Bush article, the salient facts about Libby are that he was charged with offenses related to his duties in the Administration, and that Bush commuted his sentences. That's it. The Plame affair actually involved Cheney far more than Bush, which is one reason I think it's overemphasized here and should come out in near-entirety. Argue these points in that article, not here.
The best solution may be to remove the Libby material completely, or move it to a rough Plame article. I really don't want to argue it here because it's not especially relevant to Bush himself.
The argument that one cannot commit perjury about a non-crime is not supported in law. Perjury is the act of lying in a judicial process; the facts of the matter need nothing to do with criminal conduct.
Republicans and conservatives are not monolithic, so when ascribing positions to them, they need to be identified — not necessarily sourced, but at least named. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:56, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Politicizing court decision

in a fractured and highly controversial decision, seven justices on the Court (Rehnquist, Breyer, Kennedy, O’Connor, Scalia, Souter, and Thomas) ruled that the Florida recount could not continue because the state of Florida had failed to set equal standards across the state, granting Bush’s claim that this was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. More importantly, the five more conservative justices...

Fractured? What's broken? Many decisions are controversial, but, on the information, it can only be said it was a 7-2 vote. I see no reason to add, without sourcing and a reason to use such language, the emotionally laden terms "fractured and highly controversial."

Further, I'm very hesitant to refer to the "five more conservative judges". Supreme Court Justices certainly have tendencies, but I challenge to find any Justice that hasn't, at some time, voted quite at odds with a perceived philosophy.

There are places for labels. This isn't one of them. They seem inflammatory, from the perspective of outrage, rather than informative. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:07, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

The decision is fractured. Have you read it? There are varying alliances of justices on different subquestions the court dealt with. This is not uncommonly called a fractured decision or ruling. To call a ruling controversial is not emotional. Bush v. Gore is a controversial case for many reasons, as anyone who was around in 2000 or the eight years afterwards will remember (I can still hear people talking about the illegitimate president who was handed the presidency by a politicized court--the bumper stickers "Not My President" are also still around). I am not hesitant to use conservative and liberal for the justices. It is not inflammatory, just plain fact. Michel van der Hoek 23:53, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
The decision is the decision. An analysis of it, again, belongs in a separate article. I don't disagree that there are decisions that have subquestions. Look at, for example, Rasul v. Bush, and you'll see unemotional comparisons with Johnson v. Eisentrager and In re Yamashita. There's at least a pink link to Braden. Yamashita isn't in its own article yet, but is discussed in command responsibility.
This example draws from the document itself. In Kansas v. Crane, there are links to other opinions as well, plus expert testimony from the American Psychiatric Association.
So, if you want to talk about fracturing, discuss the substance. I've done that. It's entirely possible. If anything, I'm guilty of not supplementing decisions with additional law journal information. Alas, I haven't been able to justify keeping up my associate membership in the American Bar Association, but I still manage to use legal databases. I read lots of decisions, and, indeed, you'll find citations and text in a number I've written at CZ. You will find that I don't discuss the decisions at length in articles on a topic, such as extrajudicial detention, but link. I've been as unemotional as possible, using primary document quotes where available, in things as emotionally laden as decisions on the scope of interrogation techniques, and even the techniques themselves.
Shall I quote Talleyrand's advice to young diplomats, "Above all, no zeal?" Oh...I just did.
Want to talk about what you've heard about bumper stickers? Source it. Funny, but I can think of things I've heard that are even more relevant, but I didn't put them into an article -- such as the unforgettable noise of an aircraft smashing into the Pentagon 3.5 miles away from me, or the sad sound of the fighters that showed up a few minutes later.
Given that we have a to-be-improved article on American conservatism, and no article at all about American liberalism, I would be very, very hesitant to toss around those labels, for justices or others, wheh the labels are not defined.
Yes, I was around in 2000. I was around for quite a few decisions before that, and, here and there, around for the events...during Watergate, I opened the paper each day to see who I knew that was testifying, and wondering if any friends were about to be indicted. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:14, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Cheney and al-Qaeda

I do not think the recently added sentence about Cheney's supposed comments about Hussein and al-Qaeda is accurate. Cheney has not disavowed links between Hussein and al-Qaeda. The only thing he is disavowing in this recent interview is an operational link between Hussein and 9/11. But he has never claimed, as far as I know, that Hussein was linked to 9/11, except perhaps in the first few days when the administration discussed possible suspects. The closest that I am aware of that Cheney has come to the alleged operational link between 9/11 and Hussein is saying that in a post-9/11 world Hussein is more dangerous. The CNN article does say explicitly, several times, that Cheney still believes Hussein had ties to terrorists, including to Osama bin Laden. Michel van der Hoek 01:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Bush especially, and also Cheney and Wolfowitz, believed there were direct links between Hussein and 9/11. Please see Office of Special Plans and Iraq War#Assumed links between 9/11 and Iraq.
Perhaps, as far as you know, there have never been such claims. Nevertheless, there is abundant reporting, sourced in the articles I mention, that there was an enormous emphasis on finding a linkage between 9/11 and Saddam. I haven't linked all the references I've seen. Bluntly, I'm finding that you seem to be reflexively defending the Bush administration.
Of course Hussein had ties to terrorism. He rewarded suicide bombers against Israel. He gave sanctuary to terrorists, but there is little evidence he had any operational control, and, on occasion, arrested those that had offended him.
If Cheney is saying that Hussein had ties to bin Laden himself, Cheney fails to grasp the motivations and ideologies of the two of them. They were natural enemies. Hussein was an exemplar of the corrupt Arab government that al-Qaeda regarded as the "near enemy", to use their term of art. There is evidence that al-Zawahiri talked bin Laden into targeting the "far enemy", or US, as a provocation to accelerate disaffection in the Middle East. It is in the Middle East where bin Laden has spoken of starting to reestablish the Caliphate.
As a Military Workgroup Editor, I don't think there is any argument that the political leadership of the Bush Administration believed Saddam had an operational role in 9/11. There was significant pressure on the intelligence community to produce it. See Jami Miscik; that's only a small excerpt from Tenet. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:25, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Little of this is new to me and none of this is particularly convincing. Bluntly, I am defending the Bush administration because I get annoyed by the many people who can only see the Bush 43 years in the worst possible light. I do not think he was a great success as president, but I certainly do not think he was the worst. I do not think he is evil and I don't think he planned to ruin the US (or that he succeeded in doing so accidentally). I'll admit that some of my comments are put in the role of devil's advocate. Many critics don't know that they're talking about.
From what I have read (many times over) is that in the early days Rumsfeld and probably Cheney pushed hard to find the smoking gun for 9/11 somewhere in Iraq. That was never found, of course, but they acknowledged that (much too grudgingly). Nor did they ignore other suspects. Wolfowitz's calculation that Iraq should be invaded because it was easier, if it is an accurate representation, would show what an idiot he is. That Hussein and bin Laden were natural enemies and therefore did not have ties is nonsense. Sure they despised each other. I'm sure bin Laden considered Hussein an infidel. That apparently did not stop them from coordinating activities, certainly in the 1990s, because of limited shared goals and mutual enemies. This goes along with the "near" and "far enemy" comment you mentioned. As for Tenet, he is a walking contradiction. He has shown both wisdom and great folly. This means I do not despise him, but he has lost all credibility with me. Michel van der Hoek 03:18, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
This is a political workgroup article, but you are addressing points abundantly covered in more detailed Military Workgroup articles. If you were to make comments such as Hussein and bin Laden coordinated activities in the 1990s in such an article, I would rule it incorrect. If you were to say that they both collaborated with Hassan al-Turabi, I'd agree, but I can also carefully source that, as well as the reasons for their cooperation with him but not each other.
Do you see me defending Tenet's wisdom? I am, however, quoting him as a source, confirmed by others, that the White House pressured the Deputy Director of Intelligence, Miscik, of the CIA to produce specific intelligence of cooperation, on 9/11, between Saddam and al-Qaeda.
I have no idea what your point may be about "near enemy", because Saddam would be exactly the near enemy that bin Laden would have attacked. Saddam did shelter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but Zarqawi was explicitly separate from al-Qaeda at the time. It was only after the invasion that al-Zarqawi swore bayat to bin Laden and formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (or, in a more literal and poetic translation, "al Qaeda in the land of the two rivers.")
Wolfowitz and Feith have never impressed me. On the other hand, who was it that nominated them? It's hard for me to believe that a President does not have some responsibility for the quality of the #2 man in the Pentagon.
For all you say you have read, you aren't giving links or citations, as I am. "Many critics don't know that they're talking about." Yes, but I do. I think I've demonstrated that in literally dozens of articles. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:40, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Attorney firings - what is not being addressed

I'm perfectly willing to accept that no laws were broken in firing the attorneys. David Frum has expressed that Rove did great damage, to the long-term future of the Republican party, by concentrating on short-term improvements for elections, for pleasing the "base", and making the consequences of noncompliance clear. Yes, this did give tactical advantages. Yes, it was probably legal.

But when an attorney is fired in the midst of trials, it's disruptive. Frum and other Republicans raise the question if the Bush White House was more concerned with political payoffs and wins than it was with effective governance. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:23, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

You get no argument from me that the firings were at the very least suspicious, Howard. Everyone should feel free to fill in the gaps, though the bulk of the argument should go in a separate article, I think, or else this will get too long. Michel van der Hoek 01:59, 12 August 2009 (UTC)


It is entirely relevant to mention Obama with respect to Cerf; please put it back. The significance is that Cerf made an issue of the Administration's interference with science in 2004, and still was not acting acceptably in 2008. I do know Vint and have some background on his opinions; he's hardly a Democrat.

This only scratches the surface on administration interference with government science; do you really want to go there? Again, it's another indication of what Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, describes as an obsession with the base and political advantage than good governance. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:17, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Can't quite see where you're going with this. Do you want to develop this section? I've been staring at this paragraph for a while now and just couldn't live with the incomplete sentence and the lack of introduction to the topic anymore. I don't see why we have to drag Obama into a discussion about Vinton Cerf but, by all means, add some text and make it clear. I don't know anything about Mr. Cerf other than that he was awarded that medal in 2005. Michel van der Hoek 03:54, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I suppose I should do a biographical article, but, as much as anyone, Cerf is the technical father of the Internet. He introduced the idea of interconnecting networks, the catenet, and designed Transmission Control Protocol. It is a well-earned Dr. Cerf; his formal dress belies a very collegial manner.
The point about Obama is that Bush didn't improve Republican handling of science, in four years, well enough for a once-visible Republican scientist to consider a Republican follower of Bush. Carmona has similar comments about interference, both in suppressing things unpopular with the base and emphasizing faith-based credentials over scientific ones.
My point, which doesn't seem to be coming across both here and with the attorneys, is that by many sources, this administration put virtually everything on an effective spoils system, sacrificing competent governance in the process. Look at the assignments to the Coalition Provisional Authority, where Republican credentials were more important than knowledge of a subject. Lyndon Johnson may have misled as many people, but, other than in Vietnam, actually ran a government.
Howard C. Berkowitz 04:10, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

The Constabulary has removed a conversation here that either in whole or in part did not meet Citizendium's Professionalism policy. Feel free to remove this template and take up the conversation with a fresh start.

This article needs serious help.

This article is terrible. (To the constabulary - this is being polite and professional.) It's a series of disjoint factoids about the Bush presidency, with no coherency, no timeline, and no sense of proportion. An example:

2004 Election [edit]
The Democrats "nationalized" the 2006 election,...

This would be embarrasing even on Wikipedia. Just above that, we see:

Social policy [edit]
During his presidency, Bush favored conservative social policy, but many conservatives complain that government spending has risen exponentially over the course of Bush's two terms.

There is no section about his economic policies in his first term. No mention of tax cuts (except as one point in a list at the very top of the article apparently copied from Wikipedia), no mention of increasing deficits, no mention of the recession of 2002, at all. The introduction says that he appointed a "conservative" as Federal Reserve chairman, but there's no mention of Mr. Bernanke's name, nor of Mr. Greenspan. Nor of the Federal Reserve, after that statement in the introduction.

The social policy section contains no discussion of "No Child Left Behind", it only appears as another item in the list in the intro. No discussion of stem cell research, even though that issue brought on his first veto.

The "Military Service" section has no dates, except 2004. By splitting "early life and education" from "military service", the timeline is lost. There's no mention of his political career before running for governor.

The section on his first term starts with the election controversy, rather than the election - there was a whole primary and general election campaign before the Florida Fracas, but we ignore it completely. Who'd he run against in the primary?

In the controversies section (how Wikipedian!), we read: "...the Justice Department rescinded a number of the main legal opinions written by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding intelligence interrogation and extrajudicial detention." This would be a fine statement if there were anything in the article which mentioned what those opinions said, or why they were important. Of course, the controversy over the actual handling of terrorist suspects would be considered more important than the controversy over the lawyering behind that handling.

The quality of this article is embarrasing. An editor needs to clean it up. Anthony Argyriou 07:25, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I am afraid that this is the kind of article where the CZ model fails miserably. (Homeopathy is another example.) There are just too many points of view. Maybe articles like this should not be attempted, or maybe only very brief and factual ones, a few dates and places, and that's it. --Paul Wormer 08:03, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't disagree with some of Paul's points. I would, however, note that the opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel are wikilinked to extensive articles; there is no simple citation that is practical. See intelligence interrogation, U.S., George W. Bush Administration, Iraq War and extrajudicial detention, U.S., George W. Bush Administration, all of which are long, with lots of subpages and subarticles.
Yes, I agree there is too much opinion. As far as "brief", the solution may be that they should be considered top-level articles that link to detailed discussions. While I eagerly would ask for other reviews, I think that things such as intelligence interrogation do a fair job in considering multiple reviews and extensive sourcing, but it takes 80K plus subpages to do so. Note that I am still reading the 150 redacted pages of the latest CIA document; I have no explicit references yet, but it's less of a surprise than some might think. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:32, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't have any problem with any of you making changes to the things that you think are in error. I'm not sure why we can't have an article on George Bush if we are able to have one on George Washington. We need to just keep working with it. D. Matt Innis 17:46, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Why? There are very few people trying to attack or defend the reputation of George Washington. There really can't be people trying to get people of his party elected or defeated, because he didn't have one.
I do agree there has been editorializing without reference, and I think the idea of a base article with detailed subarticles works better. Iraq War is better split than the intelligence and detention articles, so the controversies can be discussed more in isolation -- on the other hand, it lends itself better to splitting than a complex, intertwined, significantly secret discussion.
George Washington had neither Karl Rove nor David Frum nor George Soros. For that matter, the Field of Honor was still available, to Hamilton's regret. Still, coffee and pistols at dawn would do a great deal for television and radio news.Howard C. Berkowitz 18:36, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Surely we have some remnants of the Whigs still out there willing to add some controversy :) I could add a section about how it was reported that Washington was killed by blood letting and that's when Homeopathy became popular - as an alternative to Heroic medicine:) Then we can link the two articles!
Okay, point taken, but I still don't see why we can't write both articles.
D. Matt Innis 20:41, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Which two? Phlebotomy and Cherry tree? Dueling as implemented by James Carville and Mary Matalin? Roe v. Wade as Washington's tactical alternatives in crossing the Delaware? A demented chiropractor interrogating at Guantanamo? Howard C. Berkowitz 20:53, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Hmm... don't see that Washington could have aborted the crossing, but indirectly there is the forging of the Valley that could have given him duel objectives, so I can see that... as long as the chiropractor was German. They are notorious for interrogation and that is the reason that Washington crossed the Delaware anyway, wasn't it. History just repeats itself, so we can just link it all. :) D. Matt Innis 21:19, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
This article may have problems with bias or points of view, but I don't know that differing points of view excuses, or even causes, the problem I was complaining of. Maybe it does - I don't feel ambitious enough to look through the article history to see what happened. The errors I complained of at the top of this section aren't problems of bias, they're problems of bad writing or bad organization or missing material.
I've done some minor cleanup, moving a few things around where they were out of order. Perhaps when I have time, I'll add some material that's been left out. Anthony Argyriou 02:06, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Rather than argue what I consider to be great oversimplification of Holder's actions regarding the CIA and senior officials, see the new intelligence interrogation, U.S., review. It's a work in progress, but certainly should help establish I'm not picking on Republicans. Frankly, I find it hard to know what to say about senators complaining about a matter being settled in 2004, when there have been five additional years of declassifications, legislation, and court decisions; there's also an apparently lack of knowledge that double jeopardy does not apply to prosecutorial investigation. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:46, 8 September 2009 (UTC)