When I first saw the promo for the PBS series Bush’s War, I was ambivalent about the whole thing. The marketing was such that it appeared to be a pretty lopsided romp through the last few years with the distinct flavor of leftist agitprop. I was pleasantly surprised to encounter an exceptionally well done documentary that was both disturbing and hopeful at the same time. I was disturbed by the President’s unwillingness to listen to moderating voices from his own government and even within his own staff and pleasantly surprised that there were those in government who performed their respective jobs admirably and competently, whether listened to or not.
What I came away with was not a total disappointment in the American government, but a clear disappointment in an insular executive that refused to listen to the voices of knowledge and experience in key positions. The sooner Americans, especially conservatives, realize that Iraq has been a public policy disaster resulting from the administrations refusal to listen to the guys in the field (politics be damned) the better off we’ll be. This was not a failure for conservatism or a victory for liberalism; this was a simple case of bullheaded hubris perpetrated in the main by the trio of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. To put my own conclusion slightly more bluntly, if the next president goes in with the mantra of either stubbornly perpetuating current policy or stubbornly reversing current policy without first listening to the people whose job it is to know something about a given topic, we’ll forever be caught in the endless political dance of platforms and platitudes over reason, knowledge, and prudent judgment based therein.
Check out the documentary and the huge archive on the website and draw your own conclusions, I’d love to hear what you think afterwards.