Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Political toxicity spreads

Political toxicity can be contagious, in that when one government body becomes infected by it the ailment spreads to other government bodies.

Case in point: The Texas Legislature — in its not-too-distant past — was hailed as a place where Democrats and Republicans found common ground frequently. Our Legislature could craft laws with wide support on both sides of the aisle.

We once had a governor, George W. Bush, who made bipartisanship a sort of political art form. The Republican governor worked hand-in-glove with two key Democratic legislative leaders: Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and House Speaker Pete Laney.

There was little toxicity in the mid- to late 1990s in Austin.

These days? Not so serene, folks. Congress has become a den of vipers, with Democrats and Republicans hating each other’s guts. The Texas Legislature isn’t much of an improvement. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick squabbles with fellow Republicans in the state Senate and House members look for ways to undermine the work of Speaker Dade Phelan.

There isn’t a lot of bipartisan fellowship to be found in Austin any more than we can find it in Washington. The toxic environment we have come to scorn in D.C. has spread, sadly, to the halls of the Texas State Capitol.

It makes me so sad.


Waiting for bipartisan thaw

My patience has its limits, but I am going to give it some more time to bear fruit.

I had hoped that the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States would produce a spirit of bipartisanship we hadn’t seen since, oh, about the time of 9/11. It hasn’t happened.

President Bush handed the office over to President Obama in 2009 and the divisions persisted after the Iraq War dragged on and on. President Obama didn’t make much headway, either, particularly after Sen. Mitch McConnell — the Republican leader — said his No. 1 priority was to make Obama a “one-term president.” President Obama finished his second term in 2017 and handed it off to, umm, the 45th POTUS. It got even worse during the Liar/Numskull/Nitwit/Insurrectionist in Chief’s single term in office.

He vacated the White House earlier this year without so much as a goodbye wave at President Biden’s inaugural. He skulked off without attending his successor’s inauguration.

Biden brought 36 years of U.S. Senate experience and eight years as vice president to the White House. He knows how to play the bipartisan game. He did it with considerable flair during his Senate years.

Alas, all that experience hasn’t played well in the GOP, which has latched onto the Big Lie about phony election theft and vote fraud.

For crying out loud, we cannot even cross the partisan divide on the best way to rid us of a killer virus that has cost us more than 600,000 lives! Biden and his fellow Democrats sing the virtues of masks and vaccines while Republicans and assorted conspiracy lunatics denigrate mask-wearing and question the value of getting vaccinated. Sheesh!

I am going to wish that President Biden can find a way to cross the partisan divide. My hope and my expectation, though, are growing farther apart.


President Bush speaks blunt truth

Former President George W. Bush told the world a blunt truth while honoring the heroes who confronted foreign terrorists on 9/11.

He said this:

“We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come, not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within,” Bush said in a speech Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.

“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” he said. “But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.”

“And it is our continuing duty to confront them,” Bush added.

Yes, Mr. President. It certainly is our duty.

Sadly, tragically and to his everlasting shame, one of President Bush’s successors not only has failed to “confront” the enemy within, he has encouraged them to act. I refer, of course, to the 45th POTUS — the dipsh** who shall remain nameless in this blog.

I understand that President Bush’s remarks have been hailed by Democrats and irked supporters of the 45th POTUS. Hmm. Imagine that, if you dare.

I cannot help but wonder why in the name of all that is holy does anyone object to the words of a former wartime president on whose watch we sought to confront international terrorists. Of course he is correct about the threat of domestic terrorists. He echoed the words spoken two years ago by FBI director Christopher Wray — appointed by POTUS 45 — who said the same thing about the domestic terrorism.

I will stand with President Bush on this one.


9/11 reminds me why I am glad we left

The commemorations we have witnessed today as the nation marks the 20th year since the 9/11 attacks have taken us — in my mind at least — on a dual-track remembrance.

I am reminded of how unified we were immediately after the attacks. President Bush called us to arms to fight the terrorist network that launched the attack. We stood behind the wartime president … for a time.

Then he took us into Iraq. The Iraq War was launched on false pretenses. We invaded a sovereign nation, removed a hated dictator and then got bogged down in another conflict with no clear motive for engaging the Iraqis in the first place.

We took our eyes off the key enemy: the Afghan terrorists.

President Bush infamously said at one point during his time in office he didn’t think much about Osama bin Laden. His successor, President Obama, made it the nation’s mission to bring justice to the mass murderer. Our special forces did so in May 2011.

Yet the war in Afghanistan dragged on.

And on and on …

Which brings me to the second track. President Biden ended that war. I am more glad today than ever that he acted when he did. It is true the withdrawal could have been executed more cleanly. But our troops are off the battlefield.

We have removed the world of thousands of terrorists. No, they aren’t exterminated. Others have stepped up to replace them. Indeed, the Afghan War had turned into a never-ending struggle against an enemy that cannot possibly be wiped off the face of the planet.

However, we retain — throughout unsurpassed military and intelligence capability — the ability to search out and destroy anyone who intends to do us harm the way Osama bin Laden did on 9/11.

May always remember the attacks of that horrific day. May we also always remain alert to the danger that lurks.

However, let us also avoid the kind of quagmire — and that’s what it became in Afghanistan — that always exacts too heavy a price.


Unity: Is it impossible to find?

Political unity shouldn’t be this hard to find; it shouldn’t be this elusive.

It most certainly is, however.

The nation is honoring the sacrifice we endured on 9/11. Part of the honor has been to salute the unity we felt when President Bush called on us to fight the terrorists who hit us hard, who killed all those Americans.

We answered the terrorists with one clear and forceful voice.

That was then. The unity we felt in the moment didn’t last long. Bush eventually decided to expand our war against terror by invading Iraq in March 2003. The president lied to us. He told us the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction; they didn’t. He also sought to tell us that the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein played a role in the 9/11 attacks; he didn’t.

We’ve been divided ever since.

Two decades later we are now fighting an even more insidious enemy. It’s a pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 Americans, far more than who died in the 9/11 attacks.

President Biden is seeking to unify us against the pandemic. He can’t find the formula. Our divisions have been cast along partisan lines. Democrats push for vaccine and mask mandates; Republicans resist them both. Think of this for a moment. Our entire nation is being struck by a virus, yet the president can’t unify us.

Surely we don’t require an attack from a foreign enemy to bring us together. Or do we?


Some ex-POTUSes get it; others, well …

A note came from a social media friend, a fellow who happens to be a former judge in the Texas Panhandle.

He writes: Our former presidents have different agendas tomorrow. George W. Bush is giving keynote remarks at Flight 93 National Memorial. Barack Obama will be at the remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero. Donald Trump is giving commentary for a boxing match in Florida. I guess he couldn’t find a way to make money off of it.

I haven’t heard how former President Bill Clinton will commemorate the event. I don’t expect former President Jimmy Carter to venture far, given his increasingly frail health.

But my friend does offer a fascinating critique on how POTUS 45 is spending the day tomorrow to mark the 20th year since the terrorists changed our country forever.

Yep. No doubt about it. POTUS 45 is a miserable piece of sh**.


9/11 stands alone

Americans are getting ready to commemorate one of the nation’s darkest days that, ironically, unfolded before us under cloudless sunny skies.

It was 20 years ago that two jets flew into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City, while a third jet plowed into the Pentagon and as a fourth jetliner plummeted into a Pennsylvania field as passengers grappled with terrorists in an effort to retake control of the aircraft.

The day is now known simply as “9/11.” You say those numbers and everyone on Earth knows what you mean.

The terrorists awakened us to a threat we all knew instinctively was out there. The pain of watching the towers collapse, of knowing that the plane had damaged the Pentagon and of recalling the bravery of the passengers on that jetliner battling with the terrorists remains burned indelibly.

The monsters acted in the name of a religion. They weren’t practitioners of Islam. They were religious perverts. President Bush told us days later that we would not go to war against Islam, but against the monsters who perverted a great religion for their own demented cause.

We sought to eliminate the threat in Afghanistan by launching a war against al-Qaeda in October 2001. The war continued until just the other day, when President Biden called a halt to a “forever war.” Along the way we managed to kill thousands of terrorists. We disrupted al-Qaeda’s network.

And, yes, we managed to find and kill the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

I want us all to recall the heroes who rose to the challenge on 9/11. They sought to rescue those trapped in the WTC rubble, and at the Pentagon. We should honor the men and women who suited up for military duty to fight the terrorists abroad. We always must honor the memories of those lost in that horrific act of hatred.

Even though we have ended our fight in Afghanistan, we also should know that the fight against international terror must continue. The monsters won’t go away all by themselves. Our intelligence network must remain on the highest alert levels imaginable … 24/7. Our military must be prepared to act proactively to stem future attacks.

Twenty years later, our hearts still hurt at what we saw and heard.

May we never forget the pain.


Pledge for the ages

Rhetoric uttered in anger and pain, while we are grieving, does at times develop a certain staying power.

Right after 9/11, President Bush stood amid the rubble of what once were the Twin Towers in New York City, draped his arm around a firefighter and told the world through a bullhorn: “I hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

Twenty years later, 13 American servicemen and women died when an Islamic State suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at Kabul airport where the United States has been conducting an evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.

President Biden looked sternly straight ahead and said: “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

And so, there you have yet another statement for the ages born out of extreme anguish and pain.


Historical perspective in order

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

While we waste our breath, our emotional energy and valuable time bashing President Biden over the end of the Afghan War, I want to offer this bit of perspective for y’all to ponder.

Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked us on 9/11. They had safe haven in Afghanistan. The Taliban sheltered them and kept them hidden from view. President Bush then led a united country into war in Afghanistan.

It was a conflict doomed more than likely from the very beginning.

For 20 years we fought the Taliban. Our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden, who we found hiding in Pakistan. Yet the fight continued. It was going to go on forever had we allowed it to happen.

President Biden said, in effect, “Enough of this!” He ended the war. Just as he said he would do.

Let’s understand that Joe Biden took control of our military as it was drawing down its presence in Afghanistan. He merely finished an unwinnable task begun two decades ago by George W. Bush.

Let’s also be clear. The war did produce some victories for our side. We degraded al-Qaeda, killing many of the organization’s leaders. Our national attention was yanked away from the Afghan fight when we went to war in Iraq for reasons that stand as an example of supreme deception.

The Afghan War had to end. President Biden ended a conflict that President Bush launched.

Confused and frightened

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The pending withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan has me confused and frightened.

The frightening aspect comes with the advance of Taliban forces that are taking city after city in their march toward reasserting control over a country we thought we had “liberated” when we invaded it shortly after 9/11 … which was nearly 20 years ago.

The Taliban are set to take control of Kabul, the capital city of the embattled nation perhaps in the next few weeks.

The Taliban is about as evil and vile as any group on Earth. Thus, it frightens me in the extreme to see what might happen to Afghanistan if the Taliban retake control of the country.

My confusion stems from the fact that we went through three presidential administrations overseeing our combat role in Afghanistan. From George W. Bush, to Barack H. Obama and then to Donald J. Trump our forces were thought to be helping prepare the Afghan forces to defend their country against the Taliban. Joe Biden took office in January and declared our intention to pull out before the 20th year commemorating the 9/11 attacks that precipitated our involvement in our longest war.

Did we waste all that time, money, effort and blood by failing to train and equip the Afghan forces adequately?

To be brutally candid, I am wondering if the Biden administration truly understood the gravity of the Taliban’s military capability when it decided to end our involvement in this drawn-out fight.

I want our troops to come home. I also had hoped we could leave Afghanistan in a position to defend itself. My first wish is about to come true. The second wish makes me wonder about the wisdom of what we were doing there in the first place.