Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Bush bashing: We have a winner

In the contest for the best comment on whether I should stop bashing Bush, this is the winning entry: Bush Bashing in it’s own place by astral swamper on Thu, 10/01/2009 – 2:52pm Thomas, Here’s my main point. Let’s pretend that I, Douglas Hardee, am Commander-in-Chief of the US military. I call you in for ...

580058_091002_bushb2.jpg
580058_091002_bushb2.jpg

In the contest for the best comment on whether I should stop bashing Bush, this is the winning entry:

Bush Bashing in it's own place

by astral swamper on Thu, 10/01/2009 - 2:52pm

In the contest for the best comment on whether I should stop bashing Bush, this is the winning entry:

Bush Bashing in it’s own place

by astral swamper on Thu, 10/01/2009 – 2:52pm

Thomas,
Here’s my main point. Let’s pretend that I, Douglas Hardee, am
Commander-in-Chief of the US military. I call you in for a briefing on
Afghanistan based on your reputation as a renowned author and military expert. I begin by saying to you, “Thomas, as a military historian, you know that when a commander finds himself in a “shit storm” with no easy answers, a reluctant public and reticent allies, as I do, you need the best possible council. Hell, right now, all of America needs the best possible information we can get. What’s your take on the situation on in Afghanistan, Thomas?” Well, If you make bashing Bush part of your briefing, I know right away you’re blowing smoke up my skirt. When you’re in a foxhole Thomas, you don’t waste complaining about the SOB that got us into it, you find ways to effectively fight our way out of the situation. If you were briefing me “not to dither”in that blog, and you pull the old Bush-Bashing routine, I would assume, as President, that you had an axe to grind, and I would assume it would only be a matter of time before you turned on me.
As I said, it’s not that Bush doesn’t need a retroactive butt kicking,
it’s just it doesn’t belong in the same blog as a “tough love” note to
Obama. It comes off as ass-kissing to the WaPo Dinner party set.
Thomas, I’ll make it simple for you you; A little more Keegan &
Morrison, a little less Olberman & Mathews.
All the best,
Semper Fi

I am picking it not because I agree with it, nor even because it persuaded me. More, it struck me as a well-reasoned approach. I tend to learn more from people with whom I disagree. So even if I do bash Bush again (and I suspect I will), when I do, this will be in the back of my mind — that is, is this comment really necessary? Is there a more constructive way to go at this?

I’ve e-mailed Mr. Hardee to ask him whether he wants a signed copy of one of my books, or my extra copy of Horne’s The Price of Glory.

Now, what is an “astral swamper”? This must be one of the few phrases in the world for which you could get no Google results — until now.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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