I was having a conversation with a young friend from work recently about how those on both extreme ends of the spectrum seem to cause the most trouble. As an aside, he mentioned that George W. Bush would likely be regarded as one of the worst presidents to ever serve in the position. When I countered that history always takes some time to make that determination and that history's judgment of war-time presidents is always more toward the middle of the pack in terms of good vs. bad, he replied, "Bush was no war-time president."
At that point, I smiled and told him that it was probably best for our working relationship that we not continue the dialog any further.
I believe that the official toll of casualties for the 9/11 attacks stands at 2,973. By comparison:
- Pearl Harbor: 2,117 casualties
- The War of 1812: 2, 260 casualties
- The Revolutionary War: 4,435 casualties
One can argue that George W. Bush was a good president or a bad president. One can argue that he was competent or not. One can argue that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were morally reprehensible or morally supportable. One can argue many things, but one cannot argue that George W. Bush was not a war-time president, just as one cannot argue that Eisenhower, Kennedy, L. Johnson, Nixon and Ford were not war-time presidents. Obama is a war-time president.
The war-time status of a president is not dependent upon an opinion of the validity of the war, the "rightness" of the war nor how the war effort is going. The war-time status of a president is solely dependent upon whether or not the country sees itself in a war-time footing against the other entity.
(I would have used the word country up to the point where Al-Qaida attacked.)
My concern with my young, liberal friend's assessment is not his disagreement with Bush. It is that he has been convinced by other liberals that we were not and are not at war against Al-Qaida nor the Iraqi insurgents.
Of what else have they convinced themselves to the point where facts and truth matter not at all?