Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Big ask

By Tom Toles



Bush whacked

So W is back among us. This is a good thing. After he vanished, as blissful as it was, it became increasingly difficult to remember the peculiar way he was such a terrible president. The evidence is certainly everywhere to be seen, but the flavor was gone. It has all come back now. Let's start with that title, "Decision Points." How decisive sounding! From the Decider! This self-image is near the core of the Bush problem. Hey you people around me, do my thinking for me and bring me two CHOICES and I'll POINT at one of them after Dick Cheney tells me which one to point to. That's DECIDING! That's LEADERSHIP! Ya see, Bush is a GUT player. Let the so-called intellectuals sweat the details, he goes with his INSTINCTS! Trouble was, if he had ever bothered to cast a backward glance over the lifelong trail of wreckage he left behind him that was cleaned up by others, he would have noticed that HE HAD TERRIBLE INSTINCTS!

And then there was the SWAGGER. Annoying enough that his inclination and manner were swaggering, but the real problem is the swagger was what it was all about. And I must say that a significant part of the population loved him for that. For what, after all, is the cashable benefit of even BEING an American if you can't swagger about it? I still have the yellowing clipping of him on the Mission Accomplished flight deck, which told the tale as it was meant to be understood. Swagger. An ill-considered war, insufficiently planned, deceitfully sold, horrendously executed, never paid for, resulting in perhaps a hundred thousand dead human beings, and you'd think humility might just possibly have been the appropriate tone to present to the American public and the world. But what we got was swagger. And, oh, how they relished the thought of those images being used in campaign ads, if only consequences hadn't come along at election time to spoil everything. I was walking through the newsroom and caught a glimpse of that pugnacious grin of his on a TV screen, and it all came back. Mission accomplished. --Tom Toles




By Tom Toles  | November 10, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Same-sex marriage  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Flying far and away
Next: Follow the leader

Other Syndicated Editorial Cartoons:


~~~Duty, Honor, Country. Name one liberal whose consistent actions define those three words?

Posted by: jornolibist ~~~

Wow, that IS a BIG ASK and so Apropos....

Posted by: bertzel | November 11, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Duty, Honor, Country. Name one liberal whose consistent actions define those three words?

Posted by: jornolibist | November 10, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Now I know where all the so called conservative messiah comments about Pres. Obama come from, just role reversals of the comments about Pres. Bush. Kinda childish isn't it?

Posted by: kchses1 | November 10, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

And if the conservatives/Tea Partiers/Trolls who post here, or anywhere, can defend Bush, Palin, O'Donnell, or any of the other nutty Tea Party candidates by some means other than engaging in a personal attack on Barack Obama, I'd give that person a thumbs up. I think I'm on safe ground here...this will never happen.

Posted by: ptgrunner | November 10, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The most troubling thing to me was that Bush still insists that he was absolutely certain that Iraq was in possession of WMDs. A close second is his being not the slightest troubled by torture by the U.S. under his administration. How can one be absolutely certain of anything, much less something that is NOT true? How can one with ANY MORALS or EMPATHY for others be untroubled by torture. I was convinced, but not certain that Iraq did not have WMDs in 2003. I opposed the Iraq invasion completely. I was shocked that the WaPO supported the invasion. Voltaire said: "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one." Yes, Bush was and is a fool, as are his defenders. Voltaire also said: "All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." Yes, Bush will be a hero to some. But Bush and the other thugs in his administration should be tried for crimes against humanity, then executed. Heck, skip the trial. Despite Hussein's faults, Bush has done more harm to the world than Hussein ever could have. Iraq functioned reasonably well under him, Christians and Muslims lived side-by-side. And let's not forget that the U.S. enabled Hussein to do the things he did. The Evil Empire and Bush go scot free--that's the real crime here. Blame America first? No, it's simply holding ourselves responsible for those things that we do. You know, personal responsibility...the thing conservatives talk about but avoid.

Posted by: ptgrunner | November 10, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Swagger? That's what Mr. Community Organizer tried to show at his post-election news conference when he refused to acknowledge that the vote showed not that the public did not understand his socialist agenda over the first 22-months but a very complete grasp of it and, consequently, a sounding rejection.

Posted by: 1republican | November 10, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

He was merely Charlie McCarthy to Cheney's evil Edgar Bergen.

Posted by: Capn0ok | November 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Definition of a cowboy (Texas style): A guy who struts around town in riding boots and likes to wear a big hat indoors. See "doofus."

It's amazing how much damage a preppy poser can wreak once he stops drinking and gets religion. Not one but TWO Vietnams and the Great Recession. An amazing record. BTW: When was the last time anything came out of Texas that was actually beneficial to humanity?

Posted by: EthelredtheUnready | November 10, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

JFKs views on homosexuals in the military have never been well-published. JFK was a Main Street Democrat, as was RFK until JFK's death.

Posted by: blasmaic | November 10, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Yeah! Swagger and machismo are #1! Anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million dead Iraqis, mostly civilians; thousands of dead American soldiers and tens of thousands wounded beyond repair; a country in shambles (but featuring a new US Embassy the size of Vatican City, mostly guarded by Blackwater mercenaries); a culture of accepted torture where humans can do horrible things to other humans, in the name of "self defense"; a festering war in Afghanistan that is unwinable, with tens of thousands dead, a corrupt government, more contractors than actual soldiers (with no accountability); a Taliban growing in numbers everyday with each innocent civilian that we kill "mistakenly"; and all totaled both debacles costing us over a trillion dollars and climbing (and conservatives complain about stimulus money). Yay! Go swagger!

This would be funny (in a Dr. Strangelove kind of way) if it wasn't such a humanitarian nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people. We are committing war crimes daily, from the top down, and no one is held accountable, including the current administration. Sickening. As a nation, as human beings, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | November 10, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

It's false to say that 100,000 people died in the Iraq war. The true figure is well over 300,000.

I base this not on the controversial Lancet surveys, which really did overestimate deaths, but on the UN's Iraq household surveys, which had ten times asa many data points and none of the methodological flaws of the Lancet studies. They found 250,000 violent deaths between 2003 and 2006.

This coincides exactly with a 2006 estimate by Iraqi health minister Ali al-Shemari. And he should be in a position to know.

These surveys, which have been thoroughly vetted and validated, also found that Iraq's nonviolent death rate rocketed after the US invasion, as the health system collapsed and more than half the country's doctors fled (the Iraqi name for the Iraq war translates as "the Collapse).

These nonviolent deaths, when compared to the deathrate in the three years before 2003, add up to an additional 150,000 in the period 2003-2006. Of these, about 36,000 were children.

That makes 400,000 unnecessary deaths in the period 2003-2006. And 2007 was one of the worst years of the war.

Who claims that 100,000 people died in the Iraq war? The US military. And every time a US military statement about Iraq has been tested against verifiable truth, it has been found to be a lie.

It's an insult to history that the figure accepted by US media is one cooked up by the killers themselves.

Posted by: kenonwenu | November 10, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

~~~ Cowboy America is what built this country and made it great.
Posted by: dalyplanet~~~

You are kidding right??? Cowboy America Stole this country and forced their 'agendas' on the natives....that is,those that survived being massacred....Course they never taught me that in History Class back in the day.....

~~We are a powerhouse of strength, stability freedom, and opportunity. That is why everyone wants to be here.

Perhaps in your mind's eye....

Posted by: bertzel | November 10, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Pinochet eventually was held accountable.
There is hope.

Posted by: GeneTouchet | November 10, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Young hearts heal faster, all the better for the older hearts. They're all blessings.

It cannot was
It can is
Better for me
By fait
Best in faith
Keep It True

Posted by: jobandon | November 10, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm just waiting for when Al Qaeda assassinates GW Bush or Richard Cheney in revenge. It would be in keeping with their mentality.

Posted by: mhoust | November 10, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

From the straight shooters perspective?

It's the only way to get ahead in this world?
The Birdcage?

Posted by: backspace1 | November 10, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Why is it you liberals seem to hate America and its swagger. You all seem to be searching for Euro-America, or Metro-Sexual America. Cowboy America is what built this country and made it great.

Posted by: dalyplanet | November 10, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

the same people who bag on the supporters of Bush and Palin vote for legalization of marijuana on the premise that we can't win the war on drugs, so why fight? We can't win a war in Iraq, so why fight? We can't beat 'em so let's join 'em! and then all around the world people will love us! We can join hands in one big drug-induced love-in and praise ourselves for stopping that evil capitalism that caused so many to die needlessly.Free weed for everyone! Sex in the Oval Office! Free condoms for third graders! Free abortions! No bras! Free substandard education for Everyone! No child left behind! (Clinton started, Bush implemented). Redistribution of wealth! Cash for Clunkers! Bailouts! Irresponsibility comes in many forms, folks. Wrap it green if you wish and we will just get high and we will feel responsible, until the paranoia sets in. That is why the left is paranoid of the vast right-wing conspiracy...too much Ganja!

Posted by: pauljfeld | November 10, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Tom, "Swagger" was what he was all about --- I still find it difficult to comprehend the extent of the damage this idiot inflicted upon the world and our country(I just have to think about his appointments to the Supreme Court, let alone Katrina and the economy). I guess he used his Yale cheer leading skills to delude himself and, as you say, the 20% of his fellow idiots who believe my country right or wrong.

Posted by: PlumHunter | November 10, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's the question: What government building was the first to be secured when the 3rd Infantry Division, in a brilliantly executed operation, rolled into Baghdad in April, 2003?

Answer: Saddam's Oil Ministry.

Now, you tell me what the war's objective was.

If Bush's administration had applied the same careful evaluation and planning prior to going to war in Iraq as the U.S. Military had done in executing the operation, I don't believe there would have been a war. At the very least, the post-assault scenario would have been significantly different.

Tom Toles has it right. If you ever wonder what a Palin presidency might be like, just look at Bush II's. That's the template; only she'd "go rogue".

Posted by: prestoj | November 10, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Tom. It's interesting that the same 20% who still think that Pres. Bush did a good job are the same who would vote for Sarah Palin for president in 2012. I guess one can "fool some of the people all of the time"!!

Posted by: cmarston99 | November 10, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Why does everyone care if the world loves the United States. We aren't a 13 year-old girl trying to make new friends. We are a powerhouse of strength, stability freedom, and opportunity. That is why everyone wants to be here. Tom, you miss that point again and again when you attack a man who furthered the cause of freedom throughout the world. He took down a dictator who believed in killing his own citizens for personal gain while denegrating women at every turn. One day I would like liberals like you to sit down and be pro-active, writing down what you really stand for instead of blathering on about what you are against. If it is all about peace and love and making friends around the world then please join the Peace Corps and go build hospitals in third world countries where their leadership doesn't 'lie' to the people. Make a stand, DO something! Your cartoons are great, but your accompanying opinions are pompous and presented as if someone left YOU in charge of what we think. Take a look outside and hear the screams of the electorate as they one after another eschew the tax and spend policies that have mortgaged our children's future, and reject the idea of our President standing on the shores of foreign lands praising them for being Muslim friendly...take a night class, Mr. Toles.

Posted by: pauljfeld | November 10, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I guess it could also say, "Don't tell the country what you can do if you are not between the ages of 18 and 40 and are in good physical and mental shape".

Do liberals ever get tired of making such feeble "points"? No wonder you guys can't hold office. You don't make any sense.

Posted by: bobmoses | November 10, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Hit the nail on the head, good to hear a voice of reality, Let us not let Bush rewrite history. Thanks Tom love your toons!

Posted by: nvtharp | November 10, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Why do we have to say a person is deficient when they will not agree with us. Some may never forgive apresident Bush for not giving up. The fool thought he was right.

He thought we could win in Iraq.

The smart ones gave up.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | November 10, 2010 6:08 AM | Report abuse

I did not have sex with that women, I never said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, I didn't offer Sestak a job and I didn't tell Meeks to get out of the race.....even serial liars get a presidential library. Slick Willy was the type of man who could look millions of people in the eye and lie to them and liberals loved him for that, but never more than 50% of the population.

Posted by: jornolibist | November 10, 2010 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Nowadays, every ex-prez gets a library and a memoir. No intelligence is required.

Posted by: chaunceygardener | November 9, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Bush is evil, and I don't think invading Iraq was just to make money. In fact, in the buildup to the war there was a lot of talk about Bush Sr trying to get some of his proxies from his administration to come out with reasons not to invade. If it was all about money from his and his family's investments he'd be all gung-ho for it. No, I think he truly always did what he thought was right and best for this country. I really do believe that. He was misguided and wrong in nearly every way with nearly every thing he did, in my opinion, and I think the evidence shows that to be the case, but I don't think he did anything intentionally malicious.

Some of the people in his administration, even most of them, fall under the same category. They were ideologues. Sure they invaded Iraq and it turned out to be the wrong thing to do, and they probably knowingly lied in order to get us to do it, which is wrong, but they thought creating a new secular democracy in the heart of the Middle East would be a game changer for the world and help bring down radical Islamic terrorism to boot by creating something of a domino effect in the Middle East of ordinary citizens suddenly seeing free Arab brothers and sisters and saying "We want that too. No we DEMAND it," and it would be easy, cause who doesn't want democracy? Who doesn't really want "freedom"?

Sure their policies benefited the rich far more than the poor or the middle class. But they believed that was right. They believed it was the best way to do things. They believed the rich are the ones that create jobs and expand industries and come up with new ideas, or at least can fund the development of them, and they do all this for one reason and one reason only and that is money, and that is the way this country was built and will continue to grow and remain a superpower, if not THE superpower.

It's a tempting dream really. But, as is often the case, reality has a habit of slapping you right in the face when you think you've got everything figured out.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | November 9, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

A book & his very own library. That's why most Americans believe that Dubya is not as dumb as he looks.

Posted by: 4Runner1 | November 9, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

W's presidency is encapsulated with the shoe tossing incident. In Denis Leary's book, "Why We Suck", W is second on the list in chapter one entitled "Why Everyone Hates Us", right after Anna Nicole Smith.

Posted by: chaunceygardener | November 9, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

If you were Bush you would be strutting too especially after this last election. President Obama just had his agenda thrown in the trash can by voters in one of the biggest Democrat election losses in history. Remarkably, President Bush gained 8 GOP seats in his first midterm in 2002. It's going to be a long cold winter for Democrats with Pelosi and Reid still in place in 2013. Try to get some sun once in awhile.

Posted by: billybeer6 | November 9, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

You hit the nail on the head with your commentary. "the Decider" still makes me laugh even tho it really is not funny. He was indeed a puppet. I still believe the reason HE went after Saddam was to finish what his daddy couldn't. Revenge is sweet and he got his candy. And no, I don't think him to be evil...not smart enough for that role.
Guess we all have someone who rubs us the wrong way.
Way to keep climate change in the mix...

Posted by: bertzel | November 9, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi Tom,

While I usually agree with you, in this case I have to take exception. You see, Bush isn't just about stupidity and swagger - he's evil. As far as I can tell (and I've seen no evidence to the contrary) the invasion of Iraq was only about making money - making lots of money for himself, his family and his friends. I've never seen an analysis of just how much the Bush family made through their investments in defense contractors like KBR, General Dynamics and their ilk, but I'm sure it was hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet, he's never questioned going into Iraq or the horror of what we did to that country (note a paper published in the journal Lancet put the number of war dead at more like *million* not a 100K). There was a huge number of refugees to Syria and Jordan and often those families were supported by Iraqi mothers and daughters being forced into prostitution. Oh, and that huge upsurge in Al Qaeda and the Taliban? - thank George Bush for that by playing into the very talking points of bin Laden who says that America is out to destroy Islamic countries...

Posted by: UNLISTED | November 9, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Watching Bush speak is and always has been like fingers on a chalkboard, annoying. In other words, like chewing tinfoil. That's how he always talks. Like he's sitting there explaining "My pet goat". Again.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | November 9, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Bush Bashing is one of my favorite things to do! And I am a Conservative. I fear though that one day soon the American political scene will be stading in a heap of burned out Earth because no one really demanded to know the truth and force the deception to be exposed.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | November 9, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Mention Bush and all the trolls disappear!

Posted by: duke5 | November 9, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company