International Issues, Global Politics, and Local Action
During a prime time press conference on April 13, 2004 President Bush was asked to name a mistake that he has made since taking office and what he has learned from it. Bush, who was unable to answer the question, admitted "maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with [a mistake]." But weeks later, Bush still hadn't answered the question. In the interest of assisting the President with this surprisingly difficult task we've compiled this list of 100 mistakes he has made since taking office. He can take his pick.
1. Failing to build a real international coalition
prior to the Iraq invasion,
forcing the US to shoulder the full cost and consequences of the war.
2. Approving the demobilization of the Iraqi Army
in May, 2003 – bypassing the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and reversing an earlier position, the President left hundreds of thousands of armed Iraqis disgruntled and unemployed, contributing significantly to the massive security problems American troops have faced during occupation.
3. Not equipping troops in Iraq with adequate body armor
or armored HUMVEES
4. Ignoring the advice Gen. Eric Shinseki
regarding the need for more troops
in Iraq – now Bush is belatedly adding troops, having allowed the security situation to deteriorate in exactly the way Shinseki said it would
if there were not enough troops.
5. Ignoring plans drawn up by the Army War College
and other war-planning agencies, which predicted most of the worst security and infrastructure
problems America faced in the Iraq occupation.
6. Making a case for war which ignored intelligence
that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction
7. Deriding "nation-building
" during the 2000 debates, then engaging American troops in one of the most explicit instances of nation building
in American history.
8. Predicting along with others in his administration
that US troops would be greeted as liberators
9. Predicting Iraq would pay
for its own reconstruction.
10. Wildly underestimating the cost of the war
11. Trusting Ahmed Chalabi, who has provided faulty intelligence
the president used to get congress to give him power to topple Saddam.
the Sunni Baathist managers responsible for Iraq's water, electricity, sewer system and all the other critical infrastructure.
13. Failing to give UN weapons inspectors
14. Including discredited intelligence
concerning Nigerian Yellow Cake in his 2003 State of the Union
15. Announcing that "major combat operations
in Iraq have ended" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln
on May 1, 2003, below a "Mission Accomplished" banner – more U.S. soldiers have died in combat
since Bush's announcement than before it.
16. Awarding a multi-billion dollar contract to Halliburton
in Iraq, which then repeatedly overcharged the government
and served troops dirty food
17. Refusing to cede any control of Post-invasion Iraq to the international community, meaning reconstruction has received limited aid
from European allies or the U.N.
18. Failing to convince NATO allies
why invading Iraq was important.
19. Having no real plan for the occupation
20. Limiting bidding
on Iraq construction projects to "coalition partners," unnecessarily alienating
important allies France, Germany and Russia
21. Diverting $700 million
into invasion plans without informing Congress.
22. Shutting down
an Iraqi newspaper for "inciting violence" – the move, which led in short order to street fighting in Fallujah, incited more violence than the newspaper ever had.
23. Telling Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan
about plans to go to war with Iraq before Secretary of State Colin Powell.
24. Allowing several members of the Bin Laden
family to leave the country just days after 9/11, some of them without being questioned by the FBI.
25. Focusing on missile defense
instead of counterterrorism
26. Thinking al Qaeda could not attack without state sponsors
, and ignoring evidence of growing threats unrelated to Iraq.
27. Threatening to veto the Homeland Security department
– The President now concedes such a department "provides the ability for our agencies to coordinate better and to work together
better than before."
28. Opposing the creation
of the September 11th commission, which the President now expects "to contain important recommendations
for preventing future attacks."
29. Denying documents to the 9/11 commission, only relenting after the commissioners threatened a subpoena
30. Failing to pay more attention to an August 6, 2001 PDB
entitled "Bin laden Determined to Attack in U.S."
31. Repeatedly ignoring warnings
of terrorists planning to use aircraft before 9/11.
32. Appointing Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 commission – Kissinger stepped down
weeks later due to conflicts of interest.
33. Asking for testimony before the 9/11 commission be limited to one hour
, a position from which the president later backtracked
34. Not allowing national Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
to testify before the commission –then Bush changed his mind
35. Cutting an FBI request for counterterrorism funds
36. Telling Americans there was a link
between Saddam and al Qaeda.
37. Failing to adequately secure the nation's nuclear weapons labs
38. Not feeling a sense of urgency
about terrorism or al Qaeda before 9/11.
39. Reducing resources
and troops in Afghanistan before fully secure
40. Not providing security in Afghanistan outside of Kabul
, leaving nearly 80% of the Afghan population unprotected in areas controlled by Feudal warlords and local militias.
41. Committing inadequate resources for reconstruction of Afghanistan
42. Counting too heavily on locally trained troops to fill the void
in Afghanistan once U.S. forces were relocated to Iraq.
43. Not committing US ground troops to the capture of Osama Bin Laden, when cornered in the Tora Bora
region of Afghanistan in November, 2001.
44. Allowing opium production to resume
on a massive scale after the ouster of the Taliban.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
45. Opposing an independent inquiry
into the intelligence failures surrounding WMD – later, upon signing off on just such a commission, Bush claimed he was "determined to make sure that American intelligence
is as accurate as possible for every challenge in the future."
46. Saying: "We found the weapons
of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories."
47. Trusting intelligence
gathered by Vice President Cheney's and Secretary Rumsfeld's "Office of Special Plans
48. Spending $6.5 billion on nuclear weapons
this year to develop new nuclear weapons this year – 50% more in real dollars than the average during the cold war – while shortchanging the troops on body armor.
49. Ignoring the importance of the Middle East peace process
, which has deteriorated with little oversight or strategy evident in the region.
50. Siding with China
in February, 2004 against a democratic referenda proposed by Taiwan, a notable shift from an earlier pledge to stand with "oppressed peoples
until the day of their freedom finally arrives."
51. Undermining the War on Terrorism
by preemptively invading Iraq.
52. Failing to develop a specific plan for dealing with North Korea
53. Abandoning the United States' traditional role
as an evenhanded negotiator in the Middle East peace process.
54. Signing a report endorsing outsourcing
with thousands of American workers having their jobs shipped overseas.
55. Instituting steel tariffs deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization
– Bush repealed them 20-months later when the European Union pledged to impose retaliatory sanctions on up to $2.2 billion in exports from the United States.
56. Promoting economic policies that failed to create new jobs
57. Promoting economic policies that failed to help small businesses
58. Pledging a "jobs and growth" package
would create 1,836,000 new jobs by the end of 2003 and 5.5 million new jobs by 2004—so far the president has fallen 1,615,000 jobs short of the mark.
59. Running up a foreign deficit of "such record-breaking proportions
that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy."
60. Issuing inaccurate budget forecasts accompanying proposals to reduce the deficit, omitting the continued costs
of Iraq, Afghanistan and elements of Homeland Security.
61. Claiming his 2003 tax cut would give 23 million small business owners an average tax cut of $2,042 when "nearly four out of every five tax filers (79%) with small business income would receive less
" than that amount.
62. Passing tax cuts for the wealthy
while falsely claiming "people in the 10 percent bracket
" were benefiting most."
63. Passing successive tax cuts largely responsible for turning a projected surplus of $5 trillion into a projected deficit
of $4.3 trillion.
64. Moving to strip millions of overtime pay
65. Not enforcing
corporate tax laws.
66. Backing down from a plan to make CEOs more accountable
when "the corporate crowd" protested.
67. Not lobbying oil cartels
to change their mind about cutting oil production.
68. Passing tax cuts
weighted heavily to help the wealthy.
69. Moving to allow greater media consolidation
70. Nominating a notorious proponent of outsourcing, Anthony F. Raimondo, to be the new manufacturing Czar
—Raimondo withdrew his name days later amidst a flurry of harsh criticism.
71. Ignoring calls to extend unemployment benefits
with long-term unemployment reaching a twenty-year high
72. Threatening to veto pension legislation
that would give companies much needed temporary relief.
No Child Left Behind
74. Breaking his campaign pledge to increase the size of Pell grants
75. Signing off on an FY 2005 budget proposing the smallest increase
in education funding in nine years.
76. Under-funding the Title I Program
, specifically targeted for disadvantaged kids, by $7.2 billion.
77. Freezing Teacher Quality State Grants
, cutting off training opportunities for about 30,000 teachers, and leaving 92,000 less
teachers trained than the president called for in his own No Child Left Behind bill.
78. Freezing funding for English language training
79. Freezing funding for after school programs
, potentially eliminating 50,000 children from after-school programs.
80. Not leveling with Americans about the cost of Medicare – the president told Congress
his new Medicare bill would cost $400 billion over ten years despite conclusions by his own analysts the bill would cost upwards of $500 billion
over that period.
81. Silencing Medicare actuary Richard Foster
when his estimates for the Administration's Medicare bill were too high.
82. Letting business associate David Halbert
, who owns a company which stands to make millions from new discount drug cards, craft key elements of the new Medicare bill.
83. Underfunding health care
84. Allowing loopholes to persist in Mad-Cow regulations
85. Relaxing food labeling restrictions
on health claims.
86. Falsely claiming the restrictions on stem cell research
would not hamper medical progress.
87. Reducing action against improper drug advertising
by 80 percent.
88. Abandoning the Kyoto Treaty
without offering an alternative for reducing greenhouse effect.
89. Counting on a voluntary program
to reduce emissions of harmful gasses—so far only a tiny fraction of American companies have signed up.
90. Gutting clean air standards
for aging power plants.
91. Weakening energy efficiency
92. Relaxing dumping standards for mountaintop mining
, and opening the Florida Everglades and Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest to mining.
93. Lifting protection for more than 200 million acres of public land
94. Limiting public challenges to logging projects and increased logging in protected areas
, including Alaska's Tongass National Forest.
95. Weakening environmental standards for snowmobiles
and other off-road vehicles while pushing for exemptions for air pollution proposals for five categories of industrial facilities.
96. Opposing legislation that would require greater fuel efficiency
for passenger cars.
97. Reducing inspections, penalties for violations, and prosecution of environmental crimes
98. Misleading the public about the Washington mad cow case and the likely effectiveness of USDA's weak testing program
99. Withdrawing public information on chemical plant
dangers, previously used to hold facilities accountable for safety improvements.
100. Cutting grants to state and local governments
in FY 2005, forcing states to make massive cuts in job training, education, housing and environment.
100 Mistakes bythe President© Center for American Progress:
Tim Flanagan http://welcome.to/peaceresources
Box 22, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034-0003
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