President Bush, in his final press conference, said today that Iraq "not having weapons of mass destruction was a big disappointment." Imagine feeling let down because a brutal maniac like Saddam Hussein did not possess weaponry that could have been used to commit mass murder.
If he had half a brain and any humility, Bush would have said that his decision to launch an invasion of Iraq -- based on intelligence that was shoddy and trumped up by his own administration -- ranks as a disappointing episode in his presidency, an eight-year reign that certainly has no shortage of disappointments, outrages and other low points.
One week from tomorrow Barack Obama will speak the words that usher out this regrettable and damaging era in American history. Looking through the litany of wrongheaded and failed policies -- as well as watching the evening news -- leaves me shaking my head. How could my countrymen (and women) have elected this guy? (Twice!)
Here is just some of what we witnessed during Bush's two terms:
*The 9/11 terrorist attacks (Say what you will, but the August 6, 2001, intelligence brief, if nothing else, should have inspired a more vigorous response.)
*The illegal and poorly conceived invasion and occupation of Iraq
*The woeful response to Hurricane Katrina
*Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and bankrupt the treasury
*A denial of fact and science that negatively affected public policy from sex ed to climate change
*A complete politicization of the rank-and-file legal professionals at the Justice Department
*Weak and incompetent oversight and regulation in areas from imported toys to the financial industry
Who knows how Obama's presidency will turn out, but I am thankful that Americans rose to the occasion and chose the smarter, more forward-looking candidate. Still, I have a hard time forgiving those who voted for Bush in either 2000 or 2004 for what they did to my country.