I can't honestly say that I ever watch Chris Matthews on his show or anywhere else, one because I disagree with the majority of things he says, and two because his voice is like fingers across a blackboard. Shallow reason I know, but what can I say. The clip above is his analysis of the Bush Presidency and Bush as a man in an interview with Keith Olbermann after the Bush farewell speech.
In this clip Matthews questions Bush's intellegence, leadership and integrity, as well as most every aspect of his foreign policy decision making. He paints Bush as an empty suit being led by the nose by the neo-cons he has chosen to surround himself with. There is no question, as Bush himself has admitted, that some mistakes were made in both foreign policy as well as domestically, but what leader does not make mistakes. Matthews, as the consumate Monday morning quarterback has the luxury to second guess. A leader does not have that same luxury.
The Status Quo Policy
The argument, however, that the original status quo in the Middle East Bush inherited when he entered office would be preferable to any kind of change is absurd. Yes, as Matthews states, change needs to start with the rank and file at street level and not with the leaders that we sit with at the table. But policy for peace or at least cease fire will not stick, until we can root out the radical leaders at the street level who have been manipulating the hearts and minds of the youth long beore Bush ever took office. And who will continue to do so.
George Bush did not create the hatred towards the west, as much as the left would like to say that he did. That hatred has existed for a long, long time. The problem now is that the tools of destruction they have at their disposal have gotten more sophisticated and more dangerous. A policy of leaving them to their own devices, a live and let live strategy is not feasible, if only for the fact that the radical side of the equation wants us dead. They wanted us dead during the Clinton years as well as during the Bush years, and unfortunately the same will hold true during the Obama years.
Chris Matthews ideas, although he does not actually offer any, would most likely be some type of policy of appeasement. A way of getting the lower level leaders who actually dictate the policy to agree to some kind of truce with both Israel and the west. If that were to happen, you know what you could do with the paper that it was signed on.
The world is a changed place, and this did not start on George Bush's watch if we remember the bombings of the emabassy's in Africa, the USS Cole and the first attack on the World Trade Center to name just a few.
The policy that had been chosen by a man who I am sure Matthews admires greatly, former President Clinton (whose wife will now be Secretary of State) was to basically do nothing in response to acts of terror. Lob in a few missiles and deal with his many personal domestic problems. As September 11, 2001 shows us, that policy was not a great one either.
Say what you will about Bush, he is a man of honor and a man of conviction who made mistakes as any leader will. But he led with his heart, not by the polls.