by: johnnyFive

badged by
blackbootz
recent badges

Absolutely. He's a war criminal by any sane definition: we invaded Iraq based on intelligence that the government knew was false, after lying to our allies. The Afghanistan invasion was shaky but not wholly so, but in both cases the post-war period was so colossally mismanaged that it makes parts of Trump's presidency look magisterial. They chose loyalty and ideology over experience; for example, a 24-year-old with no experience in finance (and who had applied for a job with the White House) was instead sent to re-open the Iraqi stock exchange. They authorized the use of torture if we thought someone might have something to do with terrorism, they locked up people in Guantanamo Bay without proof of wrongdoing or access to lawyers, and generally torpedoed US credibility abroad. He also withdrew us from the Kyoto Protocol (an earlier treaty on greenhouse gas emissions).

On the home front, his administration brought us the Patriot Act, and the president of the United States saying that you're "either with us or you're with the terrorists." Not long after the Justice Department ruled that the precursor program to the current domestic spying programs was illegal, then-AG John Ashcroft was in the hospital for acute pancreatitis, and possibly dying. The administration sent the White House Counsel (Alberto Gonzalez) and Chief of Staff Andrew Card to Ashcroft's hospital room to try to get him to reverse the DOJ's decision (Ashcroft refused). The acting AG, who witnessed all this, was none other than James Comey. Bush also signed laws requiring stricter standards on driver's licenses, a highly anti-consumer change to the bankruptcy code, and subsidies for energy companies that didn't incentivize green power generation.

They also did things like No Child Left Behind, which was roundly considered a failure. He pushed for and signed a law cutting taxes on the wealthy, turning the first budget surplus since World War 2 into a deficit. His first ever veto was a law that would have allowed federal funding for research on new stem cell lines. His administration also thoroughly botched response to Hurricane Katrina, fired eight US attorneys for political reasons (which would result in the resignation of Karl Rove and then-AG Gonzales), leaked the name of a covert CIA operative for political reasons, and, wait for it, used a private e-mail server. The list goes on.

Overall, he presaged the worst of Trump's policies and rhetoric: he was anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT rights, botched healthcare reform (pushed for Medicare Part D, which was a massive giveaway to drug companies), and mismanaged the financial crisis. He totally wrecked any pretense of moral credibility by the United States, including labeling countries as "evil" (at the same time we were happily torturing random folks from the Middle East at black sites all over the world). In any actually just society, he would've been impeached and sent to jail, but we just got left with someone who set a new low for presidential competence, comportment, and integrity. It's worth noting that Bush finished his presidency with an approval rating of 19%, lower than any president in history.