Clinton-haters criticized him for blowing up an aspirin factory in Sudan (he was accused of being inept, clueless and distracting the nation from Lewinsky affair by cynically misusing the military). It was not a big issue in 2000 presidential race, but it was mentioned a few times as a negative for Gore.
Bush-haters are livid now about him invading and occupying Iraq. This certainly will be one of the main anti-Bush issues of 2004 race.
Are those two events comparable? I think so, with a certain huge scale factor. What is the scale factor between USS “Cole” bombing and 9-11 massacre? Is it not huge? If authorizing missile strike against wrong target in Sudan was an excusable side effect of ‘USS Cole’ bombing, perhaps invading Iraq to put an end to non-existing WMD was an excusable side effect of 9-11 massacre?
But to the point. I think what we see demonstrated in both cases is a genuine wariness felt by US public of any potential for abuse of executive privileges by White House and Pentagon. Expressions of this mistrust are clouded and colored by partisan passions and personal prejudices, as it must be in real life; party in power is mostly supportive of war, while party in opposition is overwhelmingly critical, and when power changes hands, so do the attitudes. Which might be a very good thing that benefits us all.
I am a big supporter of Iraq occupation, at the same time I rejoice at all the criticism leveled against POTUS every time he goes warlike. I’d much rather live in the country where majority of the people object to and scrutinize the use of military, rather than glorifying it. So I’m all for the invasion and equally all for public scrutiny of it. Let’s have the backlash; the only question I have, how much backlash is enough backlash?
The subject of proposed debate is whether the amount of public criticism of Bush in relation to Iraq invasion so far was 1) too little, 2) too much, 3) just right, or 4) am I a Bush-licking lackey (last strictly optional)?