This editorial originally appeared in The Exception Magazine. (http://exceptionmag.com/)
George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States of America, has few accomplishments which will be viewed positively by historians. The President made the choice to invade both Iraq and Afghanistan and created an open-ended "War on Terror" after the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001. This decision still overshadows Mr. Bush's presidency and will define his legacy.
Right now, Mr. Bush is considered one of the worst presidents ever. We encourage President-Elect Barack Obama to fully investigate the crimes committed during Mr. Bush's reign and prosecute accordingly. Yet it seems neither Mr. Obama nor the Democrats in Congress have the will to redeem our republic through a transparent trial. Mr. Bush will likely escape justice. And he is confident that historians will vindicate him in the future.
Let us set the record straight today as Mr. Bush is finally leaving office. It would be a dangerous precedent if Mr. Bush escaped the blame for his foreign policy decisions and received credit from future historians for improved conditions in the Middle East whenever they occur, since peace will be the result of other leaders acting long after Mr. Bush has already left office.
Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq, as well as thousands of American soldiers, have been killed due to Mr. Bush's decision.
Based on what the Bush regime knew then and what the American people know now, the invasion of Iraq and the deaths and destruction caused by that decision were clearly unjust. While Mr. Bush deserves all of the moral blame for all of the deaths associated with "regime change," he also deserves none of the credit for peace, whenever it occurs, since he failed while in power to create it. An arsonist deserves no vindication when a friendlier family eventually moves into the neighborhood and rebuilds a nicer home.
Vindicating Bush would be revisionist history in the worst case. That would mean that the ends were justified by evil means, a morally perverse principle which American conservatives and liberals alike are obligated to reject.