Finally, Bush does something right regarding Iraq. Credit where due.
If only all of the other neocon warhawks would follow his lead, just as they so eagerly did back in 2003. Instead, watching the news this past week has been like reliving that bleak era. Same old faces. Same old rhetoric. It's almost impressive how little they've let themselves learn. And it's downright audacious of them to think they have any authority to weigh in. I might think differently if they offered at least some contrition or concession — but instead they're attacking Barack Obama for not making the same disastrous and preventable mistakes that they did. They might as well admonish the president for having nuanced thought processes and the ability to learn from recent history.
Bush gets it. If he hasn't changed his views regarding Iraq, he at least understands that he's better off out of the public eye. He knows on some level (even if he never says so outright, or to himself) that the American public sees him as political poison. To say that the wounds his administration inflicted through the Iraq war are still fresh is an understatement — they've haven't even stopped bleeding, and the veterans are still in the waiting room for treatment. To see Bush's face everywhere once again would be salt on those wounds.
At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry (the loser in 2004) gave a well-received prime-time speech shortly before the Bidens and the Obamas spoke. Conversely, George W. Bush, a two-term president, did not attend either the 2012 or the 2008 Republican conventions. I thought that said a lot about both parties. And about each philosophy on foreign policy.
So good on Bush for his current reticence. If only he'd exercised it 11 years ago.