Greatest Bush Administration Screw-ups
It's still too early to tell, but there is a growing list of evidence that the Bush administration has be the most disastrous in history.
The war in Iraq has claimed over 4,500 US and 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, cost over $700 billion dollars, and shifted a regional balance of power to Iran. There is a growing consensus that the Iraq war was started with deliberately false evidence, planned by top Bush advisers long before 9/11. Although there is long-term hope for democracy, the Iraq war drained valuable resources from the true war on terror in Afghanistan and weakened America's image abroad.
Sources close to the Bush administration report that the decision to invade Iraq was made before 9/11. The case for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction proved entirely false, and evidence used to support the case was at best greatly exaggerated by Bush's war-hungry top-brass. It is well documented that Dick Cheney pressed the CIA for damning WMD evidence to make a case for war, manipulating the press with unsubstantiated claims of Iraq's nuclear capabilities.
September 9, 2001 saw a series of coordinated suicide attacked on 3 US targets, claiming nearly 3,000 civilian lives. It was the greatest terrorist attack in US history. Although the Clinton administration shares some blame, the fact is, 9/11 took place on Bush's watch. But more than that, weeks before the attack, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was told of a terrorist plot to attack the World Trade Center with planes. Al-Qaeda was shown to be a serious threat, but these warnings were waived off.
In the summer of 2005, Katrina wreaked the greatest, costliest natural disaster in U.S. history when the category 4 hurricane slammed into New Orleans, leaving 1,800+ dead. Bush could hardly be blamed for a hurricane, but government response by FEMA was abysmally late, in large part due to the incompetence of Bush-appointed FEMA-direction and crony, Michael Brown.
In 2003, the identity of active CIA operative and wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson was leaked to the press by Scooter Libby, assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney. The decision to compromise Valerie Plame's cover came from Cheney himself as retribution for her husband's refusal to play part in the Administration's manipulation of evidence justifying the invasion of Iraq. Scooter Libby was convicted for obstruction of justice in 2007, taking the fall for Cheney.
2008 saw the greatest economic collapse in American history, triggered by the burst of the housing bubble, which lead to liquidity problems in the banking system. While blame for the mortgage bubble can be largely attributed to US consumers, reduction of Wall Street and corporate regulation was the Bush administration's policy for two full terms. Failure to properly oversee the banking system and trading of junk bonds led to the worst economic climate since the great depression, with a domino-effect circling the globe.
Habaes Corpus, or the right to a court trial, is a fundamental principle guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. After 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war, cases began to appear of terrorist suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay and other facilities without access to court trials. In many of these cases, suspects were innocent, but detained for years with out evidence. Bush and Cheney vigorously defended their right to detain individuals without trial because they were classified as "enemy combatants", even though many suspects never wore a uniform. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that enemy combatants must be granted trail rights.
In 2001, the Bush administration drastically cut down provisions in the Clean Air Act of prior generations, allowing large corporations to avoid upgrading dirty facilities, reversing progress in the fight to reduce toxic emissions. Under Bush's "cap-and-trade" system, companies can pay to pollute more. Incidentally, many of the companies benefiting from Bush's new, lax Clean Air Act were major contributors to his political campaign.
In 2008, following Bush administration orders, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed a gag order on all its scientists to prevent them from speaking candidly about growing evidence of global warming. The gag rule is just one of many cases of the Bush administration's contempt for scientific research. The Bush administration consistently denied the threat of global warming, opposed tighter emission standards, and refused to participate in global environmental treaties.
After 9/11, the Bush administration set up a terrorist surveillance program that allowed the NSA to run warrantless surveillance on any electronic communications, including phones and emails, in which one party was believed to reside offshore. An executive order was all that was required. After much controversy, Bush admitted to violating the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Afterwards, Bush circumvented a court mandate requiring warrants, with a stopgap measure and gave retroactive immunity to Verizon, AT&T, and Qwest for eavesdropping on Americans.