The first interview with prospective Vice-President Gov. Sarah Palin was posted yesterday, and there is one section in particular that had a few people wondering just how out of touch with reality the Alaska governor really is.

Whether or not Governor Palin is justified in her response to the no-context phrase “the Bush doctrine” is discussed in other places. What I would like to address here is the underlying assumption that these critics make that the war in Iraq is the most important and will be the longest lasting legacy of President Bush’s administration. While it is true that the war in Iraq has been a major part of President Bush’s policy for the past 6 years, to define the phrase “the Bush doctrine” solely based on this war is missing the big picture. In reality, the Bush Doctrine has been an overall polciy of securing the United States from foreign threats, and he has done this in two ways: eliminating enemies and gaining allies.

The part of the Bush Doctrine that is the most notorious is his process of eliminating enemies militarily. His two wars, the one on Terror and the one in Iraq, have been at the forefront of media attention since they began. There is widespread consensus that the War on Terror was justified, while the War in Iraq was not only unjustified, but also immoral. However, in looking at these wars from the overall Bush Doctrine policy of eliminating foreign threats, they both make sense. The War on Terror is less controversial (save a few of the homeland security measures), so I’ll really focus on the War in Iraq.

Quite a few people believe that the situation in Iraq is purely a Bush family affair. Bush Sr. started it, and Bush Jr. wants to finish it. Some assert it is a personal war because Saddam Hussein attempted to assassinate Bush Sr. However, the view of the Baathist regime in Iraq as a threat to United States security has been held for almost three decades now. Iraq was first put on the U.S. list of States that Sponsor terrorism on December 29, 1979 due to its harboring of organizations Abu Nidal, The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) among others. It was removed from this list in in 1982, and put back on the list at the opening of the First Gulf War in 1990. In addition to this, the Baathists had openly declared themselves as enemies of the state of Israel, which, given the United States’ strong support of Israel, made Iraq a de facto enemy of the U.S. as well. On the Presidential front, more than the Bush’s have recognized the threat posed by Iraq. The economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by President George H.W. Bush were actually strengthened by President Clinton and were only weakened (on May 23 2003) and then removed (on July 30, 2004) after the successful invasion of Iraq in the Second Gulf War. Thus, there has been a long tradition of holding Iraq to be an enemy of the United States, one that President Bush successfully eliminated during his tenure as President.

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