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In a lot of ways, choosing the Bush administration's 10 greatest moments -- disastrous failures, all -- is about as pointless as picking out your 10 least favorite hemorrhoids: There are entirely too many of them, and taken together they all add up to a throbbing mass of pain. But unfortunately, history demands that we at least make the effort so that future generations will understand why we perform voodoo rituals cursing Bush's memory before we go to bed every night.
Narrowing down the Bush administration's various debacles to a mere 10 was no easy fete. In fact, I expect that many people will express dismay that their least favorite moment was left off the list. "How could commuting Scooter Libby's sentence not even make the top 10??!!" I can hear some of you shrieking already. Well, I'll tell you. Essentially, I tried to rate each Bush disaster by two main criteria: its body count and its damage to the country's reputation.
5: Bush and Condi's Excellent Gaza Adventure
The Bush administration can be described as a slapstick comedy with an unusually high body count: Picture the Three Stooges and the Keystone Cops duking it out with cruise missiles.
There is no better example of this than Bush and the State Department's wild adventures in the Gaza Strip in 2006. As Vanity Fair's David Rose reported earlier this year, the trouble began when Bush started stamping his feet and throwing a hissy fit about having elections in the Palestinian territories. Essentially, Bush's desire to be seen as a "freedom president" meant forcing various swarthy third-worlders to vote in elections that would presumably result in U.S.-friendly regimes around the world. After Hamas predictably defeated Fatah in the elections, Bush decided he didn't like democracy in the Middle East so much after all, and he had Condi Rice tell Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas that "America expected him to dissolve the Haniyeh government as soon as possible and hold fresh elections." Apparently, Condi believed that having an American-backed leader dissolve a democratically elected government would warm the Palestinians' hearts to American aims. Long story short: The U.S. government decides to bolster Fatah by sending them a bunch of arms. Word of these shipments leaks to a Jordanian newspaper. All hell breaks loose; Hamas defeats Fatah and proceeds to use the American-supplied arms it confiscated from Fatah against Israel. The entire ordeal was an amazing illustration of the administration's complete inability to anticipate entirely predictable outcomes. Or as Khalid Jaberi, a commander with Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, put it: "Since the takeover, we've been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise."
Epic, epic fail.