A colleague called attention to this ante-post-mortem of the Bush presidency, which does a pretty good--one might even say "fair and balanced"--job surveying the terrain. But my colleague added this in a letter to the editor of the National Post:
Dear Mr. Libin,
I found your article, "Bush Legacy Remains to be Written," in today’s National Post to be very thought-provoking as it provides a number of helpful guideposts against which history is likely to measure the legacy of President Bush.
I’d like to offer an additional thought on this matter. I have come to the conclusion that many years from now, when history looks back at the Bush presidency, issues that now seem monumental, such as the war in Iraq and the economy will not play nearly as large a role in history’s judgment as we now think. Rather, if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, a prospect which is becoming increasingly likely, I believe that in the final analysis President Bush will be judged primarily on his failure to prevent this. The world has yet to fully comprehend the nightmare which will unfold the day that Iran first detonates a nuclear weapon. Bush himself has likened the current time to 1938 and has squarely placed himself in the dock of history by noting that if we don’t act to prevent this development, then history will judge us in the same way that we currently judge Chamberlain and Europe for their failure to act when action was still possible. It appears that Bush is prepared to leave office with the almost certain knowledge that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons. It is for this reason, and not Iraq, the economy, Katrina, or the whole host of other current hot-button issues, that President Bush will likely go down in history as not just a failed President, but as one who, with full knowledge of the consequences of his inaction, allowed the unthinkable to happen.
He’s got a point.