- Evaluate the fairness of Rachel Maddow's interpretation and criticism of the Bush Doctrine. With this in mind, assess if President Obama's decision to escalate the troop levels in Afghanistan deserve Maddow's accusation that he is following the Bush Doctrine.
For Maddow, the primary source of criticism against the Bush Doctrine is the unilateral commitment of troops wherever the perception of the "threatening of American interests" lie. Wherever the slightest intimation of terror exists, Maddow argues that the Bush Doctrine commits United States' military personnel in a unilateral manner. Maddow believes that the Bush Doctrine binds diplomatic efforts and replaces them with war. To a great extent, one can see this criticism as valid. Consider how President Bush articulated this doctrine in the days that followed the September 11 Attacks:
Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.
The War on Terror and thus the Bush Doctrine commits United States military personnel everywhere a "potential threat" is perceived. One element that has to be addressed is that Maddow does not see the issue of "moral war" that President Bush articulated as a critical part to the Bush Doctrine. Maddow looks at war as a calculated, political exercise and not one that might be waged for moral and ethical principles. This has to be included in an analysis of her critique.
Given how Maddow's stance on the War in Afghanistan was something for which she criticized the Bush Administration, it would make sense that she would continue this line of attack as President Obama increased troop levels in the region. Given her criticism of President Bush for the unilateral and binding manner in which troops are committed, it is fair that she offer the same criticism to President Obama for the same action. When President Obama uses the description of "new cancer emerging," Maddow sees that as akin to President Bush's binding "potential threat" test. Both seek to use military force and seek to remove other avenues from the discourse and from public view. For Maddow, the parallels are similar to one another. Both Presidents authorized military force in Afghanistan and have done so through invoking the notion that American interests are threatened in the region. At the same time, they have proceeded with this devoid of large international support. The unilateral actions of both Presidents in Afghanistan receive the same criticism from Maddow. This is fair because she applies the same standard to both leaders. Maddow's objections come from a position of advocating against war, in general. Maddow is rejecting the idea of a war declared by those in the position of centralized power, using military options in such a unilateral manner. She sees both Presidents as displaying the same tendencies. As the foreign policy directives of both leaders regarding Afghanistan are similar, they receive the same critique form Maddow.