Our friend LI at Too Conservative has a great discussion going about George W. Bush’s legacy. Here is my take:

Toppling Saddam was the right thing to do, in my view, but handling the occupation with military-lite was a really bad idea. We started “rebuilding” before our soldiers had put the hammer down on all the bad guys. “Rules of engagement” … whatever happened to WINNING. The war should have been fought less like Vietnam and more like “Devil’s Guard” by Elford. Don’t get me started …

On the other hand, we have not been attacked on American soil in roughly 6.5 years. Our men and women are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. Bush has delivered on homeland security.

On the OTHER hand, as a relative who is pretty non-political but leans conservative said to me, “I don’t know why we have our young men and women over there dying for those people.”

There is a strong sense among many Americans the money and blood America has contributed to securing Iraq is looking like a questionable investment considering what the Iraqis themselves are contributing. Let’s be blunt: They don’t seem worth it. This may be unfair, but the perception is they don’t care enough to fix their own country so how can we fix it for them.

The resolution of this whole war with the religious fanatics we no longer are supposed to identify by name will be years in the future, and I agree Bush’s legacy on this issue will be determined by how it ends.

But right here and now, why the hell are we spending billions of dollars a month to rebuild and secure Iraq when they are sitting on an ocean of oil? If the Democrats had managed to nominate someone without the crushing negatives of Barack Obama, I would say they win in November in a walk just by repeating the above sentence over and over.

On the OTHER hand, Bush did well with his Supreme Court appointments. In fact, he did phenomenally well. He did much better than his dad. The only way W could have done better would have been if he’d been able to make another appointment. Platinum legacy on this issue.

But on the ultimate, final, this-is-it-and-no-tag-backs hand, Bush was a disaster on illegal immigration. Previous recent presidents were no great shakes on immigration enforcement, but the Bush administration turned a blind eye, opened the floodgates, and cut our enforcement agencies off at the knees for years.

As an example, the illegal invasion of Herndon began under Clinton, but hastened greatly under Bush. The invasion of Sterling, as with so many American communities, was 100% on George W. Bush’s watch, after word got around in the business community that Title 8 of the U.S. code was now officially classified under: fuhgetaboudit.

People say, well GW Bush has ALWAYS said he’s in favor of free flow of people and goods across our border with Mexico, so anyone who is disappointed with how his executive branch managed immigration enforcement simply was not listening when Bush was working his way up the ranks. Fair enough. So we can’t nail him for being duplicitous, and shame on us for not calling him out on it before he became, er, president of the United States. But his policy of allowing a massive increase of illegal immigration was a bad one and the results have been bad, and his legacy will reflect this terrible public policy mistake.