Send this cowboy into the sunset.

TIME’s cover story examines the Bush doctrine and how its failure has become evident in the wake of, as CNN’s summary suggests, a “litany of global crises,” including the “grinding and unpopular war in Iraq, a growing insurgency in Afghanistan, an impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions, brewing war between Israel and the Palestinians,” and, of course, the escalating North Korea issue, which has prompted Japan to consider a preemptive strike on the rogue nation’s missile bases. Meanwhile, Baghdad has erupted in mob violence, and some Iraqis are seeking deadly vengeance against American soldiers in retribution for the rape and murders perpetrated by other soldiers. Basically, everything Bush touches turns to shit—and the administration “has been forced to rethink the doctrine by which it hoped to remake the world.”

This would be frightening in the best of circumstances, but instead it is also almost indescribably infuriating, too, as Bush administration detractors have been predicting this as the inevitable result of “cowboy diplomacy” from day fucking one. And not only have these now-proven right critics never been treated with a modicum of legitimacy by the administration as they tumble half-cocked from one foreign disaster to the next, but even the media (and much of the opposition party) has refused to respect their criticisms by giving them a platform that didn’t come with a disproportionate level of scrutiny and suspicions of sour grapes, ideological blindness, or outright treason.

At every step of the way, there have been well-educated, highly-credentialed dissenters who have predicted precisely what has happened, not to mention a small army of both professional and amateur pundits who have done the same. They warned against turning our attentions from Afghanistan before the job was finished. They warned that Iraq would require a long occupation and more troops, that the Bush plan for the job would result in nothing less than a protracted quagmire. They warned that we ignored Iran and North Korea at our peril. They warned that our culture of systemic torture and abuses would come back to haunt our soldiers. They warned that Iraq would deplete our talent and treasure, and leave us less agile and unable to properly deal with genuine threats. And at every step of the way, they have not only been ignored, but ridiculed and accused of nefarious motives.

Now the best we get is a cover story that reacts with mild surprise and a disdainful attachment that the Bush doctrine of cowboy diplomacy doesn’t work. Wev. Tell us something we didn’t know six years ago, you placating, enabling wankers.

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