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What Exactly Is the 'Bush Doctrine'?

2:08 AM, Sep 12, 2008 • By RICHARD STARR
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March 19, 2004
TERRY MORAN: That was the Bush doctrine we just heard. On this one-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, President Bush offered a very broad justification of American leadership in the world under him since 9/11. Not just since one year in Iraq. For American voters as an argument that the country is safer, but more as you point out, for the world, which has been divided by his leadership, that Iraq is knit, in his mind, very firmly into that war on terrorism. One omission which I believe will be noted around the world, he made no mention of the role of multilateral institutions, the UN and others, in this fight against terrorism. In his mind, it's clear it's American leadership with others following along.

May 7, 2006
GEORGE WILL: Now the argument from the right is the CIA is a rogue agent because it has not subscribed to the Bush doctrine. The Bush doctrine being that American security depends on the spread of democracy and we know how to do that. The trouble is, Negroponte, who is considered by some of these conservatives the villain here and an enemy of the Bush doctrine is the choice of Bush, which makes Bush an insufficient subscriber to the Bush doctrine.

I'll stop there, although anyone with a Nexis account can find far more where that came from. Preemptive war; American unilateralism; the overthrow of regimes that harbor and abet terrorists--all of these things and more have been described as the "Bush Doctrine." It was a bit of a sham on Gibson's part to have pretended that there's such a thing as 'the' Bush Doctrine, much less that it was enunciated in September 2002.