“Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics”

5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 13, 2013
6:30 pm on Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Room 316, CAS 725 Commonwealth Avenue
Educated at Boston College, Professor Knott has taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Virginia, where he served as co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program and directed the Ronald Reagan Oral History Project. He is currently Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College. His books include Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth, Secret and Sanctioned: Covert Operations and the American Presidency, The Reagan Years, and At Reagan’s Side: Insiders’ Recollections from Sacramento to the White House. His most recent book, Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics, forms the basis for this talk on misperceptions of President George. W. Bush's 'war on terror' and other executive policies. George W. Bush has been branded the worst president in history and faces accusations that he abused his power while presiding over a "lawless" administration. Professor Stephen Knott contends that Bush has been treated unfairly, especially by presidential historians and the media. He argues that from the beginning scholars abandoned any pretense at objectivity in their critiques and seemed unwilling to place Bush's actions into a broader historical context. He offers a measured if provocative critique of the professoriate for its misuse of scholarship for partisan political purposes, a defense of the Hamiltonian perspective on the extent and use of executive power, and a rehabilitation of Bush's reputation from a national security viewpoint. He argues that Bush's conduct as chief executive was rooted in a tradition extending as far back as George Washington: not an "imperial presidency," but rather an activist one that energetically executed its constitutional prerogatives.