The Bush Doctrine has been one of the most controversial security policy initiatives in recent decades. Much of the controversy stems from its expansive definition of preemptive attack and its apparent advocacy of political regime change. The rest stems from its application to the Iraq case. Despite voluminous criticism at home and abroad, President George W. Bush has not retreated from the doctrine’s central principles. In the first presidential debate of fall 2004, he explicitly defended them.
We’ve upheld the doctrine that said, if you harbor a terrorist, you’re equally as guilty as the terrorist. . . . In Iraq, we saw a threat and we realized that after September 11th, we must take threats seriously before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell; America and the world are safer for it. . . . The best way to protect this homeland is to stay on the offense.
Should the Bush Doctrine remain the touchstone for American security policy in the coming years, despite its critics?