Bush has made the War on Terror the central theme of his campaign. It is clear that he is dealy serious about this war...he has invaded two countries because of it. However, he seems to fight it very selectively, and this worries me greatly about letting him continue to run the War on Terror as I disagree with much of his judgement.
The War on Terror has two aspects to it: 1) Killing Terrorists. 2) Spreading Democracy.
So what has Bush done?
1) He invaded Afghanistan. This was all about Killing Terrorists. I was alarmed at the new foreign policy, but I'm willing to grant that this was the right decision. But please do not try to tell me that the war with the Taliban was about Spreading Democracy; if the Taliban had handed over OBL like we demanded, we never would have invaded and there would not have been elections in Afghanistan. Spreading Democracy was a very nice side benefit to our invasion. It was never a primary goal.
2) He invaded Iraq. I have a hard time classifying this as being part of the War on Terror. My rationale for going to war had nothing to do with the War on Terror. Cheney admitted that he had seen no solid proof that Saddam had connections to terrorists. Certainly the War in Iraq is now a central front in the war on terror because the terrorists have a vested interest in seeing Iraq become a failed state or a failed democracy. But at the time of the invasion, Saddam was not harboring nor materially supporting terrorists. Thus, while Bush claimed that the invasion was about the War on Terror, he was not actually following the new foreign policy guidelines regarding the War on Terror that he unveiled shortly after 9/11.
3) He has allowed Putin to move away from democracy. Putin is certainly in a difficult spot, but if Spreading Democracy is key in the War on Terror, then we must not allow demacracy to retreat anywhere that it has a foothold. Bush must use his considerable leverage with Putin to ensure that Russia becomes more democratic, not less. Bush has failed to do so.
4) He has allowed known terrorists to pass freely into this country unapprehended. Cuban terrorists cross freely into Florida unmolested, apparently because they are beloved by the cuban-americans in Florida, and Bush does not want to lose their votes.
Of these four things, only 1 counts as a success in the War on Terror.
Again, I feel that Bush is out of his depth. In the debates, he claimed that when he was first running for president he never imagined the possibility that he would have to send troops into harms way. Now Bush is running a truly complex war, a truly global war. As a candidate, it did not occur to him that as a commander-in-chief he would have to put his troops in harms way, and his unpreparedness and his lack of expertise have resulted in a poorly run War on Terror.