In a perpetual search of a "gotcha" question to lob at Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, ABC anchor Charlie Gibson revealed he didn't know what the expression meant, or if he did, he wasn't willing to say.
Truth is, according to Charles Krauthammer who coined the "Bush Doctrine" expression, there are a number of different meanings. Gibson should have told Palin when she asked him to clarify the question which of the meanings he was referencing. There was the old doctrine in which Bush warned that Iran and North Korea were part of an "axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." And that he would not permit it. It also meant that nations that harbor terrorists would be treated as terrorists themselves. There's the definition in the Sept. 20, 2002 National Security document that shifted the nation's policy of containment and deterence of an enemy to preemption. And so forth.
Instead, of acknowledging these differences, Gibson looked down his glasses at Palin as if he had nailed her. And then stumbled around trying to formulate a definition.
All he did was reveal his own ignorance or unfairness.
Here is the excerpt from the interview:
GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?
GIBSON: The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be? PALIN: His world view.
GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war. PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?
PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.