President George Walker Bush (left) has been the subject of much scrutiny throughout his 8 years in the White House. As with every human being he did make some mistakes but the Mainstream Media and extreme left wingers sought to discredit him at every turn and even now in his retirement.
Peggy Noonan was spot on when she said: “Disaffection for Bush gave us Obama. That explains the new affection for Bush”. George W Bush has increased in popularity since his departure in 2009 and the question that has to be asked is why? There could many but I think the answer is two-fold - Courage and Humility.
Bush believed and still does in freedom, democracy and the idea of America being a force for good. He didn't look at opinion polls, whether you think that was a good idea or not, it said something about him.
“One of my proudest moments is I didn't sell my soul for the sake of popularity” he was famous for saying.
In the case of Iraq, Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda and fighting Islamic extremism – he should tremendous courage to revolutionize the intelligence, counter terrorism and armed services areas of the government. This all stemmed from his response to 9/11 which shook him the core and changed him. As a vindication to him, Obama has kept many of the Bush foreign policies since 2009, even though he campaigned against them.
His humility is pretty inspiring. Obama has been able to use Bush as a stick to beat with at every turn. Time and again he was refused to way in to that. He said from day he was leaving Washington that he wasn't going to criticize Obama. He said:
I have zero desire, just so you know, to be in the limelight. I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor. You're not going to see me giving my opinions in the public arena, until I start selling my book. I'm going to emerge then submerge.
His brother Jeb Bush got frustrated with the Obama attacks and mentioned it at the Republican National Convention in 2012. Dick Cheney has responded to the Obama tactics but to his credit Bush has not taken the bate. That to me is a trait that is missing today in Washington. Everyone is beating each other up and no one is taking the initiative. It’s a bipartisan problem which Obama and the GOP are at fault.
The American people, with their now more favorable opinion of George W Bush, are realizing that he is a good man that made tough choices, not blameless but is a genuinely decent man. Obama even said that about him.
Now with his Presidential Library in Dallas he will be able to put his record of their for everyone to see. History will remember him like Harry Truman. He, like Bush was hated by the people because of a lengthy war (Korea) but in the end the truth will come forth and set you free.
History will judge him fairly and not the way the elite-media are trying to do. Facts are stubborn things and while he made mistakes from Katrina to not taking more of an active role in preventing the crash of 2008- he provided the American people with a clear direction in a face of untold terror, uncertainty and fear.
I would like to analyse some aspects of his presidency. A common theme from his opponents was that that the 43rd president should have been Al Gore after what happened in Florida. The claim was that Gore got more of the popular vote so Bush didn't really have a mandate. That would be true if America used the popular vote system. The founding fathers established the Electoral College system to ensure that the most populous states wouldn't have too much concentrated power. However if you want to play that way then in 92 & 96 Clinton received fewer popular votes than Bush did in 2000.
Another accusation is that Bush was ‘selected not elected’ to the presidency because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of 5-4 not to continue the selective recount in Florida. I would then flip it this way; if they say that 5-4 is illegitimate in this case then other cases of 5-4 should be deemed illegitimate as well.
• Miranda vs. Arizona - which gave people the right to remain silent
• Planned Parenthood vs. Casey extending Roe vs. Wade which legalized abortion
• Furman vs. Georgia which struck down all state and federal death penalties statutes
• West Coast vs. Parrish which upheld a state minimum wage law for women
Despite being labelled as the “worst” president in Americas history he somehow confounding the media and “experts” managed to get re-elected into high office by beating Democratic rival John Kerry in the 2004 election by some 4 million votes.
Now let us get to the issues:
In September 2001- America was devastated by Al-Qaeda in the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history. Seeing the Twin Towers smashed down and the Pentagon severely damaged, clearly had an effect on the President. So Bush and his advisors had a big decision to make. His approval rating was 80% at that time; he could have made a couple of harsh statements about the attack and had serious dialogue with the Taliban and try to get his approval ratings in the nineties and a dead certainty for the next election. Or, he could take a different approach and start holding the people accountable and make the extremists pay for what they had done.
Immediately, he went to work by announcing the axis of evil and by saying if you’re not with us you’re against us. Even supporters of rouge states were put into that column. It was very clear from successive speeches and actions that he didn’t feel that America was the aggressor and knew that this generations calling was to act now.
He went straight to Afghanistan with a large coalition excluding France and Germany which were run by defeatist liberals in Chirac and Schroeder. The coalition hit them hard and swiftly. After the Taliban were deposed, the coalition was helped by the emergence of Hamid Karzai a pro western leader who would take over the premiership of the country.
Bush then realized that it was time to broaden the war on terror. This would be beginning of the most controversial period of his presidency.
In 2003 Bush went to war with Iraq under the premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. This intelligence came from the CIA and the International Atomic Energy Agency reports.
Despite many people saying that he exaggerated the threat of WMD’s in Iraq for political purposes. The following people also believed what the president did about Saddam Hussein:
1. President Bill Clinton remarks to Joint Chiefs and Pentagon February 17th 1998- “more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction”
2. Harry Reid- CNN inside politics September 18th 2002- “The President is approaching this in the right fashion”.
3. Joe Biden- Meet the Press August 4th 2002- “we know he (Saddam) continues to attempt to gain access to additional capability. Including nuclear”.
4. Secretary of State Madeline Albright February 18th 1998- “Iraq is the greatest security threat we have ever faced”.
5. John Edward- Buchanan & Press January 7th 2003- “day after day, week after week of intelligence briefings about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and his intention on using them”.
6. Jay Rockefeller- senate floor October 10th 2002- “there is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons”.
7. Nancy Pelosi- Meet the Press. November 17, 2002- “Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons there is no question about that”.
All of the above did say at some stage that Saddam had nukes and was threatening to use them. Please also note the CIA director George Tenant (who was appointed by President Clinton) called the case a “slam dunk”.
In 2004, the Democrats knew the election was all about Iraq and you could see it. All they were talking about was how we are getting beaten, we shouldn't have been there in the first place, Bush is liar and the troops are occupiers not liberators. That is what was on the cards during the 2004 election campaign. Bush was left with 2 choices. (a)Cut and run and accepts defeat or, (b) get the job done and find a way to win. Bush chose victory.
In 2007, with the war in Iraq on the slide, President Bush decided it was time for a change of strategy. Whilst, Democrats were saying it was time for a withdrawal, no strings attached, Bush had other ideas; everyone who had half a brain cell knew that as soon as the troops took a city and moved out, the insurgents came back in and committed more violence. Bush took too long to react to the situation but nevertheless, he acted in the right fashion. He ordered a surge of troops to enter into combat and once they took control of a town they had a sufficient numbers to hold the vicinity. At the same time they could advance to other towns and provinces with enough support.
Well, despite the grim predictions from the far left media and the Democrats; the surge succeeded. Of the 18 benchmarks that were set 15 of them were reached and violence was down to such a level that in one month, more people died in Detroit than in Iraq. Whatever you say about the Iraq war and all the problems, Bush finally achieved success in what many perceived to be a lost cause. The success of the surge was so resounding that, 9% of the American electorate said that Iraq was at the top of the agenda in the 2008 election.
When it came to other regimes Bush was decisive in his actions.
He was very swift in removing Yasser Arafat from any potential negotiations in the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Bush took one look at him and realised that he was a veiled terrorist who had no interest in peace with Israel. So he sidelined him!
He refused to negotiate with Kim Jong Ill of North Korea and beefed up sanctions. In the last year the pressure has taken its toll and Pyongyang finally revealed some of its secrets. They say that diplomacy works but only with a bite and that his how Bush dealt with Pyongyang.
In Iran, a terrorist was ‘elected’ to the presidency by the name of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has continuously called for the destruction of Israel, denied the holocaust, trained and funded terrorist organisations, called for a second holocaust and aggressively seeks to become a nuclear state. President Bush had the right idea at the beginning and put a lot of pressure on such as sanctions and also refused to take the military option off the table. However, with two wars in progress he didn't have the resources to start another one.
Very few presidents actually get both the economy and foreign policy correct during their time in office. The last president to really sort both aspects of the presidency out was Ronald Reagan.
George W Bush put all his efforts into foreign policy which I believe has made America safer. The fact that there has been no terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 is down to Bush. Simultaneously, the economy has tanked, he has let spending get out of control and the deficit is higher than ever. His reward for this will be that his legacy on the economy will be negative.
Many people are putting their blinkers on when analyzing President Bush. On the left they believe that everything that he has done is a complete catastrophe. On the right they believe that he has handled the economy brilliantly.
He has however, got foreign policy spot on. Since 9/11 he has taken the fight to the terrorist and has largely succeeded. He has given the people of Iraq and Afghanistan a chance of freedom and prosperity. He realized who America’s enemies were and was clear in his thinking.
He never gave into the appeasers and never consulted opinion pollsters before making a policy decision. His legacy will be Iraq, 9/11 & the 2008 Recession. He will be looked back as the leader who snatched 'victory from the jaws of defeat' in Iraq and the man that courageously lead America through 9/11 and saw the signs of evil and vowed to destroy it.
Remembering that day now is quite humoring. My friends laugh at me about my support for Bush and the fact that I was a Democrat. My response has always been that a certain Ronald Reagan was Democrat before he saw the light!
President Bush taught me a lot about principles and core beliefs. He faced a lot of detractors during his time in office and many people argued that he was doing the wrong thing in Iraq, but he stood on principle and saw the job through. A lot of people when facing difficult times find it is easy to 'cave in' and do the easy thing. I tell them to look at the case of Iraq and what Bush did. He never gave in and fought to the end on core principles to dramatic effect. Whilst every famous figure has faults and Bush will admit he had many, it is essential that you take away as much of the good as possible from his time. You must be objective and look at the case at the time, not retrospectively. 99% of people would've done no different to what Bush during his presidency.
When it comes to President George W Bush you can’t deny that he is stood on principle, never gave up and will be judge as a tremendous leader during very hard times in the 21st century.