Every nation on Earth has suffered through dark periods in their history and either learned from their mistakes, made changes, and progressed, or fell victim to their own incompetence and failed. America has had its share of trials and tribulations over its 236 year history, and yet it still prevailed to become the greatest nation on Earth until the eight year self-inflicted wound under the George W. Bush administration. Over the past few days, inordinate attention has been given to Bush and the opening of his presidential library, and it is beyond the pale that this nation, or any of its people, would give any attention to the man who presided over one of the nation’s darkest periods in its history.
The concept of giving any regard, especially kind regards, to a convicted war criminal whose only relationship to a library should be a weekly visit to a federal prison library reveals that many Americans have very short memories. Even President Obama’s memory is a little fuzzy because he did say that “the failed policies of George W. Bush wiped away a budget surplus and squandered the legacy of bipartisan foreign policy. Mr. Bush put two wars on a credit card, led the country away from our values and crashed the economy.’ There is a sense of irony that while President praised and dedicated a library to the man who tarnished the nation’s great name and sent the economy into deep recession, a week ago a report was released condemning America of unspeakable acts of torture with full knowledge of the highest levels in the Bush administration.
America will feel the effects of the Bush years for a generation at least, and it is a mystery how the man can show his face in public, but he was joined by the current and three former presidents and a bevy of supporters who are either are still deluded by Bush’s “mystique,” or erased the 8-year nightmare that was the his presidency. Worse, a new poll revealed that although a majority of Americans consider Bush’s 8-year tenure as president a failure, 80% of Republicans surveyed thought that George W. Bush’s presidency was a success.
Any American who considers Bush a success reveals themselves to be just as despicable as he was, and truly un-American for approving of some of the worst decisions in the nation’s history, and committing some of the most unspeakable inhumane acts known to mankind. When one reflects on the atrocities Bush presided over, condoned, and in most cases, ordered directly, and learn that 8 out of ten Republicans approve, it explains why they continue supporting GOP policies that have prevented America from recovering a semblance of its former greatness and why this nation is in decline. If Bush had been president 20 years ago, one might understand how memory-impaired Republicans would harken back fondly to two wars, crushing economic travails, and an out of control financial sector, but it has been less than five years since the worst administration in history destroyed America’s reputation around the world and wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy.
It is difficult to imagine if Bush’s supporters consider success the senseless slaughter of hundreds-of-thousands of Iraqi civilians and a million more fleeing as refugees, or elevating the Islamic Republic of Iran as the major power in the region. It is possible they celebrate the successful loss of thousands of brave American soldiers killed in pursuit of oil and no-bid contracts for Dick Cheney’s company Halliburton, or maybe it is the report last week that under the Bush administration America is guilty of violating the Geneva Convention and ordering Americans to torture alleged “enemy combatants.” Bush and his cronies are at least partly culpable for the terror attacks on 9/11 for ignoring clear warnings that Osama bin Laden intended to hijack commercial airliners and crash them into American buildings a month before the World Trade Towers and Pentagon were attacked and a hijacked passenger airliner crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
Despite the damage Bush wrought on Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, and economic suffering for most of the civilized world, it is the deliberate damage he brought on Americans that will haunt this nation for decades. The debt coming due for the two unfunded wars will reach $6 trillion over the next thirty years, and coupled with the gifts to the pharmaceutical industry and richest 1% of income earners, the nation’s economy will not fully recover for a decade; if ever. Unfortunately, although Bush is no longer in office, his GOP sycophants spent the past four years maintaining his fiscal agenda that restricted job growth during his presidency and continues unabated under the GOP’s Bush doctrine of deregulation and entitlements to corporations. The push to privatize Medicare and Social Security is a clear and present danger to retired and retiring Americans today, but they were on Bush’s wish list throughout his presidency. The nightmare just will not end.
President Obama had a stellar opportunity to right America’s reputation on the world stage when he came into office, but instead of directing the Justice Department to go forward with indictments for torture, treason for outing an active CIA agent, and lying to the American people to take the nation to war, he said he did not want to look backwards and instead looked forward to put America on a path of recovery. However, he has spent four years looking forward into Bush’s mistakes and constantly fighting Republicans perpetuating Bush policies that still retard economic growth and keep Americans out of work.
Last year, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and five other high-level Bush officials were convicted of war crimes, and last week The Constitution Project reported that without a doubt, America was guilty of torture with full knowledge and approval of the Bush administration, and yet as the statute of limitations runs out, there is no investigation or action from the Justice Department to hold Bush and his cronies responsible for war crimes and acts of treason. The Obama Administration’s inaction is not looking forward, it is looking away as if nothing happened and informs the rest of the world that America not only condones torture, they protect the guilty parties from prosecution. It makes one wonder why 80% of Republicans who consider Bush a success hate President Obama when he protected their favorite son from the wheels of justice.
For many Americans, the Bush administration and Republican malfeasance he incited will forever be one of America’s darkest periods, and sadly, there is no respite as Republicans in Congress continue his corporate entitlement and deregulatory policies without pause. It is difficult to believe that 8 out of 10 Republicans still consider Bush a success, because 80% of Republicans are not in the 1% richest class and certainly most have suffered economic consequences of the nation’s worst recession since the Great Depression. Perhaps Americans just want to forget Bush and the monumental damage he caused America and the world, and it is possible that President Obama was right to look ahead and not backwards, but with Bush’s incompetent presidency still plaguing the American people, and his foreign policy inciting an American Muslim to bomb innocent civilians in Boston, it is impossible to look ahead without seeing the Bush nightmare.
Obviously there are Americans who have fond memories of the Bush presidency, but for most Americans, it was eight years of sheer torture with economic disaster, thousands of soldiers killed and maimed, and crushing debt that has yet to come due. Maybe Bush will revel in his library opening, and then fade back into the shadows, but for many, many Americans, just hearing his name and seeing his face reminds them who is responsible for the darkest period in their lifetimes.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.