George Bush served two terms in extraordinarily trying times. He was President for less than 8 months before the infamous 9/11 attacks on our nation. It has been over seven years since that dark day and most have forgotten how it felt to be fearful. The sense that our water supplies, power supplies and cities were in very real danger created a new America that day. The United States had never suffered bombing in WWI or WWII. We had never experienced a large foreign attack on our soil that generated so many civilian casualties. From that moment on, our nation changed - and so did our President.
The happy-go-lucky Bush was gone. Bush had to pull up his bootstraps and make tough decisions few individuals would ever enjoy making. The thirst for blood and revenge were high in America. Bush did not act rashly, but waited. When Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were indicated we offered to have him extradited and a pursue a police like action with this global criminal. The Taliban refused and the rest is history.
The great deciding issue of his Presidency has been the invasion of Iraq and the ousting of dictator for life, Saddam Hussein. It was for years depicted as a failure by the media. The French sponsored insurgency finally ceased in Iraq when we granted French oil giant TOTAL a multi-billion dollar contract and suddenly (surprise surprise) Iraq is much more peaceful and the insurgency is all but dried up. Bush's low approval ratings right now simply illustrate the power of the media to create whole cloth illusions and portray them as fact.
Bush made tough decisions. He was unapologetic and played right into the hands of the media who wanted to portray him as a crusader hellbent on his own agenda. He became a perfect scapegoat for the perpetually unhappy leftists, just like Ronald Reagan before him. The amount of sheer hatred directed towards this one man far exceeds the amount of hate almost anyone has received. Mass murdering dictators Stalin and Pol Pot have received less global hatred than George Bush received over the past few years. Even Hitler hardly generates the mouth foaming frenzy that the name Bush stirs in the rabid, unintelligentsia of this world.
George Bush was the tyrant who was going to declare martial law and become President for life. Bush was going to collect dissident citizens in cattle cars and send them off to concentration camps. Bush was going to rig the election machines so that John McCain would win. Bush was going to pardon himself and Cheney and a "neocon cabal" who were supposedly guilty of unspeakable crimes.
None of this materialized. As I type these words, George Bush has returned to Texas. He has endured 8 years of serving the nation and as a parting shot he got to listen to President Barack Obama's speech that was filled with barely concealed little stabs at Bush's Presidency. Not very class, but quite fitting from the man who could flip off Hillary clandestinely during his campaign.
George Bush's wife Laura has been a superb First Lady. Her class, warmth and efforts for the peoples of the world have made this world a slightly better place.
I can't tell you how many e-mails I received from folks asking me if I still "like George Bush" - referring to my blog entry about him during the 2004 campaign. The answer is not hard to give. I still do like George Bush. I think history will be very kind to him. Not historians alive now with their 2009 politically correct sensibilities, but the historians that follow after and look at the facts of his Presidency without the rancor or red-eyed glare of Bush derangement syndrome interfering with the assessment of the achievements.
Bush has many to be proud of. Ousting Saddam and the Taliban are high on the list. His efforts to roll back taxes are another. His efforts at curtailing nuclear proliferation. His efforts to fight slavery are yet another. And first and foremost are the way he managed to rally America back after 9/11 and convey to the world that the US was not going to be pushed around and that terrorists were no longer going to be able to hide. This post 9/11 nation owes President George Bush a great deal of gratitude. I'm quite pleased to be able to contribute to the miniscule amount of positive press he has received this day.
Thank you George and Laura Bush for your service to this nation. By those who appreciate what you have done - you will be missed. However, you both have well earned a rest from the stress and the heartache.
With heartfelt gratitude,