Bush leave with dignity and honor, much maligned, but little appreciated

January 24, 2009

While the world and much of this nation were fixated on events leading up to today’s inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president and Commander in Chief, it would be ungrateful not to salute President George W. Bush for his service to country these past eight years.

Many Americans are disrespectful of Bush, the man. Evident is a Bush derangement malady, while at the same time many Americans are waiting in joyful anticipation of the hope and change promised by Obama.

Even before listening to President Bush’s Farewell Speech on Thursday, January 16, there was no question in my mind about his legacy. Although I have had my disagreements with President Bush during his eight years in office, he has been a great Commander in Chief. He has kept this nation safe, so safe that the Iraq war ceased to be a campaign issue in the November 2008 elections.

President Bush realized that the strategies in place prior to 9/11 were no longer working. 9/11 was not of his choosing. It was a curve ball thrown at him. Bush’s mission was how to deter a repeat of the catastrophic happening. How was he to beat back Islamist terrorists whose extreme views had become an international religion of murder?

Although vilified for taking this nation to war in Iraq, Bush’s action did remove a ruthless dictator. Bush was told early on that war casualties would be astronomical. While we mourn every loss of an American military hero, the 4,000 U.S. combat deaths is a low figure compared to past wars.

It was Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who not long age declared that the war in Iraq had been lost. Other Democrats wanted to set a time table for withdrawal – just a nice term for surrender. Then candidate for President Barack Obama proudly proclaimed that he was against the Iraq war and the surge, even after the surge was declared an astounding success. Yet Bush soldiered on as our Commander-in-Chief. The citizens of Iraq now have a chance at self rule.

Despite false accusations of abuse at Guantanamo where the most dangerous terrorists are housed and the controversy over FISA — a bill written in 1970 which could not have anticipated camera phones which led to the Abu Ghraib scandal — President Bush continued to put in place those policies which he through could best protect this nation. Bush never as did FDR during WWII, round up ethnic people and put them in interment camps. Likewise Bush, although accused of doing so, never violated the civil liberties of the American people. He has also refused to allow our troops to be tried in an international court. He has also remained steadfast in his support of Israel.

Maybe he’s not the most gifted speaker, and perhaps President Bush can be faulted for his inability to explain better to the American people the nature of Iraq war and what its been all about. Nor did Bush get help from his fellow Republicans in Congress who should have been front and center in educating the American people, especially on why America went to war and how weapons of mass destruction was only one of many justifications.

In regard to the tremendous spending spree during the Bush years, it is regretful that Bush didn’t veto authority more often. But here again House Republicans were only too eager to bring home the bacon for their constituents.

The U.S. House under the leadership of Dennis Hasterd, doled out money and earmarks that made drunken sailors look responsible. This was all done under the false assumption that the public would reward Republicans with reelection in the 2006 elections.


History of course is still a blank slate for Barack Obama’s presidency. I do wish Barack Obama’s administration well, but not those policies which seem destined to weaken this nation economically, morally, and militarily.

The moral component was brought home to me this past Sunday when I participated in a “March for Life” sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Barack Obama has promised Planned Parenthood that one of his top priorities as President will be to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) into law. May those who care about the erosion of moral values not be hesitant to express their concerns to all who will listen and especially to their elected officials.

For President Bush, a fair history about his failures and accomplishment is still years in the making. I feel certain, however, that history will conclude that the Iraq War was just and noble. Likewise, Bush’s Supreme Court picks of Alito and Roberts are a proud lasting legacy.

Americans should consider themselves lucky and blessed to have had President George Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney at the helm these past eight years, with leadership that strived to put the interests of this nation and its people first.


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