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Bush the Elder

Fri, Sep 22nd, 2006
Posted in Commentary

George Walker Bush, also known as Bush the Younger, Bush the Lesser and Bush the Minor, a Texas cowboy who likes to speak to a "higher father," should not be confused with his real-life dad, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president.

Bush the Elder was a distinguished public servant and diplomat, accustomed to dealing with the world's problems through international relations. He served as Chief of the Liaison Office to China, Ambassador to the United Nations and as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He also was elected to the House of Representatives.

He understood the art of diplomacy and the necessity of aligning US policy behind broad international consensus. When the US invaded Iraq in the first Gulf War, after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, it was under the banner of the United Nations.

Bush, Sr. stopped short of capturing Baghdad and overthrowing Saddam, something he was criticized for at the time, knowing that occupation of another country would leave us militarily in an untenable position.

Of course, we now understand what former Secretary of State Colin Powell meant when he told the present President Bush (43) about his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003, "You know, you're gonna be owning this place [Iraq]?"

And own it we do today, with American soldiers stuck in the middle of a sectarian war, a quagmire of our own doing, unable to exit peacefully or honorably.

Had George Sr. been president when 9/11 went down, the world would be a different place today. America would not be in Iraq and we would not be in danger of losing in Afghanistan because of a shortage of military resources. He would not have squandered the goodwill coming from around the world in support of America at that time, working, instead, to build a greater consensus of countries working for a peaceful future. He would not have given the Islamic world the opportunity to pick their leaders and heroes from the extreme end of their religion.

"Anyone who has even a passing personal acquaintance of Bush 41 knows him to be, roughly speaking, the most decent, considerate, humble, and cautious man on the planet. Also the most loving parent on earth. What a wrench it must be for him to pick up his paper every morning and read the now-daily debate about whether his son is officially the worst president in U.S. history..." Conservative Republican Christopher Buckley recently wrote in the October issue of Washington Monthly, in an article entitled "Let's quit while we're behind."

Buckley, who was a speech writer for George Herbert Walker Bush, went on to write: "Who knew, in 2000, that "compassionate conservatism" meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude and cronyism in disaster relief ...

"George Tenet's WMD "slam dunk," Vice President Cheney's "we will be greeted as liberators," Don Rumsfield's avidity to promulgate a minimalist military doctrine, together with the tidy theories of a group who call themselves "neo-conservative" (not one of whom, to my knowledge, has ever worn a military uniform) have thus far: de-stabilized the Middle East; alienated the world community from the United States; empowered North Korea, Iran and Syria; unleashed sectarian carnage in Iraq among tribes who have been cutting each others throats for over a thousand years; cost the lives of 2,600 Americans, and the limbs, eyes, organs, spinal cords of another 15,000 with no end in sight..."

That comes from a conservative Republican and friend of Daddy Bush.

Today, six years after being elected president, as Bush the Lesser fights Congress over the wording of the Geneva Convention on torture, let us remember that if the U.S. government were in the hands of Bush the Elder today, America would not be loathed overseas, our soldiers would not be spilling their blood in the Middle East, and moderate muslims would be encouraged to lead their people.

My, what a difference a generation makes.

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