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Aside from the dry bromides, empty promises, and stale platitudes, the now deceased former President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush stood for weakness. He may’ve been a decorated Navy veteran but somehow he lost the nerve in later years. When it came to running for office, he sought to be a people pleaser and stretched himself too thin in appeasing everyone.
In the face of an enemy that really wasn’t, he sent troops to fight a war that America had no business in involving itself. Out of altruism and a disbelief in a selfish, America first foreign policy, Bush Sr. sent 219 young men and women to their deaths and spawned scores of veterans afflicted by Gulf War syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder. While these figures may seem small comparatively speaking, in the context of individual lives, one is too many. In his single term, he remained committed to duty, selflessness, and sacrifice, never once looking toward rational self-interest to guide the most moral nation in human history.
Inept in his role as commander-in-chief, it was the superior military that proved to be the driving force behind the overwhelming victory over Iraqi forces during the Gulf War. Without the willpower to succeed fully with the removal or death of Saddam Hussein, he left it up to his son George W. Bush to put 4,424 young Americans in boxes to have a dictator finally toppled (apparently). Bush Sr. didn’t just have bodies and disturbed minds on his hands, either.
When he said, “read my lips” it became a hallmark for lying politicians. We know that that they all spout untruths but to say with such vigor and force, “no new taxes” and then to hike them is a blatant disregard for the intelligence of the American people. His support for giving Russia billions of dollars in aid only worsened the relationship between the two nations. To bolster the corrupt country of Russia showed further timidity on the late president’s part. Giving to a blood stained, vicious state like Russia should have coupled with his intent to go to war as treasonous actions.
President Bush Sr. maintained the stance against abortion. Any president who denies the right to life of the woman does not deserve to govern. Bush Sr. carried out his years in office holding this very position and few checked him on it. This cowardice to face the fact that a clump of cells is a potential and not an actual human being marred Bush Sr.’s presidency. Another matter of life and death, this time in the tongue and on the page, stage and screen remained the president’s outspoken stance on obscenity.
With the case of author Salman Rushdie and his work The Satanic Verses, the President said, “However offensive that book may be,” which is a slap in the face to any writer who wants to speak freely without the leader of the semi-free world offering an editorial. His job was to protect Mr. Rushdie, the American publisher, or any other speaker regardless of how “offensive” the piece of work may be. It is the role of a president to defend free speech and to crush any would-be attackers who might arise. His icy relations with Israel stand as ugly reminders to his alleged anti-Semitism. To put down the only rational, technologically advanced society amidst packs of brutes continues to be a blight on this nation’s soul. For his meekness in the face of mounting pressures in a changing American landscape, George Herbert Walker Bush should be condemned. He cannot be called out from death, obviously, so let his missteps be a warning to future presidents. The ideals of reason and individualism ought to stand in stark contrast to Bush Sr. and his misuse of the position of an American president.
Bush Sr. should be remembered for his flaws and warts because of the jeopardy in which he put the United States. Whatever good he may have thought he did will never match up to the catastrophes he perpetrated against this country.