…in the same manner as Andrew Roberts, then yes….history will judge George W. Bush kindly. Much less critically than he and his administration deserves.
Andrew Roberts is a historian of some note, if his body of work and literary plaudits are to be believed. However, I cannot help but believe that his view of the Bush presidency as detailed in this piece in today’s Oz, is uncoloured by ideology.
history will listen to Bob Geldof praising Bush’s efforts over AIDS and malaria in Africa; or to Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, who told him last week: “The people of India deeply love you.” And certainly to the women of Afghanistan thanking him for saving them from Taliban abuse, degradation and tyranny.
Will those same peoples praise him and his administration for abandoning Afghanistan at the point in it’s history when full US involvement was needed, and Bush withdrew to focus on Iraq instead? Will those American’s who had their freedom abused by the Patriot Act be impressed with Bush? Will torture victims in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and countless unknown CIA interrogation centres thank Bush for sanctioning their abuse?
Do the citizens of Iraq genuinely believe America invaded their nation to save them from a terrible tyrant? Andrew Roberts does, and in that alone, his view is fatally flawed.
The next factor that will be seen in its proper historical context in years to come will be the true reasons for invading Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in April 2003. …Instead, the obvious fact that there was a good case for invading Iraq based on 14 spurned UN resolutions, massive human rights abuses and unfinished business following the interrupted invasion of 1991 will be recalled.
That single passage alone clearly identifies that Andrew Roberts is seeing only what he wants to see in an historical view of the Bush presidency. Defeating human rights abuses by employing human rights abuses; invading a sovereign nation on a false premise; ignoring the accepted processes of international law and over-throwing a government for the purposes of installing a more favourable government and solidifying a US presence in the Middle East are not cases for the action which took place. They are excuses, and very poor excuses.
The global recession now in place may well have been instigated through poor legislation of the Clinton era. I would go further and point out that in excess of 16 years of poor or no over-arching supervision of a capitalist system allowed to run riot is to blame. Those years involving a lack of attention to the economic detail leading to the current debacle rest as heavily with the Bush administration between 2000 and 2008 as they do with the Clinton era.
His administration failed to act after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and more pointedly, ignored the plights of the under-privileged minorities in New Orleans. The actions of the Bush appointed Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Authority bureaucrats are little short of criminal.
The Bush administration may well have done some good things, but I posit that those things were, and are a result of pre-existing aid programs already in place. The Bush administration failed to pay proper attention to the US health system and education outside of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ military recruitment sham. Failed to join the rest of the world in recognising climate change as a scientific reality. Failed in supporting medical science in it’s endeavours to advance therapeutic cloning technology. Failed to engage in collaborative foreign relations. Failed miserably on multiple levels, both moral and ethical.
Governance is more than military security and ideology. Governance is concerned with the greater good and George W. Bush, despite his claims to the contrary, did not adhere to that doctrine. In his own words, he did what he thought was right. His narrow views on many levels and those of his inner circle, his failure to act in the greater good and his abandonment of America’s real ethos of freedom and justice for all are how history should, and I believe, will judge his administration.