George W. Bush is gone but not forgotten

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by Helen Thomas 

George W. Bush admits to some “disappointments” during his eight White House years but he hesitates to call them “mistakes.”

At his last news conference as president, Bush cited Abu Ghraib — the notorious Iraq prison where U.S. soldiers abused and tortured prisoners — as a “huge disappointment,” even though he had approved of harsh interrogation techniques.

“I don’t know if you want to call those mistakes or not,” Bush told reporters “but there were things that didn’t go according to plan.”

Here’s a bizarre Bushism. In one of his strangest statements as president, Bush said that Iraq’s “not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment.”

     

Wait a minute.

helen_thomassharpThe absence of those weapons should have been good news. But it was a huge disappointment for Bush, because he had had staked his public rationale for attacking Iraq on the existence of those alleged weapons. When none were found, it became a disappointment for Bush because it meant that he had committed U.S. military forces to invade Iraq in 2003 on either erroneous information or a lie.

More than 4,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq since then. Imagine the disappointment of their families and loved ones.
To this day, Bush has not given a credible explanation for his war that also has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Well, a mea culpa was too much to expect. Reporters who have covered Bush day by day found him in denial, defensive and self-righteous as he turned power over to Barack Obama.

To the end, Bush strongly disagreed that the U.S. moral standing in the world had been damaged by the attack on Iraq. The U.S. image “may be damaged amongst some of the elite, but the people will understand America stands for freedom, (and) that America is a country that provided such great hope,” Bush said.

As for the global economic meltdown, the president admitted he had to abandon his free-market principles and approve of massive government intervention in the economy. He said this switcheroo was required in order to save the free market system. The logic evoked the Vietnam era when we had to destroy a village in order to save it.

In an interview with Fox television correspondent Brit Hume, Bush said “being the commander-in-chief” was his main point of pride, a sentiment voiced by former Vice President Dick Cheney in his own farewell interviews.

The strange twist here is that both Bush and Cheney found ways to skip the draft during the Vietnam era, although they were eligible and in good health.

Heading back home to Texas, Bush said he was “getting off the stage,” adding he had had “my time in the klieg lights.”

Gone but not forgotten, he plans to write a book and said he will be “opining” at times. I’m waiting with bated breath.

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