Yahoo News asked voters to consider President George W. Bush's legacy as his presidential library opens Thursday in Dallas. Here's one perspective.
COMMENTARY | Former President George W. Bush's presidency witnessed the terrible tragedy of September 11 only nine months into his first term. The resulting horror and desire to see justice done saw America invade Afghanistan, a nation where at least 2,182 service members have died.
Had President Bush focused the nation's resources and resolve solely on rooting out al-Qaida and the Taliban from Afghanistan, I would have supported his war efforts. Unfortunately, America was soon sent into a costly, protracted invasion of Iraq on the dubious claim that President Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States, a threat that was unproven. I'm not alone in that concern. Under his profile at the White House, it's noted that the invasion was "his most controversial act" and that while "Saddam was captured, but the disruption of Iraq and the killing of American servicemen and friendly Iraqis by insurgents became the challenge of Bush's government as he began his second term." That conflict ended only until after President Barack Obama took office.
President Bush's legacy will be remembered as polarizing for left-of-center and centrist Americans. Other controversies include his practice of adding signing statements to legislation, the CIA leak scandal, setting up Guantanamo Bay for indefinitely detaining suspects, the use of torture tactics like waterboarding, and an administrative disregard for global warming and a multitude of environmental concerns. It wouldn't, however, be fair to paint his presidency as all bad in the view of an environmentalist. He did create the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument to preserve those locations as protected places.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington D.C. in Germantown, Maryland.
- Politics & Government
- Saddam Hussein
- President Barack Obama