Eugene Cho

george bush – the worst president?

Earlier today, I wrote a post sharing some praises for President George Bush and his work and leadership in and for Africa.  It’s not my intent to incite anger from any Bush-adoring blog visitors.  I’m simply sharing one thought in my mind that qualifies Bush for the conversation as one of the worst presidents in our country’s history.

The issue:  The War in Iraq.

Consider some of these thoughts from Susan Mark Landis from the Mennonite Church USA and a organizer of the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq:

Society cannot afford war. For what we spend on just ONE DAY of the Iraq War (approximately $720 million), we could provide:

· 12,478 elementary school teachers, or
· 163,525 people with health care, or
· 6,482 families with homes.

Soldiers cannot afford war. Early reports are that one in six soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and one in three show symptoms. Increasing numbers of military parents are losing custody of their children following deployments as judges rule their home life is unstable. And the number of American military casualties in Iraq will soon reach passed 4,000.  [The most recent casualty list [total allied forces] = 4437 and counting.]

Iraqis cannot afford war. In October of 2007, the average home in Baghdad had electricity only six hours a day. Most people lack clean drinking water, which is electrically pumped to residents. We are unable to count the number of Iraqis who have died because of the war; estimates vary from 81,000 to well over 1 million .

The U.S. cannot afford war.No country, especially one that seeks moral standing throughout the world, can afford to make war. As Christians, our hearts are wrenched when our sisters and brothers around the world associate the actions of the U.S. government with Christian beliefs. We at CPWI believe all torture is wrong, because we honor each human being as a child of God. We believe that violence overseas is directly related to the violence in our communities.

Bush will be defined by this war – and rightfully so. 

Not simply as a christian but as a citizen of this country, I have to regularly ask the question because my country is at war; the leadership of the country I am a citizen of has responded and led us to war; my tax dollars are used in part to fund the war.  And while I understand the necessity and nature of “just war,” we must also ask this question to President Bush and the leadership of this country:

“Did we do everything possible to avoid this war?”

“Did we do everything possible to avoid this war?”

“Did we do everything possible to avoid this war?”

If the answer is “No” – the verdict is very clear to me.  President Bush’s presidency – while “good things” will have certainly been accomplished under his leadership, is ultimately but a tragic failure.  This country will have committed a great act of injustice:  we abused our power simply because we can.

Let us pray for peace and do our part to be peacemakers.

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

28 Responses

  1. […] george bush – the greatest president? Okay, so, President Bush isn’t the greatest president but I needed a catchy title. In fact, there are many who consider him one of the worst presidents – ever in history.  [Here’s my take why he may be considered as a failure.] […]

  2. Julie says:

    How can anyone in their right mind say that the government did all that they possibly could to avoid war? We could have chosen not to engage in war. We could have chosen to take other measures towards firm diplomacy. 4300 American deaths and countless Iraqi people. Breaks my heart.

  3. thewordofme says:

    We don’t know it yet, but we have been bankrupted by this useless war.

  4. allenrs says:

    I don’t agree with thing’s president Bush has done,but we just have to consider what he has been through.Would anybody want to trade place’s with a man that was the leader of the free world when the world trade center was blown up?I don’t and the man did what he thought he had to do,come out swinging and ready to kill.Imagine the torture his mind was going through that day and probably every day since that one.If the trade center hadn’t been hit he might have been a different president altogether.I actually feel sorry for the guy knowing what the history books are gonna do to him.

  5. sam says:

    The war, outside of the fact that it was a strategic failure in accordance the objectives that the current administration layed out prior, is in every essence a fraud according to their own policy. The Bush administration has constantly revised what the purpose of sending troops overseas was for. First, it was to search out and destroy weapons of mass destruction. Then it was to free the Iraqi people from Suddam’s tyranny, and create a democracy. Then is was to quell a supposed Al Qaeda insurgency in the country. Now, simply put, it is to create a government that will not erupt in civil war, and to have death tolls of soilders and civilians at a nominal amount. The objectives keep changing, and the expectations keep getting lower and lower. War aside, the administration, not since Woodrow Wilson, has clearly shown it’s facist intent. The Bush administration is remarkable in that it has been so good at using the war to bypass the normal checks and balances in place for a presidency. The fact that lawmakers and citizens fully bought in to the “Patriot Act” (sounds good, doesn’t it), only to have it as a tool for Bush to clearly create a facist state, where he could clearly ignored people’s constitutional rights, whether they were citizens or not. History i believe will truly show Bush for what he is. A immoral human being, with no conscience.

  6. VOTE AMERICA says:

    HE IS THE “WORST”….WHERE IS ALL THE MORAL AND SELF-RIGHTIOUS WHO VOTED BUSH INTO OFFICE? NOW WE GOT THE “CHANGE” CANDIDATE AND EVERYONE IS ON THE BANDWAGGON AGAIN. WELL…CHANGE HAPPENED AND BUSH & CO ARE LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK WHILE THE REST OF AMERICA IS IN A RECESSION.

    GET OVER THE DREAM AND LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD. VOTE HILLARY. WE ALL KNOW WE NEED ANOTHER CLINTON TO CLEAN UP THE MESS BUSH IS LEAVING BEHIND.

  7. saintlewis says:

    the problem w/ Bush’s presidency is that he claimed to be a conservative but – apart from social issues – overall proved to be liberal. But a complete failure? I’d leave that one to Jimmy Carter.

    Now I’m just waiting for a “Ron Paul”-lite to run…one that’s electable.

  8. sam says:

    In regards to Jimmy Carter being a failure. It would depend what is a failure. As a president, hard to disagree. However, Jimmy Carter was one of the most transparent presidents of the modern era. Unfortunately, i have learned through his presidency, that being moral and having a concious does not always work in one’s favor. Ex: Iran hostage crisis. He took a huge hit for that, not being able to resolve the crisis before his term was up. What happens, Reagan comes into office, and suddenly the hostages are free. Miracle worker? Not really. We later come to find out, we bribed the terrorists with weapons. Totally against US policy. I painfully learned that being moral does not work to one’s benefit being a president. Reagan will be known (and rightfully so) as one of the most effective and dynamic politicians of the 20th century. But in all honesty, he did lots of shady things. Carter will have a totally different legacy, but as a human being, i absolute love the man. He is not a failure in my book, but a success. He just shouldn’t have ran for president.

  9. jasdye says:

    allenrs,

    i respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree.
    What does 9/11 have to do with Iraq?
    What does a terrorist group in power in another country have to do with a despot with absolutely no connections to that terrorist group?
    The emotional turmoil of a President is not something to pity. He signed up for the job. He sought it out. That includes any type of disaster or crisis that would come his way.
    Does his emotional “torture” justify illegal torture?
    How do the few thousand innocent lives that were lost in the Twin Towers justify the loss of hundreds times that of Iraqi men, women and children killed by the actions of a sovereign state that also took a ‘first-strike’ approach and – in the process – took out the entire infrastructure of the entire country. (much of which is noted above.)

    is he the worst president ever? i don’t know. his actions in and on behalf of Africa and Africans tells me that there may be more than meets the eye. but i believe he – like another all-time-worst president (U. S, Grant) depended too much on corrupt and inept aides and subordinates.

  10. Kamila Dewhurst says:

    George Bush Best President?!?! LOL! He’s the worst in the whole world.
    He started war! I hate war. I just want a good president and I think Hillary Clinton would be the best now.

  11. johnhendel says:

    You’re not too far off. Makes sense to me, at least, and I don’t think anyone’s nominating President Bush as our premium leader of the century lately.

  12. WP says:

    I don’t think we have any idea – yet – what a disaster this was will be to everyone.

  13. wardfunk says:

    Thanks for sharing these startling statistics.

  14. Plain and simple – He lied about the Iraq war. And now Afghanistan is slipping away.

    Usually, I say good can outweigh bad, but that seems to be that doesn’t seem to be true here.

    History will judge, but I dare say it won’t be very positive.

    Peace

  15. mariam says:

    I noticed you used the National Priorities website for stats on how the money squandered in Iraq could have been better spent. I recommend everyone visit that site. The focus there is what that money could have been spent on internally (in America). However, if you zoom out on your google map and look at the whole world, here are some otherstats. For 1/10th the amount spent on the war in Iraq yearly we could:
    -eliminate world hunger
    -achieve universal literacy
    -vaccinate every child in the world
    -give developing countries enough money to fight the AIDS epidemic

    To quote the article I’ve linked:

    “The implications of this cannot be underestimated. It means that a better and more just world is within reach, if we are willing to shift our priorities.
    If America and other nations were to spend as much on peace as they do on war, that would help root out the poverty, hopelessness and anti-western sentiment that often fuels terrorism — exactly what the Iraq war was supposed to do.”

    When Jesus said “forgive and love your enemy”, when he said “love your neighbour as yourself” and when he told us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and bind up the broken-hearted, he was not speaking of some ideal that we could never realize, he was laying out a blueprint for world peace, one that is arguably realizable if we are willing to readjust our priorities to love of God and our fellow man, rather than trying to protect the earthly wealth we’ve accumulated.

  16. Kacie says:

    Indeed. While war is at times worth the great cost, Bush has completely failed to produce any justifiable reason for beginning this one – there were many other options left on the table when he invaded.

    People around me still defend his actions, and for America’s sake, I hope that they are right and that there are still things that haven’t been revealed that justify our invasion.

    With information we have now, our invasion is a shame to our country.

  17. The sadistically ironic thing is that Bush, and people like him, really believe what they are doing is the best way forward. They really go to bed at night wondering, “Why doesn’t everyone understand I’m just trying to help? Why won’t they listen?”

    The thing with the leaders we have, and it seems to be a general problem with leaders is that they believe their way is the best way. They feel people should listen to them because they are the leaders. Opinions and insights from others usually cry to a deaf ear. Unless the leader places great trust in his/her staff, concerns rarely get heard.

    What is it about the human condition that allows for the continuation of this obviously destructive behavior? What would have been Bushes legacy if he didn’t invade Iraq – brought lasting freedom and democracy to Afghanistan, fought HIV/AIDS in Africa, rebuilt the U.S. economy after 9/11, and really became of a uniter, not a divider. That’s what could have been….

    Peace
    .

  18. びっくり says:

    I agree with your question (or is it three questions?), but I don’t agree with your conclusion. I don’t think the “abuse of power” claim follows directly from the failure to follow every avenue. Had we found even a small number of his chemical weapons or discovered any refining process for nuclear weapons, the majority of Americans would still be supporting the decision to invade.

    The problem is that a hasty decision was made on what turned out to be faulty information. Sometimes a President needs to make quick decisions, but speed and haste are two different things. Trying to buy yellowcake and transporting a nuke to America are separated by time and detectable physical activities. There was time to investigate further before deploying. Haste and abuse of power are two different levels of fault. I think you need more data to support your much harsher level of criticism.

  19. Matt says:

    Well, we do have a system that is designed to temper hasty decisions, one that has a whole slew of quirks and weirdnesses (electoral college, anyone?), but really works when given a chance. Rather than spend money on war, social programs, health care, etc, maybe we should invest in new Civics textbooks instead…

  20. Arthur says:

    I’m not going to debate the initial premise of this blog entry as it will be decades before history can judge Bush. Remember Reagan was reviled while alive but 2 years after he left office the cold war ended and he’s generally celebrated today, even by those on the left.

    The execution of this war was without a doubt an unmitigated failure in the first few years.

    I question Eugene’s premise that we should ask ourselves “Did we do everything to avoid war” Remember the US did everything to avoid war in WWII and there is a lot of bloodshed that could have been avoided had we entered that war earlier to stop Hitler. Evil prospers when good men do nothing and Sadaam was not a good man. Despite the problems in Iraq the people still long for democracy and freedom and it may end up being the shining light that brings freedom to the rest of hte middle east over time. Most of the suffering in this work…Darfur for example, continue to exist bc countries will not take up arms to stand up for justice and protect the innocent.

  21. me says:

    arthur,
    i’m not against military action. i would have supported a joint military intervention in rwanda and sudan and a few other areas. i would still support that.

    if our agenda is to dispose of evil leaders, there are others who i would deem as far more evil that saddam. time will tell if the war in iraq was a good decision.

  22. lbasinger2000 says:

    I think Bush has made some mistakes, but far from the worst president. Have people forgotten why we went to war? Should we cowardly back down and let terrorists continue blowing up things and eventually taking over our country? One of Sadamm’s men has come out recently saying there was weapons of mass destruction and could even tell where they are hidden , he went before the congress and they didnt want to listen. Why are the majority of people in this country so ignorant and believe everything the press says? Find out what is really going on and think for yourselves! I know a lot of military people over in Iraq and their stories are a lot different from the libral press of the United STates

  23. […] For those that care, I wrote two posts a year ago [?] about  George Bush:  Best President and Worst President.  Check them out.  He’s done some good things and I want to credit him – as others have – […]

  24. […] those interested, I wrote two posts a year ago about George Bush: Best President and Worst President. He’s done some good things, and I want to credit him — as others have — for his […]

  25. […] I received this comment last week regarding my supposed slandering of soon to be former President George W. Bush.  The funny thing was I was trying to defend him in that post about an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at him.  Okay, I know he’s not the greatest president and many can’t wait to see him out of office but we should give him some props.  Why?  His work and advocacy for Africa was signifcant and secondly, the reality of extremist terrorists is legit and he navigated the country through uncharted territories especially through post 9/11.  But I still don’t support the war in Iraq. […]

  26. Bret says:

    Amazingly, June was the deadliest month in Afghanistan under Obama…yet no posts? Can we all of a sudden afford this war??

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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