Guest Commentary by Gregory Hilton, Distributed by Matrix Media via WDHA 105.5 FM. (Editorial Note: This is part one of a two part 90 second commentary).
Washington, D.C. — President George W. Bush heads home to Crawford, Texas on Tuesday as the second most unpopular chief executive in modern history. His approval ratings have been under 40% for two and half years, and his final CBS/New York Times score was a dismal 22%.
Last April “Harper’s” magazine had an article on the viewpoint of professional historians towards the Bush Administration. It was entitled “Worst. President. Ever.” The scorn for George Bush will continue for quite some time, and if you rate President’s by their current popularity, then he would be considered a failure.
I have no doubt history will be kind to President Bush. Warren Harding was a very popular president at the time of his death in 1923, and Harry Truman’s approval rating was below Bush’s when he left the White House in 1953. The verdict of history was reversed for both men, and the same thing will happen with Bush.
The reversal is already happening. President-elect Barack Obama is changing positions he took during the campaign and his new views are in alignment with the outgoing Commander-in-Chief. It is also apparent that the Bush Administration has a profound foreign policy legacy, and the war in Iraq is ending in a clear victory for the United States.
The short term political consequences of the Iraq War and the Bush Doctrine were disastrous for the Republican Party. In the years to come, however, the long term impact of President Bush’s foreign policy decisions will be enormously positive for our nation and the world.
Bush’s military deployments have already given 52 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan a chance for a better life, and positive change can already be seen throughout the Middle East. Primarily because of the outgoing President, Iraq has been transformed from a chief sponsor of terrorist organizations to a frontline foe of these groups. Libya’s nuclear weapons stockpile can now be seen in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Syria’s stranglehold on Lebanon has ended, and Kuwait has an elected Parliament, and women have the right to vote and hold office. The international community is more united than ever in confronting Iran.
The Bush Administration promoted human rights in the Middle East and throughout the world. Their smart sanctions against nations such as Belarus brought about the release of all political prisoners.
Another person recognizing the change is Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the Lebanese Druze Muslims, “It’s strange for me to say, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting it was the start of a new Arab world.”
There were no attacks on American soil after 9/11 and in large part this is due to Bush’s Patriot Act and his creation of a Department of Homeland Security. His administration doubled foreign aid and quadrupled spending on malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention. The result is that over 10 million lives were saved, a record no other president can match.