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     Volume 8 Issue 54 | January 24, 2009 |

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Straight Talk

Farewell Mr. President

Nadia Kabir Barb

George W. Bush - heaving a legacy of bad decision-making and strange statements.

In the last eight years or so, I have never been a member of the George W Bush fan club and nothing has changed to make me feel otherwise. But I have to concede that over the years he has been the central character in many of my articles and his ability to turn a bad situation into a disaster has allowed me to express my views in no uncertain terms. So now that it is time to bid adieu to a president who has managed to inspire me and provide me with endless topics to choose from I am almost feeling nostalgic. Almost but not quite. All I can do is look back on a tumultuous eight years of the Bush administration and acknowledge Mr. Bush one final time in one of my articles. Somehow, I have a feeling the new president of the United States will not have the same penchant as his predecessor for making gaffes nor possess such a propensity for blunders.

Stepping into George Bush junior's shoes must be quite a daunting prospect for the forty fourth President of the United States, especially in lieu of the gargantuan mess that has been left behind. I am sure when President Barack Hussein Obama takes up residence in the White House and claims the Oval Office, the extent of his responsibilities will dawn on him and even if it means being one of the most powerful men on the planet, it is not necessarily an enviable position. If the current President is to live up to his promise, he has to pull his socks up from day one and start making right many of the wrongs caused by dear old 'Dubya'. Whether it is opening dialogues with Iran, starting a new peace process in the Middle East, closing down Guantanamo or taking on the Herculean task of tackling the crisis in the financial sector and bringing the economy back on track he has an uphill struggle ahead of him. If the great depression starting in 1929 is anything to go by, President Obama has his work cut out for him as this will be a long drawn out and painful process.

Some people may accuse me of being a little too harsh on George Bush and maybe I am, but all I can do is tell it as I see the last two terms of his presidency. If I think back, in 2001 the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda, in the US left the world stunned and we were witness to George Bush declaring a war on terror and labeling Iran, Iraq and North Korea the “Axis of Evil”. The counter attacks in Afghanistan did not “smoke” Bin Laden out of his “hole” and the failure to find the elusive leader of Al Qaeda sent the Bush administration on another wild goose chase, this time involving weapons of mass destruction that were supposed to be in Iraq. However this piece of intelligence proved to be baseless but despite millions taking part (myself included) in antiwar marches around the world, an attack on the despot Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people commenced. Six years on, Saddam may be long gone and the Iraqi people free from his tyranny but Iraq is in a state of continual turmoil and economic upheaval and ongoing violence. However, President Obama has stated that there will be an accelerated withdrawal of US troops in Iraq which has proved to be contentious to say the least.

One thing the Bush administration has been exceptionally good at is imitating an ostrich by burying its head in the sand and pretending that global warming was over hyped and blown out of proportion. Considering that the US is now the world's greatest carbon emitter and that the US is also the largest economy in the world, Barack Obama needs to pull the collective heads of his new administration out of the sand and tackle this long ignored issue.

I think many people around the world are heaving a collective sigh of relief as they usher in a new era in the United States with the first ever black American President and there seems to be a sense of hope and expectancy which is much needed and refreshing to observe. Who knows, this may usher in a time where tolerance and diplomacy take precedence.

I would not want you to feel that the entire eight years of President Bush was negative --- there have been many occasions where he has provided the world with actions and statements that have confounded and befuddled his audience. I have to leave you with some of my favourites.

"We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.''

"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe I believe what I believe is right."

"I think we agree, the past is over"
My job is a decision-making job, and as a result, I make a lot of decisions"

"I'm honoured to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein"
And last but not least “ They misunderestimated me”!


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