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George W. Bush Presidential Library Makes One Understand Choices

by Todd A. Smith

 

Controversial Presidency

            President George W. Bush entered the White House in a controversial manner and the controversy continued throughout his eight years in the White House.

            Despite the controversy, the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library gave Americans of all backgrounds time to reflect on his presidency and despite some bad decisions; one has to admire his convictions and principles, which never wavered despite popular opinion.

            Bush was more of a leader than a wavering politician; far from the perfect leader, however, but one who was needed in our country at such a chaotic period. 

True leaders often do not win popularity contests and are sometimes wrong in their decision making, but despite the mistakes he made in office, the 43rd president of the United States should be revered for sticking to his guns no matter what, a value that is missing from many current politicians.

According to reports, the George W. Bush Presidential Library does not sugarcoat his tenure in office but puts visitors in his shoes when it comes to making tough decisions.  Bush’s autobiography Decision Points is an excellent read for fans and foes of his presidency because it allows readers to understand his thought process when making choices.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Bush vowed to never be on the defensive again as it pertained to limiting terrorist attacks on Americans. 

Although the Iraq War was a terrible mistake that uncovered no weapons of mass destruction, even his harshest critics have to empathize with his line of thinking.

“The airborne terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the thwarted flight against the White House or Capitol on September 11, 2001, in which nearly 3,000 Americans were killed, transformed George W. Bush into a wartime president,” according to WhiteHouse.gov.  “The attacks put on hold many of Bush’s hopes and plans, and Bush’s father…declared that his son ‘faced the greatest challenge of any president since Abraham Lincoln.’”

After that tragic day 12 years ago, Bush’s presidency would be defined by terrorism and it led to some difficult decisions, some of which were right and some of which were wrong.

Invading Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban after Sept. 11 was totally necessary.  However, the war in Iraq, which removed Saddam Hussein, was one of the fatal flaws of his controversial presidency.

No weapons of mass destruction were found, and although we removed a dictator out of office, it was not worth the loss of thousands of innocent lives. 

The interrogation tactics, such as water boarding, went too far but if one is charged with protecting innocent lives, they will do anything to accomplish that task.

Unfortunately, the economy suffered mightily from Bush’s decision to be involved in two simultaneous wars, but one can understand his thinking because of the foreign threats his presidency dealt with.

Despite his leadership traits, Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina deserved the criticism it received because when the lives of innocent Americans are in danger, rules, regulations and red tape should not stand in the way of one doing whatever it takes to care for them.

In the same way in which Bush did everything in his power to protect Americans after a terrorist attack, he also should have done the same thing after a devastating natural disaster.

Nevertheless, sticking to his convictions on such controversial issues as terrorism, abortion, same sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research should receive applause in an era in which politicians constantly evolve depending on opinion polls.

Often, leaders are not appreciated fully until they are gone.  Many leaders are not that popular while in leadership positions, but people tend to get a better view of them once they are gone.

Despite the many mistakes he made as president, Bush showed a strength that was needed in America at the time, and the new George W. Bush Presidential Library is the perfect venue to show the difficulty of being a true leader.

This article was published on Friday 26 April, 2013.
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