Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bush and his legacy

If you go to google news and type in something like george bush (legacy OR "place in history") you'll find tons of articles that are trying to assess how Bush will go down in history.

The anti-Bush writers point to Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, torture, Guantanamo Bay, wire-tapping and the Patriot Act etc as the best examples of Bush's failures.

The pro-Bush writers don't have much to commend him for - but the key one is that after the 2001 New York attack, Bush the Strongman didn't allow any other terrorist attacks to happen on American soil.

Apparently trying to fix his environmental legacy a little bit, Bush has also done something that actually is tremendously valuable and important - he created several massive marine protection zones which can be thought of as oceanic equivalents of National parks where marine eco-systems will be protected.

If you haven't read about the catastrophic state of the oceans by the way, check a special report by the Economist magazine called Troubled Waters - it isn't too big a stretch to say that there should be an immediate end to all human fishing in the oceans:
The fish that once seemed an inexhaustible source of food are now almost everywhere in decline: 90% of large predatory fish (the big ones such as tuna, swordfish and sharks) have gone, according to some scientists. In estuaries and coastal waters, 85% of the large whales have disappeared, and nearly 60% of the small ones. Many of the smaller fish are also in decline. Indeed, most familiar sea creatures, from albatrosses to walruses, from seals to oysters, have suffered huge losses.

Anyway - yes Iraq and Katrina (and possibly stealing the 2000 election by disenfranchising blacks in Florida) are enough to ruin Bush's legacy, but here are two more reasons that you won't see discussed much, but which have always really angered me:

A) Under George Bush, the U.S. administration censored scientific reports on climate change to lessen the importance of the studies, and minimize climate change as a problem. The Bush years also saw republican climate change deniers Joe Barton and James Inhofe in charge of different energy and environmental committees. Joe Barton was such a blood-thirsty demon that if you were a scientist about to release a "yes we're causing climate change" report, he'd launch an IRS audit on you.

B) With the appointment of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States, the Bush administration began a Stalinist culling of democratic attorney generals, replacing them with republican cronies who would help support the wire-tapping of Americans, the erosion of the rights of Guantanamo detainees, and the right to torture.

Good riddance George - even if America says it was faulty intelligence rather than outright lies that started the Iraq War, there are plenty of other reasons for you to go down in history as the worst president ever.

On a completely different note, watch this - especially if you play guitar.