Friday, January 9, 2009

Mario Roy | The Lost Years

There are 11 days until Jan. 20, 2009.


t r u t h o u t | 01.09


The Lost Years

Thursday 08 January 2009

by: Mario Roy, La Presse

Mario Roy writes, "George W. Bush will have been the most anti-American of all American presidents." (Cartoon: The Economist)

    George W. Bush still remains president of the United States for 12 more days. His successor on that day, Barack Obama, recalls that fact, adding, however, that once installed in the Oval Office, he will begin "immediate actions" with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general and the present crisis in the Gaza Strip in particular.

    For this is one of the most terrifying legacies, especially because of its repercussions in the Muslim world, that the 43rd president will bequeath the 44th on January 20: a virtually desperate situation on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. A situation made that way by a myriad of factors for which Bush's America is not entirely responsible - far from it; but which that particular America has nonetheless contributed to allowing to rot.

    It has done so by distancing itself from a relatively neutral mediating position that had been the sought-for - if not always achieved - objective of its policy on this issue.

    More than anything else, by his perfect indifference to the way things evolved in that powder keg, Bush demonstrated the character trait that has left its strongest impression on the United States and on the world: total contempt for reality, for pragmatism, and for effectiveness. All of which were offset - if one may call it that - by a quasi-mystical adhesion to a simplistic ideological corpus.

    From this perspective as well as others, as we have already noted in this column (but it bears repeating): George W. Bush will have been the most anti-American of all American presidents.

    In the United States over the last several weeks, people are trying to determine whether "Number 43" will be seen by history as the worst resident the White House ever sheltered.

    For example, was James Buchanan (Number 15, 1857-1861), deemed responsible for the Civil War and a veritable pariah of American History, more maleficent? Or Lyndon B. Johnson? Or Richard Nixon? People speculate.

    But the United States' population has declared itself (without mentioning the people of other nations - as we'll see tomorrow).

    Seventy-nine percent of Americans swear they will not miss Bush (NBC/Wall Street Journal poll). In all injustice, they will even forget the rare positive initiatives to chalk up to his record. Dynamic relations with India and China. Significant assistance in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Important reforms in education and, on a lesser scale, in health. Impeccable domestic security since September 11, 2001.

    Can we blame Americans for their black perspective?

    Would that very New York and Washington massacre have happened had Bush not neglected secret services' warning? (Calm yourselves, conspiracy buffs: no need for a plot; negligence did the job.) Will the disaster of Hurricane Katrina one day be erased from collective memory? Would the present economic crisis be as devastating had the federal administration over the years managed Wall Street with less blind faith and more common sense? Would public finances (a historic deficit of $1.2 trillion, we learned yesterday!) be where they are had Bush not embarked America on the Mother of All Follies: the Iraq adventure?

    In sum, the Bush years are lost years. Lost for the world's citizens. Lost for Americans themselves, who are probably the worst victims of the president they twice elected.

Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.  

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