Reflecting on eight painful years of Bush

By Editorial Board

Former President George W. Bush, initially elected eight years ago, ran on a platform to reduce national debt and pledged against nation-building and big government. Since then, he has done just the opposite. Though there is no way to recount the worst things Bush supported, there are several aspects of his duties as Commander-in-Chief that should be reviewed.

Managing the administration: If this can be taken in a positive way, Bush can be credited to sticking by the members of his administration throughout thick and thin-as ineffective as they may have been-which is one sign of a good manager.

The creation of a War Czar gave way to a number of incoming czars. A czar is defined as an emperor. It’s not clear where Bush got the idea that he could appoint emperors in the United States government, but according to Slate Magazine, President Barack Obama will continue with this trend.

Humanitarian aid and environmental protection: Though Bush may not seem like an environmentalist, he recently made a last-ditch effort by proclaiming 335,561 square miles of the Pacific Ocean as a national reserve, when the area is largely unowned by the United States.

Arguably, Bush has supported aid in Africa more than any other U.S. president by increasing annual aid from $1.5 billion in 2001 to $6 billion in 2008, focusing on retroviral meds for AIDS sufferers.

Bush was widely criticized for FEMA’s failures and his involvement with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, including not heeding enough warning to the people, nor responding efficiently enough with rescue and rebuilding efforts.

Protecting the country from terrorism: Some could say Bush’s best moment in dealing with terrorism came in the few days after 9/11, when he helped bring the country together. After that, it steadily sloped downhill.

The military responded quickly by sending troops after Osama Bin Laden, but years later, he is still at-large.

Then, in an effort to “protect” America, Bush signed the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act of 2006, undermining privacy rights at home and abroad-setting in place an environment that has allowed unwarranted wire tapping, allowing detainment without the writ of Habeas Corpus and disgracing the constitution.

The Bush administration then attempted to connect the events of 9/11 with Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Defending the nation: The United States set out to invade Iraq under three pretenses: Hussein was connected to al Qaeda; Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; and the people of Iraq needed to be liberated. The first two turned out to be fabrications, and the latter is now widely seen as nonsense. Without backing from the United Nations, troops were deployed to Iraq and “shock and awe” ensued. Without any clear plan for a post-Hussein Iraq, Bush addressed the nation in May 2003 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln with a “mission accomplished” banner in the backdrop.

Since then, the nation has been stuck in two wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where troops have been stripped of benefits after returning and are called back for multiple tours.

Overall, his efforts were aimed to keep America safe-whether it was by attempting to ignore inalienable rights or battering a nation into submission. But he has left the country in a situation with no easy way out. The economy, Iraq and civil liberties are a mess. The nation now looks to our new president to help solve those problems.