Sad that this needs to be said. Even sadder that so few Republicans are saying it.

President George W. Bush is rightly remembered as a failed president because of Iraq, Katrina, and more.

I’ve always thought he was a pretty decent man who deserved credit for several things. Foremost was his personal triumph of PEPFAR, which saved millions of lives around the world. There was also his support for mental health parity and his support for religious tolerance after 9/11.

We’ll never know what would have happened had 9/11 not erupted on his watch. I suspect that he would have had a different, more worthy presidency. (h/t Fusion–more here.)

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

4 thoughts on “Sad that this needs to be said. Even sadder that so few Republicans are saying it.”

  1. Bush does deserve some praise for PEPFAR, but the program might have accomplished more without the ideologically driven requirement to spend money promoting absintence or fidelity to a single partner. That spending appears to have accompished nothing at all:

    Other cases where the law may have sacrficed effectiveness for ideological reasons include the prohibition on needle exchange programs, and the requirement that organizations receiving funding explicitly condemn prostitution.

  2. "a pretty decent man" who lied the nation into a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people, who allowed the illegal torture of hundreds or thousands, with many tortured to death, and who violated the Constitution by imprisoning people for years without due process.

  3. George Bush was not then nor is he now a decent man. I might think he has some tiny fraction of a gram of decency if he repudiated his actions but until then he still deserves to be tried for war crimes and burn in hell. Actually he still would deserve both because that won’t bring back the dead or fix the colossal mess he made. It might have some salutary effects on the current hysteria, but I doubt it.

    Invasion of Iraq was already baked into the plan before the inauguration. It was gonna happen with or without 911. The fact that W was a hapless dupe of Cheney and Rumsfeld is no excuse. Stupidity does not excuse evil.

  4. Incompetence is the handmaid of evil. The failed response to Katrina facilitated the horror that happened afterwards. If a decent human being had been in charge of things and/or the people in the super dome hadn’t been black, they would not have been locked into that hell hole and left to suffer and die. And in spite of the incompetence in the white house, you can be sure that if Katrina had been bearing down on Miami, the response would have been much more effective and “heck of a job” Brownie would have been a lot more closely supervised.

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