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The last president from good old America

20 0 0
03.12.2018

On Nov. 30, George Herbert Walker Bush passed away at the age of 94. As in the case of U.S. Sen. John McCain three months ago, U.S. mainstream media carried, over the weekend, numerous special articles or programs to pay tribute to the 41st U.S. president as if they miss those good old days in American politics.

I watched CNN all day long. Many former advisers and Cabinet secretaries of the Bush administration made appearances. Former Gen. Colin Powell talked about the Gulf War. James Baker, the secretary of state, John Snunu, the chief of staff and Condoleezza Rice told unknown stories, warmly remembering the life of their former boss.

When I was posted in Washington as first secretary at the Japanese Embassy’s political section in 1991, Bush was in the White House. Although his popularity was declining, everybody loved the president and respected him. Press conferences were tense but never hostile. No correspondents were as belligerent as they are now.

When I arrived in Washington, people asked me whether the U.S. forces should have taken Baghdad, instead of just liberating Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War. As a Middle East hand involved in Japan’s massive programs to help the U.S. and other coalition forces in the region, I said, “No, it would have been a big mistake if you had done it.”

In fact, that was the judgment of Bush. His opponents said he should have invaded Iraq and removed President Saddam Hussein from power. The president did not buy the idea since it would have “incurred incalculable human and political costs” by occupying and ruling Iraq. Bush was perfectly right, but........

© The Japan Times