Earlier this week, George W. Bush, America’s 43rd Commander in Chief, released a video on Twitter to convey his feelings and offer advice to the greater U.S. population on the current COVID-19 outbreak. The video was released on Bush’s Presidential Center Twitter account and was 2 minutes and 47 seconds, consisting of a slideshow of photos and videos alongside Bush’s narration. The overall premise of the video, regardless of the intent behind the video, was to emphasize compassion and kindness during these difficult times. Bush described the sacrifice that medical and essential workers are undergoing to ensure that this deadly virus does not continue its onslaught and how Americans should monitor social distancing guidelines at all times.
The general conversation surrounding this video has been regarding George Bush himself and the contrast in how Donald Trump is handling this outbreak. Many people have found Bush’s video statement inspiring, a sign that this outbreak truly is non-partisan and impacts everyone. Others are using this video as a platform to further the attack against Trumps incompetence and lack of action against the Coronavirus outbreak. Although this video may look heartwarming on its surface, it is important to remember who the creator of this content is: George Bush.
Comparing what George Bush to Donald Trump does not make Bush better.
Sure, the video that Bush posted is encouraging, heartfelt and any other adjective you may want to use to describe it. This is only the case if you choose to ignore the decades of wars, violence, animosity that has passed under Bush from the moment he reached public office. Ignoring all of his war crimes and inepitude to countless disasters, this video makes itself out to be a walk in the park. By taking this public service announcement at face value, you are doing a disservice to those who lost their lives in New Orleans, New York, the Middle East and countless other regions of the world in which Bush either interfered and created a conflict or his lack of intervention heightened a disaster.
It is almost sickening to be in a time period that glorifies someone because they are able to speak coherently. Especially someone who during his Presidential terms, was one of the most disliked presidents of all time.
During the 8 years that George Bush was president, his ratings continued to decline, disaster after disaster. These ratings shrank because of no one other than Bush himself. By wishing that the current POTUS is Bush, one is wishing that all the atrocities that came with Bush’s presidency be ignored because he is able to work iMovie during a pandemic. Regardless of who is currently in charge, ignoring the absolute abhorrent decisions made by George Bush only 12 years after his presidency is hazardous. One video should not reconcile the actions Bush took against millions of lives across the world.
Bush led the 2003 invasion of Iraq, producing one of the largest losses of life at the hands of an American, ever. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives were lost because of what Bush put as “weapons of mass destruction” but were truly lost because the American government had a superiority complex. There is absolutely no reason to invade any country and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and doing so because of deceptive motivations is murder. Bush is a war criminal and should be treated as such. I am sure the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were moved by Bush’s empty words, his call for “compassion” and “kindness”.
‘He never recovered from Katrina,’ says a former Bush adviser and Republican strategist who wants to remain anonymous to avoid offending the Bush family. ‘The unfolding disaster with the Iraq war [a conflict which Bush ordered] didn’t help, but it’s clear that after Katrina he never got back the popularity that he had.’- US News
George Bush having the “moral compass” to call into question Donald Trump’s COVID-19 response would be justifiable if he had even an ounce of empathy and understanding that he so severely lacks. To lack as much self-awareness as Bush does is astounding. This is the same president who ignored the fallout of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that ravaged New Orleans and surrounding areas and instead continued his lavish vacation in his multi-million dollar Texas mansion. Bush continued his conceitedness when he, upon deciding to cut his vacation short, had photographers capture his reaction to the Hurricane’s impact on his private aircraft, flying safely above all of the distruction.
To say that George Bush is decent and commpasionate is to ignore hundreds of failed decisions that left him safe and sound but not the families and the communities he attacked and ignored. Anyone can produce a video with narrations and B-roll footage. George Bush’s response is nothing more than a PR stunt to better his image at the expense of the current President.
Donald Trump is a barbaric president who has taken every opportunity to usher in an era of neo-nationalism and racism among many other -isms. George Bush was and continues to be an inhuman president who led wars and movements that have, to this day, led to millions of innocent lives undergoing his decision-making, or lackthereof. There is no either-or. You cannot be a war criminal one minute and a warmhearted Texan the next. So, unfortunately, Mehdi, there is no ‘but’ and there never will be a ‘but’.
The time it took for George Bush to have his PR team write a script for him to read off of with a dozen clips from the internet in the foreground took a couple hours. This same script being read by someone with no actual awareness for the strife that millions of people are currently going through. The time it will take for George Bush to come across as a ‘half-decent, compassionate, human leader’, whether it be standing alone or compared to Trump, is a lifetime of reparations for the lives he scourged. One 3 minute video will not suffice for his decisions, nor make him compassionate. He lost his chance at being any fraction of the word decent was when he chose to enact his judgement.
The Stokholm Syndrome can be described as the “feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor” by the Journal for Cultural Research. In other words, this syndrome is when a victim begins to entrust their assailant after periods of pain inflicted upon the victim solely because the assailant shows even the slightest bit of grace. In this Syndrome, one good moment can negate the hundreds of negative choices made against the victim. This is what is happening here. One video creation made by George Bush should not follow with any level of forgiveness. One decision cannot change the fact that Iraqi lives were killed, an international war was started, a U.S. city was subjected to one of the worst natural disasters of all time with little to no Federal help and countless other implacable choices were made on Bush’s watch. So to compare George Bush to Donald Trump is irresponsible and ignorant to those communities both presidents have devastated. A trashcan next to a trashcan with one less banana peel is still a trashcan.
Below are some resources to help aid with COVID-19 relief as this crisis continues to strike every corner of the world.