A Critical History of George H. W. Bush’s War on Iraq

Photo Source Library of Congress | CC BY 2.0

The U.S. media haven’t been shy about lionizing the late President George H. W. Bush in their reflections on his life and legacy. This behavior is hardly surprising; we saw the same worship of the late Republican Senator John McCain via the erasure of any discussion of U.S. war crimes and genocidal violence in Vietnam, in favor of the predictable “war hero” narrative.

On CNN, Aaron David Miller of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars celebrates the “sheer humility” and “decency” of the elder President Bush, while the Washington Post emphasizes his “steady hand” at the Cold War’s end, at the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse. The New York Timesfawns over Bush as a “restrained and seasoned leader,” while celebrating the 1991 U.S. assault on Iraq. “If Mr. Bush’s term helped close out one era abroad [the Cold War], it opened another. In January 1991, he assembled a global coalition to eject Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, sending hundreds of thousands of troops in a triumphant military campaign that to many helped purge the ghosts of Vietnam.”

Portraits of late-heads of state and other prominent American leaders typically portray them as freedom-loving patriots who sacrificed for the good of their nation and in the fight for freedom, justice, and democracy abroad. For those with a critical awareness of Bush the elder’s time in office, little in this narrative is worth defending….

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