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Column: Mixed Feelings About President Bush's Legacy

This story was written by Thomas Wachtel, Indiana Daily Student

I have a very complicated opinion of President George W. Bush.

I feel, based on all the things hes done to this country, its people and the rest of the world, I should hate the man. I think Bush has been a terrible president and that Barack Obama is going to have a hell of a time cleaning up the mess Bush left behind.

I just cant bring myself to hate him, though. Whenever I hear him talk, I believe he honestly thought the things he did were the best things to do for this country.

I think he built in a lot of financial help for himself and his friends, and I think he gave way too much power to energy companies. But when I see interviews like the one Bush did with Charlie Gibson shown Monday, I cant believe hes an evil man.

Just a taste of the content of the interview will be enough to see what I mean. For example, take everything you know about the Decider-in-Chief and ask yourself whether or not you ever thought you would hear him say things like the following:

I think I was unprepared for war.

I wish the intelligence (on Iraqi WMDs) had been different, I guess.

I think one of the big disappointments of the presidency has been the fact that the tone in Washington got worse, not better.

I mean, seriously. That sounds like a person who is actually self-aware, knows hes screwed up a lot of aspects of American life pretty badly and legitimately wishes that hed done some things differently to prevent that. It almost sounds like a person who could have been a good president.

Now, I know that its dangerous to take all of this at face value, based on whats happened for the past eight years. It almost sounds like an abusive spouse sure, hes done terrible things, but they were all for our own good, and theyll never happen again.

Except it doesnt work that way. You dont do things like that and get forgiveness. No matter how many regrets he says he has, he took us into a needless and possibly illegal war. No matter how hard he tries to disassociate himself, a lot of the deregulation that turned our economy into a crap sandwich was at the very least enabled by the Bush administration. And he can say nothing to shift blame for the United States big-bully image around the world.

Its way too late for George W. Bush to apologize or to fix the wrong hes done.

If hed sounded more like this for the past eight years, maybe things would be different. But he didnt. He chose the type of presidency he was going to have. He chose blood and shadows, war and secrets. He led this country to where it is now, and he cant try to shirk the blame before handing his mess off onto a more capable person.

I wont hate him.

But I wont accept his apology yet either.

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