The whitewashing of the most disastrous presidency in American history has begun. Amnesia was on display at the opening ceremonise for the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, with the Washington press corps eager to engage in revisionist history:
Coverage of the opening of his presidential library Thursday was wall to wall on cable, and a feeling of affection for him was encouraged, or at least enabled, by the Washington press corps, which doesn't much like Mr. Obama because he's not all that likable, and remembers Mr. Bush with a kind of reluctant fondness because he was.
Only problem is, the disasters of the Bush era will be with us for many years to come: a war based on lies that ruined thousands of families and cost the nation $3 trillion (all borrowed from China), a great city abandoned in a terrible hurricane - still reeling eight years later, a wreck economy still limping back from the precipace. No, these tragedies cannot be simply swept under the carpet. Bush and his admirers in the press believe that over time his legacy will be reevaluated, that, like Harry Truman, he will come to be admired as a great president.
But historians will remember Geortge W. Bush as the president who authorized torture, bringing shame and dishonor to the United States:
Die Museumsmacher in Dallas sind nicht zu beneiden. Bush ist nach wie vor sehr unpopulär; er baut darauf, dass er – ähnlich wie einst Harry Truman – im Verlauf der Zeit (und mit Nachlassen des kollektiven Gedächtnisses seiner Landsleute) immer besser beurteilt wird. Schwerer wiegt, dass gut eine Woche vor der Einweihung der Bibliothek eine mit Angehörigen beider Parteien besetzte Institution, das Constitution Project, explizit von «Folter» während der Bush-Ära gesprochen hat – und nicht die von Cheney und Rumsfeld benutzten verniedlichenden Umschreibungen wie «verstärkte Fragetechnik» anwandte. Das Constitution Project machte deutlich, wo die Verantwortung für die Folter lag: ganz oben, beim Präsidenten.
(The museum developers in Dallas have a difficutl job. Bush remains very unpopular. He's counting on the fact that - like Harry Truman - over time and as the collective memory of the American people fades, he will be judged better. But weighs more heavily is the fact that just a week before the dedication of the library an institution - the Constitution Project - consisting of members of both political parties, spoke explcitiy of "torture" during the Bush era, not using the euphamism "enhanced interrogation" favored by Cheney and Rumsfeld. The Constitution Project made clear that the responsbility for the torture was at the highest level of the government - with the president.)
No presidential library or effusive newspaper columnist can ever erase the stain of torture from the history books.