Bush legacy is decency, goodness

When former President George H.W. Bush passed away last week, he left a legacy with much to be commended. It is of a kinder, gentler nation fully capable of using an iron fist.

Bush, our 41st president, was 94 when he joined his beloved wife, Barbara, who died earlier this year. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could have spoken for the nation when he summed up the two as “the essence of decency.”

His service as a Navy pilot in World War II made Bush a war hero. He followed that with success in business, politics and diplomacy.

It has been pointed out that Bush, a one-term president, had a mixed record. That is true enough. He broke his word regarding new taxes. Some say he ended the first Gulf War in 1991 prematurely. He should have ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, critics say.

Perhaps so. But Bush was our last veteran of wartime service to hold the office of president. The slaughter of Iraqi troops in 1991 affected him deeply. It is difficult to be too critical of someone who just wanted the killing to stop.

He was fearsome enough, after all, that Soviet communism collapsed during his presidency.

Bush’s legacy can be summed up in four words: He was a good man.

That ought to be enough.