George Bush Sr. on Homeland Security
President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)
To appreciate the magnitude of this act, remember that George Sr. had once been director of Central Intelligence, and had often criticized journalism, congressmen and anybody else who, through their work, identified an intelligence agent and thereby jeopardized not only that life, but the lives of countless others who had worked with them over the years. Barbara Bush in her memoirs accused--incorrectly--a former CIA agent of having written a "traitorous tell-all" book that got the agency's station chief in Athens murdered. She was sued, and had to delete that reference in the paperback edition--but it illustrates how sacrosanct the family held American intelligence agents. Until, of course, the husband of one of them was deemed an enemy and a threat.
Because his trip was facilitated in part by the Japanese government, Dad first visited the Japanese mainland.
Dad took part in raising a ceremonial US flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, site of a victorious 1945 battle where the US Marines suffered some 28,000 casualties [killed and wounded] and where Japan lost some 21,000.
His hosts asked him if he would mind stopping at a memorial for the kamikaze pilots. "I felt funny at first since my own ship had been attacked by kamikaze pilots, but I am glad I did it. Those Japanese pilots were not terrorists. They were uniformed officers who paid the last full measure of devotion attempting to save the lives of their embattled compatriots," Dad said to me.
The Vice President later claimed in interviews that he did not know the breakfast meeting's purpose. Then he amended his statement and admitted there was some discussion of arms sales but only as a means to "reach out to the moderate elements" in Iran. Within the next year he would practically strangle himself in a cat's cradle of evasions, omissions, and equivocations, repeating over and over, "I was out of the loop."
The President tried to defend his reticence: "My restraint or prudence was misunderstood. [Opponents say]: 'He ought to go to Berlin, stand on the Wall, dance with the young people to show the joy that we all feel.' I still feel that would have been the stupidest thing an American president could do because we were very concerned about how the troops would react. We were very concerned about the nationalistic elements in the Soviet Union maybe putting Gorbachev out. I think if we'd have misplayed our hand and had a heavy-handed overkill, you know, gloating, 'We won, Mr. Gorbachev, you've lost, you're out,' I think it could have been a very different ending to this very happy chapter in history when the wall came down."
Jimmy Carter, however, severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, terminated the security treaty, and recognized the People's Republic as the sole legitimate government of China. A firestorm ensued. Reagan reaffirmed the Shanghai Communique--that Taiwan was a part of China--and agreed to cut back arms sales to the island. In 1982, the US declared that it intends to reduce gradually its sales of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution.
While this writer, among others, opposed the Shanghai Communique and the more far-reaching Carter and Reagan concessions, the day when Taiwan might have declared independence with US support is gone. After Tiananmen Square, President George H. W. Bush sold F-16s to Taiwan.
He insists he is owed nothing. In fact, he believes that World War II was such an overwhelming threat that those who served did so out of an obligation that should not require special treatment forevermore. He believes some veterans' organizations are wrong to keep asking for more and more benefits. As he says, "Serving in World War II, I was a tiny part of something noble."
|Other past presidents on Homeland Security:||George Bush Sr. on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Past Vice Presidents:
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