Dear George W. Bush:

Paul - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Entered on January 15, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I will miss you as much as I would miss a pimple on my buttocks. Nine years ago you promised that you would not engage in nation building, Mr. President. You also promised that you would bring Americans together, not create more division.

I know that you described the peak of the housing market as a great achievement of your Administration, that never before had so many Americans been able to own houses.

I know you stated that if you found out that anyone in your Administration had anything to do with the outing of a CIA agent he or she would face serious consequences and not be part of your Administration.

I know that you and members of your Administration promised or swore that you were positive that Iraq possessed WMDs, but even you finally acknowledged this was wrong. And thus, I believe when you take actions that result in the deaths of innocent people based on false information that is called murder.

During these eight years you described yourself as both the “education” President and the “environmental” President, which has proven to be as accurate as describing yourself as a man of great compassion and excellent judgment. I was a tourist trapped in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina and I tried to leave New Orleans but the airport, bus station, and Amtrak had all shut down two days before the storm hit and a day before the mandatory evacuation. Now I am not blaming you for Katrina. No President has the power to create a natural disaster, but I do put some heavy blame on you for your lack of action in the days following.

You denied having been warned the day before it hit about the likelihood of the catastrophic results expected, but video showed that you clearly were briefed on it. I believe this is called a lie.

Amazingly I have come to some resolution, Mr. President. From my experience in the Superdome I have learned more about human behavior, the incredible power fear plays in controlling us, and true compassion than my parents or my University studies could have ever taught me. I learned that just because you describe yourself as compassionate, actions reverberate a thousand times more than simply describing yourself as such.

I try to find some good in all negativity and I recently wrote a memoir about these feelings of being trapped in the Superdome. We can’t undo the horrific devastation caused by so many mistakes during Katrina. I would give anything to bring back the lives of so many who suffered and died, but ironically enough, I wish to thank you, Mr. President for yours’ and FEMA’s inaction, for solely one outcome. Your inaction as Commander in Chief taught me so many heart-felt lessons that I shall retain for life. I won’t miss you as President, but in a warped, selfish way, I thank you; for your lack of compassion created more compassion in my life!