George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st President of the United
States, serving from 1989 through to 1993. Previously, he had
served as ambassador to the United Nations from 1971 to 1973,
director of the CIA 19761977, and the 43rd Vice President
of the United States under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to
W. Bush, is the 43rd President of the United States. During
his term of office he was known simply as President George Bush,
without any initials, as his son had never held elective office
and was not especially well-known to the public. Technically
speaking, for official protocol, his son is "The
President" and he is "President Bush". This
will not change until his son leaves office. (Note that, because
the son doesn't have "Herbert" in his name, the former
President Bush and the current President Bush are not "senior"
and "junior" but rather just father and son with very
George Herbert Walker Bush was born to Prescott Bush and Dorothy
Walker. His father served as a Senator from Connecticut and
was a partner in the prominent investment banking firm Brown
Brothers Harriman. He was the first President to have two middle
names, and the first President to be born in June. Now there
are Presidential birthdays in each of the 12 months of the year.
Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts from
1936 to 1942, where he demonstrated early leadership, captaining
the baseball team, and was a member of an exclusive fraternity
called the A.U.V, or "Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas"
Latin for "Authority, Unity, Truth". His roommate
at the boarding school was a young man named Edward G. Hooker.
It was at Phillips Academy that Bush learned of the surprise
attack on Pearl Harbor, and after graduating in June, 1942,
he joined the U.S. Navy.
He was a
naval aviator during World War II, the youngest ever at that
time. Awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying
Cross, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II
Victory Medal. While serving in the Pacific Theater as a torpedo
bomber pilot, he was also shot down by Japanese antiaircraft
fire and was rescued from the water by the submarine USS Finback.
War he attended Yale University where he joined the Delta Kappa
Epsilon fraternity, and was inducted into the Skull and Bones
secret society, helping him to build friendships and political
support. Joining the Skull and Bones a year after him at Bush's
request was William Sloane Coffin, a fellow classmate from the
Phillips Academy. They would remain friends and, at times, enemies,
throughout their lives, though Coffin became a notable anti-war
activist of the political left.
Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945. Their marriage produced 6
children: George W., Pauline Robinson "Robin" (December
20, 1949October 11, 1953, died of leukemia); John (Jeb);
Neil; Marvin; and Dorothy Walker (August 18, 1959). The
family has built on his and his father's political successes,
with his son George W. Bush's Governorship of Texas and subsequent
election as president, and his son Jeb Bush's election as Governor
of Florida. The Bush political dynasty has been compared to
that of John Adams and the Kennedy family. Bush's maternal grandfather
was George Herbert Walker Sr., the founder of G.H. Walker &
Co. Bush's uncle George Herbert Walker Jr. is the current head
of the company. Bush's first cousin George Herbert Walker III
is the U.S. ambassador to Hungary.
into the Texas oil business after the war with mixed results.
He secured a position with Dresser through his father's investment
banking relationship with the company. His son, Neil Mallon
Bush, is named after his employer at Dresser, Neil Mallon, a
close family friend. Dresser, decades later, merged with Halliburton,
whose former CEOs include Dick Cheney, George H. W. Bush's Secretary
of Defense during the Gulf War and now (2004) Vice President
of the United States and former George W. Bush campaign manager.
George HW Bush Presidency
As President of the United States, George Bush is perhaps best
known for leading the United Nations coalition in the 19901991
Gulf War. In 1990, led by Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded its oil-rich
neighbor to the south, Kuwait. The broad coalition sought to
remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and ensure that Iraq did not
invade Saudi Arabia.
In a foreign
policy move that would come into question later, President Bush
achieved an incomplete military victory, allowing Saddam Hussein
to stay in power at the advice of Bush's "war cabinet,"
which included then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Cheney
noted that invading the country would get the United States
"bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq." Washington
Institute Bush later explained that he did not give the order
to invade Iraq because it would have "incurred incalculable
human and political costs... We would have been forced to occupy
Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq," The Memory Hole , Snopes.
In explaining to Gulf War veterans why he chose not to invade,
he said, "whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief
because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law,
went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show
our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying
power America in an Arab land with no allies at
our side. It would have been disastrous." fas.org
Bush's popularity rating in America soared during and immediately
after the apparent success of the military operations, but later
fell due to an economic recession.
end of the late 1980s recession, that had dogged most of Bush's
term in office, was a contributing factor to his defeat in the
1992 Presidential election. Several other factors were key in
his defeat, including siding with Congressional Democrats in
1990 to raise taxes despite his famous "Read my lips: No
new taxes" pledge not to institute any new taxes. In doing
so, Bush alienated many members of his conservative base, losing
their support for his re-election. Another major factor, which
may have helped Bill Clinton defeat Bush in the 1992 election
was the candidacy of Ross Perot. Perot won 19% of the popular
vote, and Clinton, still a largely unknown quantity in American
politics, won the election.
last controversial act in office was his pardon of six former
government employees implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal on
December 24, 1992, most prominently former Secretary of Defense
Caspar Weinberger and former US Ambassador to Honduras and current
US Ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. Weinberger had been
scheduled to stand trial on January 5, 1993 for lying to Congress
regarding his knowledge of arms sales to Iran and concealing
1700 pages of his personal diary detailing discussions with
other officials about the arms sales. As Weinberger's private
notes contained references to Bush's endorsement of the secret
shipments to Iran, some believe that Bush's pardon was an effort
to prevent an order for Bush to appear before a grand jury or
possibly to avoid an indictment. Weinberger's indictment stated
that Weinberger's notes contradicted Bush's assertions that
he had only peripheral knowledge of the arms for hostages deal.
Lawrence Walsh, the Independent Counsel assigned to the case,
charged that "the Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued
for more than six years, has now been completed." Walsh
likened the pardons to President Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre.
Bush responded that the Walsh probe constituted an attempt to
criminalize a policy dispute between the legislative and executive
branches. In addition to Weinberger, Bush pardoned Duane R.
Clarridge, Clair E. George, Robert C. McFarlane, Elliott Abrams,
and Alan G. Fiers Jr., all of whom had been indicted and/or
convicted of charges by the Independent Counsel.
Major legislation signed by George H.W Bush
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Civil Rights Act of 1991
Clean Air Act of 1990
Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989
George Bush Post-presidency
After losing the election, Bush has retired from public life.
After retiring, he did, however, notably parachute from an airplane
for the first time since World War II. The Bushes live in Houston,
Texas and their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
never written a memoir of his political life, and says he does
not plan to. He has however published a book containing a series
of collected letters from his life (All The Best, George Bush
1999) and co-authored a book on recent foreign policy issues
with his former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft (A
World Transformed, 1998). He has given a number of paid speeches
and participated in business ventures with the Carlyle Group.
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on
the Southwest corner of the campus of Texas A&M University
in College Station, Texas.
Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be named USS George H. W.
Bush when it is launched in 2009.
Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas was renamed
after the former president in 1997.
holds his own fishing tournament in Islamorada, an island in
the Florida Keys.
he became the first president since John Adams to be father
of another president when George
W. Bush, his son, then Texas governor, was elected president
of the United States.
12, 2004, he went skydiving in honor of his 80th birthday. The
day before, he took part in eulogizing his predecessor, Ronald
Reagan, at the latter's state funeral.
22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named him
and the other living former presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter,
Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the
World Trade Center. That same day, a plane enroute to pick him
up crashed in Houston, Texas, killing three passengers.
3, 2005, President
George W. Bush named him and Bill
Clinton to lead a nationwide campaign to help the victims
of Asian tsunamis.
George Bush Senior Quotes