(1946– ) U.S. president
George Walker Bush was the 43rd president of the United States, elected in 2000 and serving from 2001 to 2008. His presidency began and remained in controversy, from the issues surrounding the 2000 election to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Black smoke billows from Ground Zero at the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. Merely months into his presidency, the events of September 11 proved pivotal for the rest of George W. Bush’s two terms. declared a “war on terrorism,” and shortly identified an “axis of evil” (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea) as those states most guilty of sponsoring terrorist activity. Both terms of his presidency have been defined by this initiative. While foreign policy led to war with Afghanistan and a protracted war in Iraq, domestic policy was affected by the USA Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The Office of Strategic Influence was created in secret to develop psychological means of furthering the war on terrorism, changing its name once the public discovered its existence.
Bush and his administration have come under constant criticism. He has positioned himself as his father’s successor, staffing his cabinet with several men associated with the elder Bush and repeatedly referring to an Iraqi assassination attempt (“they tried to kill my dad”) as part of his justification for the war in Iraq. His approval rating has dipped as low as 28 percent, among the lowest presidential approval ratings in history, and several prominent movements have called for his impeachment, usually in response to the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency’s warrant-less surveillance. His slow response to the failure of the levees in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 has also come under fire, particularly given his support of the clearly ineffective Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).