The first time I attended a real protest, I was brought there by the policies of George H.W. Bush. I shouted along with the crowd outside the local armed forces recruiting offices, "No Blood For Oil!" This was on the eve of Operation Desert Shield. This was how "Poppy" and his administration proposed the United States should protect our oil in Kuwait. Did I say oil? I'm sure I meant "friends." Not oil. That would be a horrible suggestion, especially in this time of national mourning.
No. I meant oil.
And once we got all those tanks and soldiers over there in Shield formation, it was only a matter of time before it turned into a Storm. No longer content to merely stand around protecting our oil friends, the decision was made to chase the bad guys back into Iraq. Where they came from. For their part, the bad guys insisted that Kuwait had always been a part of Iraq, and they were just going down to protect their coastline. The coastline with all the oil and harbors for shipping oil and so forth.
And if all of this sounds familiar, A) you may have lived through it, or B) you may have caught the rerun a little more than a decade later. Conveniently enough, Poppy's little boy had found his way into the White House by then, and he was gifted with the opportunity to go raging back into the Middle East in search of the man who shot his Poppy. Well, they didn't exactly shoot him so much as embarrass him out of the White House.
And now time has done us all the favor of making a kinder, gentler version of this chunk of history. The Bushes and the Obamas have been hanging around together at various funerals and natural disasters. It would seem that time heals all wounds, except those of the two thousand U.S. soldiers wounded or killed in Desert Storm, or the hundred thousand wounded or killed in Gulf War Part Deux.
Yes, I understand that comparing the failed policies of another generation allows twenty-twenty hindsight. But I knew it way back then. And I know it now. The passing of a leader is always a chance to reflect, and I hope that given our current regime's proclivities, we are getting a clear picture. George H.W. Bush caused a lot of Terra to be stomped upon, but it didn't need to happen. Those thousand points of light could have been run on solar power. Not oil.