"The Prodigal Son Returns," by Jim Schutze, January 8
Call Him Ishmael
It appears that Jim Schutze may be going a bit over the deep end on W's return to Dallas, like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner. Jim, channel your good mother, breathe deeply and remember every mother's good advice: Everything will be OK.
George W. Bush
If that doesn't work, then up your Prozac dosage. I can't bear the thought of Jim going full Ahab and nailing a gold doubloon to the wall in the Observer's editorial offices as the prize for the first crewmate, er, reporter, who spots the great white "W"(hale).
Bob Loftus, Dallas
It's good to see that they force former presidents to register with the authorities when they move into a neighborhood, much like they do for pedophiles. We need to know when criminals are in our midst. Hopefully, he will be forced to stay more than 500 feet away from everything he abused: schools, Iraqis, banks, large flood areas, the Constitution, people who work for a living, the environment, etc.
Edwin Mullins, Dallas
There's no doubt that Schutze's assessment of Bush as the worst president in history is accurate. And no, he's not going to look better in the future. I'm with the late George Carlin on the respect issue. Carlin argued that nobody is entitled to automatic respect; it has to be earned. It's the same for presidents. Bush earned our contempt as a despot and a liar.
A president takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to shred it into little pieces, light it on fire and then brag about it. As is typical of a tyrant, Mr. Bush claimed the right to do anything, without limitation, simply because he was president. And that's exactly what he did.
It's not hyperbole to say that President Bush and dozens of high-level administration officials intentionally committed war crimes, specifically authorizing and encouraging the torture of prisoners, most of whom had no connection with terrorism. Those crimes are well-documented by the distinguished British jurist Philippe Sands in his recent book Torture Team. No reasonable person can conclude otherwise.
Bush knowingly engaged in illegal felonious wiretapping, claimed the power in signing statements to ignore congressionally enacted law, tried to suppress science—specifically the science of climate change—he abetted industry in the destruction of our environment and flouted the rule of law. I'll tell you what I respect. I respect Mr. Bush's right to legal counsel and to stand trial along with the rest of the criminals in his administration before an international tribunal for war crimes.
William Winston Newbill, Dallas
Dear Jim Schutze: Let me say that I have always been an admirer of you. I enjoyed reading your columns. But I was totally shocked and dismayed by your "The Prodigal Son Returns." This piece on President Bush was so mean-spirited and nasty that you have completely destroyed my desire to read another word you print.
Your column is the quintessential example of what is wrong with America today. There is no civil discourse; different political opinion is not to be tolerated. I can only speak for myself, but while I did not vote for Obama and have basic philosophical differences with the liberal view, I would never put down such disgusting, unkind, hate-filled words to express my opinion about him or his political views.
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Have you no regard for me, even if I am the only conservative that has ever read your column? I could not believe what I was reading. Every time a pundit, actor, comedian, former roommate or whoever, lets loose with vitriolic speech or comment, I cringe because they are attacking me. I would be happy to participate in respectful dialogue, but nasty attack is wrong, wrong, wrong. And the length to which it has gone is scary. It frightens me to contemplate what would have happened if Obama had lost the election. With such vitriol, the people might have gone farther than just speech to express dissatisfaction.
President Bush has been a particular model of graciousness. But you wonder, in print, how you can show your disgust and rally others to do the same.
Shame on you.
Joan Bowman, Dallas