Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Contemporary World

1945 to the present



After World War II, a new world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the developing nations of the Third World.



The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.

 

 


The United States: Global Power
 


SINCE 1945
 

 



see also: United Nations member states -
United States of America

 

The United States emerged economically strengthened from World War II and, in the postwar years, became the political and cultural leader of the Wrest as the two-state bloc system began to take shape. It stood in opposition to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, which lasted until 1991. Internally, the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War ushered in a liberalization of society in the 1960s. As a global superpower, the United States has since 1991 seesawed between global cooperation and efforts toward hegemony. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States and the Western world are confronting the challenge of international terrorism.

 


Dawning of a New Age: The United States in the 1990s
 

In the early 1990s, the United States under President Bush was suddenly the only superpower within a "new world order." The Clinton presidency that began in 1993 was marked by increasing prosperity and a changing world role for the United States.

 

The mainly peaceful process of change in Eastern Europe was supported ideologically, politically, and economically by the Bush administration. The East-West conflict that had defined the thoughts and actions of American politics since 1945 ended with the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 (p. 589). The United States, as the only remaining superpower, took on the undisputed leading role in the new world order, which had been taking shape since 1991.

In a military intervention in Panama in December 1989, US troops overthrew the country's dictator, 4 Manuel Noriega.

Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990, Bush forged an 2 international coalition that, under a UN mandate, militarily expelled Iraqi troops from 8 Kuwait between February and March 1991.


4 General Manuel Antonio  Noriega, July 14, 1987


2 "Operation Desert Storm": Allied troops liberate Kuwait and invade Iraq with armored tanks during the first gulf war, February 25, 1991


8 Kuwaiti people celebrate their
liberation by flying US and national flags

He also tightened the trade embargo on Cuba in October 1992 with the openly declared goal of bringing down Fidel Castro's communist regime. The United States reduced its military presence in Asia and Europe and initiated further moves toward disarmament with the Soviet Union and its core successor state, the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, the American economy fell into a recession and social tension increased.

Serious 5 racial unrest shook the country in 1992 following the release of a videotape showing police brutality against an innocent African-American.

Democrat 3 Bill Clinton moved into the White House in 1992 with promises of social reform and a revival of the economy, bringing representatives of all major ethnic minorities into his government.

An 1 economic boom set in, triggered by the development of communication and media technology, and created millions of new jobs.


5 Race riots in Los Angeles, arson and looting of buildings and shops


3 First Lady Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton


1 The technology stock market
Nasdaq reaches a record high

The legal minimum wage was raised, but Clinton's health care reforms, which provided for health insurance for all US citizens, were blocked by the conservative majority in Congress.

Globally Clinton avoided asserting US dominance too strongly. In 1993, he negotiated the partial autonomy of the Palestinian territories in the Middle East. Russia was assured of economic aid. The United States was among the initiators of the Kyoto World Climate Protocol in 1997 to reduce harmful gas emissions. Clinton was also personally involved in the difficult peace negotiations in Northern Ireland.


6-7 Bill Clinton and former intern Monica  Lewinsky, with whom he had an affair


Beginning in 1998, however, Clinton's presidency fell under the shadow of a 6, 7 personal scandal, leading to an impeachment process that resulted in his acquittal.

 

 

William Jefferson Clinton


William Jefferson Clinton

Main
president of United States
byname of William Jefferson Clinton, original name William Jefferson Blythe III

born Aug. 19, 1946, Hope, Ark., U.S.

42nd president of the United States (1993–2001), who oversaw the country’s longest peacetime economic expansion. In 1998 he became the second U.S. president to be impeached; he was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.


Early life
Bill Clinton’s father was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before his son was born. His widow, Virginia Dell Blythe, married Roger Clinton, and, despite their unstable union (they divorced and then remarried) and her husband’s alcoholism, her son eventually took his stepfather’s name. Reared in part by his maternal grandmother, Bill Clinton developed political aspirations at an early age; they were solidified (by his own account) in July 1963, when he met and shook hands with Pres. John F. Kennedy.

Clinton enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1964 and graduated in 1968 with a degree in international affairs. During his freshman and sophomore years he was elected student president, and during his junior and senior years he worked as an intern for Sen. J. William Fulbright, the Arkansas Democrat who chaired the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Fulbright was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War, and Clinton, like many young men of his generation, opposed the war as well. He received a draft deferment for the first year of his studies as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in 1968 and later attempted to extend the deferment by applying to the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Although he soon changed his plans and returned to Oxford, thus making himself eligible for the draft, he was not chosen. While at Oxford, Clinton wrote a letter to the director of the Arkansas ROTC program thanking the director for “saving” him from the draft and explaining his concern that his opposition to the war could ruin his future “political viability.” During this period Clinton also experimented with marijuana; his later claim that he “didn’t inhale” would become the subject of much ridicule.

After graduating from Yale University Law School in 1973, Clinton joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he taught until 1976. In 1974 he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1975 he married a fellow Yale Law graduate, attorney Hillary Rodham (Hillary Clinton), who thereafter took an active role in his political career. In the following year he was elected attorney general of Arkansas, and in 1978 he won the governorship, becoming the youngest governor the country had seen in 40 years.


Governor of Arkansas
After an eventful two-year term as governor, Clinton failed in his reelection bid in 1980, the year his daughter and only child, Chelsea, was born. After apologizing to voters for unpopular decisions he had made as governor (such as highway-improvement projects funded by increases in the state gasoline tax and automobile licensing fees), he regained the governor’s office in 1982 and was successively reelected three more times by substantial margins. A pragmatic, centrist Democrat, he imposed mandatory competency testing for teachers and students and encouraged investment in the state by granting tax breaks to industries. He became a prominent member of the Democratic Leadership Council, a group that sought to recast the party’s agenda away from its traditional liberalism and move it closer to what it perceived as the centre of American political life.

Clinton declared his candidacy for president while still governor of Arkansas. Just before the New Hampshire presidential primary, his campaign was nearly derailed by widespread press coverage of his alleged 12-year affair with an Arkansas woman, Gennifer Flowers. In a subsequent interview watched by millions of viewers on the television news program 60 Minutes, Clinton and his wife admitted to having marital problems. Clinton’s popularity soon rebounded, and he scored a strong second-place showing in New Hampshire—a performance for which he labeled himself the “Comeback Kid.” On the strength of his middle-of-the-road approach, his apparent sympathy for the concerns of ordinary Americans (his statement “I feel your pain” became a well-known phrase), and his personal warmth, he eventually won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. Facing incumbent Pres. George Bush, Clinton and his running mate, Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, argued that 12 years of Republican leadership had led to political and economic stagnation. In November the Clinton-Gore ticket defeated both Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot with 43 percent of the popular vote to 37 percent for Bush and 19 percent for Perot; Clinton defeated Bush in the electoral college by a vote of 370 to 168. (See primary source document: First Inaugural Address.)


Reenactment of Vice President Al Gore
swearing in First Lady Hillary Clinton as a
United States Senator in the Old Senate
Chamber at the Capitol on en:January 3, en: 2001.
Her husband, President Bill Clinton, holds the en:
Bible, as their daughter, en:
Chelsea Clinton, observes.



Presidency
The Clinton administration got off to a shaky start, the victim of what some critics called ineptitude and bad judgment. His attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the military was met with criticism from conservatives and some military leaders—including Gen. Colin Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In response, Clinton proposed a compromise policy—summed up by the phrase “Don’t ask, don’t tell”—that failed to satisfy either side of the issue. Clinton’s first two nominees for attorney general withdrew after questions were raised about domestic workers they had hired. Clinton’s efforts to sign campaign-finance reform legislation were quashed by a Republican filibuster in the Senate, as was his economic-stimulus package.

Clinton had promised during the campaign to institute a system of universal health insurance. His appointment of his wife to chair the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, a novel role for the country’s first lady, was criticized by conservatives, who objected both to the propriety of the arrangement and to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s feminist views. They joined lobbyists for the insurance industry, small-business organizations, and the American Medical Association to campaign vehemently against the task force’s eventual proposal, the Health Security Act. Despite protracted negotiations with Congress, all efforts to pass compromise legislation failed.

Despite these early missteps, Clinton’s first term was marked by numerous successes, including the passage by Congress of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a free-trade zone for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Clinton also appointed several women and minorities to significant government posts throughout his administration, including Janet Reno as attorney general, Donna Shalala as secretary of Health and Human Services, Joycelyn Elders as surgeon general, Madeleine Albright as the first woman secretary of state, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman justice on the United States Supreme Court. During Clinton’s first term, Congress enacted a deficit-reduction package—which passed the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Gore—and some 30 major bills related to education, crime prevention, the environment, and women’s and family issues, including the Violence Against Women Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In January 1994 Attorney General Reno approved an investigation into business dealings by Clinton and his wife with an Arkansas housing development corporation known as Whitewater. Led from August by independent counsel Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater inquiry consumed several years and more than $50 million but did not turn up conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons.

The renewal of the Whitewater investigation under Starr, the continuing rancorous debate in Congress over Clinton’s health care initiative, and the liberal character of some of Clinton’s policies—which alienated significant numbers of American voters—all contributed to Republican electoral victories in November 1994, when the party gained a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. A chastened Clinton subsequently tempered some of his policies and accommodated some Republican proposals, eventually embracing a more aggressive deficit-reduction plan and a massive overhaul of the country’s welfare system while continuing to oppose Republican efforts to cut government spending on social programs. Ultimately, most American voters found themselves more alienated by the uncompromising and confrontational behaviour of the new Republicans in Congress than they had been by Clinton, who won considerable public sympathy for his more moderate approach.

Clinton’s initiatives in foreign policy during his first term included a successful effort in September–October 1994 to reinstate Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been ousted by a military coup in 1991; the sponsorship of peace talks and the eventual Dayton Accords (1995) aimed at ending the ethnic conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and a leading role in the ongoing attempt to bring about a permanent resolution of the dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. In 1993 he invited Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yāsir ʿArafāt to Washington to sign a historic agreement that granted limited Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

Although scandal was never far from the White House—a fellow Arkansan who had been part of the administration committed suicide; there were rumours of financial irregularities that had occurred in Little Rock; former associates were indicted and convicted of crimes; and rumours of sexual impropriety involving the president persisted—Clinton was handily reelected in 1996, buoyed by a recovering and increasingly strong economy. He captured 49 percent of the popular vote to Republican Bob Dole’s 41 percent and Perot’s 8 percent; the electoral vote was 379 to 159. Strong economic growth continued during Clinton’s second term, eventually setting a record for the country’s longest peacetime expansion. By 1998 the Clinton administration was overseeing the first balanced budget since 1969 and the largest budget surpluses in the country’s history. The vibrant economy also produced historically high levels of home ownership and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 30 years.


Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton


Lewinsky scandal

In 1998 Starr was granted permission to expand the scope of his continuing investigation to determine whether Clinton had encouraged a 24-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, to state falsely under oath that she and Clinton had not had an affair. Clinton repeatedly and publicly denied that the affair had taken place. His compelled testimony, which appeared evasive and disingenuous even to Clinton’s supporters (he responded to one question by stating, “It depends on what the meaning of the word is is”), prompted renewed criticism of Clinton’s character from conservatives and liberals alike. After conclusive evidence of the affair came to light, Clinton apologized to his family and to the American public. On the basis of Starr’s 445-page report and supporting evidence, the House of Representatives in 1998 approved two articles of impeachment, for perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton was acquitted of the charges by the Senate in 1999. Despite his impeachment, Clinton’s job-approval rating remained high.

In foreign affairs, Clinton ordered a four-day bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998 in response to Iraq’s failure to cooperate fully with United Nations weapons inspectors (the bombing coincided with the start of full congressional debate on Clinton’s impeachment). In 1999 U.S.-led forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conducted a successful three-month bombing campaign against Yugoslavia designed to end Serbian attacks on ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo. In 1998 and 2000 Clinton was hailed as a peacemaker in visits to Ireland and Northern Ireland, and in 2000 he became the first U.S. president to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War. He spent the last weeks of his presidency in an unsuccessful effort to broker a final peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Shortly before he left office, Clinton was roundly criticized by Democrats as well as by Republicans for having issued a number of questionable pardons, including one to the former spouse of a major Democratic Party contributor.


Life after the presidency
As Clinton’s presidency was ending, his wife’s political career was beginning. In 2000 Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected to the U.S. Senate representing New York; she was the first wife of a U.S. president to win elected office. She went on to lose narrowly to Barack Obama the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008, but Obama appointed her secretary of state in his presidential administration. Bill Clinton remained active in political affairs and was a popular speaker on the lecture circuit. In 2001 he founded the William J. Clinton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that addressed various global issues through such programs as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (established 2002), the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative (2002), the Clinton Global Initiative (2005), and the Clinton Climate Initiative (2006). In 2004 the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum opened in Little Rock. The following year, after a tsunami in the Indian Ocean had caused widespread death and devastation, Clinton was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to serve as a special envoy for relief efforts, a position he held until 2007. In 2009 Clinton succeeded former president George H.W. Bush as chairman of the National Constitution Center, a history museum in Philadelphia. Later that year he was named a UN special envoy to Haiti. Clinton’s writings include an autobiography, My Life (2004), and Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World (2007), in which he encouraged readers to become involved in various worthy causes.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 

     
 

Monica Lewinsky


Monica Samille Lewinsky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monica Samille Lewinsky (born July 23, 1973) is an American woman with whom then-United States President Bill Clinton admitted to having had an "improper relationship" while Lewinsky worked at the White House in 1995 and 1996. The affair and its repercussions, especially the impeachment of Bill Clinton, became known as the Lewinsky scandal.

Early life
Monica Lewinsky was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in Southern California on the west side of Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills. She is of Russian Jewish descent. Her father is Dr. Bernhard Lewinsky, an oncologist; her mother, Marcia Lewis, is an author. Her parents are divorced.] Her stepfather, R. Peter Straus, is a media executive. For her primary education she attended the John Thomas Dye School in Bel-Air. She later attended Beverly Hills High School, but transferred to and graduated from Pacific Hills School, formerly known as Bel Air Prep, in 1991.

She attended two-year community college, Santa Monica College, and completed her undergraduate studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, graduating with a psychology degree in 1995. Lewinsky moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the White House as an unpaid summer intern starting in July 1995, moving to a paid position there in December 1995.

Scandal
Between November 1995 and March 1997, Lewinsky had an intimate relationship with President Bill Clinton. She later testified that the relationship involved fellatio in the Oval Office and other sexual contact but that sexual intercourse did not occur.

Clinton had previously been confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct, most notably in regard to an alleged long-term relationship with singer Gennifer Flowers and an encounter with Arkansas state employee Paula Jones (née Corbin). These events were alleged to have occurred during Clinton's time as Governor of Arkansas. Lewinsky's name surfaced during legal proceedings connected to the latter matter, when Jones's lawyers sought corroborating evidence of Clinton's conduct to substantiate Jones's allegations.

In April 1996, Lewinsky's superiors relocated her job to The Pentagon because they felt she was spending too much time around Clinton. Lewinsky confided in a co-worker named Linda Tripp about her relationship with the President. Beginning in September 1997, Tripp began secretly recording their telephone conversations regarding the affair with Clinton. In January 1998, after Lewinsky had submitted an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying any physical relationship with Clinton, and attempted to persuade Tripp to lie under oath in the Jones case, Tripp gave the tapes to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, and these tapes added to his ongoing investigation into the Whitewater controversy. Starr broadened his investigation to include investigating Lewinsky, Clinton, and others for possible perjury and subornation of perjury in the Jones case. Noteworthy for its revelation of Tripp's motivations was her reporting of their conversations to literary agent Lucianne Goldberg. Tripp also convinced Lewinsky to save the gifts that Clinton had given her during their affair, and not to dry clean what would later be infamously known as "the blue dress."

While under oath, Clinton denied having had "a sexual affair," "sexual relations," or "a sexual relationship" with Lewinsky, and on January 26, 1998 claimed "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" in a nationally televised White House news conference.

Clinton also said, "there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship" which he defended as truthful on August 17, 1998, hearing because of the use of the present tense, famously arguing "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" (i.e., he was not, at the time he made that statement, still having a sexual relationship with Lewinsky). Under pressure from Starr, who, as Clinton learned, had obtained from Lewinsky a blue dress with Clinton's semen stain, as well as testimony from Lewinsky that the President had inserted a cigar tube into her vagina, Clinton admitted that he lied to the American people and that he had inappropriate intimate contact with Lewinsky. Clinton denied having committed perjury because, according to Clinton, the legal definition of oral sex was not encompassed by "sex" per se. In addition, relying upon the definition of "sexual relations" as proposed by the prosecution and agreed by the defense and by Judge Susan Webber Wright, who was hearing the Paula Jones case, Clinton claimed that because certain acts were performed on him, not by him, he did not engage in sexual relations. Lewinsky's testimony to the Starr Commission, however, contradicted Clinton's claim of being totally passive in their encounters.

Both Clinton and Lewinsky were called before a grand jury; Clinton testified via closed-circuit television, Lewinsky in person. Given an opportunity to offer final words on the matter, Lewinsky told the jury, "I hate Linda Tripp."

Subsequent life
The affair led to a period of pop culture celebrity for Lewinsky as a younger-generation focus of a political storm. In early 1999, Lewinsky declined to sign an autograph in an airport, saying "I'm kind of known for something that's not so great to be known for."

On March 3, 1999, Lewinsky was interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20; the program was watched by 70 million Americans, which ABC said was a record for a news show. She cooperated with Andrew Morton in his telling of her life and her side of the Clinton affair, Monica's Story. The book was published in March 1999 and also excerpted as the cover story in Time magazine. Lewinsky made about $500,000 from her participation in the book and another $1 million from international rights to the Walters interview, but was still beset by high legal bills and living costs. Lewinsky made a cameo appearance as herself in two sketches during the May 8, 1999, episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live, a program that had lampooned her relationship with Clinton over the prior sixteen months.

By her own account, Lewinsky had survived the intense media attention during the scandal period by knitting. In September 1999, Lewinsky took this interest further by beginning to sell a line of handbags bearing her name, under the company name The Real Monica, Inc. They were sold online as well as at Henri Bendel in New York, Fred Segal in California, and The Cross in London. Lewinsky both designed the bags – described by New York magazine as "hippie-ish, reversible totes" – and traveled frequently to supervise their manufacturing in Louisiana.

At the start of 2000, Lewinsky began appearing in television commercials for Jenny Craig, Inc. The $1 million endorsement deal, which required Lewinsky to lose 40 or more pounds in six months, gained considerable publicity at the time. Lewinsky said that despite her desire to return to a more private life, she needed the money to pay off legal fees and that she believed in the product, while a Jenny Craig spokesperson said of Lewinsky, "She represents a busy active woman of today with a hectic lifestyle. And she has had weight issues and weight struggles for a long time. That represents a lot of women in America." The choice of Lewinsky as a role model proved controversial for Jenny Craig, and some of its private franchises switched to an older advertising campaign. Jenny Craig stopped running the Lewinsky ads in February, concluded her campaign entirely in April 2000, and only paid her $300,000 for her involvement.

Also at the start of 2000, Lewinsky moved to New York City, living in the West Village and becoming an A-list guest in the Manhattan social scene. In February 2000, Lewinsky appeared on MTV's The Tom Green Show in an episode in which the host took her to his parents' home in Ottawa in search of fabric for her new business. Later in 2000, Lewinsky worked as a correspondent for British Channel 5 on the show Monica's Postcards, reporting on U.S. culture and trends from a variety of locations.

In March 2002, Lewinsky – no longer bound by the terms of her agreement with the United States Office of the Independent Counsel – appeared in the HBO special "Monica in Black and White", part of the America Undercover series. In it, she answered a studio audience's questions about her life and the Clinton affair.

Lewinsky was the host of the reality television dating program Mr. Personality on Fox Television Network in 2003. There she advised young women contestants who were picking men hidden by masks. Some Americans tried to organize a boycott of advertisers on the show, in protest of Lewinsky capitalizing on her notoriety. Nevertheless, the show debuted to very high ratings, and The New York Times said that "after years of trying to cash in on her fame by designing handbags and other self-marketing schemes, Ms. Lewinsky has finally found a fitting niche on television." However, the ratings slid each successive week, and after the show completed its limited run it did not reappear. The same year, she appeared as a guest on the programs V Graham Norton in the UK, High Chaparall in Sweden, and The View and Jimmy Kimmel Live! in the U.S.

After Clinton's autobiography My Life appeared in 2004, Lewinsky said in an interview with the British tabloid Daily Mail:

He could have made it right with the book, but he hasn't. He is a revisionist of history. He has lied. […] I really didn't expect him to go into detail about our relationship. […] But if he had and he'd done it honestly, I wouldn't have minded. […] I did, though, at least expect him to correct the false statements he made when he was trying to protect the Presidency. Instead, he talked about it as though I had laid it all out there for the taking. I was the buffet and he just couldn't resist the dessert. […] This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels, right from the way it started and all the way through. […] I don't accept that he had to completely desecrate my character.

By 2005, Lewinsky found that she could not escape her past in the U.S., with both her professional and personal life difficult. She stopped selling her handbag line and moved to London. In December 2006, Lewinsky graduated with a master's degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics where she had been studying since September 2005. Her thesis was titled “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third-person effect and Pre-Trial Publicity”. She has since tried to avoid publicity.

 

 

 

Lewinsky scandal


Intern Monica Lewinsky and former U.S. President Bill Clinton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lewinsky scandal was a political sex scandal emerging from a sexual relationship between United States President Bill Clinton and a 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on all impeachment charges (of perjury and obstruction of justice) in a 21-day Senate trial.

In 1995, Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, was hired to work as an intern at the White House during Clinton's first term, and began a personal relationship with him later that year. As Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton became more distant and she left the White House to work at The Pentagon, Lewinsky confided details of her feelings and Clinton's behavior to her friend and Defense department co-worker Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded their telephone conversations. When Tripp discovered in January 1998 that Lewinsky had signed an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying a relationship with Clinton, she delivered the tapes to Kenneth Starr, the Independent Counsel who was investigating Clinton on other matters, including the Whitewater scandal, Filegate, and Travelgate. During the grand jury testimony Clinton's responses were guarded, and he argued, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is".

The wide reporting of the scandal led to criticism of the press for over-coverage. The scandal is sometimes referred to as "Monicagate", "Lewinskygate", "Tailgate", "Sexgate", and "Zippergate", following the "gate" nickname construction popular at the time.


Allegations of sexual contact

Monica Lewinsky alleged nine sexual encounters with Bill Clinton:

November 15, 1995, in the private study of the Oval Office
November 17, 1995, while Bill Clinton was on the phone with a member of Congress
December 31, 1995, in a White House study
January 7, 1996, in the Oval Office
January 21, 1996, in the hallway by the private study next to the Oval Office
February 4, 1996, while Clinton was meeting in Oval Office
March 31, 1996, in the hallway near the study of the Oval Office
February 28, 1997, near the Oval Office; this is when the blue dress stains were created
March 29, 1997 (Clinton denied that this day's encounter actually happened)

According to her published schedule, First Lady Hillary Clinton was at the White House for at least some portion of five of these days.

In April 1996, Lewinsky's superiors relocated her job to the Pentagon because they felt that she was spending too much time around Clinton.

According to his autobiography, then-United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson was asked by the White House in 1997 to interview Lewinsky for a job on his staff at the UN. Richardson did so, and offered her a position, which she declined. The American Spectator provided evidence that Richardson knew more about the Lewinsky affair than he declared to the grand jury.

Lewinsky confided in a coworker named Linda Tripp about her relationship with Clinton. Tripp convinced Lewinsky to save the gifts that Clinton had given her, and not to dry clean what would later be infamously known as "the blue dress".[citation needed] Tripp reported these conversations to literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, who advised her to record them, which Tripp began doing in September 1997. Goldberg also urged Tripp to take the tapes to Kenneth Starr and brought the tapes to the attention of people working on the Paula Jones case. In the fall of 1997, she began speaking to reporters (notably Michael Isikoff of Newsweek) about the tapes.

In January 1998, after Lewinsky had submitted an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying any physical relationship with Clinton and attempted to persuade Tripp to lie under oath in the Jones case, Tripp gave the tapes to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. They added to his ongoing investigation into the Whitewater controversy. Now armed with evidence of Lewinsky's admission of a physical relationship with Clinton, he broadened the investigation to include Lewinsky and her possible perjury in the Jones case.

Denial and subsequent admission
News of the scandal first broke on January 17, 1998, on the Drudge Report website, which reported that Newsweek editors were sitting on a story by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff exposing the affair. The story broke in the mainstream press on January 21 in The Washington Post. The story swirled for several days and, despite swift denials from Clinton, the clamor for answers from the White House grew louder. On January 26, President Clinton, standing with his wife, spoke at a White House press conference, and issued a forceful denial, which contained what would later become one of the best-known sound bites of his presidency:

Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.

Pundits debated whether or not Clinton would address the allegations in his State of the Union Address. Ultimately, he chose not to mention them. Hillary Clinton publicly stood by her husband throughout the scandal. On January 27, in an appearance on NBC's Today she famously said, "The great story here for anybody willing to find it, write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."

For the next several months and through the summer, the media debated whether or not an affair had occurred and whether or not Clinton had lied or obstructed justice, but nothing could be definitively established beyond the taped recordings because Lewinsky was unwilling to discuss the affair or testify about it. On July 28, 1998, a substantial delay after the public break of the scandal, Lewinsky received transactional immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony concerning her relationship with Clinton. She also turned over a semen-stained blue dress (which Linda Tripp had encouraged her to save without dry cleaning) to the Starr investigators, thereby providing a smoking gun based on DNA evidence that could prove the relationship despite Clinton's official denials.

Clinton admitted in taped grand jury testimony on August 17, 1998, that he had had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. That evening he gave a nationally televised statement admitting his relationship with Lewinsky which was "not appropriate".

Perjury charges
In his deposition for the Jones lawsuit, Clinton denied having "sexual relations" with Lewinsky. Based on the evidence provided by Tripp, a blue dress with Clinton's semen, Starr concluded that this sworn testimony was false and perjurious.

During the deposition, Clinton was asked "Have you ever had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, as that term is defined in Deposition Exhibit 1, as modified by the Court?" The judge ordered that Clinton be given an opportunity to review the agreed definition. Afterwards, based on the definition created by the Independent Counsel's Office, Clinton answered "I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky." Clinton later stated that he believed the agreed-upon definition of sexual relations excluded his receiving oral sex.

President Clinton was held in contempt of court by judge Susan D. Webber Wright. His license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas and later by the United States Supreme Court. He was also fined $90,000 for giving false testimony which was paid by a fund raised for his legal expenses.

Impeachment
Most Republicans in Congress – who held the majority in both Houses at the time – and some Democrats believed that Clinton's giving false testimony and alleged influencing Lewinsky's testimony were crimes of obstruction of justice and perjury and thus impeachable offenses. The House of Representatives voted to issue Articles of Impeachment against him which was followed by a 21-day trial in the Senate. President Clinton was acquitted of all charges and remained in office. He was not given any penalty beyond attempts at censure by the House of Representatives.

Aftermath

2000 presidential election
The scandal arguably affected the 2000 U.S. Presidential election in two contradicting ways. Democratic Party candidate and sitting Vice President Al Gore claimed that Clinton's scandal had been "a drag" that deflated the enthusiasm of their party's base, effectively suppressing Democratic votes. Clinton claimed that the scandal had made Gore's campaign too cautious, and that if Clinton had been allowed to campaign for Gore in Arkansas and New Hampshire, either state would have delivered Gore's needed electoral votes regardless of what happened in Florida.

Collateral scandal
During the scandal, supporters of President Clinton claimed hypocrisy by at least some of those who advocated for his removal, alleging that the matter was private and "about sex". According to The Guardian,

Larry Flynt...the publisher of Hustler magazine, offered a $1m (£500,000) reward... Flynt was a sworn enemy of the Republican party [and] sought to dig up dirt on the Republican members of Congress who were leading the impeachment campaign against President Clinton. [...] Flynt claimed at the time to have the goods on up to a dozen prominent Republicans, the ad campaign helped to bring down only one. Robert Livingston - a congressman from Louisiana...abruptly retired after learning that Mr Flynt was about to reveal that he had also had an affair.

Congressman Livingston had been widely expected to become Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in the next Congressional session, then just weeks away.

Personal acceptance
Historian Taylor Branch implied that Clinton had requested changes to Branch's 2009 Clinton biography, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, regarding Clinton's revelation that the Lewinsky affair began because "I cracked; I just cracked." Branch writes that Clinton had felt "beleaguered, unappreciated and open to a liaison with Lewinsky" following "the Democrats' loss of Congress in the November 1994 elections, the death of his mother the previous January, and the ongoing Whitewater investigation". Publicly, Clinton had previously blamed the affair on "a terrible moral error" and on anger at Republicans, stating, "if people have unresolved anger, it makes them do non-rational, destructive things".
 

 

 


Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his secretary, Kay Summersby

 

 

Kay Summersby


Kay Summersby


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kay Summersby (1908–20 January 1975) was a member of the British Mechanised Transport Corps during World War II, who served as chauffeur to Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force Dwight D. Eisenhower, later as his secretary and, it is alleged, his mistress.

Biography
Summersby was born Kathleen Helen McCarthy-Morrogh in County Cork, Ireland. She described her father, a retired Lt. Colonel of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, as black Irish and her mother as English. As a young woman she moved to London where she worked as a film studio extra, dabbled in photography and eventually became a fashion model. She was married and divorced, retaining the name of her ex-husband.

When Britain entered the Second World War in 1939, Summersby joined the British Mechanised Transport Corps (MTC). She drove an ambulance throughout The Blitz in 1940 and 1941. When the United States joined the Allies after the German declaration of war in December 1941, Summersby was one of many MTC drivers assigned as chauffeurs to high ranking American military officers. She was assigned to drive Major General Dwight Eisenhower when he arrived in London in May, 1942. Though there was a brief interruption of several weeks due to Eisenhower's short return to the U.S., Summersby drove Ike and later became his secretary until November, 1945. During this time Eisenhower rose in rank to a 5 star General of the Army and Commander of the European Theatre, and Kay, with his help, became a U.S. citizen and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Women's Army Corps (WACs), ultimately leaving the service as a captain in 1947. Captain Summersby's military awards included the Legion of Merit, Women's Army Corps Service Medal, European Campaign Medal, World War Two Victory Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal with "Germany" clasp.

Summersby married the Wall Street stockbroker Reginald H. Morgan in 1952. She died at her home in Southampton, Long Island, of cancer, on 20 January 1975.

Relationship with Eisenhower
Summersby has maintained a marginal place in history due to her rumored romance with Eisenhower during the 1942-1945 period. Eisenhower Was My Boss, her 1948 memoir of the war years, made no mention of any such affair. However, her 1975 autobiography, Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight D. Eisenhower, was explicitly about the romance. This second book, written after Eisenhower had died in 1969, was presented as a sort of deathbed statement from Summersby to set the record straight. She stated in "Past Forgetting" that she did not mention anything about the affair in her original memoir due to her concern for Eisenhower's privacy.

The "autobiography" was ghostwritten by Barbara Wyden while Summersby was dying of cancer. Those who dispute the claim of an affair maintain that the second book's description of the relationship (which by the book's account consisted, sexually, of two unsuccessful attempts to have intercourse) was simply made up, presumably by the ghostwriter.

It is true, however, that Summersby began the war as a British citizen and the equivalent of a private in the British forces and ended the war as a U.S. citizen and a Captain in the U.S. Army WACs, and that all of this came about through the direct efforts of General Eisenhower. Whatever the case, it is generally agreed that Kay and Ike were extremely close, were seen together in many press photographs during the war (as shown in the two books and other literature) and (as evidenced by letters between the two), Summersby was not well liked by Eisenhower's wife (who was alive when the second book was published). Summersby was married and divorced prior to meeting Ike and remarried Morgan some time after her discharge from the Army. There was an engagement to marry a U.S. Army officer that overlapped her initial period with Eisenhower; however, this was ended by the death of her fiance, (Major Richard "Dick" Arnold), during the North Africa campaign.

Former President Harry S. Truman reportedly told author Merle Miller that in 1945, Eisenhower asked permission from General George Marshall to divorce his wife to marry Summersby, but permission was refused. Truman also allegedly said he had the correspondence between Marshall and Eisenhower retrieved from the Army archives and destroyed. But this aspect of the Summersby controversy has been widely disputed. Some historians say Truman misremembered, and emphasize that Eisenhower had asked permission to bring his wife to England. Others have speculated that Truman lied about Eisenhower because of animosity between the two men that intensified during the Eisenhower presidency (Truman stated that Eisenhower did not invite him back to the White House during his administration.).. Historian Robert Ferrell has alleged that Miller fabricated some of the quotes in his interviews with Truman, which were published after Truman's death, such that Miller is a source who should be viewed with great skepticism. In any case, Miller's book contains numerous inaccuracies that mar its credibility.

 

 


Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and actress Marilyn Monroe

 

 


Marilyn Monroe


Marilyn Monroe

Main
American actress
original name Norma Jean Mortenson, also called Norma Jean Baker

born June 1, 1926, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.
died Aug. 5, 1962, Los Angeles

American actress who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s.

Norma Jean Mortenson later took her mother’s name, Baker. Her mother was frequently confined in an asylum, and Norma Jean was reared by 12 successive sets of foster parents and, for a time, in an orphanage. In 1942 she married a fellow worker in an aircraft factory, but they divorced soon after World War II. She became a popular photographer’s model and in 1946 signed a short-term contract with Twentieth Century Fox, taking as her screen name Marilyn Monroe. After a few brief appearances in movies made by the Fox and Columbia studios, she was again unemployed, and she returned to modeling for photographers. Her nude photograph on a calendar brought her a role in the film Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! (1948), which was followed by other minor roles.
 

In 1950 Monroe played a small uncredited role in The Asphalt Jungle that reaped a mountain of fan mail. An appearance in All About Eve (1950) won her another contract from Fox and much recognition. In a succession of movies, including Let’s Make It Legal (1951), Love Nest (1951), Clash by Night (1952), and Niagara (1953), she advanced to star billing on the strength of her studio-fostered image as a “love goddess.” With performances in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), and There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), her fame grew steadily and spread throughout the world, and she became the object of unprecedented popular adulation. In 1954 she married baseball star Joe DiMaggio, and the attendant publicity was enormous. With the end of their marriage less than a year later she began to grow discontented with her career.

Monroe studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors’ Studio in New York City, and in The Seven-Year Itch (1955) and Bus Stop (1956) she began to emerge as a talented comedienne. In 1956 she married playwright Arthur Miller and briefly retired from moviemaking, although she costarred with Sir Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). She won critical acclaim for the first time as a serious actress for Some Like It Hot (1959). Her last role, in The Misfits (1961), was written by Miller, whom she had divorced the year before. After several months as a virtual recluse, Monroe died in her Los Angeles home in 1962, having taken an overdose of sleeping pills.

In their first runs, Monroe’s 23 movies grossed a total of more than $200 million, and her fame surpassed that of any other entertainer of her time. Her early image as a dumb and seductive blonde gave way in later years to the tragic figure of a sensitive and insecure woman unable to escape the pressures of Hollywood. Her vulnerability and sensuousness combined with her needless death eventually raised her to the status of an American cultural icon.

Encyclopaedia Britannica





From John F. Kennedy's birthday gala where
Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"


"Happy Birthday, Mr. President"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Happy Birthday, Mr. President" was a song sung by actress/singer Marilyn Monroe on Saturday, May 19, 1962, for then-President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, at a celebration for his forty-fifth birthday, ten days before the actual day of his 45th birthday, Tuesday, May 29. Sung in a sultry voice, Monroe sang the traditional "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics, with "Mr. President" inserted as Kennedy's name.

Monroe continued the song with a snippet from the classic song "Thanks for the Memory", for which she had written new lyrics specifically aimed at Kennedy.

Thanks, Mr. President
For all the things you've done
The battles that you've won
The way you deal with U.S. Steel
And our problems by the ton
We thank you so much

Afterwards, President Kennedy came on stage and joked about the song, saying, "I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way," alluding to Monroe's delivery, her racy dress, and her general image as a sex symbol.

The song and Monroe's performance have been remembered for numerous reasons. First, it was one of her last major public appearances (Monroe died August 5, 1962). In addition, there are persistent rumors that President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe had had an affair, giving Monroe's performance another layer of meaning.

History
President Kennedy's birthday celebrations were held at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, and more than 15,000 people attended along with numerous celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe. Jackie Kennedy was not in attendance. Monroe's dress was noted for being sheer and flesh colored with 2500 rhinestones sewn into it. The dress was so tight-fitting that Monroe had to be literally sewn into it; she wore nothing under it. It was designed by Jean Louis.

Peter Lawford was at the event that night to introduce Monroe. He made a play on the actress's lateness by giving her a number of introductions throughout the night, after which she did not go on stage. As she finally came on stage several hours into the show, Lawford introduced her as the "late Marilyn Monroe".

The event was choreographed by Carol Haney of The Pajama Game fame.

While the original song is generally sung for children, Monroe's performance was notably sultry.

 

 

 


The War against Terror: The United States under Bush
 

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, US foreign policy has been shaped by the international "War on Terror" and the goal of actively ensuring the spread of democracy throughout the world.

 

The 11 presidential election of 2000, in which the Democrat candidate Al Gore ran against Republican 9 George W. Bush, ended with an extremely narrow margin.

On December 12, 2000, after weeks of legal disputes, the Supreme Court designated Bush as the 43rd president. With an agenda of conservative social and economic values, foreign policy was initially not a focus of his administration.

However, the attacks carried out by the terrorist organization al-Qaida on September 11, 2001, on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon came as a shock to the entire country and shook 10 society.


11 Bush (left) and Vice President Gore following a televised presidential debate, October 11, 2000


9 US President
George W. Bush, 2005


10 The slogan "God bless America"
on a billboard, September 2001, New York

Not since Pearl Harbor had there been a foreign attack on US soil. Bush proclaimed a "long war" against international terror and those supporting it, and since then foreign policy has dominated American politics. Domestically, immigration became more closely monitored and airport security was nationalized.

In 2002, the 13 Department of Homeland Security was established, with a cabinet-level chief.

Supported by a broad, worldwide anti-terror alliance, US troops ousted the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in October 2001.

The Taliban had granted refuge to the instigator of the September 11 attacks, 14 Osama bin Laden, although he was able to avoid capture.

     

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

Saudi Arabian militant also spelled Usāmah ibn Lādin born 1957, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

mastermind of numerous terrorist attacks against the United States and other Western powers, including the 1993 bombing of New York City’s World Trade Center, the 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. warship Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, and the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington, D.C.

Bin Laden was one of more than 50 children of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families. He attended King Abdul Aziz University, where he received a degree in civil engineering. Shortly after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, bin Laden, like thousands of other Muslims from throughout the world, joined the Afghan resistance, viewing it as his Muslim duty to repel the occupation. After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, bin Laden returned home as a hero, but he was quickly disappointed with what he perceived as the corruption of the Saudi government and of his own family. His objection to the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War led to a growing rift with his country’s leaders. By 1993 he had purportedly formed a network known as al-Qaeda (Arabic: “the Base”), which consisted largely of militant Muslims bin Laden had met in Afghanistan. The group funded and organized several attacks worldwide, including detonating truck bombs against American targets in Saudi Arabia (1996), killing tourists in Egypt (1997), and simultaneously bombing the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1998), which altogether killed nearly 300 people. In 1994 the Saudi government confiscated his passport after accusing him of subversion, and he fled to The Sudan, where he organized camps that trained militants in terrorist methods, and from where he was eventually expelled in 1996. He later returned to Afghanistan, where he received protection from its ruling Taliban militia.

In 1996–98 bin Laden, a self-styled scholar, issued a series of fatwās (Arabic: “religious opinions”) declaring a holy war against the United States, which he accused, among other things, of looting the natural resources of the Muslim world and aiding and abetting the enemies of Islam. Bin Laden’s apparent goal was to draw the United States into a large-scale war in the Muslim world that would overthrow moderate Muslim governments and reestablish the Caliphate (i.e., a single Islamic state). To this end, al-Qaeda, aided by bin Laden’s considerable wealth, trained militants and funded terrorist attacks. It had thousands of followers worldwide, in places as diverse as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Bosnia, Chechnya, and the Philippines. Following the September 11 attacks, the United States led a coalition in late 2001 that overthrew the Taliban and sent bin Laden into hiding. Nearly three years passed, during which time U.S. forces hunted bin Laden along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Bin Laden emerged in a videotaped message in October 2004, less than a week before that year’s U.S. presidential election, in which he claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks.

John Philip Jenkins

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

In September 2002, a controversial change was made in the national security strategy, allowing for preventive first strikes as ultima ratio against nations that
support terrorist factions or otherwise threaten the security of the United States. In January 2002, Bush proclaimed Iraq, North Korea, and Iran to be part of an "Axis of Evil." Citing the violation of a number of UN resolutions concerning the monitoring of Iraqi nuclear materials and the possible production of weapons of mass destruction, an international coalition of primarily American and British troops invaded Iraq in March 2003.

By April they had deposed the dictatorial regime of 12 Saddam Hussein.

Two years later, violence continues, stability remains elusive, and no date has been set for the end of US involvement.
After a polarized election campaign, Bush was elected to serve a second four-year term in November 2004.


13 Tom Ridge is sworn in as the first chief of homeland security, January 24, 2003


14 Broadcasted message from Osama bin Laden, October 18, 2003


12 US Marines cover the head of
a statue of Saddam Hussein with
an American flag, Baghdad, April 9, 2003

 

 

George Walker Bush


George Bush

Main
president of United States
in full George Walker Bush

born July 6, 1946, New Haven, Conn., U.S.

43rd president of the United States (2001–09), who led his country’s response to the terrorist September 11 attacks in 2001 and initiated the Iraq War in 2003. Narrowly winning the electoral college vote over Vice Pres. Al Gore in one of the closest and most controversial elections in American history, George W. Bush became the first person since Benjamin Harrison in 1888 to be elected president despite having lost the nationwide popular vote. Before his election as president, Bush was a businessman and served as governor of Texas (1995–2000). (For a discussion of the history and nature of the presidency, see presidency of the United States of America.)

Early life
Bush was the oldest of six children of George Bush, who served as the 41st president of the United States (1989–93), and Barbara Bush. His paternal grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. senator from Connecticut (1952–63). The younger Bush grew up largely in Midland and Houston, Texas. From 1961 to 1964 he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., the boarding school from which his father had graduated. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University, his father’s and grandfather’s alma mater, in 1968. Bush was president of his fraternity and, like his father, a member of Yale’s secretive Skull and Bones society; unlike his father, he was only an average student and did not excel in athletics.

In May 1968, two weeks before his graduation from Yale and the expiration of his student draft deferment, Bush applied as a pilot trainee in the Texas Air National Guard, whose members were less likely than regular soldiers to fight in the Vietnam War. Commissioned a second lieutenant in July 1968, he became a certified fighter pilot in June 1970. In the fall of 1970, he applied for admission to the University of Texas law school but was rejected. Although Bush apparently missed at least eight months of duty between May 1972 and May 1973, he was granted an early discharge so that he could start Harvard business school in the fall of 1973. His spotty military record resurfaced as a campaign issue in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

After receiving his M.B.A. from Harvard in 1975, Bush returned to Midland, where he began working for a Bush family friend, an oil and gas attorney, and later started his own oil and gas firm. He married Laura Welch, a teacher and librarian, in Midland in 1977. After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1978, Bush devoted himself to building his business. With help from his uncle, who was then raising funds for Bush’s father’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Bush was able to attract numerous prominent investors. The company struggled through the early 1980s until the eventual collapse of oil prices in 1986, when it was purchased by the Harken Energy Corporation. Bush received Harken stock, a job as a consultant to the company, and a seat on the company’s board of directors.

In the same year, shortly after his 40th birthday, Bush gave up drinking alcohol. “I realized,” he later explained, “that alcohol was beginning to crowd out my energies and could crowd, eventually, my affections for other people.” His decision was partly the result of a self-described spiritual awakening and a strengthening of his Christian faith that had begun the previous year, after a conversation with the Rev. Billy Graham, a Bush family friend.

After the sale of his company, Bush spent 18 months in Washington, D.C., working as an adviser and speechwriter in his father’s presidential campaign. Following the election, he moved to Dallas, where he and a former business partner organized a group of investors to purchase the Texas Rangers professional baseball team. Although Bush’s investment, which he made with a loan he obtained by using his Harken stock as collateral, was relatively small, his role as managing partner of the team brought him much exposure in the media and earned him a reputation as a successful businessman. When Bush’s partnership sold the team in 1998, Bush received nearly $15 million.


Governor of Texas
In 1994 Bush challenged Democratic incumbent Ann Richards for the governorship of Texas. A major issue in the campaign concerned Bush’s sale of all his Harken stock in June 1990, just days before the company completed a second quarter with heavy losses. An investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1991 into the possibility of illegal insider trading (trading that takes advantage of information not available to the public) did not uncover any wrongdoing. Bush won the election with 53 percent of the vote (compared with 46 percent for Richards), thus becoming the first child of a U.S. president to be elected a state governor.

As governor, Bush increased state spending on elementary and secondary education and made the salaries and promotions of teachers and administrators contingent on their students’ performance on standardized tests. His administration increased the number of crimes for which juveniles could be sentenced to adult prisons following custody in juvenile detention and lowered to 14 the age at which children could be tried as adults. Throughout his tenure Bush received international attention for the brisk use of capital punishment in Texas relative to other states. Bush signed into law several measures aimed at tort reform, including one that imposed new limits on punitive damages and another that narrowed the legal definition of “gross negligence.” Reelected in 1998 with nearly 70 percent of the vote, Bush became the first Texas governor to win consecutive four-year terms (in 1972 voters had approved a referendum that extended the governor’s term from two years to four).

Bush formally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in June 1999. He described his political philosophy as “compassionate conservatism,” a view that combined traditional Republican economic policies with concern for the underprivileged. Despite Bush’s refusal to give direct answers to questions about his drinking and possible use of illegal drugs (he implied that he had not used illegal drugs since 1974), he won the Republican nomination, taking a strong lead in public opinion polls over Vice Pres. Al Gore, the Democratic Party nominee; Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate; and political journalist Patrick Buchanan, the nominee of the Reform Party. His running mate was Dick Cheney, former chief of staff for Pres. Gerald Ford and secretary of defense during the presidency of Bush’s father.

As the general election campaign continued, the gap in the polls between Bush and Gore narrowed to the closest in any election in the previous 40 years. On election day the presidency hinged on the 25 electoral votes of Florida, where Bush led Gore by fewer than 1,000 popular votes after a mandatory statewide machine recount. After the Gore campaign asked for manual recounts in four heavily Democratic counties, the Bush campaign filed suit in federal court to stop them. For five weeks the election remained unresolved as Florida state courts and federal courts heard numerous legal challenges by both campaigns. Eventually the Florida Supreme Court decided (4–3) to order a statewide manual recount of the approximately 45,000 “undervotes”—ballots that machines recorded as not clearly expressing a presidential vote. The Bush campaign quickly filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to delay the recounts until it could hear the case; a stay was issued by the court on December 9. Three days later, concluding (7–2) that a fair statewide recount could not be performed in time to meet the December 18 deadline for certifying the state’s electors, the court issued a controversial 5–4 decision to reverse the Florida Supreme Court’s recount order, effectively awarding the presidency to Bush. By winning Florida, Bush narrowly won the electoral vote over Gore by 271 to 266—only 1 more than the required 270 (one Gore elector abstained).

With his inauguration, Bush became only the second son of a president to assume the nation’s highest office; the other was John Quincy Adams (1825–29), the son of John Adams (1797–1801). (See primary source document: First Inaugural Address.)


Presidency

Early initiatives
Bush was the first Republican president to enjoy a majority in both houses of Congress since Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s. Taking advantage of his party’s strength, Bush proposed a $1.6 trillion tax-cut bill in February 2001. A compromise measure worth $1.35 billion was passed by Congress in June, despite Democratic objections that it unfairly benefited the wealthy. In the same month, however, control of the Senate formally passed to the Democrats after Republican Sen. James Jeffords left his party to become an independent. Subsequently, many of Bush’s domestic initiatives encountered significant resistance in the Senate.

In a report issued in May 2001, the National Energy Policy Development Group, a task force headed by Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, called for increasing the production of fossil fuels and nuclear power in the country by opening more federal lands to mining and oil and gas exploration, extending tax credits and other subsidies to energy companies, and easing environmental regulations. In July a coalition of nonprofit organizations filed suit to make public the secret deliberations of the task force and the identities of the groups it met with. (The case was decided in the administration’s favour by the Supreme Court in June 2004.)

In foreign affairs, the Bush administration announced that the United States would not abide by the Kyoto Protocol on reducing the emission of gases responsible for global warming, which the United States had signed in the last days of the Bill Clinton administration, because the agreement did not impose emission limits on developing countries and because it could harm the U.S. economy. The administration also withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and attempted to secure commitments from various governments not to extradite U.S. citizens to the new International Criminal Court, whose jurisdiction it rejected.
 


September 11, 2001


The September 11 attacks
 
On September 11, 2001, Bush faced a crisis that would transform his presidency. That morning, four American commercial airplanes were hijacked by Islamic terrorists. Two of the planes were deliberately crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, destroying both towers and collapsing or damaging many surrounding buildings, and a third was used to destroy part of the Pentagon building outside Washington, D.C.; the fourth plane crashed outside Pittsburgh, Pa., after passengers apparently attempted to retake it (see September 11 attacks). The crashes—the worst terrorist incident on U.S. soil—killed some 3,000 people.

The Bush administration accused radical Islamist Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, al-Qaeda (Arabic: “the Base”), of responsibility for the attacks and charged the Taliban government of Afghanistan with harbouring bin Laden and his followers (in a videotape in 2004, bin Laden acknowledged that he was responsible). After assembling an international military coalition, Bush ordered a massive bombing campaign against Afghanistan, which began on Oct. 7, 2001. U.S.-led forces quickly toppled the Taliban government and routed al-Qaeda fighters, though bin Laden himself remained elusive. In the wake of the September 11 attacks and during the war in Afghanistan, Bush’s public-approval ratings were the highest of his presidency, reaching 90 percent in some polls.


U.S. President George W. Bush addressing a crowd as he stands on rubble at
the World Trade Center site in New York City three days after the September 11 attacks of 2001.


Domestic measures
Immediately after the September 11 attacks, domestic security and the threat of terrorism became the chief focus of the Bush administration and the top priority of government at every level. Declaring a global “war on terrorism,” Bush announced that the country would not rest until “every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.” (See primary source document: Declaration of War on Terrorism.) To coordinate the government’s domestic response, the administration formed a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, which began operating on Jan. 24, 2003.

In October 2001 the Bush administration introduced, and Congress quickly passed, the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (the USA PATRIOT Act), which significantly but temporarily expanded the search and surveillance powers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law-enforcement agencies. (Most of the law’s provisions were made permanent in 2006 by the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act.)

In January 2002 Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens and others in the United States without first obtaining an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. When the program was revealed in news reports in December 2005, the administration insisted that it was justified by a September 2001 joint Congressional resolution that authorized the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those responsible for the September 11 attacks. Subsequent efforts in Congress to provide a legal basis for the spying became mired in debate over whether telecommunications companies that cooperated with the NSA should be granted retroactive immunity against numerous civil lawsuits. Legislation granting immunity and expanding the NSA’s surveillance powers was finally passed by Congress and signed by Bush in July 2008.


Treatment of detainees
In January 2002, as the pacification of Afghanistan continued, the United States began transferring captured Taliban fighters and suspected al-Qaeda members from Afghanistan to a special prison at the country’s permanent naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Eventually hundreds of prisoners were held at the facility without charge and without the legal means to challenge their detentions (see habeas corpus). The administration argued that it was not obliged to grant basic constitutional protections to the prisoners, because the base was outside U.S. territory; nor was it required to observe the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and civilians during wartime, because the conventions did not apply to “unlawful enemy combatants.” It further maintained that the president had the authority to place any individual, including an American citizen, in indefinite military custody without charge by declaring him an enemy combatant.

The prison at Guantánamo became the focus of international controversy in June 2004, after a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross found that significant numbers of prisoners had been interrogated by means of techniques that were “tantamount to torture.” (The Bush administration had frequently and vigorously denied that the United States practiced torture.)

The leak of the report came just two months after the publication of photographs of abusive treatment of prisoners by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (see below Iraq War). In response to the Abu Ghraib revelations, Congress eventually passed the Detainee Treatment Act, which banned the “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of prisoners in U.S. military custody. Although the measure became law with Bush’s signature in December 2005, he added a “signing statement” in which he reserved the right to set aside the law’s restrictions if he deemed them inconsistent with his constitutional powers as commander in chief.

In June 2006 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, declared that the system of military commissions that the administration had intended to use to try selected prisoners at Guantánamo on charges of war crimes was in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs American rules of courts-martial. Later that year, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, which gave the commissions the express statutory basis that the court had found lacking; the law also prevented enemy combatants who were not American citizens from challenging their detention in the federal courts.

In separate programs run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), dozens of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism were abducted outside the United States and held in secret prisons in eastern Europe and elsewhere or transferred for interrogation to countries that routinely practiced torture. Although such extrajudicial transfers, or “extraordinary renditions,” had taken place during the Clinton administration, the Bush administration greatly expanded the practice after the September 11 attacks. Press reports of the renditions in 2005 sparked controversy in Europe and led to official investigations into whether some European governments had knowingly permitted rendition flights through their countries’ territories, an apparent violation of the human rights law of the European Union (see also European law).

In February 2005 the CIA confirmed that some individuals in its custody had been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding (simulated drowning), which was generally regarded as a form of torture under international law. The CIA’s position that waterboarding did not constitute torture had been based on the legal opinions of the Justice Department and specifically on a secret memo issued in 2002 that adopted an unconventionally narrow and legally questionable definition of torture. After the memo was leaked to the press in June 2004, the Justice Department rescinded its opinion. In 2005, however, the department issued new secret memos declaring the legality of enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. The new memos were revealed in news reports in 2007, prompting outrage from critics of the administration. In July 2007 Bush issued an executive order that prohibited the CIA from using torture or acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, though the specific interrogation techniques it was allowed to use remained classified. In March 2008 Bush vetoed a bill directed specifically at the CIA that would have prevented the agency from using any interrogation technique, such as waterboarding, that was not included in the U.S. Army’s field manual on interrogation.


The Iraq War

Road to war
In September 2002 the administration announced a new National Security Strategy of the United States of America. It was notable for its declaration that the United States would act “preemptively,” using military force if necessary, to forestall or prevent threats to its security by terrorists or “rogue states” possessing biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons—so-called weapons of mass destruction.

At the same time, Bush and other high administration officials began to draw worldwide attention to Iraqi Pres. Ṣaddām Ḥussein and to suspicions that Iraq possessed or was attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. In November 2002 the Bush administration successfully lobbied for a new Security Council resolution providing for the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq. Soon afterward Bush declared that Iraq had failed to comply fully with the new resolution and that the country continued to possess weapons of mass destruction. For several weeks, the United States and Britain tried to secure support from other Security Council members for a second resolution explicitly authorizing the use of force against Iraq (though administration officials insisted that earlier resolutions provided sufficient legal justification for military action). In response, France and Russia, while agreeing that Iraq had failed to cooperate fully with weapons inspectors, argued that the inspections regime should be continued and strengthened.

As part of the administration’s diplomatic campaign, Bush and other officials frequently warned that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, that it was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, and that it had long-standing ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. In his State of the Union address in January 2003, Bush announced that Iraq had attempted to purchase enriched uranium from Niger for use in nuclear weapons. The subsequent determination that some intelligence reports of the purchase had relied on forged documents complicated the administration’s diplomatic efforts in the United Nations. Meanwhile, massive peace demonstrations took place in several major cities around the world.


Operation Iraqi Freedom
Finally, Bush announced the end of U.S. diplomacy. On March 17 he issued an ultimatum to Ṣaddām, giving him and his immediate family 48 hours to leave Iraq or face removal by force. Bush also indicated that, even if Ṣaddām relinquished power, U.S. military forces would enter the country to search for weapons of mass destruction and to stabilize the new government.

After Ṣaddām’s public refusal to leave and as the 48-hour deadline approached, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, called Operation Iraqi Freedom, to begin on March 20 (local time). In the ground phase of the Iraq War, U.S. and British forces quickly overwhelmed the Iraqi army and irregular Iraqi fighters, and by mid-April they had entered Baghdad and all other major Iraqi cities and forced Ṣaddām’s regime from power.

In the wake of the invasion, hundreds of sites suspected of producing or housing weapons of mass destruction within Iraq were investigated. As the search continued without success into the following year, Bush’s critics accused the administration of having misled the country into war by exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq. In 2004 the Iraq Survey Group, a fact-finding mission comprising American and British experts, concluded that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction or the capacity to produce them at the time of the invasion, though it found evidence that Ṣaddām had planned to reconstitute programs for producing such weapons once UN sanctions were lifted. In the same year, the bipartisan 9-11 Commission (the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States) reported that there was no evidence of a “collaborative operational relationship” between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Ṣaddām, who went into hiding during the invasion, was captured by U.S. forces in December 2003 and was executed by the new Iraqi government three years later.


Occupation and insurgency
Although the Bush administration had planned for a short war, stabilizing the country after the invasion proved difficult. From May 1, when Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq, to the end of December 2003, more than 200 U.S. soldiers were killed as a result of attacks by Iraqis. During the next four years the number of U.S. casualties increased dramatically, reaching more than 900 in 2007 alone. (The number of Iraqis who died during the invasion or the insurgency is uncertain.) Widespread sectarian violence, accompanied by regular and increasingly deadly attacks on military, police, and civilian targets by militias and terrorist organizations, made large parts of the country virtually ungovernable. The increasing numbers of U.S. dead and wounded, the failure to uncover weapons of mass destruction, and the enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers (approximately $10 billion per month through 2007) gradually eroded public support for the war; by 2005 a clear majority of Americans believed that it had been a mistake. By the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2008, some 4,000 U.S. soldiers had been killed. As the death toll mounted, Bush’s public-approval ratings dropped, falling below 30 percent in many polls.

While acknowledging that it had underestimated the tenacity of the Iraqi resistance, the Bush administration maintained that part of the blame for the continuing violence lay with Iran, which it accused of supplying weapons and money to Iraqi-based terrorist groups. In his State of the Union address in 2002, Bush had warned that Iran (along with Iraq and North Korea) was part of an “axis of evil” that threatened the world with its support of terrorism and its ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. In 2006–07 the United States joined other members of the Security Council in condemning Iran’s nuclear research program. The administration’s repeated warnings concerning a possible Iranian nuclear weapon led to speculation that Bush was contemplating military action against the country. In December 2007, however, the administration’s suspicions were contradicted by the National Intelligence Estimate, a consensus report of U.S. intelligence agencies, which declared with “high confidence” that in 2003 Iran had abandoned attempts to develop a nuclear weapon.


Foreign aid
In his State of the Union address in January 2003, Bush proposed an ambitious program to address the humanitarian crisis created by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in 15 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. With a budget of $15 billion over a five-year period, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) aimed to supply life-extending medications to 2 million victims of HIV/AIDS, to prevent 7 million new cases of the disease, and to provide care for 10 million AIDS sufferers and the orphaned children of AIDS victims. The program was widely praised in the United States, even by Bush’s critics, and generated enormous goodwill toward the Bush administration in Africa. Medical professionals and public health officials welcomed the greater availability of retroviral drugs but generally objected to the program’s requirement that one-third of prevention funds be spent on teaching sexual abstinence and marital fidelity.

In January 2004 the Bush administration established the Millennium Challenge Corporation to distribute development aid to poor countries that demonstrated a commitment to democracy, free enterprise, and transparent governance. The agency’s innovative approach allowed recipient countries to design and manage their own multiyear programs to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. By 2008 the corporation had approved some $5 billion in grant requests, though relatively little of the money had been dispersed.

The Bush administration’s foreign aid programs were designed to serve its declared foreign policy goal of promoting democracy abroad, especially in parts of the world plagued by poverty and war. In eastern Europe, Bush supported expanding the membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a means of securing democracy and stability in war-ravaged or formerly communist countries. During his presidency NATO gained seven new members: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.


Domestic affairs
In December 2001 Bush successfully negotiated with the Democratic-controlled Senate legislation that provided federal funding to religious, or “faith-based,” charities and social services. The measure, he argued, would end long-standing discrimination in federal funding against churches and other religious groups that provided needed social services in poor communities. The bill was passed by the Senate despite objections from many Democratic senators that it violated the constitutional separation of church and state. A White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives was created in January 2001.

In 2002 the U.S. economy continued to perform poorly, despite having recovered from a recession the previous November. Widespread corporate accounting scandals, some of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, and fears over war and terrorism all contributed to consumer uncertainty and a prolonged downturn in the financial markets. Despite the economic turmoil, Bush’s personal popularity enabled the Republicans to regain a majority in the Senate in midterm elections in November 2002 (though the party also lost three state governorships). With both houses of Congress under Republican control, Bush secured passage of a second tax cut of $350 billion in May 2003.


Education
In January 2002 Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, which introduced significant changes in the curriculum of the country’s public elementary, middle, and high schools and dramatically increased federal regulation of state school systems. Under the law, states were required to administer yearly tests of the reading and mathematics skills of public school students and to demonstrate adequate progress toward raising the scores of all students to a level defined as “proficient” or higher. Teachers were also required to meet higher standards for certification. Schools that failed to meet their goals would be subject to gradually increasing sanctions, eventually including replacement of staff or closure.

In the first years of the program, supporters pointed to its success in increasing the test scores of minority students, who historically performed at lower levels than white students. Indeed, in the 2000 presidential campaign Bush had touted the proposed law as a remedy for what he called “the soft bigotry of low expectations” faced by the children of minorities. Critics, however, complained that the federal government was not providing enough funding to implement the program’s requirements and that the law had usurped the states’s traditional control of education as provided for in the Constitution. Others objected that the law was actually eroding the quality of education by forcing schools to “teach to the test” while neglecting other parts of the curriculum, such as history, social science, and art.



U.S. Pres. George W. Bush relaxes with members of the entertainment committee
after the February 2008 inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rwanda.


Medicare
In December 2003 Bush won Congressional approval of the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), a reform of the federally sponsored health insurance program for elderly Americans. Widely recognized as the most far-reaching overhaul of Medicare to date, the MMA enabled Medicare enrollees to obtain prescription drug coverage from Medicare through private insurance companies, which then received a government subsidy; it also vastly increased the number of private insurance plans through which enrollees could receive medical benefits. Although many members of Congress from both parties criticized the MMA as needlessly complex and expensive (its cost was estimated in January 2004 at $534 billion over 10 years), a bipartisan majority accepted the measure as an imperfect but necessary compromise that would bring a much-needed insurance benefit to senior citizens. Some conservative Republicans, however, rejected the MMA on both fiscal and philosophical grounds, and many Democrats objected to a provision in the plan that prevented Medicare administrators from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices.


Reelection
In 2004 Bush focused his energies on his campaign for reelection against his Democratic challenger, U.S. Sen. John Kerry. According to opinion polls, the candidates entered the fall elections in a virtual dead heat. Bush’s key campaign platform was his conduct of the war on terrorism, which he linked with the war in Iraq. Kerry countered that the Iraq War had been poorly planned and executed and that Bush had neglected domestic priorities. The election was notable for the prominent role played by independent political-action groups in organizing and fund-raising and for the influence of highly partisan blogs as alternative sources of political news. Bush defeated Kerry with a slim majority of the electoral and popular vote, and the Republicans increased their majorities in both the House and the Senate.


Social Security and immigration
The major domestic initiative of Bush’s second term was his proposal to replace Social Security (the country’s system of government-managed retirement insurance) with private retirement savings accounts. The measure attracted little support, however, mainly because it would have required significant cuts in retirement benefits and heavy borrowing during the transition to the private system.

Bush also proposed a reform of immigration laws that would have allowed most of the estimated 12 million people living in the country illegally to remain temporarily as “guest workers” and to apply for U.S. citizenship after returning to their home countries and paying a fine (though citizenship would not be guaranteed). Although the proposal was supported by some prominent Democrats, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, most other Democrats and many members of Bush’s own party remained wary of the idea. Some conservative critics denounced the program as an amnesty that would encourage a new wave of illegal immigration, while liberal opponents warned that it would create a permanent underclass of poor and disenfranchised workers. More than two years of debate produced no reform legislation, though Bush did sign a measure that authorized the construction of a 700-mile (1,127-km) fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.


Environmental and science policy
The Bush administration’s environmental policies reflected its conviction that economic development could be accomplished without serious harm to the environment and that limits on development, where necessary, should be achieved through voluntary cooperation by industry rather than regulation by government. In keeping with the recommendations of the energy task force, the administration’s proposed Clear Skies Act would have introduced a cap-and-trade system to regulate major sources of air pollution by power plants throughout the country. Although the measure would have reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury by 70 percent by 2016, critics charged that the reductions were less than what would be achieved by enforcing the existing Clean Air Act. Largely because of disagreements about whether the Clear Skies Act should regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, the measure died in the Senate in 2005. Despite this setback, the administration soon implemented the Clean Air Interstate Rule, a regional cap-and-trade system for 28 Eastern states and the District of Columbia.

After the Supreme Court ruled in April 2007 that greenhouse gas emissions by automobiles constitute a form of air pollution under the Clean Air Act, Bush signed energy legislation that imposed increases in automobile fuel economy standards by the year 2020. In December, however, the Environmental Protection Agency blocked a proposal by California and 16 other states to issue regulations that would have required fuel economies greater than those called for in the new federal law.

The Bush administration was frequently accused of politically motivated interference in government scientific research. Critics charged that political appointees at various agencies, many of whom had little or no relevant expertise, altered or suppressed scientific reports that did not promote administration policies, restricted the ability of government experts to speak publicly on certain scientific issues, and limited access to scientific information by policy makers and the public. Numerous complaints by environmental and scientific groups led to Congressional hearings in 2007 on political interference in the work of the Surgeon General of the United States and in research on climate change conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In most cases the administration claimed that the interventions were an appropriate attempt to ensure scientific objectivity or simply a benign exercise of the authority of political appointees.



(From left to right) Laura Bush, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush, and Nancy Reagan
at the Ronald W. Reagan Presidential Museum, Simi Valley, Calif., Oct. 21, 2005.



Later developments and assessment

2006 elections
The continued lack of progress in the Iraq War, a series of corruption scandals involving prominent Republican politicians, and the administration’s poor response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and surrounding areas in August 2005 helped the Democrats win control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections of November 2006. The new Congress soon began investigations of the NSA spying program undertaken in 2002 and of allegedly improper political influence in the dismissals of several United States attorneys in December 2006. In the latter investigation the testimony of Alberto R. Gonzales, Bush’s attorney general since 2005, was viewed with skepticism by both parties and reinforced the impression that the Justice Department under his leadership was not sufficiently independent of the White House. Gonzales resigned in August 2007 and was replaced in November with Michael Mukasey.


The Plame affair
In March 2007 Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, was convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with an investigation into the leak of the identity of a covert CIA agent in 2003. The agent, Valerie Plame, was the wife of Joseph C. Wilson, a retired foreign service officer who had traveled to Africa in early 2002 at the request of the CIA to help determine whether Iraq had attempted to purchase enriched uranium from Niger. Wilson reported that there was no evidence of an attempted purchase, and in July 2003 he publicly speculated that the administration had ignored or distorted intelligence reports such as his to justify a military invasion of Iraq. Libby allegedly identified Plame as a CIA agent to journalists to discredit Wilson by suggesting that his selection for the CIA mission was the result of nepotism. In testimony before a grand jury and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Libby falsely claimed that he had not discussed Plame’s identity with journalists. Bush commuted Libby’s 30-month prison sentence in July 2007.

During his second term Bush appointed two Supreme Court justices: John G. Roberts, Jr. (confirmed as chief justice in 2005), and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. (confirmed in 2006). The appointments increased to four the number of solidly conservative justices on the nine-member Supreme Court.

As Bush entered the final year of his presidency in 2008, the country faced enormous challenges. Although al-Qaeda had been subdued, it had not been destroyed. The United States and its allies continued to fight skirmishes with terrorists and their Taliban supporters in Afghanistan, and the insurgency in Iraq continued to claim U.S. casualties. The surpluses in the federal budget in 2000 and 2001 were a distant memory, as the combined effects of military spending, tax cuts, and slow economic growth produced a series of enormous budget deficits starting in 2003. Later in 2008 the economy was threatened by a severe credit crisis, leading Congress to enact a controversial Bush administration plan to rescue the financial industry with up to $700 billion in government funds (see Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008). Despite Bush’s 2000 campaign promise to be “a uniter, not a divider,” the country remained politically polarized to an extent not seen since the Vietnam War. While Bush’s critics faulted him for these problems and many others, his supporters vigorously defended him as a strong leader who had guided the country through one of the most dangerous periods in its history.

Encyclopaedia Britannica
 

 

 

September 11, 2001

The Islamist suicide attacks on September 11, 2001, triggered a worldwide shock wave. At around 9:00 in the morning, two hijacked airliners smashed into the World Trade Center in New York City; both towers of the tallest building in the country collapsed.

One and a half hours later, a third aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, the US Defense Department's headquarters near Washington, DC. A fourth plane, assumed also to be headed for Washington, crashed outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A total of about 3000 people lost their lives in the attacks.


A second plane approaches the south tower of the World Trade Center,
following the collision of the first airliner with the north tower

see also
In Focus:

Terrorism

 

 
 


see also: United Nations member states -
United States of America

 

 

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