I only touched on one strikingly negative aspect of the GHW Bush legacy in my last post, but this is a pretty good compendium of Bush’s offenses that I mostly agree with. The tone is relentlessly harsh and the numbers cited seem generally to be at the high end (though not way out of bounds) of generally accepted estimates, but it seems to me to be generally accurate. I would just add that people are complicated in curious ways. An individual who exhibits kindness and integrity and decency in personal relationships can sometimes be capable of large-scale cruelty and other abhorrent behavior if he can convince himself that he is acting ultimately in a good cause. I think the large-scale abhorrent behavior is more worthy of note than the interpersonal decency.
If you’re interested in the contrary view that we should avoid saying mean things about recently departed public figures, you can take a look at this post by the usually perspicacious Kevin Drum. Drum thinks you need to be restrained out of respect for the deceased’s grieving family. Seriously. He says you can go nasty after a decent interval, like a few days or a week. (Of course, by that time, nobody will be paying attention any more and all of the hagiographic excess will have sunk into people’s consciousness.) My own heartless view is that we should care more about a fair understanding of our recent history than about the grieving sensibilities of an extremely privileged and powerful family.