Newspapers around the world skewer Bush on eve of departure
John Byrne
Published: Monday January 19, 2009

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Rancor for President almost universal

On the eve of his departure, newspapers across the world are letting loose in editorials on the man seen as responsible for diminishing America's standing in the world: President George W. Bush.

Papers in Canada and France say he's the worst president ever. An outlet in Scotland says Bush drove the world to the brink of economic collapse. A pan-Arabic newspaper penned a headline, "The Joke's On Us."

"Goodbye to the worst president ever," declared the Toronto Sun's editorial page. "Bush was an unmitigated disaster, failing on the big issues from the invasion of Iraq to global warming, Hurricane Katrina and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."

A Reuters summary of more than a dozen newspapers spanning the globe found an almost universal lugubriousness about the havoc they felt Bush had caused to the world. "The United States was once the symbol of justice in the world but that has been damaged by Bush," wrote Austria's Wiener Zeitung. "A web of manipulation has cost America $900 billion and the lives of 4,000 soldiers -- along with at least 500,000 Iraqis."

Perhaps the most original, however, was Pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper, which "recalled his controversial election win in Florida and how he once nearly choked on a pretzel, watching television."

"Perhaps we could say that fate, which let the American people down first in Florida and then with the issue of the pretzel in the president's throat, ultimately helped them by making sure the president would spend half his time on vacation," wrote the paper's editorial writers. "Indeed, he would have caused twice the damage if he had been more active and focused."

Not everyone wrote badly of Bush. Most complementary, according to Reuters, was the Jerusalem Post, which remarked that Bush had been the best friend to Israel in 60 years.