George Washington was born into a respectable planting family in Virginia. His father died when he was 11, leaving a widow and seven children. The young Washington received a grade-school education; however, he was unable to attend college. He had to go to work at age 16 as a surveyor and ultimately conducted more than 190 surveys on the Virginia frontier. When Washington was 20 years old, he petitioned the governor for a military appointment, and began to lead a series of military expeditions into the Ohio Country, where he engaged in battles with the French and their Indian allies. He was ultimately appointed a colonel, and in 1755 he became an aide-de-camp to the British General Braddock, who was leading an invasion into the French-held Ohio region. Braddock was killed and his army defeated during an Indian ambush; however, Washington was able to rally the troops and saved the lives of many soldiers. Two horses were shot out from under him, and four bullets pierced his coat as he maneuvered in the thick of the battle.
George W. Bush was born to high privilege; his great-grandfathers helped establish and earned enormous profits from the military industrial complex and, his grandfather helped finance Hitler 's war machine. His parents were both raised in wealthy households attended by servants, and they spoiled George Jr., their first born. He was allowed to abuse his siblings, to torment and kill animals and to sustain mediocrity in his education. He required his father 's "legacy " to get into Yale, where he organized physical hazing described in newspaper reports as "degrading, sadistic and obscene. " He was arrested for theft, disorderly conduct, drunk driving and possession of cocaine.
In 1968, 296,406 American boys were drafted into military service, and 6,332 came home from Vietnam in body bags. Although he was 22 years old, a college graduate, and physically fit, Bush 's father pulled strings to jump him over 500 waiting applicants and into the Texas Air National Guard, even though he could only answer 25 of the 100 questions on the pilot aptitude test. Bush declined to volunteer for Vietnam service, choosing instead to patrol the skies over Houston, Texas on weekends, until he grew bored and went AWOL.
In the management of his family 's estate, George Washington brought to bear the same skills and energy he had used in creating the Virginia Regiment. Over the next 17 years, he more than doubled the size of Mount Vernon and, in 1766, to overcome the planters ' dependence on English merchants, he abandoned tobacco as a cash crop. He began to grow wheat; he built his own mill to process it into flour; and he began to spin and weave locally produced linen and wool to clothe his workers. Washington built a schooner to harvest fish from the Potomac, and purchased a larger ship to transport his own products to European markets. He organized the Mississippi Land Company to obtain control over 2.5 million acres along the Ohio River, and he fought for the rights of Virginia veterans to receive land along the western rivers on the same basis as British regulars.
George Washington served in the House of Burgesses, and in 1769 he called for Virginia to boycott English goods and for an end to the slave trade. In 1774, he was elected as one of seven delegates from Virginia to the Continental Congress. The following year he was returned to the Second Continental Congress, receiving 106 of the 108 votes cast, and he was chosen to command the Virginia militia. In the Second Congress, after chairing four committees on military readiness, Washington was appointed as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. He agreed to serve without pay, and for the next six years he was constantly with his soldiers in the field. During battles, he would appear on his horse among the front lines as bullets flew past and others fell dead and wounded by his side.
The war did not immediately go well for the Americans, and during the battle of Long Island, the siege of Fort Washington, and the Forage War, the British and Hessian troops often provided no "quarter " in putting to death all rebels who fell into their hands. The wounded had their brains dashed out, were run through with bayonets and their bodies were mutilated. American prisoners were imprisoned under conditions of great misery, including the holds of prison ships in New York harbor, where large numbers died after great suffering. In spite of these war crimes, Washington never denied quarter to the enemy and ordered that all prisoners be treated as human beings with the same rights that the rebels were fighting for. He wrote, "Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren. " Washington particularly ordered that Hessian soldiers were "innocent people in this war, and were not volunteers, but forced into this war. " The Hessians were treated with such respect and humanity that they were allowed to march to the rear without escort, and 23 percent of all Hessian soldiers who survived the war chose to remain in America.
Following the American victory in Yorktown, Washington retired to Mount Vernon until he was called upon to attend and chair the Constitutional Convention. With ratification of the Constitution and establishment of the United States in 1789, Washington was twice unanimously selected by all electors and served two terms as the Nation 's first president. Regarding the government, he said, "As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality. "
George W. Bush jogged for Congress in 1978 and was decisively defeated. In 1990, he hired consultant Karl Rove to make him over from a failed featherweight businessman into a heavyweight political contender. Relying on policy teams to formulate positions, Rove reduced them to simple terms and phrases for Bush to memorize. The plan worked and Bush was elected in 1994 as Governor of Texas, a largely ceremonial job. The same formula almost succeeded in the presidential election of 2000 when Bush came within a half million votes of Al Gore in the popular vote; however, family connections again bailed him out. His father 's former Secretary of State, James Baker flew into Florida where Bush 's brother Jeb was governor, the chief vote counter chaired his reelection committee, and only a few hundred disputed votes separated the candidates. After the Florida Supreme Court found for Gore, Bush appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where a majority appointed by President Reagan and his father ruled that the intent of the Florida voters was irrelevant and Bush was anointed as president.
Bush presided over a failed presidency and his public approval ratings were barely above 50 percent when al Qaeda attacked on September 11, 2001, much like lighting striking the well-insured building of a bankrupt company. As a "war president, " Bush established an outdoor prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where POW 's were confined in chain-link cages open to the elements and denied the rights guaranteed by the Geneva Convention; he illegally held hundreds of undocumented immigrants in prison without access to counsel; he denied all due process to American citizens imprisoned as an "enemy combatants; " he established secret prisons in other countries; he ordered the kidnaping and "extraordinary rendition " of individual into other countries where they were brutally tortured; and he authorized the illegal use of torture in the questioning of prisoners in places such as Abu Ghraib, as long as it didn 't produce organ failure or death, or was done in accordance with "military necessity. " Even when Congress passed legislation, which he resisted, forbidding the torture of prisoners, Bush appended a "signing statement " in which he said he would follow the law only if and as he decided.
Although there is no evidence that George Washington ever declined as a child to lie about chopping down a cherry tree, his personal probity is a matter of history. He said, "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily." He hoped to possess "firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. "
In his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003, Bush stated that the International Atomic Energy Agency had confirmed that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, when in fact the IAEA maintained it had destroyed the program; he stated that Iraq had purchased high-quality aluminum tubes "suitable for nuclear weapons production, " when the IAEA and his own Energy Department had already concluded that they were not suitable for the refining of uranium; and he said, "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa, " when in truth the CIA had informed Bush that the allegations were "highly dubious. "
On March 17, 2003, Bush told the American people that Iraq possessed some of the "most lethal weapons ever devised and that it had "aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda. " These were all lies, as was his statement that "every measure has been taken to avoid war. " Actually, every step was taken to ensure war. It came, and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found, or any evidence that al Qaeda had ever been active in Iraq.