Editorial writers around the world have been taking their final printed whacks at George W. Bush, accusing the president of tarnishing America's standing with what many saw as arrogant and incompetent leadership.WOW!
"A weak leader, Bush was just overwhelmed in the job," said Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung under a headline: "The Failure". "He confused stubbornness with principles. America has become intolerant and it will take a long time to repair that damage."
Editorials hit out at Bush for two unfinished wars, for plunging the economy into recession, turning a budget surplus into a pile of debt, for his environment policies and tarnishing America's reputation with the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
"Goodbye to the worst president ever," it declared. "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."
"Bush leaves a country and an economy in tatters," wrote the Sunday Times in London. It said America's national debt and unemployment nearly doubled on his watch.
Britain's Daily Mail said he entered office with a budget surplus of $128 billion but exits with a $482 billion deficit.
"He leaves the world facing its biggest crisis since the Depression, the Middle East in flames and U.S. standing at an all-time low.
The Scottish Daily Record observed: "America is now hated in many parts of the world. Bush leaves a legacy of wars and the world economy in meltdown. He has been dismissed as a buffoon and a war-monger, a man who made the world a more dangerous place while sending it to the brink of economic collapse."
"He leaves as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America's reputation since World War Two."
The Sydney Morning Herald complained about Bush's "singular lack of curiosity in international matters" in an editorial titled "Farewell to a flawed and unpopular commander-in-chief."
"It's hard to find a historian who won't say that Bush was the most catastrophic leader the U.S. has ever known," the French daily wrote. "One success: since Sept. 11, 2001, there was no attack on U.S. soil. But this sits alongside an interminable list of failures, starting with the war in Iraq."
Stern magazine said: "Bush led the world's most powerful nation to ruin. He lied to the world, tortured in the name of freedom and caused lasting damage to America's standing."
"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.
"Indeed, he would have caused twice the damage if he had been more active and focused."
In Poland, the Warsaw daily Dziennik lamented the worst part about Bush's presidency: "It was empty rhetoric."