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The Most Disliked Man to Save 25 Million Lives | NYT Opinion

NYT, 22 Mar 2023
Text by Nicholas Kristof
When President George W. Bush invaded Iraq 20 years ago this week, I was in the middle of the smoke and chaos of that cataclysmic war that became his best-known legacy. I wrote countless columns opposing an invasion, then I was scathing as I covered the war, and I still see it as a practical and moral catastrophe.

But wait — what if there’s something Bush did that was even more consequential than the invasion of Iraq? And what if it was something astonishingly good?

This is awkward, but I have to acknowledge that Bush deserves credit for the single best policy of any president in my lifetime. It’s called PEPFAR and if you haven’t heard of it, that’s part of the problem.

So my colleagues and I in New York Times Opinion made this video essay about an initiative that Bush created 20 years ago that saved 25 million lives. With the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, there’s lots of commentary about his miscalculations and failures, and there should be. But we liberals also have to acknowledge that the most important humanitarian program of modern times wasn’t started by a progressive we admire but by a conservative evangelical whose policies we deplored. Watch the video at the top of this page.

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