By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – There are many in Colorado who knew and served with former President George Herbert Walker Bush. Among them, former Colorado state legislator and later U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Sam Zakhem.

Sam Zakhem (credit: CBS)

He proudly showed off a statue of Bush to CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

“He got one and I got one for liberation of Kuwait,” Zakhem said pointing out the inscription “bold vision.”

(credit: Sam Zakhem)

Zakhem’s time with George H.W. Bush dates back to 1969 and fills many years in between.

“George H.W. Bush was a very warm and kind human being,” Zakhem recalled.

Zakhem was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain by Ronald Reagan. Then Bush kept him on when taking over as President.

(credit: Sam Zakhem)

“Quite an honor. I was so happy. The Bahraini’s were so happy,” Zakhem said going through the pictures he cherishes.

Bush came to Denver and met with Zakhem after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and touched off the first Gulf War.

“This says ‘To my friend Sam Zakhem with best wishes to a great ambassador.'”

(credit: Sam Zakhem)

The Iraqis were banished from Kuwait, but George Bush would only serve as 41st president for one term.

Sallinger asked, “Were you disappointed when he failed to win re-election?

“Yes I was,” Zakhem replied.

He later had legal problems, but was acquitted by a jury in less than an hour.

“Mr. Bush called me when I was exonerated he said ‘Sam, congratulations, I never doubted that the truth would come out.'”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Sam Zakhem. (credit: CBS)

Now the man Zakhem so respected and served has passed at age 94.

“I think he was an example of what a true, honest, good leader is and should be.”

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

Comments (2)
  1. Robert Chase says:

    Disgusting — your little trophy commemorates the unindicted war criminal who deliberately violated the Geneva Convention to destroy civil infrastructure in Iraq that caused the deaths of well over a hundred thousand Iraqi civillians! Fascists like Bush, who were responsible for laws imprisoning more Americans than any other country on Earth, made a mockery of the proud claim in the Star-Spangled Banner that this is “the land of the free” and should be expelled as enemy combatants against our People and Constitution, not lauded, protected from prosecution, and permitted to die of natural causes in our country. The media’s coverage of H.W. Bush’s death has been exempary — of obscenity.

    1. Robert Chase says:

      P.S. Correction: under Reagan, Bush, and their successors, the U.S has increased its rate of incarceration beyond that of any country on the planet with the sole exception of the Seychelles, population ~95,000. The supposed “land of the free” imprisons more people per capita than all the rest and more people in absolute number as well; this is truly the Land of Prisons. Fascists who sing the National Anthem should strangle on the words.

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