It's going to be tough enough for the next few years fighting the already widespread lies about Smirky/Darth's true legacy to the nation and the world. The last thing we need is pseudo-progressives doing the wingnuts' work for them by publishing fake critiques that perpetuate the bushies' lies.
Granted, Jake Weisberg has been for years one of the most gullible and least insightful "journalists"on the subject of Smirky/Darth, the Iraq clusterfuck, the War On A Noun and destructive repug idiocy in general, but this really takes the cake.
As George W. Bush once noted, "You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you're gone." What I think he was trying to say is that, over time, historians may evolve toward a more positive view of his presidency than the one held by most of his contemporaries.
No, what he actually was saying is "as I have done for my entire life, I'm going to escape accountability, not to mention punishment, for my many war crimes and acts of treason."
At the moment, this seems a vain hope. Bush's three most obvious legacies are his decision to invade Iraq, his framing of a global war on terror after Sept. 11, and the massive financial crisis. Each of these constitutes a separate epic in presidential misjudgment and mismanagement.
No, the Iraq clusterfuck, delcaring war on a noun to justify torture and shredding the Constitution, and destroying the economy are not, by any stretch "misjudgment and mismanagement." They are major crimes and acts of treason.
It remains a brainteaser to come up with ways, however minor, in which Bush changed government, politics, or the world for the better. Among presidential historians, it is hardly an eccentric view that 43 ranks as America's worst president ever. On the other hand, he has nowhere to go but up.
No, there's a long, long fall to the eternal damnation Smirky has richly earned. After he's arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned, spent decades getting his anus dry-reamed with a barbed dildo by the family members of dead American soldiers and marines, and become a curse in the mouths of former supporters who blame him for the complete distruction of the republican party, THEN we can talk about whether he has anywhere to go but up.
In a different sense, however, Bush's comment has some validity to it.
No, nothing Smirky says has "validity" except in the sense of incriminating evidence.
We do not know how people will one day view this presidency because we, Bush's contemporaries, don't yet understand it ourselves.
No, those of us with functioning reasoning capacity and an ounce of personal and professional integrity understand it perfectly well. It's only sniveling apologists like Jake Weisberg who pretend they don't understand.
The Bush administration has had startling success in one area—namely keeping its inner workings secret. Intensely loyal, contemptuous of the press, and overwhelmingly hostile to any form of public disclosure, the Bushies did a remarkable job at keeping their doings hidden for eight years.
No, it's been pretty fucking obvious to most of us for at least three years exactly what is and has been going on in the overlowing toilet that used to be the White House, despite the efforts of the repug dupes and cowardly transcribers of the Village to pretend otherwise.
Probably the biggest question Bush leaves behind is about the most consequential choice of his presidency: his decision to invade Iraq.
No. This question was answered in Ron Suskind's 2004 book, in which Smirky/Darth started planning to invade Iraq about 35 seconds after the Inauguration.
When did the president make up his mind to go to war against Saddam Hussein?
January 20, 2001. And it was never a "war." It's an illegal invasion.
What were his real reasons?
Dictatorial power. He admitted as much when he said his father didn't get re-elected because he ended the Gulf War instead of keeping it going forever.
What roles did various figures around him—Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice—play in the actual decision?
For pity's fucking sake, Weisberg, have you read nothing but Harry Potter for the past five years? Shit, even that repug tool Woodward managed eventually to document all of this.
Was the selling of the war on the basis of WMD evidence a matter of conscious deception or of self-deception on their part?
Again, read a fucking book. To name just one, Fiasco proves irrefutably that it was deliberate deception.
Bob Woodward, Ron Suskind, and I recently debated in Slate the issue of how much we really know about Bush's biggest decision. Woodward, the author of four inside accounts of the Bush administration, believes that we do know the most important facts. He argues that Bush decided to invade Iraq in January 2003, that the reason was 9/11, and that Bush himself was the real decision-maker. Suskind and I argued that we don't know really how, when, or why the decision was made—though we suspect it was much earlier. By the summer of 2002, administration officials and foreign diplomats were hearing that Bush's course was already set.
Wrong. January 2001, as Suskind himself documented. What kind of pharmaceuticals were distributed at this "debate?"
The disputed dates and details go to the most interesting larger issues about what went wrong during the Bush years.
No, they don't, and no, they aren't disputed, except by tools, apologists and accomplices.
Did Bush's own innocence and incompetence drive his missteps?
He's neither innocent nor incompetent, and they aren't missteps. He's a psychopath, and what he did are high crimes and acts of treason.
Or was it the people around him, most importantly his vice president, who manipulated him into his major bad choices? On so many issues—the framing of the war on terrorism, the use of torture, the expansion of executive power—it was Cheney's views that prevailed.
Darth's evil does not absolve Smirky's eager treason. To say Cheney "manipulated" him is like saying I "manipulated" my dog into eating his favorite snack.
Yet at some point, perhaps around the 2006 election, Bush seems to have lost confidence in his vice president and stopped taking his advice.
So what and who cares? These are Smirky's crimes and treason, from beginning to end. Darth has his own crimes and treason for which he must pay. Stop trying to muddy each with the other.
To reckon with the Bush years, we need to understand what went on between these two men behind closed doors.
Oh gag. I just ate.
Yet despite some superb spadework by journalist Barton Gellman and others, we know very little about Cheney's true role. We have seen few of the pertinent documents and heard little relevant testimony. Congressional investigations and litigation have shed only the faintest light on Cheney's role in Bush's biggest blunders.
Wrong, irrelevant and stop calling murder and treason "blunders."
The same is generally true of Bush's most important political relationship, with Karl Rove, and his most important personal one, with his father. Only with greater insight into these connections are we likely to be able to answer some of the other pressing historical questions. To what extent was Bush himself really the driver of his central decisions? How engaged or disengaged was he? Why, after governing as a successful moderate in Texas, did he adopt such an ideological and polarizing style as president? Why did he politicize the fight against terrorism? Why did he choose to permit the torture of American detainees? Why did he wait so long to revise a failing strategy in Iraq?
Bleeding baby jeebus. Smirky has done everything to acquire power, authority and popularity without work, responsibility or accountability. He is engaged to the extent required by acquire power, authority and popularity without work, responsibility or accountability. He was NOT a successful governor, but merely a repug with a famous name in a repug state, who knew just enough to avoid offense in a constitutionally weak office. He showed his true self as president because the office permitted him to do so. He politicized terrorism, encouraged torture and ensured we'd never get out of Iraq because all those things acquired power, authority and popularity without work, responsibility or accountability.
It seems unlikely that the memoirs in the works from Rove and Rumsfeld will challenge Bush's repeated assertions that he was not only in charge but in control. As for the president himself, we're unlikely to get much: Bush has a poor memory and is too unreflective to have kept the kind of diary that would elucidate matters. In time, however, other accounts are sure to emerge. Congressional investigations will shed new light. Declassified documents and e-mails may paint a clearer picture.
Was this written five years ago? C'mon, Jake - there are dozens, if not hundreds, of books out there that have answered every one of these questions over and over and over again. Pretending this is all still a mystery makes you look like a tool or an idiot.
Once the country is rid of Bush, perhaps we can start developing a more nuanced understanding of how his presidency went astray. His was no ordinary failure, and he leaves not just an unholy mess but also some genuine mysteries.
Don't you listen to your own Fearless Leader? Smirky doesn't do nuance. There is no nuance. There is no mystery. It's as obvious as a five-buck whore.
Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....