George Bush

Truth Or Consequences: Bush National Guard Story Reexamined

George Bush Dan Rather

I’ll always believe that Karl Rove and his minions forced CBS to fire Dan Rather over his report about then President Bush and his stint in the National Guard.  At that point,  the story became Dan Rather’s firing (implying a credibility issue) rather than the truthfulness of Dan Rather’s investigative report.  Bush was up for re-election in 2004 and could not afford to have such a negative report about his National Guard years making the rounds.

The Huffington Post

Texas Monthly:

Here it is, on a coat hook in midtown Manhattan: the Army-issue green shirt, with “CBS NEWS” written in white letters on the ID tag, that Dan Rather wore in 1966 while hunkered down in rice paddies along the Cambodian border.

Read the whole story: Texas Monthly

John Boehner’s Crying: Is He Drinking Too Much?

Incoming “Weeper of the House”, John Boehner may have more of a problem than just crying all the time…

Politics Daily

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner’s recent interview on “60 Minutes” with Lesley Stahl, where he once again cried publicly, has created a minor controversy among pundits, with observers trying to figure out the cause of his unusual behavior.

Is it depression? Or is Boehner simply in touch with his emotions? Does he wear his heart on his sleeve, or does he cry on a dime because he has a tender spot for all things American?

While it’s impossible to know, some are beginning to speculate that Boehner’s penchant for turning on the waterworks might have some connection to his consumption of wine. Liberal MSNBC host Ed Shultz, half-jokingly, called Boehner a “cheap drunk” the other day, Capitol Hill aides of both parties are wondering, and there’s even a web page devoted to it.

So is drinking the issue — and why might a person struggling with drinking be more prone to weeping in public?

Speaking generally, Dr. Robert DuPont, who served as the second White House drug czar and was the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, tells me that “alcohol reduces inhibitions. Whatever emotion you have, you’re more likely to express it [when drinking].” DuPont added that alcohol reduces the functioning of the frontal lobes, and “the frontal lobes have to do with judgment, which is why [intoxicated] people do impulsive behavior.”

Alcohol also “brings out underlying emotions,” explains Dr. Michael Fingerhood, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “It generally is unmasking what is inside them.”    More…

George Bush Book ‘Decision Points’ Lifted Passages From Advisers’ Books

Recently, George Bush complained that many folks thought he couldn’t read, much less write a book.  It seems some of his critics may have been right on the latter point…

Huffington Post

When Crown Publishing inked a deal with George W. Bush for his memoirs, the publisher knew it wasn’t getting Faulkner. But the book, at least, promises “gripping, never-before-heard detail” about the former president’s key decisions, offering to bring readers “aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq,” and other undisclosed and weighty locations.

Crown also got a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections. He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time. Far from shedding light on how the president approached the crucial “decision points” of his presidency, the clip jobs illuminate something shallower and less surprising about Bush’s character: He’s too lazy to write his own memoir.

[...]

1.  From Decision Points, p. 205: “When Karzai arrived in Kabul for his inauguration on December 22 – 102 days after 9/11 – several Northern Alliance leaders and their bodyguards greeted him at an airport. As Karzai walked across the tarmac alone, a stunned Tajik warlord asked where all his men were. Karzai, responded, ‘Why, General, you are my men. All of you who are Afghans are my men.’”

From Ahmed Rashid’s The Mess in Afghanistan, quoted in The New York Times Review of Books:   “At the airport to receive [Karzai] was the warlord General Mohammad Fahim, a Tajik from the Panjshir Valley …. As the two men shook hands on the tarmac, Fahim looked confused. ‘Where are your men?’ he asked. Karzai turned to him in his disarmingly gentle manner of speaking. ‘Why General,’ he replied, “you are my men—all of you are Afghans and are my men…’”   Bush was not at Karzai’s Innauguration.

2.  From Decision Points, p. 267: “Several months later, four men came to see me at the White House. They were members of the Delta Team that had captured Saddam. They told me the story of the hunt…’My name is Saddam Hussein,’ the man said. ‘I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate.’ ‘Regards from President Bush,’ the soldier replied.”

BBC, Dec. 15, 2003:   “How Saddam Hussein was captured”: “[Saddam] put up no resistance although armed with a pistol. ‘My name is Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate,’ he told the US troops in English, according to Major Bryan Reed, operations officer for the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. ‘Regards from President Bush,’ US special forces replied, Major Reed recounted.

A Time magazine story later questioned whether the story was accurate.  “Legends of the Fall,” Dec. 29, 2003:    “A U.S. intelligence official, meanwhile, casts doubt on another widely reported tale: that a U.S. soldier hailed the nemesis of two Commanders in Chief named George Bush by saying: ‘Regards from President Bush.’ This person says some officials suspect the story is ‘apocryphal.’”

So did the soldiers tell Bush that story or did he lift it from the BBC?

3.  From Decision Points, p. 199:   “At a National Security Council meeting the next morning, I said, ‘just want to make sure that all of us did agree to this plan, right?’ I went around the table and asked every member of the room. They agreed….I could sense the relief in the room.”

From Bob Woodward’s Bush At War, p. 261:  “The next morning, Bush arrived at the White House Situation Room for the NSC meeting…’I just want to make sure that all of us did agree to this plan, right?’ [Bush] said. He looked around the table from face to face….Each affirmed allegiance to the plan and strategy. …Hadley thought the tension suddenly drained from the room.

From Bob Woodward’s The War Within, p. 430:  “At the next day’s meeting, Bush said, ‘I just want to make sure that all of us did agree to this plan, right?’ He went around the table asking everyone to affirm allegiance to the plan.”

4.   From Decision Points, p 234-5:   Tommy told the national security team that he was working to apply the same concept of a light footprint to Iraq… “If we have multiple, highly skilled Special Operations forces identifying targets for precision-guided munitions, we will need fewer conventional grounds forces,” he said. “That’s an important lesson learned from Afghanistan.” I had a lot of concerns. … I asked the team to keep working on the plan. “We should remain optimistic that diplomacy and international pressure will succeed in disarming the regime,” I said at the end of the meeting. “But we cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists. I will not allow that to happen.”

From General Tommy Franks American Soldier, p. 350:  “For example, if we have multiple, highly skilled Special Operations forces identifying targets for precision-guided munitions, we will need fewer conventional ground forces. That’s an important lesson learned from Afghanistan.” President Bush’s questions continued throughout the briefing…. Before the VTC ended, President Bush addressed us all. “We should remain optimistic that diplomacy and international pressure will succeed in disarming the regime.” … (p. 355-6) The President paused. “Protecting the security of the United States is my responsibility,” he continued. “But we cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to fall into the hands of terrorists.” He shook his head. “I will not allow that to happen.” (emphasis in the original text)

5.  From Decision Points, p, 223: I asked each man two questions. Do you have everything you need to win? And are you comfortable with the strategy? Each commander answered affirmatively. Tommy spoke last. “Mr. President,” the commanding general said, “this force is ready.” I turned to Don Rumsfeld. “Mr. Secretary,” I said, “for the peace of the world and the benefit and freedom of the Iraqi people, I hereby give the order to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom. May God bless the troops.” Tommy snapped a salute. “Mr. President,” he said, “May God bless America.”

From General Tommy Franks, American Soldier, p. xvi-xvii:  “Mr. President, this force is ready. D-Day H-Hour is 2100 hours tonight Iraqi time, 1800 Greenwich mean, 1300 East Coast time.” President Bush nodded toward the Natioanl Security Council, then turned toward me. “All right. For the sake of peace in the world and security for our country and the rest of the free world …” He paused as we listened intently, “And for the freedom of the Iraqi people, as of this moment I will give Secretary Rumsfeld the order necessary to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom.” “Tommy,” the president added, his voice firm, “May God bless our troops.” … “Mr. President,” I answered. “May God bless America.” I saluted, and the Commander-in-Chief returned the salute.

Continue reading…

George W. Bush: ‘I HOPE I’M JUDGED A SUCCESS’

Well, the new narrative to “exonerate” George W. Bush’s flawed presidency is under way.  Bush is hoping that his new book will set the record straight or as he puts it, give historians a “data point” in which to judge his presidency. 

Ultimately, history will indeed be the judge of Bush’s presidency.

Huffington Post

Former President George W. Bush is back in the spotlight as he hits the media circuit to promote his new memoir Decision Points in conjunction with its release this week.

“I have written a book,” said the Republican leader at a trade conference in Chicago, Ill. last month. He joked, “This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn’t think I could read, much less write.”

Details from Decision Points began to leak in the weeks leading up to its November 9 scheduled release. From reflections on some of the most intense controversies his administration faced, to concerns over former Vice President Dick Cheney coming off to the public as “Darth Vadar,” new insights continue to emerge as Bush conducts interviews about the book.

“I have zero desire, just so you know, to be in the limelight,” explained the former White House leader last month. “I’m going to emerge then submerge.”

In a one-on-one interview with NBC News host Matt Lauer this week, Bush spoke about his legacy.

“I hope I’m judged a success. But I’m gonna be dead, Matt, when they finally figure it out,” he explained. “And I’m comfortable knowing that I gave it my all, that I love America and I know it was an honor to serve.”

While the time Bush spends in the public eye may be short-lived, there’s no shortage in details from Decision Points to keep buzz alive about the former president.

See slide show of Bush’s revelations in the book here.

George Bush Says He Approved Waterboarding: ‘Damn Right’

The unbelievable hubris that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have displayed regarding the crime of waterboarding, is simply mind-boggling!

Huffington Post

“Damn right.”

That’s what former president George W. Bush told CIA officials when they came to ask him for permission to waterboard alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, according to a Washington Post report on the 43rd president’s forthcoming book, “Decision Points.”

Mohammed supposedly had knowledge of brewing terrorist plots against the United States, and Bush had little reservation about using the practice of simulated drowning on the detainee to extract them.

“I’d do it again to save lives,” Bush, who refused to call the interrogation technique “torture” during his presidency, said at a forum earlier this year. He repeats this willingness to use the procedure and maintains that it isn’t torture in his book, according to the Post.

President Obama and the current Justice Department have tightened their view on waterboarding, characterizing it as an act of torture that is prohibited by international stricture, and, while the Post reports that there may someday be legal repercussions for those who directly authorized torture, the Obama administration has shown little interest in pursuing action against Bush and others, such as Dick Cheney, who have openly supported and admitted using the interrogation tactic.

Earlier advanced looks at “Decision Points” have also provided insight into the mindset of the former president. According to a sneak peak by the New York Times, Bush considered dumping Cheney as his vice president in 2004 because of his “Darth Vader” image and the common perception that he was the real source of power and decision making in the White House.

Bush also writes that he was heartbroken and repulsed by rapper Kanye West’s reaction to his handling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, when he said on live TV that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Large segments of the book will also focus on Bush’s struggles with alcoholism, his faith and key decisions he made on 9/11, according to a Drudge Report preview.

Bush White House willfully left Plamegate leaker’s emails unrestored: watchdog

Raw Story

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington might not really be composed of superheroes but many agree that — through the years — CREW has done a kickass job exposing corruption by both Democrats and Republicans, despite often being derided as partisan.

“Top aides to President George W. Bush seemed unconcerned amid multiple warnings as early as 2002 that the White House risked losing millions of e-mails that federal law required them to preserve, according to an extensive review of records set for release Monday,” Ed O’Keefe reported for The Washington Post Sunday night.

The review, conducted by the nonprofit watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, follows a settlement reached last December between President Obama’s administration, CREW and the National Security Archive, a George Washington University research institute. The groups sued the Bush White House in 2007, alleging it violated federal law by not preserving millions of e-mails sent between 2003 and 2005.

The settlement resulted in the restoration of 94 days worth of e-mail and the release of documents detailing when the Bush White House learned of the missing e-mails and how it responded. The restored e-mails are part of the National Archives and Records Administration’s historic record of the Bush administration, but presidential historians and others seeking information in the coming decades about the major decisions of Bush’s presidency likely will be starved of key details, including messages sent between White House officials and drafts of final policy decisions, according to CREW.

“The net effect of this is we’ve probably lost some truly valuable records that would have provided insight” into the administration’s decision-making process on several policy issues, said CREW Chief Counsel Anne L. Weismann, who led the review.

The cover for the report (pdf link), “THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE EMAILS,” sports an illustration of a CREW member — perhaps Executive Director Melanie Sloan — garbed like a superhero as she attempts to bring the missing emails to the light.

Fidel Castro: Osama Bin Laden Is A US Agent

I have no doubt that Castro’s statement will be dismissed as some “old washed-out commie nut-job” trying to get attention.  However, as I read the following article, it sounded pretty plausible to me. 

In fact, it’s not the first time I’ve heard, seen or read this “theory” about Osama Bin-Laden.

CBS News World

(AP)  HAVANA (AP) – Fidel Castro says al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is a bought-and-paid-for CIA agent who always popped up when former President George W. Bush needed to scare the world, arguing that documents recently posted on the Internet prove it.

“Any time Bush would stir up fear and make a big speech, bin Laden would appear threatening people with a story about what he was going to do,” Castro told state media during a meeting with a Lithuanian-born writer known for advancing conspiracy theories about world domination. “Bush never lacked for bin Laden’s support. He was a subordinate.”

Castro said documents posted on WikiLeaks.org – a website that recently released thousands of pages of classified documents from the Afghan war – “effectively proved he was a CIA agent.” He did not elaborate.

The comments, published in the Communist Party daily Granma on Friday, were the latest in a series of provocative statements by the 84-year-old revolutionary, who has emerged from seclusion to warn that the planet is on the brink of nuclear war.

Castro even predicted the global conflict would mean cancellation of the final rounds of the World Cup last month in South Africa. He later apologized for jumping the gun. Last week, he began highlighting the work of Daniel Estulin, who wrote a trilogy of books highlighting the Bilderberg Club, whose prominent members meet once a year behind closed doors.

The secretive nature of the meetings and prominence of some members – including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, senior U.S. and European officials, and major international business and media executives – have led some to speculate that it operates as a kind of global government, controlling not only international politics and economics, but even culture.

During the meeting, Estulin told Castro that the real voice of bin Laden was last heard in late 2001, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks. He said the person heard making warnings about terror attacks after that was a “bad actor.”

Castro stepped down due to ill health in 2006 – first temporarily, then permanently – and handed power over to his younger brother Raul. He has remained head of the Cuban Communist party but stayed out of view for four years after falling sick before returning to the spotlight in July.

Castro did take exception with one of Estulin’s major theses: that the human race must move to another habitable planet or face extinction.

Castro said it would be better to fix things on Earth then abandon the planet altogether.

“Humanity ought to take care of itself if it wants to live thousands more years,” Castro told the writer.

Jeff Sessions indulges hysterical attacks on Elena Kagan during his opening arguments | Crooks and Liars

Crooks & Liars 

I’m not very excited about covering this Supreme Court nomination process, but I will point out Republican demagoguery over it. 

The gerbil-esque Republican senator from Alabam, Jeff Sessions, had quite an opening on Monday. He viciously attacked Elena Kagan on all counts and went so far as to say she was a traitor to the troops — and it was all considered OK, because conservatives can never go too far. 

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Ms. Kagan has less real legal experience of any nominee in at least 50 years, and it’s not just that the nominee has not been a judge. She has barely practiced law, and not with the intensity and duration from which I think a real legal understanding occurs. 

Her actions punished the military, and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting for our country in two wars overseas. Ms. Kagan has associated herself with well-known activist judges who have used their power to re-define the meaning of words of our Constitution and laws in ways that, not surprisingly, have the result of advancing that judge’s preferred social policies and agendas. 

Tweety blasted Sessions pretty well, which offended the tortured souls at Newsbusters, but this is about Sessions. Sending our troops to countries that didn’t attack us and then watching the body counts rise on all sides of the conflicts doesn’t faze Sessions. See, they could all be home or on some nice and cozy military base instead of dealing with the heat and the IED’s of Iraq and Afghanistan, building democracy from the ground up, brick by brick, body by body, person by person. It’s a task not all soldiers embrace wholeheartedly. 

Think Progress also catches Sessions with a Harriet Miers crush: 

On CNN’s American Morning, many of Sessions’ arguments were effectively demonstrated to be disingenuous by host John Roberts. Arguing that Kagan has “serious problems,” Sessions complained that Kagan has praised former Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak. But Roberts noted that Justice Antonin Scalia had also praised Barak

Sessions then attacked Kagan for not having a depth of experience, but Roberts noted that Sessions had praised Bush nominee Harriet Miers, who also did not have judicial experience. Roberts said, “Just a second ago, you pointed to Harriet Miers’ White House experience as a qualifying factor, but you point to Elena Kagan’s White House experience as a potential disqualifying factor.” 

Harriet Miers was an awesome pick for Bush. Jeff Sessions said so. Doesn’t that qualify him for much bigger things in conservative-land. In movement conservatism, dumbing down government agencies and the people that work there is paramount. With Sessions, they’ve found somebody who operates at the bottom level of the not good for government chart. Or rather, he’s their kind of guy

Jeb Bush: It’s “Childish” to Hold My Brother Accountable for Decisions He Made as President

WTF? If one is “(s)elected” president, one is responsible for the decisions they made during that presidency.  There’s nothing childish about historians setting the record straight and supporters of the current president to saying: “We’ll stop blaming Bush when the damage he did is eradicated…” (paraphrased).

Blue Texan – Firedoglake puts it well!

Will the Bushes please just go away?

For months now, Jeb Bush has been listening as President Obama blasts his older brother’s administration for the battered economy, budget deficits and even the lax oversight of oil wells.

It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ ” Mr. Bush, this state’s former governor, said over lunch last week at the Biltmore Hotel. “It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.”

Oops. Jeb! just called his brother an immature child, because during the Bush/Cheney years, everything was everyone else’s fault–especially Bill Clinton’s. Just for starters…

The Lousy Economy

Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession,” he [George W. Bush] told donors at a Bush-Cheney ‘04 reception yesterday in Miami. He has raised the same accusation in fundraising appearances since mid-June in Washington, Georgia, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

“It wasn’t all that long ago where a summit was called [by the Clinton administration] and nothing happened, and as a result we had significant intefadeh in the area.

The Record Deficit

…the senior [Bush] administration official says the budgetary problems stem from what is believed to be inadequate defense, intelligence and homeland security resources that were handed down from Clinton.

Job Losses

In the last six months of the prior administration [Clinton/Gore], more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. We’re turning that around,” said Bush, who cited the addition of 107,000 manufacturing jobs this year.

North Korea’s nukes

Bush rejected criticism from Democrats that his administration had not paid enough attention to the brewing North Korean nuclear crisis. “The North Korean situation was serious for years,” he said in a veiled swipe at former President Clinton. […]“Bilateral negotiations didn’t work. You know, I appreciate the efforts of previous administrations. It just didn’t work,” Bush said.

Even 9/11 was everyone else’s fault.

They [al Qaeda] looked at our response after the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack [under Clinton], the killing of American soldiers in Somalia [under Clinton], the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa [under Clinton], and the attack on the USS Cole [under Clinton]. They concluded that free societies lacked the courage and character to defend themselves against a determined enemy… After September the 11th, 2001, we’ve taught the terrorists a very different lesson: America will not run in defeat and we will not forget our responsibilities.

And yet, Jeb! has the balls to say,

“The issue to me is what we do now,” Jeb Bush said. “Who cares who’s to blame?”

It was awfully nice of Matt Bai of the New York Times to give Jeb! a forum to spout this nonsense unchallenged.   Great job, Matt!