George Bush – self-confessed war criminal in his Decision Points memoire – (Some extracts from London Independent)

George Bush has just had Decision Points, his memoir published. He admits to effective negligence towards the people of New Orleans after the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina which blew and washed away the levees along the Mississippi River.

He justifies the Iraq war with much disingenuity. Of Saddam Hussain he writes “For all the difficulties that followed, America is safer without a homicidal dictator pursuing Weapons of Mass Destruction and supporting terror at the heart of the Middle East.”

On Guantanamo Bay, Bush writes that detainees were given a personal copy of the Quran and access to a library that included an Arabic translation of Harry Potter.

Revealing himself to be a War Criminal he writes “had I not authorised waterboarding on senior al-Qa’ida leaders, I would have had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked” Isn’t that astonishing deluded nonsense. There is no chance that the US will exit Afghanistan ‘victorious’. If the Red Army can’t – nobody can in my view.
On Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad – “I had no idea how graphic or grotesque the photos would be”

To show the idiot side of Bush, he writes that “cutting troop levels was the most important failure of execution in the war” and that he still has “a sickening feeling when he thinks about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”

“I have always done what I believed was right”

George Bush has just had Decision Points, his memoir published. He admits to effective negligence towards the people of New Orleans after the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina which blew and washed away the levees along the Mississippi River.

He justifies the Iraq war with much disingenuity. Of Saddam Hussain he writes “For all the difficulties that followed, America is safer without a homicidal dictator pursuing Weapons of Mass Destruction and supporting terror at the heart of the Middle East.”

On Guantanamo Bay, Bush writes that detainees were given a personal copy of the Quran and access to a library that included an Arabic translation of Harry Potter.

Revealing himself to be a War Criminal he writes “had I not authorised waterboarding on senior al-Qa’ida leaders, I would have had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked” Isn’t that astonishing deluded nonsense. There is no chance that the US will exit Afghanistan ‘victorious’. If the Red Army can’t – nobody can in my view.
On Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad – “I had no idea how graphic or grotesque the photos would be”

To show the idiot side of Bush, he writes that “cutting troop levels was the most important failure of execution in the war” and that he still has “a sickening feeling when he thinks about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”

“I have always done what I believed was right”

The Leading Article in the London Independent below represents my view.
We must judge Bush by his legacy, not his own words
The greatest indictment relates to the reckless zeal with which he pursued his ideological foreign policy
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
The 43rd President of the United States has every right to defend his record, and his memoirs do not deserve to be dismissed out of hand just because they are his. The way George W Bush saw his presidency at the time and sees it now, with hindsight, is an essential part of the historical narrative. It might be said that for US presidents – or indeed British prime ministers – not to bequeath a memoir of their time in office amounts to a dereliction of official duty.
But there is a strange undercurrent to this week’s publication of George Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points. The former President’s apologists are exploiting the occasion as an opportunity to plead for his two terms to be reassessed. Say what you like about George Bush’s years in the White House, they argue, but give the lad a break. At root, he is a nice guy; his heart was always in the right place. The scion of an uptight patrician family, he became his own man. He had the strength of will to overcome his demons; he was ideologically consistent, and while he made mistakes in office, he also got many of the biggest things right. Such as? The centrality to US foreign policy of democracy and freedom; his so-called “war on terror”; the primacy of national security.
Bush loyalists are entitled to their view. That the former President has redeeming character traits, however, must not cloud judgements about his place in history. The private and the public are not to be confused. As a low point of his presidency, Mr Bush notes the accusations of racism over his dilatory response to Hurricane Katrina. But the facts are that the poorest residents of New Orleans were mostly black; they were egregiously let down by the administration of the richest country in the world, and Mr Bush failed to give a lead worthy of the inclusive President he professed to be. Mr Bush might not have a racist fibre in his body, but this was callous incompetence of the first order.
Mr Bush’s fans also make much of certain might-have-beens, in particular the disclosure that he broached ditching Dick Cheney as vice-president before his second term – as though Mr Bush had been unjustly tarred with the Cheney brush. But Mr Bush was the President; he had the power to propose and dispose. Mr Cheney was a member of his administration, not the other way round. It is no defence of Mr Bush that he retained Mr Cheney; on the contrary, it is an indictment of his judgement.
The greatest indictments of all, though, relate to the reckless zeal with which he pursued his highly ideological foreign policy and the complacency, verging on negligence, he showed on the domestic economy. Mr Bush allowed anger to dictate that war, rather than judicial proceedings, was the proper response to 9/11. He failed to quash the notion of a direct link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa’ida; he went to war with Iraq on a premise of weapons that proved not to be there, and tried to subvert the United Nations to the security interest, as he saw it, of the United States.
Even as he preached freedom, he authorised the use of torture and indefinite imprisonment without trial. In so doing, he stored up vast liabilities for the future, poisoning US relations with Muslim countries and opening a rift with Europe that may come to be seen as the historic parting of the ways.
At home, Mr Bush inherited a flourishing economy that had made the US the envy of the world. Through inattention and wishful thinking, he left it in ruins, discrediting not only his own administration, but elements of the free-market model, too. A successful US President leaves his country and the world better places. Nice guy or no, George Bush, through disastrous judgements, achieved the opposite. By any standards, that is failure.
Matthew Norman in the Independent (London) adds his sixpence worth:……
“The process of historical revisionism has, like everything else, speeded alarmingly in the internet age. The emergence of Sarah Palin as an imaginable presidential candidate, allied to the unending travails of Obama, have induced in the amnesiac, the obtuse and the plain bananas a fondness for the memory of George W Bush.
It will not spread. If this great reader of history is concerned for his place in it – and that, needless to say, is why he hired a bright young groupie from Yale to write this memoir in something approximating English – he needn’t fret. In those few lists ranking all the presidents compiled since he left office, W is invariably in the bottom five.
For the two imbecile wars he began, for condoning torture by denying waterboarding was torture at all on the grounds that his lawyers said it was legal; for turning the surplus he inherited from Bill Clinton into the crippling deficit that is bringing the age of American hegemony to a startlingly abrupt end; and for being the pitiably Wagnerian fool who stumbled on to the grandest stage without any apparent clue why or for what earthly purpose, there he will forever remain.” m.norman@independent.co.uk