Damn it, I hate it when this happens. I actually agree with George Will. As I reel from worlds colliding, let's look at the astonishing admission of wrongness on behalf of a Republican to which George Will wants an apology:
WILL: Five hundred and sixty five pages and a simple apology would have been in order in some of them. Which is to say, the great fact of those eight years is we went to war—big war, costly war—under false pretenses. And…to write a memoir in which you say essentially nothing seriously went wrong…if I wrote a memoir of my last week, I would have things to apologize for.
Every appearance on This Week offers up the opportunity for Will to apologize for his usual wrongness, but I digress.
This is just another example of the after-the-fact tacit admissions of the right wing--who spent the entire decade castigating and criticizing the left for questioning why we were in Iraq, mind you--that the Bush administration did lie us into a war of choice against a nation that posed no threat. But where's the apology for that from George Will, huh?
Weekly appearances on a national news show for the last 28 years and a twice-weekly column since 1978 and you'd think a simple apology--"The left was right about invading Iraq" --would not only be in order, but mentioned at some point in all the platforms Will is privileged to have.
During George Bush's entire presidency the question of how much influence and authority VP Dick Cheney was given was always been part of the discussion. Cheney openly disdained rules, conventions and laws, pushing the concept of the Unitary Executive further than Nixon ever dreamed. Was Cheney making all the important policy decisions? Cheney once believed he was highly qualified to be president and threw out a trial balloon in 1996.
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said Monday he would consider a presidential run in 1996, adding that he worried about U.S. military cuts planned by President-elect Clinton in the face of instability in Russia.
The news in my book about this process is that Cheney never filled out his own questionnaire; that the heart surgeon who vouched for his health never met him or looked at his records; and that Bush and Cheney never interviewed anyone for the job until Cheney already had it nailed.
But what I find most fascinating in the NY Times article is that Cheney actually reveals personal conversations he had with his president as well as many other top Bush aides and advisers. Plus he's taking full credit for running the government response to the 9/11 attacks, which makes Bush look weaker than his My Pet Goat seven-minute stare. Cheney was asked by Jamie Gangel of ABC News if Bush would be upset by these reveals, but replied with a nonchalant "no". But just think about what he is admitting to: as the 9/11 attacks were happening, Cheney has no problem revealing in his book that he was running the government response, completely against protocol.
The book opens with an account of Mr. Cheney’s experiences during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he essentially commanded the government’s response from a bunker beneath the White House while Mr. Bush — who was away from Washington and hampered by communications breakdowns — played a peripheral role. But Mr. Cheney wrote that he did not want to make any formal statement to the nation that day.
“My past government experience,” he wrote, “had prepared me to manage the crisis during those first few hours on 9/11, but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president, and that would be bad for him and for the country.
“We were at war. Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute — as George W. Bush was.”
Bush should have been in control that tragic day, not Cheney, since he was the elected president and was not incapacitated from doing his duties.