I read this article at The New York Times (reg. req'd) on Sunday morning and it upset me so much that I knew I'd have to do a post on it. I showed it to a couple of friends and got similar reactions. Author Robert Draper was given rare access to the president and his inner circle for a book that I can only assume the White House thought would be sympathetic. So then the question becomes are they so out of touch that they think this is a sympathetic characterization?:
(I)n an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, he daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.
First, Mr. Bush said, "I'll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol' coffers." With assets that have been estimated as high as nearly $21 million, Mr. Bush added, "I don't know what my dad gets - it's more than 50-75" thousand dollars a speech, and "Clinton's making a lot of money."
Then he said, "We'll have a nice place in Dallas," where he will be running what he called "a fantastic Freedom Institute" promoting democracy around the world. But he added, "I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch."
(F)ully aware of his standing in opinion polls, Mr. Bush said his top commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, would perhaps do a better job selling progress to the American people than he could.
The presidency of the United States as a used car dealership. And that's just in the first six paragraphs. The entire article is filled with contradictory statements by Bush, often made in succession. A major (and rare, if not singular) concession by Bush is buried deep in the article, and thrown out almost as an aside:
Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, "The policy was to keep the army intact; didn't happen."
But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush's former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army's dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, "Yeah, I can't remember, I'm sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?' " But, he added, "Again, Hadley's got notes on all of this stuff," referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.
Given such a violation of policy resulted in untold deaths of American troops and Iraqi civilians and well as make it so much more difficult for his plans to democratize Iraq, is it too much to expect him to remember what happened?
No More Mister Nice Blog and PERRspectives have their own takes on the article as well.