Bush's book 'Decision Points' defends his legacy



WASHINGTON, Patrick Baert- George W. Bush, all but invisible since he left the White House nearly two years ago, reclaims the spotlight Tuesday with the release of his book "Decision Points," in which he defends his "war on terror" and his decision to invade Iraq.
His book appears one week after the momentous November 2 US elections which saw congressional Republicans make a surprising recovery after falling out of favor with US voters following the eight sometimes tumultuous years of Bush's administration.



Bush's book 'Decision Points' defends his legacy
Bush will be as ubiquitous over the next few weeks as he has been scarce since handing over the keys to the White House to Barack Obama in January 2009: he has a whirlwind schedule of media appearances for the book, which has a print-run of some 1.5 million copies.
In "Decision Points," which weighs in at a hefty 500 pages, Bush wrote of his errors in the Iraq campaign and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction which international intelligence reports strongly suggested Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had obtained.
"No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn't find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do," Bush wrote, according to an excerpt of the book released by NBC television, which snagged the first interview with the former president.
Asked by NBC if he considered apologizing for the mistakes, the former president indicated that he has not.
"Apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision," Bush said.
"I don't believe it was the wrong decision. I thought the best way to handle this was to find out why. And what went wrong. And to remedy it," Bush said in the first of a barrage of interviews that was to include a sit-down with talk show supremo Oprah Winfrey and one with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
"I will say definitely the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, as are 25 million people who now have a chance to live in freedom" in Iraq, Bush said.
"Decision Points" covers 14 separate decisions Bush made while in the White House, offering analysis about how he reached them -- which Bush said he hopes will give the public greater insights into his presidency.
The book begins with the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington which reshaped his foreign and military policy, and ends with the economic meltdown during his waning days in the White House.
According to the New York Times, which acquired an advance copy of the book, Bush confesses that he believes he did not respond as effectively as he could have during the Hurricane Katrina crisis, which some critics viewed as the low point of his presidency.
"I should have recognized the deficiencies sooner and intervened faster," Bush is quoted by the Times as having written in "Decision Points."
"I prided myself on my ability to make crisp and effective decisions. Yet in the days after Katrina, that didn't happen. The problem was not that I made the wrong decisions. It was that I took too long to decide."
He added: "I made an additional mistake by failing to adequately communicate my concern for the victims of Katrina. This was a problem of perception, not reality. My heart broke at the sight of helpless people trapped on their rooftops waiting to be rescued."
Among the more personal aspects of the book, Bush describes in detail his earlier battles with alcoholism, which he overcame when he was 40 years old.
During the middle of his book tour, Bush is to attend a November 16 groundbreaking ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
The center will be the official repository for thousands of documents related to his presidency, as well as a reunion site for hundreds of veterans of his administration.
Bush told NBC in the exclusive broadcast airing late Monday that one of the worst moments of his presidency occurred when rap superstar Kanye West criticized his administration's lethargic response to Hurricane Katrina as being driven by racial bias.
"He called me a racist," the former president told NBC.
"It's one thing to say, 'I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business.' It's another thing to say, 'This man's a racist.' I resent it," said Bush.
"It was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday, November 8th 2010
Patrick Baert
           


New comment:
Twitter

News | Opinion | Comment