The longer he stays in office the more Bush becomes himself. A 'Sunday New York Times' article today, was 100% unalloyed Bush, though he was a touch more reflective than I recall, he was none the wiser.
Here are some excerpts from interviews for a book 'Dead Certain' by Texas journalist, Robert Draper to be published Tuesday, with Bush looking back and then ahead to retirement. When he leaves office, he'll be 'cashing in' (not exactly how the derided Jimmy Carter would have expressed it)
First, Mr. Bush said, I'll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol' coffers (estimated to to be valued at 22 million). 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. (like in Iraq), But he added, I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.
For all his well-known bravado that he is the sole decider, ( Bush: there's only one person that can decide, and that's the president.) his decision-making on Iraq seemed surprisingly slipshod and well...scatter-brained.
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.
Mr. Bush said he believed that Mr. Hussein did not take his threats of war seriously, suggesting that the United Nations emboldened him by failing to follow up on an initial resolution demanding that Iraq disarm. He had sought a second measure containing an ultimatum that failure to comply would result in war.
"One interesting question historians are going to have to answer is: Would Saddam have behaved differently if he hadn't gotten mixed signals between the first resolution and the failure of the second resolution?" Mr. Bush said, can't answer that question. I was hopeful that diplomacy would work.
The rest is history and Bush's legacy.
MONDAY UPDATE: More on Bush's love of biking and the constant bickering in the White House from Draper's book and Steve Clemen's thread on Bush's stunned reaction to Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi army.
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