George W. Bush: Dupe or Deceiver?

From the Archive: With six in ten Americans – including a majority of Democrats – now holding favorable views of George W. Bush, we republish an analysis by Robert Parry from 2010, when the revisionist history of Bush’s presidency began with publication of his memoirs.

By Robert Parry (first published on November 20, 2010)

A self-portrait by George W. Bush

George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, is without doubt a self-serving defense of his presidency – and Bush’s own words condemn him as a liar – but there is another nagging question that surrounds this curious book: Has the U.S. media/political system become so polluted with falsehoods that even people at the top now believe the propaganda?

It is not clear which is the more troubling answer: that Bush and his advisers were bald-faced liars confident that their elite status lets then deceive at will, or that they have wallowed so long in a Washington’s hot tub of spin that their brains can no longer separate fact from fiction.

In general, I assume that political leaders know the truth and just believe that the rest of us are easily manipulated by clever propaganda or can be readily bullied into line. As long as the leaders stick to their story (no matter how false it is), they can rely on their Establishment credentials to tough it out against the few skeptics who dare call out the lies.

But there were moments in reading Bush’s memoir when I began wondering whether – at least for him – the other explanation was more plausible, that he was clinically delusional in the sense that he could no longer distinguish between what was real and what had been created by others to appeal to his preconceptions, biases and vanity.

Under this scenario, Bush was the amiable front man who was handled by those around him, by the neoconservatives who wanted to prove their mettle to the Israeli Right with a demonstration of American shock-and-awe against hostile Arabs in Iraq, or by the oil men who saw U.S. military domination of the Middle East as the ticket to trillions of dollars in energy reserves.

These groups grew skilled at baiting Bush with misinformation and exaggeration, knowing what would rile him up and push his buttons. The intellectually lazy but egotistical Bush would then come to think that the plans that they planted in his mind were his and that he was the true Decider.

However, there are other indications in the book that Bush was part of this lying clique and that the American people were the targets of the falsehoods. In this scenario, Bush grew so confident before an obsequious Washington press corps that he felt he could lie with impunity and that the capital’s pundit class would simply nod in acceptance.

An example that supports the Bush-is-a-deceiver scenario emerged several months after the invasion of Iraq, when it became clear that there were no WMD stockpiles. So, Bush began insisting that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein “chose war” by refusing to allow UN weapons inspectors back into his country — even though the public had seen the inspectors rushing around Iraq in their white vans for months in late 2002 and early 2003.

Nevertheless, at a White House press briefing on July 14, 2003, Bush told reporters: “We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

Facing no contradiction from the obsequious White House press corps, Bush repeated this lie in varied forms until the last days of his presidency.

Jarring Admission

The only possible defense of Bush’s clear-cut lie was that he might have forgotten that Saddam Hussein had allowed the inspectors to return in fall 2002, giving them unfettered access to suspected WMD sites, and that it was Bush who forced them to leave in March 2003.

However, in his memoir, Bush jarringly acknowledges that he was aware that the UN inspectors were roaming around Iraq during the lead-up to the war.

“Some believed we could contain Saddam by keeping the inspectors in Iraq,” Bush wrote. “But I didn’t see how. If we were to tell Saddam he had another chance — after declaring this was his last chance — we would shatter our credibility and embolden him.”

Bush also recounts the central role that the reintroduction of the UN inspectors had played in April 2002 when he was convincing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to support “coercive diplomacy” against Iraq. Bush wrote:

“Tony suggested that we seek a UN Security Council resolution that presented Saddam with a clear ultimatum: allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq, or face serious consequences. I didn’t have a lot of faith in the UN. The Security Council had passed sixteen resolutions against Saddam to no avail. But I agreed to consider his idea.”

Ultimately, the UN Security Council did approve Resolution 1441 demanding that Iraq reveal what it had done with its prior weapons programs and allow UN inspectors back in. In fall 2002, Iraq complied with both demands, letting inspectors return and turning over a 12,000-page declaration explaining how Iraq’s WMD stockpiles had been eliminated.

Despite Iraq’s submission of these records, leading neocons who were itching for war, the likes of Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, mocked Iraq’s efforts, a disdain that Bush cited favorably in his memoir, recalling:

“Joe Lieberman was more succinct. He said the declaration was a ‘twelve-thousand-page, one-hundred-pound lie.’”

Though Bush stayed on course for war, he portrays himself in his memoir as a reluctant warrior, forced to launch an aggressive war because of the Saddam Hussein’s belligerence. Bush wrote:

“Whenever I heard someone claim that we had rushed to war, I thought back to this period. It had been more than a decade since the Gulf War resolutions had demanded that Saddam disarm, over four years since he had kicked out the weapons inspectors, six months since I had issued my ultimatum at the UN, four months since Resolution 1441 had given Saddam his ‘final opportunity,’ and three months past the deadline to fully disclose his WMD. Diplomacy did not feel rushed. It felt like it was taking forever.”

There is, of course, some madness in Bush’s argument as well as contempt for the factual record. The truth was that Iraq had disarmed and had tried to comply with Resolution 1441; Saddam Hussein had responded to his “final opportunity” by letting the UN inspectors back in; and he couldn’t “fully disclose his WMD” because he didn’t have any to disclose.

Peace Lover

Bush devotes a large segment of his memoir to fabricating a false history so the American people will see him as a peace lover who was left with only one option: war.

“I remembered the shattering pain of 9/11, a surprise attack for which we had received no warning,” Bush wrote. “This time we had a warning like a blaring siren. Years of intelligence pointed overwhelmingly to the conclusion that Saddam had WMD. He had used them in the past. He had not met his responsibility to prove their destruction.

Bush addresses the media at the Pentagon on Sept. 17, 2001, following a meeting with his national security team. (DoD)

“He had refused to cooperate with the inspectors, even with the threat of an invasion on his doorstep. The only logical conclusion was that he was hiding WMD. And given his support of terror and his sworn hatred of America, there was no way to know where those weapons would end up.”

Yet, even amid these lies and rationalizations, there remains the possibility that Bush was more the duped dauphin than the wily prince. He surely had plenty of conniving counselors whispering in his ear from behind his throne.

Just days after the 9/11 attacks, Bush described a meeting of his national security team at which Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, an arch-neoconservative, “suggested that we consider confronting Iraq as well as the Taliban” in Afghanistan. So, the idea of invasion was planted early.

Bush, however, insisted that he was reluctant to go in that direction, writing:

“Unless I received definitive evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 plot, I would work to resolve the Iraq problem diplomatically. I hoped unified pressure by the world might compel Saddam to meet his international obligations. The best way to show him we were serious was to succeed in Afghanistan.”

Bungling Tora Bora

Despite Bush’s protestations about not rushing to war with Iraq and needing to succeed first in Afghanistan, Bush notes in passing the key moment when he pivoted prematurely from finishing off Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s leadership at Tora Bora in fall 2001 and instead focusing the U.S. military on Iraq war plans. Bush wrote:

“Two months after 9/11, I asked Don Rumsfeld to review the existing battle plans for Iraq. We needed to develop the coercive half of coercive diplomacy. Don tasked General Tommy Franks [then in charge of the Central Command covering the Middle East and Central Asia] with updating the plans. Just after Christmas 2001, Tommy came to Crawford to brief me on Iraq.”

What Bush left out of that narrative was what was later revealed by a Senate Foreign Relations Committee investigation, that Franks was overseeing the military operation aimed at capturing or killing bin Laden when Rumsfeld relayed Bush’s order to freshen up the invasion plan for Iraq.

According to the committee’s analysis of the Tora Bora battle, the small team of American pursuers believed they had bin Laden trapped at his mountain stronghold at Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan and called for reinforcements to seal off possible escape routes to Pakistan.

But Bush was already turning his attention to Iraq, as his neocon advisers wanted. The Senate report said:

“On November 21, 2001, President Bush put his arm on Defense Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld as they were leaving a National Security Council meeting at the White House. ‘I need to see you,’ the president said. It was 72 days after the 9/11 attacks and just a week after the fall of Kabul. But Bush already had new plans” for freshening up the invasion plans for Iraq.

In his memoir, American General, Gen. Franks said he got a phone call from Rumsfeld on Nov. 21, after the Defense Secretary had met with the President, and was told about Bush’s interest in an updated Iraq war plan.

At the time, Franks said he was in his office at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida working with one of his aides on arranging air support for the Afghan militia who were under the guidance of the U.S. Special Forces in charge of the assault on bin Laden’s Tora Bora stronghold.

Franks told Rumsfeld that the Iraq war plan was out of date, prompting the Defense Secretary to instruct Franks to “dust it off and get back to me in a week.”

“For critics of the Bush administration’s commitment to Afghanistan,” the Senate report noted, “the shift in focus just as Franks and his senior aides were literally working on plans for the attacks on Tora Bora represents a dramatic turning point that allowed a sustained victory in Afghanistan to slip through our fingers. Almost immediately, intelligence and military planning resources were transferred to begin planning the next war in Iraq.”

Futile Appeals

The CIA and Special Forces teams, calling for reinforcements to finish off bin Laden and al-Qaeda, “did not know what was happening back at CentCom, the drain in resources and shift in attention would affect them and the future course of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan,” the report said.

Henry Crumpton, who was in charge of the CIA’s Afghan strategy, made direct appeals to Franks to move more than 1,000 Marines to Tora Bora to block escape routes to Pakistan. But the CentCom commander rebuffed the request, citing logistical and time problems, the report said.

“At the end of November, Crumpton went to the White House to brief President Bush and Vice President [Dick] Cheney and repeated the message that he had delivered to Franks,” the report said. “Crumpton warned the president that the Afghan campaign’s primary goal of capturing bin Laden was in jeopardy because of the military’s reliance on Afghan militias at Tora Bora. …

“Crumpton questioned whether the Pakistani forces would be able to seal off the escape routes and pointed out that the promised Pakistani troops had not arrived yet.”

Crumpton also told Bush that the Afghan militia were not up to the job of assaulting al-Qaeda’s bases at Tora Bora and warned the President, “we’re going to lose our prey if we’re not careful,” the report said, citing journalist Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine.

But the Iraq-obsessed Bush still didn’t act. Finally, in mid-December 2001, the small U.S. Special Forces team convinced the Afghan militia fighters to undertake a sweep of the mountainous terrain, but they found it largely deserted.

The Senate report said bin Laden and his bodyguards apparently departed Tora Bora on Dec. 16, 2001, adding: “With help from Afghans and Pakistanis who had been paid in advance, the group made its way on foot and horseback across the mountain passes and into Pakistan without encountering any resistance.

“The Special Operations Command history (of the Afghan invasion) noted that there were not enough U.S. troops to prevent the escape, acknowledging that the failure to capture or kill … bin Laden made Tora Bora a controversial battle.”

Though excluding those details from his memoir, Bush tries to rebut the criticism that he bungled the battle of Tora Bora. He wrote:

“Years later, critics charged that we allowed bin Laden to slip the noose at Tora Bora. I sure didn’t see it that way. I asked our commanders and CIA officials about bin Laden frequently. They were working around the clock to locate him, and they assured me they had the troop levels and resources they needed. If we had ever known for sure where he was, we would have moved heaven and earth to bring him to justice.”

The reality, however, was that the neocons, who saw Iraq as a more serious threat to Israel, and the oil men, who lusted after Iraq’s petroleum reserves, persuaded Bush to concentrate more on getting rid of Saddam Hussein than Osama bin Laden.

Macho Talk

To do that, some advisers played on Bush’s macho self-image. In his memoir, Bush recalled one of his weekly lunches with Vice President Cheney (the former head of the Halliburton oil-drilling company), who was urging him to get on with the business of eliminating Saddam Hussein.

“Dick asked me directly, ‘Are you going to take care of this guy, or not?’ That was his way of saying he thought we had given diplomacy enough time. I appreciated Dick’s blunt advice. I told him I wasn’t ready to move yet. ‘Okay, Mr. President, it’s your call,’ he said.”

However, even as he was being prodded by Cheney and the neocons to act, Bush was using similar macho rhetoric – about having “the balls” to go to war – to ensure that Prime Minister Blair would commit British forces when the time came. In one melodramatic passage in Decision Points, Bush recounts a discussion with Blair:

“We both understood what the decision meant. Once we laid out our position at the UN, we had to be willing to follow through with the consequences. If diplomacy failed, there would be only one option left. ‘I don’t want to go to war,’ I told Tony, ‘but I will do it.’

“Tony agreed. After the meeting, I told Alastair Campbell, one of Tony’s top aides, ‘Your man has got cojones.’ I’m not sure how that translated to the refined ears of 10 Downing Street. But to anyone from Texas, its meaning was clear.”

But Bush’s memoir also has indications that he was not just swept up by the manly excitement of blasting apart some nearly defenseless nation, but he was carried along by intelligence reports which were themselves being manipulated by a combination of Cheney/neocon pressure and CIA analysts who cared more for their jobs than the truth. Bush wrote:

“One intelligence report summarized the problem: ‘Since the end of inspections in 1998, Saddam has maintained the chemical weapons effort, energized the missile program, made a bigger investment in biological weapons, and has begun to try to move forward in the nuclear area.’”

The Zarqawi Myth

The memoir also contains references in which it’s ambiguous whether Bush is the manipulator or the one being manipulated.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

For instance, Bush cites the case of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a brutal terrorist who was operating in an area of Iraq that was protected by the U.S. and British “no-fly zone,” which prevented Saddam Hussein’s ruthless counter-terror operations from targeting anti-government Islamic militants like Zarqawi.

Though U.S. intelligence knew that the secular Sunni Saddam Hussein was a bitter enemy of these Islamic fundamentalists, the Bush administration exploited for propaganda purposes the fact that Zarqawi was located inside Iraq and had slipped into Baghdad for some medical treatment.

In his memoir, Bush cites the Zarqawi case to defend his decision to invade, but it’s unclear whether the existence of the known terrorist in Iraq was also used to bait Bush.

“In the summer of 2002, I received a startling piece of news. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an al Qaeda–affiliated terrorist who had experimented with biological weapons in Afghanistan, was operating a lab in northeastern Iraq.

“‘Suspect facility in this area may be producing poisons and toxins for terrorist use,’ the briefing read. ‘Al-Zarqawi is an active terrorist planner who has targeted U.S. and Israeli interests: Sensitive reporting from a [classified] service indicates that al-Zarqawi has been directing efforts to smuggle an unspecified chemical material originating in northern Iraq into the United States.’

“We couldn’t say for sure whether Saddam knew Zarqawi was in Iraq. We did have intelligence indicating that Zarqawi had spent two months in Baghdad receiving medical treatment and that other al Qaeda operatives had moved to Iraq.

“The CIA had worked with a major Arab intelligence service to get Saddam to find and extradite Zarqawi. He refused.” [It was later revealed that Saddam Hussein’s police had searched for Zarqawi in Baghdad but failed to locate him.]

At another point in the memoir, Bush portrays himself as something of an innocent victim, deceived by erroneous intelligence in late 2002. He wrote:

“I asked George Tenet and his capable deputy, John McLaughlin, to brief me on what intelligence we could declassify to explain Iraq’s WMD programs. A few days before Christmas, John walked me through their first effort. It was not very convincing.

“I thought back to CIA briefings I had received, the NIE that concluded Saddam had biological and chemical weapons, and the data the CIA had provided for my UN speech in September. ‘Surely we can do a better job of explaining the evidence against Saddam,’ I said. George Tenet agreed. ‘It’s a slam dunk,’ he said.

“I believed him. I had been receiving intelligence briefings on Iraq for nearly two years.”

No More Delays

By March 2003, Bush claims he had exhausted all peaceful efforts to resolve the issues regarding Iraq’s WMD and was left with only one choice, to invade Iraq:

“For more than a year, I had tried to address the threat from Saddam Hussein without war. We had rallied an international coalition to pressure him to come clean about his weapons of mass destruction programs. We had obtained a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution making clear there would be serious consequences for continued defiance.

“We had reached out to Arab nations about taking Saddam into exile. I had given Saddam and his sons a final forty-eight hours to avoid war. The dictator rejected every opportunity. The only logical conclusion was that he had something to hide, something so important that he was willing to go to war for it.”

Of course, the other logical conclusion would be that Iraq had no WMD stockpiles, that it had done its best to convince the outside world of that fact, and that it trusted that the international community would uphold the principles enshrined at the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunals and in the UN Charter, making aggressive war the supreme international crime.

Instead, recognizing that the Security Council was overwhelmingly opposed to an invasion, Bush withdrew a second resolution seeking explicit authorization to use force, got the UN inspectors to flee Iraq, and turned to his “coalition of the willing.”.

‘Shock and awe’ bombing of Baghdad, March 2003.

In his memoir, Bush describes what happens next in the most heroic and melodramatic terms.

“On Wednesday, March 19, 2003, I walked into a meeting I had hoped would not be necessary,” he wrote. “I turned to [Defense Secretary] Don Rumsfeld. ‘Mr. Secretary,’ I said, ‘for the peace of the world and the benefit and freedom of the Iraqi people, I hereby give the order to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom. May God bless the troops.’

“Tommy [Franks] snapped a salute. ‘Mr. President,’ he said, ‘may God bless America.’”

Within three weeks, the invasion had ousted Saddam Hussein’s government. A few weeks later, Bush flew onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and gave his infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech. Eventually, Bush even had the satisfaction of having U.S. troops deliver Hussein to the scaffold where he was hanged in late 2006. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush Silences a Dangerous Witness.”]

But the war also drove Iraq into seven years (and counting) of a living hell, with the death toll now estimated in the hundreds of thousands, with many more maimed, and with millions of Iraqis displaced from their homes and living in degradation and squalor.

Losing Afghanistan

The consequences for Afghanistan – from Bush’s premature pivot away from that war to the one ardently desired by the neocons – were also devastating. Rather than stabilizing Afghanistan and ensuring that al-Qaeda and its allies could not reestablish bases there, Bush watched as the Taliban mounted a comeback and the U.S. military remained bogged down in Iraq. He wrote:

“My CIA and military briefings included increasingly dire reports about Taliban influence. The problem was crystallized by a series of color-coded maps I saw in November 2006. The darker the shading, the more attacks had occurred in that part of Afghanistan.

“The 2004 map was lightly shaded. The 2005 map had darker areas in the southern and eastern parts of the country. By 2006, the entire southeastern quadrant was black. In just one year, the number of remotely detonated bombs had doubled. The number of armed attacks had tripled. The number of suicide bombings had more than quadrupled.”

The situation also was deteriorating in Iraq, with various Iraqi nationalist forces taking up arms against the U.S. military occupation and a sectarian civil war breaking out between the Sunnis, who represented the previous ruling elite, and the Shiites, who had risen to power since the invasion.

Though Bush had suggested before the war that the presence of Zarqawi and a few al-Qaeda operatives was a key justification for invading Iraq, he acknowledges in his memoir that it was only after the invasion that al-Qaeda began focusing on Iraq. He wrote:

“When al Qaeda lost its safe haven in Afghanistan, the terrorists went searching for a new one. After we removed Saddam in 2003, bin Laden exhorted his fighters to support the jihad in Iraq. In many ways, Iraq was more desirable for them than Afghanistan. It had oil riches and Arab roots.

“Over time, the number of extremists affiliated with al Qaeda in Afghanistan declined to the low hundreds, while the estimated number in Iraq topped ten thousand.”

Bush also confirms some key facts about his decision to beef up U.S. forces in 2007, the “surge.” His account demonstrates how wrong the U.S. press corps and the congressional Democrats were in their interpretation of events in late 2006, when – after the Democratic victory in congressional elections – Bush fired Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and replaced him with former CIA Director Robert Gates.

The immediate conventional wisdom was that the shakeup represented a victory for the realist doves over the ideological hawks, that the pragmatic Gates would oversee a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces and that Rumsfeld had remained an unrepentant hardliner on the war.

Consortiumnews.com was one of the few outlets that reported that the conventional wisdom was upside down, that the reality was that Rumsfeld was backing U.S. commanders who wanted to dramatically reduce the U.S. “footprint” in Iraq and that Gates was so eager to resume a prominent position in Washington that he had acquiesced to an escalation.

Neocons Push the Surge

That is essentially the account that Bush offers in his memoir, in the context of presenting the “surge” as one of his finest hours as the Decider, albeit with the guidance of leading neocons.

In June 2006, Bush wrote, he received a special briefing from outside experts:

Fred Kagan on neo-conservative Bill Kristol’s talk show.

“Fred Kagan, a military scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, questioned whether we had enough troops to control the violence. Robert Kaplan, a distinguished journalist, recommended adopting a more aggressive counterinsurgency strategy.

“Michael Vickers, a former CIA operative who helped arm the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s, suggested a greater role for Special Operations. Eliot Cohen, the author of Supreme Command, a book about the relationship between presidents and their generals …, told me I needed to hold my commanders accountable for results.”

In other words, the seeds of the “surge” came from neocons, including “journalist” Robert Kaplan, who took it upon themselves to advise the commander-in-chief on escalating the killing in Iraq.

This neocon advice clashed with the judgment of the commanders in the field, whose recommendations Bush famously pronounced he would follow.

By mid-2006, the commanders were seeing a turning point in the violence that was ripping Iraq apart. Sunni militants had begun rejecting al-Qaeda extremists; Zarqawi was killed in an air raid; the sectarian violence had caused a de facto ethnic cleansing with Sunni and Shiites retreating to safer enclaves; a classified program was targeting and killing insurgents in greater numbers.

The field commanders, including the senior general in Iraq, George Casey, favored an accelerated drawdown of U.S. forces and an exit plan for combat troops, rather than an expanded and open-ended stay. The commanders had Rumsfeld’s support.

Bush wrote: “General [George] Casey told me we could succeed by transferring responsibility to the Iraqis faster. We needed to ‘help them help themselves,’ Don Rumsfeld said. That was another way of saying that we needed to take our hand off the bicycle seat.

“I wanted to send a message to the team that I was thinking differently. ‘We must succeed,’ I said. ‘If they can’t do it, we will. If the bicycle teeters, we’re going to put the hand back on. We have to make damn sure we do not fail.’”

To impose this new strategy, Bush sought new leadership both in Iraq and at the Pentagon, sounding out Gates as a replacement for Rumsfeld.

“The weekend before the midterms, I met with Bob Gates in Crawford to ask him to become secretary of defense. Bob had served on the Baker-Hamilton Commission, a panel chartered by Congress to study the situation in Iraq. He told me he had supported a troop surge as one of the group’s recommendations.”

Sealing the Deal

Once Rumsfeld was dumped and Gates was appointed (to the misguided acclaim of Official Washington), Bush and the neocons pressed ahead with the escalation. Bush wrote:

“Over weeks of intense discussion in November and December, most of the national security team came to support the surge. Dick Cheney, Bob Gates, Josh Bolten, and Steve Hadley and his NSC warriors were behind the new approach.”

Anti-Iraq War protest in Washington DC. March 17, 2007.

Though Bush credits his decision to order the “surge” as the turning point in Iraq, he also includes facts that support the opposite conclusion, that the tide was already turning against al-Qaeda extremists before the 30,000 extra U.S. troops arrived in 2007. He wrote:

“The people of Anbar [province] had a look at life under al Qaeda, and they didn’t like what they saw. Starting in mid-2006, tribal sheikhs banded together to take their province back from the extremists. The Awakening drew thousands of recruits.”

Nevertheless, the neocons – who remain extraordinarily influential in Washington to this day – spun the “surge” as the singular explanation for the gradual decline in violence in Iraq. This new conventional wisdom was enthusiastically pushed by the Bush administration and accepted by the Washington press corps. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Gen. Petraeus and the Surge Myth.”]

Not surprisingly, Bush’s memoir also embraces the “surge-did-it” conventional wisdom. After all, it finally made him out to be the great war-time Decider that he always envisioned, a self-image that the neocons and his other advisers carefully nurtured and exploited as the key to their own influence.

Yet, after finishing Decision Points, I still wasn’t sure where the line was between Bush being the one getting manipulated and the one manipulating the rest of us. Had he drunk his own Kool-Aid or had he cynically instructed his ghost writer to fashion some old talking points into a memoir designed to rehabilitate himself and his powerful family?

The only certainty is that within the many miscalculations of his presidency, many people died unnecessary deaths, many more faced severe personal hardships that didn’t need to happen, and the United States was left in a fiscal, economic and strategic mess.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, and since 1995 has published Consortiumnews.com. His books, including Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, can be purchased here

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74 comments for “George W. Bush: Dupe or Deceiver?

  1. TellTheTruth-2
    January 30, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Bush Jr belongs in prison with his daddy, Bush Sr.

  2. Brady
    January 28, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Eddie
    January 23, 2018 at 7:53 pm
    “But lie to Congress about getting a blow-job and you’ll nearly get impeached because THAT’S really important!”

    Clinton lied to a grand jury. What he lied about is immaterial. 99% go to jail but never a Clinton. Bush, Clinton, Obomber, etc., are criminals never brought to justice. Will Trump’s sons, of age to serve in the military, be on the front lines when, not if, we illegally attack Iran? Giving the 1% a pass, for any reason, because they are the 1% is why we are descending deeper into the Orwellian world the 1% imposes on us all. I care not about clinton’s private sexual perversions. But lying to congress and a grand jury should have put him behind bars for life.

  3. Gregory Herr
    January 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Bush did leave office with low approval ratings and continues to be viewed by many as one of the “worst” Presidents. But apparently the quarters from which the most stringent criticism of Bush came forth (partisan Democrats) have largely forgotten why his Administration was so disastrous–because many of these partisans came to view the remarkably similar Administration of Obama as just fine and dandy.

    There is an element of “revisionism” occurring with regard to the Bush presidency–some of it celebratory. Mainstream American fluff and puff that keeps past, present, and future all keyed in to the fantasy of good intentions and the glorified righteousness of our militarism.

    No Nir, Trump is not far worse than Bush and newfound “favorability” towards Bush has nothing to do with comparisons. I would contend that Obama was “worse” than Bush. Why? As bad as Bush was–we knew where he came from and what we were getting. The deceit and betrayal of Obama–the setting in stone of “Bush” foreign policy and completing the turn of the Democrats into a Party of debilitating neoliberal economics and war-mongering police-state fascists is, to me, “worse”. The course of our nation needed a corrective in 2009. Obama did the unforgivable opposite.

    • Virginia
      January 27, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Gregory — Yes, Obama was more subversive. The “hidden” going deeper into hiding. The Deep State — more active; better hidden. The more occult (hidden), the more dangerous! But much is coming to light today, through sites like CN. Let’s just “hope” our access continues.

  4. Figleaf23
    January 27, 2018 at 12:13 am

    Well, it is one thing for Repugs to remain convinced about Bush Jr.
    But DemoncRats convincing themselves he was anything but incompetent and/or evil is just about the most pathetic and degenerate thing I have ever encountered. American politics is broken.

  5. Tim
    January 26, 2018 at 6:46 am

    A 16th Century Chinese hermit painter noted that the words in his poem mocked him. I think Bush’s writings mock him as well and the voices in his conscience say, liar, mass murderer. Hell might be too good a place for him if it existed but he certainly exists in a state of mind that is hell. Anyone who has a conscience should know what they have done; even the insane know when they kill. They just may not care.

    • Virginia
      January 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Along the same lines, Tim, see my post of January 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm above.

      Virginia

  6. Gary Hare
    January 25, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    “Dupe or deceiver?”
    This has been a well-presented analysis, as we always expect from Robert Parry. It is well worth asking the question, and attempting to come to a well-reasoned answer, when attempting to analyse George W.
    But I think it may be of greater importance to ask that same question of the entire US population, if not the entire Western “civilisation”. Are we being “duped” by our leaders, and their cronies. Or are we deceiving ourselves by wanting to believe that our causes are just, our actions honourable and our motives pure. Or do we just want to be part of the strongest team, to be able to “kick arse” and kid ourselves that we always know best, always winning.
    From cradle to grave, all people of the US are fed a daily diet of exceptionalism, purity of purpose and invincibility. The violence inherent in our culture, gets insufficient analysis. It is usually dismissed as being a figment of leftish imagination, one-offs, or collateral damage. The worthy instruments, such as CounterPunch, Consortiumnews, RonPaulLibertyReport get little traction, because we do not want to believe them, so strongly have we been “brainwashed”.
    If we thought analytically, and without pre-conceptions, the Trumps, Bushes, Clintons would never have been elected. We get the politicians we deserve.
    I get very pessimistic. But this is sufficient reason for those organs of information must not only survive, but somehow flourish.

    • turk 151
      January 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Precisely

    • Virginia
      January 27, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks, Gary. Keep it up. Spot on.

  7. Hank
    January 25, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    “Under this scenario, Bush was the amiable front man who was handled by those around him, by the neoconservatives who wanted to prove their mettle to the Israeli Right with a demonstration of American shock-and-awe against hostile Arabs in Iraq, or by the oil men who saw U.S. military domination of the Middle East as the ticket to trillions of dollars in energy reserves.”

    This is the nicest review I could ever give GW the Lessor. He IS the worst President ever with LBJ not too far behind. And while I truly believe GW is hardly a deep thinker and Dick Cheney ran the show behind the scenes, this “Administration” may go down as the “turning point” in US history. From destroying the finances of the Government to 911 and its cover up to useless wars which further bankrupted the US to the policies that allowed the Financial collapse in 2008. This was mostly a Repube policy. What more can be said; to go from inheriting a surplus to up to our eyeballs in debt and starting useless wars on the false pretense Osama Bin Laden carried out the 911 attack from a cave. Laughable and Bin Laden claimed he did not do it was not responsible and whatever one may think of Bin Laden, he was no Liar. Cheney was in charge of the skies that day, molten steel persisted for weeks (from a Kerosene fire?) Super thermite was found in the debris by 2 independent sources. Check out the Architects & Engineers for 911 Truth.

    • Virginia
      January 25, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Right, Hank.

    • Tim
      January 26, 2018 at 7:12 am

      Hank, with the utmost respect for your sentiments. I’m with you!

      However, if you have not read “Where have the towers gone”, this comprehensive research paper in the form of a book, then you must. None of the so-called liberal thinkers or those who write online, online interviewers (Glenn Greenwald, VIPS, Snowden, Assange, Bill Binney, Ray McGovern and quite a few other very open thinkers) have even mentioned her book, considered featuring Dr. Wood’s research, interviewing her, or writing an article. They are so afraid of being ostracized from their particular thought group and offending their readership, within which they move, that there must be an embargo on this book.

      Make no mistake, anyone who knows to first look at the evidence and not speculation like ‘molten steel….’, and have the guts to read her book with an open mind, will discover the truth and from the truth, there is no going back.

      • Gregory Herr
        January 27, 2018 at 9:14 am

        Molten steel is not speculation– it’s empirical fact.

        • Virginia
          January 27, 2018 at 1:09 pm

          Thanks for the above, Gregory. (I couldn’t “reply.”) Very good thoughts and link. I think you were right and my thoughts way too generous! Did Hillary use the phrase “irredeemable” about the “deplorables”? Yes she did: “Hillary Clinton: ‘You’re Not Just ‘Deplorable,’ But ‘Irredeemable’ and Not Part of America.'”
          My irrepressible hope is there’s no one who is irredeemable.

          I’d better give that full Hillary quote mentioned above: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.

          “Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.” –HRC

          • Gregory Herr
            January 27, 2018 at 2:17 pm

            “My irrepressible hope is there’s no one who is irredeemable.”

            Mine too Virginia. Using that term as part of her already flawed generalization set a tone not mistakenly heard by many.

  8. Antiwar7
    January 25, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Robert Parry: “The only certainty [about Bush’s presidency] is that…many people died unnecessary deaths, many more faced severe personal hardships that didn’t need to happen, and the United States was left in a fiscal, economic and strategic mess.” Agreed.

    George W. Bush: “I needed to hold my commanders accountable for results.” Agreed.

    So let’s hold Bush responsible for his results.

  9. mike k
    January 25, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Fake history written by the Rulers and their minions poisons and controls the goupthink mind of the masses. 99% of the 99% are unaware of their slavery, and resist being told about it. Can enough of us be awakened to save our world? It doesn’t look good at this point, but it is important to keep working on this problem in spite of it’s seemingly intractable nature.

  10. turk 151
    January 24, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Was anyone on CN ever really deceived by Bush? He was so predictable. I can’t see how anyone with above a double digit IQ, could possibly have bought him for a second.

    Obama, had me fooled for years,, he was the great deceiver.

  11. E Wright
    January 24, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    An essay worth republishing. Bush and his ilk are marionettes who see only the stage and the audience. They bask in the glow of the lights which feed their narcissism and fill the void that is both their mind and their soul. But they are not ordinary marionettes. They come from a workshop that diligently preserves the craftmanship of the Revolution. A craftmanship that ensures the survival of mercantilism, the spirit of the Militia and the greatness of God.

  12. chris moffatt
    January 24, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Deceiver. Am I the only one who remembers that candidate G W Bush was promoting regime change in Irak on the 2000 campaign trail?

    • Virginia
      January 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      I remember his campaigning as an isolationist! I wasn’t politically savvy then, so yes, you may be the only one who remembers correctly, Chris. Why would anyone elect someone promoting regime change anywhere? Oh, that’s right; we didn’t.

  13. Virginia
    January 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Must say, I think CN would do well to delete the obnoxious painting accompanying this article.

    • David Hamilton
      January 24, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Ha ha ha!

    • Peppermint
      January 24, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      Yes! A self-portrait of W in the shower is creepy. And horrid “art.”

      • Virginia
        January 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm

        Grotesque! I wonder if whoever selected it thought it said something characteristic both of the man and the article. I concede that possibility. At least now there’s another preceding article which means we don’t have to come face to face with it everytime we access CN.

      • Typingperson
        January 25, 2018 at 8:57 pm

        I dig the Bush self-portrait, actually. What is he trying to wash off of himself??

        • Typingperson
          January 25, 2018 at 9:04 pm

          And check out the odd, ghostly face in the shaving mirror!

          • Virginia
            January 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm

            Funny how that post about the picture started a conversation. I wished I hadn’t brought it up at all, but then something dawned on me: Think Adam in the Garden of Eden coming face-to-face with who he was/is as a mortal! This self-portrait appears to be George looking in the mirror and awakening to who he is, what he is guilty of, and the inevitable shame that will follow him all the days of his life. With that in mind, I think it an appropriate choice of graphics for the article — Adam/George deceived, duped, and going on to be that, deceiver and duper. The neutral tones show no greatness, no exceptionalism, nothing to distinguish himself (i.e., America) from other sinful and disgraced mortals. Maybe the painting gives one a lot to think about and a lot to learn from. There’s never anything wrong with self-examination, and even such as George we must hope are capable of it.

            Am I too late for this art critique to be seen? Perhaps. A lot of my posts are. But if seen, …what think you?

          • Gregory Herr
            January 27, 2018 at 9:10 am

            Hi Virginia. Check out this link:

            http://gawker.com/george-w-bush-explains-nude-self-portraits-talks-new-1557748584

            I guess some of Bush’s more “intimate” paintings were not intended for publication. Funny his concern for “invasion of privacy” when it concerns himself. His explanation for the “nudies” (I wanted to shock my instructor) is so typical–no depth or substance.

            I thought at the time that perhaps some manifestations of guilt or a need to “come clean” were bubbling up from subconscious recesses of his mind. But I doubt his conscious awareness has allowed itself much in the way of real self-criticism.

            The “admission” I’d like to see is a shower scene portraying Bush furiously trying to scrub blood from his hands but to no avail. Now that would be an “awakening”.

  14. Nir Haramati
    January 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    The supposed favorable views of W Bush has NOTHING to do with revising people’s view of him, and EVERYTHING to do with the horrors Trump’s presidency manifests and promises. It is more the fact that Trump embodies the idiocies and delusions of W Bush, combined with Reaganite level of the destruction of any and all remnants of social security and mobility, Nixonite level of corruption, and a Clintonite level of sexual predatory.

    In short, Trump makes even a disastrous president like W Bush, who the majority of American thought could never be surpassed, being left far behind in the conservative race to the bottom.

    • freedom lover
      January 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      I am not a Trump supporter. I voted for Jill Stein but I must take issue with your characterization of Trump. Contrary to what I hear from many of my more liberal friends Trump was not elected because of his misgogyny, plans to build a wall, because he makes idiotic and inane remarks and generally insults others. No the reason most people voted for him were his pledges to collaborate with Russia and China where our mutual interests coincide and ending the confontational NATO policy in Eastern Europe, ending the Bush/Obama policies of regime change (remember his famous rebuke to Jeb Bush ” Your Brother wasted $3-trillion dollars in Iraq leaving iraq worse off and adding a $3-trillion debt for our children which could have been spent right here at home”), ending middle class job killing trade agreements and spending $1-trillion dollars on rebuilding infrastructure. So it was take a gamble on a showman who just might do some of the things he promised he would or elect a corrupt Hillary Clinton who had sold her sole to wall street and was fully on board with regime change and conflict with Russia. Unfortunately none or very little of what Trump promised has taken place. Wouldn’t it be wiser to hold trump’s feet to the fire on fulfilling these promises while at the same time stopping him from carrying out his worst abuses.

      • Eddie
        January 26, 2018 at 12:04 pm

        I too voted for Jill Stein and would never have voted for Trump — he was just TOO obviously a scammer who was just spouting policies (some, as you mentioned, which I agree with, like the anti-militaristic ones) that would differentiate him from the other pack of Repub candidates. I never had any confidence that he was serious about any of those policies or even being POTUS. It was basically a prolonged publicity stunt meant to increase his ‘brand awareness’, and he was reportedly shocked and worried when he won, because NOW he had to do more than just bluster & bullshit his way around the numerous serious issues a POTUS faces. Sadly, I don’t think that many people voted for him based on his anti-militaristic policies (I don’t think there’s more than about 5% of us whom use that as a primary criteria) because militarism in the US is strongly entrenched and few question it.). I suspect it was a combination of economics, immigration, anti-Clinton sentiment, and voting ‘tradition ‘ (“our family always votes Republican — gotta keep the taxes low!”)

    • geeyp
      January 25, 2018 at 3:03 am

      Nir Haramati- No, W will always win in the “worst ‘President’ ” concept.

  15. Liam
    January 24, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Exposing “The Last Men in Aleppo” – FSA Terrorist Psyop and Oscar Nominated Propaganda Campaign

    https://clarityofsignal.com/2018/01/24/exposing-the-last-men-in-aleppo-fsa-terrorist-psyop-and-oscar-nominated-propaganda-campaign/

  16. Ol' Hippy
    January 24, 2018 at 11:00 am

    One striking thing that I get out of this reprint and the comments are that Americans are deceived by the “media” and their leader’s lies. Most hard working Americans are so busy trying to work and provide for their families they haven’t the time to find out that the regular sources of “news” is in fact a bunch of lies to further the narrative of government agendas. This isn’t their fault. This is the fault of the powers that be, the hidden actors(deep state) pulling strings to further the interests of the ruling class. That’s how they want it. If more people had the time and inclination to find the ‘real’ truth chaos would break out and the ruling class can’t allow that to happen. Our independent sources of the ‘real’ are the best defenses against blatant propaganda. The power of the net has allowed many more to see behind the curtain but the golden age of internet information may be coming to an end as the powers try to censor, by corporate actions first. The rest is sure to follow. May Mr Parry recover, he’s sorely missed.

    • deschutes
      January 24, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Nice post Ol’ Hippy, and spot on. Apropos to your observation about independent news sources such as this website, it is quite telling that Google and Facebook have changed their algorithm so filter out websites like this one, using the disingenuous euphemism that this site is peddling ‘fake news’. There is an increasing risk that the government and Silicon Valley giants like FB, Twitter and Google will further censor and/or remove websites which don’t fall in line behind WaPo, NY Times, etc.

  17. deschutes
    January 24, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I cannot believe Parry would actually read that shit autobiography ‘Decision Points’ by GW Bush. Why? Why read such revisionist bullshit nonsense when we already know, very painfully, how the GW Bush administration was the beginning of the end for the USA, which just keeps on going from bad to worse–and look how utterly, totally, completely fucked up things have become now!

    9-11 happened under Bush’s watch: whether you’re gullible enough to believe the bullshit narrative of the 9-11 commission, 9-11 did indeed “change everything”, and for the very worst. We have been at war, nonstop ever since that fateful day! Personally I think it was an inside job, a false flag of sorts to launch a global war of conquest against ALL remaining countries which are not docile puppet states controlled by the US military industrial complex and deep state. You can thank GW Bush for the Patriot Act and the ongoing militarization of the police, Guantanamo, and even the 17 years and still going Afghanistan war. The USA is now at war in Syria, and that is a continuation of that total asshole GW Bush’s ‘remake the middle east’/PNAC plan. Warrantless wiretapping, the elimination of habeus corpus, fighting wars at the behest of Israel’s Zionists: ALL of these tragedies and grotesque injustices are directly attributable to GW Bush, Cheney, and the rest of those f&cking @sshole war criminals.

    That today’s media, and especially the democrats are now saying “what a good president he was” only further reinforces the fact that the USA has become a giant, steaming pile of shit where facts are irrelevant, inveterate lying is the norm, where up is down, good is bad, war is peace, and actual objective news has completely been thrown out the window and replaced with revisionist propaganda.

    GW Bush is without question a war criminal who has destroyed the USA and made it into a rogue criminal regime which is now in a state of nonstop, continuous war in multiple locations: Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, throughout Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, N. Korea and currently in the process of surrounding Russia and China with ICBMs, tank divisions, and infantry by the thousands.

    It is no exaggeration to fear that we are now extremely close to the start of WWIII. And you can thank GW Bush, the democrats “good president” for this.

    • Sam F
      January 24, 2018 at 9:23 am

      True, but likely Mr. Parry read the Bush memoirs to decide whether Bush was himself deceived by insiders as to the value of military actions. This is of value in understanding the corruption of groupthink. He was not trying to exonerate fools, cowards, or scoundrels.

      The conclusion is fair that “after finishing Decision Points, I still wasn’t sure … The only certainty is that … many people died unnecessary deaths… and the United States was left in a fiscal, economic and strategic mess.”

      I agree that Bush was at the top and deserves no leniency for the disasters he set in motion against better advice. But I am curious about the extent of self-deception and groupthink deception of presidents, especially by the National Security Council that now surrounds them with militarists and subjects them to daily fearmongering and demands for military resources. If Congress removed the power of presidents to engage in secret wars, refused to approve wars on pretexts, renegotiated NATO as purely defensive, and accepted that the Constitution does not permit foreign wars, we would not have that problem. But all branches of federal government are completely corrupted by money, so the Constitution is ignored.

    • Eddie
      January 25, 2018 at 3:57 am

      I suspect political writers like RP feel an obligation to FORCE themselves to read crapola like W’s book because they want to debunk the fallacious parts and not leave themselves open to right-wing charges that “Oh RP never even read ‘Decision Points’, how can he even comment on W’s actions in the run-up to the Iraq War?” (Which of course is a mostly bogus criticism anyway, but devious W supporters will grasp at anything)

      I for one am glad that RP read that book and gave us a candid critique of it because I sure as hell wasn’t going to read it. That’s one of the reasons I and others read this website, so that we can get a condensed version of certain events and not have to delve through numerous publications like RP undoubtedly does.

  18. Bob Van Noy
    January 24, 2018 at 7:26 am

    “In general, I assume that political leaders know the truth and just believe that the rest of us are easily manipulated by clever propaganda or can be readily bullied into line. As long as the leaders stick to their story (no matter how false it is), they can rely on their Establishment credentials to tough it out against the few skeptics who dare call out the lies.” Robert Parry

    Note that Robert Parry wrote these prescient words in 2010, even then, he was way ahead of the curve, widely reporting on the deep corruption creeping through ever higher levels of government. Robert is one of many heroic individuals who have seen through the institutionalized decay that has been a feature of our government for too long. It has become painfully clear that Democracy cannot survive without a vibrant Forth Estate and now that that too is corrupted, it will be necessary to identify openly the illness and do our best at correcting it. If that is possible. May the skeptics continue to call out the lies…

    Thank you Mr. Robert Parry for fighting “the good battle”, keep it up…

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 24, 2018 at 10:07 am

      Hey Bob, Robert Parry must be deep down in his heart a real patriot, and a true American who loves his country. Think of all the corruption Robert Parry has seen to report on during his career and then consider how he still lives, and breathes, in a land not perfect, but a land Mr Parry wishes to save from its lying leaders.

      There are many who if they had to cover the stories that Robert Parry covered through out their career that they would now be living in Rome. Joe

      • Bob Van Noy
        January 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

        Right Joe it is deeply disheartening to experience the deep and ongoing corruption but together we can see it through and possibly even have a hand in correcting the massive problems with our Beloved Country. Thank you Joe Tedesky and Robert Parry…

  19. john wilson
    January 24, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Parry asks, “are the political leaders (and the deep state) just bald faced liars and are the public easily duped and manipulated”? the answer is yes and yes. However, there is nothing clever about the propaganda perpetrated by the political leaders and the deep state who pulls their strings.When you have a public that is so institutionally stupid and indifferent to whats going on in their own country, having a sophisticated story line is just not necessary. When there is only one voice that the public hear (MSM) which always sounds so reasonable and is supported by a good dose of generals, experts and others, together with phony graphics etc (the white helmets for example), its not surprising that the people just accept what they are fed.

    • January 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      The whole Iraqi thing brings back such bitter memories Blix, the UN inspector pleading for another chance to go in to see if Iraq had WMDs and the Bush arrogant dismissal. No it was too late, he said. We have waited long enough. Does anyone remember the back channel attempt by Saddam to stop the invasion by offering to leave, even to give us oil concession and that the offer was given to Richard Perle for an assessment of its legitimacy. and the comment by the brilliant Hussein deputy, Tariq Assiz that nothing was going to stop the invasion, no matter what Iraq would agree to. Do others remember it that way?

  20. Annie
    January 24, 2018 at 5:12 am

    I would never think of reading Bush’s memoir. What a complete waste of time. Between his papa’s gulf war, and Clinton’s sanctions, we obviously had it in for Iraq for quite some time. Not to mention the country was on the neocon hit list and his brother was a signatory on the Project for a New American Century, as was Cheney, and as they said they only needed another Pearl Harbor to ride their wave of destruction. That of course was 9/11. I attended a lecture by Scott Ritter just prior to the Iraq war, who was the UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-1998, and he was making the rounds declaring that Iraq had no such weapons.

    Joe Wilson. a former US diplomat, was everywhere on TV denying that Saddam was importing yellow cake from Niger. Of course to punish him for telling the truth they outed his wife as a CIA agent. Bush Jr. is as guilty as hell in going along with the Iraq war, knew it to be based on a lie, and didn’t have to be coerced, or manipulated by anyone. We now know the war in Iraq was based on lies, and that information is available to the public yet more then half of Americans continue to believe he was a good president. That tells me that it’s not just propaganda spewed by the media that controls people’s minds, but their own fear that doesn’t allow them to see what an imperialistic, militaristic nation we are.

  21. jjandi
    January 24, 2018 at 3:05 am

    Bush said he was a uniter not a devider, then proceeded to turn the whole world against us, no longer safe to travel.
    Bush said he was a compassionate conservative, how many innocent men women and children does one have to torture and murder before they are no longer considered a compassionate person?
    life in Gitmo will be a good place for him to rehabilitate himself.

  22. exiled off mainstreet
    January 24, 2018 at 2:41 am

    The article laid it out correctly. The fact that many “democrats” have changed their views on Bush shows the extent to which they have jumped the shark and joined the bipartisan fascist consensus now controlling the yankee imperium. I hope Mr. Parry can make a full recovery and get going again in these trying times.

  23. Joe Tedesky
    January 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Over time I have come to believe that Osama bin Laden died somwhere in 2001. His death could have been as Benazir Bhutto told David Frost in her 2007 interview that bin Laden was killed by Omar Sheikh back in 2001, or bin Laden died of kidney failure. That’s why I believe there was a Tora Bora, but there wasn’t any Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, and the rest is mysterious and speculative at best to try and figure out. I also happen to believe that the official 911 narrative promoted by the U.S. Government is a bunch of malarkey, to use a Joe Biden word to describe my unconvinced thoughts regarding that awful September morning, and it’s official investigative outcome.

    It is great to read from Robert Parry’s archive. I hope Mr Parry is feeling well these days.

    • Druid
      January 23, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      911 was definitely an inside and Zio job

    • Brian
      January 24, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Mr. Tedesky, I believe you are right on target. How hard is it to find someone dragging a dialysis machine behind them.
      And you’re right, there is so much evidence showing 9/11 to be a lie, it’s not a conspiracy “theory” any more.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 24, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      Druid & Brian, isn’t it ashame that the people who raise the most important and disturbing questions about such a tragedy as 911, assassinations, and missing money, are always the ones deemed by our society to wear the infamous ‘tinfoiled hat’? As Rodney Dangerfield once said, ‘what’s a guy got to do to get a little respect around this place’, could be said by the 911 Truth Movement. This shaming is a product of our Establishment Shadow Government, Deep State, Mossad, MSM, Neocon, and what ever else you can think of that’s vile and greedy…sorry got carried away, but you know what I’m talking about. Joe

  24. Eddie
    January 23, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I can’t.escape the belief that 70-80% of US citizens don’t have problems with our wars, even if they’re clearly illegal and immoral like W’s, or sweetened-up with ‘humanitarian intervention’ rationalizations. The bombs and bullets don’t fly in OUR country, and the only US citizens who die or get injured are poor people and a little flag-waving & jingoism will get them to fall in line. Oh sure, people will tell pollsters that they are against war because that’s what a good citizen is supposed to say, but promise them a phony tax-break and see how quickly they forget their anti-war beliefs.

    I base this on the actions of the majority of the voters. They re-elected war mongers like Nixon, Reagan, and even W (AFTER it was clearly revealed that the Iraq war was concocted!) The only time US citizens don’t like wars is when US casualties start hitting 50–100 dead per week, as in Vietnam, but only IF those are middle or upper class men/women.

    But lie to Congress about getting a blow-job and you’ll nearly get impeached because THAT’S really important!

    • David Hamilton
      January 23, 2018 at 11:44 pm

      As my Christian friends say, this ‘ruler of the darkness of this world’ has a wicked spirit of deception. Having been corruptly elevated to power, he operated insincerely in high places, was a bringer of chaos – not “the peace of the world and benefit to the Iraqi people” as he is wont to credit himself. His stated motives were not his real motives, which were power for power’s sake, as Cheney taught him. The same goes for Saddam.

      He was not objectively duped, but sought positive reinforcement from his lying advisers for methods to save himself from the ignominy of having ignored the warnings about an enemy’s determination to attack our country. And now, he pretends to have been duped, when he was delighted to realize that Tenet’s slam dunk would forever cover his sins. The same can be said about Hillary. A bold moral charge to rid the world of evil would be his reply. They have all washed their hands of the matter.

      “Peace dividends” are boring to most of our imperialist citizens, the 70 to 80% who don’t have problems with our wars, don’t care if they bring doom and despair around the world.

    • Brad Owen
      January 24, 2018 at 6:29 am

      The MSM propaganda mills (not to mention the schools and some christian sects) have done excellent work in producing compliant subjects for The Empire (as Karl Rove called us). it is also a gigantic assumption that the voting machines truthfully report the results of voting. Millions protested Iraq II war…it made not one whit of difference. The change in course will come from within the ranks of the leadership itself (think V.I.P.S. and whistle blowers, marines flying into Langley to retrieve actionable intel, etc…). Of course you and I will not be told this by the MSM propaganda mills. That task is left to “discreditable” youtube productions. There is a civil war ongoing within the ranks of the Leadership itself…and it is probably true that 70-80% of the US citizens won’t believe THAT (are YOU one of them???).

  25. earniebob
    January 23, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    George W. Bush: Dupe and Deceiver ! There, I fixed it for you.

  26. January 23, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Dupe or deceiver. Well he was duped by the neocons and he deceived the American people but he was more of a dupee than a duper. I doubt leaders like Bush can ever be honest with themselves and he will never acknowledge the evil he has done.. There is little discussion of what happened to the thriving Christian community in Iraq and the consequence of drawing Iraq closer our to enemy de jour, Iran. It is to be hoped that the countries and the people in the Middle East and southwest Asia will come to realize how they have been manipulated and will work together to rid themselves of the destructive influence of powers who wish to do them more harm than good. It looks like the Trump hysteria is giving both him and Obama and approval bump up.

    • john wilson
      January 24, 2018 at 6:23 am

      You may be right Herman, but I personally think Bush was just a useful idiot wallowing in the mire of the deep state. For real evil, Bush has nothing on our Tony Blair who is still strutting the world stage trying to get back into power. He is so corrupt that even the satanic coven of our parliament shun him.

      • January 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        Mr. Wilson, I really grew to dislike Mr. Blair who embarrassed his own nation by playing toady to Bush.

    • January 24, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      I would add the tragic looting of archeological treasures immediately after our troops moved into Baghdad. There is more, of course, the damage to communities. families and individuals and the scars on their society which will be there forever.

  27. Realist
    January 23, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    It has become my impression that everyone in government and in the corporate mainstream media are deceivers. They are, in fact, auditioned for this talent by the real powers who remain in the shadows. The entire performance you see played out each day in every media modality is just a puppet show for the public that, sorry to say, even most of society’s foremost intellectuals accept as reality, are afraid to contradict or allowed to benefit from in return for their silence.

    • Jake G
      January 23, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Yep. But when the establishment (and thus MSM) is attacking someone fanatically or ignoring him like Ron Paul or Trump, then I know they are the right choices.

      • Realist
        January 29, 2018 at 12:17 am

        Good rule of thumb.

  28. turk151
    January 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    The Iraq war was spawned by the Carlyle Group, the Private Equity Firm that invested heavily in defense, who also happened to be daddy Bush’s employer.

    • geeyp
      January 24, 2018 at 2:46 am

      After the little, never elected twice, son of a _itch started the destruction of the world, he and Paulson heisted what was left in the Treasury on their way out the door. These actions placed a final period at the end of eight years and left many of us homeless to never forget what he did.

      • john wilson
        January 24, 2018 at 6:17 am

        It also left at least half a million people overseas dead with many more horribly wounded and destitute. Perhaps the worst thing about Bush is that nothing has been learned from his disastrous presidency and Obama and now Trump, are murdering men, women and children on an industrial scale.

        • geeyp
          January 25, 2018 at 2:54 am

          John Wilson- Please note that I did say the destruction of the world.

  29. BobS
    January 23, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    “George W. Bush: Dupe or Deceiver?”

    Both.

    • john wilson
      January 24, 2018 at 6:09 am

      Yes Bob and a large dose of idiocy as well.

    • Zachary Smith
      January 25, 2018 at 12:29 am

      “Both” was what I was going to say, too. Dumbya had extremely limited mental abilities, but that didn’t keep him from lying about everything at every turn. Naturally the Codpiece Commander was also a sucker for the brighter folks who surrounded him.

  30. Mark
    January 23, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I concur with MLS.

  31. MLS
    January 23, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    I still to this day can’t believe the press and the public were so gullible as to buy the phony rancher from Connecticut’s stinking BS. Drumpfism is the logical extension of a society that simply doesn’t deserve better “leadership” than it has.

    All one has to do is pay minimal attention … and yet that is apparently too much to ask.

    Pass the chips and turn on the game, America – it’s over and you’re out.

    • Erik G
      January 23, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      It was the zionist mass media that sold Iraq War II to the US, and it was zionist DefSec Wolfowitz who appointed known zionists Perle, Wurmser, and Feith to the offices at NSA, DIA, and CIA that “stove-piped” known-bad “intelligence” to Cheney and the mass media. Every zionist beat war drums: the people had little to do with it.

      The article is an excellent reprise, one of Mr. Parry’s excellent counterpoints to mass media propaganda.

      Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor, when he recovers from his recent stroke, may do so here: https://www.change.org/p/new-york-times-bring-a-new-editor-to-the-new-york-times?recruiter=72650402&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink. We had nearly 800 signatures this morning.

      While Mr. Parry may prefer independence, and we all know the NYT ownership makes it unlikely, and the NYT may try to ignore it, it is instructive to them that intelligent readers know better journalism when they see it. A petition demonstrates the concerns of a far larger number of potential or lost subscribers.

      • Tim
        January 26, 2018 at 7:26 am

        Here here!

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