Parker: The Bush I knew

Apr 29, 2013

In a reprieve from the horror of the most recent terrorist attack, the nation’s attentions turned to the man who declared the war on terrorism, George W. Bush.

During Thursday’s dedication of his library at Southern Methodist University, nary a word was spoken about the most controversial aspect of his tenure, the Iraq invasion. All living presidents were in attendance and made only generic references to mistakes and regrets familiar to all. Of course Bush famously acknowledges no mistakes or regrets, but rather bequeaths judgment to history and self-doubt to those of lesser conviction.

This observation, though true, is not the whole story of Bush, however. Nearly everyone who has known Bush up closer than a video clip has a different impression of him than what is more popularly accepted. The arrogant, swaggering caricature of the 43rd president was mostly a shield. Bravado of the “bring ’em on” variety was more personal jab than foreign policy statement, though one suspects Bush enjoyed the sound of tiny feet scurrying to keyboards in search of deeper meaning.

Obviously, what a president says and does is fair game for criticism. The way Bush chose to express himself was the way he would be perceived and judged. To act arrogantly is to be arrogant in the public eye. To speak awkwardly is to be awkward.

But in private, Bush was a very different man.

In small groups, he was articulate and confident. When the cameras were off, he was relaxed and natural. Not everyone is made for TV, and this is no criticism. It can be a deficit for public figures, but people who are at one with lights and cameras are sometimes better actors than statesmen.

Everyone is familiar with Bush’s history and performance. What I offer is an anecdote or two that I think reveal what the cameras and critics could not. These recollections are simply recorded for the sake of biography in the interest of rounding out a more complete picture of a two-term, transformational president who changed our world in ways that won’t be fully understood or judged in our lifetimes.



Bush wasn't the sharpest president but remember the cards were stacked against him
Couldn't ignore the Saddam Hussein/Iraq mess that had been built up for the previous 20 years
Nancy Pelosi
Barney Frank
Those are 4 good reasons to not want to be president


Oh baloney. Bush had a security memo in had that mentioned Bin Laden threatening to fly airplanes into US buildings, and ignored it. In 2001, prior to 9/11, He was on vacation more days than he was on the Oval Office. A president's number one job is to keep us safe. He failed miserably on this before 9/11 and, judging from the fumbled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, fumbled badly after 9/11. People really need to stop making excuses for the man.

S w Rand 2016

He vacationed at his ranch in Texas, tho. He has an office there where he conducted presidential business. Obama and his wife are on the frickin' beach, blowin' money like they was Jay-Z and Beyonce.
It's one thing to say Bush was, overall, a bad president. I assume I am knowledgeable enough to agree with that. But, it is an entirely different thing to make every one of Bush's molehills into a mountain while also making every one of Obama's mountains into a molehill.

People need to stop making excuses for who? Obama? That's you.
Example: You have, for years now, assigned Obama's 2009 spending to Bush even though he refused to sign 9 of the 12 appropriation bills before he left office. Obama signed them and you guys claimed it was Bush.
But the rabbit hole of this Admin's (and the 2007-2011 Democrat Congress') spending, which you seem oblivious to, goes deeper

Where do you think you are, coasterfan?
How many fingers am I holding up? (hint: Just one)


coasterfan writes:

"Bush had a security memo in had that mentioned Bin Laden threatening to fly airplanes into US buildings,"

Proof of this mishegas?

Darwin's choice

And yet, you accept the behavior of the current president?


And yet...???


Coaster fan.... Bush had a security memo in had that mentioned Bin Laden threatening to fly airplanes into US buildings, and ignored it

There's never been any evidence of this memo, but let's say for argument there was.... what would you have done differently if you were the president at that time with that information (information before the attack, not after) ?

The Big Dog's back

Could you imagine if 9/11 happened on Obama's watch? Would right wing world still be coming up with these excuses that they give for bush? Oh h@ll no.


BD writes:

"Could you imagine if 9/11 happened on Obama's watch?"

How could it? Isn't Pres. Obama the PERFECT pres. who never does anything wrong?

Pres. Obama's term ain't up and he keeps creatin' new terrorists with each and ever drone strike.

Don't count your chickens.

The Big Dog's back

I thought you said Muslim terrorist were in love with him. Which is it?


"Could you imagine if 9/11 happened on Obama's watch?" Imagine it, right.

I doubt it would have happened on his watch.


Sorry dog, friendly fire.


Hey coaster, google Jamie Gorelick and the Wall! Set up by Hilary to stop different agencies to report on her husband's floozies.


Had others & myself been UA like Bush, we'd been tossed in the brig. Different rules for him (W). No real military service from him. What a sham.


You talk about Bush and His military time,what about ye old draft dodger Clinton and this Bozo that wanted the Troops to pay for their own medical insurance ?Plus he supports live birth abortions like all democratic pro life hypocrites !Oh,by the way they don't stab them anymore ,they inject them like execution on death row.Now they have discoverd they also drown them in toxic liquid.Where are the christians,are they the same place as they were in Germany?


Bush lied, people died.


And this Bozo doesn't,only when his lips move !He won't even allow the Benghazi survivors be interviewed !


Please refresh My memory again! Was it a Democrat or Republican House that voted to send our troops to Iraq? I say again, I hated Bush but at least He got Congressional approval before sending our Troops to Iraq. BOZO don't take the time to ask. Why should he? He won't explain Benghazi or Fast and Furious. We got what we voted for not once but twice.


"Please refresh My memory again!"
Bush lied.


It seems that many others had the same thoughts about the WMD's that Bush did maybe they were all drinking from the same cup and were fed the same intel reports??

"It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein wiill continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East which, as we know all too well, affects American security."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2001

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." — President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." — Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D — MA), and others Oct. 9, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." — Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001Letter to President George W. Bush signed by 9 Congressmen, including Democrats Harold Ford, Jr., Joseph Lieberman, and Benjamin Gilman.

" We should be hell bent on getting those weapons of mass destruction, hell bent on having a credible approach to them, but we should try to do it in a way which keeps the world together and that achieves our goal which is removing the... defanging Saddam.." — Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Dec. 9, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

Congressional Record — Robert Byrd

"When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable." —Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9,2002

Congressional Record — Sen. John F. Kerry

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years .. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

Congressional Record — Sen. Jay Rockefeller

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do" — Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct.1,2002

To overcome this obstacle, and to discover and dismantle Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, UNMOVIC and the IAEA must interview relevant persons securely and with their families protected, even if they protest publicly against this treatment. Hans Blix may dislike running ''a defection agency,' but that could be the only way to obtain truthful information about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction — Sen. Joseph Biden

Congressional Record — Sen. Joseph Biden

I could go on with more however I do hope that you get the idea that if Bush lied so did many others or again as I said maybe the intel was bad, maybe the chemical WMD's were transported out of the country maybe still hidden there.It seems that the reports started in 1998 and did continue.


Republicans want to re-write history, read this:
Or just read Coasterfan below.


So the House and Senate Democrats who voted for the Iraq Resolution were either complicit or stupid - GOT IT. :)


They were stupid to believe a lying Republican--GOT IT ? : )

You refuse to GET IT.


The Democrats "were stupid,"

GOT IT! :)


Don't leave out the rest:...."to believe a LYING Republican".
But do you have to be told that the Republicans went along with it too?
So, what does that make them? Stupid or complicit?
He lied to the USA. That makes us ALL stupid.
So, the moral of the story is: 'Beware when a Republican is speaking'.


Your reasoning is very strange.

S w Rand 2016

Nonsense. We only get stupider when someone tries to convince us that it was all the doing of one single person (or even one party).

By the way, you appear to have overlooked the fact that a number of those quotes are from 1998 before Bush Jr was even a candidate. Take note, especially, of the 1998 quote from Nancy Pelosi. She was making the case for War against Iraq before Bush Jr even threw in his bid for President.
Also, both parties were believing intelligence reports that were handed to them. And Bush Jr. does not write the intelligence reports.
Do you really want us to believe that Bush Jr. had cast a spell on them? He merely spoke and they all believed?
I suppose that would make sense to people who believe everything that President Obama says, merely because he said it. It's not very realistic, tho.


Yes, he got congressional approval....after pushing false claims about Saddam's WMD's....

S w Rand 2016

re: coasterfan
What is it a bad idea to go there? Then, why is Obama still on a spending spree in Iraq and still sending Americans there to police the place?


Who put us there in the first place?