Goodbye, Bush

And good riddance. This oral history of the Bush Administration lays out the astounding incompetence, ignorance, and misguided agendas at play in the White House. For chrissakes, these people were gaslighting, spying on, and sabotoging each other for eight long years.

I went to a communications meeting the day after [Jim] Jeffords switched. I remember feeling like I was looking at people who had won a reality-game ticket to head up the White House. There was this remarkable combination of hubris, excitement, and staggering ignorance.


The contrast with having briefed his father and Clinton and Gore was so marked. And to be told, frankly, early in the administration, by Condi Rice and [her deputy] Steve Hadley, you know, Don’t give the president a lot of long memos, he’s not a big reader—well, shit. I mean, the president of the United States is not a big reader?


That night, on 9/11, Rumsfeld came over and the others, and the president finally got back, and we had a meeting. And Rumsfeld said, You know, we’ve got to do Iraq, and everyone looked at him—at least I looked at him and Powell looked at him—like, What the hell are you talking about? And he said—I’ll never forget this—There just aren’t enough targets in Afghanistan. We need to bomb something else to prove that we’re, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kind of attacks.

And I made the point certainly that night, and I think Powell acknowledged it, that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. That didn’t seem to faze Rumsfeld in the least.


I think a lot of the problem the president had is: people around him were doing what he said, and nobody was doing the analytical questioning of the things we were doing where you could do all the puts and takes and say, O.K., Mr. President, here’s all the pros to do this and here’s all the cons to do this, and here’s the likely outcome. Now, let’s make a decision.

I don’t think that ever happened. I never saw anything like that.


I’m not sure even to this day that [Colin Powell is] willing to admit to himself that he was rolled to the extent that he was. And he’s got plenty of defense to marshal because, as I told [former defense secretary] Bill Perry one time when Bill asked me to defend my boss—I said, Well, let me tell you, you wouldn’t have wanted to have seen the first Bush administration without Colin Powell. I wrote Powell a memo about six months before we were leaving, and I said, This is your legacy, Mr. Secretary: damage control. He didn’t like it much. In fact, he kind of handed it back to me and told me I could put it in the burn basket.

But I knew he understood what I was saying. You saved the China relationship. You saved the transatlantic relationship and each component thereof—France, Germany. I mean, he held Joschka Fischer’s hand under the table on occasions when Joschka would say something like, You know, your president called my boss a fucking asshole. His task became essentially cleaning the dogshit off the carpet in the Oval Office. And he did that rather well. But it became all-consuming.

This makes me want to tear my own face off. The folks involved in the narration of this article could have let us know any of this information at the time. Anytime before now. Perhaps before 2004.

h/t Bitch PhD and Post-Bourgie

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10 comments for “Goodbye, Bush

  1. evil_fizz
    January 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I didn’t think that had the potential to make me as sad as it did. It’s like the biggest game ever of “la la la, I can’t hear you!”


  2. RacyT
    January 19, 2009 at 2:55 am

    At least it’s over.

  3. January 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Word, both of you.

  4. Soma
    January 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    At least it’s over.

    Yeah, like the holocaust, there’s not much more you can say about it than that.

  5. W. Kiernan
    January 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    It’s not over, either. New Orleans is a gigantic ruin; the levees still haven’t been properly repaired. Those swine Roberts and Alito are seated on the Supreme Court where they will systematically undermine the Constitution on behalf of profiteers for the next several decades. The God damned Taliban control over half the land area of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is still running around scot-free, enlisting religious fanatics to make war upon all civilization. 150,000 American soldiers are still in Iraq. And every taxpayer in America will be paying interest on four or five trillion dollars that the Bush Administration added to the national debt for the rest of his or her life.

  6. January 20, 2009 at 7:48 am

    It’s SO not over.

    This article is absolutely worth reading all of.

    Reading over it, there were so many of Bush’s evils that I just don’t think about that often anymore, and it strikes me as important not to forget them.

  7. January 21, 2009 at 6:09 am

    A little ditty we wrote a couple of months back:-

    Bye Bush (a poem)

  8. Butch Fatale
    January 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

    At least it’s over.

    Yeah, like the holocaust, there’s not much more you can say about it than that.

    Excuse me?

    1. If you’re going to compare it to the holocaust, there’s a ton of aftermath for both.

    2. We don’t get to stop talking about the holocaust just because it’s over, neither do we get to stop talking about Bush just because he’s out of office.

    3. The Bush administration was awful and there were many horrible immoral and illegal things done. But it’s still trivializing to compare it to the Holocaust.

    Now do I get to call antisemitism, or is being flippant about the Holocaust cool here?

  9. Butch Fatale
    January 21, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Actually, let me amend my comment.

    I know that a lot of us are blowing off steam in conversations like this, and most if not all of us are glad to see Bush go. But it’s trivializing of both the effects of the Bush administration and of the Holocaust (and trivializing of the Holocaust itself) to make comments like that. The Holocaust seems pretty far off to a lot of us, I’m sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s an okay jumping off point for making whatever point or remark you want that seems like it might be related. It’s disrespectful to the six million Jews and six million other people who were killed. And co-sign to the folks above making the point that as far as the effects of the Bush administration go, it’s *not* over. Neither are the effects of the Holocaust.

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