I Have No Memory of Anything At All

So Robert Draper was interviewing President Bush for a book he's writing, and at one point, he asked the President about the catastrophic decision by Paul Bremer to dissolve the Iraqi army, a decision that torched any possibility of maintaining order in the post-invasion period. Not to put to fine a point on it, but while Iraq may have dissolved into chaos no matter what, this decision ensured that it would, by sending thousands of trained, armed, and bitter men into the arms of the various insurgencies while simultaneously eliminating any non-Western force capable of dealing with it.

So Draper asked the President about that decision, and how he had reacted to it. First, he said, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.” That begs the question of what did happen, and Bush's answer is telling:
“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.
Yes, that's right: on one of the most fundamental screw-ups in the Iraq war (other than invading, of course), the President of the United States does not remember what happened. Moreover, when asked, he passes the buck to Stephen Hadley. He says the plan was opposite what happened, but it happened anyway.

Which is sort of at odds with another statement: "This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ — there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”

More deep thoughts from the decider:

On life after the presidency: "'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. But he added, 'I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.'”

On his strategy to stay in Iraq: “'I’m playing for October-November.' That is when he hopes the Iraq troop increase will finally show enough results to help him achieve the central goal of his remaining time in office: 'To get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence,' and, he said later, 'stay longer.'”

On whether he actually feels human emotion: “'I’ve got God’s shoulder to cry on, and I cry a lot.' In what Mr. Draper interpreted as a reference to war casualties, Mr. Bush added, 'I’ll bet I’ve shed more tears than you can count as president.'”

And finally, Bush lives up to being a uniter, not a divider: “'I’ve been here too long,' Mr. Bush said, according to Mr. Draper."

That's something we all can agree on.

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