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Decision Points, the George W. Bush memoir, released

Washington Post staff
www.washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; 4:51 PM

George W. Bush is on a book tour to promote his memoir "Decision Points." As the AP reports:

The former president appeared Tuesday in a taped episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Writing the memoir, he said, "was an easy process" that has kept him busy.

"A lot of people don't think I can read, much less write," Bush joked on the program.

The world is better off without Saddam Hussein, Bush said, even though the invasion that toppled the Iraqi leader was based on faulty intelligence about the existence of weapons of mass destruction.

Previously Bush had been interviewed by Matt Lauer, as Lisa De Moraes reported:

Former president George W. Bush told NBC News's Matt Lauer that the "all-time low" of his eight years in the White House came when notorious loose-cannon Kanye West appeared on a Hurricane Katrina relief fundraiser and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Really?

"You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your presidency?" Lauer asked Bush an a taped interview, citing a passage in Bush's new book, "Decision Points" which officially goes on sale Tuesday.

"Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And -- it was a disgusting moment," Bush responded to Lauer in the interview, which NBC is holding to air in prime time on Monday.

As for what is in the the book itself, BookWorld said in their review of the memoir:

As anyone who reads The Post in print or online is fully aware by now, "Decision Points" contains no "news" of any real significance. Going to war over the WMDs that Iraq didn't have was a blunder, but that has been acknowledged for a long time by many veterans of the Bush administration, all of whom continue to insist, as does Bush himself, that "the world was undoubtedly safer with Saddam gone," a claim that, in light of Middle Eastern events post-"shock and awe," certainly merits challenge. The shipboard display of triumphalism under the "Mission Accomplished" banner was "a big mistake," to put it mildly. So, Dick Cheney volunteered to withdraw from the ticket in 2004. Doesn't just about every vice president do that, as a pro-forma courtesy? As for Hurricane Katrina, it was handled clumsily at best, but we all knew that.

And so forth. Bush is smart enough to understand that a memoir asserting nothing except achievements and victories would have serious credibility problems -- especially a memoir dealing with a presidency as polarizing as that of Bush II, though of course he doesn't give the subject anything approximating the attention it deserves. When he does raise the subject, it is with a mixture of candor and self-delusion. He is absolutely right to say that "the breakdown in bipartisanship was bad for my administration and bad for the country, too," and doubtless it's true that some Democrats "never got over the 2000 election and were determined not to cooperate with me," but saying that "no doubt I bear some of the responsibility as well" doesn't begin to tell the tale.

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