Bush’s Decision Points is a terrifying journey into the authoritarian mind

Anis Shivani writes:

This would be less grim to talk about if Bush weren’t still with us. But he is, in every way that matters. The Bush Doctrine lives. No leading American politician can disavow the two key aspects of the Bush Doctrine: that we cannot distinguish terrorists from the countries where they live, and that we must act preemptively against gathering threats before they materialize (propositions contradicting international law). Bush’s memoir is arguably the most important book of the year because it reveals — far better than do books by Charlie Savage, Isikoff and Corn, or Bob Woodward — how he fundamentally reconceptualized the functions of the presidency, the balance of power among the branches of government, and the expectations and obligations of citizens, with lasting effects.

Reviews in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times treat Bush respectfully — much as a Machiavellian prince would desire to be treated after going into retirement; too often reviewers play Bush’s game by humanizing him, or treating him with humor, or safely relegating him to history. But Bush truly was a transformative president, among the rare few, and we deceive ourselves — as many in the commentariat continue to do, as with Maureen Dowd’s light-hearted mockery of him — if we consider him an anomaly, a rare eruption of a virus that won’t repeat itself. This book’s ideas will have resonance with a large segment of the population, and a notable number among the elites; we need to study Decision Points (Crown, Nov. 9) seriously, as onerous a task as it may be, if we are to make sense of the perpetual aura of crisis that has enveloped America, and why we seem to be stuck on a self-destructive path.

Decision Points is a classic recipe for a benign dictatorship, a uniquely American form of dictatorship, to be sure — from its rigid understanding of morality (good versus evil) to its distorted valuation of life (only American lives matter; Bush is not concerned about the loss of civilian life in the countries he attacked) — that gives comfort to many in a time of economic and cultural stress.

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Comments

  1. Bush didn’t reconceptualize anything — his is merely an Old Testament mind, obeying the literal concepts of a bygone age. A reminder, if one were needed, that all the Abrahamic religions contain the seeds of evil, just waiting to be germinated. Robert Le Bougre, Innocent IV, Torquemada, anybody?

  2. The Facist States of North America have their War Crminals on TV and interview shows, Book openings, Libaries, Freedom Medals, University positions… it is a failed state.

  3. Scapegoating the Abrahamic religions won’t solve our problems, which exist outside the Abrahamic sphere, anyway. They are primate, not religious.

  4. Bush the Younger ushered in what I call the “Autocratic Presidency.” We have had the “Imperial Presidency” for a couple generations now, since WW II. Now Bush et al. have taken us a quantum jump further. No, he is not as intelligent as Augustus or Diocletian, but like them, he has taken the administration of his country in a new, and more autocratic, direction. Probably all future presidents, of whatever faction or team, will follow that path.

  5. DE Teodoru says:

    I cannot share your view. Watching Bush of “soft ball” interviews I see a defective that is nothing more than “what you see is what you had got”: BUSHIT!

  6. Werner Simon says:

    The bad news is that the current Administration–with some minor style variations–further institutionalizes and even elaborates on Bush Administration power usurpations.