Admit it, you haven't thought about George W. Bush in a while. Don't worry, no one will judge you. We've all fought long and hard to win the right to not have to think about him anymore. Who could blame you for taking advantage of his glorious departure from the national stage?

As is usually the case when nations emerge from the rule of the corrupt, the evil, or the incompetent, it is going to take quite a few years for America to come to grips with exactly what we were dealing with between 2001 and 2009. The left are tired of thinking about it. The right are trying to pretend like it never happened. And the great apathetic masses are in denial, lest they feel responsibility. But Frank Rich's Sunday op-ed in the NYT is the kind of must-read that forces us to recall 2003 and admit, "Holy shit…things got really bad there for a while."

Rob Draper, the author of the Bush biography Dead Certain (in which many top administration officials agreed to participate), has blown the lid off of just how creepy Donald Rumsfeld is and how easily the child-President was manipulated by those around him. During the first days of the Iraq War, Rumsfeld sent his daily Worldwide Intelligence Update to the Oval Office with covers adorned with "inspirational" pictures…and Bible quotes. Really, you have to see this slideshow to believe it. What were supposed to be the most elite, secret, high-level intelligence briefings available to anyone in Washington were adorned with covers that look like the photoshop work of a 12 year-old at Bible Camp. For instance, on April 3, two days after the Jessica Lynch story was revealed to be fiction and the former commander of CENTCOM took to the NYT editorial page to criticize Rumsfeld's prosecution of the war, the President received his intelligence briefing featuring Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

The scary part, of course, is that Donald Rumsfeld doesn't give a flying shit about the Bible. He was cynically manipulating someone who he believed, or knew, to be an empty vessel easily led around by the nose. Even some people within the Pentagon were alarmed by this tactic, which played directly into terrorist propaganda about the American messianic complex and holy war against Islam. Rich notes, "As one alarmed Pentagon hand told Draper, the fallout 'would be as bad as Abu Ghraib.'"

Look at that slideshow and remind yourself – audibly, if necessary – that these people were in control of the most powerful nation in the history of mankind. For eight years. The effect is chilling, not unlike the realization of how close one came to death in the aftermath of a bad car accident.

10 thoughts on “FROM WHENCE WE CAME”

  • Aslan Maskhadov says:

    What makes you so sure America has emerged from any of that corruption? Obama's job is to accomplish all kinds of heinous shit for the ruling class while everyone is busy breathing a sigh of relief. Eventually the republicans will regroup and bring in someone even worse than Bush.

  • I've been in the US Army since 05 and have had a front row seat to most of Rumsfeld's failed policies. I was listening to officers gripe about him even when I was in Basic training and it surprised the hell out of me. The military is by far one of the most conservative organizations in America so when most soldiers weren't bashing on "Clinton and all those Hollyweird Liberals ruining America" they were busy praising W. All of a sudden a lot of Officers and even enlisted soldiers were criticizing Rumsfeld. No one seemed capable of taking the next logical step and following this up the chain to W. W could have and should have fired or demanded he resign after Abu Ghraib broke, but he didn't. What I worry about is people pointing the finger at Rumsfeld and Cheney but saying something to the effect of "Aww shucks, poor W was just like you and me and was manipulated by those other Government guys." and not call him to account for his sins.
    I will give W some credit for bringing in Robert Gates who is not just respected by most rank and file but actually loved by a lot of us in Uniform. You believe in a boss who keeps track of the number of troops killed since he took over and actively listens to those under him. I hope he'll stay around for quite awhile. Cutting incredibly wasteful spending in weapons programs and spending money on better body armor and IED resistant vehicles seemed revolutionary compared to Rumsfeld's policies. When Sec. Gates cashiered McKiernen because he wasn't producing results and troops lacked necessities like antennae for radios it impressed me. Accountability, how fucking cool is that?

  • Do you think Donald Rumsfeld pulled that low-church BS on Ford or Nixon? I heartily doubt it. He was pandering to the Forrest Gump of Pennsylvania Avenue, the way Netanyahu did when he met with Jerry Falwell — with subtle mockery, and the hopes of using him.

    But make rotten decisions for long enough and they'll call you "experienced". Rumsfeld is only one example of many. Bush, the archetypical tool, abused the highest power in the land, and must be held to the highest degree of responsibility. It's just shocking that we need to point out that ignorance of the law is no excuse when we are talking about a President of the United States.

  • I saw where it was a high ranking officer at the Pentagon who put the bible quotes on the front of the daily briefings. That's the scary part, Fucking BibleBangers in uniform on another Crusade!!

    Rummy allowing it to be used to keep aWol going with the program is just the Neo-Con end justifies the means bullshit!!

  • @Kevin:

    Rumor has it Bush41 helped Bush43 bring in Gates in as Sec. of Def. Makes you wonder who would have been appointed if Bush43 didn't have an ex-president as a father.

    A very believable reason why Bush43 didn't ask for Rumsfeld's resignation for Abu Ghraib is because what went on there was an official policy of abuse/torture in support of our information gathering activities. I'm sure it was easily argued it was a few bad apples who went to far and thus not Rumsfeld's fault. Apparently Rumsfeld was very good at shifting the blame onto others if you read the article that goes with the photos.


    Until we get a president who will actually "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" we actually are pretty screwed. Sure Obama may give everyone affordable healthcare and regulate the banks so they don't crater our economy again, but if he doesn't bring back "the rule of law" as being our most important guiding principal them we really aren't any better off.

    It puzzles me greatly how a someone who taught Constitutional Law seems to pay only lip service to the Constitution. It was one of the reasons I was hopeful he was actually presidential material and not your average self serving politician, but I think his ardent supports have it right and he's trying to ignore his duties and make history. While this is great for him and his supporters is bad for the health of our democracy as it won't last if the "elite" believe themselves above the love and have it proven to them over and over again by Presidents failing to do the unpleasant and holding powerful people accountable.

  • lulz, talk about a weird typo…

    "it won’t last if the “elite” believe themselves above the love"

    should be law not love. I'm sure the "elite" love, even if it is just themselves. :)

  • Thank you for pointing out that Rumsfeld doesn't give a shit about the Bible. I believe with all my heart that GWB doesn't either. As someone who actually follows the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth I will forever be pissed about the way the most heinous decisions I have ever witnessed were made in "God's" name.

    I can't find a decent church to attend. The ones I've had the heart to visit recently have been taken over by Dobsonesque, homophobic, racial, hypocritical, brainless automatons, who think it's okay to torture "bad" people because, well…they're "bad". It's mind-boggling.

    I also have a really hard time believing Bush was the moronic patsy so many believe he was. I think he's stupid as a friggin' rock, but I don't think he was clueless. I think he knew way more about what he was foisting upon the world than his apologists want to admit. Yes, he was a tool, but he wasn't a blameless one. Not by a long shot.

  • @ Penny –

    Give the Lutherans a shot. But not Missouri Synod.

    I felt from Day 1 that W was essentially irrelevant to his own presidency. This does not take him off the hook. I vacillate on trying to figure out just how stupid he might or might not be. With limited intelligence, no curiously, and grotesque intellectual laziness, moronic patsy is a very real possibility. But I hold him fully responsible for all the misdeeds of his administration.

  • @ jazzbumpa: Thank you. I will check that out. There's also a United Church of Christ congregation near here that looks promising.

    I agree with you totally about Bush. He's stupid, but he's also cruel. I still can't believe the past eight years.

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