This entry has been edited since it just dawned upon me that I probably got a bit carried away when quoting the book. Rather than quoting huge sections I’ve removed the majorities of this but have kept the page numbers. I intend to go over all of my other book reviews and do the same. (26th of December 2018)
This book offers a crucial insight into how American enlightenment principles colour the world view and drive the foreign policy of Washington. It can be seen in the small sentences – as quoted and commented on by me further down in this long entry. Please read this book. It is a must read for those of us who want to understand.
When my mother suggested to me some years ago that I should read “Decision Points,” I was less than enthusiastic in my response. It probably resembled more of a grunt. Why would I be interested in reading a book authored by a President my peers and I, along with all of our teachers, the entertainment industry and (eventually) the mainstream media had disliked to such an extent? Anti-war protesters young and old were risking imprisonment all in the name of publicly displaying their dissent loud and clear. Michael Moore was on the war path spreading his propaganda far and wide, Europeans rolled their eyes at “Cowboy-politics” from the USA while “anti-Bush” songs became almost a music industry standard in the last years of Bush’s presidency. I guess it displays maturity to expose oneself to something authored by those one disagrees with. Just as it would be wise to read up on Marxist literature and the Quran.
To anyone who lived in the USA during and after 9-11, like myself, Bush’s book proves an emotional read as the reader is reminded of a bleak time when the US was united in grief and anger. The vocabulary and flow of the book is straightforward and easy, but for anyone who remembers that fateful day in September, the Anthrax threat that followed, preachers visiting schools and fathers getting ready to go to war; it will be impossible to not shed a tear or two. For a President that was so widely vilified and hated in the later years of his presidency – it should be made mandatory to get a peek at the President’s perspective – from the man himself. I also started criticising the “Bush regime” at a certain point due to water boarding as approved by the Bush administration, the damning photos leaked depicting abuse towards muslim prisoners, the War in Iraq and the lack of weapons of mass-destruction + the potential for violation of civil rights due to the much criticised Patriot Act. Did I read the Act myself? No funny enough I did not; yet I was against it as the narrative of America turning into Orwell’s dystopian 1984 prevailed everywhere. You could get sent to Guantanamo without a trial. Protests were rampant. The Bush administration was hated just as much on both sides of the Atlantic. Many were peddling the viewpoint that the USA Inc. only wanted the oil in Iraq, many Americans even started believing that 9-11 was planned and executed by their very own government….
Yet here we are again with a conservative administration in power. Iran & North-Korea are once again defined as enemies, the axis of evil is back into the public discourse, the war on Islamic terrorism has gotten worse and the Obama administration now seems like some awkward intermezzo. Much like The Ministry Of Magic in Harry Potter denying the return of Voldemort and Professor Dolores Umbridge seeing no need in teaching her students how to defend themselves as there are no dangers, there are no threats. Much of the general hatred towards Bush had to deal with the fact that he was a conservative I’m sure. Dick Cheney was Darth Vader, Karl Rove was the grim reaper; now Steve Bannon has taken over “the grim reaper torch” while Trump is the new Hitler, just like Bush was back in the day….
It is particularly illuminating and revealing to read about the accusations of “bigotry,” “racism,” and “xenophobia” that were thrown around at the time, directed towards Bush’s associates, most of whom you’ve probably never heard of or remember. It is also interesting to note that Bush’s legitimacy was questioned in addition to calls for his impeachment. After witnessing a couple of Presidential elections and how different politicians are treated by the press, the cultural elite and the protesters on the streets; it becomes a bit easier to see the bigger picture. I remember very clearly that a good friend of mine who was very active politically, told me that protest organisers in the US didn’t really care about the War in Iraq. They engaged in “inter-sectionalism” recruiting “foot soldiers” from various disgruntled groups so that they could descend upon Washington great in numbers. How unpopular the Bush “regime” really was I guess we’ll never know too clearly, since anti-Americans and radical-revolutionaries seized the “recruitment” opportunity presented to them back then. We see it all again now with all of these anti-Trump protests, accusations of his illegitimacy and calls for murder and impeachment.
“Our national security was tied directly to human suffering. Societies mired in poverty and disease foster hopelessness. And hopelessness leaves people ripe for recruitment by terrorists and extremists.” (p.336)
What is most striking about Bush’s chapter about the War in Iraq is/was his idealistic vision of the world, something which he shared and probably still shares with his pal Tony Blair. Some of the segments in this book display a blind belief that more current experiences with Islamism in Europe surely must have dispelled … “People who could choose their leaders at the ballot box would be less likely to turn to violence. Young people growing up with hope in the future would not search for meaning in the ideology of terror. Once liberty took root in one society, it could spread to others.” The highlighting of that quote was my doing, but I find it crucial to bring attention to it due to its ignorance. It is precisely due to this type of thinking that Europe will lose against Islamists. We have no understanding of convictions … we believe that materialism will miraculously satisfy the hunger for a cause, something to stand for, something to fight for, and most crucially the enormous importance of identity and fundamental tribalism. Only those with a deep understanding of the true meaning of diversity and the deep-seated need for masculine-honour will be up to the modern challenges we face. We have to ask ourselves what our “shared values” really are, clearly articulate and define them while establishing a National or Continental objective – a common purpose. What do we really stand for? What are we aiming for? What are we fighting for?
“One of the most effective forms of diplomacy is to show the good heart of America to the world.” (p.214)
The idea that dropping democracy into people heads will change the world into a peaceful global utopia is in my opinion absurd. It is also a questionable action to empower and enrich other competing nations that might not adhere to such strong morals as us in the west. It might force us into very unfavourable situations in the future. Another interesting quote is this: “For months, we had been pressing the Turks to give us access to their territory so that we could send fifteen thousand troops from the Fourth Infantry Division to enter Iraq from the north. We promised to provide economic and military aid, help Turkey access key programs from the International Monetary Fund, and maintain our strong support for Turkey’s admission to the European Union.” The highlight was mine once again. This quote openly displays black on white America’s lack of knowledge or carelessness when it comes to European heritage and cultural interests. If Turkey gets access to the EU and the “free float of people” we are officially done. That will be the end of us. Completely. The fact that the US would actually promise to engage in lobbying intended to sell out Europe in order to have strategic access into Iraq – speaks volumes, when you think about the long-term consequences a EU membership for a Muslim nation would entail – it is surely not the act of friends and display dubious intentions on behalf of the US or an inability to foresee long-term negative consequences.
I suppose that my predictions and writings have been true – that we really and truly do stand alone. All alone as a continent. With enemies in the East, in the South, in addition to indifference or ignorance from the West. There you have Europe.
On the other hand a conclusion can be drawn that Bush was one hell of a “domestic president,” maybe even a visionary, as he tackled sensitive national issues head on rather than looking away. He tried to change social security that was heading for bankruptcy and was willing to put his head on the chopping block politically as he was more concerned with the future of America rather than instant popularity and elections. He also tackled the immigration crisis and tried to stretch out his hand to the Democrats in an attempt to again solve a sensitive and controversial, in fact divisive issue. He managed to change healthcare to a certain degree for those who were forced to work in their old age to pay for drugs. He managed to keep schools accountable for their performance levels in a political climate where money spent was seen as more important than actual tangible results. He was particularly focused on levelling the playing field for forgotten minorities, so the accusations he had to endure about his “racist nature” seem dubious and unfounded. All in all I think that Bush would have been a phenomenal success if he had kept to his vision of being the education president, instead he became the war president. His face branded by the media as that of a modern Satan character. After reading Bush’s book there is no doubt in my mind that he would have thrived as the domestic CEO of USA Inc. rather than a global exporter of well-intentioned enlightenment principles.
Reading about Bush’s initiative to save sub-Saharan countries from the AIDS epidemic, the Malaria maladie and whatnot, proves an interesting read taking into account the migration crisis Europe currently faces from those regions…. We as a continent are in deep shit in lack of better words and matters will only get worse. Yet another example of how well-intentioned charity can turn lethal and dangerous in the long run. I know it isn’t a popular thing to say, but it is true. Europeans are not guilty of over population. Far from it. If we don’t get more kids and become more militant in the protection of our borders, we are doomed.
“The last thing I wanted to do was bail out Wall Street.” (p.460)
After reading about Bono’s visit at the Bush White House where he praised Bush’s Africa initiative I’ve reached the conclusion that Bono & celebrities like J.K.Rowling should be sent down to the Mediterranean or elsewhere on the Southern border, so that they can be the “first responders” when the real Tsunami of the African zombie-apocalypse hits us. No wonder people are furious all over the western world, when righteous celebrities who :
- hide behind their armed security guards
- hide behind high walls on their estate
- hide within fortified buildings when travelling
- do everything to avoid the taxes they want to impose on everyone else
voice their opinions and even lobby for their culturally suicidal endeavours. You wonder why people are angry? It’s easy to see why. Of course Bono would appear out of nowhere to praise the strengthening of Sub-Saharan Africa – I bet he supports the current migrant crisis as well. Idiots. Go talk to ethnic-Europeans or go look at all of those areas that are now ruined. Of course a familiar name pops up too: “I later learned that one of his major funders, ultra-liberal investor George Soros, had excoriated Bono for joining me at the MCA event without getting more in return.” The highlighting was mine. Soros pops up further down in this long entry, in the “quotes section” as well.
Bush also includes some of his speech after a trip to see a grim “slave museum” in Africa: “At this place, liberty and life were stolen and sold. Human beings were delivered and sorted, and weighted, and branded with the marks of commercial enterprises, and loaded as cargo on a voyage without return.” Yes it is good that we acknowledge history and refrain from repeating atrocities, but we cannot let our guard down and expect others to be as civil. A day may come when Europeans are enslaved after being subjugated either by an alien population reaching majority status within our continent or by foreign invaders breaching our depleted defences….It is naive to expect gratitude or that western charity will be reciprocated. We should never take friendliness for granted or expect that the rest of the world put their arms down just because we do it. People are still kidnapped and sold into slavery by international organised crime cartels today. Women and children are forced into prostitution. Human beings are subjected to illegal “organ harvesting.” Militant muslim fighters re-opened ancient slave markets. If anything there should be an intellectual awakening in the west to the violent and dangerous nature of man. Especially in regards to the hate directed towards us. Only then will we be equipped to confront future challenges.
“I am always amazed when I hear Democrats say the financial crisis happened because Republicans pushed deregulation.” (p.455)
BOMBSHELL→ I intended to paste this quote further down in my entry. But since the general attention span in today’s society equals nil I had to put it here: “West Germany emerged as the engine of European prosperity and a vital beacon of freedom during the Cold War. Japan grew into the world’s second-larger economy and the lynchpin of security in the Pacific. South Korea became one of our largest trading partners and a strategic bulwark against its neighbour to the north. All three countries benefited from relatively homogenous populations and peaceful postwar environments. In Iraq, the journey would be more difficult.” (my highlighting) Ha! Take that. Everyone with more than two brain cells know the pitfalls of multiculturalism. But what is this? On page 357 Bush finally reveals the inevitable challenges posed by the glorified multi-ethnic utopia that political forces have fought so hard to implement upon us Europeans? H-y-s-t-e-r-i-c-a-l. There goes your post-modern enlightenment values straight out of the window. Or down the toilet. It took me 357 pages to finally find a truthful sentence about the difficulty of implementing post-modern bliss around the world. People are different. Races are different. Ethnicities are different. We create the systems and adapt the values that resonates the most with our genetic inheritance. Thank you Bush. I can’t believe you actually wrote that. “With time and steadfast American support, I had confidence that democracy in Iraq would succeed. That confidence was tested daily.” (My highlight)…ehhh…whatever…when someone is strong in the faith I guess there is no turning back. Whatever. I will celebrate the fact that there at least was some sort of admission about the fallibility of multiculturalism…that is more than what our current European leadership will give us…
I see my country & continent die in slow-motion. Only isolation can spare me the reminder of our perdition. Only self-imposed ignorance can muffle my sadness – but nothing can kill my spirit when faced with the truth – and all truth bequests me is fury and anger.
On a positive note, at least from an American perspective, this book highlights America’s impressive military capabilities and conveys some truly touching stories of the commitment and attitude of American soldiers who hailed Bush as their leader and dedicated all of their strength physically and psychologically to take down America’s enemies and win the war on terror. It is impossible to not get emotional when reading some of these stories.
Of course it is understandable that fighting abroad was justifiable in the name of national security when a primitive looking ensemble broadcasting from what looked like a cave or something over in the impoverished country of Afghanistan could wreak such havoc upon the USA. Bush describes his encounters with troops wounded in battle and grieving families imploring him to keep on going, as they didn’t want their sons or spouses to have died in vain. Bush describes one mother who became an anti-war protester: “She is a mother who clearly loved her son. The grief caused by his loss was so profound that it consumed her life. My hope is that one day she and all the families of our fallen troops will be comforted to see a free Iraq and a more peaceful world as a fitting memorial to the sacrifice of their loved ones.”
After reading that section I couldn’t help but wonder if such a sentiment will ever take hold when there is such a vast geographical distance? That is a question I will not even attempt to answer.
Bush describes their military victories in Iraq and the Iraqi people’s desire for freedom. This hunger for liberation seceded though when faced with the gruelling fear of terror. Bush writes on page 371: “I read accounts of sectarian extremists torturing civilians with power drills, kidnapping patients from hospitals, and blowing up worshippers during Friday prayers.” A grizzly account for sure. While violence was rampant Americans kept pushing for elections and the apparent success of democracy. According to this book the problem was fortification. Maintaining strongholds. The strategy was to train the Iraqis to look after themselves. This failed and a new strategy was therefore needed.
What is especially interesting to note, was intercepted communication from one of the extremist leaders in Iraq, where it was obvious that their objective was to prolong the war effort by dividing the various tribes in Iraq further. It is obvious that they wanted to drag “the unbelievers” into a drawn-out quagmire.
Touchingly Bush writes on page 373: “I marvelled at the contrast between a regime so brutal that it would hack off men’s hands and a society so compassionate that it would help restore their dignity. I believed the Iraqi man who wrote those words spoke for millions of his fellow citizens. They were grateful to America for their liberation. They wanted to live in freedom. And I would not give up on them.”
Bush describes the success of the legendary General Petraeus: “Lincoln discovered Generals Grant and Sherman. Roosevelt had Eisenhower and Bradley. I found David Petraeus and Ray Odierno.” And concludes his “Surge” chapter with:
“A free and peaceful Iraq is in our vital strategic interest. It can be a valuable ally at the heart of the Middle East, a source of stability in the region, and a beacon of hope to political reformers in its neighbourhood and around the world. Like the democracies we helped build in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, a free Iraq will make us safer for generations to come.” Hmm….all I could think about when reading that was of the current mess in Germany and the nationalist uprising in Japan. But oh well…..
There is no doubt that the US military kicks ass and that the famous surge at the command of Petraeus worked. I guess the issue was that highly skilled and competent US warriors thought or were told that Iraqis would be equipped to just take over. Why people would think that when reading about how quickly the US military could successfully take over both Afghanistan and Iraq beats me. There is an obvious diversity between the best America has to offer and whatever it is that dysfunctional low-performing societies in the middle east can conjure. It is obvious that the militant Islamist have some impressive strategists and masterminds behind their operations, but as a group of people I personally think that their situation looks dire if modern science and cluster imaging of traits is to be believed. Which it should be, since it is based on scientific facts. The US military is an elite and a damn impressive one. It surely cannot be claimed that such a force can be easily replaced?
Bush offers some crucial facts about the 9/11 attack:
On Palestinian elections in 2005 Bush writes: “Some interpreted the results as a setback for peace. I wasn’t so sure. Hamas had run on a platform of clean government and efficient public services, not war with Israel.” Why should we assume honesty? Is this a symptom of our high-trust societies, that we venture forth into the world clad from top to toe in idealism? “We sent financial assistance and deployed a high-ranking general to help train the Palestinian security forces.” We display open palms with trust as our currency, offering a peaceful handshake while expecting low-trust societies to respond to this in the same manner that our own kin would. This can explain our blind immigration policy in Europe, feminist politics in Sweden, resulting in their loss of control over their own territory. A European inability to enforce the law of individual nations within every inch of their territory. This can explain bewildered politicians expressing in Norwegian newspapers the importance of getting Norwegian born Jihadis back to Norwegian soil to offer them psychological help. Obama’s ignorant belief that jobs could destroy terrorism, when well-integrated, well-adjusted, high-achieving Jihadis left comfortable England to fight a holy war.
This also explains how I can live in the countryside of England where neighbours simply put up a sign saying how much money to leave behind when picking up eggs, cards, newspapers, or drinks that are neither guarded by people or locked away in cupboards.
The church is always open where I live, all interactions are based on trust – people will reciprocate this trust and stay true to their word. (I don’t live in a particularly diverse area by the way). In London this level of trust is absent. Water bottles that had been set out for runners during the London marathon some years ago were stolen. The other day I saw an interesting article about how a transport system somewhere in the western world wouldn’t release CCTV footage or reveal the ethnicity of those guilty of crimes on their transport network, as apparently they saw this as racist or building up around subconscious bias. In Sweden they’ve stopped collecting crime data, since the findings are “racist,” in Norway officers are instructed to compare criminals with the crime-level of their countries of origin, since it is fairer to compare an Afghan criminal to crime levels in Afghanistan than to those of Norwegians. Welcome to multicultural, political correct hell.
A public toilet in London … Toilet usage has all of a sudden become a major issue all over Europe.
Only those who have been exposed to street level diversity and those officers in the streets tasked to deal with “unfortunate crimes that could jeopardise the utopian vision” know the truth. Diversity is not unity. It is the equivalence of division and hate. The multicultural utopia can only be held together with l-i-e-s. A failure to realise this seals the fate of what is left of Europe and also the USA. Our constructs will wither, like those we left behind in Africa. Our culture will be erased. Everything our forefathers built will be left in ruins. Some smart folks might say that Europe has waged war against its own countless times before, but I dare to say that no threats have ever been greater than those we face today as there is no interest to conserve even a smidgen of what is ours.
” . . . I had to safeguard American workers and families from a widespread collapse. I also had my successor in mind. I decided to treat him the way I would like to have been treated if I were in his position.” (p.469)
“. . . my administration and the regulators underestimated the extent of the risks taken by Wall Street.” (p.470)
Ok – time for some humour courtesy of Bush. On page 412 Bush describes meeting Angela Merkel. Apparently she complained about how horrible it was to grow up in communist East Germany where “her mother constantly warned her not to mention family discussions in public. The secret police, the Stasi, were everywhere.” Ha-ha-ha-ha … That is rich as hell coming from Merkel who appointed an ex-Stasi official to spy on the “evil-alt-right.” Fantastic. Bush continues: “It was hard to believe that less than twenty years had passed since tens of millions of Europeans lived like that.” Øhø…If you are looking for an alt-right propaganda tool look no further than George W.Bush’s “Decisions Points.” I’ve highlighted this whole section due to its importance. I really hope that people bother to read this entry and the whole book. And if people do I hope that they read it paying attention to the things that are popping out to me. Angela Merkel complaining about not being allowed to express her political opinions in Stasi Germany is f—– priceless.
Bush finally departs from his naiveté when describing the Iranian and North Korean leaderships:
This work is a fascinating read to say the least. To call it a page-turner would be an understatement.
It is particularly interesting to read about how the former President weighted his decisions. About all of the various input from advisors, how tough it is to run for office, how chance/luck always plays a major role and how active Bush Jr, was in his youth. Nobody can surely claim that G.W.Bush was inexperienced regardless of whether one chooses to agree with him in hindsight. The former president illustrates perfectly what a daunting undertaking it is to be the President of The United States. This is certainly a book that I would strongly recommend. It should be read by all regardless of their political convictions. I would also like to add that this is the first book I’ve read in a very long time without any typos at all.
What follows are some very interesting quotes from George W. Bush himself; as always I recommend that people read the work in its entirety, but for those of you who can’t be bothered and in the name of sharing crucial information; well here we go:
While visiting his father in China Bush observed:
Bush on the art of campaigning:
This reminds me of the last Presidential election. Both how “grab a pussy” was revealed at a point when those who published the conversation obviously thought that it would yield the greatest impact and the re-opening of the Clinton investigation:
This reminds me of all of Hillary Clinton’s celebrity endorsements:
Bush on describing his team:
Bush on dealing with embryo based research:
This segment was of such interest that I made the decision to quote it in its entirety:
This quote is particularly valid in today’s political environment, take note:
(p.124) – [the highlighting is my own] – [I just wanted to bring attention to how caring the “caring-party” truly is] –
On dealing with 9/11 & the new rules of engagement in a modern era:
On the PATRIOT Act:
When extending the authority of the NSA Bush explains:
About the Islamic shoe-bomber:
Bush describing Guantanamo Bay:
Bush on the Geneva Conventions & al Qaeda:
On negotiating with terrorists:
On the trial of terrorists:
On “enhanced interrogation”:
This whole segment was of such interest that I had to quote the whole thing:
On dealing with the media and opposition:
After describing a remarkably swift and impressive victory in Afghanistan hailed by the international community, Bush goes on to describe how the project started spiralling downwards in the “nation building phase”:
Bush on the “Pakistani issue”:
Bush on the hostile relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan:
Bush on Pakistan’s “improved strategy” and commitment to anti-terrorist military actions:
Bush recounts a touching moment, displaying the admirable commitment and sense of duty among American soldiers:
Leading up to the infamous Iraq War:
Here comes an interesting segment; I lived in France when America decided to “invade” Iraq (pretty much everyone referred to it as an invasion). I read in the French papers that the government were against the initiative due to their business dealings with Saddam, this of course shed doubt on their “moral” justification for opposing the war:
When Bush spoke in front of the UN Security Council asking for a new UN resolution forcing Saddam to reveal his WMD:
Pushed by Tony Blair who recommended Bush to address the Security Council once more when Saddam still proved to be difficult, Colin Powell delivered his infamous speech about Iraq’s WMD. Probably one of the most famous moments of the Bush administration. It seemed like the Security Council weren’t particularly interested in enforcing the “serious consequences” they had warned about:
It is an interesting thing to note that Bush writes: ” gasses his people.” The Kurds weren’t part of Saddam’s tribe, so what worth did they have to him? Again we get a glimpse of a fundamental lack of understanding of low-trust, extreme-tribal societies far removed from the excessively civic-minded, high-trust societies of Europe. Something that must have lingered on in certain parts of America as Bush described his childhood home in Texas as a place where no one locked their front doors…These type of statements lend an incredible insight into the “American mindset” where introduction to enlightenment ideas will automatically convert people to our way of life. If one operates under the belief that “all men are created equal” well then there isn’t much hope that western interference will ever come to a halt or that our own societies will survive – as massive immigration will be justified, since we are all the same and can function perfectly within a democratic, western, social construct. Bush goes on to share his take on the Iraq War critics:
After the Americans and their allies had delivered yet another quick and impressive “take over” matters got ugly both in terms of PR and chaos in Baghdad:
Here is an interesting thought. Was America as a nation played? And if so by who? After reading the following pages one can start to wonder…Bush writes in his book that everyone had intelligence about Saddam’s WMD. So did he ship them somewhere? Or did he lie? Was it all part of a grand scheme where Saddam behaved as if though he had something to hide – knowing that the Americans would come after him? Luring them into a situation he thought would cripple them? Was Saddam just the bait? These quotes, in fact these pages are of great interest:
On receiving Saddam’s pistol in a glass box from the Delta Team that captured him Bush writes:
These are some very interesting quotes from Bush:
Our favourite Moriarty character makes a guest appearance:
Bush on the looming financial meltdown:
Bush’s account of the impending financial collapse and the repercussions for not only Americans but the “global economy” makes for a terrifying read. Bush describes trying to rescue the “sinking Titanic” a hopeless mission requiring federal interference through the purchasing and selling of public companies. This went completely against Bush’s free-market stance, but he saw himself as forced to “bail out Wall Street” due to the severe consequences that would manifest themselves as a result of bankruptcy upon bankruptcy among humongous businesses entrenched in all sort of enterprises far and wide. These pages read like a high-pace action thriller, where you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat as a reader. The fact that major corporations are so sensitively interlinked in terms of their finances and investments/speculations is alarming for all, regardless of who they are or where they might live.
As we near the end of these 481 pages Bush writes:
Finally Bush closes with a wonderful epilogue and a touching acknowledgments section. All I can say is what a book. 10/10 for sure. Magnificent!
Winter Is Coming.