To Questions He Can't Answer, Bush Has A New Response: Buy My Book

WASHINGTON -- George W. Bush, bursting back onto the public scene a little less than two years after he left Washington in disgrace,
has come up with the most self-serving answer yet to some of the most
persistent questions about the moral and practical failings of his
administration: Buy my book!

Bush repeatedly deflected follow-up questions from NBC's Matt Lauer in an interview aired on Monday night, suggesting that more satisfying answers could be found by purchasing his new $35 memoir.

Big surprise: They can't.

After Bush acknowledged that he approved the use of waterboarding --
an interrogation tactic nearly universally considered to be one of the
archetypyal forms of torture -- Lauer asked: "Would it be OK for a
foreign country to waterboard an American citizen?"

Bush's response: "It's all I ask is that people read the book. And
they can reach the same conclusion. If they'd have made the same
decision I made or not."

After Bush insisted that waterboarding is legal, "because the lawyer
said it was legal," Lauer remarked: "Tom Kean, who a former Republican
co-chair of the 9/11 commission said they got legal opinions they wanted
from their own people."

Bush's response: "He obviously doesn't know. I hope Mr. Kean reads
the book. That's why I've written the book. He can, they can draw
whatever conclusion they want."

But Bush doesn't remotely address Lauer's first question in the book.
As for the second, he simply states that "Department of Justice and CIA
lawyers conducted a careful legal review. They concluded that the
enhanced interrogation program complied with the Constitution an all
applicable laws, including those that ban torture."

Bush on Monday night also got a bit testy when Lauer asked about his
initial reaction to news of the 9/11 terror attacks -- and how, on that
morning in a Florida classroom, he appeared to freeze.

Bush's response: "Yeah, well, I'm not gonna debate the critics as to
whether or not I was in shock or not. I wasn't. They can read the book
and they can draw their own conclusion."

In the book, Bush's explanation of that morning is strikingly
revisionistic and almost laughably implausible. Keep in mind that during
those achingly long seven minutes, so dramatically recounted
in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" there was no way to know that
further attacks weren't under way. If there was ever a time for a
president to leap into action, that was it. But instead he just sat
there, as if waiting for someone to tell him what to do. Or, you can
believe what he writes in "Decision Points":

My first reaction was outrage. Someone had dared attack
America. They were going to pay. Then I looked at the faces of the
children in front of me. I thought about the contrast between the
brutality of the attackers and the innocence of those children. Millions
like them would soon be counting on me to protect them. I was
determined not to let them down.

I saw reporters at the back of the room, learning the news on their cell
phones and pagers. Instinct kicked in. I knew my reaction would be
recorded and beamed throughout the world The nation would be in shock;
the president could not be. If I stormed out hastily, it would scare the
children and send ripples of panic throughout the country.

And with Bush essentially abrogating responsibility that morning, what happened? Why, vice president Dick Cheney took command from his bunker, of course.

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