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December 10, 2006

What Really Interests George Bush

So this is how interested Bush was in the Iraq Study Group report:

[Lawrence] Eagleburger said...that when the group met with Bush, "I don't recall, seriously, that he asked any questions."

The Iraq Study Group people shouldn't take it personally, however. Bush apparently has never had any interest in Iraq. Here's a passage from Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn:

On the afternoon of July 28 [2003], Tenet told [David] Kay he should sit in on the CIA's daily morning briefing of the president the next day...

In the room with Bush were Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Tenet, Rice, Card and other aides...[Kay] couldn't avoid the bottom line: He had found nothing. As for the trailers, he said they were probably not bioweapons labs, as the CIA had claimed.

Kay discerned no disappointment coming from Bush...the president seemed disengaged. "I'm not sure I've spoken to anyone at that level who seemed less inquisitive," Kay recalled. "He was interested but not posing any pressing questions." Bush didn't ask, Are you sure? He didn't ask about the prospects of finding actual weapons. Or whether WMD had been hidden or spirited away.

It's tempting to joke that Bush acts like this because there are no stupid questions, and thus he feels he shouldn't ask any. But to be fair, there's at least one subject that Bush really IS curious about:

Der Spiegel: With all your access to high-level sources, have you come across anyone who still thinks it is a good idea for the US to torture people?

Suskind: No. Most of the folks involved say that we made mistakes at the start. The president wants to keep all options open because he never wants his hands tied in any fashion...

Der Spiegel: So the average interrogator at a Black Site understands more about the mistakes made than the president?

Suskind: The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators.


"He was interested in a very specific, granular way all the time. He was constantly asking folks inside of CIA, 'What's happening with interrogations? Are these techniques working? Can we trust what we get?' The president ... is involved -- some people say too involved -- in the granular day-to-day grit of this war on terror."

Not only is the president of the United States an eight year-old, he's an unpleasant eight year-old, the kind you'd want the guidance counselors to keep an eye on.

Posted at December 10, 2006 10:18 PM | TrackBack

Yes, Bush's "incurious" nature is well-known (making his one peculiar area of interest very striking by contrast). Katrina is another good example:

March 6, 2006 (AP)

WASHINGTON - In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."

Posted by: Jamie McCarthy at December 11, 2006 07:36 AM

Seems to me he's pissed off he wasn't around during the Inquisition. Is he the guy who used to blow up froggies with firecrackers, or is that another member of the clan? Hard for me to tell them apart. May have been his mom.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at December 11, 2006 09:40 AM

On 9/11, when his Chief of Staff whispered in his ear that (quote) "America is under attack", Mr. Bush didn't even ask "By who?".

He just sat there.

For minutes.

Posted by: Poop at December 11, 2006 01:09 PM