Saturday, October 23, 2010


You probably already know the key revelations from the newly dumped WikiLeaks documents on Iraq: reports of exceedingly brutal torture of Iraqis by Iraqis (with Americans looking the other way), as well as information on more civilian deaths than the U.S. ever acknowledged.

What's interesting about the timing of this is that it comes just as George W. Bush and the GOP are gearing up for a mutual victory lap. Republicans are going to win big at the polls on November 2, and then, a week later, Bush's memoir, Decision Points, will be published, and Bush's book tour, which already seems to be in previews, will begin in earnest. Bush's publisher, the Crown division of Random House, has announced that it's printing 1,500,000 copies of the book, so it's apparently expecting Palin-level sales.

Oh, and if it wasn't obvious that the folks who are leading us to our glorious, forward-looking Teabag Year Zero are inextricably bound to the past, along comes an endorsement for a possible Sarah Palin presidential bid by none other than Jeb Bush. That's fitting, isn't it? Two Bushes got us into four wars, and Palin shares not only the younger Bush's simple-mindedness and theocratic worldview but his giddy delight in combat; a stock line in her stump speech is "I raised a combat vet and you can't take that away from me," as if the point of war is personal fulfillment, which is how W always seemed to look at it as well.

Given all this, can we possibly hope that those who are granted interviews with George W. Bush on his book tour will ask him not just about his rosy version of events, and not just about how GOP gains at the polls are an indirect vindication of him, but about how the WikiLeaks documents reveal once again what a disaster his presidency was? Is it possible he'll have to squirm at least a little bit and defend the quagmire he created? Is it possible that a bit of tough questioning will throw the triumphant 2010 Republicans a bit off message as they gear up to finish the job of destroying the Obama presidency?

I'm not optimistic. I'm sure the interviews of Bush will be exceedingly deferential and bound by strict predetermined ground rules. But I suppose we can hope.

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