Daniel Lane writes from Bedminster, New Jersey:
I went to the local Barnes and Noble to move a copy of Bush's memoir to the True Crime section. Someone beat me to it, though. As an extra bonus, Beck...
The former president is talking about his book, live on Facebook today at 2 P.M. Pacific, 5 P.M. Eastern Media Elite.
With the midterms behind us and President Obama's next talk on Afghanistan just ahead, Republicans find themselves hamstrung by 48 words. They're found on page 355 of President Bush's new memoir, Decision Points, and they concern a September 2006 conversation he had with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
Mitch has a sharp political nose, and he smelled trouble.
"Mr. President," he said, "your unpopularity is going to cost us control of the Congress."
. . .
"Well, Mitch," I said. "What do you want me to do about it?"
"Mr. President," he said, "bring some troops home from Iraq."
We'll have much more about this on the show tonight at 9 Eastern. Help us welcome the new workweek and the lame-duck Congress, too. Fun.
UPDATE: Tonight, we're playing the full show from our interview with Jon Stewart. For now, a second look at this viewer letter and the remarkably civil debate about it.
Regarding Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow on whether it's fair to call President George Bush a war criminal, @Matt the Southern Liberal writes:
I agree that Bush is guilty of war crimes. I say this because I don't want that point misunderstood.
Bush actually did an excellent job of demonstrating the damage that poor rhetoric can do to the world. He painted a broad stroke across a region of the world and referred to it as the axis of evil. In doing so, he redefined entire regions as evil. This redefinition included civilians, soldiers and terrorists alike. This redefinition even included Americans. This rhetoric is why we're still debating things like the Mosque in New York and border issues in the south. It's because he helped inspire fear throughout our country. He created a monster for us to hate. What else can you do with a monster after all, but hate it. You can't talk to monsters, can't learn from them and you certainly can't have diplomacy with them. They are monsters once adequately defined as such and all you can do is grab your stakes, mirrors and garlic and go to work.
I just don't want to repeat Bush's disaster from the other side. I'd rather keep things in perspective. Bush's real crimes involved a lack of understanding regarding how to fight a just war. It involved too much faith in information, unjust torture and being too quick to go to war. We could call him a monster for these things but there's a greater value to his presidency. We can learn from his tragic leadership. We can demand leaders who understand what a just war is. We can push for patience the next time we feel threatened and aren't quite sure of who our enemy is. I'd rather Bush be a cautionary tale of poor leadership, poor rhetoric and impatience than a monster for us to chase with a stake. We may not get to see him to justice, but at least we can try to avoid such a leader in the future.
Albert Motta sends this pic from a Costco in California:
Taken at a Costco in California. Gotta love the marketing!
At least it's not filed under True Crime, which has been known to happen.
When it comes to torturing people, former President George W. Bush is still not embarrassed. Emphasis mine:
In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.
In his book, titled "Decision Points," Bush recounts being asked by the CIA whether it could proceed with waterboarding Mohammed, who Bush said was suspected of knowing about still-pending terrorist plots against the United States. Bush writes that his reply was "Damn right" and states that he would make the same decision again to save lives, according to a someone close to Bush who has read the book.
So glad we elected Colonel Nathan Jessup twice. All hat, and no cattle.
As for the legal consequences, well...those who saw A Few Good Men will recall how that ended for Colonel Jessup. But the former president has puffed his chest about this before, so who is to say.
The five questions we submitted:
Thanks to everyone who sent questions in. We loved way, way more than we could ever use. We'll let you know if we make the semifinals. ("Win! Win! Win!")
From the growing list of your proposed questions for President George W. Bush in the great Facebook challenge. (We are so thinking, "Win.")
The comments are open for discussion below. We stopped accepting suggestions at 1 P.M. Eastern.
Thanks to your early, brilliant suggestions, we're on our way to victory in the great Win an Interview with President Bush Facebook challenge. To recap, we need five questions to post in a single comment on the Decider's Facebook wall. A hundred finalists will then be asked to submit a two-minute video. The top five of those get posted on the wall, where you, the world of Facebook, will get to vote for the winner. The Decider will invite one Facebook fan to Dallas for an in-person interview. To say that we want to "be" that person would be a gross understatement.
So far, you've offered possible queries ranging from "Can you please define 'compassionate conservative' and explain how, exactly, your policies as President displayed these ideals?" to "Is it true that Cheney protected himself by embedding his entire torso with gems and gold?"
And yet still we need more. We invite your proposed questions until 1 p.m. Eastern. To help us keep track of them, we're collecting them over e-mail instead of in the blog comments. Send them to us at BushFacebookChallenge [at] gmail.com, please. And then start thinking, "Win. Win. Win."
UPDATE: The first questions are already coming in. We'll post a few now and more tomorrow.
Have you ever wanted to interview former President George W. Bush face to face? Who hasn't? To celebrate his upcoming -- and no doubt ruthlessly self-critical -- memoir Decision Points, President George W. Two Terms Mandate Bush is hosting a contest on Facebook.
The Decider will invite one Facebook fan to Dallas for an in-person interview and all you have to do to BE that person is this: submit five questions that you've been dying to ask President Bush about Decision Points by posting one comment on his Facebook page. Then, 100 finalists will be asked to submit a two-minute video. The top five videos will be posted on President Bush's Facebook wall, and then, YOU will vote for the winner!
How can we possibly turn that down?
So MaddowBloggians: Please suggest five questions you've always wanted to ask President Bush, like:
Hit the comments with your proposed queries. We'll compile them and devise five dynamite questions for President Bush. (And we will win.)
You probably missed Larry King's interview with former First Lady Laura Bush, of course, because you were watching a certain TRMS when it aired. Among her remarks:
I think that we ought to definitely look at it and debate it. I think there are a lot of people who have trouble coming to terms with that because they see marriage as traditionally between a man and a woman, but I also know that when couples are committed to each other and love each other that they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.
You might ask where she was during her president's administration, whether she pushed back privately against President Bush's anti-gay crusade and why she didn't speak out on her own.
Or maybe this is the answer: Gay marriage is a "generational" thing. You, as a person in power, haven't got to do anything except wait for more young people to reach voting age. Marriage equality? "Yeah, it will come, I think," Ms. Bush said.