Tomgram: Mark Danner, The President at Peace with Himself

“I made my arguments and went down in flames. History will prove me right.”

Yes, that was George W. Bush. No, he wasn’t talking about Iraq. The date was September 1993 and Bush, then managing general partner of the Texas Rangers, had voted against “realignment and a new wild-card system” at a Major League Baseball owners meeting. “Bush,” writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, “was the lone dissenter in a 27-1 vote.”

Skip a few years to February 2003, when Bush found himself involved in another owners’ meeting involving “realignment” — in this case, of the Middle East — and what was certainly an attempt to install a new “wild-card system.” Again, he cast his lone vote. At stake was the fate of the planet and, unlike in 1993, it didn’t matter, in the end, how the other owners, then gathering at the United Nations, voted.

The catastrophic results of this realignment effort, we now know well; that Bush again believes history will prove him “right,” we also know. Whatever documentation may exist for that 1993 baseball meeting, recently we received a striking document from February 22, 2003 — a transcript, published in the Spanish newspaper El País, of a conversation at the President’s “ranch” in Crawford, Texas, between Bush and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar. This was less than a month before the President launched his invasion of Iraq. As recorded, his was a remarkable performance, a window into the Presidential mind — and, as with the famed Downing Street Memo when no one else in the mainstream was willing to publish it, the New York Review of Books is publishing this transcript, newly translated, in its upcoming issue. (It can now be read at the Review’s website.)

The invaluable Mark Danner, who has covered the Iraq War and the Bush administration for the Review (and is the author of The Secret Way to War among other works), has written an illuminating piece on what we can now see of a President, at the edge of an invasion, and eerily “at peace with himself.” More than four-and-a-half years and the same President later, it remains a chilling vision of the man the Supreme Court put in charge of what his followers once loved to hail as the planet’s “lone superpower,” its New Rome. Thanks to the kindness of the editors of the Review, it is posted below. Tom

“The Moment Has Come to Get Rid of Saddam”

Bush’s Faith Run Over by History
By Mark Danner

[This essay appears in the November 8, 2007 issue of the New York Review of Books and is posted here with the kind permission of the editors of that magazine.]

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: