A Bush Family Story
This story is from an excellent book entitled Rumsfeld: His Rise, His Fall, His Catastrophic Legacy, by Andrew Cockburn.
As things were going to shit in Iraq during the occupation, it became increasingly clear to most people, not including the president, that Rumsfeld needed to be fired. So, as is typically done in D.C., the plotting of his removal began. Former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and former secretary of state, James Baker, both of whom had served with Papa Bush, met and composed a rather extensive paper delineating the most serious errors and misjudgments in Shrub’s foreign policy. This paper included a recommendation for a change of leadership in the Department of Defense and it was passed on to Papa Bush to pass on to Shrub.
When the Bush families had arrived at Kennebunkport, Maine in late August, Papa Bush took Shrub aside and gave him the paper. Shrub looked at it “disdainfully before tossing it aside, reportedly with the words, ‘I’m sick and tired of getting papers from Brent Scowcroft telling me what to do…..’ With that, he exited, slamming the door behind him.” [p. 219]
Nonetheless, at times Shrub sought his father’s guidance as he did as he became aware of “criticism that his administration had been excessively beholden to a particular clique, and what to know more about them.” So, one day, Shrub asked his father, “What’s a neocon?”
Papa Bush asked whether he wanted names or a description. George Jr. said “Description.” Papa Bush; “Well, I’ll give it to you in one word: Israel.” [p. 219]
Not a bad description, especially as it seems Papa Bush had a pretty clear understanding of the limitations of his son, George. Too bad more of the American people had not had that understanding in November of 2000. For that matter, too bad the Republicans on the Supreme Court did not understand that.