Even though he’s officially gone from public office (as many of us wish for him to disappear altogether and live a hermit-like existence), the legacy of Dubya continues to live on, as it does in this article in the WaPo today by Dan Froomkin (h/t Atrios).
And it’s worth it to revisit the following, as Froomkin notes (registration required)…
In a June 6, 2002, address, Bush called (Abu) Zubaida al Qaeda's "chief of operations" and said that "[f]rom him and from hundreds of others, we are learning more about how the terrorists plan and operate, information crucial in anticipating and preventing future attacks.""You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?"
At a Republican fundraiser on October 14, 2002, Bush called Zubaida "one of the top three leaders in the organization."
But according to Suskind, even as Bush was publicly proclaiming Zubaida's malevolence, he was privately being briefed about doubts within the intelligence community regarding Zubaida's significance -- and mental stability. Suskind quotes the following exchange between Bush and then-CIA director George Tenet:
"'I said he was important,' Bush said to Tenet at one of their daily meetings. 'You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?'
"'No Sir, Mr. President.'"
And this played out very nearly six months before the start of the war (and yes, I know it isn’t front-page news to point out that, in place of an intelligent adult who would question the reliability of his case for war as a result of an exchange like this, we had Dubya and his “certainty,” which, given his warped world view, required that he blast full steam ahead anyway).
And on the Guardian Web site today, Brent Mickum, an attorney who represents Zubaida, writes: "For many years, Abu Zubaydah's name has been synonymous with the war on terror because of repeated false statements made by the Bush administration, the majority of which were known to be false when uttered....Oh, and one more thing – it should be noted that the Authorization to Use Military Force against Iraq (basically, Congress’s signoff on Dubya’s Mesopotamian Disaster) passed on October 16th, two days after the Republican fundraiser.
"[T]he man described by President Bush and others within his administration as a 'top operative', the 'number three person' in al-Qaida, and al-Qaida's 'chief of operations' was never even a member of al-Qaida, much less an individual who was among its 'inner circle'."
Very nearly in the same timeframe that Commander Codpiece professed to being worried about “losing face.”
And by the way, I think that’s a rather curious worry from Bush 43, because it implies that he understands how awful the consequences of his actions could be; I’ve often considered him to be nothing but a delusional narcissist, but perhaps I was – gulp! – wrong here.
As Wikipedia tells us here…
Notice that directly lying does not cause a loss of face. For example, if a flight is cancelled by an airline, then they may lie that it is merely delayed. Inability to arrange the trip would cause a loss of face, while lying that it is delayed would help to save face. So-called "polite lies" are acceptable.So, maybe if he’d admitted that his so-called “case for war” in Iraq was a house of cards and thus put a halt to it (realizing Hans Blix was right after all), he’d thought he would “lose face,” as opposed to constantly changing his rationale for the war (9/11, fighting them there so we don’t fight them here, bringing them democracy, etc., etc., etc.), which could have been a version of a “polite lie.”
And as long as we’re talking about Zubaida (the supposed Number Three of al Qaeda in Iraq, who, again, mysteriously had nothing to do with them), this tells us of the multiple times we’ve taken out those who were thought to be the “number two” in Iraq (as well as Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was supposedly killed in an airstrike in January 2006 here, before he reappeared to taunt Dubya later that year here and also call Barack Obama a “house Negro” here).
Finally, speaking of our current president, here is more on how he plans to end the Iraq war from earlier this month (doesn’t entirely meet with my approval, but then again, I’m not “sitting in the big chair,” and I have a feeling that his Afghanistan policy is still a work in progress). It’s grounded in practicality, I’ll admit, and I have a feeling it’s the best way we can extricate ourselves from the loathsome tangle created by former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (more here from December 2002).
And if Obama is successful, I don’t give a damn if he loses “face” over it or not.