George W. Bush’s newest book

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

 Portraits of courageIt could have been better-timed—April 1st is still almost a month away—but George W. Bush has published yet another book, this one called Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.[1]

This is a book of Mr. Bush’s paintings. His subjects are American soldiers. Just their faces, if the cover is any indication. To be honest, I think he’s gotten better over time. He’s definitely found his own style. We’re a long way from those odd bathtub and shower paintings.

 Bush inception showerAs you’d expect, I’d like to focus on the irony of it all. Here we have a former President of the Unites States who started two wars, both against non-belligerent countries and with no evidence and less reason. Both wars rage on today.

It cost the U.S. whatever remained of its reputation and trillions of dollars. He didn’t start the decline and fall of the U.S., but he definitely encouraged it.

It cost Afghanistan and Iraq their existence, for all practical purposes. He didn’t start the decline and fall of Iraq and Afghanistan, but he definitely finished it.

Irony heaped on irony until it’s nearly painful to contemplate the injustice of it all.

And yet, Bush lives in peace and happiness and wealth, puttering around his painting studio. He’s chosen to paint the soldiers that he needlessly threw into war. He calls them courageous. No-one (of mainstream import) calls him out for pandering. No-one (of mainstream import) initiates war-crimes proceedings against him. The worst anyone says about George W. Bush is that he’s less useful than Jimmy Carter[2] in his post-presidency years.

I was made aware of this book by the article Wading Through Peanut Butter by Missy Comley Beattie (CounterPunch) who aptly credited Bush with “[a] breathtaking detachment from his decisions and their far-reaching aftermath.” And his book will sell like hotcakes, probably mostly to the people whose lives now suck because Bush didn’t do anything for them.

Obama’s next book will likely do the same, with the same ironic pain associated with it when he utterly fails to address the trail of horror his ineffective and mean-spirited presidency left behind.[3]

So Trump is not an isolated case. We just have very poor memories.

I see the foreword of George’s book was written by his wife Laura. Amazon’s “Look Inside!” feature shows me that she’s gotten a bit more jaded over the years. Here’s a sample:

“If you thought he was scatter-brained before, you should see him now that he spends all day locked up in a painting studio with turpentine fumes. My word, that man couldn’t find his ass with both hands when he was president, but now I’m married to a complete numbskull who thinks he can paint. Thank God I know he’s never going to bother reading this foreword […]”

It goes on like that for pages and pages. I think the foreword’s longer than the book. No surprise there.


[1] And Jimmy arguably was responsible for initiating the decline and fall of Afghanistan, along with the Soviets and his National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski
[2] Yes, mean-spririted. What else would you call his deportation policies? His mercy for torturers? His inability to close Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo? His extrajudicial bombings all over the world? His arms sales to Saudi Arabia so they can flatten Yemen? His rebuilding of the nuclear stockpile? His nearly unswerving support for Palestinian subjugation by Israel? With con-men, you have to watch what they do, not what they say.