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Showing 1-10 of 34 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 79 reviews
on July 29, 2014
I had little hope for what was to be a horrid 'presiduncy' when five ultra-partisan people (laughably called 'Justices') APPOINTED Bush Jr. "President". Mr. Gore's having received a half million more votes from American citizens was conveniently overlooked. Enough tragedy? No, then Bush dragged the country into an unnecessary war, with a random target (the suicide commandos in the kamakaze commandeered planes were, except for one, Saudis). Did we bomb---or even threaten---their country? No. Bush surrogates were too busy making certain Arab friends and family were shuttled out of the country, starting 9/11 on. And he and his Dad had all kinds of friendship and finances entangled to offend their friends. This book is thorough, accurate, very disturbing, and not a little infuriating. If you're not a one-channel (FOX viewer), this REAL news might be disturbing, but also very honestly eye-opening.
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on July 21, 2012
This is a solid character study of Bush. Previously I had considered that conservative philosophy is what drove Bush and his presidency, but I am now convinced by Greenwald's premise that a "good vs. evil mentality" was the main cause of his actions and decisions. Once this worldview is understood, then it is clear why Bush chose a particular course of action and stuck to it with disastrous consequences.

While I give the book five stars for content, it falls short in the area of style. Greenwald tends to repeat the same or make similar arguments throughout the book. The book could have been cut by a third by a good editor without any impact on the overall content. So if I give three stars for style, I might have given this book four stars overall. However, I subtracted one more star due to the lack of a bibliography and footnotes. He does give the month and year of a particular speech or a news article, but this is not sufficient to check the source. And often he does not indicate a book source; at one point I knew he was quoting from Richard Clarke's book "Against All Enemies", but he gave no footnote indicating this. I think it would be worthwhile for Greenwald to produce a second edition with better editing and citations.
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on August 18, 2014
This is an excellent book. It explains how Bush's character and beliefs shaped his foreign policy. His lack of knowledge about history led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Time and time again in the past people in the US attempted to export our governmental system to other societies, for example, the Phillipines. They do have a "democracy" but it is surrounded by violence. To be a politician in that country you need an army to defend yourself. Other people, maybe supporters of other politicians will try to kill you.
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on October 25, 2014
So much we know now, but this is a wonderful history of things going on back in the Bush era that points out his attitude of how important he saw himself and his beliefs, at a great cost to this country. I voted for this man, but I've learned so much about how the politicians, including the democratic party, are filled with selfishness, greed and feel they have no worry because financially, they set themselves apart from the men and women that they hurt. Great book.
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on February 10, 2014
Read this if you wish to understand what happened while George W. was president (and George H. W, for that matter. but I emphasize W. since he really screwed it up after 9/11, and before, in my opinion He just wasn't paying attention all too often. I could go into detail, but anyone who is halfway informed on the Bush 43 Presidency knows WHAT went wrong. This book goes a long way toward explaining why.
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The subtitle provides the book's basic thesis: "How a Good versus Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency." On page x, the author, Glenn Greenwald, says: ". . .as the end of his presidency approached, historians and political figures from across the political spectrum. . .were speaking of the Bush legacy as one of colossal failure." Why did a presidency that--after 9-11--was so popular become so unpopular (in the public's mind) by 2007? That is the focus of this book.

Greenwald notes that the term "Manichean" comes from a religion founded in Persia the third century. As the author puts it (page 46), "Its central precept was that the entire world could be cleanly divided into two opposing spheres--God and Satan in the world of the eternal. . . ." One of President Bush's most characteristic statements is used to suggest that he has adopted a Manichean perspective on the world. The quotation (page 39): ". . .I really, truly view this as a conflict between good and evil. . . . . Either you are with us or you're against us."

Several "case studies" are used to try to make the case that Bush has a simplistic perspective on the world. There is good and there is evil; the President is on the side of good. Hence, anyone who disagrees with him supports evil. The case studies: (a) the rush to war in Iraq; (b) the saber rattling against Iran; (c) the subordination of human rights in order to battles evil.

One can disagree with the application of the Manichean logic to these cases, but Greenwald does make a strong enough case that his perspective must be taken seriously. Indeed, there are clearly elements of a simplistic "us" versus "them" perspective, when any decision making process needs to take into account uncertainty, including the possibility that those who are adversaries are sometimes against us but at other times may serve our interests. As Greenwald points out (and evidence supports), Iran was a great help to the United States with reference to Afghanistan. For the Administration to ignore this is to indicate that they cherry pick facts, ignoring those that don't fit the statement that Iran is pure evil and grabbing hold of other information that suggests that Iran can be a problem to the United States and others. The world is more nuanced and complex than such a simple either-or perspective.

However, even though Greenwald lays out a pretty strong case, he undermines it with unnecessary ad hominem attacks. He appears to fall prey to the Bush Administration's tendency to name call those who disagree (and that includes the depressing "outing" of a CIA agent for pretty crass political purposes). When he says that by the end of 2006, vast majorities of Americans saw Bush as untrustworthy, incompetent, and unlikable, he exaggerates to some extent. No doubt, the public has turned against the president, but "vast majorities"? To equate the New York Times with Pravda (page 111) is pretty far out--even though the Times did not have its greatest hour in the run up to the Iraq invasion. To say that Bush was "destroying the Republican brand" (page 33) is also "over the top." Is Bush hurting his party? Sure. Destroying it? Over the top. My simple point: If Greenwald used more temperate language, his case would be stronger. For those who agree with him, this is "red meat" that they'll enjoy. Those who support the president will not, of course, take it seriously. But for the many readers who are trying to make sense of what appears to be a failed presidency, such over the top comments only undermine what is an interesting, provocative, and likely right on argument.

Overall, though, this is a thought provoking book and one that helps get one thinking about the Bush presidency and its consequences.
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on June 26, 2015
An excellent study of George Bush and his moronic minions, who nearly destroyed this country. My one complaint is that the author spent most of his time on Iran and Iraq; I would have liked an exploration of the full range of Bush crimes.
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on July 5, 2007
I'll admit that I don't normally read books on politics. They tend to be repetitive, tedious. and, lately, depressing. Mr. Greenwald's book, however, has more than held my attention. His analysis of Bush's motivations (outwardly, at least) is spot-on and has brought many years of my hazy ideas about what's wrong with Bush's administration into sharp focus. He builds his case methodically and carefully. The weight of his evidence is staggering by the end of the book.

At first glance, the book is depressing. After all, its primary thesis is that Bush's criminally simplistic ideas about Good and Evil are needlessly causing the deaths of thousands of our soldiers and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of civilians abroad. Bush's inner "Manichean Warrior" is also behind the abandonment of our core American values and the anti-American sentiment throughout the world. While I feel daunted by the terrific "hole" Bush has gotten us into, I think Mr. Greenwald has supplied a valuable weapon in countering Bush's attempts to "dig his way out" by attacking Iran or taking some other similarly destructive course of action.

I couldn't help but feel like this book is ahead of its time. Most often, a few years of historical hindsight are necessary to put together a case like this. It is to Mr. Greenwald's credit that he has been able to cut through to a core issue behind this presidency while we are still in the throes of it.
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VINE VOICEon February 29, 2008
Sometimes just coming to the end of the book is as important as reading it, kind of like reflecting on a vacation just completed. That is one of the gifts that Glenn Greenwald has as a writer and author, and gives to his readers.

His subtitle is "How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency." This is exactly what he explains in six chapters. It is frightening because it is predictable just as a parent may be able to predict the behavior of her child, or a husband predicts his spouse's.

The first facts we are given is the steady decline in Bush's popularity. Since 2002, those who strongly disapproved of him have increased and those who have strongly approved, decreased rendering the 43rd president the most unpopular president in our history. He proceeds to tell us why and how.

Bush sees himself as a Manichean warrior. A belief started by a Persian prophet in the 3rd century, it is a view that there are two forces in the world--good and evil. The forces of good may use whatever is necessary as long as it serves the good and works against evil. (Anyone who can recall anything George Bush has said in the past seven years will recognize the theme in his speeches.) This also precludes him from making errors or being wrong. The only people who are mistaken or wrong are those who think he has and is. And since he can use any tool at his disposal to fight evil, such as rendition, torture, or detention, it is not evil.

By defining himself in terms of good vs. evil may explain his lethargic approach to domestic issues and needs. There are no dragons to slay even if it is a hurricane that swallows an American city. George Bush was prepared to defend Americans against terrorism, but not against an attack from weather, or through our ports, or through our infrastructure, particularly if it means raising taxes.

For those who believe that George Bush is fighting the forces of evil, the people who challenge his actions are "terrorist lovers" who believe in "terrorist rights," and do not support our troops. For them, the charge of terrorism is as good as proof of terrorism because the Man has declared it so.

Here's the irony and the contradiction: By feeling that any strategy or weapon is at his disposal he has come to be seen by the world as the same evil he decries. By denying the rights of our citizens and those even of our allies, he has come to be hated as much as others have hated terrorism.

The second irony is that in detaining our citizens as enemy combatants, authorizing kidnappings and renditions to provide us with security, our security and our constitutional rights are being destroyed in the process. Detaining American citizens without charges, counsel, or communication with the outside world would have been considered unthinkable only a few short years ago.

Millions of people have been born since our invasion of a sovereign nation and have seen the tortures and degridation at abu-Ghraib. They only see the United States as evil. All that George Bush has tried to do has had the opposite effect.

And now, George Bush is concerned about his legacy, how people will see him. He has compared himself to Harry Truman, Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, and FDR but falls woefully short in each comparison. Like most wartime presidents, he will be remembered as one, and one who has lost, and one who has disabled his own military, left a mountain of debt, with no singular domestic or foreign achievement.

Greenwald's arguments are backed up with a mountain of evidence. His writing is interesting, provocative, and persuasive. His message is very profound.

When you read this book, and I hope you do, maybe you will do the same thing I did at the end. You will exhale deeply and just think, and think some more about what our president has done, and what kind of legacy he leaves behind.

02 29 08: 325 days and a wake-up until the Forces of Evil leave office.

Also Recommended:

More About Bush:

Waldman, Paul, "Fraud: The Strategy Behind the Bush Lies and Why the Media Didn't Tell You."

Dean, John, "Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George Bush."

Frank, Justin A. M.D., "Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President."

Greenwald, Glenn "How Would a Patriot Act: Defending America's Values from a President Run Amok."

More About his Constitutional Violations:

Center for Constitutional Rights, "Articles of Impeachment Against George Bush."

Byrd, Robert C., "Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency."

Miles, Steven, M.D., "Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror"
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on July 15, 2007
Greenwald's book is not only about George Bush, or the evangelicals and neoconservatives who support him, but also for what passes for political dialogue and debate in our country.

How often do we hear the challenge of "Do you want the US to win?" or "Do you support the troops?" or some other inane and simplistic rebuttal when the issue involves a far greater complexity and deserves a rational discussion?

In dissecting the motivations of George Bush and his administration Greenwald offers an explanation that resonates with cold, clear logic. He introduces the reader to what he terms a "Manichean" mindset--the Good versus Evil dichotomy that permeates our sound-bite world of politics in the USA. When you consider the opportunities lost, the effect on our system of government, and the implications it may have in the future, it's downright scary.

As Greenwald points out, President Bush believes with absolute certainty that our current course in the Middle East is correct, and believes that he has a moral mandate to see it through. This presumably includes the destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities regardless of the repercussions. Under the War Powers Act the president can initiate hostilities after providing Congress with notice and continue such action for up to 60 days without authorization. The invasion of Iraq, for comparison, took less than 30 days to complete.

More to the point of the book, any effort to curtail or confine his plans may actually precipitate such an action, just as the Iraq Study Group report seemed to propel Bush's decision to initiate the "surge" strategy in Iraq.

We are now faced with a president ruled by his simplistic convictions rather than the Constitution. Rational thought or consideration does not enter into his thinking, and opposition only confirms in his mind that he is right.

And he has another 18 months to prove it.
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