The Father Thing

Michael Getler in The Washington Post:

Book_2 THE BUSH TRAGEDY by Jacob Weisberg.

After five years of war in Iraq, it remains remarkable how little we know about exactly how, why, when and in whose presence one of the most important — and maybe one of the worst — decisions in recent American history was made. Nor can we be sure what, if anything, the complex relationship of two presidents, father and son, both of whom have gone to war against Saddam Hussein, had to do with it.

Indeed, we may never know to what extent George W. Bush, who famously labeled himself “the decider,” consciously sees himself as the “anti-Poppy” — the opposite of his cautious, deliberative, internationalist father. But The Bush Tragedy is a serious, thought-provoking effort to penetrate what instinct tells us must be an extraordinary family drama.

This is not a book of extensive original reporting. Rather, it is one of analysis built upon much that has already been reported, and much that is observable but not so often reported. Pulling together Bush’s personal history and his relationship to his family, to his faith and to his surrogate family in the White House, Weisberg concludes that the decision to invade Iraq grew out of a predisposition “to vindicate his family and outdo his father” by “completing a job his dad left unfinished” when the senior Bush allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power at the conclusion of the first Gulf War.

Well, maybe.

More here.