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tv   Book Discussion on Bush  CSPAN  September 1, 2016 11:10pm-12:06am EDT

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your president you are busy in the meetings where he was told the arms for hostages they may last 10 minutes and he was on to the next thing and in the middle of this year remember where you were setter what you were told but if you also become forgetful any way they said the fact he was forgetting stuff allowed him to say what he said. >> we have a few minutes left will take some questions from the audience to pass the microphone around. >> with regards to communism
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for the others that have the same impact of winston churchill and pope john paul then is close to reagan do you think that his role will of communism is as great as we think it is a wax. >> i fink finally you have to put reagan at the head of this parade. he did inherit the anti-communist some but one of the things that he felt deeply was that by the seven days by a large democratic party wanted to walk away from the cold war that after
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kennedy and johnson who had tremendous anti-a communist policies and misadventures like vietnam he felt with nixon and republicans were walking away from the cold war and the soviet union was on the march in africa and central america. the combination of personalities and policies but ultimately he was the man called the cards but also mrs. thatcher to have a good deal to do with things and is furious when he comes home and she realizes he was almost willing to make the deal from her point of view they give away she takes them to the woodshed.
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>> i think nixon suggest in london? five. >> yes when they got the author with ashley offer for the mini summit and they chose rate to evict and they think some of his advisers say it is fiction but it is reasonable inference they did not want this to take place on thatcher's home turf because maybe they wanted reagan to be the negotiator but she knew if they ever got rid of the soviets would roll over western europe with conventional forces and that was dangerous but if the did deal was struck ask yourself with the soviet union have
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survived if there had been a dramatic lessening of military spending on poolsides could the soviet union will result together longer? so by not making the deal he unexpectedly got his heart's desire. >> i would add to the list is mchale gorbachev inadvertently he did not intend but by allowing the soviets to look at what was wrong he basically released the genie at lead to the demise. i put it that of all american presidents fagan deserves the most credit keefe but is far beyond the work of any one person timing is everything if living another six years
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there would not have been any major change here requires somebody to say we need to change this up with a start to remodel the house they realize how rotten it was but one of the reasons it was reagan but he said teardown this call it is important to note with he off left office call was securely standing but not until the end that and what metaphorically was breached by here is where his influence was as great as putting pressure on russia so those who talk to those who demanded an opening to ask about this after birds they almost literally add heard metaphorically to say
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tear down this wall with the sponsor on the other side they knew they had moral support from the other side. it meant to those folks in poland and east germany in this soviet union. >> those of socialist george h. w. bush administration say we don't have credit for this. >> simply because you are wonderful historians.
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>> talk about the political discourse to talk about this cycle is the decline of the speech writer and a lot of them make a lot less than they used to because they will have a big foreign policy address but is it what news the news it is pdf twitter most politicians don't even know how do 140 characters. and there is something rhetorically infantile.
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and by comparison so that is one more thing that is wrong with nonsense communication. >> but with social media allows the candidates without the filter of the editors or tv shows. one of of things for historians have things really change your is donald trump unique? was expected people would have these speeches on
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foreign policy but trump seems to have changed the rules to establish the set of ground rulesof the other candidates but if donald trump finds his way to the white house the that is the model shown to work it doesn't then maybe things haven't gone so far. maybe the next door around be will be back where we were four years ago. >> we will have to wrap that there. [applause]
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the five
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>> the view quick notes please turn off your soul goes if you haven't already. and appreciated if you have but question go to the microphone. the genie who is 83 would appreciate being able to hear you.
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if you cannot to get your books signed peaceful the chair. >> this must be a crowd of presidential history enthusiast. [laughter] or some video are just looking for a distraction from the presidential story happening before a sunday the basis. and to be a very distinguished berger for. and also profiling john marshall. and the say professor with
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several universities the dozen years that marshall university pet then on the presidency but no question of the torture question of land of the administration resonating through a - - hillyer notwithstanding to be wielded from such major figures.
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so that doesn't feel like a hatchet job. in the words of the "new york times", a comprehensive and compelling narrative with the sense of history. but one of the most interesting tidbits that i learned with the knowledge and is that he still composing is in an longhand with uh yellow legal pad. if the totals 800 pages and branch. please join me to welcome. [applause] >> as part of my right
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biography at politics & prose is of pleasures to return to washington where went to elementary school. i was not permitted to interview george bush and to set up in interview with the bush library in dallas. as one of bush's aides that the president does not want to see you laugh laugh you have written a book critical of his father and for that reason he does not wish to see you. in 1992 and that was
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critical of the decision in iraq. >> to put that into zero context. and was absolutely in charge all the decisions were his command was the decider after 9/11 was the commander in chief and then was a chain of command was not a tool of dick cheney or connolly's a rice or anyone else. but uh driving force but these are all personal decisions made by the president so in that context i will say what about the
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national security council. it was established by the republican 80th congress 1947 the idea behind it that this happened under fdr will 42. and was designed to bring the secretary of state and the military and leadership with national security issues. eisenhower, truman, and met every week tuesday at 10:00 the preside over those meetings but it came with kennedy with george bundy as the national security advisor neither truman nor
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eisenhower had a national security advisor. under truman and eisenhower there were basically note takers but under kennedy the size increased at 20 to handle policy issues than doubled again when kissinger maintained the national security advisor to nixon by the time bush took office it was well over 100 these were professional experts in specific areas and in many respects the national security act of 1947 was turned on its head so the body that coordinated government policy has intended the national security council staff became a policymaking tool to the president bush ran policy from the white house the national security staff allowed him to do so.
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the second point is bush is a born-again christian who saw the world in biblical terms. especially after 9/11 he defined the battle against terrorism as a struggle between good and evil he saw himself as god's agent place on earth to defeat the forces of satan. that religious fixation is a common denominator behind the excesses' of the bush and administration and the foreign policy decisions that he made. in many respects contrast of abraham lincoln is interesting in 1861 after the battle of bull run was visited by a delegation of protestant ministers with a
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spokesman for the group told lincoln he had division from the 94 that he was on link inside lincoln replied i hope the lord is on my side but what i really need is kentucky. [laughter] so today's george bush 70th birthday born in new haven connecticut. . .
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and at the time admitting 52%, 52% for the legacy applicants. princeton and harvard were admitting 15%. >> he became president of yale during the freshman year and changed the rules. from that point on, they would take the same amount of students at princeton and harvard took. his three brothers and sisters had the same legacy credentials and none of them got in.
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he did better at yale and spend the next five years in the wilderness. it deferred him from service in vietnam as the courier and at ththatthe guard has become a maf controversy. it was during the five years that bush drank heavily and used drugs he was admitted to the harvard business school in september of 1973 and was one of the few graduates of harvard business school is not the only one not to have a job offer when he graduated. they did not receive a job offer. one of the classmates at the harvard business school told me the classmates considered him dynamically ignorant. with no job offer bush returned
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to texas like his father in the business with leases on property hoping to strike oil. in 1977 he married laura welch and ran as a republican nominee to succeed democratic congressman. during this time bush became a born-again christian and in his memoirs he credits billy graham with his rediscovery of god.
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but the lesser-known evangelist it's true at this time he gave up drinking and the occasion was the 40th celebration at the hotel in colorado springs bush began subverting his birthday and became hopelessly intoxicated and woke up the next morning with an incredible hangover and resolved to drinking. he recognized his father was running for president and he didn't want to embarrass him in anyway so hany way so he stoppe. it was 1986 and the longer they were in the business, george and his family moved to washington for the presidential campaign in the election. he was given an office
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headquarters near the white house in his office was between lee atwater and roger ailes handling the publicity into the next two years george learned about the electoral politics. he ran against michael dukakis and saw firsthand how t first-hn the presidential campaign. when it was over in november of 88, george declined an appointment to work in his father's administration and returned to texas to run for governor but at the same time help organize the texas rangers baseball team. as you recall the washington senators expansion team that had
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been formed a moved to texas in 1972. they were contenders and the deal to buy the team came through. bush stepped back and for the next four years was the public had of the texas rangers. he owned only 2% of the stalk sk and build a new stadium and basked in the globe. they assisted in 1992 but from a distance he stayed in texas and when clinton won the election set his sights and for the same time decided to run for governor of florida. bush was running again. could against the incumbent and richards was heavily favored. he was favored to defeat the incumbent lawton childs but it
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was an upset and he won in one n texas, jeb lost in florida and from that point on he became the likely successor to his father. texas is the second largest state in the union and second largest in population that reflects the constitution 1876 but stripped power from the governor. the governor of texas is essentially a symbolic figure a little like the queen of engla england. it's the weakest in the united states. the governor of texas cannot issue pardons. in accepting bush thrived.
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[laughter] as a symbolic leader of texas he was reelected in 1998 and also built a very effective political machine led by karl rove and was exploring the possibilities of running for president in 2,000. bush announced the candidacy in june of 1999 and defeated john mccain in the primaries. al gore was a democratic nominec nominee and was heavily favored to gore fumbled almost immediately when he chose to run with the most conservative democrat as his running mate. he's not bill clinton throughout the entire campaign and then poured into the television
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debates. the choice gave third party candidates he would pull about 3 million votes in the election came down to florida he carried ten states that put him over the top. he was superb. he had little knowledge of affairs and traveled abroad. the extensions believed he was god's agent put here on earth. with the exception of appointing
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colin powell as the secretary of state, donald rumsfeld secretary of defense and his friend don evans secretary of commerce. condoleezza rice as the chief of staff. if you think about it it's inconceivable franklin roosevelt would have turned up a selection of the cabinet over to john garner were dwight eisenhower would have allowed nixon to do that especially after the scandal. as a result of the input, bush took office in the subcabinet appointees that are powerfully motivated and equipped to provide the intellectual justification for the president's policies. conservative outlook and articulate, these like-minded
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ideologues scooter libby, paul wolfowitz, elliot abrams, cheney played an important role in the first two years. he had an office in the white house, they were all white house staff. the energy from the revisio, the tax code in 2001 and after 9/11 the presidential directive to the al qaeda members by military commissions reflected dick cheney's input. they voted himself to the domestic issues. they had run the last three and a half year years and in the cln applied to reduce the national debt. it's your money he said
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frequently on the trail ended urging them the largest tax cuts in history. he also pressed education reform the first year and in this case no child left behind which congress helped. they also touched foreign-policy issues but it is in the determination to assert the supremacy. the clinton administration and south korea had worked since 1994 to bring them back into the family of nations. the united states said south korea would provide assistance in return for which north korea would have banned the program. madeleine albright visited pyongyang in december of 2000. the south korean president came to washington in march of 2001
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to put the final seal of video. north korea was on the verge of the nuclear weapons into signing a peace treaty in the south. bush rejected the idea. this wasn't something that bubbled up from any of the white house staff. they were evil he believed and the government must be replaced. this was his personal position. the attacks were a surprise but reinforced the view of good versus evil. the attacks have been a defining moment in american history by conflating the attacks with saddam hussein he led the united states into a 3 trillion-dollar war in iraq and promulgated the preventive war and alienated muslim american allies and begins its alliances and inspired young muslims the
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hysteria released in the civil liberty eroded the rule of law and tarnished the respecting the traditional american values of tolerance and moderation is. september 12, he assume total responsibility and total authority as the commander in chief. that morning, he offered to lead a group of officers to policy and bush rejected the offer. any isolated incidents rather than handle them through the political process which depicted them as acts of war by the forces of evil.
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i don't really tonight go into the assault on american civil liberties. and the book i devote to chapters to the nsa spying and the torture trail and the record is clear. he was fighting the forces of satan as a result if you're doing that, no holds are barred whether it is enhanced interrogation techniques, extraordinary rendition or the intercepted united states he thought he was in the final fight to rid the war of evil. let m me say a few words about e war in iraq. from the beginning, bush was determined to remove saddam hussein. the intervention in afghanistan. he instructed the department of defense to prepare to invade iraq and ignored the findings of
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the u.s. weapons inspectors that they had no weapons of mass destruction. planning began early in 2002 and the military assumed purpose was to remove saddam hussein and whatever mass distraction might be found and leave as soon as possible. rumsfeld and general franks. 90 days should be sufficient. and that's what the military plan for. the invasion took place. the search for military weapons began and the military began to withdraw leaving it to them to work things out. as both the state department and the defense department saw it was up to them to move ahead on their own. the party remained in control
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and the army remained in place under the american tutelage and the senior leadership established by general jay garner was developing plans for the government that was still a secular state. speaking on the flight deck under the banner that read mission accomplished, bush said the purpose was to bring democracy to iraq that the united states forces would remain there after that was accomplished. bush changed the mission without counsel thing anyone. the decision was unilateral into the liberators. rumsfeld, powell were all dumbfounded by this change acquiesced and in retrospect we
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probably shouldn't have been so. let me digress between being liberators and occupiers. liberators said the country free. occupiers impose their will. in world war ii as the day approached, franklin roosevelt didn't want to be bothered in occupied france. and so instead, over the objections, they brought him into north africa and six days after he landed and took over liberated france. the united between british and canadian troops moved ahead without regard for what is happening in france. and with his responsibility. but when they crossed into germany and the whole government was suspended.
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france was liberated and germany was occupied. it was an important distinction and as for iraq, the defense department, the state department and all of the military assumed that they were liberating from saddam and they would work things out for themselves. then on may 1 on the flight, bush unilaterally changed directions. instead of the coalition forces that would become occupiers it was downhill from there. the party was outlawed and the army was disbanded. most offices were closed. bremmer reported physically to the white house fo or the state department, the coalition forces in many respects became the enemy. busbush bears sole responsibiliy to the decision. and if i may say a word or two about the situation.
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we all saw the photographs of the atrocities committed. what we didn't know at the time was that the military police on duty as guards in the prison were not acting on their own. they were not simply hillbillies from cumberland maryland. thethey had been urged by the ca and military intelligence to abuse the prisoners before they were being interrogated to set them up to confess in the interrogation that would follow. for subsequent military investigations for the first by a major general documented that the outrage as we saw was a deliberate effort to break them before they were interrogated. by 2006, bush became deeply
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distressed about the situation in iraq and authorized the search to regain the initiative and found general petraeus to command. he is an interesting figure. the army passed him over in 2003 and among other things he was promoted a three-star rank on the recommendation to george w. bush who promoted him and his career took off. when he was head of the cia the princeton alumni wanted him to become president of princeton.
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just as eisenhower had done, don't forget, when he was president of columbia in 1952, that failed when a is became public and the obama administration really cut off his head. it wasn't the fact that there was any number of factors that were more important. at the end of our awakening in which the leadership decided they wanted no part of the leadership and the decision of the disbandment in the army which they told them to do. but by the end of 2007, the assembled lens order had been achieved. and in late 2008 in the withdraw
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by the end of 2011 that was when the disgruntled iraqi took off his shoes. let me suggest that the decision was the worst foreign policy decision ever made by an american president and if anyone can think of anything worse please let me know if. that doesn't necessarily mean that he was the worst president. herbert hoover. bush did well domestically as president. no child left the has been invaluable contribution to the educational program particularly for children from disadvantaged families. the amendment of medicare to provide prescription drugs for seniors is a remarkable achievement. bush also took the lead in the global fight against aids
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particularly in africa and under his leadership that has been brought under control. bush remains active in the fight and also expanded american free trade when bush took office the united states said free-trade agreements with israel, canada and mexico has free-trade agreements with 16 countries. bush also concluded in his early term to produce a nuclear arsenal but each country maintained and he and improved relations with china. i think the most important achievement was to contain the economic meltdown in 2008 against all of his instincts and deeply held beliefs, he bailed out wall street and the american auto industry and avoided another great depression.
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unlike the war in iraq or the fight against terrorism at home this time he listened to his advisers. hank paulson was the secretary of treasury and ben bernanke at the federal reserve carved out a strategy of support and bush adopted. from bailing out the subprime se mortgage lenders and conglomerates to us giving the market itself with a massive trouble that such relief program, t.a.r.p., bush deserves credit for taking the necessary actions. it was a remarkable achievement and probably saved the world economy. when they failed to rescue lehman brothers, that was paulson more than bush. i haven't said anything about his personal life. let me be very brief he was always an early riser he got about 4:45 in the morning, goes to bed shortly before ten. exercises for two hours a day in the white house jim.
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but he wanted to short descriptions and brief memos. they were close into the white house could entertainment a minimum. i haven't said anything about laura. she was a major source to the president and took that responsibility seriously. she usually accompanied bush on his trips abroad and provide great comfort for him. paul sarbanes, the long serving senator from maryland as you know and a staunch democrat told me he thought florida was the best first lady ever and became a member of congress when pat nixon was the first lady. as the ex- president, bush has been exemplary. unlike most of his predecessors he doesn't miss the office,
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doesn't try to second guess obama. curious if you can believe this but after the election after obama was sworn in, bush told friends in dallas free at last. [laughter] in many respects, he's a model for what the next president should be. as i said, i don't think bush is the worst president but i do believe that his decision to attack is the worst foreign policy decision ever made by an american president and it gets worse as time goes on. thanks very much. plus the >> thank you very much for your time. i think that your presentation is quite timely with the inquiry report in the uk today. the question i have is you seem
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to present an individual who may be unqualified to assume the position of president and i noticed to kind of pivotal historical points that might have changed the course of history. the first was how george w. bush was selected as the republican nominee in the primary over john mccain. and if things were different otherwise, that would have changed the course of history, and second, al gore is fresh off of bill clinton and the democratic race as well. so i guess the question i have is as a historian looking back, with lessons in your work do you find we can learn as far as picking qualified leaders? [laughter] >> i'm not sure. i don't think that is a question
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i can easily answer. i will let it sit that if you don't mind. >> i just have one question. and one of the books he mentioned george w. bush's drinking in defense he stopped but it didn' did take them at ts very steps to grow up and i look around and i think sometimes they can be very dangerous because they are running around unimpaired and still thinking and acting on impulse and doing all sorts of stuff like what you imagined on abraham lincoln's words like saying i know what's neat what do this. i was asking if there's any reflections on that. >> i think you are absolutely right.
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>> i am a college student here in the washington, d.c. area and several years ago i read your biography. are you able to hear me? several years ago i read your biography of president eisenhower which is one of the most interesting meaningful books that i've read. my question is as follows. i know for example that you serve.
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>> i can only say about the service in berlin [inaudible] [laughter] it really goes back to my childhood here in washington, d.c.. my grandmother lived with us before i started school. my grandmother always read biographies to me. so i've always been interested in biographies and when i was a graduate student at columbia before i took my orals, the chairman of the department wanted me to bring him a list of all the books i've read, which i did and he said there's a lot of biographies here. so i followed it for years. >> just to pick up a little bit on the last question. how do you see bush in the light of eisenhower, how would
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eisenhower have assessed the record and in the light of what's been going on in the republican party how do you see eisenhower dealing with that? >> don't forget he was elected by his promise to win the war in korea. he came back and immediately made peace with fo the remaining eight years of the term. having seen it first hand don't forget when he won the nomination against taft in 1952 he represented the wing and the republican party and maybe longer than that. taft was the candidate of the conservative wing of the party and he lost.
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eisenhower had no use for them. i don't think it is generally well known but it was eisenhower behind the scenes who conducted the operation against mccarthy. eisenhower picked david welch to be the council in those hearin hearings. jimmy carter called it an oligarchy. >> republican party leadership to those 40 or 50 years ago and i think that this view comes


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