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Citations of George W. Bush as Uncurious, Explained

Web pages linked here all describe George W. Bush as uncurious, even if they don't use that exact word.
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2007 | Apr–Dec 2006 | Jan–Mar 2006 | 2005
Oct–Dec 2004 | July–Sep 2004 | May–June 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004
Oct–Dec 2003 | Jul–Sep 2003 | Jan–Jun 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 and earlier

www.kansascity.com | 10/30/2007 | There’s no avoiding the waterboarding issue
The Kansas City Star
Tue, Oct. 30, 2007
Bush nominee for attorney general Michael Mukasey is incurious about torture techniques. Also appeared in the Modesto (California) Bee November 2 under the same headline.

The most charitable explanation for this performance is that Mukasey is a profoundly incurious man.

Waterboarding, after all, has been much in the news — for years.

THE BLACK JEWISH EXPERIENCE: Greenspan Should Have Stood Up More Loudly
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I think the only thing surprising from Greenspan’s book is that he was surprised Bush would be a disaster... because he is so successful with everything else he has done.
Wrath of the Maestro

In his new memoir, The Age of Turbulence, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan takes the Bush administration and the 109th Congress to task for their stewardship of the American economy and the federal budget.

When the Bush administration first took office, Greenspan, a self-described "libertarian Republican ," said he "thought we had a golden opportunity to advance the ideals of effective, fiscally conservative government and free markets."

But the former Federal Reserve chief was soon disappointed to find out that under the new President, "little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences." In his book, Greenspan "paints a picture of [President] Bush as a man driven more by ideology and the desire to fulfill campaign promises made in 2000, incurious about the effects of his economic policy."

Politics: ECONOMY Wrath of the Maestro
Monday, September 24, 2007

In his book, Greenspan "paints a picture of [President] Bush as a man driven more by ideology and the desire to fulfill campaign promises made in 2000, incurious about the effects of his economic policy."

He says a Democrat did it better (Everyday Citizen)
By Pam Pohly
September 17, 2007

Bill Clinton emerges as the political hero of The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, Alan Greenspan's 531-page memoir. The former Federal Reserve chairman levels unusually harsh criticism at President George Bush and the Republican Party.

He argues that Bush and the Republican Congress abandoned the central conservative principle of fiscal restraint.

Greenspan also paints a picture of George Bush as a man driven by ideology and incurious about the effects of his economic policy. . . .

Greenspan describes the Bush decisions by observing, "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences."

Bush attacked over deficits, 'oily' war - World - smh.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald
Jeannine Aversa and Ann Sanner in Washington
Associated Press, The New York Times
September 17, 2007

Dr Greenspan paints a picture of the current President as a man driven more by ideology and the desire to fulfil campaign promises made in 2000, incurious about the effects of his own economic policy, and an Administration incapable of executing policy.

Former Fed Chief Attacks Bush on Fiscal Role - New York Times
Published: September 15, 2007
A review of Alan Greenspan's memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.

Mr. Greenspan paints a picture of Mr. Bush as a man driven more by ideology and the desire to fulfill campaign promises made in 2000, incurious about the effects of his economic policy, and an administration incapable of executing policy.

James Fallows (September 02, 2007) - Bush on disbanding the Iraqi military
02 Sep 2007 12:01 am

There are so many things to scream about in this NY Times report of George W. Bush's view of his "legacy" that it is hard to know where to start. But I'll start with this, describing Bush's extended recent interviews with the author Robert Draper:

Mr. Bush acknowledged one major failing of the early occupation of Iraq when he said of disbanding the Saddam Hussein-era military, “The policy was to keep the army intact; didn’t happen.”

But when Mr. Draper pointed out that Mr. Bush’s former Iraq administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, had gone ahead and forced the army’s dissolution and then asked Mr. Bush how he reacted to that, Mr. Bush said, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, ‘This is the policy, what happened?’ ” But, he added, “Again, Hadley’s got notes on all of this stuff,” referring to Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser.

Think about this. The dissolution of the Iraq military is one of the six most-criticized and most-often-discussed aspects of the Administration's entire approach to Iraq. (Others: the decision to invade at all; the assessment of WMD; the size of the initial invasion-and-occupation force; the decision not to stop the looting of Baghdad; and the operation of Abu Ghraib.) And the President who has staked the fortunes of his Administration, his party, his place in history, and (come to think of it ) his nation on the success of his Iraq policy cannot remember and even now cannot be bothered to find out how the decision was made.

Nearly four years ago, in an Atlantic article "Blind into Baghad" (and later in the book of the same name), I argued that the most plausible explanation for the otherwise bewildering chain of errors was the personal dynamics of the people at the top. The darkness of Cheney, the ideological cocksureness of Wolfowitz and operational cocksureness of Rumsfeld, the careerism of Tenet, the pliancy of Rice and (for different reasons) Powell. And, transcending them all, the magical combination of certainty and lack of curiosity of the man at the top:

Leadership is always a balance between making large choices and being aware of details. George W. Bush has an obvious preference for large choices. This gave him his chance for greatness after the September 11 attacks. But his lack of curiosity about significant details may be his fatal weakness. When the decisions of the past eighteen months are assessed and judged, the Administration will be found wanting for its carelessness. Because of warnings it chose to ignore, it squandered American prestige, fortune, and lives.

In Book, Bush Peeks Ahead to His Legacy - New York Times
Published: September 2, 2007
This article is based on notes of a 6-hour Bush interview by Paul Draper.

Yet Mr. Bush said his certainty that Iraq would turn around for the better was not for show. “You can’t fake it,” he told Mr. Draper in December.

The Age of Turbulence, by Alan Greenspan (Everyday Citizen)
By an everyday book reader
September 1, 2007

Greenspan paints a picture of George Bush as a man driven more by ideology and one that is incurious about the effects of his economic policy.

By Bruce Newman
Mercury News
Article Launched: 08/17/2007 01:35:33 AM PDT

When "No End In Sight" was awarded a special jury prize for documentaries at this year's Sundance Film Festival, it was not the first time the film's director, Charles Ferguson, scored a huge success in a new business. . . .

[Ferguson:] Less than a half dozen people made all the critical decisions about the war and occupation of Iraq.

And, by the way, the president of the United States was not among them. The picture that emerged from my interviews is of a president who is remarkably detached, passive, uninvolved and uncurious. He did not ask questions, did not criticize, did not make suggestions, did not read national intelligence estimates. The idea that a president would have virtually no involvement in the critical decisions about a war and planning the occupation is astonishing.

The Military & The Monetary (*) » The Moderate Voice
By Shaun Mullen
Posted on August 10th, 2007

The president, of course, failed to note that as commander in chief he has been notably uncurious about the ongoing [Pat Tillman] scandal, including not telling a congressional committee about when he first learned of the Army’s cover-up because it’s a matter of executive privilege.

Bush Press Conference: It’s All Good » The Moderate Voice
By Shaun Mullen
Posted on August 9th, 2007

[George W. Bush] Said the best way to honor former NFL player Pat Tillman’s friendly-fire death while serving in Afghanistan “is to find the truth” while failing to note that as commander and chief he has been notably uncurious about the ongoing scandal, including not telling a congressional committee about when he first learned of the Army’s cover-up.

Welcome to Pottersville: “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.“
Monday, August 06, 2007

When the final chapter of this administration is written thousands of years from now, when everything that we spent hundreds of thousands of hours every month writing will be dissolved into an undecipherable electronic soup, it will be said that George Bush’s seeming incuriousness regarding that August 6th, 2001 presidential daily briefing, presented to him by the same agency that had armed the Osama bin Laden under Reagan of whom they were then warning him, was merely mirroring our own incuriousness.

Andrew Cohen • The legacy of JFK
Ottawa Citizen
Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Andrew Cohen is the author of The Unfinished Canadian: The People We Are.

The elements of leadership are experience, empathy, generosity, vision. Unfortunately, the untutored Mr. Bush arrived with the thinnest resume of any chief executive in memory, no notable achievements in life, no body of ideas, no knowledge of history. He hadn't read and he hadn't travelled. For him, the presidency was on-the-job training.

And while he has surrounded himself with men and women of stature -- to his great credit, he is unfazed by superior minds -- he has shown no instinct or capacity to challenge them. On Iraq, the greatest American foreign-policy disaster since Vietnam, Mr. Bush became captive of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. He never seriously doubted their orthodoxy. He never questioned the quality of the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (poor), the relative size of the U.S. invasion force (small), and the depth of postwar planning (thin). The incurious Mr. Bush abdicated the foremost responsibility of commander in chief: to know what to ask. Fundamentally, a president must be a seasoned skeptic -- wary of flatterers, distrustful of the experts, a near Solomonic judge of character.

The Mahablog » The Coming Outrage
May 26, 2007

I say any President of the United States who was so colossally incurious about what Hurricane Katrina had done to New Orleans that his staff had to make him watch a video is perfectly capable of launching a war without thinking about the consequences real hard.

Worst in history? Contenders abound - NOLA.com
The Times-Picayune (News Orleans)
Friday, May 25, 2007
James Gill

It is hard to think of a president as inarticulate and intellectually incurious as Bush, whose response to global warming has mostly been to ignore or misrepresent the scientific evidence.

The Canberra Times [Australia]
24 May 2007
Gore book launch overrun by big campaign question
Daisy Nguyen
Prompted by Al Gore's new book The Assault on Reason. Another excerpt from this article is listed under Uncurious Media.

Mr Gore also charged that President George W.Bush had not asked questions during critical meetings regarding Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina before the storm had hit.

The Left Coaster: Condi's Link To Saddam Kickbacks
Wednesday :: May 9, 2007
by Steve Soto
Bush administration officials Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney incurious about corporate cash going into the pockets of Saddam Hussein.

At least we now know that Condi’s lack of attentiveness, incuriousness, and ineptitude at managing her job are not recent problems but rather part of her DNA. While the GOP wingnut culture has been harping for years about kickbacks and bribery with Saddam on the UN oil for food program, Condi was watching Chevron take part in similar behavior from the board of directors. And of course Cheney did business with Saddam also while at Halliburton, but wanted everyone to think he wasn’t aware of that.

Then again, the production sharing agreements in the draft Iraq Oil Law will be the end reward for all this right wing hypocritical blather. It was OK for them to do business with Saddam under the table, and now its OK for the same gang of multinational extortionists to plunder Iraq’s oil revenues from its newly “liberated” populace.

Future Republicans of America: George Tenet Contradicts Himself
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
By J. Serrano

Strongly implying that he was against the war from the beginning, the former director of Central Intelligence writes that, as far as he knows, the Bush administration never had a "serious debate" about the "imminence of the Iraqi threat" or even seriously considered the implications of an invasion or the possible consequences.

Moreover, Tenet writes, there seemed to be a "lack of curiosity in asking these kinds of questions."

Tenet: CIA Warned of 'Anarchy' in Iraq | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited
The Guardian (London)
Friday April 27, 2007 11:01 PM
fAssociated Press Writer
Also appeared in Yahoo! News April 27 as Tenet: CIA warned of 'anarchy' in Iraq, the Coos Bay, Oregon, World April 28 as Tenet: CIA warned Bush of ‘anarchy', The Times (Frankfort, Indiana) April 28 as Tenet Says CIA Warned White House Seven Months Before Iraq Invasion That Anarchy Could Ensue, and the April 29 Detroit Free Press as Administration warned about Iraq, Tenet says.

A copy of the book, ``At the Center of the Storm,'' was purchased by an Associated Press reporter Friday at a retail outlet, ahead of its scheduled Monday release. Tenet served as CIA chief from 1997 to 2004.

The book is highly critical of Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials, who Tenet argues rushed the United States into war in Iraq without serious debate - a charge the White House rejected on Friday. Beyond that, he contends, the administration failed to adequately consider what would come in the war's aftermath.

``There was precious little consideration, that I'm aware of, about the big picture of what would come next,'' Tenet writes. ``While some policy makers were eager to say that we would be greeted as liberators, what they failed to mention is that the intelligence community told them that such a greeting would last only for a limited period.''

The former CIA director offers a litany of questions that went unasked:

[List omitted here]

Tenet laments that ``there seemed to be a lack of curiosity in asking these kinds of questions, and the lack of a disciplined process to get the answers before committing the country to war.''

Dangerous Intersection » Blog Archive » Book Review: The End of Iraq
April 18th, 2007 by Ebonmuse
Review of book by Peter Galbraith

All of these blunders and many others can be laid squarely at the feet of the Bush administration. The highly placed neoconservatives who ruled the White House had grandiose visions of rebuilding Iraq in their own image, as a secular, pro-American democracy. But their plans were conceived in dangerous ignorance of the actual political conditions in Iraq, coupled with hopelessly naive fantasies of how the Iraqis would eagerly welcome us (summed up by Dick Cheney’s comment that he expected them to greet American soldiers as “liberators”). The level of ignorance was astonishing: as recently as two months before the invasion, Galbraith recounts, President Bush not only did not know the difference between Sunnis and Shi’ites, but did not know what those words even meant. He was unaware that there were multiple sects within Islam. Similarly, Bremer was given only two weeks to prepare for overseeing Iraq, whereas even routine ambassadorial assignments usually involve months of study and preparation. Of such culpably willful ignorance were the seeds of subsequent failure planted.

. . . In truth, it was the Bush administration’s hubris, its incurious and self-satisfied faith in the most wildly optimistic scenarios, that led them to plan for no other outcome and ultimately resulted in the bloody, costly occupation in which we have now become enmeshed.

Underbelly: Barry Goldwater is Messin' With My Head
Friday, April 06, 2007
Posted by Buce at 11:20 AM

Goldwater and The Incumbent do seem to share some other noteworthy qualities. Apparently both were terrible students, and both seem to have nurtured a profound incuriosity about the great affairs of the Republic they sought to govern (Goldwater may never have read The Conscience of a Conservative, the hugely popular trademark tract that bore his name). But there is one inescapably important difference: The Incumbent made it to the White House; Goldwater went home to Arizona. He's back for the moment, though, messin' with my head.

Thousands of Years: The Failed Presidency of G.W.Bush
April 04, 2007

There are many people in both political parties who worry that there is something deeply troubling about the President Bush's relationship to reason, about his disdain for facts, his incuriosity about the new information that might produce a deeper understanding of the problems and policies that he wrestles with on behalf of the country. One group mistakenly maligns that President as not being smart enough to have a normal active curiosity about separating fact from myth. A second group seems to be convinced that his personal religious conversion experience was so profound that he relies on religious faith in place of logical analysis. . . . it is crucially important to be precise in describing exactly what it is he believes in so strongly, and then insulates from any logical challenge or even debate.

Kiko's House: The Great Unraveling of the Reign of Bush
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Like him or not (and he was reviled by the neocons and longtime Washington insiders alike), Clinton had substance and a keen intellect. The younger Bush, who was and remains notoriously uncurious about his realm and all that is beyond its shores, had neither attribute.

Did GOP Lawyer Mislead Congress About Plame Case?
The Nation
Posted 03/19/2007
Capital Games
David Corn
Also appeared in Yahoo! News.

Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen grilled [Republican lawyer/commentator Victoria] Toensing about the White House's internal lack of curiosity about the [Valerie Plame] leak.

Yolo Kicks: White House Not Curious about Classified Leak
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Posted by yolorose at 8:32 AM
Here the Office of Security of the White House is uncurious about Plame leak.

Dr. James Knodell, Director of Office of Security to the White House testified that there was no investigation by his office following the Valerie Plame classified disclosure, claiming that there was a criminal investigation ongoing. . . . The questioning brought to light that even though President Bush had said immediately after the leak that there would be an investigation there was none. Importantly, Executive Order 12958 signed by President Bush in March 2003, required officials “take appropriate and prompt corrective action,” whenever there is a leak of classified information. . . . There has been no investigation or corrective action taken to prevent additional violations as per Executive Order 12958. . . . The mainstream press, as I write this Saturday morning, is simply not addressing the non-compliance and lack of curiosity about the act of treason which occurred within their ranks at the White House. As a last point, Dr. Knodell was asked if an investigation was planned since the criminal investigation focused on Libby had ended. He indicated that none was planned.

Fitzgerald Turns Down Waxman in CIA Leak Case
The Nation
David Corn
Posted 03/15/2007 @ 3:10pm
Vice President Cheney uncurious about Plame leak case. Also appeared at Yahoo News and DavidCorn.com.

He [Patrick Fitzgerald] could have interrogated Cheney about the vice president's curious lack of curiosity when Libby volunteered to tell the boss everything about his involvement in the leak affair. Cheney, according to Libby, indicated to Libby he didn't want to know.

Kiko's House: The Iraq War & Criminal Culpability
Monday, March 12, 2007

With the clarity that six-plus years of Bush administration perfidy provides, I believe that Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Company knew that Iraq was not a threat in any real sense of the word. Yet these neocon true believers could not help but scratch their Saddam itch and went to Bush to argue that the intelligence they had so meticulously cherry picked made the case that he was a threat -- and that going to war was necessary. The famously uncurious president of course agreed.

I Don't Think Bush Will Pardon Libby -- The ITT List
Thursday, March 8, 2007
posted by Brian Zick

Bush was notoriously uncurious about the world when he entered the White House.

Say what? - baltimoresun.com
The Baltimore Sun
Originally published February 14, 2007

There's plenty that he's chosen not to pay attention to since he moved into the Oval Office - as the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in its own peculiar way, helps to illustrate, because it gets back to the way the White House reacted to evidence that there might not be weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Mr. Bush presides over an administration that feels comfortable with what it believes in and strives mightily to exclude all else.

. . . Still, for a president whose lack of curiosity, especially about the conditions prevailing in Iraq, helped propel the United States into this mess in the first place, it was not the most politic thing to say. Mr. Bush may think he knows all the answers; the real problem is that he doesn't seem to know the questions.

R World: Why Bush's New Iraqi Policy is Doomed to Failure
08 January 2007
Written by Ron Davison

Bush has seemingly never taken the time to understand how the social dynamics of Iraq might differ from, say, the social dynamics of Switzerland. As long as he continues to think that what he faces is a military problem, he'll be unable to address this social / political problem. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but George's incuriosity about the peculiarities of social evolution and dynamics has killed thousands - with death tolls for Iraqi civilians and American soldiers rising in the last half of 2006. Like a Greek tragedy that traces its origins back to a character flaw, Iraq may yet to testament to the dangers of making life and death decisions about topics for which one has no natural interest.

Enough of the hedgehogs, bring on a fox or two | ScrippsNews
editorials and opinion
Friday, January 05, 2007
Thomas P.M. Barnett is a strategist at the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies and the senior managing director of Enterra Solutions LLC.

Because when 9/11 intervened, Americans discovered George Bush _ so long incurious about global affairs _ to be the most myopically hedgehog president in modern times, a man whose entire legacy will be defined by his decision to invade Iraq.

Citations, Explained, 2007
Citations, Explained, April–December 2006
Citations, Explained, January–March 2006
Citations, Explained, 2005
Citations, Explained, October–December 2004
Citations, Explained, July–September 2004
Citations, Explained, May–June 2004
Citations, Explained, April 2004
Citations, Explained, March 2004
Citations, Explained, February 2004
Citations, Explained, January 2004
Citations, Explained, October–December 2003
Citations, Explained, July–September 2003
Citations, Explained, January–June 2003
Citations, Explained, 2002
Citations, Explained, 2001
Citations, Explained, 2000 and earlier

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