Uncurious George Home Page

Uncurious George

Issues | Citations | Links | About us

Explained | Dishonorable Mentions | Other Georges | Uncurious media

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.
Listed newest to oldest.

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

A fire bell for those with ears
Ross Nelson, The Forum
Published Sunday, April 25, 2004
Nelson is a Fargo postal worker and regular contributor to The Forum's commentary pages.
The Fargo-Grand Forks Forum is the largest-circulation paper in North Dakota.

President George Bush remarked in his April 13 press conference that America has been called on to spread freedom all around the world —even with bayonets, if Iraq is any example. . . . Called on by whom? God, of course.

Bush's belief helps explain his arrogance, incuriosity, and the "you're either with us or against us" nonsense. What possible effect can argument and evidence have on a man convinced he's doing God's will? Small wonder he dispenses with literacy and nuance, or even the desire to understand opposing viewpoints. For good reason, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post calls Bush America's ayatollah. Like an ayatollah, Bush believes God is guiding him to war against the forces of darkness everywhere. For this belief, hundreds of Americans and many thousands of Iraqi men, women and children have died. . . .

It would take pages just to summarize the lies and distortions. Authors John Judis and Spencer Ackerman in the New Republic magazine put it this way: "The Bush administration culled from U.S. intelligence those assessments that supported its position and omitted those that did not. The administration ignored, and even suppressed, disagreement with the intelligence agencies ..."

Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Why peace never had a chance
Bob Woodward's insider account of the build-up to the Iraq war, Plan of Attack, confirms that Bush was committed to the invasion within weeks of 9/11
Peter Preston
Sunday April 25, 2004
The Observer

Plan of Attack
by Bob Woodward
Simon & Schuster £18.99, pp468

He is curiously incurious, unimaginably unimaginative. . . .

Here's Colin Powell telling George what was coming to bite him. '. . . It's going to suck the oxygen out of everything. This will become the first term.' And, of course, that was smack on target. Powell could look beyond the sounding brass of military certainties and the blowhard conflations of the neo-cons and see how physical conquest in Iraq could be only the beginning. He sensed that the whole prospectus was a pile of camel dung.

But what could Powell do if Bush Junior never registered that point, just went off to his damned ranch for another long break, always appeared oblivious of ructions on his team? . . .

. . . a compelling, instructively nuanced tale: plenty of cock-ups, few heroes, too much hindsight, damn all foresight.

Yet time and again, he comes back to his interviews with the enigma called George W. Bush. 'No, I haven't suffered doubt', says George. 'Not at all. And... I hope I'm able to convey it in a humble way.' Did he ever call up his dad for advice? He doesn't remember.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Tale of self-deception and deceit
Woodward's book exposes Bush's determination to go to war
Gary Younge in New York
Saturday April 24, 2004
The Guardian [London]

Plan of Attack is the latest of several books to have serious repercussions. In Against All Enemies, Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism tsar, sparked a firestorm with his allegations that the White House had mishandled the threat of al-Qaida because it was obsessed with Iraq. Earlier this year, the former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill's account of a cabal of ideologues leading an uncurious, unintelligent president also made headlines. . . .

. . . self-deception reigns within Mr Bush's inner circle. Once, when asked how he gets his information, the president replied: "The best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff."

The book exposes a circle of believers - with the notable exception of Mr Powell - who tell the president what he wants to hear rather than what he needs to know.

After an unimpressive slideshow about the evidence for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Mr Bush turned to the CIA chief, Mr Tenet, and says. "I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD, and this is the best we've got?"

"It's a slam-dunk case," Mr Tenet replied.

"George, how confident are you?"

"Don't worry, it's a slam dunk!"

The Salt Lake Tribune -- A timely classic depicts roots of terrorism
April 23, 2004
By Sean P. Means
The Battle of Algiers [Movie Review]

"The Battle of Algiers," with its true-to-life depiction of a people who justify their terrorist acts and an army that wins the military battle but loses the political war, provides a chilling cinematic history lesson. One wonders if our president, the famously uncurious George W. Bush, can be bothered to learn it -- or if he will end up demonstrating the lesson taught a century ago by Carlos Santayana, that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Kevin Featherly
Kevblog Archives
Incurious George
Posted 9:30 a.m., April 21, 2004
by Kevin Featherly
What if Incurious George had been president during the Cuban Missile Crisis? Worth reading!

What if the notoriously incurious, poorly read, over-confidently full-speed-ahead, ask-no-questions president now occupying the Oval Office had instead been in charge of the United States in October 1962?

Philadelphia Daily News | 04/19/2004 | John Baer | Stop blaming Bush for the 9/11 attacks

Yeah, it happened on his watch. Yeah, he's the captain of the ship. But history doesn't blame Capt. Edward J. Smith for losing the Titanic or shuttle pilot William McCool for the Columbia disaster.

The problem is W.'s rep for not being curious, not being smart, wanting stuff summed up in one page so he can go work out.

That and that he was on a month-long vacation . . . in August 2001 with "chatter" churning about terrorists and bin Laden, and Zacarias Moussaoui arrested for acting oddly at a Minnesota flight school, leading to a memo titled "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly."

I mean, geez. It does look bad.

But the 9/11 Commission says Tenet didn't tell Bush about the memo. If he had maybe even an incurious president, or someone near him, might have pressed for action.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The new old word is "incuriosity".

It has acquired a fresh lease of life because of the army of pundits and punsters who have applied it to the President of the United States, Mr George W Bush, and his supposed lack of curiosity about US intelligence reports before September 11.

In particular, there has been criticism of Bush's lack of interest in an August 2001 CIA presidential briefing headed "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US".

Thinking back to their childhoods, the commentators have remembered the stories of Curious George, the amiable monkey who has starred in dozens of American children's books for more than 60 years.

From there, it's a small and irresistible leap to "Incurious George", and then on to persistent and repeated references to Bush's "incuriosity".

The 18½ Minute Gap: Incompetence.
Posted by Mike Jones at April 18, 2004 07:58 PM

The more information that comes out about the events leading up to 9/11, the worse the Bush administration looks. And to bring out a good Nixon-era saying, "the fish rots from the head down". The people at the top had enough information to have done something to try to prevent terrorist attacks in the US, but they seem to have been suffering from a combination of tunnel vision and a level of incuriousness that borders on criminal.

TheStar.com - Incurious George W. can't grasp democracy
Toronto Star
Apr. 18, 2004. 01:00 AM

Bush's most substantial liability is that he's incurious. He isn't interested in, and appears fundamentally unaware of, the existence of, other cultures, other countries, other ideas, and of people unlike himself — no matter whether they happen to be "others" or Americans.

He strides around inside a bubble that blocks out all sounds and sights and ideas other than those already in his mind. . . .

In Iraq, he is attempting to transform the country into a democracy. I believe that, in his uncomplicated, even simple-minded way, Bush has grasped that democracy is the only conceivable alternative to perpetual, self-generating, terrorism.

But he's just shown Iraqis that he hasn't a clue about democracy itself. It's about give and take, about listening, about respecting the opinions of others. It's not about being told what to do — including being told to become democrats. . . .

While Bush may mean what he says about democracy, he doesn't know what he means.

He doesn't know, that's to say, that no one who is totally incurious about other people, other ideas, other cultures, other values, can be a democrat.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A Different Kind of Intelligence Failure
Published: April 17, 2004
Adlai E. Stevenson III is a former United States senator from Illinois.

Foreign policy in the Bush administration reflects a lack of experience in the real world away from a Washington overrun with armchair polemicists and think-tank ideologues. Too many inhabitants of this world have no experience in the military, where one learns to expect the unexpected, or in international finance, where America's vulnerability also resides. This White House is well known for its hostility to curiosity and intellectual debate.

Politics News Article | Reuters.com
'Incurious George' - Has President a New Title?
Fri Apr 16, 2004 07:49 PM ET
This is the first and only article reproduced in full on this website.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Incurious," a rarely used word, is making a curious comeback as pundits dust it off to describe President Bush's alleged lack of curiosity about intelligence reports prior to Sept. 11, 2001, according to a California language expert.

Paul JJ Payack, founder of the Global Language Monitor, which tracks word usage on the Web and elsewhere, said that since he first spotted it used in a March Time Magazine report, it had appeared some 5,000 times, jumping about 1,000 uses after the New York Times lead editorial on Thursday was headlined "The Price of Incuriosity."

"Americans knew George W. Bush was incurious man when they elected him, but the hearings of the 9/11 commission, which turned yesterday (Wednesday) from the F.B.I.'s fecklessness to the C.I.A.'s blurred vision, have brought that fact home in a startling way," the Times said.

The Times then went on to criticize the president for not seeming to show enough curiosity about a CIA briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

Other newspapers and several columnists have also used "incurious," a word Payack says made its first appearance in the 16th century, to describe the president.

Part of the reason may lie in its having a punning quality -- calling the president "Incurious George" in headlines, as some Web articles have, conjures up visions of the popular children's book monkey "Curious George."

Payack said the term "incuriosity' has rocketed to the top of the Global Language Monitor's PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Index, which is an algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.

"Incuriosity" is followed by "Quagmire," "Two Americas," "Global Outsourcing" and 'War for Oil" on the Global Monitor list of most popular current political phrases, he said.

He added that "Quagmire," which came into vogue to describe the Vietnam war, now is being applied almost to Iraq in hundreds of thousands of uses.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Mumia Abu_Jamal, Uncurious George
recorded 4/15/04
on the website are links to mp3 audio files of Mumia Abu-Jamal reading this speech.

Uncurious George

The sight of George W. Bush holding a rare live press conference was a national embarrassment. Rambling, stumbling, tripping, and triangulating, the nation's chief executive gave a performance that was sure to do many things, but boosting national confidence wasn't one of them.

The White House press corps is an unusually well-trained bunch. They're usually senior reporters, those with the ear of management, who want to treat their subject (the president) with respect and even a touch of subservience.

Even before this largely hand-picked group, the president was clearly out of his depth.

Once, when a guy tossed him a softball, 'how do you feel' type of question (for example, can you think of one mistake you've made in the time since 9/11?) the president couldn't even bunt.

"Well --- gee whiz -- oh boy -- I wish I had received this question in writing beforehand --" the president stumbled.

"I can't think of anything right now, but I'm sure something will pop into my head before the press conference is over," he offered.


But to 'Uncurious George', even that remains an open question, for this suggested it was still possible to find vast stockpiles, even after the nay vote of his own former weapons inspector, David Kay. . . .

For millions of Europeans, when they think of the guy who invades their peaceful rest, more often than not, the smirking visage of 'Uncurious George' comes to mind. . . .

The wild adventures of the Bush regime have not brought, nor do they promise to bring, stability to the region. They bring distrust, hatred, roiling passions, and clan, tribal vengeance, that will take generations to calm.

But 'Uncurious George' doesn't seem concerned. He's made no mistakes. His cronies in the oil industry and Halliburton are cool, and that's all that matters.

'Stay the course' -- straight to hell.

The New York Times > Opinion > The Price of Incuriosity
Published: April 15, 2004

Americans knew George W. Bush was an incurious man when they elected him, but the hearings of the 9/11 investigating commission, which turned yesterday from the F.B.I.'s fecklessness to the C.I.A.'s blurred vision, have brought that fact home in a startling way. The president is trying hard to present himself as a hands-on manager who talked terrorism incessantly with the director of central intelligence, George Tenet. ("I wanted Tenet in the Oval Office all the time.") But M. Tenet had to concede yesterday that he was not in Crawford, Tex., for the Aug. 6, 2001, briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Mr. Tenet told the panel he didn't meet with Bush all that month, but the C.I.A. later said there had been two meetings. No one has been able to say whether Mr. Bush followed up in any way after he asked his intelligence agencies whether there was a domestic threat from Al Qaeda, and got a loud "yes" in response. . . .

Mr. Bush has said repeatedly that no one could have envisioned "flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale." Perhaps not on that scale, but there were a half-dozen cases in the 1990's of terrorists trying to use planes as bombs, or plotting to do that. The 9/11 panel's staff report said the intelligence community had not kept up the post-Pearl Harbor practice of trying to anticipate and prepare for a surprise attack. When Mr. Tenet got the report on the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui in late August 2001 ("Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly"), there was no warning system to be triggered.

The Beaufort Gazette: Bush must explain lack of curiosity
Beaufort, South Carolina
Letters to the editor
Published Wed, Apr 14, 2004

When the president expressed satisfaction that he never saw any intelligence that indicated there was going to be an attack on America, it struck me our nation's leader either lacked normal curiosity or needed leadership qualities to recognize that he alone had the authority and responsibility to call together agency principals under his command to analyze and assess a most critical threat to America. . . .

Geraldine Bernier
Hilton Head Island

National Security and Intelligence (washingtonpost.com)
National Security and Intelligence
Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 14, 2004; 12:00 PM
Washington Post intelligence reporter Dana Priest will be online Wednesday, April 14 at Noon ET, to talk about the 9/ll commission, Iraq and private security teams hired to protect U.S. agencies.

Athens, Ga.: In responding to a question last night Bush claimed that he had created a counter terrorism task force that met many times before the sept. 11 attacks. Was he referring to the group Cheney was to lead? It is my understanding that group NEVER met before 9/11, despite Cheney being placed in charge of it in May 2001. Is there any evidence that the group did actually meet in the summer of 2001?

Dana Priest: I think he was referring to Dick Clarke's coordinating group, the CSG. Clarke, though, says he never briefed the president. Seems a little odd. At least incurious of the president during such a time of heightened threat reporting just prior to 9-11.

MSN Slate Magazine
Enter the Fray Our reader discussion forum.
Topic: Best of the Fray: Apr 13 2004 9:34PM
Subject: The Two Dubyas
From: WVMicko
Date: Apr 13 2004 9:34PM

Fact is, when he cares about a subject, President Dubya communicates just fine. At times, I could easily see the strong and visionary President Dubya that the right loves -- and believe me, I'm not a man who's going to warm to Dubya easily. Yet as the press tried to force him to confront awkward and uncomfortable failures in the recent past, I could see the Princeling Dubya, who was unknowlegable, uncurious, and far too weak to even contemplate his own mistakes or deal with that hardest responsibility of power, the responsibility to torment yourself over past mistakes so that future ones will not befall those who you are responsible for.

KRT Wire | 04/13/2004 | Why wasn't memo heeded?
Fort Wayne News Sentinel Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (KRT) - The following editorial appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Tuesday, April 13:

It is easy to understand why the White House didn't want to make public the contents of an intelligence briefing President Bush received a month before the terrorist attacks of 2001 or why it released the document when it would attract minimal news coverage - on Saturday night of a holiday weekend. That's because the White House reaction to the warnings contained in the memo was inexplicably passive and incurious; the memo's contents, moreover, do not square with the bland descriptions provided by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and by Bush himself.

Newsday.com - News Columnists
Marie Cocco
Bush was out of White House loop
April 13, 2004

The president is never said to have picked up the phone, demanded a meeting, called for a specific report back on what, exactly, any government agency was doing to prevent the catastrophe the intelligence community warned was coming. . . .

This president's congenital lack of curiosity is well known. It often is promoted as a political virtue, the mark of an unencumbered mind that is decisive and determined. The short memos Bush prefers and the quick, instinctive decisions he is said to make are precisely what make him a strong and effective leader, the argument goes. . . .

No one can accuse Bush of being too enmeshed in detail. The recounting of 2001 shows him to have been so detached from the business of governing that imminent danger was unappreciated or, worse, ignored.

The New York Times > Opinion > August 2001 Terror Loomed as America Slept (14 Letters)
Published April 13, 2004

Re "The Silent President" (editorial, April 12)

That George W. Bush failed to rush back to the White House from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to demand to know what, in particular, was being done to prevent potential hijackers from boarding planes shows at least a severe deficiency of curiosity, if not sensitivity, perhaps both. . . .

Hadley, Mass., April 12, 2004

The Aug. 6 presidential brief, condensed to one and a half pages (editorial, April 12), is clearly an outline of important information. Apparently the president lacked the curiosity to pursue further intelligence, and was satisfied that he knew what was happening in the world.

Yonkers, April 12, 2004

Niagara Falls Reporter Opinion
By Bill Gallagher
April 13 2004

Whispers about Saddam were amplified and the media broadcast them as loud, unchallenged truths, while a bullhorn in the ear about bin Laden and al-Qaeda's intentions was simply not heard, because no one who wanted to remain in the president's favor wanted to listen.

This duplicity stems from George W. himself -- his intellectual laziness, his lack of curiosity, and his reliance on instinct, visceral feeling and what his "gut" tells him rather than the truth found in facts.

Kidding On The Square: An Incurious President
April 13, 2004

Yesterday on Talk of the Nation, David Gergen gave his insight on the August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Brief. Having worked in four presidential administrations, Gergen described the PDB as having "the smallest circulation of anything in Washington" usually about ten to twenty pages long, and only shared with the Vice President, the National Security Council staff director, and the Secretary of State. Gergen indicated that even he did not ordinarily see the PDB although on occasion he would be asked to read it. Likewise, at times a President might bring others in to "begin to ask appropriate policy questions or begin to frame follow-up meetings with his own team." When TOTN host Neal Conan asked whether this particular PDB should have sent up alarm bells, Gergen suggested how an answer to that question might be developed:
. . . I have to say, looking at it of itself, while much of it is historical, as Condi Rice said in her testimony, the last two paragraphs, I think, really do, you know, get--the flags go up because it does talk about much more recent activity, more recent threats, the FBI conducting full field. I would think the president would want to know who the heck is following up in this in my government and I need someone to get back to me on this. I need to know more about this because this is suggesting there's something that's going on, suspicious activity right now. Who's on top of this? What do we know? And I think those are questions that the commission will want to probe pretty heavily this week.
A caller then asked about the President's incurious nature, to which Gergen replied:
That's a very appropriate question, and that's exactly what the commission ought to be following up on. And I might say, yesterday David Broder, the dean of the political press corps, wrote a column in The Washington Post on precisely the question of: Did President Bush set up a structure in which information flowed up to him and which he showed very little curiosity and he didn't ask questions down the line? And did he not know as much as a president should know as a result of his incuriosity?

And Broder said by contrast President Kennedy--he, of course, was deeply into foreign policy as president--was intensely curious person. He was a journalist. He had some journalistic background and he frequently would call desk officers in the State Department asking them, `What the hell is this? I'm reading this in my Oval Office. Tell me what this--give me some background on this.' And I continue to believe that while there are many--George W. Bush has many, many fine qualities, this lack of curiosity may be haunting his presidency.

cyanograph/kind of bluegreen: Bush's "Lack of Curiosity"
Posted by susan at April 12, 2004 12:12 PM

On today's Talk of the Nation, conservative analyst and presidential advisor David Gergen confirmed that he considers Bush's "lack of curiosity" to be a notable feature of the President's character. Gergen wondered how this feature affected Bush's reaction (or lack thereof) to the August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing. Gergen went so far as to say that the President's lack of curiosity "may have come back to haunt us." Gergen's comments and others should be available via streaming audio here by tomorrow, if not sooner.

Incurious Bush (washingtonpost.com)
The Washington Post
Incurious Bush
By David S. Broder
Sunday, April 11, 2004; Page B07
Also appeared April 11 in the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World under headline Lack of curiosity keeps Bush in the dark.

No one knows whether any of these missing steps could have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks. But the clear impression left so far is that the president was blissfully unaware that the steps that had been ordered by his second-team coordinators had not been carried out. . . .

What is missing from the story, as it has emerged so far, is any sense that Bush himself was reaching down below the top levels of the White House staff or the intelligence agencies, trying to inform himself of what was happening down in the trenches. It is an open secret in Washington that he is indifferent to much of the daily work of the domestic departments. But it is striking that he seems equally passive on matters of national security, letting information filter up to him through the White House bureaucracy.

John Kennedy was famous in his time for picking up the phone and asking desk officers deep in the State Department or smart congressional staffers what they knew about something of interest to him. Kennedy was a journalist at heart, not, like Bush, a Harvard Business School grad. That kind of curiosity is as important to the presidency as the most well-organized staff system.

Syracuse.com: Syracuse politics
The Rational Liberal
A Weblog by Jude Nagurney Camwell
Saturday, April 10, 2004

There were myriad warning signs (pre-Iraq) that the Bush Administration chose to ignore. Choice involves free will. Our leader was perfectly willing to do as he pleased knowing all the risks. To be asked to think about how a generally non-curious President may have entered Iraq for some "big idea" that would bring glory to his name and unnecessary death to so many people..troops and Iraqi citizens... is a nauseating proposition. James Fallows ends his article by saying:
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.

MSN Slate Magazine
Enter the Fray Our reader discussion forum.
Topic: War Stories: Apr 9 2004 12:29PM
Subject: Rice is Tasked to Fall on Her Sword
From: BeverlyMann
Date: Apr 9 2004 12:29PM

Among the more annoying euphemisms in currently in vogue among the punditry is the one they use to acknowledge that Bush is very seriously lacking in intellectual capacity: they say he is "incurious". But stupid as I recognize him to be, even I wouldn't have suspected that, handed information that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking, and handed information that al Qaeda was planning an attack it thought would cause a huge uproar, George W. Bush would be so incurious as to not phone the FBI director and ask what exactly were those patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.

baltimoresun.com - What we learned from Rice
The Baltimore Sun
What we learned from Rice
She's not rattled, when on a roll
By David Folkenflik
Sun Staff
Originally published April 9, 2004
Incurious Condoleezza Rice, too incurious to read Richard Clarke's book.

Oh, the things one could learn yesterday from watching the televised testimony of Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser:

1. Rice, a former provost of Stanford University, appears to be too busy or too incurious to read much outside of her briefing papers.

Take, for example, the recent best-selling book by Richard Clarke, the president's former top counter-terrorism official. In it, Clarke charges that Bush and the White House all but ignored the threat of al-Qaida until the September 2001 attacks.

Here's how Rice conceded that, despite earlier White House denials, Clarke probably did meet Bush on Sept. 12, 2001: "Initially, [Clarke] said that the president was wandering in the situation room - this is in the book, I gather - looking for something to do, and they had a conversation. Later on, he said that he was pulled aside. So I don't know the context of the discussion."

The Wichita Eagle | 04/09/2004 | Gergen says wounds of '60s continue to fester
The Wichita Eagle
Coverage of David Gergen's appearance at Wichita State April 8, 2004.

He [Gergen] then advised that a president should do two things:

"You've got to travel, and you've got to read."

While he said Clinton was a 360-degree leader who wanted to learn about other cultures, he said Bush is more inward. Today's leader needs to befriend Europe, he said. "I think we're going to pay a price for a lack of curiosity, and I would feel a lot more comfortable if (Bush) read the newspaper," he said, as the crowd applauded.

Shedding little light on 9/11
The Oregonian (Portland)
Shedding little light on 9/11
Condoleezza Rice's long-delayed public testimony on the terror attacks raised some questions, but answered few

It's not hard to be sympathetic when she says that the summer 2001 "spike" in intelligence chatter about an impending terror attack was vague and impossible to act upon in a preventive sense.

You do have to wonder, though, why the White House seemed so incurious about getting to the bottom of all that chatter, just as you have to wonder why a staff report titled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside United States" didn't generate more interest than it apparently did, even if it was mainly "historical," as Rice suggests.

The Washington Monthly
Political Animal
By Kevin Drum, formerly of Calpundit
April 9, 2004, 1:24 PM

The heart of Clarke's critique: when "chatter" increased in December of 1999, Clinton pulled out all the stops and made sure the bureacracy understood the urgency of the problem. The result was several millennium plots foiled.

But when the chatter increased in July of 2001, President Bush didn't see it as an urgent issue. Instead of sounding the alarm, he went on vacation.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a couple of pictures. On the left is Fallujah yesterday, the center of a week-old uprising that threatens our entire mission in Iraq. On the right is our war president, George Bush, demonstrating his sense of urgency over this problem by, yes, taking yet another vacation. In case you're curious, he's leading a nature tour of his ranch in Crawford. [see the pictures on Drum's weblog]

Newsday.com - Opinion
New York Newsday
Bush decisions based on ideology
Walter Williams is professor emeritus at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs.
April 8, 2004

The best picture of President Bush's process in deciding to invade Iraq comes from author Ron Suskind - who based his book, "The Price of Loyalty" on thousands of documents provided by Bush's first Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, and extended discussions with him.

The deeply conservative O'Neill is a highly credible witness who continues to be perceived as an able analyst of numbers and arguments and an exemplar of the fundamental commitment to provide presidents with the best facts available to underpin decision making.

O'Neill found an appalling lack of "real evidence" on which to base the momentous decision to invade Iraq and a president who neither asked questions nor read any policy papers.

The decision process encased an incurious, policy- knowledge-deficient, docile president, operating in a sanitized setting that blocked any information that conflicted with the administration's hard ideological line.

Chicago Tribune | 9/11 panel, Bush often at odds
By Bob Kemper, Washington Bureau.
Published April 8, 2004

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the administration is treating the commission much as it treated a joint congressional panel's investigation into the events around Sept. 11--with delaying tactics.

"This administration has, amazingly, been without curiosity about what happened on Sept. 11," Graham said. "The representations that the administration has made with regard to their cooperation with the commission are at odds with their actions."

Niagara Falls Reporter Opinion
By Bill Gallagher
Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News.
April 6 2004

John Dean, the man who blew the lid off Richard Nixon's crimes . . . is the author of a new book, "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush." . . .

Dean sees Cheney as a de facto "co-president" who skillfully handles the less-experienced and pitifully incurious George W. In an interview in "Salon" online magazine, Dean describes how it works. "Cheney is quietly guiding this administration. Cheney knows how to play Bush so that Cheney is absolutely no threat to him, makes him feel he is president, but Bush can't function without a script, or without Cheney," John Dean says. . . .

The decision for Cheney and Bush to appear together before the 9/11 Commission underscores that truth. Imagine, the President of the United States needs a minder to hold his hand while he testifies about what he knew and did about the terrorist attacks -- the event, he says, that defines his presidency. . . .

She [Condoleezza Rice] tried to sell another contribution to Sept. 11 mythology, claiming that no one "could have predicted that they would use a hijacked airplane as a missile." . . .

A former translator for the FBI, Sibel Edmunds, tells the British Independent newspaper she provided information for the 9/11 Commission showing that senior Bush administration officials "knew of al-Qaeda's plans to attack the U.S. with aircraft months before the strikes happened." . . .

American Prospect Online
Fear Factor
By James Squires and Jane Smiley
Issue Date: 04.01.04

In their primaries, the Democrats have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it attempting to set in the American mind an image to fear -- that of an incompetent and intellectually incurious president, aloof from the economic concerns of the average person, beholden to the rich special interests and fundamentalist right-wing Christians, recklessly mortgaging the country's future.

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

Please contact webmaster to suggest new citations or report bad links.