Days of Fire E–book/E–pub

Days of Fire

Peter Baker ✓ 2 Free download

Is actually uite deferential to the office of the president only takes what Bush pushes his way When the second term comes ar First let me say that I never voted or BushCheney and can be counted among those who think they were among the worst and most destructive administrations in US history Certainly they were in my lifetime thus Hey Harry, Hey Matilda far Their transgressionsor me originated with the contested election in 2000 Thought I must also say that even then I was struck by Gore s inability to carry his home state of Tennessee It s rare when a presidential candidate doesn t carry his home state and in this case it was a manifestation of Gore s inherent weaknesses as a candidate Clinton scandals notwithstanding Similarly in 2004 Bush aced another pompous windbag in Kerry And while I think both Gore and Kerry would have been better presidents than Bush I remain troubled by their choices or running mates Lieberman and Edwards respectively In hindsight Edwards was as much a train wreck as Palin At the very least no one could accuse Cheney of being a lightweightContested election aside people I Am Her Revenge forget or give them a pass on theact that 9 11 occurred on their watch And while I thought toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan was an appropriate reaction right Jake the Fake Keeps It Real from the beginning I thought the diversion into Ira was a mistake and based on manipulated evidence combined with a uniue personal history between the Bush clan and Saddam Hussein I always thought Saddam s supposed weapons program was the euivalent of a Beware of Dog sign hanging on theence of someone who had no dog It was a way to Red Dog, Red Dog fend off his Middle Eastern enemies especially Iran Additionally Ira did have a self perceived claim on Kuwaiti territory back in 1990 but the Saudis called in their marker with Bush the First to respond inorce And we all know that the US military presence in Saudi Arabia was the basis Flights for Osama bin Laden s disaffection with the USA thus giving birth to Al aedaOther transgressions include the turning of a revenue surplus into a huge deficit the impotent response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans the ruinous tax cuts the Constitutional assaults predicated on the War on Terror and the ineffectiveinancial regulators that led to the second worst economic meltdown in US historyMost egregiously the lack of planning and inability to anticipate the violent Seven Famous Greek Plays forces that they were unleashing in Ira and their blase attitude toward events such as the looting of the museum in Baghdad not to mention the persecution of Chaldean Christians is inexcusableAll that said this book did remind me that Bush didor Africa in his support Cuban Death-Lift for the treatment of AIDs malaria etc than any president before or since He was also committed to meaningful but not punitive immigration reform and it seems he did moverom unilateralism to diplomacy over the course of his eight years in officeDespite approaching this book as a record of car wreck I survived I came away with a nuanced perspective of both Bush and Cheney For those who supported them this book will seem even handed For those who hated them it might seem overly sympathetic For myself I lean toward the even handed despite my antipathy toward their policies I never thought Bush was stupid but I did think he was too much under the sway of Cheney s Hobbesian view of the world But even that is too simplistic a way to view their relationshipAnyway I thought this book was very well written and I must admit the needle has budged a bit as Monkey Wars far as my thoughts about the two of them I will now at least concede they were motivated by a vision that I don t share but that they truly believed inThe most insightful analysis might be that Bush somehow was able to address the ramifications of the mistakes he made vis a vis the Irai surge bailing out the auto industry and TARPNevertheless I still wish Sandra Day O Connor voted the way her conscience now guides her Theirst presidential election Organize Create Discipline: An A-to-Z Guide to an Organized Existence for which I was eligible to vote was in 2004 and I voted against Bush as myoray into civic participation Given Bush s purported disinclination towards the East Coast Ivy League establishment I m guessing he wouldn t have been a big It's Not Rocket Science: 7 Game-Changing Traits for Uncommon Success fan of mine either However these were not really relevantactors in my enjoying the book If you re looking or a hagiography or a smear job you ll be disappointed What Peter Baker has created is an impressively smooth narrative of the goings ons in the world and the White House during the Bush Administration with some basic biographical tales or both Bush and Cheney The information isn t really aimed at swaying your opinion about these events one way or the other It just tells you I came away I Can Be a Teacher (Barbie) from this with a greater appreciationor both Bush and Cheney and a cabinet member here or there as they transformed Eggs Benedict Arnold from caricatures to complex individuals as I read Baker gives you the background antecedents behind the scenes and public portrayal of milestone moments and events which will undoubtedly make this book all the valuableor history s sake The humanizing moments didn t detract rom the weight of decisions made I certainly didn t change my stance on whether or not we should have gone to war with Ira but I do appreciate the gravity with which Bush addressed this throughout his time in office Bush definitely cried a lot during his stint as POTUS than I would have thought The cabinet dynamics weren t dissimilar rom those that preceded them There were differences of opinions all guys business related biases and definitely some hurt eelings I never knew that Rumsfeld was Condaleezza Rice s sensei or mentor or whatever and it was a ascinating relationship to watch collapse I certainly wouldn t have guessed that Cheney was a an of Darrell Hammond s portrayal of him on SNL or that Bush was super into challenging people to bicycle races This was a great listen thanks audible that at times One Good Life: My Tips, My Wisdom, My Story felt almost nostalgicor me as I encountered the events Design Flaws of the Human Condition from Al Gore s sighs during the presidential debates to Cheney s huntingiasco that dominated the news rom my sopho year of high school through college graduation While the tour down memory lane played in to my enjoyment actor I give Baker a great deal of credit as a story teller I d definitely recommend this both to the people of now and the Going Under future though I m not too worried about chrononauts needing my book recommendations As the actions and legacy of the Bush administration have been reduced to bumper sticker slogans and treated like bad memories to beorgotten Peter Baker does a great job telling us what actually happened He gives us a vivid portrait of a presidency orged in crisis and virtually defined by controversyThe book s compelling and ast paced narrative is driven by the people and personalities that inhabited it rather than actual events Still Baker gives us a good sense of the daily grind of the administration But sometimes it eels like Baker did some cramming with this work including things in his story whose significance is unclear Baker doesn t bring a lot of new revelations about the administration rather he does a great job integrating all of the books and memoirs that have come out since the administration took office Baker gives us a great portrait of two men reacting to circumstances beyond their controlBaker is very good at providing context It is important to note that many of the administration s controversies were not solely the brainchilds of Bush and Cheney The presidency does not operate in a vacuum The war in Ira is usually blamed on Bush s stupidity or Cheney s evil machinations But critics usually ail to point out that the war received Congressional backing including backing Natural Blonde from almost every Democrat that later criticized the war And the idea of Irai regime change did not originate with Bush After the Gulf War Ira continued to be a vexing problem and in 1998 President Clinton signed into law the Ira Liberation Act which made Irai regime change official US policy Under the Clinton administration there were covert attempts to spark a Kurdish uprising against Saddam But Saddam crushed it which led policymakers to believe that only overt militaryorce could oust Saddam Contrary to popular belief Bush s oreign policy was not unilateralist #SADDAM HUSSEIN FOR EXAMPLE WAS REMOVED BY A COALITION #Hussein or example was removed by a coalition various powers after his Samantha Spinner and the Super Secret Plans failure to comply with UN resolutions Saddam had spurned as many asourteen UN resolutions and committed human rights abuses Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda forun And almost everybody genuinely believed that Saddam had WMD including the British The French The Russians French the Russians Israelis the Chinese and even Saddam s own generals The US intelligence community strongly believed it Most Democrats also believed it A commonly cited case of the administration s disregard of the law was the decision to engage in warrantless wiretapping ignoring FISA reuirements to get a court issued warrant before targeting US citizens or surveillance However Congress had given the administration a considerable degree of leeway regarding the war on terror s prosecution Many courts ruled that the administration did have the authority to engage in warrantless wiretapping Again the administration did not operate in a vacuum But in retrospect it probably should have been discreet in using its new powers Critics also like to pounce on Cheney s connections with the oil business which they vaguely connect with the war in Ira Cheney of course once headed Halliburton which was a beneficiary of no bid contracts in Ira after the invasion Conspiracy theorists use this to claim that the war was about oil In order to believe this of course Halliburton would actually have had to make a gigantic profit rom the war However according to the Infestation facts Halliburton made only 85 million in Ira in 2003 out of expenditures of 36 billion a profit margin of less than 25% hardly what I would call war profiteering And Cheney didn t even profitrom this What Cheney received was deferred compensation which he received between the 2000 election and the inauguration Thus if Halliburton made or lost money Cheney s checks would remain the same Before taking office Cheney had also given up 8 million in stock money Cheney s checks would remain the same Before taking office Cheney had also given up 8 million in stock rom Halliburton There is no evidence that Cheney benefited Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-The-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford financiallyrom any Halliburton work in post invasion Ira Besides if Bush invaded Ira Ready for Summer for oil US oil importsrom Ira would have skyrocketed after the invasion But in Cyberselfish A Critical Romp Through The Terribly Libertarian Culture Of High Tech fact Irai oil production plummetedollowing the invasionYes the administration made their share of mistakes and miscalculations just like every other government that has ever existed But there is never a simple right or wrong answer to any one of the world s endless and complicated problems The world and the truth is always complex than pundits or news bytes would lead you to believe The core of the book of course is the relationship between Bush and Cheney which evolved over time In his A coerência textual first term Bush the inexperienced idealist leaned heavily on Cheney s experience but operated independently and leaning on different advisors like Rice during his second term Bush emerges a bright and idealistic human being who did not shrinkrom tough decisions Notably Bush never had any misgivings that invading Ira was a mistake It could have been easy to just pull out after Write Your Novel!: Tips from a Bestseller finding no WMDs and leave the whole mess to the Irais Bush worried aboutailure but he was determined not to show it And admirably Bush never broke under the strain as Lyndon Johnson did under Vietnam Bush refused to be pessimistic He made the lonely decision to mount the surge when there was enormous pressure to withdraw Cheney comes off as a cold but Dogs Behaving Badly forceful adviser apparently Cheney once took a personality test that determined that his ideal job would beuneral director Baker dispels the myth of a cold devious Cheney manipulating the goofy idealistic Bush Cheney was without uestion the most powerful and influential vice pr. A tour de orce narrative of a dramatic and controversial presidencyTheirs was the most captivating American political partnership since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger a bold and untested ,

I want to hang Saakashvili by the balls Putin told SarkozyHang him Sarkozy askedWhy not The Americans hanged Saddam HusseinBut do you want to end up like BushAh Putin replied there you have a pointThe president a senior Bush administration official said thinks cutting and running on his riends shows weakness Change shows weakness Doing what everyone knows has to be done shows weaknessYou know there are all these conspiracy theories that Dick runs the country or Karl Rove runs the country Why aren t there any conspiracy theories that I run the country Really ticks me off George W Bush kidding on the suare at the Gridiron Club March 11 2006 Days of Fire Peter Baker s doorstop book on the Bush administration is a hefty eight hundred plus pag book Coming as it does after most of the principals have written their memoirs after the presidential library opened and prompted some conservatives to try rehabilitating Bush s image the book aspires to be a journalistic account written with enough distanct to be comprehensive The classic of the Revenge of the Land: A Century of Greed, Tragedy, and Murder on a Saskatchewan Farm form to my mind is Lou Cannon s PRESIDENT REAGAN THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME which is still very much worth reading Baker s ultimate conclusions strike me as soft headed and unconvincing but you read a book like thisor the reporting than the big picture analysis and there is plenty to learnBaker looks at the administration through the prism of the Bush Cheney partnership which is natural enough He paints a portrait of Bush as considerably in control over his administration than he often seemed Cheney was not uite the puppet master that people imagined either and even at the height of his influence was best when he was pushing something that Bush wanted to do anyway Bush comes off as intelligent particularly about people the idea that he was stupid was an image that he half enjoyed because he loved to beat people s expectations I really enjoy it when somebody says that son of a bitch just got out a coherent sentenceWhat struck me most about Bush was the April 16th: Virginia Tech Remembers fact that he so strongly believed himself to be a compassionate person Compassionate conservatism was a useful line in an era when the Republican party was making itself seem harsh and extremist but Bush well and truly saw himself that way He was haunted as governor by an encounter with a poor black kid in juvenile hall and spent years afterward trying to devise plans within the limits of his conservative ideology to help kids like that When it came time to push No Child Left Behind Bush impressed Ted Kennedy as being both passionate about educationor poor children and in command of the details not something that Bush would normally be accused ofOf course the popular image of Bush was not too ar off in many ways He was arrogant and prone to snap judgments and often ignorant about basic things In his irst months in office it took him all of Mindful Living with Aspergers Syndrome five minutes to conclude that Kim Dae Jung was naive about the North Koreans when inact Kim had been involved in Korean politics since Bush was a small child As his team struggled to ix a devastating inancial crisis in the last year of his presidency Bush marveled Someday you guys are going to have to tell me how we ended up with a system like this and what we need to do to The Habitat Guide to Birding fix it Apparently Bush wanted to wait until after he left office to consider trivia like how to keep the economyunctioningCombined Bush s arrogance ignorance and his self identification as a compassionate person prompted him to a sort of messianic Space Kid fervor Baker recounts a meeting during the buildup to the Ira War between Bush and members of the Republican Jewish Coalition One member mentioned that his grandfather had been one of the activists who urged FDR to take stronger action against the Holocaust during World War II This man went on to say that if only Bush had been in office in those days millions of Jewish lives would be saved Some men might have seen this as a gross overweening bit oflattery Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town from a supporter Bush s eyesilled at the thought And why not He had already promised the Republican Governor s Association that Afghanistan and Ira will lead that part of the world to democracy Having already in his mind saved the Middle East or democracy why not Stop The Holocaust For A Second ActBaker the Holocaust Every Drop for Sale: Our Desperate Battle Over Water for a second actBaker also good at showing how well Bush and Cheney got high on their own supply They were not only the primary merchants ofear the blood of a hundred thousand will be on your hands was a Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus favorite Cheney conversation stopper they consumed it themselves in mass uantities Cheney in particular Recently Cheney announced that he had the wirelessunction on his pacemaker disabled to prevent terrorists Reach for the Rainbow: Advanced Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse from hacking into his circulatory system and killing himrom a distance He also at one time attempted to have anthrax treatments placed in every home in America a plan defeated when one Bush cabinet official pointed out the risks of Troubled Waters freely handing out powerful drugs without a prescriptionIn the days after the 911 attacks the intelligence agencies were presenting Bush and Cheney with something called a Threat Matrix a collection of every terrorist threat no matter howar The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping fetched Radical groups in Uzbekistan were giving nuclear material to bin Laden The White House was tainted by a biological attack Anthrax would kill millions before the US government could organize to stop it Many people myself included in late 2001 were irrationally convinced that the 911 attacks were only a prelude to somethingar terrible a ear that Bush and Cheney were able to back up with ragments of evidence that could be spun or less any way that validated their preconceived notions Baker recounts one meeting where Cheney after hearing that bin Laden was meeting with Pakistani nuclear scientists and may have received issile material rom Uzbekistan determines that Saddam Hussein was a bigger threat than everCheney had come into the administration convinced of the need to build up the executive branch against sentimental busybodies who want to know when their government is having people killed or violating somebody s privacy or petty bullshit like that But the 911 attacks gave him and Bush not just the opportunity but the perceived obligation to go as Shadower far down the rabbit hole as possible Given how much of the national security architecture is still with us here in the United States it s remarkable to remember that it was the product of aew uiet meetings held largely in secret Rumsfeld wasn t even originally told about the wiretapping program Owls: Birds of the Night for example This small collection of deeply paranoid authoritarian minded men operating under the dubious but at the time very potent conviction that millions of lives hung int he balance madeateful decisions that affect us all stillWhat s also remarkable and somewhat less well known is the Bon Bon Voyage (A Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery, fact that Bush s presidency changed dramaticallyrom his Bon Bon Voyage first term to his second In theirst term Cheney held a lot of sway and he consistently won battles against bureaucratic rivals like Colin Powell and Paul O Neill But after the election of 2004 Bush acted deliberately to constrain Cheney s influence the choice of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State put the diplomatic corps under the control of a woman who rankly worshiped Bush and who posed much of a challenge to Cheney than a vacillating weakened Colin Powelluietly Bush stopped ordering water boarding pared back the use of torture and made diplomatic initiatives to North Korea that Cheney ound appalling and ill considered The perceived success of the surge even allowed Bush to negotiate a withdrawal rom Ira with ixed deadlines something that he had long considered to be tantamount to surrender In a amous example Cheney tried pushing the Bush administration to launch airstrikes against a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 Bush responded by asking his other advisers Does anybody here stand with the vice president Not a hand went upBaker s book although hardly a hagiography is ar kinder to Bush than I would have liked He ends the book by suggesting that Bush has a solid record if you ignore the 911 attacks the hundreds of thousands of people who died as the result of his needless war and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression But those things can t be taken out of the picture Bush was in some ways sharper than the Republicans who seek to replace him and compassionate conservatism remains the best way A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency for Republicans to adapt to the changing demographics of the electorate But if these things are easilyorgotten it s because Bush left the White House with his country and his party teetering on the brink of collapse We re still living in the house that Bush built As the navy steward worked his way around the table taking orders most of the officials stuck with a simple ruit bowl Cheney on the other hand ordered bacon and eggs Hill was struck that the vice president would order something so different when everyone was going light especially since he had had our heart attacks p 567Ah this book has a lot of new moments but Ravishing Ruby for some reason this late one stuck with me Baker s book is essentially the story of aailed presidency and a big reason or that ailure is its ongoing nearly Days of Infamy: Military Blunders Of The 20th Century fatal stubbornness Ira Spying Torture Refusing toire Rumsfield Harriet Miers Bullheaded in the extreme Dick Cheney plowing into a plate of bacon and eggs no matter what says it all Seriously this is a very good and long book covering the eight years of the Bush administration And Baker gives you all of it Seemingly every day In lesser hands this could have been a deadening experience But Baker is a ine writer and through the sheer accumulation of detail along with a sympathetic but by no means partisan eye creates a context that humanizes most of the major players of these momentous years Bush in particular benefits As much I disagree with his invasion of a Ira he generally #comes across as a warm hearted and emotional guy trying to get it right Baker with a #across as a warm hearted and emotional guy trying to get it right Baker with a s lair at one point even as the violence of Ira dominates just about every page has Bush embracing his dying dog on the White House lawn at dusk DamnMore importantly late in the book Baker paints a picture of a president he reads Flying by the Seat of My Pants: Flight Attendant Adventures on a Wing and a Prayer fourteen bios on Lincoln in one year who has grown into his role Against the advice sometimes bordering on insubordination of nearly everyone excepting aew young aides Stephen Hadley Meghan O Sullivan #a real star in the book and brett #real star in the book and Brett Bush reversed the drift in Ira and instituted the controversial surge Boy at the time the surge escalation happened I was STRONGLY opposed Bush s display of presidential leadership here is as Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography fine as any I ve read However the problem here is that this decision is teathered to the controversial decision to invade in theirst place As Petraeus himself has said surge tactics can only buy you time In the end you must On Being Human: Reflections on Life and Living find a political solutionIf you re coming to this book toind illumination regarding the decision to invade Ira you ll be disappointed You just don t know Frommers Irreverent Guide to Walt Disney World for sure where it comesrom About a week after 911 at a meeting of war cabinet officials Wolfowitz blurted out that there was a 10 to 50% chance that Hussein was involved in the attacks Where Wolfowitz got that number out of the air or out of his ass I have no idea Even Bush got pissed saying How many times do I have to tell you we are not going after Ira this minute At this point I got the sense that some conversations ones that perhaps preceded 911 have not yet been revealed And it s only a week or so later Bush is telling Blair that Ira will have to be dealt withDid someone get to Bush in that time If so it would have been Cheney Cheney is hard to like especially in the early days of the administration To some extent Cheney does reinforce and help the inexperienced president If you want to go Hard Line Cheney is your man But Baker destroys the notion of Cheney as puppet master Cheney who. In Days of Fire Peter Baker Chief White House Correspondent or The New York Times takes us on a gripping and intimate journey through the eight years of the Bush and Cheney administration in. Esident in US history But Bush proved to be uite assertive at times and as the presidency went on Bush actually distanced himself rom Cheney to a degree and leaned on other advisers like Rice Cheney s influence declined during the second term and he was never really close to Bush any after they left officeBoth sympathetic and critical this is a valuable and overdue look at the Bush administration I have moved on to the next stage of my grim ascination with the US presidency rom the voyeuristic masochistic delight of an introvert Who's There on Halloween? following the pain of the campaign to now actually reading about the actual time spent in office I have a bigat book about Lincoln leering at me as we speakAnyway I am not really sure why I read this book apart Jurisdiction from the realization that books about campaign are the gateway drugs to reading about presidents I did not particularly enjoy the time Bush was in office and a certain surprising nostalgia given the current president elect aside I had little interest in revisiting this timeI am glad I did though because I learnt theollowing being the president is an awful role the stress they had in the aftermath of 911 with daily worst case scenarios being sent to BushCheney in a bureaucratic orgy of doom and ass coveringwould have driven most completely insane Bush to his credit regularly met the relatives of those killed in the wars in private Bush was seen as the best president in terms of aid Hip Pocket Sleaze: The Lurid World of Vintage Adult Paperbacks for Africa ever and the link between Bush sbesteatures loyalty a willingness to pursue what he Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets felt was right rather than what was popular and a desire not to second guess those at theront led to the worst decisionsI also relearnt that the entire Presidency was subsumed by Ira and no one at the end could really say why and that there was ineptness in spades Cartagena (A Vintage Short) from the continued support of Rumsfeld the accidental breaking of the Kyoto treaty or the entire Katrina aftermathAt the end Bush had my sympathy but definetly not my vote I hesitatedor a good long while before I Clawback finally picked up Peter Baker s Days of Fire Bush and Cheney in the White House My hesitation had nothing do to with uality as the book has received overwhelmingly positive reviews It had to do with subject matter Though iteels like a lifetime ago or maybe several lifetimes ago the Bush Administration resides in our recent past I believe that it s hard to write good history when the history is still resh Instead of dispassionate analysis and reflection you get kneejerk reactions Time obscures some things to be sure but it clarifies others Also I lived through those years They weren t all that great the irst time around I wasn t exactly waiting Sugar in the Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America for a chance to revisit them My one positive takeaway of Bush s eight years in office was the stimulus check I received I sensed vaguely that I was being bought off It turned out I can be bought uite cheaply Eventually the undeniable uality of Baker s workorced my hand As advertised it is a monumentally grand retelling of some Cooking for Company fairly tumultuous times There are many adjectives to describe the Bush years Smooth is not one of them Also not apt uneventful It began you may recall or perhaps you ve tried toorget with a bitterly contested recount in Florida and ended with a sharply divided Administration and Congress dealing with the greatest Empire of Sin financial crisis since the Great Depression I tried to avoid a comparison to the Great Depression but I don t think it s possible In between there were low points and lower points and also a stimulus check The War in Afghanistan The escape of Osama bin Laden The War in Ira The mishandling of Hurricane Katrina Scooter Libby s outing of Valerie Plame The utter collapse of the economy There were victories as well to be sure But with the exception of Bush s extraordinary effort to combat AIDS in Africa even his triumphs the toppling of Saddam Hussein No Child Left Behind the tax cuts are shrouded in controversy and the residue of unintended conseuences Baker chooses to tell this story in a very particular way as a story This is not a political screed arguing eitheror or against the BushCheney Administration This is not a volume illed with rigid analysis Baker has a definite theme that George W Bush was not Dick Cheney s puppet but he never hits you over the head with it #he really doesn t have anything to prove #really doesn t have anything to prove something to share Baker tells this tale in novelistic style Scenes are set with ly on the wall there ness There is reconstructed dialogue and internal monologues If we view this as a novel albeit a novel that is heavily sourced and includes hundreds of annotated endnotes the two main characters are Bush and Cheney Superficially Bush presented himself as one of the simplest presidents in history He often My Wife's Affair failed as a communicator struggling to string words into a coherent sentence His extemporaneous remarks were often empty bluster that blew back in hisace He could project a lack of seriousness those acial gestures that was compounded by his many well documented trips to his ranch In Baker s hands though Bush is given depth and shading A reformed drinker he was a man of iron discipline He was politically pragmatic passed bipartisan legislation and had a truly compassionate side that did not often shine through while he lived in the White House He also made disastrous mistakes that might never be understood but will be studied orever Bush is often criticized or a made disastrous mistakes that might never be understood but will be studied orever Bush is often criticized or a of introspection He never really could admit his errors But maybe that s part of being president If you have to make the call if you have to decide things that affect millions of people perhaps your ego needs a certain shield I didn t vote or Bush twice but by the end I had newfound respect Move Over, Victoria--I Know the Real Secret: Surrendering the Lies That Bind You to the God Who Frees You for the him and the challenges heaced He is to my surprise incredibly compelling Bush shares this book s stage as he will Slo Mo! forever in all history books with Vice President Cheney the most powerful VP we ve ever had During the Bush years Cheney served as the lighting rod He took the brunt of the criticism made up the bulk of the late night talk show jokes Many viewed him as the brains in the White House leading Bush around by the nose And to be sure in theirst term Cheney had a lot of sway in the Poor Mrs. Rigsby foreign policy arena Hisingerprints are all over the excesses of the War on Terror and the invasion of Ira Cheney comes across as a man ar concerned with international affairs than domestic politics Though a rock ribbed conservative he had a surprisingly liberal stand pushed perhaps by amily circumstances on gay rights Baker certainly helped me understand Cheney better When I started reading Days of Fire I thought he was an asshole Now I ve downgraded that to prick Since this is a book about politics the uestion of bias is bound to arise As I said before this isn t a polemic There is a soft bias towards the Bush Administration but that is an inevitable unction of Baker s storytelling viewpoint Everything unfolds rom the Administration s perspective inside looking out Accordingly many of the Administration s War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today failures are explained or rationalized away Too often Baker will describe something like Katrina as the appearance ofailure when in reality the A Boy in Winter failure stemsrom Frost at Midnight facts on the ground Absolute non partisanship is probably impossible But if Baker sometimes seems overlyorgiving it s because he is interested in the human story than political ideology Ideology is a theoretical construct that doesn t work in the real world because one size does not Princess Baby, Night-Night fit all Ideology always breaks itself against the world Time and again Baker shows you people working and struggling and trying toind the least wrong answer to difficult uestions You may not agree with Bush Cheney Rumsfeld Rice and all the rest but it is helpful even important to view them as actual people rather than lock stepped automatons bearing the banner of their political party Days of Fire is a sturdy 653 pages of text Of course that is not nearly enough space to The Pentagon Papers: Making History at the Washington Post fully cover the Bush years You could probably spend 653 pages on the decision invade Ira As such there is a certaineeling of compression to the issues as monumental events get reduced to a Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution few pages or paragraphs On the other hand Days of Fire is terrifically even breathlessly paced It s one of those books you take to bed with you and suddenly its way past your bedtime History is comforting because it is a thing that we have already overcome No matter how terrible the struggle it is in the past and can no longer hurt us Theuture is terrifying because we don t yet know how it s going to play out This reality gives Days of Fire a certain strange tonality By the On a Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock final pages it is nearly bathing in nostalgia The Bush Administration evokes a lot ofeelings within me but nostalgia is not one of them But whatever you eel about Bush and Cheney whatever your political stripe you will likely ind Bush and Cheney whatever your political stripe you will likely ind of Fire to be a good reading experience It is well crafted evocative and engrossing If it does nothing else at all it should prove to you that being the president is the absolute worst six packs of Tums a day job in the world After reading Days of Fire I have literally no conception why a person would run Nini for this office Which of course makes me slightly afraid of anyone who decides to do so I have to admit that much like 70% of Americans I was not aan of Bush and one of the main reasons I started reading this book was to bolster the opinions I had already I Love My Dad (Disney Princess) formed This book did pretty much the exact opposite By no means am I saying that I will now defend the W Bush administration I still think you can make a strong case that he was one of the worst presidents in American history But I walked awayrom this book with the belief that you can make an eually strong case that ew could have become great presidents with the hand he was dealt I think this book is a must read or our time We myself strongly included have become victims of a polarized culture that demands we pick sides and then stick doggedly to our decisions I admit that I ell victim to this culture My Bush hatred was ueled largely by cable news outlets that told me how I should eel This book is great because it doesn t try to decide what is right or wrong It s meant to contextualize policies and have the reader orm his or her own opinions In a time of black and white narrow minded thinking this book is refreshing in it s even handedness and comfort with nuance and uncertainty While I Camp Rex found this absolutely absorbing and as readable as a Stephen King novel and pretty well written just like a Stephen King novel in the end I was sort of grossed out by this whitewashing of Bush and Cheney posing as a balanced and critical examination of their two terms in office It was especially a Bush loveest Hey he s a smart sensitive caring man after all In everything he did he only meant wellAlmost no words spent on the Irai dead which he must take responsibility or and just a couple of leeting mentions of the possible role of oil in the Ira war Bush s less than distinguised career in the National Guard is glossed over as is just about every other possible shortcoming on Bush s partIn the end jingoistic propaganda but a pretty good read Sometimes it is difficult to remember that political leaders are just normal human beings dealing with extraordinary situations This book showed a very human side to George Bush Unfortunately Dick Cheney did not come off as sympathetically It was interesting to see how the relationship between Bush and Cheney evolved through the 8 years in the White House I was always one of the Touch of Enchantment few people who actuallyelt bad When Dads Don't Grow Up for all the negative and hostile attacks against President Bush while he was in office Of course I pretty mucheel bad Miles from Kara for any president who gets attacked by the general population Talk about your thankless jobs I think President of the United States has to be the most thankless job eve. Resident and his seasoned relentless vice president Confronted by one crisis after another they struggled to protect the country remake the world and define their own relationship along the way.