Some of the best books emerging about the Bush administration's catastrophic failures in the war on terrorism, the Iraq war and Katrina have apt one-word titles and they're all worth reading. These include Disaster, about Hurricane Katrina; Fiasco, about the failed planning and execution of the Iraq war; and Hubris, the strong new book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn detailing the spin, lies and scandals that brought us the Iraq war.
If you add to that library shelf a few other Bush calamity books with short, memorable titles, such as Blood Money, subtitled: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives and Corporate Greed in Iraq, you've got a starting point for a rich portrait of one of the worst presidencies in history. The President says history will judge him, but the preliminary verdict is already in: he's at or near the bottom.
During this past week, the first chapters of a new book called Chutzpah could be written. On Meet the Press, as analyzed at Media Matters, Vice President Cheney said, "If we had to do it over again, we'd do exactly the same thing."
And after the Supreme Court struck down the president's unconstitutional detention-and-torture policy(although the court focused largely on detentions) for terror suspects that also violated the Geneva Convention , the Bush adminstration came back this week with a set of proposals to essentialy legalize torture-style techniques that violate current international law. These include permitting interrogation techniques used by the CIA, supposedly "torture lite" methods such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, when carried out by the CIA or other non-military intelligence officers. (The new Army Field Manual bans those practices.)
And of course, he gave Paul Bremer, George Tenet and Tommy Franks the Presidential Medal of Freedom and other honors to praise them for jobs well done -- or, as the public better knows them for, the mismanagement of such crises as discovering the 9/11 plot, providing accurate intelligence about Iraq or running the war and occupation.
Hail to the Chief, the chutzpah champ.