President Bush read three books about George Washington in the past year, but he didn't even flick through one of the hundreds of books now published about himself?
Bush also now claims that he has never read any book about his presidency, including the three volumes in Bob Woodward's ultra-controversial 'Bush At War' trilogy.
As you will see when you watch this short video of a recent Bush interview, the president isn't very convincing when he tries to deny having read any of the Woodward books. He's even less convincing when he tries to deny haing read any books at all about himself.
It is quite remarkable, and extremely revealing, that Bush does not think there is anything that can be learned, or any value-rich insight gained, from even glancing over Bob Woodward's trilogy of the Bush presidency and Bush's 'War On Iraq'.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said in your press conference last week, you joked about the books being written about your administration. Have you read any of them?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not?
BUSH: You know, I don’t know. I haven’t read the bad ones. I haven’t read the good ones. I guess it makes me — It’s kinda weird to be reading books about yourself when you’re still trying to be the President. I really haven’t.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you explain, though, how Bob Woodward, who has written three books –
BUSH: I didn’t read the book.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know. But he’s written three books about your presidency –
BUSH: I didn’t read any of them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: None of them?
BUSH: George, I have not read one book about me. I read a lot of books this year. But not one about myself. You know, I just — I feel uncomfortable reading about myself. It’s — it’s hard for you to relate, I think. But my — I’m still in the midst of my presidency. And people are writing books about my presidency. It is so myopic in many ways. The true history of my presidency won’t be reflected until way after I’m gone.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t think there’s anything you could learn from these books in real-time?
The three Woodward books have featured a checklist of key White House and Pentagon officials and former defense secretaries, vice-presidents, international leaders, even Bush's own key staff, all speaking openly and honestly about the mistakes they have witnessed and the things that can, or could have, been done to limit the hurricanes of violence that sweep through cities across Iraq.
Bush may claim to have never read the books, but he would have been briefed on the meat of them, so he knows exactly what the journalists know about the same subject. The White House actively promoted the first two Woodward books, openly, only clamping up when it came to the current volume. 'State Of Denial' does indeed show Bush charging through Iraq War policy, shouting 'Stay The Course' while dissent and despair consumes those around him.
This is the White House in meltodwn mode, crumbling under the weight of the war, the dead, the revolt of the generals in April this year and the appalling public spectacle of the failure of the democratically elected Iraqi government to slow, let alone stop, the daily carnage.
Woodward's trilogy reveals a shocking timeline of bad choices, ignored advice, forgotten intelligence briefings, stark warnings of growing chaos and bull-headed refusals to change overall strategy, or policy.
And Bush isn't interested enough to want to find out for himself what everyone has been too afraid to tell him? The incuriosity alone is worthy of condemnation.
The rest of Bush's presidency is going to be something of a horror show. They told him to shout "Stay The Course" and he did it, tirelessly, but now Bush has abandoned his war mantra for something fresh and more flexible.
The 'Stay The Course' policy is dead. Bush even tried to deny he had ever been 'Stay The Course' to howls of laughter from anyone with a memory.
Everything (except Bush's refusal to accept reality as it is) is about to change for the White House, and Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon.
Bush will soon find himself being told that the United States has been unnoffically negotiating, for months, with Sunni insurgents. Or the 'Sunni Resistance', which will become their common media name soon enough.
Anyone fighting the US occupation of Iraq was, once, simply a terrorist. Now the forces opposed to America have been divied up, categorised, brand-named. You've got the Sunni insurgents, the terrorists, the Ba-athists, the Saddam holdouts, the foreign fighters, plus additional new names being added by White House and Pentagon officials every week.
President Bush will actually have to front television cameras and acknowledge that while the Sunni "resistance" has been killing Americans, they are not trying to ferment civil war, and that they may be negotiated with to end some of the violence.
Then again, when Bush can turn around claim (with a smirk) "We've never been 'Stay The Course'," he could probably get away with denying comprehensively that the US is negotiating with terrorists.
President Bush is also likely to find himself without Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the new year. Rumsfeld will wait until after the November mid-term US elections are over with before he announces his departure. He will not be quitting of course, and will not be forced out. He will instead choose to leave to become an humanitarian, or something.
The Democrats are poised to seize control of most of the power in Washington in just a few weeks, and President Bush is now likely to spend the next two a bit years of his presidency backing down from many of his most powerful stands, and statements.
While Bush has been busy with Iraq, China and Russia have been busy cutting deals and firming up alliances all over the world, including the Middle East.
Russia will not allow either the US or Israel to attack Iran, and now demands the US choose diplomacy instead of aggression, every time Bush says "We will not tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapons".
China, meanwhile, is saying virtually the same as Russia, but about North Korea. China will not tolerate an attack or invasion of North Korea by the United States.
Four and a half years after President Bush declared North Korea, Iran and Iraq to be "an Axis of Evil", North Korea now has some nuclear weapons, Iran will get them if Russia thinks they should, and Iraq is about to be ceded to Iran's Shiites. Rumsfeld's recent mumblings about Iraq having to take control of their own security all but sealed the handover deal.
If he had read even one or two of the books written about his presidency in the past two years, of course, Bush would already know all these things.
"The true history of my presidency won't be reflected until way after I'm gone."
What a bizarre thing to say, to even think. What is the "true history" of the Bush presidency that won't be revealed until "way after I'm gone."?
So are we not seeing the "true history" of the Bush presidency unfolding every day? Doesn't he help write that history with every choice he makes between dawn and dusk?
Perhaps he's talking about his presidency of lies, deceptions, smirking denials and the shredding of his own country's constitution. Could that be the "true presidency" he's talking about?
If Bush had bothered to read one or two of the bestselling books about himself, Bush would already know that the "true presidency" has been exposed.