Dave Lester's Reviews > Decision Points

Decision Points by George W. Bush
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Apr 24, 2015

it was ok
bookshelves: biographies, politics-current-affairs, social-commentary

How one thinks of "Decision Points" might well depend on their political leanings. I was not a huge fan of George W Bush. I opposed the war in Iraq, I think the No Child Left Behind education reform is a disaster, and Bush did nothing to hinder the financial crisis.

These issues, in my opinion, are the weakest parts of the book. He discusses "No Child Left Behind" as a celebratory, bi-partisan education reform passed with Ted Kennedy. He does not mention the myriads of teachers who do not like this reform and a growing chorus of people who want the legislation repealed.

His commentary on Iraq was also not satisfactory and one can see that he left a lot of facts about the buildup of this war (or even some of his thoughts regarding it) on the cutting room floor. He continually advocates that he received bad intelligence and highlights that the reports that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was collaborated by other countries. He said he felt "sick to his stomach" when no WMDs were found but justifies the Iraq war by the conquest of getting rid of an evil dictator.

Finally, he comments that the financial crisis he simply did not see coming. I really find this hard to believe. Overleveraged banks. Home costs skyrocketing to the point that normal, average American families wouldn't be able to pay for them? Maybe hindsight is a little 20/20 but the president should, theoritically have top economic advisors around him.

All of that being said, there are some strengths of the book. I admire Bush's strong pro-life stance and he discusses stem cell research in this book. I also found his journey of faith very moving as he went from being an alcoholic (his wife challenged him) to becoming a believer who would not touch alcohol again. Those parts of the book are worth reading on their own.

History will probably not judge W very well. I would say this book is worth a read because these are his comments on his own record. Of course, historians will sort out the rest.
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