George W. Bush's last-ditch attempt to burnish his legacy





Introspection has never been President Bush's strong suit. "I really do not feel comfortable in the role of analyzing myself," he told Robert Draper in 2007. "I'll try. But I don't spend a lot of time."

As his second term wanes, however, Bush is getting in touch with his inner president. At an event Thursday hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Bush promised to "share some thoughts about the presidency—you could call it 'reflections by a guy who's headed out of town.' " He has also revisited the ups and downs of his own presidency this month in interviews with ABC and CNN and in speeches at the U.S. Army War College, Texas A&M, and West Point. If journalism is the first rough draft of history, Bush is marking it up with a big red pen.

The tour is going well so far, give or take a shoe. At the Baghdad press conference, he was able to hail the new status of forces agreement between the United States and Iraq as the twilight of the old era and the dawning of a new one. At the U.S. Army War College, he actually listed his foreign-policy accomplishments, including "a vastly upgraded network of homeland defenses," "a revamped intelligence community," and "a strong coalition of more than 90 nations—composing almost half the world—who have committed to combating terror." At West Point, he told a seamless story about how 9/11 led us to invade Afghanistan and then, logically, Iraq. "[W]e offered Saddam Hussein a final chance to peacefully resolve the issue," Bush said. "And when he refused, we acted with a coalition of nations to protect our people—and liberated 25 million Iraqis." Why wait for the memoir? It's all here.


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