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Wartime Legacies: The Memoirs of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld[message #301443] Sat, 10 March 2012 01:19

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Wartime Legacies: The Memoirs of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld
by Caleb S. Cage

Journal Article | March 8, 2012 - 5:06am

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Editor's Notes: I look forward to readers' comments on this review. How do you think the Bush Administration's legacy will be viewed in a decade or two? Will history judge them less harshly with time? Will these wars been seen as an epochal turning point? For better or for worse?

Books Reviewed

Decision Points, by George W. Bush (Crown, 2010)

In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, by Dick Cheney (Threshold Editions, 2011)

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington, by Condoleezza Rice (Crown, 2011)

Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld (Sentinel, 2011)

It is the job of historians to examine facts and offer an interpretation within and beyond the current context of previous historians, allowing the readership to decide which arguments offer the most convincing case. It is the job of the memoirist to present the facts of their own history as they remember them, often with allowance given by their readership for any embellishment or interpretations of events that may not reflect the collective memory. The Washington-insider memoir combines elements of each, allowing authors to offer their personal recollections in ways meant to shape the interpretation of world events, and the audience a chance to see which side they are on. After eight years, two difficult wars, and a nation divided to arguably an unprecedented degree, few Washington-insider memoirs were more anticipated than those of the primary members of the National Security Council during all or most of that time.

When President George W. Bush took office in January of 2001, he was lauded for the team that he brought in with him. His Vice President, Dick Cheney, had been the Chief of Staff to Gerald Ford, a U.S. Congressman, the Secretary of Defense, and perhaps most infamously, the chairman of his Vice Presidential Selection Committee. The appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense made him the oldest and the youngest person to have ever held that important position, in addition to his service as a U.S. Congressman and director of several national initiatives. Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and others rounded out the prestigious and impressive team that took over during that inauguration. By September of the same year, the world that they had inherited had turned upside down. It had become clear that George W. Bush was a wartime president.

By 2004, the impressive roster of advisors and cabinet members had positioned themselves to best handle the hard decisions, draw battle lines, and emerge as leaders in the president
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