George W. Bush’s presidency was ripe with turning points, starting with the deadliest terror attacks in US history and ending with a severe financial crisis. His two terms included some other gruesome moments, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as warrantless mass surveillance and the institutionalised torture of prisoners.
George W. Bush paints a picture of the 43rd president who relied on a dubious sense of ”destiny” rather than on intelligence when deciding whether to go to war.
The four-hour documentary – a fresh installment of American Experience, a history series, aired in two parts on PBS on Monday and Tuesday. It features accounts by top members of the Bush camp such as his chiefs of staff, press secretaries, advisers and speech writers.
In the aftermath of 9/11
According to Mike Morell, the president’s daily intelligence briefer, Bush felt guilty for letting the 9/11 attacks happen.
“He told me his No. 1 job was to protect the American people, and he told me he failed on 9/11 and he could not let that happen again,” he says in the documentary.
George W. Bush accused then-al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden of orchestrating the attacks and demanded that Afghanistan, where he was supposedly living or hiding, hand him over to the United States.
The Taliban, Afghanistan’s Islamist rulers at the time, expressed a willingness to turn bin Laden over if evidence could be provided that…