The Bush White House, an Oral History

How a group of people could vivisect a perfectly workable democracy and achieve the completion of what the people who hate us could only dream about doing.

From the people who did it.

Vanity Fair’s Oral History of the White House.

Rick Piltz, senior associate, U.S. Climate Change Science Program: …The turning point, essentially, was that Cheney grabbed hold of this issue and took down the whole notion of regulating CO2.

Dan Bartlett, White House communications director and later counselor to the president: The repercussions of that decision [to kill amnesty for illegal immigrants] by our party are going to be felt for decades. As I sit here in Austin, I see the demographic changes that are happening in our state—in less than 20 years, Hispanics are going to be a majority of the population. And we are on the wrong side of that issue. It’s that simple.

Alberto Mora, navy general counsel: I will tell you this: I will tell you that General Anthony Taguba, who investigated Abu Ghraib, feels now that the proximate cause of Abu Ghraib were the O.L.C. memoranda that authorized abusive treatment. And I will also tell you that there are general-rank officers who’ve had senior responsibility within the Joint Staff or counterterrorism operations who believe that the number-one and number-two leading causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq have been, number one, Abu Ghraib, number two, Guantánamo, [emphasis mine] because of the effectiveness of these symbols in helping recruit jihadists into the field and combat against American soldiers.

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