What really interests George Bush

So this is how interested Bush was in the Iraq Study Group report:

[Lawrence] Eagleburger said…that when the group met with Bush, “I don’t recall, seriously, that he asked any questions.”

The Iraq Study Group people shouldn’t take it personally, however. Bush apparently has never had any interest in Iraq. Here’s a passage from Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn:

On the afternoon of July 28 [2003], Tenet told [David] Kay he should sit in on the CIA’s daily morning briefing of the president the next day…

In the room with Bush were Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Tenet, Rice, Card and other aides…[Kay] couldn’t avoid the bottom line: He had found nothing. As for the trailers, he said they were probably not bioweapons labs, as the CIA had claimed.

Kay discerned no disappointment coming from Bush…the president seemed disengaged. “I’m not sure I’ve spoken to anyone at that level who seemed less inquisitive,” Kay recalled. “He was interested but not posing any pressing questions.” Bush didn’t ask, Are you sure? He didn’t ask about the prospects of finding actual weapons. Or whether WMD had been hidden or spirited away.

It’s tempting to joke that Bush acts like this because there are no stupid questions, and thus he feels he shouldn’t ask any. But to be fair, there’s at least one subject that Bush really IS curious about:

Der Spiegel: With all your access to high-level sources, have you come across anyone who still thinks it is a good idea for the US to torture people?

Suskind: No. Most of the folks involved say that we made mistakes at the start. The president wants to keep all options open because he never wants his hands tied in any fashion…

Der Spiegel: So the average interrogator at a Black Site understands more about the mistakes made than the president?

Suskind: The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators.


He was interested in a very specific, granular way all the time. He was constantly asking folks inside of CIA, ‘What’s happening with interrogations? Are these techniques working? Can we trust what we get?’ The president … is involved — some people say too involved — in the granular day-to-day grit of this war on terror.”

Not only is the president of the United States an eight year-old, he’s an unpleasant eight year-old, the kind you’d want the guidance counselors to keep an eye on.