Friday 23 August 2019

Bush Snr says Cheney and Rumsfeld harmed US

George Bush Snr
George Bush Snr

Rachael Alexander in Washington

Ex-US President George HW Bush has published some withering criticisms of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, key members of his son's administration, over their reaction to the 9/11 attacks, in a new biography of the 41st president.

In 'Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush', author Jon Meacham quotes Mr Bush as saying that Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld were too hawkish and that their harsh stance damaged the reputation of the US.

Speaking of Mr Cheney, who was vice president under President George W Bush, Mr Bush Snr said: "I don't know, he just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with," according to the report. Mr Cheney served as defence secretary during George HW Bush's 1989-1993 presidency.

"The reaction (to 9/11), what to do about the Middle East. Just iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East," Mr Bush said in the book, which will be published next week.

Mr Bush believes Mr Cheney acted too independently of his son by creating a national security team in his own office, and may have been influenced to become more conservative by his wife and daughter, Lynne and Liz Cheney, the report cites the biography as saying.

On Mr Rumsfeld, secretary of defence for most of the two terms served by his son, Mr Bush is even more withering.

He is quoted as saying: "I don't like what he did, and I think it hurt the President," referring to his son George W. "I've never been that close to him anyway. There's a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He's more kick ass and take names, take numbers.

"I think he paid a price for that. Rumsfeld was an arrogant fellow," he said.

Fox News quoted Mr Cheney as denying that his family had influenced his views, saying: "It's his view, perhaps, of what happened, but my family was not conspiring to somehow turn me into a tougher, more hardnosed individual. I got there all by myself."

Mr Rumsfeld declined to comment on the book.

Irish Independent

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