Craig Unger's "The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America’s Future"

Craig Unger's "The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America’s Future"

Author: 
Craig Unger

Unger, based on time spent undercover with Tim LaHaye (co-author, Left Behind series) and his followers, describes the political machinations of LaHaye and other powerful fundamentalist and/or evangelical leaders, and its effect on US policy and the Bush administration.

Book Excerpt: 
It was a cool, crisp day in the spring of 2004 -- a rarity for Houston -- and George H.W. Bush chatted with a friend in his office suite on Memorial Drive. Tall and trim, his hair graying but by no means white, the former president was a few weeks shy of his eightieth birthday -- it would take place on June 12, to be exact -- and he was racing toward that milestone with the vigor of a man thirty years younger. In addition to golf, tennis, horseshoes, and his beloved Houston Astros, Bush's near-term calendar was filled with dates for fishing for Coho salmon in Newfoundland, crossing the Rockies by train, and trout fishing in the River Test in Hampshire, England. He still prowled the corridors of power from London to Beijing. He still lectured all over the world. And, as if that weren't enough, he was planning to commemorate his eightieth with a star-studded two-day extravaganza, culminating with him skydiving from thirteen thousand feet over his presidential library in College Station, Texas. All the celebratory fervor, however, could not mask one dark cloud on the horizon. The presidency of his son, George W. Bush, was imperiled. One way of examining the growing crisis could be found in the prism of the elder Bush's relationship with his son, a relationship fraught with ancient conflicts, ideological differences, and their profound failure to communicate with each other. On many levels, the two men were polar opposites with completely different belief systems. An old-line Episcopalian, Bush 41 had forged an alliance with Christian evangelicals during the 1988 presidential campaign because it was vital to winning the White House. But the truth was that real evangelicals had always regarded him with suspicion -- and he had returned the sentiment. But Bush 43 was different. A genuine born-again Christian himself, he had given hundreds of evangelicals key positions in the White House, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, and various federal agencies. How had it come to pass that after four generations of Bushes at Yale, the family name now meant that progress, science, and evolution were out and stopping embryonic stem cell research was in? Why was his son turning back the hands of time to the days when Creationism held sway? But this was nothing compared to the Iraq War and the men behind it. George H.W. Bush was a genial man with few bitter enemies, but his son had managed to appoint, as secretary of defense no less, one of the very few who fit the bill -- Donald Rumsfeld. Once Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney took office, the latter supposedly a loyal friend, they had brought in one neoconservative policy maker after another to the Pentagon, the vice president's office, and the National Security Council. In some cases, these were the same men who had battled the elder Bush when he was head of the CIA in 1976. These were the same men who fought him when he decided not to take down Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War. Their goal in life seemed to be to dismantle his legacy. Which was exactly what was happening -- with his son playing the starring role. A year earlier, President George W. Bush, clad in fighter-pilot regalia, strode triumphantly across the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, a "Mission Accomplished" banner at his back -- the Iraq War presumably won. But the giddy triumphalism of Operation Shock and Awe had quickly faded. America had failed to form a stable Iraqi government. With Baghdad out of control, sectarian violence was on the rise. U.S. soldiers were becoming occupiers rather than liberators. Coalition forces were torturing prisoners. As for Saddam's vast stash of weapons of mass destruction -- the stated reason for the invasion -- none had been found.
Year of Publication: 
Mon, 2007-01-01
City of Publication: 
New York
Book Publisher: 
Scribner