"A Decision Happened"
George Packer reviews W.'s memoir:
The steady drip of ... elisions and falsifications suggests a deeper necessity than the ordinary touch-ups of personal history. Bush has no tolerance for ambiguity; he can’t revere his father and, on occasion, want to defy him, or lose charge of his White House for a minute, or allow himself to wonder if Iraq might ultimately fail. The structure of “Decision Points,” with each chapter centered on a key issuestem-cell research, interrogation and wiretapping, the invasion of Iraq, the fight against AIDS in Africa, the surge, the “freedom agenda,” the financial crisisreveals the essential qualities of the Decider. There are hardly any decision points at all. The path to each decision is so short and irresistible, more like an electric pulse than like a weighing of options, that the reader is hard-pressed to explain what happened. Suddenly, it’s over, and there’s no looking back. The decision to go to war “was an accretion,” Richard Haass, the director of policy-planning at the State Department until the invasion of Iraq, told me. “A decision was not madea decision happened, and you can’t say when or how.”