It’s not every day that one has the oppor­tu­nity to get a sneak peek at an unau­tho­rized auto­bi­og­ra­phy, so when I was given the chance to do so a few weeks ago I decided to act.

I’m very glad I did.

Destined for Destiny, the tome in ques­tion, pur­ports to have been writ­ten by none other than George W. Bush, with some help from Scott Dikkers and Peter Hilleren (though, since the text is an auto­bi­og­ra­phy, one must assume their efforts were lim­ited to the editorial).

I can only pre­sume that this work of unau­tho­rized self-​​chronicling is authentic.

The prose reads so clearly like the words of Mr. Bush that it can­not — can­not, I say — pos­si­bly have come from any other source. Consider, for instance, the absolutely flaw­less Bushian logic ren­dered in the fol­low­ing can­did excerpt, wherein the Commander-​​in-​​Chief dis­cusses the strug­gle he did not under­take with the alco­holism from which he does not suffer:

The first and most impor­tant thing I real­ized about my lack of a drink­ing prob­lem was that I did not need any help. Alcoholism is a seri­ous dis­ease, I have learned, and it requires seri­ous treat­ment. There was no doubt in my mind that I did not need such treat­ment, since I did not have the disease.

I knew that I must not only forgo treat­ment, but I had to look past any of the root causes. And one thing was cer­tain: I did not have to face the var­i­ous inner demons that I was not keep­ing at bay through an occa­sional drink.1

O, Muse! Would that thou couldst grace me with such a sil­ver tongue. (Or, in this case, set of fin­gers, I sup­pose.) It is abun­dantly clear from the above that this is the authen­tic voice of George W. Bush speak­ing to us, through authen­tic pages authen­ti­cally authored by his august and authen­tic person.

We learn that the CinC’s great value of his­tory was laid early, as far back as his col­lege days, lead­ing cheers on the grid­iron of Yale — and that his abil­ity to dis­cern what is impor­tant and what is merely a kind of social foot­note* was obtained at that time as well.

There was some­thing in the air in those tur­bu­lent times. It was a time of great tur­bu­lence. What par­tic­u­lar event moved me to cheer­lead for the cause, I can­not say. […] Perhaps it was a stu­dent body whose increas­ing indif­fer­ence was evi­denced by lower and lower atten­dance at the games. In their youth­ful com­pla­cency, they favored book-​​reading and study­ing over the impor­tant and time­less strug­gles tak­ing place on the grid­iron.2

As we can clearly see from this pas­sage, Mr. Bush’s mind was remark­ably clear even in his col­lege years, let­ting us see the kind of man he would even­tu­ally become.

With remark­able can­dor, Mr. Bush walks us through the mile­stones of his life, such as the coura­geous and self­less way in which he led Spectrum 7 into com­plete ruin in less than two years, fol­lowed by a bril­liant fail­ure as owner of the Texas Rangers, cul­mi­nat­ing in a com­pletely suc­cess­ful near miss at a seat in the US Congress.

The most reliev­ing part of all, of course, is the utter lack of spin or care­ful pol­i­tick­ing that might be expected of a lesser book. The clar­ity and hon­esty present in this text is fre­quently on open dis­play in pas­sages such as the fol­low­ing, which lit­er­ally brought tears to my eyes even as it made me shud­der with deep, unname­able emotions:

History is writ­ten by the his­tor­i­cal writ­ers. And at present, I am writ­ing the his­tory. The his­tor­i­cal crit­i­cal­iz­ers can write their crit­i­cal his­tor­i­cal writ­ings, but I sus­pect that they will be dry and bor­ing, full of dates, names, and facts. My his­tory, by con­trast, will cap­ti­vate the dis­cern­ing and patri­otic reader.3

Yes, indeed, Mr. Bush — just as Carl Rove has the math, you surely have the history.

But I think the great­est value that Destined for Destiny brings to us, the dis­cern­ing patri­otic read­er­ship, is the rare insight into the mind of a sit­ting war pres­i­dent while that pres­i­dent is still in office — at the same time not com­pro­mis­ing any mat­ters of national secu­rity, for if the ter­ror­ists were to get hold of and peruse this ous­tand­ing work of hon­esty, they would find it utterly empty of action­able sub­stance despite its com­plete expo­si­tion of the president’s inner­most men­tal imaginings.

Instead, there are only pithy and intro­spec­tive caveats such as the following.

Criticism of the Commander in Chief is the great­est secu­rity threat we face in the 21st cen­tury. This is one of the vital lessons we learned after 9–11. Such open ques­tions brought com­fort to our ene­mies abroad, who hate us and want to destroy our demo­c­ra­tic val­ues. When they see us liv­ing accord­ing to those val­ues, it brings them com­fort. And we must not com­fort them. We must agi­tate them like one agi­tates a hor­nets’ nest. You must whack the hive with a stick. Bash it and keep bash­ing it. But what­ever you do, do not let the hor­nets see you exer­cis­ing your free­dom. Then they will really come after you.4

I whole­heart­edly rec­om­mend Destined for Destiny; I find myself baf­fled that it has not yet been dis­cov­ered by lumi­nar­ies such as Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. Not even the great Stephen Colbert has men­tioned it, to my knowl­edge, which is tragic; I’m sure he would love, as I do, the insights this excel­lent unau­tho­rized auto­bi­og­ra­phy has in store.

Still waters may, as they say, run deep; but in this text there is lit­tle evi­dence of still­ness to be found.

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1. Destined for Destiny, p. 75

2. Ibid., p. 35

3. Ibid., p. 47

4. Ibid., p. 151

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