Two years before 9/11, Presidential candidate George W. Bush was already privately talking about invading Iraq. Mickey Herskowitz, a long-time Bush family friend who worked with the candidate as a ghostwriter on his memoir, claimed Bush was obsessed with the notion and was simply just looking for justification to do so. Less than a year into his presidency, the warmongering Bush Administration was given the perfect rationale for waging a war: combating terrorism.
Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Bush saw himself surging to historical highs in the polls. His cabal of advisors saw the opportunity to cement their place in American history by starting a war under the guise of protecting the American people against terrorists. However, Bush shifted his focus from al Qaeda, terrorist group and sole perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks, to Iraq and a ruthless dictator who had no connection to 9/11. Even though 15 of the highjackers were from Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden, mastermind of 9/11 and leader of al Qaeda, was hiding in Afghanistan, Bush chose to invade Iraq.
In his unfinished authorized memoir of the President, Mickey Herskowitz touched upon the psycho-social reasons relating to Bush’s decision to invade Iraq: a long-standing father and son competition based on feelings of jealousy and inadequacy. Herskowitz stated that Bush felt his father wasted all of his political capital he acquired during the Gulf War. George W. Bush was quoted saying “If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I am going to have a successful presidency.” In invading Iraq, Bush saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow and no longer be seen as the perpetual underachiever who consistently failed under the watchful eye of his accomplished father. He had the chance to finish what he feels his father was unable to finish. And he could finally have the opportunity to achieve something his father was unsuccessful in achieving…a two-term presidency.
History has proved that war-time presidents gain immense political capital. And war-time presidents tend to have high approval ratings because when fighting an enemy, the country rallies around the flag and their Commander-in-Chief. But most importantly, war-time presidents get re-elected. According to Herskowitz, Bush accepted the view that without a military “win” under his belt no president could be considered truly successful. Bush knew what it took to get re-elected, but the stupidity was not to comprehend the repercussions of his own actions.