A few things for Bush to get off his chest

A FEW THINGS FOR BUSH TO GET OFF HIS CHEST…. I’d be surprised if former President George W. Bush’s new book sold especially well — aside from a few far-right fanboys, I’m not even sure who the intended audience is — but that’s not to say it will be devoid of interesting tidbits.

Revelations have been dribbling out in recent days — we learned earlier in the week that Bush considered dropping Cheney from the ticket in ’04, for example — and today we learned that he admits to having ordered torture.

Human rights experts have long pressed the administration of former president George W. Bush for details of who bore ultimate responsibility for approving the simulated drownings of CIA detainees, a practice that many international legal experts say was illicit torture.

In a memoir due out Tuesday, Bush makes clear that he personally approved the use of that coercive technique against alleged Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an admission the human rights experts say could one day have legal consequences for him.

The Bush administration’s use of torture isn’t exactly new, but I don’t recall the president boasting previously about his direct role in the crime.

Bush also told NBC’s Matt Lauer yesterday that the “all-time low” of his presidency was when rapper Kanye West said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on live television.

At the risk of sounding picky, I find that to be truly astounding. Looking back at the tragedy of Bush’s presidency, I would have thought 9/11 represented an “all-time low,” or perhaps Katrina, or the start of the wars, or the collapse of the global financial system. But instead it was a mean comment from an entertainer the president doesn’t even know?

Pressed on this point by Lauer, Bush responded, “No — that — and I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well.”

So, the effect of the Katrina devastation was on par with Kanye West’s slight?

What an odd man.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.