What's the relationship between the newly opened George W. Bush Presidential Library and ... the truth? Here are a couple more clues:
1. The "library," like most recent monuments to past presidents, is more of a museum, or even, arguably, a public-relations showroom. Note the prominently placed hunk of twisted, melted steel girder from the 9/11 terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Center. It takes over the place but if anything ought to remind us of a major failure on the part of the Bush administration. Instead it's meant to be a place marker for another meme, altogether, namely, that Bush "protected America." After the girder melted down, of course.
2. Executive Order 13233, signed by Bush on November 1, 2001, utterly contradicts the outwardly stated purpose of the library. After taking office, Bush's staff kept issuing orders delaying release of former presidential records -- most noticeably those belonging to Ronald Reagan -- that were due to go public upon Bush's inauguration. But after the better part of a year of stalling, Bush instead issued the executive order, which withheld those records from the public view, potentially forever. Until the order was contravened by another order from President Barack Obama, Bush's directive had the effect of:
... limiting the access to the records of former U.S. Presidents:Bush's action contravened two congressional enactments from the 1970s in wake of secret illegal activities perpetrated by the Nixon White House, often referred to as the Watergate scandal. It was all about keeping information on White House and presidential operations secret from the American people, rather than informing them.
...reflecting military, diplomatic, or national security secrets, Presidential communications, legal advice, legal work, or the deliberative processes of the President and the President's advisers, and to do so in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court's decisions in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425 (1977), and other cases... .
Reagan's own unreleased inner White House records might have contained prevously unreleased information relating to his own scandal, the Iran-Contra affair, in which the Reagan administration secretly provided arms to revolutionary Iran against the intent of Congress while funding Nicaraguan rebels, also banned by Congress. Maybe, for that reason, those records had to be tucked away as long as possible, at least in the minds of some Republicans.
Yet, here's Bush, celebrating his new "library," which supposedly will tell citizens all we need to know about what really went on in the White House under his watch, and how it all went down. Right. Work very hard to keep past presidential documents officially secret, then expect us to believe your library will show us the truth. Except, we already know why history hasn't been kind and likely won't be kind to Bush. Even just based on the records we've already seen.
From hearings and leaks and material already released, we already know that the rationale for the Iraq war was based on bogus evidence. that Bush operatives lost track of billions of dollars in money intended for rebuiding Iraq, that we were there for the oil, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 nor had what the Bushies insisted were weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. All while turning the USA itself into an authoritarian surveillance state that stomps on the Bill of Rights. And much more, of course.
So, no, it's unlikely the Bush Lie-berry will help him rehabilitate his stature among future breeds of historians, as he has suggested. Rather, the edifice to obfuscation more likely will end up becoming yet another exercise in Bush excess, a backwater relic, visited by clueless true believers and, possibly, a few people who may mistake it for a comedy club.