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From king klutz to superwarrior: The transformation of George W Bush
Trevor Royle, SundayHerald.com, March 9, 2003
He may have seemed a joke in the early days of his presidency ... but no one is laughing now. Trevor Royle profiles a man born into politics, moulded by oil money, family values and old-time religion, traumatised by the tragedy of the Twin Towers ... and poised to lead a reluctant world into war
War is on George Walker Bush's mind. The Security Council is still prevaricating and its members are playing for the best position but, even if they do not come down on the side of attacking Iraq, the US president is already running ahead of the game.
A vote may or may not be passed this week authorising action, vetoes might be avoided but, with or without them, Bush and his national security team are thinking ahead to the moment when the guns fire and the missiles start falling prior to the fall of Saddam -- 'the man who tried to kill my daddy'. This is the next redoubt for a leader who has made up his mind and is waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with him.
Few who saw him accept the presidency on a snow-swept day in January 2001 ever thought that young Dubya would step up from being an insipid interloper to a world leader, about to embark on adventures that will change the shape of the world. ...
... The jury is still out on whether or not Bush is a blockhead -- he seems to possess a sly, animal intelligence -- but one thing cannot be denied or rewritten. It was money that got Dubya into the Oval Office. Here was a rich kid living off his father's reputation, a guy who had been handed everything because it had been bought for him, a thin-skinned semi-failure with a tendency to reinvent his own life history, an oil baron wheeler-dealer whose money came from dubious sources, yet this bluff Texas cowpoke with a penchant for homely maxims suddenly found himself occupying the world's most powerful position .
As he stands on the brink of plunging the Middle East into turmoil or, if you prefer, of leading the next stage of his crusade against terrorism, Dubya is that curious amalgam of modern times -- a man who came from nowhere going somewhere, a latter-day Peter the Hermit blessed or cursed with big bucks, who has been permitted to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. His election was as shabby an example of power exercised without responsibility as could be found in Richard J Daley's Chicago during the heyday of boss politics. Here was Tammany Hall meeting Midland, Texas. [...]