Decision Points! Looking Back At The Bush Years

November 5, 2010 5:23 a.m.

On Nov. 9, 2010, former President George W. Bush will release his memoirs, called Decision Points. Bush has said he intends the book not to be a comprehensive review of his eight years in office, but rather, the most important “decision points” he made, from his own perspective. A few insights — notably, that he personally gave the order to waterboard the 9/11 mastermind and that he considers himself a “dissenting voice” on the Iraq War — have already been released. So, for the occasion, we put together a brief and, like the memoir itself, completely non-comprehensive, slideshow of the Bush years.

Bush has re-emerged from near hiding as his book’s release date nears. On Oct. 31, he threw out the first pitch of Game Three of the World Series, with his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

Max Faulkner/MCT/Newscom

In May 2003, three years after invading Iraq, Bush flew to the Gulf to address troops from the deck of an aircraft carrier. Despite the “Mission Accomplished” banner, the war dragged on throughout is presidency, and American troops remain on the ground to this day.


On the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. In an interview about his new book, Bush said he still feels he made the right choice going into Iraq — but said he considers himself a dissenter on the decision to go to war.


Bush delivered his last State of the Union address in 2008, beginning, “Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could have imagined.”

Chuck Kennedy/MCT/Newscom

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 single-handedly shaped the Bush presidency. Bush’s response — the war in Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, the interrogation and torture of suspected terrorists, Guantanamo Bay, wiretapping — became among the most divisive issues of the decade.


In an image that came to symbolize Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina, he surveys the damage from the window of Air Force One after the levees broke.

White House photo by Paul Morse

Bush and First Lady Laura Bush board the plane, no longer Air Force One, that will take them out of D.C. on the day of President Obama’s inauguration.

Tech Sgt. Craig Clapper, USAF (via wikimedia)

Bush danced with Ricky Martin during his own inauguration festivities in 2001.


During an Oval Office address.

Ricardo Watson /Newscom

A young George W. Bush in his Air National Guard uniform.


Known as a bit of a comedian, Bush mugged for the camera after trying to make a quick exit through a locked door at a Beijing press conference.


Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, a law which relied heavily on standardized tests as a means of gauging a school’s performance.



Bush welcomed Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to the White House in January 2002, a few months after declaring the War on Terror.

w85/ZUMA Press/Newscom

During a malaria awareness event at the White House, Bush joined a West African dance company. Video here.

Roger L. Wollenburg/UPI/Newscom

Bush with Vice President Dick Cheney on their inauguration day in 2001.

Tom Reel/San Antonio Express/ZUMA Press/Newscom

After President Obama took office, Bush took part in a photo op with all living former presidents, including the elder Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.


Bush with his family. Bush has said part of his book is focused on his personal life, including meeting his wife, raising his daughters and his decision to quit drinking at age 40, which opens the book.


Although born in Connecticut, much of Bush’s persona was framed around his life in Texas. Here, he’s seen clearing brush at his ranch in Crawford.

Eric Draper/Newscom

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