Former President George W. Bush speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program and the George W. Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative national summit, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. The summit focuses on creating employment opportunities for post-9/11 veterans and military families. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Presidential Biographer Jean Edward Smith Gets Basic Facts Wrong About George W. Bush

Jean Edward Smith, a presidential biographer, has turned to the Bush Administration. In doing so, he relies mostly on others’ reporting and writings and, as Will Inboden notes, gets basic facts wrong about George W. Bush.

According to Smith, in a January 2003 phone call between Bush and Frech President Jacques Chirac, during which Bush urged the French president to support a United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq, Bush allegedly told his counterpart, “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East. Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase His people’s enemies before a new age begins” (339). Smith then goes on at some length describing the obscure Old and New Testament prophecies concerning Gog and Magog (complex passages about which biblical scholars differ upon the meanings) and asserts, “biblical writings were determining Bush’s decision about war in the Middle East.” Moreover, in Smith’s account, this alleged presidential application of biblical prophecies to Iraq had a tremendous consequence in that it caused Chirac to decide to oppose the war: “Bush’s religious certitude and his invocation of Gog and Magog scuttled the possibility of French support for military action” (339).

The conversation is utterly and completely false. Bush never said these words to Chirac or anything of the sort to any other world leader. I have checked with multiple senior people with firsthand knowledge of the call Bush had with Chirac, and all confirmed that Bush never said anything remotely resembling those words.

This is another example of a historian being driven by “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” Smith believes nonsense as fact and does little to actually research its veracity because it is just too good to be true.

Sadly, Smith’s book is getting positive reviews despite being poorly sourced and riddled with falsehoods. Perhaps a century from now, when all the present lefties have died out, Bush will get a fair hearing. But he does not from Jean Edward Smith.

Hat tip to The Transom for a link to Will Inboden’s review of the book.

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Erick Erickson

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