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Is President Bush Sane?

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    Has He Started Talking to the Walls? By Frank Rich http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15803.htm 12/04/06 New York Times --- - IT turns out we ve
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2006
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      Has He Started Talking to the Walls?
      By Frank Rich
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15803.htm


      12/04/06 "New York Times" --- - IT turns out we've been reading the
      wrong Bob Woodward book to understand what's going on with President
      Bush. The text we should be consulting instead is "The Final Days,"
      the Woodward-Bernstein account of Richard Nixon talking to the
      portraits on the White House walls while Watergate demolished his
      presidency. As Mr. Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to
      Jordan in recent weeks, we've witnessed the troubling behavior of a
      president who isn't merely in a state of denial but is completely
      untethered from reality. It's not that he can't handle the truth about
      Iraq. He doesn't know what the truth is.

      The most startling example was his insistence that Al Qaeda is
      primarily responsible for the country's spiraling violence. Only a
      week before Mr. Bush said this, the American military spokesman on the
      scene, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, called Al Qaeda "extremely
      disorganized" in Iraq, adding that "I would question at this point how
      effective they are at all at the state level." Military intelligence
      estimates that Al Qaeda makes up only 2 percent to 3 percent of the
      enemy forces in Iraq, according to Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News. The
      bottom line: America has a commander in chief who can't even identify
      some 97 percent to 98 percent of the combatants in a war that has gone
      on longer than our involvement in World War II.

      But that's not the half of it. Mr. Bush relentlessly refers to Iraq's
      "unity government" though it is not unified and can only nominally
      govern. (In Henry Kissinger's accurate recent formulation, Iraq is not
      even a nation "in the historic sense.") After that pseudo-government's
      prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, brushed him off in Amman, the
      president nonetheless declared him "the right guy for Iraq" the
      morning after. This came only a day after The Times's revelation of a
      secret memo by Mr. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley,
      judging Mr. Maliki either "ignorant of what is going on" in his own
      country or disingenuous or insufficiently capable of running a
      government. Not that it matters what Mr. Hadley writes when his boss
      is impervious to facts.

      In truth the president is so out of it he wasn't even meeting with the
      right guy. No one doubts that the most powerful political leader in
      Iraq is the anti-American, pro-Hezbollah cleric Moktada al-Sadr,
      without whom Mr. Maliki would be on the scrap heap next to his
      short-lived predecessors, Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Mr.
      Sadr's militia is far more powerful than the official Iraqi army that
      we've been helping to "stand up" at hideous cost all these years. If
      we're not going to take him out, as John McCain proposed this month,
      we might as well deal with him directly rather than with Mr. Maliki,
      his puppet. But our president shows few signs of recognizing Mr.
      Sadr's existence.

      In his classic study, "The Great War and Modern Memory," Paul Fussell
      wrote of how World War I shattered and remade literature, for only a
      new language of irony could convey the trauma and waste. Under the
      auspices of Mr. Bush, the Iraq war is having a comparable, if
      different, linguistic impact: the more he loses his hold on reality,
      the more language is severed from its meaning altogether.

      When the president persists in talking about staying until "the
      mission is complete" even though there is no definable military
      mission, let alone one that can be completed, he is indulging in pure
      absurdity. The same goes for his talk of "victory," another concept
      robbed of any definition when the prime minister we are trying to prop
      up is allied with Mr. Sadr, a man who wants Americans dead and has
      many scalps to prove it. The newest hollowed-out Bush word to mask the
      endgame in Iraq is "phase," as if the increasing violence were as
      transitional as the growing pains of a surly teenager. "Phase" is
      meant to drown out all the unsettling debate about two words the
      president doesn't want to hear, "civil war."

      When news organizations, politicians and bloggers had their own civil
      war about the proper usage of that designation last week, it was
      highly instructive — but about America, not Iraq. The intensity of the
      squabble showed the corrosive effect the president's subversion of
      language has had on our larger culture. Iraq arguably passed beyond
      civil war months ago into what might more accurately be termed ethnic
      cleansing or chaos. That we were fighting over "civil war" at this
      late date was a reminder that wittingly or not, we have all taken to
      following Mr. Bush's lead in retreating from English as we once knew it.

      It's been a familiar pattern for the news media, politicians and the
      public alike in the Bush era. It took us far too long to acknowledge
      that the "abuses" at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere might be more accurately
      called torture. And that the "manipulation" of prewar intelligence
      might be more accurately called lying. Next up is "pullback," the Iraq
      Study Group's reported euphemism to stave off the word "retreat" (if
      not retreat itself).

      In the case of "civil war," it fell to a morning television anchor,
      Matt Lauer, to officially bless the term before the "Today" show moved
      on to such regular fare as an update on the Olsen twins. That
      juxtaposition of Iraq and post-pubescent eroticism was only too
      accurate a gauge of how much the word "war" itself has been drained of
      its meaning in America after years of waging a war that required no
      shared sacrifice. Whatever you want to label what's happening in Iraq,
      it has never impeded our freedom to dote on the Olsen twins.

      I have not been one to buy into the arguments that Mr. Bush is stupid
      or is the sum of his "Bushisms" or is, as feverish Internet
      speculation periodically has it, secretly drinking again. I still
      don't. But I have believed he is a cynic — that he could always
      distinguish between truth and fiction even as he and Karl Rove sold us
      their fictions. That's why, when the president said that "absolutely,
      we're winning" in Iraq before the midterms, I just figured it was more
      of the same: another expedient lie to further his partisan political ends.

      But that election has come and gone, and Mr. Bush is more isolated
      from the real world than ever. That's scary. Neither he nor his party
      has anything to gain politically by pretending that Iraq is not in
      crisis. Yet Mr. Bush clings to his delusions with a near-rage — watch
      him seethe in his press conference with Mr. Maliki — that can't be
      explained away by sheer stubbornness or misguided principles or a pat
      psychological theory. Whatever the reason, he is slipping into the
      same zone as Woodrow Wilson did when refusing to face the rejection of
      the League of Nations, as a sleepless L.B.J. did when micromanaging
      bombing missions in Vietnam, as Ronald Reagan did when checking out
      during Iran-Contra. You can understand why Jim Webb, the Virginia
      senator-elect with a son in Iraq, was tempted to slug the president at
      a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress. Mr.
      Bush asked "How's your boy?" But when Mr. Webb replied, "I'd like to
      get them out of Iraq," the president refused to so much as acknowledge
      the subject. Maybe a timely slug would have woken him up.

      Or at least sounded an alarm. Some two years ago, I wrote that Iraq
      was Vietnam on speed, a quagmire for the MTV generation. Those jump
      cuts are accelerating now. The illusion that America can control
      events on the ground is just that: an illusion. As the list of
      theoretical silver bullets for Iraq grows longer (and more
      theoretical) by the day — special envoy, embedded military advisers,
      partition, outreach to Iran and Syria, Holbrooke, international
      conference, NATO — urgent decisions have to be made by a chief
      executive who is in touch with reality (or such is the minimal job
      description). Otherwise the events in Iraq will make the Decider's
      decisions for him, as indeed they are doing already.

      The joke, history may note, is that even as Mr. Bush deludes himself
      that he is bringing "democracy" to Iraq, he is flouting democracy at
      home. American voters could not have delivered a clearer mandate on
      the war than they did on Nov. 7, but apparently elections don't
      register at the White House unless the voters dip their fingers in
      purple ink. Mr. Bush seems to think that the only decision he had to
      make was replacing Donald Rumsfeld and the mission of changing course
      would be accomplished.

      Tell that to the Americans in Anbar Province. Back in August the chief
      of intelligence for the Marines filed a secret report — uncovered by
      Thomas Ricks of The Washington Post — concluding that American troops
      "are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in
      al-Anbar." That finding was confirmed in an intelligence update last
      month. Yet American troops are still being tossed into that maw, and
      at least 90 have been killed there since Labor Day, including five
      marines, ages 19 to 24, around Thanksgiving.

      Civil war? Sectarian violence? A phase? This much is certain: The dead
      in Iraq don't give a damn what we call it.

      ===

      Is President Bush Sane?
      Paul Craig Roberts
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15799.htm


      12/02/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Tens of millions of
      Americans want President George W. Bush to be impeached for the lies
      and deceit he used to launch an illegal war and for violating his oath
      of office to uphold the US Constitution. Millions of other Americans
      want Bush turned over to the war crimes tribunal at the Hague. The
      true fate that awaits Bush is psychiatric incarceration.

      The president of the United States is so deep into denial that he is
      no longer among the sane.

      Delusion still rules Bush three weeks after the American people
      repudiated him and his catastrophic war in elections that delivered
      both House and Senate to the Democrats in the hope that control over
      Congress would give the opposition party the strength to oppose the
      mad occupant of the White House.

      On November 28 Bush insisted that US troops would not be withdrawn
      from Iraq until he had completed his mission of building a stable
      Iraqi democracy capable of spreading democratic change in the Middle
      East.

      Bush made this astonishing statement the day after NBC News, a major
      television network, declared Iraq to be in the midst of a civil war, a
      judgment with which former Secretary of State Colin Powell concurs.

      The same day that Bush reaffirmed his commitment to building a stable
      Iraqi democracy, a secret US Marine Corps intelligence report was
      leaked. According to the Washington Post, the report concludes: "the
      social and political situation has deteriorated to a point that US and
      Iraqi troops are no longer capable of militarily defeating the
      insurgency in al-Anbar province."

      The Marine Corps intelligence report says that Al Qaeda is the
      "dominant organization of influence" in Anbar province, and is more
      important than local authorities, the Iraqi government and US troops
      "in its ability to control the day-to-day life of the average Sunni."

      Bush's astonishing determination to deny Iraq reality was made the
      same day that the US-installed Iraqi prime minister al-Maliki and US
      puppet King Abdullah II of Jordan abruptly cancelled a meeting with
      Bush after Bush was already in route to Jordon on Air Force One. Bush
      could not meet with Maliki in Iraq, because violence in Baghdad is out
      of control. For security reasons, the US Secret Service would not
      allow President Bush to go to Iraq, where he is "building a stable
      democracy."

      Bush made his astonishing statement in the face of news leaks of the
      Iraq Study Group's call for a withdrawal of all US combat forces from
      Iraq. The Iraq Study Group is led by Bush family operative James A.
      Baker, a former White House chief of staff, former Secretary of the
      Treasury, and former Secretary of State. Baker was tasked by father
      Bush to save the son. Apparently, son Bush hasn't enough sanity to
      allow himself to be saved.

      Bush's denial of Iraqi reality was made even as one of the most
      influential Iraqi Shiite leaders, Moqtada al-Sadr, is building an
      anti-US parliamentary alliance to demand the withdrawal of US troops
      from Iraq.

      Maliki himself appears on the verge of desertion by his American
      sponsors. The White House has reportedly "lost confidence" in Maliki's
      "ability to control violence." Fox "News" disinformation agency
      immediately began blaming Maliki for the defeat the US has suffered in
      Iraq. NY governor Pataki told Fox "News" that "Maliki is not doing his
      job." Pataki claimed that US troops were doing "a great job."

      A number of other politicians and talking heads joined in the
      scapegoating of Maliki. No one explained how Maliki can be expected to
      save Iraq when US troops cannot provide enough security for the Iraqi
      government to go outside the heavily fortified "green zone" that
      occupies a small area of Baghdad. If the US Marines cannot control
      Anbar province, what chance is there for Maliki? What can Maliki do if
      the security provided by US troops is so bad that the President of the
      US cannot even visit the country?

      The only people in Iraq who are safe belong to Al Qaeda and the Sunni
      insurgents or are Shiite militia leaders such as al-Sadr.

      An American group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, has filed war
      crimes charges in Germany against former US Defense Secretary Donald
      Rumsfeld. A number of former US attorneys believe President Bush and
      Vice President Cheney deserve the same.

      Bush has destroyed the entire social, political, and economic fabric
      of Iraq. Saddam Hussein sat on the lid of Pandora's Box of sectarian
      antagonisms, but Bush has opened the lid. Hundreds of thousands of
      Iraqi civilians have been killed as "collateral damage" in Bush's war
      to bring "stable democracy" to Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqi
      children have been orphaned and maimed. Hundreds of thousands of
      Iraqis have fled their country. The Middle East is aflame with hatred
      of America, and the ground is shaking under the feet of American
      puppet governments in the Middle East. US casualties (killed and
      wounded) number 25,000.

      And Bush has not had enough!

      What better proof of Bush's insanity could there be?

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