by Andrew Bard Schmookler,
Let me start with my two premises:
First, I am assuming that the stories are true that Bush is going to call for an escalation of troop levels in Iraq, for the “surge” and “sacrifice” news about which news reports have spoken this week.
Second, I am assuming that there is no realistic chance that such a “surge” will accomplish anything of practical value, even assuming the Bushites’ goals as the standard of value. This assumption may or may not be true –it is, indeed, one of the matters that I believe the Democrats would be wise to hold hearings on, bringing in experts not in any way beholden to the administration– but I’m betting that this policy of escalation will be futile (and worse). As Keith Olbermann says in his most recent “Special Comment,” with this proposal Bush “has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree cannot possibly work…”
Given those premises, the question arises: Why, after the report of the Iraq Study Group and all this dramatized presidential pondering, is THIS foolish surge –this throwing of good money after bad, as the poker expression has it– the decision our self-proclaimed Decider has arrived at?
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On Wednesday’s COUNTDOWN, Olbermann spoke as if he imagined that Bush’s purpose was the rational, if immoral one, of kicking the can further down the road– in other words, delaying the day of reckoning so that Bush can obscure the reality of his failure until someone else takes office and can thus leave to the next American president the task of packing up and bringing home the troops from a failed mission.
It could be. But I am inclined to see it not as a rational move, but as a manifestation of the darkest aspect of this presidency: A PERVASIVE INSISTENCE ON SERVING THE DESIRES OF THE EGO AND A CORRESPONDING UNWILLINGNESS TO BOW TO ANYTHING WHATEVER.
This is a presidency in which the common good seems never to have outweighed the lust for political advantage.
This is a presidency which has refused to allow the Constitution to limit its exercise of power, even its sadistic exercise.
This is a presidency that has run rough-shod over laws –both domestic and international– that would have restrained its quest for domination.
This is a presidency that has been wholly unwilling to restrain the drive toward short-term enrichment for themselves and their cronies in behalf of earth’s stressed and imperiled biosphere.
Common among all these is a posture toward the world, which might be stated: I COME FIRST, AND THERE IS NOTHING BEFORE WHICH I WILL YIELD.
There’s one other part of this pattern of unyielding. It’s been evident now for several years that the Bushites have also REFUSED TO BOW BEFORE REALITY, REFUSED TO YIELD TO THE TRUTH.
The Bushites have consistently “fixed the intelligence” about every matter at hand to suit their purposes. They have believed what they wanted to believe; they have ignored the experts; they have distorted the science; they have sneered at the “reality-based,” evidently believing in their own ability to “create” reality. (See my article, “Connecting the Dots, or, The Spirit of Falsehood,” written almost two years, which can be found at www.nonesoblind.org/blog/?page_id=18.)
Some might suggest that this refusal is an instance of the famous psychological defense mechanism, DENIAL. Indeed, over recent months many have described this president as being “in denial.”
But, when I consider this refusal in the context of the larger pattern of Bushite evil, the notion of “denial” does not seem to capture the essence of the psychological/moral processes. Denial, after all, is a “defense” mechanism. And, while at some level there is here an element of such defensiveness, the Bushite pattern of dealing with the world is not purely defensive. It is aggressive, defiant, unyielding.
“Denial” does not capture the essence of the Bushite refusal to honor their oath to protect the United States Constitution, nor their persistent dishonoring of the truth, nor their indifference to creating environmental disaster. And so perhaps with Bush’s apparent decision to persist in digging the hole that he is in, it is again not sufficient to call it denial.
The aggressive defiance of the move is a supportive clue. He is thumbing his nose at the American people, just as in making the invasion in the first place he thumbed his nose at world opinion and at international law. And let us not forget the SUBSTANCE of the decision: which is to ESCALATE HIS WAR and to demand SACRIFICE of his countrymen.
This is not policy. It is a form of pathology. And it is not purely a psychological pathology, not just a hypertrophic employment of a defense mechanism. It is a moral pathology as well.
Here is a man who is at war with the world in an effort to make himself the BIG MAN, the guy with the right to strut and swagger, the guy who can humiliate and annihilate his enemies, the guy who gets to DECIDE, the guy who is above all the one who NEVER HAS TO YIELD.
His major act of aggression has failed. But this is a fact to which HE WILL NOT YIELD.
His need to prop up and dramatize his narcissistic ego is, according to this hypothesis, simply too big. There is not room in his world for both that ego and this reality. One of them has to give. Bush has now made his choice which it will be.
Will America see the madness in this? Will it see the evil?
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