Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Baghdad Bob Had Better ESP Than Bush?

"When Über-Republicans like Gingrich, Meese, and James Baker are calling a spade a spade, that’s hopeful. Denial and wishful thinking are on the run. But that doesn’t mean last week’s show of earnest, bipartisan good faith will last."

- Kurt Andersen

In a post of mine last week, I questioned the sanity of President Bush's determination to stay an obvious disatrous course in Iraq. I promise you that I'm not the kind of person who is quick to resorting to impulsivity or flippancy about such matters.

Last night on Jon Stewart's Daily show, I heard Fareed Zakaria joke that there are therapists for what ails President Bush. It was a fun moment, yet I suspect the joke wasn't told for the sake of the laugh factor. I believe Mr. Zakaria was making a point as he continued to shed educated doubt on any hope you or I may have that this President has learned any material lesson from the recent elections or bipartisan critiques of his conduct of the Iraq war.

Barbara's Tchatzkas has supplied the blogosphere with a link to an article by Kurt Andersen in the December 18th edition of New York magazine. Mr. Andersen discusses President Bush's pathological denial and, seeing the disaster that has unfolded in Iraq, how it has perplexed, worried, and depressed an entire helpless-feeling nation. Mr. Andersen throws Kübler-Ross in the mix:
The evolution of hopelessness is following the Kübler-Ross model: We’re bargaining for time, being depressed, moving toward acceptance, while Bush is still in the denial stage.

The vindication of nutty old Baghdad Bob, of all people, should be the bitter elixir to awaken even the "dead-enders" who still believe there's a "victory" for America in any of this madness. After all the reality we've seen with "our lying eyes", this President is still seemingly possessed by his own pathological arrogance. Concerned about his own legacy as the Abe Lincoln of the Middle East, he is foundering in a sea of due crticism as I suspect he's planning to further embroil our fighting men and women in an urban ground war that he still - incredibly - won't admit is a civil war. At this point in time, it's frightening for the American people to see this and to see Congress standing idly by.

When will Congress come alive and see madness for what it is? When will the Democrats understand that this is not a brand new post-election day of civility - and that the Bush Republicans will do anything they can to convince the public that it will have been the Democrat's fault that Iraq was "lost" when - in all reality -Iraq was lost three years ago while the GOP enjoyed solid majority leadership in every branch of government?
Mr. Andersen says it this way:

Early in the New Year, the 2008 election cycle will crank up, the new Congress will convene, and the 3,000th American will die in Iraq. The particulars of our Iraq policy are now mainly a matter of harm reduction and triage, but the big accountability question—Who Lost Iraq?—will loom ever larger as we wind down our involvement, and the consensus answer will shape our politics for decades. Whichever party the public blames will be hobbled.

I never thought I'd hear his name again, but as it turns out, Baghdad Bob's nutty-sounding intuition was closer to the mark of reality than was our own President's nutty intuition.
From Kurt Andersen's New York magazine piece:

Pathological denial and pathological arrogance combined to produce the tragedy of Iraq. The “Iraqi Perspectives Project”—a freshly declassified study by the U.S. Joint Forces Command of the peculiar geopolitical, intelligence, and military command-and-control doctrines that prevailed before and during the invasion in 2002 and 2003—is an astonishing document. The Pentagon report describes a president who relied to an extreme degree on his gut, with a “supreme, even mystical, confidence in his own abilities and wisdom [that] allowed him to ignore or discount the practical considerations” and “hard evidence.”

I'll admit that I applied my own intuition when opining on my suspicion in 2003 that Bush was offering no more than "hand-jobs" to the UN while pursuing his mad pre-emptive foray. [So call me Baghdad Bob already].
Mr. Andersen describes it this way

[Bush] finally acceded to a new round of WMD inspections only as a tactic, to please his quasi allies in the U.N., who he knew would try to stop the invasion. Underlings “at all levels understood that … the bearer of bad news was in almost every case punished.” During the war, “when gloomy reports finally did get” to the president, he “either discarded them or considered the tidings to be exaggerated,” owing to “the distortions of his ideological perceptions.” The president saw the war as a “spiritual battle,” and told intimates that God would help. He was absolutely cocksure of victory.
Mr. Andersen then makes his final point, comparing Baghdad Bob's style of favoring ESP over reality to that of President Bush:
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The Pentagon report is not, of course, about the dysfunctional presidency of George Bush, but rather of Saddam Hussein. It also suggests that the Iraqi Information minister, the ludicrous guy on TV during the invasion whom we knew as Baghdad Bob, may have thought he was telling the truth when he insisted that the Iraqi army was vanquishing the Americans: “[F]rom the point of view of Iraq’s leaders, Baghdad Bob was largely reporting what they were hearing from the front.”

For old times’ sake, I dug up the transcripts of Baghdad Bob, whose real name is Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. As with the Pentagon report, I was astonished. Time changes everything. Some of his propaganda no longer seems so funny, or wrong. “Those America losers, I think their repeated frequent lies are bringing them down very rapidly,” he said. And then: “This invasion will end in failure.” And on his last day in office: “They will surrender, it is they who will surrender.”
Bush still wants Baghdad Bob to end up to be the one who takes home the grand prize as the guy with the weakest grip on reality. Right now, I think the contest between the two madmen is too close to call.

Senator Robert Byrd said this:
As if that were not bad enough, members of Congress are reluctant to ask questions which are begging to be asked. How long will we occupy Iraq? We have already heard disputes on the numbers of troops which will be needed to retain order. What is the truth? How costly will the occupation and rebuilding be? No one has given a straight answer...We cower in the shadows while false statements proliferate. We accept soft answers and shaky explanations because to demand the truth is hard, or unpopular, or may be politically costly.

But, I contend that, through it all, the people know. The American people unfortunately are used to political shading, spin, and the usual chicanery they hear from public officials. They patiently tolerate it up to a point. But there is a line. It may seem to be drawn in invisible ink for a time, but eventually it will appear in dark colors, tinged with anger. When it comes to shedding American blood - - when it comes to wreaking havoc on civilians, on innocent men, women, and children, callous dissembling is not acceptable. Nothing is worth that kind of lie - - not oil, not revenge, not reelection, not somebody's grand pipedream of a democratic domino theory..

..And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the "powers that be" will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall. "
When did he say it?

May, 2003.

Congress - where the hell are you?


TomCat said...

Hi Jude. What an excellent article! I have long questioned Crawford Caligula's fitness, because I see in him the same criminal thinking errors I see doing volunteer work with prisoners and former prisoners: denial, rationalization, justification, habitual lying, and power thrust, to name just a few.

Sun Warrior said...

Great blog, Judy!

If America pulls out of the world's 'oil patch,' leaving the power vacuum they created, it may mean that the world will have to face its oil addiction a lot faster than it anticipated.

Consider that the Saudis have promised to help the Iraqi Sunnis. Wow. A bloodbath between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

At least that will help the war on terror against America. We won't have oil, but we won't be targets either... Bush can call that success, can't he?

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