“I understand how some Americans have had their confidence shaken,” President Bush said yesterday in Cleveland. “Others look at the violence they see each night on their television screens, and they wonder how I can remain so optimistic about the prospects of success in Iraq. They wonder what I see that they don’t.”
Bush tried to explain. But in the end, what he provided was yet another example of what others see — and he doesn’t.
That would be reality.
People say that President Bush is a liar. I guess I implied as much in the last post. But I fear he is not lying; that he believes the stuff he spouts. Which would make him nuts.
Stupid and crazy. And POTUS. God bless America.
This is not good. The people running this country sound convinced that reality is whatever they say it is. And if they’ve actually strayed into the realm of genuine self-delusion — if they actually believe the fantasies they’re spinning about the bloody mess they’ve made in Iraq over the past three years — then things are even worse than I thought.
‘Course perhaps they haven’t strayed into the realm of genuine self-delusion; perhaps they’ve been living there all along, and the rest of the country has been too deluded to see it. Robinson continues,
Here is reality: The Bush administration’s handpicked interim Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, told the BBC on Sunday, “We are losing each day an average of 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is. Iraq is in the middle of a crisis. Maybe we have not reached the point of no return yet, but we are moving towards this point. . . . We are in a terrible civil conflict now.”
Here is self-delusion: Dick Cheney went on “Face the Nation” a few hours later and said he disagreed with Allawi — who, by the way, is a tad closer to the action than the quail-hunting veep. There’s no civil war, Cheney insisted. Move along, nothing to see here, pay no attention to those suicide bombings and death-squad murders. As an aside, Cheney insisted that his earlier forays into the Twilight Zone — U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators, the insurgency is in its “last throes” — were “basically accurate and reflect reality.”
Maybe on his home planet.
I believe Dick the Dick has been delusional all along. By “delusional” I mean that he had a fixed idea, bordering on obsession, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was fixin’ to use them in America. I think he really believed that; it wasn’t just an excuse to invade Iraq and get to the oil wells. The Dick is the one who demanded that Iraq intelligence be cherry-picked to reflect only what he believed to be true. Yes, this was to get us into a war that was about other things than WMDs. But if Cheney didn’t genuinely believe that the WMD stuff was true, he would have realized that there might be hell to pay (eventually) when the WMDs weren’t found.
And Bush only cares about Bush. As long as he is being worshipped and glorified all’s well in Bubble World.
George W. Bush, who speaks as if he has ascended to an even higher plane of unreality, marked the third anniversary of the invasion Sunday by touting a “strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq.” I know that “victory” is a word that focus groups love, but did anyone else hear an echo of Richard Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam? Does anyone else remember that there was no “secret plan”?
It’s bad enough when our leaders are cynical or clueless, Robinson says,
But cynicism and cluelessness are one thing. Actually being divorced from reality is another. Do Bush et al. really see only the democratic process they have installed in Iraq and not the bitter sectarian conflict that process has been unable to quell? Do they realize that whatever happens, there’s not going to be a neat package, tied up with a bow, labeled “victory” — certainly in the 34 months (but who’s counting?) that the Bush administration has left in office?
Via Froomkin — Gail Russell Chaddock writes in the Christian Science Monitor that on Capitol Hill, “many of the war’s vigorous defenders are looking for guidance outside the Bush administration on how to move ahead.”
Exhibit A is the quiet launch of an independent, bipartisan panel to bring “fresh eyes” to the Iraq conflict. Last week, the House included $1.3 million in a defense funding bill for the panel, which will work out of the congressionally chartered US Institute for Peace here. …
… The move to develop alternatives to Bush administrative briefings signals a growing distrust on Capitol Hill for the “closed circuit between people sitting inside the Green Zone and the ‘good news’ being sent back to Washington,” says Mr. Luttwak. “Congress is discovering that the Bush administration is repeating its own propaganda – and believes what they are saying.” [Edward Luttwak is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.]
Josh Marshall describes an exchange between Bush and Helen Thomas in which Junior tries to revise history. Bush said this today:
I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences … and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
Of course, that’s not what happened. We were there. We remember. It wasn’t a century ago. We got the resolution passed. Saddam called our bluff and allowed the inspectors in. President Bush pressed ahead with the invasion.
His lies are so blatant that I must constantly check myself so as not to assume that he is simply delusional or has blocked out whole chains of events from the past.
Nearing the third anniversary of the disastrous and unnecessary decision to invade Iraq, the President was still citing stale themes during a speech last week. While acknowledging “tense” moments, he proclaimed progress is being made.
“We will not lose our nerve,” he said.
Well. This isn’t about nerve, of course — America’s armed forces have shown plenty of that, despite incompetent civilian leadership — and the public has been remarkably patient. What is at issue is whether the President’s perception of progress is real or delusional.
Hmm, I think a theme is emerging here —
… tough talk is useless if it’s hollow, and neither Congress nor the American public, for painfully obvious reasons, would follow George W. Bush into another war.
Iran, presumably, knows that as well as anyone.
Ah-HEM, yes. I ‘spect they do.
Update: See Michael Stickings, “Fantasy and Reality After Three Years in Iraq“: “Americans are being led by a cadre of the delusional.”