July 3, 2006

The Failed Administration of George W. Bush

by Rodrigue Tremblay


"We now live in a nation in which the president has the omnipotent power to ignore all constitutional restraints on his power."

Jacob Hornberger ( Future of Freedom Foundation)


“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,”

Vice President Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002


"The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor."

President Ronald Reagan


George W. Bush has failed as president. Indeed, it looks like the political legacy that George W. Bush will leave behind will be a terrible heritage. His administration, (which should more appropriately be called 'the Bush-Cheney administration' because of the predominant and crucial role played by Vice President Dick Cheney) will be remembered as an administration built on lies, fabricated "evidence", duplicity, deception, manipulation, propaganda, improvisation, bad policies and gratuitous warmongering. In other words, the 'Bush-Cheney administration' is the reverse of what you would like a democratic government to be. The end result is an administration that has profoundly corrupted the daily working of the U. S. government.


President Bush Jr. is already the least liked American president since polls have been taken, with a disapproval rating of 71 percent, beating the runner-up in this category, President Richard 'Dick' Nixon, who scored 66 percent. He may also turn out to be the most incompetent and the most disliked president ever.


Under Bush Jr.'s watch, -the price of gasoline is in the stratosphere, -the dollar is in the dumps, -the federal debt is exploding under massive deficit military spending, -the poor are getting poorer while a small group of super rich are getting richer, -consumers have built up unsustainable debts, -46 million Americans have no health insurance whatsoever, -the real estate market has begun to tank, -American external trade deficits, at more than $800 billion a year, are out of control, -politics dominates international trade talks and trade liberalization programs are stalled, -illegal immigration by the tens of millions goes unchecked, -the military-industrial complex decried by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is stronger than ever, -the U. S. is officially in the business of torturing prisoners and massacring civilians (Abu Ghraib...Guantánamo...Fallujah...Haditha…etc.), -the international reputation of the USA is at an all time low, -the United Nations has de facto been destroyed, -international law is in shambles, -the country has been set on a path of permanent war abroad, -the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, especially the right of Habeas Corpus and the right to privacy, not counting the Geneva Convention, have been violated, -the equivalent of a domestic secret police run by the Pentagon has been created, -divisive religion has been brought into the daily functioning of government, -corruption in his administration is endemic, -and the ugly head of an unlimited and unaccountable executive dictatorship has risen for the first time in U. S. history. —Besides all that, ...everything is fine!


Bush Jr. is a dangerous man in many respects. First, he has attempted to turn his personal religious faith into a partisan asset for partisan political benefit, going as far as asking a theologian to write his speeches. Some have seen in his religious propensity to appropriate the Almighty, coupled with a sense of divine mission, a sure sign of paranoia. In this, Bush Jr. rejoins Osama bin Laden who also seems to suffer from a delirium of persecution and of grandeur. It seems as if these two individuals, to whom we may add the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also hears voices and talks to the clouds, feed on each other's fanaticism and take turns in speaking to deities in order to justify their reprehensible actions.


Dr. Gerald Alper, in his new book titled 'Paranoia of Everyday Life: Escaping the Enemy Within' explains "paranoia" as follows: "A paranoid point of view develops when our natural desire to protect ourselves crosses an invisible line, which varies greatly from one person to another, and begins to become unconsciously irrational. It is characterized by a kind of runaway vigilance, an increasingly pointless and draining around-the-clock guardedness that can only be maintained at a steep psychological price. ... People in the grip of paranoia unwittingly construct a melodramatic, suspense-filled interior world, a baffling maze of plots and counterplots wherein real people are reduced to one-dimensional, cartoon caricatures."  It is thus no surprise that paranoid people become one-track minded, disregarding facts and reality in favor of their own personal craze.


Renown Polish Psychologist Andrew M. Lobaczewski has also explained, in his new book titled 'Political Ponerology: The Scientific Study of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes' how people suddenly propelled to a situation of power and authority can be prone to develop symptoms of "psychopathy", even though they may be passing as "normal." Normal people know that something is wrong, but they cannot quite put their finger on it. As Andrew Lobaczewski puts it, "pathology among people in power can have disastrous effects on all of the people under the control of such pathological individuals."


These two books go a long way in understanding why "sociopaths", while only representing between 4 and 10 percent of a population, can nevertheless be found, sometimes, at the very high levels of some governments and other organizations. As history shows, if unchecked, their psychopathic behavior can lead to horror and tragedy on a very large scale.


Secondly, because of his errors of appreciation of reality and his "don't bother me with the facts" attitude, Bush Jr. has dug himself into a political hole. In breaking with the U. S. government tradition to act as a peace broker between Israel and the Palestinians, and by endorsing wholeheartedly one party in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, George W. Bush has violated a cardinal principle of strategy, i.e. the need to minimize the number of one's enemies. By de facto adopting the state of Israel's positions on everything, without nuances, Bush Jr. has inherited Israel's enemies, and Israel's problems have become America's problems. Mind you, this is what the Neocons in the Bush-Cheney administration wanted all along, i. e. joining the two countries at the hip, but it can be argued, as professors Mearsheimer and Walt have done recently, if this is really in America's long term interests.


For over half a century, the 'realist' U. S. foreign policy in the Middle East strove to maintain political stability, in order to preserve the flow of oil from predominantly Muslim Arab countries. U.S. support for Israel was tempered with the need to treat the Palestinians with justice and decency. Bush II abandoned this prudent policy and decided to adopt a 100 percent pro-Israel neocon policy of siding only with the 6 million Israelis, against the 300 million Arabs. In fact, George W. Bush reduced the United States to the dubious role of Israel's proxy in pursuing the overall neocon goal of destabilizing and dominating militarily the entire Middle East, in order to enhance Israeli security, make examples to the world, and, in the process, take over these countries' resources.


In so doing, Bush II has brought upon himself the animosity of most Arab countries and of most Muslim countries around the world, and has provoked the creation of hostile coalitions against the United States in other parts of the world. In geopolitical terms, this can be called a major blunder, which can be attributed to a lack of judgment and intellectual fortitude.


Thirdly, George W. Bush has undertaken by himself the impossible (and illegal) task of changing by force the governments of other nations he does not like or approve of. —Armed with the impractical and unlawful 'Bush Doctrine' of 'preventive'  war, or of "war on suspicion", Bush Jr. has led his country into a legal, moral and military quagmire by recklessly planning and undertaking an attack, an invasion and an occupation of a defenseless Iraq, without the proper authorization of the U. N. —Single-mindedly, he has brought chaos and mayhem to Iraq. Moreover, with his threatening and bellicose posture against Islamic countries, George W. Bush has been a major driving force behind  the political polarization and rise of Islamic fundamentalist and Wahhabist political parties in many Muslim countries (Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.), and in many Western cities.


In a sense, Bush Jr. has become their rallying point —their own Hitler, and as such, he has radicalized the masses in these countries and turned them against the West and Western values. Bush Jr. himself is the major reason why global opinion of the United States has plummeted so much since he took office. In fact, in most of the world, thanks to George W. Bush, the U.S. in Iraq is considered a greater threat than Iran to peace and stability in the Middle East. In other words, the USA, under Bush-Cheney, is slowly becoming a rogue state in the eyes of the world.


To get out of this mess and public relations disaster, the Bush-Cheney team may be tempted to take some reckless actions that will make matters worse and, in the process, hurt many people. Indeed, always under the neocon ideological influence, Bush Jr. may try to reappropriate the mantle of 'Commander-in-chief' once more, even if it is badly tarnished by his ill-conceived war against Iraq. —That may be the only card left for this administration. Bush Jr. may be willing to risk everything to mark his place in history as the man who stopped Iran from getting nukes. The greater fear, however, is that he ends up becoming the first person to pull the nuclear trigger since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. – Then, for sure, his place in the history books will be assured, not as a democrat but as a tyrant. It is widely reported that Bush's incompetent Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (so say many American generals publicly and in private!) is already busy drawing plans to bomb Iran or other countries that are identified in the Neocons' grand plan.


On practical grounds, the Bush-Cheney administration has also failed in its strategic goal to secure cheap oil supplies for the U. S. economy. World oil supplies are more uncertain than ever and the price of oil reflects this uncertainty and is pushing higher. Bush Jr.'s goal of US strategic dominance of oil resources in the Middle East has been a complete failure and has backfired.


It was on May 1, 2003, that Mr. Bush did his flamboyant and childish victory jig on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. It was on May 1, 2005, two years after the invasion of Iraq, that The Sunday Times of London published the so-called Downing Street memo and revealed the extent of Bush Jr.'s deception to launch an illegal war of aggression. All during 2002, while pretending otherwise and faking a request for U. N. authorization, Bush Jr. and his accomplices were determined to fix "the intelligence and facts" around its predetermined 'faith-based' policy of going to war in Iraq. His biggest lie, to deliberately mislead the American public, came about when he used forged documents to claim, in his infamous 2003 State of the Union Address, that "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." This was a false statement widely known as such within the CIA and the Bush-Cheney administration..


The president still has not since leveled with the American people and with the world. As late as last March 2006, George W. Bush repeated at a public forum that he had never said "there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein." Journalists were quick to point out that the president, on countless public occasions, had repeatedly made a direct connection between Iraq and the tragic events of 9/11: "With those attacks the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States," he uttered on May 1, 2003, "and war is what they (the Iraqis) got."


The sad thing is that George W. Bush seemed to have decided early to put all his eggs in the militarist basket in order to have a successful presidency. He was imprudent enough to tell Mickey Herskowitz, whose services were retained in 1999 to ghost-write Bush's autobiography "A Charge To Keep": "One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as commander in chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."  The ill-fated Iraq adventure is the direct result of such a cynical frame of mind.


This may explain why early on, Bush Jr. and his entourage engaged in a simplistic, belligerent (and wrong) cowboy-style diplomacy, as illustrated by the comment that GWB made, on January 30, 2003, saying he would give diplomacy over Iraq "weeks, not months."—Incredibly, Bush Jr. used exactly the same bullying language, three years later, on June 9, 2006, about Iran: "We've given the Iranians a limited period of time — you know, weeks, not months," to suspend its nuclear research program.


As one neocon writer put it recently, the United States "acts as the world's government"... for benevolent reasons. For whose interests? Under what legitimacy? The force of arms? —This is what can be called a very jingoistic, triumphalist, unilateralist, delusional, apologist view of international affairs. In fact, this is the same old bankrupt neocon idea of a benevolent American empire, put forward, in 1996, by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, i.e. a military empire that can kill its way in the world and still be respectable. An empire that kills is not a benevolent empire; it is a criminal empire.


The incompetence of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was also well demonstrated when they said, three days before the onslaught of the many years long Iraq War, that the war would end "relatively quickly," in "weeks, not months," and that invading American troops would be "greeted as liberators." On the contrary, after more than three years of carnage and dislocations, a large majority of Iraqis want U. S. soldiers out of their country and the situation is so bad that Bush Jr. has made Saddam Hussein look good in the eyes of many Iraqis.


Bush Jr.'s failures have not only been geopolitical; they have also been economic and financial. Today, the world is on the brink of a major economic downturn, because of his mismanagement and his failed policies. George W. Bush should rightfully be known as the "double deficits man," because of the huge fiscal and external deficits his administration has registered.


Not very competent himself, Bush Jr. has surrounded himself with other incompetent people and with rabid neocon ideologues whose narrow agenda had to be attained at all costs. These yes-men and manipulators have reinforced his weaknesses and his own righteousness. An incompetent politician who surrounds himself with competent people can pull it off. However, if he is dumb enough to surround himself with like-minded people, failure becomes a certainty.



Posted by Rodrigue Tremblay, July 3, 2006, at 8:15 am


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