Juan Cole: Is Bush Unhinged?





Journalist Bill Gallagher of Detroit's Channel 2 News joins Andrew Sullivan in asking the increasingly unavoidable question: Is George W. Bush Criminally Insane? Gallagher writes:

' Bush's fantasies are even disturbing his fans. In a sit-down with wire-service reporters, Bush assured them that Rumsfeld, the most incompetent man on earth, would keep his job for two more years. Maybe in the last days of the Republican-dominated Congress, Bush can get him declared Defense Secretary for Life, sort of an American Raul Castro.

Gushing over Rummy and Dick Cheney, the two principal thugs who lied to get us into Iraq and designed the disaster, Bush claimed they"are doing a fantastic job and I strongly support them."

The remark prompted conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan to raise the question of Bush's mental fitness. Sullivan told CNN Bush is so delusional,"this is not an election anymore, it's an intervention."

Sullivan, long a cheerleader for the war in Iraq, said Bush is"so in denial" he simply can't come to grips with his failure:"It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that is has been done well. It's a disaster."

Sullivan added,"For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it. I'm sorry, there is no other way to say it."

The president's nanny corps -- his mother, his wife, State Department hands Condoleezza Rice and Karen Hughes -- know he's unhinged, but are too loyal to share that disturbing truth with the world. Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner tried to shift responsibility for the Iraq disaster away from Rumsfeld. Boehner quickly filled the disgraced Tom DeLay's shoes as the most loathsome member of Congress.

Boehner told CNN,"Let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld. But the fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president." '


My own answer: Bush is not insane, he is just not very good at putting policy into effect. That is, he is a mediocre leader who has to cover up his horrible mistakes with optimistic slogans because his lack of leadership skills leaves him with no practical alternative. Give me an example of any positive and successful accomplishment of his presidency, unmarred by substantial failures. Afghanistan? Israel-Palestine? Lebanon? Iraq? Al-Qaeda? Domestically, he has, by cutting taxes on billionaires, run up the national debt by trillions, and boasts in that insane yet just mediocre way of his that the deficit is" coming down." He put the expense of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars off-budget, and somehow the business page journalists haven't managed to notice that the deficit is not actually less than $300 billion if you count the wars. Nor is adding even $290 billion a year to the national debt a positive accomplishment. We pay interest on that debt, folks.

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