Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some more opinions and views to consider

This is the second attempt to reproduce the post that blogger ate this morning…..I’m playing it safe and printing it in “Word” first although if the tinfoilhat theory holds true, Bill Gates will conspire with Blogger to kill this one too…..

I posted a reference yesterday to all the myths being used to justify Bush's Surge Option as presented by professor Jaun Cole on his site. Today, Jane Smiley has a post on the no-so-rational reasons for Bush pursuing this hair-brained scheme.

If you have the chance, bop on over to The Huffington Post and take a look at the blog entry of Jane Smiley. She makes several points that we’ll discuss.

During the course of Bush’s presidency, he has often been characterized as stupid and stubborn. Face it: he hasn’t done much to disprove either point and many critics of the Surge Option are writing off his insistence on winning as either stupidity or stubbornness or, more pointedly a result of some psychological affliction. Jane Smiley has a different explanation: He SELFISH.


She actually makes a good case for it as you will see in this snippet:

I'm more interested in the "surge". I'm interested because the "surge" is a classic example of a loser's strategy, and it is about to be put in place by a bunch of
losers. The "surge" is about saving face rather than achieving an objective, and, let me say it right here, it's a guy thing. It's like "going down fighting", except that those who are going to be going down aren't going to be those who want to save face.


People always comment on how stubborn George W. Bush is, or how stupid he is, or how ignorant he is, but what they don't comment on is how selfish he is. Clearly, the face that is being saved in this probable "surge" is his face, and that's how he wants it. He is willing to sacrifice any number of troops (and we don't know what that number will be, but it could be high) and any number of Iraqis (certainly a higher number, because the American troops will throw off all restraint) in order to say that---Well, what?


Remember how the former British Ambassador was warned by Condi Rice as he went into a meeting with Bush, "Don't make him angry"?

(my extra emphasis added)

It's true, I think. I think he is so worried about his legacy that nothing else matters to him. Not even more dead Americans or most certainly more dead Iraqis. It's all about power. More specifically, its all about HIS power and sadly enough, it always has been.

We didn't listen closely enough to Pual O'Neill who was Bush's first Secretary of the Treasury who wrote the book, The Price of Loyalty after he left the administration. He wrote that during his time with the Bush Administration there was never, not even one so-called "White Paper" discussion. (White Paper is bureaucrat-speak for a paper that discusses or proposes policy or policy options) All discussions were in the context of politics.(Note: see some of the internal memos here) That is, specifically, how to parlay any issue to the political advantage of George W. Bush and his branch of the Republican Party. So in a sense, it ALWAYS has been about selfishness.

The underlying reason for this is truly best left to the psychologists but it is selfishness and I think on this point, Jane was right.

Jane was wrong though on her comparison of the Surge Option to Pickett's Charge in the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. True. It was a huge tactical blunder on General Lee's part that resulted in the loss of General Pickett's entire Division but it was a mistake based on misapplication of military tactics NOT pure, unadulterated hubris. I'm equally certain that the Surge will result in the death of more of our troops but it will be a process of attrition, as opposed to the wholesale slaughter that took place at Gettysburg.

Her third point is similar to the one raised several times over the dinner table with family during the Christmas Holiday. Here's her take on it:

One thing I have always wondered about Bush, that I wonder even more now, is what is the source of his power over these people, that come hell (Iraq) or high water (Katrina), they do what he wants? Does he throw things? Does he hold his breath and turn red in the face, so that they worry he'll have a stroke? Does he hit people? Does he shout, "Off with his head!"? Does he send high level dissenters to Gitmo?

She raises the question but drops it into a shallow well and leaves it there. I have a different take on it.

Let's face it. Bush is the lamest of all lame ducks. He has the support of less than 30% of the American people and he was handed a resounding defeat at the polls in November. (even though he thinks the voters were "confused" about the issues so the defeat had nothing to do with him.) And yet, he has managed to jawbone the Joint Chiefs of Staff into going along with his pending misadventure of a misadventure in Iraq. How come?

I think Bush and his small remaining band of supporters are practicing retail as opposed to wholesale politics. That is, they are dealing with the interests and fears of individuals as opposed to groups. They have either bribed, promised, threatened or intimidated each of the decision makers (politically referred to as choke points) individually and whatever method they used on each individual was effective. Remember during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Bobby Kennedy told JFK that Khrushev was blackmailing him, JFK said, "Yes. And it's damned effective blackmail". That damned effective blackmail has been used effectively by the Bush administration since before he became Governor of Texas and, most likely even in his business dealings before that.

I can think of no other reasons.

Read the whole article if you have some time. It's great.

1 comment:

LoLo said...

Intriguing view by one of my favorite writers, Jane Smiley of A Thousand Acres fame. (a modern King Lear novel and highly recommended by me.) Of course Bush has selfish motives and has always had them. I, too, have been wondering what is it exactly that he does to get people to bend to his every selfish whim. Luckily, this post made it while Bill Gates and Blogger were snoozing.