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George Bush -- The Contemporary Benedict Arnold of the Proto-Fascist Republican Triad
March 29, 2006
by Jard Deville
JARD DeVILLE is the author, founder and co-owner with his daughter, Dee, of the Fulfillment Forum. He has published more than a score psychology books, seminars, assessment instruments and novels and was psychology professor and chair at Olivet and Westminster Colleges. He taught leadership psychology seminars for years at the Universities of Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue and Arizona and for executives and managers of major firms from New York, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles, Singapore, Brisbane, Auckland et al.
This long article, with long paragraphs, lacks subheadings and is hard to read. It is strident and makes a number of spectulations about Mr. Bush's psychological makeup, presenting these speculations as fact.
Virtually every assumption the administration made about Iraqi society was based on ignorance and hubris. . . . Even his steadfast belief in the rightness of his cause, is now being seen as the neurotic stubbornness of a man who has failed at virtually everything he’s ever tried to accomplish. He cannot change his course of action about anything without feeling that he has been bested by someone, that his secret weaknesses shall be revealed for all to see. . . .
The reason why he has never read through a single book since leaving college is a common one to the learning disabled. It comes from his cognitive inability to organize the material intellectually. Because George cannot manage ambiguous issues that require sophisticated logic in order to understand them, he has selected two or three life themes and now plays them so incessantly that naive people like the NASCAR bunch and even grieving parents, who desperately seek some justification for the death or maiming of their children in a vicious war, eventually accept them as true. . . .
Half a dozen former assistants, associates and cabinet members have complained how remarkably passive and uncurious George is during his meetings. Only recently he sat through a long briefing on the rebuilding of New Orleans without asking a single question. I suspect he knows that entering into a give and take dialogue about important issues would reveal the poverty of his intellect, his inability to wrap his mind around complex issues. Better to be silent and be thought a dunce than to speak out and remove all doubt about it! Especially if you already know all the satisfactory answers. Bush simplistically hears what he expects to hear about virtually all issues, runs it thorough his reactionary political and fundamental religious mind set and then coughs out an automatic decision that reflects his limited flexibility. . . .
Bush and other proto-fascist handlers fear and hate a world that is filled with shades of gray -- because they think in stark black and white values in a dangerous world filled with enemies. George cannot allow himself to be distracted by nuances. For example, his insistence that the fundamental Islamic clergy and laity of Iraq would welcome an invading infidel army as liberators, betrayed his profound cultural ignorance about the billion or so Muslims he challenged to -- Bring it on. . . . Unfortunately, President Bush has reached a level of governance where everything is incredibly complex because of all those nuances he rejects. . . .
I doubt he has ever asked Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove or Dick Cheney the thoughtful question posed regularly by effective leaders -- What could go wrong if I accept the course of action you are recommending? Or, more specifically, is there any way our military could still be bogged down in Iraq and I myself suffering a thirty-six percent approval rating three years after we defeated Saddam’s forces?
Only the GOP can save us | Salon.com
Only the GOP can save us
It's time for honorable Republicans to save us all from George W. Bush, a man who does not represent the best that is our country.
By Garrison Keillor
March 15, 2006
I ran into a gray eminence from the Bush I era the other day in an airport, and he said that what most offended him about Bush II is the naked incompetence. "You may disagree with Republicans, but you always had to recognize that they knew what they were doing," he said. "I keep going back to that intelligence memo of August 2001, that said that terrorists had plans to hijack planes and crash them into buildings. The president read it, and he didn't even call a staff meeting to discuss it. That is lack of attention of a high order." . . .
He sat and was briefed on the danger of a hurricane wiping out a major American city, and without asking a single question, he got up from the table and walked away and resumed his vacation. He played guitar as New Orleans was flooded. It took him four days to realize his responsibility to do something. When the tsunami killed a hundred thousand people in Southeast Asia, he was on vacation and it took him 72 hours to issue a statement of sympathy.
BELLACIAO - USEFUL TRAITS FOR A PRESIDENT - peter fredsib - Collective Bellaciao
March Thursday 9th 2006 (21h37) :
By Peter Fredson
It is easier to find what desirable traits most societies list as essential for their leaders. Some of these include the following with a hasty appraisal of mine for George W. Bush . . .
Adaptive to Change: Bush once he was indoctrinated into Christian and neoconservative ideology has been unable to change to any degree. His sources are absolutist, they are his vision, so he must stay that course. He has no other ideas.
Assertiveness: Once Bush has decided on a course he cannot easily change it. . . .
Bases actions on reason, not on emotion or feeling: Bush primarily recurs to his religious and family background to deal with any situation. He rarely acts rationally but frequently interjects his religious and corporate experience to handle situations. . . .
Broad-minded: Bush is horribly offended by random sex, by gays, by any sort of illicit love, by even the mention of sex. He would change the constitution to suit his close-minded views of sexual relationships. . . .
Candor: Bush prefers deceit, secrecy, stealth, midnight action, to openness. He loves to “get away” with lies. This is partly due to his absolutist mentality, as well as to sheer pleasure in sneaking something over on the public. . . .
Commitment: Bush may be the very definition of a committed True Believer. He is absolutely committed to charismatic evangelistic Christianity with dominionist overtones. He would impose or intrude his beliefs on the entire world, such is his commitment to his indoctrination into the world of fantasy, Heaven, Hell, Sin, Angels, Redemption, etc. He cannot distinguish between fantasy and any type of objective reality.
Common-sense: Bush is an enigma. At times he can cut Brush, strum guitars, eat cake with the best of people, while other times he is off on his illusions and fantasies. . . . His fly-paper strategy to attract terrorists into Iraq so that he can kill them all and thus rid the world of terror completely is a loony idea from a loony True Believer.
Confidence: Bush has the confidence of a True Believer that his God has selected him for action. But he distrusts people, including all of his Republican Senators, which he keeps on a very tight leash with constant threats of cutting off the money supply. He has confidence in faith-healers, in Creative Intelligence, not in science. . . .
Conscientious: . . . Certainly he is often “out of the loop” on national affairs by tremendous lack of curiosity. . . .
Coolness: . . . Bush will fly into a rage over any slight criticism from subordinates, or what he might consider a slight to his beliefs and will rush to squelch the source. . . .
Courage: . . . When he moves, entire streets and towns are shut down. Shopping malls are closed, any demonstrators dealt with harshly, Signs and slogans are torn down or effaced. . . .
Decisiveness: Once Bush has made up his mind, it would take dynamite or direct intercession from his fundamentalist base to change anything. As an absolutist, he dare not admit he could possibly be wrong. . . .
Determination: . . . He refuses to acknowledge making any mistakes. His determination consists in finding scapegoats for his actions, in avoiding blame, and in being able to strut and swagger without reason. . . .
Emotional Stability: On state occasions he is fairly stable. When discussing with colleagues or subordinates, if they contradict him he can fly into a rage, pound on the table, his face flushes and begins shouting insults. On one occasion he vehemently swore that the Gddddmmm Constitution did not apply to him.
Endurance: . . . [H]e remarks frequently that being President is “hard” and he seeks the relief of his ranch more frequently than any other President. . . .
Ethical: Bush will go to any lengths, provided he can get protection and deniability, to squelch competition or critics. . . .
Fair-minded: Bush does not like a flat playing field. . . .
Flexibility: Bush has no personal flexibility. . . .
Focused: Once Bush decides that his God and fundamentalist base, and corporate friends approve of his decision, he goes ahead full-blast. He ignores all criticism, all obstacles, all possibility of consequences. He is single-minded when selling some scam to the public.
Good Judgment: Bush . . . has poor judgment of his own, as he lives largely in a world of fantasy, undisturbed by mundane circumstances or logic. . . .
Good Listener: Bush . . . will not listen to any logic outside of his religious absolutism. . . . He will listen to FOX NEWS but not to other media that might criticize him. . . .
Honest appraisal towards facts and objective truth: Bush hits rock bottom on honest appraisal. He prefers to concentrate only on positive aspects. . . . He seems to have no idea how to disengage from Iraq. . . .
Imaginative: Bush . . . cannot think outside of his religious neocon box. . . .
Justice: Bush . . . appointed others as his attorneys to assure him that he is above the law, and can alter the Constitution at whim. . . .
Knowledge: When Bush took office he had never traveled, never read much, could not point out any spot on the globe with confidence. He still insulates himself from reality, preferring to listen or watch media very favorable to him. He lacks curiosity, believes in Creative Intelligence in preference to any science, and his main knowledge seems to come from reading his Bible with supposed facts 2,000 years old. . . .
Knows how to delegate: Bush easily delegates important tasks to cronies and friends, usually without much investigation as to their qualifications. . . .
Learns from Experience: Bush seems to never learn from experience. He repeats the same mistakes, makes the same tired speeches eternally, hangs upon voicing “9/11” on every possible occasion. Listens to the same bad advice and rejects any other. . . .
Maturity: Bush frequently acts in childish fashion, whenever he is contradicted. He goes into fits of anger, obscenities flow freely, and he makes life for people around him very difficult.
Objectivity: . . . He will fire anyone that shows he is wrong-headed or ignorant.
Rational: . . . Bush does not trust science or scientists, but adores faith healers and televangelists thundering doom.
Relies on factual information: Bush prefers to manufacture his own facts.
Resilience: Bush bounces from failures daily, with a strut and a swagger, with a big smile and handshake. He seem not to ever notice his failures, unless this is a Karl Rove strategy to keep his fundamentalists happy. . . .
Responsible: Bush loves to blame everyone but himself. The one time he claimed responsibility was for killing thousands of Muslims, but his fundamentalist base did not mind that, and he never apologized or offered compensation, nor will he ever do that until the faces an international court of Justice for War Crimes. . . .
We don’t know why Bush prefers lies to honesty, candor to stealth, aggression to diplomacy, incompetent cronies to competent managers, fantasy to facts, absolutist dogma to rationality and other strange and troubling traits unbecoming any executive, not less a President.
Philadelphia Inquirer | 03/04/2006 | Editorial | The Katrina Videotape Fully unprepared
The inattentive, incurious president on that tape sadly fits a pattern that's become all too familiar in this White House: failure to grasp the scope of crisis, unwillingness to heed warnings from aides, reluctance to meet the demands of active governing. . . .
The President should have responded by doing all he could to make sure New Orleans got the personnel and supplies it would need should the worst occur.
Instead, in that meeting, he suggested he had done all that was necessary. "We are fully prepared," he said, and asked no questions. . . .
He never challenged or questioned intelligence analyses that said former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He didn't know a state-owned United Arab Emirates firm was about to operate six U.S. seaports.
Letters from readers
Letters from readers
Published: March 04, 2006
YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA
Regarding the controversy over the videotape of President Bush's Katrina briefing, what is truly astonishing to me is that we have a president so grossly incompetent, incurious and shielded from reality that we are even debating whether he knew something that was obvious to anyone who turned on a cable news channel within 48 hours of Katrina's landfall: that if the hurricane maintained its strength and course, New Orleans would suffer one of the worst natural disasters in American history.
JASON MCGRATH, MINNEAPOLIS
Dear Senator Dole: I must respectfully decline your invitation - The Boston Globe
By Derrick Z. Jackson | March 4, 2006
We have long known that Bush himself does not read newspapers. But his lack of curiosity appears to have become an epidemic.
We have the Keystone Kops sale of six ports to a Dubai-owned company that neither Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, nor Treasury Secretary John Snow knew about. The mounting evidence that the government ignored the early accounts of Hurricane Katrina breaching the levees of New Orleans made Republican congressman Christopher Shays say the government had ''failed all levels in planning for and responding to Hurricane Katrina. The White House was clearly in a fog, Secretary Chertoff [the head of Homeland Security] was totally detached and Michael Brown [former head of FEMA] was negligent."
The Blog | Steve Benen: Incurious George Visits India | The Huffington Post
Also appeared the same day at The Carpetbagger Report as 'If I were the scheduler, maybe I'd do things differently'
President Bush is routinely criticized for his lack of curiosity, but his visit to India this week has magnified just how little the president cares about foreign countries and their culture. . . .
Perhaps most notably, Bush even skipped seeing the Taj Mahal. When asked why he didn't make a point of seeing India's most famous monument, the president, always one to honor his era of responsibility, blamed the White House scheduler. Bush told local journalists, "If I were the scheduler, maybe I'd do things differently."
It was an explanation that strained credulity, and ignores the facts. Indeed, as Wolffe and Bailey noted, the president's aides have all-but begged Bush to "spend time on the softer, cultural side of his foreign travel." The president, however, can't be bothered.
I find it impossible to relate on a personal level, but Bush apparently isn't particularly interested in what foreign lands have to offer. He saw no museums, took in no cultural or historical landmarks, and had no meaningful interaction with the people of India. . . .
To be sure, there are security concerns. Before any president can wander into a store or a restaurant, precautions have to be taken, and that no doubt limits Bush's options. This does not, however, fully explain the president's lack of intellectual inquisitiveness. After all, Clinton spent a week in India exploring different parts of the county and engaging in conversation with as many regular people as he could.
The difference, it seems, is that Bush just doesn't care.
The New York Times
George the Unready
March 3, 2006
The New York Times hides editorial columnists behind a payment wall, so no link, but it is posted at True Blue Liberal March 3, 2006, and The Peking Duck March 2, 2006.
But what’s really striking, given the gravity of the warnings, is the lack of urgency Mr. Bush and his administration displayed in responding to the storm. . . . [A]s Newsweek reports, for several days nobody was willing to tell Mr. Bush, who “equates disagreement with disloyalty,” how badly things were going. “For most of those first few days,” Newsweek says, “Bush was hearing what a good job the Feds were doing.” . . .
[E]xperts who warned of trouble ahead were told to shut up. . . .
In short, our country is being run by people who assume that things will turn out the way they want. And if someone warns of problems, they shoot the messenger. . . .
[B]ad luck is what happens when lack of preparation meets a challenge. And our leaders, who think they can govern through a mix of wishful thinking and intimidation, are never, ever prepared.
smudailycampus.com - No time for jokes
The Daily Campus, the independent student newspaper of Southern Methodist University
By George Henson
March 03, 2006
Of course, we all know that Bush doesn’t pay attention to polls. He doesn’t pay attention to anything.
We now know he didn’t pay attention to intelligence reports that refuted claims that the high-strength aluminum tubes his administration touted as proof that Iraq was trying to produce nuclear weapons were actually for non-weapons use. . . .
We know, in fact, that he ignored every warning he received about Katrina. We know that he sat through an entire briefing and did not ask a single question. Why? Because he’s the most incurious person to ever sit in the White House.
Let's go to the videotape
Times Herald-Record (Hudson Valley, NY)
March 03, 2006
White House spokesman Trent Duffy urged people not to draw conclusions solely from the presidential briefing shown on the video. That would be the one in which Uncurious George asked not a single question, but assured everyone in Katrina's path, "We are fully prepared."
Incurious George | code0range.net
Submitted by: GodBoy — Fri, 03/03/2006 — 10:04
Slate.com has an intresting article about the recent video tape that shows the president being briefed about Katrina. This is a line that cracked me up:
You know you’re in trouble when Michael Brown outshines you.
Ouch… Read, enjoy, and try not cry for our country.
Bush has long been criticized for being incurious. That isn’t always a bad thing. A president can be uninterested in visiting the Taj Mahal if he’s laserlike behind the scenes. . . . Former anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill both wrote about Bush’s lack of curiosity. L. Paul Bremer’s account of his 14 months in Iraq as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority inadvertently paints a similar picture. . . . George Packer didn’t work for Bush, but his book The Assassin’s Gate paints a grim portrait of what happens when the president doesn’t ask the right questions: Factions within his administration take over and pursue their own agendas.
Anderson@Large: Incurious George
March 02, 2006
Despite President Bush’s best efforts to keep the American public in the dark about his incompetence (and here), light is being shed on how his administration screwed New Orleans residents who were left behind to fend for themselves. And, yes, the displaced are disproportionately black.
A newly released videotape shows that Bush was fully warned (here and here) of the looming “catastrophe within a catastrophe.” The Associated Press reports that Incurious George:Bush didn’t ask a single question [emphasis added] [and re-added] during the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck on Aug. 29 but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: “We are fully prepared.”
The Incuriousity of George W. Bush - Progressive Minds
2006/3/2 (March 2, 2006)
One of the things that bothers me most about George Bush, is his intellectual incuriosity. He's wedded to his own ideas, so much so that he doesn't want the facts intruding on his pre-established beliefs. He doesn't seek information that might help him make more informed, intelligent decisions on behalf of our country. . . .
Amazingly, Bush seems to bask and revel in his intellectual laziness. Even brags about it.
In 2000, Condoleeza Rice (who had been advising Bush on matters of foreign policy during the presidential campaign) wrote an article for Foreign Affairs magazine, outlining Bush's foreign policy.
As President, Bush once bragged during a press conference that he never read Condi Rice's article in Foreign Affairs. He said: "I don't know what you think the world is like, but a lot of people don't just sit around reading Foreign Affairs. I know this is shocking to you." . . .
There used to be a time, early on in Bush's farce of a Presidency, when Bush's incuriousity and his butchering of the English language were the butt of late night comics' jokes. Sometimes, they still are.
But I honestly believe this has gone past the point of being funny now.
Hurricane Katrina revealed a lot of things to us. And I believe that one of those things revealed by Katrina, is how dangerous it can be to have an intellectually lazy, uncurious President.
Analysis: Video explains U.S. frustration
Thursday, March 2, 2006
Analysis: Video explains U.S. frustration
By RON FOURNIER
AP POLITICAL WRITER
Ron Fournier has covered politics for The Associated Press since 1992.
The White House points to places in the transcripts where Bush is said to be engaged. That may be true, but Americans also heard the president on videotape boasting that his government was prepared for Katrina. He was certainly wrong about that. Now the public has more evidence to consider whether he was also arrogant, out of touch and dangerously incurious.
The Silence of Bush - The president didn't ask a single question during the leaked Katrina briefing. Should that worry us? By John Dickerson
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006, at 4:21 PM ET
John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent.
Betty the Crow reviewed this in Slate’s John Dickerson is alarmed by Bush’s Katrina catalepsy, agreeing that Bush is incurious and a failure, but criticizing the analysis for its timidity. This article was excerpted by Dan Froomkin in Did Bush Blink? in the Washington Post March 3, 2006.
The experts assembled in boxes on his screen like guests on Hollywood Squares had just told him the coming hurricane "was the big one" and talked about "the greatest potential for large loss of life." Yet according to the Associated Press, which is the only press organization that has reviewed the video, Bush didn't ask a single question in the briefing, but told officials "we are fully prepared."
You know you're in trouble when Michael Brown outshines you. But the president's question-free briefing is more than a momentary bad piece of public relations. It's a blow to a key Bush myth. . . .
Bush has long been criticized for being incurious. . . .Those in the room with him during other briefings also say he didn't ask very sharp questions then, either. Former anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill both wrote about Bush's lack of curiosity. L. Paul Bremer's account of his 14 months in Iraq as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority inadvertently paints a similar picture. In briefings, Bush offered a pep talk—"pace yourself, Jerry"—and questions about tangential issues like whether the new Iraqi leaders would thank the Americans for their sacrifice. George Packer didn't work for Bush, but his book The Assassin's Gate paints a grim portrait of what happens when the president doesn't ask the right questions: Factions within his administration take over and pursue their own agendas. . . .
I don't know what question the president should have asked, but shouldn't he have asked something? . . .
Learning lessons depends on asking questions—the right ones and a lot of them. Let's hope one of the questions the president asked after the catastrophe was whether he had asked the right questions before it.
A deluded king and his court lickspittles
A deluded king and his court lickspittles
Cut off from reality and surrounded by flatterers like Rice and Cheney, Bush clings to grandiose illusions of heroism.
By Sidney Blumenthal
March 2, 2006
Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the Guardian of London.
Also appeared at openDemocracy March 3, 2006, as The imprisoned president and The Smirking Chimp March 4, 2006, as as The imprisoned president.
[A] Republican wise man, a prominent lawyer in Washington who had served in the Reagan White House, sought no appointments or favors and was thought to be unthreatening to Bush, gained an audience with him. In a gentle tone, he explained that many presidents had difficult second terms, but that by adapting their approaches they ended successfully, as President Reagan had. Bush instantly replied with a vehement blast. He would not change. He would stay the course. He would not follow the polls. The Republican wise man tried again. Oh, no, he didn't mean anything about polls. But Bush fortified his wall of self-defensiveness and let fly with another heated riposte that he would not change. . . .
Instead of being perceived as secure, he is seen as out of touch; instead of being acknowledged as a colossus striding events, he is viewed as driftwood carried away by the flood. . . .
Through his [Vice President Cheney's] chief of staff, David Addington, he controls most of the flow of information, especially on national security, that reaches the incurious president. Bush seeks no contrary information or independent sources. He does not delve into the recesses of government himself, as Presidents Kennedy and Clinton did. He never demands worst-case scenarios. Cheney and his team oversee the writing of key decision memos before Bush finally gets to check the box indicating approval. . . .
Tightly regulated by Cheney and Bush's own aides (who live in fear of Cheney), the president hears what he wishes to hear. They also know what particular flattery he wants to receive, and they ensure that he receives it. . . .
But when disturbing information manages to penetrate the carefully constructed net surrounding Bush, he instinctively rejects and condemns it. In July 2004, upon being briefed on the grim analysis of the growing Iraqi insurgency written by the CIA Baghdad station chief, Bush said, according to U.S. News & World Report, "What is he, some kind of defeatist?" Bush prefers to soak up the flattery. He responds only to praise of himself as the warrior-president at the battlements, fighting the enemies at the gates and the defeatists within. . . .
The greater Bush's difficulties, the more precipitously he falls in the polls, the more he is beseeched by anxious Republicans, and the harsher the realities, the tighter he clings to his self-image. Cheney and the others encourage his illusions, at least partly because the more intensely Bush embraces the heroic conception of himself, the more he resists change and the firmer their grip.
New Video Shows Bush Received Warnings on Levees = Progressive Minds
2006/3/1 (March 1, 2006)
Also of outrage is that George Bush failed to ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck.
Now, America sees the consequences of having an intellectually lazy, uncurious President. One who chooses to believe what he wants to believe, and NOT what the information and the facts are telling him.
Video shows Bush got explicit Katrina warning
President, Chertoff were clearly told of storm’s dangers numerous times
INCURIOUS GEORGE STUMBLES ONCE AGAIN
March 1, 2006
by Thomas L. Walsh
He writes for several magazines, as well as a regular column in the Idaho Falls Post Register, the second-largest paper in Idaho. He is currently in the process of finding a publisher for his first book, Damnyankee, a true story of the ditching of an American Navy bomber off the coast of Ireland in 1944, and the fate of the surviving crewmembers.
Suppressing our own scientific information regarding global warming. . . .
The crème de la crème, however, has to be Incurious George’s unawareness that his administration decided to hand over control of six major American seaports to a state-owned company in Dubai. . . .
Bush wasn t even informed of this decision until February 16th, a full month after the deal was struck. . . .
A week ago, the Jackson Hole Guide ran a front page headline, “Bush Unaware of Port Pact.” At the time I thought, if you eliminated the last three words of the headline, you would have described his entire presidency.
On February 25th, Reuters wrote a headline on their UAE story, “What didn’t the president know and when didn’t he know it?” A friend wrote me that this Reuters lead described the entire Bush term of office in just eleven words, while leaving out the bombast, hypocrisy and incompetence.
Explanation is in order
Times Herald-Record (Hudson Valley, NY)
February 26, 2006
Explanation is in order
Delaying the ports deal is a good idea, but only if the White House cooperates with Congress on the details
It's not just that openness and cooperation aren't Bush's strong suit; they're not even in his deck of cards. . . .
Bush continued to defend the deal whereby Dubai Ports World bought management control of the six ports from a British company via flat declarations such as "People don't need to worry about security. This wouldn't be going forward if we weren't certain that our ports would be secure."
This presidential certainty might be more reassuring if the White House hadn't admitted that Bush didn't even know about the deal until various top aides had approved it. Given the president's well-demonstrated lack of curiosity, Americans have to assume he's convinced the deal is OK solely because some of his aides say so. Not good enough.
The White House's Chilling Effect
The Washington Post
By Ruth Marcus
Tuesday, February 21, 2006; Page A15
Also appeared in The Repository, Canton Ohio, February 22, 2006, and the Sacramento Bee February 23, 2006.
Five years and counting, the notion that this is an insular White House headed by an incurious president isn't exactly administration-bites-dog news. But recent developments have reinforced and even broadened this image: This White House is not just reluctant to hear anything that conflicts with its pre-set conclusions -- it's also astonishingly ineffective in obtaining and processing information it wants to have.
The classic version of this phenomenon -- the administration's disinterest in dissenting views -- is painfully detailed in Foreign Affairs article by former CIA official Paul R. Pillar describing how the administration failed to prepare for -- or, Pillar says, even inquire about -- the "messy aftermath" that intelligence analysts predicted for Iraq. . . .
The CIA and the White House may have the most publicly rocky relationship since Ben Affleck and J. Lo, but how is it possible this information wasn't sought and considered before the fact? . . .
This White House prefers its own truth to the inconvenient facts.
The Leaf Chronicle - www.theleafchronicle.com - Clarksville, TN
'Assassin's Gate' examines U.S. missteps in Iraq
Administration had set up no Plan B in postwar period.
Originally published February 19, 2006
George Poague, wire editor for The Leaf-Chronicle, writes about entertainment and politics. His column appears on Sundays.
Packer writes: "No one at the top level of the administration was less interested in the future of Iraq than Donald Rumsfeld. Yet he would demand and receive control over the postwar, and he would entrust it to his more ideologically fervent aides, in whom he placed the same incurious confidence that the president placed in Rumsfeld." . . .
Unfortunately, there was no real debate in the run-up to the war, least of all within the administration. The few dissenters were dealt with harshly. An Air Force officer recalled that after watching Wolfowitz chew up a four-star general, Eric Shenseki, almost nobody was willing to question the party line.
Another heretic was economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay, who said the war might cost $200 billion — a figure that turned out to be low. He was swiftly reprimanded and then fired.
Cheney Shoots, Bush Ducks
by Ryan Lizza
Ryan Lizza is a senior editor at TNR.
Only at TNR Online | Post date 02.15.06
Bush's obliviousness is more interesting than Cheney's bad aim.
Being out of the loop is nothing new for this president. Whenever the public gets a random glimpse into Bush's private schedule, he seems to be strangely detached from events around him. When a crazy person sprayed the White House grounds with bullets in the middle of the day in 2001, we learned Bush was not working, but working out. When a plane flew into restricted Washington air space in 2005, Bush was biking in the suburbs, clueless about the emergency.
On their own these little examples of Bush being checked out are probably trivial. But they hint at a core deficiency in how he conceives his job. Bush famously brought to Washington an MBA's approach to governing. He spoke incessantly of the importance of delegating authority and his aides internalized that obsession by insulating him from the gritty particulars of managing the federal government. Micro-management and over-attention to detail became managerial crimes in the Bush White House.
The irony is that this fear of detail is what has led to Bush's greatest failures. He didn't aggressively follow up on the pre-9/11 Presidential Daily Brief that warned "bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." He was so determined not to second guess his generals that he watched from the sidelines as their military strategy allowed bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal spread out of control without presidential intervention. And as the damning report to be released today on Hurricane Katrina shows, Bush dithered while New Orleans sank. According to The Washington Post, the report notes that "'earlier presidential involvement could have speeded the response' because he alone could have cut through all bureaucratic resistance." But that would have required micro-management instead of delegation.
The Bushies are supposedly fans of the so-called unitary executive theory, an idea with roots in Alexander Hamilton's Federalist No. 70. Their reading of Hamilton is that the executive branch has to be powerful. But they have it wrong. Hamilton didn't call for a powerful executive, he called for an "energetic" one, the kind who cuts through bureaucracy during an emergency or commands his generals instead of deferring to them. But Bush's detached MBAism is the opposite of energetic. It's passive and lethargic. No wonder he's always the last to know.
· IN-FORUM ·
Fargo Forum (Fargo-Grand Forks, ND)
Democracy is no guarantee that world peace will reign
Published Sunday, February 05, 2006
The possibility that an open vote in Middle East countries could put fundamentalist Islamic parties, not Jeffersonian democrats, into power seems never to have occurred to Bush.
Which might be understandable, given Bush’s complete incuriosity and unwillingness to read anything not regurgitated by his assistants.
The Free Press -- Independent News Media - National Issues
The [Coumbus, Ohio] Free Press
Bush & Cheney Are The Great "Protectors?" Give Us a F***king Break
by The Ostroy Report
January 31, 2006
The final paragraph (below) calls Mr. Bush "unCurious George"; the rest of the article justifies it, listing 18 failures of imagination of Bush/Cheney.
Is there anyone out there who truly believes unCurious George and his sniveling sidekick, two inept war-mongering maniacs, are the best we have to protect America? Give us a f**king break.
Salon.com | Bush and Bremer
Forget his self-serving new memoir. The former proconsul [Bremer] ignored warnings about Iraq -- just like his see-no-evil boss.
By Sidney Blumenthal
Jan. 26, 2006
[E]lder statesmen of the foreign policy establishment and the Republican Party repeatedly warned President Bush to his face of precisely the consequences of his planned actions. Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and former Secretaries of State James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger, among others, "never thought the war would come off right," one of those who spoke to Bush told me. "We all felt that strongly. It was going to end with an Islamic republic dominated by Shia and influenced by Iran. There was no question they would have Iranian connections. If you know history, you don't have to be a genius." But Bush would not listen.
Bush the Incompetent
The Washington Post
By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, January 25, 2006; Page A19
How could a president get these things [war in Iraq, response to Hurricane Katrina, and Medicare drug plan] so wrong? Incompetence may describe this presidency, but it doesn't explain it. For that, historians may need to turn to the seven deadly sins: to greed, in understanding why Bush entrusted his new drug entitlement to a financial mainstay of modern Republicanism. To sloth, in understanding why Incurious George has repeatedly ignored the work of experts whose advice runs counter to his desires.
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