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November 30, 2002

Far From Funny

Mark Crispin Miller's analysis of President Bush is utterly chilling. As author of The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder, Miller has read and analyzed transcripts of Bush's public speeches in the last several years, leading him to believe that:

"Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

Miller goes on to note that Bush speaks fine when he's talking about violence, revenge, punishment, etc., but he makes his infamous mistakes when he talks about ideals, democracy, altruism, compassion. I highly recommend the whole article, but toward the end Miller concludes:

This, then, is why [Bush is] so closely watched by his handlers, Miller says — not because he'll say something stupid, but because he'll overindulge in the language of violence and punishment at which he excels.

"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy. He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper."

Miller's assessment of Bush is eerily consistent with the picture painted by Bob Woodward in his new book, Bush at War. (See the Washington Post's multi-part series on the book, which starts here.) I admit I haven't read the book, but in all the coverage and reviews I've read, the book sounds like it paints Bush as very serious, smart, and determined. In other words, just as Miller says, Bush is not stupid. But he is myopic, he's impulsive and reactionary (a self-confessed "gut-player"), and he's a true-believer (aka: a fanatic or a zealot). To his credit, Bush seems to truly believe he's doing good things. He thinks he's making the world a better place. But that's exactly the problem. If Miller is right (and I definitely think he is), Bush's idea of "a better place" is a very, very scary place, indeed.

According to one of the pieces in the Post, this is what Bush thinks:

Elaborating, [Bush] said that underlying his foreign policy "there is a value system that cannot be compromised, and that is the values that we praise. And if the values are good enough for our people, they ought to be good enough for others, not in a way to impose because these are God-given values. These aren't United States-created values. These are values of freedom and the human condition and mothers loving their children."

Yet simply proclaiming these values is not enough. "You can't talk your way to a solution to a problem," Bush said. "And the United States is in a unique position right now. We are the leader. And a leader must combine the ability to listen to others, along with action."

Here Bush confirms two important facts that anyone looking can observe about his approach to the world: First, the entire world operates according to god-given values, and those values just happen to be American values. Isn't this the definition of a "fundamentalist"? How is it different from Islamic fundamentalism? Bush's conviction that there is "one true way" explains why he feels no compunction about imperialist wars and regime change—these actions only fulfill god's wishes. In other words, like the "fundamentalists" he's waging war against, Bush really doesn't believe that any other legitimate values and/or gods exist in this world. (This trait is fairly common to all fascists throughout history, I believe.)

Second, we learn that discussion and dialogue are relatively meaningless to Bush. This is why he puts so little effort in diplomacy and is always "beating the drums of war." This is why he vehemently dismisses the International Criminal Court and appears to have no respect for the system of international law that the world has struggled to build since WWII in order to prevent war. Bush believes that physical force is the only way to accomplish things, and on an international stage, physical force is military force, i.e. war. Again, this connects with Miller's assessment of Bush's speeches: He's an angry, violent man who only understands anger and violence. Hail to the chief.

Posted November 30, 2002 11:16 AM | general politics

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