Bush's Second Term: No More Holdovers From His Father

Sidney Blumenthal writes in The Guardian about Bush's second term and how he has purged the last members from his father's team.

The transition to President Bush's second term, filled with backstage betrayals, plots and pathologies, would make for an excellent chapter of I, Claudius. To begin with, Bush has unceremoniously and without public acknowledgement dumped Brent Scowcroft, his father's closest associate and friend, as chairman of the foreign intelligence advisory board.

A fact from the article worth noting:

Since the election, 203 US soldiers have been killed and 1,674 wounded.

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    Assuming "perimeter defense" to be concentric rings guarding an installation, how large the radius and how tight the rings depends very much on how many boots a commander has available. Seeing catastrophic events like the ones that have happened just before Christmas in Iraq that never seemed to happen in Vietnam, despite the frequent North Vietnamese sappers' efforts against our base camps, I cannot help but deplore the inadequacy of manpower and armor available to our forces. There is a question as to what was the impetus for this barely-thought-through (except for Rumsfeld's Defense Department blocking action, insisting that it exclusively run Iraq) hurried war, hurried-- not by Mr. Bush but by the neocons in the DoD-- and amplified by the rhetorical clamor of Mr. Rumsfeld's "Rummy Snowflakes." Here, a comparison of Woodward's Afghanistan Campaign book, BUSH'S WAR, and his Iraq Campaign book, PLAN OF ATTACK, seems most enlightening only after a comparative re-reading of both. Two points stand out: 1) The agent moteur for attacking Iraq was not Pres. Bush, but Cheney and Rumsfeld. On several occasions, including at the famous Camp David meeting after 9/11, Bush slapped them down, despite their "senior" adviser status; 2) In his intellectualized style of abstracting all issues, particularly when Powell's militarily-ordered common sense seemed to persuade Bush, Rumsfeld warned the Camp David gathering planning the Afghan War NOT to make certain mistakes attributable to "rush-to-war," all of which Rumsfeld and the neocons later made in their rush-planning of the Iraq invasion. When opposing advisers seem to cancel each other out and the chief of the NSC suddenly develops an "I'm only a girl and they are both such big boys" complex, as did Dr. Rice throughout, it is inevitable that a) a superficial "action guy" president will miss all the implications of his decisions and b) the "senior" Cabinet member with the most crazed zealotry behind him will carry the day, every time. Thus, as was the case with McNamara's "whiz kids," Rumsfeld's crazed neocons determined that it was time to kill Saddam for Jehovah's sake. The operational principles were simply the Napoleonic "first we advance, then we see" complex and the Gen. Custer complex that resulted in his last stand: "I'll deal with it when I get there." Also, knowing that his forces were too few to fight in and hold two major theaters at once, Tommy Franks retired as soon as his combat phase generalship peaked, never to suffer the downturn which he left to his successor. But as the flaws the neocons promoted through their pseudo-machismo zealotry (wanting to seem like "mensch," despite their "chicken-hawk" histories, to Israel's hardy combatants) bore their bitter fruits, the press was analyzing right on the mark on a daily basis from the first half of 2003 to now, despite "embedded" jingoism; yet, the neocons persisted in simply calling for more of the same as lack of military forethought became a rampaging scandal. They never contemplated the notion that if the initial dose of anesthetic in your elephant- tranquilizing gun (the tranquilized being "shock-and-awe" in Iraq's case) is inadequate, you can't just give another dose, for the second dose heralds all sorts of unpredictable side-effect consequences. Unfortunately, for the neocons, like anesthesiology to a non-practitioner, combat is just a lot of words on power-point slides; for the neocons the only solution to bad news is always: more, more, more devastating "shock and awe"...per their official organ, WEEKLY STANDARD. Well, unfortunately, we just don't have more troops to send, nor more armor and are running short of ordnance. So Bush is now thinking of far less than the ambitious operation he had originally planned-- democracy by fire-power. The order is, as the patient is writhing about, let's hurry and close up, so the only indication that surgery was performed will, a decade from now, be the incision scar with little surgery on the inside to justify the operation! Bush will fade in four years, only to realize that he indeed does outlive history instead of being "dead" when it is written-- contrary to his claim quoted in Woodward that we'll all be dead when history passes judgment. Yes, Bush will have to live with its judgments because he let the neocons rule the campaign he claims God sent him on. Yet, the neocons will persist in their Bolshevik-like defrauding of history, battling the well-documented academics by re affirming discredited hyperbolic slogans. One lesson may be inescapable all around, surviving all the neocon shenanigans: Zionists, please go make foreign policy in Jerusalem, not Washington,D.C. Daniel E. Teodoru

    Here's a story from a "friend" of GW Bush whose relationship with the President was never one of politics and policy. He supported Bush because Bush is his friend, period. He came to the White House last summer and expressed grave doubt about the "fool's choice" Bush had boxed himself into in Iraq. The President seemed, to this friend, to have forced himself into either devastating Iraq, chasing an insurgent fly with a cannon, so that there would be little money left to rebuild the country at least to the level that Bush found it at, or, worst still, after smashing much of the resistance with even more boots and guns, rigging together a "rinky-dink leadership election, putting our unknown quantity into power," bugging out of Iraq, once more insisting, "mission accomplished." Bush insisted that both his guts and his instincts are in accord, making him sure of his answers. As a ritualistic aside, added Bush: "Of course, I pray and God gives me his O.K." The friend protested. George, he insisted, you always flew by the seat of your pants, following your guts and instincts; but, may I remind you, sober or drunk, you always came up with the same result: which the friend reminded was expressed as, "Oh.oh, sh-t, I should have been more careful." To this, President Bush replied: Ah so what? What's the worst that could happen to me? I could lose and would go back to Crawford...and, as you know, I looooove Crawford. Well, as taxpayer and one time Bush supporter, I cannot bring myself to ask: what's the worst that can happen to ME, but, I wonder rather, what's the worst that can happen to this nation, to the Middle East and to the civilized world? Karl Rove had slipped from the political guru slot, encroaching on the policy slot, the agreed to province of VP Cheney. It all happened when Rove in a 1-->2-->3 steps maneuver turned Bush from a dubious presidential election winner in 2000 into the leader of a House and Senate majority in 2002, and, finally, into a "mandated" president, leading an even more Republican House and Senate with lots of political capital to invest in all sort of hare-brained schemes and thank you gift-legislation for his "base." All this was done by a lot of brilliant manipulation of the "silent majority" and the weary Evangelical Christians (they sat it out in 2000). But more importantly, the Bush avalanche began with, what most of us interpreted as a symptom of Bush's mental limits: the "I am a war president" babble. The neocons pushed for that as Cheney's commandos. But Cheney pushed for an Iraq War, in part, because it would enable him to make up for his disastrous acquisitions of a company that transfered its legal liabilities with the buy, by making Iraq a bonanza for Halliburton (it was not the epiphany at Aspen when he heard Shcharansky speak about Israel). For four years, each for his own reasons, the Bush bloc and Cabinet stuck together on domestic and foreign policy. Bush, as former Sec. of Treasury O'Neill tells us, acted at Cabinet meetings like the boy who likes to be inconspicuous in class because he never came in with his homework done. After all, how much contemplation on the state of the world can one expect from a President who never reads his morning intel brief but had it given to him verbally by CIA chief Tenet--one time, each morning, that's it! It should not be forgotten that one of the Bush chromosomes you will find a homozygous gene pair for ego (from both his mom and dad). You wouldn't think so. given their apparent public modesty rituals. But, now affirmed as the *winning* president who brought his party more power in both houses of Congress, that gene in GW Bush is undergoing full expression. Having suffered little pain and remorse in his life, because of "Poppy's" protective power, other than hangovers, which were self-inflicted, Bush has never known the agony of life he imposes on the men and women he sends into combat, the Iraqi men, women and children constituting "collateral damage" in that combat, and the economically most defenseless forced to suffer more want because of his bias to his "base" and his extravagant Iraq War. And so, confronted with his moral obligation as a "Compassionate Conservative," which he seems to be reneging on with his anomie towards all that suffering (none of LBJ's all night agonizing while going through the casualties lists from Vietnam) by responding: what's the worst that could happen to me, I'll just have to go back to Crawford; and I looooove Crawford! IN other words, putting the full blooming of his winner's ego together with the pathologic inability to vicariously feel the pain of those on the receiving end of his policies, GW Bush now feels he no longer needs Cheney and the neocons to turn into policy and explain to the public what his gut and instincts feel. He only needs to put together a new Cabinet that is as hermetically sealed (no leaks) with loyalty as it was in the first year of his last term; and then HE can be President because he proved himself as a "war president," for which eh-- so he claims-- got re-elected. We now will see this side of the Atlantic's version of "l"Amerique c'est moi" as Cheney gets boxed away and Rove as his Richelieu and Hughes as his word-smith make his bumbling mind's concoctions sound like "rational choice" or "prospect" theory brilliance. The fool's choice in Iraq that Bush was warned about will become-- as is typical GW Bush resolution-- not a choice but parallels. He will be,like his body's homeostatic mechanism, the operating dialectically, working on the basis of an "opponents theory" of action. Thus, Iraq will suffer as he complies with Sharon on the road map, so that Iraq can be let loose after its elections while Israel suffers his new found sympathy for a Palestinian state. Instead of playing musical chairs with polices, Bush will add a chair so that the only thing that matters in the game will be the sequence of seats occupied, not who DOES NOT get a seat when the music stops. History may yet say that a great President reigned from 2005 to 2009 who based his actions on a child's inability to choose (A) or (B); so, he manages to squeeze in both in dynamic sequencing. This he will be able to do by staying close to the policy sequences Rove plans out and the meaningless "thesis" speeches Hughes crafts on the basis of a "Communication 101" undergrad's notion of the value of words. In the end, nothing feeds presidential ego more that the "presidential library" issue. It is the ultimate house of lies for every outgoing president. And, in America, good lies machines are very, very expensive. Unfortunately, few American political deep pockets see much value in investing cash into a president on his way out. But the Saudis are quite different. They understand that library thing and that is how they get to "own" presidents during their twilight days. GW Bush, whom the neocons consider the next best thing to the Messiah-- they really didn't like Reagan-- will curse his name as he undoes their Likud dominated dreams for the Middle East. Rational Arabism-- what the Saudis were for so long trying to get the Arab states to practice-- will be the payback for the new Bush II library. And, concurrently, Europe will feel that Bush must have "matured" as he tones down his either/orisms. Only Sharon, the Likudniks and the Greater Israel Zionist extremists will suffer. But no matter how much they throw "anti-Semite" epithets at him, most Jews and most Israelis will feel quite comfortable with his more "even handed" road map. We will know all there is to know because Sec. of State Rice does not have the depth and patience of Powell. She will blow up and will put the smooch patrols from Jerusalem in their place, no doubt in public. Then Mr. Podhoretz and Co. will say that old Bush refrain: Oh, oh, sh-t, I should have been more careful!" Don't expect Mr. Cheney to save the day for the Zionist right, because as of now he is in a cage, pacemaker, oxygen tank, crash cart and all. It is now time for the GW Bush Show in the Mideast as elsewhere, all the way to 2008! DE Teodoru