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2007

Bush’s “Surge”: An Interpretation that Connects it with the Regime’s Deep Darkness
Saturday, 06 January 2007 10:32

by Andrew Bard Schmookler,

A FUTILE AND IRRATIONAL COURSE




Let me start with my two premises:

First, I am assuming that the stories are true that Bush is going to call for an escalation of troop levels in Iraq, for the “surge” and “sacrifice” news about which news reports have spoken this week.


Second, I am assuming that there is no realistic chance that such a “surge” will accomplish anything of practical value, even assuming the Bushites’ goals as the standard of value. This assumption may or may not be true –it is, indeed, one of the matters that I believe the Democrats would be wise to hold hearings on, bringing in experts not in any way beholden to the administration– but I’m betting that this policy of escalation will be futile (and worse). As Keith Olbermann says in his most recent “Special Comment,” with this proposal Bush “has settled on the only solution all the true experts agree cannot possibly work…”


Given those premises, the question arises: Why, after the report of the Iraq Study Group and all this dramatized presidential pondering, is THIS foolish surge –this throwing of good money after bad, as the poker expression has it– the decision our self-proclaimed Decider has arrived at?



On Wednesday’s COUNTDOWN, Olbermann spoke as if he imagined that Bush’s purpose was the rational, if immoral one, of kicking the can further down the road– in other words, delaying the day of reckoning so that Bush can obscure the reality of his failure until someone else takes office and can thus leave to the next American president the task of packing up and bringing home the troops from a failed mission.

THE UNYIELDING “ME”

It could be. But I am inclined to see it not as a rational move, but as a manifestation of the darkest aspect of this presidency: A PERVASIVE INSISTENCE ON SERVING THE DESIRES OF THE EGO AND A CORRESPONDING UNWILLINGNESS TO BOW TO ANYTHING WHATEVER.

This is a presidency in which the common good seems never to have outweighed the lust for political advantage.

This is a presidency which has refused to allow the Constitution to limit its exercise of power, even its sadistic exercise.

This is a presidency that has run rough-shod over laws –both domestic and international– that would have restrained its quest for domination.

This is a presidency that has been wholly unwilling to restrain the drive toward short-term enrichment for themselves and their cronies in behalf of earth’s stressed and imperiled biosphere.

Common among all these is a posture toward the world, which might be stated: I COME FIRST, AND THERE IS NOTHING BEFORE WHICH I WILL YIELD.

There’s one other part of this pattern of unyielding. It’s been evident now for several years that the Bushites have also REFUSED TO BOW BEFORE REALITY, REFUSED TO YIELD TO THE TRUTH.

The Bushites have consistently “fixed the intelligence” about every matter at hand to suit their purposes. They have believed what they wanted to believe; they have ignored the experts; they have distorted the science; they have sneered at the “reality-based,” evidently believing in their own ability to “create” reality. (See my article, “Connecting the Dots, or, The Spirit of Falsehood,” written almost two years, which can be found at www.nonesoblind.org/blog/?page_id=18.)

MORE THAN DENIAL, MORE THAN A DEFENSE

Some might suggest that this refusal is an instance of the famous psychological defense mechanism, DENIAL. Indeed, over recent months many have described this president as being “in denial.”

But, when I consider this refusal in the context of the larger pattern of Bushite evil, the notion of “denial” does not seem to capture the essence of the psychological/moral processes. Denial, after all, is a “defense” mechanism. And, while at some level there is here an element of such defensiveness, the Bushite pattern of dealing with the world is not purely defensive. It is aggressive, defiant, unyielding.

“Denial” does not capture the essence of the Bushite refusal to honor their oath to protect the United States Constitution, nor their persistent dishonoring of the truth, nor their indifference to creating environmental disaster. And so perhaps with Bush’s apparent decision to persist in digging the hole that he is in, it is again not sufficient to call it denial.

The aggressive defiance of the move is a supportive clue. He is thumbing his nose at the American people, just as in making the invasion in the first place he thumbed his nose at world opinion and at international law. And let us not forget the SUBSTANCE of the decision: which is to ESCALATE HIS WAR and to demand SACRIFICE of his countrymen.

This is not policy. It is a form of pathology. And it is not purely a psychological pathology, not just a hypertrophic employment of a defense mechanism. It is a moral pathology as well.

Here is a man who is at war with the world in an effort to make himself the BIG MAN, the guy with the right to strut and swagger, the guy who can humiliate and annihilate his enemies, the guy who gets to DECIDE, the guy who is above all the one who NEVER HAS TO YIELD.

His major act of aggression has failed. But this is a fact to which HE WILL NOT YIELD.

His need to prop up and dramatize his narcissistic ego is, according to this hypothesis, simply too big. There is not room in his world for both that ego and this reality. One of them has to give. Bush has now made his choice which it will be.

Will America see the madness in this? Will it see the evil?
 
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Winter Patriot said:

Winter Patriot
perhaps, just PERHAPS...
Ahh, Mr. SCHMOOKLER...

But perhaps Bush's major act of aggression has SUCCEEDED and America is being taken for a RIDE.

In other words perhaps there's a reason why we went in with TOO FEW TROOPS, why we allowed (not to say encouraged) the immediate destruction of every aspect of Iraqi infrastructure except the OIL FIELDS, why we never made any attempt to DISARM the Iraqis (i.e. the first step in any normal counter-insurgency), why there wasn't even any planning for a POST-WAR PHASE, why we have been building and continue to build so many permanent BASES.

In other words, perhaps the point of Bush's great aggression was never to CONQUER Iraq, but rather to get America EMBROILED in a great bloody mess, an enormous and awful MANUFACTURED CRISIS designed (among other things) to provide the pretext that we need to STAY there for the GOOD of the IRAQI PEOPLE, otherwise things will get even WORSE. And perhaps this point has been achieved IN SPADES.

But perhaps dissident Americans are DISCOURAGED from thinking along these lines, and instead perhaps they find themselves swept along on a DIVERSIONARY EXPEDITION, the one-lone-nut RIDE, the 21st century equivalent of the endlessly-enduring Lee Harvey Oswald NONSENSE.

In other words they go down the intellectual and moral cul-de-sac called "the trouble with American foreign policy is ONE LONE NUT" and in this case they choose to believe that W is the problem and that the removal of W is the solution and that when he's gone (through impeachment or otherwise), things will return to NORMAL.

But perhaps this is a fiction. A snow job. A sleigh ride.

And perhaps this ride is being facilitated (not to say supplied) by so-called dissidents aka GATEKEEPERS who write shallow and misleading disinformation which they call ANALYSIS and whose purpose is to CONSTRAIN what might otherwise be a reasonalby interesting (and therefore regime-threatening) DISCUSSION.

Perhaps deep and deeply evil SYSTEMIC FORCES are involved here, perhaps the trouble runs much deeper than the EGO and DEFIANCE of the ONE LONE NUT who just happens to be the so-called president.

And perhaps we need to think outside a much bigger box, otherwise we may well find ourselves rid of BUSH in a couple of years but in MORE TROUBLE than EVER!

~~~

What say ye, Mr. SCHMOOKLER?
 
January 06, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

ABS said:

0
On the one hand, yes and no
Well, Winter Patriot, I agree with you that the problem that America faces is far greater than GW Bush, or even than all the public faces of this regime put together. In the Overview statement of my website, written in mid-2005, I wrote: "this presidency should be seen as manifestation of the success of a set of amoral forces that have worked for a generation to take over the county. And these are forces that will work to maintain their grip on power even when their present public faces leave office."

On the other hand, I've never been able to see as remotely plausible any of the various arguments --and I've encountered a number of them in addition to yours-- according to which this Iraq venture is working out just as planned. I cannot see how this scenario will serve any of the imperial purposes that seem to have been the true goal behind the launching of this war.

The purpose you adduce is that these circumstances provide the "pretext that we need to STAY there for the GOOD of the IRAQI PEOPLE, otherwise things will get even WORSE. And perhaps this point has been achieved IN SPADES."

I cannot see how this disaster has much promise of enabling this or any successor to stay in Iraq. W may prolong the bloodletting, but I cannot see how any American presence will be sustainable for long. And in the meanwhile, a huge assortment of vital American interests is being damaged.

The disaster seems to be the product of a series of major blunders-- blunders largely attributable to an incompetence bred of the great arrogance of the Bushites, who were certain of themselves that they ignored the people who really knew what winning the peace would require. (See SQUANDERED VICTORY, by Larry Diamond.)

In my view, the idea that this disaster is according to plan is an example of a form of thinking in which one's enemies are taken to be somehow omniscient and omnipotent, so that any set of circumstances is taken as evidence of their devious and irresistible will. (For some this fantasy has, historically, been about the CIA, for some about the Jews, for others the commies.) Such a view of one's enemies is, besides generally being inaccurate, is disempowering. For who can prevail against such an enemy!

So I invite you to relinquish this being in awe of the Bushites. Evil, yes. But also showing that kind of over-reaching arrogance and hubristic stupidity that, fortunately, often brings evil down.
 
January 06, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

blue said:

0
Bush is Irrelevant
There are two issues: imperialism and democracy

The first issue is external. The US is an imperialist state. This is fairly uncontroversial, I think. It is in Iraq to control Iraqi, and Middle East oil. Aside from water, fossil fuels are the most important resource on the planet, from the limited human viewpoint at any rate. This control of oil is therefore a bipartisan objective.

Having said that, there are different ways that the objective can be realized. PNAC has the bull in a china shop, long war approach. Clinton had a wear them down, hope for a favorable coup approach. Both, of course, favor corporate economic globalisation (aka, modern imperialism), and approved democracy (when they can get it).

The long war also has the added advantage that those with shares in the war industry (or is it defense industry. I always get confused) make a killing, in more ways than one.

There is a grand plan. What imperialist can resist redrawing maps and telling others who they ought to be living with, and who not.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NAZ20061116&articleId=3882

The Iraqis may succeed in throwing the Americans out; however, we should not expect the US to leave willingly. At least, not without gaining and keeping control of the oil.

The second issue is internal - Democracy. There has been a sustained attack on US democracy by corporate interests for some time now. Indeed, Smedley Butler claims to have been pressed by corporate interests to lead a coup against Roosevelt and his New Deal in the 30s. Clinton enabled the corporate media to attain high levels of concentration. This concentrated corporate media has been valuable to Bush's propaganda efforts for the Afghan and Iraq Wars. The corporate media's complicit silence has also been useful in his Administration's attack on the constitution. Both of these attacks, external and internal, have been supported by the Democrats, as well. The record is clear.

So, the Democrats and the Republicans have, in bipartisan fashion, both been advancing the cause of US imperialism and US fascism for some time now. This has been obvious to all but the willfully ignorant. Putting all the blame on Bush is simply foolish. It is the corporate capitalist system that is rotten to the core. One big, bad apple.

Blue
 
January 07, 2007
Votes: +0

Winter Patriot said:

Winter Patriot
puh-leeze...
You mischaracterize my remarks much too freely, Mr. Schmookler. In particular, this passage:

In my view, the idea that this disaster is according to plan is an example of a form of thinking in which one's enemies are taken to be somehow omniscient and omnipotent, so that any set of circumstances is taken as evidence of their devious and irresistible will. (For some this fantasy has, historically, been about the CIA, for some about the Jews, for others the commies.) Such a view of one's enemies is, besides generally being inaccurate, is disempowering. For who can prevail against such an enemy!

So I invite you to relinquish this being in awe of the Bushites. Evil, yes. But also showing that kind of over-reaching arrogance and hubristic stupidity that, fortunately, often brings evil down.


... is utter nonsense. I have never said nor implied nor do I believe that "the Bushites" are in any way "omniscient" or "omnipotent". I am not in awe of them and I have nothing to relinquish. Your straw-man technique here is most impressive but unfortunately for you the shoe don't fit.

What is, is -- regardless of whether you see it as plausible -- regardless of whether you see it at all. I wrote about this some time ago on my blog and one of my readers remarked,

"Thanks for the insightful article ... Makes a lot of sense looking at it that way!"


I hadn't thought it particularly insightful; that's not the point. My point is: Some get it and some don't.

I know some people who cannot bring themselves even to consider the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job (because of all the horrible implications they would have to face if it turned out to be true) and similarly the idea that the war in Iraq was intended to entangle the US in the Middle East is difficult for some people to grasp. I found it repulsive at first and it didn't make much sense to me either when I first encountered it (Josh Marshall in the April 2003 Washington Monthly) but after a little while that idea became more acceptable to me, and then it became quite obvious that it was true, and it soon became the basis for the only model of the war that made any sense to me at all.

And it's worked. It's been fantastic. My goodness, it got W re-elected (if you trust the electoral system) (but in any case W ran) against an opponent who was trying to outflank him on the "more troops" side of the political landscape. We have a political culture in which the mere mention of the "out now" option appears grounds for institutionalization. We're getting ready for another war in Iran, and having troops in Iraq -- bogged down or not -- is a "geopolitical advantage" for the warmongers.

And so on. And on and on. I'm not saying I like any of this but let's not deny any of it either. It's so bloody obvious.

"Links" the crowd roared; "Give us Links!"

"Aye" replied the frozen one:

Josh Marshall -- Practice to Deceive: Chaos in the Middle East is not the Bush hawks' nightmare scenario--it's their plan.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.c...shall.html

Winter Patriot -- Still In Denial: Bob Woodward's Modified Limited Hangout

http://winterpatriot.blogspot....ified.html

and the obligatory ... please don't read my blog

http://winterpatriot.blogspot.com
 
January 07, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

ABS said:

0
Mischaracterizing?
Did I mischaracterize your position in saying that it interprets "this disaster" (i.e. the way things have gone in the Iraq war") as unfolding "according to plan" (i.e. the way the Bushites wanted)? That certainly seems to be what you say when you suggest that "Bush's major act of aggression has SUCCEEDED."

If that is not a mischaracterization, then it is hard to see how I can be guilty of your charge against me in that passage you have quoted, and called a mischaracterization, when I wrote: "In my view, the idea that this disaster is according to plan is an example of a form of thinking in which one's enemies are taken to be somehow omniscient and omnipotent, so that any set of circumstances is taken as evidence of their devious and irresistible will."

I label this as my interpretation: that your "idea" is "an example" of "a form of thinking." As one who has been studying political thought, and the various fallacies and distortions that impede clear political thought, I would think that I am entitled to venture my interpretation of the springs of an idea that seems to me, as I said, deeply implausible.

I may be mistaken in my interpretation. And of course someone who holds that idea might not manifest that alleged fallacy at every turn. But the idea that BUsh's Iraq venture HAS SUCCEEDED --which you do put forward-- nonetheless does seem to me an example of a kind of thinking that you may or may not be engaged in, and that you may or may not recognize as yours even if you are.

It is, in any event, very difficult for me to see how the unfolding situation in the Iraq war can be interpreted as anything other than a disaster for the United States, or for any of the interests that the Bushites seem eager to serve. And I have not been able to understand how people could so interpret the situation, except by seeing such an interpretation in the context of that fallacy in which the enemy is so capable and crafty that everything, however dire looking, is really a hidden form of success in working their will.

You suggest that "the war in Iraq was intended to entangle the US in the Middle East." Does THIS entanglement bring ANY advantages? I cannot see it. THe US has strengthened Iran, which has long been the main US foe in the region. The US has driven Arab and Islamic opinion, across the board, much further into a more virulent form of anti-Americanism. The US has tied down and ground down its military, with the result that there are much fewer options for dealing with nuclearizing rogue powers like North Korea and Iran. THe US has alienated opinion across the world, even and especially among our traditional friends in Western Europe, where support for the US has gone from about 3/4 to about 1/4, and where the majority now sees the US as a threat to peace. THe war will end up costing the US some $2 trillion. And the IRaqis now hate us, and will likely drive us out if we do not first leave voluntarily. And besides, the US was already involved in the Middle East in many ways, including having bases in Saudi Arabia which it does not now have.

THis is an improvement?

One of your readers might have thought it a great insight. I do not. GIven that I do not, how do you wish for me to respond?
 
January 07, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

Winter Patriot said:

Winter Patriot
...
how do you wish for me to respond?


I wish for you to respond however you like -- I'm glad you're responding at all.

I don't see the war as in the US interests; far from it. I see the Bush regime as a hostile takeover and this war as part of the strip-the-assets-and-run phase. The "disaster" in Iraq may be nothing more than "cover", a lightning-rod to attract all the dissident attention while much more sinister plans are being implemented with barely a whimper.

And the longer it goes on, the longer it will go on. It's a disaster for the United States, but that makes no difference to the regime. It's not their money being wasted in Iraq, and it's not their blood being spilled. They don't care about the state of the US treasury or world opinion; they don't care about $2 trillion that's not even theirs in the first place -- anyway it's pittance compared to the hundreds of trillions worth of oil at stake. All kinds of free money for Halliburton, Carlyle, KBR, etc. etc., all kinds of opportunities for big oil, etc., huge profiteering for the Woolseys of the world and all these forces converging. Not just Bush. The longer the war goes on the more money they make. So that's why they're telling us "the war will go on for generations" and so on. That's why they rattle on and on about "victory" but they don't define what "victory" means.

The more I see of this war the more I think Josh was right. And I would "cut" the situation this way.

The people running the war are either

(a) working for the best interests of America but making too many mistakes, or
(b) working for their own interests at the expense of America and doing just fine

and the answer you choose will determine whether you try to end the war by

(a) exposing the mistakes so that they might be corrected, or
(b) doing something just a little bit different

It's ok if we disagree.
 
January 08, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

ABS said:

0
I appreciate the clarity
Dear Winter Patriot, I appreciate also the gentlemanly quality of your response.

The clarity of your delineation of the possibilities helps. I still wonder about the possibility you describe thus: the people running the war are "working for their own interests at the expense of America and doing just fine."

It's true that the national interest and the private interests that work through the BUshite regime are not identical. But I'm not sure that any of those private interests (even the likes of Haliburton) can do just fine if the standing of America, and the geopolitical position of the United States, are weakened as profoundly as I believe this Iraqi venture has injured them.

I'm more inclined to believe that they'd hoped for that cake-walk, and hoped that they'd then be able to profit from the privileged position of being close to the seat of imperial power.

What I also believe is that there's something about the way evil works through damaged people, like these Bushites, that leads such people to damage the very things that they believe themselves to be advancing. I wrote a piece I entitled "The Bushite regime shows a pattern common to evil rulers: that they destroy what they claim to love" over a year ago, developing this theme. It's at http://www.nonesoblind.org/blog/?p=37, in case you'd like to take a look at it.

And yes, I agree, it is OK if we disagree on all this.
 
January 08, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

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