DETROIT -- President George W. Bush is miserable and mad. He's off to Europe this week for the G-8 summit, and the prospect of meeting with peers who refuse to hang on his every word and bow to his whims makes him moan.
He also has to eat foreign food, sleep in an unfamiliar bed and pretend he's engaged and interested in what the other heads of state have to say. For Bush, this is pure torture, though richly deserved.
He'll probably restrain himself and not repeat his condescending, sexist shoulder rub of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. His buddy British Prime Minister Tony Blair is a lame duck, but the two will chuckle together, slap each other's knees and try to forget the disaster they brought to Iraq.
Bush can't bully the leaders of the world's major industrial nations and convince them of his righteousness the way he can his staff and friends. He is becoming increasingly unhinged and even more dangerous.
Columnist Georgie Anne Geyer reports (others have, too) a chilling episode that rattled even Bush's cronies. Bush's megalomania, narcissism and delusion that God anointed him to bring democracy to the Middle East mold his madness.
Geyer wrote, "Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated 'I am the president!' He also made it clear he was setting up Iraq so his successor could not get out of 'our country's destiny.'"
That is the rant of a mentally disturbed man incapable of self-doubt and reflection. What we know about Bush is frightening. What we don't know is simply terrifying.
Our destiny in Iraq will develop along the lines of "a Korean model," according to White House spokesman Tony Snow. With a gutless Congress willing to continue to give the "decider" and "commander guy" a blank check for the war that cannot be won, our troops are doomed to camp in the deadly desert indefinitely.
Snow said the situation in Iraq is one in which the United States "provides a security presence" and acts as a "force of stability." Forget the fact that U.S. troops create instability and their presence inspires violence. We will remain in Iraq, Snow insists, "for a long time."
Snow conveniently failed to mention the North Koreans and Chinese invaded South Korea, we responded to an unprovoked invasion, and our presence there is to prevent further aggression. We invaded Iraq in an act of aggression and are there as a foreign occupier with no plans to leave.
Comparing the two wars is an absurdity, but then again, the rationales for the war and excuses for "staying the course" are equally absurd. Bush will play out his manifest destiny in the Middle East because it is his will. That's how the chest-thumping "bring 'em on" boy thinks. The continuing carnage means nothing to him.
American troops have been in Korea for 57 years. Since the truce in 1953, only 90 U.S. troops have died in border clashes with the North Koreans. By contrast, in the four years since the "Mission Accomplished" proclamation, more than 3,000 American soldiers have died in Iraq, and the casualty trend lines are going up in the futile "surge" strategy.
The Iraqi bomb-makers are boosting production, and no matter what we do militarily, they cannot be stopped. More money and more troops won't change that grim reality. More Americans died in April and May than in any other two-month period since the war began. In May alone, more than 2,000 Iraqi civilians died.
The New York Times reports makeshift bombs have killed 80 percent of the Americans who died in combat since the surge began. The improvised explosive devices are brutally effective, and little can be done to protect the troops exposed to them.
"The proportion of American deaths caused by explosives has sharply increased, even as the Pentagon has made a major effort to defend the troops with armored vehicles, to detect or disarm the weapons, and to attack the bomb-making cells and those who finance them," the Times reports.
Perhaps Bush should go to Iraq himself, pick up a bullhorn in the Green Zone and shout, "I am the president. Stop making those bombs." Or better yet, he could send Vice President Dick Cheney over there to pass out "Ban the Bombs" leaflets to the dwindling number of souls in the "last throes of the insurgency," as he described Iraq on May 31, 2005.
A former British commander had the guts and honesty to say there is "no way" Iraq could be won and that allied forces should withdraw. Gen. Sir Michael Rose, the commander of the UN peace force in Bosnia in the 1990s, told The Scotsman newspaper, "There is no way we are going to win the war and (we should) withdraw and accept defeat because we are going to lose on a more important level if we don't."
Rose argues setting a withdrawal date will help quell the sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites. Such rational thinking never enters Bush's and Cheney's twisted minds. Both maintain a mystical confidence that American military might will still prevail in Iraq.
Unlike Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, who knew the Vietnam War was lost and privately admitted it, Bush and Cheney refuse to recognize and deal with the reality of the failure of their grand delusions in Iraq.
Bush is pretending he does recognize the threat of greenhouse gases and global warming. Knowing the topic is high on the agenda of other G-8 leaders set to meet at a resort in Heiligendamm, Germany, this week, Bush made a disingenuous call for setting a "long-term global goal" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Bush wants to chuck the UN process on global warming that is the successor to the Kyoto Treaty. Bush's stance on global warming is like Ronald Reagan's on AIDS. Both were in the waning days of their presidencies before even admitting the serious problems existed, though the scientific evidence was overwhelming long before.
Daniel Miller of Greenpeace sees right through Bush's transparent ploy. "It's not even too little too late, but a dangerous diversionary tactic," he told Britain's Guardian. Miller added, "He doesn't need to start a new process. There already is one. This is meant to slow down the process."
Miller is spot on. Bush has never allowed the United States to participate in any international efforts to curb greenhouse gases, and his administration -- the most anti-science in U.S. history -- has hired alchemists, sorcerers and creationists to shape public policy.
Now he wants to control regulations aimed at global climate change, claiming that "the United States takes this issue seriously." But talking about a heating planet will also divert the G-8 discussions away from the most important issue before the heads of state: putting heat on Bush to end the disaster in Iraq.
While at dinner, with Bush pretending to taste pickled eel, blutwurst and pig knuckles, the G-8 leaders should confront him on his failures and how the turmoil he's created in Iraq can get worse and cause damage for the economies of all the industrialized nations -- to say nothing of the humanitarian tragedies and tensions the war has brought the world.
We face a long summer of discontent and death in Iraq. George Packer wrote in his seminal book "The Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq" about the oppressive summer heat there, where midday temperatures often top 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Packer wrote, "A soldier once said that his deployment in the Iraqi desert was like being in the middle of a loaf of baking bread, thrown this way and that as the dough rose, with no idea of what was happening or where he was. To me, the Iraqi heat had the quality of a malevolent and inescapable tyranny, turning everyone stupid and passive."
Even our own malevolent tyrant knows there will be no ease this summer for those living in Iraq. He recently said, "It could be bloody -- it could be a very difficult August." He should know because, as he likes to remind us, "I am the president! I am the president! I am the president!"
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||June 5 2007|