Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New year thoughts

I love reading Dan Froomkin at the WaPo. Today's column had an incredible letter from a reader with this analysis of Bush and his war. I have been thinking these same thoughts but with much less clarity.

And a White House Briefing reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent me this e-mail two whole weeks ago: "It seems that you, and many others who comment on the President, have a difficult time understanding his motivation regarding Iraq. It seems irrational if viewed in the context of what appears to be the indisputable facts on the ground. Why would a President deliberately ignore sound advice based on rational investigation? . . .

"He's not stupid, and he has shown in the past that when defeat looks him in the eye he can do a 180 without a blink. So what's up? I don't have any more insight than the next person, but one thought that keeps rattling around in my head is this.

"Early on, when things started to go south in Iraq, Bush said something along the lines of solving Iraq would be left up to the next President. I know it wasn't that blatant, but it gave the impression that he was perfectly willing to leave his successor with the whole mess if things didn't 'work out' for him. Ever since that comment, I get the distinct impression that Bush is just trying to run out the clock in order to avoid facing an acknowledgment of the worst foreign policy disaster in this nation's history.

"I fully expect for him to continue to assert that we can have success in Iraq, in spite of any evidence to the contrary, until the day he leaves office. He will stall, patch things together, anything to avoid the appearance of an acknowledgment of failure. He knows that Iraq is a failure, but if he leaves office still maintaining that we can 'win' or 'succeed' there then history will not judge him so harshly.

"Obviously we will have to change course, but he's not going to be the guy to do it. He will then maintain that someone else 'lost' Iraq because they didn't have the courage and determination to stick it out. As with everything in his life, from his National Guard service to his serial failures in business and life in general, it's all about him - not the country, not the job, not our reputation in the world or our hard won and universally admired heritage of concern for basic human rights. He's not trying to save this country or Iraq, he's trying to save himself and his 'place in history'. He's completely wrong of course, but given his history of privilege and never having to suffer the consequences of his long record of bad decisions, it does kind of make sense.

"We assume that, like most Presidents, he connects his self-image with actual success or failure in the real world. I increasingly am drawn to the conclusion that, regardless of the facts on the ground, he will consider himself a success as long as he never admits that his ill-fated adventure in Iraq can't succeed.

Also from Froomkin:

Author Jane Smiley writes on that "the 'surge' is a classic example of a loser's strategy, and it is about to be put in place by a bunch of losers. The 'surge' is about saving face rather than achieving an objective, and, let me say it right here, it's a guy thing. It's like 'going down fighting', except that those who are going to be going down aren't going to be those who want to save face.

"People always comment on how stubborn George W. Bush is, or how stupid he is, or how ignorant he is, but what they don't comment on is how selfish he is."

OK I'll say it, a selfish asshole. Every wonder how many pictures of himself he has given away for presents? Or how many people he is responsible for killing?

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