This really can’t qualify as a “news” item. But over at Hullabaloo, Digby has two more striking, insightful posts up. ”Meanwhile, Back In Iraq” is primarily an examination of exactly how bad Iraq is — but it ends with a brief observation of the macho-unmoored-to-reality mentality of Cheney and the gang that lead to what Digby accurately calls a “meatgrinder.” Meanwhile, ”Nuts And Dolts” delves, err — skims — the intellect that is George W. Bush. As Digby writes:
I'm really beginning to resent all those people who say Bush really is smart, he's just incurious. No. He's clearly an idiot and an arrogant, immature idiot at that. He's been manipulated by a bunch of wily, evil men with competing agendas creating lawlessness, chaos and incoherence in our government.
Over the last six years when we watched Bush shift uncomfortably and babble incomprehensibly in response to complicated questions, when we saw him lash out at anyone who dared to question his judgment or his authority, when we observed him humiliating those around him, we weren't hallucinating and it wasn't an act. This intellectually deficient, petulent man-child was exactly what he appeared to be --- and his inept, arrogant administration is a perfect reflection of him.
The same post also offers this telling glimpse of Cheney:
Having figured out that the general was being too cautious with his fourth combat command in three decades of soldiering, Cheney got his staff busy and began presenting Schwarzkopf with his own ideas about how to fight the Iraqis: What if we parachute the 82nd Airborne into the far western part of Iraq, hundreds of miles from Kuwait and totally cut off from any kind of support, and seize a couple of missile sites, then line up along the highway and drive for Baghdad? Schwarzkopf charitably describes the plan as being "as bad as it could possibly be... But despite our criticism, the western excursion wouldn't die: three times in that week alone Powell called with new variations from Cheney's staff. The most bizarre involved capturing a town in western Iraq and offering it to Saddam in exchange for Kuwait."
The problem with Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush is they’re stubborn and relentless in pursuing a course of action, but never bother to get the course right before they set out. Even after Tenet and others disproved the Niger-uranium allegations, and kept on insisting they be removed from pre-war speeches, Cheney and his capos kept on slipping them back in, in each new draft, and in new speeches. Cheney apparently used the same approach for battle plans. And in many ways, the entire Bush administration is merely Cheney, Rumsfeld and their gang re-fighting all the battles of the Nixon and Reagan administrations.
The Bush administration would be a marvel of satire if only they were as fictional as the grandeur they think they possess. Being consistently flat-out, disastrously wrong apparently gives pause only to lesser men. They are the Peter Principle in action, raised to the level of Biblical plague. Their first National Security Advisor, Rice, was still fighting the Cold War, never mind that it had ended nine years previously (so was Cheney). One of their key lawyers (John Yoo) was meddling with constitutional law despite a stunning ignorance of the United States Constitution. Dick Cheney was pushing for a combative foreign policy despite his apparently disastrous handle on war strategy and tenuous grasp of reality. They had a brainless brain trust in the aggressive but unrealistic neocons of Wolfowitz, Feith, Addington, Libby, and countless other members of the Cheney cabal. Their outside “grey beard” was Kissinger, a man who, unlike even Robert McNamara, was still unwilling to admit obvious and cataclysmic mistakes 30 years after the fact and was also still fighting the Cold War on the most un-winnable front possible — Vietnam.
And Bush, the boy king, clearly has always been in way over his head, a dolt and an imbecile unwilling to grow into the job and too insecure to surround himself with wise men and women, smarter than he, to counsel him. He must insult academics, ridicule nuance and degradingly reduce the world to simplistic, black and white terms because he simply cannot engage on a higher plane, and must resort to bullying and power rather than reason or rightness to win. He has prized perceived loyalty over all competence, viewed dissent as disloyalty, and hewed to horrible, snap decisions with the mad desperation and stubbornness of a man terrified of actually — thinking. Bob Woodward believes Bush hasn’t lost ten minutes of sleep over the fact that they never found any WMDs in Iraq. The empty mind is the untroubled mind; ignorance is bliss. (Ignorance, in the empty mind, is strength.)
The Bush administration is a perfect storm of arrogant, pugnacious, deadly idiocy. The only thing we can hope for is that such storms are as rare in politics as they are in nature.