Woodward On Bush’s Denial

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There’s very little else a guy like me can take from a title like State of Denial. It supposes what the mindset of a President is like who is notorious for having a dearth of intellectual curiousity. Denial also speaks to an unexplainable inability to venture outside of a small circle of ideological immobile neo-cons.

In short, the state we’re in is because of the fears of a few. If we change we lose…and the one person who could be the most afraid currently occupies the the Oval Office.

From Woodward comes this about Andy Card’s views on his way out:

One of Card’s great worries was that Iraq would be compared to Vietnam. In March, there were 58,249 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. One of Kissinger’s private criticisms of Bush was that he had no mechanism in place, or even an inclination, to consider the downsides of impending decisions. Alternative courses of action were rarely considered.

As best Card could remember, there had been some informal, blue-sky discussions at times along the lines of “What could we do differently?” But there had been no formal sessions to consider alternatives to staying in Iraq. To his knowledge there were no anguished memos bearing the names of Cheney, Rice, Hadley, Rumsfeld, the CIA, Card himself or anyone else saying “Let’s examine alternatives,” as had surfaced after the Vietnam era.

Card put it on the generals in the Pentagon and Iraq. If they had come forward and said to the president “It’s not worth it” or “The mission can’t be accomplished,” Card was certain, the president would have said “I’m not going to ask another kid to sacrifice for it.”

Card was enough of a realist to see that two negative aspects to Bush’s public persona had come to define his presidency: incompetence and arrogance. Card did not believe that Bush was incompetent, and so he had to face the possibility that as Bush’s chief of staff, he might have been the incompetent one. In addition, he did not think the president was arrogant.

But the marketing of Bush had come across as arrogant. Maybe it was unfair in Card’s opinion, but there it was.

Wars are not won by being immobile and unchanging. They aren’t won by consistently breaking the rules by which this country has set and maintained the standard of freedom across the globe. In fact, those are the very things that lose wars, especially one based on ideas.

No, wars are won with commitment to our principles, a helluva a lot of bravery and some much needed creativity when the chips are down. We have the ability to execute on all three, but so far we’ve only seen one of those things. I’m sure you know which one I’m referring to, and we have our brave men and women in uniform to thank for that.

On the other hand, our President seems to live in a world where he thinks if he says it, it must be true. Immobile and unchanging is a sign of strength, and anything else will show the terrorists that they’re winning. And we damn well better believe that strategy unquestioningly, otherwise we too are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. This is simply crazy. No, not the “insane” type of crazy, but most definitely in the “keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result” type of crazy.

Denial is a pretty simple thing because it’s born out of a fear of being wrong. But this isn’t some personal struggle Bush is going through…this is the future of our country and our credibility. And we deserve better than a foreign policy bereft of creativity and bursting at the seams with fear.