In Search of George Bush's Brain !!!

Quod erat demonstrandum per your earlier post Wynn.
Or should I say SNAFU. Or should we refer to GWB as FUBAR?
"WynnsWoods" said:
However I disagree with many of your points thinking them either incorrect, overly broad, or without foundation or support and seem to be designed to provoke a certain response. For instance you state that “Americans focus too much on personalities and avoid looking at abstract structure”. Well go on…….. I am waiting for an explanation or elaboration. “The USA is at a certain stage of its imperial trajectory.” Again, what does that mean? I might even agree on both of those points but you offer no substance, explanation, or relevant context for those statements. They are no more significant or logical than the original Bushisms I started with thread with.
Fair enough; these are legitimate criticisms. Arguably to a greater extent than in other advanced countries, the US has "personality politics"; perhaps this is related to the intimate intertwining of politics and corporate-owned mass media today. Thus issues and coherent arguments in favor of, or against, policy platforms now take a back seat to how photogenic and how charismatic a politician comes across. And if you listen to the politicians and to the television commentators, you would think that a whole new era is about to dawn if only they get elected (or re-elected). Once they're in office, however, it's the same dull, sordid story of corruption and inaction. Thus the Democrats achieved a significant victory last November -- yet what has changed? Pelosi and Reid are a pair of spineless insiders. The gist of what I'm saying is that crucial issues are not discussed, and because of this there's virtually no real difference in outlook and policy between the parties. Whether the resulting emphasis on personalities and irrelevant differences (e.g., whether gays should be allowed in the army) is coming from the top or is a reflection of voter ignorance and apathy, I cannot say.
The US has been in a state of "managed decline" from the time of Nixon through to Clinton. The empire has been fighting a rearguard action against relative decline vis-a-vis the rest of the world. The radicalism of the neo-cons resides in their attempt to reverse this seemingly inexorable decline and reasssert US dominance through military means: the empire strikes back. And I agree with the thinking behind it (though I may not like it): for the US to stay afloat as global hegemon, it must have uncontested control of the Greater Middle East -- this is energy geopolitics pure and simple, and every other consideration becomes irrelevant. If I were at the helm of US power, I'd probably be doing the same thing myself. For these reasons, it's not enough to dismiss GWB as a clod (though he is one), and Cheney as the Prince of Darkness (though he is as well): it's the structural logic of the situation they've inherited that's indicated their course of action. But to reiterate: they've gone faster and further than any one else might have in militarism, and dismantling the structure of checks and balances, and rights for US citizens and residents, than anyone else might have.

For the record imperialism is not a dream exclusive to the United States. We are all aware that at one time the sun never set on the British Empire. British prime ministers continue this pattern, in my opinion, being the greatest ally the United States could ever hope for. I personally think that Tony Blair ruined his own historic significance through his own mindless (or mindful) support of Bush’s imperial war in Iraq. I believe wholeheartedly that both of the Iraq wars were imperial in nature. The Bush Crime Family has had a vested interested in controlling world oil supplies for decades. The British as key investors in the US economy have consistently allied themselves with US causes with no regard for logic.
I agree with most of this though of course there are nuanced differences in my outlook. Since the Suez crisis, the main plank of UK foreign policy has been to kowtow to the USA. Suez taught the Brits they didn't have the military and economic clout to assert themselves on the worlde stage anymore. So they're ostensibly a US "satellite" -- but then so is all the rest of Europe. One can argue, perhaps, that Britain goes a bit further than Germany and France -- though I'm no longer sure how convincing that is.
One key difference is that the Brits were willing to let their empire get dismembered. Whether it was pressure from the Americans (who wanted unfettered access to foreign markets and was busy establishing its own post-war spheres of influence), loss of imperial credibility in the post-war period, or lack of economic wherewithal, I cannot say. For that matter, so were the French and the Dutch (though they needed more convincing by the Algerians, Vietnamese, and Indonesians). But it's not clear the US is willing to relinquish its spheres of influence and its military dominance under similar duress. American leaders seem frighteningly close to the characters in the film Dr Strangelove in my opinion. The US has a military dominance and access to weapons of mass destruction that rickety empires like France and Britain never had.

I would disagree with your statement that Bush “moving further and faster than anyone else would have” is symptomatic of widespread public apathy. The United States people have been anything but apathetic regarding the war in Iraq. In fact that very theme dominated the last election and is showing all the signs of becoming the hot issue for the upcoming presidential elections. Republican candidates for the most part are not interested in having Bush campaign for them because they are trying to distance themselves from the man because of the war in Iraq. No one is proposing a withdrawal from Iraq as you pointed out but that issue has complexities that go far beyond mere campaign politics.
In no way am I advocating violence on a public forum, but if the American people were interested in pulling out of Iraq you would see the same scenes as took place 40 years ago. Waving placards, opinion polls, and voting for mediocre candidates who make anodyne statements just doesn't cut it.
I think that a new face in the White House has the potential to change everything.
Hope springs eternal.... You're driving home my point about personality politics. Believe me, if a Democrat gets elected, virtually nothing will change except cosmetically. I don't think the US can afford to pull out. The structural logic of USA's military, energy, and financial position indicates -- if it doesn't dictate -- certain courses of action
The last election which gave control of the House and Senate to the Democrats has already created a political environment wherein Bush has been rendered impotent in many areas. He had to sacrifice his Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, and most recently Carl Rove (who in my estimation represented about 90% of Bush’s brain). In recent days Bush himself has begun to talk of troop withdrawal from Iraq and has flip flopped on many of his earlier contentions regarding the war (such as now comparing it to the conflict in Vietnam). All of this was created through the general public starting to get off its complacent ass and making their wishes known through the electoral process.
Right. And besides these cosmetic changes, what har really changed operationally or in terms of policy? Do you think the likes of gutless and spineless Pelosi and Reid are going to make an iota of difference? At the risk of slight exaggeration, the USA is a one-party state with two factions beholden to the same financial elite, and which see eye-to-eye on foreign policy, on sustaining a military industrial complex, and on maintaining corporate power and the privileges of the financial elite.

I am not quite sure as to where you are going with your seeming argument that politics in the United States is controlled by the financial elite. I thought that was pretty much true of most governments on the planet. The concept of a ruling wealthy elite is certainly not an American creation. The US is a relatively new country and elitism is to be found throughout the history of the world.
The point is democracy is a complete sham in the US. Countries like, say, Norway and Sweden have more real democracy and hence are more equitable societies. In contrast, the US goes through a process of rubber-stamping pre-selected candidates and naming this farce "democracy." You are right that every place has an oligarchy: that is an iron rule governing all human societies. But some places are willing to let common people have a say as well, and their well-being is taken into consideration. Thus in Scandinavia, worker representatives might be on the board of large companies and help to decide corporate policy: that's more democratic than what prevails in the US. Or their parties might not be whoring themselves to the same corporate interests (and hence producing almost identical policies) -- that's more democratic. I can go on in like vein.

I fail to see how you can have things both ways regarding John Dean. You brought him up yourself and when I pointed out that he was an inappropriate personality to cite you say that is “a non-sequitur”??? You go on to note that you “mentioned him with reference to academic consensus”. In your original posting you wrote “but the administration he heads is perhaps the most sinister in US history. Indeed, as John Dean contends in his latest book, there is a growing consensus among historians that GWB is the worst president in US history”. I completely agree with you that GWB will go down in history as a failure; however I still reject your wisdom in using John Dean to show the support.
Nixon was a crook, but he was an astute analyst of power. So I may read what he says in books such as "Nixon off the Record," and cite him. But what he did, and what he is, is irrelevant to the quality of his insights and the strength of his arguments. Step away from judging a person's pronouncements from what he did as a politician or person.

John Dean is at best a former attorney and convicted felon who currently works as an author, columnist and commentator. He is not an academic nor is he a historian. And while I appreciate H.L. Menken’s quote, citing a journalist, satirist, social critic and cynic who has been dead for over fifty years does little to support the claim that current historians and/or academics view the Bush Administration in any particular light.
Mencken and Dean aren't related and of course I'm not citing Mencken to (seriously) buttress a claim that Bush is the worst. Dean is citing sources in his book and if you insist, I can get hold of the book and show what sources he's citing (I didn't buy it because such topical books age very fast). Of course, as you point out, he's no historian himself

I think that nearly every intellectual on the planet looks down on Bush and is outspoken regarding their opinion. I believe that his place in history is secure as an idiot and warmonger. I also think that you could do better in finding people to support your thoughts on the subject. I do agree with you 100% on what you are saying relative to Bush’s place in history and the thing that frightens me most is that the book is still being written for a little over a year.
I'm trying to get you away from this outlook; I repeat: it's not Bush. Even if the Bush administration had done something so very radical, he would remain largely an unwitting marionette. But my contention is stronger than that: the Bush adminstration has not been so very different from previous ones. I concede it has gone a bit faster and a bit further -- but it has never violated the structural logic of USA's situation. It makes logical sense to take military control of the Middle East. As Clausewitz pointed out, war is diplomacy by other means. The warmongering serves well-defined purposes (the fact that it's not going as planned is another story). And the idiocy of the marionette is irrelevant -- just taking him to task is an exercise in futility. Don't confuse his stupidity with the policies and actions of his adminstration: he doesn't pull the strings.

I do disagree with you on your assertion that the US is an oligarchy with preselected candidates. Or I at least would contend that the US is no more an oligarchy than most countries laying claim to democracy. As I stated above, I do believe that a two party system is a failure at adequately representing the public, but I do see some slow improvement.
*Sigh* You Americans with your eternal optimism.:). It would be better for the whole world if you became as jaded and cynical in outlook as the Europeans: it provides a better basis for sensible action than misplaced hope.

As to your observation that intellectuals have been persecuted and dismissed in the US for decades I agree with you.

Not necessarily persecuted and dismissed. If intellectuals are willing to get into bed with those in power, if they're willing to refrain from speaking truth to power, they do all right. McNamara, Kissinger, Brezinski, von Neumann, Teller -- there's a long list of intellectuals and scientists who have been willing to prostitute themselves. All I'm saying is there's been a pronounced and persistent strain of anti-intellectualism in American history. Candidates for public office have to reassure the people that their stupidity and ignorance is quite all right and what better reassurance than if the candidate is a clod himself? This is where egalitarianism leads....

Clinton is of course a far more clever person than GWB but again keep in mind that many of GWB's policies have really been Clinton's, and Bush has merely continued them, or pushed them a bit further. Thus -- to give one small example -- the policy of rendition was started by Clinton.

Hunter Thompson (before he blew his brains out) used to come out with some choice pieces from time to time. Here are some from "Kingdom of Fear":
Let's face it--the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do--says what he is told to say--poses the way he is told to pose. He is a Fool.
This is never an easy thing for the voters of this country to accept.
No. Nonsense. The president cannot be a Fool. Not at this moment in time--when the last living vestiges of the American Dream are on the line. This is not the time to have a bogus rich kid in charge of the White House. Which is, after all, our house. That is our headquarters--it is where the heart of America lives. So if the president lies and act giddy about other people's lives--if he wantonly and stupidly endorses mass murder as a logical plan to make sure that we are still Number One--he is a Jackass by definition--a loud and meaningless animal with no fundamental intelligence and no balls.
To say that this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon.
Whoops! Did I say that? Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age Republican whore-beast of a false president could actually make Richard Nixon look like a liberal?
We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world – a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us... No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you.
and finally:
The prevailing quality of life in America – by any accepted methods of measuring – was inarguably freer and more politically open under Nixon than it is today ..."