Adam Ash

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

US Diary: respectable journalists are beginning to wonder - is Pres. Bush and everyone around him out of their fucking minds, i.e. certifiably insane?

1. The President Needs a Padded Room
The Co-Dependent Congress
By DAVE LINDORFF/Counterpunch

It's time to simply admit the obvious: The president of the United States is crazy as a loon, and the Congress and the media are functioning as co-dependents as he runs the country off a cliff.

Bush says in his latest press conference that he is "certain" that Iran is providing "technically sophisticated" roadside bomb weapons to Iraqi insurgent forces to help them to kill Americans.

He probably is "certain." But nobody else of consequence in the government is, and the evidence to support his claim is simply not there.

Shaped charges are not sophisticated. They can be made in a garage. The technology was invented in 1888 by a Navy engineer. It was widely used in World War I and II, as well as in Vietnam, and was even provided to by the British to the IRA in a botched sting operation that led to its being disseminated around the world to every conceivable resistance and terror organization. Instructions on how to do make these weapons are available on the web. A highschool student could do it in shop if the teacher wasn't looking.

On top of that, the people who are primarily responsible for killing Americans in Iraq are Sunnis, who are certainly not the beneficiaries of Iranian government assistance, since Sunnis are killing Shias, who are the ones that Iran is close to.

None of this matters to Bush.

Why? Because he's crazy. Reality and Bush are wholly different worlds, people.

When you have a person who's off his nut in a position of authority, whether it is in your house, in your office, driving a car or running your country, you need to do something to prevent them from causing harm. It won't do to say, "It's too much trouble to confront him," or "He'll get angry if I challenge him."

This seems to be the attitude in Congress and the media. The Democrats, who could put the president in a richly deserved straight jacket, are afraid to take that step. The media are afraid the president and his crazy backers would howl if they pointed out how nutty he has become.

So they all let him rant on, as though he were making sense.

The problem is that this president is also the commander in chief. He has ordered three heavily armed (and nuclear-equipped) carrier battle groups to the Persian Gulf and is talking about "dealing" with Iran. We all know what that means. He wants to attack Iran and expand his disastrous war in the Middle East to put us at war with another 70 million people.

Experts are saying we can expect this to happen in mid March or April! They say this even though there are no facts that could justify such a criminal act.

But facts don't matter to this megalomaniac.

Co-dependency is a condition where people associated with a sick person enable that person to ruin not only their own lives, but the lives of others, because of an inability to confront the sick person. It happens in families, and it is happening today to the American nation.

Co-dependency destroys families, and it has the potential now to destroy the lives of thousands of Americans, tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent Iranians, and perhaps America itself.

There is only one proper response to having a lunatic in the White House, and that is to get him out of there, and to prevent him from doing harm to himself and others. What ought to happen is Bush's medical team should have him declared incompetent. Since that is unlikely to happen, we're left with two other alternatives. One would be for the military leadership of the nation to recognize Bush's orders-should he order an attack on Iran-to be contrary to International Law, and to disobey him. That seems unlikely, though it is to be profoundly hoped for.

The other is for Congress to recognize its co-dependent behavior, and to take action, filing impeachment bills and getting the process of impeachment hearings underway.

Since the president has clearly broken the law in the case of the National Security Agency spying he ordered up, and since he has clearly abused his power and violated his oath of office with his signing statements, there is really no need for prolonged hearings. An impeachment panel could quickly vote out articles of impeachment on these two issues and send them to the full house for a vote. Were they to do this, I suspect they would find at least some honorable and patriotic Republicans voting with them. At that point the issue could go to the Senate for trial. Meanwhile, the impeachment panel could continue with hearings into Bush's other crimes and misadventures-the lying about the Iraq War, the torture authorization, the violation of habeas corpus, the cover-up of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the lies to and obstruction of the 9-11 Commission, the abandonment of New Orleans to its fate during and after Hurricane Katrina, the war profiteering in Iraq, etc., etc.

The first step, however, is to acknowledge that the president has lost his mind and has become a dangerous psychopath.

(Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal .His n book of CounterPunch columns titled " This Can't be Happening! " is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is " The Case for Impeachment ",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at:

2. Still Crazy After All These Years
The dangerous lunacy of the Bush team's new Mid-East "realignment" strategy.
By Matthew Yglesias/AmericanProspect

Tomorrow, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns is going to speak at the Brookings Institution on the subject of "Iran and U.S. National Security." I'll be there, and I'm hoping to get a chance to ask a question that's been weighing on my mind for the past several weeks: Are you people out of your fucking minds?

Burns, obviously, works for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice, as you'll recall, is supposed to be the leader of the non-crazy, non-demented faction of the Bush administration. The counter-Cheney. The voice of reason. But she's also the one who provided Washington Post columnist David Ignatius last month with "an unusually detailed public explanation of the new American effort to create a de facto alliance between Israel and moderate Arab states against Iranian extremism." As Rice told him,

“After the war in Lebanon, the Middle East really did begin to clarify into an extremist element allied with Iran, including Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. On the other side were the targets of this extremism -- the Lebanese, the Iraqis, the Palestinians -- and those who want to resist, such as the Saudis, Egypt, and Jordan.”

Apparently, at some point American foreign policy descended from "seemingly deluded" to "explicitly deluded" and nobody took note. Ignatius, obviously prizing access over good sense, managed only to meekly note that "the realignment strategy poses as many question as it answers -- not least the anomaly of supporting Sunni resistance to Iran at the same time the U.S. augments its military support for a Shiite-led government in Iraq."

Sorry, no. The only question the realignment strategy poses is, once again, the one about the Bush team's sanity.

There's no "question" to be asked about the coherence of escalating American military support for Iraq's pro-Iranian government while blaming Iran for the Sunni-orchestrated insurgency -- there plainly is none. One might as well ask Rice whether she really thinks it makes sense to talk unproblematically of "the Lebanese" as a unitary bloc opposed to Hezbollah when virtually half of Lebanese people are Hezbollah supporters. Or we could raise questions about the coherence of classifying Hamas (a Sunni organization) as part of "an extremist element allied with Iran" while classifying groups like "the Palestinians" as "targets of this extremism," when Hamas came to power with an electoral mandate from those Palestinians -- following elections that Rice had insisted be held! But to look closely at this is merely to skirt the broader absurdity of Rice's vision of Israel standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the world's Sunni Muslims to combat the dastardly Iranians. Does she really believe this is going to happen?

Even worse, a truly baffling early February Time article cast this new adventure in wishful thinking as a return to realistic foreign policy approaches by an administration that spent 2004 and 2005 dreaming of democracy. But abandoning a far-fetched utopian scheme for a far-fetched machtpolitik scheme isn't the same as bringing a weirdly dissociative policy back down to earth. Say this for the abandoned idealism: It at least had the virtue of being an appealing fantasy. Why, exactly, are we daydreaming about provoking a region-wide sectarian clash?

And make no mistake, the Bush administration is provoking it. Bothering to debate the precise veracity of the Bush administration's claims "that Iran is supplying Shiite extremist groups in Iran with deadly weaponry, including a roadside bomb that pierces American armor," is besides the point. For one thing, that the administration is lying can simply be taken for granted -- there aren't any major policy areas this crew doesn't lie about. Whatever evidence exists, they're exaggerating it; whatever the extent of Iranian involvement, Bush is overstating it. Moreover, it's all beside the point once you understand the context.

As Bush administration veteran Flynt Leverett pointed out in December, and Michael Hirsch and Maziar Bahari explain in the current Newsweek , after 9/11, Iran sought to cooperate with the United States in Afghanistan in hopes of improving Tehran's relationship with Washington. For their trouble, they were treated to membership in the "axis of evil." Following the invasion of Iraq, the Iranians once again sought negotiations as a way to secure their interests in Iraq. The Bush administration rebuffed that offer, preferring that Iran continue with its nuclear program and its support of Hezbollah so long as the United States was able to continue pressing for the overthrow of the Iranian government.

And now the press is really on. The administration seems to know it can't sell the Congress or the public on a new war, so it's trying to escalate tensions enough so that the Iranians will do something to American troops that will create a viable pretext for an American war-as-retaliation.

So many things are wrong with this that it's hard to know where to begin. The basic point, though, is that the Iran problem is entirely self-created -- or, rather, Bush-created. U.S.-Iranian relations were chilly when Bush took office, but there were no active hostilities. After 9/11, relations stood a good chance of improving as both of our nations shared a common foe in al-Qaeda. The administration then proceeded to cope with al-Qaeda through such a series of bizarre and ineffective moves -- failing to secure Afghanistan, toppling Saddam Hussein, proclaiming the United States to be on a grand mission to democratize the entire Middle East, isolating America from most of its potential friends around the world -- that it created a much worse problem in the form of growing Iranian power and hostility. Instead of looking at this mess and trying to find a way out of it, Bush and Rice now seem determined to plunge the country further into the abyss for reasons they can't be bothered to explain.

Worst of all, while Congress can refuse to grant Bush statutory authority to launch a new war, there's little they can do to prevent him from trying to goad the Iranians into attacking Americans. One hopes the congressional Democrats can do something to prevent a war, but one fears that the world is simply due to pay the price of Bush having been re-elected two years ago.

(Matthew Yglesias is a Prospect staff writer.)


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