Wednesday, October 20, 2004

George Bush: Bubble Boy

Great Washington Post piece by Harold Myerson on the insulation of the president:

"I have no outside advice" in the war on terrorism, President Bush told Bob Woodward in December of 2001. In an interview that Woodward revealed to Nicholas Lemann in last week's issue of the New Yorker, Bush insisted that, "Anybody who says they're an outside adviser of this Administration on this particular matter is not telling the truth. First of all, in the initial phase of the war, I never left the compound. Nor did anybody come in the compound. I was, you talk about one guy in a bubble."

Indeed. By every available indication, George W. Bush's is the most inside-the-bubble presidency in modern American history. It's not just that his campaign operatives exclude all but the true believers from his rallies, or that Bush, by the evidence of his debate performances, has grown utterly unaccustomed to criticism.

With each passing day, we learn that once Bush has decided on a course of action, he will not be swayed by mere intelligence estimates, military appraisals or facts on the ground. We already knew that when Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress during the run-up to the war that occupying Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of troops, he sealed his ticket to an early retirement. We've recently learned that Paul Bremer had told the president we needed more troops to secure postwar Iraq and the safety of our troops already there, and that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez had pleaded for more armored vehicles to better shield our soldiers.

Of course, he also told Bob Woodward that he listened to a "higher father" when asked if he took advice from the first President Bush. But, according to an interview on Paula Zahn last night, he seems even to have ignored God's word when spoken through Pat Robertson:
ROBERTSON: I met with [Bush] down in Nashville before the Iraq War started. And he was the most self-assured man I ever met in my life. You remember, Mark Twain said, "he looks like a contended Christian with four aces." He was just sitting there, like, I'm on top of the world, and I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, "Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties." "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." "Well," I said, "it's the way it's going to be." And so, it was messy. The Lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy. And before that, I had deep, in my spirit, I had deep misgivings about going into Iraq.


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