Sunday, December 03, 2006

All Fall Down

James Walcott writes about the all-too-familiar problem of GWB's disconnection from everyone else's reality but James also speculates on what might happen if "the grownups intervene and Bush still doesn't take heed". That outcome is what precipitates James' child-speak prediction: "All Fall Down". These are truly bizarre, stranger-than-fiction times.

The normally imperturbable and steady-as-ye-goes David Gergen sounded a mite rattled today on Hardball (sub host, David Shuster), his phlegmatic concern aroused by President Bush's recent mouthings from Estonia, where he seemed to be preempting the recommendations of Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report by overestimating the influence of Al Qaeda in the Iraq maelstrom and declaring that US troops would remain there until the job was done. What appeared to alarm Gergen and the others present was the scary prospect that Bush's frail tether to reality has snapped and that he is determined to deny what is apparent to all--the whirling chaos in Iraq and the rapid air of urgency that threatens to engulf US forces.

The circles of hell are spinning with centrifugal force, reports Patrick Cockburn on Counterpunch.

Everything in Iraq is dominated by what in Belfast we used to call "the politics of the last atrocity". All three Iraqi communities--Shia, Sunni and Kurdish -- see themselves as victims and seldom sympathize with the tragedies of others. Every day brings its gruesome discoveries. Earlier this month I visited Mosul, the capital of northern Iraq that has a population of 1.7 million people of whom about two thirds are Sunni Arabs and one third Kurds. It not the most dangerous city in Iraq but it is still a place drenched in violence. A local tribal leader called Sayid Tewfiq from the nearby city of Tal Afar told me of a man from there who went to recover the tortured body of his 16-year old son. The corpse was wired to explosives that blew up killing the father so their two bodies were buried together.


In much of Iraq we long ago slipped down the rapids leading from crisis to catastrophe though it is only in the last six months that these dire facts have begun to be accepted abroad. For the first three years of the war Republicans in the US regularly claimed that the liberal media was ignoring signs of peace and progress in Iraq. Some right wingers even set up web sites devoted to spreading the news of American achievements in this ruined land. I remember a team from a US network news channel staying in my hotel in Baghdad complaining to me, as they buckled on their body armour and helmets, that they had been once again told by their bosses in New York, themselves under pressure from the White House, to "go and find some good news and report it."

Times have changed in Washington. The extent of the disaster in Iraq is admitted by almost all aside from President Bush.

But that's a pretty big "aside" barring the exit door, and one has to wonder what it will take to finally get through to Bushbot as his daughters gallivant in Argentina and Cheney finds himself beckoned to Saudia Arabia (which the Wash Post's Robin Wright called virtually unprecedented). It has been the wish, hope, and dream of Beltway centrists that the "grownups" would step in and stage an intervention to save Bush (and the US) from his folly. But suppose the grownups intervene and Bush still doesn't take heed? Suppose he tenses his jaw, sticks out his lower lip, and makes it clear that nobody (including his daddy's cronies)'s gonna push him around? Perhaps what troubles Gergen is the growing fear that not only is Bush unable to avoid catastrophe, he's unwilling to, because that would mean he was wrong, and Bush can't admit he was wrong--the cracks of doubt would bring his entire psychic superstructure crashing. And at that point we'd have a presidential crisis that would make Nixon's lunar unraveling look like a teddy bear's picnic.


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