…and you will still be ugly.
That’s one of my favorite quotes by Churchill, apparently in response to Lady Astor’s comment ‘Sir, you’re drunk!’. Churchill is famous for his sharp wit, in spite of his love of drink. W Bush on the other hand, seems to be famous for brashness (and lack of wit) perhaps due to his love of lying (about his drink among other things).
In both cases it’s tempting to find fault in vice, but it seems more useful to me if you can get close to the actual personality of a person and assess their aptitude to think rationally under stress. I’m obviously no psychiatrist, but I found this entry in Wikipedia insightful:
In Addiction, Brain Damage and the President: “Dry Drunk” Syndrome and George W. Bush (Katherine van Wormer, CounterPunch, October 11, 2002), van Wormer goes on to speculate over whether Bush is an example of a “dry drunk”, a slang term used by Alcoholics Anonymous and substance abuse counselors to describe a recovering alcoholic who is no longer drinking, but who has not confronted the dysfunctional basic cognitive patterns that led to addiction; they use the term because they feel that such an individual is someone “who is no longer drinking . . . but whose thinking is clouded,” not truly “sober”. In her opinion, Bush displays the telltale characteristics of grandiose behavior, rigid, judgmental outlook, impatience, childish and irresponsible behavior, irrational rationalization, projection, and overreaction. She concluded that Bush displays “all the classic patterns of addictive thinking”. More specifically, she argued that Bush exhibits “the tendency to go to extremes,” a “kill or be killed mentality,” incoherence while speaking away from script, impatience, irritability in the face of disagreement, and a rigid, judgmental outlook. She added that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was primarily a result of his relationship with his father: “the targeting of Iraq had become one manâ€™s personal crusade.”
To be frank, I didn’t really follow the “relationship with his father” theory until I read a recap of the younger Bush’s history of reckless behavior and inability to handle confrontation over his mistakes:
The most notorious episode, reported in numerous diverse sources including U.S. News & World Report, November 1, 1999, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq by Robert Parry, First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty by Bill Minutaglio, and W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty by Elizabeth Mitchell, has 26 year old George W. Bush, visiting his parents in Washington, D. C. over the Christmas vacation in 1972 shortly after the death of his grandfather, taking his 16 year old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home, George lost control of the car and ran over a garbage can, but continued home with the can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, George H. W. Bush, called him on the carpet for not only his own behavior but for exposing his younger brother to risk, George W., still under the influence, retorted angrily, “I hear you’re looking for me. You wanna go mano a mano right here?” Before the elder Bush could reply, the situation was defused by brother Jeb, who took the opportunity to surprise his father with the happy news that George W. had been accepted to Harvard Business School.
Makes you think twice when you read today’s news by the BBC titled Bush denies Iraq is in civil war, eh? I’m starting to wonder if Air Force One has a garbage can stuck under the landing gear…
To paraphrase an old Chinese saying, if the top rafters are not level, the lower ones are probably crooked too:
Tuesday’s news conference came as US military investigators flew to Iraq to study reports that marines shot dead at least 15 civilians, including seven women and three children [including a 3-yr old], in Haditha in November 2005. The military’s initial claim that the civilians died in a roadside blast was disproved by an earlier investigation.
Corruption is one of the hardest things to work with in security since the enforcement mechanisms end up undermining their own credibility, which leads to a response that causes an escalation of overly harsh tactics, which undermines credibility, and so forth.