Saturday, November 11, 2006


We keep saying it, too, because it clearly is the truth of what is happening now in the White House. Yet, Bush allies and some media commentators insist that the president has not spoken to his father about the events in Iraq for months.

This may well be true, but it just seems an incomprehensible reality, particularly since so many of his father's old mates are now advising the president and vice-president, and putting together a new set of plans to extricate the US from the 'War On Iraq'. That is, if Bush Co. actually want the US to leave the region within the next decade. And so far, there has been little from the president himself to say that this is something he would like to actually see happen.

The former president Bush may be losing his memory, and suffering mild-to-troubling dementia, but he reportedly still loves to gossip and at least pretend he still has influence in the way the country is being run.

And with, literally, a team of his old cronies filing in and out of the Oval Office these days, the former president is entitled to indulge this fantasy.

The Democrats now control the House of Representatives and the Senate, President Bush has officially entered the "lame duck" years of his presidency, but US troops still seem unlikely to leave Iraq in any great number, any time soon, and it seems unlikely that the cronies of the former president Bush are going to recommend withdrawal, regardless.

You don't blow half a trillion dollars and then just walk away because a few thousand Americans have been killed. There is far more at stake than simply "a free and democratic Iraq".

From the Washington Post :

A day after suffering a "thumping" in midterm elections, the president ousted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, a longtime rival of his father's, and replaced him with Robert M. Gates, his father's CIA director. And the president has invested great hope in James A. Baker III, his father's friend and secretary of state, to come up with a plan to correct the course in Iraq in a blue-ribbon commission report due as soon as next month.

If the father was the patriarch of the realist school of foreign policy that aims to manage a combustible international order, the son brought to power neoconservatives who want to remake the world and spread democracy. The president has given speech after speech assailing past administrations for accepting tyranny in the Middle East in the belief that stability equaled security, a thesis that he says exploded tragically on Sept. 11, 2001.

The elder Bush was reported to have been skeptical of the way the younger Bush launched the war in Iraq in 2003 -- reports that were fueled in part by public comments before the invasion by Baker and Brent Scowcroft, the former president's national security adviser and close friend.

"I don't think anybody consciously said, 'Geez, let's bring the old team in,' " said one senior official in the Bush 41 White House. "I frankly think it's a natural default from the failure of this advice of the people they had. It was impossible to argue anymore that some of the people who got us into this mess were giving good advice."

Administration officials said Baker did not recommend Rumsfeld's ouster or Gates's appointment. But in meetings with the president, he praised Gates, who serves with Baker on the congressionally created Iraq Study Group. During private discussions, according to one person familiar with them, Gates has expressed strong reservations about the course of events in Iraq and the failure of the administration to adjust.

The bipartisan study group, co-chaired by Baker and former representative Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), probably will not replace Gates because it is so late in the process. After intense meetings in recent months, the group still has not reached any conclusions, said one person familiar with its workings.

Stacked with foreign policy centrists from both parties, (the Iraq Study Group) may recommend staying in Iraq but changing the nature of the U.S. effort there.

The revamped operation would place less emphasis on military operations, cutting the U.S. troop presence, and stress training and advising the Iraqi army. Perhaps most significantly, the Bush administration's ambition of planting a democracy in the heart of the Middle East would be set aside, at least temporarily, in favor of bolstering Iraq's stability.

That suggests Bush 41 policymaking may be back.

"It certainly looks that way," said Tom Donnelly, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Even so, he said, the question remains what the president is really thinking. "Bush's mind works differently from the normal political mind. He seems to be motivated by faith and ideals and willing to take risks politically. Maybe these Baker guys can talk him off the ledge, but nobody's done it yet."

After reading far too many books about Bush 41 and 43, and their presidencies, I found little that told me the Bush 43 is living in the shadow of his father, or he is intimidated by him, and the comparable success of his presidency.

George W. Bush is far too arrogant and egotistical to be intimidated by a mere male.


It is the mother, Barbra Bush, who intimidates and cajoles and bullies both of father and son, and has vastly enjoyed doing so, for decades.