Bush "thinks he is playing in a longer-term game than the tacticians"

Or, the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting it to work this time.

Two things:

  1. How’s that “long-term game” of yours working out so far, Mr. President? After five and a half years, where’s the payoff?

I just see Iraq being a catastrophe beyond hope of redemption by Western efforts, Afghanistan slipping away fast, North Korea still making bombs, Iran (“real men want to go to Tehran”) pretty much beyond our ability to effectively restrain, Islamic terrorists are still blowing up large numbers of people, and respect for America and approval of its aims at a low ebb around the world.

So you’ve got to wonder about this President if he thinks he’s the one seeing further ahead than others.

  1. What he’s seeing far ahead about, this time:

Once again, Bush’s imagined ‘root cause’ is some person, group of persons, or organization that can be taken out, and once we do so, the problem will be solved. We all know about his Iraq deck of cards; we killed or captured about 3/4 of them in pretty short order, ultimately including Saddam. We know how well that’s worked out. We also know he asked for something similar in the fight against al-Qaeda. We know Zarqawi’s death hasn’t made the situation in Iraq any better.

If Israel ‘grinds down’ Hezbollah, it will give Israel a respite from rocket attacks. That is a perfectly reasonable tactical aim. But that’s all it will do. It will not make the Middle East a safer place in the medium term. Even destroying Hezbollah completely, while turning a big chunk of Lebanon’s population into refugees, will generate another Hezbollah.

Over and over again, Bush has seen the problem as some limited group of instigators of trouble, and has seen the solution as destroying that group. And every time, he’s been wrong. But he keeps on seeing conflicts in those terms, and he keeps on seeing ‘Og smash’ as the solution, no matter how many times it fails.

He’s certainly not clinically insane - he can tell a hawk from a handsaw - but he certainly thinks like a crazy man thinks, if he really sees himself as being the long-term thinker.

I don’t know, “The tacticians say” and “Many believe” coming from someone who was fired (a former official) makes me not feel any particular sense of dread. Get Colin Powell out there saying publically “Look d00d this is stupid” and I’ll worry, but just going by this article I don’t see any reason to think that Bush isn’t stating this view entirely on what the nations best tacticians are saying.

  • Note that I am entirely just stating this based on this one article, so there may very well be good evidence that the nations best tacticians are against this stance, only the article failed to mention or support that.

Where does it say the guy was fired? I missed that part.

This isn’t the first time lately that this motif has surfaced. The time before that was just a week or so earlier, and this time the speaker was Bush’s press secretary:

I’m not really concerned with whether some experts share Bush’s view; I’m sure they do. What scares me is the thought that Bush might think of himself as the guy capable of seeing several moves ahead, seeing things the experts don’t because he can see more deeply than they do.

If so, he’s totally unhinged.

GeeDub is a Leader of Men, a man of destiny. Elmer Fudd channeling Bismarck.

But more important, GeeDub is a natural leader, blessed with an instinctive sense of geo-political astutitude. He is not encumbered by intellectual constructs, like so many of his ivory-towered academic “critics”, lily-livered hand-wringers in awe of his vigorous, virile insight and his almost preternatural sense for the deft and adroit diplomatic maneuver (yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Fancy-pants Juan Cole!).

In the short term, of course, the stunning clarity of his vision is obscured by niggling “facts”. It may be years before the grand strategic vista is revealed. Future historians will review his words and actions and gasp with awe and wonder! It may take some time, many historians still refuse to grasp how St. Ronnie’s invasion of Grenada led inevitably to the fall of Soviet Russia. This is certainly understandable, not all men are blessed with such an instinctive grasp.

Others have referred to this sort of acute perception as “feminine intuition”. This is, of course, nonsense. The President is not a lesbian.

You have no more reason to think that he quit than that he was fired. My point was that “an unnamed ex-employee said ‘lots of people agree he’s wrong!’” is a really weak cite for anything.

So you don’t care if the experts agree with him, but you’re worried because he might not agree with the experts?

Not really. I think you must have a different idea of what the job is of the president actually is if you think that he should only make decisions based on the popular vote of experts. Otherwise, why have a president? His whole job is to cherry pick expert opinions–and thus to lead the country based on his long-term vision.

Thinking he’s a bozo who shouldn’t be president in the first place is certainly fine, but the shear fact that he did run for the job should be sufficient proof that the man felt he had the ability to create and be capable of leading the country to long term goals. Six years later going, “Wait a second…!” seems a bit late to realise this.

How does winning an election (or, as you put it, merely running for office) proove you’re capable of achieving long-term goals?
Also, while it’s sensible to tell people what they’re doing will lead to long-term failiure, when six years have passed and you can consider it proven, it’s absolutely necessary.

I said that running for office is evidence that he believed himself to have such skill. I did not say that it meant he actually had such skill.

My point was only that being amazed by his chutzpah at this late date is a bit slow. And moreover that the article used to back that position is a horribly written piece that is everything one could ever want to give an example of the “liberal bias” of mass journalism. Devoting the entire last two-thirds of your article to a vague compilation of “people” talking about what “everyone knows” or “many believe” is just straight up dishonest. Further using that as your basis of proof that the man is insane is in itself ludicrous. If you simply want to show his ego off, as said the fact that he ran for the job is sufficient for that. And if you want to show that his vision is worth doodle then certainly, but that’s not what the article is about.

Yep. Didn’t you see him castling German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week? Just wait til he gets within range of the Queen!

“How does the horsie move again?”

The horsie curtails his vacation time so that he can “so that he can barnstorm before the midterm electionsAND consider a back up plan:

-Pretty, crafty, horsie.

I didn’t make a claim regarding how he left. You did, and apparently that’s the extent of your ability to back it up.

I agree with you 100%. Except that isn’t even a remote paraphrase of what the former Administration official said, so the relevance of your comment is zero.

Who’s agreeing with whom isn’t my point at all. My concern is the repeated suggestion that Bush thinks he is the guy who can see several moves ahead, that he can see further and deeper into such things than the experts can, despite the mountains of evidence that he can’t see one move ahead, let alone several.

And I think your comprehension of what I’m saying leaves something to be desired. My point is that he has apparently got an appallingly unrealistic idea of what his strengths and weaknesses are - one that would be worrisome in a 60 year old man in an ordinary life, let alone in a 60 year old President of the United States.

Which buttresses my point. Proof that he felt he could do X, when he seems to have no idea that he’s really pretty terrible at X, is exactly the issue here.

It’s not like I realized he was a bad choice for the job just yesterday.

I did see that, and wasn’t there something about Bush Sr. making sure GWB wasn’t seated near the Queen at state dinners?

Ops, missed “felt”. Really.

I’ve got to say, this specific quote about Bush:

made me think of Ozymandias in Watchmen, somehow.

And all this notwithstanding the fact that his ‘strategic’ view of the situation, in his wonderful on mike moment, was: we need to get Syria to tell Hezbollah to stop doing this shit…