The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bush, Sr. pushed to replace Rumsfeld

(Could be another light posting day. Blogger is still having some problems.)

Sidney Blumenthal's post is ostensibly about an effort by Bush pere to get Rumsfeld booted from the Pentagon and replaced with someone less.... incompetent. But it's also an interesting look at the events in Haditha and the military culture in Iraq that surrounds them. It also resurrects the disturbing hints that G-Dub is dangerously out of touch with reality.

The elder Bush's intervention was an extraordinary attempt to rescue simultaneously his son, the family legacy and the country. The current president had previously rejected entreaties from party establishment figures to revamp his administration with new appointments. There was no one left to approach him except his father. This effort to pluck George W. from his troubles is the latest episode in a recurrent drama -- from the drunken young man challenging his father to go "mano a mano" on the front lawn of the family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, to the father pulling strings to get the son into the Texas Air National Guard and helping salvage his finances from George W.'s mismanagement of Harken Energy. For the father, parental responsibility never ends. But for the son, rebellion continues. When journalist Bob Woodward asked George W. Bush if he had consulted his father before invading Iraq, he replied, "He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to."

The former president, a practitioner of foreign policy realism, was intruding on the president's parallel reality. But the realist was trying to shake the fantasist in vain. "The president believes the talking points he's given and repeats on progress in Iraq," a Bush administration national security official told me. Bush redoubles his efforts, projects his firmness, in the conviction that the critics lack his deeper understanding of Iraq that allows him to see through the fog of war to the Green Zone as a city on a hill.