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


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Still the Boy King

It was probably too much to hope for that Bush, famed for making the one-track mind a synonym for virtue and leadership, would draw any lessons from the findings of the Iraq Study Group.

What surprises me a bit, however, is the fact that when someone finally decided the nation couldn't go on without breaking the bad news to Bush, famed for his loathing of bad news, they decided to be so spineless about it and act as though his policy actually represents one of several viable options.

Consider a story in the latest Time magazine, recounting the efforts--before the commission was approved by Congress--of three supporters to enlist Condoleezza Rice to win the administration's approval for the panel. Here is how Time reports it:

As the trio departed, a Rice aide asked one of her suitors not to inform anyone at the Pentagon that chairmen had been chosen and the study group was moving forward. If Rumsfeld was alerted to the study group's potential impact, the aide said, he would quickly tell Cheney, who could, with a few words, scuttle the whole thing. Rice got through to Bush the next day, arguing that the thing was going to happen anyway, so he might as well get on board. To his credit, the President agreed.

The article treats this exchange in a matter-of-fact way, but, what it suggests is completely horrifying. Rice apparently believed that Bush would simply follow the advice of whoever he spoke with. Therefore the one factor determining whether Bush would support the commission was whether Cheney or Rice managed to get to him first.

Horrfying is exactly the word, because what it really suggests is that six years into his presidency Bush is still an unknown quantity. Stupid? Capricious? Just plain nuts? I don't know, but he's certainly in charge. And that's damn scary when people are being blown to bits every day on his say-so.