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Sunday, September 17, 2006
"Unacceptable to think"

Those of you who are unfamiliar with the context of this particular quotation are probably not surprised to find that it came out of the mouth of George W Bush. As you know, our president has never been overburdened with cerebral matters, preferring to "know something in his heart" as with the competency of Harriet Meirs in regard to her nomination to the Supreme Court of The United States, or in regard to Vladimir Putin, former KGB chief, and current president of Russia. The Cold war may be long over, but I still vaguely recall that agents of the Soviet secret police were often quite comfortable using any method necessary to deal with "enemies of the state."

The context of Bush's comments in responding to former Secretary of State, Colin Powell's remark that "the world is beginning to doubt our moral basis in the fight on terror" are as follows:

"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."

The president, again trying to justify immoral behavior by Americans, by comparing it with the actions of radical Islamists, who may not be the most reprehensible people in the world, but are certainly in the Top 5, both AP and in the CNN/USA Today coaches poll.

Any consideration toward trying to hold ourselves to a higher standard than terrorists? When your response to charges of illegal torture and interrogation on our part is to say "They did it first!" Obviously, we have lost our way.

More disturbing, at least to me as I watched an increasingly agitated president last Friday, was for him to assert that it is "unacceptable to think that..." and follow it with anything. You don't get to tell us what is acceptable to think or not to think. You are not a king or a god. You are the President of The United States. This is America, and we get to think any god damned thing we want, any time we want. For example:

I think torture is wrong, no matter who does it.

I think that winter is better than summer.

And honestly, I think George W Bush's years and years of drug and alcohol abuse have caught up with him.

His press conferences are increasingly Must-See TV. This is a man who cannot stand the press. He loathes them. Bush would probably never give another press conference if not for the fact that for some reason, his approval rating ticks up slightly afterward. I suppose it is just the sheer joy on the part of Americans to see him doing something other than vacationing in Texas, for his performances alone cannot be the cause.

Watch the next one with me, and keep a clock handy. He's usually pretty good for about 10-12 minutes, and then the irritation starts to become apparent. By about 20 minutes in, he is clearly angry, and the bullying tone and righteous rhetoric are on full blast. At last Friday's press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Bush reminded me more of a person with early-stage Alzheimer's than anything else. And I'm not simply referring to his infamous inarticulate way of speaking. I'm talking about the mood swings, his inability to focus on a task, and the general disconnect from reality. It hasn't always been this way.

George W. Bush declares that viewpoints other than his are not just unacceptable to voice, but now even to think. This is not America.

Our president looked at a man like Vladimir Putin and declared,
"I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country." In his former job, Putin ordered torture, and most certainly participated in it during his career. For George W. Bush to see Putin's soul and spout such a thing certainly speaks volumes. Since I don't believe that George Bush is "evil" then it can only be that he is incompetent, addled, or both. Giving this man continued free rein with our military and policy decisions is simply suicidal. It is time for a change.

posted at 8:09 PM

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