Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bush's Mental Health

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has done this country a major service by bringing the issue of Bush's mental health to the public forum. Alas, he makes the lay person's mistake in pronouncing this diagnosis by focusing on what Bush has said about Iran and World War III. I would respectfully submit that it is more appropriate to examine the conduct of this president in the performance of acts purportedly on behalf of the people of the United States. Nearly eight years ago he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States in the performance of his duties as president. He repeated that vow less than four years ago. Throughout his tenure he has behaved consistently in denouncing and violating the fundamental principles of the Constitution in a pattern that does, in fact, suggest characteristics of a major mental disorder.

The following points describe my concerns about his mental state insofar as they impact on the American people: First, Signing Statements: The Constitution is a simple document that has served our country well for now more than 220 years. It takes about 30-45 minutes to read it from beginning to end depending upon one's reading ability and the level of attentiveness one brings to the task. One of the major and unique features of the document is that it created three branches of government; Congress, executive and judicial. Responsibilities are apportioned among the three such as to create a balance of power. For example, Congress is enabled by the document to pass laws and the executive branch (i.e. the president) is charged with the responsibility of carrying out these laws in the day to day functioning of the government. Nothing in the Constitution permits or hints that the president has the right to choose which laws will be obeyed, disregarded or violated. But Bush has issued more than four hundred signing statements during his tenure which, in effect, declare that he has no intention of carrying out laws that Congress, in the performance of its constitutional duties and responsibilities, has passed. Second, Disregard of Treaties and Judicial Safeguards: The United Sates is a signatory to the Geneva Convention which, among other things, clearly outline whether persons are subject to the protections of international law and how procedurally the status of an individual in the custody of a state may be determined. Situations such as torture and assessment of an individual's status are addressed with particularity. The Bush administration has placed itself above the law in disregarding the basic provisions of this international treaty. Indeed, respected commentary, nationally and internationally, suggest that the Bush administration may be guilty of war crimes. Another aspect of the Bush disregard for the Constitution is the warrantless wiretapping scheme. The point and commonality of raising these issues in the context of Bush's mental status is not to debate the fine points regarding the claimed justification for these acts, but the simple observation that the conduct is unnecessary. Torturing people to obtain information is a notoriously unreliable means of obtaining information anywhere on this planet except by Jack Bauer on the TV program "24". Can anyone seriously argue that the screening of hundreds of millions of telephone conversations between American citizens serve any worthwhile purpose? Third, the Rush to War: The whole weapons of mass destruction thing has long been exposed for what is was, a sham excuse to start a war against Iraq. The drumbeat that Bush is now making about Iran has a disturbingly familiar tone to it. What happened to the man who stood on national television in 2000 and declared that he would not engage in nation building? Hundreds of billions of dollars and two failed countries later, he appears ready to begin a third effort, waiting for the slightest provocation or excuse to do so.

To summarize, this is scary stuff. It is scary because the man does not react appropriately to the demands his job requires. He is in a state of constant and abject denial about his acts and the impact of his acts on the integrity of this country and the rule of law as embodied in the Constitution. Denial is the key word to my argument. Bush is an alcoholic, self-professed. The major symptom of alcoholism, intake of ethanol aside, is denial. The alcoholic, dry or wet, uses the defense mechanism of denial as the justification for behavior. Denial enables its user to claim that it is always some other's fault for negative events. Blaming is part of the symptom complex of denial. Blame the liberal press for negative reporting on Iraq. Blame liberals for their needless concerns about the fact that there telephone conversations are being monitored. Blame France for having the temerity to stand against the Iraq invasion. Blame Iraq for sending 18 men from Saudi Arabia to the United States to destroy the World Trade Center. Blame judges for making laws on a selective basis when the result is considered unsatisfactory. Blame, blame, blame. The untreated alcoholic surrounds himself with others who agree with him. e.g., Alberto Gonzalez, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and avoids contact of any type of person who may disagree. Campaign speeches are given to pre-selected audiences to ensure that no one will ask an embarassing question or wear a T-shirt with a message he doesn't want to see or hear. Bush is sick. His sickness is destroying the moral fiber of our great nation. He needs to be removed from his office. Now. We can't wait for him to finish out his presidency. Impeach him.

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