Friday, July 18, 2003

 There's no there there 

I just came across this note in a comment section in response to a recent blog entry on Daily Kos. It is a stunning assessment of the mental capacity of our Commander-in-Chief:

The natural instinct is for people to avert their eyes or other senses at the proper moment so as to not be in the presence of anything risqué, embarrassing or awkward. This act of looking away, not hearing or not perceiving in some other way is the human variant of the ostrich maneuver. So as to maintain some semblance of self-credibility we choose to shield our selves from things that are absurd or ridiculous by failing to notice them, or more creatively, by believing a construct that makes gibberish seem perfectly reasonable, non-sense, perfectly sensible. For example, when President Bush asserts in re-justifying the 'war' with Iraq, as Joe Conason notes, "We gave him (Saddam) a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.", this is no misconstruction of English grammar, no malapropism, this is simply factually wrong, and it is so factually wrong that it prompts either an aversion or a glossing response. Labels that would have been applied to us, were we to err so glaringly, such as inept, incompetent (in the absence of guile or deceit), simply are held in abeyance when it comes to Mr. Bush. The question is: Why? Part of the answer is that the president has a mental disability that is severe, limiting and, (through no fault of his own) makes him ill suited and unfit to carry out the responsibilities of his office. There is just no way to tiptoe around this fact. The manifestations of this condition are as follows:

1. Inattention. Manifestly, and inability to do detailed work or absorb complex instructions or information, concrete thinking with poor conceptual abstraction. Hence things are black and white for George W. Bush, and he does operate from gut feeling rather than from a position of reason and reflection.

2. Impulsivity: Such a behavior pattern may determine friends and associates who may in turn influence the persons value system.

3. Educational difficulties that would have affected career choices were it not for his family name and power position.

4. Low self esteem leading to depression.

5. Self-medication with drugs and alcohol as a result of low self-esteem.

6. A tendency to blurt thing out that may alienate people: Bring 'em on.

7. A disorganized life style: Beautifully compensated for by his meticulous librarian wife and by a staff of extremely detail oriented people that surround him.

What we have is the Curriculum Vitae of someone who has Attention Deficit Disorder. Much like in the Peter Sellers classic, 'Being There', George W. Bush mechanically goes through the motions of being president without having a clue at times as to what he is doing or even what he is saying. And as in 'Being There' those who believe that Bush is intellectually clothed suffer from a blind acceptance of celebrity, a general disinterest in the truth, and a need to go to wild lengths in order to justify themselves, their lives and their imagined values.

The danger is that Mr. Bush's cognitive dysfunction underscores our national miasma in Iraq and the daily death of our men and women in uniform. Left to his own limited repertoire of creative communication he leaves a wake of confusion and misunderstanding. In dealing with unstable or volatile adversaries (Kim Jong Il) this level of incapacity can have grave consequences.

I have no doubt that when Mr. Bush addressed the people of Senegal during his jaunt through Africa that he left them all bothered, bewildered and confused when he stated, "...I had the opportunity to go out to Goree Island and talk about what slavery meant to America. It's very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America. America is what it is today because of what went on in the past..." This is exactly what he said, and I have no idea what message Mr. Bush is trying to convey because he is limited to the language and syntax of a seven year old. I do know that if this is to be understood that African slaves came to America to practice their religion and to have freedom that this will certainly offend Americans whose descendants suffered forced labor and intolerable indignity because of slavery.

There are those who revel in having access and control over a person like Mr. Bush because in an oxymoronic sense his very rigidity makes him compliant for their own self-serving means. There are others who at some subliminal level feel sorry for Bush, and are willing to overlook his complete ineptitude, because he is so non compos mentis. To the later group I say: Wake up; snap out of it. This guy's going to ruin all of our lives for decades to come, and then go back to his patrician, privileged life in Texas. Impeachment of Bush is an act of self-preservation.

David M. Loucas, MD

Wow. Wish I'd thought of that.

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