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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another Downing Street Memo...will anyone care this time?
Posted by Jill | 6:57 AM
Yesterday the story broke about George Bush's conversations with then Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of Spain before the Iraq War, which confirmed what those of us in the reality-based community already knew: That the war was a foregone conclusion, and that all the talk of inspectors and diplomacy was just, well, lies.

Although Bush's public position at the time of the meeting was that the door remained open for a diplomatic solution, hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops had already been deployed to Iraq's border, and the White House had made its impatience clear. "Time is short," Bush said in a news conference with Aznar the same day.

El Pais, a leading Spanish daily and a critic of the war, said the transcript of the conversation was prepared by Spain's ambassador to the United States, Javier Ruperez, who was at the meeting in Crawford. The newspaper did not say how it obtained the memo.

In the transcript, translated from Spanish by The Washington Post, Bush said that Europeans were insensitive to "the suffering that Saddam Hussein has inflicted on the Iraqis" and added: "Maybe it's because he's dark-skinned, far away and Muslim -- a lot of Europeans think he's okay." But Bush was happy to play the "bad cop," he said. "The more the Europeans attack me, the stronger I am in the United States."

The psychopathology of that statement is just breathtaking: An American president making blatantly bigoted remarks about not just "dark skinned....Muslim[s]", but smacking down all of Europe, claiming that Americans just LOVE it when Europe attacks their president -- all this to the prime minister of one of those European countries.

And more psychopathology:

Bush noted that he had gone to the United Nations "despite differences in my own administration" and said it would be "great" if the proposed resolution was successful.

"The only thing that worries me is your optimism," Aznar said.

"I'm optimistic because I believe I'm right," Bush replied. "I'm at peace with myself."

And that's been the problem all along with this president -- this utter certainty that he's right. This is pathological Narcissistic Personality Disorder in full flower. NPD is described in the DSM-IV as:

"An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:

  1. Feels grandiose and self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion
  3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation -or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply). (See also: "Those around him have learned how to manipulate him through the art of flattery. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld played Bush like a Stradivarius, exploiting his grandiosity. Rumsfeld would later tell his lieutenants that if you wanted the president's support for an initiative, it was always best to frame it as a 'Big New Thing.' Other aides played on Bush's self-conception as 'the Decider.' 'To sell him on an idea," writes Draper, 'aides were now learning, the best approach was to tell the president, This is going to be a really tough decision.' But flattery always requires deference. Every morning, Josh Bolten, the chief of staff, greets Bush with the same words: 'Thank you for the privilege of serving today.'")
  5. Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations
    Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends
    Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others
  6. Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her Arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted.

Sound like anyone?

And it isn't as though Bush has tried to hide his psychopathology; it's been out there for the world to see. This account of his meeting with Aznar, aside from being yet another demonstration that he had no intention of doing anything BUT go to war with Iraq, is right up there with his disgusting table manners when talking with Tony Blair or his neck massage of Angela Merkel. It isn't just bad form, it's his way of asserting dominance and feeding his narcissistic grandiosity. In view of his obvious mental illness, it's even more surprising that the Democrats are still so frightened of him.

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