I don't know that anyone can figure out what's in Bush's head lately.
But rather undertaking an analysis of the complex issues that should
be swirling in his head with regards to the Middle East, I'm going to
stick with the most likely and therefore most basic thoughts that he
is likely to be having.
First and foremost, the man is in over his head. While slick Willy
was morally repugnant and you couldn't trust him with your daughter,
the man clearly had the intellect to deal with complex issues. Bush
doesn't. Think back, way back to high school when they had the
different tiers of classes: honors, advanced, regular, school,
skills, and special. Bush might have made it to school-level on a
good day. Now think about some of the kids in skills level and then
think of them running the country. Ah America….. it's the greatest.
Now intelligence isn't the end all be all of being a good leader, but
it sure helps. So lets keep it simple.
With 911, it was very straightforward for Bush. The U.S. was not at
war with anyone. Radical foreigners kill thousands of U.S. civilians
in World Trade Center. Americans want justice. Osama, Al-Queda, and
Taliban are the guilty parties. Bomb the hell out of everyone and
send in the special forces. U.S. Good. Terrorism bad. Poll numbers
skyrocket. No worries about international politics. No need for
historical knowledge. Slam Dunk.
Now, I don't want to underestimate the resolve it took to get through
911. The whole country was in a state of shock, losing sleep, and
feeling pretty bad. Bush did a pretty good job and he deserves some
credit for how he handled things. At least he didn't fire off a
couple of missiles in the first 2 days in the direction of Iraq and
start feeling good about himself like slick-Willy might have. He, or
somebody in the cabinet, thought first and then unleashed the hell of
the American military machine.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a whole different ball of wax,
one that Bush is not well suited to handle. Throw in Hussein and a
dozen Arab countries and Bush doesn't know what to do. He struggles
and finds two words "Axis of Evil" and "Terrorism". The first one
makes him look like a fool around the world as people scratch their
heads and try to figure out what the heck is he talking about. But
"terrorism" is a slam dunk, right? Wrong, because Bush has only been
looking at the Mideast since he's gotten past the Presidential
Election. He doesn't see what the rest of the world has seen in the
last 50 years. Remember that Bush couldn't name many international
leaders a few years back before he was elected. So Bush may not have
ever known who Ariel Sharon was until he met him in person on his
trip to Israel. You know how it is, you meet a guy you never heard
of before, he shows you the whole country making jokes and being
polite. If you didn't know that he was responsible for the massacres
of hundreds of Palestinians, you'd think he was a good guy. Well
Bushy probably didn't know and first impressions are everything.
So Bush is thinking really hard on this and he tries to make it
simple. Hey this guy Sharon that was my tour guide 4 years ago, he
seemed like a GOOD guy. They didn't let me go talk to Arafat, so he
must have been a BAD guy. The U.S. is GOOD and Terrorism is BAD.
Suicide bombing is BAD, that's easy. Israel has an army, and I like
armies, especially tanks. Armies can never be terrorists. Army
GOOD. Israel GOOD. Palestinians bomb so they are terrrorists.
Terrorists BAD and therefore Palestinians BAD. Israel GOOD.
Palestinians BAD. This is easy.
So Bush keeps saying terrorism. When he is on his ranch and his
handlers haven't prepped him, he keeps saying terrorism thinking its
going to have a magical effect. Suddenly, as the real Bush appears
we remember all the jabs about his IQ and international knowledge and
we realize that if just left to George, we are really screwed and so
is the rest of the world. The rest of the world is waiting for Bushy
to catch up. For him to understand the subtleties between terrorism
and resistance. For him to understand, the concept of state
terrorism that his handlers refer to as "collateral damage". And
he's getting really mad at these suicide bombers. Don't they know
what they are threatening every time they set off another bomb. Not
the Peace Process, that's small time stuff. Bush was primed to bomb
the heck out of Iraq and every time another bomb goes off and another
tank rolls into an occupied territory, his plans get pushed back
further and further.
Now Bush is dead set in his plan and he'll do whatever it takes to
get to bomb Iraq. That's were the waffling comes in. When the
suicide bombs were happening, that was pushing his plan back.
Condemn the attacks. When the tanks started rolling in and the war
escalating, any support Bush might have gotten from the Europeans or
the Arabs dissipated. So now Bush wants his tour guide friend Ariel
to cool it for a little while, just long enough to bomb Iraq again.
When the President of the United States decides to execute a master
plan, the last thing he wants to do is wait.
That's pretty much what I think is going on in Bushy's head. The
problem I have with reporters is that they are making it too
difficult. Too many variables and too much thought process for
George. They are thinking about how intelligent people like
themselves would think, not how George is thinking. Sure, you could
make some complex argument about how Bush is weighing the influence
of Israel on his chances of being re-elected, remembering what
happened last time when dear old dad got a little tough on Israel, of
evaluating the threat of terrorism spreading as a risk to the peace
and prosperity of the U.S., of the media reaction for any
condemnation of Israel, and a host of other educated considerations.
But those are the responsibility of his handlers, not George. For
George, lets keep it simple.