Lock him away to stop the next war

With his presidency reduced to a mess, George W. Bush may just decide to lash out wildly at Iran

By Phillip Adams

04/18/06 "
The Australian " -- -- WE cannot wait any longer for the impeachment of George W. Bush. Far more efficient to have Bush certified. There is no need for further debate on his mental state. The US President is bonkers.

Having turned the White House into a madhouse, having taken more lunatic positions on more issues than any head of state since GeorgeIII (are they, perchance, related?). GWB needs a long rest and a change of medication. And it shouldn't be too hard to guide him into a padded cell. Just tell him it's the presidential bomb shelter.
Let's examine the symptoms of his mental decline. First, Bush convinced Americans that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. This is something the poor fool might have believed, given a tenuous grasp of geography, history and political reality. He then began to hallucinate about weapons of mass destruction, despite the evidence of Hans Blix and a multitude of others that there weren't any. And he finally organised a tatty little alliance to join him in the silliest war since Vietnam, one guaranteed to recruit terrorists in unprecedented numbers.

Like Vietnam, the Iraq war was launched with presidential lies. Like Vietnam, the Iraq war descended into a moral and military quagmire. And if Iraq seems to be less of a stuff-up, consider this fact: it's taken just three years in Iraq for US deaths to equal the body count after six years in Vietnam.

Little wonder six retired senior generals have joined ranks with the American public in condemning the war, or that the guru of neo-conservatism, Francis Fukuyama, has broken ranks with the likes of Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol in denouncing it. Or that many in the Republican hierarchy have joined left-wing critics denouncing the invasion as a mistake and a failure, calling for immediate withdrawal.

When Bush was re-elected in 2004, this column suggested the President would go on to blast Iran or have the job done by Israeli surrogates. Both scenarios were dismissed as absurd and alarmist. Now journalist Seymour Hersh's revelations of a US plan to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, perhaps with nuclear bunker-blasters, are causing national and international dismay. They've also provoked anger among the Pentagon's highest-ranking officers already enraged by Donald Rumsfeld's stewardship of the Iraq invasion and occupation. Given Rumsfeld's clear contempt for their opinions, they might well feel mutinous should he and the Commander-in-Chief show further signs of strategic insanity. But would that prevent air strikes by the Israelis? Given the sabre-rattling by that ratbag in Tehran, what could hold Israel back?

Bush is attempting to hose things down, but the world recalls his endlessly repeated mantra before the invasion of Iraq. Military intervention wasn't inevitable, just an option.

Now bleeding in the polls with mid-term elections looming, isn't it possible that Bush might go for broke? Double or nothing? A final, desperate throw of the dice?

Condoleezza Rice might join the Pentagon in trying to talk him down. So, one hopes, would Tony Blair and John Howard. But did Bush listen to reasoned argument last time? With a reckless, irrational President, you've the perfect set-up for the tail to wag the dog. As with 9/11, here's an opportunity for reality to follow a Hollywood script.

Last week I discussed this scenario with Fukuyama. His initial response was that Bush's political situation is too perilous for such a tactic, that the US public and its media wouldn't tolerate another Iraq. But bombing Iran's nuclear facilities could be characterised as surgical. It might not need troops on the ground and would certainly seem more relevant to the war on terror than the neo-con adventure in Iraq. Fukuyama conceded that such a strategy was possible.

And that possibility is more than enough. A lame-duck President with the eagle as his symbol once again takes the role of hawk. With his presidency a total mess, what's there to lose? So it's time to certify the President. Yes, you'd have to certify his equally deranged Vice-President as well. And toss in Rumsfeld to keep them company. Along with anyone else in the administration, the Congress, the Senate or the Australian parliament mad enough to think Iraq a sane decision.

The Australian

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