Home / Bush Still Doesn’t Know His Own History – or His Own Fears

Bush Still Doesn’t Know His Own History – or His Own Fears

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Let us wave the bullshit flag on President Bush, his press secretary, and any American gullible enough to believe the latest round of White House rhetoric.

During a speech to the Israeli parliament, Bush asserted, "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."

Speaking as if diplomacy were a bad thing, he continued, "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared, ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

When specifically called on it by Barack Obama, the White House (although not Bush specifically, because that would have been, well, too specific) denied it was an attack on Obama’s foreign policy preference for diplomacy. White House press secretary Dana Perino refuted the suggestion by saying, “I understand when you're running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you — that is not always true and it is not true in this case."

It's interesting that Perino suggested Obama thinks the world revolves around him as a defense of what Bush said, because she doesn’t go on to say what Bush did mean. This leaves the American public in the precarious position of naming every last dead and alive American until Bush says, “Yes, that’s who I meant.” Since that isn’t going to happen, and Bush knows it, he can once again skirt responsibility, accountability, and any relevance when it comes time to write him into the history books as anything other than the worst president ever.

We can be sure Bush was not (purposefully) speaking of his own father’s diplomatic experiences when he said negotiation had been “repeatedly discredited by history.” Nor, presumably, did he mean Reagan and his relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Not long ago Bush was called a “poor student of history” when, in 2006, 21 former generals and high ranking national security officials said Bush should stop what he’s doing and try something else – like negotiation, specifically with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.

Retired Lt. General Robert Guard, who served as special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War, said, “…Ronald Reagan was willing to negotiate with the Soviets even though they were the Evil Empire. One wonders why George Bush can't negotiate with the Axis of Evil."

Morton Halperin, former director of Policy Planning for the State Department, agreed with Guard, and said it’s the same with North Korea. "The North Koreans want to talk to us directly. Their concern is about getting security assurances from us and about getting diplomatic recognition. We should not be afraid to talk to our opponents."

Someone else in history addressed fear. Maybe Bush was talking about that guy.

Could all this boil down to our president being a big ‘fraidy cat?

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • Clavos

    The most dangerous enemies of America are, ironically, friends of the Bush family: the Saudis, who will conquer us without firing a shot. They are bankrupting us, selling us the oil we found and developed for them.

    The Saudis are also funding and promoting the training of Islamic radicals worldwide with the money America pays for their oil.

    And we, the Americans, are helping them, because we don’t insist that those clowns in Washington get serious about funding the development of alternative fuels, the most promising of which, hydrogen fuel cells, is also the most expensive to develop, and because we are not building new nuclear power plants, as the Europeans have.

    The so-called Axis of Evil is downright benign compared to the double barrels of Saudi Arabia and the US Congress.

  • Lee Richards

    In foreign affairs Bush is either delusional, stupid or a puppet; his words and actions give plenty of evidence to support that opinion.

    Clavos could not be more accurate in his assessment. For a free hand in Iraq, Bush/Cheney sold us out to the Saudis.

  • It was pointed out by someone, Keith Obermann, I believe that the American Senator in question was actually an Idaho Republican, one William Borah.

    Bush steps up to the plate and once again strikes out. It’s hard to get a hit when one has his foot in his mouth.

    Clavos is correct. The Bushes have long been in a partnership with the Saudi royal family in the oil biz. No conflict of interest there, right?


  • Er, Keith Olbermann, I mean. You know, the guy with the hair and glasses.

  • bliffle

    One could say in Bush’s defense that he’s just the latest patsy in a long line of presidential patsy’s that have been cowed and bribed by the ugly combine of Mideast oil princes, international oil companies and home-grown 100% USA influence peddlers.

    We got a wakeup call in 1973 with the OPEC oil holdout. Engineers across America started building innovative vehicles, motivated by a mix of patriotism and adventure with dreams of a project as exciting as the moonshot. Businessmen started planning the new companies and opportunities that would be birthed by alternative energy.

    And then the combined oil interests collected around each of the presidents as they came along and frightened them into pulling back. Experienced political participants know how they do it: by surrounding any dangerous unwelcome idea the way that white corpuscles surround a foreign infection.

    They exploit the weakness of the strong leader: dependence on the people around him. It’s the corollary of the theorem by which the ambitious tyro dictator accumulates power by exploiting his cadre to go out and exploit their cadres, thus multiplying his power.

    It’s a parody of power. A Jui Jitsu trick of turning power against itself.

  • bliff,

    Nicely put.


  • I honestly thought Bush was referring to Jimmy Carter — and the great majority of European leaders — when he made that comment. That may be because I’m insulated from 24/7 election coverage over here in Germany.

    I also just finished reading “While Europe Slept” by Bruce Bawer. Several times in the book, he compares the current European desire for “dialogue” to the pre-World War II strategy of appeasement.

  • Cindy D

    Great article Diana.

    You know after 9-11, whenever I looked at Bush speaking about Iran, I was sure he was thinking (I can’t believe they’re buying this.)

    Lately, I am noticing if you watch McCain, whenever he says some bit of propaganda, something people likely won’t buy anymore, he lowers his voice. He was discussing his healthcare ideas and then he just lowered his voice and said that the United States has the best healtcare system in the world.

    It was in a number of other videos I watched. Watch for it, he’s even a worse actor than Bush.

  • troll

    go ahead – scapegoat the government…deny personal responsibility

    for example: it is your own investment and consumption that allow the Saudis to rule…your government is structured in large part to support your weapons trade and war profiteering and the Saudis are major consumers

  • bliffle


    But then, it’s a cheap shot to reflect a criticism back on the critic.

    To some extent we are each guilty of using oil to move around. But then, it’s often the only choice, and we were inured to it when it was cheap. The old pushers trick of giving it away to induce addiction, then raising the price through the roof.

    We built suburbs far from the cities and far from the grocery stores. But oil was so cheap then! It was the smart thing to do. And besides, everybody else was doing it.

    And now, even this far down the road, we can change things. we can pass CAFE standards to improve gas mileage. But we don’t have the *whatever* to stand up to the auto companies. We allow them to bully us while we state that we are upholding some noble philosophy. We seem unable to replace oil company subsidies (if we could learn what they are from Cheneys secret Energy Policy) with solar power subsidies and windmill subsidies, etc.

    We belittle people with alternate plans.

    We have volunteered to have our feet encased in concrete so we can’t move. What next? Will we finally protest when they throw us over the side into the river on their way to happy lives on 90,000 acre Paraguayan ranches?

  • troll

    ‘cheap shot’ is my middle name

    repeating myself: unionize – strike – boycott – or don’t

    the notion of personal helplessness and of having ‘no choice’ in the face of overwhelming ‘economic forces’ is wrongheaded

  • Clavos

    We built suburbs far from the cities and far from the grocery stores. But oil was so cheap then! It was the smart thing to do.

    The larger reason for the growth of the suburbs was the construction of the Interstate Highway System.

    And now, even this far down the road, we can change things. we can pass CAFE standards to improve gas mileage. But we don’t have the *whatever* to stand up to the auto companies.

    The auto companies are in business to make money; like any other successful business, they find the demand, then move to fill it.

    For the last 30 years the pmarket has demanded gas-guzzling SUVs. Ford’s biggest-selling model for at least that long has been the F-150 pickup. Having owned a series of them, I can tell you they’re not very efficient.

    The market may be changing now: Toyota just sold it’s one millionth Prius.

  • Hybrids certainly are the buzz product in the auto market right now, with an increasing number of models – even SUVs and trucks – becoming available in that format.

    After just forking out almost $60 to fill up my tank, I’m strongly tempted to go that direction myself when the time comes to replace my car.

    Honda is also bringing out a hydrogen fuel-cell car, which will be available for commercial leasing this summer. Unfortunately you’ll have to move to southern California if you want one, because the facilities to fill it up don’t yet exist anywhere else.

  • Clavos

    Honda is also bringing out a hydrogen fuel-cell car, which will be available for commercial leasing this summer.

    Didn’t know that. Bully for Honda!

    Everything I’ve read indicates that Hydrogen Fuel Cell is the best technology available today, but not the cheapest, which would explain why it will only be available for lease at first.

  • I’d have posted a link to Honda’s page on their fuel-cell vehicle, but Akismet decided it was spam.

    But they’re pushing it pretty hard. It’s easy to find if you go to their site.

  • bliffle

    I suppose, given our history, that we will stay on the same path until an overwhelming crisis forces change, and then we’ll pay too much and enforce draconian measures to mitigate the problem.

  • Mooja

    Bush is simply doing what he has to do to secure the American way of life. Those blaming Bush for the Saudi alliance should probably be looking to themselves first. Every time you drive on an asphalt road, put a shingle on your house, oil in your car, grease anything, lubricate anything, solvent, plastic, paint, nylon, fuel stabilizer, detergent, oh yeah and put gas in your car you get in bed with the Saudi’s. How anyone could possibly blame Bush for this situation is beyond comprehension.

    You also don’t need to Government intervention to be able to buy a hydro-car. Blaming Government for not subsidizing private industry is a cop out. There are plenty of hydro startups out there. Get off your butt, research a few and find a way to support one. Stop waiting for Mother Government to hold your hand. Take some personal responsibility and stop blaming Bush for trying to secure your way of life.

  • Cindy D

    …your way of life.

    Whose way of life? Where did this “way of life” come from? Seriously, do you have any ideas about that?

    I was just born here. When I got old enough I was put into a school that told me a bunch of things about what was expected, what I should strive for, how I should feel about myself, and what would make me feel better.

    There is a pulsation of advertising that is the heartbeat of our system. We are made to feel first like less and then told we can become more if we will buy this or that thing, image, etc.

    Our whole system demands that people buy more, and bigger and consume more and more. How would you get increased profits unless this were built in?

    Please, spare me the lesson about personal responsibility. I have been an advocate of the very change that could potentially lead to “unbrainwashing” (it is coin your own word day, I have heard)–and that is questioning your society, questioning your suppositions, asking yourself “How did I come to believe this? Did I decide it, did I look at all sides and make a choice, or did it seep into my thinking to be taken as a given.”

    Our culture exists by allowing some information in as acceptable and other information gets screened out. This “other information” is critical to the assessment of reality. We begin receiving this lopsided view before we even reach nursery school. When we do get to school, we are essentially indoctrinated into a giant “urban legend” with unexamined “facts” being passed on from generation to generation. All this is insidious, even people on the left who become teachers will teach this way.

    If we really want self-responsibility, we will have to give up a whole bunch of other things first–namely our beloved presuppositions. I really doubt the whole of us are prepared to part with them(yet). We are creeping along toward that direction though. Some of us.

  • Cindy D

    Oh, one more thing. Let’s leave aside all the gas it takes to move people around in automobiles, for a moment. How much energy do you think is consumed in the manufacture of everything we buy?

  • Dan Miller

    Here is a link to an interesting blog article about Latin American views of the U.S. culture. It says,

    Americans have 4 cultural assumptions: 1) I like it 2) I want it, therefore 3) I need it, so 4) I deserve it.

    I think this is quite accurate. It is a shame that this is the case. Do read the article; it is worth seeing how others see us, and how they see themselves.

    Although we all enjoy casting blame in all directions but our own, these cultural characteristics are not the fault of President Bush or of any other president, congress, or regulatory body. Nor are other countries to blame. We have long been accustomed to consumerism, and like any addiction, recovery is very difficult; to recover, a first step is to acknowledge that we have these cultural assumptions. The second step is to try to change them.

    Senator Obama seems to be a very bright guy, with some good ideas. However, he can sit down and chat with or without preconditions with anyone whom he chooses, and if we persist in these cultural assumptions, we will continue to have the same perceptions of scarcity fueled by the advertising which seeks to make us want even more.


  • Clavos

    That’s a good article, Dan. The writer has excellent insight into the local culture.

    Interestingly, I found lots of parallels between the Panamanian culture as described, and the Mexican culture.

    My parents made it a point, while living in Mexico, to live as much as possible, as my dad used to put it, “in the economy,” by which he meant living as the Mexicans did to the extent possible. Obviously, we had more income than all but the wealthiest Mexicans of the time, so we definitely weren’t living in a jacal and riding burros.

    My parents did choose to not live in the neighborhood favored by Americans, though ours was definitely not a slum. Too, they had more Mexican than American friends and made it a point to become as fluent in Spanish as early on in their stay as possible (though they never did lose their Gringo accents-a source of great amusement for my siblings and me!) It also made a difference that my father owned and operated his own business there.

    I’m rambling. My point is, expats who move to another country and really immerse themselves in their new culture, like the writer of the article, are invariably happier and more successful in their new life than those who keep themselves cloisterd and “agringados.”

  • Dan Miller

    Here is a perspective on President Bush’s recent speech before the Knesset.

    Funny, we don’t hear much of that sort of from the U.S. media. I wonder why.


  • Ruvy

    I read Keinon’s article – more praise of the Big Goy from Goyland.

    The reason Israel’s “power-holders” don’t talk like this is that half of them are bought out by the very same Big Goy doing the talking and the other half are bought out by the European Union.

    And of course, there is the plain fact that the Big Goy is the grandson of that great American who brought these Wahhabi bastards into power. There philosophical domination of the Moslem Brotherhood has brought the world such fine humanitarians as Amin el-Husseini and Yassir Arafat, as well as bringing Nazi philosophy into Egypt.

    I would never have allowed Bush to land, and told him to go home and never set foot on our soil again. But gutless bastards with stupid goons rule here, and they kiss the bastard’s ass.

  • Zedd

    “Could all this boil down to our president being a big ‘fraidy cat?”

    That was my conclusion. I thought that this was an elaborate effort on his part and those around him to hide their lack of confidence in the area of diplomacy. This tactic may work in corporate America but in matters which affect society, you cant spin your way around crucial matters and hope everything turns out alright. When designing this administration, they should have had individuals in place who knew what they were doing. This oversight has lead some people to conclude that “they” didn’t want competence in this area because some in the administration had ulterior motives. They wanted the Iraq war from the start. The Bakers of this world would not have condoned the debacle that Iraq is/was to be.

  • bliffle

    Bullies are always fraidy cats under the bluff.