Saturday, July 28, 2007

George Bush cornered

I'm ambivalent about linking to this piece because I'm skeptical about doing a psychological profile of somebody you haven't talked to or met. But this assessment from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), whose best-known member is Ray McGovern, and psychiatrist Justin Frank, who wrote the book "Bush on the Couch," is whorth some attention. The VIPS people explain that the CIA and its forerunner have been doing what they call "at-a-distance leader personality assessments" since the 1940s, beginning with Hitler, and claim that some were quite useful.

As I say, I'm skeptical, but Dr. Frank's analysis of the Bush personality seems pretty close to this guy, who has never met the guy but has been in rooms where he's spoken, watched him critically on TV innumerable times, and studied his actions pretty closely. Franks contends that Bush has no conscience (he makes much of blowing up frogs with firecrackers as a kid), no shame, regret or embarrassment about things like Katrina, but a fear of humiliation. He's a person who "will not change, because for him change means humiliating collapse." He has a sadistic streak and gets some kind of pleasure or satisfaction from breaking things.

The upshot is that any number of scenarios could cause him to expand military actions or start new ones. A large-scale attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad might lead to military raids against Iran, since so many officials are claiming Iran is behind escalating violence in Iraq. If Israel bombed Iranian nuclear facilities Bush would feel almost compelled to join in, etc.

The VIPS groups thinks the only thing that might restrain him would be the beginning of impeachment proceedings.

AsI said above, I'm skeptical, but I can't deny that this assessment is interesting.

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