Friday night, I returned home from an after work Happy Hour get together just in time to see Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. For me, sometimes Bill Maher is great, insightful and funny. Sometimes he is either too whacky or evenhanded for my tastes. And sometimes his panel of guests immediately make me turn the channel.
However, I was in luck this time. Bill had some random wingnut (can't remember his name because he never really got a word in edge wise), Ben Affleck (for the love of God, if celebrities must get involved in politics, can they please sound smarter and speak clearer?), and my Senator Joseph Biden.
During the course of the panel exchange, which Biden dominated in his usual way, Biden made a comment concerning his private conversations with President Bush that was, to me, very revealing.
Biden said that back in 2003, during both the lead up to the war and after the war started to go bad, he asked the President what he was relying on in going to war in Iraq. Biden was hoping to get more information as to the soundness of the intelligence the Administration was using to justify the war and the military plan to secure the peace in Iraq.
Bush merely brushed aside Biden's questions, answering only that the was relying on his gut. That he had a gut feeling that Iraq was a danger and that we had to take action. Further, he felt his actions in going to war would be justified because his instincts told him it was the right thing to do.
Now, I too rely upon my instincts in certain situations. When I am out drinking and flirting with a woman, my instincts tell me if she is a good catch or not. My instincts also tell me which expressway to take out of Philly if I am leaving at a certain time of day. My instincts tell me not to drink or smell Tequila, for I know the result if I do.
You instincts are but merely your past experiences and knowledge telling you what to do in the present situation. I was not born with an innate instinct to know that Tequila will make me sick. I was not born with an innate instinct to know that taking the Schuylkill Expressway West at 5:30 on any given weekday is outright suicide.
I have my instincts today because of what I have learned in my life.
So how could President Bush be relying on his instincts? Did he ever serve in combat? No. Did he have any prior military experience whatsoever? No. And I do not count his "appearances" in the Texas and Alabama National Guards. Back east, we call President Bush's alleged service in the National Guard "dodging the draft while drinking."
Did the President, prior to becoming President have any foreign policy experience? No. The bastard never left the country during his life. And signing Rafael Palmeiro to a contract with the Texas Rangers does not qualify as foreign policy experience.
Did the President have any experience over the years with dealing Iraq, Saddam Hussein, the ancient struggles between Shiia and Sunni or any other aspect of Middle Eastern foreign policy and politics? No.
I can hear my Conservative Friends now. What experience did BJ Clinton have? And yeah, you don't have to have experience if you surround yourself with good knowledgeable people who advise you well!!!
And they are absolutely right. President Clinton did not have any foreign policy or military experience prior to becoming President. As such, President Clinton surrounded himself with good knowledgeable people who advised him very well.
President Bush, however, has done no such thing. President Bush ignored the able advice given to him be people with actual direct experience with Iraq. His own father, back when Iraq actually possessed weapons of mass destruction, refused to invade the whole of the country. And one of the reasons the elder President Bush cited for that was the utter chaos and civil war that would result. The Elder's National Security Advisor, Brent Scocroft, said the same thing.
But wait, my conservative friends say...President Bush has Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, who have tons of experience.
Yes, they do have tons of experience. Experience in being always wrong. Quick, name one prediction made by our esteemed Vice President/Deranged Hunter regarding Iraq that has actually come true. The thing about surrounding yourself with good knowledgeable people with experience is that you actually surround yourself with such people. Instead, President Bush has surrounded himself with either sychophants or with people with a delusion-based agenda.
The fact remains President Bush, while having no experience in dealing with foreign policy, the Middle East, Iraq or military or covert intelligence, while listening to the bad advice read off the PNAC Charter, and while ignoring the good advice of people with actual experiencem, insists he relies on his gut. On his instincts.
The conclusion I, and Senator Biden, must come to is that President Bush is once again lying. He has no instincts. He has no gut feelings. Not where Iraq is concerned. Not where Middle Eastern policy is concerned.
His one and only instinct is a delusional self image. His gut feelings on any matter are to pursue the path that leads to the greatest glorification he can get.
History is repete withe examples of despotic madmen leading countries into war based solely on their gut feelings that such an action would lead to greater fame and notoriety for themselves.
Remember President Bush's interview with Tim Russert in the Oval Office on Meet the Press back in early 2004, where the President declared in his annoying head bobbing smirking way that he "was a War President and that [he] makes decisions [there] in the Oval Office with war on [his] mind."
The only instinct President Bush possesses is his instinct to advance his delusional self image. That is it.
And finally, I close with a New Rule from Bill Maher:
"New Rule: If you think Andy Card was the problem, there aren't enough air holes in your bubble. For months, people have been telling the president someone has to go. And that someone...is Andy Card? Yeah, let's hold onto the torture guy, the no-armor guy, the Katrina guy, the guy who exposes CIA agents, and the guy who shoots old men in the face." - Bill Maher