• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

We are inching along, but not as quickly as we (or you) would like. If you have already donated, thank you so much. If you haven’t had a chance, consider skipping the coffee this week and drop CounterPunch $5 or more. We provide our content for free, but it costs us a lot to do so. Every dollar counts.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bush at the UN

No, I did not read the book, but what words more perfectly describe George Bush making one of the oddest speeches ever made at the UN? There he was–with his designer suit, costly watch, and constantly-manicured haircut–stone-faced and unrepentant for the violent destruction he caused, for his obvious lying, and for his rage against the thoughtful objections of others. Actually, unrepentant seems an inadequate description, unaware or uninterested being closer to the mark.

The matter and manner of Bush’s speaking are always an ordeal for thinking people. He seems convinced that every audience deserves the same approach given the pathologically credulous at a revival tent meeting.

But he outdid himself this time. His description of anti-social behavior on a global scale as support for the world community must have provided a sophisticated audience interesting dinner topics. One can imagine the bons mots around the subject of the world’s most incorrigible, obvious liar claiming he defends UN credibility. As with Dostoevsky’s Father Karamazov, it was as though all his recent vicious and disturbing behavior had simply never happened.

Of course, he sees the UN as good for a big handout towards the financial and human cost of rebuilding the waste he made of Iraq. This may seem odd for one of those “we ain’t a gonna pay no damn UN dues” types, but, remember, psychopaths are complete narcissists.

But a handout is not Bush’s critical need. Facing an election, he is looking for ways to deflect growing criticism and doubt from American voters. Americans have been remarkably quiescent over the dirty wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because they cost so few American lives and provided a reassuring sense of the nation’s vast capacity for revenge, even if they killed mostly innocent people and few or any of those associated with 9/11.

But night after night of car bombs and dead American soldiers on television have a way of changing perceptions. America’s press, “embedded” with the Pentagon long before the term was invented for the Iraq war, often poorly reports around foreign policy, but it simply cannot resist blood-and-ambulances stuff with real American victims. With this continuing week after week, it is likely more Americans will see the Iraq war for what it was–nothing to do with justice or democracy or rights or even terror–but one more kill-a-commie-for-Christ campaign, only on a vast scale with high-technology killing and no commies. And, as with all previous such holy wars, it just happens to serve the interests of America’s utterly selfish foreign policy.

The UN is widely misunderstood in America, a circumstance people of Bush’s leaning have always diligently cultivated, and its involvement on any appreciable scale gives Bush something external and vaguely-disliked to manipulate in explaining all the violence and confusion yet to come as a people revolt against conquest, occupation, and misery.

International involvement gives room for maneuver, wiggle room, and can be twisted with words to serve many purposes, including the claim that it vindicates Bush’s wisdom, all those do-nothing, effete foreigners finally coming to recognize the threat of terror–and, yes, he once again with unblinking dishonesty linked terror with Iraq during his UN performance, terror being, with the bitterest irony, Bush’s best ally in garnering votes. Iraqis fighting back with limited means against the world’s military and technological Frankenstein naturally has to be called something else, so it is called terror, just as violent resistance to endless occupation and abuse in Gaza and the West Bank is.

Psychopathy likely is one of those many glitches in the gene pool, an evolutionary trial-and-error that served a useful purpose before modern urban society, psychopathic warriors being valued for their ability at defending early human settlements and terrifying potential enemies. Probably most of our legends of monsters such as vampires or ghouls derive from human experience with all-too-real psychopathic personalities.

Psychopaths are valued to this day as torturers for secret police, assassins, and dirty-tricks operatives for intelligence services. Police and prison-guard services who are careful about their hiring screen out such people with tests (there are extremely reliable ones), since psychopaths are naturally drawn to work where others will be at their mercy.

As with many mental disorders, from depression to schizophrenia, there appears to be degrees of psychopathy. The father of the late Jeffrey Dahmer, a man who killed, consumed and memorialized portions of his victims in his Milwaukee apartment, wrote a courageous book after the discovery of his son’s horrific deeds. He recognized in retrospect signs from his son’s childhood that something unusual was developing. He also, very importantly, recognized that there were uncomfortable thoughts he had had as a young man which now might be understood as a milder inclination in the same direction.

Politics with the power of elected office and the glow of press attention surely is a draw for at least the more moderately afflicted. There is reason to believe that psychopathy helps explain the careers of some horrible and bizarre politicians. The example that leaps to mind is the late Senator McCarthy. Yes, he was a nasty drunk, but lots of drunks function in politics without becoming destroyers of others’ lives. The great Winston Churchill, for example, couldn’t get through a day without his brandy.

How do you get rid of a political psychopath like Bush? Well, I hope the Democratic party doesn’t see its only option as simply running another one. The Democratic contenders include at least a couple characters who might well qualify as having the disorder.

The armed forces have always been natural repositories for these dark creatures, the work of killing and the skill of being able to do it with relish making good fits. We have a general who suddenly discovered at nearly sixty years of age that he is a Democrat. What that means in the context of the general’s military experience, which includes probable war crimes and extremely hazardous judgments in Serbia, is not clear.

We have a Senator who always smilingly supports death, whether as part of American foreign policy, Israeli foreign policy, or in prisons.

Maybe that’s just how it has to be in a vast bloated empire that pretends it represents principle. After all, you need to keep all those disagreeable foreigners in line. Statesmen and humanitarian leaders aren’t very good material for the job.

JOHN CHUCKMAN lives in Canada. He can be reached at: chuckman@counterpunch.org.

 

More articles by:

John Chuckman lives in Canada.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 21, 2019
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Wolf at the Door: Adventures in Fundraising With Cockburn
Rev. William Alberts
Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Sheldon Richman
Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain
Horace G. Campbell
Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
Jim Kavanagh
The Empire Steps Back
Ralph Nader
Where are the Influentials Who Find Trump Despicable?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Poll Projection: Left-Leaning Jagmeet Singh to Share Power with Trudeau in Canada
Thomas Knapp
Excuses, Excuses: Now Hillary Clinton’s Attacking Her Own Party’s Candidates
Brian Terrell
The United States Air Force at Incirlik, Our National “Black Eye”
Paul Bentley
A Plea for More Cynicism, Not Less: Election Day in Canada
Walter Clemens
No Limits to Evil?
Robert Koehler
The Collusion of Church and State
Kathy Kelly
Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition
Charlie Simmons
How the Tax System Rewards Polluters
Chuck Collins
Who is Buying Seattle? The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail