How did a judge’s decision not to deport the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela connect to the report that George W. Bush has again hit the bottle?
The answer begins in the fact the Bush never entered a recovery program for his alcohol and drug addiction, which he supposedly gave up at age 40 while jogging. God talked to him, or Jesus or some envoy. This born again phenomenon apparently substituted for AA along with exercise and praying.
W had ongoing problems, of course, in Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, his poll ratings fell to 40% or less by September. Yet, Bush continued on Karl Rove’s path, derived from Napoleon, Frederick the Great and the Nazi Party model of politics: forget about facts, truth, integrity, ethics; rely on audacity and aggression. This formula won him two elections, placed the gutless Democrats on the defense and secured the “stupid male vote,” the dumbos who adore Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh and vote against their own interests.
The impregnable success model, however, eroded quickly and, according to the The National Enquire (“Bush’s Booze Crisis,” Sept. 21), Laura Bush caught George throwing down a drink at his Crawford ranch. Drinking began after aides informed him of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and FEMA’s failure to deal with the aftermath.
Laughing about the source? Before the “respectable” press got wind of it, The Enquirer revealed Rush Limbaugh’s oxycontin habit (“Limbaugh Caught in Drug Ring,” Oct. 2, 2003).
Now, Jennifer Luce and Don Gentile report that “Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas
“When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot,” said one ‘insider.’ “He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: ‘Stop, George!'” After listening to a September 12 exchange with a journalist, Laura may have already suspected he had started nipping.
“Did they misinform you when you said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees?”
“No,” Bush responded. “When that storm came by, a lot of people said we dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, whew. There was a sense of relaxation, and that’s what I was referring to. And I, myself, thought we had dodged a bullet. You know why? Because I was listening to people, probably over the airways, say the bullet has been dodgedOf course, there were plans in case the levee had been breached. There was a sense of relaxation in the moment, a critical moment. And thank you for giving me a chance to clarify that” (White House Web Site Sept. 12).
This mangled attempt at oral clarity hardly compensated for his non-handling of Katrina’s aftermath. And bloodshed in Iraq dominated daily headlines. Popularity ratings went south. Gas prices went north. W went boozing.
“The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him – but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital,” said an Enquirer source. “The war in Iraq, the loss of American lives, has deeply affected him The result is he’s taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope.”
The nation has endured drunken Presidents, like Ulysses Grant and Warren Harding. But a “dry drunk?” Dr. Katherine Van Wormer, co-author of Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective, applied this term to Bush, meaning he stopped drinking but still thinks constantly about relieving his anxiety with alcohol (Counterpunch Jan. 22, 2003).
On September 20, he returned to “N’Oleans” which he remembered fondly from his drinking days. Bush promised to “get the debris removed, get the water up and running and get the bridges rebuilt. But what you need to do is develop a blueprint for your own future. We look forward to hearing your vision so we can more better do our job.”
“More better?” More disturbed, thought Laura. The following day, W unleashed another missile. “If you want to grow something, you shouldn’t tax it. If you want to encourage small business growth, we ought to incent it to grow in that part of the world. Somebody said the other day, well, that’s a tax break. That region is going to have zero income anyway.”
“That region” conjured up images of poor people suffering. If he stayed for photo op-s, he would have to shake dirty hands and hug smelly bodies. So, he remained “on vacation,” watching TV golf, not images of floating bodies and desperate people.
The dry drunk got wetter. Van Wormer listed other traits: “A rigid, judgmental outlook, impatience, childish behavior, irresponsible behavior, irrational rationalization, projection and overreaction.” Dr. Van Wormer thinks Bush exhibits these traits and “some indications of paranoia.”
She selected as an example Bush’s declaration: “We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and our allies and friends.” Such a statement indicated “projection is evidenced here as well, projection of the fact that we are ready to attack onto another nation which may not be so inclined.”
He also displays his “judgmental outlook” in a statement on Israel. To fight evil, Bush turns Biblical. “Look my job isn’t to try to nuance. I think moral clarity is important… this is evil versus good” (Counterpunch, Oct. 11, 2002).
Such pronouncements of an uncompromising terrorism fighter evaporated on September 27 and provided W more reason to drink. On that day, a U.S. immigration judge denied Venezuela’s request to extradite Luis Posada Carriles. The U.S. government lawyer offered no opposition to the judge’s ruling, although it carried heavy implications.
Posada, who Hugo Chavez’s government labeled “the Osama bin Laden of Latin America,” grinned. So did Osama bin Laden when he heard Bush’s October 6 remarks.
“The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they’re equally as guilty of murder. Any government that chooses to be an ally of terror has also chosen to be an enemy of civilization. And the civilized world must hold those regimes to account” (Speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, Oct 6, 2005).
How to coincide these remarks with not deporting a terrorist? “God should have known that those anti-Castro Cubans, whom I owe for two elections, would not let me deport Posada. They call him a `zealous patriot’.”
Since Posada escaped trial for his lead role in the October 1976 bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner over Barbados in which all 73 people aboard died, Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Washington, accused Bush’s administration of using a “double standard” on terrorism.
At his Texas trial, the White House and Homeland Security collaborated with Posada by failing to counter his lawyer’s virtually unsupported claim that Venezuela would torture him. Indeed, the State department’s most recent report exempted Venezuela from the list of states that practice torture.
Ironically, U.S. officials have routinely torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. One State Department official spoke anonymously, “Here we have someone who we know is a terrorist, and it’s clear that we’re actively protecting him from facing justice. We have zero credibility” (Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, Sept. 29, 2005).
Posada weakened W’s terrorist reputation. Then a Texas prosecutor weakened his power in the House by charging Tom DeLay with multiple felony charges. “The Hammer,” as frightened legislators called DeLay, had rammed through Bush’s tax cuts for the richest people in the country.
In addition, the SEC began to probe Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s sale of stock in Hospital Corporation of America from his blind trust, just days before poor earnings sent HCA shares sharply down.
“Billy” claimed he sold the shares to avoid “conflict of interest” should he decide to run for president. But his kin also sold their HCA shares on that day. None of them aspired to public office. Frist denied that he saw clearly into his blind trust. Few believed him.
Then, the press chastised W for naming Julie Myers to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was General Richard Myers’ niece, who married Homeland Security head Mike Chertoff’s chief of staff. So what that the agency was part of Homeland Security!
With his approval dropping, Social Security reform entombed and facing increasing voter dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq, Bush also took heat for rising gas prices.
So, Posada weakened Bush’s last claim to strength, fighting terrorism.
Dr. Justin Frank (Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President) thought “that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great” (Enquirer Sept. 21).
Posada grinned. Bin Laden guffawed. Bush drank. The drama of our time: two terrorists and a lush?
SAUL LANDAU is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. His new book is The Business of America.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH
We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).
Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.
As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.
We are pleased to clarify the position.
August 17, 2005