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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Learning Disability

Matt Cooper's got an interesting piece in this week's Time magazine.

The North Carolina coast is Bush country. But when the Republican congressman from the area, Walter Jones, was picking up hardware at the local Lowe's last week he got an earful from constituents worried about the situation in Iraq and when the U.S. would start pulling out. "Everyone of them said we need some kind of goal line. The Vietnam veterans were especially upset," says Jones who does not favor immediate withdrawal from Iraq but has offered a bipartisan resolution in Congress-along with liberals like Ohio Dem Dennis Kucinich-calling on the administration to come up with some kind of road map for pullout.
It's nice to hear that Jones is feeling the heat. The interesting thing about popular revolts are that they're always "trickle-up" affairs, starting in the power tools section of Lowes. The piece goes on to discuss rising gas prices, and--given the havoc Katrina is likely to wreak on New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf oil industry infrastructure combined with a colder than usual winter and increased demand for gas and heating oil--there's every possibility gas and oil prices, already at historic highs, could go rocketing through the roof. That's a larger story for another day though.

Public outrage may very well reach perfect storm level. If so, the '06 election cycle could become a housecleaning event of historic proportions.

In any case, Jones, bemoaning the lack of any clear goal for the Iraq debacle, and the lack of a road map to conclusion, is quoted in the Cooper article thusly:
"I don't know who his speechwriters are," Jones says of the President " but we need to better articulate the guidelines of what is victory."
Like the speechwriters are the problem. This is exactly to what I was referring in the column the other day. The Iraq issue can not be addressed by better speechifying. There needs to be an intense and immediate injection of competency into the civilian execution of the war. And there needs to be some sort of exit strategy that isn't dependent on amorphous and artificial "turning points," leaving our soldiers, in the words of Iraq war vet and OpTruth spokesperson Perry Jefferies (author of the blistering letter to the guy in the pickup truck who mowed down the memorial crosses to the KIA set up in Crawford), "idling in the killzone," waiting for something to happen.

The Cooper article describes the feeling of unease among staffers at the White House:
So what's the White House plan? There really isn't much of one. If anything, there's a certain sense of fatalism among Bush staffers, a belief that the difficult moments in Iraq just have to be toughed out and that there is no ready cure at hand other than to make the case to stay the course as he did last week when he addressed National Guard troops in Idaho. As for the president himself, Bush is hyperresolute about the situation in Iraq according to advisers. "One of the things that's real consistent about this President is that he doesn't spook," says Bush's media advisor Mark McKinnon.
He doesn't spook? He doesn't friggin' spook? Why I oughta.....

How about we just put aside his manliness and resoluteness here for a second, okay? (Though we probably should pause a moment and recognize that unlike the nameless "staffers" and "officials" quoted and referred to throughout the article, McKinnon went named and on record with this statement of the president's machismo. That's Official. )

I'm glad he doesn't spook, and I'm glad he goes on with his balanced life and gets to nap and ride his bike. But how about learning? Does he learn? Ever hear of corrective action?

A learning disorder perhaps? We know it runs in the family:
Such disorders often are genetic, and the Bush family has a history of them -- Bush's brother, Neil, has been diagnosed with dyslexia. Bush's other brother, Marvin, has a son in a Washington school for children with learning disabilities. Perhaps as a result, the President's mother and First Lady Laura Bush have both been big advocates of improving reading skills.
But what about the president? Does he suffer from an untreated disability that not only causes him to mangle the English language but actually prevents him from adaptive reasoning?? You've got to wonder. To paraphrase an idiot: Is our presidents learning? Can the George W. Bush of today objectively consider the reality before him and learn from his own mistakes?

Is it really so wrong of me to ask as much of the president as I do of my children?

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