George Bush, Diseased Gambler

Aquarian Weekly 4/21/04 REALITY CHECK

HIGH STAKES – BAD BREAKS The Bush Doctrine of Manic Gambling

“It’s the action, kid. The action.” – Jimmy The Greek

Bush Rolls Dice For PressAbout halfway through the president’s impromptu CYA (cover yo ass) press conference this past Wednesday, I could clearly see the telltale signs of a rabid gambling addict. The glassy-eyed unwavering commitment to “stay the course” despite heavy losses, the implausible denial-speak that it would be worse not to have played the hand, and the remarkably stubborn inability to admit a mistake. I know these signs. I’ve been there. Trust me.

“I know it’s been a bad couple of weeks for us in Iraq,” remarked our president. “No one likes to see dead people on television, but we’re going to finish the work of the fallen.”

I feel for Captain Shoe-In. He is in over his head. Badly. But he cannot and will not stop. I could see it in his resolve, hear it in the quivering of his voice, and feel it in my bones. This is one Texan who is going all the way, staying at the table and waiting for the once-in-a-lifetime straight flush, banking on nailing the Trifecta, or biding his time until Monday Night Football. As long as the bookie answers the phone, there’s a chance. This is why wars, like casinos, run 24-hours.

“If additional forces are needed, I will send them,” the president announced during his opening statement. “If additional resources are needed, we will provide them. This government will do all that is necessary to insure the success of their mission.”

Whether you are for him or against him, backed the war in Iraq or opposed it, you must admit that it was a gamble from the start. Even the president broached it several times during his disturbing performance Wednesday. He had to be bold and aggressive and not wait around for an imminent threat. He was going on a hunch, got an airtight inside tip from spies and foreign intelligence. Saddam Hussein and Iraq was and would continue to be a threat to this nation, another in a long line of murderous thugs laying in wait for the right time to hit us again.

It was as if he were trying to convince himself after awhile. The time is now. Must invade. Put a scare into the troublemakers. Ramp up the war on terror. Shake up the order of things. Shock and Awe. Easy in. Easy out. Show the world we are not to be bullied.

“We will succeed in Iraq,” the president boldly pronounced. “We’re carrying out a decision that has already been made and will not change.”

George W. Bush gambled. Presidents do that. Some come away triumphant and end up with their likeness on currency or pitched in some heroic statuesque stance encased in a monument somewhere. Others eat shit. This particular president is somewhere in the middle and he knows it. Too late to turn back now. As long as he has his money in the middle of the table with the slimmest shot to get even, maybe even walk away with a big pot and buy breakfast for his sleep-deprived, cigar reeking pals, he’s letting it ride.

The White House Press, once a prestigious gig, now reduced to a human Iditerod, will never understand this. You don’t learn about social diseases from journalism professors. You have to live it out in the trenches, put down the rent on a long shot and bite your knuckles if you want to know a hearty soul like George Bush. The group effort to ask the same question 17 times wasted 40 long minutes probing the addict for where he went wrong, what mistakes he made, any regrets? This was a foolish tact, and did not serve the public well. The big stakes gambler knows not of what they speak. The high roller does not make mistakes. Bad Luck. Cold Streak. Someone jinxed me. Maybe. But mistakes? Nah.

When asked if he regretted any decision during his three-plus years at the helm, the president stammered like a school kid trying to flush a cigarette down the boy’s room toilet. And when stupidly pressed to compare the current police action to this country’s most egregious non-war war, Viet Nam, Bush could have said, “Please lady, Viet Nam? That damn thing went on for two decades. We’ve been at this thing barely a year.” Instead he sounded the gambler’s lament: “Don’t queer the results by comparing me with past failures!”

“I happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops and it sends the wrong message to our enemy,” our president responded.

The high roller does not make mistakes. Bad Luck. Cold Streak. Someone jinxed me. Maybe. But mistakes? Nah.

There ain’t no Red Sox curse and I ain’t no Bill Buckner, boy!

That’s how it goes for George W. Bush. He’s diseased. He needs help.

Usually those who suffer the ultimate fate of the high stakes junky or have the most to lose, family members, loved ones, spouses or college roommates, have to be sated. The addict must allay their fears that he is down, but not out. There’s a sure thing a-comin’ ma! This was evident in Bush’s repeated calls to not contemplate bailing in Iraq. Any talk of that is un-American and only aids the enemy. With apologies to my pop’s favorite film, “Kelly’s Heroes”, “Always with the negative waves, Moriardi!”

A sympathetic part of me chose to view that press conference as an intervention. Too bad the press corps poorly represented those paying for the gambler’s losses, namely us. I’m thinking some of the financial backers of this thing might have lobbed stronger demands on when exactly enough will be enough. When will our resources emptied? When can we expect “Mission Accomplished”? Yeah, that bit of theater a few months back was another clue to the gambler’s mentality. Win a big bet and get close to even and call it the big splash, breaking the bank. Then comes another chance to roll the dice, and bam!

The president had no answers for an end game or new government outlines or anything concerning the future of Iraq on 4/13. I heard that has-been fathead Newt Gingrich say the other night that “the press will know when the president damn well wants them to know.” Oh, good. Someone should remind the Bush people that listening to a pompous fraud like Gingrich would sentence the president to his kind of political oblivion. The press is supposed to mine our elected leader for answers that the tax paying, war-funding populace has a right to know. But the reporters let us down by allowing our top employee get away with the pussyfooting, “Wait and see”, “Patience and Resolve” and “We’ll be there as long as we need to be there to get the job done.”

What job? Free the Middle East? Reign democracy down on centuries of religious and cultural fanaticism? Sounds like the kind of doom talk that the ego-mad British Empire tried on half of the region for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. I recall Russia’s aborted attempt to bully Communism on Afghanistan succeeded nicely in bankrupting the Soviet Union.

The press intervention failed, except if you believe it was a good political move for the president to say anything, as opposed to the ducking and jiving we’ve gotten for the past six months, or to deflect any talk about the economy or any other wild cards for this November.

But like it or not, we’re going for it folks. All the way to the end, whatever end that may be, at whatever cost; lives, money, national safety. Didn’t you hear? Things are better than you think. We will win, but we won’t know when victory comes.

Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down.


As Krusty the Clown’s accountant once told him, “It’s the best thing a person can do, if you’re good at it.”

And if you’re not?

Well, you’re Krusty the Clown.

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