I awoke this morning to the sounds of President Bush giving a press conference. I played my usual game: How long till he says something a little off? Three questions later he came up with the phrase "increasing more troops", but overall he was coherent. Apparently, nothing focuses this man like failure. He seemed energized by the gigantic mess he's made, and eager to make the mess worse.
There's clearly something psychological at work here. He's spent his life trying to talk himself out of bad situations of his own making, so maybe this has put him in a comfort zone. He finally has the conflict in Iraq on his own terms, which means it is all screwed up. He seemed defiant and almost happy as he sparred with the reporters about this fiasco. The war isn't wearing him down - he seemed invigorated and joyfully alive.
One of the reporters' questions was directly about this. It referenced the other day when President Bush sought to assure us that he was sleeping well as the mayhem in Iraq unfolds. It struck many as quite revealing - one of those slips that let you know who he really is. What does it say about a man when he's in the middle of the Iraq War - a conflict he caused - and yet he sleeps well at night?
One obvious answer is that he has sociopathic tendencies - an inability to feel the normal range of human emotions. Apparently someone in the White House noticed the problem with that sleep comment the other day, so the President was ready for the question this morning. The reporter discussed how devastated President Johnson was during our failure in Vietnam. You could see it wearing him down, and it helped him decide not to run again. The reporter asked how this President could appear so relaxed knowing people were dying because of him. President Bush went into an answer that seemed rehearsed to me. His voice didn't crack with emotion, like his father's would have. He said that it was the toughest part of his Presidency but that he had questioned himself about Iraq and realized he was right, so that was that.
At this point, I came up with another theory abut the Iraq War - one that I haven't heard expressed exactly like this anywhere else. Certainly others have mentioned that this President could be a sadist. He has the anecdotal behavior from his childhood - the cruelty to animals. His profound lack of curiosity in the world could stem from a realization that there's something missing in his own soul and he knows it. This lack of crucial feeling makes him mad - he realizes he's different, and though he rehearses answers about human emotions, every now and then the truth slips out.
We also know he gravitates to torture. When McCain wanted an anti-torture bill, President Bush fought it with everything he had - even threatening to veto it. After it was signed, President Bush made it clear that he would not follow it if he didn't want to - torture was clearly one practise he did not want to lose. Of course, he said all the right things - downright lies, actually - about how America does not torture, but there was a glimpse into his personality with that. This comment about sleeping well while others suffer and die because of his actions, was another.
So what's my theory? Okay, the reason the President seems so animated right now - the reason he is focused and alert - is that the Iraq War has given him something that his sadistic, sociopathic personality craved from the first time he was called mediocre, and teased for being who he is. The Iraq War is his adult version of torturing little animals. He has finally made it to the Super Bowl of Cruelty, and it's really working for him. The reason he's sleeping so well, and talking so energetically, is precisely because - in his twisted way - he is happy right now. Why? Because he's using the Iraq War to torture us all.