On the President, Out of Touch With Reality

Commander Guy has a hard-on for an attack on Iran.

First, despite a multitude of reports that the reported threats by Iranian speedboats in the Straits of Hormuz were the work of a prankster, the President attempted to suggest a causus belli for… something.

And second, despite the National Intelligence Estimate that stated that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program a few years ago, the President is telling foreign governments that it’s wrong:

That NIE, made public Dec. 3, embarrassed the administration by concluding that Tehran had halted its weapons program in 2003, which seemed to undermine years of bellicose rhetoric from Bush and other senior officials about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But in private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, the president all but disowned the document, said a senior administration official who accompanied Bush on his six-nation trip to the Mideast. “He told the Israelis that he can’t control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE’s] conclusions don’t reflect his own views” about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, said the official, who would discuss intelligence matters only on the condition of anonymity.

“His own views.” I wasn’t aware that the President was an expert in intelligence.

But the Downing Street Memos made it clear that the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was being fixed around the policy of invasion.

Facts seem to be facts only when they agree with his view. Otherwise, they’re just opinions.

That’s a pretty dangerous thing.

ETA 16 January 2008: Slate’s Timothy Noah has an article on this very thing. Noah includes this following Bush quote:

I defended our intelligence services, but made it clear that they’re an independent agency; that they come to conclusions separate from what I may or may not want.

Noah’s point, and I do recommend his article, is that Bush hears the things he wants to hear and sees the things he wants to see. Contrary viewpoints — in spite of their factuality — can be easily discarded and ignored. Wrote Noah:

He was saying that the intelligence services sometimes come to conclusions separate from what he may or may not want. In affirming this, he seemed totally unself-conscious. There is absolutely no evidence that Bush was describing the necessary mental challenge of rising above what he wants to hear so that he can take in new information that might alter his understanding of reality. Indeed, Bush’s statement suggested that he suffers from a sort of executive learning disability that leaves him unwilling or unable even to grasp that what he wants to hear isn’t always going to be the same thing as what he needs to hear.

I find this troublesome.

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