The “So What?” Administration

by Charley James —

Where is a pair of dirty, old shoes when I need them?

I want to hurl a pair after it became official yesterday when reality was confirmed by no less a reliable White House source than the president himself. George Bush summed up his view of how his policies affected the world over the last eight years in two words, “So what?”

The confirmation – we always knew it was true but our suspicions couldn’t be proven – came in an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, also a regular on Washington Week In Review:

BUSH: One of the major theaters against al-Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al-Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al-Qaeda was hoping to take –

RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

BUSH: Yeah, that’s right. So what?

So what? So what!

Coupled with Dick Cheney’s confession in a separate interview that he would invade Iraq all over again even if he knew – which, by the way, he did – there were no WMDs or nukes anywhere to be found, we finally grasp the disdain with which The Current Occupant and his pals view the people of the United States and the rest of the planet. So what, indeed.

Ignore pre 9/11 intelligence about a coming al Qaeda attack on the United States: So what?

Let Osama bin Laden slip away when he was within sight of Army Rangers in Tora Bora? So what?

Cook the intelligence on Iraq WMDs and lie the country into war: So what?

Change the justification for the war five times: So what?

Kill 4,000+ Americans, wound another 50,000, and be responsible for the deaths or injuries to more than 650,000 Iraqis: So what?

Wordsmith the meaning of international treaties and US law to allow such intense torture the SS would be proud: So what?

Destroy America’s standing, moral authority and reputation in the world: So what?

The Never-Ending List
The legacy of the Bush Administration will be a depressing, never-ending list of “So what’s?” And not just its foreign policy; Bush’s domestic triumphs are filled with as many “so what’s?”

The economy. Energy policy. The environment. Science. Medicine. Education. Civil rights. Civil liberties. Health care. The poor, working poor and needy. The elderly. Children. Fraud, waste and corruption. Converting fringe religious ideas into public policy. Soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. Veterans. Destroying the middle class. Federal law. International law. An ideologue judiciary. Shredding the Bill of Righs.

So bloody what.

The day before Bush’s ABC interview, a Pentagon inspector general’s report revealed that former Defense Secy. Donald Rumsfeld, Gen. Tommy Franks, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and other high ranking officials were personally responsible for authorizing using torture on al Qaeda, Iraq and Afghan prisoners. There were bad apples alright, but they weren’t corporals at the bottom of the barrel as Rummy insisted when the Abu Ghraib disgrace became public. Remember how Rumsfeld sat before a Congressional committee claiming to be “disgusted” and “sickened” when he saw the photos? I guess Donald forgot to mention that he signed the memos that came to mean Abu Ghraib and Gitmo would forever represent crimes against humanity.

charley-james.jpgAnd don’t forget the co-conspirators. Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby who were cheerleading John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Condaleeza Rice and John Yoo as they created the convoluted legal logic and twisted rationale saying the president can do anything he wants to do, anywhere in the world, simply because he’s president and is above the law.

Believing “if the President does it, it is legal” got Dick Nixon tossed out of the White House on his ass, and it ought to land the entire upper echelon of the outgoing administration before judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Legal scholars have come up with a long list of possible charges against Senior Loyal Bushies. Now they can add in the crime of “So what?” which, hopefully, carries a mandatory life sentence upon conviction.


Charley James
The Progressive Curmudgeon

Articles by Charley:


  1. Timeparticle says

    Mr. James, there seems to be something behind the “So What” that is not said. His projection of disinterest could be hiding something so horrific and devastating that even he may not be able to acknowledge its presence within himself…. denial.

    The dynamicsof the president’s cover-up involve a vicious psychological paradox: because he secretly anticipates the humiliating failure he has experienced all his life, he behaves in ways that ensure that he will fail. He makes hasty, risky, ill-informed decisions in which he relies on his defenses rather than judgment. When the decisions go bad, they reconfirm his inner feelings of incompetence and heighten his fear of being “found out.” The feedback loop forces him into an ever deeper “state of denial” about the decisions and an ever-renewed tendency to make more flawed decisions.

    If this dynamic is close to correct, then keeping the secret of his feelings of inadequacy has become a matter of life and death for the president. The stakes for him are higher than we can imagine because, by becoming president, he raised his expectations for the success he has sought for so long (the final escape from this secret fear), and he has inflated his worst fear to its grandest scale. He is a man working with all his resources to keep his sense of himself afloat–and he is in danger of drowning.

    From many accounts one can conclude that Bush’s decision-making process is a failed process; in an important sense, it is no process at all…… excerpts from The Psychology of G.W.Bush, Briggs & Briggs

    Progressives know what’s so about the so what’s. We will make them important, again.


  2. Judy T says

    Certainly agree with Pete and Julia. We do have some hope, though, with the election of Barack Obama. It remains to be seen what he will be able to get done.
    By the way, I don’t think the Iraqi reporter should be convicted of anything except,perhaps,rudeness andrticularly for missing his mark.

  3. JuliaH says

    Agreed, Pete…and I must say how much I enjoy reading Mr.James’ articles…always spot-on. I have faith that change can be brought. It’s our only hope, Obi Wan.

    Yes we will.

  4. Pete says

    The saddest part?

    Twenty-six percent of Americans agree with Bush. The problem is far greater than GWB and his power-addicted neocon thugs.

    We have a heart and soul problem here in America. And the disease, as history has always shown, is fatal.

    Good luck Barack. You are really going to need it.

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