By Ben Cohen
(Cross posted on the Huffington Post)
While surfing the net on Stumble, I came across an interview with President Bush on Irish television that caused a bit of a storm in 2004. The interview conducted by the tenacious Carol Coleman of Radio Television Ireland was not aired on American television, and Bush's press officers apparently complained vociferously about the rigorous questioning.
The video shows Bush at the absolute peak of his arrogance -- convinced of his own rhetoric about Iraq, flooded with confidence from international subservience to American power, and high off a crushing military victory that reinforced his childish fantasies of American power and preeminence.
The problem was, Coleman was having none of it, and what transpired was a unique insight into the warped brain of the least respected and most hated president in the history of the United States.
"Mr. President," she asked the stone faced Coleman. "You're going to
arrive in Ireland in about 24 hours' time, and no doubt you will be
welcomed by our political leaders. Unfortunately, the majority of our
public do not welcome your visit because they're angry over Iraq,
they're angry over Abu Ghraib. Are you bothered by what Irish people
Other than stutter, the president managed only to answer in vacant homilies about 'the great values of our country.'
"We are a compassionate country," he asserted. "We're a strong country, and we'll defend ourselves -- but we help people."
And that was about the depth of his explanation for the invasion of
Iraq. Supremely satisfied with his own answers, Bush expected Coleman
to be bowled over with his 'good ol' plain speakin' English', but
Coleman, not infected with the American media's insatiable appetite to
service power, had other ideas.
She continued to grill Bush about the rising violence in Iraq,
increased world wide threat of terrorism, and failure to find the
weapons of mass destruction. Flustered and unaccustomed to serious
challenges to his power, Bush displayed flashes of anger, and an
increased reliance on catch phrases to argue the unarguable.
"These people are willing to kill innocent people," he answered testily
in response to questioning about the Iraqi death toll. "They're willing
to slaughter innocent people to stop the advance of freedom. And so the
free world has to make a choice: Do we cower in the face of terror, or
do we lead in the face of terror?"
Coleman cut through the simplistic slogans about evil doers and freedom
loving Americans and continued to ask Bush serious questions about the
illegal war he had just launched. It fast became evident that this was
a man who really had no idea what he was doing -- someone so removed
from reality that he failed to even understand what he was being asked.
The world in Bush's mind exists of good and evil, right and wrong, and
America and everyone else. He could not fathom anyone disagreeing with
his nobility, and simply refused to acknowledge that a different
account of reality existed.
The interview took place almost four years ago, but is the perfect
illustration of a man elected purely on name recognition, dirty money,
and no discernible talent. Four years ago, there were still enough
Americans who believed Bush's infantile bluster was charming and
direct. Now, even Republicans do not waste their time with him, quietly
wishing he would disappear and stop embarrassing their party.
The interview with Coleman should go down on record as definitive proof
of Bush's utter incompetence, a priceless picture of a madman who had
no business occupying the highest office of the land.