Editor's Note: As the nation and the world face 18 more months of George W. Bush's presidency, a chilling prospect is that Bush – confronted with more defeats and reversals – might just "lose it" and undertake even more reckless military adventures.
In this special memorandum, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) collaborated with psychiatrist Justin Frank, author of Bush on the Couch, to assess the potential dangers and possible countermeasures available to constrain Bush:
What a burden to have to face his many inadequacies - now held up to the light of day - whether it is his difficulty in speaking, thinking, reading, managing anxiety, or making good decisions. He will not change, because for him change means humiliating collapse. He is very fearful of public exposure of his many inadequacies.
His certitude that he is right gives him carte blanche for destructive behavior. He has always had a sadistic streak: from blowing up frogs, to shooting his siblings with a b-b-gun, to branding fraternity pledges with white-hot coat hangers.
It may well be that, unconsciously, the government represents his neglectful parents, and those helped by the government represent the siblings he resents. If George W. Bush wanted to destroy his own family, he could scarcely have done better. Thanks to him, no Bush is likely to be elected to high office for generations to come.
There is a God!
And so, we are left with a president who cannot actually govern, because he is incapable of reasoned thought in coping with events outside his control, like those in the Middle East.
Outlined below are three illustrative contingencies, each of which would pose a neuralgic threat to George W. Bush's shaky self-esteem, his over-determined efforts to stave off humiliation, and his unending need for self-protection.
These are not seat-of-the-pants scenarios. Each of them is possible - arguably, even probable. The importance of coming up with educated guesses regarding Bush's response BEFORE they occur is, we hope, clear.
The reaction would come from deep within and would warn, in effect: This is what you get if you try to make me look bad.
Is there nothing to rein in Bush and Cheney? It seems likely that only if impeachment proceedings were under way would senior officers like CENTCOM commander, Admiral William Fallon, be likely to parry an unlawful order to start yet another war without the approval of Congress and the UN.
To do that effectively, he will need senior generals and admirals as co-conspirators. It will be up to them to choose between career and Constitution. All too often, in such circumstances, the tendency has been to choose career.
Impeachment hearings, though, could encourage senior officers like Admiral Fallon to pause long enough to remember that their oath is to defend the Constitution, and that they are not required to follow orders to start another war in order to stave off political and personal disaster for the president and vice president.
Chilling. I think the Secret Service needs to assign agents full time whose sole mission is to double-tap a couple into Bush and Cheney's left ears if they try to start another criminal war.