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December 6, 2007

Between The Mushroom Cloud And WWIII

Bush-Nie

It was interesting watching George Bush’s NIE press conference all the way through.

What the reporters were repeatedly trying to get at was something Bush continually preaches but utterly fails to live by, which is that actions have consequence — particularly in terms of one’s credibility.

If you do watch the video, you need consider it in two parts.  The predominant but virtually insignificant part has to do with when Bush — having endured another question — starts to move his lips and words come out.

The more significant and interesting aspect is when Bush has no choice but to attend to the question.  In a face-the-music type of session like this one, we can not only observe the customary squinting, grimacing and laughing, but during the more blunt and direct challenges, we can also witness the less usual swaying; the facial tics (typically consisting of snorting, sniffing and tight pursed lips pulling to one side of the face); and even beyond that, the brief, otherwise nonsensical, somewhat crazed, staring-slightly-into-space looking glance.

As an example of that last peculiarity, check out the image above (or the frame I grabbed while Bush was enduring question number three):

When you talked about Iraq, you and others in the administration talked about a mushroom cloud; then there were no WMD in Iraq. When it came to Iran, you said in October, on October 17th, you warned about the prospect of World War III, when months before you made that statement, this intelligence about them suspending their weapons program back in ‘03 had already come to light to this administration. So can’t you be accused of hyping this threat? And don’t you worry that that undermines U.S. credibility?

(I believe my frame captured him somewhere between the mushroom cloud and WWIII.)

It’s not surprising, by the way, that the press conference ended with a question about Bush’s body language,  and whether he was feeling troubled at all (surprise, suprise) about a credibility gap with the American people.  (After getting angry, Bush made certain to point out that: “…Psychology 101 ain’t working. It’s just not working. I understand the issues, I clearly see the problems….”)

But back to the physical indicators, and the meaning of the bodily reactions.  I have no idea how many shots AFP photographer Mandel Ngan had to take to isolate the one above, but it captures Bush exactly in one of those “can’t tolerate reality — especially when it’s in my face” kind of moments.

In episodes like these, in spite of his insistence about feeling untroubled, you can see Bush’s shield actually gives way for an instant, and there is trouble all over the place.

White House transcript and video here.



(image: Mandel Ngan/AFP.  December 4, 2007. Washington, DC. via YahooNews)

  • La Cabeza Grande

    Even if you rub a dog’s face in its own feces, it still can’t seem to learn not to defecate inappropriately.
    The man is beyond incredible in his continued denial. What is even more galling is that it took MSM this long to call him on his hypocrisy.

  • CincyGuy

    It is not just hypocrisy, he is completely utterly in denial. Living within his bubble surrounded by sycophants for years has been difficult – when faced with stark reality. You are seeing photographic evidence that his ‘bubble of denial’ is cracking… he is after all the “WAR PRESIDENT” and he wants to bomb Iran but now he cannot. I believe he is on the verge of a complete mental breakdown. Either he will be using drugs to deal with this, or alcohol, or we will see his nervous ticks getting worse and worse and he will start going into rants during press conferences. Buckle your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride until he is out of power.

  • tina

    Nothing new here. We’ve been seeing this for years. He has no tolerance for people who question or oppose him, however slightly. I know 1 or 2 people like this. They have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and all their personal relationships are a wasteland. A very lonely place to occupy in the universe.
    He’s used drugs and alcohol for years, too, wouldn’t be much of surprise if he’s using them now, either.

  • Crappatack

    This is “The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Sequel” which picks up after the kid has stated the obvious. Now the emperor and his dwindling court, naked and feeling the breeze, begin a campaign of vigorous denial. I don’t know how it ends. I think it may be up to us to write the conclusion.

  • Doctor Jay

    I’m an engineer. A while back, I used to work in a small company where the president was completely non-technical. We would sometimes see the exact same expression on his face, usually when we told him, “No, we can’t build an invisibility cloak in 3 weeks. It’s going to take more like 3 months.”

  • KingElvis

    Saying things like “If we leave Iraq they’ll follow us home” or “We’re fighting them there so we don’t fight them here” – I’ve often wondered how these people avoid spontaneous combustion or something. I guess these facial tics are a way of letting of steam so his head doesn’t explode.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    he’s not troubled by the intelligence on Iran, or by his decision to hide it until now, but by the peskiness of insubordinate journalists daring to call him on it. who are these people to question his actions or their consequences?!?

  • weisseharre

    “Take my wife: Pwease…!”

  • http://www.southdakotawatch.net Todd Epp

    I am glad I came across this site. There is a great need for this type of analysis of photos as our society becomes more visual rather than a verbal. Excellent work. I will be a devoted reader!

  • http://tekel.wordpress.com tekel

    President Shakes McCrazy! He’s got the twitches and the stomping, we should all be happy he didn’t start speaking in tongues!
    Good thing he’s not actually in charge of anything. It’s ironic that you’re not allowed to drink a pint of bourbon and drive a car, but you can apparently drink a pint of bourbon and pretend to run the country.

  • 14All

    He looks like a smartass teenager being told to take out the garbage in this photo.

  • http://www.reciprocity-failure.com Stanco

    Cabeza Grande, you got it right- ‘cept this dog also manages to rub his feces in everyone else’s face.

  • SAB

    I used to have a boss with narcissistic personality disorder, so watching Bush certainly brings back memories. Narcissists don’t react well when they are challenged or things don’t go their way. The next fourteen months should be interesting.

  • Cactus

    He is not wrong. He is never wrong. If the facts disagree, then the facts must be changed. When I saw parts of the press conference what I saw was a very angry man who was not successful in hiding it. He doesn’t think he is wrong, he thinks he has been betrayed by traitors out to get him. He is, as always, in his bubble of “yessir’s” willfully refusing to see the outside. We are already hearing the neocon minions blathering about the errors in the NIE and that traitors in the intelligence community are trying to undermine the great one. It’s all just a political ploy by his enemies. That’s the new truthiness.

  • Mad_nVT

    That face makes me think of a 17 year old spoiled rich kid with the mind of a 13 year old who is being reprimanded because he just farted in front of his grandmother at the dinner table.
    It also makes me think that this lying buffoon continues to have the approval of 33% of the American people.

  • Mona

    This is the “so sue me” face! A spitting image of his mother though

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    cross-posted from Juan Cole: ‘Bush Grasp of Reality Tenuous’…
    ref [the Admirals' NIE] JC: “Bush’s circle is like a medieval court with scheming courtiers
    MG: {grin} That’s a good description: it really is quite remarkable. And from time to time Toto pulls back the curtain at this leaderless / mis-leading Court of OZ, giving us stunning glimpses of how one special interest or another, including ‘triangulating’ members of a supposed opposition party ~ manages to finesse or just blatantly foster their agenda to be “Official U.S. Policy”.
    Such was apparently the case when Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was recently forced to withdraw a resolution submitted to the U.N. Security Council : because ISRAEL (!) objected to language within the draft’s text; statements that did not jibe with their agenda:
    We don’t just write a text in the mission and come and present it to people. We are an organized government, institutionalized. We are not a banana republic, Khalilzad said.
    Israeli officials said at the time that while they had no objections to the U.S. text in itself, they believed a Security Council resolution was ‘not appropriate’.”
    Of course, anyone familiar with the U.S. voting record at the U.N. could deduce the obvious presence of ISRAEL (or AIPAC) involvement in the creation of ‘Official U.S. Policy’, but only rarely do we see these machinations in such a naked manner: it’s embarrassing.
    …reflects that OUR grasp of reality is tenuous, malleable ?
    In so many ways it is so much easier for we (Americans) to cling to our illusions: That we are not addicted to petroleum products, largely sold to us as if by drug dealers who care little for our well-being, or for the global environment of which they, too are a part; That we are not [simply consumers, but debt:product consumers] indebted to China, Japan ~ who loan us the money to buy their exports; That we do not have a de facto ‘untermenschen’ class of 12~20 million workers among us; That, for some reason still a mystery to this writer, we harbor the terrifying ‘persecution hysteria’ of ISRAEL as our own, dark, national ID: in the Court of OZ.

  • EpicureanQuaker

    This press conference was the closest real-life substitute we’ll ever see to Bush submitting to a grilling by Congress, vis-a-vis the Parliamentary system. Savor it, folks.

  • http://www.enabling.org/Journey_of_Life/One_Beginning/perfection.htm Thomas T. Panto

    There was a time when the entire population of the world would have helped us to remove Al’Qaeda and Bin Laden from the earth.
    But there are worse tyrants, lying, arming, invading and murdering the innocent people of the free world.
    Those have been OUR tanks that the orphaned children have been throwing rocks at since 1948.
    Those have been our weapons issued to ALL sides, our assassins killing their leaders and installling dictators. We have been the ”terrorist” and ”insergeants” invading their lands since 1948.
    No one has murdered more of their people than we have.
    Before us was the British Empire.
    Before them was the French Foreign Legion.
    Before them was the Roman Empire.
    The home of Civilization, and Christ, did not destroy itself, it was destroyed by the inventors of war… The Holy Roman Empire, who’s prejudice and persecution of God and His Creation has finally infected America.

  • david

    Oh My God! Shouldn’t we at least get to make him wear big red hats, and clown ties, and size 16 shoes? How much does he spend on suits? What is his ‘free’ time like? Where are we all going? How dark and long is this tunnel? I’m terrified. Read ‘Perlandra’ by C.S.Lewis – Bush is the unman, but where is our Ransom?

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