We've been saying privately for months that Bush is probably brain damaged. That's a conclusion based on his Bushisms, his failure to engage during interviews, his extremely weak performances in (the rare) press conferences, his many years of cocaine and alcohol consumption, and other factors. By brain damaged, we mean that critical sub-systems in the brain have been destroyed or disabled. A person can still appear to function normally (walk, talk, see) but there is still something lacking. Of course, proof of such a situation requires testing and examination, something we're never going to be able to do. So we'll have to leave it as informed speculation.
With that in mind, we were pleased to see Juan Cole write along similar lines in a recent post
: (excerpt, emp add)
What was Bush doing with his youth? He was drinking. He was drinking like a fish, every night, into the wee hours. For decades. He gave no service to anyone, risked nothing, and did not even slack off efficiently.
The history of alcoholism and possibly other drug use is a key issue because it not only speaks to Bush's character as an addictive personality, but may tell us something about his erratic and alarming actions as president. His explosive temper probably provoked the disastrous siege of Fallujah last spring, killing 600 Iraqis, most of them women and children, in revenge for the deaths of 4 civilian mercenaries, one of them a South African. (Newsweek reported that Bush commanded his cabinet, "Let heads roll!") That temper is only one problem. Bush has a sadistic streak. He clearly enjoyed, as governor, watching executions. His delight in killing people became a campaign issue in 2000 when he seemed, in one debate, to enjoy the prospect of executing wrong-doers a little too much. He has clearly gone on enjoying killing people on a large scale in Iraq. Drug abuse can affect the ability of the person to feel deep emotions like empathy. Two decades of pickling his nervous system in various highly toxic substances have left Bush damaged goods. Even for those who later abstain, "visual-spatial abilities, abstraction, problem solving, and short-term memory, are the slowest to recover." That he managed to get on the wagon (though with that pretzel incident, you wonder how firmly) is laudable. But he suffers the severe effects of the aftermath, and we are all suffering along with him now, since he is the most powerful man in the world.