Carpetbagger has a post on Bush’s response to a good question on Bush’s use of blaming “al Qaeda” for the attacks in Iraq.
As Bush said:
Al Qaeda in Iraq has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden. And the guys who had perpetuated the attacks on America — obviously, the guys on the airplane are dead, and the commanders, many of those are either dead or in captivity, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But the people in Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq, has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden. And we need to take al Qaeda in Iraq seriously, just like we need to take al Qaeda anywhere in the world seriously.
To which Carpetbagger says “Bush has to know how misleading this is.”
But the thing is, I’m not so sure he does. Because I know a few people like Bush, and they really do believe absolutely insane crap that they should have no business believing. Things that are provably false, which have been explained to them repeatedly, yet they continue to believe it.
Even passively, they take these insane falsehoods as proven fact. Not because someone tricked them into believing it, but because they want to believe it. In fact, they need to believe it, in order for their lives to make sense. They’ll even misinterpret what they’re told and insist that what they heard is what you said. And even if you’re able to convince them they’re wrong, their brains will quickly lapse back into believing what they wanted to believe in the first place.
For example, nobody wants to believe that they’re a bad person (excepting, perhaps, Dick Cheney). But they also don’t like doing the things that are required of good people. So instead, they rationalize that the bad things they’re doing aren’t bad. It’s ok to allow poor people to starve and suffer and die early deaths, because they somehow deserve it. Because what you have is what you deserve to have. And that’s also why people who were born wealthy will convince themselves that they were “self-made” and earned it all; even as their inherited fortunes solely dwindle away due to their incompetence.
And the basic problem is that they really don’t have that sense of truth that the rest of us have. It’s not a character defect or poor parenting. It’s just how their brains work. Not that this is necessarily unique to them. We’re all familiar with the tricks our brains play to make sense of things that don’t make sense. Optical illusions and whatnot, which work when our brains connect things that aren’t really connected.
But of course, the real problem is that they believe crap in the first place and refuse to rethink any of that crap. They’re selfish people who can’t think about people who aren’t on their team. And you’re only on “their” team as long as your interests coincide with theirs. But because they can’t see themselves as being bad people, their brains continue to rationalize these things by demonizing anyone on the other team. Sure, they don’t want other people to suffer, but dammit if those people didn’t do something to deserve it. And it doesn’t matter what that something is. They’ll believe whatever they need to.
And I’m convinced that Bush is like that. He believes what he wants to believe, which is whatever he needs to believe to keep going. In this case, he needs to believe that staying in Iraq is the best thing to do, and he’ll believe and say anything to make that happen. I had more to write, but it’s 3:30 in the morning. I really need to start writing earlier.