April 25, 2018 – 7:06 am


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So Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a dismal and bloody era of American politics, died last week (April 17, 2018). Predictably, in death she is being hailed as a feminist, a humanist, a doyenne of literacy, a moderating force on the viciousness of the neocons and racists who populated the White Houses of her husband and son. That’s not the way I recalled her, in my brief biography of her son George W, “High Plains Grifter,” published in Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror. Here, then, is my shot at revising the revisionists… By Jeffrey St Clair.

Start from the beginning. George W Bush wasn’t born a cowboy. He entered the world in New Haven, Connecticut, hallowed hamlet of Yale. His bloodlines include two presidents and a US senator. The cowboy act came later, when he was famously re-birthed, with spurs on his boots, tea in his cup and the philosophical tracts of Jesus of Nazareth on his night table.

Bush is a pure-blooded WASP, sired by a man who would later become the nation’s chief spook, a man frequently called upon to clean up the messes left by apex crooks in his own political party, including his own entanglements (and those of his sons) with the more noirish aspects of life. His grandfather was a US senator and Wall Street lawyer, who shamelessly represented American corporations as they did business with the Nazi death machine. Old Prescott narrowly escaped charges of treason. But those were different times, when trading with the enemy was viewed as, at the very least, unseemly.

His mother, Barbara, is a bitter and grouchy gorgon, who must have frightened her own offspring as they first focused their filmy eyes onto her stern visage. She is a Pierce, a descendent of Franklin, the famously incompetent president, patron of Nathaniel Hawthorne and avowed racist, who joined in a bizarre cabal to overthrow Abraham Lincoln. (For more on this long neglected episode in American history check out Charles Higham’s excellent book Murdering Mr Lincoln.)

Understandably, George Sr spent much of his time far away from Barbara Bush’s icy boudoir, indulging in a discreet fling or two while earning his stripes as a master of the empire, leaving juvenile George to cower under the unstinting commands of his cruel mother, who his younger brother Jeb dubbed “the Enforcer.”

His mother, Barbara, is a bitter and grouchy gorgon, who must have frightened her own offspring as they first focused their filmy eyes onto her stern visage. She is a Pierce, a descendent of Franklin, the famously incompetent president, patron of Nathaniel Hawthorne and avowed racist, who joined in a bizarre cabal to overthrow Abraham Lincoln.

This woman’s veins pulse with glacial melt. According to Neil Bush, his mother was devoted to corporal punishment and would “slap around” the Bush children. She was known in the family as “the one who instills fear.” She still does… with a global reach.

How wicked is Barbara Bush? Well, she refused to attend her own mother’s funeral. And the day after her five-year old daughter Robin died of leukemia Barbara Bush was in a jolly enough mood to spend the afternoon on the golf course. Revealingly, Mrs Bush kept Robin’s terminal illness a secret from young George, a stupid and cruel move which provided one of the early warps to his psyche.

Her loathsome demeanor hasn’t lightened much over the years. Refresh your memory with this quote on Good Morning America, dismissing the escalating body count of American soldiers in Iraq. “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many,” the Presidential Mother snapped. “It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

Even Freud might have struggled with this case study. Imagine young George the Hysteric on Siggy’s couch in the curtained room on Berggasse 19. The analysand doesn’t enunciate; he mumbles and sputters in non-sequential sentence fragments. His quavering voice a whiny singsong. The fantasy has to be teased out. It’s gruelling work. But finally Freud puts it all together. This lad doesn’t want to fuck his mother. Not this harridan. Not this boy. He wants to kill her and chuckle in triumph over the corpse. Oh, dear. This doesn’t fit the Oedipal Complex, per se. But it explains so much of George the Younger’s subsequent behavior. (See his cold-blooded chuckling over the state murder of Karla Faye Tucker.)

How wicked is Barbara Bush? Well, she refused to attend her own mother’s funeral.

Perhaps, Freud isn’t the right shrink for Bush, after all. Maybe the president’s pathology is better understood through the lens of Freud’s most gifted and troubled protégé, Wilhelm Reich. (I commend to your attention Dr Reich’s neglected masterpiece Listen, Little Man.) Sadly, we cannot avail ourselves of psychological exegises of either Freud or Reich. So Justin Frank, the disciple of Melanie Klein, will have to substitute.

In the spirit of his mentor, Frank, author of Bush on the Couch, zeroes in on the crucial first five years of W’s existence, where three factors loom over all others: an early trauma, an absent father and an abusive mother. It is a recipe for the making of a dissociated megalomaniac. Add in a learning disability (dyslexia) and a brain bruised by booze and coke and you have a pretty vivid portrait of the Bush psyche.

With this stern upbringing, is it really surprising that Bush evidenced early signs of sadism? As a teenager he jammed firecrackers in the orifices of frogs and snickered as he blew them to bits. A few years later, as president of the DKE frathouse at Yale, Bush instituted a branding on the ass-crack as an initiation ritual.

Young pledges were seared with a red-hot wire clothes hanger. One victim complained to the New Haven police, who raided the frathouse. The story was covered-up for several decades until it surfaced in Bush’s first run for governor of Texas. He laughed at the allegations, writing the torture off as little more than “a cigarette burn.”

Note: Jeffrey St Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. Email him here or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.

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  1. 7 Responses to “MOTHER OF WAR”

  2. Wating for the other two bushes to burn. Yes, it’s easy to yearn for Bush, ANYTHING but TRUMP, but the Bushies were/are deep roots that go to places that we will never know. THe Empire crumbles…..

    By ren on Apr 26, 2018

  3. It can’t crumble fast enough.

    By Motorvilleboy on Apr 27, 2018

  4. Never did like George Bush as president; he lied about raising taxes just to win the job, then stuck it to us. The only good thing I read here about Barbara is that she used corporal punishment on her kids. These days parents who don’t take the belt to the back of their kids legs when needed will only raise a pack of problematic children. But these days the card leads the horses, rather than the opposite. It won’t be long until George Sr. slips into the next world. and we will let our Lord judge how that life went. Oh well; I do like Trump, though, he certainly has Kim Jong Un running to South Korea for protection. That is how you need to treat those communists, so to keep them in line. Keep up the good work, Donald. And I do like my paycheck since the tax reform.

    By Greg on Apr 28, 2018

  5. Not fooled here, Greg. You seem to actually LIKE being lied to. If not, you wouldn’t have your nose shoved so far up Trumplethinskin you can’t see the forest for the trees, much less the truth through the continual morass of lies.
    Maybe your parents should have beaten you more often, and harder, leave a few scars across the back of your legs.

    By Adam on Apr 29, 2018

  6. Hi Adam, Actually the way I look at it, ALL politicians are millionaire liars, who have compiled much of their money by taking from each of us. And to me, I can trust NONE of them. But I will tip my hat to the ones who actually give you more of your money back, and not keep it for themselves. As for kids, I know first hand that sparing the rod, does indeed spoil the child. One swat to the back of the legs will keep children in line for years (a quick reminder keeps them in line). And lastly, I do not like Trump’s foreign policy style, but I do like the results: today’s headlines read: “North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told his South Korean counterpart President Moon Jae-in that North Korea would be willing to denuclearize in return for a commitment that the U.S. will not invade the country.”(Slate News).

    By Greg on Apr 29, 2018

  7. How about the world being full of Bush’s, Blairs & other folk with our ‘best interests’ at heart? Not too far away perhaps?

    By Tony 'Damned' Blair on May 1, 2018

  8. Another stone in the road to damnation?

    By Tony 'Damned' Blair on May 7, 2018

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