Saudi Paper Puts Bush on the Couch


All kinds of tips for epigraphs to be chiseled on the new George W. Bush Presidential Libary are coming in gratis — and from the most unexpected sources.

Who, for instance, would have imagined that Saudi Arabia’s main English-language newspaper would be using Western psychoanalysis to try to figure out Bush’s legacy? Neil Berry, writing Sunday in the Arab News on “The Emptiness of the U.S. Rhetoric of Success”, notes:

It is curious that so many Arabs remain envious of the American way of life at a time when the US has demonstrated such contempt for the Arab people. The truth is that the idea of America retains a dazzling allure — though America is afflicted by a chronic moral and spiritual malaise. . . .

It could even be argued that it is not freedom and democracy but high levels of stress and mounting psychological disorder that are America’s true gift to the world. As arrogant as he is inadequate, George W. Bush may be taken as an authentic personification of contemporary America.

I like that last sentence as an epigraph for the library.

But I’d point out to our Saudi friends — whose gift to us was a gaggle of stressed-out, psychologically disordered 9/11 hijackers suffering from a chronic moral and spiritual malaise — that our gifts of “stress and mounting psychological disorder” don’t come without a price. In our drug culture, we have to be medicated because our politicians (and other bosses) aren’t.