Reverse Psychosis

One key indication that an individual is in the throes of psychosis is that they hear voices or see things that others do not. By and large, those who experience psychosis are much more of a threat to themselves than to others. Despite his many disturbing tendencies, George W. Bush does not appear to be psychotic. Indeed, quite the opposite seems true. I would conjecture that the President is afflicted with what I call reverse psychosis. As he has proven time and again in his policies on Iraq, he does not hear voices or see things that others do. He may make a show of pretending to hear what knowledgeable others are saying (e.g., the troops on the ground, the Iraq Study Group, bipartisan members of Congress, the international community, et al.), but his actions strongly suggest that he is oblivious to their voices. Similarly, he remains oblivious to what most people here and abroad can plainly see, i.e., that Iraq is a devastated country descending into a civil war that no number of U.S. troops can hope to resolve. The President neither hears the voices nor sees the reality before him. As a result, he represents much more of a danger to others than to himself. His reverse psychosis prevents him from reversing his failed policies, which, to date, have cost 3,081 American soldiers their lives.

One of the recent fatalities was an Army captain named Brian Freeman, whose concerns about the war were clearly heard by a pair of U.S. Senators but not by the President. The Washington Post has the story:

Soldier’s Death Strengthens Senators’ Antiwar Resolve

Just before Christmas, an Army captain named Brian Freeman cornered Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) at a Baghdad helicopter landing zone. The war was going badly, he told them. Troops were stretched so thin they were doing tasks they never dreamed of, let alone trained for.

Freeman, 31, took a short holiday leave to see his 14-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son, returned to his base in Karbala, Iraq, and less than two weeks ago died in a hail of bullets and grenades. Insurgents, dressed in U.S. military uniforms, speaking English and driving black American SUVs, got through a checkpoint and attacked, kidnapped four soldiers and later shot them. Freeman died in the assault, the fifth casualty of the brazen attack.

The death of the West Point graduate — a star athlete from Temecula, Calif., who ran bobsleds and skeletons with Winter Olympians — has radicalized Dodd, energized Kerry and girded the ever-more confrontational stance of Democrats in the Senate. Freeman’s death has reverberated on the Senate floor, in committee deliberations and on television talk shows.

“This was the kind of person you don’t forget,” Dodd said yesterday. “You mention the number dead, 3,000, the 22,000 wounded, and you almost see the eyes glaze over. But you talk about an individual like this, who was doing his job, a hell of a job, but was also willing to talk about what was wrong, it’s a way to really bring it to life, to connect.”

“When I returned from war, almost 40 years ago now, I stood up and spoke from my heart and my gut about what I thought was wrong,” Kerry said on the Senate floor last week as he recounted his meeting with Freeman. “I asked the question in 1971: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? . . . I never thought that I would be reliving the need to ask that question again.” [full text]