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Political misuses of psychiatry- Part !- "diagnosing Dubya"

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As a practicing psychiatrist who writes on political subjects, I notice how psychiatric thinking and terminology has pervaded our culture. It's very useful in helping people who are genuinely mentally ill, but often obfuscates situations which are not properly in the domain of psychiatry.

"Diagnosing Dubya"- is the title of a widely circulated piece I wrote in October 2002 http://www.counterpunch.org/wolman1002.html . It was written when Bush was talking about invading Iraq WITHOUT consulting either Congress or the UN.

At the time, the piece helped to highlight how extreme Bush's position was, and to peel off the Teflon coat which he donned after 9-11 the previous year. Soon thereafter, sanity prevailed, and Bush consulted both bodies, getting a green light from Congress and ignoring the red light from the UN.

Now, 4 years later, people are still diagnosing Dubya. KAthryn Wurmser argues that he is a dry drunk and can't help himself. http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1230-21.htm
A Formal Intervention with a Dry Drunk President
by Katherine van Wormer

Others argue that he has ADD. Or he's psychotic, lost in a fantasy world, and should be removed from office on psychiatric grounds.

None of this addresses the systematic lying and hypocrisy which Bush shows. Nor does it explain why the power brokers in Washington continue to cooperate with him. If he were truly disabled mentally, they would have gotten rid of him long ago. But Bush has survived a devastating election, and gone on to escalate in Iraq, with the cooperation of the "opposition" party, even though the Democrats got a clear mandate from the electorate to get us out of there ASAP. Instead, the Dems have again increased the funding for the occupation, and seem likely to go along with the troop "surge" that Bush is pushing. More dead Americans and Iraqis, more hemorrhaging of the treasury, while Carlyle and Halliburton (Bush and Cheney) get richer.

All the evidence points to a diagnosis of sociopathic personality disorder, which is psychiatrese for EVIL. Bush is a master manipulator and liar, and has systematically accumulated so much power that the loss of his electoral base does not matter. He has entangled so many Democratic Congresspeople in his web of corruption that exposing him risks exposing them to criminal charges as well. We don't know what hooks Bush has into Congress, what sort of blackmail and bribery has gone on, but there is no other explanation for the reluctance of Pelosi et al to challenge him in any meaningful way, given the will of the people they are supposed to represent.

Using psychiatric terminology to describe a demagogue who is destroying the legal basis of government- the Constitution- and plundering the treasury is not only confusing, it diverts the focus of the public from Bush's criminal behavior, where it properly belongs. Instead, people play the intellectual game of diagnosis, which has no possible political application. There is no precedent in this country, that I know of, for removing a high official from office on the basis of mental illness. If the American Psychiatric Association (APA) were to petition Congress to consider impeachment on the basis that Bush is insane, this could conceivably lead somewhere, but the APA is tied into the pharmaceutical companies, which are among Bush's main supporters and beneficiaries, so this will not happen.

I suggest that people refrain from psychiatric diagnosis where Bush (and Cheney) are concerned, and concentrate on the moral issues of good and evil, right and wrong, accountability for criminal behavior, justice.

There is so much evidence pointing to high crimes and misdemeanors, perhaps treason, on the part of Bush and Cheney, that refusing to use the impeachment clause in the Constitution constitutes a high crime on the part of Congress. It was put there by the Founding Fathers for just the sort of situation we face. It's the only remedy we have, and the right one.

Impeachment is peaceful, legal and democratic.

In the name of the Prince of Peace,

Carol Wolman, MD
Board Certified in Psychiatry
Cochair- Impeach Bush-Cheney
Member- The Longhouse Coalition

 

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Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy. She also a film producer with Paradise Cove Productions.

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