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Frank Rich: Is George Bush talking to the Walls?

Frank Rich, writing in the NY Times, has always been a trenchant critic of George Bush. Rich is true to form in his latest op-ed piece:

"It turns out we've been reading the wrong Bob Woodward book to understand what's going on with President George W. Bush. The text we should be consulting instead is "The Final Days," the Woodward-Bernstein account of Richard Nixon talking to the portraits on the White House walls while Watergate demolished his presidency. As Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to Jordan in recent weeks, we've witnessed the troubling behavior of a president who isn't merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It's not that he can't handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn't know what the truth is.

The most startling example was his insistence that Al Qaeda is primarily responsible for Iraq's spiraling violence. Only a week before Bush said this, the American military spokesman on the scene, Major General William Caldwell, called Al Qaeda "extremely disorganized" in Iraq, adding that "I would question at this point how effective they are at all at the state level." Military intelligence estimates that Al Qaeda makes up only 2 percent to 3 percent of the enemy forces in Iraq, according to Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News. The bottom line: The United States has a commander in chief who can't even identify 97 percent to 98 percent of the combatants in a war that has gone on longer than America's involvement in World War II."

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