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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bush’s hero complex

By HAL BROWN In 1968 George W. Bush was coasting into adulthood with a new Yale B.A. and plans for a Harvard MBA. All the perks of two Ivy League degrees and of being his father's son were within his reach. Unfortunately an inconvenient war got in the way. For George W. Bush, as for so many others, the draft notice could come in the mail any day. So he chose to use privilege to get into the Texas Air National Guard.


In 1968 George W. Bush was coasting into adulthood with a new Yale B.A. and plans for a Harvard MBA. All the perks of two Ivy League degrees and of being his father’s son were within his reach.

Unfortunately an inconvenient war got in the way. For George W. Bush, as for so many others, the draft notice could come in the mail any day.

So he chose to use privilege to get into the Texas Air National Guard.

In the Air National Guard, Bush became a fighter pilot. He could have asked to be trained as a transport pilot and still gotten his wings and flown a military aircraft. He still could have worn an aviator jacket like his father did in World War II.

Instead he applied for and was accepted in the fighter pilot training program, the most dangerous Air National Guard job going.

In the Texas Air National Guard George W. Bush learned to fly a jet, became a second lieutenant and got his wings. He flew the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger fighter.

He was a fighter jock with enough of the fabled right stuff to fly a plane with flames coming out of its ass.

If George W. Bush wanted to outdo his father who was a true war hero,* he couldn’t do it stateside. He could only achieve the external trappings of being a hero. Real heroes were being made in Vietnam.

Perhaps if he knew then what he knows now about politics, he might have even volunteered for Vietnam duty. After all, some contend that John Kerry choose a combat assignment because he knew it would look good on a future political resume.

But at the time George W. Bush chose the safest path which was a stint on the home front, featuring irregular attendance at training schools, a transfer to Alabama to assist in a senatorial campaign and finally, an departure for Harvard six months early.

Flash forward forty years. No longer a mere National Guard second lieutenant, George W. Bush is at the pinnacle of the military hierarchy. He is the true “decider” of all things military. 2nd Lt. George W. Bush has gone from wearing a single shiny brass bar on his uniform to being the commander of a bevy of four star generals.

Tragically for Bush and the nation, hero status still eludes the father’s son. However, his quest for it fervently continues.

He finds himself leading a war he is unable to extricate himself from. Listening to the advice of his top military officers and other experts as to how to get out of Iraq, for him, equals an admission of defeat.

George W. Bush’s quest for heroism is inextricably linked to his shaky self-identity. In order to achieve goals he thinks are heroic he must prove a cadre of experts wrong and defy his critics by bringing democracy to Iraq.

I think that Bush’s admitting defeat would be truly heroic because it would mean he was accepting a crushing blow to a self-image composed of repressed feelings of inadequacy.

The young pilot who flew a fighter jet in Texas and Alabama during the Vietnam War can’t accept that there’s another kind of heroism that comes with admitting when you’re wrong.

*Papa Bush flew in World War II, engaged in heavy air combat, and even had to bail out when his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He flew 58 combat missions and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

(Hal Brown is a clinical social worker and former mental health center director who is mostly retired from his private psychotherapy practice. He writes on the psychopathology of public figures and other topics that pique his interest. He can be found online at

26 thoughts on “Bush’s hero complex”

  1. Big George

    (To the tune of “Long John Blues” as recorded by Dinah Washington)

    Oh we got a president thinks he ten feet tall

    We got a president he think he ten feet tall

    But when we look hard at him

    Why, there ain’t no man there at all

    He don’t fly no plane, don’t drive no car

    Falls offa his bike, can’t play guitar

    Can’t knock a nail in a little bit o’ wood

    Yet he took us to war – ‘cos God said he should

    Says he talks to God ‘most every day

    Yet loves scheming rogues like Tom DeLay

    Despises Constitution, of paper a scrap

    Made to be avoided and treated like crap

    Rides a mountain bike but keeps away from hills

    Loves to wear uniform, war gives him the thrills

    Loves to dodge duty, breaks his oath at will

    Hell, I’m a war president, I’ll do what I will.

  2. Paul Bedard of U.S. News & World Report has done the world a big favor in publicizing Bush’s farting and his infantile glee in his performance of this simple body function. This snippet of info may explain a great deal.

    Many, maybe most psychologists will tell you that compulsive farting is an indicator of deep-seated mental illness, a less severe form of the compulsive defecation, anywhere and everywhere, that delights many lunatics, usually confined and generally rather stupid.

    The behavior, and perhaps the stupidity, is commonly believed to stem from an emotionally deprived childhood.

    An emotionally starved child soon learns that he can get attention from his cold, negligent or perhaps cruel parents by filling his diaper. The worse the smell, the sooner and greater the attention.

    The resultant attention might include a beating, which often reinforces the aberrant behavior. It might hurt, but it is attention and the child is content to pay the price.

    Of course there is a much higher price unknown to the unfortunate infant.

    The behavior becomes ingrained, as does the emotional and intellectual confusion. The child fails to develop both emotionally and intellectually and the result is often a drastically immature and stupid adult who will do just about anything for attention and gratification — torture frogs, snort coke, drive drunk, dodge duty, lie, invade non-hostile countries, pose as a “mission accomplished” war hero, torture prisoners.

    Joe Scarborough has famously posed the question: “Is Bush an idiot?”

    Maybe the real question should be: “Is Bush an idiot lunatic?”

    Is it possible that the people really to blame for the multiple disasters of this administration are George H. W. and Barbara?

    Cashel Boylo

  3. Bush belongs in Leavenworth. In a cell next to Cheney’s. Which is next to Rumsfield’s. Which is next to Gonzales’. Which is next to Gates’. Which is next to Ashcroft’s. Which is next to…

    Note the Psychology Services. Let Bush’s mental state be Leavenworth’s problem.

  4. Query for Hal Brown – I know this is all speculative and you will never actually get a chance to interview Bush, but what are the chances that this intellectually and emotionally challenged individual has a breakdown in the next two years? Can he be so disassociated with the things going on around him that his essential obliviousness keeps his psyche in order? could we end up with another Woodrow Wilson except that Cheney would officially be in charge?

  5. what did you people expect ???

    this is exactly what you get when you let an arrogant spoiled little rich kid no talent sociopathic, irresponsible, chicken hawk coward frat boy….play “president”.

    It’s almost like having Paris Hilton for president, but his tits are bigger.

    oh….and …… where’s Osama ?!?!?

  6. .

    Dear Friend:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with me

    via e-mail. I hope you will understand that, because of the volume of

    e-mails I receive from residents of New York State, I cannot at this time

    respond to messages received from residents of other states. I encourage

    you to contact your U.S. senators if you have an issue or concern that

    needs immediate attention. You can access your senators electronically by

    visiting for a listing

    of their contact information. If you are still interested in learning

    more about the work I am doing on behalf of New York State, I hope you

    will continue to monitor my work through my website at


    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

    New York State


    ’nuff said.

  7. Thanks Kent for some commentary concerning “Billary’s” investments. If she and Bill are operating in the same mode as they did when they were involved with the quasi-criminal Arkansas Development Commission in the 80’s allowing the CIA to operate an airbase in Mena, Arkanasas (illegal) for the facilitation of the Iran/Contra guns for drugs connection to Central America; then rest assured they’ve gotten hot investment tips from Pappy Bush! Many folks don’t realize that that the Bushistas and the Clintonistas have a very cozy co-op arrangement concerning their dynastic White House tenure. Hillary “is” the annointed one; i.e., it’s now her turn, and if they have to use the “Diebold Override” to insure such an outcome, they will do so!

  8. .

    I just went to Hillary’s website and sent her the following email message. What are the odds of a reply other than a standard boilerplate “thank you for your conceerns”?


    Does Senator Clinton own any stock in Halliburton or any of its subsidiaries such as KBR? Is Senator Clinton connected in any financial sense with The Carlyle Group? Does Senator Clinton have any plans to admit that it was a mistake, that she was wrong to vote in favor of the AUMF resolution?


  9. .

    In fact, if I get an opportunity to attend a Hillary event I will strive to ask her if she owns any Halliburton stock.


  10. .

    Carl Nemo said: “It’s in the Bush/Cheney family interest to keep us in Iraq at least through 2009 so they can cash-in on their ill-gotten lucre.”


    Absolutely. But I’d also love to have a peek at the Clintons’ and Pelosis’ stock portfolios. Wouldn’t THAT be interesting?


  11. There may be some truth to Hal’s analysis concerning Bush’s head issues, but folks seem to forget that this war is about “OIL”…! Cheney is sitting on 250,000 “deep-in-the-money” stock options courtesy of Halliburton and the Bush family has financial ties to the Carlyle Group the worlds 8th largest arms supplier among many other holdings in defense and oil related industries. It’s in the Bush/Cheney family interest to keep us in Iraq at least through 2009 so they can cash-in on their ill-gotten lucre. If Iraq had no oil, rest assured we wouldn’t be there trying to establish a democratic form of government. Also the PNAC, neo-cons have an interest in establishing permanent military bases in Iraq; at least they had hopes of doing so. We used to have quite a presence in Saudi Arabia but that presence has been reduced to zero post 911 due to the perceived instability of the Saudi regime etc. Also the Saudi’s felt pressure from Muslim radicals to disassociate themselves from the US military etc. So although all this psychological profile analysis sounds reasonable it has little to do with Bushco’s tenacious grip on a failed paradigm. If we were to withdraw from Iraq within the next 6-8 months the price of oil would plummet to the low 40’s making a lot of folks in the “oil patch” very unhappy. Russia, the Middle East, and even low yield stripper wells througout Texas and Oklahoma are enjoying this “pumped” price of oil due to our bogus involvement in Iraq. Also the M.I. Complex would be having a big “ouch” due to all the cancelled contracts for weaponry etc. Plain and simple, it’s all about “OIL” and the care and feeding the M.I. complex…!

  12. But Cheney is not a yes man, where does he fit in? By all appearances it is Cheney running the show and Bush collects the applause. Cheney will want his recognition too, will we ever find out how this administration functions?

  13. Thank you for your insightful comments. Adding my own: GWB has, in addition to his hero complex has what I would call The Alamo Complex. He sees America as a last stand against enemies of all colors and stripes and is willing to stand there to the last man, woman and child.

    Actually he’s insane; he got that way because he’s been in the company of “Yes men” all this life. Deep down he knows that they’re wrong but can’t face it.

  14. I wonder whether Hal Brown will soonestkind be attacked by the right-wingnuts for wrongly categorizing the Bushquest, when he wrote, “he must prove a cadre of experts wrong and defy his critics by bringing democracy to Iraq.”

    Everyone who’s anyone knows the intention is to spread ‘Democratic Representative Republicanism.’ In the event you don’t believe me, just ask Rush, Sean, Bildo and the other girls, each or any of whom will be condescendingly pleased to inform your understanding of our very own form of government.

    Screw them, and screw anyone who remains a supporter of this most corrupt and dangerous administration, ever.

  15. Maybe there’s a presidential suite at Bellevue.

    It seems that it’s ripe for occupancy.

    We could call it Looney Bin One.

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