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AP/Gerald Herbert

Dr. Peter Venkman: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon… what've you got left?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought. 

In case you were seriously wondering just how much water is left in George Bush's well, all you have to do is read the transcript of today's "press availability" with the President and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (besides, it's easier on the psyche than actually watching the presser):

And one of the things that has changed for American foreign policy is a threat overseas can now come home to hurt us, and September the 11th should be a wake-up call for the American people to understand what happens if there is violence and safe havens in a part of the world. And what happens is people can die here at home.

I know I'm belaboring this point lately, but I sincerely believe that Bush has already packed his steamer trunk and is clearing brush back at the pig farm that is his mind. Pummeled from all sides with demands for timetables and troop draw-downs, Bush cowers under the Oval Office desk eyeing Barney suspiciously while Jenna romps around Buenos Aires with some swarthy, umemployed guy and Laura pirouettes in her $8500 Oscar de la Renta gown, waving hello to the Xanax fairy floating above her head.

Yes, George Bush is between a rock and a hard place of his own making. His primary concerns at this point are surviving Washington, D.C. for the next two years, and finding some means, preferably within the Iraq Study Group's report in order to appease his remaining five or six supporters, to foist the Middle East imbroglio onto his successor.

There's no surefire way to extricate the country from the mess he's created in the Middle East, but the ISG report suggests that inroads can be made through dialogue with Iran and Syria. Tricky, that, since Bush and his cabal have made it clear that they will not talk to either Iran or Syria until U.S. demands are met.  Even the normally isolationist Pat Buchanan was having an aneurysm last night on Scarborough Country because of Bush's mulish refusal to talk to his enemies. But this is an administration that has prided itself on its stubborn, "my way or the highway," tough-guy talk and to soften its approach now would be tantamount to quitting.

And the truth of the matter is, is that these countries have now got the choice to make. If they want to sit down at the table with the United States, it's easy — just make some decisions that will lead to peace, not to conflict.

So there you have it.  In Bush's overly distilled view of international diplomacy, Iran and Syria have to kneel down before him and maybe then we can get somewhere. The conflagration in Iraq will only worsen while Bush flips the bird at the two countries who could conceivably help put out the fire.

None of the ISG's scores of recommendations means shit unless Bush chooses to listen and incorporate the recommendations in a thoughtful way.  And he has proven with unerring regularity that neither listening nor thoughtfulness are part of his skill sets, especially when dealing with suggestions from anyone associated with his father. The Baker/Hamilton varsity squad is an irritant to the perpetually JV Bush, who, instead of watching and learning, pushes on with his tone-deaf, nonsensical play calling.

I also believe we're going to succeed. I believe we'll prevail. Not only do I know how important it is to prevail, I believe we will prevail. I understand how hard it is to prevail. But I also want the American people to understand that if we were to fail — and one way to assure failure is just to quit, is not to adjust, and say it's just not worth it — if we were to fail, that failed policy will come to hurt generations of Americans in the future.

It's business as usual in the Bush White House. Dubya cloaks himself in a mystical force field of inflexible stupidity and insists that it is the rest of the world who refuses to "adapt to win." The American people DO understand, George.  It's you who needs to get with a program, ANY program other than what you've been relying on.  But you won't.  You've already gone bye-bye.