In 1943, Harvard psychologist Henry Murray did a psychological profile of Adolf Hitler for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The OSS was the precursor of the CIA. Murray made the following observations about Hitler’s personality:

Hitler ha(s) a personality type stimulated by real or imagined insult or injury, that h(olds) grudges, ha(s) a low tolerance for criticism, an excessive demand for attention and a tendency to belittle, bully or blame others and seek revenge. But his personality also manifest(s) a persistence in the face of defeat, along with strong self-will and self-trust. However, Hitler lack(s) “the offsetting qualities that round out a balanced personality,”…link

After coming to power, Hitler enjoyed a stunning string of political and military successes. But in 1943 the tide would turn irreversibly against him. Therefore, Murray was tasked to predict how Hitler would react to increasing German defeats. He correctly forecast suicide as Hitler’s most likely reaction to setbacks:

8. Hitler might commit suicide.

This is the most plausible outcome…

…Whatever else happens, we my be reasonably sure that as Germany suffers successive defeats Hitler will become more and more neurotic. Each defeat will shake his confidence still further and limit his opportunities for proving his own greatness to himself. In consequence he will feel himself more and more vulnerable to attack from his associates and his rages will increase in frequency. He will probably try to compensate for his vulnerability on this side by continually stressing his brutality and ruthlessness.

His public appearances will become less and less for, as we have seen, he is unable to face a critical audience. He will probably seek solace in his Eagle’s Nest on the Kehlstein near Berchtsegaden. There among the ice-capped peaks he will [Page 249] wait for his “inner voice” to guide him. Meanwhile, his nightmares will probably increase in frequency and intensity and drive him closer to a nervous collapse. It is not wholly improbable that in the end he might lock himself into this symbolic womb and defy the world to get him.

In any case, his mental condition will continue to deteriorate. He will fight as long as he can with any weapon or technique that can be conjured up to meet the emergency. The course he will follow will almost certainly be the one which seems to him to be the surest road to immortality and at the same time drag the world down in flames.

It goes without saying that George Bush never stresses his “brutality and ruthlessness” and that he has never even considered pursuing policies that are comparable to Hitler’s. Yet, it is impossible read the following excerpt from Dan Froomkin without seeing the parallels in Bush and Hitler’s personality type. And it is frightening:

“It’s a standing joke among the president’s top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the president of the United States,” Thomas writes.

In this sort of environment, Bush apparently didn’t fathom the extent of the catastrophe in the Gulf Coast for more than three days after the levees of New Orleans were breached.

“The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

“How this could be — how the president of the United States could have even less ‘situational awareness,’ as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century — is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.”

Among Thomas’s disclosures: “Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty. After five years in office, he is surrounded largely by people who agree with him. . . .

“Late last week, Bush was, by some accounts, down and angry. But another Bush aide described the atmosphere inside the White House as ‘strangely surreal and almost detached.’ At one meeting described by this insider, officials were oddly self-congratulatory, perhaps in an effort to buck each other up. Life inside a bunker can be strange, especially in defeat.”

Consider this description of Hitler in the last years of the war:

Hitler was constantly tired. He rarely got out of bed before 11.00 a.m. At noon he was informed of the latest military developments. After quickly considering the news Hitler issued his orders to the relevant military personnel. After Germany’s defeat at Stalingrad, Hitler was unwilling to discuss the war outside these conferences and refused to read reports that gave bad news. His secretaries, for example, were ordered not to mention the war in Hitler’s presence.

Hitler would then have a long lunch followed by an afternoon nap. When Hitler was asleep no one was allowed to disturb him. Even when important events were taking place, such as the allied landing in Normandy, Hitler was left to carry on sleeping. link

Bush rises early, but do you remember this from last month?

As of yesterday (Saturday) there were about 300 anti-war protesters and approximately 100 people supporting the Bush Administration. In addition to the two-hour bike ride, Bush’s Saturday schedule included an evening Little League Baseball playoff game, a lunch meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a nap, some fishing and some reading.

And this from last week?

On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Blanco took her second trip to the Superdome and was shocked by the rising tide of desperation there. There didn’t seem to be nearly enough buses, boats or helicopters.

Early Wednesday morning, (Governor) Blanco tried to call Bush. She was transferred around the White House for a while until she ended up on the phone with Fran Townsend, the president’s Homeland Security adviser, who tried to reassure her but did not have many specifics. Hours later, Blanco called back and insisted on speaking to the president. When he came on the line, the governor recalled, “I just asked him for help, ‘whatever you have’.” She asked for 40,000 troops. “I just pulled a number out of the sky,” she later told NEWSWEEK.

There are a disturbing number of parallels emerging in the personality traits of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler. I’m well aware that making such comparisons invites hysterical reactions. So, once again, I’ll stipulate that whatever commonalities of personality Bush might share with Hitler, Bush is not a Nazi and he has never even approached the moral depravity of Hitler. What concerns me are increasing signs that Bush is becoming dangerously isolated, is in denial of reality, refuses to hear bad news, and clings to some misguided belief in himself, his destiny, and his divine calling to lead the nation.

Let’s make a few more comparisons:

Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time, says Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a close friend who talks with Bush every day. His history degree from Yale makes him mindful of the importance of the moment. He knows he’s making “history-changing decisions,” Evans says. USA Today

“I carry out the commands that Providence has laid upon me.” -Adolf Hitler

“I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen . . . I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”- George W. Bush

“No power on earth can shake the German Reich now, Divine Providence has willed it that I carry through the fulfillment of the Germanic task.” – Adolf Hitler.

“God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.” – George W. Bush.

One doesn’t need to engage in psycho-babble to know that there are other similarities. Bush launched a preemptive war in Iraq based on a pack of lies. Hitler did the same against France, Poland, and Russia. Bush ignored the advice and warnings of his military and intelligence advisers and diverted his resources from Afghanistan. Hitler ignored his advisers and diverted the offensive on Moscow into the Caucuses. When things began to go wrong, Hitler resolutely refused to adjust course; Bush has done the same. And when reality became unpleasant and realistic options began to run out, both adopted a bunker mentality, became reclusive, lashed out at their staff, and refused to hear bad news.

I don’t want to take these comparisons too far. There are profound differences between both the men and the threat facing their respective nations. And whatever the moral shortcomings of George W. Bush, they cannot be compared to Hitler’s. Yet, we should be mindful of the warning signs. The failure of the federal government to respond to Hurricane Katrina is symptomatic of a government in disarray, with a leader whose mental state is unhealthy and incapable of making good decisions.

Back in June, the unreliable Capitol Hill Blue reported:

President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behavior and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind.

In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.”

Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.

Now we have more reports along the same lines. The Bush administration entered a bunker the day Matt Cooper outed Karl Rove as one of his sources. It moved to the Western Bunker in August, as Cindy Sheehan threatened their perimeter. Now, they are hiding from their catastrophic failure to prevent or alleviate the destruction of New Orleans. Unfortunately, there is little reason to believe that the news from Iraq or Fitzpatrick’s office will get any better. On September 24th legions will descend on D.C. to vent their displeasure with the administration. And our President seems to totally unprepared to respond to these challenges.

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