Our Mentally Sick President

Review by Marc Cherbonnier

Bush On The Couch: Inside the Mind of the President
by Justin A. Frank, M.D.
ReganBooks, 2004, 247 pages
(An Imprint of
Harper Collins Publishers)

In this non-fiction book Justin A. Frank, M.D., a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center, analyzes George W. Bush "at a distance" using Bush's public statements and behavior, personal accounts of events and the historical record. Frank's findings are that the president suffers from childhood trauma and untreated alcohol abuse, as well as dyslexia, ADHD, and other thought disorders resulting in arrested character and personality development.

Overall, Dr. Frank concludes that George W. Bush is wholly unfit for the office he holds, and believes the country and world is at great risk if Bush is re-elected. A sample of one area of Bush's mental and character disorders is explored in chapter 6, where the doctor delves into what's behind Bush's special smirks:

Long before he led our nation into war, George W. Bush exhibited an appetite for destruction. As a child, Bush inserted firecrackers into the bodies of [live] frogs, lighting the fuses and blowing the creatures up. As president of his fraternity at Yale, he used a branding iron to maim young pledges. As governor of Texas, he was observed smirking over the executions of death-row inmates, many of whom were later found to have received inadequate legal protection.....
Dr. Frank doesn't discuss the Afghanistan and Iraq torture and abuse scandals (these stories broke after his book went to press), but based upon Bush's pattern of behavior one can readily see a strong likelihood that Bush had a direct and active role in setting the cruelest possible policies toward prisoners—for fun.

I recommend this book to readers with a strong stomach.

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This story was published on August 4, 2004.