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Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/George W. Bush substance abuse history
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There have been various allegations of Wikipedia:recreational drug use and Wikipedia:substance abuse by 43rd Wikipedia:United States President Wikipedia:George W. Bush. Bush has admitted to abusing alcohol until age 40. There is something disturbing about Republicans on drugs, quite apart from the hyprocrisy of it. It has been suggested that he used illegal drugs (cocaine and/or marijuana) as well, and that his speeches and actions as President of the United States reflect his tendency toward substance abuse (see Dry drunk syndrome).


CocaineEdit

In Fortunate Son, Bush biographer Hatfield quoted several anonymous sources regarding allegations of Bush's cocaine use. Hatfield reported that Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession in 1972 and that his father pulled strings to have records of the arrest expunged.[1] Bush campaign spokesperson Mindy Tucker called the allegation "absolutely untrue".[2] Bush repeatedly refused to state whether he had ever used cocaine.[3] Bush did say in 1999 that he could truthfully answer "no" to the then-standard FBI background check question of whether he had used any illegal drug in the last seven years. He later stated that he could have passed a background check under a policy that his father had instituted as President in 1989 that extended the background check to 15 years. This would have checked back to 1974, two years after the alleged 1972 arrest.[4]

An anonymous undercover agent "acting as a reporter" was reputedly hired by an undisclosed and classified governmental agency and sold GWB a large quantity of "clearly uncut" cocaine.


MarijuanaEdit

Bush refused to answer questions about past marijuana use. In a taped conversation with a friend, Bush said "I wouldn't answer the marijuana question. You know why? 'Cause I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."[5]


AlcoholEdit

Bush has described his days before his Wikipedia:religious conversion in his 40s as his "nomadic" period and "irresponsible youth" and admitted to drinking "too much" in those years. In Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President by Wikipedia:James Hatfield, Bush is quoted as saying that "alcohol began to compete with my energies ... I'd lose focus". Although Bush states that he was not an alcoholic, he has acknowledged that he was "drinking too much" and that he couldn't remember a day when he hadn't had a drink, including his stay at Philips Academy, where not only was he underage but alcohol was prohibited on campus, as well as at Yale where, conversely, "hard drinking" was considered a badge of honor.[6]


Bush's drinking may not have caused problems were it not for his tendency to become excessively uninhibited, according to reports of friends. In the article referenced above, Kristof quotes Bush's cousin Elsie Walker as saying, "He was a riot. But afterward, when you're older, that can wear thin", and gives the example of Bush asking a "proper" female friend of his parents at a family cocktail party, "So, what's sex like after 50, anyway?"

  • In December, 1966, he was arrested for disorderly conduct after he and some friends had "a few beers" and stole a Christmas wreath from a hotel. [5] The charges were later dropped.
  • On September 4, 1976, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined $150, and had his driving license in the state suspended for two years, implying two prior convictions. [The White House had claimed 30 days, the document shows two years.] [6] This incident did not become public knowledge until it was reported in the press in the week before the 2000 election.

The most notorious episode, reported in numerous diverse sources including U.S. News & World Report, November 1, 1999, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq by Robert Parry, First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty by Bill Minutaglio, and W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty by Elizabeth Mitchell, has 26 year old George W. Bush, visiting his parents in Washington, D. C. over the Christmas vacation in 1972 shortly after the death of his grandfather, taking his 16 year old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home, George lost control of the car and ran over a garbage can, but continued home with the can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, George H. W. Bush, called him on the carpet for not only his own behavior but for exposing his younger brother to risk, George W., still under the influence, retorted angrily, "I hear you're looking for me. You wanna go mano a mano right here?" Before the elder Bush could reply, the situation was defused by brother Jeb, who took the opportunity to surprise his father with the happy news that George W. had been accepted to Harvard Business School.

Bush has said that he gave up drinking after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but firm pressure from his wife, Laura. [7] [8] [9] Friends recall that Bush said nothing of his decision, even to Laura, until many weeks later when they realized that he had not had so much as a single beer in the interim.

Wikipedia:Nicholas D. Kristof quotes Bush's cousin Elsie Walker as saying, "He was a riot. But afterward, when you're older, that can wear thin", and gives the example of Bush asking a "proper" female friend of his parents at a family cocktail party, "So, what's sex like after 50, anyway?"[6]

In December 1966 (age 20), he was arrested for Wikipedia:disorderly conduct after he and some friends had "a few beers" and stole a Wikipedia:Christmas Wikipedia:wreath from a hotel.[7] The charges were later dropped.

On September 4, 1976 (age 30), Bush was arrested for Wikipedia:driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Wikipedia:Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined US$150, and had his driving license in the state suspended for two years, although the Wikipedia:White House had claimed 30 days.[8] This incident did not become public knowledge until it was reported by Wikipedia:Erin Fehlau of Maine FOX affiliate Wikipedia:WPXT-TV in the week before the 2000 election.[9]

The most notorious episode, reported in numerous diverse sources including Wikipedia:U.S. News & World Report on November 1, 1999, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq by Wikipedia:Robert Parry, First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty by Bill Minutaglio, and W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty by Elizabeth Mitchell, has 26-year-old Bush visiting his parents in Wikipedia:Washington, D.C. over the Wikipedia:Christmas vacation in 1972, shortly after the death of his grandfather, and taking his 16-year-old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home Bush lost control of the car and ran over a Wikipedia:waste container, but continued home with the garbage can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, Wikipedia:George H. W. Bush, called him on the carpet for not only his own behavior but for exposing his younger brother to risk, George W., still under the influence, appears to have retorted angrily, "I hear you're looking for me. You wanna go Wikipedia:mano-a-mano right here?" Before the elder Bush could reply, the situation was defused by brother Jeb, who took the opportunity to surprise his father with the happy news that George W. had been accepted to Wikipedia:Harvard Business School.[10]

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush said that he gave up drinking after waking up with a Wikipedia:hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Wikipedia:Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but persistent pressure from his wife, Laura.[11][12][13] However this claim has been challenged by some due to a 2004 interview Graham did with Wikipedia:Brian Williams where he said.

"I've heard others say that, and people have written it, but I cannot say that," he says. "I was with him and I used to teach the Bible at Kennebunkport to the Bush family when he was a younger man, but I never feel that I in any way turned his life around."[14]

Wikipedia:Mickey Herskowitz, a sportswriter for the Wikipedia:Houston Chronicle who became close friends with the Bush family and was originally contracted to ghost-write Bush's book Wikipedia:A Charge to Keep, recalled interviewing Bush about it when he was doing research for the book.

"I remember asking him about the famous meeting at Kennebunkport with the Reverend Billy Graham. And you know what? He couldn't remember a single word that passed between them."[15]

Friends recall that Bush said nothing of his decision, even to Laura, until many weeks later when they realized that he had not had so much as a single beer in the interim.

An editorial letter by Graydon Carter in Vanity Fair for January 2008 quotes a new book about Bush:

"a new book by former British foreign secretary Lord Owen may supply a clue. In The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair, and the Intoxication of Power (ISBN 1842752197), Owen recalls the time in 2002 when the commander in chief collapsed while sitting on a sofa watching a football game. (Official cause: he’d choked on a pretzel.) The presidential head hit a table on the way to the floor, he suffered an abrasion on the left side of his face, and a blood sample was rushed to Johns Hopkins [Hospital] , in Baltimore. Owen says he was told by a British doctor who had visited Johns Hopkins that lab technicians there found that the blood contained significant amounts of alcohol."[16]

In the book, The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair, and the Intoxication of Power, Lord Owen writes:

"Bush claims he has drunk no alcohol since 1987, but there have been rumors in the press to the contrary. On 13 January 2002 he lost consciousness while sitting on a couch in the White House watching a football game. His head hit the floor, resulting in an abrasion on his left cheekbone. The incident was blamed on a combination of not feeling well in previous days and an improperly eaten pretzel. I was contacted by a British doctor who had visited Johns Hopkins University and in talking to a group of young doctors was told that, following this incident, though the President had been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital, a blood sample of his had been sent to Johns Hopkins which showed a blood alcohol level in the range of 200 mg. All such rumors have been emphatically denied by the White House and certainly there are no signs of Bush resuming his drinking habits."[10]


Rumors of, and speculation about, continued drinkingEdit

There is evidence that suggests Bush has drunk alcohol since 1986. An excerpt from a video shot at a 1992 wedding and shown on the Internet during the 2000 election showed Bush holding a glass with a yellowish liquid and drinking it in a manner consistent with an alcoholic beverage. [11]

Several incidents during his presidency have spurred speculation that alcohol consumption might have been involved: his near-absence from the public eye on 9/11, his reported choking on a pretzel he was playing with, the lengthy amount of time it took him to publicly comment on the capture of Saddam Hussein (and the disengagement he displayed when he finally did so)[12] and several accidents he has suffered while mountain biking.

In spring 2004, the website Capitol Hill Blue reported that Bush, feeling serious personal pressure due to the upcoming elections, had been engaging in tantrums and outbursts of anger so severe that staffers could only believe that he had resumed drinking. In a January 3, 2006, article, the site's founder, Doug Thompson, called on journalists to investigate allegations that Bush is drinking again. Thompson acknowledged having no proof, but cited persistent rumors of presidential drinking, along with several symptoms displayed by Bush that Thompson said reminded him, a recovering alcoholic, of a relapsed drinker.[17]

Bush delayed his annual physical in 2004, traditionally done during the president's August vacation, until after the election campaign. In past years his doctors had reported finding, and removing, several spider angiomas, reddish skin spots which are often a sign of liver damage such as that inflicted by chronic alcoholism. Some have wondered if there was something similar he wished to hide until after the election, perhaps a sign that his drinking had gone on until more recently. When the physical was finally performed in December 2004 and the results were released to the press, however, nothing untoward was disclosed.

The September 21, 2005 National Enquirer reported that, in the wake of the crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina, Bush had been caught by his wife drinking, according to unidentified "family sources." The article also quoted Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, saying, "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great."[13]

An Associated Press story from November, 2005, described Bush's drinking of "fermented mare's milk" during a photo opportunity in Mongolia.[14]

"Dry drunk"Edit

Despite Bush's statement that he was not an alcoholic, the question of whether Bush's behavior indicated alcoholism, as well as what that would mean for his current and future behavior, has been raised by Bush critics and analysts, most notably Katherine van Wormer, Professor of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa and co-author of Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective. In support of the hypothesis that Bush could have been clinically diagnosed as alcoholic, Van Wormer describes "years of binge drinking starting in college, at least one conviction for DUI in 1976 in Maine, and one arrest before that for a drunken episode involving theft of a Christmas wreath."

In Addiction, Brain Damage and the President: "Dry Drunk" Syndrome and George W. Bush (Katherine van Wormer, CounterPunch, October 11, 2002), van Wormer goes on to speculate over whether Bush is an example of a "dry drunk", a slang term used by Alcoholics Anonymous and substance abuse counselors to describe a recovering alcoholic who is no longer drinking, but who has not confronted the dysfunctional basic cognitive patterns that led to addiction; they use the term because they feel that such an individual is someone "who is no longer drinking . . . but whose thinking is clouded," not truly "sober". In her opinion, Bush displays the telltale characteristics of grandiose behavior, rigid, judgmental outlook, impatience, childish and irresponsible behavior, irrational rationalization, projection, and overreaction. [15]. She concluded that Bush displays "all the classic patterns of addictive thinking". More specifically, she argued that Bush exhibits "the tendency to go to extremes," a "kill or be killed mentality," incoherence while speaking away from script, impatience, irritability in the face of disagreement, and a rigid, judgmental outlook. She added that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was primarily a result of his relationship with his father: "the targeting of Iraq had become one man’s personal crusade."

Van Wormer's analysis, expressed in colloquial rather than clinical terms, drew on her own addiction treatment experience and writings, as she did not meet with Bush in person. Critics have responded to her assertions in a number of ways, usually citing her lack of formal medical training and specifically her lack of a medical degree and license to practice medicine. They also cite her lack of access to his private medical records and note that it is irresponsible in itself to offer third hand speculation over a mental or emotional diagnosis of someone who is not her patient, particularly in a public forum. Others point out that the Alcoholics Anonymous model of addiction and the need to pass through their complete "twelve step plan" to become truly sober is not universally accepted, many former substance abusers having overcome their problem apparently successfully without this process, so that the "dry drunk" concept may itself be mere self-serving rationalization.

Justin Frank, a clinical professor of psychiatry at The George Washington University Medical School, has incorporated similar, though apparently independent, observations into a book about Bush, Bush on the Couch ISBN 0060736704 [16]. Frank's book has been highly praised by other prominent psychiatrists and has found confirmation from a childhood friend of Bush and from Bush's disaffected former treasury secretary. [17].

Frank's book also has its critics. Irwin Savodnik, a psychiatrist who teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, described Frank's book as a "psychoanalytic hatchet job" and said that "there is not an ounce of psychoanalytic material in the entire book." [18] Once again, the code of the American Psychiatric Association, of which Frank is not a member, states that "it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement." [19] Although Frank had in the past written for Salon.com, the online magazine reviewed the book unfavorably, arguing that it included "dubious theories" and that Frank had failed in his avowed intention to distinguish his partisan opinions from his psychoanalytic evaluation of Bush's character. [20]

Illegal drugsEdit

Bush has said that he did not use illegal drugs at any time since 1974 ([21]), but he has declined to discuss whether he used drugs before 1974 ([22]).

A conversation between Bush and an old friend and author, Doug Wead, touched on the subject of use of illegal drugs. In the taped recordings of the conversation, Bush explained his refusal to answer questions about whether he had used marijuana at some time in his past. “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana questions,” Bush says. “You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.” When Wead reminded Bush that the latter had publicly denied using cocaine, Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything."

In a biography of Bush, Fortunate Son (ISBN 1887128840), James Hatfield investigated claims that Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession and that he had the record expunged; Hatfield said he found corroboration from three people close to the Bush family. Bush called Hatfield's book "totally ridiculous" but declined to discuss whether he had used drugs before 1974. [23]. Critics have pointed out the sources for the book are unnamed and the facts uncorroborated. Four days after its publication the book's publisher, St. Martin's Press, discovered that Hatfield had been previously convicted of attempted murder and spent five years in jail. When faced with the allegations Hatfield initially denied them but later admitted they were true. St. Martin's recalled the book and mothballed others. Hatfield pointed out that, before the Bush campaign brought pressure to bear, St. Martin's had stated that the book had been "carefully fact-checked and scrutinized by lawyers". ([24]) The book was later republished by another publisher shortly before Hatfield died of a drug overdose in an act of suicide. [25] [26]


In February 2004, Eric Boehlert in Salon magazine claimed that Bush's cessation of flying in April, 1972 and his subsequent refusal to take a physical exam came at the same time the Air Force announced its Medical Service Drug Abuse Testing Program, which was officially launched April 21. Boehlert said "according to Maj. Jeff Washburn, the chief of the National Guard's substance abuse program, a random drug-testing program was born out of that regulation and administered to guardsmen such as Bush. The random tests were unrelated to the scheduled annual physical exams, such as the one that Bush failed to take in 1972, a failure that resulted in his grounding." Boehlert remarks that the drug testing took years to implement, but "as of April 1972, Air National guardsmen knew random drug testing was going to be implemented".[18]

In April 1972 Bush made his last flight. He then refused to take his required annual physical and was subsequently grounded. In May 1972, Bush left for Alabama and left the Guard. He showed up for no drills for the next five months, and, contrary to White House statements, he never made up these missed drills. Bush returned to Texas in late 1972, but in May 1973 his superior officers in Houston refused to rate Bush, saying he "has not been observed at this unit" for the past 12 months. However, Official payroll records show that Bush was getting paid for attending drills during this period. Bush is credited for the wrong kind of attendance on some dates, he's given the wrong number of points for others, and weekday duty is frequently confused with weekend duty. Bush's attendance still didn't meet minimum National Guard standards. In October 1973 Bush was discharged from the Texas ANG and moved to Boston to attend Harvard Business School. Although the Bush campaign said in 1999 that Bush transferred to a unit in Boston to finish up his service, they now admit that isn't true. Bush never signed up with a unit in Boston and never again attended drills. [19]


ReferencesEdit

  • Hatfield, J.H. (1999). Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President. New York City, Soft Skull Press. ISBN 1-887128-50-6.

External linksEdit


Wikipedia:Template:George W. Bush


NotesEdit

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