Last week the New York Times revealed that George W. Bush had, through Alberto Gonzales, put in writing his instructions on how best to torture his captives. It was at that moment that I decided that President Bush would go down in history as George William the Torturer. I have long considered soubriquet for our President. Originally I thought that Ethel the Unready could pass on his nickname to George W. (The Saxon definition of "unready" includes "poorly counseled.") Cheney and Rumsfeld prove that definition apt.
As his term continued I decided that "unready" was not enough. His actions deserved more attention than his precedence. I searched history for suggestions. "Mission Accomplished" ruled out William the Conqueror. "Lionhearted" as in Richard the, did not fit a man who had neither led nor fought in battle. After the Gonzales memo, Vlad the Impaler came to mind, but the "Impaler" is merely a methodological name and I don't think that George the "Waterboarder" carried much resonance. "Terrible" as in Ivan the Terrible, tempted me. But Ivan built the Russian Empire and earned his name by terrifying his enemies while George Bush merely terrifies his friends.
There is no need to comment on Alexander, Peter, Catherine, Fredrick-- "Great" is not a word that one uses in reference to Bush II. Considering the rise in debt and the weakness of the dollar, I had at one point considered George William the "Wastrel." But then considering the totality of his presidency, thought Bush the "Blunderer" might be his epitaph.
Finally, given his reach for absolute power paying neither to Congress nor the Courts, amending legislation by the merest stroke of his pen, disowning Habeas Corpus, and authorizing secret searches and seizures, I have recalled the Sun King, Louis the XIV who proclaimed "L'Etat, c'est moi.", (I am the State) and will henceforth think of George as the Son King or at least the Son who would be King.
I invite readers to choose their own adjectives, and am eager to discover all those who have not occurred to me.