It’s time for U.S. citizens to demand that President George W. Bush’s cabinet invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment and remove him from office. By a majority vote of the cabinet and the Vice President, transmitted in writing to both the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the President may be declared “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Increasingly, journalists are willing to admit that the cognitively-impaired President may indeed be mentally ill.

What would drive a President who lost an election by over half a million votes to attack the arch-enemy of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, rather than to pursue the 9-11 terrorists in the Al Qaeda network? What would cause a President to ignore his generals, his own intelligence agencies, the major religious leaders of the world and the vast majority of the world’s people in pursuing an unnecessary and destabilizing war that is likely to plunge the world into chaos for the next hundred years?

Perhaps the “Madness of King George” is best summed up in Will Thomas’ February 12 article “Is Bush Nuts?” While there’s an emerging concern among some mental health care providers that the President is mentally disturbed, there’s no consensus as to his actual illness.

Carol Wolman M.D. asked the question, “Is the ‘President’ Nuts?” even earlier in the October 2, 2002 In an attempt to analyze Bush’s bizarre behavior, putting “the world on a suicidal path,” Wolman suggests the President may be suffering from antisocial personality disorder, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses, 4th edition. As the manual points out, “There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others: 1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; 2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying . . . 5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others.”

Professor Katherine Van Wormer, the co-author of the authoritative Addiction Treatment, worries about Bush’s brain chemistry following some 20 years of alcohol addiction and alleged illicit drug use. Van Wormer notes that “George W. Bush manifests all the classic patterns of what alcoholics in recovery call ‘the dry drunk.’ His behavior is consistent with being brought on by years of heavy drinking and possible cocaine use.”

Alan Bisbort echoes Van Wormer’s thought in the American Politics Journal, in an article entitled “Dry Drunk – Is Bush Making a Cry for Help?” The list goes on and on. Some suggest paranoia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, religious delusions and depression.

Former National Security Agency employee-turned-investigative-journalist Wayne Madsen noted that the President was slurring his speech during the State of the Union address. Perhaps more shocking is the title of Maureen Dowd’s March 9 New York Times column, “Xanax Cowboy.” Dowd’s lead read: “As he rolls up to America’s first pre-emptive invasion, bouncing from motive to motive, Mr. Bush is trying to sound rational, not rash. Determined not to be petulant, he seemed tranquilized.”

Of course many Americans will reject the notion that the President, with an estimated 91 I.Q. who could not name crucial Middle East leaders during his campaign, could be mentally unstable. Few realize that this has been a common problem with past presidents. Jim Cannon, an aide to incoming Reagan administration Chief of Staff Howard Baker suggested that President Reagan was incapable of performing his duties in March 1987. A March 1987 memo analyzing Reagan’s behavior found “He was lazy; he wasn’t interested in the job. They say he won’t read the papers they gave him – even short position papers and documents. They say he won’t come over to work – all he wanted to do was watch movies and television at the residence.” Cannon recommend we consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Reagan.

In retrospect, we know that Reagan was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s; it was apparent to many political scientists and journalists at the time, who frequently commented on Reagan’s mistaking fictional movies for real historical events.

The images of Richard Nixon wandering around the White House drunk, asking a portrait of Abe Lincoln for advice, are forever immortalized in Woodward and Bernstein’s The Final Days. Luckily in Nixon’s case, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and Chief of Staff General Alexander Haig took control to make sure the President would not launch a pre-emptive war or nuclear attack, or order a military coup to stop the impeachment.

Since the United States, if it indulges the apparent madness of Bush, will embark on a course similar to imperial Rome, historical analogies may be found in Michael Grant’s book, Sick Caesars, Madness and Malady in Imperial Rome. Searching through the text, the obvious comparison between imperial Roman inbred out-of-touch elite families and the Bush dynasty is an easy one.

What’s harder to determine is which sick Caesar Bush most emulates. Comparing him to Caligula prior to an attack on Iraq would be unfair, although historian A.A. Barrett noted that an eyewitness described Caligula as “. . . a fidgety neurotic.” Barrett writes, “Though his behavior perhaps fell short of madness, it is impossible to determine the degree of rationality he retained.” Caligula has been labeled as “epileptic, schizoid, schizophrenic or just chronically alcoholic.” There’s no evidence that President Bush has ever had epilepsy, other than that, the Caligula analogy does fit.

A case can be made for comparing Claudius to “I, Dubya.” As Grant explains, Claudius’ ailments included, “meningitis, poliomyelitis, pre-natal encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism and congenital cerebral paralysis.” Except for the last two diagnoses, again, there’s no exact fit. However, as one Roman recorded, “. . . Claudius was, or was looked upon, as the idiot which he was sometimes made out to be. . . . he was far from normal . . . .”

Some may suggest a comparison to Commodus. As Grant writes, “. . . Physically, at least he was well proportioned. [However] his expression was vacant as is usual with drunkards, and his speech disordered.” Bush is a recovering alcoholic with a speech disorder, in need of therapy, not a current alcohol abuser. Thus, the search continues.

Finally, after much investigation, Bush is nearly a perfect match for the lesser known Caracalla. As Grant describes it, “Caracalla was always pushed forward by his father, who although he realised his defects possessed, like most emperors, [supported] strong dynastic ideas. His younger brother Geta [read: Jeb], was also pushed forward, although more slowly . . . .”

My favorite quote is: “For he [Caracalla] was sick not only in body, partly from visible and partly from secret ailments, but in mind as well, suffering from certain distressing visions, and often he thought he was being pursued by his father, and by his brother, armed with swords.”

But, another quote suggests that Bush may actually be the reincarnation of Caracalla: “Though it is at least certain that he was not only intemperate but had appalling nerves and nervous hallucinations, which made him very restless (not inactive) and all the more emphatic in his distaste for everyone except his soldiers. This meant that he could be judged as a criminal rather than a lunatic.”

One historian’s assessment of Caracalla is so strikingly similar, it sends chills: “His mind became unbalanced. His habitual mood of sullen and suspicious moroseness would sharpen into a craving for bloodshed which the slaughter of the arena [read: Texas’ death row] could not appease, and which would drive him into a homicidal fury in which revengefulness appears to have been confusedly combined with religious and moral motives.”

Thankfully, Grant tells us that Caracalla’s “short reign was a joke. A bad joke at that.” By invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, we can make Emperor Bush’s reign equally short. The problem, of course, is that we would be left with Vice President Dick Cheney, who may be even more disturbed than the President. Et tu, Cheney?