I’m currently in the middle of writing a long article on how the Iraq War is not a repetition of the Vietnam War. I’ll be arguing (not all that originally) that Iraq is a much bigger fiasco than Vietnam for United States imperialism…..stay tuned….ctd
Now, I’m not much on the role of even the most structurally empowered individuals in the making of history. I tend to focus more on social, institutional, and ideological forces than on “great men” and all that when it comes to sorting out historical causation and meaning.
Still, as I go down to the bottom of my list of what makes Iraq (2003-0?) different from Vietnam (1968), it’s hard not to include the messianic madness of boy-king George.
God knows that LBJ and especially Nixon lived in their own creepy and delusional worlds while conducting what Noam Chomky memorably termed “the crucifixion of Southeast Asia.”
But Bush’s unreality is in a league of its own, thanks largely to the terrible link in his narrow little mind between authoritarian militarism and Christian fundamentalis.
Bush’s “messianic militarism” (Ralph Nader’s excellent description in 2004) has been known to careful observers ever since 9/11 gave “New Pearl Harbor” life to the explicit neo-imperialism advocated by Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Lewis Libby, and other not-so-“conservative” characters associated with the uber-nationalist Project for a New American Century (PNAC).
Bush has regularly appealed to “the Lord” in trying to justify his implementation of the lunatic PNAC agenda.
We got one of many tastes of Bush’s belief in that agenda’s divine inspiration in Bob Woodward’s sycophantic book “Plan of Attack.” Asked by Woodward if he had discussed Iraq with Bush pere, “born-again” Junior responded in pompous and pious terms. “You know,” he said, his Dad “is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father I appeal to.”
That “higher father” denotes “God,” who Bush II has been beseeching to “continue to bless the United States of America” throughout his monumentally illegal occupation of Iraq.
We get a deeper sense of Bush’s messianic imperialism by moving from Woodward to a more substantive and hard-hitting journalist – Seymour Hersh.
Hersh’s latest article in The New Yorker (December 5, 2005) quotes a number of current and former military, intelligence, and administration officials to reveal an increasingly “detached” president who is “impervious to political pressure even from fellow Republicans.” According to insiders, Bush believes that “God put me here” to occupy Iraq.
A “Pentagon adviser” told Hersh that Bush is “not going to back off” the occupation because the president sees his illegal and immoral Iraq policy as “bigger than domestic politics.” By Hersh’s informants’ account, “bigger” means “divinely inspired” in Dubya’s mind.
Looking also at the latest of Bush’s many speeches to military (interesting) audiences, it’s becoming clearer than ever that Bush completes the circle of his disdain for democracy by claiming a different but related direct and and higher relationship that goes beyond the heads of the mere citizenry. This other special relationship links the divinely inspired president as Commander-In-Chief to the supposedly loyal soldiers of his supposedly Christian “war on terror.”
Most U.S. citizens want a quick exit from Mesopotamia. A rising number of the nation’s Congresspersons are calling for a timetable for the pullout of troops. And, for what it’s worth to U.S. policymakers, more than 70 percent of the Iraq’s lawmakers and more than 80 percent of that nation’s populace want U.S. and British forces out.
So what?, says Bush, going beyond the wishes of the mere citizenry (the supposed masters of policy in a democratic society) to the noble and virtuous mercenaries and gendarmes of U.S. empire. “To all who wear the uniform,” Bush told the Naval Academy’s junior cadets Wednesday, “I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins as long as I am your commander in chief.”
Is “Bring’Em On” Bush still trying to make up for his flight from “service” in an earlier imperial and racist war (the War on Vietnam) that he supported? Whatever, the president appears to think that his most solemn pledge of allegiance is to his mercenary (“volunteer” and therefore non-citizen) military, not the populace.
“We the People” may have decided that it’s time for U.S. policymakers to show the courage to reverse the criminal “mistake” that is the occupation of Iraq. But Bush has “bigger” duties to fulfill than honoring public opinion. His obligation to God and “all who wear the uniform” trumps his secondary responsibility to the citizenry.
America, you have a problem. The man sitting on the buttons and “leading” the nation into a terrible and immoral war that most of his citizenry now opposes thinks that he’s like Jake (John Belushi) and Ellwood (Dan Akroyd) Blues in “The Blues Brothers.”
Like Jake and Ellwood, Dubya (who apparently anticipated Belushi’s “Animal House” character at Yale), boy George is “On a Mission from God.”
“God” (or whatever) help us all. Every last one of us.
Perhaps we should think about developing a more “intelligent design” for constitutionally de-coronating a moronically militaristic boy-King with three more years left to try to inflict his dangerously anti-democratic views on the world from his curious position in the planet’s most powerful office.
Can’t we just pass a vote of no-confidence and call elections for a new government?
How’s next week looking for that?