The bully on the block always had guys who did the fighting for him. He would falsely accuse a weaker kid of planning some horrible conspiracy and then unleash the tough guys – as a pre-emptive move, of course. On my block, the bullies had the same MO. But not one of them got into an actual fight with anyone who might inflict pain on them. They picked on kids who would not fight back.
Now the born-again bully occupies the White House. He picks on weak targets, taunts them – “bring ‘em on – gets others to fight for him and then serves turkey to his proxy warriors on Thanksgiving. But worse than his addiction for playing dress up for photo ops, he has made bullying into official U.S. policy. As president, you have the forum to conjure up threats, report them as certainties and then order the armed forces to fight them.
Given his religious “forces of good and evil” fervor innuendo combined with the ignorance of the world – “I may not know where Bosnia is, but…” – that informs the President’s policy decisions, I think Bush might very well “hear” voices from above. He doesn’t feel compelled to read, or listen for long to those with knowledge in order to establish a firm basis for his judgments. He simply makes decisions. That’s what leaders do, he told biographer Bob Woodward (Bush at War).
Some of them even have rather strong financial motives for such worldly renovation (I mention Vice President Cheney’s connections to Halliburton, National Security Adviser Rice’s links to Chevron and of course Perle’s multiple involvements with defense companies that allowed him to “do well by doing good”).
Graham, one of the self-anointed celestial surveyors, as Eduardo Galeano calls him, understands that “paradise is none too roomy – no more than fifteen hundred square miles. The chosen will be few. Now guess which country has bought up all the entrance tickets?” (Galeano La Jornada, March 19, 2003).
Bush has intimated that God chose him to be President – whether or not he won the election. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence General William Boykin repeated that assertion and declared in June in an Oregon speech, “The enemy is a guy named Satan.”
Only by appealing to the apocalyptic of Biblical prophecy could the Bushies have justified a pre-emptive war. One of the most ardent war hawks, Richard Perle, who resigned on March 27, 2003 as chair of the Defense Policy Board but remained a member, finally admitted in public that the Administration had no casus belli, no legal recourse to wage war, while dismissing legalities as inapplicable.
Article 51 of the UN Charter allows for an act of “individual or collective self-defense, if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.” For Perle and his neo-conservative allies, such a formula under “international law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone.”
“We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”
Iraq did disobey some UN resolutions. But the Bush-Blair war against Iraq literally shreds the international legal system. It amazes me how the media ignore the fact that Israel has disavowed more UN resolutions than any other country – with U.S. backing. The faithful do not look for consistency, for to do so would be to question God’s will. So, the fact that Israel has grabbed Palestinian land for the last thirty-six years and possesses a nuclear weapon stockpile does not concern those to whom God has instructed to dispatch the evil Saddam.
Bush told James Robinson, according to Paul Harris in the November 2, 2003 New York Observer: “I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”