[An e-mail conversation with a colleague.]
What are they smoking?
I heard about this story this morning. Frightening.
[My colleague's comments.]
What do you think North Korea would do if this happened? They are third on the list of the "Axis of Evil." That Kim Jon ??? would probably join Iran in the fight. Maybe just my concern but what would I know, I'm not a government "expert." I think if we pull the same shit to start a war that we did in Iraq it's on! World War III. Those 1.2 billion Muslims plus North Korea vs. the U.S. and the "collision of the willing." Then it’s a good opportunity for China to invade Taiwan since we'll be a little busy.
I agree. Brent Scowcroft and other advisers of George W's father warned about dire consequences of invading and occupying a Muslim country in a preemptive war. What can we expect our army to do if a real global emergency strikes? The army is bogged down in Iraq. George W. was too busy fighting an Oedipal duel with his father to think through the consequences of this war.
[My colleague's comments.]
Bush is just looking for a messianic legacy to his presidency. It's really scary to think that these guys in power have such grandiose world objectives.
Our nation voted for this man twice because he's such a swell guy.
I think Bush is used to operating in a world of Bible study groups. Where the message is very uplifting. No one ever challenges anyone else because they all believe the same truths before joining the group. I think this atmosphere has created an illusion in George W's head that all of humanity thinks his way. That the rest of the world will see the noble purpose in all his decisions. I don't think George W. has ever had to learn how to discuss, debate, argue through ideas to see their different interpretations and limitations.
I remember my father telling me that on September 12th, 2001, he spent time in his high school class talking with his students about what had happened the day before. I remember him telling me that his students had no idea how hated we Americans are in some parts of the world. They assumed that everyone must like us because of our freedoms, because we fought on the correct side of WWII, etc. I think George W. suffers from the same ignorance.
I read something interesting a while back in The Best and the Brightest, a book about the Vietnam War. I copied it down:
To his contemporaries he symbolized what the foreign service should be, expert, analytical and brave, and above all, perfectly prepared for what he was doing. He [John Patton Davies] knew China, the people, the language, and he watched the revolution sweeping the country. It was, he would say then and later, an implosion, not an explosion, that is, the collapsing inward of a civilization, a nation shutting itself off from the world, determining within itself its destiny. He was with General Joe Stilwell in 1938 as the Japanese marched south, ravaging whatever was in their way. He was puzzled as to why a civilized people like the Japanese would commit such atrocities, and pondered it for some time. Part of the answer, he decided, was that the troops were simply motivated by duty to their emperor; the second reason, more interesting in the light of events thirty years later in Vietnam, was "the idealistic belief that the mission is also a crusade to liberate the Chinese people from the oppression of their own rulers." When the Chinese peasants showed signs of resenting this liberation "it is a shocking rejection of his idealism," and the Japanese soldier raged against "the people who he believes have denied him his chivalry." Quote
I don't think George W. has any inkling of what this means. He's led too sheltered a life to understand it. Money and evangelic faith in humanity's malleability blinded him to warning signs from history and culture. I'm sure he's perplexed as to why the Muslims of Iraq are not grateful for the democracy we've given them. He's placed our young soldiers into this same confusing situation where they must try to help a people that don't want help and are not grateful for it. Abu Ghraib was bound to occur.