With God on His Side ...

So, it was a holy war, a new crusade. No wonder George W. Bush could lie to Congress and the American public with such impunity while keeping the key members of his Cabinet in the dark. He was serving a higher power, according to Bob Woodward, who interviewed the president for a new book on the months leading up to the Iraq invasion.

Of course, as a self-described "messenger" of God who was "praying for strength to do the Lord's will," Bush was not troubled about shredding a little secular document called the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution reserves to Congress the authority to allocate funds and to declare war. Thus it would seem to be an impeachable offense to misappropriate $700 million that had been earmarked to restore order to Afghanistan and put it toward planning an invasion of Iraq - in a secret scheme hatched, according to Woodward, only 72 days after 9/11.

But not only has the president rejected the checks and balances installed by the nation's founders to avoid the "foreign entanglements" George Washington warned us about, he again is shown to have pursued a foreign policy that stands as a sharp rebuke to his more worldly and cautious father. During the first Gulf War, George H.W. Bush wisely heeded the concerns of Congress, as well as a broad coalition of regional and international allies, and kept to clear, limited and sound goals.

In contrast, the younger Bush vocally disdains world opinion and international bodies like the United Nations, seeming instead to relish his role as an avenging Christian crusader who seeks - under the guiding hand of the Almighty - to cleanse the Arab world of "evildoers."

Asked by Woodward, an assistant managing editor at the Washington Post, if he had ever consulted the former president before ordering the invasion of Iraq, Bush replied that "he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength; there is a higher father that I appeal to."

Reading the elder Bush's books and even his speeches before the latest Iraq war, one finds that the former president at least seems to understand that diplomacy, international cooperation and patience are not just the tools of naive do-gooders but in fact are far more effective at advancing global stability and American aims than reckless adventures like the current quagmire in Mesopotamia. Religious crusades are often counterproductive; they tend to end up in unsustainable occupations of people who - surprise! - believe they have their own pipeline to the Almighty.

Thus, if George W. had consulted his father, he probably would have heard the message that he didn't want to hear from Secretary of State Colin Powell about the "Pottery Barn rule" - the idea that you own what you break. What Powell meant is not that you own Iraq's oil and the lucrative contracts that you parcel out to your friends at Halliburton and Bechtel. Rather, it is that if you occupy a failed state, you are stuck with the difficult, costly and lengthy task of nation-building.

That Powell and the first President Bush did not break more forcefully with the current president over their apparent differences on Iraq is not excusable, despite their party and familial ties. As both men seem to have expected, what we have now is a deadly mess that has weakened us in the war on terror, both as a distraction and by inflaming the Muslim world's latent mistrust of the West.

After the bloodiest month of the entire war and occupation, we are told by the nation's media and political elites that we must "stay the course," "get it right" and, in the words of the president himself, "honor the fallen." How do we honor the fallen by sending more soldiers to die in a war based on lies now amply documented by insiders?

Surely the best way to honor them is to right our course and turn to the United Nations, not as a fig leaf to conceal an ongoing disaster but to admit that it was wrong to undermine the best mechanism we have for international cooperation. An honorable retreat from this calamity requires U.N. supervision of an orderly withdrawal.

The president conceded to Woodward that he had the good sense not to "justify war based upon God" but would ask for forgiveness if he took the wrong path. It is time he found God's grace in the exercise of humility rather than plunging deeper into this madness.

 Robert Scheer writes a syndicated column for The Los Angeles Times.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Older Comments:
I am so disgusted of the state of affairs in our land. I told ftiends and community memebers that we are turning to a fachist state, if you look at the entire picture. We lie to people, we attach another state for false reasons, which we fabricate, we dictate the type of life people must life so we can like them, we transsgress in the name of the lord, and the lord do not like transsgressors, we cause all kinds od detructions
and we call that the work of the lord, we create monsters, and want to kill them because they are dectators, we tell the world our freedom or else,
we starve the american public for information because we are afraid of criticism! we userp the money and spend it illegally on something else, and you call your self a dedicated president. I have never seen a president to ignotan of other cultures and others as this one. His last news conference was a farse. Where should we go for democracy. America is no longer a democracy, it is a fachism.

My guess is that the neo-conservatives' hopes are beginning to fade, for their "dreams" of an Iraq that is barely able to defend itself. On the bright side, at least the Iraqis were not generally considered to constitute a military threat to the region, prior to the invasion.

Both the Iraqis and their guests (on both sides) have already paid a heavy price for the past year's neo-conservative experimentation with "debaathification" theory. At this point, my guess is that (impeccably secular) "former baathist" administrators will characterize the next Republic of Iraq - in addition to a host of Shiite judges well versed in Sharia.

I wouldn't go as far as Uri Avner to compare Bush with Hitler, although this woudn't be one isolated idea, many Europeans already compared the present administration with that of socialist Germany, especially the rhetorics of oversized patriotism and the dismissal from the media of peaple that oposed Bush or simply voiced their opinions. Lately, Howard Stern was taken off the air for calling on Americans not to vote for Bush? What happened to the constitutional freedoms?! It is scary. It was enough one Hitler, didn't mankind learn the lesson? Of one thing I rest assured. Bush in a thousand life times would not come close to the orator Hitler was(Bush has all his speaches engineered by artists). So no chance for him to win the American people on that. As concerns his sainthood or prophethood, he needs to convince the Senat before even daring to present himself as such to the public. I would say that Guantanamo is just a mere shadow of what Auschwitz and Dachau were, but I appreciate the concern. Before the concentration camps, there was merely the idea...when they came about, the world shut up about it and overlooked the attrocities that took place there. Now the civilized world needs to live with that consciousness. Then came Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Judaism and Islam are religions that promote laws. Christianity must be the same, Jesus,pbuh, said:"I did not come to abolish the law, but to strengthen it."(New Testament) "Do not do to others what you wouldn't like them to do to you". Jesus,pbuh, said that this would be the essence of the Law and the Prophets. By any measure, I wouldn't call this love, but rather common sense. Religion in my judgement must be common sense, even though if differently perceived. To kill life and to claim that on your love for God or even worse, claim it was love for your human fellow?! I, unlike Uri Avner, would compare Bush rather to Don Quijote Dela Mancha than Hitler. But you know, a madman is unpredictable. God save us all.

Excellent article. This is putting the "blame" squarely on the shoulders of those who deserve it.

Are we surprisec, No!
i allways knew that the iraq and the whole middle east issue had a hidden agenda in the bush psychy and it was not just trying to stabalise the region.

So the man thinks he is doing what God commanded him did he, i pity such a man who cant judge between right and wrong who thinks he is an agent of God.

all i can say is that i pray to Allah that the guy wakes up and realizes the tuth, which is he is not a "messenger" but a mere and not-so-bright man because the last "messenger" came to the world 1400 years ago in the form of prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Bush you say you are a good christian, then do a good thing for once, withdraw from Iraq and let UN take over in Iraq, that is the only way things can be solved peacefully.

Oh and you say you want peace in the Isreal/Palestine situation, well in that case you need a ballance of power their, for example it is claimed that Isreal has around 150 nucreal warheads, well let Palestine develope their Nukes and tankes and i dont think there would be any imbalance of power and the blatant attacks would stop because their would be more at stake.

By the way their wont be any peace in that region until the mesiah comes back so really the best thing to do is just wait for peace.

If you think the American president is a mad man urged to further madness by a rightwing Jewish and Christian coalition, you will not believe what this group of lunatics believe. The lunacy is incredible. Just read this article by George Monibot in The Guardian:


Now I know why most Americans are mad and blood crazed. In fcat it is these Americans both Christian and Jews who are the true "Mad Mullah" thirsting for blood. God help us all.

What Americans simply do not realise is that the actions of this American president, besides his preoccupation with his mad crusades, has delt a death blow to America's ability to compete technologically and hence economically with other developed and progressive countries. In the remarkable technological advances of the 80s, which hurled the US way ahead of Europe and Asia, it was foreign born scientists and naturalized Asians who mostly fueled this intelectual rise. Now almost every foreign born student who could have continued this US trend, is opting to study and settle in other countries, even making efforts to learn a foreign tongue, when in fact their formal education was in English. America does not realise this but what that means is that in 10 to 15 years, American technology, which is probably the only source of American pride and strength through which it can compete effectively with other countries, will be reduced to the level of Cuba or Uganda. What that means is not just a loss of jobs but a devestation of the US economy and its global standing as a world power. However in exchange, America will be a more racist, paranoid Judeo/Christian culture, completely islotaed from the rest of the world and to the realities of the real world. Americans just don't think, and that just boggles the mind.

There was yet another world leader, a devout Christian who thought that he was on a crusade, successfully wiped out almost an entire generation, made remarkable gains in occupying almost all of Europe and threatened the rest of the world- that was Adolf Hitler. Was God on his side? Bush seriously needs to consider his position, or else his name will be synonymous with all that is evil and will go down in history as one of the most hated figures alongside Hitler.

Yes, the first George Bush paid more heed to our allies as well as to friendly Arab governments when he decided not to topple Saddam in the first Gulf War. Unfortunately, that decision led to American bases in Saudi to deter Saddam from invasion, as well as those particularly crippling U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq that the Muslim world ended up complaining about for around a decade. Not to mention all the resentment for "abandoning" the Shiites and the Kurds when the First George Bush, at the request of the Arabs and the West Europeans, chose not to aid them during their uprising following the first Gulf War.

While multilateralism is a generally a good idea, we should remember that it was multilateralism in the first place that left the issue of Saddam as a lingering problem for the region for years. But what if America hadn't intervened on behalf of the Gulf states, allowing Iraq to take overrun both Kuwait and KSA? It's an interesting question of conjecture to imagine what would have become of OBL and his ilk had they tried to "resist" Saddam.

Americans...my neighbours...just please make the right vote to stop the grinch (bush) who stole the election from stealing it again...by the will of God.

I have not viewed this as crusading a holy war. A war against Islam or Muslims. I think that all facts have to be looked at. What about Saddam? What about all the Muslims he killed? Wasn't that a Crusade led within Islam? However, I do believe that this war should have been conducted under different terms. I think that the blood shed is wrong on all sides. I think that Iraq is a better country without Saddam. Rather then kill in the name of God and Allah let's look for the common ground of peace and build a better Iraq for all Muslims. Continued bloodshed will not get either side any where. Hatred only breds hatred. Love breds love, then lets build on it.