Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Friday, June 17, 2005

St. George and the dragon 

This week's surge of media attention to the Downing Street Memo has cast the question "Why did we invade Iraq?" in a new mold.

Matt Yglasias asks, But what were they thinking? Digby seems convinced there surely was some unspoken rationale for the invasion. Atrios muses, and I think he's correct, "Maybe (and quite likely) it was different combinations of these things to different people in the administration."

It was the president's decision, and he had a lot of people telling him a lot of different things ... that ended up not being true (more on that on down) ... but they sounded pretty good: The war would cost the U.S. $40-60 billion dollars, Iraqi oil would pay for all the rebuilding. It would be a cakewalk, the regeime would fall at the first whiff of gunpowder. The WMD case was a slam-dunk.

Contrary to those who think there was an unknown rationbale for going to Iraq, those pushing for it were quite vocal, they were just saying a different things. Even oil was spoken of in code, American interests in a stable Middle-East. Bush's contribution was that Saddam was evil and America has a God-given mission to spread freedom and democracy. This is the one thing that's been consistent throughout: Bush speaking like a shining knight on a white horse. It's usually some version of "Freedom is not America's gift to the world, but God's gift to the world." America just happens to be the main tool in God's freedom workshop.

All you have to do is take Bush at his word when he talks like the Almighty's Earthly Viceroy while keeping in mind that the policy types around him had been pushing for an invasion of Iraq for years and sang of a smorgasbord of justifications and a cornucopia of good effects. It's easy to understand why Bush gave the go to do the Holy Deed. It was his Mission from God.

Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, 9/20/2001

It's in the quote I chose from 2002 where we can see how the fallacious claims about Iraq didn't bother Bush - he plainly says he sees it as the United State's "role" to invade Iraq, the political debate wasn't applicable to his Mission,

We believe in freedom not only for ourselves, but we believe freedom is God-given. We believe freedom is a right that everybody should realize. And you need to tell your kids that this country liberated people from the clutches of one of the most barbaric regimes in history.

I've got a problem, obviously, with Mr. Saddam Hussein, and so do you ... I don't view this as a political discourse or a political debate, I view this as a debate about our future, the role of the United States and the world about security and freedom.

Remarks by the President at Van Hilleary for Governor Luncheon, 10/8/2002

Over time, free nations grow stronger and dictatorships grow weaker ... As changes come to the Middle Eastern region, those with power should ask themselves: Will they be remembered for resisting reform, or for leading it? ... The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.

President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East, 11/6/2003

America is a nation with a mission. We're called to fight terrorism around the world, and we're waging that fight. As freedom's home and freedom's defender, we are called to expand the realm of human liberty ... Yet I know that liberty is not America's gift to the world -- liberty and freedom are God's gift to every man and woman who lives in this world.

Remarks Via Satellite by the President to the National Association of Evangelicals Convention, 3/11/2004

Freedom is our birthright because the Creator wrote it into our common human nature. No government can ever take a gift from God away ... we pray for help in defending the gift of freedom from those who seek to destroy it .

President Commemorates National Day of Prayer at the White House, 5/5/2005

In my experience, nearly all the war supporters I've spoken to at the bottom supported the invasion because "Saddam was evil" or Saddam was [some vage or abstract] threat. They all have some coping mechanism that allows them to ignore the vast array of justifications they gave for war which have evaporated over the years. I don't believe believe Bush has to be all that different from the rest of garden variety war supporters. he's given lots of reasons, but at the end, it's just St. George slaying the dragon. A fairy-tale that never was.

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