The Left Hook! Archive


Thurs. Feb. 20, 2003

Winning Friends & Influencing People:

The Bush Method

The "President" has spent months offering one rationale after another for starting a war in Iraq, and, as each one blows up in his face,[1] he simply abandons it and moves on to the next one, repeating the process. The important thing, it seems, is to have a war, and the "President" and his men will settle for whatever rationale they can cook up for it that will sell the public on the idea. By the time of the State of the Union address, it had all boiled down to this: Iraq is in violation of UN resolutions:

"Almost three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam Hussein his final chance to disarm. He has shown instead his utter contempt for the United Nations, and for the opinion of the world."

The problem with using this for a rationale is that the "President" himself is showing precisely the same "utter contempt for the United Nations and for the opinion of the world." From the same speech:

"All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attack. We are asking them to join us, and many are doing so. Yet the course of this Nation does not depend on the decisions of others. Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people."

Change the word "American" to "Iraqi" in that statement and you, of course, have the position of Saddam Hussein. It should go without saying that this completely undercuts the "President"'s attempt to hide behind the UN as his rationale for war. Clearly, if the UN is to be the rationale, it's up to the UN to decide if Iraq is in violation, judge the severity of that violation, and determine what should be done in light of it.

The "President" doesn't see it that way. He has advanced the position that a UN that doesn't agree to let him start a war (for no apparent reason, it's worth noting, than to serve as a 2004 domestic campaign issue) would, in his words from February 13th, "fade into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society." The UN, in the Bush conception, isn't a place where the nations of the world go to work out their differences in a respectful manner as equals--it's merely an entity that exists to act as a rubber stamp granting a thin sheen of legitimacy to whatever insane policy can be cooked up by whatever yahoo manages to convince the courts to place him in the office of President of the United States. A United  Nations that only served that role truly would be "an ineffective, irrelevant debating society."

The advancement of this Bush conception and all of the accompanying bluster of the "President" and his underlings--the latter aimed solely at aggrandizing the administration with domestic reactionaries--has managed to turn virtually the entire civilized world from ally to enemy in a few short weeks, culminating, most recently, in the worldwide anti-war demonstrations this weekend. That the largest political demonstration in the history of the world was aimed squarely at opposing their policy isn't a distinction in which this administration should take any pride. With 80 and 90% of their populations opposing Bush's policy, it will be years before government officials in democratic nations will feel comfortable shaking hands with a U.S. official in public again.

It's true, as the "President" has said, that the United States has enemies--it was also true that, before he came along, the United States had friends as well.


[1] being revealed to be misinformation, an outright lie, or based on misinformation or outright lies--see almost any edition of LeftHook! for more on this.

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