Monday, March 20, 2006

"It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton."

An unscripted question somehow slipped into the mix. Does Bush see a role for himself in issuing forth the End Times in Iraq?:
Q Thank you for coming to Cleveland, Mr. President, and to the City Club. My question is that author and former Nixon administration official Kevin Phillips, in his latest book, American Theocracy, discusses what has been called radical Christianity and its growing involvement into government and politics. He makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this, that the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism are signs of the apocalypse? And if not, why not?

Shorter Bush: "No, but another war in the Middle East can't hurt!"

Yes, instead of affirming his belief in the continued continuity of the world--past at least the end of his Administration--we get instead a long, rambling eight-paragraph answer, hitting some of the most overplayed singles on the jukebox, including the classic comeback to that 19th-century belief that "oceans protect us," followed by the newest hit, the Preemptive War on Iran for the Sake of Peace (in stores summer 2007):
THE PRESIDENT: The answer is -- I haven't really thought of it that way. (Laughter.) Here's how I think of it. The first I've heard of that, by the way. I guess I'm more of a practical fellow. I vowed after September the 11th, that I would do everything I could to protect the American people.
. . . It's hard to take risk if you're a small business owner, for example, if you're worried that the next attack is going to come tomorrow. I understand that.
. . . [W]e needed to defeat them overseas so we didn't have to face them here at home.
. . . Foreign policy used to be dictated by the fact we had two oceans protecting us. If we saw a threat, you could deal with it if you needed to, you think -- or not. But we'd be safe.
. . .
. . . I see a threat in Iran. I see it there -- I'm kind of getting off subject here, not because I don't want to answer your question, but kind of -- I guess, that's what happens in Washington, we get a little long-winded. (Laughter.)

But now that I'm on Iran, the threat to Iran, of course -- (applause) -- the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace; it's a threat, in essence, to a strong alliance. I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel, and -- (applause.)

At any rate, our objective is to solve this issue diplomatically. And so our message must be a united message, a message from not only the United States, but also Great Britain and France and Germany, as well as Russia, hopefully, and China, in order to say, loud and clear to the Iranians, this is unacceptable behavior. Your desire to have a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.

And so, to answer your question, I take a practical view of doing the job you want me to do -- which is how do we defeat an enemy that still wants to hurt us; and how do we deal with threats before they fully materialize; what do we do to protect us from harm? That's my job. And that job came home on September the 11th, for me -- loud and clear. And I think about my job of protecting you every day -- every single day of the presidency, I'm concerned about the safety of the American people.

Yes, the Bush Administration takes "the practical view":
"By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful."

It embraces reality:

In the summer of 2002, after I [Suskind] had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Here's a more humorous take.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you hate America? Do you want Iran to get the bomb? What are you a communist?

From an anonymous (and irrational) conservative.

9:42 AM, March 21, 2006  

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