Thursday, September 23, 2004


Bob Woodward’s book confirms the rambunctious nature of the Bush drive to attack Iraq from the earliest days of his term. Newsweek reporters, after reading the book, quote Woodward as saying: “. . . it is striking how little Bush talks to his top advisers about whether to go to war. He meets constantly with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his top military commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, to go over war plans. But there is almost no debate over whether invading Iraq is a good idea to begin with.” (Newsweek, Sept. 6, 2004, p. 36)

“The clear impression is that Bush made a quick gut decision. The debate, says one knowledgeable former administration official, was ‘pro forma’.” (Newsweek, p. 38)

Again, let us mourn our going into Iraq. Many of us just have not been able, yet, to figure out why we really went into Iraq. What was it all about? All I know is that some of us “knew” instinctively that Bush was going in from the first time we heard the idea issue from Bush’s Gray/White House. I knew even as I walked the street in an early antiwar protest that we were going in; I knew my protest was not going to move this man. I don’t know how many others also knew it except we may have known conservatives in the past and knew them to be hair trigger sorts of guys, dictatorial and authoritarian sorts, who put their heads down and blunder on, who act first and think later. In short, the school yard bullies we all remember so well from junior/senior high, implacably aggressive . That’s what I saw/see and feared/fear in Bush to this moment. I hate to use the term, but it’s obvious Bush was “obsessive/compulsive” about the Iraq attack he was having.


In mid-eighteenth century Russia, Dostoevsky was stating some of the concerns which are still alive in the debate about determinism and free will being battled out in Dennett’s “Freedom Evolves” and among other determinist/ free will scientists:

“. . . you say. . . science itself will teach man. . . that he never has really had any caprice or will of his own, and that he himself is something of the nature of a piano-key or the stop of an organ, and that there are, besides, things called the laws of nature; so that everything he does is not done by his willing it, but is done of itself, by these laws of nature, and man will no longer have to answer for his actions and life will become exceedingly easy for him.” (p. 70)

But, then, the gambling addicted Russian goes on to question reason just as the current debates about the brain also come to question it.


Believe it or not, even the Dems can take solace from the 10 point swing toward Bush after the Republican Convention. It means that only 5% of the American populace are mindless and impulse driven enough to be moved by a silly advertising campaign such as conventions are. It at least means that most of us have been paying attention to the issues which matter to us. For the Pubes, it’s religion, for the Dems, it’s economic issues. At least that’s something.

"Cabbage: A . . . vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head." Ambrose Bierce

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