Don't Impeach Bush. Commit Him
A Maniacal Messianic Prepares to Fulfill His Destiny
By Ted Rall
-- -- "I have fulfilled my destiny," the president says
manically. He has just entered the nuclear launch codes that
will trigger World War III. Seconds later, he emerges from a
bunker. The Secretary of State squeezes between two soldiers.
"Mr. President!" he shouts. "We have a diplomatic solution!"
He smiles. "It's too late," he replies. "The missiles are
flying. Alleluia. Alleluia."
The above scene, from David Cronenberg's 1983 adaptation of the
horror novel "The Dead Zone," is a classic if slightly
preposterous nightmare of a world destroyed by a demented
demagogue. Now, incredibly, a lunatic out of a Stephen King
movie has brought the United States to the brink of Armageddon.
Until I read Seymour Hersh's expose in The New Yorker and
subsequent follow-up coverage by other journalists about the
Bush Administration's plans to start a war against Iran, I had
dismissed talk of George W. Bush's messianism as so much Beltway
chatter. True, he hears voices, even claiming that God and Jesus
Christ talk to him. "I believe God wants me to run for
president," he told a friend in Texas. Eschewing mainstream
religion, he routinely parrots the apocalyptic ravings of fringe
Christianist cults: "And the light [America] has shone in the
darkness [the enemies of America], and the darkness will not
overcome it [America shall conquer its enemies]," he said during
his fevered campaign for war against Iraq. He mimics Old
Testament cadences: "God told me to strike at Al Qaeda and I
struck them," Bush told the Palestinian prime minister in 2003,
"and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and
now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."
Despite the man's wacky religiosity, I have been giving Bush the
benefit of a small amount of remaining doubt after five years of
the most disastrous rule this nation has ever suffered. I
believed that he was breathtakingly bigoted, stupid and
ignorant. But I didn't think he was out of his mind. Until now.
"Current and former American military and intelligence
officials" tell Hersh "that President Bush is determined to deny
the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program,
planned for this spring, to enrich uranium." Of course, uranium
enrichment for peaceful atomic energy is permitted by the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory.
Which is what the Iranians say they're doing. But the Bush
Administration, which knows a little about lying, doesn't
Fair enough: One only has to consider the risk of nuclear
conflagration between India and Pakistan to see why the fewer
countries have nukes, the better. Not every country can be
trusted with such terrifying weapons. So how does the
trustworthy United States plan to make its stand against nuclear
By nuking Iran.
"One of the military's initial option plans," reports Hersh,
"...calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear
weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."
An intelligence insider says that "Every other option, in the
view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap. 'Decisive' is
the key word of the Air Force's planning. It's a tough decision.
But we made it in Japan."
"We're talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass
casualties, and contamination over years," he went on. Crazy
stuff. But whenever someone inside the Administration opposes
the nuclear option, "They're shouted down." The pro-nuke
faction, led by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is responding
to internal critics with a "B61 [nuclear bomb] with more blast
and less radiation."
You may have heard that Bush dismissed Hersh's article as "wild
speculation." At first I, like you, responded with a sigh of
relief. But I've come to learn that Bush doesn't talk like a
human being. His policy pronouncements are carefully lawyered to
give him the kind of technical out that Bill Clinton could only
have dreamed of. Bushspeak is crafted to ensure that what Mr.
Straightshooter says is rarely what he means. Filtering "wild
speculation" statement through Bushspeak analysis shows that
it's no denial at all.
"The doctrine of prevention is to work together to prevent the
Iranians from having a nuclear weapon," Bush said. Notice that,
despite the disaster in Iraq, he still reserves the right to
wage preemptive war. He continued: "I know here in Washington
prevention means force. It doesn't mean force necessarily. In
this case it means diplomacy."
It doesn't mean force necessarily. If and when a reporter
reminds Bush of this statement after he attacks Iran, he will
say that he never took the military option--including nukes--off
the table. Moreover, he'll say, that he told the truth at the
time. Thus the present tense: means.
Bush has not denied Hersh's article. Therefore, we should accept
it as accurate.
We already know that Bush is capable of lying about his
willingness to use diplomacy instead of war. "We're still in the
final stages of diplomacy," he told reporters on March 6, 2003.
"I'm spending a lot of time on the phone, talking to fellow
leaders about the need for the United Nations Security Council
to state the facts, which is Saddam Hussein hasn't
disarmed...Iraq is a part of the war on terror. Iraq is a
country that has got terrorist ties."
Actually, Bush had decided to invade Iraq months--probably
years--before. He had moved hundreds of thousands of American
troops into the Persian Gulf. Two weeks later, he ordered an
assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein and began the saturation
bombing of Baghdad. But Bush was still talking as if there were
something Saddam could do to avoid war. "Our demands are that
Saddam Hussein disarm," he went on. "We hope he does." Sure.
Many people have asked me during the last year whether I thought
Bush would attack Iran. I said no, because he's out of troops,
out of cash and out of political capital. He couldn't so he
Those things are still true. Not to mention that Iran would make
Iraq look like a cakewalk. Yet, as Hersh reports, the U.S. may
bomb at least 400 cities and towns inside Iran. "Air Force
planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of
American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover,
to collect targeting data and to establish contact with
anti-government ethnic-minority groups." You don't need troops,
money or the support of the American people when God talks to
you. And when you're insane.
Ted Rall is the editor of "Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online
Cartoonists," an anthology of webcartoons which will be
published in May. Visit his website
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