Posts Tagged ‘George H. W. Bush’


Monday, September 13th, 2010

“When the sacred months are over, slay the idolators wherever you find them. Arrest them and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.”
The Koran, Repentance 9:5

The old coffeehouse off Columbus Avenue in Manhattan was nearly empty. Sitting across the table from his friend, Gabriel, Luke leisurely was sipping coffee and reading the newspaper. An aria from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca played in the background.

It was mid-morning; a Monday. Gabriel was on vacation. Luke had semi-retired some years earlier at age thirty-five and was living the new American dream . . . reaping a financial windfall from a lawsuit. The action had been against a stockbrokerage, and he had been merely a passive beneficiary.

“Gabby, what do you think about that pastor in Florida threatening to burn a copy of the Koran?”

Gabriel slowly removed his attention from his own newspaper. “I’m against burning books. Still, I’d’ve given the guy more credit had he not relented at the last moment . . . seemed a bit cowardly to me. You say you’re going to do something . . . do it! Even so, he did have his moment, which, I guess is what he wanted. A nobody-clergyman heading a nothing-church in Nowheresville gaining worldwide attention including the President’s. The guy showed us what we are . . . whatever his real motivations. As a nation, we’re scared witless. Worse, we’re not ashamed to show it. Now that the guy’s relented, will the Mohammedans hate us less? Personally, I don’t give a damn whether they love us or hate us as long as they respect us and fear us. Instead, we respect and fear them. We refuse to acknowledge Mohammedanism as a religion of war, instead calling it a religion of peace. Besides, if Americans can burn the flag with impunity, why couldn’t this guy have burned the Koran? ”

“Nobody’s questioning his right. It would’ve been an inflammatory act, excuse the pun. Do you really think he should have?”

“Didn’t Bush do it?”

“What nonsense! I never heard any such thing.”

“Well, not literally but figuratively.”

“What’re you talking about? After ‘9/11’. . . . ”

“I’m not talking about Georgie W., Luke, I’m talking about his old man, Bush the First, in 1990.”

“Oh. Well, the same question stands. What’re you talking about?”

In response, Gabriel launched a monologue starting with his version of the context in which President George H. W. Bush organized a war against President Saddam Hussein and Iraq in 1991. “In violation of admonitions by our Founding Fathers, since the end of World War Two, the federal government of the United States of America has pursued an aggressive policy, best labeled ‘Pax Americana’. We’ve based this international policy upon what once was our overwhelming wealth and our military might, gained primarily as a consequence of World War Two. Most telling, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and in spite of our military actions against other nations, we’ve not declared a state of war since 1941, allowing our most dangerous enemies to manipulate domestic public opinion to their advantage via our own mass media . . . like the Mohammedans are doing now.”

“Yeah, so? What does that have to do with burning the Koran?”

“So, until 1991, the USA had no military bases in the Middle East. The naval vessels in the Persian Gulf especially were at risk.”

“From Saddam?”

“No! He was our ally . . . sort of. From a lack of fresh water. The salinity of the Persian Gulf is particularly high. It clogs the desalinization-equipment. Sailors can’t drink saltwater. They can’t wash aircraft on carriers with saltwater. Bush the First and his ‘neo-con’ cronies . . . . “

“Woah! Define your terms. What exactly do you mean by ‘neo-con’?” Luke challenged.

“It’s short for ‘neo-conservative’. On the so-called Left, you’ve got the ‘neo-liberals’ in contrast to the ‘classical liberals’ who founded this country. On the so-called Right, you’ve got the ‘neo-conservatives’ in contrast to what’re now called the ‘paleo-conservatives’ who most closely resemble the classical liberals. Many of these neo-cons previously were ‘neo-libs’ and Democrats themselves. Not surprisingly, the neo-cons hate the paleo-cons even more than they hate the neo-libs. That’s because, like the neo-libs, the neo-cons ignore the U. S. Constitution and American Tradition.”

“How so?”

“First of all, a congressional resolution is not a declaration of war. The Constitution doesn’t say anything about resolutions allowing war . . . only declaring war. Secondly, the neo-cons led by Bush the First had this un-American vision of forcing democracy onto the whole world, including the Mohammedan Middle East . . . by force, if necessary.(1)  They started with Iraq. The consequence? Al-Qaeda and all the rest. Thank you, Old Man Bush.”

“I’m not following you.”

“Look, Luke, Saddam was a homicidal thug, but he was our homicidal thug. Yes, he was a handful, but we could’ve controlled him one way or another. He needed us, and we needed him. He held together the eternally feuding elements in Iraq . . . Sunnis, Shiites, Turkmen, and Kurds . . . as only a dictator can. He recognized Iran as an enemy of us both. Meanwhile, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter had been applauding the fanatical, Mohammedan theologians overthrowing the Shah. Diplomatically, it’s called ‘realpolitik’. Neither Carter nor later the Bushes understood it.”

“You don’t think much of our presidents, I gather.”

“Not since Calvin Coolidge. Well, maybe Reagan. He actually transcended realpolitik successfully . . . the realpolitik of guys like Kissinger and the defeatism of the neo-libs. He resolutely opposed the ‘Evil Empire’ and defeated it without firing a shot. Sun Tzu would’ve applauded. Reagan succeeded . . . ideologically and operationally. For their part, the neo-cons believed that, with the Soviet Union gone, they could force democracy onto a region dominated by a religion that promotes theocracy. To do so, they wanted military bases on Arabic territory, but how to get them?”

“Wasn’t the Iraqi conflict about oil?”

“Perhaps partly, but it also was about ideology. As usual, the public never got the full story from the politicians . . . probably never will.”

“But you did.”

“No, just part of it.”

“How, Gabby?”

“Word of mouth from guys who actually were there.”


“So, as you know, the Saudi royal family had a shaky hold on power . . . still does. While promoting an extreme form of Mohammedanism, it paradoxically battles the fundamentalists like Al-Qaeda who view the family as worse than infidels . . . apostates. Meantime, Saddam had been coveting Kuwait, which he viewed as an illegitimate rump-state really belonging to Iraq. In 1990, he was considering annexing it, which scared the Saudis. Would they be next? Saddam wasn’t a fool. There’s reason to believe that he sounded out Washington well before invading. Our Ambassadress, April Glaspie . . . .”

“Ambassadress?” Luke interrupted.

“April was a woman . . . so ‘Ambassadress’. Anyway, the Cold War was over, and Ambassadress April reportedly told Saddam that Washington had no particular interest in whether he annexed Kuwait, so annex it he did. Boom! If Bush really had wanted to stop Saddam, he’d have gone public and hard . . . beforehand. He didn’t. Why? Was it a set-up? Saddam invades, and Old Man Bush acts like he’s going ballistic. The guy should’ve won an Oscar. The Saudis got scared. Next thing you knew, they granted America military bases on what the whole Mohammedan world considers sacred territory. No infidels allowed. Christians are infidels. Americans are mainly Christians. Boom, again! Only this time, it was the fundamentalists going ballistic . . . and that was no act.”

“You mean Bush’s putting American troops into Saudi Arabia was as if he had marched into Mecca and burned the Koran in the public square.”

“Right! Then, after we’d chased Saddam out of Kuwait, its government also allowed bases for the American military, adding fuel to the fanatics’ fire. On top of that, the old man never finished the job on Saddam by taking control of Iraq . . . partly because doing so wasn’t the deal with his allies, especially the Saudis. Bad deal!”

“And there were consequences.”

“You bet. The prophet, Jeremiah, tells us that we’re judged more by the consequences of our behavior than by our behavior itself. Judge the old man and his neo-cons by the consequences of their behavior.”

“And you’re saying there were no good consequences?”

“One, Luke . . . we made money off Bush the First’s military adventure. Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good. Ask yourself, would a stable Iraq have fallen apart socially, politically, and economically? Would a fanatical Iran be building a nuclear capability successfully?”

“And you think not.”

“Right! Saddam naturally felt set-up and betrayed, so he became a thorn in the side of the U.S.A. Then, in 2003, Bush the Second tried to finish the job. Surprise! We weren’t welcomed by the so-called Iraqis as friends and liberators but resented as enemies and conquerors . . . the Crusades all over again. So much for democracy in the Arabic and Persian Middle East and maybe soon for democracy in Turkey. Now, we’re about to face a nuclear-armed Iran, thanks to the Bushes and Barack Hussein Obama. Good-bye world unless Israel does our job for us.”

“Israel aside, Gabby, maybe what you say is true. Maybe it’s partly true. I’ll admit, though, that it is unclear what actually happened in 1990 and that official testimony afterwards has been contradictory.”

“There you have it! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Anyway, compared to what Bush the First did in 1990, this pastor’s threat to burn the Koran weren’t nothing. What it shows is that through self-indulgence, indifference, and ignorant arrogance, we’ve allowed ourselves and the rest of the world to be placed into a precarious position facing Armageddon. If the neo-cons hadn’t established military bases in Saudi Arabia then Kuwait, would Al-Qaeda have attacked the World Trade Center in 1993? Would they have attacked it and the other targets in 2001?”

“Would they?”

“Who knows? For centuries, the religion founded by Mohammed dominated the world in ways other than militarily.(2) Yet, one can make a case that it was created primarily in order to justify Arabic conquest. Accordingly, it represents a religion of war not peace. Its prophet, Mohammed, is quoted in the Koran to the effect that any person or nation failing to submit to the Koran is a sinner. According to the Koran, each and every Mohammedan, therefore, has the right to wage war against us alleged sinners and, by doing so, to make prisoners and slaves of us. If killed while waging such war, a Mohammedan will enjoy the certain fate of entering Heaven. Even so, I believe that whatever they would’ve done, they might’ve done it differently, at the very least . . . and less successfully.”

“Less successfully?”

“Osama Bin Laden stated clearly that his strategy is to bankrupt the United States. He’s succeeding.”

“Are you excusing the Moslems?”

“To raise questions about how we got ourselves into this mess in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t to excuse the Mohammedans. Quite the contrary! The attacks confirm their true attitude toward others, whom they brand as infidels, and their capability for brutal savagery in repressing others’ freedom of religious expression. We must oppose our enemies and fight to win. Showing fear isn’t the way to win. Do you know that currently American authors critical of Mohammedanism are censored by American publishers out of fear.(3) Even sites on the Internet are being closed by their American hosting services despite their owners’ protests.(4) No, showing fear isn’t the way to win. Understanding then correcting our mistakes is.”

“And you, Gabby, have a way to understand, correct, and avoid such mistakes in the future, no doubt.”

“Yep! Science. It’s all context and contingent consequences. The winning formula? The United States Constitution . . . plus the American Tradition of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . . plus Science.”

“How do you apply that formula?”

“That, my friend, is another question to be answered another time, but we’d best get on with it or face the inescapable consequences of our folly (”

1. “World Peace, Cheney-style”. Washington Times (National Edition), 13 September 2010, page 38.
2. Lewis, B: What Went Wrong? New York: Oxford University Press (2002).
3. Nomani, AQ: “You Still Can’t Write About Muhammad”. The Wall Street Journal, 06 August 2008, page A15.
4. “Web Site Criticizing Quran Curbed”. The Wall Street Journal, 24 March 2008, page B5.