Now that we have looked at a wide variety of information that relates, both directly and indirectly, to the situation in Iraq, let's examine again what the Bush administration has said about war with Iraq and the War on Terror.
"We've come to know truths that we will never question: evil is real, and it must be opposed."
"We are a people dedicated to the triumph of freedom and democracy over evil and tyranny." - Patriot Day 2002
I am commenting on this quote from President Bush first because it has important implications. There are many definitions for the word "evil". President Bush has used the word "evil" numerous times in his speeches about terrorism and war. It is important then to understand what he means when he says the word evil.
This statement by the President, that "evil is real" indicates that he is talking about evil as a supernatural force or personification.
On a side note, he claims that "[w]e've come to know truths that we will never question", and then goes to state that "evil is real". This is not a truth that we can never question. It certainly has never been proven that there is any such thing as a form of supernatural evil. That is, in fact, not a truth, it’s a belief .
"There's no question that the leader of Iraq is an evil man. After all, he gassed his own people. We know he's been developing weapons of mass destruction. … And so we're watching him very carefully. We're watching him carefully," - President George Bush - Oct. 11, 2001
Of course we know that he has been developing weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has had the third largest weapons of mass destruction program in the world since the 1970s, and America is the largest contributor to that program. Yes American officials know he has the program, they helped him build it in the first place, and those Americans, including Donald Rumsfeld, have never been held accountable for their actions, as they definitely should be.
The following statements are from a press conference about the war on Iraq:
"QUESTION: So oil is not a factor?
MR. FLEISCHER: That is not a factor. This is about preserving the peace and saving the lives of Americans.
QUESTION: Saddam Hussein's oil reserves are not at all a factor in any of the geopolitical calculations?
MR. FLEISCHER: No"
I have included this to indicate for the record that the Bush administration has clearly stated that this war on Iraq has nothing at all to do with oil.
"You know, one of my concerns was the farther we got away from September the 11th, the more likely it would be that some in our country might not think the enemy still existed. But they do. And they're nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers. That's all they are. People in our country wonder why, why would somebody hate America. It's because we love freedom, that's why. We love the idea that free people can worship and almighty God any way they so choose in America. We value the freedom for people to speak their mind in this country. We value a free press. We value freedom. And the more we value freedom, the more they hate us. That's why. That's why the enemy still exists."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
This statement is absurd, and it is indicative of the way in which the President has attempted to simplify this entire issue and remove the American people from debate about the real root causes of these problems. The President is attempting to supply a quick, simple, and emotional, answer to complex issues so that American's will not look at the issues more deeply.
"I went to Congress, and I said, in order to help me and future Presidents -- and notice I say future Presidents, because I don't think this war and this hatred is going to go away any time soon"- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
Which clearly indicates that his administration has no intention of addressing the root causes of anti-American sentiment.
"The best way to protect our homeland is to hunt the killers down one by one and bring them to justice. The best way to secure America. The best way to secure our country and to protect our freedom is to find the killers."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
This again indicates a long-term strategy of dealing with anti-American sentiment though conflict and not by addressing root causes that lead to anti-American sentiment.
"And I want you to tell your youngsters, your children and your grandchildren, that when this great nation went into Afghanistan, we didn't go to conquer anybody, we went in to liberate. We went in to liberate people from the clutches of the most barbaric regime in history."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
The President is stating that the Taliban is the most barbaric regime in the history of the world. I find this a pretty wild claim for someone to make so candidly, and if it is true then we should certainly learn more about the Taliban. It is in fact a documented fact that the CIA helped the Taliban into power in the first place, and that the Tabilan had the support of American oil companies in gaining control in Afghanistan. The Taliban are not even an organization native to Afghanistan, they are a group of largely foreign Islamic Fundamentalists that was helped by our ally Pakistan, the CIA, and international oil companies to power because it was felt that they would help stabilize Afghanistan. Again, where is the responsibility on the part of American leaders that create these problems in the first place? If the Taliban is indeed "the most barbaric regime in history" then we need a full investigation about how American government and private groups helped to fund and create "the most barbaric regime in history".
"The American people are not going to like it if they see the Congress playing politics with the defense bill, when we're at war."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
This statement is obviously designed to send a message to Congress that they should not be too critical of the legislation that the Bush administration would be pushing through related to homeland security. He's saying, just pass it and move on. The legislation that he sent though was some of the largest and most wide sweeping legislation in the history of America. For there not to be debate on the legislation is absurd. As we have already seen, many aspects of the legislation are very problematic and create cause for concern. It should be noted that Bush does not want those concerns to be addressed, as is evidenced by this statement and many others that e has made.
"I remember the fact that he has invaded two countries before."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
The two countries he is referring to are Kuwait and Iran. Saddam invaded Iran in part due to American encouragement, and the American government aided him in this invasion. It's hardly viable to hold it against a country or leader if they invade a country as an ally with American encouragement and assistance.
"I can't imagine what went through the enemy's mind when they hit us. I can't imagine what they were thinking. Let me guess. They probably said, America is so selfish and so self-absorbed and so materialistic, that after September the 11th we might file a lawsuit or two, but that's all we would do. They were wrong."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
I seriously doubt that that is what was going through their minds. The President is attempting to frame the enemies in a way that promotes his own agenda. In this case he is actually attacking lawyers and lawsuits. The President has repeatedly attacked lawyers and law suites. To do so is fine if that is what he wants to do, but to veil the attacks in this way by making associations between September 11th and the American legal system is very dirty. The implication he is making is that filing lawsuits is the act of selfish, self-absorbed, materialistic people. If that is what he wants to say then he should come out and say it directly. Of course this is the same president that pulled federal funding for the lawsuits against tobacco companies as one of his first actions in office.
"You see, I believe out of the evil done to America -- and make no mistake, it was an incredibly evil act -- will come incredible good."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
He is casting the act as "evil". This is just another case of simplifying the situation.
"No government program can do that. It happens because thousands of citizens like Robert, who I call soldiers in the armies of compassion…"- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
I do not believe that the word army and compassion can go together. Soldiers and armies are for killing people, period. To begin mixing the ideas of compassion and warfare is an extremely dangerous act. No one should ever confuse the fact that war and soldiers and armies are about death and killing, not compassion. Secondly, this is another one of his veiled attacks, this time on government assistance programs, which he hopes to cut funding for.
"No, out of the evil done to America is going to come incredible good -- peace and a better society. Because we're the greatest nation, full of the greatest people on the face of the Earth."- Speech at Louisville Kentucky
This is perhaps one of the most important statements that the President has made. That America is "the greatest nation" and that Americans are "the greatest people on the face of Earth." It is impossible to create a global community of cooperation if one nation is to be held out as "the best". Obviously this speaks to the fact that he and his administration do not believe in the idea of global community, they believe in American superiority, just as he has stated here. It is this very attitude that is one to the issues at the heart of all these problems in the first place in so many ways. Not just the fact that Americans believe that America is the best, but that that belief engenders the idea that America can do no wrong and that we have a right, duty, destiny, whatever, to spread our greatness around the world.
I will revisit this idea again later.
"We're taking action against evil people. Because this great nation of many religions understands, our war is not against Islam, or against faith practiced by the Muslim people. Our war is a war against evil. This is clearly a case of good versus evil, and make no mistake about it -- good will prevail." - Town Hall Forum Jan. 5, 2002
Again, casting this as a war of good vs. evil is nothing more then over simplification of the issues involved. I have already addressed many of the issue that are involved in this war, and none of them have anything to do with good vs. evil. This is not "clearly" a case of good vs. evil, this is a complex geopolitical matter that all of humanity would do good to look at in depth, not gloss over in a simplistic view of good vs. evil.
Furthermore, due to the fact that the President has clearly demonstrated that he claims to believe in a supernatural evil force, is he saying that this is a supernatural battle?
"The evil ones awakened a mighty giant." - Town Hall Forum Jan. 5, 2002
"The evil one" is a term used to refer to Satan in the Christian faith, especially among evangelical Christians. This statement suggests that Bush is claiming that the attack on America was the action of minions of Satan, who are referred to by Christians as "the evil ones".
"States like these [Iran, Iraq, North Korae], and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic." - State of the Union 2002
The classification of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an "axis of evil" is absurd. First of all, "evil" has nothing to do with it and secondly the word "axis" makes references to the Axis powers of World War II, in an attempt to tie these countries to the World War II Axis powers in the minds of Americans because the "Axis powers" stir feelings of hate and war among Americans and a feeling that we did the right thing, which we did, by going to war with those countries.
"...behind all of life and all history there is a dedication and purpose, set by the hand of a just and faithful God.” - State of the Union 2002
Certainly no one, not even religious leaders such as priests or pastors, can make this claim. This is just intended to imply that anything that we do is the will of God, and makes reference to predestination, which hardly makes any sense, because if everything is the will of God then Saddam Hussein gassing Kurds in Iraq was the will of God and had a purpose, little girls getting raped is part of God's plan, etc, etc. I don't think that many people really believe that, at least I hope not, and in fact there is no reason to believe that. For one of the most powerful leaders in the world, the President of the United States, to make these kinds of claims is ridiculous and irresponsible.
"The United States is presenting a clear choice to every nation: Stand with the civilized world, or stand with the terrorists. And for those nations that stand with the terrorists, there will be a heavy price." - Radio Address
This again is a way to cast the issue of the War on Terror in a dualistic light, making a simply choice of one or the other. Either side with America, or you’re a terrorist. That's simply absurd. This is a complex situation, not a simple situation, in fact America has aided many terrorist groups, how do we define terrorist? The American founding fathers were terrorists, how do we account for that?
The term "terrorism" is defined by the federal government as:
"Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."
Obviously the Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism by this definition, as were many other acts that led up to the American Revolution.
The point is, the matter is not simple. This, along with many other statements, is simply an attempt to make it appear simple.
"We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name. By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we do not create a problem, we reveal a problem. And we will lead the world in opposing it."- West Point Speech 2002
This is a speech to a military academy, and to these soldiers the President is saying that this is a battle of good vs. evil. Again, this is a childish simplification, and again this can be taken as a claim that this is a supernatural battle.
"The American people have responsibilities as well. Countless people around the country have asked me, "What can I do to help in the war on terror?" The answer: Overcome evil with acts of goodness." - USA Today
This is another case of just over simplifying the issues and not encouraging Americans to deeply investigate and consider the issues in this matter, and it implies a supernatural aspect of the situation as well, suggesting that we can combat terrorists by "being good", which is an insulting and childish statement.
"America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge -- thereby, making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace."- West Point Speech 2002
This obviously fits with the statements of the PNAC, that the goal of America for the 21st century is to maintain global military supremacy, which can only be done through global economic supremacy. While the espoused benefits of this agenda seem good, there are many other broader implications, not to mention the fact that this is a decision that has been made by a handful of individuals.
"There's no doubt his hatred is mainly directed at us. There's no doubt he can't stand us. After all, this is a guy that tried to kill my dad at one time."- State of the Union Address 2003
I'm curious, does he mean us as a country or us as in the Bush family. It seems to me that there is a lot of direct anger directly between the Bushes and Saddam. It is not appropriate to bring nations to war over personal conflicts.
"There are days when our fellow citizens do not hear news about the war on terror. There's never a day when I do not learn of another threat, or receive reports of operations in progress, or give an order in this global war against a scattered network of killers." -State of the Union Address 2003
This is one of many statements made simply to promote a sense of fear in the population. The comments that he hears of news of threats on a daily basis and the phrase scattered network of "killers". Is all designed to make people fearful.
"From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors."- State of the Union Address 2003
This claim has never been substantiated. UN inspectors found alleged mobile biological weapons labs that turned out to be mobile medical facilities. No mobile weapons labs have ever been found.
"Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity."- State of the Union Address 2003
This statement is ridiculous. In order to make this statement the President would have to claim that he has direct knowledge of the will of God. Secondly, if liberty were God's gift to humanity then why would humanity have had to wait thousands of years for George Bush to be President of the united States in order to receive the liberty that he wants for the world, and why would the world have to receive this liberty through the use of war that kills thousands or even millions of innocent people and children? If liberty were God's gift to humanity then why isn’t the whole world enjoying this "liberty" right now and why has it not been enjoying it all along? Liberty is the product of man made law and decisions; to cast it as anything else is not being honest.
The President is making highly irresponsible claims when he says these things.
"I think the thing that -- the prayer that I would like America is to ask for is to pray for God's protection for our land and our people, to pray against -- that there's a shield of protection, so that if the evil ones try to hit us again, that we've done everything we can, physically, and that there is a spiritual shield that protects the country."- Town Hall Forum
Obviously the President here is actually invoking a supernatural defense mechanism for the country. Is this for real? Is this the 21st century in the country that is called the most advanced country in the world? If America is attacked again will the "prayer shield" be deemed ineffective? The president is claiming that he believes that it is possible to create a "spiritual shield" to protect a country, in this case America, from harm and he is again making reference to "the evil ones", which in this context looks even more like a reference to "minions of Satan". This statement goes beyond implying that this is a supernatural war, it pretty much states that this is a supernatural war.
"My family and I send our thoughts and prayers to those most affected by these tragedies. Thank you, Mr. President, for seeking God's help and strength. Whatever is decided and wherever you lead, we will follow and be victorious." - Charles, in a letter to the President that is published on the Whitehouse web site.
These types of comments are no different at all from the types of comments that were made by German people of faith who followed Hitler into World War II. George W. Bush is a third generation multi-millionaire that evaded duty in Vietnam, was involved in unethical business practices and the demise of a number of companies that he headed, was busted for cocaine in 1972, is an alcoholic with 2 DWIs, and was arrested for shoplifting while at Yale, yet this person, and many other Americans like him, are saying that they will follow this man wherever he leads, simply because he speaks religiously, and has claimed to be a "born again" Christian. George Bush's religious speaking is different from other presidents because he does not simply make references to religion or say "God Bless America", etc., religion is the root of much of what he has to say. It's not icing, it’s the cake.
In other words, many people support Bush solely on his religious stance, not on the substance of his legislation. It's one thing to agree with someone's politics and then feel more confident in them because you identify with their religious views, but its quite another to not care about their politics and say that you will follow someone down any road simply because you identify with his religious statements, and that is exactly what is going on here with George W. Bush. A large part of his support is based solely on the religious nature of his speaking.