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Lessons for Bush from Classical Literature

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I was glancing through an online version of Machiavelli's "<a href="">The Prince</a>" and found a compelling passage it seems the Bush administration glossed over while studying world history in whatever ivy league school they were legacied into.  This bit was from the aptly-titled seventh chapter- "Concerning Those Who Have Obtained a Principality by Wickedness" (emphasis mine);

<blockquote>Hence it is to be remarked that, in seizing a state, the usurper ought to examine closely into all those injuries which it is necessary for him to inflict, and to do them all at one stroke so as not to have to repeat them daily; and thus by not unsettling men he will be able to reassure them, and win them to himself by benefits. <span style="font-weight: bold;">He who does otherwise, either from timidity or evil advice, is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand; neither can he rely on his subjects, nor can they attach themselves to him, owing to their continued and repeated wrongs.</span> For injuries ought to be done all at one time, so that, being tasted less, they offend less; benefits ought to be given little by little, so that the flavour of them may last longer.</blockquote>It seems that if the Bush administration had truly wanted to master Iraq the process would have involved lining up enemies of the new state-to-be and getting 5 years of murders over with in one, twisted, fell blow.  The logic emphasized above does apply, however- because of bad advice and timidity (read: not enough troops) the United States is forced to "keep the knife in the hand" while Iraqis remain lukewarm due to "continued and repeated wrongs."

The Bushittes do seem to be following another bit of wisdom from the same chapter, emphasis again mine;

<blockquote>And above all things, a prince <span style="font-weight: bold;">ought to live amongst his people in such a way that no unexpected circumstances, whether of good or evil, shall make him change</span>; because if the necessity for this comes in troubled times, you are too late for harsh measures; and mild ones will not help you, for they will be considered as forced from you, and no one will be under any obligation to you for them. </blockquote>I think the heavily-fortified 12-foot-thick walls of the Green Zone ought to serve to keep the U.S. occupiers from having to change.

Who knows, had Cheney and his establishment cabal read a little more classical literature, we might have avoided a long term presence in Iraq and the resultant horrible PR in the region.  We could have settled for being <span style="font-style: italic;">fast</span> mass-murderers instead of the slow death eating our soldiers alive today.


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Mike Kuykendall is a progressive, patriotic veteran of the U.S. Air Force, fighting hard to save our democracy.

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