This is the idea, the story they are trying to live out:
"There are some really bad people - evil beyond hope - who hate us because we are good. And they want to hurt us any way they can, even with nuclear weapons and chemicals and cutting off our heads with a knife. They are so bad, they cannot possibly be changed; and they cannot be dealt with, because they refuse to obey any civilized rules. So we must kill them all in order to protect ourselves. We cannot stop killing them until they are about 95% completely destroyed. Then we can stop killing them ourselves, and turn the job over to the Local People, who will be well-enough trained by then to finish up. We are encountering some problems, but if we are strong, and stay the course, we can overcome all difficulties. Eventually, victory will be ours, and the world will be saved from these evil people. And then, at last, the Local People will be tossing flowers and dancing in the streets. 'Free at Last! Free at last! Hallelujah, we're free at last!' they will sing. And we will all live happily ever after, with Democracy, and American flags, and freedom to worship (or not) as we choose, and unregulated free-trade Capitalism, and private investment, and excellent profits, and privatization of everything,, and retirement savings accounts, and education for everyone, and security for Israel, and reconstruction contracts, and freedom for women, and lots of oil forever."
So where did they get this idea? Why are they stuck on this story, trying to make it come true, no matter what? I think that George W. Bush - in his isolated, delusional imagination - has created this story in his mind and has cast himself in the role of Hero. He sees the world through the lens of this story, and he disregards all facts which conflict with the story's plot. This is how we got into this mess in Iraq, and this is why we can never get out as long as Bush is President.
It seems to me that Bush sees himself as a combination of Paul Newman in EXODUS and Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON. Both of these films had a major influence on American culture during his formative years. And it seems like Bush has subconsciously combined these two stories into one, and updated the plot to fit today's cast of characters in the world.
EXODUS was a hugely-popular 1960 movie about the founding of modern Israel, starring Paul Newman as an Israeli Resistance leader, struggling against the hostile Arabs. The resistance somehow triumphs, after overcoming great difficulties. EXODUS has a political importance not many people fully understand, because it completely silenced all U.S. critics of Israel. The music from Exodus is unforgettably magnificent, with a powerful melody written by world-class composer Dimitri Tiomkin, and the brilliant opening words, "This land is mine! God gave this land to me!" I'm not even Jewish, but I was ready to go fight for Israel if needed, after viewing EXODUS as a high-school student.
In HIGH NOON, Gary Cooper is an aging western marshall who returns to town to face a gang of outlaws who had come to kill him. Why did he choose to return after he had already ridden away? "They're making me run; I've never run from anyone before," he says to his young bride, Grace Kelly. In town, he hoped to round up a posse of deputies to help him. Otherwise, "They'd just come after us, four of 'em, and we'd be all alone on the prairie." The townspeople decline to help, however, and the marshall is left to face his enemies alone. Somehow, the marshall triumphs, after facing up to the great danger. HIGH NOON won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1952, and the song won the Oscar for best song. Key words in the song: "Do not forsake me, oh my darling." In those Korean Conflict years, Cooper represented America, facing up to the Communist menace, and winning.
So now we can see how George W. Bush became captive to the fictional story he created for himself. He probably doesn't even realize what he did: it just happened, as far as he knows.
The most obvious, greatest problem with this story is that it cannot possibly ever come true. And the longer we try to force it into existence, the worse off everybody will be.
There is simply no possible way that any Muslim-majority country could ever accept any kind of "liberation" provided by the Christian leader of an infidel country, commanding an infidel army of invasion. If you talk honestly with real Muslims, you will find that not one in a hundred could accept such a thing, particularly in view of the unquestioned support provided continuously by the USA to Israel, the perpetual enemy. You might as well expect henhouse chickens to accept liberation provided by a wolf. No matter how bad Saddam may have been, he could never have been bad enough to justify being liberated by George W. Bush and the Crusaders. Sure, you had a few "house Muslims" who said that such an invasion would be welcome. But they lied, and anybody who looked could have easily recognized this lie.
But nobody tried very hard to find the truth, although it was obvious from the beginning to people like myself, who had authentic Muslims to talk to. Everybody thought they had had too much to gain by supporting the lie, whether by actual intention to deceive or by failure to seek the truth. Republicans would capture part of the Jewish vote, for deposing Israel's enemy, Saddam; the economic right-wing would get a captive free-trade market with privatization of everything, plus unlimited oil; Bush would become a hero of freedom and democracy; the militarists would get a base in the middle east, etc. But it all blew up in their face because the whole idea was impossible from the start.
So here we are today. And what should we do? I don't see any good solution at this point: nothing but bad, worse, and worst. What are you supposed to do after the train jumps off the track and falls into the river below? There is really nothing good you can do except try to save as many lives as you can, then clean up the wreck; and try to keep it from happening again.
I would never have let us get into this situation. Saddam was under control, surrounded by inspectors; and more inspectors could have easily been sent. He had already destroyed whatever Weapons of Mass Destruction he may have had. And he was actually helping the USA by restraining the ambitions of Iran. If you search Google, you will find that I (along with numerous other anti-war activists) tried everything I knew how to do, to keep us from starting this idiot war in Iraq. So don't expect me now to think up some good way get us out of it. That is now the moral responsibility of the ignorant, careless, delusional fictionalists who got us into this mess in the first place, and all those who failed to object when they had the chance. I hope they wake up to their responsibilities and figure some way out. But my hands are clean.
Blessings to you. May God help us all.
Rev. Bill McGinnis
Director - www.LoveAllPeople.org
Pastor - www.InternetChurchOfChrist.org
Editor - www.AmericanDemocrat.net