After September Eleven, even a pacifist can understand (though not necessarily approve) how most Americans demanded some sort of violent, hell-fire retaliation (and many people insisted on calling it “justice” though in practice it went well beyond eye for eye, tooth for tooth.) And even though the majority of the terrorists were Saudis, we didn't bomb the bloody hell out of Saudi Arabia. Didn’t even touch it. If we went there truly for justice, why not?
Can you say oil-friendly? Can you say friends of the family?
Justice? Hardly. Not unless "justice" helps me get 14 mpg every time I drive a quarter-mile to the store.
Prince Bandar, for example, has a very close long-standing relationship to the Bush family. Bob Woodward reports that Bandar has assured Bush of lower oil prices shortly before the election. The market normally brings prices down somewhat after summer travel; what more did Bandar assure? How many people will go to the polls happy as long as gas comes back down to $1.95 (which may then seem cheap!), and how many will let that influence their decision? Where does justice fit into Bush's family's and friends' tremendous political interest in petrol?
(Bob Woodward's work on in-depth interviews with Bush himself and other administration personnel contains more amazing reading on this and many other points that may distress many honest, objective thinkers. Remember this when gas prices fall.)
Afghanistan as a nation posed no threat to us. But many people, including many Christians who set aside some of Jesus' and early Christians' core principles (supplemental discussion), felt that we had to take vengeance somewhere, and the bad guys took up residence there, so we blasted Taliban across the land. Most nations understood and supported or at least tolerated our bombing Afghanistan back from the 18th century to the 17th.
In case you haven’t heard any news reports or seen a single newspaper in the last few months, ample evidence supports the contention that Bush, or perhaps Bush serving as a ventriloquist's dummy for Cheney, expressly wanted to attack Saddam and simply had to to find some pretext for it. Remember when Bush said that he had "no plans on [his] desk" for war? When he said that, I wondered: What an odd statement. Why that particular wording? Turns out that the plans, well under way and constantly being revised until they came in a package that enough citizens would tolerate, lay on others' desks, such as Rumsfeld's, but Bush evaded the truth.
Again, compare Bush's evasiveness to Clinton's: "That depends on what your definition of is is." But also compare: Clinton did not exploit his deception to wage a war, particularly not one that offers substantial political and lucrative benefits to himself and cronies.
I have yet to meet a Bush supporter who has the integrity to acknowledge Bush's deceptions, evasions, and subterfuges as at least equal to anything Mr. Clinton ever passed off.
The personal vendetta hypothesis certainly fits well (especially if reinforced or exacerbated by Cheney prodding him). Given how many irrational and sometimes outright vacuous statements President Bush does make, his doing this would not surprise me.
One point that exasperates and challenges me: I sincerely believe that to some extent Bush myopically sees (or paints) this as a noble quest for freedom. But he cannot see the contaminating factors. And if he does see them, he would never acknowledge his guilt in pandering to them. In order for his world to work, he cannot allow any intelligent, rational confrontation. He has consistently shunned and suppressed such efforts. And White House Press Corps have learned to tuck their tails under and not raise valid, challenging questions, for fear of not being invited back.
In order to provide some superficial justification for his revenge, something that Bush's supporters could point to as at least some pretext, Bush and his team kept intermingling Saddam and al Qaeda, Iraq and September Eleven. Eventually many honest, trusting people accepted the conditioned reflex: Bush says “Saddam,” and people salivate for revenge. Even though we have little or no true evidence of a link, the rhetoric worked. And some people even today still assume that connection. Why? Karl Rove or others like him prepared an excellent and effective campaign of disinformation.
Cold war-style propaganda. From our President. Playing patriot games.
Ah got th' sumbitch, daddy. Big time.