The Null Device

Dawkins on Bush

I was deliberately avoiding blogging about the war (you can find all manner of kibbitzing, pontification, play-by-play commentary and ill-informed speculation in too many other places, or just bypass the armchair pundits and tune into the BBC or someone), but this piece is too good to pass up: Richard Dawkins on Bush and the system that elected him.
Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this...
Bush seems sincerely to see the world as a battleground between Good and Evil, St Michael's angels against the forces of Lucifer. We're gonna smoke out the Amalekites, send a posse after the Midianites, smite them all and let God deal with their souls. Minds doped up on this kind of cod theology have a hard time distinguishing between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Some of Bush's faithful supporters even welcome war as the necessary prelude to the final showdown between Good and Evil: Armageddon followed by the Rapture. We must presume, or at least hope, that Bush himself is not quite of that bonkers persuasion. But he really does seem to believe he is wrestling, on God's behalf, against some sort of spirit of Evil.

There are 5 comments on "Dawkins on Bush":

Posted by: mitch http:// Tue Mar 25 06:07:43 2003

Dawkins seems only able to understand war on Iraq as revenge for September 11: "If war is so vitally necessary now, was it not at least worth mentioning in the election campaigns of 2000 and 2001?"

The strategic change indicated by September 11 was a new method of delivery for WMDs. Prior to that date, the worry was that Iran, Iraq, North Korea, etc would use ICBMs, and the answer was supposed to be missile defense. Everyone already knew that in principle they could use terrorist proxies as well, but only after that date were the national-security strategists compelled to come up with a countermeasure (preemptive regime change).

Posted by: acb Tue Mar 25 06:49:32 2003

By that token, it's OK for the US to preemptively homb and/or invade anybody who disagrees with them and could have dangerous items (which, by today's definition, is probably any modern nation-state).

I eagerly look forward to the invasion of nuclear-armed, al-Qaeda-infested Pakistan.

Posted by: mitch http:// Wed Mar 26 02:15:07 2003

If Pakistan is ever invaded as part of the war on terror, I think it would be mostly by Indian forces, with US special forces seizing the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. But regime change doesn't have to occur through invasion; I think they're hoping Philippines-style "people power" will do the job in Iran, for example. North Korea, though... I have yet to see a plan there.

Posted by: acb Wed Mar 26 02:33:43 2003

Still, that leaves aside the ethical question of whether superior force is its own justification. (And Iraq was not an immediate threat; the CIA themselves said that Saddam would be unlikely to deploy WMDs, unless backed into a corner -- which is what we're doing right now.) The Hobbesian answer (of which the Whitehouse seems to be fond) would be "if we don't, someone else will"; i.e., when playing Prisoner's Dilemma, always defect. Some of us were hoping that the World's Leading Nation would set a better example than that, lending its moral authority to multilateralism.

Posted by: Graham Wed Mar 26 08:38:23 2003

Hmm. Well, given than the hawks and doves are blaming each other for North Korea's apparent escalation in belligerence. And if WMDs do get used in the next few weeks, the hawks and doves will both be claiming "I told you so". Ahh, the art of the unfalsifiable argument.

Let's put it this way, not even the US can do all of this alone. Another reason why unilateralism is stupid, though that was largely due to Bush's inept diplomacy; in talking tough, he left himself no room to negotiate.

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