"Nobody likes war. It creates a sense of uncertainty," thus spake President George W. Bush in an hour long televised news conference yesterday. To the contrary, war only creates uncertainty for those who have the luxury of being armchair generals. For the wounded, dying, mothers, fathers, and loved ones of the wounded and dying, there is no uncertainty. War is no less certain than the cries of a small child at his father's grave.
The president also tells us nobody likes to turn on their televisions, and see beheadings. In his view, with respect to the prospect for civil war in Iraq, "the Iraqis took a look and decided not to go to civil war." Indeed, maybe their dance cards are full. Could it be that the president is projecting his own response to serving his country back in the Vietnam days? Is it possible, too, that when he refers to Iraq and Afghanistan as "theaters," he expresses some confusion as to what is real, and what isn't. How much more removed can one be from the true impact of his commands than to refer to the bile and devastation of battle as "theater," and do so gleefully. Can it be that bin Laden isn't the only one occupying a metaphysical cave, the kind Plato warned about in his allegory, the shadow on the wall which speaks only figuratively of the sun.
As the Washington Post reports today, when teased by national treasure, journalist Helen Thomas, about his stature in the polls, our commander-in-chief confesses to being in a state of "semi-regret" akin, arguably, to the notion of agony lite, something to which those who grieve the loss of loved ones in a pre-fab battlefield cannot relate.
When asked what he plans to do with the "capital" he was going to spend on social security, at the end of yesterday's news conference, the president said only that he spent it "on war;" a stunning reminder that a government which puts profits from combat above figuring out how best to serve the needs of those it serves is, in the most profound sense, one that is spiritually bankrupt.