Monday, October 25, 2004

Does Bush Think He's Channeling God?

10-25-04: News at Home
Does Bush Think He's Channeling God?
By Robert S. McElvaine
History News Network
Mr. McElvaine teaches history at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. He is the author of Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes and the Course of History (McGraw-Hill). He is currently completing his first novel and screenplay, What It Feels Like . . . .

As I read Ron Suskind's dismaying cover story on President Bush's religiously inspired certainty in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "Without a Doubt," I kept experiencing déjà vu.

I've seen this storyline somewhere before: A president who had been a feckless, party-loving, hard-drinking man, is visited by a messenger of God and suddenly changes his ways. Thereafter, he knows what is right and will listen to no one who suggests otherwise. This president, convinced that he is doing God's work--that he is God’s spokesman on earth--suspends civil liberties to fight crime. He repudiates international treaties and announces that the United States will build new weapons to put itself in a position of world dominance. He orders other nations to follow American dictates, or else. That the "or else" means using American military might for preemptive war is made clear to world leaders when they are assembled and shown a demonstration of American military power. They all immediately agree to do what the United States (and God) demands.