Posted by olvlzl.
The other day on Christopher Lydon’s usually excellent “Open Source” he and a small group of well spoken people considered the Bush II regime’s Iraq war in terms of Moby-Dick. The assigning of roles from the book to various people in the incumbent regime was generally unsuccessful, I almost hit the radio when one of them suggested Colin Powell as Starbuck. But it was in the attempt itself that the program failed. Moby-Dick is a rather overdrawn presentation of the dilemmas of human existence and our limited and too short consciousness. It is a novel. As a novel it is entirely inappropriate as a vehicle for looking at the Bush II regime’s entirely sordid and thoroughly banal mishmash of a war. Whaling by a ship of isolated, sexually repressed sailors led by a mad man might be a good metaphor for the Bush II adventure, but as reportage not with the glamour of existential despair and futile striving that Melville attached to a rotten and mercenary activity.
When or, since they seem intent on ending the world, if the history of the Bush II regime is written it will be mythologized . Republicans and the Bush Crime Family have the resources to do that, they will need to and it will be insisted on. In fact they are already shaking down large donors for that effort this very week. But for those of us who are interested in what really were the motives of Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, Wolfowitz, Chalabi, Feith, Miller, the entire range of people in government and the media who made this disaster there is one certainty. If we start looking for motives more noble or exculpatory than a quest for power and plunder we will propagate the lies that began this, the greatest crime committed by a modern American President, the kind of evil that ends empires. Those always begin in people telling themselves a tale, one in which what they want turns into what is noble, good and epic. Maybe the problem is that they were brought up on novels. An education based in fiction is a very bad idea. Look where the Homeric fables got it’s audience.
The origins of the Second Bush War were in the desire to get hold of the American government, the richest and most powerful government in the history of the world. It was a desire to use the mechanism of the military to invade Iraq to hand it’s oil concessions over to the Bush family and its associates. To do this invasion, especially with the “streamlined” military that Rumsfeld provided it was impossible to avoid paying large numbers of contractors associated with Cheney and the Bush family. Various other power players also made out. There are no metaphysical considerations that will shed light on the invasion of Iraq, there are no mitigating features of the kind Melville gave his fictional creations. There is nothing in this that is epic or tragic or revelatory in a greater sense. It is a case to study in the field of international criminology. It is entirely banal every way you turn it.