Terror Bills & "Awakening": A Flawed Bush Ideology genre: Hip-Gnosis & Just Jihad

Flawed ideology

There is little doubt George Bush believes what he says and that his ideology is sincere. There is also little doubt that so long as he is allowed to act upon his beliefs and his ideology, the fundamental principles and therefore the structure of our democracy is in danger. He is a man incapable of valuing the tenets of our founding fathers because he suffers the ailment of absolute intransigence whereby he concludes that the end result of preserving our way of life fully justify the means he employs. In that construct, he is the singular largest threat to U.S. credibility and the primary obstacle to our ability to extol or export our American democratic system to other nations and regions.

Two recent items clearly demonstrate the problem with this President's ideology and they point out that there is little hope that he will moderate his beliefs. In fact, they may indicate that he is simply moving further towards the extremes.

First, the bills the President seeks to pass, in which the Geneva Conventions are redefined to allow some of the illegal "interrogation methods" that have been exposed and vehemently criticized by many Americans and countless others, indicate that the President is convinced that America is entitled to use any and all methods it deems necessary to oppose terrorism...including the abandonment of our fundamental judicial system and the long established principles of decency adopted by the world community.

Secondly, his remarks that the United States is in the midst of the third "awakening" illuminate the degree to which this President has defined his Presidency as fundamental to defining the future of civilization in an image of his liking...actions that might be characterized in psychology as the delusional ideations of an individual fully enveloped in visions of grandiosity such that they are allowed to justify otherwise myopic, unilateral, and illegal actions and activities.

His plan would narrow the U.S. legal interpretation of the Geneva Conventions treaty in a bid to allow tougher interrogations and shield U.S. personnel from being prosecuted for war crimes.

Bush was expected to ask for support for two key pieces of legislation he says are crucial to preventing terrorist attacks. One would meet CIA demands that Congress reinterpret the nation's treaty obligations to allow tougher interrogations of detainees, but it's snagged in the Senate between the leadership and a trio of powerful Republicans.

At nearly the same time Bush met with House Republicans, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Thursday was asking his panel to finish an alternative to the White House plan to prosecute terror suspects and redefine acts that constitute war crimes.

The White House on Thursday said the alternate approach was unacceptable because it would force the CIA to end a program of using forceful interrogation methods with suspected terrorists.

The other bill Bush is pushing would give legal status to the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. It was approved on a party-line vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, but is stalled in the House amid staunch opposition from Democrats and some Republicans concerned that the program violates civil liberties.

I accept that it may be unfair to question the President's intellect yet at the same time I find it necessary to do so. At the risk of angering my religious friends and readers by association, I have to conclude that this President is prone to adopting beliefs that are fully devoid of substantive evidence or reasoned analysis. The religious dogma that allows some to conclude that the scientific data supporting the theory of evolution is flawed and unconvincing is similar to the approach this President takes with regard to the execution of his duties and the administration of our laws and our constitution.

When the President responded that he consulted a "higher father" when asked if he discussed policy issues with his father, he clearly defined how he conducts himself and how easily he can discount the rational observations of credible others in favor of religious ideology and inferred divine inspiration. Sadly, this rhetoric is identical to that espoused by terrorists like Osama bin Laden or fanatical leaders like Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran...rhetoric that purports to be guided by God or Allah and that is not subject to opposition because it is presumed to be cloaked in the absolute righteousness of its origin.

When men of this ilk are allowed to hold power, they are compelled to characterize all opposition as evil and therefore feel they are not only fully justified to extinguish the enemy...they believe it is their duty and their calling...a premise that I would assert closely approximates insanity. The difference between leaders of this persuasion and other notorious lunatics like Jim Jones or David Koresh or Warren Jeffs is simply the degree and the size of the sphere of influence that they have been able to obtain. Nonetheless, they are not the sacred vessels of "truth" they purport to be.

Granted, such comparisons are dangerous because it is difficult to weigh one man's actions with those of another without comparative measurements...the raping a young girl is not the equivalent of torturing terrorists who seek to harm Americans. My goal is not to draw such value judgments but to provide examples and evidence of a way of thinking that is frequently dangerous and misguided. Further, this type of thinking isn't consistent with the values this country is premised upon and that runs the risk of undermining the "truths" that are fundamental to our system of governance and the legitimacy that has afforded.

Baker writes: "President Bush said yesterday that he senses a 'Third Awakening' of religious devotion in the United States that has coincided with the nation's struggle with international terrorists, a war that he depicted as 'a confrontation between good and evil.'

"Bush told a group of conservative journalists that he notices more open expressions of faith among people he meets during his travels, and he suggested that might signal a broader revival similar to other religious movements in history. Bush noted that some of Abraham Lincoln's strongest supporters were religious people 'who saw life in terms of good and evil' and who believed that slavery was evil. Many of his own supporters, he said, see the current conflict in similar terms. . . .

Unfortunately, the Bush comparison to Lincoln and the Civil War era may be the ultimate misjudgment on the part of this President. History may prove me wrong, but I feel safe in asserting that the Bush legacy may well be compared to the Lincoln legacy...but I believe that comparison will be drawn to illustrate the differences between the proper way to confront grave threats to our democracy and the woefully misguided Bush doctrine that served to undermine our democracy and bring the world to the precipice of unbridled chaos.

Regardless, the President's words show the depth of conviction that guides him and they explain his apparent willingness to adopt methods, procedures, and laws that allow him to prosecute what he views as his righteous role in a newly defined "awakening" that is serving witness to what he believes is the penultimate battle between good and evil. It is clear that the country is in desperate need of an altered course and that the absence of a Democratic victory in November may be the impetus for this President to further execute what he believes to be his calling in a cataclysmic clash of civilizations. That eventuality must be contained.

Daniel DiRito | September 14, 2006 | 9:27 AM
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