Sunday, May 17, 2009

Preaching to a Choir of One

Catch this line in Frank Rich's column today?

But Draper’s biggest find is a collection of daily cover sheets that Rumsfeld approved for the Secretary of Defense Worldwide Intelligence Update, a highly classified digest prepared for a tiny audience, including the president, and often delivered by hand to the White House by the defense secretary himself. These cover sheets greeted Bush each day with triumphal color photos of the war headlined by biblical quotations. GQ is posting 11 of them, and they are seriously creepy.

Pretty creepy stuff, indeed. You should flip through this slide show just to remind yourself of the mindset that was in charge from January 2001 through January 2009. For full effect, stare at the pictures and read the Bible quotes aloud.

Here is one of them.

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Here is another.

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One more.

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(The rest, plus the accompanying article.)

Maybe the worst part for me is the strong suggestion that Rumsfeld so obviously knew how to play his (nominal) boss. I've given no end of PowerPoint presentations in my day, almost always as the junior member in the room, and my considered reaction to these cover sheets is that if George W. Bush were any sort of a real leader, he would have fired Rumsfeld on the spot, for brown-nosing. That there is a whole series of these images says to me that for eight years, our ostensible Commander-in-Chief, the guy who loved to call himself "a wartime president" (e.g.), was nothing more than a GI Joe™ fetishist whose favorite version of the Bible was a comic book.

Not that I'm telling you anything you didn't already know.

(h/t: Wonderment)


James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Nixonian Evil + the Reagan Happyface on Nixonian Evil + the First Real Excuse They Got To Start Killing People For Jesus After Vietnam. I'm more than willing to believe Rumsfeld knew this would manipulate that pious cowboy faker in the Oval Office; what I don't believe is the idea that Rumsfeld wasn't a true believer into the bargain. Anointing themselves comes as naturally to these bozos as killing from 30,000 feet.

bjkeefe said...

You might well be right. I guess I've always had the impression that Rumsfeld, like Rove and Cheney, was an amoral and unbelieving character, who would mouth pieties only as doing so furthered his real agenda. (Part of my problem almost certainly has to do with the version of Jesus I was raised with -- all that nonsense about love thine enemy and so forth.)

However, the idea that Rumsfeld would believe that world peace and prosperity would be best achieved by crushing everybody else under the boot of U.S. Crusading Jeebus is one that's easier to accept than dismiss.

Anonymous said...

I believe Doghouse is correct. Did you read that Reagan tried to convert Gorbachev to Christianity during negotiation face-to-face meetings? I think these people are mentally ill, and all want nothing more than a global religious war - the Apocalypse.

ArtSparker said...

I'll go with the other two readers, similar thoughts occurred to me on seeing the post.

Two things, One, that if you are doing Very Bad Things, it's more important to you than to a guy in a more normal mode of being to believe in and find validation for your own virtue.

Two, I agree that there is a longing for end times, I think I've said before here - as these men age, and face their own deaths, they would like to take everyone else with them. See Ernest Becker's "The Denial of Death".

Again, the "Praying out loud in Church" syndrome.