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The Arrogance Of Power

This morning I wanted to write about President Bush essentially saying, “I don’t need Senate approval,” by installing controversial nominee John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN. Mr. Bush shuffled his nominee through the back door using a “recess appointment,” a little-used option available when Congress is not in session. Mr. Bolton’s fitness for the job has been questioned by both Rebublicans and Democrats for his bullying of staff who differed with his conservative views, and for suggesting several floors of the UN headquarters could be severed without being missed.

I shelved the plan to instead write about a nice day yesterday. Later I was doing some research when I read this: “It is a curiosity of human nature that lack of self-assurance seems to breed an exaggerated sense of power and mission.” It made me think of “Dubya” and I was back on the sneaky Bolton move. The quote, by former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright is from his 1966 book, “The Arrogance Of Power,” a criticism of our involvement in Vietnam.

In 1966, Mr. Fullbright’s words chillingly describes the Iraq mess and the self-righteous attitude of the administration and its right-wing Christian base. He wrote, “Power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is particularly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God’s favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations — to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God’s work.”

I fail to see how any God could favor lies, death and destruction.

2 Comments

  1. Barb

    I realize everyone has strong feelings about Iraq. Me too, but they remain mixed.

    I just find it somewhat funny, that at a time the Ten Commandments is being stripped out of our lives, like a danger to society, that now religion is mysteriously being brought in as the culprit of Iraq.

    Regardless of how/why we got into Iraq – we are in it. Without a solid deployment, roll-out and support plan, the merit of the original objectives are meaningless. Hence the mess we are in. But I feel like the ‘original objectives’ get more sinister as time goes on. There were lies and most people believed them. Period.

    I remember how I first felt about going to war. While I can separate Iraq from 9/11 on the basic level, having friends and family in the World Trade Center on that fateful day, and losing some lifelong friends, made me grade our reasons for going into Iraq – on a curve. Yes, I know Sadam was not directly involved in 9/11 and yes, I also believe that they did move-out weapons of mass destruction that would have been used to threaten more people I love. You can hate that I feel that way, but I hate what hate did to innocent people that I love.

    I take some issue with the concept that anyone said we were going into Iraq to do “God’s Work”. I recall the lies and misinformation, in the name of security, but not in the name of Christianity.

    I read Fulbright’s book, btw, and loved it. It is excellent. To me it was more about how many people in power define (incorrectly) what it means to be a humanitarian more then anything else.

  2. fifteenkey

    I did not blame Christians for the mess in Iraq, but for the blind faith of supporting this administration as long as their social goals on abortion, gays and creationism are pursued by it.

    Barb, although I did not lose a loved one on 9/11, I was horrified like most Americans. I wanted revenge. “They” hit “us.” I enjoyed watching the monochrome video of “terrorist training camps” being vaporized in Afghanistan. I also looked forward to the “shock and awe” bombing in Baghdad promised to me. I supported it. After all, Saddam had WMD and was ready to use them against us. Oh, and VP Cheney linked Iraq and Al Qaeda and told us that that Saddam had a hand in 9/11. Of course, this claim was repudiated by the 9/11 Commission and to date, no WMD or evidence of their movement to Syria have been found.

    Yes, lies were told, thousands are dead, and in my opinion we’re no more safe…

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