America's Ayatollah

Dear Readers,

As much as I could remember, Richard Cohen, the distinguished writer for the Washington Post, was in favor of Bush’s war in Iraq last year. Like millions of other good-natured Americans and other nationals, Bush and Blair’s trickery had put a mushroom cloud between the reality and fabrication. But the cloud has started to dissipate, and the writers like Mr. Cohen has begun to lash out against America’s Ayatollahs, the “almighty” driven current Bush Administration, who had taken the nation to a war on the basis of gross sham.

These are all good indications that American slumbering consciousness that was most likely suspended just aftermath of the devastating September 11 attacks a few years ago, are rising up once again. This is the time taking back America from the disastrous path that Bush is leading to, willingly playing at the hands of terrorists of visible and invisible attributes, this is the time challenging dogmatic Bush policies with the rational ones that can achieve sustainable peace in the end.


Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
April 15, 2004

America's Ayatollah

By Richard Cohen

Thursday, April 15, 2004; Page A25

The term of the moment in Washington is "the wall." This is the legal barrier that once separated the CIA and its investigators from the FBI and its investigators, and which may have contributed to the confusion that enabled the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A more interesting wall, however, was on view Tuesday evening in President Bush's prime-time news conference. It's the one between him and reality.

Never mind that even for Bush, this was a poor performance -- answers that resembled a frantic scavenger hunt for the right (or any) word or, too often, a thought. Never mind that he really had very little to say -- no exit plan for Iraq, no second thoughts about Sept. 11, no wonderment, even, at the apparent disappearance of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and how that might have happened. Like a kid who has been told otherwise, Bush persists in believing in his own version of Santa Claus. The weapons are there, somewhere -- in a North Pole of his mind.

What matters more is the phrase Bush used five times in one way or another: "We're changing the world." He used it always in reference to the war in Iraq and he used it in ways that would make even Woodrow Wilson, that presidential personification of naive morality, shake his head in bemusement. In Bush's rhetoric, a war to rid Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction, a war to ensure that Condoleezza Rice's "mushroom cloud" did not appear over an American city, has mutated into an effort to reorder the world.

"I also know that there's an historic opportunity here to change the world," Bush said of the effort in Iraq. But the next sentence was even more disquieting. "And it's very important for the loved ones of our troops to understand that the mission is an important, vital mission for the security of America and for the ability to change the world for the better." It is one thing to die to defend your country. It is quite another to do that for a single man's impossible dream. What Bush wants is admirable. It is not, however, attainable.

Shortly after Sept. 11, Bush used the word "crusade" to characterize his response to the attacks. The Islamic world, remembering countless crusades on behalf of Christianity, protested, and Bush quickly interred the word in the National Archives or someplace. Nonetheless, that is pretty much what Bush described in his news conference -- not a crusade for Christ and not one to oust the Muslims from Jerusalem but an American one that would eradicate terrorism and, in short, "change the world." The United States, the president said, had been "called" for that task.

Some people might consider this religious drivel and others might find it stirring, but whatever it is, it cannot be the basis for foreign policy, not to mention a war. Yet it explains, as nothing else can, just why Bush is so adamantly steadfast about Iraq and why he simply asserts what is not proved or just plain untrue -- the purported connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, for instance, or why Hussein was such a threat, when we have it on the word of David Kay and countless weapons inspectors that he manifestly was not. Bush talks as if only an atheist would demand proof when faith alone more than suffices. He is America's own ayatollah.

Several investigative commissions are now meeting in Washington, looking into intelligence failures -- everything from the failure to detect and intercept the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to the assertion that Iraq was armed to the teeth with all sorts of awful stuff. But what really has to be examined is how a single man, the president, took the nation and part of the world to war because, as he essentially put it Tuesday night, he was "called" to do it.

If that is the case, and it sure seems so at the moment, then this commission has to ask us all -- and I don't exclude myself -- how much of Congress and the press went to war with an air of juvenile glee. The Commission on Credulous Stupidity may call me as its first witness, but after that it has to examine how, despite our vaunted separation of powers, a barely elected president opted for a war that need not have been fought. This is Bush's cause, a noble but irrational effort much like the one that set off for Jerusalem in the year 1212. It was known as the Children's Crusade.