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April 16, 2004

To Change the World

The President held one of his rare press conferences earlier this week, and William was a bit shaken by the words he said. Not only did Mr. Bush steadfastly refuse to take responsibility for the tragic mistakes made on his watch; he seems to have a self-view that admits of no doubt and no error. The part of his rehearsed remarks that brought the hairs on the back of this neck to full attention was his assertion that the United States of America has a God-given mission to bring freedom and democracy to the unenlightened Arabs, and that we have a unique opportunity to "Change the World." Apparently, the unprovoked invasion of Iraq and forcible erection of a democratic government in the heart of the Middle East is but the first step down this perilous path.

One supposes that a President who believes he talks to the Almighty on his red telephone red phone is entirely sincere in his messianic views, but unless he is promptly treated for these delusions of grandeur or, better yet, turned out of office, one wonders what additional mischief will flow from his distorted world view. This is the kind of religious fervor that many centuries ago caused hordes of Crusaders to descend on the Muslim world, leading to untold loss of life. These are the same discredited and tired ideas that gave rise to the concepts of the White Man's Burden, and Manifest Destiny, and that led to Colonialism and Genocide in the Nineteenth Century.

How is it that this President has come to the arrogant belief that he has a mandate to lead this Nation down a path designed to "Change the World" by imposing our form of government on occupied countries? Fewer than half the citizens who voted in the last presidential election made a mark by his name. Even if he had won a landslide victory, has everyone forgotten that George Bush ran on a platform opposed to nation building?

William cannot forget that in the previous century another national leader who sought to change the world and remake it in his image by force of arms reportedly died by his own hand in a bunker in 1945. He was mad and he was evil; George Bush is neither. Our President is instead a man on a mission, utterly convinced of his moral rightness, and admitting of no doubt and no error. He lives in a world of Free Democracies filled with Good Guys in White Hats who are for us, and Evil Empires filled with Bad Guys in Black Ski Masks who are agin us. Paradoxically, this makes him a dangerous and frightening figure. How do you change the mind of a man who believes that his God has given him a mission, and who has no doubt of it?

President waving near Air Force-1

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