Bush's Favourite New Revisionist History Book Tells Him Violent Imperialism Is Good For America, And Good For The World
The Literary Luncheon Where The NeoCon Power Brokers Took Bush Back To School
President Bush began expressing doubts about the Project For A New American Century's (PNAC) plan to reshape the world via American militarism/imperialism when it became clear to him that the Iraq War was not working, sometime in mid-2004. Since then, it's taken a great deal of effort by key NeoCons to keep Bush on song.
PNAC was the Round Table of the NeoCons in the 1990s, and the key players went on to take key roles in the first George W. Bush administration, including vice-president and defence secretary. Other NeoCons filtered out into the media and think tanks from where they shouted down any and all opposition to the Iraq War, no matter how realistic or well-informed the opposing views were. Many of which, it should be noted, were far more accurate about how the Iraq War would turn out than the promises wailed from the rooftops by the NeoCon aligned media, and their echo-chambers across Coalition of the Willing nations.
One of the founding members of PNAC, Paul Wolfowitz, left the White House after barracking for the Iraq War and now holds an extremely influential position in global economic affairs as president of the US-controlled World Bank. He is now helping to indebt Iraqis for generations to come with a series of interest-and-conditions heavy WB loans for "development" of the oil and energy infrastructure.
The PNAC published a stream of documents and policies on how to reshape the world in America's image, and favour, during the late 1990s. There was a particular focus on ramping up defence spending to Cold War levels, so on that count the NeoCons can claim a monumental victory. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein was, of course, also one of their key plans.
So Bush did what they wanted, and what he honestly believed needed to be done, and began the Iraq War. It didn't turn out the way the NeoCons had promised him it would, and by late 2005 it was becoming clear the Iraqis were probably never going to build a statue honouring Bush in 'Freedom Square' (where Saddam's biggest statue once stood), and that the majority of Iraqis hated his guts, and blamed him for all the misery they were enduring.
Bush, as could be expected, got angry with the NeoCons and lost faith in their belief system of projecting military-backed imperialism into the heart of the Middle East. President Bush clearly believed and believes still that the world will be a better place if Iraqis are free and democratic. The NeoCons, however, never told the president the truth : it was total chaos across the entire Middle East that they were seeking; a millennial shake-up of Arab and Muslim power and influence and control of the world's most valuable fuel source.
Bush clearly believed he was doing the Right Thing in invading and occupying Iraq, and it's taken a lot of effort from the NeoCons to keep Bush away from the 'old friends' network of his father, who can see the war is destroying the United States, internally and externally. Robert Gates becoming defence secretary was a concession the NeoCons had no choice but to suffer.
To help get Bush back on the side of the NeoCons, and refocused on the PNAC view of how the 21st century should, and must, unfold, NeoCon-aligned 'historian' Andrew Roberts quickly wrote and published the book History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900.
It was the sort of book that was perfect for Bush. Straightforward, uncomplicated, lots of talk about his heroes, Churchill and Washington, and how their unshakable faith in their actions, despite the death and destruction all around, changed America and the world. For the better.
Naturally, Roberts' book got rave reviews in the hard right, ultra-conservative aligned media, which neon-signed to President Bush that this was a history book that he should take seriously. Roberts' book is a Volume-Goes-To-11 revisionist slab of NeoCon propaganda, but it said all the things that President Bush wanted to hear.
This is how Roberts himself sums up the book :
"(It) does not consider British imperialism to have been a Bad Thing, argues that the Versailles Treaty was not harsh enough on Germany, [and] defends the bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki . . . . "This article from Salon explains that President Bush took the Roberts book very seriously, and now regards it as one of his favourite historical texts. This is good news for the NeoCons, because the book helps Bush to stay focused on their plans and dreams, despite the national trauma spawned of the Iraq War. All the NeoCons need to do is remind Bush which chapter he can re-read to refresh himself on how America triumphed in its darkest days. Or at the very least, appeared to have triumphed.
President Bush liked the Roberts book so much, as the Salon article explains, he hosted a "literary luncheon" to honour the writer on February 28. The Salon article says accounts of the luncheon "really provide an amazing glimpse into the Bush mindset and his relationship with the neoconservatives."
The luncheon turned into a NeoCon One Day Refresher Course for the president. They taught him a series of Key NeoCon Lessons to bolster his faith in their plans, their ideologies and in himself. Bush must stick to the NeoCon program, and the lessons were all about reassuring him that was, and is, doing the right thing :
The most critical priority is to convince the President to continue to ignore the will of the American people and to maintain full-fledged loyalty to the neoconservative agenda, no matter how unpopular it becomes.
To do this, they have convinced the President that he has tapped into a much higher authority than the American people -- namely, God-mandated, objective morality -- and as long as he adheres to that (which is achieved by continuing his militaristic policies in the Middle East, whereby he is fighting Evil and defending Good), God and history will vindicate him...
Lesson One : "Cling to the alliance of the English-speaking people" :-
One of the key lessons is Roberts' view that the U.S. should be most concerned with its relationships with the other "English-speaking countries in the world," and not worry nearly as much about all those countries where they speak in foreign tongues.
But that "lesson" led Bush to bewilderingly wonder why there was such rising anti-Americanism all over the world, even in English-speaking countries such as England.
Anti-Americanism, the neoconservatives instructed Bush, is something he should just ignore. As long as he continues to follow neoconservatism, that is all that matters.
Nothing matters -- not the disapproval of the American people of the President's actions nor rising anti-Americanism around the world. He should simply ignore all of that and continue to obey the mandates of neoconservatism because that is what is Good and his God will be pleased.Lesson Two : Sheer Force Of Will Can Overcome Wealth And Military Power. The Russian tsars, the Romans, a host of other rich nations collapsed under ceaseless attack because they "lacked the will to fight and survive". In the NeoCon Fantasy World Of History, it was that simple.
Lesson Three : "...intern our enemies for long, indefinite periods," because it worked during World War II, and it also worked in Ireland. The formula is First Victory, Then Release. Bush is not to worry about the fact that 'Victory', or anything even approaching it, is decades away, if it will ever be within reach at all.
Lesson Four : Appeasement is the Ultimate Evil. The enemies of the War on Terror will never be appeased, so why bother trying with negotiations, deals and diplomacy? As Metallica said 'Kill 'Em All!'
Lesson Five : Iran Iran Iran Iran Iran Iran Iran Iran :
Bush responded with "a frown and a nod" to a light-hearted joke about why it was good not to be in his chair. But the NeoCons built that chair for Bush, and it's getting mighty uncomfortable. You have to wonder if we're getting close to a last shake of the dice for the NeoCons influence over the Bush White House, not that there's much of it left. In days, resources, faith or allegiances.
...the neoconservatives left Bush with the overarching instruction -- namely, the only thing that he should concern himself with, the only thing that really matters, is Iran. Forget every other issue -- the welfare of the American people, every other region around the world -- except the one that matters most:The closing note was a more serious one. Roberts said that history would judge the president on whether he had prevented the nuclearization of the Middle East. If Iran gets the bomb, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other countries will follow. "That is why I am so pleased to be sitting here rather than in your chair, Mr. President." There was no response, other than a serious frown and a nod.
Irving Kristol has written in the past about the need to exploit religious and moral concepts in order to manipulate the masses, and his intellectual North Star, Leo Strauss, has advocated -- as Strauss scholar Shadia Drury documented-- that "those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit" -- a view Kristol has endorsed.
One can see that dynamic powerfully at work in the interaction between these neoconservatives and the President. They have seized upon the President's evangelical fervor and equated his "calling" to wage war for Good in the world with the neoconservative agenda of endless wars in the Middle East.
And the more unpopular the President becomes as a result, the more of a failure these policies are, the more strongly they tell him to ignore all of that, that none of it matters, that his God and history will conclude that he did The Right Thing, provided that he continues steadfastly to pursue their agenda.
And the President believes that. That is why nothing will stop him in pursuing the path he created years ago when, in January, 2002, he became convinced to name not only Iraq, but also Iran, as standing members of the "Axis of Evil" (even though our relations with Iran were rapidly improving at the time) and cited the 9/11 attacks in order to all but vow war on those countries, despite their having nothing to do with those attacks.
The President's "lessons" at the feet of neoconservatives continue, and he is as faithful a student as ever.
Bush spends a lot of time thinking about his legacy. He has read three key biographies on Washington and he no doubt dreams that he will be remembered, in decades to come, as historically important as the man who defined what free America was to become. That's what the NeoCons keep telling Bush will happen to him, if only he goes all the way and finishes his part of The Plan and take out Iran.
But is Bush still listening to them? Or is he just playing the role of the attentive pupil?
The Bush Family dynasty is, or least it was, vastly bigger and far more powerful than the NeoCon movement could ever dream of being.
Yet it remains to be seen how the final act in the presidency of George W. Bush will play out. Iran will be the final show. The curtain has been raised, and the performers have taken to the stage. There will be no encore, but there will be a dramatic finale.
And that finale may well be that the Bush dynasty will crush and destroy the NeoCons, and dump the brutal, savage, insidious movement into the shit bucket of history where it belongs, well before President George W. Bush empties out the drawers of that magnificent Oval Office desk.
Recent history tells us that the destruction of the NeoCons has already well and truly begun.
The prized pupil might just have one more big surprise left for his teachers before he is done.
The Weekly Standard - The NeoCons' Pravda - Details An Extraordinary Literary Luncheon With President Bush
Sidney Bluthemal On The Lessons Bush Learned At The Roberts Luncheon
President Bush Says As Long As His Conscience Is Clear With God, It Doesn't Matter What Anybody Else Thinks