Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships

Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction. It had nothing to do with 9-11. The CIA's own report, by agent Charles Duelfer, describes a Saddam Hussein yearing for the ghood old days, when he was America's favorite against the evil Iran...

And, yet, tonight, Bush continued his justifications. Why do they work?

Because war is best couched in myth. If I ask you all why the Greeks invaded Troy, I'd expect the answer that any good reader of "The Illiad" would give, which is that Helen, the world's most beautiful woman, was stolen from Menelaous and that an army was assembled to retrieve her. This is the myth, it is the "Face that launched a thousand ships" and it has endured, due partly the efforts of the Homeric poets but mostly because of the self-affirming grandeur of the idea. It was a war fought to protect beauty and beauty is good.

Bush's equation of "The War on Terror" with the invasion and occupation of Iraq, is Homeric. Iraq might have had nothing to do with 9-11, but the invasion of Iraq would have been impossible without it. Trust me, we would not have made the sacrifices we made over "corruption in the Oil for Food Program." The facts don't add up. Iraq is a diversion from "The War on Terror" and not a part of it.

But, it seems a part of it and historians will one day write that we would never have invaded Iraq without the provocation of 9-11. This is Bush's strength -- the themes are wiping the details away. That's what's happening. It's how the history that our children will read will be written.

And, yes, this is how you lead a massive movement. I'm not sure that Bush gets that, but the people around Bush do. If you wonder how Bush gets away with what he does... this is how.


At 9:24 AM , Blogger adriana said...



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