Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dr. Bill Roy: "The Bush Doctrine"


by Dr. Bill Roy

Most of the 96 percent of the world’s people who are not Americans consider our nation the world’s greatest threat to peace and the most likely candidate to incinerate this planet, our only home. Not surprisingly, other nations want to make sure we don’t start with them.

Undoubtedly, some of this reputation and fear comes with the territory of being the world‘s only remaining superpower. We have both armaments and a military budget equal to or greater than those of the rest of the world. That’s reason enough to treat us with caution.

But the Bush Doctrine of preemptive warfare, defined as destroying impending threats before they are fully formed, has added to our reputation for ferocity. To back up his words and his neoconservative advisers’ strategy that if you are powerful you must act it out, he began the Iraq War, America’s first preemptive war.

By our offensive posture we have encouraged nuclear proliferation. Nations believe the best way to prevent an American attack is to have their own nuclear weapons.

Victor Davis Hanson, a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution took on the subject of Iran at a seminar for Hillsdale College (Michigan) at Fort Meyers, Florida on February 13, 2007.

He established with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s own words that he wants to wipe Israel off the map, and further, he “is an unending threat to civilization.” Hanson then presented a list of reasonable options that might discourage Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

But, significantly, he finished with the rhetorical equivalent of threatening to bomb them back to the Stone Age--the effective threat Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage made to coerce Pakistan to assist us in Afghanistan.

Hanson began with “keep pushing international accords and doggedly work to ratchet up United Nations sanctions,” and also, “keep prodding the European Union to apply pressure.” Thus, right up front he placed diplomacy, a tool not heavily utilized by “the unpredictable President Bush.”

Third, Hanson recommends we keep encouraging Iranian dissidents, and fourth, we should announce in advance we “don’t want any bases in Iran, don’t want its oil, and won’t send American infantry there.”

Five, stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan (a mighty big order), and six, “keep reminding the (Sunni) Gulf monarchies that a nuclear Shiite theocracy is much more dangerous to them than to the United States or Israel.”

He observes U.S. carrier groups in the Gulf speak for themselves, and that we should also make clear Israel is a sovereign nation with a perfect right to defend itself. Nine, keep the rhetoric down, and ten, move quickly to lessen our dependency on foreign oil (about as easy as five).

Then Hanson gets to what we fear, but cannot ignore. But that which is consistent enough with our present behavior to give Iranians pause.

He stated that if Americans “believe their freedom and existence are at stake, they are capable of conjuring up things far more frightening than anything in the 7th-century brain of Mr. Ahmadinejad.”

For verity, Hanson lists blood baths we have perpetrated: “The barbarity of the nightmares at Antietam, Verdun, Dresden and Hiroshima…”

He graphically observes, “So far the Iranian leader has posed as someone 90 percent crazy and ten percent sane, hoping that in response we would fear his madness, grant concessions, and delicately appeal to his small reservoir of reason.

“But he should understand that if his Western enemies appear 90 percent of the time as children of the Enlightenment, they are still suffused with vestigial traces of the emotional and unpredictable. And military history shows that the irrational ten percent of the Western mind is a lot scarier than anything Islamic fanaticism has to offer.”

I believe Hanson’s last resort statement reflects precisely where the Bush Doctrine has taken us. It is us, minus nearly everyone else, against them. And yes, when other choices are exhausted, we too can commit irrational evil and barbarous acts.

Let Hanson’s historical references remind us presidential elections are important, and that other leadership may choose to risk peace rather than follow a strategy that promises endless preemptive wars, one of which may dwarf Hiroshima.

Dr. Roy may be reached at

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