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October 28, 2004

"Start A Small War. Pick A Country..."

I've always believed most leaders like war. If they don't destroy their country in the process, it's usually good for them -- people rally around the flag, they can accuse their domestic enemies of being traitors, all that good stuff. To me, this explains the prevalance of war through history. It's not normal people who're warlike; it's politicians.

And now we have perhaps the closest thing ever available to proof: reports by George W. Bush's former ghostwriter, Mickey Herskowitz. You should read all of this article, but here's an important excerpt. I can't really make any jokes about this. It's too horrifying:

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush's beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House -- ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade."

Bush's circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: "They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches."

Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter's political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war.

Posted at October 28, 2004 12:53 PM | TrackBack

Interesting piece. While I am suspicious of these "Wagging The Dog" stories, a lot of these seems quite plausible. Also, if memory serves, Clinton was making noises about Iraq around then, which adds versimilitude to the story.
The rest of the story looks like it was written with a shovel, however, which makes me wonder if we are going to get a "I was misquoted" claim out of this. The claim by Robertson seems totally crazy, and the "adequate resources" complaint is old and rather spotty, since Franks claims he got all he asked for. The latter suggests disagreement at the Pentagon, rather than idiocy at the White House.

Posted by: Oscar at October 28, 2004 10:03 PM

Unfortunately, it's probably true. If Carter had started a war with Iran (in which the hostages probably would have been put to death immediately) he might well have gotten re-elected.

Posted by: Ted at October 29, 2004 12:25 PM

Start a war, get re-elected?

Hmm... I don't think that worked for Daddy Shrub.

Posted by: Bry at October 29, 2004 12:27 PM

"Hmm... I don't think that worked for Daddy Shrub."

Ah, well his timing was off, wasn't it? He should have started the way in January 1992, not 1991. Then he would have been a shoo-in. You can't have all the shooting stop a year and a half before the election, can you?

Posted by: Ted at October 30, 2004 11:18 PM