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June 02, 2008

George Bush: “Kill Them! We Are Going to Wipe Them Out!”

Holy crap.

From Tom Engelhardt at at Tomdispatch:

[F]ormer commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo next to no attention for a presidential outburst he recorded in his memoir, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story, so bloodthirsty and cartoonish that it should have caught the attention of the nation -- and so eerily in character, given the last years of presidential behavior, that you know it has to be on the money.

Let me briefly set the scene, as Sanchez tells it on pages 349-350 of Wiser in Battle. It's April 6, 2004. L. Paul Bremer III, head of the occupation's Coalition Provisional Authority, as well as the President's colonial viceroy in Baghdad, and Gen. Sanchez were in Iraq in video teleconference with the President, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. (Assumedly, the event was recorded and so revisitable by a note-taking Sanchez.) The first full-scale American offensive against the resistant Sunni city of Fallujah was just being launched, while, in Iraq's Shiite south, the U.S. military was preparing for a campaign against cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.

According to Sanchez, Powell was talking tough that day: "We've got to smash somebody's ass quickly," the general reports him saying. "There has to be a total victory somewhere. We must have a brute demonstration of power." (And indeed, by the end of April, parts of Fallujah would be in ruins, as, by August, would expanses of the oldest parts of the holy Shiite city of Najaf. Sadr himself would, however, escape to fight another day; and, in order to declare Powell's "total victory," the U.S. military would have to return to Fallujah that November, after the U.S. presidential election, and reduce three-quarters of it to virtual rubble.) Bush then turned to the subject of al-Sadr: "At the end of this campaign al-Sadr must be gone," he insisted to his top advisors. "At a minimum, he will be arrested. It is essential he be wiped out."

Not long after that, the President "launched" what an evidently bewildered Sanchez politely describes as "a kind of confused pep talk regarding both Fallujah and our upcoming southern campaign [against the Mahdi Army]"...

"Kick ass!" [Bush] said, echoing Colin Powell's tough talk. "If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal.

"There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!'"

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at June 2, 2008 06:32 AM

Clearly, the Shrub had been watching repeats of Patton. The world would be a better place if the George watching the TV had a quarter of the intellect of either George the actor or George the general.

Posted by: Mike at June 2, 2008 07:58 AM

Just read the article and saw that the Patton point had already been made. Guess it was pretty obvious.

Come to think of it, though, if George had a quarter of the intellect of Curious George, we'd still be better off.

Posted by: Mike at June 2, 2008 08:01 AM

Tell me again why it is that I am required to pay taxes to be used by a bunch of power mad criminals for reasons that are not for the betterment of the country?

I think the USA has turned into a neighborhood being administered by the local Mafia. Our tax dollars are really a sort of protection money. They (the wiseguys) collect it and let us live and if we put up a fuss about it they come down on us like a ton of bricks.

So everyone acts like they do in those italian neighborhoods where everybody "knows nothin and sees nothin" even though the hit takes place broad daylight

Posted by: Sam at June 2, 2008 08:05 AM

Stay the course. Stalingrad will not fall. Prevail. Kill them.
Mein (Lost) Kampf forever.

Posted by: donescobar at June 2, 2008 08:38 AM

1-202-225-0100---I called today, now its YOUR turn.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 2, 2008 09:25 AM

I don't believe this is an accurate quote, because I do not believe that the words 'resolute' and 'prevail' are in the chimp's vocabulary.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd at June 2, 2008 10:15 AM

This makes me sick to my stomach.

I knew he was an idiot. I just didn't know he was a psychotic.

Posted by: Jack at June 2, 2008 10:46 AM

Sam, when do you think this change took place? The US has always played the game you describe. First our gummint had to protect us from the Injuns, then it was the British, then the Pope, the Meskins, and so on down to the present. I wish Americans had *some* sense of history.

Posted by: Duncan at June 2, 2008 10:53 AM

Duncan, why do you think it's *Americans* that need some sense of history? With a decent percentage of British youth believing Winston Churchill is a fictional character and basically no-one stopped in Red Square being able to answer the question, "What nationality was Karl Marx," it's clear it's a human disease that eats away at history, not an American, or even a Western, one.

Posted by: Ashley at June 2, 2008 11:27 AM

Jonathan, what this reminds me of most of all is something you said here a few years ago:

By my observation, colonial wars always have three stages in the minds of supporters:

1. We've got to help these people!
2. Why are these people resisting our attempts to help them?
3. These people MUST BE KILLED!!!!!!!!

It's depressing how often this pattern repeats itself, and how we're seeing it play out now.

Posted by: Rob at June 2, 2008 11:30 AM

Rob's point is well taken.

"If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell!"

Good thing he wasn't standing in front of his reproduction of Guernica in his study during the videoconference-- but wouldn't it be awesome if the footage existed and was brought to light?

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at June 2, 2008 11:44 AM

Does this remind anyone else of Arlo Guthrie talking to the shrink on Alice's Restaurant?

Posted by: Richard S at June 2, 2008 02:03 PM

Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an L! Gimme another L! What's it spell?! KILL! KILL KILL KILL!

Well, he was a cheerleader, after all. Totally true to form.

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at June 2, 2008 02:14 PM

John C -- Hey! That Clinton quote opens my new book! Who do you know at Verso?

Posted by: Dennis Perrin at June 2, 2008 03:42 PM

That's it!


Posted by: En Ming Hee at June 3, 2008 02:01 AM

En Ming Hee: Only it ain't funny.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 3, 2008 12:50 PM