Sunday :: Mar 28, 2004

Lessons From Poor Richard For A Poor Excuse For pResident


by pessimist

Lessons for Bush in Benjamin Franklin's ideas

Benjamin Franklin, who helped draft the American Declaration of Independence, at one time felt queasy about catching fish. "I considered the taking of every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder," he wrote in his autobiography. He had stopped eating animal protein. But he changed his mind after realizing that "when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs. Then thought I," he went on, "if you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you."

In conclusion, Franklin said, "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

More than two centuries since then, the times and the world have greatly changed. But I have a strong feeling that Franklin's view of human nature eerily applies to President George W. Bush's actions. Unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush shifted to the argument that overthrowing Saddam Hussein's repressive regime was an achievement of great significance in itself.

In a further shift of positions, he cast doubt on the intelligence he had before waging war in Iraq. But the findings of an intelligence review that has been ordered are not expected to be released until next year-that is, until long after the U.S. presidential election in November. In my opinion, the review should cover not just how intelligence was collected and how the intelligence agencies operated but also how the decision to go to war was made on the basis of intelligence available.

"I came, I saw, I conquered." Julius Caesar is said to have made this remark in his triumphant battlefield reports to Rome. "I received intelligence reports, I studied them, and I gave the green light" may well have been the case with Bush.

Was it out of the question for him to decide against going to war after weighing the intelligence reports?

Another memorable observation can be found in Franklin's autobiography: "There never was a good war and a bad peace."

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 22(IHT/Asahi: March 26,2004) (03/26)

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pessimist :: 5:53 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!