Are the books Bush is reading becoming more apocalyptic? Certainly the last two authors who have struck Bush's fancy have ideas that ratchet up the idea that only violence, not diplomacy will solve the problems with the Islamic world. Jim Lobe has reviewed the favored reading of Bush over the last few years and has found that when Bush is taken with a book, he is inclined to implement the policies without much thought or reflection. And the policies from the last two authors don't auger well for what will come next.
What is remarkable about all of these books is -- much like the cherry-picked and manipulated intelligence stovepiped to Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War -- both their extraordinary ideological narrowness and their utility in the pursuit of a neo-conservative agenda, especially in the Middle East.
In one way or another, each affirms core neo-conservative ideas: the essential beneficence of U.S. (and Anglospheric) power even if the "natives" are ungrateful; the supreme importance of both "will" and military might in wielding that power, particularly against enemies that can never be "appeased" or "contained" and that, in Roberts' words, are motivated not so much by legitimate grievances against U.S. policies, as by "loathing of the English-speaking people's traditions of democratic pluralism"; the evils of "liberalism", "secularism" and "moral relativism" of western societies that undermine their will to fight; and the catastrophic consequences of retreat or defeat.
All of these also play to Bush's own Manicheanism and self-image as a courageous, often lonely, leader in the mold of a Lincoln or Churchill, determined to pursue what he believes is right regardless of what "old Europe", "intellectuals", "elites", or even the electorate thinks about his course and confident only in the conviction that History or God will vindicate him.
I wish he would go back to clearing brush.
Hat tip to TLC reader W.G. for the link.
This is your soapbox thread.