10A069 George Who? by Jim Davies, 11/10/2010

Monday evening, there was a broadcast for the history books: Matt Lauer's MSNBC interview with former President George W Bush, to mark the publication of Decision Points, his new book. Unfortunately, it will probably sell more copies than mine The interview transcript is here.

I've always liked Mr Bush for himself, as a person; he comes across as quite warm and sincere. Not too smart, maybe, and certainly not good at grammar (eg his "...relationship between my mom and I" in the interview.) But a nice guy, unfortunately intoxicated with power while in office. Since leaving it two years ago he has been decently quiet, giving his successor room to maneuver; now, lest we forget him, he thinks it's memoir time. Certainly, it was interesting to hear his reflections about some decisions that have heavily affected us all.

Lauer was quite tough on him at times, as when Bush expressed outrage at being called a racist during the Katrina fiasco, but merely regretted that he hadn't shown more sensitivity to the suffering in the floods beneath his helicopter. The biggest "gotcha" though was when he asked whether he should have apologized for invading Iraq after it was found there were no WMDs. Bush replied: "apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision.  And I-- I don't believe it was the wrong decision." He had confirmed that he decided to invade because he believed Saddam had WMDs, so when he found he'd been wrong, why not 'fess up? - "I will say definitely the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power." Sure. But he never said he was invading to rid the world of a head of state with whom the FedGov had done a diplomatic dance for two decades. However, Lauer couldn't penetrate Bush's illusion of infallibility; he was not going to apologize. The result is known well enough, and is with us still.

That illustrates the fatal conceit of the government paradigm. Good people become torturers and killers when handed power - or rather, they behave in the artificial circumstances (possession of de facto power over other people) by doing monstrous things and genuinely supposing them proper. It's not that the individuals are evil, rather that they do evil because they hold positions that people could never acquire in a zero government society; the fault lies in the whole system.

Accordingly, if humanity is not to self-destruct in future wars with WMDs actually deployed, the whole system must be scrapped. Nothing less will do.

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