The Reactionary Utopian
                     April 27, 2006

by Joe Sobran

     "To bomb, or not to bomb?" asks the cover of the 
April 24 issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, and if you know 
the magazine, you can guess the answer, provided by an 
editorial and two articles within.

     The United States must attack Iran soon. The 
dithering of the Bush administration must cease. The mad 
mullahs who are trying to get nuclear weapons threaten 
not only the United States, but Israel. Time for another 
preemptive war, complete with regime change, democracy, 
and purple fingers.

     Such is the conclusion of the brainy 
neoconservatives who gave us the Iraq war. Evidently they 
trust the Bush team to manage a far more difficult war 
against Iran with equal finesse.

     Sure, they admit there will be costs. Terrorism will 
erupt throughout the Middle East and elsewhere, maybe 
even in the United States itself. The Europeans won't 
like it. Anti-Americanism will spread explosively around 
the world. And of course there will be countless other 
unpredictable consequences (on oil prices, to begin 

     All this can be expected even if we assume that the 
Bush team brings it off with more competence than it has 
brought to previous crises. Vice President Cheney summed 
up the administration's pragmatic view when we faced the 
threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction: 
"The risks of inaction are greater than the risks of 
action." Words to live by!

     And let us not forget Condoleezza Rice, the 
mushroom-cloud lady, who never cries "Wolf!" unless she's 
pretty darned sure there's a wolf out there. Maybe she's 
right this time. We can't completely rule it out.

     These people know so much more than we do. They have 
the best intelligence at their fingertips. That's one 
more reason to rely on their proven good judgment and put 
our lives in their hands. When have they ever misled us?

     Islam, Bush has said, is a religion of peace that 
has been hijacked by a few fanatics. Some, observing him, 
might say the same about Christianity. Bush makes one 
wonder where religion ends and psychosis begins. Is his 
foreign policy driven by a conviction that we are in the 
End Times, and that the Lord has anointed him to lead us? 
Is it mere accident that many of his remaining supporters 
believe so?

     Last week one of those supporters assured me that 
the War on Terror is necessary because the Muslims are 
determined to exterminate us. As proof, he quoted a verse 
from the Koran about destroying infidels; he'd read this 
in a book by Hal Lindsey, the apocalyptic "new 
evangelical" author. I guess that's what you'd call a 
theological slam-dunk, and it seems akin to Bush's way of 
thinking about the world.

     Smoking guns? For Bush the appropriate image is the 
loose cannon. In domestic policy alone he would rank as a 
disastrous president; but with his finger on the nuclear 
button he threatens to become an utter nightmare. With 
other fanatics egging him on, we may yet see those 
mushroom clouds Miss Rice worries about. No wonder Colin 
Powell got out of this administration while the getting 
was good; but will he ever give the public a frank 
account of what he saw inside it?

     Even Pentagon war planners are alarmed at what Bush 
has done -- and at what he may yet do. The retired 
generals who called for Donald Rumsfeld's removal were 
really talking about Bush (the neocons were right about 
that). And Bush's dismissal as "wild speculation" of 
Seymour Hersh's report on his preparations for war on 
Iran was actually a chilling nondenial.

     The Democrats have shamelessly encouraged him to 
prevent Iran from getting nukes by any means necessary; 
Ted Kennedy is one of the few Democrats who have insisted 
that these means must not include a nuclear attack, which 
Bush hasn't ruled out.

     Meanwhile, the Republicans are still playing 
follow-the-leader, even if it means following him over 
the precipice. We can hope only that the poll figures and 
the approaching elections will bring them to their 

     The scandal of our time is that so many important 
people have failed to say what is obvious and urgent: 
that this president is out of his mind. Whether it's 
clinical madness or fanaticism, it's something more 
serious, and more dangerous, than stupidity. And the men 
around him can't or won't restrain him.


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