In answer to a friend’s question, “why would Bush send in troops knowing some would die or be maimed,” I’d say that primarily, Bush lacks empathy. I note that he has rarely visited the troops who are wounded and rarely went to visit a devastated family and therefore has shielded himself from the ugly consequences of his decisions. A few scripted p.r. events don’t have any weight. Also he seems to accept the idea that “Ends justify the means” theory, or that we are God’s chosen and are good by a priori definition. In the Western tradition one has no guilt for crimes committed while in a crusade, in the Eastern tradition one still has guilt for crimes committed and would have to do penance and seek forgiveness even if, your cause was just. I note that the Christian Crusaders believed the first. I hope that he doesn’t go so far as to believe that soldiers in “Christ’s” Army ascend unto heaven, and then we are in even bigger trouble.
Additionally I would say he lacks the knowledge and schema, and critical thinking skills. He lacks knowledge and schema in the sense that, his pattern seems to be to learn what he is required to learn, and no more. He is self admittedly incurious by nature, so he doesn’t read or travel, or challenge any of his assumptions and principles. By thus keeping himself to narrow intellectual and experiential limits, he lacks the means to measure or weigh the importance or accuracy of his decisions or the value of advice given to him. Since he cannot weigh or measure decisions, policy, or what have you against each other or against an objective measure, he chooses to be rigid once a decision is made. He surrounds himself with people he likes and that “like” translates for him, into credibility. He makes decisions within the framework of information provided him by associates and prejudices. And rigidity is the only way to prevent him from being manipulated by every competing interest he has to contend with and gives him the illusion of control.
I am very sorry to say that extended military occupations against a liberation insurgency never work. The one and only modern success typically cited, the Brits in Malaysia in the 50’s, is fallacious. That is not to say conquest and annexation don’t work, because they do: but then they are different things. In invading Iraq without context I suspect we have fatally undermined the idea of and defined the historical time limit of the Nation-State system.
We need a new government.