The Bush Boys Are Back

Once again the fellas are clamoring for murderous revenge, whatever the long-term consequences.

Bush listens to Benjamin Netanyahu as he speaks at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Thursday, May 15, 2008.Susan Walsh/AP

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The Bush boys are back to argue, once more, for war.

President Biden visited Israel this week to reaffirm his unwavering support while cautioning against a military response “consumed by rage.” Though far from the ceasefire many progressives had hoped Biden would publicly urge for during the visit, the warning was a tacit acknowledgment of the horrific conditions in Gaza wrought by Israel’s airstrikes. But even the mere act of calling for cooler heads as a ground invasion draws closer has brought back the old architects and explainers of the Iraq war.

Here’s Ari Fleischer, on Fox News:

When he said that Israelis should not be consumed by rage. Who the hell does he think he is? I sat in on every single summit meeting with foreign leaders when they came to the United States after September 11th and met with President Bush. Not a one of them, not one said to President Bush, the Americans shouldn’t be consumed with rage. Instead, they just came to support us. So President Biden, who said some good things, never should lecture Israel about how to react like that.

Shaking off mass death might be easy for the former White House press secretary under George W. Bush. But it’s Fleischer’s desire to peacock his front-row seat to one of the most tragic chapters of US foreign policy as a badge of expertise that, once again, underscores his persistent shamelessness. How ironic, obscene in fact, it is that the man who helped the Bush administration lie its way to war, is now hawking on national TV to justify acts of blind vengeance, when there is no clear path of what happens after.

It would be one thing if this was an aberration. But Fleischer’s comments only echo those made by George W. Bush himself last week. The former president’s remarks, as reported by Axios.

“It’s not going to take long for people [to say]: ‘It’s gone on too long. Surely, there’s a way to settle this through negotiations. Both sides are guilty,'” Bush, 77, said on Tuesday at a private event near Santa Barbara, Calif.

“My view is: One side is guilty. And it’s not Israel.”

It’s no surprise that the former president who launched us into unending immoral wars is still very much a bad person. But with these remarks, Bush has once again permanently secured his footing as a blood-thirsty warmonger who, in the clearest terms, cannot comprehend arguments against mass death. In fact, for Bush, in the same crude fashion of abusive men, it appears that more bloodshed is demonstrative of one’s power.

“We’ll find out what he’s made out of,” the former president said of Netanyahu at the same event.

Is this what it boils down to? Behind all the fancy talk, do people like Bush believe that a simplistic, pseudo-heroic faith in brute power, and by extension, manly power, will overcome complex geopolitics? Perhaps one of the better examples of how this rationale played out in the lead-up to Iraq comes from Netanyahu himself, a former Bush boy too. Here he was in 2002 appearing before Congress to explain why an Iraq invasion would be worthwhile.

“I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice,” Netanyahu, as a private citizen, said.

“If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region,” he continued. “And I think that people sitting right next door in Iran, young people, and many others, will say the time of such regimes, of such despots is gone.”

It’s far from coincidence that the same ghoulish cast, newly dusted as they often are, has returned to make the case for war. But it strikes as especially vile that men who have shown the world the precise dangers of acting out of sheer vengeance feel comfortable mouthing off in public as scenes of catastrophe play to no end. That they feel comfortable pointing to September 11th as a point of reference is even more galling.

Once again they clamor for revenge, whatever the long-term consequences.

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