Fight War to Prevent War

A new White Rose Society posts an audio segment from Mike Malloy’s “Resistance Radio”, comparing Carl Rove’s speeches for George W. Bush to George Orwell’s 1984: http://www.whiterosesociety.org/. If the link on that page doesn’t work, you can try a direct link: http://homepage.mac.com/benburch/GWBand1984.mp3 (2Mb, 17 min).

Bush, of course, has been speaking in 1984 for a while. Below is what he said about using U.S. force, in the first Bush/Gore Presidential Debate, October 3, 2000. You can’t say he didn’t warn us.

It’s interesting to look at the construction of his answer. I don’t believe in over-analyzing or over-literalizing extemporaneous expression, but at the same time, I believe that the way people express themselves reflects the way they think internally.

So, with that caveat, look at the way he answers the question: When is it in the national interest to use U.S. force?

He starts with, “If it’s in our vital national interests.” But he doesn’t continue with the same “if” construction.

Instead, he continues with “whether or not”: Whether or not we’re threatened, whether or not our mission is clear, whether or not we’re well prepared, whether or not there is an exit strategy.

At least he’ll be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.

“LEHRER: New question.

How would you go about, as president, deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force? Generally.

BUSH: Well, if it’s in our vital national interests. And that means whether or not our territory — our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our alliances — our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force.

Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be.

Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped.

And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy.

I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don’t think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we’ve got to be very careful when we commit our troops.

The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.

I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place.”