Too little attention has been paid to a remarkable declaration by George W. Bush in his State of the Union address last January. In between great lardbuckets of warmongering lies and vacuous preening, Bush also delivered this ringing passage: “We do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history.”
Dismissed at first as either a bit of overheated rhetorical trumpery or else a slab of coded red meat thrown to his voracious “core constituency” on the hard Christian Right, Bush’s declaration is in fact a powerful tool for understanding what otherwise seems to be the irredeemably chaotic nature of human reality. In essence, his masterful philosophy can be boiled down to this: “God did it.”
For example, last week Iraqis began unearthing a mass grave that could contain up to 15,000 bodies of Shiites slaughtered during an uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991. Some heretics might want to blame Saddam for this atrocity, or even assign partial blame to George H.W. Bush, who specifically called on these Shiites to rebel, then betrayed them, granting the just-conquered Saddam permission to use his full military might against the rebels, while a vast American army stood by, motionless, in Kuwait. But now, thanks to Bush Junior’s revelation of divine agency behind every single act in history, we know that neither ex-CIA asset Saddam nor his long-time supporter and sugar daddy Bush Senior were in any way responsible for those corpses moldering in the desert wastes. God did it.
It’s all so simple, isn’t it? So blindingly clear, so infinitely comforting. Feel free to try it at home. Take any situation you please and run it through the patented George W. Bush God Did It meat-grinder. You’ll find a neat little patty of moral clarity on the other end, ready to fry up in a creamy sauce of red wine, onions, amnesia and self-absolution.
Big event or private failing, it doesn’t matter. That father who just slammed his infant’s head into a wall? All part of God’s plan – for verily, His loving hand is behind all of life and all of history. The Holocaust? Surely it goes it without saying that those six million Jews weren’t killed by the Nazi Regime, nor that any of the American financial elitists – such as the Bush Family – who made millions of dollars bankrolling Nazi enterprises while American soldiers were dying on the battlefield were in any degree responsible for what seemed to be their own actions. No, you poor, misguided, Satan-deceived wretches – God did it, don’t you see?
And the September 11 attacks? Again, no true believer could ever hold Mohammed Atta or ex-CIA asset Osama bin Laden responsible – especially not for an act which, as many Bushist evangelicals now openly avow, was a blessing for America, because it greatly augmented the powers and popularity of the man the Lord Himself has appointed to lead the nation – yea, the world – to a new Promised Land of peace and prosperity. No: God killed those 3,000 innocent people, He burned them, He crushed them, He flung them out of windows hundreds of feet in the air. It was His loving hand, that same hand behind all of life and all of history.
This divine principle applies equally to acts of omission, as well as commission. Consider Bush’s “war on terror.” It’s true, the anthrax killer has not been caught. Osama bin Laden has not been caught (in fact, he’s busier than ever). Mullah Omar has not been caught. Saddam Hussein has not been caught. It’s true, Afghanistan has collapsed again into anarchy, rampant warlordism, fierce Islamic extremism, hopelessness, violence, despair. It’s true, Iraq is collapsing into anarchy, incipient warlordism, fierce Islamic extremism, hopelessness, violence, despair. But none of this has anything to do with the staggering, criminal incompetence of the Bush Regime in gutting legitimate domestic security measures at home – both before and after September 11 – and launching mindless foreign adventures aimed largely at thrusting American military power into the world’s oil regions, regardless of the consequences. No; it is without doubt the will of the loving God behind all of life and all of history.
When – and if – He wants these miscreants to be caught, they will be caught. For now, He is quite content to let them roam the earth and murder more innocent people. When – and if – He wants to relieve the suffering of the Afghan and Iraqi peoples, He will do it. For now, He is happy to watch children blow themselves to pieces with brightly-colored cluster bombs. There’s nothing that His faithful servant, George W. Bush, can do about any of this. He is not to blame; God did it. We are all merely automatons, pushed hither and yon by the all-encompassing wisdom of His totalitarian order.
Yes, on the surface, this all sounds like the self-justifying moral onanism of a complacent, pampered, willfully ignorant upper-class twit – but it is actually one of the most profound and earth-scorching expressions of religious nihilism ever uttered by a public figure. Stepping far beyond Nietzsche, who merely asserted that God is dead, Bush’s philosophy declares that God is a lust-maddened, child-devouring demon, glutted with the blood and bones of the innocent – the malevolent agent of every atrocity ever committed in “all of life and all of history.”
Does Jerry Falwell know about this?
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org