Christ orders Christians to pray for our enemies. We shouldn’t hope for their worldly success and power, but we ought to want their salvation. So Jesus did from the cross, when He forgave his persecutors.
And so I’m obliged to pray for George W. Bush.
I find this difficult, as I am vastly angrier at faithless friends like Bush and Pope Francis than I could ever be at open foes like Joe Biden or Xi Jinping. Pontius Pilate was a straightforward Roman pagan and tyrant, not a traitor like Judas.
Yet Jesus would have forgiven even Judas if he had repented. And so we must hope and pray that Bush repents, however unlikely it might seem.
It seems God isn’t finished with the bumbling, haughty frat boy who served two terms as president without ever breaking a mental sweat. And so imagine my surprise when, as I think happened, He sent Bush’s guardian angel to deliver him a message . . . from his own mouth.
‘My Unprovoked Brutal Invasion’
In case you missed it, Bush was delivering a paint-by-numbers neoconservative stemwinder speech at the boondoggle institute named for him, to whip up support for military escalation against Russia. Bush’s talk about “rigged elections” and “political prisoners” might have made 2020 election skeptics guffaw. But the real punchline was priceless. Bush spoke of the illegal, unprovoked, brutal invasion of a country that had never attacked its aggressor. But then, instead of “Ukraine,” he said “Iraq.”
There was a long, long moment of silence. Truth is an alien creature in neoconservative circles, and when it pops up, nobody knows how to deal with it. It’s like the scene in “Alien” when the monster rips through John Hurt’s chest.
The video is priceless:
Bush waved this off as a mistake due to age. I disagree. I think his guardian angel put that one truthful word on his unaccustomed lips to call Bush to repent. To atone. While he’s still breathing and has the chance.
Never Apologize, Never Explain, Never Learn a Thing
Indeed, most of the Right in the United States has never repented, never atoned, for its full-throated support of a useless, destructive war that wrecked a foreign country while impoverishing and humiliating our own. Which magazines, TV networks, political leaders, columnists, or pundits have beaten their breasts and owned up to their recklessness, gullibility, bloodlust, or other motives?
It was only the rise of Donald Trump that somewhat helped those of us conservatives who’d opposed the war to come in from the wilderness. Magazines such as National Review had called us “unpatriotic.” Fox News had let glib midwits like Sean Hannity mock antiwar conservatives like Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) as cranks.
In the 2016 Republican primaries, every presidential candidate except Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump wanted to shoot down Russian planes to help al-Qaeda take power over a million Christians in Syria. Now the same people have us playing nuclear chicken with Russia.
After Trump channeled Americans’ simmering rage at such reckless warmongering, we weirdo antiwar conservatives were finally forgiven for being right too soon. (That’s the worst kind of bad taste if it embarrasses “elites.”)
Dubya Stumbles Back onto Our Radar
The last time Bush made headlines, it was for an open-borders book he’d written, inspired by the experience of being raised by Mexican servants.
Oh, yes, and the time when he equated the January 6 protesters with the 9/11 hijackers who slaughtered 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., on his watch.
I will grant one commonality between the J6 political prisoners and the al-Qaeda hijackers: Neither group had any link to Saddam Hussein.
The last time Bush spoke publicly about the Iraq war, which was based on lies and lazy intelligence work, he was sneering. Bush held a “funny” press event with a slideshow, which compared the hunt for weapons of mass destruction with the children’s “Where’s Waldo?” books. I’m sure that the mothers of U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq, and the thousands who came back disfigured, crippled, or traumatized, had a hearty laugh at that. Let’s hope the survivors of 500,000 to 700,000 Iraqi civilians who died in Bush’s phony war didn’t see that clip. They might not have electricity yet, since the country’s still recovering from occupation by ISIS.
How many of the million or so Iraqi Christians scapegoated after the “crusader” war and driven from their homeland, while first Bush and then Barack Obama did nothing, have found permanent homes? Many were excluded from Muslim-controlled refugee camps and lived in shipping containers. Maybe a few dozen could come here to Dallas’ tony Southern Methodist University and live at the George W. Bush library. I hope it stocks My Pet Goat.
The Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart
Bush has never apologized for this, or any of the other filthy iniquities surrounding the war he launched and then botched. (Remember Condoleezza Rice’s warning about a “smoking gun” that’s a “mushroom cloud”? Good times!)
Nor for the PATRIOT Act, which created the domestic surveillance state that Obama then Biden aimed at Americans—as some of us warned at the time. (I wrote a long article predicting precisely this in American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. It’s cold comfort, playing Cassandra, I can tell you.)
Nor for expanding an already absurd refugee program to flood America with unassimilable Somali tribesmen and high school dropouts, to compete for the few low-skill jobs not outsourced to Communist China.
Nor for approving the use of aborted babies’ tissue in creating vaccines, like the one that got forced on Americans last year.
Dubya Even Helped Cause the Ukraine War
Read Pedro Gonzalez’s priceless commentary on how George W. Bush also played a role in provoking Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It turns out Bush and his empire-builders vetoed a realistic plan that might have resolved the disputes between Russia and Ukraine. It conflicted with their project of ringing a post-Communist Russia with a hostile military alliance. Instead, Bush piled on the reasons why Russia and Ukraine would eventually end up at war.
But we must live in hope for every soul this side of the grave. Perhaps, just perhaps, the humiliation of watching the truth jump out of his mouth and stand in the light of day will chasten Dubya. A thick coating of inherited wealth has insulated this dilettante from the consequences of his actions all his life.
That won’t cut it on judgment day. So prayers, people, please.