Pacifists, Bushisms 

Looking on the bright side of a tragedy, President George Bush recently pointed out in a report to Congress that the attacks of Sept. 11 “opened vast, new opportunities” for this country.

“We can build fruitful habits of consultation, quiet argument, sober analysis, and common action. In the long-term, these are the practices that will sustain the supremacy of our common principles and keep open the path of progress,” noted the prez in his National Security Strategy report issued last month.

Of course, there’re bound to be a few bumps on that road to progress.

As attorney Tom Stephens argued last Friday at a meeting of local peace activists, “The U.S. government’s latest attempt to exploit these opportunities for world domination, in their drive to attack Iraq, is illegal under the well-established principles of international law.”

Not that such nuances matter much to our esteemed leader, whose deep thoughts gush out in such a torrent that Slate’s Jacob Weisberg has been able to publish a second collection of “Bushisms.”

Seeking assurance that America will have the collective fortitude to go it alone if need be, News Hits thumbed through Weisberg’s new paperback (More George W. Bushisms: More of Slate’s Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Our 43rd President, Simon & Schuster, $9.95), finding solace in such profundities as: “Our nation must come together to unite.”

Truer words were never spoken.

But don’t underestimate the challenge we face. Again, quoth GWB: “Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enabler to keep the peace from the peacekeepers is going to be an assignment.”

Damn straight.

However, it’s not just a matter of busting a few international laws. As Bishop Thomas Gumbleton pointed out to the pacifists at Detroit’s Central United Methodist Church, “the idea of morally justified war has been an accepted Christian concept for some 1,500 years. But in this case, there’s no legitimate moral reason to sanction the spilling of Iraqi blood.

“We must not allow this war to go forward,” he said.

Maybe so. But arguments of law and morality are unlikely to deter a president who once observed: “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.”

How can you argue with logic like that?

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