Bush Briefings Peppered With Bible Based Back-Patting (Updated)
I hope that it’s not only opportunists on the left who are going to be highly disturbed by the recent revelations that internal Bush Administration’s daily Iraq war intelligence briefings included smug quotes from the Old Testament, the most bafflingly arrogant of the bunch seen below:
It’s one thing to cite Scripture in order to come to grips with a harsh reality, affirm common values, steel yourself in the face of tragedy, and so on. But citing scripture in real time as a means of celebrating and justifying, well, yourself, is about as far from humble or pious as one can possibly get. And invading an ostensibly Muslim country while even internally casting yourself as the righteous nation of faith demanding entrance seems blazingly stupid.
Why was anyone who had any clue about the sensitivities of dealing in the Middle East joshing around like this, seriously or not? But then, I suppose a President that did things like carelessly call our military actions “crusades” (which translates quite literally into Arabic as “Wars of the Cross”) couldn’t be bothered with any briefings on the actual nature, culture, and religious sensitivities of the countries we had resolved to hitch our foreign-policy fortunes to for the next decade or so. He was too busy getting a kick out of envisioning himself as a modern-day Isaiah.
Our policies for nation/coalition-building in the Middle East have came a long way over the course of the Bush Administration, for which they undoubtedly deserve some real credit. But telling tidbits like this make it all the more obvious why it was that we had such a steep learning curve to begin with.
Update: Rumsfeld’s office is disputing the claim that these cover sheets were ever shown to the President. If the claims are true it doesn’t change the overall dunderheadedness of the cover sheets themselves, but it does mean that former President Bush, at least, shouldn’t fall under criticism for viewing or allegedly approving of them.