July 27, 2007
Dear President Bush,
I read with interest the lead article of the Washington Post about your presidency by Peter
Baker on July 2, 2007. You were in Kennebunkport, Maine, getting ready for your
meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. I then watched both of you on national
television fielding questions from the reporters. You were jovial and your usual self. Mr.
Putin looked a bit nervous and taut. The view behind you looked spectacular. The
Atlantic Ocean was calm and inviting. Apparently, you responded to its call and took
your pal fishing in it. The newspapers noted that the Russian had caught a fish.
But in the article by the Post, it was more like you who were caught like a fish by Mr.
Baker and put on display for millions of Americans as well as foreigners to see and feel
so to speak. Because I work in the same city as you do, not very far from your office if I
might add, I was intrigued with some of the details of the piece. So you wake up at five
o’clock every morning. Mr. Kissinger gifted you a book, “A Savage War of Peace”, by
Sir Alistair Horne. You invite scholars to the Oval Office and engage them in unfettered
conversations about America’s standing in the world. Iraq has become the front and
center preoccupation of your administration. Mr. Churchill is an idol of yours. His bust
adorns one of the rooms of the White House, but Mr. Baker forgot to mention which one
I wish that were the only problem with the piece. The one that really bothered me was
how you adore that half Albion half Yankee as if he were God’s representative on earth.
If I were you, I would have sent that head of his to the storage room of the White House
or given it back to the Britons. He is the source of your troubles. He is also the source of
my discontent. He fathered the illegitimate state of Iraq that is now fighting the flower of
your nation. I say you replace his sculpture with a picture of Woodrow Wilson. Your
idol subscribed to the proposition that whatever was good for the Great Britain was good
for the world. Mr. Wilson, on the other hand, was a saint relative to him. He had the
decency to say stuff like what is good for the world is good for America. He subscribed
to the principle of self-determination as a short cut to a semblance of peace and stability
in the world. History has seconded him. Since you were a History major at Yale, I
would be curious to know what you make of this?
You are probably wondering about my nationality and thinking to yourself if my like or
dislike of your idol has anything to do with my people’s losses or gains in the world
relative to his policies. You are right on target. Do you know what your idol did when
he fathered the illegitimate state of Iraq? Maybe I should answer this question by way of
an analogy from the “Moving Tips” of Budget rental trucks. Moving Tip 32 states:
“[when moving] don’t put your dog and your cat in the same box!” But Mr. Churchill
didn’t care about the dogs or the cats or the camels or the goats if you will, especially
after discovering oil in Kurdistan, and saw to it that the Kurdish goat would be tied to the
Arab camel whether the two liked it or not. Both peoples lost their relative liberty and it
has been an unmitigated disaster ever since.
To be sure, that decision has nothing to do with the problems facing you or confronting
Iraq today. The fighting, as you know, is among the Arabs themselves. You should be
grateful to the Kurdish leaders for agreeing to stay a part of Arab Iraq for now. Between
us, many of them are very afraid of you, some fearing that you might just pull another
Kissinger trick on them. But leaving that apprehension aside, I think it is time you acted
like a statesman to guarantee your place among the statesmen of the world. Yes, I know
you are surrounded by a lot of nearsighted nay-sayers. Yes, I know many of them seek
instantaneous gratification and care not a bit about the future generations. But I say you
jettison them all, or one by one, for their disservice to you, your country and the
imploding Middle East.
I should perhaps expand on this business of making a statesman out of you. I know you
don’t think much of the Kurds, but this one thinks you should read a book, Bismarck, by
A. J. P. Taylor, to make you see behind the mountain as it were. The German chancellor
talks about something called, the “Nationality Principle”, and how it was a source of war
for Europe in his times as well ours. It took Europeans some 355 years, from the treaty
of Westphalia to the end of the last century, to learn how to live along linguistic lines.
That same sifting is now taking place throughout the Middle East. One blow to Saddam
Hussein has freed five million Kurds. There are at least 30 million others waiting for the
opportunity to proclaim their own freedoms.
Don Rumsfeld, your former Secretary of Defense, used to say, “Freedom is a messy
thing.” Although universally disliked, he was right on target. Many in the West were
content with the way Saddam Hussein was terrorizing the Kurds and the Shiites and miss
the butcher of Baghdad to rein in the mayhem. The mayhem that they didn’t see or
wouldn’t be bothered to be reminded of, the gassing of 281 Kurdish settlements for
example, doesn’t figure in their myopic pronouncements. I resent that. That is like
paraphrasing Churchill’s maxim, whatever is good for me is good for the peoples of the
Middle East. I say you should do what Wilson would have done in the region and that is
move the RIP sign overlooking Churchill’s grave in London to Baghdad and erect it over
the state of Iraq. Anything less is bound to compound your problems. If people ask what
you are doing, just say you are atoning for the sins of a knave, half Albion half Yankee,
This letter first appeared in Soma, Issue # 26, July 2007, SOMA Digest is a subsidiary of
KHAK Press & Media Center: http://soma-digest.com/