fury & the desire for immediate war

Skeletal Thoughts

From an interview with Bob Woodward on his interviews with President Bush:

"Woodward says the president told him that when he chairs a meeting he often tries to be provocative. When Woodward asked him if he tells his staff that he is purposely being provocative, Mr. Bush answered: "Of course not. I am the commander, see?"

"President Bush: "I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."


"Woodward says the president was furious when he had to wait a week to bomb Afghanistan after the military told him they needed more time to prepare.

'Bush gets fiery. Actually explodes, and says, 'Why that's unacceptable,' Woodward says."

Project: read Hitler's anger as noted by William Shirer in Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, i.e.:

"Hitler became hysterical and launched into a long harangue about how he had made Germany stronger than Britain and France together" (378).

"[Hitler] was full of a sense of a God-given mission" (349).

Also the resistance of the Generals to Hitler (300-390) and Hitler's removal of those who opposed him (by either dismissing them, killing them (Roem), or turning to those below their ranking officers to disgrace and overthrow them). Note Hitler's long speeches concerning how the General Staff couldn't understand the urgency of his military brilliance (i.e., plans to take over Europe). The same situation is repeated throughout WWII, including the invasion of Russia, Stalingrad, the final scorched earth mandate.

"Hitler was in a highly nervous state. On the morning of the twenty-second [September 1938] I was having breakfast on the terrace of the Hotel Dreesen, where the talks were to take place [Czechslovakia], when Hitler strode past on his way down to the riverbank to inspect his yacht. He seemed to have a peculiar tic. Every few steps he cocked his right shoulder nervously, his left leg snapping up as he did so. He had ugly, black patches under his eyes. He seemed to be, as I noted in my diary that evening, on the edge of a nervous breakdown. 'Teppichfresser!' muttered my German companion, an editor who secretly despised the Nazis. And he explained that Hitler had been in such a maniacal mood over the Czechs the last few days that on more than one occasion he had lost control of himself completely, hurling himself to the floor and chewing the edge of the carpet. Hence the term 'carpet eater'" (391).

"His fists raised, his cheeks flushed with rage, his whole body trembling, the man stood there in front of me, beside himself with fury and having lost all self-control. After each outburst Hitler would stride up and down the carpet edge, then suddenly stop immediately before me and hurl his next accusation in my face. He was almost screaming, his eyes seemed to pop out of his head and the veins stood out in his temples" (Guderian, as quoted in Shirer 1103).

"Nevertheless, it was this man alone, half mad, rapidly deteriorating in body and mind, who now, as he had done in the snowy winters of 1941 before Moscow, rallied the beaten, retreating armies and put new heart into the battered nation [...] prolong[ing] the agony of war for well nigh a year" (1081).

Hitler's nervousness moves outward in his speech and gesture. Bush's calm betrays a magnet of power from which anger nonetheless resonates with the same judgmental ferocity. Both attenuate military as the essentialism of the nation-state, which together serves as the condition for the defence of "the people" ("freedom"). The nation-state is exposed as the military machine it always was. Yet the military machine faces a split, as the destroyer impulse runs up against the static shores of administration (military complacency). The old guard military must be removed (preservation of the military corpus) to make way for the fluid movement toward violent death (reduction of military body in war--pruning).

posted. Thu - April 8, 2004 @ 02:16 AM           |