In an ideal world, fearless journalists would put this question
to our Prime Minister: "Mr Blair, did George Bush give any
indication that his reading of the Book of Revelations led him
to believe that God may require him to use nuclear weapons in
this conflict, or did he in any other way indicate that his political
judgement was directly influenced by his reading of the book of
Revelations?" Unfortunately the world is not that ideal.
Bush has authorised
the US military to use nuclear weapons if US forces are attacked
by chemical or biological weapons during any assault on Iraq.
He is playing the deterrence gambit: Saddam Hussein has to be
made to believe that the USA (and presumably UK too) will go nuclear
if Saddam Hussein uses his WMD; so Saddam is inhibited from using
his CBW against US/UK forces.
The problem is that classical deterrence theory assumes that both
the deterree (to coin a phrase, in this case Saddam Hussein) and
the deterrorist (to coin another phrase, in this case Bush), have
a rational approach toreality.
In the present case, both parties, each in their own way, may
be considered to fall short of a 100% pass mark in the mental
stability department. Saddam Hussein has many traits consistent
with a of sociopathic personality disorder, and his record record
of cruelty and lack of empathy is well documented. It would not
be safe to assume that the painful death of hundreds of thousands
of people would carry much weight in his consideration of military
George W Bush on the other hand, has been succinctly described
Richard Dawkins as a "deeply stupid little oil spiv".
Expressed more objectively he could be characterised as a scion
of a family of hugely rich oil men whose grandfather was not averse
to dealing with Nazis, a past history suggestive of a borderline
character disorder, and, disturbingly, an unquestioning faith
in the tenets of Christian fundamentalists who believe that the
history of the present time is mapped out for us in some detail
in God's Holy Word, the infallible Bible. They believe that we
are living in the "End Times". The key story is that
of the Battle of Armageddon, a gathering of all the nations at
the mount of Megiddo. It is considered by Christian fundamentalists
to be the scene of the final conflict between Christ and Antichrist.
The full text is given below.
It is difficult for people have not had the experience of Bible
studies of the kind that are conducted every morning in the White
House to imagine the combination of awe, reverence and excitement
with which George Bush would read this passage. We can only speculate
on his thought processes, but they may well include the following
prayer: "Thank you Lord, for choosing my unworthy self to
be the instrument of your wrath. May I be given the steadfastness
and courage to carry out your Divine Will."
One person who should be able to give us some insight on this
important aspect of Bush's thinking is Tony Blair. Luckily, we
are blessed with many fearless journalists who will be ready to
put this question to our honest and decent Prime Minister: "Mr
Blair, did George Bush give any indication that his reading of
the Book of Revelations led him to believe that God may lead him
to use nuclear weapons in this conflict, or in any other way indicate
that his political judgement was directly influenced by his reading
of the book of Revelations?"
Whatever light Blair may shed on Bush's state of mind, the overall
situation remains deeply worrying. Of course we may have a short
war in which Iraq collapses with the same obliging promptness
shown by the Taleban. It may, or may not, be easy to win the war:
but the peace process in the whole of the Middle East area is
going to be far more difficult to win, especially if Bush goes
The situation even in a best case conflict scenario, is that we
have a fundamentalist Christian who has seized the reins of power
in the USA, fighting a war against one fundamentalist Muslim and
erstwhile client, Osama Bin Laden, but who has confusingly diverted
into a war against another erstwhile client, Saddam Hussein. Muslim
instincts to regard the war on terror as a war on Islam may in
fact reflect what is going on at the deepest level of George W
In face of the magnitude of all these interrelated factors, it
is easy to fall back into a position of powerlessness. However,
well directed peace activity is worthwhile (a) because at least
it makes us feel better (there is solid evidence for this) and
(b) because if everyone who takes the view that peace is better
than war stopped working and started walking, we could get regime
change not just in Iraq, but also in the USA and maybe even the
This is what George W is reading. Remember, he
takes every word as literal truth:
Revelation Ch 16
v13: I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the
mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet,
three unclean spirits, something like frogs;
14: for they are spirits of demons, performing signs; which go
forth to the kings of the whole inhabited earth, to gather them
together for the war of that great day of God, the Almighty.
15: "Behold, I come like a thief. Blessed is he who watches,
and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn't walk naked, and they
see his shame."
16: He gathered them together into the place which is called in
17: The seventh poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice
came forth out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying,
"It is done!"
18: There were lightnings, sounds, and thunders; and there was
a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men on the
earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty.
19: The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities
of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered in the sight
of God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of
20: Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21: Great hailstones, about the weight of a talent, came down
out of the sky on men. Men blasphemed God because of the plague
of the hail, for this plague is exceedingly severe.
More Bible studies with
Stephen Sizer on Christian Zionism