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And whos going to say anything good about Hussein? Except, of course, you see the same stories I see, that people in Arab nations nearby are saying that its kind of good to see the Americans get their eyes bloodied a little.
Did you expect weapons of mass destruction to turn up?
I dont know if I should even say this, but we live in Los Angeles, where weve been through the Rampart scandal. Theres a part of me that says if we didnt find evidence of weapons of mass destruction, is it above the CIA to truck in some laboratory equipment to justify the invasion the way the cops have a spare gun to throw down when an unarmed man is shot to death?
When I first went to Vietnam, that thought would have been impossible for me. But, you know, you watch your government do so many things that you disapprove of like the CIA unseating democratically elected governments. You just cannot think that because its our country, the land of Jefferson and Madison, that we dont do these things. I know weve done them in the past.
Its striking how resolute and sure of himself Bush seems, whether cutting taxes or launching a war.
The smart people Ive known have never been quite so sure about anything. I think its the confidence of the semi-educated. And that hes convinced himself that God is on his side. For the first couple of years of this administration, I bought into the idea that he appointed someone like Ashcroft to be attorney general to satisfy the right wing. It took quite a while for me to wake up to the fact that he is the right wing. Its not that hes this more sophisticated man who needs to appease the right wing because he saw how they could savage his father. He is a true believer.
Bush has that look of somebody who isnt going to back down. Theres something so young about him anyway. Not even adolescent, its younger than that. He looks like a kind of superannuated 7-year-old who has his fingers in a fist and he is just not going to back down. And thats not good.
Of all the presidents in my lifetime and for the first 12 years it was Franklin Roosevelt, which set a pretty high standard I wouldve thought the worst president we could imagine would be Nixon. He had all that paranoia and all that really deep-seated hatred of people. I thought, "Well never have a worse president than Richard Nixon." But he wasnt dumb.
This man, Bush, is, in some ways, more alarming because I dont think he can be reasoned with. Now, it may be that [presidential political adviser] Karl Rove will see that certain things have to be changed or modified and that Bush would listen. But just on the merits of an argument, I dont think you could ever get through to him. And that isnt really the kind of person you want leading your country.
Of course, you dont need an intellectual to lead the country. In fact, maybe that would be a bad thing. Maybe an intellectual should always be second or third or fourth in command. What you need is somebody like [former Supreme Court Chief Justice] Earl Warren, who was nobodys idea of brilliant, including his own. But when he leaned across the bench and asked, "Is it fair?," he summed up an approach you want in your leaders. And I dont see that quality in George W. Bush.