But it's still true that a longer war is "objectively" in Bush's political interest, as a Marxist would say—and that's hardly irrelevant. All human decisions tend to be subtly and unconsciously influenced by self-interest. For all I know, Bill Clinton thought he was making the best decision for the nation when he launched the cruise missile attack on that Sudanese pharmaceutical plant in 1998. A desire to distract the public from his testimony before the grand jury in the Monica Lewinsky case may not have been a conscious motive. That doesn't mean it wasn't a motive.
Similarly, it's worth keeping in mind—as the war proceeds and enters a difficult, less conventional phase in which the very existence of an enemy is harder to determine—that Bush's decisions, too, may be subtly influenced by his "objective" political self-interest.
Prediction! Kausfiles will be roundly condemned as unpatriotic for this item. But within two months the essential point—that it's in Bush's political interest to keep the war going—will be such a staple of punditry that you will switch channels when you hear it.
TODAY IN SLATE
More Than Scottish Pride
Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself.
What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows
Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?
The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.
Happy Constitution Day!
Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.