I always used to get squeamish whenever someone compared Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld with Nazis. But I am finally convinced that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are indeed classic “desk murderers” (or Schreibtischtäter) as defined by Hannah Arendt and as explored by Chalmers Johnson.*
Arendt was trying to locate Eichmann's conscience. She called him a "desk murderer," an equally apt term for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld — for anyone, in fact, who orders remote-control killing of the modern sort — the bombardment of a country that lacks any form of air defense, the firing of cruise missiles from a warship at sea into countries unable to respond, such as Iraq, Sudan, or Afghanistan, or, say, the unleashing of a Hellfire missile from a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle controlled by "pilots" thousands of miles from the prospective target.In his recent column, 4000 Dead for What?, Eugene Robinson completely misses the point.
Dick Cheney, who in 2005 told us that the insurgency was "in the last throes, if you will," was asked last week about polls showing that two-thirds of Americans don't think the fight in Iraq is worth it. Cheney's response: "So?"Candid? Arrogant?
At least Cheney was being candid, if breathtakingly arrogant.
No, that one-syllable, one-word response was the answer of a desk murderer, one sitting in a very, very comfortable chair.
*Definitely read the full excerpt if you get the chance.
**Morin editorial cartoon credits.