Bush Senior’s death and the problem of evil

George Herber Walker Bush, who is known in Turkey as Father Bush, died last Friday at the age of 94. Bush was the 41st president of the United States between the years 1989 and 1993. After his death, Turkish users made comments like “May he burn in hell”, “One way ticket to hell”, and “The fire is calling you” on social media, because people think that Father Bush was as responsible as his son is for the current situation in the Middle East.

This is true, meaning that the period when the U.S. entered the Middle East and started to ruin the whole region coincides with the time when he came into power. After the bloodshed started in the Middle East, it hasn’t stopped to this day.

He toppled the de-facto leader of Panama, Moreno, when he invaded the country in 1990, and he made people watch like a reality show while he was bombing civilians in the Gulf War. It seems that Father Bush has inspired his son so much that Bush junior filled his place and even went beyond him in hawkishness.

After the 9/11 attacks, what Bush Jr was doing when he occupied Iraq and Afghanistan with the strategy “You are either enemy or foe”, leading to the death of so many in the Middle East, causing many countries either to be divided or destabilized, paving the way for mass migrations, and hanging Saddam like strangling an animal, was nothing more than following in his father’s footsteps,.

In an interview father Bush later shifted the blame of the bloodshed his son caused to his vice presidents, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and was going to comment about the wars he and his son caused saying, “Different wars, different reasons. Saddam has gone, and many evil things, violence, and terrible events are gone along with him.” While the fire born out of the evil of the country he was ruling blazed the entire region and is still burning it today, it is interesting to talk about other people’s evil, isn’t it?

Well, it’s not. You may call it protection, you may call it eliminating the violence, you may call it destroying the bad seeds, you may find hundreds of thousands of reasons, but there is only one term for what you have done: evilness. French philosopher Jean Baudrillard asks where evil went in our age and then gives the answer himself: “everywhere.” If you ask him, the forms of contemporary evil are infinite and evil takes the shape of all the terror actions that don’t let us go. However, it actually becomes a terrorist, a figurative one; whether it appears in the form of state terrorism or in another form. Baudrillard explains that the reason is that there is no possibility left to talk about evil.

That is why I felt the need to write about the death of George Bush, who started the “hawk” tradition and was the president of the United States during the late 80s and early 90s. Because, according to Baudrillard, the evil that is not talked about takes infinite forms and there is no way of getting rid of it.

Of course, the ultimate goal of Bush wasn’t to shed the blood of Muslims and become the target of millions of people. I am sure that he also wanted to be a man who would be well-remembered. However, it didn’t happen, because the actual aim of the evil is to seize power and this was exactly what Bush wanted. You only seize power by pointing to the other, the enemy, the threat and then to define and wage war against it.

“What about the timing?” some people would ask. Why didn’t the Middle East operations not start sooner or later but at the end of the 80s and the beginnings of the 90s? The answer is that: When the cold war was over, and the USSR, which had been the symbol of evil for the West, slowly turned into the representative of benevolence and moderate ruling and the U.S. and the West needed a new enemy (During Bush’s presidency relations between the U.S. and Gorbachov's USSR were good, and not long after that, while both were in power the USSR collapsed).

The enemy they were looking for became “Muslims”.

However, there are consequences of constantly making enemies; for instance, becoming more and more vulnerable to any discourse that is coming from the other side, hence becoming unstable. Baudrillard says, “We carried enough seeds, illnesses, plagues, and ideologies to the rest of the world, against which they were defenseless; now ironically, with the world turned upside down, it seems that we are the ones who are defenseless against a vile and little archaic germ.”

When we think about the populist policies, far-right racism, and discrimination that is spreading like a virus in the West, it seems that he is not that wrong. What do you say?

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