Shakespeare and Saddam
The walls of William Shakespeare’s grave must be worn as smooth as glass from all the rolling over he must do in there. If it wasn’t before, I’m sure it’s been buffed recently as the president’s defenders have used the Bard’s works to illustrate their arguments toward a new attack on Iraq. Sure, he was a cocky guy and probably loves being remembered, but the sad fact that the president’s friends have so clearly misunderstood his themes would most surely drive him nuts.
First, George Schultz has marched out his oft-repeated “shall we be the Hamlet of nations” tripe for the Republicans’ new war, but only after Dick Morris (the Republicans’ new best friend) said the same and predicted the tack that Republicans would take in this move toward action and away from thought.
Why does no one give Hamlet any credit? Everyone points to him as a man who thinks too much, but conveniently forgets that the act he was contemplating was an act of murder. George W. seems to have forgotten that simple fact and, like the man of action, Fortinbras, is ready to go to war “even for an eggshell” – whether he’s sure of the eggshell’s existence or not.
The point is, people are going to die. This should be an act which gives us pause.
If Hamlet were the only reference, though, this may not bother me so much. He’s often misunderstood by the kind of frat boy boneheads that seem to fill Bush’s cabinet. It’s his supporters take on Othello that drives me nuts.
In a recent commentary on All Things Considered, Ken Adelman said that he “stand(s) with Othello” in supporting the Bush Administration’s move to attack Iraq. In this he says “push the details aside and use force” against Iraq. I’m not sure what details he’s talking about here, but I assume that he means details like Saddam’s actually having WMDs and whether or not we should violate the UN’s charter. Details like that.
He’s right on one aspect, though. Othello did do this in defense of Venice. However, like Bush, Othello did this all the time, and that was his downfall. People attacking Venice? Don’t count them. Kill them. Wife might be unfaithful? Don’t hesitate. Kill her.
I, for one, think we should think this through. We should, like Hamlet, try to wrap our minds around the act we intend to commit. Let’s go into Iraq and see what’s there. We must not act without knowledge. In this, I stand with Hamlet.