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Austin Cline

Bushido: The Way of the Armchair Warrior

By June 14, 2004

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President Bush and his administration have come under a lot of criticism for their handling of... well, for their handling of just about everything when it comes to foreign policy. Arguably, though, Bush’s strategy has not been based upon the evangelical Christianity assumed by so many but, rather, his own personal implementation of “Zen” philosophy.

Evan Eisenberg writes in The New Yorker (via Mark Kleiman):

Knowledge is not important. The armchair warrior strives to attain a state beyond knowledge, a state of deep, non-knowing connection to the universe: in particular, to that portion of the universe which is rich, powerful, or related to him by blood. The unenlightened speak of "failures of intelligence." But the armchair warrior knows that "intelligence"—the effort of the mind to observe facts, apply reason, and reach conclusions about what is true and what ought to be done—is a delusion...
The armchair warrior does not fear death, especially not the death of other people. The unenlightened mind is easily swayed by pictures. Since it fails to grasp that life and death are illusions, the sight of the flag-draped remains of those slain by the enemy may make it susceptible to weakness and feelings of pity. Therefore, the armchair warrior does not let the people see such images, except in settings that can be properly controlled, such as his own campaign advertisements.

Eisenberg’s article offers a very amusing, not to mention interesting, take on the current administration’s foreign policy tactic. If only it didn’t seem so accurate...

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