In the summer of 2003 President George W. Bush waged a military campaign in Iraq with false justifications and fabricated documents that were used as evidence to further his war agenda. Throughout literature there are uncanny resemblances to this moment in current events. Ranging from the dictatorial King Creon in Sophocles” “Antigone” to the Eighth circle of falsifiers in Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” to More’s resistance against King Henry VIII in “A Man For All Seasons”. All of these stories in literature and more contain many similarities to the situation that is occurring in Iraq. Many of these stories may have been disturbing or righteous inspirations to many individuals that had their part in the war. May it have been support to enter into the military fray or resistance and protest against the concept of war in Iraq, these stories can not but help but mirror the issue in several different viewpoints.
On the aspect that the majority of the nation did not support the war, “Antigone” fits this very well. When Haemon was trying to convince his father King Creon to not punish and execute Antigone for her rebellion, he states that the whole of Thebes has the same opinion that she “deserves a crown of gold” for her actions because she was respecting the ritualistic burial rites of the gods. But Creon ignored his plea of reason and stubbornly stuck with his decision against the will of the people. Haemon then explains that if he does this the people will no longer feel that they will be able state their grievances with Creon’s decisions as a ruler. Creon counterpoints this that “a king is ruler and lord of his kingdom.” This points out that Creon thinks that despite what people may say a king’s decision is infallible. Bush demonstrated this by calling the hundreds of thousands of protesters “a rabble of focus groups”. Also his decision went against the major opinion of the international community who were against the war from the start. The United Nations would not give support by passing a resolution that said the war was justified and acceptable and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization denied his plea for a NATO backed military force out of protest against the idea. But despite the overwhelming opinion of not only the people of Bush’s own nation that he was president of but the international community as well, he carried on his agenda for a war in Iraq just as King Creon carried through his decision to execute Antigone for her crime.
Frankenstein’s creation in “Frankenstein” turned out to be a creature that was destructive and hateful of its creator because it was neglected from the beginning of its lifespan. Whenever the creation would have a confrontation with Dr. Frankenstein, he would always explain how he isn’t loved, that he does not have any friends or companions, and that he is always scorned by society. This would not have happened if the creation were shown love, care and friendship by Dr. Frankenstein, which he should have done from the beginning. Yes, Frankenstein did include that certain level of care when he was in the process of creating the creature. But when he was completed, Frankenstein shunned his creation and neglected it by abandoning the fact that it was his responsibility. The war in Iraq has been treated like this. Bush has been caring for this conundrum in irresponsible ways such as not creating an efficient Iraqi government, not showing a benevolent presence by giving more responsibility to the people, and neglecting the fact that he is not on the right road of strengthening security for the people of Iraq. With this neglect and inefficient plan the situation in Iraq has spiraled out of control. More animosity has been created than avoided or extinguished. The people of Iraq are now angry at the presence of the U.S. and more and more attacks are being carried out against troops and coalition supporters. The creation, because of the neglect shown to him, rampaged by killing the loved ones of Frankenstein as revenge against his creator. The situation in Iraq is the way it is because of neglect and mismanagement in care.
In “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri, there were several circles in hell that were designated for different categories of sinners. One such circle that fits the tactics that the Bush Administration used to justify the war in Iraq is the eighth circle or Bolgia Ten. This circle was designated to the four different kinds of falsifiers. The fourth kind of falsifiers is the most similar one to the Bush Administration. This one contained the false witnesses or falsifiers of words. One person that was being punished in that circle was Sinon the Greek, who talked the Trojans into accepting the Trojan horse that contained soldiers that eventually sprung from it and destroyed Troy. He lied to the Trojan king that it was a gift. He said that it was being given as a token of defeat and that the Greeks would retreat and abandon the siege of the beleaguered city. Through these lies the city was destroyed and the inhabitants slaughtered. For this Sinon was sent to hell after he died and punished for his lies. Sinon’s sins resemble the way Bush and his administration justified the war in Iraq. They lied through their teeth by giving Trojan horses to the public that were disguised as fabricated truths of Saddam having weapons of mass destruction. This lie was what really fueled the justification for the war in Iraq.
When Bush was trying to convince the war was necessary, there were thousands of people that protested against his views. They were not convinced that his motives were not for the common good of the world, but they believed that he was only doing it to set up another puppet in the middle east and to take control of the worlds third largest oil reserve. These people greatly resemble Sir Thomas More in the play “A Man For All Seasons”. Sir Thomas More saw that King Henry VIII only wanted a divorce from Queen Catharine so he could marry a more fertile woman that could produce him a male heir to the throne that would preserve his bloodline. This action was against More’s morals and beliefs. Since Sir Thomas More was held as a very moral and respectable man, King Henry VIII went to him to seek his approval of his actions. But, because of his beliefs and disagreement with the king, More refused to give it to him. Throughout the play More’s life was threatened if he did not give approval of the divorce. But More stuck with his non-public protest by continually refusing. These actions of protest resemble the actions of the anti-war groups that went against Bush in his decision for war.
In the ancient story “Gilgamesh” the main character Gilgamesh himself is a good example of what president Bush is like. He is a harsh tyrant who believes that he is superior to everyone else. He continually challenges gods and their strengths with his own. Despite the fact that he succeeds in these challenges it is the idea that he thinks he is the ultimate superior one that closely relates him to Bush. When Bush was presenting his case to the international community he was still turned down for his idea of war with Iraq. But he arrogantly went against the major opinion of the community and went on with his war as if his opinion was the only one that mattered and it was superior to everyone else’s.
In the film Gladiator, Maximus was dealt a great blow of injustice when Emperor Lucius slaughtered his family and ruined his life because he did not give his allegiance to him. After being enslaved as a gladiator, Maximus gained ground and support for a rebellion against the oppressive and tyrannical ruler. Maximus resisted emperor Lucius not only because he killed his family, but also he saw that he was not the right emperor that was meant for Rome. He fought against Lucius for the common good of Rome and justice. The anti-war groups fit this description. They weren’t protesting because the war wasn’t going to benefit their pockets or that it wasn’t going to fulfill their own selfish means, but they knew that it wasn’t right for the common good of their nation and the world. They resisted Bush’s policy because they saw that it wasn’t going to make things better in the world because it was only going to enflame even more anger that has been directed towards the U.S. and its allies. Just as Maximus fought and resisted Emperor Lucius, the anti-war groups fought and resisted Bush through public forums of protest.
Again on the issue of protest and resistance, the film “The Matrix”, fits this aspect of the Iraq war very well. Neo wanted to learn the truth of his so called reality that he was living in. Through the efforts of Morpheus and crew he was able to find a world that was dominated by a mechanized force that enslaved the human race for its source of energy. But a group called the resistance broke free from the virtual reality that the robots created for the humans in order to control them. They found the real world that human beings used to inhabit before it was ravaged by the war that was started between the robots and humans. This search for truth and resistance mirrors the demand for the truth that the public voiced out in numerous forums before the Iraq war started. Bush used lies to make people content with his decision and to keep them under his control. But, like the resistance in “The Matrix”, thousands of people saw through their lies and demanded that they know the truth and real motives of why the war was so desired by the Bush administration.
Re-iterating on the search for truth, the film “Memento” fits this idea very well. The character Leonard is plagued with the disability of not being able to remember events that happened within the time span of 10 minutes. This happened when he was injured from trying to save his wife while she was being murdered. Unfortunately he was not able to remember who killed his wife. So throughout the movie he is on a quest of finding his wife’s killer. But along the way he feels that he is being misled and told lies about what happened. So this search is in a way a search for truth. This is the same as how when the demand for inspectors to search for these supposed weapons of mass destruction that Bush accused Saddam of having was ringing throughout the international community. They wanted to know the truth of these accusations. So in the United Nations, many countries demanded from Saddam the allowance of entrance into the borders of Iraq so they could see if Bush was right or not. But along the way the search was diluted with lies and misconceptions to throw off the inspectors from finding the real truth of what was really going on. Just as the desire of the international community, Leonard wanted the truth.
With all of these similarities and connections, it is no surprise in how things have and are still turning out on the issue of war in Iraq. People still resist the idea of continually occupying it, the truth is still being demanded by the public, and justification is still being sought by the Bush administration. Maybe, with all of these pieces of literature, these moments and events can be avoided. But with a glance at the patterns of history this is highly doubtful.