On Tuesday, in an interview with CNN, Junior Bush, who is arguably one of the most despised and hated men in the world, admitted to having "regrets."
The admission struck me like a thunderbolt. Could Junior actually regret that he is placed at the forefront of an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths? Might he actually be suffering in some psychologically karmic manner for issuing executive orders authorizing the barbaric practice of "extraordinary rendition?" For torture of detainees? Or, could he regret indulging in the Karl Rove politics of setting various demographics of Americans at each other's throats in order to retain his tenuous grasp of power?
The very thought that a beast like Junior might be struck by conscience threw my world off-kilter. I have, for the last 15 or so months, believed and argued that Junior Bush is a sociopath, incapable of empathy for people whom he believes to be below his social station. Were he now to express regret at his lack of decency, his repugnant self-interest, his indifference toward humanity, I would be forced to confront an uncomfortable possibility: perhaps I have been unfair to him!
But, for once, Junior came through for me, rendering my fear baseless. And I quote: "I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said."
He elaborated, somewhat, saying that he regrets his "Bring 'em on" fit of bravura made on July 3, 2003, wherein he invited attack on US military forces in Iraq. He regrets his impotent and ridiculous "dead or alive" remark made about Osama bin Laden on December 14, 2001. He regrets the "Mission Accomplished" banner that his campaign people raised behind him when he dressed up like a big boy soldier and landed on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln to declare victory in Iraq on May 1, 2003.
In short, Junior's regrets are due to saying things that have made him look ridiculous and foolish. No regrets, apparently, for the agony and suffering he has imposed on countless millions.
What a relief! For a minute, I was afraid I might have been terribly mistaken about the old boy.
But Junior came through. He is a sociopath. He is an emotionally-stunted creature of privilege, incapable of basic human compassion and decency.
I am currently re-reading Leo Tolstoy's novel, War and Peace. (The word "classic" seems woefully inadequate to describe this work. It is one of the greatest literary pieces ever produced by humanity.) In it, Tolstoy portrays Napoleon Bonaparte as a tormented puppet, enslaved by the laws of history. At one point, as the horrendous battle of Borodino draws to its close, Napoleon catches a fleeting glimpse of his own true role in the great events of the day. But immediately, he rejects that truth and turns again to his delusional vision of himself as a great leader.
And so it is with Junior:
And he passed back again into his old artificial world, peopled by the phantoms of some unreal greatness, and again (as a horse running a rolling wheel may imagine it is acting on its own account) he fell back into submissively performing the cruel, gloomy, irksome, and inhuman part destined for him.
And not for that hour and day only were the mind and conscience darkened in that man, on whom the burden of all that was being done lay even more heavily than on all the others who took part in it. Never, down to the end of his life, had he the least comprehension of good, of beauty, of truth, of the significance of his own acts, which were too far opposed to truth and goodness, too remote from everything human for him to be able to grasp their significance. He could not disavow his own acts, that were lauded by half the world, and so he was forced to disavow truth and goodness and everything human. --Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace