Bush's Messiah complex.

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When George W. Bush ran for President in 2000, he said the United States must be "humble" in the world. Now he has cast humility aside and replaced it with hubris. Supremely confident in his gut instincts, wrapped up in a fundamentalist belief system, endowed with the most powerful, military of all time, and unchecked by Congress, Bush feels he can "rid the world of evil"--at the barrel of a gun.

A picture emerges from the President's public statements--and even from such adulatory accounts as Bob Woodward's Bush at War and David Frum's The Right Man--of a President on a divine mission.

Call it messianic militarism.

He may have discarded the word "crusade," but it's a crusade that he's on. As former Bush speech-writer Frum puts it, "War has made him ... a crusader after all."

While there's nothing wrong with a President trying to make the world a better place, when the man in the Oval Office feels divinely inspired to reshape the world through violent means, that's a scary prospect.

The grandiosity of Bush's vision can no longer be denied.

"Most Presidents have high hopes. Some have grandiose visions of what they will achieve, and he was firmly in that camp," Woodward writes. Bush told him, "I will seize the opportunity to achieve big goals," adding, "There is nothing bigger than to achieve world peace."

And the way to achieve that, he believes, is often through war. "As we think through Iraq, we may or may not attack. I have no idea, yet. But it will be for the objective of making the world more peaceful," he told Woodward. Bush seemed to understand that this missionary policy might get him into trouble ("Condi didn't want me to talk about it"), but he persisted, invoking it again in the context of Afghanistan ("I wanted us to be viewed as the liberator") and North Korea.

Bush's now famous comment, "I loathe Kim Jong Il," which he uttered to Woodward, was in the context of the North Korean leader starving his people and torturing prisoners. "It appalls me," Bush said, adding that his reaction "is visceral. Maybe it's my religion, maybe it's my--but I feel passionate about this."

Though his Administration seems to be taking the diplomatic route toward the Korean nuclear crisis, Bush's eagerness to confront Pyongyang should not be underestimated. "I'm not foolish," he said, acknowledging North Korea's ability to inflict massive casualties on the South. But he downplayed the problems that an overthrow might cause. "They tell me, we don't need to move too fast, because the financial burdens on people will be so immense if we try to--if this guy were to topple. Who would take care of--I just don't buy that."

When Bush calls Kim Jong Il a "pygmy" and insists on North Korea's "axis of...

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