[FOUNTAIN]Targeting the enemy’s chiefGeorge W. Bush looked terrified a year and a half ago on Sept. 11, 2001, even though he seems now so confident that he appears to be king of the world. Back then Mr. Bush looked pale as he announced in a speech to the American people that he would hunt down terrorists and those who hide them.
Bob Woodward, a journalist from the Washington Post, describes the situation as follows: Mr. Bush had to fight against the general perception that he was a weak creature who is not interested in detailed facts, aloof, indifferent and ignorant. However, the fear that the president of the United States felt is understandable.
After the towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed, he received a report from intelligence that the next goal was “angel” on his way from Florida to Washington D.C. Angel is the code word for Air Force One, the president’s exclusive airplane. Mr. Bush had to conceal where he was really going to elude his enemies. He flew to Louisiana and then to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska 90 minutes later. He arrived in Washington D.C. nine hours after the terrorist attack, but he had to hide again one hour before midnight because an unidentified aircraft showed up above the White House. He might be the only president of the United States who felt a direct threat from enemies outside America.
The two wars that Mr. Bush has waged are different from other conflicts in American history in that they were focused on eliminating enemy leaders. The goals of the wars that the United States had waged before were complicated and multileveled, including destroying the enemy’s military bases, removing the threat to the United States, generating economic profits, gaining land and protecting democracy and markets.
Mr. Bush’s points of view on war are related to his experience of Sep. 11; the president obviously puts high value on bombing an enemy leader’s shelters to eliminate him. The simple order to kill the enemy’s leader matches Mr. Bush’s simple ways.
Kim Jong-il has been hiding more than a month; he has shelters in Samjiyeon, Mount Baekdu, the highest peak in Korea. Mr. Kim might be experiencing fears similar to those Mr. Bush felt on Sep.11. Perhaps he was swayed by Mr. Bush’s will to kill the enemies’ top men. War is a battle between the leaders’ philosophy, experience and national spirits.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.