It’s becoming clearer and clearer that President Bush is our Macbeth. Remember Shakespear’s bloody tale of ancient Scotland? Macbeth, returning at dark to his castle after a military campaign is confronted by three ancient witches (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Ariel Sharon) and they’re stirring a reeking pot: “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags, what is it you do?” demands Macbeth. “A deed without a name,” cackles First Witch (Perle). As the witches stir and cackle, “Double double toil and trouble,” Second Witch (Wolfowitz) throws into the pot “eye of newt (Gingrich) and toe of frog’ (Chirac), and foretell that Macbeth will be king. The catch is, there’s already a king, Duncan (Democracy), but no problem for a ruthless man. Fired with ambition, stoked by the witches’ promise and the goading of Lady Macbeth (Tony Blair), Macbeth sees his chance when the king on his rounds stops to spend the night. After Lady Macbeth drugs the guards, Macbeth stabs Duncan in his bed and Lady Macbeth smears the sleeping guards (Arabs) with blood so they’ll be blamed. In the pandemonium that ensued in the morning when the deed was discovered, Macbeth slew the guards. When questioned sharply why he did so, he excused himself on the grounds of moral outrage.
Well, as Jesus could have told him (“Live by the sword, die by the sword”), Macbeth’s reign of terror was unhappy and short. No more hours of blithe forgetfulness on the marital bed for this couple. Lady Macbeth had nightmares, walked in her sleep, and was observed obsessively trying to wash something off her hands, crying, “Out, damned spot!” Macbeth, meanwhile, has had to go on killing, sparing not woman nor child, and ended up even more haunted than his pathetic queen, seeing everywhere the ghosts of his victims. At one point in his moral agony, surrounded by suspicion and enemies everywhere, he sums up his miserable state in awful terms: “I am in blood stepped so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” Stepped in blood so far…goddamit, that’s the reason there’ll be no withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq.