In Hollywood, they like to tell you there are only 12 stories, and they just keep getting recycled and retold in different ways. And Shakespeare did them all first, anyway.
Perhaps that's true in Washington as well. And perhaps someone finally let W. in on this little secret. Last summer, the White House press office provided the president's summer reading list. The last book on it is particularly disturbing. And not just because you're wondering, "Who the hell reads Hamlet for the first time at age 60?"
But because of this, from Hamlet, Act IV:
How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! ...
How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
Of course, there is hope he read the stage direction that immediately follows: