Stuff Happens by David Hare
Stuff Happens is a play by David Hare, written in response to the Iraq war during the Bush administration. It talks about the events that led to the war on Iraq in 2003, which ps from George Bush’s election in 2000 up till his stepping down from office in 2008. The title is inspired by Donald Rumsfeld’s response to journalists about the looting happening in Baghdad where he replied “Stuff Happens”. The writer already states in the authors note that it is “knowingly true” but he had to use his imagination in parts that were not covered especially when the politicians were behind closed doors.
The Bush war cabinet, which is made up of Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, George Tenet, Dick Cheney mad Donald Rumsfeld is made of fantasists who want to attack Iraq except Colin Powell who is a stern realist. When there is a showdown with Bush Powell puts the point, which comes to no avail that war should be seen as a last resort were diplomacy has not worked. Here he points out the hypocrisy of Americans where he asks, “people keep asking of Saddam”, “how do we know he’s got weapons of mass destruction? How do we know?
Because we’ve still got the receipts. ” Here in this particular scene Powell speaks his mind to the president where he points out hypocrisy by saying that they used to trade with Saddam not long ago and now they want to go to war with him. Also an example of power of leadership is shown but in a very indirect way when Bush summons Powell to the Oval office. Here Bush asks for Powell’s permission to go to war and then Powell replies he does not disagree with the idea but after he leaves he says he didn’t need Powell’s permission.
This shows that no matter the situation and even if Powell had said no the president had already made his decision. It seems in way that Bush is sometimes abusing his power to gain the upper hand of people and not a lot of people would disagree with the President of the United States of America. As for political maneuvering, this is shown as Rumsfeld telling the press indirectly that they don’t need the British and there is also a bit of deception, as he has no sense of regret in his words.
Finally a very strong point of society’s perception of the events is given by an Iraqi exile at the end of the book. The Iraqi even admits to hating Saddam Hussein by saying “I even longed for the fall of the dictator”, but the comment that Donald Rumsfeld totally changed his perception of things. He shows this by bringing up the way the Americans who died are counted and given an honorary ceremony but the Iraqi’s are unaccounted for. This shows how the war was totally unfair and that they considered the Iraqis not to be human.
The Iraqi exile then solidifies everything by the last words he says where people say to him, “look tell America”, and he replies by saying “you are putting your faith in the wrong person. Don’t expect America or anybody will do it for you. If you don’t do it yourself, this is what you get. ” What this is saying is that even if people think America is like the world body they should expect that America could turn their backs on them anytime and that if you put your faith in them you will be disappointed.