Monday, June 20, 2005

On Bush-hatred and its causes

I recently received an e-mail expressing some thoughts about Bush that seem fairly representative of those who detest the man, and offering up a theory as to why:

Isn't his shallow narcissism obvious every time he opens his mouth? After all, this is a guy who has always lived in a bubble of the most extreme privilege...I don't think he's ever doubted his right to privileged status, and I think there's something pathological in that. I think this is why so many people hate him so.

Here is an edited and shortened version of my reply:

I'd rather have a President with what you describe as Bush's "shallow narcissism" than Kerry's extraordinarily deep narcissism any day. Just about all politicians are narcissists, as far as I can see--doesn't it take narcissism to do what they do? Bush is a narcissist on that typical level, in my opinion--he just conceals it less well than most.

I think that many people hate Bush for stylistic reasons. The way he talks, the way he smirks, the frat-boy persona--he represents the kind of person they simply detested in high school and college (particularly if they were the intellectual or literary sort). They distrust and dislike him in a very visceral way.

I am old enough to remember the reaction among Democrats to Lyndon Johnson after Kennedy's assassination. They detested him--his good ol' boy accent, his picking up his dog by the ears, his showing off his surgical scars--man, they just hated him; he had no class. Kennedy was the absolute personification of smoothness and class, so witty and bright and charming, and that New England accent!

But, in the end, that's all surface stuff. Was Kennedy's actual record as President much better--or really all that much different--than Johnson's? Of course, we can't know whether Kennedy would have done any better with the Vietnam war than Johnson did, but from books such as The Best and the Brightest, I think the answer is at least "probably not." Perhaps, though, he may have ultimately done better because he would have had a more friendly press.

FDR and Kennedy were also children of great privilege--as great, or greater, than Bush. But they had that Eastern style, and great personal magnetism, that he lacks. And, of course, many people hated them--but not the press, and not academics.

But at this point, I couldn't care less what sort of style a President has. What I care about are his policies. It's easy to find fault with Bush's policies--and yes, the war is far from perfect; it's all far from perfect. But I'm not interested in holding anyone up to some unrealistic ideal. Most of the arguments I've read on the left about what should have been done range from the pipedream (the UN, internationalism) to the extreme pipedream (the Iraqis should have risen up against Saddam themselves) to the ridiculous pipedream (everything should have been planned perfectly, as no doubt it would have been had they been in charge).

It's easy to say, ex post facto, that it would have been better to have done...(fill in the blank). But that can be said of any enterprise. The hard part is to have the courage to do it in the first place, to make the inevitable mistakes, and to try to correct them as the events unfold in real time. I actually think the Bush administration has done that rather well, and I see no evidence that the opposition could have done anywhere near as well. Au contraire.


At 2:25 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger karrde said...

Some bloggers call this emotion "BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome)". It is definitely a sarcastic jab, designed to belittle. The moniker of Bush-hatred is much easier to communicate clearly with.

There is probably as much (or little) rationality involved in Bush-hatred as with the FDR-hatred or LBJ-hatred.

Even when I try to minimize emotional elements of my decision-making process, I find that it is impossible to rule out entirely. A common ailment of humanity, it seems.

As far as style (or lack thereof), I would quite willingly defend the assertion that the President has a different style. His (and the First Lady's) style has a lot to do with a small-town upbringing in the heart of Texas.

In in the unlikely event that I would ever be afflicted with a role in public office, the style of my city of birth, home life, and college education would shine through.

At 3:32 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush-hatred is the mirror image of the Clinton-hatred that preceded it, just as Bush is a mirror image of Clinton, albeit an inverted one.

Where Clinton is a good ole boy who pretends to be a city slicker, Bush is a city slicker who pretends to be a good ole boy. In that sense, each is seen as a kind of traitor to his respective cultural caste.

Bush-hatred is more vehement than Clinton-hatred, if only because Bush's treason is seen as sacrilegious by his detractors, whereas Clinton's is seen by as merely venal and sleazy.

At 3:41 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much of the Bush hatred that I have seen mirrors the "red state/blue state" thing which has a huge dose of underlying misunderstanding attached.
Most the the source of the "Bush smirk" is properly a "visual howdy," unfortunately his detractors see this body language through a different prism.
Bush' major failing is that his mouth runs too slow for his mind, which becomes amplified by "stupid" questions from "stupid" reporters which have more than obvious answers. When you have to talk to the really stupid .. you have to talk much slower. The alternative, as used by Bush's detractors, is to yell.

At 4:07 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush (GW) shares an important trait with FDR, Truman, and Reagan and, that is, a self-deprecating sense of humor. All four presidents, while not believed at the mensa IQ level have/had something, probably more important, common sense (once described by a Princeton presidential historian as "emotional intelligence"). By contrast, the believed to be high IQ presidents during this 1930s to today period were Hoover, Nixon, Carter and Clinton -- each of whom also lacked a self-deprecating sense of humor (a trait that cannot be acquired -- it has to be there).
For me the Bush hatred is just that -- unthinking, stupid hatred. From my perspective GWB is a great president and a "mensch".

At 4:38 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Brad said...

You’ve hit the nail on the head in a couple ways: you’re description of the “would have” mentality is extremely important, not just in specific acts, such as the war, but in a deeper, more general sense. Much of the Western left worldview is constructed of exactly that: an idealized future with no negative elements to the description. Of course not, it’s ideal. This is in contrast to a conservative worldview, which necessarily includes elements of the concrete present and past, and therefore has many problems. The present and the past are full of identifiable shortcomings, mistakes and horrors. In a childish way, we grasp at the ideal solutions (Marxism anyone) with no thought for a non-ideal outcome. If there are examples of non-ideal outcomes, then we blame the circumstances, or specific players (Stalin); anything but the logic; and we simultaneously idealize the iconoclasts (Che). In many young idealists (left) view, even a complete destruction of the imperfect present structure is a hopeful thing; after all, a “better” society will rise from the ashes; besides, they think that they have no vested interest in society in the present form (although they do). This is why a conservative worldview can never win the intellectual debate: as soon as someone voices an opinion that is not “progressive,” it is identifiably associated with the problems of the present or past. This thought process begets the “you wouldn’t understand” or “you’re part of the problem” mentality. Conservatives always sound relatively stupid because they are always left defending something that is clearly imperfect. And Bush is the perfect idiot in this view, and the ideal person to be hated.

At 4:41 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

"What I care about are his policies."

Indeed. Perhaps this is already making the rounds, but the latest articulation of some critical aspects of those policies, today, from Sec. State Rice, h/t AmericanFuture.

Too, likely or not, I'll unabashedly say I still like her for Pres. in '08. Not a lot of political background, but she has the bona fides, the ability to forge workable combinations of vision and hard-nosed realities, articulates well and often enough extremely well, takes no guff from rear-view mirror ideologues, seems to have the requisite fire in the belly for it also. Not a lot not to like.

At 5:00 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Brad said...

Condi is the one for pres in 2008.

you're should be your in the last post

At 5:39 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Dymphna said...

Bush is not a policy wonk like Clinton, nor a polished speaker like Reagan. He's intelligent but neither an intellectual nor an academic. He operates from the gut rather than from the mind -- a doer rather than a thinker.

Like Truman and Reagan -- and Lincoln, even -- history will treat him more kindly than his contemporaries do. Having the filter of the MSM removed will help.

The Bush Doctrine is the most important presidential move of this generation.

That's one reason to hope for Condi's candidacy, that she will provide continuity. Yeah, she lacks the experience of political office, but she's been schmoozing with those guys her whole adult life. She makes Hillary look provincial and inexperienced.

If they run, it will be the Bush vs. Clinton campaign. Most interesting, because both candidates would be representing different political dynasties.

At 5:44 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger WichitaBoy said...

Wow! You knocked another one out of the park effortlessly. Well done.

To elaborate on your post, strong sectional rivalries continue within the country. It's more than mere style; it's sectional division. The Civil War is still being fought. Northerners continue to derogate Southerners. When the Southerner in question is "one of ours", because he attended Yale and believes in all the right causes (i.e., those popular in the Northeast), then that's ok because he's above suspicion. But any other Southerner (even a fake Southerner like Bush) is persona non grata because he might actually like those weird Southernisms.

Academia of course is almost completely dominated by Northeasterners all across the land, even in the deep South. That alone partially explains the hatred many academics have toward Bush. Likewise for the artistic crowd. Both of these crowds are extremely susceptible to peer pressure.

The other issue which you glance upon is the desire for a perfect world. When it comes to the substance-based hatred of Bush, the desire for perfectibility frequently seems to be the gist of much of the complaint. Soldiers are getting killed in Iraq!, we hear, as though we could magically wage a war in which none of our soldiers were killed.

Finally, and I think this is the fundamental issue gnawing away at many, there is the general belief that the war is optional. If we have no business being in Iraq, if by pulling back the troops we will all be perfectly safe, and if Bush has refused to do so, then a large measure of frustration will be generated within the breast of anyone who opposes the war, resentment squarely aimed at Bush. If in addition one is subconsciously afraid of the terrorists, while consciously suppressing all such thoughts, even more hatred will be directed toward the putative cause of trouble, Bush.

At 5:56 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger knox said...

"What I care about are his policies."

Amen. Bush is getting it done. Perhaps not perfectly... but really, no one has yet offered a coherent alternative. (Certainly not Kerry.) And the fact that Bush is NOT an academic/intellectual is a plus in my book.

I too am really hoping Condi runs in '08. And her lack of political experience, incidentally, is also a plus in my book.

At 6:00 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Condi might be thought of as the harnessed electricity from a source like the Hoover Dam, disciplined energy ever at the ready. Hillary can be thought of as the static one picks up by walking across a carpet, and that assumes all the conditions are right - all her PR support is in place.

I almost wish that were merely my opinion, but it's not, it's the truth.

At 6:20 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What I care about are his policies."

By supporting Bush & co., you lot are supporting war criminals.

"The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," the memo says.

History will judge you.

At 6:38 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Anon, 7:20,

The ever arrogating, mendacious and demonstably malevolent Left has never waited for history, instead they presume, always and ever, to be the representatives and authorizers of history - past, present and future. Quite an arrogation that, but they never so much as hesitate to do so, unless it's for purposes of forming a hudna for other tactical or strategic effect.

Too, a reading of the memo very much beyond the superficial reflects formed opinions being voiced, not history. Or, alternatively, we could take your word for it.


At 6:59 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, let me say I'm a 67 year old Texan so you'll know where I'm coming from. I have a degree in Chem. Eng. from one of the best universities for that discipline in the USA and was in all the honorary societies for chemistry and engineering. I've lived in the Caribbean, traveled throughout Europe and most of the USA, have spent LOTS of time in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. I like to read nonfiction books and enjoy symphonies, art museums, plays, opera and ballet. Soooo...even though Ah tawk kinda' funny and slooooow...I can assure you I'm not a redneck dummy. People who equate a Southern or Texas accent with stupidity don't understand that speaking well isn't the only indicator of intelligence, common sense, and good judgement.

Bush has all of those qualities and I agree with the post above that he will be remembered as a great president. His style is probably fairly typical "wealthy, Midland, Texas". As a Texan, I am convinced that what you see is what you get...he really DOES like going down to his ranch, walking around in jeans and boots, and cutting brush. BTW, this isn't my Texas bias coming through because I didn't think much of LBJ.

Have you noticed a common thread connecting some of our presidents who were hated and looked down on the most? (for example, FDR, Truman, LBJ, Reagan, the younger Bush) They were walkers....not talkers. You may not agree with WHAT they did but you have to admit they were effective in getting important things done...and had the courage to take significant action. That always scares people and fear usually preceeds intense anger..we have evolved so that when we are endangered (and have fear), we either fight or flee.

At 7:06 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admit I didn't like Bush for personal style more than anything else. That is up until 9/11. Then I held my breath, gave him the benifit of the doubt, and watched how things transpired in Afganistan. I was impressed. Then Iraq, tearing down statues, again impressed, even though I didn't vote for him on 2000. But then no WMD's showed up, the "mission accomplished" dog and pony show, and now it's '05, still no WMD's, recruiter can't find enough bodies to fill the ranks, and I'm discouraged.

At 7:10 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger hooey said...

Progresive change is coming! I, too, have a blog; a most progressive one.

At 7:39 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

The MSM and Academia, the gatekeepers of information and the arbiters of orthodoxy (until the blogosphere began to marginalize them) has always valued what they do (the elegant use of language) above what Bush does (which is to act, when there is a problem.) The intellectual always feels inferior to the man of action. If it is conscious they idealize the object of veneration (see Che, Arafat & Castro). If it remains unconscious (because the actor is unacceptable to their orthodoxy), they must devalue the object of veneration. The hatred of Bush from so many on the left is a mirror image of their veneration of Che, Castro, Arafat, et al, who were never held responsible for their atrocities; they could do no wrong, Bush can do no right.
History will judge him a Great President if democracy survives in Iraq, and a good President stymied by reality if Iraq reverts to typical Arab thuggocracy.

At 7:42 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

BDS is a term coined by Charles Krauthammer (sp?), a Psychiatrist turned commentator, who was struck by the resemblence of Bush hatred to pathological conditions we so often see in psychiatric patients.
There is a solid core of truth in his sarcasm.

At 7:43 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"After all, this is a guy who has always lived in a bubble of the most extreme privilege"...

What does that mean? I personally don't think it means anything, really, and I'm sure the author of those words did not follow George W. Bush around his whole life while observing his lifestyle. It sounds to me more like a fantasy projection of the speaker's idea of what it's like to have money versus the actual reality. He or she seems to be one of those people that think invoking the word "privilege" is enough to win an argument all by itself. Well not with me.

(Full disclosure: I have only once earned more than $30,000 in a year and the sum total of my "inheritance" to date is $4500 from my grandmother when she died. I guess I should be jealous at the privilege "bubble" that George W. grew up in but I'm not.)

"...had the courage to take significant action. That always scares people and fear usually preceeds intense anger..we have evolved so that when we are endangered (and have fear), we either fight or flee."

Of course the other option (after 9/11) was to cry on the shoulder of the Europeans and wallow in self-pity in an attempt to get the rest of the world to "like" us for being victims. That's all well and good but that wouldn't have solved the problem. All it would have done is guarantee more guests at the next set of funerals.

At 7:44 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Independent, have some patience. During WWII, many blunders and mistakes were made by the Allies, yet we totally defeated Germany and Japan and replaced them with strong democracies.

War is a messy and imperfect never goes as planned and you have to adapt your strategies and tactics as things change. I think the USA is doing a good job of that in Iraq.

And....doesn't eliminating a brutal beast who killed and tortured thousands in Iraq and seeing several Middle Eastern countries begin to obtain democratic governments give you SOME reason to be encouraged? Do you REALLY think Libya would have stopped its nuclear program and Syria withdrawn its troops from Lebanon if we hadn't invaded Iraq? Do you REALLY think Saddam wouldn't have done us great harm if he could have? Do you think he wasn't getting stronger? He was getting away with ignoring 14 UN resolutions, had broken his cease fire agreement with us after the first Persian Gulf War and was buying off Oil-for-Food UN officials. And he WAS preserving WMD documentation and technological know-how.

At 9:06 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading this blog and reading about the left from the inside track. It is GREAT to read reformed leftists/liberals who have seen the light. Thanks.

I do think that the original post and the comments have missed the evangelical character of GWB as a reason he is despised and a reason nothing he says is taken at face value. Those who seek conspiracies, find them, or some such, and so everyone thinks Bush thinks God tells him what to do.

As far as Rice in '08, there are so many Republicans to choose from: Gingrich is my horse, but don't forget Guiliani, Miller, Z-man ;-), and Arnold (needs no last name). What are the Dems going to do? Obama? I could handle that.

At 9:41 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to thank " 7:20 PM, Anonymous" for posting an example of the "yell".

History will judge us all, including you. I expect to come out on the more favourable end of history.

At 9:44 PM, June 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Condi's president, who will be SecState? Can we spare her from that post?

Those who think this war is sloppy are invited to point to a neater war.

You could start with Slapton Sands.

It was only recently that the total OIF casualties exceeded those of my father's division (104th Timberwolves) who were only in combat from Oct 44 to VE Day, and were renowned for taking hard objectives with minimal casualties. In fact, when I got to Ft. Benning several wars later, the extensive block of instruction on night operations began with a long reading from the 104th's after action reports. Still, one division, and a skilled and lucky division, had almost as many casualties in eight months as the entire US effort has in two-plus years.

At 10:04 PM, June 20, 2005, Blogger demulcents said...

Dr Sanity pointed out a while back that one of the things going on with those who so hate Bush is the psychological phenomenon of "Displacement." Meaning, they, like all of us, are terrified of being killed by the terrorists, are incredibly angry at those trying to kill us, are feeling hopeless, etc... and what they do with all these unexamined emotions is displace them onto Bush and hate him instead. It is safer, don't you see. Bush won't kill them if they attack him. The terrorists might if we "make them mad at us."

Plus, I think that Wichita Boy nailed it beautifully, they are comparing war to the idea that all we have to do is withdraw from Iraq and the war is over. I think the psychological term "denial" applies to this one.

At 4:48 AM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You warmongering creeps.

You damned hypocrites.

3,000 dead on 9/11? Tens of thousands of people are dead in Iraq because of the Bush administration's testicular, ill-informed foreign policy.

I hate you people.

At 6:38 AM, June 21, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

Anonymous, you sound and act as if 9/11 was the fault of Bush. Talk about displacement and projection. More and more I think the mental health paradigms need be applied here. I have yet to hear viable solutions to terrorism coming from the Left. I hear a call for placating them and I hear the call to do nothing and I hear the call for the UN to handle the problem. Really, all I hear is whining, sniping and egocentric self pity.

At 10:35 AM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tens of thousands of lives lost since the invasion are not the cost of bloodcrazed American foreign policy, they are the cost of a gangster reigime's presence in Bahgdad for more than thirty years.

A very small part of the cost, at that.

At 10:57 AM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush-haters do not hate Bush because he is Bush. Bush-haters hate Bush, much like they hated Reagan, because these are leaders who have the courage to stand in the way of Collectivist Uthopian Nightmare Totalitarian Societies.

There are far more rich Democrats and Leftist than Republicans in America, like Hillary and Bill sitting on Walmart's board or Teresa Kerry-Heinz funding the Tides Foundation or George Soros buying the entire Democratic Party yet these are all good rich snobs because they fight on behalf of the Collective Whole.

To anon: You may hate me but I pity you.

At 11:12 AM, June 21, 2005, Blogger vanderleun said...

Dear Anon,
When your parents sent you to your room for your time out, did they realize you had an internet connection?

They've got to learn to put the connected computer in the family room so you can't act out.

Please inform them that their parenting skills may improve.

Thank you
Your pal, Gerard.

At 12:12 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Bush hater who voted for him. I hate him for the shallow stylistic reason you mention, but voted for him precisely because I realize that they're shallow and stylistic. I don't care whether or not I like my mailman, as long as I get my deliveries on time. Why would I treat a politician any more differently?

At 12:44 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the lack of WMD's still bothers me. Like I said, if we had found them I'd call Bush a hero. And we didn't go there to get rid of a dictator, although it's a nice by-product. I just think they used WMDs as an excuse, and I feel lied to. Yes, I know politicians lie all the time, but this ain't no minor lie. If we went there to get rid of a terrible dictator, fine, I'll buy that. But does that mean Cuba is next, then North Korea? It just seems to me after we did so well in Afghanistan that we could have gone in a different direction with the War on Terror. Now we've got Iran who really do look like they will have WMD's, and it seems our hands are so tied in Iraq with "weapons of minor destruction" that we can't really do much about Iran's WMD's, the whole reason we went to war in the first place. I know I'm rambling, but like I said, I gave Bush the benifit of the doubt, and I feel like he squandered it in Iraq.

At 1:02 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Passionately disagree with policies. Dislike the philosphy. Criticized a man's, or woman's, achievements, or lack thereof. Vote against. Formulate and vocalize alternative solutions.
But hatred? Real sputtering ugly hatred, based on class,intellect, personal style, regional mannerisms?
This is high school stuff. Emotional, irrational & non-productive,it says more about the haters than the hated.

At 2:10 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that Bush-haters even *hate* the guy. If they really gave a damn they would put in the work required to further their political ends, the way conservatives do. None of the so-called Bush-haters I know can be bothered to do much more politically than festoon their Volvos with infantile stickers. Bush-hate is just a fad that rich bobos and their spoiled brat kids are glomming onto in the absence of anything better to do. It too will pass, maybe quicker than we'd ever have guessed. History won't condescend to judge these people; it will just roll its eyes.

At 3:25 PM, June 21, 2005, Blogger Pete said...

"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions." --President Jefferson
You know, the guy the lefties mis-quote all the time to benefit their bent theories....

At 3:29 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
You warmongering creeps.
You damned hypocrites.
3,000 dead on 9/11? Tens of thousands of people are dead in Iraq because of the Bush administration's testicular, ill-informed foreign policy.
I hate you people.

See, this is exactly it -- this kind of thing is the reason why I can't feel at home on the Left any more, though I grew up there. Name-calling and hatred takes the place of reasoning. There's not even the beginning of an effort to think constructively rather than destructively. Hate Hate Hate instead of any suggestions on what we might have done instead, or what we might still do, that would avoid not just the deaths caused by the violence currently going on in Iraq, but the hundreds of thousands of deaths that were already going on at the hands of Hussein's regime before we arrived, and would still be going on now if we hadn't done what we did, and the thousands of deaths that will certainly occur if we pull out now before the job is done. I have yet to see any kind of reasonable suggestion along these lines from anybody on the Left. And I don't think I will see one. Why think when you can remain comfortably infantile and just call people names instead?

At 4:40 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

independent joe
Look at it this way, Saddam was in violation of some 17 UN resolutions after having violated the Gulf War I cease fire agree imposed after he had invaded a neighboring country. Also, in 1998 the US congress and the President declared war upon Saddam, calling for a regime change.

Given the fact that the US congress, a US President, the French, Germans and British along with the UN considered Saddam's regime to be a real threatrior to 9/11/01, and knowing that he was financing as well as harboring Islamic terrorist, Bush had no option but to enact the Bush Doctrine. Having manufactured actual weapons is irrelevent to the issue, the issue rests in the fact that he had the state power and financial means to manufacture WMD's which is why Bush stated in his 2002 State of the Union address "We cannot wait until Saddam becomes an imminent threat" as opposed to what was reported erroneously in newspubplications as Bush declaring Saddam is an imminent threat."

Western society's delay in addressing the rising tide of Islaic Fascism for a quarter of a century and look at the reslut of that appeasement. We could not afford the luxury of leaving Saddam and his state-run regime in the position of lifting sanctions while allowing him to further his ambitions.

At 4:57 PM, June 21, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

"I hate you people." Anon, 5:48 a.m.

Few need convincing. Hate, as a variously and seemingly endlessly displayed desideratum, is but one aspect shared by the Left and the jihadists vis-a-vis the US certainly and the West more broadly conceived.

"... ill informed foreign policy" Anon

Ref, a VDH article highlighting an interview with a Syrian smuggler of jihadists, read the whole thing as it substantiates several critical items, some excerpts:

1) that the goal of the jihadists is the restoration of the ancient caliphate ("The Koran is a constitution, a law to govern the world")

2) that September 11 was "a great day"

4) that Syrian officials attended such festivities, funded by Saudi money with public slogans that read, "The People ...Will Now Defeat the Jews and Kill Them All"

6) that the Syrian government does not hesitate to work with Islamists ("beards and epaulets were in one trench together")

7) that collateral damage was not always so collateral: "Once the Americans bombed a bus crossing to Syria. We made a big fuss and said it was full of merchants," Abu Ibrahim said. "But actually, they were fighters."

After enumerating nine (9) critical points made by the jihadist smuggler himself, Hanson notes, "Note how in this one Washington Post story how almost every one of our Western myths promulgated by the antiwar Left is shattered by a candid jihadist himself."

read the whole thing

Ref, a now month old news release, not exactly made prominent in Western MSM outlets, a single excerpt:

The number two of the al-Qaeda network, Ayman al-Zawahiri, visited Iraq under a false name in September 1999 to take part in the ninth Popular Islamic Congress, former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi has revealed to pan-Arab daily al-Hayat. In an interview, Allawi made public information discovered by the Iraqi secret service in the archives of the Saddam Hussein regime, which sheds light on the relationship between Saddam Hussein and the Islamic terrorist network.

read the whole thing

Ref, info from the Sept 11 Commission Report, excerpt:

"In March 1998, after Bin Ladin’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis.

"Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban ...."

That report also states "... to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship ..." though commission chair T. Kean also noted "there was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

Ref, a thoughtful post herein, in another thread.

h/t: Dawson's Danube, also American Future

At 5:43 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I refer you to this chart for just a few suggestions...


if the link doesn't work you can search for the op-chart from August 7 2004 NY Times called "Safety Second." I think it very clearly articulated some alternatives to the war in Iraq when we were only at $144 billion.

As someone who watched the towers burning from the Manhattan Bridge and still goes across it every morning on my way to work, I have yet to see how over 1,500 (and counting) Americans killed, over 10,000 (and counting) Americans wounded, $200 billion American dollars (and counting), and 0 WMD discovered in Iraq makes my morning commute even one bit safer than it was on Sept 10, 2001.

"But what about the good news???!!!! We're building schools in Iraq, we're building sewage systems!!! They had a FREE ELECTION!!!"

How does that make it any less likely that someone will gas the subway tunnels in Times Square or get on a 7 train with a backpack full of explosives?

"We are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."

What does that mean? Do they think that any terrorist from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or even Spain who wants to attack us now has to make a stop-over and have his luggage searched at Baghdad International Airport?

Not that it will do much good, but I'll share with you a couple of reasons why I hate Bush:

I get the distinct impression from his speeches, his body language, his facial expression, his manner of speaking, his political appointments, his style of governing, and his policies that if you don't agree with him, you are not simply an American citizen with another point of view that is worthy of consideration and perhaps a middle path may be possible. You are merely an ignorant, brainwashed automaton, a victim of the liberal elite propaganda machine, an unredeemable obstacle to his agenda that should be removed as quickly as possible by any means necessary. What kind of a President is that?

I live in New York and I was profoundly moved by the domestic and international expressions of goodwill toward New York and the US in the aftermath of 9-11. And Bush, there is no other word for it, squandered all of it on a war that had been the pet project of neo-conservatives for years before 9-11. A colossal failure of diplomacy as well as a catastrophic shortage of ideas. But Bush and Karl Rove & Co. knew all about the rally-round-the flag mentality of the people they knew would get them re-elected, so they had nothing to lose from it.

Then there is the fact that he campaigned as a "compassionate conservative," a "uniter, not a divider" when in reality he is a ruthless partisan with a radical social conservative agenda who does nothing but cater to the most extreme elements of his base.

I wonder how many of you who comment on this blog live in an area that is at much real risk of a catastrophic terrorist attack. I can tell you that I do. And as someone who feels held hostage to Bush's policies, I really, truly hope he is right.

At 7:13 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous (5:40),

I get your point. Saddam was a dangerous guy. I agree. But we will never know how the War on Terror would have progressed if we had not gone to Iraq. Why was Iraq the next logical step in the War? It seems to me because of WMDs. But we came up empty. I'm wondering what would have happened if we spent all that money and energy on really going after the terrorists covertly right in their homes. I'm talking about places like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. After all, how many of those 9/11 guys were from Iraq? It's all just speculation now because Bush went whole hog into Iraq. Curious enough half the guys were fighting in Iraq are from those places I just mentioned. Like I said, if he hadn't a blown it with the WMD's I'd be calling him a hero. I'm starting to think he looks more like LBJ than RWR. It's too bad.

At 10:53 PM, June 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know we're not going after the bad guys elsewhere?

Search for "caspian guard", just for fun.

We're operating in over eighty countries.

It's easy to claim you're not safer. Either there is no attack and the complainers say there would have been none anyway, or there is and the complainers say the energy should have been spent elsewhere.

We are safer, but not safe.

The goodwill "squandered" was simply a matter of other folks watching funerals.

How do you "squander" goodwill when the folks whose help you need are on the take from the enemy against whom you need help?

See "crocodile tears" in the dictionary.

At 6:12 AM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in NYC, on 9/11/01 watched the towers fall into dust, the residue of death remains years after.

I was also in NYC the first time the WTC was bombed. I had just returned from living in Moscow, Russia where during that time had heard numerous stories of how the Russian mafia was dumping arms and state secrets all for profit into Iraq, Iran, Syria etc... When I returned to NYC and the first WTC bombing occurred, NY'ers and Americans in general were completely oblivious to events outside our entertainment-filled la-la land utophia. The US Congress, the US President and the American State Department treated the first WTC bombing as a nuisance because our US policy was determined to stabilize the Mid East.

Today, it appears some wish to accommodate our enemy in order to keep the peace. Some wish to blame an adminstration for finally taking bold action to address an inevitible conflict. Some wish to remain forever in electra-glide la-la land where peace, love and understanding will be achieved by means of contained appeasement.

We tried to accommodate, contain, and appease yet the threats kept rising even to the point where in 1998 the US Congress and the US President declared war upon Saddam's threatening regime. Unfortunately at the time, Islamic Jihad Fascism was left unnoticed by the majority. Throughout the 1990's, ignorance was indeed blissful.

"Orientalism" no longer exists as a logical explaination to the troubles we face and to subvert our right to defend ourselves by claiming err in understanding 'the enemy's culture' simply leads to further war and conflict. It is this adherence to orientalism which produces an appalling acceptance of oppression, misery and genocide around the world. The Bush Doctrine is a revolution to the decaying effects of orientalism.

Prior to 9/11/01, the UN was working towards lifting Iraqi sanctions whereby allowing Saddam the ability to further his ambitions which were in-line with Islamic Jihad ambitions, that being, to bring America crumbling to its' knees.

Appeasing our enemies led to 9/11/01, and the underlying premise of the Bush Doctrine is that free people cannot afford the luxury of allowing tyranny and terror to dictate humanity. A Liberal concept swept under the carpet of hate, ignorance and fear.

At 8:48 AM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sideline note:

At least two (unclassified) occaisions of chemical weapons have been documented in Iraq.

After a course in counter terrorism, the toughest single thing for the creation of chemical and biological weapons is making the laboratory/factory. Actual mixing takes from 10-60 days after the equipment and know-how is in place. Saddam had precursors, equipment, and know-how in place. Saying he didn't have WMD is like finding all the parts to a rifle along with bullets in a convicted murderer's house and saying "well, it's not like he had the gun all together, so there is no threat."

Personal Background: I am a military intelligence analyst, 15 years in the community. I work open source for the time being; I will be in the box in the fall.

Get the facts: Finding a batch of 155 mm shells (about 6-inch diameter by 36-inches high) in the undeveloped areas of Iraq would be the equivalent of finding a specific bagel (just the one) somewhere in Manhattan. Oh, and it looks just like the other bagels in all the shops! Saddam did not use distinctive markings on his chemical shells (again, unclassified).

How hard is it to find things?
Go to and check on the Mig-29's that were found buried in Iraq.

Sorry about the rant; I get really angry when people throw out the "zero WMD" argument - it is academically and factually unfounded. I wish more people would read the open source (i.e. newspaper and internet) resources and garner knowledge before parroting responses like good children. THINK FOR YOURSELVES!

At 10:31 AM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Let's say each 155mm shell sits on its butt, pointy end up. Let's say, further, that each has its own 7x7 (in) tile. Let's say we have ten thousand shells. One way to line up ten thousand is one hundred by one hundred. So that's one hundred times 7 inches length, and breadth. Or seven hundred inches each way. Or just under 59 feet each way. We need a room sixty feet by sixty feet. Or, if we split them up into quarters, we need four rooms one quarter that size, whether square, rectangular, or circular. How many rooms that size are there in Iraq?

How would I store them if I were an Iraqi just before the Americans came/

Find a farm out in the country. Kill all the occupants and put up "forbidden-property of Saddaam" signs. The barn will hold ten thousand shells. More. And how many of those anonymous buildings are there in Iraq?

Now, let's say we tuck the shells up tight against each other, not on separate, slightly oversized tiles I used to make an example.
Probably save fifteen percent on the area necessary.

At 10:49 AM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. Great math, Richard.

I worked with the artillery in the National Guard for three years. 155 shells are not that big or bulky, yet have the potential to hold enough chem agent to kill hundreds.

It is not impossible to say the WMD is still there; there is too much space.

Likewise, in the other point I hoped to drive home, the laboratories ARE WMD. The trailers we seized were violations of the UN resolutions; with the existence of the equipment to make WMD the actual process is fast and could have produced enough ricin (a simple toxin made from castor bean husks) to kill over 100,000 persons in under seven (7) days. I did a research project, all open source and unclassified, on such a scenario. My instructor was impressed; as a terrorist my "operation" could have killed over 75,000 persons (allowing for a generous toxicity/lethality of 50% of persons exposed) in a matter of 3 days after initial onset. BTW, total cost was about $10,000 - about 8,000 in lab equipment.

SGT Dave

At 12:42 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neat thing about the lab equipment is that you can use it over.
Unless your next attempt has some additional requirements, all you have to find is the basic materials, which are probably priced like industrial chemicals, as in pennies per pound.

So you could be pumping out death at the rate of one Viet Nam War US casualty rate every week for about $2k

Maybe every two weeks. You'd run out of local targets and have to go on the road.

At 1:36 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You have the idea. The actual plot dealt with ricin - and the equipment was fairly portable (my plans did not include moving it because of risk factor and paper trail). The entire setup was planned for a one car garage, so it would have fit in a trailer.

Oh, and the "generous" at 50% kill rate was the low end of the fatality range; the actual doses would likely cause 90% fatalities.

I will not elaborate on details of the plan; too dangerous since it was workable. Suffice it to say that the toxin vector was chosen for humor effect - much more frightening after the class got through laughing at the premise.

SGT Dave

At 1:59 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between us, it's conceivable we've made a point?

BTW. Next time you haul out your bug spray, guys, check the antidote.

Dollars to Krispy Cremes, it's atropine.

You know what atropine is used for besides that?

Anybody? Too bad. It's issued in anti-nerve gas kits for each soldier. I believe everybody gets a little package with three syrettes. So if somebody starts doing the funky chicken, you pull open his antidote pack and shoot him full of atropine.

From which even the dim could deduce that the difference between Raid and nerve gas is a valve setting at the plant. And no country can go without bug spray.

At 2:35 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I get your point, but I think 50 years from now when my great-grandchildren are reading their history books what are we going to see? For RWR we are going to see "won the Cold War" and maybe "Iran Contra" will merit a fotenote. But for GWB we are going to see "9/11" and "Iraq" followed closely by "no WMDs." We can do all the speculating about what Saddam would have done, just as we can speculate about how the War on Terrorism would have gone had we not gone into Iraq. But that's all speculation. For my money GWB is more Arthur Chester than Abe Lincoln.

At 3:32 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe. My guess is that, someplace between 9-11 and No WMD will be, "began process which successfully transformed the Middle East and effectively ended Islamic terror. His successor, Condaleeza Rice, completed the process. During this period, the democrats and liberals were biting the ankles of the adults."

Besides, as the sarge and I have said, there's plenty of time and space, including the Bekaa, to find WMD.

At 3:54 PM, June 22, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

"... for GWB we are going to see ..."

"We can do all the speculating ..." Inde Joe

Joe contrasts his own certain knowledge of the future with what "we" can merely speculate upon. Self-parody and self-negating arguments, merely two of the manifestations and symptoms of BDS.

At 5:24 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We managed to find Saddam Hussein hiding in a "spider hole".

How many 155mm shells would a man his size occupy?

How many prisoners have we interrogated, or former workers for Saddam's weapons programs? Not a single one of them is so grateful for our liberation of their country that they can tell us about a secret stockpile they know about?

Over $200 billion, 1,700 dead and 12,000 wounded to find two trailers?

They said we would find:

25,000 liters of anthrax
38,000 liters of botulinum toxin
500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent
and over 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.

I think compared to that, it's fair to call two trailers, or even your hypothetical 10,000 155mm shells, "Zero".

And I still don't see how it makes America any safer. Seems to me it the Iraq war is one big recruiting poster for Al Qaeda.

So now it's changed to a big mission to spread democracy at gunpoint. But once all this democracy flourishes in the middle east, it is not an inconceivable outcome that an Islamic fundamentalist government could be elected by a democratic majority.

At 6:44 PM, June 22, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

I don't hate Bush, I just don't think he should be President. Like almost all that have posted here, if he were truly concerned about making the Middle East a better place he would view their hatred in terms of what we've done to them, not who we are.

And what have we done to them? Help bring Saddam to power, support and sustain his tryanny for 30 years. Anyone see any relevance in that? Of course we knew he had weapons, WE SOLD THEM TO HIM. WE STILL HAVE THE RECIEPTS. Put the Taliban on the list too, the military dictatorship in Algeria, and any other thug willing to project our "benevolent" interests, at any cost to anyone. Can anyone realise how phoney we appear to these people?

The message of democracy is a good thing, only in this case the messenger, the U.S., stinks. We don't have any credibility.
I wonder why.

Grow up you bone heads, all America stands for, or ever stood for, is it's economic interests, how much money we could squeeze out of a place or situation. And that might piss some people off, maybe even make them radical. Even more so then the rubbish I've read on this blog.

Go on and ride with Bush's posse, pour more oil on the fire, I'm sure you can get more people killed this century then last.


At 7:00 PM, June 22, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

More despising contempt, more heat, more speciously founded arrogations. Ever - and always - more of the same. Yet, we are also ever assurred, there's no hate, no contempt, no mere heat, no mere arrogations - it's all humanity and high toned ideals, or so we are told.

Too, as regards the various lectures above on The Myth or Legend of the Squandered Sympathy - y'all forgot to say "trust me".

At 10:52 PM, June 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That article is a media analysis of editorial opinions - it says nothing about the willingess of foreign governments to cooperate with ours on a diplomatic level to share information.

I'm pretty sure that there was a bit more of that willingness after 9-11, and a lot less of it after the "either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists" and the rest of Bush's "diplomatic" efforts to drum up support for the war.

Michael B, everything you accuse the left of being can be equally applied to the blowhards on the right, how can you be so blind to that? If you've never heard a rational argument against any Bush policy, only heat and contempt and despising arrogations, you aren't looking hard enough. Gotta do a bit more than read blog comments or watch Hardball.

At 2:39 AM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Christ Michael, look at what we've done the last 50 years in the Middle East, and all on the heels of colonialism? No wonder few Arab's like us or trust our prescence there.

And it has nothing to do with humanity, rather inhumanity. It has nothing to do with contempt rather understanding WHY someone may not appreciate our phoney self-centered benevolence.

At 3:30 AM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they think that any terrorist from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or even Spain who wants to attack us now has to make a stop-over and have his luggage searched at Baghdad International Airport?
No, we know that thousands of jihadis from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan and western Europe have streamed over the Syrian and Iranian borders into Iraq -- where the U.S. (and British and Australian) armed forces are fighting and killing literally thousands of them. This has a lot to do with the reduced number of successful terrorist attacks outside the Middle East since 9/11/2001.

As for the WMDs -- we know that Saddam had them, because he used them on the Kurds and the Iranians.

The above are hard facts. If you prefer speculation, speculate on this -- just where do you actually think the anthrax in the post-9/11 anthrax letters came from? Remember, it was real anthrax. People really died. It happened immediately after 9/11. It hasn't happened again. Try to think about it seriously.

At 8:03 AM, June 23, 2005, Blogger knox said...

The fixation on whether we have or will find physical WMDs in Iraq misses the point.

We know Saddam had weapons--he used them against his own people. He could have gone on gassing them indefinitely had he not made the mistake of attacking a sovereign nation, Kuwait. As a result, he was ordered to destroy the weapons we KNEW he had, in order to remain in power. He agreed to this, but when it came to it, he refused to offer the proof that he had done so.

SO: you either believe that it is correct to take action against someone who violates such an agreement, because they have proved to be dangerous and untrustworthy, and that their past behavior indicates that the weapons IF THEY EXIST could very likely be used for hostile purposes...

OR: you believe that you should avoid taking military action at all costs, no matter what.

Making it all about whether or not we are able to actually find the WMDs in Iraq (when they could be anywhere at this point) is a convenient way to simplify the issue. But it's ultimately irrelevant at this point.

At 11:10 AM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall, Saddam offered thousands of pages of proof but we rejected it as lies.

2 Dec 2002 White House spokesman Ari Fleischer stated: "If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world."

I think there should be some room in "take military action" between "avoid any action at all costs" and "invade the whole country, mostly by ourselves, and try to install a democracy".

Didn't we try something similar in Haiti recently? Maybe we should check in on them to see how they are doing.

...thousands of jihadis from [other countries] have streamed over the Syrian and Iranian borders into Iraq -- where the U.S. (and British and Australian) armed forces are fighting and killing literally thousands of them. This has a lot to do with the reduced number of successful terrorist attacks outside the Middle East since 9/11/2001.

By the US's own count terrorist attacks worldwide tripled between 2003 and 2004. Granted, there is some debate about whether that is a result of better reporting, but if the administration won't even dare to claim that attacks are being reduced, how can you? Who is speculating now? Maybe one reason we were so sure he had them was because we helped him to get them in the first place? Can you look into that for me?

Making it all about whether or not we are able to actually find the WMDs in Iraq (when they could be anywhere at this point) is a convenient way to simplify the issue. But it's ultimately irrelevant at this point.

Does the word "credibility" mean anything to you?

At 11:22 AM, June 23, 2005, Blogger knox said...

"...Saddam offered thousands of pages of proof but we rejected it as lies."

Apparently so did the UN, Hans Blix, and every other country. I'm not sure why the inspectors kept going back if Saddam offered incontrovertible proof that the weapons were destroyed.

But, I can't stop you if you want to believe Saddam Hussein.

At 1:24 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a couple of items which didn't get nine-inch boldface above the fold:

There is a trial going on in Jordan about some guys caught just about to set off a multi-vehicle bomb in downtown Amman. It included both massive amounts of conventional high explosive and enough chemical weapons to kill tens of thousands. This didn't make much splash when the op got caught, and it's not making much now, but there is a question of where the stuff came from. My guess is the prosecutor will ask.

And the UN, using satellite imagery, has concluded that dual-use technology and other items concerned with WMD have been moved from 109 sites since the last time the UN was there on the ground. Interesting. How can stuff that doesn't exist be taken away?

At 3:10 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how else is he supposed to prove it knoxgirl? He submits proof, inspectors come in to check. Seems reasonable to me. But then we order the inspectors out and invade, saying we'll find them ourselves. They don't turn up and suddenly it's all about bringing democracy to the middle east.
We didn't want to find proof that he didn't have them, we wanted to invade Iraq, no matter what.

And hey Rich, if one of the main reasons for invading Iraq was to keep such weapons out of the hands of terrorists, what does your underplayed news story from Jordan say about the success of the enterprise so far? I wonder why the Bush administration hasn't been discussing these arrests?

At 3:14 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What it means is we wasted six months screwing around trying to outbribe Saddaam at the UN so as to get international permission.
After telegraphing the intent.

That was dumb.

At 3:15 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Anon, 11:52 p.m.,

Firstly and trivially, it has been a minimum of two years since I've watched Chris Matthews on The Chris Matthews Show, aka Hardball, I'm inclined to say more than that, over three years, but two years is certain. Beyond that your assumption is a juvenile arrogation itself - ironically, reflecting the level of discourse you're offering.

Secondly, the commentary you're alluding to is an extremely good analysis and summary, providing supportive material and well reasoned arguments, i.e., it does not merely make unsupported assertions. Try it yourself sometime. For excample, is contains an entire section entitled "Were We All American?". Read it and learn before you knee-jerk into your reactionary dismissiveness. Too, editorial opinions typically reflect, to varying degrees certainly and obviously, opinions held by the readership. Your attempt to marginalize or dismiss the significance of the analysis, by contrast, is an assertion only, you neither link to nor refer to any supportive evidence or documentation. I.e., it falls roughly within the "trust me" category already alluded to. In other words, if you are in fact "pretty sure" about something, please do support this surety with something more than your intuitively based assertion. To recall a certain dictum which in turn reflects another era wherein so many among the self-enamored and self-assurred classes were "pretty sure" of their own contrary sureties: Trust, but verify.

Thirdly, your attempt at employing a similarly vacant equivocation is also meaningless. I'm not interested in defending every utterance from the "right," regardless as to whether they are "blowhards" or not. (Recall what was just said about the level of discourse you're offering.) Too, equivocations, as a rhetorical device, are so overly used - often as a knee-jerk reaction of first resort such as your own exemplifies - that it's difficult to refrain from regarding their use with reflexive suspicion. So you might choose to use it less, rather than more, you'll find that doing so will advance the cause of real thought about the matter being addressed rather than non-thought, avoidance and knee-jerking into any type of equivocation or other poorly supported generalization. Concerning equivocations and similar articles of faith. (And for the third time, recall what was said about the level of discourse you're offering.)

There are a number of other things that could be noted, less obvious but inherent in your post nonetheless, none of which are supportive of your assertions and presumptions. But enough for the time being.

And again, providing documentation or links in support of your arguments would be helpful. I.e., historical/empirical evidence supported with well reasoned arguments and reasonably proportioned moral suasion, instead of mere intuitive declarations, sweeping generalizations, presumptive equivocations, etc. It strikes me, and this is partly an intuitive assessment itself, admittedly, that a failure to marshal a much more conscientious and better supported set of arguments is, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, reflective of a lack of respect for those in militaries and some other vocations who are daily facing some heightened degree of risk. Most obviously that reflects upon those stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in less obvious positions around the globe such as reflected in the Proliferation Security Initiative (last of the three links is a pdf) or the Caspian Guard, as another commenter in this same thread recently noted. Both arrangements, btw, which reflect considerable constructive engagement with other countries, their leaders, militaries, diplomatic corp, etc. Too, a review of the National Security Strategy, in its broadest conception, might help forumlate some better arguments as well, placing other strategies and tactics within the broader strategic umbrella. Finally, a subset of those strategic guidelines, pertinent to the ME more specifically, as recently articulated by Sec. State Rice.

At 3:26 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, this discussion has become real complicated. I'm glad to read all the different posts. I'm just a simple independent from Louisville. As for me, if my government is going to spend $200 billion on a war about WMDs, then I want to see some WMDs. Seems simple to me. That's what they sold to me back in '03 so that's what I expect. We can't pull out of Iraq now because that would be a dissaster. Leaves me in a Catch-22: supporting an effort that was initiated on a screw up. So what am I left with? Democratizing the Middle East? But I'm not interested in that! I mean I am, but it's not my job. If it's WMDs, then it's WMDs, and someone should be in trouble for screwing that up. Maybe that's why an independent like me dislikes (hate is a strong word) Bush.

At 4:57 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger knox said...

Independent Joe:

I totally understand your frustration that the WMDs weren't there waiting for us. I support the war 100% and it frustrates me too!

But if WMDs are your primary concern, your anger at Bush is misplaced and should be directed at the UN. They should have removed Saddam from power when it was clear he wasn't being transparent with the inspectors. Instead, 12 years of cat-and-mouse ensued.

It is far from inconceivable that Saddam, in that space of time, was able to hide or ship the existing arms out of the country.

We knew Saddam was not being transparent about the WMDs because Iraq is not the first country to disarm. Other examples that come immediately to mind: South Africa and recently, Libya. Please go here and read more: It's called "What does disarmament look like?"

Here's an excerpt:
"When a country decides to disarm, and to provide to the world verifiable evidence that it has disarmed, there are three common elements to its behavior:

1.The decision to disarm is made at the highest political level;
2.The regime puts in place national initiatives to dismantle weapons and infrastructure; and
3.The regime fully cooperates with international efforts to implement and verify disarmament; its behavior is transparent, not secretive."

Saddam did not do these things and that's what got him into trouble.

Again, I too am frustrated about WMDs. But my frustration is directed at the UN, who was ultimately responsible for overseeing their destruction--and they didn't see it through.

At 5:19 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard, I believe you may have a point there, but I remain unconvinced the best response to that situation was to invade and occupy the entire country. Does that make me a bad person?

But I envy you neocons, you have it made, really. If Bush and his successor Condi, as you put it, "sucessfully transform the middle east and end Islamic terror" in 16 years, you will be on top of the world. And if they don't, you can just blame the liberals and the MSM for not getting with the program!

Michael B: I give up - all that unassailable logic, all those supporting links, the utter lack of juvenile arrogations and reactionary dismissiveness. You're too much for me. I'm sorry I said you watch Hardball. We can go back to ignoring each other now.

At 5:56 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

"Unassailable" was neither indicated nor presumed, though I do make an attempt, at times a far too humble attempt, no doubt, to offer something cogent. I'm sure my reviews would be mixed, your own very much helping to illuminate on that score. For that I am, of course, most grateful.

At 6:11 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree that the UN did a lousy job. But the UN doesn't send my friends and neighbors to go fight and possibly die. The way I see it, if you send your people to fight a war you better deliver on the reason you send them. A war is serious stuff and people die. Take Bush's father. In Gulf I he made a clear promise: I will send your sons, daughter, brother and sisters to fight and possibly die, but in the end we will show the world that you cannot just roll on into your weaker and smaller neighbor country and try to control a vast majority of the world's oil. In the end, Saddam was booted out of Kuwait, just as he had said. He delivered. A few Americans died, but we could trust old man Bush for his word. Until I read a headline like "U.S. Marines discover stockpile of WMDs" in my local paper there is no "mission accomplished" and Bush is a failure in my book. In the meantime, I'll support the mission to stabalize the country. Unfortunately, more Americans die every day trying to stabalize a country that was stable, however awful, before we invaded.

At 6:53 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

A few points:

Scott Ritter, chief U.N. weapon inspector ( and ex-U.S. Marine) and his aides, and a number of his successors, have stated that most (if I recall in the vicinity of 95%) of Saddams arsenal were destroyed by the U.N. mission.

Mr. Ritter (ex-marine) has also gone on a public rampage about U.S. (disfunctional) behaviour.

On the other hand, even if he and his successors were wrong and Saddam did have WMD, where is the logic in him using it? The Soviet Union matched us with around 50,000 nuclear war heads at one time (and an even greater chemical arsenal), if they couldn't use them against us why would a two bit country like Iraq dare to, or North Korea, or anyone else for that matter? Surely these are weapons one would use in defense, under invasion and going down anyway.

More to do with the future then Iraq now, international treaties forbidding the development of nuclear and chemical weapons (WMD), are written in the context that those who possess them eventually dispense of their arsenals entirely. Everyone realised no one would sign non-proliferation agreements if that wasn't a clause. Why should some have weapons and others not? Decommissioning got off to a good start when the Soviet's were around, but have been "stalled" since their departure, if not reversed.

As for Saddam gassing his own people, I was driving by an AWAC's station near where I live in Germany about 2 years ago, and heard on U.S. Armed Forces Radio a report about the declassification of military files indicating Saddam's gassing of the Kurds was a U.S. supervised training excercise to teach the Iraqi Army how to use the helicopters and chemical dispensing equipment we delivered to him to fight Iran.

I remember Colin Powell issuing a denial, but since then have heard nothing. Has anyone followed this up?

This was a U.S. Armed Forces Radio broadcast, so please spare me any "left wing conspiracy theory" crap.

At 7:37 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Brad said...

you are delusional.

At 9:11 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate the Bush propaganda. I know he's coached, but it's hard not to associate the oversimplifications with the man himself.

"Much of the problem is that the Bush administration has neither explained to the American public the true nature of the threat it faces from a growing Islamic insurgency, nor does it fully understand this threat itself. Contrary to administration assertions, bin Laden is not an irrational nihilist who hates America because of her freedoms and representative form of government. Rather, bin Laden is a highly patient, experienced, cunning, and immensely capable adversary who is waging jihad against the United States to achieve logical and attainable aims--to remove the United States as the dominant power in the Middle East and to ensure that the Arab people benefit from their region's oil revenue by receiving a fairer price per barrel."

From the commentary, Bush and the Art of War, a comparison of Bush and al-Qaeda tactics vis-a-vis Sun Tzu.

At 4:44 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...


Care to be a bit more specific ..before I start insulting you :-)


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