January 21, 2005

The Mailbag

So I guess some of my readers have a different view of Bush's Inaugural speech than B.D.'s.

Here's one E-mail I just got:

I thought Bush's inaugural speech was the height of Orwellian hypocrisy. So our President has "freedom" on his mind, eh? If Bush ever gets around to holding another news conference during the next four years, perhaps some clear-thinking reporter might ask him the following: When will he also call for democracy in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, Pakistan, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain? Each of these is an autocracy or a theocracy ruled by either a general, a king, or a family. And there's just one little problem: Each is a strong ally of ours. One of our strongest allies, Jordan, has been ruled for decades by a single family notorious for its use of torture--to such an extent that during interrogations, we often tell our captives that we will send them to be interrogated in Jordan in an attempt to scare them into divulging information. Similarly, Egypt, which has been ruled for decades by the same man, is notorious for its corruption, use of torture and lack of due process.

Why are these nations exempt from our calls for democracy and regime change? Because they are our "allies"?

The war in Iraq is not about prevailing militarily nor is it only about Iraq. We are in a battle against our own hypocrisy, because that hypocrisy defines us in the eyes of the people to whom we are trying to export democracy. If our strategy for spreading democracy entails fighting a war to re-install an Emir in Kuwait, or for decades to cozy up to an autocratic regime in Jordan known for its use of torture, or to openly support a General who seized power in Pakistan and refuses to hold elections, or to coddle a "gentle tyrant" in Egypt, Arabs aren't interested in what we're selling. Of course, there's no need to mention our history with heroes of democracy like the Shah, because everyone in the Arab world---especially in Iran---remembers.

Instead of nodding compliantly every time Bush repeats the absurd bromide "they hate us for our way of life" over the next four years, will anyone ever break the news to our President that we are hated in the Middle East for our hypocrisy and not our freedom?

Or are we citizens not supposed to be thinking that clearly?

Hey, tell me what you really think! As ever, sober reader feedback, both via comments and E-mail (belgraviadispatch@hotmail.com) welcome. My take on the inaugural speech here. It's rather different, of course--though I think we do share some similar concerns in part.

UPDATE: Pej, in comments: "Perhaps you could tell your correspondent that it would help his/her credibility if he/she knew that Iranians aren't Arabs and that Iran is not part of "the Arab world." Indeed, that's quite a whopper. And it's something that is quite often overlooked or, even worse, simply unknown (by many). P.S. Estimable blogospheric personages have committed this sin w/r/t to "Arab" Pakistanis, too.

Posted by Gregory at January 21, 2005 03:20 AM
Comments

I would say that Arabs are not dumb. This was a speech for domestic consumption, and it is likely to be met with indifference or howls of derision in the Arab world.

Posted by: praktike at January 21, 2005 03:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You fix your fulcrum and plant your bar where you can and push. Something moves. You do it again. And again. You can't always choose where to start, but you know where you want the boulder to end up.

Bush knows where the rock needs to go. That's more than can be said for the critics.

Posted by: sbw at January 21, 2005 03:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We were never, ever, ever going to do anything about Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, or Bahrain (and probably morocco too) as long as Saddam Hussein remained in power in Iraq.

Why are these nations exempt from our calls for democracy and regime change?
Did Bush specifically except these nations or was the author of that email simply putting words into Bush's mouth?

It is unlikely we will "do something" militarily against all of those countries; it's amusing that people clamoring for a "nuanced" approach to world affairs attacks the president for not using 1 solution (regime change) for every country that is similar to Iraq.

Posted by: h0mi at January 21, 2005 04:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
. . . Of course, there's no need to mention our history with heroes of democracy like the Shah, because everyone in the Arab world---especially in Iran---remembers.

Perhaps you could tell your correspondent that it would help his/her credibility if he/she knew that Iranians aren't Arabs and that Iran is not part of "the Arab world."

Posted by: Pejman Yousefzadeh at January 21, 2005 04:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Typical Liberal blather -"If you can't be perfect, do nothing." They seem more interested in keeping their lilly-white hands clean than doing the heavy lifting neccesary to change the world.

Rome was built brick by brick. Who cares which brick was laid first?

Posted by: Scott Free at January 21, 2005 04:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I thought of a better analogy. If you have never seen one, watch a well-played game of "Go".

Power, strategy, scarce resources. Beauty.

Posted by: sbw at January 21, 2005 04:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Obviously, confusing Iranians with Arabs is an unfortunate error. But I don't actually see how it undermines the correspondent's actual point regarding the slipshod and hypocritical way in which Bush's "freedom" rhetoric is applied. There's a serious and substantive issue here which I've seen raised by just about every liberal on many, many occassions throughout the past three years and I've never once really seen a conservative democracy-promoter try to answer the argument seriously rather than just poking fun at some minor point.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias at January 21, 2005 05:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Liberals/Leftists would have a point if they did not:

*Openly root for Saddam Hussein against Bush before the war, and wish he was back in power now.

*Oppose ANYTHING other than meaningless talk and anti-Israeli actions in places they mention.

*Believe that "Arabs are not ready for democracy/human rights/etc." and that to hold them to normal modern standards of decency is "racist."

*Have no meaningful alternatives to Bush's promotion of Democracy and Human Rights in the Islamic World. No Liberal/Leftist for example would propose a military invasion of Pakistan, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or Jordan, or Syria for their massive human rights violations and anti-American actions.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 21, 2005 06:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

thanks Jim Rockford! you've put your finger on it...

critics of bush argue that he should be more realist (as if they were ever really realists themselves)... well, a realist wouldn't attack his friends; he'd attack his enemies... why not try to spread democracy in the process? it doesn't take a brilliant person to conceive of how doing this might eventually influnce your current tyrannous friends as well... but hey, if it doesn't, why do the critics care? they don't believe in spreading democracy anyway right? so why do they pretend to care that we haven't spread it EVERYWHERE yet?

Posted by: johnny kerry at January 21, 2005 07:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

First, I admire the broad, positive vision that Bush set out in his speech. Unfortunately, I'm not as optimistic that the United States is on such solid ground to continue to effectively "fix the fulcrum" and continue pushing. The amount and trend of our domestic debt and irresponsible spending here at home is very worrisome, our military is seriously stretched in multiple situations all over the globe, and while the US has shown it can be credible in its threat of force, this does not equate with a more positive form of credibility, which seems a stronger, cheaper, more effective lever in the long run, and which also unfortunately seems to have been diminishing over time. I simply don't understand how the world's goodwill toward us in the aftermath of Sept 11 could have evaporated to such an extent, and also, I don't understand why on earth we haven't been asked to do more individually and universally within our country to help this cause of freedom, for example, through an increase in gas taxes, or increased military via draft, etc. if it's that important to our national security that we are willing to risk so many wonderful men and women overseas. The vision is noble, but there is a cost, and it must be paid. To expect results without the cost is simply mindless.
Second, the original reasons given to the American people for invading Iraq were that Saddam Hussein was an "imminent threat" because of his ties to Al-Qaida and because of his vast stores of chemical and biological weapons and possible nuclear weapons program. Only later, when no credible evidence could be found that either of these was true, has history started to be rewritten so that the main reason for invading Iraq was to free the Iraqis for "democracy". This doesn't change the fact that it's an admirable goal in itself, and I support the steadiness Bush has shown in holding fast to the Jan 30 election dates, but please, let's not kid ourselves about our original priorities for going to war in Iraq.

Posted by: Keev at January 21, 2005 07:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

With regard to "Arab" Iranians and Pakistanis, I recollect a passage from a children's book that seems apropos. In Arthur Ransome's *Pigeon Post*--one of the Swallows and Amazons series--the mother of the two young Amazon girls is speaking to the scientifically-minded Dick, a friend of her daughters.

Dick and the rest of the children have been expecting an animal shipped from South America by the Amazons' Uncle Jim--an animal they have been assuming would be an armadillo.

The mother of the Amazons says something like, "It's bad enough that my brother keeps traipsing all over the world and bringing back oddments, but when it comes to sending home reptiles, I think it's too much."

Dick counters, "But armadillos aren't reptiles," to which the mother of the Amazons retorts, "Well, crocodiles then."

Dick abandons the field, observing that, "Zoology meant nothing to some people."

Jeff

Posted by: Jeff at January 21, 2005 07:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

it was "before" threats become imminent that bush said we must strike, after 911. that's why there was a debate over prevention vs. preemption. and it was always clear to me that there were geopolitical reasons for the war, including spreading democracy in the region, besides WMD. it was all out there for public consumption; bush just had to choose to focus on the best and most forceful rationale for the war -- which was the weapons that EVERYONE thought iraq had. people act as if their just angry that the WMD turned out not to be there -- as if they would really support the war if the weapons turned out to be there, or if bush had more forcefully assserted all of the other plethora of reason to go into iraq. also, they ignore the fact that, although there turned out to be no WMD, sanctions were collapsing and EVERYONE knoews that saddam was only going to reemerge as a bigger threat when the sanctions collapsed. there was no status quo situation that was going to last and turn out well. something had to be done. get over it people. do you think bush didn't believe the weapons were there? obviously, if he didn't really think they were there, he wouldn't have made that the primary rational for war -- OE ELSE HE WOULD HAVE PLANTED SOME HIMSELF, if you think he's so devious... but if you believe that bushe believed that the weapons were there, how can you justify him NOT taking action?! he should have trusted the motivations of our "friends" the germans and french? continue to trust the sanctions that were collapsing? trust indefinitely prolonged and thwarted inspections from the wonderful UN (right, they sure did great on IRAN, right)... inspections which saddam had only just re-allowed into iraq BECAUSE OF OUR TROOPS MASSED ON HIS BORDER AND READY FOR ATTACK?

hindsight is 20/20... now we know there were no weapons... but, come on, only a blind critic can pretend that the situation was stable and going to stay that way. howvever, we don't get to make decisions with the benefit of hindsight. bush did the right thing with the info he had at the time. and it's still the right thing with the info we have now.

Posted by: johnny kerry at January 21, 2005 07:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I see Keev state "I don't understand why on earth we haven't been asked to do more individually and universally within our country to help this cause of freedom..."

I ask this: Why wait to be asked? Why does the asking have to include an increased gas taxes or a draft?

People can do things on their own. Volunteer at the VA or a Vet's shelter? Donote food to the local food pantry, tutor a child who needs help, be a big brother. Why wait for some calling, go out and find it. Donote to Citizens Energy or some other group who provide low cost heating oil. People shouldn't need some great call to service. As the commecial says, "Just Do It".

As far as a draft? Contrary to what the MSM tells us, the military is meeting and exceeding it goals for recruiting by huge numbers. The National Guard at the state level is down.

Posted by: Mike Mac at January 21, 2005 02:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Keev: I'm not as optimistic that the United States is on such solid ground to continue to effectively "fix the fulcrum" and continue pushing. The amount and trend of our domestic debt and irresponsible spending here at home is very worrisome

The US. spent its treasure in because the UN was congenitally unprepared to face its responsibilities. Bush's speech laid the groundwork for policy change at the U.N. It was as if Bush said, "Liberty and freedom are practical goals. We've done our part. Demonstrate your willingness to put the UN at the forefront of supporting only governments that allow peaceful change."

Peace is ambiguous. It can mean either suppression of liberty for the sake of whomever is in charge (the scheme built in to the UN charter) or it can mean support of a process that allows peaceful change. Unfortunately, the former shallow concept is favored by many Bush haters.

[While I disagree with all things John Ashcroft,] So many who characterize Bush as dumb, miss his sense of history, sense of the future, and strength of character to invest to make a better world.

Posted by: sbw at January 21, 2005 02:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"When will he also call for democracy in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, Pakistan, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain?"

This guy shows such a poor understanding of history. Not knowing the difference between Arabs and Persians indicates an ignorance of the situation in general. If he studied his history a little better he might have learned the following from Lincoln's actions:

There were slave states in the North while Lincoln was busy invading the South. Even the Emancipation proclamation didn't free slaves in the North or in parts of the Union occupied South.

Are we to assume that Lincoln didn't really care about freeing the slaves or that he understood that he needed as much support as possible to bring the Union back together and was willing to be patient in implementing his values?

Posted by: tommyr at January 21, 2005 03:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think the argument has substance insofar as there are two otherwise identical countries, X & Y, whose only distinguishing property is that X is liked by the US and Y is disliked. Both are identical on the freedom metric, but one is (for political purposes) labelled by the US as "free"/"striving toward freedom" and the other one "not free".

Which spurs two questions:

1) Is the "freedom" rhetoric actually serious as far as implementation goes, or is it just (at best) well-meaning window dressing?

2) Does the use of "freedom" rhetoric (as described above) compromise our ability to actually advance freedom into practice?

I think Matt Y's post says it much better than I do.

Posted by: Guy at January 21, 2005 05:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

sbw writes:
"You fix your fulcrum and plant your bar where you can and push. Something moves. You do it again. And again. You can't always choose where to start, but you know where you want the boulder to end up.

Bush knows where the rock needs to go. That's more than can be said for the critics"

Blather like this is why I call the Bush supporters
the "rhetoric-based community".
This argument is at the same simplistic level of a typical Bush speech, and no more convincing.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 05:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would also point out that regardless of the merits of going to war in Iraq, Bush did stress a number of rationales supporting the war in the resolution our senators voted for. That it was about WMD's alone is belied by the text of the resolution itself.

Furthermore we have learned since that the administration was going to the Security Council with three arguments including Saddam's treatment of his own people. However, those wise men at State decided that the only one which might move the Security Council was on WMD's. So that is what Powell went with, and it was only there that the focus shifted exclusively to the case for WMD's. They were probably right if the only goal was to secure a vote for the invasion. They were wrong strategically in making the argument about something which eventually proved only partially correct.

Whatever the case about the wisdom of our strategy before the UN or the war itself, it was never only about WMD's which if I thought it would do any good I would demonstrate with many quotes preceding the war from Bush and his administration. Here is the actual text of the resolution, which Senator Boxer did not take the time to read and it contains, depending how you wish to categorize them as many as 11 reasons for toppling Saddam including the oppression of his own people and support for a democratic government in Iraq:

Joint Resolution

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

Whereas in 1990 in response to Iraq's war of aggression against and illegal occupation of Kuwait, the United States forged a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and its people in order to defend the national security of the United States and enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to Iraq;

Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;

Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated; Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in `material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations';

Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;

Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolution of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people;

Whereas the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States, including by attempting in 1993 to assassinate former President Bush and by firing on many thousands of occasions on United States and Coalition Armed Forces engaged in enforcing the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations;

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660 (1990) and subsequent relevant resolutions and to compel Iraq to cease certain activities that threaten international peace and security, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and refusal or obstruction of United Nations weapons inspections in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), repression of its civilian population in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 (1991), and threatening its neighbors or United Nations operations in Iraq in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 949 (1994);

Whereas in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1), Congress has authorized the President `to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 (1990) in order to achieve implementation of Security Council Resolution 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, and 677';

Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it `supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1),' that Iraq's repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and `constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region,' and that Congress, `supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688';

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

Whereas on September 12, 2002, President Bush committed the United States to `work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge' posed by Iraq and to `work for the necessary resolutions,' while also making clear that `the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable';

Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq's ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary;

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40); and

Whereas it is in the national security interests of the United States to restore international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

Posted by: Lance at January 21, 2005 05:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Johnny Kerry",
Two points:
Your repetition of the mantra that "EVERYONE" thought Saddam had WMD won't make it so, and it wasn't so. More to the point, it's definitely not the case that everyone thought Saddam was a nuclear threat, and this is the area where the Bush team
was particularly effective in raising the fear level.
This leads to my second point, which is a suggestion to read the story of how the administration grossly misrepresented the evidence that Saddam was building centrifuges to enrich uranium. The key element of that argument was that Saddam was importing aluminum tubes which---according to the experts---could ONLY be used to make centrifuges. This was as close to an outright lie as anything the Bushies said. According to the actual centrifuge experts the administration consulted (whose views were not reflected in the final "intelligence") the tubes were not at all suitable for centrifuge use. Furthermore, they matched exactly the specifications of tubes that Iraq had been using to make rocket launchers since the 1990's or before!
Why don't you learn something about how the administration misrepresented, stretched and twisted the facts before offering your CONCLUSIVE OPINIONS about the matter.

The bottom line is that the administration has a firm grasp of a few powerful rhetorical strategies, and not much else. In the case of the WMD issue, what was so effective was the rhetorical lumping of all questions about WMD into an all or nothing "He had them or not" question. This framing is why wingnuts could think it was such powerful evidence for the entire WMD case when 2 ice-cream trucks, as I call them (that's about how dangerous they were) were touted as proof of Saddam's WMD.
Bush did exactly this on May 31, 2003 in Poland, when he claimed that we had found WMD, referring to the trucks.
Of course it was ludicrous to think that two trucks, whatever their purpose, were proof that Saddam was a grave threat. Only because the sheep had accepted the original rhetorical premise was this effective. I truly admire these liars and propagandists---it is very hard to expose their slippery falsehoods.

One final note: are you aware of the fact that Tony Blair thought that the 45 min. claim, which was such an important part of the case he laid out in the UK, referred to the possibility of launching weapons which could reach the UK?
This was reported in the Independent, I believe, some time back. I was really shocked when I read that. Perhaps Tony really is a poodle---he certainly was about as smart as one to get involved in W.'s excellent Iraq adventure.

Posted by: Marky at January 21, 2005 05:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

SBW,
if you know something about go history, then you might appreciate that I found your comparison of Bush's strategy to a well-played go game
"ear-reddening".... though not in the same way as in the famous game.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 06:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky. Say something of substance. I'm willing to learn.

Posted by: sbw at January 21, 2005 07:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

SBW,
Study the games of Shuwa and Go Seigen, do lots of life and death problems, and read the longer post I wrote above.
In return I'm willing to listen to an argument that the war in Iraq is A) going well enough B) worth it, or some such, as long as the argument refers to facts on the ground, as specifically as possible, and uses a minimum of analogy or rhetorical brickbatting.


I understand that there are intelligent people who support Bush's war in Iraq. A basic question of reference is this: If you knew everything you knew today about Saddam's lack of WMD, lack of connection to Al Qaeda, etc., would you still support an invasion of Iraq? If your answer is yes, elaborate. In either case, since you are a supporter of the war we actually are fighting, why don't you say something that Bush has done well; show concrete signs that we are making progress in Iraq (newly painted schools don't count, sorry).
Like you war supporters, I am hoping that the elections on Jan. 30 help create a legitimate government, and I hope that successful elections will lead to a movement away from violence and towards participation. On the other hand, the possibility that the elections ignite civil war seems quite real too. It's not a good sign that candidates and polling places are secret.

I don't really see any point in going over the pre-war arguments anymore, except for how the Iraq experience colors the upcoming Iran invasion.
That brings up the last point.
Do you think the administration is planning to invade or attack Iraq? I think it is certain to happen unless an awesome degree of political power is brought to bear on the side of not invading.
Regardless of whether you view a war with Iran as likely or not, you can certainly see similar signs from the administration, and the Pollack book, etc.
So the really important issue to take away from the Iraq WMD debate is what you will believe if the administration makes similar claims about Iran.
Will you uncritically accept administration claims about Iran's nuclear program? This is really the most important question, and it is very difficult: Iran does operate nuclear reactors, which makes concealing a nuclear weapons program much more feasible than it was for Saddam.
I have to say that I will not believe any administration claim about any Iranian threat, based on what I saw in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
By the way, did you read that the woman who testified about Saddam's rape rooms is a complete liar? I don't have a link handy, sorry... but if you remember the false story of the baby-stealers and killers in Kuwait from 1990 you will not be surprised to find out the the rape room story was unsupported (although likely enough true).
Then there was Tony Blair's lying by a factor of TEN about how many dead were found in mass graves so far. The lies don't stop about Iraq, and I don't foresee any better with Iran.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 07:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky -

Couple of scenarios for you -

Pre-war: Let's pretend you have control of the "way back machine" and can dictate what the US should have done. What do YOU think the US should have done instead of invading Iraq and why? What do you think the impact of not invading Iraq and toppling Saddam from power would have been?

Post-war: Set the "way back machine" to "future" and tell us what you think the US should do NOW? Should we pull out unilaterally and, if so, what the impact would be in post-occupation Iraq?

And as for mass graves, I don't really care what Tony Blair said or didn't say about the mass graves - - try telling the Kurds it didn't happen.

http://cpa-iraq.org/human_rights/Mass_Graves.htm

Cheers -

DC

Posted by: DC at January 21, 2005 08:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

DC,
Of course Saddam was a horrible ruler, but I think it cheapens the memory of his victims to lie as Blair did. By the way, the event I'm speaking of happened long after the invasion, and after many graves had been examined---this wasn't some pre-invasion estimate.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 09:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Good riddance to Saddam!
Would the mullahs care to be next?
Or Fidel or Hugo or Kim?
Line them up like bowling pins and watch them tumble and howl.
Never have tyrants been so uneasy. Never have fools so destroyed their credibility by defending tyrants and attacking the tyrant-slayer.
It may take decades for the left to recover if ever.

Posted by: karmy at January 21, 2005 09:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bush is criticised for hypocrisy as a democracy promoter.

So was Clinton who was attacked for pushing democracy in Haiti and Russia while ignoring human rights concerns in China and Saudi.

Jimmy Carter was attacked for promoting human rights in Latin America while supporting the Shah.

You can never achieve democracy everywhere all at once. So any campaign for democracy will be attacked as hypocritical. But is it better to slink away from it? We ARE involved all over the world, including Iraq right now. If we are to continue to do so, we must lay out to the world what the rationale behind it is. If its ONLY realpolitik interests, they may well question the need to cooperate with us. We must provide a broader justification of our acts, that links what we doing in our interestst with our values, and thus with larger interests.

I agree that this policy will be hollow if it doesnt impact our relations with our "friends". But it would be unfair to demand perfection in our policy. If we insist on change in Egypt, will we be hypocrites for giving Pakistan a pass? If we call for change in KSA, will our support for Jordan or Morrocco be called into question? We CANT make lead a campaign mainly against our friends, and not our enemies, or it will make it seem unwise to be our friend. Though the educational benefits of Iraq may be helpful in that regard.

Posted by: liberalhawk at January 21, 2005 09:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I've never once really seen a conservative democracy-promoter try to answer the argument seriously rather than just poking fun at some minor point."

I find that hard to believe, Matthew. Supposing that you're not kidding, I should think that the answer is obvious. It is, indeed, obvious that the US is restrained (and not just militarily) by events, by respect for the opinions of other countries, by economic concerns, by the need to avoid upsetting allies, by military capacity, and a host of other concerns. So you do what you can, and attempt to do the most good. We can't do everything everywhere.

There is NO ability to seriously threaten military force against a current ally. You want to upset allies around the world, and really mess with the international order and traditions of foreign policy?

I assume that the Left knows that the perfect is the enemy of the good. It seems though that the Left constantly wants us to apply more pressure on allies, and less on enemies. Indeed at times it seems as though the Left wants MORE pressure on allies than on enemies. That's no way to make allies, that's for sure.

Of course I, and most other conservatives, completely agree with you that there are nasty, nasty countries which are allies, and we would love to affect change in those countries. I just don't think that we can do everything.

The examples of South Korea and Taiwan are always interesting tests. Both were nasty dictatorships when we first supported them, but flowered into democracy in the '80s. Some see it as evidence that we should have pressured them more and more rapidly; others as evidence that the gradual method worked. All should agree now that, e.g., the ROK ended up better than the DPRK.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 21, 2005 10:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If we cannot use our influence to try and get our ALLIES like Jordan and Egypt to move towards democracy, why are we spending blood and treasure to force our ENEMIES to do so??

Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Pakistan and the other tyrannies mentioned are our steadfast allies. We have political, cultural, social and economic ties to each. Why do we not only "put up" with the lack of democracy, but actively support these regimes and thus the tyranny??? When will we use our influence with our allies to demand change?

The fought a WAR to make sure an Emir in Kuwait was re-installed, people.

The people who say "one country" at a time have been saying that for a LONG time. And the hypocrisy continues, year after year, decade after decade.

The rest of the world--particularly the Muslim word--sees it. Why don't we? Or would it be too painful to look within?

Posted by: DCInsider at January 21, 2005 10:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The correspondent would also sound better if he/she noted the various local elections and such we've pushed in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere (the Saudi elections are coming up soon), and note that Pakistan actually did have National Assembly elections (though one can question fairness) in October 2002. That's not quite the same as "refuses to hold elections." (The General also used Napoleon's plescibite trick to confirm his rule, which of course could also have been rigged.)

Posted by: John Thacker at January 21, 2005 10:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

DCInsider-- And yet you would oppose a policy of actually achieving one country, Iraq, for achieving no country, it seems. Or at least many would.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 21, 2005 10:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And, DCInsider, year after year, decade after decade, there are MORE democracies in the world. I already mentioned the ROK and Taiwan, for two. "Decade after decade" we were waiting for the Cold War to end, and made nasty sacrifices until it did. Yet Eastern Europe is free. Now we are free to do more in the rest of the world. Take a look at Freedom House, or any of the other civil rights groups. Take a look at their statistics about freedom and democracy throughout the world.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 21, 2005 10:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As BD said earlier: There's more than one way to encourage freedom.

To answer the question: "Why are these nations exempt from our calls for democracy and regime change?" I'd have to say that they aren't exempt, and I don't think Bush intends to exempt them. But the question itself shows that there is an assumption being made. The poster equates a call for democracy with 'regime change.' Personally, I don't think Bush's speech meant that we intend to go to war with every tyranny out there. Allies can have a lot of influence over each other, and the US can encourage freedom effectively among nations it has good relations with.

In order to fulfill the promise of the speech, we will have to stop politely ignoring or excusing our allies' worst habits, but it doesn't mean that we must suddenly go to war with 'Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, the UAE, Pakistan, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain'.

Bush has already been doing this as much as he is able. When Putin strengthened his own power at the expense of other elected officials, Bush let it be known in diplomatic circles that the US did not approve. We didn't invade, but we certainly expressed our opinion, and we're doing what is possible to encourage a more democratic Russia.

The poster was right: America has been terribly hypocritical in its support of horrible dictators in the past. I don't see why having made past mistakes means that you can't ever improve your decisions for the future. We deserved the fury that our support of evil regimes got us. Why should saying that we now understand that it is wrong and intend to do things differently cause such anger? Bush's speech recognized that we cannot support dictators without leaning on them to change for the better. Personally, I see that as a change for the better.

Posted by: Deena at January 21, 2005 10:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John Thacker,
A couple of points. Was the US instrumental in creating more democratic governments in ROK and Taiwan? Honestly I don't know, but if not then I don't see much relevance to questions about Iraq.
Another question: what do you think about US democracy promotion viz a viz Venezuela?
I don't see the democracy promotion there.
As far as Iraq----well, the US is not the first to promise to bring Western goodness to the Iraqis, and the last time didn't work out well.

DC,
As for your first question, I would say that given what we know now, Saddam's Iraq was not an urgent problem, and Bush should have focused on going after Al Qaeda and stopping North Korea's nuclear program.

For your second question, I think firing Rumsfeld would be a good start, both for incompetence and for enabling torture policies. Gonzalez should never have been nominated for AG eithet----what a black stain on our nation if he is confirmed!
I have other, small suggestions, but honestly, who has a good idea about Iraq? I haven't seen any for a long time.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 10:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky: If you knew everything you knew today about Saddam's lack of WMD... would you still support an invasion of Iraq? If your answer is yes, elaborate.

I elaborated last September: On the war in Iraq

So tell me, Marky, what is the advantage to citizens of a country that its government should allow peaceful change?

So tell me, Marky, what is the advantage of democracy over other forms of government?

So tell me, Marky, what is it about the United Nations that it does not care whether the government of its member states has a process that allows for peaceful change?

So tell me, Marky, what you would do differently... I mean, that might actually work?

Posted by: sbw at January 21, 2005 10:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Deena,
Your post for me is typical of intelligent people who support Bush. You have interesting arguments and a thoughtful discussion of cases. What I don't see is any connection to what the Bush administration actually does.
So Bush said he doesn't approve of Putin's changes. My my.. is that more or less powerful than a tut-tut from a finger wagging liberal?
I'm not impressed.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 11:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

SBW,
I acknowledge your mastery of rhetorical questions, but it doesn't interest me.

About your post from September, I don't agree with your point 1 which is crucial. At any rate, it's clear that you fall into the "If he doesn't have them today, he'll get them tomorrow camp".
Let's just say we disagree about that.
I was hoping you would say that you might reach a different conclusion about the justification of the war given different knowledge---this it the mark of a thoughtful person.

Moving on, I really don't respect the argument that criticism of the war kills the will to fight.
Perhaps in some small way that is true, but I think better of our soldiers than to imagine that the opinion of some of the public will sap their will to fight.

I don't see anything in your september post that indicates a realist's view of the conflict. I see wishful thinking. Well, I wish things go well too, so we have that in common.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 11:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

marky:

Well, I'll put it this way: I don't think your disagreement is with the substance of the inauguration speech, I think it's with the war in Iraq and other policies. We could, if we chose, argue about all kinds of implementations of policies, and we could argue about whether various policies support the cause of freedom at all. But I think we can agree that saying the United States should do its best to support freedom in its actions is something to applaud.

Posted by: Deena at January 21, 2005 11:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Deena,
I was responding more to commenters than to the original post--your nailed me!
Sure I like freedom and democracy.
Let's just say I don't think Bush is the man to deliver them, and that's the most polite thing I can say about it.
I don't usually come to this blog, but Laura Rozen links to Greg occasionally, as did a commenter on Steve Clemons excellent blog, thewashingtonnote.com. If you haven't been to Steve's place, you should check it out.. he's a very thoughtful progressive who is interested in having conversations across the aisle about foreign policy.

Steve is better at talking across party lines than I am, but I thought I'd take a shot to see if someone on here could offer a view of the Iraq war that is positive or at least hopeful in a way I can believe.
Let's hope the elections are a success, at any rate.

Posted by: marky at January 21, 2005 11:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky. Enough of this. Your propensity is to talk around the questions people ask of you -- Call them rhetorical, but it does not interest you to answer them.

You misdirect the observation that those fighting us want to sap the will of, not the military, but the people back home.

You suggest I'm not realistic, yet you attack style only with shallow style and offer no alternative. You are funny. Fortunately, if you are eligible to vote, you represent the minority.

Posted by: sbw at January 22, 2005 02:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Re the update link, see Marshall's update.

Posted by: rilkefan at January 22, 2005 02:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The reaction to Bush's speech has been interesting. Bush articulated a new vision for US foreign policy - promote the same freedoms elsewhere that we enjoy at home. Why? Because anything less than freedom everywhere else will bring trouble to our shores.

To this expansive and completely new vision, we get complaints about America's undemocratic allies. Who made them America's allies? The "realists" - not Bush. Bush is proposing that we no longer play that game. And the critics grumble and complain - it's impossible - it's unrealistic - it's hypcritical - it's arrogant.

I never thought that I'd see the day when liberals opposed freedom for other people - but here we are. It's amazing.

Posted by: antimedia at January 22, 2005 03:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

" we often tell our captives that we will send them to be interrogated in Jordan in an attempt to scare them into divulging information."

which is not always an empty threat. Egypt and Syria too! And probably also Uzbekistan but no confirmation on that yet.

Posted by: Katherine at January 22, 2005 03:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

From an above post:
_____________

To this expansive and completely new vision, we get complaints about America's undemocratic allies. Who made them America's allies? The "realists" - not Bush. Bush is proposing that we no longer play that game. And the critics grumble and complain - it's impossible - it's unrealistic - it's hypcritical - it's arrogant.

I never thought that I'd see the day when liberals opposed freedom for other people - but here we are. It's amazing.
__________

How about this: When Bush renounces his family's longstanding close personal friendship with the Saudi Royal Family, stops chumming it up with General Musharraf at press conferences, announces that the massive amount of aid we send to Mubarak every year will stop, pulls all our troops out of Kuwait and calls for the Emir to step down, and explicity demands at their next fireside chat in the Oval Office that King Abdullah abdicate Jordan's throne and free his people from decades of tyranny, we'll stop saying Bush is being hypocritical.

Do we have a deal.....???

Posted by: DCInsider at January 22, 2005 04:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sbw,
I answered the substantive questions and left the silly ones. Your propensity to think that something is added to the discussion by way of hyperbolic rhetoric and irrelevant analogies is the fault.
You have some opinions about the UN, and some grand vision of "democracy" which really doesn't address the questions at hand. In particular, two of MY questions that no one has answered are:
1) how can you say that the war in Iraq is going well now, considering the number of measures---like dead people---that show the opposite.

2) How seriously will you take any Bush administration pronouncements on the Iranian threat, given their record with Iraq? Don't forget the story of how the aluminum tube "intelligence" was nearly an outright lie.

Obviously we disagree about these issues, but I have made a good faith attempt to answer serious questions---your vague questions about democracy and the UN not included among them. I answered questions about what I would do now; I answered questions about what I would do back then, given the information we have now; I gave some information; and I asked you to answer two questions which you have pointedly ignored.
(Your post in September does NOT answer the question on how to show things are going well in Iraq now. That section of that post is more along the lines of "well, war's can be tough!".. no duh!).

I guess I really can't expect serious debate with someone who thinks the war in Iraq shows beautiful and deep strategic thinking like a go game.
Ugh.. tell that to the 100,000 civilians we have killed.

Posted by: Marky at January 22, 2005 04:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

SBW,
By the way, I have no idea what this question means:

"So tell me, Marky, what is the advantage to citizens of a country that its government should allow peaceful change?"

What country, what sort of change? Of course peaceful change is desirable. What is the relevance to Iraq? I don't understand the question.

"Marky. Say something of substance. I'm willing to learn."
This was posted AFTER my post on the aluminum tube issue. If you don't think that the rationale behind claiming Saddam had a nuclear program is important, then we really can't have a discourse.

"So tell me, Marky, what is the advantage of democracy over other forms of government?"

Accountability to the citizens---your point?
Accountability doesn't occur even when people have the vote when the government deliberately misinforms people; to boot, too many congressmen of BOTH parties are in secure seats, so not accountable in practical terms.


"So tell me, Marky, what is it about the United Nations that it does not care whether the government of its member states has a process that allows for peaceful change?"

Anyone who asks what the UN "cares" about is thinking so sloppily I really can't think of an appropriate response. I might ask in return what is it about Bush that makes him not care if his allies are undemocratic, or even despotic. The power of the UN is limited by the wishes of powerful member states---it is an imperfect body, of course.

It's your turn to answer some of MY questions.
So far you've answered one---the question of what you would do differently if we knew now that Saddam didn't have WMD. We disagree on the level of threat he posed in a different case. The answer is unknowable, so there is no reason to discuss this point further.
On the other hand, I really would like to know if you would support going to war with exactly the same timetable, the same ultimatums and the same limited coalition, had we known then what we know now. Granted that Bush would depose Saddam anyway---why the rush? The fact that 12 years had gone by without any serious action by Saddam indicates that he was controlled---I don't see why action needed to be taken in 2003.


Posted by: marky at January 22, 2005 04:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky-- Yes, the US did push the ROK and Taiwan-- but quietly, and there were exactly the same criticisms of it that we hear now from you about Saudi Arabia and other nasty allies. Even in the case of Pinochet, note that US influence caused him to voluntarily step down after holding an election on his performance. How often has that happened? As far as Venezuela, Chavez has shown some fairly strong anti-democratic tendencies, just as Putin has in Russia.
I just don't understand your reasoning. Hypocrisy might be annoying, but I don't understand those who favor doing nothing to support democracy rather than only doing a great deal in some places. It often seems to me that the Left always finds reasons that we are not angering our allies enough, especially by pushing for democracy, and reasons that we are angering our enemies too much, especially by pushing for democracy. Of course, in some cases they may be right. But I get the sense that you and many others are too quick to make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Concentrate on North Korea? How? By bribing them again, which failed? By attacking, against the wishes of our ally the ROK and dooming far more civilians in Seoul to death? Hardly likely at all. What more could be done in North Korea than we are doing now, which is merely to get all the nations in the region to negotiate with them, and to refuse to assist them? We're being quite multilateral, working with all our allies plus China in the region, peaceful, using negotations, not lawless at all. The bribery deal from before didn't work at all; they took the money and technology and just kept on working. They refuse to let us have a verifiable treaty.
I don't understand why you revert to utter Realism, saying that Saddam was "controlled" (although he could still torture his civilians) so we didn't need to go there. So? The Saudis are "controlled" in the same way, yet you call for action against them. Why go into Iraq? Well, the Saudis are one very good reason to go into Iraq. Our troops were in Saudi Arabia to protect them from Saddam-- now they're gone. So long as Saddam could threaten them, they could argue against any move to pressure them by saying that it would make them weaker and more vulnerable to Saddam and to Islamicists taking over. If we demonstrate that an Arab democracy is possible in Iraq, then they will lose that argument. What's more, an allied free Iraq gives us more leverage against the Saudis in other ways. Without that leverage, the Realists in our government would always win, and we would not be able to pressure the Saudis.
So simultaneously, in my mind, you argue for pressuring the Saudis more while arguing to go slower on some of the very things we need to pressure the Saudis more. Just as a world with a threatening USSR made it difficult to pressure Cold War allies, a Middle East with Saddam as a boogeyman made it more difficult to pressure the Saudis. Note that, in a effort to deflect our criticism, the Saudis *are* holding municipal elections. Don't get your hopes up too much, of course, but it does mean something.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 22, 2005 04:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky-- Please provide a cite for the 100,000 civilians that we have killed. Note that I won't accept figures that claim that *we* have killed civilians who have been murdered by thugs attempting to take over the country, at least unless the figure compensates by subtracting off a reasonable figure for civilians killed by Saddam.
Of course, if you do think that the stability of a dictator is better than the temporary chaos caused by his removal, then that's fine and feel free to charge the US with blame for the civilians who have been killed by the thugs.
No delaying of the timetable would have made the coalition larger. Would any of the Arab dictators, our allies, have supported a war whose aim was democracy? Not hardly, for they realize (even if our Left does not) that such a war threatens their own legitimacy. Would France and Russia have come along? Not so long as it was more profitable to oppose, and maybe redeem those oil contracts.
Not that I necessarily find a country evil for opposing the invasion. There are plenty of Realist, realpolitick reasons to oppose overthrowing a dictator, to oppose the temporary chaos, to believe that a country or region is simply not ready for democracy and that collapse is inevitable. I understand those positions, respect them, and do not call some evil for holding them. I do wonder how they became the positions of so much of the Left, however.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 22, 2005 04:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Marky, answering some of your questions:

1) how can you say that the war in Iraq is going well now, considering the number of measures---like dead people---that show the opposite.

What is the proper measure -- the battle or the war? When do you give up and go home -- when it hurts or when you have accomplished what is important? The war has changed the ground rules for the U.N., for Iraq, for terrorists in general -- for the better. As far as the problems in Iraq now, why don't you go count the Iraqi mass graves the U.N. and AID have tallied up and tell me you prefer a world in which you are unwilling to stop it.

2) How seriously will you take any Bush administration pronouncements on the Iranian threat, given their record with Iraq? Don't forget the story of how the aluminum tube "intelligence" was nearly an outright lie.

Is your sense of time such that you cannot posit how issues would have been addressed on the basis of the information known at the time? Is your habit so selective that you must discount all the other "intelligence" estimates of the time -- like those of the U.N. and even France?

By all rights one of liberal persuasion should not be trying to preserve the status quo. That's the province of the reactionary. But liberals confuse the peace of the absence of war with the valuable peace that comes from embracing a process of peaceful change. Sometimes the opportunity for the latter must wrested from tyrants.

It seems that those of liberal persuasion have hijacked the word liberal from its traditional meaning, protecting their new reactionary interpretation of it with a close-minded brittleness, unwilling to embrace ideas other than one's own. And you call my questions silly.

You seem to be stuck in a static, Newtonian model of the universe which leads you to dismiss as vague a singularly pivotal and practical point about democracy. Democracy codifies humility in a never-ending process of peaceful change.

The U.N. was aptly described in another blog as an association for the preservation of chief executives, since it's charter specifically precludes interfering in the internal affairs of a member. Bush's inaugural address pointed emphasized freedom and liberty. The U.N. faces a pivotal decision whether it will stand up for freedom and liberty. Where do you stand on the freedom and liberty? I'm beginning to think that liberals have no place for freedom and liberty. Convince me otherwise.

Oh. My analogy with Go still holds, despite your inability to see it.

Posted by: sbw at January 22, 2005 05:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

DCInsider, you need to get out more. You don't change things overnight. Furthermore, you and I have no idea what may be going on behind the scenes to encourage our undemocratic allies to free their citizens.

You asked in an earlier comment - "If we cannot use our influence to try and get our ALLIES like Jordan and Egypt to move towards democracy, why are we spending blood and treasure to force our ENEMIES to do so??"

The answer is plainly obvious. Our allies are not attacking us. Our enemies are. Furthermore, neither you nor I knows what sort of work is going on behind the scenes (through State) to "encourage" change in our allies.

What Bush articulated was a new direction in American foreign policy. For it to be successful, it must extend well past his lifetime. When our allies see that we are serious and committed to the policy, then they will change, or they will no longer be our allies.

As one who apparently wants to see change in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan, I find it astonishing that you would oppose Bush's call for just that!

It's isn't Bush that's the hypocrite. It's America. And we have been for a very long time. Now Bush is proposing that we stop doing that, and you don't like it? What's wrong with this picture?

Posted by: antimedia at January 22, 2005 09:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My above comment stands: When Bush renounces his family's longstanding close personal friendship with the Saudi Royal Family, stops chumming it up with a Pakistani General who SEIZED power from a democratically-elected leader, announces that the massive amount of aid we send to Mubarak every year (a large amount of which ends up in Mubarak's personal account) will stop, pulls all our troops out of Kuwait and calls for the Emir to step down (the Emir that Bush's father went to WAR to re-install), and explicity demands at their next comfy fireside chat in the Oval Office that King Abdullah abdicate Jordan's throne and free his people from decades of tyranny, we'll stop saying Bush is being hypocritical.

Bush's hypocrisy in PERSONAL as well as institutional. And it is ongoing; are you saying that one speech changes decades of actions? Are you going to argue that his family is not really close to the Saudi Royal family, and Bush is not close personal friends with that beacon of democracy, Prince Bandar?

No, I didn't think you would.

Posted by: DCInsider at January 22, 2005 10:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's isn't Bush that's the hypocrite. It's America. And we have been for a very long time. Now Bush is proposing that we stop doing that, and you don't like it? What's wrong with this picture?

Two words: Bandar Bush. When Bush can tell the Saudis and the Paki junta to feck off, or at the least distance himself publically from them, then he might have a point. Then he might give the impression that "freedom and liberty" means more than just being a friend to the Republican Party. Then he might be doing more than just blowing smoke.

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