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President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand:
October 23, 2002 3:47 AM   Subscribe

President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand: If the administration really had contempt for the UN, it could withdraw its support and let that organization complete its collapse into a Third World debating society. If Bush wanted to lash out at every threat in the world, America's near-$400 billion defense budget could provide the soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and missiles to wage several small wars at a time, from Libya to North Korea (and most places in between). If America were trying to seize the world's oil reserves, we could have swept aside the Saudi sheiks long ago. If we were indifferent to the casualties of enemy civilians—and the only alternative is to be indifferent to the deaths of our own soldiers and civilians—then anti-war academics would have to give up tallying those casualties one-by-one. But none of this is actually happening.
posted by dagny (100 comments total)

 
if all of the above was happening, America wouldnt be a democracy anymore and it would have a serious civil war on its hands. it would also be called NaziLand or something more sinister.
posted by Multi Global Trans Express at 4:10 AM on October 23, 2002


The article seems to come down to: Bush isn't quite as bad or evil as his worst critics make him out to be, therefore he's allllllll-right.
posted by humuhumu at 4:10 AM on October 23, 2002


even if he were the new ghandi, he'd still be a pawn of business interests, not to mention insufferably stupid.
posted by quonsar at 4:17 AM on October 23, 2002


Fuck George Bush. Fuck him in the eye with a dead donkey's wasabi-dipped dick. He is pure evil, and he must be stopped.

I'm well aware the above is the sort of Fark-esque comment - all heat and no light - that I decry so often, but tonight I just don't care. Fuck your half-wit pretend-president - I hate him and his oily cadre of thieves, liars, and blood-thirsty powerdrunk scumbags with a white-hot hatred.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:19 AM on October 23, 2002


Uhh, you know, not to mince words or anything...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:21 AM on October 23, 2002


This isn't really a suprise. The ultra-left is just as much guilty of hyperbole, exaggeration and distortions as the ultra-right (or any other militant, extreme group).

The ultra-left (and ultra-right, I'm an equal oppurtunity ultra-hater) have learned that shouting really loudly will drown out the quiet voice of reason.
posted by PenDevil at 4:22 AM on October 23, 2002


what stravros said except with more fucks.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:25 AM on October 23, 2002


joshing, quite liked the article, I always knew shrub was a yellow bellied no good commie.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:26 AM on October 23, 2002


i love how people who have no qualms about calling bush, cheney, and the rest of the administration "evil" think nothing of making fun of bush for being "simplistic" for referring to people who murder lots and lots of people as "evil".
posted by wrffr at 4:27 AM on October 23, 2002


Why do I feel I am reading the verbal equivalent to a tennis match that has lasted way too long?
I think we know by now that most of the denizens of this forum hate Bush simply because they hate him. He could stand on his head and whistle the Battle Hymn of the Republic and nothing would change. Just like the previous administration-only difference was a different cast of characters.

If I mention Hitler now can we just get this over with and get on to the next link?

I say this in love...
posted by konolia at 4:27 AM on October 23, 2002


Bush just like marmite - you either love him or hate him.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:29 AM on October 23, 2002


I could write a 10000 word essay about why this article is utter clap-trap, but I wont waste my time. We all know that the only goal of this US government is to ensure they stay at the top of the pile, by keeping mid-east oil within their grasp for along time to come, if that means stamping down poor countries then so be it!

It is strange how a country with an appalling human rights record, such as Iraq is glad handed by the oil giants of america one day and part of the axis of evil the next.

This article sucks!
posted by JonnyX at 4:30 AM on October 23, 2002


Bush just like marmite - you either love him or hate him.

Man, I hate Marmite! It's evil...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:34 AM on October 23, 2002


Nastiness aside, Bush--like him or not--is not about to stomp all over the world. After all, he does have to run for re-election and the Dems at this point are not doing that well because of the Bush war on terror. And then there is Congress: if Bush were to do all the bad things he might do, the GOP would bolt and they would lose a great deal of support.

This is not to say he is or is not all that bad but merely to point out that there are constraints for the sort of behavior some would attriubte to him. At least for the time being.
posted by Postroad at 4:36 AM on October 23, 2002


If Bush wanted to lash out at every threat in the world, America's near-$400 billion defense budget could provide the soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and missiles to wage several small wars at a time, from Libya to North Korea (and most places in between).

I appriciate that this is going to look a lot like flamebaiting, but don't you remember a little thing called Vietnam?

Just because you have the money and the fancy tools doesn't mean that you are sure to win. Such small things as familiarity with environment and survival instinct make the natives hard to destroy.

On a slightly different tack, and a slightly more inflamitory ones too, the US army isn't actually all that good. It has the flashy toys and the big guns, but it really doesn't know how to use them...
posted by twine42 at 4:38 AM on October 23, 2002


What a weak article.

It´s pointless to deny that the Bush adminstration is war-mongering when we are on the doorstep of the second war (actually, bombing campaign) of his short tenure in office. Just how dumb does this "intellectual activist" think his readers are? Insulting for them, really. Anyway, I´m convinced that if this new bombing campaign goes off the way Bush and company wants it (lots of dead Iraqis, relatively "few" dead Americans and LOTS AND LOTS OF OIL), patriotic euphoria should cause his popularity numbers to temporarily increase, with the corrresponding decrease in attention paid to the real issues such as the economy, the disappearance of the middle class and corporate scandals. This probably will last about until his reelection campaign where another "evil" enemy to bomb (like N. Korea) will come in quite handy. And this war-mongering adminstration will have no problem in attacking them too. I mean even some sectors of the military have come out against attacking Iraq and you can bet whats left of your stock portfolio that they are going to attack anyway.

Anyway, all of this building up "axis of evil - super enemies" reminds me of that Simpsons episode on gun control. Homer has an NRA meeting at his house where Moe makes a presentation defending the use of automatic weapons for hunters as necessary in order to combat nature's new "super animals" like the FLYING SQUIRREL and the ELECTRIC EEL.


But that was funny, this isn´t.
posted by sic at 4:44 AM on October 23, 2002


the US army isn't actually all that good. It has the flashy toys and the big guns, but it really doesn't know how to use them

Bait taken. I don't know if you'd care to expand on that bit of baloney, but with the most sophisticated military on the planet, Mr. Ed ain't exactly running things.

No other country in the world spends as much money and aid on humanitarian goodwill.
posted by hama7 at 4:51 AM on October 23, 2002


OK, insult my politics to your heart's content, but when you start messing with the Simpsons, I can't be silent:

It was Lenny who pointed out the danger of modern super animals, and Moe reported shooting a robber in the spine. "The next place he robs better have a ramp." (Moe also demonstrated a simple technique for turning one gun into five guns.)

Stav (Bush is distilled Evil) and Twine42 (Anyone remember Vietnam?) beat me to my political arguments, but I would just like to leave you with one thought, which I do not believe is hyperbole: Emperor Bush is leading America to its ruin.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:00 AM on October 23, 2002


If Bush was doing what was asked of him, the US government would sign on to the Kyoto treaty. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he would not have reversed policies on drinking water standards. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he would not be trying to roll back rules preventing development and exploitation of national forests. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, American citizens would not have been arrested and held without habeus corpus. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he would not still be considering turning the Social Security system over to the free market. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he would not be attempting to permit corporations to dump whatever they want into the oceans. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he would be releasing notes and details about private meetings the administration held with the oil industry. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he would rescind policies which permit medical information to be revealed outside of the control of patients. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he wouldn't be blaming environmentalists for forest fires. If Bush was doing what was asked of him, he'd offer concrete proof of Iraq's "unmanned aircraft," chemical weapons, nuclear program, and support of Al-Qaida.

It goes on...
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:01 AM on October 23, 2002


quonsar ♥ stavros
posted by quonsar at 5:15 AM on October 23, 2002


hama7: no other country uses so much resources.

I no longer believe "America" exists. We no longer want your huddled masses. At least not in our backyard. We understand you're still yearning to breathe free, but we need you stay on that teeming shore to make our shirts, DVD players, and shoes for pennies.

"Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me." That's the old America. That mom and pop store closed and was replaced by a spanking new MegaShoppe. Now we're America - "Open 24 hours, and no back talk"

I do believe that. I also know there are kind-hearted people living in my community. I know we believe in helping our neighbors when there is need. I know we believe the whole world is really our neighbor.

Except our small voices are drowned by the MegaShoppe owners calling for tax cuts for those who don't need more money. We're drowned out by the men in shadows whispering threats of mayhem. We drowned out by the media looking for the big picture to the detriment of the little person. We're drowned out by "American" companies no longer making products in America. We're drowned out by loud screeching voices who believe war is inevitable and must be waged to protect "the American way of life."

A way of life that probably never existed for the majority of Americans.
posted by ?! at 5:22 AM on October 23, 2002


wasabi-dipped

Wasabi is actually horseradish to normal people.
posted by hama7 at 5:24 AM on October 23, 2002


stavros, you walked out of the thread without flushing.

Vietnam, as I recall, involved one superpower (us) fighting alongside half a small country, who were fighting against the other half of the small country, who were supplied by one superpower (Russia) and a half (China), down a road in another small country that we weren't "legally" allowed to interdict. Now, even if there were another real superpower anymore, it's not exactly the best analogy.
posted by dhartung at 5:30 AM on October 23, 2002


A way of life that probably never existed for the majority of Americans.

Should I call you "?!"? In any case, yes the mega Wal-marts and the shopping centers do destroy quaint mom and pop shops the world over in terms of competition. Yes, I too enjoy pining for the sentimentality of the good old days of the corner grocery store (which I can still enjoy in Korea to some extent).

Do I think that shirts and clothing can be made more cheaply overseas, thanks in part to gluttonous unions? Yes, and that's the way it goes.
posted by hama7 at 5:34 AM on October 23, 2002


Normal = non-Japanese? You really don't think these things through, do you hama7?
posted by Summer at 5:34 AM on October 23, 2002


Fuck him in the eye with a dead donkey's wasabi-dipped dick.
That's some nice alliteration. I'll be saying this all day.
And..
Why do Objectivists always have to call everything they do 'intellectual'? Objectivists are so irritating.
posted by Fabulon7 at 5:35 AM on October 23, 2002


lovely view from the moral high ground.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:35 AM on October 23, 2002


gee. where's steve@linwood?

Now that you mention it, quonsar, he'd usually be scorching the servers by now! I miss him!
posted by hama7 at 5:39 AM on October 23, 2002


Normal = non-Japanese? You really don't think these things through, do you hama7?

No, normal means: to most English speakers.

I am pretty familiar with Japanese stuff.
posted by hama7 at 5:41 AM on October 23, 2002


I can't tell whether this post is intentionally meant to be PR/agitprop (a la Bernays) or whether the author is merely painfully ignorant of the facts. Does it matter though?

I would think that the fact that the US has, under George W. Bush, either refused to sign or walked away from at least a dozen significant international treaies* - and that the US is now asserting that it's soldiers are not subject to international treaties on war crimes - would give dagny pause.

Apparently not.

(treaties on Global Climate, small arms sales, land mines, biological warfare research, nuclear testing, space weaponry (if memory serves)....I'm sure that I am missing quite a few here, but this list serves to illustrate the point. The US is now, under GW Bush, baldly asserting the perogatives of empire.)
posted by troutfishing at 5:41 AM on October 23, 2002


No, normal means: to most English speakers

You really don't think these things through, do you hama7?
posted by Summer at 5:45 AM on October 23, 2002


You know, I always wondered what Wasabi was.
posted by Jofus at 5:50 AM on October 23, 2002


begging your pardon sire

that should read horse.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:50 AM on October 23, 2002


Well, we do have term limitations, so if we could just ask for a bit of patience and understanding, please.

I am trying to look beyond this administration, to the next election now. GW is running again, no doubt there. Who will the dems put forth? And, if GW wins, who is up for both parties in the next election?

I do wonder how an administration led by Gore/Lieberman would have responded to 9/11 though. I tend to shudder at the thought.
posted by a3matrix at 5:50 AM on October 23, 2002


Beat me to it Mo - you forgot to mention the fiasco of the International Criminal Court, btw.

Quite a poor and selective article though. It strikes me that it could probably be cogently argued that the Bush Administration and it's predecessors have, to a certain extent at least, been doing all the things which the link description says they have not been doing - the point being that the examples quoted have been achieved over time through the use of subtle economic/political coercion or even covert/proxy force. Without headline-grabbing dramatics, US interventions abroad can be either ignored or given a nice PR sheen in the mainstream US - and to a lesser extent, international - media.

In any case, it seems naive to think that all governments aren't machiavallian - it's just that when the US Government sneezes, we all tend to have to wipe the snot off our faces, and thus US policies are of more relevance to us foreigners than many (but far from all) Americans appreciate.
posted by Doozer at 5:52 AM on October 23, 2002


That author's a real idiot. He's arguing that if Bush truly hated the UN he'd pull the US funding from it?

On what planet? Everyone knows that'd be political suicide. The president can have contempt for the UN and still ensure his government pays its dues share there.
posted by gramcracker at 5:56 AM on October 23, 2002


Notice how this article is written back-ass-wards? Tracinski lists everything he says Bush is accused of (which may or may not even be true) first: contempt for the UN, lashing out at every threat, sweeping away the Saudi sheiks, yada yada. Then he denies that any of this is actually true.
"But if any of this were true, the world would be quite different
All these actions are an illusion conjured by the left, and fostered (by implication) by the "liberal media." Then in the last paragraph, he turns the argument around. He writes:
The foreign policy in which an American administration is a self-confident actor, uninhibited by duplicitous allies and willing to take decisive action to eliminate any threat, is an illusion. But it is, at least, a grand illusion—and a vision that our leaders ought to transform into reality.
That is, he's really saying that this illusion--the contempt for the UN, the lashing out at every threat, the sweeping away the Saudi sheiks, etc., ought to be transformed into reality. Basically, he's saying that Bush isn't as bad as "the left" says he is, but he should be. I fail to understand that logic, but then I'm not a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute like Mr. Tracinski.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:59 AM on October 23, 2002


Gee Stavros, why don't you just tell us what you really think? ;-)
posted by bwg at 6:00 AM on October 23, 2002


If Bush wanted to lash out at every threat in the world, America's near-$400 billion defense budget could provide the soldiers, tanks, airplanes, and missiles to wage several small wars at a time, from Libya to North Korea (and most places in between).

I don't know where you're getting your information, since I can't reach the link this morning, but just about any member of the US armed forces will tell you you're...misinformed, though they probably won't use that term. The doctrine when I retired a few years ago was "one big, one small." In other words, one major conflict and one minor conflict.

We used up our stockpile of Cold War weapons during the first Iraqi conflict. In a pinch, we probably have the materiel to fight two, maybe even three small conflicts. Any more, and we would have to start converting some of the civilian manufacturing sector to a wartime footing...I mean a real one, not the make-believe one we have now.

That ignores the personnel side of the equation. Since we have been downsizing for years, and our people have been screaming about the impact of lengthy temporary duty assignments on morale and retention for years, we just don't have the people to do what you seem to think Bush "could" do. Not to mention the training, etc, etc, blah, blah blah. There are plenty of people out there who know more than I do about this stuff. The bottom line is that our resources are finite, and we can only do what we are prepared to do. Fighting all over the globe isn't an option.

For Bush to actually be able to do what you imagine he could do, we would have to live in a different world. One that most Americans, given the lack of a credible threat to our national survival, would prefer not to live in.

So right now, W is doing about as much as he can get away with. Occupying Afghanistan and invading Iraq while continuing to show the colors in Korea and Europe will tax the system plenty, thank you.
posted by norm29 at 6:02 AM on October 23, 2002


I do wonder how an administration led by Gore/Lieberman would have responded to 9/11 though. I tend to shudder at the thought.

Well, a3matrix, they obviously would have not attacked Iraq or Al-Quaeda at all, and rather attempted to resolve their differences over a nice cup of hot tea and long walks on the beach. After all, it's not like Gore ever voted to invade Iraq before or anything, and Joe Liberman has never said anything pessimistic about Arab terrorism. And the administration would be pure and free for all the people, what with both candidates' intolerance of censorship and religious influence on government. Plus, with the unilateral success like that of George W. Bush's, what with capturing the leaders of Al-Quaeda and eliminating all bad things on earth, there's no way his job could be construed as bad in the first place. Oh look! Kitties! What a fuzzy little kitty! Oozafuzzywuzzie widdle pookie yes you are! Yes you are!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:03 AM on October 23, 2002


The linked article is a giant troll. Correction: a brilliant troll that works on a lot of people it seems.

The author employs divide and conquer rhetoric throughout. He begins by calling the opposition names in order to quickly polarize readers into choose simplistic whitest of white "hawkish right" and blackest of black "ultra-liberal" sides with statements like "the only alternative is to be indifferent to the deaths of our own soldiers and civilians." There's no middle ground, and nothing to debate, so we see similar vitriol coming from comments here.

I give the author props for taking digs at Bush at the end, for being all hard talk and no action: "Bush's strong words are like the first snowflakes of winter: they melt on their first contact with solid reality." But where the author seems to want Bush to live up to the tough rhetoric, it seems like "the opposition" (which is bush's staff as much as whatever pathetic responses come out of the democrats) is keeping him in check.

Anyway, you might want to cool your jets a bit everyone, and not play into the authors little simplistic game. Take a breath and link to some sources if you have something to say.
posted by mathowie at 6:09 AM on October 23, 2002


The article is hopelessly misguided, and overlooks the key arguments that patriotic Americans (and the majority of the world's nations) have against current US policy.

Basically the article says, "If the U.S. wanted to, it could run the world as a tyrant, but because it hasn't taken over the world and has payed lipservice to the UN, then the president is doing everything right... and therefore, liberals are misguided."

Another way of looking at the situation is this however:
- Bush has expressed a goal of getting his way in several parts of the world and has openly advocated overturning foreign governments to do so, despite the fact that this would violate international law.

- Since he has been in office, we have seen an increase in Constitutionally questionable actions -- holding people prisoner for nearly a year without charging them with any crime and denying them legal counsel, for instance -- and our civil liberties have been restricted.

"Basic safeguards for the protection of prisoners apply throughout the world, and the US cannot create a rights-free zone. To hold people without charge and without basic protections against torture risks the creation of an American gulag." - Amnesty International

- Bush and his administration have also stated that non-compliance with prior UN declarations gives the US the right to invade Iraq, with or without approval from both the UN and the senate.
. (By that rationale, we have the right to invade Israel, North Korea, and just about everyone else out there...)

- Yes, the Bush administration is doing what congress told him to do - go through the UN Security Council and see whether he can reinstate weapons inspectors. However, he is unwilling to abide by the will of the UN in this matter, and has explicitly said that he will attack Iraq (in violation of international law) if he cannot force through an agreement on inspections that would give the US full authorization to attack Iraq at their discretion, as opposed to at the UN's discretion.

It is highly unlikely that those who founded our country would sit idly by while the rights and laws of our country eroded, nor, as John Perry Barlow (a Republican until recently) pointed out, would Abraham Lincoln have ever approved of such actions.

"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - - and you allow him to make war at pleasure."

The truth of the matter is that these are not lightweight issues, but serious issues involving the future of democracy. It is shocking, unpatriotic, and traitorous how lightly so many conservatives have taken this undermining of our rights.

If you don't like the law (either domestic or international), make new law. Don't ride roughshod over the Constitution or over international law, however... because if you do so, you are not only acting in a traitorous, lawless manner, you are encouraging other nations to do so as well.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:24 AM on October 23, 2002


Impossible, johnnyboy - if you're really on the moral highground, then logically everything beneath you must look increasingly like a dumpster.

In any case, Dagny, you don't need me (I hope) to tell you that centrism is the new power in politics, and Bush tends to adopt a very pro-corporate, pro-secrecy, and hawkish stance within the confines of said centrism. Off the top of my head - coal mining, GAO vs Cheney, and Iraq respectively.

The basic premise of nature is that stasis of / uninterrupted upward mobility of any system, be it galactic, planetary, continental, a species, a race, a culture, a nation, an individual, or my left testicle is impossible. Stasis (or stasis of attribute-delta) doesn't currently exist, which is why we resort to reproduction (and screw up the non-organic environment, which doesn't).

Whether or not you or I are responsible for the actions of the current administration is irrelevant to those who oppose America. You, or I, or our children will one day be be held accountable for our actions today by those who move into power after America falls - and they will justify the treatment on the false premise that America was a democracy. Looked at from this perspective, America's actions seem far less tasteful. I know for a fact you care about your progeny because an Objectivist can do no other - you act in pure self-interest but as atheists you do not believe that you can take the fruits of your labor with you. Logically, therefore, your motivation must be your children, and if this is the case I have to ask why you aren't encouraging the current administration to deal with the rest of the world with a softer hand?

(As an existentialist, I wouldn't dare to curse another with the agony of existence, so my motivation is just trying to ease up suffering for all the poor bastards who do have to exist.)

As for tallying up enemy casualties - seen any reputable information or estimates on casualties in Iraq? In Afghanistan? None of the former without an astonishing amount of digging, and none of the latter that I know of at all.
posted by Ryvar at 6:26 AM on October 23, 2002


Just to clarify... I'm not a Democrat either. Those Democrats who abrogated their Constitutional duty by giving the President the power to declare war, just to save themselves at the polls come November are equally at fault and should be voted out of office.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:32 AM on October 23, 2002


Even if the post was a brilliant troll, I enjoyed reading the intelligent commentary which which it provoked!
posted by troutfishing at 6:48 AM on October 23, 2002


Those Democrats who abrogated their Constitutional duty by giving the President the power to declare war, just to save themselves at the polls come November are equally at fault and should be voted out of office.

Hear, hear. Libermann first, in the primaries. Out Daschle, out in the primaries.
posted by nofundy at 6:55 AM on October 23, 2002


Those Democrats who abrogated their Constitutional duty by giving the President the power to declare war, just to save themselves at the polls come November are equally at fault and should be voted out of office.

Well, along with all the Republicans that did same, of course. Right nofundy?
posted by Ynoxas at 7:05 AM on October 23, 2002


hama7Bait taken. I don't know if you'd care to expand on that bit of baloney, but with the most sophisticated military on the planet, Mr. Ed ain't exactly running things.

No, I appriciate that should have been phrased better. While the US has all the flash toys, their men tend to go in with remarkably little training. Hence the reports of a mountain assault group who were dropped off and then sat 'like sitting ducks' on a moutain top while they acclimatised, because they hadn't had any moutain training. [I have the text stored in email, but can't find the url. when I do I'll post it].

Similarally, the rest of the allied forces all fear the American forces because they know all too well that they tend to live up to their reputation of dropping explosives on or propelling rounds through their own people.

Finally an appology for not finding the links to back myself up. I'm at work with an evil stomach bug, and link hunting isn't at the top of my list of things to do... ;)
posted by twine42 at 7:12 AM on October 23, 2002


why isnt england in the axis of evil ?

i demand it be included !
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:30 AM on October 23, 2002


[That author's a real idiot. He's arguing that if Bush truly hated the UN he'd pull the US funding from it?

On what planet? Everyone knows that'd be political suicide. ]

You really think so?
posted by revbrian at 7:31 AM on October 23, 2002


A possible explanation?
posted by talos at 7:32 AM on October 23, 2002


[gnitpick] Er, Hama7, I'll bite... Wouldn't hold up U.S. foreign aid as a sign of what a benevolent member of the global community we are. Gross numbers don't mean much taken out of context. Aid as a percent of GNP is a better measure. Anyway, most of our foreign aid comes in the form of military assistance. More on this (leftward leaning) here, although a little bit dated; and here's what Heritage says.[/gnitpick]
posted by Kneebiter at 7:40 AM on October 23, 2002


Weren't the primaries over last month? I think its a little late to oust anyone in the primaries.

Anyway, anyone ever stop to think that maybe the Ossama hit the US like he did because he knew that there would be a much more reactionary backlash from the Bush administration. Its like Hammas doing a suicide bombing because they know Israel will send more tanks into the West Bank so they can crank up the suicide bombings up a notch prompting more tanks to be sent into, you guessed it, the West Bank, you see where I'm going here. They hate our influence in the Middle East, they know Bush will dump troops and bombs into the region, prompting more hatred for the US... we see the cycle here. So maybe, just maybe, Ossama and Al Q. were betting on Bush so maybe, just maybe a Gore administration might not have even had a 9-11. Just food for thought.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:49 AM on October 23, 2002


I wonder if they count aid money that is then used by the nations to buy American made weapon systems? How does that fit into the whole aid equation?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:54 AM on October 23, 2002


Proceed with caution, writes James Fallows in The Atlantic
posted by matteo at 7:59 AM on October 23, 2002


The ultra-left (and ultra-right, I'm an equal opportunity ultra-hater) have learned that shouting really loudly will drown out the quiet voice of reason.

Well, PenDevil, consider the source and whose axes here are ground:

Carving Liberty into Stone: The Greek and American Discovery of Fundamental Law | October 1, 2002 "A voice rose from the back of the crowd, saying that 'it is monstrous if the people cannot do whatever they wish.' ... With this shout, Athens threw away its principles and its freedom."
Classical Athenians and Revolutionary Americans both faced the same question: how to avoid a tyranny of the majority. Both discovered the same answers: fundamental laws...


Martha and the Tall Poppies: The Morality of Envy and the Fraudulent Anti-Fraud Campaign | August 6, 2002 "The attack on Martha Stewart is so irrationally disproportionate, so contemptuous of the need for evidence, that it is clearly not motivated by a sincere belief that she has committed a serious crime."
The rush to judgment against Martha Stewart reveals the deeper motive behind the frenzy over "corporate crime": the "Tall Poppy Syndrome" and the morality of envy that it represents.


Why Insider Trading Should Be Legal | August 6, 2002 "Historically, such restrictive by-laws did arise under capitalism, but they were rare. The capitalists recognized the positive incentives—and benefits to all involved—associated with hiring entrepreneurs who were also shareholders."

the frenzy over corporate crime...
a tyranny of the majority...
--the morality of envy...

--Ah, the Trustafarian Manifesto, at long last...

Even in the USA, not to mention space-time reality in general, for that matter, such hyperventilation is considered far to the starboard of even hard right.
posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on October 23, 2002


Bush just like marmite - you either love him or hate him.
Man, I hate Marmite! It's evil...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:34 AM PST on October 23


I prefer Vitam-R
posted by i_cola at 8:29 AM on October 23, 2002


This is insipid. It's like saying, "If Bush really were bellicose, he'd invade China. Since he hasn't he must be a peacenik." That's like an easy LSAT flawed-logic question.
posted by inksyndicate at 8:36 AM on October 23, 2002


why isnt england in the axis of evil ?
Or, at the very least, France.
posted by owillis at 8:59 AM on October 23, 2002


Wasabi is actually horseradish to normal people

the same way that chimpanzees are monkeys to those normal people.
posted by tolkhan at 9:00 AM on October 23, 2002


But Bush's strong words are like the first snowflakes of winter: they melt on their first contact with solid reality.

Kind of like this essay...
posted by Ty Webb at 9:01 AM on October 23, 2002


Main Entry: wa·sa·bi
Pronunciation: 'wä-sA-bE
Function: noun
Etymology: Japanese
Date: 1903
1 : a condiment that is prepared from the thick pungent greenish root of an Asian herb (Eutrema wasabi) of the mustard family and is similar in flavor and use to horseradish; also : the root
2 : the herb that yields wasabi

Main Entry: horse·rad·ish
Pronunciation: 'hors-"ra-dish, -"re-
Function: noun
Date: 1597
1 : a tall coarse white-flowered herb (Armoracia lapathifolia) of the mustard family
2 : a condiment made from ground-up horseradish root
posted by Ty Webb at 9:05 AM on October 23, 2002




Wasabi, Jyorj Dubyah, MetaLefties, oh my!
posted by blogRot at 9:13 AM on October 23, 2002


Actually I have heard that what goes for wasabi in the USA is simply green-tinted horseradish.
posted by konolia at 9:40 AM on October 23, 2002


Fuck your half-wit pretend-president - I hate him and his oily cadre of thieves, liars, and blood-thirsty powerdrunk scumbags with a white-hot hatred.

I must buy you a drink when next I am in your neck of the woods, Mr. Chicken.
posted by rushmc at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2002


It's not essential that one parses the meaning and gustatory derivation of wasabi, folks, it matters merely that if the petrified dick of a dead donkey were jammed into your eye, and if that dried-up asinine member had been previously dipped into aforesaid NE Asian condiment, it'd hurt like fuck: that's what counts.

Which is why I am all in favour of fucking GB's ocular orifice with such an object.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2002


Hasn't anyone but Fabulon7 noticed that this was published in an objectivist (Ayn Rand) publication? I don't really see the point in posting or discussing utterly predictable rants from blinkered ideological sources. I mean, here's the World Socialist Web Site's clarion call to "Oppose US war against Iraq! Build an international movement against imperialism!" Shall I post that on the front page so we can all have another good tussle?

Oh, and ghod bless our wonderchicken.
posted by languagehat at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2002


Can't say fairer than that.

Check please!
posted by i_cola at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2002


Poor donkey.

That's all I have to say.
posted by dazed_one at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2002


quonsar ? dubyuh
posted by quonsar at 10:45 AM on October 23, 2002


gee. where's steve@linwood?

Even I found this to be pointless to comment on...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2002


troutfishing: and that the US is now asserting that it's soldiers are not subject to international treaties on war crimes

In case you didn't know, France has had a similiar agreement for years.
posted by wrffr at 11:09 AM on October 23, 2002


"I don't really see the point in posting or discussing utterly predictable rants from blinkered ideological sources. "

Heh heh...that would pretty much suspend all conversation in this community....
posted by cyclopz at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2002


wrffr - of course! they were in the imperialism game before the US. But is it an "agreement" or just a proclamation? And does France have the international clout to enforce it?

StavrosWonderChicken - did you hear about the turkey that lived for 6 months after it's head was chopped off? They miss a bit of the brain stem and it just ran around like that for 1/2 a year (I guess it couldn't eat, though). It became a local tourist attraction (searching...can't find the link at the moment....)
posted by troutfishing at 11:22 AM on October 23, 2002


Aye, wrffr, but what would a Frech soldier be charged with? Retreating too swiftly?
posted by Fezboy! at 11:26 AM on October 23, 2002


errr - French ....
posted by Fezboy! at 11:27 AM on October 23, 2002


Correction: a brilliant troll that works on a lot of people it seems.

Reminds me a bit of Gingrich's "plan" to cut NPR and NEA. And the left goes chasing it's tail ... ;)

I don't really see the point in posting or discussing utterly predictable rants from blinkered ideological sources.

I guess the point was to produce utterly predictable comments from blinkered ideological commentors.

gee. where's steve@linwood?

When a middle-of-the-road opinion (i.e., the MetaFilter right-wing) is missing it sticks out like a sore thumb.

I hate to interupt the hate-fest with some reality but here is how the rest of the country feels about Bush & Iraq. I just didn't want all of the common-ground here to be mistaken for something resembling consensus.
posted by probablysteve at 12:00 PM on October 23, 2002


stavros: how can I disagree with you so strongly on one thread and agree completely on another? Makes me wonder if I'm misreading you on the other threads... or either you or I are inconsistent.

BTW stavros, the wasabi definitions were a stab at hama, not you. Funny how he always wields his locale as if he has some authority on asian issues, but he doesn't even know the difference between wasabi and horseradish. Hell, I don't even like sushi and I can tell you the difference by sight or taste.


gee. where's steve@linwood?

Even I found this to be pointless to comment on...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:00 AM PST on October 23


Actually, you didn't.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:19 PM on October 23, 2002


I guess the point was to produce utterly predictable comments from blinkered ideological commentors.

You're right --why didn't I think of that?

troutfishing: Surely you're not implying that stavrosthewonderchicken has been trumped by a... wonderturkey??
posted by languagehat at 12:20 PM on October 23, 2002


The thrust of the article, especially in its last paragraph, seems to be a lament that A) we are still a more or less functional republic, and B) that we cannot entirely ignore world opinion.

I don't know anyone claiming that Bush is successfully exercising an entirely dictatorial hand over our foreign policy (although much of congress would apparently like to give him just that), so I'm not sure who this article is refuting. It does seem to wish he was, though.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:27 PM on October 23, 2002


hama7 "No other country in the world spends as much money and aid on humanitarian goodwill."

EU and US comparative aid budgets. (.pdf)
posted by Lleyam at 12:43 PM on October 23, 2002


troutfishing, that would be www.miketheheadlesschicken.org. Watch out for the music.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2002


President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand...

Hadn't really noticed the deamnds for outright lies, but if you say so....

For Bush, Facts Are Malleable.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:58 PM on October 23, 2002


troutfishing: of course! they were in the imperialism game before the US. But is it an "agreement" or just a proclamation? And does France have the international clout to enforce it?

It's apparently an actual agreement they made as a condition for France to sign on for the ICC.
We may even have to thank France for helping to ease the tensions. America's oldest ally has come to the rescue — however inadvertently. Though it had kept it a secret, the French government had much the same objection to the court as the American government — that its peacekeepers could be hauled before the court.

As the European nations met last Friday to discuss their common position at the EU meeting — for the EU is supposed to have a common foreign and defense policy these days — it was revealed, much to the surprise of other EU members, that the French government had secretly negotiated a seven-year exemption for its own peacekeepers back in 1998.

"I was somewhat surprised that France, despite signing the ICC, had been granted this exemption," noted Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. Interestingly, demanding exceptions is exactly what Europeans have attacked the Americans for doing.
http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/bering.htm
posted by wrffr at 1:55 PM on October 23, 2002


wrffr - Good research! Too bad about advancing international law. Well........there's another model that works (sometimes anyway, and international law works like that too...."sometimes") - that model is EMPIRE. Rah rah rah! But, somehow, I don't thinkl that the hegemonic/neo-imperial PAX-Americana will do a great job contro;lling terrorism.
posted by troutfishing at 4:02 PM on October 23, 2002


Ynoxas: you really need to lighten up.

If you want to play the semantics game, I never commented on the thread topic, but thanks for pointing out that by commenting, that I found it pointless to comment, I was indeed commenting...


ProbablySteve: Those polling number don't mean anything to this group. For some reason they are having a hard time grasping that any where between 60 - 70% of Americans support the President, and disagree with them. I frankly don't get it. Some people you will never be able to convince.

I think konolia summed it up best. There is nothing that Bush could to to please this group. He could resign, and ask Gore to take over for him, and they still would not be happy.

Lleyam: Last time I checked, the European Union wasn't a country, but fifteen countries.
Taking the 1997 numbers given in the document provided:
  • The United States gave 9.4bn in 1997 in aid
  • The European Union gave 23.4bn in 1997 in aid
With 15 members, that is aprox 1.6bn per member, significantly less than the 9.4bn given by one country, the United States. (By the information provided)

Now, given the fact that the European countries do not have an economy like ours figures in to that as well... But it still holds true that no county spends as much on aid as the U.S.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:42 PM on October 23, 2002


SaL: You lighten up. By saying it was "pointless" you did indeed offer commentary, which is the exact same thing as if you had written 4 paragraphs.

In truth, I just thought it was kinda funny. I could see you (at least what I think of when I think of you) just waving your hand and lamenting how it was all beneath you. That, and your post was atypically short. I had guessed that you were out of town or something.

It's not my fault you take umbrage at everything.

He could resign, and ask Gore to take over for him, and they still would not be happy.

Heh. Try me. You have my guarantee that I, for one, would be positively ecstatic.

That's called projection... you're thinking of how conservative commentators still hate Clinton and still mention him nearly every day and the man's been out of office for almost 2 years.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:42 PM on October 23, 2002


at least what I think of when I think of you

I am curious as to what this is.... Though I think I would rather not know.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:45 PM on October 23, 2002


For some reason they are having a hard time grasping that any where between 60 - 70% of Americans support the President, and disagree with them. I frankly don't get it. Some people you will never be able to convince.

If you'll look at the numbers again, Steve, I think you'll see it's not nearly as simple as asserting that 70% of Americans "support the President"--as if to say that 70% support him whatever he does and whatever he chooses to do. Many of the favorable percentages are well below 60% and quite a few are below 50%. What's more, many of the higher favorable percentages are in response to questions regarding multi-lateral vs. unilateral actions and indicate that on the whole, the majority of respondents think military action should be coordinated with our allies and the UN. There also seems to be not a little concern that the current administration hasn't explained it's positions adequately, that Congress isn't asking enough questions, and that an attack on Iraq will ignite a wider middle eastern conflict.

I'd be the last one to argue that Americans--on the whole--are staunchly opposed to war. Obviously not. But they certainly seem less firmly behind Bush (maybe they've been confused by Ari's daily obsfucations) than you apparently like to think they are. From here, it looks to me like Americans want something done, are more or less resigned to military action, and hope that it'll be as little a burden on them as possible.

Personally, I don't care how many Americans disagree with me. But if you're taking comfort in poll numbers now, then maybe you should be concerned with how long they'll agree with you.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:52 PM on October 23, 2002


troutfishing, are you asserting that the US is subject to treaties it has not signed (or has signed, but has not ratified)? That is an ... interesting interpretation of how international law works. (By the way, some of my friends got together and voted away your driver's license. Yes, we know you didn't attend the meeting. Be a nice multilateralist and hand it over to us, OK?) Are you also asserting an overriding obligation to what you probably call "multilateralism", as measured by the US asserting the right not to sign treaties it doesn't like? How curious. One doesn't, as I have repeatedly pointed out, need to be a hard-right conservative to believe that the US is entitled to pick and choose which international treaties to which it will subscribe, despite your repeated invocation of shibboleths to that effect.

The EU-US comparison supplied by Lleyam is also a flawed example, using a highly selective comparison (which was appropriate for its purposes, but not this argument). As it happens, that PDF only covers aid funneled through "multilateral organizations". It does not reflect the entire US foreign aid budget. A comprehensive breakdown of US foreign aid from 1995 (I could not find a more recent example that was as detailed) shows that your $9.5B figure is easily dwarfed by a truer $25.9B. Even the figure just for direct foreign aid is over $12B -- although that includes "military and security assistance". One is curious what the comparable European figures are. Additionally, one must consider the budgetary support that the US gives the UN secretariat for all its operations (reduced from 25% to 22%), and to UN peacekeeping (reduced from 30% to 27%). In short, there are different kinds of foreign aid, measured different ways, and the US gives plenty by almost any measure.
posted by dhartung at 9:10 PM on October 23, 2002


Dhartung - no, I wasn't trying to do that ["asserting that the US is subject to treaties it has not signed (or has signed, but has not ratified)?"] - But I'd observe that, in walking away from a whole slew of in international agreements, the US is laying a poor foundation - for the "War on Terror" or for any sort of international cooperation with the US which is not enforced by miitary might or by some sort of coercion. One or two agreements? No big deal, but we are talking about quite a few more than that, and this reinforces the international perception that the US is lawless power.

This position - the assertion that the US should be, in effect, an imperial power has been elaborated by the "Project For an New American Century" - which involves, among other things, a wholesale repudiation, by the US, of international legal entanglements (agreements, that is). There's nothing "wrong" with this, but it's not an especially effective way of winning friends or encourageing cooperation.

It's late, and I have to go to sleep. Maybe I'll post some lists of the agreements the US has refused to sign, revoked, reneged on, and so on, tomorrow. *yawn*
posted by troutfishing at 9:48 PM on October 23, 2002


"President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand."

Yeah. Except for one thing: abdicating the throne.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:40 PM on October 23, 2002


"President Bush is in fact doing just about everything his critics demand."

Uh-huh. He's rolling back his gigantic tax cut for the rich, is he? I missed that story. And you say he's focusing on the failing economy and the massive crisis in corporate governance which his administration is in up to its colective armpits? No foolin'. What's that? He's ceasing to beat the divisive war drum because he can't bear to continue to cause a collapse in consumer spending and corporate investment as well as causing the House and Senate to squander the entire legislative agenda arguing over his demands? Damn, that's noble of him.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:55 PM on October 23, 2002


Steve_at_Linwood and dhartung

I don't want to get into an EU v US slanging match (I love both places) - and I appreciate your comments regarding the nature of the statistics I provided. However, I don't accept (at face value) the assertion that "No other country in the world spends as much money and aid on humanitarian goodwill". IMO, although technically accurate, this somewhat misrepresents the meaning behind the facts and in any case doesn't justify the (in)actions of Bush in terms of the international political situation.
posted by Lleyam at 6:14 AM on October 24, 2002


Dhartung - OK, here's the list of international treaties and previous agreements and conventions the US has 1) reneged on or 2) refused to sign: (for an expanded explantion, see: here)

ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY, BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION, (nuclear) COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY, CONVENTION ON THE PROHIBITION OF LANDMINES,
SMALL ARMS TREATY, CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION, KYOTO GLOBAL WARMING ACCORD,
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC), TREATY ON CHILD SOLDIERS

Here is some BACKGROUND: (from here)

"In the war against international law, the president has shown remarkable boldness in his disdain for the remainder of the international community. He has pulled out of the Kyoto Accords on Global Warming, perhaps the most critical environmental treaty of our time. He has also demonstrated his contempt for the creation of an International Criminal Court that would hold individuals accountable for the types of serious international crimes that were prosecuted by the United States at Nuremberg following World War II.

The president's war against the international control of armaments, however, has been his most successful undertaking. In one area of arms control after another, he has demonstrated that he plans to chart the course of US unilateralism when it comes to decisions on controlling armaments. 

He has made clear that he does not intend to resubmit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the Senate for ratification. When the CTBT came up at the 2001 United Nations General Assembly, the US was the only country to vote against carrying over an item supporting the treaty to the next session of the General Assembly. 

The president has also requested studies from the Pentagon on the possible resumption of nuclear testing. When the parties to the CTBT met last November to discuss ways to bring the Treaty into force more rapidly, the US did not even bother to show up and participate.

Mr. Bush has opposed signing the International Treaty to Ban Landmines, despite the solid international support to ban these weapons that go on killing civilians long after the soldiers have left a war zone. At a UN conference on small arms, the US blocked key provisions to stem the illegal traffic in small arms, those most used in combat. The US also torpedoed a six-year effort to create a Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention that would allow for verification procedures including on-site inspections.

The president's boldest act, however, in his war against the international control of armaments was his announcement that the US is withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Despite Russian opposition to taking this step, the president gave his notice of withdrawal on December 13, 2001, starting the six months running for withdrawal under the provisions of the treaty. Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty will give the US the ability to test weapons for use in outer space, leading to their deployment in outer space and the undermining of the Outer Space Treaty as well. 

In his November 2001 Crawford Summit with Russian President Putin, Mr. Bush announced his intention to lower the size of the US strategic nuclear arsenal to some 1,700 to 2,200 nuclear weapons over a ten year period. This unilateral action did not even go as far as President Putin had been offering for over a year (reductions to 1,500 strategic weapons or possibly lower). The president's plan will keep overkill the principal US nuclear strategy for at least the next decade. Further, since it has been unilaterally initiated, it will be subject to unilateral reversal by Mr. Bush himself or a successor to the presidency.

In taking these steps, Mr. Bush has also demonstrated his contempt for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which the US has promised to pursue good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament. The International Court of Justice has interpreted this phrase to mean complete nuclear disarmament in all its aspects."

Also, this trend began during the Clinton adminstration: (from here)

Although US support for international law and institutions slowly began to decline as the 20th century progressed, since the Clinton administration, the US has been more hostile toward international law and international legal mechanisms. And the trend has only accelerated during the Bush administration. Under the Clinton administration, the US refused to sign the Treaty Banning Anti-Personnel Mines (Landmines Treaty); the Senate failed to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); and the US attempted to obstruct completion of the Rome Statute to create an International Criminal Court (ICC), although Clinton did sign this Treaty at the final moment. Since President Bush took office, among other actions demonstrating its disdain for international law, the US has:

- withdrawn from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty;

- resisted the idea of a standardized procedure for reporting on nuclear disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, in fact, increased the role of nuclear weapons in US national security policy;

- sought to terminate the process to promote compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC);

- spurned proposals from Russia and China to ban weapons in Outer Space and Space-based weapons;

- withdrawn its signature from the International Criminal Court Treaty;

- withdrawn its support for the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, even though it played a key role in its creation. "
posted by troutfishing at 6:18 AM on October 24, 2002


And one more thing, Steve_at_Linwood and Dhartung - you, you, you guys - I need you like I need a hole in the head! Hey....a hole in the head? I haven't been feeling so well lately, a little down....I'll just get out my drill and.......
posted by troutfishing at 6:53 AM on October 24, 2002


troutfishing: Are you all right?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:14 AM on October 24, 2002


at least what I think of when I think of you

I am curious as to what this is.... Though I think I would rather not know.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:45 PM PST on October 23

I think of you kinda like Duke from Dunesbury, without the drug habit. :-)
posted by Ynoxas at 10:31 AM on October 24, 2002


Thanks....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:25 PM on October 24, 2002


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