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Bush's Speech on the Spreading of Democracy
November 10, 2003 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Bush's Speech on the Spreading of Democracy This is a massive and difficult undertaking -- it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed -- and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran -- that freedom can be the future of every nation. (Applause.) The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.

Since this speech was posted earlier, I just thought it would be good if we are exposed to ideas from both sides.
posted by VeGiTo (88 comments total)

 
"Since someone posted a NewsFilter story I thought it would be good to do the same". At least your honest.
posted by stbalbach at 9:59 PM on November 10, 2003


you could have just put it in the other thread?
posted by muckster at 10:04 PM on November 10, 2003


Yah ok can you explain how either of these links is Newsfilter, considering they are not linked to news sites and are not on the frontpage of any major news site?

Is it because the dates on the articles are recent? But if they weren't, wouldn't you be complaining that they're "too old" instead?
posted by VeGiTo at 10:05 PM on November 10, 2003


vegito: You knew very well the quality of what you were posting, ecause you made reference to another less than stellar posting as your justification. All the same, Bush's speeches make my skin crawl, and if you want anyone to change his or her mind that's not the way to do it. (yes we know why you posted this, but equal time does not equal objectivity, and some crappy 'go us' speech by bush is not an entitlement because someone else posted something that made you uncomfortable)
posted by Space Coyote at 10:08 PM on November 10, 2003


Gore's speech didn't make me uncomfortable at all. It made some good points which I find interesting and I think it is good that it was posted.

Likewise, this speech by Bush gives context to the Iraq occupation, describes the stakes involved and kind of depict "bigger picture" to those exposed to people oppose to it. As such it is also worth of the post.

I think the main reason why the Democrats have such a difficult time swaying America's general public is because they refuse to be objective and actually listen to the other side. They'd rather preach to and be preached by the choir.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:15 PM on November 10, 2003


bushfilter if nothing else today.

if bush, wolfowitz, feith, cheney, perle, and the rest are so interested in democracy how soon would you wager we'll see free elections in any of the following countries (either controlled directly by the US or are our pals in the war on terror) A) Iraq, B) Saudi Arabia, C) Egypt, D) Pakistan, ... etc. etc. ? if/when "democracy" actually occurs most would agree the results won't be pretty for the US or our buddies Israel.

any bush backers wanna put their money where monkeyboys mouth is?
posted by specialk420 at 10:17 PM on November 10, 2003


they refuse to be objective and actually listen to the other side.

hahahah ... nice try vegito. you'll make it over the net next time.
posted by specialk420 at 10:22 PM on November 10, 2003


I will. I will be the first one to invest money in Iraq when I have the means to do so.

I believe in 10 or 20 years from now, the world will look very different economically. I believe that a democratic Middle East will approach the living standards of the United States, along with China and Eastern Europe, while Western Europe becoming stuck in its continual decline with its backwards anti-capitalist policies and aging demographics. I bet my money on it.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:22 PM on November 10, 2003


* I mean "Iraq will be one of the first places I'll invest money in when I have the means to do so."
posted by VeGiTo at 10:25 PM on November 10, 2003


Empires crumble. Even Rome fell. The US is no different.

is it time for the haikus yet?
posted by bshort at 10:27 PM on November 10, 2003


Iraq will be one of the first places I'll invest money in when I have the means to do so.

you go girl.
posted by specialk420 at 10:30 PM on November 10, 2003


specialk420: Regarding your link, I always knew Bush was bluffing about the WMD. I question the ethics of that, but it was strategically important nonetheless. What it did is that it made it politically possible to attack.

If Bush came out and said outright that he wants to install democracy in Iraq to cause regime changes all over Middle East, it would've frightened the neighboring nations too much too soon.

This is why if he had told the truth, the "bigger picture" would be jeopardized. Lying about WMD is a dillemma between doing what's popular and doing what's necessary.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:33 PM on November 10, 2003


So, lying to the American people is okay as long as you mean well?

I mean, jesus. That's only a minor semantic step up from "if the president does it, it can't be illegal."
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:36 PM on November 10, 2003


No, lying to American people is not well UNLESS it has to do with a major operational strategy that wouldn't work if the enemy is aware of it.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:38 PM on November 10, 2003


Sorry, the premise of a democracy is that being lied to because we stupid proles couldn't possibly understand the big picture is not kosher.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:39 PM on November 10, 2003


By getting hundreds of American soldiers killed in the Middle East, spending hundreds of billions, awarding no-bid contracts to campaign contributors, blatantly lieing to the world, Bush will indeed send a clear message. Beware, America, when a Texas oilman becomes president!
posted by raaka at 10:42 PM on November 10, 2003


No no no... Why do you misunderstand? His lies were meant for the enemy, i.e. the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East. Deceit is a necessary tool in war. It just happens that the existance of CNN made it not possible for him to deceive the regimes without lying to Americans domestically as well.

Ideally, the Americans will be smart enough to see through to his true intentions while the enemy is in the dark. But from what I read, that is not the case.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:42 PM on November 10, 2003


I think the main reason why the Democrats have such a difficult time swaying America's general public...

What are you talking about? Democrats won the last presidential election.

...is because they refuse to be objective and actually listen to the other side.

Hmm... this is what distinguishes the dems from the neocons? Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.

It just happens that the existence of CNN made it not possible for him to deceive the regimes without lying to Americans domestically as well. Ideally, the Americans will be smart enough to see through to his true intentions while the enemy is in the dark.

Wow. Look at how easily a person can slip beneath serious consideration.
posted by squirrel at 10:48 PM on November 10, 2003


It just happens that the existence of CNN made it not possible for him to deceive the regimes without lying to Americans domestically as well.

Damn that 24-hour liberal news media cycle. It makes me yearn for the straight-talking pre-CNN days of Richard Nixon.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:51 PM on November 10, 2003


If Bush came out and said outright that he wants to install democracy in Iraq to cause regime changes all over Middle East, it would've frightened the neighboring nations too much too soon.

...As well as the REST of the world, and most of the US. Has it occurred to you, VeGiTo, that launching military invasions only to install governments may be ethically wrong and a violation of international law? And that lying about it is impeachable?

I know I just said you were beneath serious consideration, but SHEESH, I just couldn't let that one go!
posted by squirrel at 10:56 PM on November 10, 2003


Lies are lies, They don't serve the american public. As the president and our leader, Bush's job is to explained the big picture and present it in a way the American people can understand. Not lie about it. This is rationalization. If it was an impeccable offence when Clinton did it over a blow job, then it's even more so when Bush's actions cost American lives. VeGiTo, stop trying to rationalize just because you like Bush.
posted by whirlwind29 at 11:17 PM on November 10, 2003


His lies were meant for the enemy, i.e. the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East. Deceit is a necessary tool in war. It just happens that the existance of CNN made it not possible for him to deceive the regimes without lying to Americans domestically as well.

ahem


Ideally, the Americans will be smart enough to see through to his true intentions while the enemy is in the dark. But from what I read, that is not the case.

Just as a favor, could you please tell me how you have exerted yourself in efforts to set the record straight for those Americans who were lied to by their President because CNN exists? If you have done so, I'd be happy to read over it. In the meantime, I will content myself with your admission that the man is, in fact, a liar.


If it was an impeccable offence when Clinton did it over a blow job

That was an impeccable offense. What Bush has done is impeccably impeachable.


*How do you confuse Central America with Eastern Europe, anyway?
posted by trondant at 11:40 PM on November 10, 2003


So the Middle East didn't know what Bush was really doing--that's what you contend?
Then you're as stupid or as much an ass as the monkeyboy you defend.
posted by troybob at 11:48 PM on November 10, 2003


I was actually thinking about a similar thing Vegito. Ignoring the techniques of the Bush administration, are their aims worthwhile? Would invading another country on faulty information be worth it if it moved Iraq and the middle east towards democracy and peace?

Hard to say, but how could you tell that's their intent? And even if they do mean well, they seem to be doing it very poorly.
posted by destro at 11:50 PM on November 10, 2003


Some of you are talking to "vegito"? Find your own message board, and for God's sake, take him, her, or it with you.
posted by uosuaq at 12:02 AM on November 11, 2003


Empires crumble. Even Rome fell. The US is no different.

Excuse me, it's not an empire that's crumbling right now. It's a republic. From the ashes of which will rise an empire, which will crumble some time later.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We obviously need to go through all the steps, very carefully. Again.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:04 AM on November 11, 2003


In the end the Bush administration will announce that two and two make five, and we will have to believe it. It's inevitable that they make the claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demands it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, is tacitly denied by their policies. The heresy of heresies is common sense.
posted by josephtate at 12:08 AM on November 11, 2003


Not true, because history will remember George Bush lying to start the war in Iraq, good or not.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:44 AM on November 11, 2003


Ideally, the Americans will be smart enough to see through to his true intentions while the enemy is in the dark.

Are you for real? Are you saying only Americans are "smart" enough to grasp W's strategy? And are you suggesting that ignorance rules in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East? If so, that's a pretty serious superiority complex you got there.
posted by LouReedsSon at 12:44 AM on November 11, 2003


Seriously, anybody who believes that any foreign country can just come in and install a friendly democracy is living in cloud cuckoo land. Bush and pals have got themselves mired in a situation they cannot handle. They know that the moment the occupying troops leave, Iraq will be a bloodbath again, as rival groups try and seize power. And not one of them will be friendly to America.

Meanwhile the invasion and occupation has acted as the greatest recruiting tool Al-Qiada could have dreamed of. Further terrorist attacks are not just likely, they are inevitable.

In short, this war will not help the Iraqi people, long term; has cost tens of billions; has cost the lives of many thousands of Iraqis and many hundreds of Americans; has helped the terrorists; has seriously weakened America's standing in the world.

How many of his lies do you have to take before you say "enough is enough"?
posted by salmacis at 12:45 AM on November 11, 2003


"Lying about WMD is a dillemma between doing what's popular and doing what's necessary."

Or the difference between faithfully executing the office of President of the United States...or not. Or the difference between preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States... or not.

Some of us still remember that Bush said in 2002 that he didn't need congressional approval to go to war. And that's just how good of a guardian of the US Constitution Bush is...

Ultimately, this temporary excursion in Iraq doesn't matter a fraction as much as the words on that piece of paper in DC, and Bush has probably reduced its lifespan by a good fifty years. He's certainly reduced its worth immesurably.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:46 AM on November 11, 2003


I believe in 10 or 20 years from now, the world will look very different economically.

It sure will: posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:22 AM on November 11, 2003


As an avowed leftist who stands against current agricultural policies, I'll be the first lefty here to admit that this is actually quite a well-delivered speech from Bush.

It would have actually meant something, however, if Bush decided that the time to make the speech about flourishing democracy throughout the Middle East was, you know, September 12, 2001. Or for that matter, September 10th, if you think about it. But certainly not six months after sending a few hundred men to die in a mission designed to de-stabilize one of the few sections of the Middle East that wasn't already under heavy influence of fundamentalist religious Jihad.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:59 AM on November 11, 2003


"Why do you misunderstand? His lies were meant for the enemy, i.e. the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East."
I really hope that you're just fucking with us, trying to create a shitstorm or something. because the amount of self-delusion necessary to actually believe that -- ie, it's OK to lie if you're a Conservative Republican and if it's the only way to kill lots of Muslims, make Halliburton et al happy and getting a lot of American soldiers killed in the process -- well if you really believe that, good luck with your life.
also, the idea of a "Democratic Middle East" so heavily endorsed by neocons everywhere lacks a significant detail? are you in favor of letting these guys actually _vote_, oneman/onewoman one vote? because if you do, Iraq'll turn out to be like Iran -- government by the ayatollahs. On one hand the ayatollahs are the former business partners of your buddies Reagan and North, so they can't be all that evil, but still it looks funny.
Algeria, anybody? They voted, too, and the fundamentalists won, remember?
Also, if you think that, say, Jordan's standard of living will quickly become better than Western Europe's, well, I gather you don't travel much, and don't do a lot of reading either

anyway enjoy your lies and especially your occupation -- it'll be there for a long time -- and if you lack the funds to invest in the thriving Liberated Iraq economy, I suggest you enlist and go happily work with the liberated, America-loving Iraqis building a better democracy. people who actually believed the White House's lies are dying every day there because of that "nuclear mushroom" bullshit, be a mensch and go help them out
posted by matteo at 4:27 AM on November 11, 2003


Everybody stop feeding that troll Vegito. After all, we're very comfortable here hating Bush and don't want to tolerate, entertain, or be challenged by any views that run counter to the firmly anti-Bush consensus.

That being said, I think a lot of the posters in this thread are making pretty good points. I have my own misgivings about Bush's Iraqi operation and doubt it'll play well when viewed in retrospect twenty years on. But geez, folks, the stridency around here is enough to make me wince.
posted by alumshubby at 4:29 AM on November 11, 2003


I can understand the 'stridency' around here might make you wince, alumshubby, however (to repeat the point yet again) the stridency of the present US government has had somewhat more devastating effects on the people of Iraq, as well as many other countries around the world.

There is no reason not to have strident views on this bellicose bunch of sociopaths, they have gone out of their way to polarise the debate, IMHO.

'If you are not with us, you are against us.'
posted by asok at 5:46 AM on November 11, 2003


After all, we're very comfortable here hating Bush and don't want to tolerate, entertain, or be challenged by any views that run counter to the firmly anti-Bush consensus.

I'd love to be challenged by some pro-Bush rhetoric that makes a modicum of sense. I'm sure a lot of us would. Do you have any?

Tolerantly waiting (crickets chirping in background)...
posted by GiantRobot at 5:47 AM on November 11, 2003


Props to VeGiTo for having the cajones to post the Bush speech here (though I have to disagree with the argument that it was a deliberate lie -- there's still no firm evidence of that). As even XQwhatever says, it really was an excellent speech. But, as the cliche says, actions speak louder than words. However, what most people here forget is that these are still early, early days. History will judge this endeavor on its success over years, not six months. Remember, at this point in 1945-1946, the situations in Germany and Japan were widely considered hopelessly FUBAR, too.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:13 AM on November 11, 2003


stop trying to rationalize just because you like Bush

I don't like Bush. I hate his anti-abortion and other faith-tainted policies, I think his tax-cut package for the rich is ineffective for stimulating the economy (though the economy recovers nonetheless because of Fed's rate cuts, not Bush's tax package), and I think his war on drugs is misguided.

I just happen to support his foreign policy alone, based on its own merits and from an objective point of view. I guess the left can't fathom anybody doing that ever... Can you?
posted by VeGiTo at 6:13 AM on November 11, 2003


I believe in 10 or 20 years from now, the world will look very different economically. I believe that a democratic Middle East will approach the living standards of the United States, along with China and Eastern Europe, while Western Europe becoming stuck in its continual decline with its backwards anti-capitalist policies and aging demographics.

I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside....
posted by rushmc at 6:15 AM on November 11, 2003


VeGiToFilter
posted by stbalbach at 6:47 AM on November 11, 2003


Props to VeGiTo for having the cajones

VeGiTo has drawers?
posted by signal at 6:58 AM on November 11, 2003


VeGiTo has drawers?

Heh. Oops. Cojones.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:09 AM on November 11, 2003


No no no... Why do you misunderstand? His lies were meant for the enemy, i.e. the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East. Deceit is a necessary tool in war. It just happens that the existance of CNN made it not possible for him to deceive the regimes without lying to Americans domestically as well.

More money needs to be spent on the public education system. Because thinking like the above quoted shows jush how far the American education system has sunk.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:15 AM on November 11, 2003


>Remember, at this point in 1945-1946, the situations in Germany and Japan were widely considered hopelessly FUBAR, too.

Yeah, before the marshall plan they were. The plan wasn't implemented until '48.

Next pro-war myth please.
posted by skallas at 7:16 AM on November 11, 2003


Afghanistan will resemble what modern anthropologists refer to as the "Paleolithic era".

But it will be filled with fields of poppies, so it'll look pretty.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:18 AM on November 11, 2003


The power of bloggers.
posted by rushmc at 7:19 AM on November 11, 2003


Hey now. The Gore Speech thread garnered 29 comments, a derail attempt handily de-derailed, significant support from the Mefi left, no attacks on skallas for posting it, and near the end some actual debate (F&M and witty) on the greater issue. This thread? although the content of the post is, realistically, inherently no different (a political speech), this thread immediately devolved into personal attacks (thinly veiled, at best) on VeGiTo, numerous derail attempts and subject changes, and VeGiTo's attempts to explain his position and start debate were either met with derision or ignored.

I know this is more properly Meta, but still. If we are going to claim openmindedness and willingness to debate the issue and not attack the messenger, then we should walk that walk. Otherwise, all the protestations at the "Metaleftie" charges and going on about open debate and alternative viewpoints being welcomed are just so much crapola.
posted by UncleFes at 7:23 AM on November 11, 2003


You know if Gore can stay away from running for president he could be very good at helping someone get elected. Let me explain....He's the kind of guy that can make you say, ya know what AL your right,. He's "nice" not threatening and intelligent, some one you'd like to have a Guinness with and discuss politics with. But as a figure head of power something is just missing.
posted by hoopyfrood at 7:31 AM on November 11, 2003


I agree with UncleFes. I opened this thread with sinking heart, hoping to see discussion (however contentious) of the prospects of democracy in Iraq and the legitimacy or otherwise of imposing it by force but expecting to see a flamefest, and my expectations were met. People, a poster is not a troll for posting something you don't agree with. I think Bush is the worst president we've ever had and the war is a disaster, but if (by some miracle) Iraq winds up with a solid democracy, makes rapid progress economically, becomes the beacon of the Middle East, and inspires the people of neighboring countries to push for similar changes, if in fact they end up praising the US invasion in retrospect (however bitter they feel about it now), how will we who opposed the war react? Will this speech not look statesmanlike and farsighted (rather than the lying pack of weaselly rationalizations many of us take it to be now)? Aren't these more interesting things to think about than new ways to insult VeGiTo, who seems thoughtful and well spoken (especially by comparison to some of his attackers)?
posted by languagehat at 7:39 AM on November 11, 2003


>The Gore Speech thread garnered 29 comments, a derail attempt handily de-derailed, significant support from the Mefi left, no attacks on skallas for posting it

I also didn't play 'talk show host' with the thread, if there's a problem here its vertigo being defensive and posting a dozen times in his own thread. Not to mention any FPP that screams "IM POSTING THIS BECAUSE SKALLAS POSTED THAT" is bound to be troublesome at best. Why not just post it in my thread?
posted by skallas at 7:42 AM on November 11, 2003


Also, this is just bad mefi post. I've heard this speech, dicussions about it, various synopses, etc on EVERY MAJOR MEDIA outlet, yet Gore's little moveon speech was mentioned where? NPR? Played in full on cable TV - once and its available on the internet. Mefi serves marginalized content and this post is truly newsfilter.

Vegito for some reason assumes media parity with Bush and Gore, and frankly you're looners if you think that.
posted by skallas at 7:49 AM on November 11, 2003


Posts should really stand on their own rather than just being responses to another post so as to manufacture some sort of balance.

The post sucked, people responded with complaints in thread rather than taking it to MeTa, and now we're all stupider for it. VeGiTo didn't help things by responding to criticism with some pretty trollish comments ("Why do you misunderstand? His lies were meant for the enemy, i.e. the totalitarian regimes in the Middle East.").
posted by bshort at 7:51 AM on November 11, 2003


I still don't understand: Bush's lies about Saddam Hussein's WsMD were intended to trick... Saddam Hussein into believing that Saddam Hussein had them? If not, who? Syria?
posted by interrobang at 7:59 AM on November 11, 2003


bshort, would you please explain clearly how that statement is trollish, in rational terms, without resorting to baseless rhetorics.

I am open to be convinced based on merits of your arguments. But for so far in this thread, and for the past few months of reading MeFi, I have yet to come across a coherent argument against how the current predicament is necessary in order to accomplish the intended long term goal.

Is deceit a bad thing a priori, even if it proves to be precient and improves the well-being of the entire world 10, 20 years down the road?
posted by VeGiTo at 8:00 AM on November 11, 2003


interrobang, the deceit was meant for the neigboring countries. If the real reason for invasion was out in the open from the get-go, those countries would be even more vocallying oppose it or even raise arms along Iraq against the US, making the job a lot more difficult. I am just wondering if what Bush did has any merit from a strategy of war point of view.

I am sorry for posting so much in my own thread, I am trying to bring it back to a orderly discussion from the open-season flamefest that it is now. I guess the last statement about Skallas's post is uncalled for... I wish the idea behind this speech can be discussed on its own merit.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:11 AM on November 11, 2003


Yes, deceit is always a bad thing. He was elected, and if he wants to be reelected then he better start coming up with some good explanations about why it was necessary to lie to everyone (especially to me).

Troll

Also, what interrobang said.
posted by bshort at 8:14 AM on November 11, 2003


if there's a problem here its vertigo being defensive and posting a dozen times in his own thread

Cet animal est très méchant;
Quand on l'attaque il se défend.

posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on November 11, 2003


Yes, deceit is always a bad thing

That is like me saying "Yes, war is always necessary" without providing any reasons. Though I have, and you have not.

Troll... 2. n. An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion

1. No one had seriously tried to convince me that what I posted are specious arguments, 2. I have mostly been pretty good at refraining from frames and personal attacks, and 3. I am trying to facilitate discussion rather than disrupt it.

I am quite disappointed. This is the last post I make, I will not try to defend my position any longer in this thread due to its pointlessness.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:22 AM on November 11, 2003


VeGiTo: you're the one making extraordinary claims. The burden is quite clearly on you to support your long series of what-ifs.

Is deceit a bad thing a priori, even if..

In a Democracy, Republic or whatever you want to call the current political organization of the US, deceit is considered bad a priori. Democracy is all about means, not so much about ends.

A republic is supposed to be a rule of laws, not men, meaning it's not OK to decieve the public and break laws just because you "know" you're right.
posted by signal at 8:31 AM on November 11, 2003


I always knew Bush was bluffing about the WMD. I question the ethics of that, but it was strategically important nonetheless. What it did is that it made it politically possible to attack.

If Bush came out and said outright that he wants to install democracy in Iraq to cause regime changes all over Middle East, it would've frightened the neighboring nations too much too soon.

This is why if he had told the truth, the "bigger picture" would be jeopardized. Lying about WMD is a dillemma between doing what's popular and doing what's necessary.


I never had a problem with the initial post,
and don't feel any voice should be excluded.
But don't knock us if we've fairly diagnosed
that this guy's ethnocentric, egotistical, and/or deluded.

So, despite the fact, VeGiTo, that you claim superior insight,
let's debate a simple fact that your comments imply:
Were anti-war protesters actually intelligent and upright
because, like you, they didn't believe the WMD lie?
posted by troybob at 8:40 AM on November 11, 2003


Yeah, before the marshall plan they were. The plan wasn't implemented until '48.

Next pro-war myth please.


How is that a "myth," even assuming your point to be true? Under your logic, you're basically acknowledging that if a successful Iraq "Marshall Plan" is implemented anytime before 2006, history will look back and view the reconstruction as a success. I personally hope it doesn't take that long.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:40 AM on November 11, 2003


Were anti-war protesters actually intelligent and upright
because, like you, they didn't believe the WMD lie?


Alternatively, VeGiTo, is it your contention that if only CNN and the lefties had kept quiet, we could have fooled the enemy into believing that we only wanted to get rid of Saddam's WMDs when we were in fact sneakily planning to smack all them over the head with a democracy stick?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:48 AM on November 11, 2003


you guys make quite a sad sight.
i didn't see vegito having any of the self-righteousness that many other posters here have exhibited.

and no, I don't like Bush.

the question is - is there a plan for making the democratic Iraq become a reality? So far, I hear contradictory reports - some Iraqi sources seem to say that there have been lots of progress in establishing the democratic institutions of various kinds; others complain that the US supports the local strongmen getting hold of the aforementioned institutions. The question is - how do we evaluate an advancement to democracy? Does anyone know of good writings on the topic? There must have been many things written after WWII... any ideas?
posted by bokononito at 8:51 AM on November 11, 2003


Is deceit a bad thing a priori

Yes.

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. —John F. Kennedy
posted by rushmc at 8:53 AM on November 11, 2003


If it's okay for Bush to lie to get us into war
to justify a cause he's decided, without our consent, is noble,
would you say, for instance, it's okay to let 9-11 happen
so he could justify taking his world vision global?

If you want to argue it, don't conveniently limit its scope.
Welcome to the slippery slope.
posted by troybob at 9:02 AM on November 11, 2003


I'm confused. It was Ok for Bush to lie to:
a) The American People
b) Congress
c) The UN
d) Iraq
e) basically everyone, right?


Because? It's in our best interests for him to decide what is best for the world without having to inform or defend his decisions to anyone? Your argument is specious at best. Any "democracy" in Iraq is going to vote us out of their pronto. Do you think after all the money and the troops and the hoopla, we really want a democracy there? We want to run the country. We invaded and we took power. We're in Korea 35 years later. We couldn't install democracy in South Vietnam, let alone the North. We'll be in Iraq at least that long. Altruism has nothing to to with it. I think vertigo is being playing around trying to rankle people.
posted by GiantRobot at 9:47 AM on November 11, 2003


Under your logic, you're basically acknowledging that if a successful Iraq "Marshall Plan" is implemented anytime before 2006, history will look back and view the reconstruction as a success. I personally hope it doesn't take that long.

I was about to make a similar point, and what I would have implied is that the lesson we should draw from the Marshall Plan is not that grit and patience alone will see us through a reconstruction process. The point is, it wasn't working, and it took an honest look at the situation and an initiative to change the plan to get things to work. The question is, do we see anything resembling a willingness to do this from our boys in office? It's football to them. Also, between a much faster media cycle and an Iraqi population that is not crushed the way Japan's and Germany's were, we don't have as much time.
posted by furiousthought at 9:54 AM on November 11, 2003


This grudgefilter post could have nonetheless facilitated the kind of even-handed, insightful discussion envisioned by languagehat et al if the poster, himself, hadn't appeared here with flatly idiotic arguments in defense of presidential lying.

languagehat, how can you call VeGiTo thoughtful and well spoken? This thread is a mess because he threw down flame bait that few could resist.
posted by squirrel at 10:00 AM on November 11, 2003


"....The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region."

Well then - Mr. Bush had better do something bold, and quickly! The growing Iraqi resentment of US troops and the gradual escalation in attacks against them threatens to soon lead to the outcome Bush says he fears.

But nearly every move the Bush administration or the US occupying forces in Iraq make seems to backfire and make the situation worse. Shooting an Iraqi politician over a traffic ticket. Hmmm..... But you really can't the US troops too much for having a nervous trigger finger - they're getting constantly shot at and ambushed. 7500 wounded, since the war began through to the current occupation; that's starting to approach a significant percentage - in the single digits and not quite as high a 5%, but moving in that direction - of the size of the whole current US force in Iraq. As a consequence, American troops are getting increasingly pissed off at Iraqis - as when, after the downing of two US helicopters within a few days, US forces drove through Tikrete spraying machine gun fire into the homes of suspected Baathist terrorists - and the air force command threw in a little ariel bombardment for good measure.

After this little PR debacle - after which many civilians in Tikrete were calling the Americans terrorists, a spokesman for the occupying forces declared that "The US has teeth and is prepared to use them" Then, the next day, I heard that the US was going to resort to more air attacks and I wondered - how are they going to do that? They don't know who most of the terrorists (or, to some Iraqis, insurgents) are. So is the US going to bomb the homes of suspected terrorists? Or employ the sorts of "precision" attacks - by missiles launched from F-16's - that the Israelis use to take out Hamas leaders and which tend to kill and injure an awful lot of innocent people in the process?

Jesus Friggin' Christ. What about 'Hearts and Minds'?

The situation seems to be spiralling out of control and I wish that - despite my dislike of Bush Administration policies - that Mr. Bush could take things firmly in hand. He does indeed have a firm hand.....

But I wonder about his brain. I fear that it's not incisive enough to cut through the bullshit his advisors are feeding him, to see Iraq for the developing catastrophe it will become without a significant change in US policy.
posted by troutfishing at 10:03 AM on November 11, 2003


Bush's speeches tend to create in me the sensation of having food poisoning while hearing a lecture by my redneck high school principal. And on a subject about which we both know I'm more knowledgeable.

Bloated, pompous grandiosity barely covering a shrewish defensiveness. Like Ashcroft and Cheney, Bush is a perverse coward--and he knows that most of us know it.

On preview, troutfishing continues his reign of excellence.
posted by squirrel at 10:14 AM on November 11, 2003


Deceit. Bad? Yes. I think the categorical imperative proves that (since you're throwing around words like a priori and all.
posted by josephtate at 10:19 AM on November 11, 2003


Iraq will be one of the first places I'll invest money in when I have the means to do so.

Guess what, buddy...you already did, whether you have the means or not. You think that $87 billion came out of GWB's personal savings account?
posted by Dean King at 11:51 AM on November 11, 2003


languagehat, how can you call VeGiTo thoughtful and well spoken?

Well, let's see. Here's VeGiTo:
"I just thought it would be good if we are exposed to ideas from both sides."
"I question the ethics of that, but it was strategically important nonetheless."
"I don't like Bush. I hate his anti-abortion and other faith-tainted policies, I think his tax-cut package for the rich is ineffective for stimulating the economy (though the economy recovers nonetheless because of Fed's rate cuts, not Bush's tax package), and I think his war on drugs is misguided. I just happen to support his foreign policy alone, based on its own merits and from an objective point of view."
"Is deceit a bad thing a priori, even if it proves to be precient and improves the well-being of the entire world 10, 20 years down the road?"

And here are the thoughtful discussants of MeFi:
"nice try vegito. you'll make it over the net next time."
"Wow. Look at how easily a person can slip beneath serious consideration."
"VeGiTo, stop trying to rationalize just because you like Bush."
"anyway enjoy your lies"
"VeGiToFilter"
"Troll"

I'm not saying I agree with VeGiTo (though I think his question "Is deceit a bad thing a priori?" deserves much more thoughtful consideration than it's gotten, because people don't seem to realize that deceit might be used by people other than Bad Bad Bush), and I'm not saying this is the greatest post ever. But this thread does nothing to disabuse me of my increasingly firm conviction that MeFi is, as charged, a tight little we-hate-Bush in-group where any dissent is shouted down and the dissenter stomped with hobnailed boots. VeGiTo doesn't even like Bush, for chrissake. He was just trying to introduce a little variety and complicate the discussion. Guess he won't make that mistake again.
posted by languagehat at 12:11 PM on November 11, 2003


languagehat, you know I love your posts and respect your intelligence. Your last post was cherrypicking, however. Some people put serious thought into deconstructing VeGiTo's in-thread remarks--more thought than the ideas warranted, perhaps--which you didn't include. You also didn't include VeGiTo's more ridiculous assertions. Cherrypicking is beneath your skills.

I happen to agree in general with your position against a tight little we-hate-Bush in-group, but this doesn't excuse poor judgement and clumsy thinking by just anyone who posts threads against the MeFi political hegemony. The threads have to be good, too; and the poster's in-thread comments shouldn't be inflammatory.
posted by squirrel at 12:26 PM on November 11, 2003


I think his question "Is deceit a bad thing a priori?" deserves much more thoughtful consideration than it's gotten, because people don't seem to realize that deceit might be used by people other than Bad Bad Bush

Or, conversely, perhaps you are making an unwarranted assumption there, not realizing that we might be answering the question as broadly as it was asked and not arbitrarily tying it to Bush? I don't see where you're getting that.

Deception is for games, to aid one in "beating" an "opponent" in order to "win" (in a zero sum worldview), and even there, its appropriateness and "morality" is often questioned. I submit that these may not be the best metaphors for (or approaches toward) governing peoples or international relations.

Of course, they are easy to convey and understand and play well on TV.
posted by rushmc at 12:35 PM on November 11, 2003


we might be answering the question as broadly as it was asked

OK, let's go back to Philosophy 101. A Jew has hidden in your cellar; the SS bangs on your door and demands to know if there's a Jew on the premises. Is deceit a bad thing a priori? Extend to knowledge by government official of important negotiations that if allowed to proceed might bring peace, if publicized will fail. Discuss. Or not. But it's not a dumb question, or one with an obvious answer. And yes, I think the heated answers here were related to the fact that a Bush speech was under discussion, whether or not the context was specifically addressed.

squirrel: Of course I was cherrypicking; I was making a point and explaining how I could call call VeGiTo thoughtful and well spoken. That doesn't mean every word out of his mouth is a pearl, or that he never gets exasperated and flies off the handle (though I give him a lot of latitude here, considering the provocation). You say you "agree in general with your position against a tight little we-hate-Bush in-group"; I'm glad to hear it, and I suggest you reserve your disappointment for those who keep it that way.
posted by languagehat at 12:48 PM on November 11, 2003


Here's how VeGiTo was hoping to steer the conversation:

V: "Ok, Bush lied, but is that wrong?"
A: "Yes."
V: "But is lying always wrong?"
(notice that here he's shifted context from the lies of a specific person (an elected representative) to lies in general)
A: "Yes."
V: "Well, what about (a, b, c contrived examples)?"
A: "Well, maybe in those cases."
V: "Ok, then, this is analogous to one of those cases and so therefore it's ok that Bush lied."
A: " No it isn't."
V: "Prove me wrong."
&c.

VeGiTo made his mistake when he shifted context. It is precisely at this point that he made the transition into the penumbra of troll-dom. He stopped arguing the issue at hand and tried to win the argument by shifting the crux of the argument to a new target and expanding the scope so wide that this case would have to fall under that umbrella.

If he wanted to have a civil conversation he should have stayed on topic and within context.
posted by bshort at 1:19 PM on November 11, 2003


Nazis, Jews, etc...Is deceit a bad thing a priori?

Deceit is still a bad thing a priori. Sometimes you may have a good reason to do a bad thing, and choose to do it, but that doesn't transform the act into a good thing. Some may want to present an argument supporting the idea that Bush had sufficient cause to lie to the country, but even if they are persuasive, that doesn't exonerate him from the lies. If he lied to the country, he should be impeached and worse. If in doing so he achieved benefit for the country, that can be appreciated while at the same time his chosen methods are censured.

Example: If you lie to your wife about cheating on her so that her feelings won't be hurt, you are not innocent of the lie (or the act that prompted it).

Example #2: Scientific experiments upon human subjects without informed consent may produce useful—perhaps lifesaving—data. One can be grateful that the data has been acquired while still condemning the methods of acquisition.
posted by rushmc at 3:41 PM on November 11, 2003


By the way, not all critics of Bush foreign policy comes from the left. Here's an libertarian/isolationist critique of Bush's speech that also includes a critique of the neoconservative roots of the National Endowment for Democracy, which is where Bush gave the speech. By the way, the last link is from Republican Congressman Ron Paul, one of five Republicans in the House to vote against spending $87 billion on "rebuilding" Iraq.
posted by jonp72 at 4:14 PM on November 11, 2003


"Above all, you can lie the country into war and your lies can be exposed—and, if a majority prefers ignorance to civic responsibility, you can still be reelected." ... lets hope a smarter majority emerges in the next 12 months. vegito. you are welcome too...
posted by specialk420 at 6:44 PM on November 11, 2003


OK, let's go back to Philosophy 101. A Jew has hidden in your cellar....

Who are the Jews and who are the Nazis in this little analogy, languagehat? Your example was of a regime that deserved to be subverted wherever possible. Is America one of those?

VeGiTo's comments have received the respect they deserve. The "lying sometimes works out for the best" defense is absurd in that it offers our leaders free rein to abuse their power and leaves us (the people, the press, and the political opposition) ill equipped to evaluate their performance. Unless the goal is to turn America into a country where leaders are autocrats and citizens are essentially powerless, we must demand the complete truth on matters of policy from our elected officials.

And that was so damn obvious that "troll" works just as well for most of us.
posted by Epenthesis at 9:33 PM on November 11, 2003


Epenthesis: It was not an analogy, it was a weary attempt to remind rushmc and others that this was not all about Bush, that the general question "Is deceit a bad thing a priori?" is an interesting one that people actually discuss in other contexts where the answers are not so obvious. But it's clearly impossible to pry the Bush-hating crowd here out of context and get them to think about anything but "Someone broke the consensus! Get him!!" I will never convince you that you've been blinded by partisanship, and you will never convince me that VeGiTo would have been similarly flayed if he'd been making points acceptable to the MeFi hordes, so let's just leave it at that. But to preempt any assumptions, let me just assure you that you can't possibly despise Bush and the gang of thugs now dragging this country into chaos any more than I do. It's just that I also despise hypocrisy and bullying, even (or especially) in this community I'm so fond of. Over and out.
posted by languagehat at 7:12 AM on November 12, 2003


VeGiTo made his mistake when he shifted context.

And the rest of what bshort said. You didn't address the Bush-esque context shift, languagehat. You would come out looking a lot more balanced if you acknowledged this at the least.

Don't walk away with your hands thrown up in the air like we all just don't understand. People who attacked VeGiTo had legitimate reasons, as well as silly ones.
posted by squirrel at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2003


I agree with Squirrel. The context shift from the specific to the general opened up the ambiguity that people were jumping on. It also made it seem like he didn't really believe in what he was saying but sort of playing devil's advocate, or sort of running away from defending his position, instead he defend his objectivity, which is always sort of counterproductive it seems to me, then he goes to attack our objectivity. Then the ugly pig pile began
posted by GiantRobot at 11:18 AM on November 12, 2003


Actually, I do understand. My point is simply that people would not have been so eager to pounce on whatever logical errors he made (might not even have noticed them, in fact) had his post not been anathema to them for political reasons. And I continue to believe that he maintained an astonishing degree of civility in the face of the ugly pig pile. This has not been MetaFilter at its finest.

Having said that, I shall now walk away with my hands thrown up in the air.
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on November 12, 2003


It was not an analogy, it was a weary attempt to remind rushmc and others that this was not all about Bush, that the general question "Is deceit a bad thing a priori?" is an interesting one that people actually discuss in other contexts

I've already addressed that. I defy you to show me where I've once said "Bush" in this thread prior to this sentence.
posted by rushmc at 12:11 PM on November 12, 2003


http://metatalk.metafilter.com/mefi/3662
posted by VeGiTo at 6:17 PM on November 12, 2003


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