Partisan military, what do they know.
September 1, 2004 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Air Force confirms Bush wore award he never earned. Following the earlier revelation that George W. Bush was photographed wearing military ribbons he never earned, arguments were made against the charge, in some cases based on the political leaning of the source. The Air Force Personnel Center and the Air Force Historical Research Center both state that Bush never recieved the award displayed in the photograph. The Uniform Code of Military Justice states that this is an act punishable by six months confinment and a discharge from the service. (via OW)
posted by XQUZYPHYR (157 comments total)
 
Reaction:
Liberals: "outrage! burn him!"
Conversatives: "who cares? it's just a medal!"

Number of minds changed: 0
posted by zelphi at 2:03 PM on September 1, 2004


Wasn't there recently (last few years) a general who actually committed suicide after being caught wearing ribbons he hadn't earned? Some people take this stuff quite seriously.
posted by gwint at 2:05 PM on September 1, 2004


zelphi, in the US, are there no "fence sitters"?

What's the point of elections if everyone has already made up their minds to vote the same way again?
posted by shepd at 2:06 PM on September 1, 2004


shepd: my point is stories like this seem to only appeal to those opposed to bush and ignored by everyone else.

Fence sitters should be persuaded on policy grounds.
posted by zelphi at 2:08 PM on September 1, 2004


Well, it may be petty, but at least they're hitting back.

It's hard to get beyond the unmitigated fucking gall of those who stand behing accusations that Kerry did nor not do, say or not say this or not in Vietnam. At least he had the balls to go. End of story. At this point, whatever it takes to lower both sides of the playing field to equal levels, I'm all for.
posted by psmealey at 2:10 PM on September 1, 2004


I recall in the original thread someone proposing that he could wear it because the unit won before he joined. Didn't see this new link addressing that yea or nay. Anybody? Anybody? ....the civil war.
posted by soyjoy at 2:11 PM on September 1, 2004


Bring out the Outstanding Air Force Units Veterans for Truth!
posted by mr.marx at 2:12 PM on September 1, 2004


I'm still in awe of that unibrow. That is a powerful piece of work.
posted by solistrato at 2:12 PM on September 1, 2004


Wasn't there recently (last few years) a general who actually committed suicide after being caught wearing ribbons he hadn't earned? Some people take this stuff quite seriously.

It was Admiral Jeremy Boorda, who (I think) was the Navy Chief of Staff. I suspect, however, that Admiral Boorda had some other problems that led him to suicide besides the medal flap......
posted by Durwood at 2:14 PM on September 1, 2004


throw him in jail. definitely.

has he been playing dress-up his whole adult life? This thing, the flight suit....
posted by amberglow at 2:18 PM on September 1, 2004


shepd: A fair question and one that in recent weeks 'as been much on my mind.

From an European viewpoint no mistake seems grave enough for the republican base to fire the guy. In Europe (with all our self-admitted flaws) half of his cabinet would have been fired already. What does "taking responsibility" mean in American politics? Apparently nothing, or at least nothing that forceful rhetoric can't repair.
posted by hoskala at 2:21 PM on September 1, 2004


At least he had the balls to go.

So where did Kerry get the unmitigated fucking gall to question what thousands of soldiers did in Vietnam, and imply that so many of them were war criminals?
posted by techgnollogic at 2:22 PM on September 1, 2004


The conservative elite seem to have the media in check over this.
posted by caddis at 2:22 PM on September 1, 2004


I recall in the original thread someone proposing that he could wear it because the unit won before he joined. Didn't see this new link addressing that yea or nay.

That's what the whole "temporary wear" thing is. The AFPC claims there is no instance of a unit previously winning an award applying to those who later joined it; only those members of a unit who contributed to the actions meriting the award- of which Bush was clearly not, having not been in the unit in either periods the award was recieved.

Besides, if the first award was one that could be worn indefinitely, such as the two years after its awarding when Bush joined up, what would be the reason for awarding it again? That makes no sense.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:23 PM on September 1, 2004


"Taking responsibility" means you say "I take full responsibility for this (whatever)". Then something else will come up—maybe something shiny!—and most people will forget about it.
posted by kenko at 2:23 PM on September 1, 2004


So where did Kerry get the unmitigated fucking gall to question what thousands of soldiers did in Vietnam, and imply that so many of them were war criminals?

Because he had the balls to go. Unlike you, he earned his unmitigated fucking gall.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:28 PM on September 1, 2004


techgno gets a shiny new quarter for each talking point he repeats word-for-word here.
posted by amberglow at 2:30 PM on September 1, 2004


what would be the reason for awarding it again?That makes no sense.

Well, yeah, but it's the US Military.

And, yeah, amberglow said what I was gonna say. Unless techgno was trying to be funny. Because that was pretty funny.
posted by soyjoy at 2:32 PM on September 1, 2004


Is that a "class" photo of his unit? Are any other men in his unit wearing it.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:33 PM on September 1, 2004


They can say fucking in the talking points now?
posted by hackly_fracture at 2:33 PM on September 1, 2004


Techgnollogic: kerry's testimony. You should consider reading this before you start going on about Kerry's unmitigated fucking gall.

Much of the testimony has a dramatically different effect when it isn't ripped out of context, and spliced with POWs talking about how awful Kerry is.
posted by mosch at 2:34 PM on September 1, 2004


Ahh, so quickly the thread derails.

It went from GW and the unearned ribbon, to Kerry has balls of steel for going to Nam in no time at all.

I tell you, I think the only reason we lost over there is because superman Kerry flew the coop after earning 3 purple hearts in what could only be thought of as some kind of record time. I mean, most guys probably would have taken 4 months just to recover from an injury that got them a Purple Heart.
JK managed to round up 3 in 4 months. And even Bob Dole went on record saying that Kerry was the only guy he ever heard of that got 3 Purple Hearts without ever bleeding.

GW may have worn a unit citation? Hell, I was in the AF, as I recall unit citations are something that hangs on your unit flag or some crap like that. I don't recall ribbons being given out for unit citations. But, we served in different times, so who knows.
But, if that is the best you can harp on, it is a bit thin.

Let's not forget where Bill C was for Nam. Smoking pot (but not inhaling BUAWHAHAHAHAHA) in the UK.


Because he had the balls to go. Unlike you, he earned his unmitigated fucking gall.

That comment vaguely reminds me of Robert Downey Jr in Natural Born Killers. "I was there in Grenada when it all went down !" Uh huh, riiiiight.

Stick to the issues, it is less likely to make you look as fanatical. Left and right. It is entertaining though.
posted by a3matrix at 2:39 PM on September 1, 2004


Bob Dole lied--Kerry still has shrapnel in him. How do you get that without bleeding? You're lying too--Kerry served on a ship in the area and in Vietnam--for far more than 4 months.

You get a shiny new quarter too.

They can say fucking in the talking points now?
Yup. Cheney's rules.
posted by amberglow at 2:44 PM on September 1, 2004


I don't understand. You're saying Kerry get's to doubt and question and condemn the service and the actions of thousands of soldiers he never met, because he had the balls to go to Vietnam, and thus earn his unmitigated fucking gall?

What the fuck do you think Swift Boat Vets For Truth means?
posted by techgnollogic at 2:45 PM on September 1, 2004


You know, I don't know where George W Bush got his medals. I don't know where -- if they come from overseas or from mugging air force officers or where they come from. The fact is we don't know where George's medals come from. Before, transparency -- and what we're talking about in transparency in military service is you know where the medals come from. You get a distinguished service medal or a purple heart or a gold star, put it up on the Internet. You know where it comes from, and there it is.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:46 PM on September 1, 2004


But, if that is the best you can harp on, it is a bit thin.

Where have you been for the last four years? This isn't even a dust speck on top of the iceberg -- but it does speak to the Repubs constant smearing of Kerry's service and accusing him of exaggerating service which he actually performed and medals which he actually earned.

Smoking pot (but not inhaling BUAWHAHAHAHAHA)

That followed by "stick to the issues". Brilliant. Let's talk about doing coke and saying "Jesus" as your get-out-of-jail-free card.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:48 PM on September 1, 2004


What the fuck do you think Swift Boat Vets For Truth means?

They neuter cats for a living? At this point in their downward slide, anything's possible.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:50 PM on September 1, 2004


What the fuck do you think Swift Boat Vets For Truth means?

Well, yes. They have gall alright.
posted by bluno at 2:53 PM on September 1, 2004


They can say fucking in the talking points now?
Yup. Cheney's rules.


Cheney Urged Not To Work Blue During Convention
posted by soyjoy at 2:59 PM on September 1, 2004


I have a difficult time reconciling the callow, combat-avoiding, barely there, doing-blow-and-waiting-for-business-school Bush with the conniving Air Force careerist who exploits penumbrations in the Air Force regs in order to wear arcane citations that he didn't actually earn.
posted by coelecanth at 3:06 PM on September 1, 2004


soyjoy, i saw that--perfect. : >

i think callow covers it, coelecanth--what does he care if he actually earned a citation or not? Daddy and his friends can always fix everything.
posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on September 1, 2004


Coelecanth, the personality of your basic comic opera Generalissimo is all about festooning yourself with ribbons you didn't earn. Look at the Seal of the Presidency he's had spot-welded to every item of clothing he owns. Look at the fact that his administration has decreed that the term Commander in Chief is now reserved for him alone, when it's formerly been an operational title used in many areas of the service. Puffed up little creeps with shaky delusions of adequacy but a profound sense of entitlement are always grasping at honors and don't much care how they get them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:11 PM on September 1, 2004


Is that a "class" photo of his unit? Are any other men in his unit wearing it.

Acck end of the day. Try again...

(4) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
The photo looks like it was in a class graduation album. Any other men in his unit that graduated at the same time have the ribbon on? This could confirm the above if no other men in his unit had one.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:13 PM on September 1, 2004


do they do albums for servicemembers? it seems weird.
posted by amberglow at 3:16 PM on September 1, 2004


Kerry get's to doubt and question and condemn the service and the actions of thousands of soldiers he never met, because he had the balls to go to Vietnam, and thus earn his unmitigated fucking gall?

If you read the testimony he actually refers to testimonies made by other veterans on a previous occasion. The so called "Winter soldier investigation". (On the first and second page of the linked copy of his testimony, you don't have to read the whole thing.) He didn't make up those claims. He was repeating testimonies by other vets. Context.
posted by hoskala at 3:16 PM on September 1, 2004


Look at the fact that his administration has decreed that the term Commander in Chief is now reserved for him alone, when it's formerly been an operational title used in many areas of the service

??? Thought the Presidents is the Commander in Chief. Whom else would have this title? A 5 star General.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:17 PM on September 1, 2004


CinC.

There is no God but God, and Rumsfeld is his prophet.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:20 PM on September 1, 2004


We're all just refering to the testimonies of the Swift Boat Vets For Truth.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:21 PM on September 1, 2004


Kerry didn't make any of this stuff up. Was he perhaps overly credulous of some of the claims that were reported to him? Certainly.

However, all of the stuff--people collecting ears, orders to burn villages--that has been brushed off by Bush partisans as "Kerry making stuff up" is independently corroborated in military records, by military investigations.

Did some people tell Kerry that they, personally, had done those things although they had not? Apparently.

However, was there anything that Kerry reported as a result of the WSI that had not been done by someone in the US military during Vietnam? My research suggests not.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:22 PM on September 1, 2004


Is it my turn to say "fuck" now? Or am I supposed to say "fucking"?
posted by aramaic at 3:22 PM on September 1, 2004


He didn't make up those claims. He was repeating testimonies by other vets. Context.

And as a Toledo Blade investigation showed, there were crimes not uncovered until many years afterward. Why do some people always want to blame the messenger?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:24 PM on September 1, 2004


Fence sitters should be persuaded on policy grounds.

If there's something that bothers me about the military record shitflinging (from both sides), it's that it seems to have a noticeable effect on the polls. I wouldn't mind the media rubbing the stories till they're red and swollen if the public recognized that policy was far more important. Then again... in that case the media would not be fixating on them.

amber: techgno gets a shiny new quarter for each talking point he repeats word-for-word here.

amber: throw him in jail. definitely. has he been playing dress-up his whole adult life? This thing, the flight suit....

Nothing to see here, move along.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:26 PM on September 1, 2004


Wow, very nicely derailed Bushites! Instead of discussing Bush's long term requirement to prop himself up with distinctions he didn't earn, this thread has become yet another attack on Kerry and his service record that IS available to be reviewed. Unmitigated gall indeed!

Is there a statute of limitations on illegally wearing a military decoration? If not then throw his ass in the pokey.

And do it about a week before the election, please.
posted by fenriq at 3:44 PM on September 1, 2004


Cheerleaders for Truth
posted by thomcatspike at 3:44 PM on September 1, 2004


A combination of Bush's tight-lips policy toward his pre-Born Again life and the scandal plagued and non-credible (incredible?) Swift Boat Vets crap has pretty much sealed the deal for me:

Kerry - good guy
Bush - bad guy

If Bush wants to earn my trust, I would like him to be more honest and open and not so deceptive.
posted by crazy finger at 3:48 PM on September 1, 2004


thomcat - very nice
posted by crazy finger at 3:53 PM on September 1, 2004


The Uniform Code of Military Justice states that this is an act punishable by six months confinment and a discharge from the service.

If he is in charge of the Military, is he now above the same Military Law?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:56 PM on September 1, 2004


Here you go, techgnonollic--lie your way out of this one:
g
From FactCheck.Org:

Swift Boat Veterans Anti-Kerry Ad: "He Betrayed Us" With 1971 Anti-War Testimony: Group quotes Kerry's descriptions of atrocities by US forces. In fact, atrocities did happen.

Some atrocities by US forces have been documented beyond question. Kerry's 1971 testimony came less than one month after Army Lt. William Calley had been convicted in a highly publicized military trial of the murder of the murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai hamlet on March 16 1968, when upwards of 300 unarmed men, women and children were killed by the inexperienced soldiers of the Americal Division's Charley Company.

And since Kerry testified, ample evidence of other atrocities has come to light:
Son Thang: In 1998, for example, Marine Corps veteran Gary D. Solis published the book Son Thang: An American War Crime describing the court-martial of four US Marines for the apparently unprovoked killing 16 women and children on the night of February 19, 1970 in a hamlet about 20 miles south of Danang. The four Marines testified that they were under orders by their patrol leader to shoot the villagers. A young Oliver North appeared as a character witness and helped acquit the leader of all charges, but three were convicted.
Tiger Force: The Toledo Blade won a Pulitzer Prize this year for a series published in October, 2003 reporting that atrocities were committed by an elite US Army "Tiger Force" unit that the Blade said killed unarmed civilians and children during a seven-month rampage in 1967. "Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed - their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings," the Blade reported. "Investigators concluded that 18 soldiers committed war crimes ranging from murder and assault to dereliction of duty. But no one was charged."
"Hundreds" of others: In December 2003 The New York Times quoted Nicholas Turse, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University who has been studying government archives, as saying the records are filled with accounts of atrocities similar to those described by the Toledo Blade series. "I stumbled across the incidents The Blade reported," Turse was quoted as saying. "I read through that case a year, year and a half ago, and it really didn't stand out. There was nothing that made it stand out from anything else. That's the scary thing. It was just one of hundreds."
"Exact Same Stories": Keith Nolan, author of 10 published books on Vietnam, says he's heard many veterans describe atrocities just like those Kerry recounted from the Winter Soldier event. Nolan told FactCheck.org that since 1978 he's interviewed roughly 1,000 veterans in depth for his books, and spoken to thousands of others. "I have heard the exact same stories dozens if not hundreds of times over," he said. "Wars produce atrocities. Frustrating guerrilla wars produce a particularly horrific number of atrocities. That some individual soldiers and certain units responded with excessive brutality in Vietnam shouldn't really surprise anyone."


posted by y2karl at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2004


y2karl, it doesn't matter that Kerry was mostly right, although occasionally too credulous of scam artists and fabulists.

Nor does it matter that some of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" signatories were forged.

The most important thing is that BUSH IS AWESOME!!!!!
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:37 PM on September 1, 2004


What the fuck do you think Swift Boat Vets For Truth means?

Well, what the fuck do you think Swift Boat Vets For Truth means?
posted by Vidiot at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2004


Probably means they want John Kerry to stop lying about his record in Cambodia Vietnam.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:02 PM on September 1, 2004


The simple, hard, inescapable truth:

The President of the United States is a lying little shit.
posted by Shane at 5:05 PM on September 1, 2004


The harder truth:

The majority of the electorate doesn't care or refuses to believe, and he'll get away with it just fine.
posted by Shane at 5:07 PM on September 1, 2004


Technologic, what "lies" did John Kerry tell about his record? Please enumerate them on your own.

Please explain things like Larry Thurlow's contention that John Kerry's Purple Heart citation says his unit was under fire because of some skulduggery on Kerry's part, even though Thurlow's own Bronze Star citation--for the same action--also says that the unit was under fire.

I look forward to your response. I'm also interested in why you believe that the people who contend that Kerry did not save Rassman's life are correct, while Rassman himself contends that Kerry saved his life.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:07 PM on September 1, 2004


I also look forward to hearing from you about how Bob Dole is not a hypocrite for disdaining Kerry's three Purple Hearts, even though Dole admitted in his own autobiography that his (Dole's) first of two Purple Hearts was awarded for "a flesh wound".
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:09 PM on September 1, 2004


Please explain things like Larry Thurlow's contention...

Pfft. That's easy, even I can explain these things: Thurlow and Dole are Republicans, therefore scrupulously honest and incapable of hypocrisy, while Kerry is a Democrat, therefore an utter liar and permanent hypocrite. Rassman is connected with Kerry, and is therefore a liar by extension regardless of his personal political affiliation or beliefs.

See how easy that was? Perfectly logical too.
posted by aramaic at 5:15 PM on September 1, 2004


Those purple heart bandaids are fucking childish, and sum up in a nutshell everything you need to know about what republicans really think about veterans.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:15 PM on September 1, 2004


I'll give you two words as to how much credibility this will be accorded (even if completely accurate):

"Blue Lemur"

Yeah, right up there with Cronkite.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:15 PM on September 1, 2004


I also look forward to hearing from you about how Bob Dole is not a hypocrite for disdaining Kerry's three Purple Hearts, even though Dole admitted in his own autobiography that his (Dole's) first of two Purple Hearts was awarded for "a flesh wound".

Not to mention ...McCain's charge to President Bush during a 2000 debate—"You should be ashamed"—Dole told Wolf Blitzer, "He was right." Dole made the remark off-air, while CNN broadcast a portion of McCain's 2000 debate remarks.

Watch the clip, by all means....
posted by y2karl at 5:19 PM on September 1, 2004


I think Dole was disdaining the rule by which three purple hearts entitled the bearer to request a transfer home, which Kerry did with alacrity at his first opportunity. They didn't have that reg when Dole served, and I seriously doubt he would have availed himself of it anyway. The question about Kerry was, was he really wounded in combat, or was he just trying to wangle a way home. My sense is that Dole respects Kerry for serving in combat, but not for dropping out on his buddies as soon as possible.

Bear in mind that I don't blame Kerry for this a bit. But let's not kid ourselves about this: he signed up for service, yes, but the safest kind he could find, and then got out as quick as possible when the conditions changed and it had suddenly become hazardous.
posted by coelecanth at 5:20 PM on September 1, 2004


Credibility is irrelevant in these campaigns. Unfortunately, I think the Dems are going to fall victim to Karl Rove's dirty tactics (aka LBJ's "pig fucker" politics) yet again. It seems they're just not hitting back hard enough.
posted by jca at 5:20 PM on September 1, 2004


It makes an inspiring "The More You Know" kind of impression.

I don't think anything this administration -- or anyone in it -- could do would surprise me any more. I almost had a bet going that Dick Cheney would have (or fake) a heart attack on stage tonight so as to open up the possibility that a less creepy VP candidate would be put in his place, but my brother didn't want to bet against it.
posted by clevershark at 5:21 PM on September 1, 2004


1. During the early months of military service, it is not uncommon for people to wear a medal that they are not entitled to wear -- it is 99% of the time either pure accident, trusting a fellow member who may or may not know what is supposed to be worn, or simply grabbing the wrong medal from the wall display of many, many medals, most of which look very much alike. It is also not uncommon for new military members to wear their name-tag on the wrong side of their uniform -- pure accident, easily corrected.

2. The Outstanding Unit Award is NOT on a par with Commendation Medals, Purple Hearts, Legion of Merit Medals, Flying Crosses, etc. It is a "blanket" award that is authorized for all members of a unit that has passed an inspection, performed above average, or otherwise distinguished itself during a specified period of time. The actual award that is worn on the uniform is available for purchase at any military exchange -- as I mentioned above, it is so common that it is hung in large quantities on a wall full of colorful ribbons, which are purchased often by military members as they update their uniforms for ceremonies, promotions, etc. Unlike the Medal Of Honor or other such awards that are earned for individual merit, it's not as if each one is handed down from on-high in Limited Quantities.

My point: it is very easy to believe that GW Bush wore the Outstanding Unit Award purely by accident, with absolutely no malice or intent to defraud.
posted by davidmsc at 5:23 PM on September 1, 2004


Davidmsc, I agree with you there. Especially someone who, er, doesn't show up that often...that person could easily be confused.

However, why not admit that?

The amazing thing about this is that everyone, so far, appears to be accepting the terms by which Bush et al are defining this discussion. Bush isn't talking about his military service, his arrests for drunk driving, his illegal drug use, his wife's running over her high school boyfriend, etc., etc. That's "off limits". Cheney isn't talking about his secret meetings about oil policy, his unauthorized orders to US military, etc.

But everything that Kerry has ever done or said is open to review by everyone.

Yes, Bush may have worn this medal by accident. He may have driven drunk by accident. He may have missed his flight fitness and not fulfilled his air hours by accident. He may have used cocaine by accident.

However, where do he and his supporters come off for pillorying John Kerry for believing some falsehoods as part of the overwhelmingly true, and verified by independent military sources "Winter Soldier" report?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:34 PM on September 1, 2004


Conservatives:

-Has Bush been an effective uniter, rather than a divider? How?
-Has Bush been compassionate, as well as conservative? How?
-Has Bush conveyed material and moral support for the troops? How?
-Has Bush promoted independence from foreign energy supplies? How?
-Has Bush promoted environmental sustainability? How?
-Has Bush promoted privacy and small government? How?
-Has Bush promoted transparency in government? How?
-Has Bush used alliances effectively to reduce the costs of keeping the U.S. safe and prosperous? How?
-Has Bush promoted respect for the constitution? How?
-Has Bush reduced poverty and unemployment?
-Has Bush reduced the cost of health care?
posted by stonerose at 5:39 PM on September 1, 2004


No piling on, now. Let's let someone who is pro-Bush attempt to answer some of these questions rationally. Using facts.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:01 PM on September 1, 2004


And if you look really close, he's wearing it upside down.
posted by tetsuo at 6:02 PM on September 1, 2004


Made you look.
posted by tetsuo at 6:02 PM on September 1, 2004


stonerose: some intriguing questions, BUT...a bit o/t, first of all, and second of all, you are assuming that all of the questions are valid measures for judging President Bush. Some conservatives (and non-conservatives, perhaps) may not accept that they are all legitimate measures of President Bush's effectiveness, morality, or success.
posted by davidmsc at 6:02 PM on September 1, 2004


But let's not kid ourselves about this: he signed up for service, yes, but the safest kind he could find, and then got out as quick as possible when the conditions changed and it had suddenly become hazardous.

Wow, what a pathetic attempt to devalue Kerry's service to his country.
posted by gwint at 6:07 PM on September 1, 2004


Stop feeding the damn troll. This is about Bush doing something that should have had him thrown into a military jail, again.
posted by krisjohn at 6:09 PM on September 1, 2004


davidmsc, I am surprised. Here we've been, liberals and conservatives, for weeks on end, screaming past each other that the debate has slipped the rails. Now, at a most convenient time, you politely make an appeal to stay on-topic. Hrm.

And - you will note - most of my questions are tailor-made to give ground to conservatives. Small government? Privacy? Efficiency? Transparency? Safety and prosperity on the cheap? And the rest have been drawn from Bush's own rhetoric: "compassionate conservative", "uniter, not a divider."

Frankly, conservatives, the time has come to ante up.
posted by stonerose at 6:15 PM on September 1, 2004


I'd actually settle for a reasoned defense of the "Swift Boat Veterans" allegations.

So far, all factual allegations raised seem to have been pretty thoroughly discredited by folks ranging from Chris Matthews to Andrew Sullivan.

I'd be really, really interested to hear how anyone defends the "SBV" smears. If people have facts that I don't, I'd love to hear them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2004


Oops, you're right: conservatives have never claimed to give a damn about environmental sustainability, poverty, or the cost of health care.

Mea culpa.
posted by stonerose at 6:18 PM on September 1, 2004


David, you are accutely aware of where I stand on things, and you know that I am a rational moderate. I want answers to every single one of stonerose's questions. And I don't want them as a prelude to a partisan attack. I want them simply because a President of the United States should be willing, honest and capable while answering those questions. Clinton could, and did answer them. Why shouldn't Dubya?

The facts spell out this:

1: No. Our country has rarely if ever been more divided, and our fellow countries certainly don't have faith in our "unity".
2: Questionable.
3: Proof required.
4: No.
5: No. He didn't even express awareness that his own administration has admitted the human element in global warming.
6: Absolutely not.
7: The formation of national energy policy is still secret, and went to the Supreme Court to remain so. Need I say more?
8: Answer required.
9: Answer required.
10: No.
11: Increased the cost, as a matter of record.

I would be interested to hear why anybody would not think these valid standards by which to evaluate a President ... unless they are convinced that the War on Terror(ism) is the trump card that negates all other considerations. At which point, I have to ask these questions:

1: What has been done to insure allied support? (An unfunded mandate for port protection, maybe, but our allies are helping to help themselves, which the Republican party has reviled.)
2: What steps have been taken to reduce the ability of terrorist organizations to recruit?
3: Have we held the moral high ground in the war on terror(ism)? Sure, if butt-raping little boys doesn't count for much with the enemy.
4: Are we using our strength as the world power to get Israel's compliance to the will of world safety? Or are we Israel's bitch?
5: Are we obligated to become a police/military state? Why?

These, also are valid questions. I want answers, and the Bush admin is talking about medals, and hugs from fire-fighters, as if those things spell competance. No. No they don't.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:39 PM on September 1, 2004


What other rubrics do you offer then, davidmsc?
posted by Vidiot at 6:42 PM on September 1, 2004


Let's let someone who is pro-Bush attempt to answer some of these questions

The only response is to attack Kerry and take the heat off Bush so people will take the bait and defend Kerry. Wrong move. The key is stay on the offensive against Bush, don't let them put you on the defense. Swift Boats is over, Bush allready acknowledged Kerry deserved his award.

davidmsc provided a reasonable response, so let's hear it from George. We could all forgive and move on if that's the case.
posted by stbalbach at 6:43 PM on September 1, 2004


Heh. I'm not sure what any of you are expecting. From what I'm reading right now, half of you are foaming at the mouth, ready to shout down anyone who has anything remotely kind to say about the President. And you expect someone to step up to the plate, knowing that there are 5-20 of you waiting to shoot them down (through poor language or sound reasoning)?

Give me a break. If some of you toned down your rhetoric, kept the comments straight forward, and didn't ask leading questions like "is the president compassionate or conservative?" What kind of vague question is that, really? What should the response be? "Yes, he picked up some poor black baby, but reminded the baby's mom to get a job, so there he was compassionate and conservative."

You reap what you sow. Alienate all dissenters, alienate all mildly republican posters by calling their president names every chance you get and expect trolls and silence. It's quite simple, really.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:20 PM on September 1, 2004


So, BlueTrain, what you're saying amounts to: "you've been mean, and I expect you to continue to be mean. I'm taking my toys and going home."

Not good enough. If a conservative is brave enough to take part in discourse on MeFi, s/he should be more than brave enough to answer substantive - and generous - questions aimed at raising the level of discourse. I've raised such questions. I'm a lefty, sure, but I'm a Canadian. I can't vote. I'm just trying my damnedest to understand things, and to draw out answers from people whose positions I really don't understand.

Like I said, it's time to ante up.
posted by stonerose at 7:32 PM on September 1, 2004


most of those things stonerose listed are actually things that P-Bush said he would do/support during the last campaign, IIRC.
posted by Espoo2 at 7:41 PM on September 1, 2004


That's just it. It's not about courage, it's about rewards. How is any conservative rewarded by posting to this site? They get shouted at all the time; their President and Congress are called names constantly; and all the while there are 5-20 people against 1 or 2. Every time.

On the other hand, anyone remotely left of center has a site full of like-minded people who will back them up, pat their ass, and make them feel welcome.

Why do you think LGF is so popular? Why do you think Limbaugh is so popular? Why do you think Coulter is so popular? Like-minded thinkers patting themselves on the ass without ever having to worry about opposition because they all agree. What incentive does a conservative have to post here anymore, honestly? Rational debate? Hardly. I'll admit there are still a few good posters out there, but they're drowned out by the name calling and BS posturing done by the majority in these threads. Links and facts? Sure, but you don't need to comment on those; just click.

"It's time to ante up" sounds familiar...

Wait. Now I remember where I heard it first: President Bush said:

Bring it on.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:43 PM on September 1, 2004


So, BlueTrain, you have effectively dismissed MeFi as a sphere of rational discourse. Where does that leave those of us who want it to be just that?

For your part, I guess you can either repeat yourself, be silent, or fight the good fight. I don't see the sense in the first option. Maybe that would be more productively discussed in MetaTalk.

As for "bring it on"- if you can't see the difference between inviting debate and inviting the slaughter of Americans... yikes.

But my questions still stand.
posted by stonerose at 7:50 PM on September 1, 2004


-Has Bush promoted independence from foreign energy supplies? How?

Unwittingly, he is setting us on the path. If crude stays between $40 and $50/bbl, the flow of research monies for alternative fuel will pick up drastically.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:58 PM on September 1, 2004


stonerose, I specifically mentioned Bush's quote because it was so damn antagonizing, not because of its context. (And I may have misquoted, I think it was "Bring them on") When you speak with such arrogance and faux confidence (like Bush did), you immediately provoke a negative, and volatile, response from your audience.

you have effectively dismissed MeFi as a sphere of rational discourse.

I didn't say that. I said that it's becoming more and more difficult to wade through the insults and posturing. Re-read what I wrote.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:04 PM on September 1, 2004


Well, BlueTrain, for what it's worth, I apologize for invoking a gambling metaphor. Can I please re-phrase that?

"Please, conservatives, I'd like your most considered answers."

So, back to the questions...........?
Or do you want to keep talking about process, rather than substance (in which case, I again suggest MeTa)?

Just in case, here are those questions again:

Conservatives:

-Has Bush been an effective uniter, rather than a divider? How?
-Has Bush been compassionate, as well as conservative? How?
-Has Bush conveyed material and moral support for the troops? How?
-Has Bush promoted independence from foreign energy supplies? How?
-Has Bush promoted environmental sustainability? How?
-Has Bush promoted privacy and small government? How?
-Has Bush promoted transparency in government? How?
-Has Bush used alliances effectively to reduce the costs of keeping the U.S. safe and prosperous? How?
-Has Bush promoted respect for the constitution? How?
-Has Bush reduced poverty and unemployment?
-Has Bush reduced the cost of health care?
posted by stonerose at 8:10 PM on September 1, 2004


Where is the "shouting"? I'm interested in a factual discussion. Nobody who is pro-Bush on this thread has presented any facts, except for davidsmc, who made a good point about the medal issue.

To say "The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth want Kerry to stop lying" without having any actual data about what Kerry might be lying about, or whether or not he is lying about it, is hardly the "rational discourse" you praise, BlueTrain.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:24 PM on September 1, 2004


Stonerose, your first two questions are subjective and can't be quantified. But as to the rest, I'd like to hear a reasoned, pro-Bush answer to these questions, as well as a couple of more:

- Have Bush's military actions improved our domestic security? How?
- Has Bush promoted scientific achievement and technological advancement? How?
- Under Bush's watch, has anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries increased or decreased?
posted by PrinceValium at 8:38 PM on September 1, 2004


To please the court, is PrinceValium actually asking a Conservative to testify as to how a billion Muslims on the other side of the world feel about America as compared to four years ago?
posted by David Dark at 8:50 PM on September 1, 2004


Republicans: Try to rebut the following points, specifically, as well

-Has Bush been an effective uniter, rather than a divider?
"[T]he president has behaved more like a divider than a uniter, attempting to drive a wedge between the coalition of Republicans and Democrats." (Daily News Leader, March 25, 2001)

"... partisan polarization in Congress is now intense. The president's State of the Union Address made no mention of bipartisanship." (Omaha World-Herald, February 17, 2003)

Has Bush been compassionate, as well as conservative?
"But since the controversial Florida recount put him in office, critics charge Bush has been anything but open, inclusive or compassionate. They say he's taken a rigidly conservative line on a variety of issues, including taxes, affirmative action, Iraq and the Patriot Act.

They also point to some economic news, such as last week's Census Bureau report that said the number of Americans living in poverty jumped to 35.8 million last year (up 1.3 million) while those without health insurance rose to 45 million (from 43.6 million). "
CNN.com August 31, 2004


Has Bush conveyed material and moral support for the troops?

Bush cut soldiers’ danger pay and family separation allowances, cancelled a Congress-proposed doubling of servicepeople’s life insurance benefits, and slashed GI Bill benefits. Most servicepeople now are too low-paid to receive Bush’s per-child tax credit and many live on food stamps.

Bush cut $600 million from the Veterans Administration budget, although the VA is already under-funded by around $2 billion a year and now has over 200,000 new veterans to service—many of whom are already sick with Gulf War Syndrome, which has left over 270,000 Gulf War vets disabled and over 10,000 dead. There are also plans to cut $1.5 billion per year from the VA’s budget for each of the next ten years.

Also:
"The Reserve and National Guard soldiers are on what the Army calls "medical hold," while the Army decides how sick or disabled they are and what benefits -- if any -- they should get as a result. Some of the soldiers said they have waited six hours a day for an appointment without seeing a doctor. Others described waiting weeks or months without getting a diagnosis or proper treatment. The soldiers said professional active duty personnel are getting better treatment while troops who serve in the National Guard or Army Reserve are left to wallow in medical hold.

Most soldiers in medical hold at Fort Stewart stay in rows of rectangular, gray, single-story cinder block barracks without bathrooms or air conditioning. They are dark and sweltering in the southern Georgia heat and humidity. Around 60 soldiers cram in the bunk beds in each barrack. Soldiers make their way by walking or using crutches through the sandy dirt to a communal bathroom, where they have propped office partitions between otherwise open toilets for privacy. A row of leaky sinks sits on an opposite wall. The latrine smells of urine and is full of bugs, because many windows have no screens. Showering is in a communal, cinder block room. Soldiers say they have to buy their own toilet paper. They said the conditions are fine for training, but not for sick people. "
UPI October 2003
posted by bashos_frog at 8:54 PM on September 1, 2004


more here: Has President Bush Kept His Promise to Keep His Promises?

"A promise made will be a promise kept, should I be fortunate enough to become your president."
- George W. Bush, 10/10/2000
posted by bashos_frog at 9:01 PM on September 1, 2004


It would be an interesting experiment to take the greatest, kindest man or woman on the planet, put him or her in a political race against a Bush, and see hthe smear machine works its magic, and how a certain subset of the population will parrot whatever attacks are lobbed as part of the campaign against him or her.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:07 PM on September 1, 2004



posted by quonsar at 9:09 PM on September 1, 2004


To please the court, is PrinceValium actually asking a Conservative to testify as to how a billion Muslims on the other side of the world feel about America as compared to four years ago?

If I may step in, in defence of PV (who, I must say, is most inconsistent in his narrow-minded or irrational bias toward quantitative over qualitative indicators).... Conservatives aren't usually stupid. They know that Muslims (and indeed, most people from non-Muslim countries) now see the U.S. as more vulnerable, less generous, and less worthy of support vis-a-vis foreign policy than they did 4 years ago. I really don't think you can find a remotely reputable poll or academic analysis that would suggest otherwise.
posted by stonerose at 9:11 PM on September 1, 2004


So just so I understand the process here...

1) As an opinion question.
2) Declare it something you want a "factual" answer to.
3) Repeat as needed till you can declare your opponents incapable of doing the impossible.

For the bonus...

1) Others join in quoting editorials that also lack facts

2) Drag in the Swift Boat vets (it's pretty much required these days)

3) Demand accurate discussion of the state of mind of "the rest of the world".

Good luck with that.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:13 PM on September 1, 2004


I'm interested in a factual discussion. Nobody who is pro-Bush on this thread has presented any facts ...

MeFi did used to - now and then - have fairly substantive, factual discussions on political issues. Those days have long passed. Virtually anyone making a strong attempt to genuinely convey a conservative viewpoint is immediately gang-tackled, shouted down, and quite often attacked at the personal level. The liberals here own this board. To keep begging conservatives to "just engage in a reasoned, factual discussion ..." is kinda disingenuous. How many times do you think Lucy can pull the football away from Charlie Brown before he steps back and says "sorry bitch, you're not gonna set me up again".

Frankly, conservatives, the time has come to ante up.

Interesting ... so you are the one that has some sort of right to demand that conservatives answer to you? Why? Repeat the questions seventeen more times if you want. Its a Catch-22. If no one answers, then you can say "gotcha - conservatives refuse to answer the hard questions". If someone does try to answer, that person will then face a half dozen cynical, sarcastic (but oh-so-clever) one-liner responses, along with another half dozen much longer cut-and-pastes from a few people ... and will spend the rest of the evening trying to simultaneously handle answers to numerous people.

But I'll tell you the real reason why the little trick probably doesn't work anymore ... it is patently obvious "framing". The author is calling the questions "generous" (good grief - anyone sharp enough to give you the "considered" answers you ask for is also sharp enough to see through the college-debate-society tactic).

Here's the actual answer to your "questions" from a conservative:

Conservatives do not feel the need to defend George Bush. He's the President. Few conservatives are completely comfortable with him (then again, few liberals were completely comfortable with Clinton) ... but they feel a great degree of certainty about what four more years will bring. He's a known quantity.

Certainly liberals have their viewpoint of what he's done - and they've spent months now trying to frame it. Conservatives also have their viewpoint - which they naturally want to frame. The interesting point, to me, is that while George Bush has 3.5 years in the White House, John Kerry has 20 years in the Senate, and I seem to see an enormous lack of attention being paid to his record there. It is being quite studiously, and delibrately, avoided by Democratic strategists (laregly because it is considerably more liberal than mainstream America) ... in fact John Kerry's record has been mentioned more often at the Republican convention than at the Democratic one.

Demcratic tacticians have already understand that John Kerry can't win this election (he inspires no one, and virtually no one has a clue what he stands for) ... George Bush has to lose it. This election is GWB vs. ABB. The hope is that all attention can be kept on Bush. So while conservative comments here are enough to get one accused of "mouthing talking points", this whole freaking thread is nothing more than one long exercise in the accepted Democratic strategy. Their entire convention tried to frame George Bush. As this thread (and many like it here) continues to do. What you want is to get the few remaining conservatives to be complicit. They don't need to.

This week, it is the Republican convention. Conservatives are framing Kerry. (And it seems to be going pretty well). Perhpas its time for you to "ante up". George Bush is the President. Kerry wants the job. Liberals certainly have expended extraordinary energy trashing Bush ... but the conservative "answer" to those questions is to throw the tactic right back in your face - and turn attention back to Kerry's record. Not his record 20 years ago in Vietnam ... but his record as a legislator representing constituents.

Our guy is the President ... your guy wants to be. Write all manner of lists of questions if you want, but don't expect conservatives to actually participate in and facilitate your strategy. Largely, you'll just get ignored. While you'll probably certainly feel as though you've "won" in this little tempest-filled blue teapot - winning undecided voters is going to take more than dressing up like pigs and screaming at delgates on the street. You're actually gonna need to start talking about John Kerry instead of George Bush.

And if Democratic strategists don't ... I suspect Republicans will make certain they have to.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:29 PM on September 1, 2004


Just for fun, I'll do it. As these are all really opinion questions disguised as "factual" ones no doubt salivating hordes will quote umteen editorials with rebuttal. Go for it... you're all so looking forward to a good rant and rave anyway :)

But try not to pretend your objective or interested in facts or discourse :)

-Has Bush been an effective uniter, rather than a divider? How?

Yes, I think he has. I see more high profile cross party support for the Bush than I had seen for previous presidencies.

And no, of course people are more polarized. I don;t really blame that on him though - any time we have had a president with strong personal convictions and / or a war this has happened.

-Has Bush been compassionate, as well as conservative? How?

Probably not. I think a fair amount of his non-economic domestic policies blow chunks.

-Has Bush conveyed material and moral support for the troops? How?

Hmmm... by you know, like, supporting them :) He speaks highly of them, he is remaining committed to their course and their cause and he and others have helped make sure they have the money needed to stay afloat there.

-Has Bush promoted independence from foreign energy supplies? How?

Somewhat, he has worked to open more US land for exploration and use; then again the left really hates that so they try and stop him.

Besides, given the rantingly paranoid left antinuclear power lobby in the US no President can really do much in this respect.

-Has Bush promoted environmental sustainability? How?

:: shrugs :: Beats the hell out of me. It's not one of the issues I am worried about right now.

-Has Bush promoted privacy and small government? How?

Some, but not enough. I hate the Patriot act so he loses on that. Then again I am glad to see the government doing something more useful than sue Microsoft.

-Has Bush promoted transparency in government? How?

Probably not. And yeah, it sucks.

-Has Bush used alliances effectively to reduce the costs of keeping the U.S. safe and prosperous? How?

Yes, I think he has done the best alliance work he can. See, the thing is that there are ways to get more allies involved - but to my mind the all involve an unacceptable compromise in our mission.

Those nations that understand the nature of this conflict are with us. Those that aren't are not with us. The only way to bring them on board would be to not wage this conflict... and I don't think that would be a good thing.

-Has Bush promoted respect for the constitution? How?

yes and no. No, the Patriot Act sucks. Yes because he is defending the existence of the nation... and I think that counts for something :)

-Has Bush reduced poverty and unemployment?

I don;t really see how the president is responsible for either of those things in a 4 year span. Certainly the terrorism conflict makes it hard to judge his policies on a even plane.

-Has Bush reduced the cost of health care?

Probably not - once again it sucks, but I have bigger fish to fry.

I am a one issue guy this election. "Who can defend my nation against its enemies while doing the least damage to it internally?".

Bush is a serious problem domestically - but one that I think may be manageable via congress, the senate and the courts. Kerry is better domestically but I think he is fatally flawed in his foreign policy

Thats the decision I am thinking of. Their stance on "smaller government" and "compassion" doesn't even enter into it.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:31 PM on September 1, 2004


Kerry brought down BCCI and in the process exposed Iran-Contra. And he did it in the face of heavy opposition from his own party.

Please point out a similar accomplishment by Cheney, or any other Republican senator/representative for that matter.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:38 PM on September 1, 2004


BTW - I have seen very little attacking of, or discussion of, Kerry's war record at the RNC. Those I have seen mention it have universally applauded his service - hell GWB even said himself that he considers Kerry's service was more dangerous and heroic than his own.

What they are talking about is his voting record over his terms in office.

So the left can keep whinign that Kerry is a war hero and no one is duscussing his record - all the while the RNC is acknowledging his service and discussing his record.

No wonder it doesn't play well any more. Add in the oh-so clever backdrop of "protesting unwed lesbian grannies taking out their teeth to fight Bush" and you have a real winner there.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:38 PM on September 1, 2004


I can play this game :)

President Bush removed a murderous dictator who was slaughtering his own people, threatening the stability of a region and providing support to, not to mention breeding wholesale on his own, dedicated enemies of the US and it's people.

Feel free to point out what John Kerry ever did that matches that :)
posted by soulhuntre at 9:42 PM on September 1, 2004


Thanks for your answers. I have to take issue with this one, though:
[Bush] and others have helped make sure [the military] have the money needed to stay afloat

Did you read what I posted before?

Bush cut soldiers’ danger pay
Bush cut family separation allowances,
Bush slashed GI Bill benefits.
Bush cut $600 million from the VA budget
Bush capped pay raises for certain grades to 2%, (4% would be normal)

How is this "making sure they have the money" ?
posted by bashos_frog at 9:44 PM on September 1, 2004


I got a question that I've been dying to ask one of the delegates, but I can't get past their armed guards. Perhaps I'll ask it here:

When do we get to cook and eat Bin Laden?
posted by eatitlive at 9:47 PM on September 1, 2004


soulhuntre: That is apples and oranges. The point raised was Kerry's legislative record. I posited that he has a better record in the legislature than most Republicans over the same 20 year period.

You do know the difference between the executive and legislative branches of government, don't you?
posted by bashos_frog at 9:48 PM on September 1, 2004


Feel free to point out what John Kerry ever did that matches that

How about:
- not losing 2 million jobs.
- not wasting 1000 lives looking for WMDs
- not presiding over the single greatest iintelligence failure in U.S. history

Wow. This comparison stuff is easier than I thought. :)
posted by bashos_frog at 9:51 PM on September 1, 2004


eatitlive: Bin Who?
posted by bashos_frog at 9:52 PM on September 1, 2004


Soulhuntre, I'd like to applaud you for actually answering the questions, including admitting that you didn't much care or didn't much know about certain issues.

However, if you don't mind, could you elaborate how Bush is helping, or rather, how he defends the nation against its enemies? It seems to me that a lot of our forces are tied up in Iraq, which was pretty much disabled *before* the war. The ostensible international mandate we had in Afghanistan has been squandered as that country sinks back into tribalism and religious nut-jobism. Our declared enemy, OBL, is MIA, [theory type="conspiracy"] or perhaps he's in a cell waiting an October Surprise[/theory]. Countries like Saudi Arabia, whence most of the funding for Al Qaida came, are coddled (granted, we reely need their oil). And a great portion of the world's population thinks the USA has gone insane--which means they'll be less likely to help us should we need assistance, say, with North Korea.

On preview, jeez, sh, you seem to have reverted to babble.
posted by notsnot at 9:53 PM on September 1, 2004


soulhuntre

I am a one issue guy this election. "Who can defend my nation against its enemies while doing the least damage to it internally?"

And this is Bush? With what you've written you've confirmed it, this guy could run on a platform of taking food from starving babies mouths and people like you would still say he's doing a great job.
posted by xammerboy at 10:05 PM on September 1, 2004


President Bush removed a murderous dictator who was slaughtering his own people, threatening the stability of a region and providing support to, not to mention breeding wholesale on his own, dedicated enemies of the US and it's people.

But why "that" murderous dictator instead of, oh let's say, Kim Jong Il? Saddam is definitely an evil bastard (and for the record, while I was not happy about us going into Iraq the first time around, I was kinda disappointed that Bush I didn't give the UN the finger and finish the job while he had the momentum of the Iraqi people ready to rise up and overthrow Saddam), but was harmless in terms of having the military strength to do us or our allies signifigant harm compared to the North Korean leader.

North Korea scares me. It scares my brother-in-law who works in military intelligence who is currently stationed in South Korea. Not only is Kim Jong Il murdering, terrorizing and starving his own people to death, but he has the fire power to do some serious damage and isn't afraid to advertize that fact. He would take out Seoul in a heartbeat if given half a chance, and unlike Saddam, he actually has the hardware.

I'm all for going after the big bad, but in the larger scheme of things, can you honestly say that Saddam was a bigger threat that Kim Jong Il?

I am asking this is all seriousness - my mind's open enough that my opinion of things could be changed if I were provided information that is not spewed forth by some Faux News type, blatantly partisan media outlet, or with something that has not been debunked by an examination of various reliable sources of information.
posted by echolalia67 at 10:24 PM on September 1, 2004


but the conservative "answer" to those questions is to throw the tactic right back in your face -

Like Willie Horton, for example? The Republican track record for trash talking, innuendo slinging gutter politics is long established, thank you. The politics of personal destruction are going to swing back hard and bite the smear specialists hard. The story is, as Kevin Drum noted, out there:

In a written statement under oath presented on Monday, Ben Barnes, a former speaker of the Texas state legislature, said that in 1968 he asked the head of the Texan Air National Guard, General James Rose, to give the young Mr Bush a place on a pilot-training programme, automatically excusing him from the draft.

You have a guy who, under fire, turned his boat around and rescued a Green Beret--receiving for this act a Silver Star. And then you have a guy who,at the same time, had strings pulled to get a cushy job--avoiding all chance at ever serving in combat--in the Texas Air National Guard, a job for which he apparently never showed up, and who was famous at the time for playing a drinking game called Dead Bug--you yell Dead Bug! and fall down on the ground waving your hands and feet in the air with the last man down buying the drinks. He was so good at playing Dead Bug, evidently, that he rarely paid for his drinks. Boy, that's the story of a man marked for destiny, alright...

In a written statement under oath... Barnes 60 Minutes interview should prove quite interesting. As Drum noted tonight:

Is it good for America to choose our president based on what John Kerry did in 1968 vs. what George Bush did in 1968? Nope. But between the Swift Boat smear artists and tonight's convention speeches, the Republicans have made it very clear that they think this election is going to be won in the gutter. I suspect that by the time it's all over, they're going to rue that decision.

Hey, everybody--Dead Bug!
posted by y2karl at 10:29 PM on September 1, 2004


I, and 100,000 other Americans live within range of Kim Jong Il's missiles. I am much more concerned about NK than I was about Iraq. The North Koreans will soon extend the range of their missiles to threaten millions of Americans on American soil. Yet the President has done nothing.

Actually, given the way he has botched everything else he has ever tried, maybe I am glad for that. But I certainly hope Kerry will put a diplomatic/economic/military squeeze on them when he is elected. He seems much less inept than Bush.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:35 PM on September 1, 2004


I remember how livid y2karl was when Michael Moore started making millions of dollars off of baseless, gutterball, conspiracy theory attacks on Bush in Fahrenheit 911. That memory is seared -- seared -- into me.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:35 PM on September 1, 2004


Midas, Americans are a forward looking people, we don't dwell on past records so much as we dwell on future possibilities. What kind of president will Kerry be, what kind of president Bush will be. That's what people care most, they are not so concerned about Kerrys voting record 20 years ago, not unless it's a reflection of his base character in some way. The question for the future is, do we want more of the same, or something different. The Democrats have framed "the same" in a negative light by attacking Bush's record as President and therefore present an alternative better future. The Republicans counter that claim by attacking Kerrys record, that he would not be a better future. Neither side is right or wrong in this strategy, it is just taking the position that works best for their position.
posted by stbalbach at 10:40 PM on September 1, 2004


I am a one issue guy this election. "Who can defend my nation against its enemies while doing the least damage to it internally?

And on that one issue, Bush is a catastrophic failure. He and his administration were demonstratedly and profoundly uninterested in the one proven, looming threat to America: Al Qaeda. They stood by and sneered and told lies about White House vandalism and missing W keys instead of taking National Security briefings from the outgoing administration, then spent the next 8 months on either vacations or gutting environmental and energy policy. When the attack came, they responded with a little cathartic carnage in Afghanistan which might be charitably described as relevant to the attacks, but has hardly displaced Al Qaeda.

They then turned to their real aim, which is exploiting the attack to pursue a private agenda which does not and never has had one fuck of a thing to do with any credible threats to America. Day after day at the convention they're celebrating 9/11 as if it were somehow to their credit!

As far as doing minimal harm to the country... words fail. I could never have imagined a president so indifferent to harming the country. Apart from the tax cuts, I don't know of anything he's ever done to serve any constituent, unless it's gutting environmental restraints as a gift to polluting corporations.

To sum up -- not one honest attempt to defend the nation, ever. Not when it really counted, and not since. And never, never a moment's hesitation about harming it. Your president fails spectacularly on your single issue.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:43 PM on September 1, 2004


That memory is seared -- seared -- into me.

they've made great strides in electro-convulsive therapy recently.
posted by quonsar at 10:48 PM on September 1, 2004


And it's seared into millions of people how they're not better off than they were 4 years ago, and how Bush has done nothing at all to make our lives better at home. Jobs are disappearing and he cares about Saddam. Health Insurance is becoming unaffordable, and he cares about Saddam. Osama is still loose, and he cares about Saddam. And if not Saddam, a constitutional amendment banning rights for some Americans.

hmmmm...i wonder what's more important to people--having a job and health insurance or getting Saddam?
posted by amberglow at 10:52 PM on September 1, 2004


soulhuntre: I hope know how lucky you are to have G_S interpret reality for you.

Amberglow: there are more employed persons in this country right now than there have ever been. According to the BLS, there were 140,700,000 persons employed in the United States in July - the highest number ever recorded. How do you figure that jobs are "disappearing"?

The unemployment rate in July was 5.5%, which is lower than almost all Clinton's first term - and the exact same as this point in Clinton's presidency (July '96).

Painting the current state of the economy and the jobs situation as some kind of disaster just doesn't fly.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:51 PM on September 1, 2004


How is this "making sure they have the money" ?

I meant the military budget, equipment and weapons. Kerry's record on such things is less than stellar. The pay issues suck.

I posited that he has a better record in the legislature than most Republicans over the same 20 year period.

I disagree. On looking at the votes Kerry has made and failed to make the guy looks bad to me. The more I look at his record the more disturbing he is to me.

Wow. This comparison stuff is easier than I thought. :)

Isn't it? Once you get the hang of this framing thing its fun!

However, if you don't mind, could you elaborate how Bush is helping, or rather, how he defends the nation against its enemies? It seems to me that a lot of our forces are tied up in Iraq, which was pretty much disabled *before* the war.

If you don't think that gaining a stronger toehold in the Middle East and removing one of the most vocal anti-US voices in the region is a strategically good thing then this won't be a good war for you.

Me? I think it is a good message to send. For a long time Saddam was the poster child for defying the west with basic impunity. His destruction sends an important message in my mind.

"Countries like Saudi Arabia, whence most of the funding for Al Qaida came, are coddled (granted, we freely need their oil). And a great portion of the world's population thinks the USA has gone insane--which means they'll be less likely to help us should we need assistance, say, with North Korea."

Most people hated the US before this. The larger you get, the more powerful you are the more they hate you. When you appease them, say "mea culpa" at the right places and let them heap scorn on you they occasionally relent and take your money... but to say that most of the world was ever really on our side is wrong.

The world will do what it always does. Help us when it suits them and whine and cry and hate us when it doesn't suit them. Kissing their ass wont help.

On preview, jeez, sh, you seem to have reverted to babble.

Different discussions, different tones.

And this is Bush? With what you've written you've confirmed it, this guy could run on a platform of taking food from starving babies mouths and people like you would still say he's doing a great job.

I didn't say he was doing a "great" job. I am not nearly as polarized as most people. I just think he is the more useful foreign policy leader of the choices (him or Kerry). In a perfect world I would bring Reagan back from the dead (with all his brain cells working) and let him do his thing on the Mid East... but GWB or Kerry are all I have at the moment.

But why "that" murderous dictator instead of, oh let's say, Kim Jong Il?

You remove your threats as you can, when you can - basic military tactics. Would anyone really have supported an attack on NK? I doubt it. Are we in a position militarily to take on a nuke power? No.

Does the fact that there are serial killers in the world mean it is wrong to fight back against the mugger with his hand in your pocket?

The whole point of an action like Iraq (from a strategic/military POV) is to nip it before they become nuke capable and present the kind of thorny problem NK does. One thing we learned (in part from what has become of NK) is that if you leave someone who hates you and is determined to acquire the weapons to defy you alone long enough they actually get them.

The answer to the NK problem is NOT sitting back and letting other nations that hate us ALSO become nuke powers.

But yeah, I agree that eventually we will have to deal with NK. Sooner or later it will be them or us.

I'm all for going after the big bad, but in the larger scheme of things, can you honestly say that Saddam was a bigger threat that Kim Jong Il?

Cost / benefit. Why allow Saddam to fester and present that type of problem? We had the force we needed, we had information hat indicated a threat (though it was imperfect or mistaken) and we had just had a vivid lesson in the folly of ignoring people who spend all their time talking about killing you.

PersonallY? I am all for building a missile shield and then going after NK too :)

hmmmm...i wonder what's more important to people--having a job and health insurance or getting Saddam?

For myself? National security is more important in the fact of an imminent threat than cheap helth care.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:54 PM on September 1, 2004


President Bush removed a murderous dictator who was slaughtering his own people, threatening the stability of a region and providing support to, not to mention breeding wholesale on his own, dedicated enemies of the US and it's people.

and replaced it with an unstable region which is breeding dedicated enemies of the US and its people.

But removing the dictator was at least a good act of conscience on the part of Bush's administration, who'd basically given said dictator a lot of money and weapons technology back the last time when they were in charge.
posted by namespan at 12:00 AM on September 2, 2004


How about:
- not losing 2 million jobs.
- not wasting 1000 lives looking for WMDs
- not presiding over the single greatest iintelligence failure in U.S. history


Heeey... *I* haven't done any of those things! Elect me, fellas!

Anyway. Just as soulhuntre, my fears about Kerry have to do with foreign policy - something that has the power to irreversibly affect America. Bush's shortcomings and poor initiatives on the home front - abortion, stem cells, not so stellar economy, environmental regulations - are reversible, and I expect will be kept in check by other branches of government. The Bush administration's handling of counter-terrorist efforts has often been incompetent and/or misdirected, but why is a man who seems to be bringing a laxer approach a better candidate?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:19 AM on September 2, 2004


Personally, I think Kerry's foreign policy approach is closer to the methods of Bush Sr. (Which is why I am going to vote for him.)
It does not seem lax to me. Gathering allies, developing credible intelligence, drawing up a complete plan for action which includes the post-conflict period, and putting very competent people in charge of executing that policy seems pretty damn good to me. Bush Sr. did a fantastic job on the first Gulf War, including plans that kept Saddam bottled up for 12 years afterwards. It is especially striking to me that Bush Sr. basically predicted the entire present situation would result if we went into Baghdad. I gleefully imagine him giving his son one helluva "I told ya so."

Also, Kerry managed to keep 5/6 of his crew alive in an assignment with a 50% mortality rate. I've heard all that both sides have to say about his service, and there is no doubt that if I had to choose between Kerry and Bush Jr. watching my back in a fight, that Kerry would be the man to pick.

With his stunning record of irresponsibility, I wonder how many Republicans would (honestly) choose Bush to watch their back?
posted by bashos_frog at 12:38 AM on September 2, 2004


For myself? National security is more important in the fact of an imminent threat than cheap helth care.

When American foreihn policy and American National Security are basically considered the same thing then you know that something in the world is seriously fucked up.
posted by meech at 3:40 AM on September 2, 2004


ANOTHER RECORD.

We have already lost more American soldiers (488) in Iraq in 239 days of this year than we did in 287 days last year (482), when there was a war on and before our mission was accomplished.

The grind of the numbers is so relentless. Price of oil — pressing $50 a barrel. Poverty rate — increased again, third year in a row. Number of Americans without insurance — increased again, third year...

...You just never know about timing with this bunch: The Census Bureau jumped the gun by a full month reporting the new, highly unfortunate numbers on both poverty and health insurance. This put the announcement in the August congressional recess, with many newsies on vacation — poverty up by 1.3 million, uninsured up by 1.4 million. Median income stagnant. Children hardest hit — 12.9 million children living in poverty.


Painting the current state of the economy and the jobs situation as some kind of disaster just doesn't fly.

Mmm hmmm.....
posted by y2karl at 4:43 AM on September 2, 2004


Heeey... *I* haven't done any of those things! Elect me, fellas!

I will hereby state for the record that, given a choice between Krrlson and George W. Bush, I would vote for Krrlson. Happily.

Most people hated the US before this. The larger you get, the more powerful you are the more they hate you.

That's a really simplistic way to view the world. Don't forget that the US had the goodwill and esteem of the world immediately following the 9/11 attacks. Don't forget the world's outpouring of support after this truly international tragedy. Don't forget what Bush did to piss it all away and alienate our friends at a crucial moment.
posted by Vidiot at 4:53 AM on September 2, 2004


midas mulligan ... you've actually made an excellent point ... the democrats and john kerry need to start saying right out front what they want to do ... and they're NOT doing it ... when is the "opposition" party in this country going to do some real opposition?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:54 AM on September 2, 2004


You seem to have forgotten the golden rule of elections MM. Any election is for the ruling party to lose, not the opposition to win. I cite the 1992 general election where the electorate did not sufficently trust the alternative to John Major, Neil Kinnock and so stuck with the 'safe option' i.e. John Major, 'better the devil you know'. However by the 1997 general election the electorate had become so disillusioned with the tories that regardless of who happened to be leading the labour party they were going to win the general election.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:43 AM on September 2, 2004


1. I don't give a shit what Bush did 30 years ago.
2. I don't give a shit what Kerry did 30 years ago.
3. I care what they plan to do in the next 4 years should they become president.

Why anybody cares about any of this ridiculous bullshit I have no idea. Further, every contention made by either side about all of these things is inherently unbelievable. I am forced to ignore it even if I didn't want to because the truth is god damn near impossible to locate amongst the flurrying shitstorm, and the little nuggets you are find are like this:

"Thirty years ago, Bush wore a ribbon he shouldn't have. His motivation behind the wearing it: unknowable."

Christ, it could have been a simple, stupid mistake. God. I hate every last one of you.

Vidiot - I only give a shit about pissing away international goodwill provisionally. It may be that our only way to maintain international good will is to be a perpetual, passive victim. In which case, fuck it. That's not necessarily the case, but going "OMG THE EUROPEANS HATE US NOW EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE SAD WHEN 3,000 OF US DIED" doesn't carry any water if you sincerely believe a still in-control Saddam would have made a Ramadan gift of chemical weapons to AQ in ten years.

The right thing to do is still right even if Europe disagrees, and the wrong thing to do is still wrong if Europe does agree.

Again, I'm not saying that is necessarily the case. But people need to stop thinking accord, or lack of animosity, or whatever, is an argument in and of itself. It should be a minor support for your real position.

Personally, I remain an agnostic on Iraq, and I think nailing the Taliban to the ground was the right thing to do. So I make my choices on other issues, to wit: GW's economic protectionism (which Kerry shares, and which is retarded), and his religious fundamentalism (which Kerry is too much of a pussy to say anything concrete on).

So I'm voting 3rd party. :p
posted by kavasa at 6:20 AM on September 2, 2004


I'm not advocating the continuance of massive international goodwill as a cornerstone of foreign policy, though it would be nice to have a "don't be evil" clause in there somewhere (or at least tone down the arrogance several notches.) I was merely rebutting an argument.
posted by Vidiot at 7:16 AM on September 2, 2004


go get em kavasa!
i suppose you are writing in The swedish chef, or something else that will
stick it to the man!?
posted by das_2099 at 7:35 AM on September 2, 2004


Why couldn't Iraq wait? If we temporarily assume that Iraq MUST have been invaded at some point, why did it have to be so soon after Afghanistan? Why couldn't everyone have waited until Afghanistan was actually stabilized & functional?

I view this, personally, as yet another instance of Bush failing to finish what he started. He's got a pattern of ducking responsibility his whole life, in my view.

However, I may be wrong -- in which case, I'd be happy to hear a reasoned argument explaining why Iraq had to be attacked when it was, rather than a year or two later. Preferably a reason that doesn't center on internal US politics.
posted by aramaic at 7:39 AM on September 2, 2004


The unemployment rate in July was 5.5%, which is lower than almost all Clinton's first term - and the exact same as this point in Clinton's presidency (July '96).

That's not accurate for two reasons. The first is that the 5.5% rate does not include the unemployed who aren't looking for jobs. Since the recession started many people have stopped trying to look for work (though apparently the increase in this number to 5.6% is supposed be because more people are trying).

Secondly, unemployment is artificially low right now because so many national guard units/reserve units have been called up. Their positions at their normal jobs have to be filled by someone.
posted by drezdn at 7:50 AM on September 2, 2004


before he steps back and says "sorry bitch, you're not gonna set me up again".

hey, Midas, the sensitivity training didn't really work, did it? be careful or sooner or later a "bitch" in your office will hear that kind of trash talk and, like, file a complaint. the bitch. she'll set you up, beware!

I really like how you complain about Democrats not talking about Kerry's record. after all, your guys have been totally hiding Bush's records for months -- you know, the busted budget, the rape rooms at Abu Ghraib, the mountain of dead GI's (not to mention the thousands of dead Iraqi civilians -- you know, the "darkies", to use your language. but after all they've got to be expendable in your worldview).

I see you really have lot to brag about your guy's record.

a lot.

a bitch must have set you guys up, I tell you
posted by matteo at 7:50 AM on September 2, 2004


the mountain of dead GI's

Well, it's really more of a hill at this point, not a mountain.
posted by aramaic at 7:53 AM on September 2, 2004


The unemployment rate in July was 5.5%, which is lower than almost all Clinton's first term - and the exact same as this point in Clinton's presidency (July '96).


This is misleading, because for Clinton that rate was DOWN from 7.3% when he took office, and it continued to decline so that by this point in his first term it was 5.2% (Sept. '96)

Now for Bush, his 5.5% is UP from 4.2% when he took over. So Clinton reduced unemployment by 2.1% in his first term, and Bush increased unemployment by 1.3%.

And I'm pretty sure you had the numbers for September '96, but chose July because they were even with GWB. As you can see, the rates under Clinton never got as high as 5.5% again.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:51 AM on September 2, 2004


The careful choosing of stats (raw number of jobs without noting the increase in population, you'd fail a grade 12 intro econ class for that) shows that they know their guy sucks, but don't want to admit it.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:02 AM on September 2, 2004


1. I don't give a shit what Bush did 30 years ago.
2. I don't give a shit what Kerry did 30 years ago.
3. I care what they plan to do in the next 4 years should they become president.

Why anybody cares about any of this ridiculous bullshit I have no idea.


Unfortunately, we can't know what anyone will do in the future, so we use past behavior as a guide. In addition, the willingness of the administration's campaign to denigrate Kerry's service, given Bush's own history, illustrates a stunning degree of brazenness. That's why I care about this otherwise ridiculous bullshit, myself.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:21 AM on September 2, 2004


Unfortunately, we can't know what anyone will do in the future, so we use past behavior as a guide.
And Kerry's Senate record / Bush's gubernatorial and presidentlal records aren't enough to make an informed decision? Come on.
posted by darukaru at 9:28 AM on September 2, 2004


No, I chose raw number of jobs because amberglow said "Jobs are disappearing." How can they be disappearing if there are more jobs than ever? The point is not Oh Praise Bush the Economy is Wonderful Lets All Go Shopping - it's that these attempts to portray the economy after his first term as some kind of utter disaster are just bogus. His first term completely absorbed a recession, despite the hit we took on 9/11, and if you look at the graphs, this recession wasn't even that big, compared to past down cycles. Number of employed persons is at a record high. Number of unemployed persons is lower than it was in the early 90s and the early 80s, despite population growth.

The unemployment rate under Bush peaked at 6.3%... That's a disaster? The previous three recessions peaked at 9% (May '75), 10.8% (Nov-Dec '82) and 7.8% (June 92).

And what's this crap about National Guard and Reserve units depressing the unemployment rate? There are 8,196,000 unemployed adults in the United States, and currently 163,318 mobilized National Guard and Reserve personnel. Assuming, for the sake of your weak argument, that all those jobs would vanish if the Reserve was demobilized, that's a difference of 0.15%... Like 5.7 would be a real tragedy? (Also note that there are always tens of thousands of mobilized Guard and Reserve personnel, which isn't due to anything Bush has done).

But the mobilized numbers have dropped since the year began, and so has the unemployment rate. You have to admit that the economy is getting better, and you should admit that the economy is not bad as it currently stands.

And as far as "the 5.5% rate does not include the unemployed who aren't looking for jobs," the BLS keeps statistics on that stuff too, and the "Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers" in July was 6.5%... the same as it was at this point in Clinton's presidency.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:14 AM on September 2, 2004


I just can't stop thinking about this comment by soulhuntre:

he is defending the existence of the nation

The existence of the nation? Is that how afraid americans are? Really? If so, then the terrorists HAVE truly won.
posted by mr.marx at 11:08 AM on September 2, 2004


Can I just say that I love this -
"In a perfect world I would bring Reagan back from the dead (with all his brain cells working) and let him do his thing on the Mid East... but GWB or Kerry are all I have at the moment"
By my reckoning that would mean selling weapons on the sly to release hostages, withdrawing when the going gets tough and then invading a small island that is no threat to anyone at all unless they have a terrific fear of beach volleyball.
posted by longbaugh at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2004


And Kerry's Senate record / Bush's gubernatorial and presidentlal records aren't enough to make an informed decision? Come on.

Honestly, Kerry's senatorial record doesn't tell me a damn thing about whether he'd be a good president. Bush's presidential record tells me that he's not a good president, so I'm voting against him, but I'd prefer to vote for someone than against someone else.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:30 PM on September 2, 2004


"and replaced it with an unstable region which is breeding dedicated enemies of the US and its people."

It was unstable before. They hated us before. There may have been a certain lax attitude on their part becuase they figured that they could strike us without impunity. That they now realize we will fight has pissed them off big shock.

Imagine, fighting back makes your dedicated enemies mad.

"The existence of the nation? Is that how afraid americans are? Really? If so, then the terrorists HAVE truly won."

No, they ahve simply managed to get our attention. That usually doesn't work out well for the person tho was kicking us while we were dealing with other stuff.

"And Kerry's Senate record / Bush's gubernatorial and presidentlal records aren't enough to make an informed decision? Come on."

If I vote for Kerry it will be because I hope he can be a better leader than his record indicates. Kerry's record is not wining him any points in my book.

"However, I may be wrong -- in which case, I'd be happy to hear a reasoned argument explaining why Iraq had to be attacked when it was, rather than a year or two later. Preferably a reason that doesn't center on internal US politics."

In the end, it was a judment call. If you think it was a bad one then don't vote for Bush. Thats really allt here is to it. I think it was a good one.

"Again, I'm not saying that is necessarily the case. But people need to stop thinking accord, or lack of animosity, or whatever, is an argument in and of itself. It should be a minor support for your real position."

I agree entirely. The idea that the right or wrongness of any action is whether or not France and Europe think it is a good one is very, very misguided in my opinion.

One of the things that bothers me about Kerry is his views in thei reguard. I am not thrilled with Bush either - but I believe that Kerry still in his heart woudl feel he shoudl ask "may I?" every time he wanted to defend us. He is the one who said this...

“I’m an internationalist,” Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. “I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.”

"When American foreihn policy and American National Security are basically considered the same thing then you know that something in the world is seriously fucked up."

I thought the whole "Bush is bad cause now people hate us" argument was BASED on the idea that foriegn policy and security went together?
posted by soulhuntre at 1:16 PM on September 2, 2004


“I’m an internationalist,” Kerry told The Crimson in 1970.

You're beautiful when you are stupid.
posted by y2karl at 1:24 PM on September 2, 2004


It is interesting to see some of the opinions expressed here with such candor.
posted by asok at 1:40 PM on September 2, 2004


"I'm so fucking high right now," Bush told anyone within earshot in 1970. Probably...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:42 PM on September 2, 2004


If all you are is a fairly convincing manager in times of crisis, then you manufacture crises?
posted by asok at 1:51 PM on September 2, 2004


Wow. Superderailed.
For the record, and for what it's worth - I followed the whole thread(s) over at democraticunderground.com (obviously partisan before you question the source) regarding Bush's medals, and I admit I'm unconvinced either way. Bush was most likely just making an error, and he shouldn't be thrown in jail for it, but the point was (and is) that close scrutiny of anyone's record is going to dig up something, and if Bush's team (or the SBV) are going to do it, then it's yet another example of hypocrisy. Eventually, I like to think, all these examples will have an effect, but more likely I'm being naive. All the other outrageous things he's done have gone unnoticed (or at the least they fail to convince even the most considerate swing voters), so this won't be any different, especially because of the lack of media support. (It shouldn't take them this long to verify the data, so they most likely aren't working on it.)

And I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't say it:
One of the things that bothers me about Kerry is his views in thei reguard. I am not thrilled with Bush either - but I believe that Kerry still in his heart woudl feel he shoudl ask "may I?" every time he wanted to defend us. He is the one who said this...

Did this bother you before it was made a "Talking Point" at the convention? And though it sounds simplistic and sarcastic, I think it's a valid point: when, exactly, did America need "defending"? 1941 is a little out of scope (though apparently 1968 isn't) and 2001 seems like a failure of defending us to me.

(on preview - I'm saddened when these talks die out (only to be started again the next day, really) because even on a fast connection, it takes a while to post ;) )
posted by hoborg at 1:52 PM on September 2, 2004


Oh and before I forget, I probably should support the "talking points" comment:

"He talks about leading a 'more sensitive war on terror' as though al-Qaida will be impressed with our softer side," Cheney said during a speech accepting his nomination....George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people," Cheney said." - Seattle Times 9/2/2004

When was the last time al-Qaida saw anyside of us? He's really such a jackass for repeating this joke. As a joke, it's about as funny as "why do all the addresses start with W", but as a comment, it's just pathetic that someone wouldn't agree that war should be fought sensitvely. I also think (surprise) that Kerry wasn't referring to treating al-Qaida with sensitivity so much as the civilians in the places we invade for some reason.
posted by hoborg at 1:59 PM on September 2, 2004


I also think (surprise) that Kerry wasn't referring to treating al-Qaida with sensitivity so much as the civilians in the places we invade for some reason.

Actually, compared to Vietnam or Gulf War I, the administration is fighting the war sensitively. There has been no carpetbombing, there are no such things as barbed wire enclosed ''protective hamlets'' aka concentration camps and there has been no Highway of Death. So far. Perhaps after the election, should Bush win, the gloves will really come off but, at the present, compared to its predecessors, this war is being run by a bunch of sissy-boy touchie-feelies.
posted by y2karl at 2:59 PM on September 2, 2004


Actually, what Kerry said was:

"I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history."

He's talking about being more sensitive to our 'allies'.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:03 PM on September 2, 2004


Google News has this mentioned on exactly two sites. Whoop. Tee. Doo. (Sure would be a nice pre-speech gaffe to f/u Monday's.)
posted by micropublishery at 3:42 PM on September 2, 2004


Posted for someone without a MeFi account:

I don't have an account on MetaFilter or I would post but I am in the National Guard and we have stayed in these barracks at Ft. Stewart before.

"Most soldiers in medical hold at Fort Stewart stay in rows of
rectangular, gray, single-story cinder block barracks without
bathrooms or air conditioning. They are dark and sweltering in the southern Georgia heat and humidity. Around 60 soldiers cram in the bunk beds in each barrack. Soldiers make their way by walking or using crutches through the sandy dirt to a communal bathroom, where they have propped office partitions between otherwise open toilets for privacy. A row of leaky sinks sits on an opposite wall. The latrine smells of urine and is full of bugs, because many windows have no screens. Showering is in a communal, cinder block room. Soldiers say they have to buy their own toilet paper. They said the conditions are fine for training, but not for sick people. "


These are not exaggerations at all, they are plain cinder block with a door on each end. Sometimes there is a fan on one or both ends. The beds are usually "bunk beds". It is easy to spread a cold or flu because all night long you breathe and cough into the same air. It is dusty and hot as well.

The latrines are the worst part though. The toilets are practically 6 inches apart with no dividers of any sort , as you sit on one about 2 feet in front of you is another guy brushing his teeth in the sinks. Most people take the common courtesy to leave an empty toilet between you and them, but occasionally someone will sit on the toilet right next to you and you end up rubbing elbows with them during the process.

In the shower everyone wears shower shoes because you would most likely get sick from standing on the shower floor. It is plain concrete , constantly wet and growing various molds. There is always a lack of decent cleaning supplies that could be used to make it slightly more liveable.

Thanks,
Al
posted by bashos_frog at 4:38 PM on September 2, 2004


Fuckin' amazin'.

We have on the one side, a bunch of people making claims about Kerry that ultimately prove to be demonstrable lies.

We have on the other side, a bunch of people making claims about Bush that ultimately prove to be truthful.

The Bush-heads willfully remain ignorant even in the face of facts and truth. It is absolutely astounding. They can read the facts and then completely reject them, even knowing them to be true!

It's like insisting the sky is green.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:05 PM on September 2, 2004


He's talking about being more sensitive to our 'allies'.

Oh, the NATO we bomb it, they occupy it crowd?

Kosovo? Yes.
Afghanistan? Yes.
Iraq? No.

Funny, how that worked out, isn't it?
posted by y2karl at 8:07 PM on September 2, 2004


When a very large number of the world's citizens, and quite possibly the majority of the world's citizens, think that your President is an ass and a dangerous idiot... perhaps there's a message there that needs to be considered carefully. It just might be that he actually is an ass and a dangerous idiot!

It's like B.O. If strangers on the street are gagging as you go by, but you don't think you smell, perhaps you need to consider that your sense of smell is defective, not theirs'.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 PM on September 2, 2004


"Did this bother you before it was made a "Talking Point" at the convention? And though it sounds simplistic and sarcastic, I think it's a valid point: when, exactly, did America need "defending"? 1941 is a little out of scope (though apparently 1968 isn't) and 2001 seems like a failure of defending us to me."

Yes. It has bothered me all along with Kerry, and the general issue of the tension between UN "citizenship" and soveriegn action is another one I have often mentioned.


"When a very large number of the world's citizens, and quite possibly the majority of the world's citizens, think that your President is an ass and a dangerous idiot... perhaps there's a message there that needs to be considered carefully. It just might be that he actually is an ass and a dangerous idiot!"

I don't think we have the slightest idea what "the majority of the world's citizens" feel or think. We have some idea what some segments of some countries think... and we know what the media in other countries is focussed on. Thats it.

Even so though, let's pretend it's really true. They all think we're idiots. So what? Envy is a fairly powerful emotion - and certainly fear is. They fear a country that is a supoerpower that will act in it's own best interests. I am sure they woudl prefer us as a trained bear that gives them money, fights their battles when they let us and begs their forgiveness every time they decide to blame us for something.

Pardon me for not wanting to appease them.
posted by soulhuntre at 6:30 PM on September 6, 2004


Equating listening with appeasing is foolish, dumb, and dangerous.
posted by amberglow at 8:59 PM on September 6, 2004


Read carefully, soulhuntre: I didn't say "they think we're idiots." I said "they think George Bush is an idiot."

And quit with the "they envy us" whinge already, all of you Americans. Nobody is hostile because they envy you. You see a guy drive by in a Lamborghini, you get angry? Didn't think so.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 PM on September 6, 2004


Feel free to spread the message: the rest of the world things you're all a bunch of dumb Jerry Springer hicks.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:31 PM PST on September 1

Don't look now, fish, your pants are on fire.
posted by David Dark at 10:47 PM on September 6, 2004


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