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What Bush got Right
March 7, 2005 3:13 PM   Subscribe

What Bush got Right.
Recent events: Syrian withdrawl. Palestinian reform. Egyptian Elections. Libyan disarmament. Iraqi elections. The Domino Theory in action.
posted by dios (227 comments total)

 
And again, how is Bush responsible for this stuff?

I mean, you're going to have to close the causal gap a little bit more saying, "See! We invaded Iraq, and now look as all the pretty flowers bloom!"

Saying that W is responsible for this is like saying that Reagan "won" the cold war.
posted by Relay at 3:17 PM on March 7, 2005


The causal connection is probably the Iraqi elections. Would those have happened without intervention is a much more relevant question.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:21 PM on March 7, 2005


Yaay! Democracy is on the march! Elections for everyone!

Until one country elects someone we don't like. Like Arbenz or Mossadegh. THEN see what the US thinks about democracy.

But, you know, I hope I'm wrong. Really.
posted by John of Michigan at 3:22 PM on March 7, 2005


Arbenz was a communist, John of Michigan. Yes sir, he was a communist.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:24 PM on March 7, 2005


And all it cost was $1.5 trillion dollars and the lives of tens of thousands of people.

It's all about ROI.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:24 PM on March 7, 2005


I suggest we add that 'Making the world a better place' tag to every non-news or politics link posted to the front page.
posted by liam at 3:25 PM on March 7, 2005


I thought Palestinian reform had more to do with Arafat's death than Bush's----

What? No shit? Lincoln and Kennedy died on the same day?
posted by aGreatNotion at 3:25 PM on March 7, 2005


How is this different from this?

It seems like responding in any meanginful sense is the very definition of "YHBT".
posted by gramschmidt at 3:27 PM on March 7, 2005


*meaningful*
posted by gramschmidt at 3:29 PM on March 7, 2005


Tags as self-satire. discuss.
posted by mek at 3:30 PM on March 7, 2005


Don't forget about this...
posted by loquax at 3:34 PM on March 7, 2005


gramschmidt, these things are happening. They are real. Is this a trend? Has IrakAtak caused a domino effect in the ME? These are valid questions. Do not dismiss too eagerly.

And sonofsiam, I agree completely. The ROI on this little escapade wouldn't pass muster in any boardroom of America. Why does it pass muster here, in the politics of the modern age? What has this cost you, America?
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:35 PM on March 7, 2005


I am not sure if this is mneant as satire o\r something concocted by some right-of-center magazine. Let's pretend: Arafat did not yet die of AIDS (yes!), do you really think things would be moving toward talks for a possible settlement?
Let's now imagine that that guy who as assassinated (by Siria) did not get killed:" do you think there would have been a puring out of demonstrators,at long last fed up with Syria"s presence?
Now reality: Hizbollah still will operate in Bekka Valley and that is where Syria is moving its troops to. Sirian secret police have not even been mentioned by Assad.
There remains huge problems between Israel and the Palestinians: location of capital; right of return; configuration of a possible Palestinian state; disarming Hamas et al--
What Bush has not yet done: bring Iran to give up its Nuke development; get Saudis to allow women to vote; make Lebanon in better shape it was in before the invasion
and get the pumps to deliver oil to pay the costs that we are now paying...etc etc
While it is true to say the buck stops here, Mr. Bush seems incapable of stopping bucks fromflowing--look homeward, Angel.
posted by Postroad at 3:36 PM on March 7, 2005


The even more relevant issue might be did the Iraq elections happen? By some accounts, the whole process was a sham from start to finish. Who knows. Gee, might have been nice to have some international inspectors on hand for that one too (see #15).
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 3:36 PM on March 7, 2005


Arbenz was a communist. As was Mossadegh's Tudeh party. Except they aroused Washington's ire by (in Arbenz's case) having the nuts to nationalize land held by the United Fruit Company (cutting the Dulles brothers out of a lot of money in the process) and (in Mossadegh's case) nationalizing the Iranian oil industry, pissing off the British. Communists? Perhaps. But they were democratically elected.

What happens when a democratic majority elects a leader who does something similar in Iraq? Or anywhere else.

History tells us what will happen.
posted by John of Michigan at 3:37 PM on March 7, 2005


Whether you agree with the person at the helm it is hard to ignore some of the positive changes taking place around the world. Clinton had the glorious timing of the Age of the Internet occuring on his watch. Change is good.

mek - not here, please.
posted by geekyguy at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2005


The headline and the subhead of the Newsweek article are a bit misleading. I read the article as 'There is still time for W to salvage this situation, and ironically, his ignorance may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.'

The 'little stuff' of the subhead is hardly little.
posted by KS at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2005


Not really. Its just the ever shifting target. Remember, anyone can shoot with 100% accuracy as long as they shoot first, then declare whatever they hit to be the target. This is obviously the approach the government is taking with regards to Iraq.

Not that some results aren't good. I'm in favor of spreading democracy as a matter of course. But it wasn't what the war was started over. The government has used "spreading democracy" as cover for the failure of its other excuses for war falling flat. No WMD, no Al Qaida ties, no threat immanent or otherwise, so the only thing left is to claim the spreading of democracy.

I'll also agree with John of Michigan, the enthusiasm for democracy will only last until the democratically elected government of [insert country name here] elects someone the US government doesn't like. Then suddenly democracy won't be such a happy thing anymore.

As for domino theories, I kinda doubt it. The "elections" in Saudi Arabia are mere democratic window dressing to give the appearance of freedom to a despotism. The Society for the Preservation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is still acting as the religious police, the house of Saud still rules with an iron fist, and none of the positions up for election hold any importance or power. In Egypt the dictator still holds the head of the opposition party in prison, which kinda makes the "multiparty elections" nothing more than a hollow joke. Etc, etc, etc. Iran remains the most democratic Islamic nation on the planet, and that ain't saying much.

Besides, just wait until the Iraqi constitution comes out, then see how nice it looks over there. Freedom? Not a chance.
posted by sotonohito at 3:41 PM on March 7, 2005


Man, I can't wait for more of this positive change, it's totally sweet and awesome.
posted by odinsdream at 3:42 PM on March 7, 2005


Other "Great" things that have happened since Bush's reelection (a couple of firsts in this country, too):
1) American oil fields grabbed (requires NY Times registration).
2) Axis of evil engaged--in lucrative oil deals, that is! (requires WaPo registration).
3) Old enemies put in their place.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 3:45 PM on March 7, 2005


So, America is now using the same "Domino Effect" that we so furiously faught against in the '60s-'70s. There are other explanations for the recent course of events in the region, but they can't be oversimplified nearly as well for the benefit of the moronic among us. Although, if you take it to its logical conclusion, the last domino to fall will be the United States, which certainly could use a lot more democracy than the current two-and-only-two-party-system will allow.
posted by wendell at 3:46 PM on March 7, 2005


The death of Arafat, The Orange Revolution, and the murder of Hariri are the key components in this very early movement in the region. But I do think some aspects of American policy are having some positive short-term affects.

History will tell us if American policy worked for positive change, along with other events. Freedom? Probably not in my lifetime.
posted by mania at 3:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Libyan disarmament.

The Reader's Digest published an article about Libyan reform and closer ties with the West back in 1999.

Of course, they also published an article in 1998 praising the Taliban for their no-nonsense zero-tolerance policy toward drug trafficking, and how that would curb terrorism.
posted by weston at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2005


And, don't forget the rest of the list:

1) Don't catch Bin Laden
2) Quash personal liberty
3) Endorse torture and disavow the Geneva Convention
4) Make US safe by encouraging legislation against homosexuals
5) Hire a gay escort and other journalists to be mouthpieces
6) Shield big business from pesky personal injury lawsuits and bankruptcies

There are just so many things that Bush has done!!
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:59 PM on March 7, 2005


OK, a historical clarification: Arbenz was not a communist despite furtive efforts to portray him as such after the coup that installed a US (meaning United Fruit) friendly regime. He was suppotred by labour leaders and legalized the communist party, but he was not a communist himself. See this entry for example:
The United Fruit Company (UFCO) was told of a plan to expropriate 225,000 of its 550,000 acres in holdings, only 15 percent of which were under cultivation. The UFCO immediately began a public relations campaign in the U.S. to portray Arbenz as a Communist.
Mossadeq, was a centrist - center left figure who was allied with the Tudeh (uneasily). The Tudeh party was not Mosssadeq's party (that was the National Front party, a nationalist party). The Tudeh was hardly in a position to dictate terms at that point. More here.
posted by talos at 4:00 PM on March 7, 2005


You're right, dios. These events are outstanding and each will go a long way in making the world safer and more free. While, some of these items were in the works even before the Bush administration took over (see: Lybian disarmament), his pushing on several countries to work towards legitimate democracy is outstanding.
posted by Arch Stanton at 4:05 PM on March 7, 2005


Cover your ears, I'm about to tell something distressing: price of gas is still raising AND we're all paying that either directly if we own a gas guzzler or indirectly by paying higher transportation price.

Now...

1. Iraquis got their deemmucracy right ? They voted !
2. Iraquis got their freedom, Sammad is gone, riight ?


It's time to return the favor with barrells of oil for cheap !

/* Dramatization (hopefully)

Joe: WHAT ? They don't want to ? Those lib'rul treasonous Iraquis ! Damn sandniggers why did we send our soldiers ? That's ok guys let's take their oil anyway, we'll blame the lib'rul.

John: Boss, there no lib'rul here !

Joe: Oh ok, blame the terr'urist !

Fauxnews cameraman: shuddup you fool you're on TV !

Joe: Ooops ! We're closely working with Iraquis that are recovering from the economic disaster of U.N. and Saddam Hussein (the U.S. didn't want the sanction did we) and are more then happy to sell their oil to U.S. at a coalition-of-phreedom favour price. In the immortal words of the Great Leader .."It's the economy, stupid"
posted by elpapacito at 4:05 PM on March 7, 2005


Way to go dios! I would like to see you come back and stand up for your point though. Otherwise, in this environment your post becomes just a troll. Maybe Paris will step up to save it if you won't.
posted by caddis at 4:06 PM on March 7, 2005


The New York Sun Has a great editorial about an American flag being spotted during a protest in Beirut.

President Bush has made me very proud to be an American. His policies have emboldened many living under tyranical forces to get busy; and his bold vision is making this a safe, better world. He's not perfect, but of course, we all know that only the Left is perfect.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:06 PM on March 7, 2005


Bush's policies have even had the unintended consequence of putting a sock in Old Europe (ok, maybe that was intended).

Thank you, President Bush!
posted by ParisParamus at 4:08 PM on March 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


caddis, dios was specifically cautioned not to comment on this post, lest the accusations of "trolling derail the whole damn thing. Just thought you oughta' know.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:09 PM on March 7, 2005


The Domino Theory is so over-simplified, it'd be a joke if it wasn't so dangerous. Even the State Department has had its doubts.

Democracy through force is a quick-fix: easy and impressive, in the short-term. It will not last. We will probably get to witness the Bush legacy in our lifetimes - bloody revolutions and turmoil.
Respect for human rights in any country must spring forth through the will of the people and as part of a genuine democratic process. Such respect can never be imposed by foreign military might and coercion - an approach that abounds in contradictions. Not only would a foreign invasion of Iran vitiate popular support for human rights activism, but by destroying civilian lives, institutions and infrastructure, war would also usher in chaos and instability. Respect for human rights is likely to be among the first casualties.
- nobel laureate shirin ebadi.
Now we've got entertainment figures like Bill Maher and even the venerated Jon Stewart asking "what if we were wrong and Bush was right?" What worries me is that if someone like Stewart can ask these questions, his viewers aren't far behind... (More in these self links.)
posted by blendor at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2005


Thank you, President Bush!
posted by Hat Maui at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2005


You've forgotten one very important achievement of the Bush Years: Bryan Adams and Def Leppard are going to tour minor league ballparks. Together.
posted by aGreatNotion at 4:14 PM on March 7, 2005


Hat Maui: I'm looking forward to the time, not far off, when people of your ilk are found only in history books, like the Luddites, the Stalinists, and the Jessie Jacksons of the world.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:15 PM on March 7, 2005


I know some won't appreciate his presence here, but Mark Steyn has some interesting comments to make on the topic in last week's Spectator ( bugmenot: bmn@dodgeit.com / spectator ).
posted by pots at 4:19 PM on March 7, 2005


Why don't you and your boyfriend President Bush just set up a Gulag? Oh, wait, you already have.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:19 PM on March 7, 2005


It's great to see the pacifist Left wither on an accelerated schedule.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:20 PM on March 7, 2005


Good one! As a forwarded e-mail recently suggested, I propose we ship the population of Guantanamo to your house.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:22 PM on March 7, 2005


100,000 thank yous...
posted by talos at 4:23 PM on March 7, 2005


As a forwarded e-mail recently suggested

So that's where you get your political ideas. What a surprise.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:23 PM on March 7, 2005


There are several rhetorical fallacies here, the two most glaring of which are the following:

1) Correlation is not causation.
2) Invalid presupposition, i.e., a) that contemporary American-style corporatism/capitalism is something that everyone, everywhere, actually wants, and b) that the event listed by dios are at all desirable, an issue which is still unresolved. Conflating "freedom" with "capitalism" is a common but wholly faulty occurrence.

*still can't shake the feeling that this is a troll, notices troll on foot, tries to shake it off, realizes he's been had*
posted by gramschmidt at 4:24 PM on March 7, 2005


talos, that's that Pacifist Left publication, the International-Herald Tribune. No American reads that rubbish.

Right, PP?
posted by Hat Maui at 4:25 PM on March 7, 2005


"MISSION ACCOMPLISED!"
posted by disgruntled at 4:25 PM on March 7, 2005


I think I prefer Dios. That's saying a lot.
posted by bardic at 4:26 PM on March 7, 2005


I am not sure if this is mneant as satire o\r something concocted by some right-of-center magazine.

I say that every single time I see one of your rants postroad. Sweet irony ;)

Why don't you and your boyfriend President Bush

My god we've now sunk to the discourse level of peewee herman.
posted by justgary at 4:26 PM on March 7, 2005


Pots: Thanks. Steyn is tremendous. I'm bookmarking the Spectator and putting it on my Browser Toolbar (I've heretofore only read him in the NYSun, which you should check out daily if you're in NYC).
posted by ParisParamus at 4:31 PM on March 7, 2005


Paris, when you say "left", are you talking about the imaginary American left, like the Clintonian "bomb Iraq weekly" left, or are you talking about the communists who live on the continent that is home to your namesake? Are we talking purely economics, or are you also referencing a social opposite of Bush's ideology?

I'd like to thank Bush for his bold vision in shipping Canadian citizens to the Middle East to be tortured. That was awesome. And thanks for all the arbitrary detentions. Something about Nazis!

If America is all for this democracy thing, I fully expect invasions of all the despotic US allies. And I'd also like balloons and doves to be released from every tower of shimmering light.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 4:32 PM on March 7, 2005


A '... time, not far off, when people of your ilk are found only in history books ...' Well, my goodness gracious, dear!

Ah yes, the age-old dream of ridding yourself of your enemies. Call it liberalrein, if you will.

Darling, as long as their are human beings, there will be liberals like me, and proud of it. Exactly how do you propose that we be relegated to the history books?

Tell me. I want to finally hear it from your lips. I want you to finally break that last thin line of civilization and say what you want. Because I'm not going anywhere. You will have to take action. And what action is that going to be? Hmmmm?
posted by AirBeagle at 4:33 PM on March 7, 2005


[this is bad]
posted by mr.marx at 4:34 PM on March 7, 2005


Good one! As a forwarded e-mail recently suggested, I propose we ship the population of Guantanamo to your house.

Not a bad idea what with all the lawsuits already being filed and with many more to come. Could be a lucrative endeavor. Hopefully PP and justgary pay lots of taxes to help fund these lawsuits.
posted by UseyurBrain at 4:34 PM on March 7, 2005


Huh? The Herald-Trib is owned by the New York Times (and I curse it, primarily because, pre-Internet, it mean't that the NYT was almost nowhere to be found in Paris. THe Herald-Tribune is a soulless publication; a waste of trees.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:34 PM on March 7, 2005


When I read the article I thought I was reading Russia's 'Pravda', then I saw the link. Different name, same blind, ignorant propaganda masquerading as news.
Nothing to see here, move along . . .
Same level of foolish cheerleading as the guy who said "If Reagan is senile, we could all use a good dose of his senility. . . "
posted by mk1gti at 4:35 PM on March 7, 2005


NYT and WP together own the HT, I think. Not that it will change your view.
posted by caddis at 4:37 PM on March 7, 2005


Words are important, and President Bush has had great words. Democracy, Freedom. Palestinian State. Respect for Human Rights and International Law. Democracy in Iraq.

Those who oppose Bush would be best served to try to hold him to his word. It's the execution which is the problem with Bush, not his statements.

Still, statements mean something, especially to people suffering in tyrannical regimes. The best Americans an do for them is say, our President may not be sincere, but we are.
posted by chaz at 4:39 PM on March 7, 2005


I am not buying the domino theory-in-action nonsense, but I think the MSNBC article basically got it right. Despite all the bad, some positive things are happening in the Middle East. Let us hope more come. Too much ink spills over who takes the blame or credit. I just want the Middle East to stabilize. That will probably mean more democracy and less totalitarianism as well as a true Palestinian state. Let's get there and stop bitching about how eveybody working toward this goal is screwing it up. The glass is half-full.
posted by caddis at 4:44 PM on March 7, 2005


Is it possible for anyone who didn't support the war and the President to read Mr. Steyn's column (above), and not feel like they've been had. He is a great writer and thinker.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:45 PM on March 7, 2005


The glass is half-full

Sure it is. Half-full of blood.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:47 PM on March 7, 2005


Oh, and these positive things are not necessarily due to GW's actions. Let's just see more positive things.

PP - which one was Steyn's?
posted by caddis at 4:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Osama who?

Weapons of what?
posted by odinsdream at 4:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Is it possible for anyone who didn't support the war and the President to read Mr. Steyn's column (above), and not feel like they've been had

The answer: you're right, that's not possible. We most definitely have been had.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:51 PM on March 7, 2005


Half-full of blood?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA. Please, please, oh God, the pain in my virtual sides. I just spewed my seventh dose today of cough syrup across my monitor. Oh God, oh God. My nose is bleeding, oh please, hahahaha. I'm sitting in a puddle of my own urine and it feels warm like the womb!
posted by Kleptophoria! at 4:51 PM on March 7, 2005


Lest we forget, Bush did not even want the recent elections to happen- he wanted a hand-picked exile-led group to write Iraq's new constitution, and it was only because if the persistance of Sistani and other grassroots supporters in insisting that they happen, and happen without any of Bush's many schemes to tilt elections in our favor, that they happened at all. Sistani has been pushing for the elections since 2003 when Bush declared the war over and it took almost two years to get them.
So by the linked article's logic, we have Sistani and a bunch of Iraqi grassroots oragnizers to thank, not Bush.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:54 PM on March 7, 2005


More than 100,000 civilians have probably died as direct or indirect consequences of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq

--IHT article linked above.

The tsunami's still kicking our ass, though, in terms of dealing wanton death.
posted by Hat Maui at 5:00 PM on March 7, 2005


yaaaaaaaaawwnnnn.

the more things change, the more they stay the same.
posted by a3matrix at 5:00 PM on March 7, 2005


BTW, what ever happened to North Korea?
posted by R. Mutt at 5:02 PM on March 7, 2005


PP - nevermind, I found it. Now to register.
posted by caddis at 5:03 PM on March 7, 2005


When I read the article I thought I was reading Russia's 'Pravda', then I saw the link.

The words of a man who has clearly never experienced anything even remotely close to what took place in the FSU.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:07 PM on March 7, 2005


Clinton had the glorious timing of the Age of the Internet occuring on his watch. - geekguy

Well, yeah, he had the Inventor of the Internets as his Vice President!
posted by ericb at 5:09 PM on March 7, 2005


Darling, as long as their are human beings, there will be liberals like me, and proud of it. Exactly how do you propose that we be relegated to the history books?

But will there always be people who use "their" instead of "there?"

What's astonishing, or perhaps asstonishing is that you could really take me literally.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:09 PM on March 7, 2005


Osama who? Weapons of what? - odinsdream

Exactly !!!
posted by ericb at 5:11 PM on March 7, 2005


So if a country is a bombed out wasteland with nothing left standing but a voting booth, then it's a success right?
posted by destro at 5:11 PM on March 7, 2005


Dios: An inflammatory post and no rebuttal to the points made?

Nothing's more daming than...oh, nevermind.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 5:14 PM on March 7, 2005


Make that, 'damning.' Nothing's more 'damning' than haste, apparently.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 5:15 PM on March 7, 2005


What's astonishing, or perhaps asstonishing is that you could really take me literally.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:09 PM PST on March 7 [!]


Like when you would stop bandwaggoning for the president when there were no WMD's?
posted by Balisong at 5:17 PM on March 7, 2005


Hat Maui: I'm looking forward to the time, not far off, when people of your ilk are found only in history books, like the Luddites, the Stalinists, and the Jessie Jacksons of the world.

Please note: as a non-idiot, i do realize it's Jesse Jackson.
posted by Hat Maui at 5:19 PM on March 7, 2005


Dios: An inflammatory post and no rebuttal to the points made?

He was just trying to get your attention, you know.
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:20 PM on March 7, 2005


I just want the Middle East to stabilize. That will probably mean more democracy and less totalitarianism as well as a true Palestinian state.

Let's start from the last part: a true Palestinian state was always possible as long as one thing was included at a bare minimum: The return of all the West Bank (and Gaza which is easier) to the Palestinian Authority, including East Jerusalem.

Abbas is still insisting on at least this part. I am very doubtful as to whether Sharon will accept it.

As for stabilization: if Iraq is any indication, one should regretfully expect more, not less bloodshed. Less not more stability.
posted by talos at 5:21 PM on March 7, 2005


Where's Alex?

On preview: *groan*
Can everyone please go home, now?
posted by underer at 5:25 PM on March 7, 2005


What's astonishing, or perhaps asstonishing is that you could really take me literally.

Why does it surprise you? Many of your post-9/11 fellow travelers are quite enthusiastic about having their liberal-hating fantasies taken literally.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:28 PM on March 7, 2005


As for stabilization: if Iraq is any indication, one should regretfully expect more, not less bloodshed. Less not more stability.

Which immediately gives rise to two questions: 1) Why should one expect that the greater ME will follow the pattern of Iraq, given that Iraq was invaded and they haven't been, and 2) does instability in one central zone spell instability for the entire region?
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:31 PM on March 7, 2005


See, now I'm under the impression (just to pick one from this list of Triumphs on the Middle-Eastern Democracy Hit List) that the popular movement against Syria's occupation of Lebanon was a result of outrage at the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. Now I'm told Bush made it happen.

So I've got to ask: Does that mean this article has it right? Did Israeli agents and/or "the Bush cabal" murder Hariri?

And - perhaps most important of all - which domino stands between Egypt and Syria in that fantastically nuanced portrait of global geopolitics from the LA Times (also linked in the FPP)? Is it Yemen? The Belgian Congo? Granada? (Don't even try to correct my spelling - I meant the British TV station, dammit!)

Are there any Mefites out there more adept than I am at deciphering high-level intelligence documents such as this who can fill me in? dios? PP? 111?
posted by gompa at 5:31 PM on March 7, 2005


Do we have to make this dios filter, 'cause personally there are other things, ideas and people I'd rather hear about.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:33 PM on March 7, 2005


Why is return of "all" the West Bank necessary? It's not like 100% of the West Bank creates a huge land mass. It'll be small, or smaller.

Actually, why not return most of the West Bank to Jordan, from whenst it came, and Gaza, from whenst it came.

Whatever happens, my bet is that lots, if not most of those living in the West Bank and Gaza will realize that they've been lied to by their Arab and Muslim breather for the last 50 years. And a week after that, watch how many seek to leave for, well...New Jersey.

Say, where is Yasser these days? Whad a great leader!
posted by ParisParamus at 5:37 PM on March 7, 2005


**Dang, when I joined, I thought I was gonna be the roughneck that everyone would politically hate..(sobs)**
posted by Balisong at 5:38 PM on March 7, 2005


(...Gaza to Egypt...)

Let these enlightened countries resolve things!
posted by ParisParamus at 5:38 PM on March 7, 2005


I'm pretty sure that the cumulative I.Q. of this message board is somewhere in the single digits. Why can't we have rational, factual discourse without all of the personal attacks? I've found some cogent information presented on both sides(mostly on the left), but I have to filter through all of the junior high b.s. to get to it. Grow up.
posted by dr. strangelove at 5:40 PM on March 7, 2005


PP:...and I curse it, primarily because, pre-Internet, it mean't that the NYT was...

and then....

PP: "But will there always be people who use "their" instead of "there?"..."


Wow...you really are a tool.
posted by echolalia67 at 5:41 PM on March 7, 2005



(...Gaza to Egypt...)

Let these enlightened countries resolve things!
posted by ParisParamus at 5:38 PM PST on March 7 [!]


Like they should have in the first place, instead of the US.
posted by Balisong at 5:41 PM on March 7, 2005


"which domino stands between Egypt and Syria..."

The Evil Jews already have democracy (too much, perhaps...).

I think Syria will topple well before Egypt, because there's at least an argument that only a military government can run Egypt for the moment. Syria will go through some combo of sanctions, increased assertiveness on the part of Syrians, and the end opf Lebanon as a source of money for Syria.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:43 PM on March 7, 2005


What have the Americans ever done for us? Liberated 50 million people... by Gerard Baker, Time of London.
posted by LarryC at 5:44 PM on March 7, 2005


Can't we all just get along?

(Not a bad firestorm for your first post Dios...)
posted by R. Mutt at 5:48 PM on March 7, 2005


dios, despite the warning to which wulfgar alluded, I think it is time for you to jump in. Paris can not do this all by himself, and I won't really help him too much as I am not really a believer. I think Bush made a horrible mistake invading Iraq, and so did his father probably, except at least the father had better justification. GW took a huge gamble. If it pays off I will be happy, but I doubt it will. Regardless, the pressure on the Middle East (which was possible without war in Iraq) is probably a good thing. Much of the real pressure comes from other places, like Arafat not being there any longer and Hariri's assasination.

The one point of the original article that really rings true:
Bush never accepted the view that Islamic terrorism had its roots in religion or culture or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead he veered toward the analysis that the region was breeding terror because it had developed deep dysfunctions caused by decades of repression and an almost total lack of political, economic and social modernization.

That justifies pressure on the oppressive governments, but not a war on Iraq. I would prefer to have these countries as friends and allies, rather than as enemies, but at least let's try to just make them not enemies. Bring economic and government reform and fix the problem with Israel and Palestine and these countries will perhaps become islands of stability rather than the current fomenters of violence.
posted by caddis at 5:50 PM on March 7, 2005



The Evil Jews already have democracy (too much, perhaps...).

my new favourite PP quote.
posted by mek at 5:50 PM on March 7, 2005


Paris, darling, sweetie. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

Don't get sidetracked with spelling issues. It's sad and weak.

And don't pawn me off with that old 'don't take me literally.'

Either you meant to say that Liberals won't exist in the future or you don't. And if you didn't, then why did you say it?

It's high time that Fascists like you are called on the carpet for your rhetoric. More of us should throw a stink about the rightwing's dangerous mouthing, yelling 'Tripe!' whenever it is served. So, this is my stand.

I want to hear it from your mouth, Paris. You said you looked forward to a Liberalrein future. Now I want you to explain, in clear and unambiguous language, what you mean; as your statement now stands, it appears that you, like Ann Coulter, are calling for the jailing and possible execution of Liberals in America. Enlighten us as to what you really want.
posted by AirBeagle at 5:53 PM on March 7, 2005


To be clear, I do believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict adds to the pressure behind terrorism, but I do not really believe that the current terrorism has its roots in religion or culture.
posted by caddis at 5:54 PM on March 7, 2005


Analysis: Iraq blast bursts election bubble
The Real Story of the Insurgency.
Analyst: Iraq is a 'beacon'for terrorists .
Don't Rush on the Road to Damascus.
Hezbollah Declares Full Support for Syria.
Hezbollah set for key role in Lebanon.
Outposts and not settlements?
Israel's Coming Civil War .
Libya negotiation orchestrated by MI6.
The domino theory: Reality Check.
posted by y2karl at 5:56 PM on March 7, 2005


Stuff it AirBeagle, that is nothing but a derail. Stay on task and we might actually have a debate.
posted by caddis at 5:56 PM on March 7, 2005


Paris can not do this all by himself

He's hardly alone in agreeing with the tone of the post here, and it seems like there are more and more people joining lately that agree in general with the Bush administration's actions abroad.
posted by loquax at 5:57 PM on March 7, 2005


However, Paris, please explain the "Evil Jews" thing, and how much democracy is too much.
posted by caddis at 5:59 PM on March 7, 2005


please explain the "Evil Jews" thing

Allow me. He was joking.
posted by loquax at 6:02 PM on March 7, 2005


Metafilter: Stuff it Metafilter, that is nothing but a derail. Stay on task and we might actually have a debate.
posted by Balisong at 6:02 PM on March 7, 2005


Syrian withdrawl. Palestinian reform. Egyptian Elections. Libyan disarmament. Iraqi elections.

None of these things have actually happened yet. So don't go getting your package enhancing mission accomplished flight suit on just yet.

I hope they do work out but i am not holding my breath...

The Evil Jews already have democracy (too much, perhaps...).

Too much democracy?
posted by srboisvert at 6:06 PM on March 7, 2005


Remember that Arabs and Muslims are the same, and all Muslims are the same (no denominations, nope!) and so on and so forth. Yes, let's not forget that all non-Israelis in the Middle East are the same, and once you kill the hive mind in Iraq, you'll be sure to see all the rest squirming and taking flight because they're....

SEARCHING FOR FRESH HONEY! FRESH DELICIOUS HONEY OF FREEDOM!
posted by Kleptophoria! at 6:08 PM on March 7, 2005


please explain the "Evil Jews" thing

Allow me. He was joking.


Where the hell is the joke in that?
posted by R. Mutt at 6:09 PM on March 7, 2005



posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 6:09 PM on March 7, 2005


Is it possible for anyone who didn't support the war and the President to read Mr. Steyn's column (above), and not feel like they've been had

Every time I look at the drop of the US Dollar, the increasing budget deficit, and the upcoming end of cheap oil I just remember what ParisParamus said "Even a broken clock is right 2 times a day".

The upcoming recession then depression would be fun to watch the ParisParamus's suffer, if it was not for all the others who are going to be dragged down.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:10 PM on March 7, 2005


From the article.

"If Bush is to be credited for the benefits of his policies, he must also take responsibility for their costs. Over the past three years, his administration has racked up enormous costs, many of which could easily have been lowered or avoided altogether. The pointless snubbing of allies, the brusque manner in which it went to war in Iraq, the undermanned occupation and the stubborn insistence (until last summer) on pursuing policies that were fueling both an insurgency and anti-Americanism in Iraq—all have taken their toll in thousands of American and Iraqi lives and almost $300 billion."
posted by xammerboy at 6:11 PM on March 7, 2005


If Bush is to be credited for the benefits of his policies, he must also take responsibility for their costs.

Don't bother Paris with such fair-minded trifle. He just wants to feel good about his president.
posted by psmealey at 6:16 PM on March 7, 2005


If Bush is to be credited for the benefits of his policies, he must also take responsibility for their costs.

The ends justify the means, citizen. Move along.
posted by AlexReynolds at 6:20 PM on March 7, 2005


I think it's very meaningful that dios is currently up to 111 comments.

Well done, dios.
posted by interrobang at 6:21 PM on March 7, 2005


Caddis, darling ... 'Stuff it'? Oh my poor wounded feelings.

My point is valid, regardless of your opinion of it. I want to hear it, straight from the Fascists' mouth, what 'there will be no more liberals in the near future' means. If you don't like the question, just ignore it (and me) and move on. It's not brain surgery, dear.
posted by AirBeagle at 6:30 PM on March 7, 2005


Wasn't Paris supposed to crucify himself for the good of humanity if it was admitted that there were no WEAPONS OF MAGNIFICENT DESTRUCTION in Iraq?

Also, AirBeagle, you get more bite out of them if you drop the Godwin bomb. "Fascism" alone doesn't do it. You need hardcore National Socialism.

Caddis was probably just dreaming out loud. (P.S. Bush is a liberal, unless you think he's against free trade and all that jazz.)
posted by Kleptophoria! at 6:33 PM on March 7, 2005


Ah, me. This thread did not go well.
posted by SPrintF at 6:33 PM on March 7, 2005


How can everyone forget the WMD??!!! -- the reason the Bush administration gave for invading?

1) They had chemical and biological weapons
2) They were close to making nuclear weapons
3) They were allied with and supporting Al Queda
4) Because of all this, they were an imminent threat to our security

Only when that was all shown to be humiliating mistakes did Bush take up the call of democracy.

How can everyone be repeating their blatent coverup and excuse like it's gospel? If their ability to frame the debate has even taken in MeFi posters, I'm ready to despair.

A few other points:

* There are no democracies yet; let's not get breathless. Syria is still in Lebanon.

* Our policy is not to support democracies as an antidote to terorrism: We support Musharraf's military dictatorship in Pakistan

* Another example: We are pressuring Qatar to censor Al Jazeera, their free and independent news outlet. We're also helping Saudi Arabia's state run media to crush Al Jazeera in the marketplace. Al Jazeera is by far the most effective promoter of democracy in the region. Qatar is, I believe, the most democratic state.
posted by guanxi at 6:33 PM on March 7, 2005


Does anyone think the US might be allowing the value of the dollar to fall to help pay for the war (in cheap dollars) and pay for the deficit (as the debt is 'worth' less)?

Just sayin'.

Oh yeah. On subject: democracy good. facism bad. all attributable to bush, no. hopeful that the future has more of the former and less of the latter.
posted by fet at 6:34 PM on March 7, 2005


What a shameful little thread all around.
posted by Arch Stanton at 6:39 PM on March 7, 2005


16,214 dominos and counting.

The only reason Dios posted this thread is because someone called him a troll earlier today. Best of the web my ass.
posted by furtive at 6:50 PM on March 7, 2005


The article is not about Iraq! That was an expensive sideshow. This is about the broader Middle East. Some positive movement is occurring. How much Bush can take credit for is up for debate. I think some, but not most. Iraq is a negative. With Arafat gone Israel has a chance at making some peace with the Palestinians. Lebanon may change. Saudi Arabia is up in the air. Syria seems somewhat restrained, but ultimately remains hopeless without a change in leadership. With oil prices on the rise perhaps some benefits will flow to the average citizen.

Airbeagle, your point pulls the thread away from the main point. From Paris, fighting perhaps on his own, that can be forgiven as frustration. You have an army supporting your position and should be more careful lest the debate be derailed. By the way, why do you call everyone darling. Is that some sort of insult to you?
posted by caddis at 6:51 PM on March 7, 2005


So, do you all like George W. Bush on the left side or the right side of Mt. Rushmore?
posted by Mick at 6:58 PM on March 7, 2005


The only reason Dios posted this thread is because someone called him a troll earlier today.

And accurately, no less.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:00 PM on March 7, 2005


What a shameful little thread all around.

Indeed.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:01 PM on March 7, 2005


Results 1 - 10 of about 210 from www.metafilter.com for "posted by quonsar" troll.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:13 PM on March 7, 2005


Syria seems somewhat restrained, but ultimately remains hopeless without a change in leadership.

Yes, a country of several religious and ethnic minorities suppressed by a small religious and political elite will surely be better off with anarchy aka just add water democracy. Yup. We need to topple the present government and hope for the best. Can you say Islamic Republic of Syria?

Just think Lebanese Civil War of 1972-1982, which ran on and on--until Syria stepped in. Or just look at present day Iraq's incipient civil war. Oh, everything's hunky dory now that they've had one 'election' where most of the people didn't even know who they were voting for but rather just the ticket. One hinky election, cooked behind closed doors |= democracy.
posted by y2karl at 7:14 PM on March 7, 2005


So, do you all like George W. Bush on the left side or the right side of Mt. Rushmore?

We could get a twofer and save money at the same time by having his head coming out of Reagan's ass.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:19 PM on March 7, 2005


y2karl, I am not advocating by any stretch of the imagination that the US in any way be involved in a change of leadership in Syria.
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on March 7, 2005


Did any one else read the MSNBC article and wonder where this gem came from:
Bush never accepted the view that Islamic terrorism had its roots in religion or culture or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead he veered toward the analysis that the region was breeding terror because it had developed deep dysfunctions caused by decades of repression and an almost total lack of political, economic and social modernization.

Does anyone feel that this is true? What have speeches or policy statements support this being true? Or is this a case of historical revisionism, or possibly OMG liberal media masking the president's real feelings on the subject.
posted by litghost at 7:22 PM on March 7, 2005


Kleptophoria: [Wink] I thought I did drop the Godwin bomb with my link to the Wiesenthal Center ... Ah, me. Too subtle, eh?

But just to be clear ... National Socialists are all dead. To be a Nazi, you have to have been a party member 1919-1945. Fascists in Amurrica ... now those are alive and kickin'.
posted by AirBeagle at 7:23 PM on March 7, 2005


With Arafat gone Israel has a chance at making some peace with the Palestinians.

Apart from that little Land Expropriation and Settlements thingie...

Since 1967, Israel has established in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip 152 settlements that have been recognized by the Interior Ministry. In addition, dozens of outposts of varying size have been established. Some of these outposts are settlements for all intents and purposes, but the Interior Ministry has not recognized them as such.

Israel has established in the Occupied Territories a separation cum discrimination regime, in which it maintains two systems of laws, and a person’s rights are based on his or her national origin. This regime is the only of its kind in the world, and brings to mind dark regimes of the past, such as the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

As part of the regime, Israel has stolen thousands of dunams of land from the Palestinians, on which it established dozens of settlements in which hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians now live. Israel forbids Palestinian to enter and use these lands, and use the settlements to justify numerous violations of Palestinian rights, such as the right to housing, to gain a living, and freedom of movement. The sharp change changes Israel made to the map of the West Bank makes a viable Palestinian state impossible as part of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

The settlers, on the other hand,. Benefit from all rights given to citizens of Israel who live inside the Green Line, and in some instances, ever additional rights. The great effort Israel has expended in the settlement enterprise – financially, legally, and bureaucratically – has turned the settlements into civilian enclaves within an area under military rule, and has given the settlers a preferred status. to perpetuate this unlawful situation, Israel has continuously violated the Palestinians’ human rights.

Especially conspicuous is the Israel’s manipulative use of the law to create a semblance of legality for the settlement enterprise. So long as the Jordanian law assisted Israel in advancing its goals, it seized the argument that international law requires that an occupying state apply the law in effect in the territory prior to occupation, construing international law in a cynical and tendentious way. When Jordanian law was unfavorable for Israel, it did not hesitate to revoke it though military legislation and develop new rules ti meet its ends. In doing so, Israel tramples on international agreements to which it is party that are intended to reduce human rights violations and protect people under occupation.

posted by y2karl at 7:24 PM on March 7, 2005


F William Engdahl speculates about The oil factor in Bush's 'war on tyranny' and I find it interesting. I'm not a proponent of war as the reason behind the Iraq war, but this opinion piece tries to pick out which countries are ripe for democracy/market capitalism and which will be allowed to keep things as they are.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
posted by infowar at 7:25 PM on March 7, 2005


Caddis, dear, don't presume to lecture me on what I should post or not post. Keep the focus on what's important ... to wit: when a Fascist (no matter if he's a troll or not) posts something as morally outrageous and cowardly as he 'looks forward to no-more-liberals in the near future' he MUST be called on it. Simply must. Calls for a Liberalrein America should be taken seriously, not dismissed as mere 'derails.' We, the army you allude to, have the moral imperative to call the little snots on this stuff, from here at Metafilter all the way to the White House, or we have learned nothing from history.
posted by AirBeagle at 7:28 PM on March 7, 2005


Where the hell is the joke in that?

After listening to a progressive rant about Palestine then you may be left with the impression that Jews are evil.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 7:30 PM on March 7, 2005


Here is what the prime minister should say to the people: the time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers and in some other time we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs.

Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world's only Jewish state - not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish.

Do you want the greater land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy. Let's institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison camps and detention villages.

Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse - or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks. There is no middle path. We must remove all the settlements - all of them - and draw an internationally recognised border between the Jewish national home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish law of return will apply only within our national home, and their right of return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state.

Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs. The result, of course, will be that those who did not want a Palestinian state alongside us will have one in our midst, via the ballot box.

The prime minister should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racism or democracy. Settlements, or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire and suicide bombers, or a recognised international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem.


The end of Zionism
posted by y2karl at 7:32 PM on March 7, 2005


Of course, the settlements will have to go and that is the most difficult part. That is why they were built in the first place, to make future reparations more difficult. The difficulty should not mean the process should be stopped.

On preview, stuff it again dear.
posted by caddis at 7:32 PM on March 7, 2005


I agree with that y2karl, as difficult as it is to swallow. It is probably the only road to peace.
posted by caddis at 7:35 PM on March 7, 2005


PP wrote: I think Syria will topple well before Egypt, because there's at least an argument that only a military government can run Egypt for the moment. Syria will go through some combo of sanctions, increased assertiveness on the part of Syrians, and the end opf Lebanon as a source of money for Syria.

I think it's just wonderful when people talk about geopolitics like it's football. Me, I think the Iranians have got a tough defence, and you know what they say: Offence might get you to the big game, but it's defence that wins it. I'm taking Iran plus the eight points, and I've got Syria to beat the spread in the late game, even though I think Lebanon might squeak that one out on the scoreboard, depending on whether Hezbollah brings its A game.

I also think it's wonderful that you appear to've thought I seriously wanted to know which of the dominos in the LA Times cartoon would fall when.

There's at least an argument that we've brought the initial premise of this thread to its reductio ad absurdum, at which point, if I've got my MeFi etiquette right, it's pancakes all around.
posted by gompa at 7:37 PM on March 7, 2005


Of course, the settlements will have to go and that is the most difficult part. That is why they were built in the first place, to make future reparations more difficult. The difficulty should not mean the process should be stopped.

Caddis, you need to read y2karl's link about civil war in Israel, keeping in mind US aid given to Israel's total budget, allowing it to build and maintain settlements. We're not changing our habits. Nothing's different, despite the propaganda.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:38 PM on March 7, 2005


R. Mutt writes "please explain the 'Evil Jews' thing....

"Where the hell is the joke in that?"





The slapstick physical humor inherent in trashing shtetls during a good, tension-releasing pogrom?

And that famous photo from the Anschluss where the Viennese Jewish professor is forced to clean the sidewalk with a toothbrush by SS men who probably couldn't get accepted to university? Talk about a reversal of fortunes for that dirty arrogant intellectual Jew lording himself over decent Christians. Hilarious!
posted by orthogonality at 7:38 PM on March 7, 2005


Hilarious!

What the hell is so hilarious about that?
posted by loquax at 7:43 PM on March 7, 2005


It sounds like what people have been saying of Bush for years: "He was born on third base, and thought he'd hit a triple."
posted by clevershark at 7:44 PM on March 7, 2005


Just think Lebanese Civil War of 1972-1982, which ran on and on--until Syria stepped in.

Well, for a fact, it ran from 1975-1990 and Syria stepped in early, to no great effect beyond the Bekaa valley.
posted by y2karl at 7:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Keep ripping him to shreds. unfortunately, everyone here doing it is too insignificant to, 5, 10, or 20 years from now be recognized as the fools that you are.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Yes, I read it and I know our policies. I still believe that all the hardliners still know that ultimately the territories must go. They will remain the most important bargaining chip, and thus will go at the last moment, but if peace will be found it will be found through the turning over of all or essentially all of the West Bank to form a Palestinian state. A network of roads, territories and continued control as currently espoused by Sharon and his party will not work. Both sides inherently know this. You can throw up your hands and give up but that just dooms the region to more war. A lot of painful compromise will be swallowed by both sides to find peace, and even then the peace will likely be fragile.
posted by caddis at 7:49 PM on March 7, 2005


We could get a twofer and save money at the same time by having his head coming out of Reagan's ass.
posted by Armitage Shanks

HA! That made reading this whole thread worthwhile.
posted by jennyb at 7:56 PM on March 7, 2005


Yes, I read it and I know our policies. I still believe that all the hardliners still know that ultimately the territories must go.

Caddis, I think you missed my point: We are simply not changing our habits.

These temporary "victories" are won at a high cost, ignoring the larger war that we're losing. We are not changing the conditions and motivations for instability. We actively, openly support and fund governments which foment terror. The propaganda is a distraction to other ends.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:56 PM on March 7, 2005


I don't use the phrase "Islamic terrorism" because "Islamic" refers to the essentials of the religion, and it forbids terrorism (hirabah). But if Bush rejected the idea that radical Muslim terrorism came out of religion or culture, he was right.

I disagree with the rest of the paragraph, though. Let's think about terrorism in the past few decades in a concrete and historical way, and it is obvious that it comes out of a reaction to being occupied militarily by foreigners...

Moreover, if democracy means majority rule and the expression of the general will, then it won't always work to the advantage of the US. Bush administration spokesmen keep talking about Syrian withdrawal being the demand of the "Lebanese people." But 40% of the Lebanese are Shiites, and 15% are probably Sunnis, and it may well be that a majority of Lebanese want to keep at least some Syrian troops around. Hizbullah has sided with Syria and Shaikh Nasrallah has called for a big pro-Syrian demonstration by Shiites on Tuesday.

For true democracy to flourish in Lebanon, the artificial division of seats in parliament so that half go to the Christian minority would have to be ended. Religious Shiites would have, as in Iraq, a much bigger voice in national affairs. Will a Lebanon left to its own devices to negotiate a social compact between rightwing Christians and Shiite Hizbullah really be an island of stability?

I'm all for democratization in the Middle East, as a good in its own right. But I don't believe that authoritarian governance produced most episodes of terrorism in the last 60 years in the region. Terrorism was a weapon of the weak wielded against what these radical Muslims saw as a menacing foreign occupation. To erase that fact is to commit a basic error in historical understanding. It is why the US military occupation of Iraq is actually a negative for any "war on terror." Nor do I believe that democratization, even if it is possible, is going to end terrorism in and of itself.

You want to end terrorism? End unjust military occupations. By all means have Syria conduct an orderly withdrawal from Lebanon if that is what the Lebanese public wants. But Israel needs to withdraw from the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria, as well. The Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank must be ended. The Russian scorched earth policy in Chechnya needs to stop. Some just disposition of the Kashmir issue must be attained, and Indian enormities against Kashmiri Muslims must stop. The US needs to conduct an orderly and complete withdrawal from Iraq. And when all these military occupations end, there is some hope for a vast decrease in terrorism. People need a sense of autonomy and dignity, and occupation produces helplessness and humiliation. Humiliation is what causes terrorism.


Foreign Occupation has Produced Radical Muslim Terrorism
posted by y2karl at 7:57 PM on March 7, 2005


"The upcoming recession then depression would be fun to watch the ParisParamus's suffer, if it was not for all the others who are going to be dragged down."

Yeah, sure. How stupid. the US has been on the eve of economic disaster for, what, 20 30 years now?

Wake up. We have the healthiest economy on the planet. Our deficit is small, compared to our GDP.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:01 PM on March 7, 2005


We have the healthiest economy on the planet.

PP, I'm not sure ripping off old people by gutting Social Security to pay off the 'vig' on trillions in debt implies a "healthy economy".
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:04 PM on March 7, 2005


Current stats on the MSNBC site regarding the following question: Do you believe a fundamental shift toward democracy is taking place in the Middle East? * 54157 responses

Yes 67%
No 24%
I don't know 10%


Fascinating, and heartening.
posted by davidmsc at 8:08 PM on March 7, 2005


Wake up. We have the healthiest economy on the planet.

Seriously, folks, it's been a mild winter in Canada. The sap's running already. The syrup's never been fresher. I put a tiny little bit of club soda in my batter, and they fluff up real nice and light. Who's in?
posted by gompa at 8:09 PM on March 7, 2005


Don't forget, PP, that we also were supposed to have:

- Run out of oil by now
- Destroyed every last bit of jungle (rain forest) by now
- Obliterated nearly every species on earth by now
- Raised the earth's temperature by 50 degrees by now
- etc, etc, etc.

Heh.

Silly "progressives" -- always believing the absolute worst and then working towards it.
posted by davidmsc at 8:10 PM on March 7, 2005


Fascinating, and heartening.

Given a choice, I'd prefer to get my opinions from informed analysts like Michael Scheuer or Scott Ritter — whose analysis has been legitimized by reality — rather than anonymous, internet-rigged mobs, which often serve whatever purpose suits the media that "poll" them.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:14 PM on March 7, 2005


So, the Farrelly Brothers are going to make a Three Stooges movie and they want Russell Crowe to be Moe Howard, which makes sense, and Sean Penn to play Larry Fine, which is I can see, but who is this Mike Cerone to play Curly? I dunno...

On review. oh, building men of straw, are we, davidmsc? You can be Moe, then.
posted by y2karl at 8:16 PM on March 7, 2005


Here's the Independent weighing in.

How much Mr Bush is responsible for these development is debatable. The peaceful uprising in Lebanon was provoked by outrage at the assassination of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, in which a Syrian hand is suspected, although not proven. Then the man who insisted on elections in Iraq when the US wanted to postpone or dilute them was Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, leader of Iraq's majority Shia community. And the death from old age of Yasser Arafat, not machinations in Washington, led to the election that might break the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock.

Indubitably, however, even his most grudging domestic opponents and his harshest critics in the region admit that Mr Bush is also in part responsible. The 2003 invasion of Iraq may have been justified by a giant fraud, but that, and above all the January election to which it led, transfixing the Arab world, has proved a catalyst.

The mood at the White House, on Capitol Hill and in the punditocracy has been transformed. The weapons of mass destruction fiasco is forgotten, the deaths of US troops have slipped from the front pages. Even Senator Edward Kennedy, bitter Democratic critic of the invasion, admits that Mr Bush deserves credit "for what seemed to be a tentative awakening of democracy in the region".

posted by loquax at 8:17 PM on March 7, 2005


And Charles Krauthammer. And Peter Mansbridge. And a Lebanese person.
posted by loquax at 8:22 PM on March 7, 2005


It's weird how many of the pro-Bush posters on this thread became members on November 18, 2004. I'm sure it's just a cowinky-dink. ;)
posted by alfredogarcia at 8:27 PM on March 7, 2005


Given a choice, AlexReynolds, you'd prefer Saddam Hussein still be in power, if it would make George Bush look bad.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:28 PM on March 7, 2005


And don't forget Walid Jumblatt, loquax!
posted by y2karl at 8:29 PM on March 7, 2005


So Charles Krauthammer, Peter Mansbridge and a Lebanese person walk into a bar in Texas.

The Lebanese person gets detained at the front door for "suspicious behaviour" and is never heard from again.

So Mansbridge turns to Krauthammer and says, "I thought you were handicapped." Krauthammer clubs him with a wheelchair, and Mansbridge falls to the floor, out cold.

Krauthammer strides over to the bar, orders a pint of bourbon, and announces, "So we all agree, then - America's got the healthiest economy on the planet, and the Bush doctrine has freed the Middle East from tyranny." He raises a toast to the "Mission Accomplished" banner above the bar, downs the pint of bourbon, and says, "Now who wants pancakes, goddammit?"
posted by gompa at 8:31 PM on March 7, 2005


President Bush has made me very proud to be an American. His policies have emboldened many living under tyranical forces to get busy; and his bold vision is making this a safe, better world. He's not perfect, but of course, we all know that only the Left is perfect.

BWAA HAA HAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, wait, you weren't joking? Can you really be that much of an idiot?!

The fact is that Bush doesn't give a good goddamn about making the world a safer place. To understand his motivations you have to understand the strange far right messianic Christian wacko worldview that he subscri9bes to. He belongs to a group of people who honestly believe that the end times, the Rapture, is going to occur in the relatively near future, within a few hundred years. He believes that he was appointed by God, as he has satated in public, to lead against the infidels. Bush is trying to recapture the holy lands in his own personal crusade in preperation.

This is aolso why he's trying to gut welfare, doesn't give a damn about the environment, and has consistently tried to kill every conservation and anti-pollution program. After all, if the end of the world is near why worry about future generations?

Bush has shown himself to be the most dangerous person to ever sit in the White House. Given his belief of his God appointed status I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him attempt a coup before his term is up. The Patriot Act is the first step and the stealing of two elections were the first steps.

Bush's actions have totally destabilized the Middle East, radicalized Muslims around the world, made America the pariah of the world, put the economy on its worst downward spiral since the great depression, and gutted the bill of rights.

Bush is not, nor will he ever be, my president.
posted by berek at 8:31 PM on March 7, 2005


Given a choice, AlexReynolds, you'd prefer Saddam Hussein still be in power, if it would make George Bush look bad.

PP, we get along pretty well when we're not talking politics: Don't be foolish.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:31 PM on March 7, 2005


And don't forget Walid Jumblatt, loquax!

If he's good enough for Peter Mansbridge, God of Canadian television, he's good enough for me!
posted by loquax at 8:34 PM on March 7, 2005



It's weird how many of the pro-Bush posters on this thread became members on November 18, 2004. I'm sure it's just a cowinky-dink. ;)


Perhaps all the other conservative voices on Metafilter had been chased away over the years and only the ones that enjoy the byplay have stayed. When the new blood got a chance to join, they jumped at the chance to get in the fray with the people on here. Of the 5000 news members since then, I think about 2000 of them joined on the first day. I'm happy to have them. I joined on 11/18 and I'm a liberal, but the same date for all us is just a cowinky-dink.
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:43 PM on March 7, 2005


The leader of Sadat’s assassins, Bin Laden’s chief ideologue, and a leading American neoconservative supporter of Israel all call for a revolutionary transformation of the Middle East. However, the United States, the existing Arab regimes, and the traditional Sunni clerical establishments all share an interest in avoiding instability and revolution. This shared interest makes the establishments in the Sunni world America’s natural partners in the struggle against al Qaeda and similar movements. If American strategists fail to understand and exploit the divide between the establishments and the revolutionaries within Sunni Islam, the United States will play into the radicals’ hands, and turn fence-sitting Sunnis into enemies...

Sunni Islam’s most active reformers over the past century have been its outsiders, the Salafists. It is the insiders of Sunni Islam who are America’s natural allies. Western advocates of “reformation” understandably want to see the existing secular, Westernized classes in Muslim countries gain the upper hand. But these politically weak classes are small elites viewed with suspicion by both the masses and the regimes. Any American effort to strengthen these elites must be a project for several decades, to be carried out quietly and with the greatest caution. The United States would gain little if more among the Muslim masses came to regard Muslim liberals as agents of the global hegemon, bent on depriving Islam of its capacity to resist a Western culture that most view as morally depraved.

The United States should instead exploit its ties to the existing regimes of the Sunni world in order to combat jointly the revolutionary Salafists. The US struggle against al Qaeda and similar groups will be chiefly a matter of intelligence and police work, with perhaps a role for special forces working with local partners in ungoverned areas. Only the existing Muslim regimes, in coordination with American investigators and spies, can defeat the cells of al Qaeda and similar groups moving among the Sunni world’s masses. The United States needs to support and to engage with these undemocratic regimes even more closely if US security services are to be granted the liaison relationships with local authorities that are essential to the real war against terrorism. Washington should set aside, for now, its ambitions for democratic revolution in the region, at least until the Salafist revolution is contained.

Similarly, the United States must avoid positioning itself as the foe of the traditional Sunni clerical establishments, or provoking some of them into sympathy with their erstwhile foes, the revolutionary Salafists. If mainstream Sunnis come to view the United States as bent on a campaign to weaken or remake traditional Muslim culture, then more and more mainstream Sunni believers will conclude that the revolutionary Salafists they once reviled were right all along. At that point the world really would see the clash of civilizations sought by both al Qaeda and some US pundits.


The Origins of al Qaeda’s Ideology: Implications for US Strategy

From Parameters, Spring 2005, pp. 69-80
posted by y2karl at 8:45 PM on March 7, 2005


you'd prefer Saddam Hussein still be in power, if it would make George Bush look bad.

bush certainly doesn't need saddam hussein to look bad.
posted by quonsar at 8:46 PM on March 7, 2005


The potential consequences of ignoring the larger cultural war, when we pat our Great Leader on the back for relatively small, disproportionally high-cost victories:

To remedy the criticism of inadequate religious authorization for mass American casualties, bin Laden received the necessary sanction from a young, radical Saudi Shaykh named Hamid bin al-Fahd. In May 2003, al-Fahd published a fatwa on his website entitled "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels." (FBIS, May 23 2003) In this lengthy work, al-Fahd affirmatively answered the question of whether it was permissible under the four schools of Sunni Islam for the mujahideen to use nuclear weapons against the United States. Bin al-Fahd concluded that each school did permit the use of such weapons and that the mujahideen would be justified in inflicting millions of casualties in the United States. "Anyone who considers America's aggression against Muslims and their lands during the last decade," al-Fahd maintained, "will conclude that striking her is permissible merely on the rule of treating one as one has been treated. Some brothers have totaled the number of Muslims killed directly or indirectly by their [America's] weapons and come up with the figure of nearly ten million."

Thus, when bin Laden spoke to Americans in October 2004, he was tying up loose ends leftover from 9/11 and telling Americans again that changing the "policy of the White House ... [is] the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan...." (Al-Jazeera 30 Oct 04) By then he had repeatedly warned Americans that al-Qaeda would attack unless U.S. policies were changed. Strange and even comic sounding to American and Western ears, bin Laden's warnings and invitation to conversion are meant to satisfy Islamic scholars, and Muslims generally, that al-Qaeda has abided by the Prophet Muhammad's instructions of offering a warning to the enemy before launching an attack. Likewise, Shaykh al-Fahd's treatise attempts to overcome the lack of religious grounding for mass casualties for which Islamic scholars criticized the 9/11 attack, and will be used by bin Laden as such after his next attack against the United States.


Al-Qaeda's Completed Warning Cycle - Ready to Attack?
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:49 PM on March 7, 2005


What's scary is what the so-called "liberal" media doesn't address in these jingoistic, patriotic press releases.

Let alone from Porter Goss, Bush's own puppet in the CIA:

• Jihadist religious leaders preach millennial aberrational visions of a fight for Islam's survival. Sometimes they argue that the struggle justifies the indiscriminate killing of civilians, even with chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons...

• North Korea continues to develop, produce, deploy, and sell ballistic missiles of increasing range and sophistication, augmenting Pyongyang's large operational force of Scud and No Dong class missiles. North Korea could resume flight-testing at any time, including of longer-range missiles, such as the Taepo Dong-2 system. We assess the TD-2 is capable of reaching the United States with a nuclear-weapon-sized payload...

• Russia remains an important source of weapons technology, materials and components for other nations. The vulnerability of Russian WMD materials and technology to theft or diversion is a continuing concern.


And on, and on...
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:56 PM on March 7, 2005


FWIW, I found this quote on a francophone Lebanese blog today:
"Je l'apprécie de plus en plus ce Bush. Je me méfiais du Bush-bashing bien pensant au moment de sa réelection (les ennemis de mes ennemis sont mes amis ?), maintenant je pense qu'il est désastreux pour son pays mais bien utile pour le reste du monde."
My approximate translation:
"I appreciate Bush more and more. I was wary of knee-jerk Bush-bashing at the time of his re-election (the enemies of my enemies are my friends?), but now I think he is disastrous for his country but quite useful for the rest of the world."
posted by Asparagirl at 9:04 PM on March 7, 2005


I think it's just wonderful when people talk about geopolitics like it's football.
posted by gompa at 7:37 PM PST on March 7 [!]

and gompa wins.
posted by mek at 9:10 PM on March 7, 2005


That Mark Steyn article in the Spectator has to have been one of the lamest things I've read in a while. How the Bush administration can get so much wrong and still claim victory is beyond me. Oh wait, I know why. They have faith in America's five minute attention span.
posted by Neologian at 9:15 PM on March 7, 2005


I think it's just wonderful when people talk about geopolitics like it's football.
posted by gompa at 7:37 PM PST on March 7 [!]

and gompa wins.


I think he won for this one.

but now I think he is disastrous for his country but quite useful for the rest of the world."

Sign me up!
posted by kableh at 9:15 PM on March 7, 2005


Asparagirl. That's a great quote. Especially, considering the blogger doesn't realize how limited a President's power is domestically; and her interpretation of Bush's domestic influence is likely a product of hearing how "horrible he is, and yet seeing how constructive his foreign policy is; i.e., the "horrible" must be domestic, since it's obviously not in foreign policy.

Also, perfect translation.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:16 PM on March 7, 2005


Beware instant triumphalism. Lebanon is a fractured jewel, created as an independent statelet in 1943 as a Christian-dominated French dependency. It now has a Muslim majority and democracy--if not rigged, as it historically has been--will produce a government economically and culturally linked to the other former Ottoman vilayets of Syria and Iraq.

I'm sure that the Republican contingent will be happy as hell to have democratically installed Islamic republics surrounding Israel. Oh, and if Israel does not make serious--and presently politically impossible for the Likudniks--concessions over West Bank settlements, Gaza will remain a Bantustan for Palestinians--and an unacceptable situation for the world at large. The death of Arafat rid the Israelis of a symbolic bugbear. The aspirations of the Palestinians are wholly independent of Arafat, and will not, ultimately. be denied.

As for Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will be excluded from the electoral process. The political movement that the Brotherhood represents will not go away. The result will be another manipulated election. It is questionable how the trumpeting of electoral democracy will play out if the actual product--oligarchic government-- is seen as illegitimate.

But the US leads here, too, what with electoral manipulation, and stuff. (I am from Florida, to be sure, so I have had *real time* experience with Potemkin elections).

Oligarchy is on the march!
posted by rdone at 9:19 PM on March 7, 2005


I'm totally going to vote for the invasion of Russia. That shit is always so awesome. Let's just get that one over with.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 9:25 PM on March 7, 2005


What Bush got wrong: Queers are still making whopee. Jeff Gannon. Long term occupation. Laura weeps every time George makes the "O" face.
posted by moonbird at 9:28 PM on March 7, 2005


Keep ripping him to shreds. unfortunately, everyone here doing it is too insignificant to, 5, 10, or 20 years from now be recognized as the fools that you are.

Man, that's a suck-ass thing to say.

But that's just it isn't it? Some people think some people matter and others don't. Other people think everyone matters and thinks like wealth and power don't make the man.
Everyone here? So that's me too.
Well, I can think of more than a few people who's lives I've touched (and saved) directly.
I guess those guys think I matter. The kids they have now probably appreciate it too.
And far more than that I've affected indirectly, your welcome.
And I was just a non-com, not even a doctor or a teacher.

But George Bush is somehow THE MAN just because he's President?
Horse dung. It's the people in the trenches who do the work.
Whatever good he may have done, Bush did not do alone. (Arguably on some points much of it in spite of himself or his own people)
Always burned me up folks giving Regan credit for "ending the cold war" like the guys flying thousands of missions for SAC over 40 years could have just hung it up and waited for the man.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:58 PM on March 7, 2005


Bush is always right.

Somewhere back in the thread, someone had a little brown-nosing lovefest over Mark Steyn. I just wanted to say, "Mark Steyn is a Scumbag."
posted by gsb at 10:28 PM on March 7, 2005


Looks like the Independent is thinking the same thing. (Via LGF)

The world is changing and we have Bush to thank for it. :)
posted by drscroogemcduck at 10:32 PM on March 7, 2005


Current stats on the MSNBC site regarding the following question: Do you believe a fundamental shift toward democracy is taking place in the Middle East? * 54157 responses

Yes 67%
No 24%
I don't know 10%

Fascinating, and heartening.


How many of those responses were from the Middle East?
posted by sharpener at 10:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Independent's article in full.
posted by pots at 12:18 AM on March 8, 2005


Our deficit is small, compared to our GDP.

Dollars to light years, the nearest galaxy is pretty close compared to the US GDP...

Using the GDP godwins your statistical numbers..
posted by Balisong at 12:18 AM on March 8, 2005


round and round the cobbler's bench, the monkeys chased the weasels...
posted by crunchland at 2:07 AM on March 8, 2005


Current stats on the MSNBC site regarding the following question: Do you believe a fundamental shift toward democracy is taking place in the Middle East?

Thanks for informing us of that, davidmsc. I'll bookmark it for the next time I want to know an unrepresentative self-selecting sample of Americans' view of something they generally know fuck-all about.
posted by riviera at 5:11 AM on March 8, 2005


LOL @ crunchland! All I can think is Divide and Conquer. Apply liberally globally (lest I incure the wrath of Bush lovers). Sheesh what a depressing thread.
posted by yoga at 5:23 AM on March 8, 2005


We spend 1000 times more on toilet paper than the GDP of any place Riviera thinks is better than the US.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:52 AM on March 8, 2005


"- Run out of oil by now"

Who said we've run outta oil? We (the planet) has run out of CHEAP oil. There will never be a point where the planet is outta oil. That last barrel will just be VERY expensive is all.

Chasing capitalism in China (and India) means millions are now becoming oil consumers, competing for the same resource as the US Dollar does.

Meanwhile, in the country that produces ~5% of the WORLDS oil - Saudi Arabia has wells at 35% water cut. 40% water cut is normally considered a 'dead well' - a well that is no longer economic to bother with.

So, keep thinking that 'nothing is wrong' - go buy that bigger house, buy that SUV. Make sure you move out to the 'burbs - miles from work. Please. Go prove me wrong by going in hock up to your eyeballs.

And when the economy has crashed due to the lack of cheap energy - just remember that Jimmy Carter tried to get the US onto renewable energy and what political party and what line of thinking pissed away the 20 years of time.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:04 AM on March 8, 2005


you're so full of shit that it doesn't surprise me, Paris -- you need a lot of toilet paper.

oh, dios et al. -- please, give us more "Mission Accomplished" moments. they'll make it much more fun, later
posted by matteo at 6:09 AM on March 8, 2005


I think he is disastrous for his country but quite useful for the rest of the world.

I agree.
The useful idiot anyone?
posted by nofundy at 6:11 AM on March 8, 2005


Our deficit is small, compared to our GDP.
You sir, are an idiot. The dollar is being purposefully devalued at an enormous rate, (the pennies in your pocket are almost not worth the metal they're made of,) a third of the US is owned by foreigners, we have almost no productive work (as opposed to 'service',) American households are in debt up to their necks and have no savings, and you think that a large GDP fixes any of this?

Every sector of the US economy is being outpreformed by lesser economic powers. We are falling behind and behinder, and it's not a natural hiccup, it's because of Bush's policies. Our economy is big. It has a lot of momentum. That doesn't mean it can't ever turn around, and Bush is the one doing the pushing.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:16 AM on March 8, 2005


Personally speaking, I'll be glad to give Bush credit for something (anything) he's done right as soon as I see him take responsibility for something (anything) he's done wrong.
posted by spilon at 6:32 AM on March 8, 2005


OK, sonofsamiam. Feel free to explain how are economy isn't healthier than any other on the planet. You, or people like you said the same thing in the '70s, 80's and 90's. Keep thinking that if it makes you happy.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:35 AM on March 8, 2005


A growing economy requires capital. Foreigner want to bet on the US economy. Why is that a bad thing? Oh, I know, it's bad because you want it to be bad.

Nofundy--out of the penalty box with a vengance!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:37 AM on March 8, 2005


Y'know, if we get a political shakeup in the Middle East and the ruination of American neoconservativism, it's a win-win. It certainly contributed towards the foundering of the British Empire (Suez being the last nail in the coffin), and we're better off for that. Decrepit empires, on the other hand...

In summary: any reference to Libya is proof of severe ignorance, since that was the culmination of a decade-long UK-led process stemming from the Lockerbie trial, Gadafy's move towards pan-Africanism, and all manner of other things. Iraq? Any sign of that new government yet? Lebanon? Well, it's curious to see Walid Jumblatt embraced by the neocons less than two years after fulminating about 'oil-coloured' Condi Rice and calling Paul Wolfowitz the leader of an 'axis of Jews'.

It's just curious that those who lashed out at early prophets of doom now seem to be clamouring to anoint Bush the Great Redeemer of the Levant. (And not least our resident one-man Association of Brooklyn Zionists for Concentration Camps.) Let's just say that, especially in a climate so well-suited to political marriages of convenience as Lebanon, feeding the egos of the Bushies appears de rigeur right now. (And that may not be a bad thing, if it gives Bashar Assad an opportunity to purge some of his daddy's old puppetmasters from the ranks.)

I suppose Laura Bush's pastel wardrobe was the impetus for Kuwaiti women protesting for the right to vote, too? After all, it's only a decade and a half since they were 'liberated'.
posted by riviera at 6:58 AM on March 8, 2005


A growing economy requires capital.

Errrp! Thank you for playing.

A growing economy REQUIRES energy. Without energy, its hard to transform one thing into another thing. All the capitol in the world doens't help if there is no energy to accomplish the work. And if the energy is cheap, the economy grows. If energy is not cheap, the economy slows.

Money is just a way to try and keep track. As energy becomes more expensive models like JIT inventory, WAL*MART, fresh Californian lettuce in NYC will all become more expensive. Expensive enough that consumption will slow. As consumption slows that is a part of what is called a recession.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:29 AM on March 8, 2005


OK, sonofsamiam. Feel free to explain how are economy isn't healthier than any other on the planet. You, or people like you said the same thing in the '70s, 80's and 90's. Keep thinking that if it makes you happy..

I enumerated several points above. Since you think GDP matters, the US's GDP is growing slower than such economic powerhouses as Brazil and Russia. I know some folks gave similar warnings in the previous decades; plenty of people lost their shirts. It looks like it will be worse this time, at least to me. I'm not happy about it, duh, that's why I'm boo-hooing about it to everyone that will listen, in hopes that enough people will start making a fuss and we'll see some policy changes.

A growing economy requires capital. Foreigner want to bet on the US economy. Why is that a bad thing? Oh, I know, it's bad because you want it to be bad.

Lame. It's bad because I don't want the worth of my currency to be dependent on foreign whims. It's bad because too much of that money is leaving the US and not coming back, due to our small productive labor force. We're not going to be able to juggle this much debt forever.

"Conservative" Team Bush is screwing up the economy worse than the Green Party would.

You have not advanced any points to counter any of my claims; if you can find information that would show me my errors, don't be shy. I would love to be proved wrong. That would mean I can keep my current job (which I love) and know that the market is not going to fall out under me.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:34 AM on March 8, 2005


How about some perspective?
"The USA is 'No. 1' in weaponry, consumer spending and debt.

How do we fare in other areas?

The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005)."

The list continues...
posted by ericb at 9:11 AM on March 8, 2005


I give Bush maybe 1 out of 3. Libya has wanted to disarm for quite some time and the Lebanese wouldn't be protesting the Syrian presence if they hadn't assassinated a beloved former leader. Reforms in Egypt may very well be attributable to pressure from the United States. One thing we should watch for is reforms that actually do nothing. Saddam consistently won 99% of the votes in Iraqi elections, but it didn't make him a legitimate leader.
posted by electroboy at 9:55 AM on March 8, 2005


Since you think GDP matters, the US's GDP is growing slower than such economic powerhouses as Brazil and Russia.

But faster than France, Germany, UK, Japan, Italy and Canada.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 10:05 AM on March 8, 2005


PP wrote: A growing economy requires capital. Foreigner want to bet on the US economy. Why is that a bad thing?

You're as cold as ice
You're willing to sacrifice our love

You never take advice
Someday you'll pay the price
I know

I've seen it before
It happens all the time
You're closing the door
You leave the world behind
You're digging for gold
Yet throwing away
A fortune in feelings
But someday you'll pay

You're as cold as ice
You're willing to sacrifice our love
You want Paradise
But someday you'll pay the price
I know
posted by gompa at 10:14 AM on March 8, 2005


But faster than France, Germany, UK, Japan, Italy and Canada.
All of which, (except Canada) have economies in or approaching recession. What's your point? We're doing marginally "better" than some other losers? Who rejoices if their neighbor loses 51 cows and they only lose 50?

Anyway GDP does not address the fact that the same dollar I left in the bank a month ago could purchase a substantial amount more than it can now. A month from now, it will be even worse, and I don't see what mechanism is supposed to turn the trend around.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:25 AM on March 8, 2005


Uh, dude, it's called inflation. It has some historical precedent. Also: 25 thousandths is not "substantial."
posted by techgnollogic at 11:15 AM on March 8, 2005


If WMDs are not found in Iraq, and in large quantity (or at least objective evidence that they were destroyed), then, in terms of American politics, the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted.

ParisParamus, April 29th 2003, at 8:57pm PST
posted by Freen at 11:40 AM on March 8, 2005


gompa rules! And it's not even close. Common the rest of you mefi wits, with the ammunition PP is giving you, you can do better. I would participate myself if I weren't so outclassed.
posted by a_day_late at 12:06 PM on March 8, 2005


Uh, dude, it's called inflation. It has some historical precedent. Also: 25 thousandths is not "substantial."
Uh, dude, I know what it's called. Just calling the phenomenon we're looking at "inflation" tells us nothing. Inflation is a general term.

What's important is why inflation is occuring, and the huge deficits we're running (and bigger ones we're working on) are a big part of it.

Also, "inflation in absolute terms" is not quite the same as the dollar devaluing against foreign currencies. The dollars' "value" has not fallen much (as you noted), but the dollar is weak compared to the big foreign currencies and commodities, much more meaningful measures. Foreign investors who currently own a lot of America are losing confidence in America, see South Korea.

I'm getting over my head if I try and go further, though. If you still don't think anything's wrong after the several indicators I've listed above, there's nothing more I can say.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:08 PM on March 8, 2005


Thanks Freen. And here's the rest of that comment:

But let's wait a bit before concluding this, and not have that conclusion drawn by the paranoid, cultic Left. Much of the premise of WMDs is their portability/stealthyness.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:57 AM EST on April 29


So, the cultic paranoid left, which now includes the White House and the Pentagon, have our conclusion. What is missing is Paris's abject apology for casting aspersions upon those who actually knew better than he what was up. Oh, and that little matter of an indictment, supported, of course, by ParisParamus.
posted by nofundy at 12:13 PM on March 8, 2005


But will there always be people who use "their" instead of "there?"

Feel free to explain how are economy isn't healthier than any other on the planet.

It's our not are Paris. By this logic this invalidates your, ahh, point, if there is one?

Hat Maui: I'm looking forward to the time, not far off, when people of your ilk are found only in history books, like the Luddites, the Stalinists, and the Jessie Jacksons of the world.

Well, as you imply, time allows us to take a look back. The Luddites, for example, have largely been misrepresented as a technology despising mob. Not so. They were fine with new technology, they simply wanted to try to make the transition one that was beneficial to many rather than a few. They failed. The results were disastrous.
posted by juiceCake at 12:52 PM on March 8, 2005


Nofundy: What's missing is Paris et all realizing the war was sold on a blatently false premise, the goal posts have been shifting like they were laid in quicksand, and most of the things they are crowing about are totally unrelated to anything Bush did.

Also, our buddies over in pakistan kinda sold Libya a bunch of nuclear secrets. I think you can stop talking about Libya now.
posted by Freen at 1:04 PM on March 8, 2005


when the argument devolves into petty criticism of each other's spelling, don't you think it's time to stop?
posted by crunchland at 1:29 PM on March 8, 2005


Since when did how the war was sold have anything to do with the true purpose of the war?

You people had no problem with the concept of deceptive reasoning when "the TRUE rationale" was supposedly OIL and EMPIRE.
posted by techgnollogic at 1:45 PM on March 8, 2005


Because we are a democracy, and it is not only immoral to lie to the population, it is illegal to lie to congress. If WMD were not the purpose, then someone should be, as Paris indicated, indicted.
posted by Freen at 1:49 PM on March 8, 2005


Oh, and that little matter of an indictment, supported, of course, by ParisParamus.

And where is the link again to that MetaFilter post?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:45 PM on March 8, 2005


You won't give Bush credit for any democratic reforms in the middle east because you think he said the war in Iraq was all about WMD, but then you want to indict him for saying the war in Iraq was about WMD when it was really about something else?

If Bush was lying about WMD, then how do you know he's moved the goalposts? How do you know he hasn't just been revealing various goalposts as they've been reached?

What a strange President... he only lies when it hurts him and only tells the truth if it does him no good, and still he got elected twice!
posted by techgnollogic at 2:47 PM on March 8, 2005


and once by the Supreme Court!
posted by matteo at 3:37 PM on March 8, 2005


You won't give Bush credit for any democratic reforms in the middle east because you think he said the war in Iraq was all about WMD,

Errr, I don't give Bush the Lesser any credit because I don't think his words have any value, and I don't feel the rest of the world feel his words have value.

And I wouldn't give ANY US President any credit for the last 90 years WTR actions in the oil rich Middle East because action != words for the most of 'em.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:39 PM on March 8, 2005


and still he got elected twice!

i only count one.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:40 PM on March 8, 2005


Might want to recallibrate your reality distortion fields, kiddies.
posted by techgnollogic at 4:00 PM on March 8, 2005


Might want to recallibrate your reality distortion fields, kiddies.


In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'


--Ron Suskind, NYT, 10/17/04
posted by Hat Maui at 4:10 PM on March 8, 2005


"If Bush was lying about WMD..."

If?

"then how do you know he's moved the goalposts? How do you know he hasn't just been revealing various goalposts as they've been reached?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Resolution_to_Authorize_the_Use_of_United_States_Armed_Forces_Against_Iraq

"Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program"
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

And so forth.

Lewis Black's asked - If they were lying to us about the WMDs - why did they stop?

Simply stated, because BushCo doesn't care if they are caught lying. There are plenty of people willing to deny the evidence of their senses let alone reason in favor of something that supports their identity and world view. And ultimately it's about will.
What are you going to do about it? You have to do the work to prove they lied and they ignore you or attack you and destroy your credibility.
It's simply naked power and suppression of the truth (through various means including that bit of doubt that lets you think - it couldn't be like that).

I believe it, I just don't believe people in proximity of them don't do something about it.
Although lots of people have quit BushCo.
There are always enough dolts who support them, in much the same way some dolts follow cult leaders, that the rest of us have to address the silly beliefs even though we haven't bought into it.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:19 PM on March 8, 2005


Sorry, that post didn't work the way I wanted it too (I'm using a Mac - Argh!)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:20 PM on March 8, 2005


Might want to recallibrate your reality distortion fields, kiddies.
posted by techgnollogic at 4:00 PM PST on March 8 [!]


What you are going to post again?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:28 PM on March 8, 2005


when the argument devolves into petty criticism of each other's spelling, don't you think it's time to stop?

Exactly my point. Thanks for the support.
posted by juiceCake at 4:47 PM on March 8, 2005


Because,

A) Quotes from Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice immediately before 9/11 that indicated that Iraq had no WMD, and were not attempting to produce WMD, and that the sanctions were working.

B) When you want to go to war, you have to resent a reason. If the rational presented is not your actual rational, then no matter the outcome, it is still falsification and deception. Let me attempt to elucidate. Person A is arrested for murder, and convicted. While in prison it becomes apparent that Person A did not in fact commit murder, however he did, in an unrelated event, cheat on his taxes. Now, should you try him for the new crime, or do you simply say, well he is in prison anyway let him rot.

Once more, ends do not justify the means. Even if Iraq becomes heaven on earth, that does not change the fact that it was sold on false premises. You seem to think that that whole point was to "democratize". It was not. Believe me, I want Iraq to become a model democratic state as much as anyone else, but that will not alter the fact that the war was sold on false premises.

As for these other events. They have little to do with Bush the younger, or are patently false. Libya continues to aid terrorists, and has recently purchased plans for a nuclear warhead from Pakistan. Palestinian reform is largely due to the death of Arafat. Syrian withdrawal, with the assassination of the former Prime Minister.

Unless Bush had any sort of hand in these deaths (also highly immoral, and illegal under current US law) then it is nothing but correlation and not causation.

techgnollogic, you should really think about the reality distortion field vis-a-vis the aforementioned quote. Which party is the party of the invisible superhero in the sky? the party of the anti-intellectual and anti-scientific?
posted by Freen at 4:51 PM on March 8, 2005


In (the Bush administration hawks') view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East. Prior to the war, the president himself never quite said this openly. But hawkish neoconservatives within his administration gave strong hints. In February, Undersecretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq, the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Meanwhile, neoconservative journalists have been channeling the administration's thinking. Late last month, The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Bell reported that the administration has in mind a "world war between the United States and a political wing of Islamic fundamentalism ... a war of such reach and magnitude [that] the invasion of Iraq, or the capture of top al Qaeda commanders, should be seen as tactical events in a series of moves and countermoves stretching well into the future."

In short, the administration is trying to roll the table--to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative--Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria--while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks' broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments--or, failing that, U.S. troops--rule the entire Middle East.

. . .

The hawks' grand plan differs depending on whom you speak to, but the basic outline runs like this: The United States establishes a reasonably democratic, pro-Western government in Iraq--assume it falls somewhere between Turkey and Jordan on the spectrum of democracy and the rule of law. Not perfect, representative democracy, certainly, but a system infinitely preferable to Saddam's. The example of a democratic Iraq will radically change the political dynamics of the Middle East. When Palestinians see average Iraqis beginning to enjoy real freedom and economic opportunity, they'll want the same themselves. With that happy prospect on one hand and implacable United States will on the other, they'll demand that the Palestinian Authority reform politically and negotiate with Israel. That in turn will lead to a real peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. A democratic Iraq will also hasten the fall of the fundamentalist Shi'a mullahs in Iran, whose citizens are gradually adopting anti-fanatic, pro-Western sympathies. A democratized Iran would create a string of democratic, pro-Western governments (Turkey, Iraq, and Iran) stretching across the historical heartland of Islam. Without a hostile Iraq towering over it, Jordan's pro-Western Hashemite monarchy would likely come into full bloom. Syria would be no more than a pale reminder of the bad old days. (If they made trouble, a U.S. invasion would take care of them, too.) And to the tiny Gulf emirates making hesitant steps toward democratization, the corrupt regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt would no longer look like examples of stability and strength in a benighted region, but holdouts against the democratic tide. Once the dust settles, we could decide whether to ignore them as harmless throwbacks to the bad old days or deal with them, too. We'd be in a much stronger position to do so since we'd no longer require their friendship to help us manage ugly regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria.

The audacious nature of the neocons' plan makes it easy to criticize but strangely difficult to dismiss outright. Like a character in a bad made-for-TV thriller from the 1970s, you can hear yourself saying, "That plan's just crazy enough to work." -- Joshua Micah Marshall, April 2003
posted by techgnollogic at 4:59 PM on March 8, 2005


Oh, I see... It's the Bumper Sticker's fault for not having enough space on it to fit the whole PNAC agenda...

If that is what he MEANT to say, then he should have said it, or START really saying it now. Sell us your plan in full.

But to keep switching goalpoasts, agendas, targets, tactics, etc, just to meet the facts or consequences is the disingenious way around it.

The PNAC agenda can't be sold for what it is, (Imperial American Benevolent Dictatorship) all at once, or in little bite sized pieces, because that would mean that it's NOT really about 9/11, WMD's, oil, Terrorism, Saddam, Al-Queda, spreading Democracy, or helping the people.

Basically, the neocons are feeding us a line of shit at every turn, snickering behind the lines that we fell for it.

If it's such a great freakin' idea, then sell it as a great freakin' idea. To run a secret extended agenda is, in fact, lying through ommision.

Let the American's KNOW that this is the plan, and if you don't like it, we have built several offshore "Freedom Camps" that will gladly wharehouse you until our objective is complete, or you die.
posted by Balisong at 6:36 PM on March 8, 2005


Like a character in a bad made-for-TV thriller from the 1970s, you can hear yourself saying, "That plan's just crazy enough to work."

"An Iraq without Saddam, all to the good," says Richard Murphy, a former assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs, now at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "But there are some really major problems ahead for an untested political leadership. They're going to have to show remarkable outreach to all parts of the population if it is going to work, and I don't think we can say yet where it will end up."

The majority Shiites have been emboldened to make legitimate demands in terms of a new government, he notes, while young Kurds in particular are tempted by the idea of an independent Kurdistan - a move that would set off regional earthquakes. "So while it is undeniable that we [the US] stirred the pot, how much that stirring will end up working in our favor is still an open question," Mr. Murphy says.

For example, change in a closed system such as Saudi Arabia should be good for the US - unless it means such upheaval that extremist forces gain a greater hold, he says. The same goes for Iraq, unless it leads to the country coming apart.

AS for whether a more democratic and open Middle East will make for a safer US, unanswered questions remain there as well. With democracy having advanced around the world over the past decade, the idea has also gained ground that more exposure to democratic ideals and open societies leads to converts. But that does not explain why someone like Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's right hand man, became even more anti-Western and extremist in his ideology after attending college in the US.


What Mideast ferment means for US

The U.S. military lost its dominance in Iraq shortly after its invasion in 2003, a study concluded.

A report by the U.S. Army official historian said the military was hampered by the failure to occupy and stabilize Iraq in 2003. As a result, the military lost its dominance by July 2003 and has yet to regain that position.

"In the two to three months of ambiguous transition, U.S. forces slowly lost the momentum and the initiative gained over an off-balanced enemy," the report said. "The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing have been playing catch-up ever since."


Army report: U.S. lost control in Iraq three months after invasion

The real world: unlike Tom Clancy novels and badly made-for-TV movies....
posted by y2karl at 7:35 PM on March 8, 2005


This is what passes for thoughtful criticism of American foreign policy? Complaining that Bush propaganda's too oblique?
posted by techgnollogic at 7:46 PM on March 8, 2005


No, what I'm complaining about is Bush's "plan":

1. Take from the poor, give to the rich.
2. War, arrogance, ignroance.
3. ?
4. Completion of PNAC agenda, profit.
posted by Balisong at 7:38 AM on March 9, 2005


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