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How George Bush became the new Saddam
September 22, 2007 9:31 PM   Subscribe

How George Bush became the new Saddam. "Its strategies shattered, a desperate Washington is reaching out to the late dictator's henchmen." [Via Firedoglake.]
posted by homunculus (54 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ever since I saw this I've actually been waiting... wondering how long it would take to get posted here.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:48 PM on September 22, 2007


and it only took george 4 1/2 years to think of that, too

what a dunce

note - i recognize the sheer immorality of setting up another strongman government, but nixon or lbj would have had this sown up before the troops ever went in

if we were smart, we'd take the side of the shi'ites and pull the rug out from under iran

if we were REALLY smart, we'd just get the hell out and buy our oil from whoever has it
posted by pyramid termite at 10:02 PM on September 22, 2007


if we were REALLY REALLY smart we wouldn't have pseudoelected the narcissistic fratboy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:04 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Hey, good one E Manny!
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:05 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


SHEEPLE
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:06 PM on September 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Iraq war budget jumps for 2008: Bush plans to increase his request to nearly $200 billion. The troop buildup and new gear are the main reasons.
posted by homunculus at 10:08 PM on September 22, 2007


Those are some VERY BIG ifs.
posted by Poolio at 10:08 PM on September 22, 2007


Only one more year. Only one more year.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:10 PM on September 22, 2007


You know who else had a very big if?
posted by aaronetc at 10:11 PM on September 22, 2007


Ever since I saw this I've actually been waiting... wondering how long it would take to get posted here.

Then why didn't you post it yourself? Why force my hand?
posted by homunculus at 10:21 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know who else had a...
That's my all time favourite meme. Never ever gets old. I laugh every single time.
posted by peacay at 10:21 PM on September 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


'Cuz I was busy posting obituaries for Alice Ghostly.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:23 PM on September 22, 2007


if we were smart, we'd take the side of the shi'ites and pull the rug out from under iran

HUH??? Did you mean Sunnis, or have you not been paying attention for the past four years?
posted by delmoi at 10:24 PM on September 22, 2007


You know who else had a very big if?

Paul Bremer?
posted by Poolio at 10:26 PM on September 22, 2007


And because I don't do posts about George Bush. Where I live, in the world inside of my head, the colors are bright and shiny and he doesn't even exist. Wheeee!
posted by miss lynnster at 10:28 PM on September 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm sure so many people here would agree it's almost not even worth saying. But the value of "winning" has gotten so low it's not even worth staying even if we could. I mean, yeah we could keep going and going forever in Iraq, at a huge cost of "Blood and Treasure" but what's the fucking point? Bush asks for $200 billion a year for Iraq and says he'll veto expanded health insurance for children (the expanded SCHIP law).

What a fucking disgrace.
posted by delmoi at 10:30 PM on September 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


You know who else had an all time favourite meme? That never ever got old? And laughed every single time? That's right: Peacay did.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:30 PM on September 22, 2007


Then why didn't you post it yourself? Why force my hand?

Heh heh. But you know just as well as me, homunculus, that you're the political guy, and the esteemed miss l is more given to posts about line dancing and such. That's just the way it is here in MeFitown!

And thanks for the post, homunculus, especially that second link, which I'm gonna send to some relations of mine (Bush voters, sad to say) whose eyes usually glaze over when I try to dredge up histories of CIA/US gov't/Hussein interactions, but for whom this flash presentation might be just right.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:33 PM on September 22, 2007


I knew Saddam Hussein. George Bush is no Saddam Hussein.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:34 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


HUH??? Did you mean Sunnis, or have you not been paying attention for the past four years?

if we took the shi'ite side, the iranians would have a lot more difficult time using them for their own ends, which they have been - and it might actually get the iranians to tolerate us better

we would be neutralizing a potential enemy by helping their interests in iraq better than they can do

what are they going to do? get mad at us for helping their friends?

(of course, we could still get the hell out and say to hell with it)
posted by pyramid termite at 10:37 PM on September 22, 2007


Only one more year.

...until we have another Republican administration (4 more years of war) or a Democrat administration (4 more years of war, but we get to feel really bad about it!)

Sometimes, I wonder what would be worse: an avowed warmongering Republican president, or a Democratic president who feels the need to "prove how tough he/she is" by continuing the war or maybe even invading a few other countries.
posted by Avenger at 10:39 PM on September 22, 2007 [7 favorites]


But you know just as well as me, homunculus, that you're the political guy, and the esteemed miss l is more given to posts about line dancing and such.

Well, in my defense, I only post line dancing if it's being taught by James Brown dressed like Super Mario. Or if it's a Finnish disco video.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:42 PM on September 22, 2007


The US is boned.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:54 PM on September 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Last year alone, the UN estimated that 34,500 civilians were killed and more than 36,000 wounded; other estimates are much higher.

Which is pretty fucking dishonest, and uncharacteristically so for this article; the last three estimates place the death toll caused by our wanton, aggressive invasion at over one million.

There is a good chance that if the U.S. Army wasn’t there already, Washington would have invaded to get rid of Maliki.

This is really amazing to contemplate.

Of course, it's still hard to work out exactly what's going on, whether the primary driver of violence is inter-ethnic tension as claimed here, or whether this violence is really a product of concerted resistance to invasion. First, the vast majority of all attacks in the country are against the US and UK forces:
"Although most attacks continue to be directed against coalition forces, Iraqi civilians suffer the vast majority of the casualties'

Second, the head of the British army recently defended the resistance as nationalists:
“Our opponents in the main are Iraqi nationalists, and are most concerned with their own needs - jobs, money, security, hope. And the majority, therefore, I would suggest are not bad people.”
posted by Bletch at 10:55 PM on September 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not clear on how the Iraqi "insurgents" are the bad guys. Another country invaded theirs, shot their government, and installed one more to its liking, and is now sticking around to rape the country dry of its resources. If it were China invading America, the insurgency would be heroes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:09 PM on September 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


I love the "new" Macleans.

That is all.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 PM on September 22, 2007


that second link, which I'm gonna send to some relations of mine (Bush voters, sad to say) whose eyes usually glaze over when I try to dredge up histories of CIA/US gov't/Hussein interactions, but for whom this flash presentation might be just right.

An obnoxious shredding skater thrash death metal fingernails-on-the-chalkboard soundtrack would be appropriate for this two minute hate. But what do you get?

Bing Crosby.
posted by hal9k at 11:58 PM on September 22, 2007


Bing Crosby.

You kidding? "Thanks For The Memories" is perfect! Obnoxious shredding skater thrash death metal fingernails-on-the-chalkboard soundtrack is usually what you get with YouTube videos by soldiers in Iraq with their home movies of explosions and horsing around in the Green Zone, with comments like: "OH SHIT THAT MOTHERFUCKR GOT HIS ASS FRIED LOL!!!!11!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:23 AM on September 23, 2007


if we took the shi'ite side, the iranians would have a lot more difficult time using them for their own ends, which they have been - and it might actually get the iranians to tolerate us better

Okay, wow. The reason I'm surprised, really surprised by this statement is that we have have been "taking the shi'ite's side". But the entire Iraqi government is run by Shi'ite's. Al-Maliki used to work Muqtada al sadr, and several people in his cabinet were Sadirsts. That's changed recently, after the US applied more pressure to Maliki to distance himself from Al Sadr.

But I mean we've practically handed (What's left of) the country to shiite's. So I mean, I'm not exactly sure how we could be more helpful to the Shiites.

I mean that's like saying "If George Bush were smart, he'd invade Iraq, it would boost his poll numbers over the long term." Bush already invaded iraq, and it certainly didn't help his poll numbers over the long term.

we would be neutralizing a potential enemy by helping their interests in iraq better than they can do

what are they going to do? get mad at us for helping their friends?


No, they'll stay friends with them and when we leave, they'll have a huge in. Just like they're doing now.
posted by delmoi at 12:38 AM on September 23, 2007


tangential: I'm in yr congress immunizing your tellecoms.
posted by delmoi at 1:14 AM on September 23, 2007


If it were China invading America, the insurgency would be heroes.

Yes, well, thats because we're Americans, which means that we and the Israelis have the right to pre-emptively invade other countries, but no one else does. Blah blah.....Monroe Doctrine.....blah blah blah....Manifest Destiny.....blah blah....Freedom.....blah blah...City on a Hill....blah blah.
posted by Avenger at 1:16 AM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


If it were China invading America, the insurgency would be heroes.

It's pretty hard to reconcile that view of the insurgency with the vast ethnic cleansing going on, the violence against civilians, the car bombings (which have killed, according to the latest ORB survey, over 200,000 people), the undeniable influence of neighboring powers, and the vast efflux of millions of desperate refugees.

Is there a genuine, nationalist resistance going on, people attacking and killing American and British soldiers for what you might see as a good reason? General Dannatt thinks so. Is that the only story? No. We're seeing every single faction with a stake in the nation of Iraq clawing away at each other like drowning cats in a bag, while ordinary people suffer beyond comprehension. Do you really feel you have a side here? Which bunch of murderers are you rooting for? US Marines and Blackwater, or Shiites with bloody power drills? Do you just want the Republican Party, maybe the entire USA, to end up with a black eye and damn the consequences? Is that what it'll take for the US to be a good global citizen? Or you'd rather have China running the whole show?

whether the primary driver of violence is inter-ethnic tension
Oh, listen to me there. I've got no right to claim I know much about this stuff. I don't know any of the answers. I do believe that spite and schadenfreude aren't emotions that will lead to a better future. I'm not saying that you show that, but I do recognize these as the kind of emotions behind some anti-war discussion. That's lazy, a Nelson Muntz policy.

Really, if the last few years has been anything like mine for you -- post-9/11 shock, followed by disbelief, anger at the propaganda war waged by our governments and media on their own people leading up to Iraq, then a feverish post-war addiction to news sites, history books, international politics books, devouring the latest horrors perpetrated by Islamists or our own leaders, starting to understand the way this world of ours works as being not only corrupt and morally indifferent, but depraved, irrational, ravenous -- the most natural response IS to give up hope in anything constructive and wish disaster on everyone, the worse the better. Bring on the Deluge, bring on defeat, maybe it'll teach us a lesson. Seventy-four percent of Americans supported the war at its outset. They didn't care about oil! They wanted to fucking go out and kill Arabs! They're only against it now because they're losing! They re-elected Bush and Blair! Hell, how can you even honestly support the idea of democracy anymore? Maybe ordinary, dumb people are too ignorant, plain outright bigoted and malicious, to be trusted anywhere near power. Our countries have murdered over a million human beings right in front of our eyes, our leaders are outright war criminals and nobody with a public voice will speak for us. Nobody will ever hold these criminals accountable, or even admit we did wrong. How the fuck can all this be?

There has to be better air to breathe.
posted by Bletch at 1:30 AM on September 23, 2007 [25 favorites]


Note to Congress:

Just what in the holy hell do you think you're doing? Stop doing it. Do something useful. Do you people actually want us to come up with a viable third party, or what?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:26 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, they'll stay friends with them and when we leave, they'll have a huge in.

The US is never leaving Iraq.
posted by pracowity at 3:29 AM on September 23, 2007


Bletch: "...it's still hard to work out exactly what's going on, whether the primary driver of violence is inter-ethnic tension as claimed here, or whether this violence is really a product of concerted resistance to invasion."

Basra is a test case. Now that the Brits have pulled out, will violence increase or decrease there?
posted by CCBC at 3:47 AM on September 23, 2007


Okay, wow. The reason I'm surprised, really surprised by this statement is that we have have been "taking the shi'ite's side".

not totally - we seem to have the peculiar idea that we can eventually get everyone in iraq to play together nicely and have pressured the shi'ites to make concessions they don't really want to make

So I mean, I'm not exactly sure how we could be more helpful to the Shiites.

we could stop insisting they stay in the country as part of iraq - we could stop insisting they share oil revenues - we could stop insisting they respect minority rights

i'm not saying we should do that, but plainly, from their point of view we aren't taking their side as wholeheartedly as we took saddam's 20 or so years ago

my basic point is the only way someone's going to get real control of the situation there is by backing one faction and allowing them to deal with the others mercilessly - and bush looks like he's about to pick the wrong faction

The US is never leaving Iraq.

the rest of the world will be happy about that - they'll be able to do whatever the hell they want while we're bogged down there
posted by pyramid termite at 5:50 AM on September 23, 2007


The U.S. never should have invaded Iraq. The option should have been left open as a threat, just as it should be left open for Iran. I think it's stupid to ask presidential hopefuls if they would consider using military force against Iran. The correct answer isn't "No", the correct answer isn't "Yes". The correct answer is something along the lines of "While I am hopeful that we will always be able to resolve our differences diplomatically if there is good intelligence that indicates that they intend to harm Americans or are lending support to those with intent to do us harm the military option must always be available as a last resort."

I wasn't in favor of withdrawing even though I also wasn't in favor of going there. I wasn't in favor of withdrawing because it would create an ideal power vacuum for somebody worse than Saddam to take over; because we were responsible for destroying the infrastructure, economy and political system of a country under false pretenses; because we should be rebuilding Iraq in partial repayment of a debt we can never repay.

I don't think that it's possible anymore, we may as well withdraw. The administration is too inept and malevolent. It's so bad that they are actually using mercenaries in the form of Black Water and other lesser firms. Perhaps we can give aid and try to have diplomatic influence after we change our own regime, though I think it will take a long time to polish off the deep tarnish to the United State's reputation.
posted by substrate at 6:01 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it were China invading America, the insurgency would be heroes.


Red Dawn II: Yellow Peril
posted by geos at 6:49 AM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


the undeniable influence of neighboring powers

Like Saudi Arabia. Most foreign insurgents are Saudis. Last December the Associated Press reported that Saudi citizens were giving millions of dollars to the insurgents to buy weapons, "including shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles." At least five helicopters were shot down in January/February 2007.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:44 AM on September 23, 2007


It's going to take 100 years to undo what Bush did in eight.
posted by furtive at 7:48 AM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I love the "new" Macleans.

I got a shiny new nickel for whoever gutshoots their cover designer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 AM on September 23, 2007


Only one more year. Only one more year.

Don't underestimate how much damage can be wrought in a single year. Doubly so given that the normal checks and balances that usually slow down government action have basically been side-stepped or otherwise neutralized.
posted by PsychoKick at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2007


tangential: I'm in yr congress immunizing your tellecoms.

Greenwald shouldn't even be writing about that. Someone could get killed!
posted by homunculus at 10:09 AM on September 23, 2007


Sometimes I think Iraq doesn’t exist at all. It’s just a series of preconceptions, a country invented to keep the West’s intelligentsia busy arguing and pontificating, fighting over facts about a place that is so clearly a work of fiction. Frankly, I wish it didn’t exist, at least for the sake of Iraqis. First Saddam, now this. [...]

America’s other main enemy is al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda what a cheap watch is to a Swiss timepiece—effective, easily reproduced, and disposable.

Thanks for posting-- really interesting article. Also, both deeply depressing, and not at all surprising.
posted by jokeefe at 10:35 AM on September 23, 2007


War Costing $720 Million Each Day, Group Says
posted by homunculus at 10:51 AM on September 23, 2007


...that you would have to fly from Baghdad to Damascus, and then drive six hours back across the desert, to get only 40 minutes outside Baghdad in order to see it for yourself...

Kinda like this article...all over the place and then really not getting to the point. How did Bush become the new Saddam?

Don't get me wrong, though. I liked the article. It did have insight and an interesting perspective.
posted by jaronson at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2007


It'll become clearer when the current Administration leaves office and flees to South America to avoid being sent to the Hague in orange jumpsuits.
posted by trondant at 11:36 AM on September 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bush Oil Buddies Divvy Up Iraq
posted by homunculus at 12:54 PM on September 23, 2007


"But intellectuals and journalists are, to an astonishing degree, sentimental, and fawn over cultures like high school kids with a new crush. If you protect us and tell us your story, we like you and are very sympathetic—for a while. If you try to kill us or, worse, treat us with contempt, we’ll demonize you."

OK, it's a terribly cynical take on things, but it's also one of the most frank assessments I've read of the problems inherent in digging for "truth" in war zones. It's a problem that surfaces (albeit in less intense ways) in all ethnographic research: co-operative and helpful informants/consultants tend to appear as protagonists in the final report.
posted by LMGM at 1:07 PM on September 23, 2007


Start helping the Shia now? Pretty damn ignorant. Killing Saddam was "helping the Shia," and the Iranians to boot, big time (as was taking down the Taliban, temporarily, in Afghanistan).

The Iraqi Sunni have a slur for the Shia majority -- "Iranians."

All of which is to say, ask yourself this -- in the wake of 9/11, what could a US president do to simultaneously advance the agendas of both Osama bin Laden/whatever remains of the Sunni al-Qaeda network (unwinnable war in Iraq, muslims hating the US more than ever, more terrorist attacks than ever before, not addressing the core tensions with regards to Israel and, for different reasons, Saudi Arabia) and the radical Iranians currently in power, despite an Iranian populace that is oftentimes pro-Western, if not downright pro-American (removing Saddam to the west, the Taliban to the east, invading a neighboring country and thereby allowing the hard-liners to ramp up their crackdowns in the name of national security, installing a pro-Iranian like Maliki and pretty much serving up all of Iraq to the Iranian hegemon for decades to come).

George W. Bush is the best friend radical Sunni and radical Shia ever had.
posted by bardic at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2007


red dawn II: electric boogaloo
posted by CitizenD at 6:54 PM on September 23, 2007


If it were China invading America, the insurgency would be heroes.
It's pretty hard to reconcile that view of the insurgency with the vast ethnic cleansing going on, the violence against civilians, the car bombings (which have killed, according to the latest ORB survey, over 200,000 people), the undeniable influence of neighboring powers, and the vast efflux of millions of desperate refugees.


There are parts of the USA where lynchings would take place the very same day the chaos of war reigned down upon your country. There would be a wholesale slaughter of blacks, mexicans, and the swarthy. Your homebred McVeighs would be at the government buildings as soon as possible, and a lot of your fundie evangelists would declare armageddon and open season on non-believers, plus there'd be wholesale fleeing of the country by everyone but the poor and the immigrants (who'd probably go on to be the ones to actually save it).

In other words, you're looney if you don't think the USA would disintegrate just as badly and in much the same way.

You forget: Baghdad was a very modern, very civilized, very good bit of civilization back in its day. It's the USA alone that has made it possible to disintegrate.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 PM on September 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


if we took the shi'ite side, the iranians would have a lot more difficult time using them for their own ends, which they have been - and it might actually get the iranians to tolerate us better

You already took the shi'ite side, they just think that siding with Iran gives them a brighter future.

Way to have the rug pulled out from under you.

Otherwise things are going swimmingly.
posted by carfilhiot at 10:14 PM on September 23, 2007


Oh and whoever takes over once the Yanks leave, is going to make Saddam looking like a frigging 12 year old girl.
posted by carfilhiot at 10:16 PM on September 23, 2007


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