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"Look, im not going to debate the issue, man."
November 9, 2010 3:16 AM   Subscribe

"Look, I'm not going to debate the issue, man." - George W. Bush [Press play for the quite embarrassing interview] "I said some stupid things... Here's one of the worst. So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And I said to her, what is sex like after fifty?"" - George W. Bush
posted by malapropist (172 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
The uncensored version goes like this.

Dubya: "So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And I said to her, what is sex like after fifty? Ad Dad said son... watch this drive!"
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:25 AM on November 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seriously though, how hard must the Republicans have worked to keep Dubya quiet until after the mid-terms? Now that they're over the crazy old coot is popping up all over the place, pulling out some of the old hits mixed in with some new Bushisms. It's like now that the Republicans have achieved their aim (ie; making sure no-one remembered that this bumbling oaf was once President), they've set him free to spout shit again and now he's just got a backlog of dumb stuff he wants to say.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:28 AM on November 9, 2010 [40 favorites]


Why would Barbara show George the miscarried fetus? I assume it was in a jar only to transport it to the hospital for tests to find out what happened?
posted by Houstonian at 3:32 AM on November 9, 2010


There's a full transcript here (if you can stomach the silly interface)
posted by Perplexity at 3:32 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


So will we get to name a sewage treatment plant after this clown or not?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:43 AM on November 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


In the past couple years, there's really nothing I missed more than listening to that smug muppet and his supporters use the "we weren't attacked again" line as justification for all his crimes.
posted by gman at 3:43 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fuck this clown.
posted by Optamystic at 3:45 AM on November 9, 2010 [28 favorites]


Sewage treatment plants are useful, and should be given more respect than that.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:50 AM on November 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


I hate to comment in my own thread, but as time goes on, I and my friends can't help but wonder why it was ok for 9/11 to happen under Bush while if something siimilar were to happen under Obama it would harken towards the socialist death of us all.
posted by malapropist at 3:58 AM on November 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


LAUER: By the way, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, according to most reports, 183 times. This guy was waterboarded more than 80 times. And you explain that his understanding of Islam was that he had to resist interrogation up to a certain point and waterboarding was the technique that allowed him to reach that threshold and fulfill his religious duty and then cooperate. And you have a quote from him. "You must do this for all the brothers." End quote.

BUSH: Yeah. Isn't that interesting?
Yeah, it is! Hmm, what's more interesting? That he believes it was important to meet the terrorist's expectations of the American government, or that he actually followed the advice of one of the terrorists to turn modern torture into an American brand name?
posted by shii at 3:59 AM on November 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


When the CIA guy says "Mr President, here is your intelligence" I imagine him handing Bush a dead fly, or maybe a bowl of custard.
posted by jonnyploy at 4:02 AM on November 9, 2010 [51 favorites]


I and my friends can't help but wonder why it was ok for 9/11 to happen under Bush while if something siimilar were to happen under Obama it would harken towards the socialist death of us all.

I wonder if their respective skin tones may have been a factor in this...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on November 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


I am curious to read Dubya's book if only to see what the world seemed like to him from inside that airtight soundproof limo.
posted by chavenet at 4:16 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, the book I'd like to read is Dick Cheney's. More and more, I think that he was the real power behind the throne for those eight years -- the trouble being, of course, that the guy was absolutely barking mad.

It's the barking-mad part I want to read about. One of these days we'll get a true sense of just how far that man's paranoia extended, and I just feel like when we do, it'll make so much of his policies make sense.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:23 AM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Republicans have worked to keep Dubya quiet until after the mid-terms

With all the Bush-love out there?

Did you read the comments on the second link? Things like:

The most striking thing about George W. Bush, even before he was President, is his character. Regardless of your political persuasions, you can't disregard his integrity. I miss him on many levels. He's a man who will make a decision few of us would ever want to make, and yet, he tears up without shame. He loves his family and he loves our military. George W. Bush is a good man. I wish more young men aspired to be like him.

Or even:

His only mistake in office was to act like a democrat and bail out an insurance company and to promote TARP 1.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:26 AM on November 9, 2010


Nice astroturf comments...

God help me, I hope no one is thinking about running him for another political office. He should be banned from political office, public transportation, and Wal-Mart.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:29 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did you read the comments on the second link? Things like:

That is an incredibly loyal 27%.
posted by NoMich at 4:44 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bush is already effectively banned from public office. The real ban should be on anyone who is against "taxes" in general. A business would never want an executive who was against generating income.
posted by DU at 4:45 AM on November 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


You know, the book I'd like to read is Dick Cheney's. More and more, I think that he was the real power behind the throne for those eight years -- the trouble being, of course, that the guy was absolutely barking mad.

Yeah, you think you want to read it but the next thing you know you're naked in the woods, covered in goat entrails and summoning the Dread Old Ones.
posted by atrazine at 4:48 AM on November 9, 2010 [32 favorites]


The fact that some people still think that he's the man really makes me despair for my nation. Folks need to understand the phenomenon of the "dry drunk" to really get what W is all about--the petulance, the inappropriate behavior in public (like his compulsion to touch people in inappropriate places and ways, including German chancellor Angela Merkel), even the sort of impulsiveness that led him to boil down the question of invading Iraq to "Fuck it, we're going in"--but a lot of people still see that as being "cute" or "genuine" rather than "spoiled rotten". He doesn't have to deal with his shit; that's your problem. Real, genuine, deep reflection didn't get him where he got; why start now?
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:52 AM on November 9, 2010 [20 favorites]


I love the way he says "activists" like its a dirty word. I'm only a few minutes in but he seems more intelligent, genuine and likeable than I gave him credit for.

Not so sure about the foetus in a jar incident...
posted by doublehappy at 4:52 AM on November 9, 2010


I dunno. Kind of feels like speaking ill of the dead. Whats done is done; is there anything we can learn from it? How does one keep a dubya from re-occurring?
posted by Bovine Love at 4:55 AM on November 9, 2010


When the CIA guy says "Mr President, here is your intelligence" I imagine him handing Bush a dead fly, or maybe a bowl of custard.

I imagine it a glowing green medicine in a small dark container with a stopper. And the CIA guy sez, Mr. President, put two drops up your nose and lo, you will be able to read above third grade level. And Bush is all, "Got it!" and chugs it all like a brewski and the CIA guys are looking at each other with total panic and despair because this is the one vial of artificial intelligence the aliens left and fuck what are we going to do now.
posted by angrycat at 4:55 AM on November 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Okay, so privileged dumbass richboy say dumbass richboy stuff? Color me not surprised.

Bovine Love: How does one keep a dubya from re-occurring?

You don't. It's not in the interest of the politicos to not have someone like Bush or O'Donnel or Palin around - they galvanize the electorate and people focus on that stuff rather than what they really do (such as prep the road for bank failures, etc).
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:02 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kind of miss w, to be honest. He at least kept GOP Islamophobia in check.
posted by empath at 5:06 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno. Kind of feels like speaking ill of the dead. Whats done is done; is there anything we can learn from it? How does one keep a dubya from re-occurring?

That's exactly what I told the judge!

Sent from my JailBerry
posted by atrazine at 5:08 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kind of miss w, to be honest. He at least kept GOP Islamophobia in check

Was that before or after he ordered the invasion of a completely different muslim country to the one that enabled 9/11 on the implicit pretext of it being behind 9/11?
posted by MuffinMan at 5:12 AM on November 9, 2010 [23 favorites]


Kind of feels like speaking ill of the dead. Whats done is done; is there anything we can learn from it? How does one keep a dubya from re-occurring?

How can you learn from something you ignore and repress?
posted by DU at 5:19 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is there a printed transcript of this interview? I just can't stand to see and hear that asshole and his smug smirking.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:26 AM on November 9, 2010


I kind of miss w, to be honest. He at least kept GOP Islamophobia in check

And was responsible for the deaths of 68,000+ civilians in Iraq, but hey, let's not quibble.
posted by blucevalo at 5:26 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oops, sorry, missed the transcript link.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:28 AM on November 9, 2010


Somebody asked me at work yesterday if I was going to read the Bush book.

I said something like, "Nah, I'll probably just read a couple scathing reviews, and I'll be good."
posted by box at 5:31 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I hate to comment in my own thread, but as time goes on, I and my friends can't help but wonder why it was ok for 9/11 to happen under Bush while if something siimilar were to happen under Obama it would harken towards the socialist death of us all.

Well, part of it is just that 9/11 was so unexpected at the time, and since then republicans have been squeezing the fear melon 24/7, dribbling it's juice across the country. Or something. So when the attack happened people were afraid and rallied around the leader. If it happened now, people would say it was expected and Obama didn't do enough to stop it.
posted by delmoi at 5:32 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does one keep a dubya from re-occurring?

You don't. It's not in the interest of the politicos to not have someone like Bush or O'Donnel or Palin around...

As evidence of that, witness Pelosi taking the answer to the question "off the table."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:40 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


It will be even more nauseating to watch the media and the public gradually turn this ignoramus into an "elder statesman" in the coming decades than it was watching them do it with Nixon in the years before he died.

He at least kept GOP Islamophobia in check.

What? Is this a bad joke? Commander-in-Chief Bush made the decision to invade a Muslim country on false presences and killed tens of thousands of civilians in the process. He should be in prison, not giving prime-time interviews embellished by soft-focus images and gentle music.

I love the way he says "activists" like its a dirty word.

So would you expect anything else from the son of an ex-CIA director?
posted by aught at 5:47 AM on November 9, 2010


I wish more young men aspired to be like him.

All the hours I've put in blithely flying over victims of government-caused disasters and ordering arbitrary and capricious wars will pay off some day, I know it...
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:49 AM on November 9, 2010


"Well, we just didn't have any solid intelligence that gave us a warning on this. We didn't have any clear intelligence that said you know, "Get ready. They're gonna fly airplanes into New York buildings."'

Jesus Christ. Does the CIA ever get intelligence that good?
posted by graventy at 5:50 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flagged as obscene.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:51 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


My persistent hope that Cheney, Rove, et al would decide to save their asses and make George into the patsy fall-boy he was so clearly born to be is fading fast.
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 AM on November 9, 2010


empath: "He at least kept GOP Islamophobia in check"

A lot of people seem to be attacking empath over this, but it's kind of true, in a sense. During his presidency Bush frequently separated Muslims from terrorists, even emphasizing that not all Muslims are terrorists. You'd have to look pretty hard to find a Republican saying that today.
posted by graventy at 5:54 AM on November 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


Commander-in-Chief Bush made the decision to invade a Muslim country on false presences and killed tens of thousands of civilians in the process.

I kind of think that them being Muslim was somewhat incidental to the fact that the country was sitting on a shitload of oil.

I don't want the dipshit to be president again, but I do wish he had said something when the mosque shit was going on.
posted by empath at 5:55 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Politics were more fun when we didn't have to support the government though, right?
posted by keratacon at 6:00 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find the idea that the GOP somehow kept W quiet before the elections rather odd. It's not like he's ever been shy about speaking his mind. And he is, well, rather his own man (unless you think that Cheney and Rove were his puppet masters. I don't, but really don't know the truth of the matter.) And I gotta say I kind of admire his honesty, at least in this instance. Try to imagine Bill Clinton saying "Sure. I banged her. Her and about twenty other "assistants." Sorry. My bad."
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:06 AM on November 9, 2010


Try to imagine Bill Clinton saying "Sure. I banged her. Her and about twenty other "assistants." Sorry. My bad."

I can totally imagine Bill Clinton saying that.
posted by empath at 6:09 AM on November 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


During his presidency Bush frequently separated Muslims from terrorists, even emphasizing that not all Muslims are terrorists.

Bush may have occasionally paid lip service to the distinction in an attempt to outmaneuver critics of his policies, but his actions spoke otherwise. Do you really think the U.S. would have invaded a Christian-majority country in similar circumstances (despotic but not immediately threatening leader, oil resources, another invasion already underway)?

The Bush administration understood that because Iraq was a Muslim country they could get away with invading it because so many of the (Saudi and North African) 9/11 hijackers were also Muslim, and because a frightened - and geographically and culturally ignorant - American public would not question them.

I mean, it's like believing one of the reasons Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq because cared about the plight of Iraqi women, because he said so in a couple speeches. Just another cynical smokescreen specifically designed to defuse critics (in this case a specifically pseudo-progressive fake concern for oppressed women).
posted by aught at 6:12 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


George W. Bush admits he's a war criminal in new book

surely this
posted by fungible at 6:16 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


"We didn't have any clear intelligence that said you know, "Get ready. They're gonna fly airplanes into New York buildings."'
Jesus Christ. Does the CIA ever get intelligence that good?


You mean, like the 8/11 presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:17 AM on November 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


Oh, his memoirs are out? Here's my reaction.

That, and a flying shoe...
posted by Skeptic at 6:19 AM on November 9, 2010


Miscarried fetus in a jar???? WTF?!!!
posted by stormpooper at 6:21 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder declared that the interrogation practice known as waterboarding amounts to torture, departing from the interpretation of his Bush administration predecessors.

And now someone has sent the Attorney General a signed confession of the crime.

Wonder what will happen next?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:34 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wonder what will happen next?

Maybe Bush will get a Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:37 AM on November 9, 2010 [8 favorites]



Wonder what will happen next?

Everyone involved dies rich and happy of a ripe old age.
posted by The Whelk at 6:38 AM on November 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Eponysterical (by the way)
posted by scblackman at 6:40 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone involved dies rich and happy of a ripe old age.

Yeah most probably this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:40 AM on November 9, 2010


You mean, like the 8/11 presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."?

That's what makes his statement so completely ridiculous. He's basically arguing that it's not his fault for not planning ahead because that's too vague.

Do you really think the U.S. would have invaded a Christian-majority country in similar circumstances (despotic but not immediately threatening leader, oil resources, another invasion already underway)?


If his father had already invaded that same country ten years ago? Yes. Look, I'm not trying to say that he's a peacemaker who doesn't see color or religion. Don't think I'm trying to give him a Nobel Prize or expound on his virtues or anything. He was an awful president. He's also one of the few Republicans on record saying that Muslims and terrorists are not exchangeable words.
posted by graventy at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2010


I've been hearing this quote all over, "I will say definitely the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power" and can't help wishing the interviewer would have said, "You know, a lot of people think the world would have been better off without you. Is that sufficient justification for killing you?"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:43 AM on November 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


Guys, Iraq under Saddam was a secular state, not an Islamic state. So the entire "attacked another Muslim country" thing doesn't hold much water, especially when the government of Iraq was vilified, not the populace at large.
posted by mikeh at 6:45 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


You *know* there's already a Miscarried Fetus In A Jar Presidential Exploratory Committee for 2012. In the early polling, it's beating Romney by 2 points in Iowa, and goes +5 against Gingrich nationally. Axelrod is already doing the oppo on it, too. As always, the big question mark is will Palin support it.
posted by briank at 6:47 AM on November 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I hate this guy on every conceivable level, but equating all Muslims to terrorists certainly was not OK to him. The last decade could have been so much worse if he acted like the current xenophobes running for/in office.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:47 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Foreign Policy reflects on whether Bush really was as bad as all that. (SPOILER: Yes, he was.)
posted by shakespeherian at 6:50 AM on November 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


Still implicitly linking Iraq to 9/11 after all these years. I saw Nicole Wallace make it explicit, actually, when she was interviewed by O'Donnell last night about the Bush interview, along the lines of "those of us who were there on 9/11 should be excused from starting a war with Iraq because we were all scared it would happen again."

What the fuck? And O'Donnell, who is quite good, didn't call her on it.

George Bush don't like American people. What a fucked up piece of shit he is.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:54 AM on November 9, 2010


He was an awful president. He's also one of the few Republicans on record saying that Muslims and terrorists are not exchangeable words.

Because you have to go on record when much of your policy is based on manipulating current anti-Muslim sentiment to achieve your aims...
posted by iamck at 6:55 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nice link shakespeherian.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:57 AM on November 9, 2010


Was that before or after he ordered the invasion of a completely different muslim country to the one that enabled 9/11 on the implicit pretext of it being behind 9/11?

It is worse (!) than that: Iraq was the one secular state acting as a check on Iran and others in the region. No doubt that under Hussein it was a despotic and cruel regime (albeit without WMDs or intent to pursue WMDs) but conflating Iraq-then with Islamic nation-states actually undermines the point you are trying to make here.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:57 AM on November 9, 2010


aught: "Do you really think the U.S. would have invaded a Christian-majority country in similar circumstances (despotic but not immediately threatening leader, oil resources, another invasion already underway)?"

The US invaded Haiti while involved in the Balkans, no?
posted by mkb at 7:10 AM on November 9, 2010


albeit without WMDs or intent to pursue WMDs

They actually had WMD (if we're counting chemical weapons, at least) and an intent to get more, including nuclear weapons. I've always thought the argument over 'did they or didn't they' has been a distraction from the real problem of the Iraq War, which was that even if they did have WMDs -- even if they had nuclear weapons -- the invasion still would have been unjustified.

I always thought that having WMD (especially when WMD's are so broadly defined) and intent to get more was a really low bar to go to war over, and in no way justified the invasion. Lots and lots and lots of countries have WMD and an intent to get more, Pakistan, India, Iran, Israel, and many of them are in violation of international treaties and Security Counsel resolutions.

Pre-emptive war should be limited to 'eminent threat', and 'eminent' should REALLY mean 'eminent'. As in, they are massing troops on the border, and/or are putting their nuclear arsenals on alert.

Merely being in possession of weapons of any kind is no reason to invade a country, ever.
posted by empath at 7:12 AM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


The US invaded Haiti while involved in the Balkans, no?

"Christian-majority" can be more precisely phrased as "white-skinned".

Haiti doesn't count.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:12 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


And I gotta say I kind of admire his honesty, at least in this instance.

Honesty? In this interview he says, "We didn't have an attack." In November 2001 he called the anthrax attacks "a second wave of terrorist attacks." In this interview he says he asked Dick Cheney to be his running mate. Close, he asked Cheney to be the head of his vice-presidential search committee, and Cheney picked himself.

Well, we just didn't have any solid intelligence that gave us a warning on this. We didn't have any clear intelligence that said you know, 'Get ready. They're gonna fly airplanes into New York buildings.'

"I mean, sure, I got a briefing that said there were 'patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.' I told the guy, 'All right. You've covered your ass, now.' I mean, what else could I have done? Interrupt my vacation?"
posted by kirkaracha at 7:13 AM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Another few years of this and Bush will be enshrined as a national hero like Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon. In fact, he'll be used as the standard for disaster worse than Warren G. Harding. But that will be many years ahead and long after the US has fallen as hard as the UK did after WWII.
posted by warbaby at 7:13 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


God help me, I hope no one is thinking about running him for another political office.

Not likely, but many people want Jeb Bush to run for the big seat in 2012 -- though I think he's said he's not interested in doing so.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:16 AM on November 9, 2010


I guess maybe a vague sense of nostalgia for an era where it actually seemed like things could turn around with the right guy, when everything wasn't so far gone...
posted by setanor at 7:17 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is Bush a war criminal? If so why? Is he any worse than any other president before or after him? Look at Regan in Nicaragua, George I in Iraq, Clinton in the Balkans, Obama in Afghanistan/Pakistan. But I guess that's where some people bring up the false equivalency criticism. Apparently some human lives aren't equivalent to others. Innocent Iraqis killed by Bush's regime are not equivalent to innocent Pakistani's killed by Obama's regime. Innocent Nicaraguans killed by Regan's regime aren't equivalent to innocent Serbs killed by Clinton's regime. And so on and so forth ad nauseam; the arguments target usually depending on ones political persuasion.

I will admit in some of these cases an equivalency of magnitude isn't met but when discussing human lives where do you draw the line? Is it ok to kill 1000 people to further our "national objectives"? How about 10,000 people? What about 100,000 people? So while I will admit that an equivalency of magnitude is not met I would hasten to point out that this becomes a very confusing moral issue when dealing with human lives. Usually a moral issue that most Americans would prefer to avoid when dealing with our responsibility as citizens of country that seems to have a nasty habit of killing innocent people as a matter of foreign policy. Please note that I am not saying that America is the worst country ever and that we are pure evil. What I am saying is that as citizens of this country we have a responsibility to at the very least examine these issues. We don't really have the power to change Russia's or China's foreign policy but are in a position to change ours. Or a least we like to think we are.

If the mods feel this is a derail go ahead and remove this comment. It seems on target to me but I could be wrong.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:21 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the war criminal bit is less to do with invasions and deaths and more to do with violating the Geneva Conventions agreement against torture.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:26 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is Bush a war criminal? If so why? Is he any worse than any other president before or after him? Look at Regan in Nicaragua, George I in Iraq, Clinton in the Balkans, Obama in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

If he's a war criminal, it's because he's guilty of war crimes, not because he's worse than Clinton or better than Reagan or whatever. You don't grade that shit on a curve.
posted by box at 7:26 AM on November 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


Miscarried fetus in a jar???? WTF?!!!

I was slightly ago at this as well. It kind of seems like a servant would be the one holding the jar fetus, but maybe this was too personal a moment or really late at night or something.
posted by angrycat at 7:36 AM on November 9, 2010


He *is* a war criminal. And we are complicit.
posted by ahimsakid at 7:43 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Miscarried fetus in a jar???? WTF?!!!
posted by punkfloyd at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2010


He *is* a war criminal. And we are complicit.

Speak for yourself, buddy. I'm Canadian.
posted by Zozo at 7:51 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, magnitude matters, and yes, justification matters. At least in the case of the Balkans, the intervention was made to stop an ongoing genocide. Now, perhaps US foreign policy goals were also being met, which is why we intervened in the Balkans but not Darfur, but nonetheless, the argument can certainly be made that less lives were lost overall as a result of American and European intervention.

I don't think it's the case that the justification for the Iraq war at all justifies the magnitude of death and destruction, and moreover, I don't think any proferred justification would make the Bush regime's torture of Iraqi's and suspected terrorists not a war crime.

Shitty things happen in war. That doesn't mean that there are no limits to the ways that wars should be waged, and that there are no lines that can be drawn in who you prosecute and who you don't.

The single worst failure of the Democrats in Congress and Obama was the choice not to have hearings and prosecute Bush officials for the war crimes they committed while in office. I suspect it's because many Democratic legislators were aware of and made complicit in the torture regime and in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was a corrupt decision made by a corrupt government, and it's fucking heartbreaking.

They can frame it as political pragmatism all they want, but it's still complicity in mass murder and torture.

Someday the truth will get out. Probably after everyone involved is dead and gone.
posted by empath at 7:58 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is Bush a war criminal? If so why? Is he any worse than any other president before or after him? Look at Regan in Nicaragua, George I in Iraq, Clinton in the Balkans, Obama in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Torturing POWs.

Wow, two words? That's all I have to say?

Oh, Bush. You bring dumb, drooling brevity out in all of us.
posted by silentpundit at 7:58 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm not using war criminal in the legal sense as we all know that no American president will ever be convicted let alone tried for war crimes. If you think that torture has only happened under Bush's watch then you are seriously naive. Bush just had the balls to bring it out into the open. Torture was a common occurrence during WWII and has continued up to this day.

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Office of Public Saftey became the cover under which the CIA developed experts in torture in the 1960's and 1970's. At the Latin American Defense College, School of the Americas, International Police Academy, and U.S. Border Patrol Academy, courses in interrogation, anatomy, and basic electricity were offered. Jaime Wright et al. (Nunca Mais, New York, 1986) describe incidents of U.S. advisors and U.S. trained Latin American officers using prisoners as guinea pigs in torture classes in Brazil. In the 1980's U.S. military and CIA officials paid Salvadoran army death squads to torture and kill citizens they identified as politically dangerous. Moreover, U.S. arms firms and the U.S. government, among other countries such as Britain, are deeply involved in the sale or transfer of torture equipment. (source)

This fallacy that the U.S. "doesn't torture" and that George Bush's presidency was somehow an anomaly really needs to be put to rest. Some of the worst torturers of the Western Hemisphere were trained and set loose on Latin America by our government.

My point isn't to try and determine who is worse but to point out that committing war crimes is kinda a prerequisite for being a president of the U.S.A. And yes I agree you don't grade that on a curve which is my point exactly.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:04 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's very easy to try and construe things as either 'right' or 'wrong', or 'good' or 'bad'. Whilst remaining frustrated with Mr. Bush's decisions throughout his presidency, I never saw him quite starkly as good or bad.

There are many comparisons made with Mr. Clinton and overall, the conclusion that I am comfortable with is that Mr. Clinton was President when it was easy to be President. Mr. Bush was President when it was difficult to be President. It's not an easy job at any time however many of the problems that any President faces are systemic and cannot be put on their shoulders completely.

Further, as Obama's Presidency is illustrating, ideology often fails in the face of the practical needs that emerge. Bush doesn't need to criticise Obama; what Obama is doing illustrates the difficulties of the office.

Bush wasn't the best or the worst President. He's not the first President to enter an unpopular war. He's not the first President to preside over financial collapse. He's not good or bad. He just is.

A serious problem with America is the lack of the average American to see the connection between their consumption patterns and the resultant demands those patterns face on the country's governance system.

Mr. Bush did not want oil because he wanted oil or Mr. Cheney wanted oil, but because the average American consumer demands it. Thus the current state.
posted by nickrussell at 8:05 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the worst part of it all.

Despite the fact that the Democrats are complicit in mass murder and war crimes, they are still the only goddamned party I can vote for, because the alternative is so much fucking worse.

If Obama manages to wind the Iraq War down and doesn't start another fucking war by 2012, I'll have considered his Presidency a success, no matter what else happens. Because holy shit, can you imagine where we'd be right now if McCain/Palin had one? Jesus fucking christ.
posted by empath at 8:08 AM on November 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


one=won.
posted by empath at 8:08 AM on November 9, 2010


The worst thing about Bush was not so much the torture (although that was bad) or the hundred thousand + civilian deaths, but that he did it for literally no reason. There was no reason for it that you and I could even argue about. He didn't have a strategy. He was basically like "hey let's bomb these people. Didn't work out; oops, my bad. LOL!"

Completely pathetic. If it were a movie you'd get pissed and turn it off for the sheer nonsensical bullshit folly of it all.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:11 AM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


"He's not the first President to preside over financial collapse. He's not good or bad. He just is."

No, actually, he's pretty bad by almost every metric.

Relativism stops being relevant when someone presides over the death and destruction of an entire nation of peoples.

What happened in Iraq was a prolonged and roundabout genocide.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:14 AM on November 9, 2010


At least in the case of the Balkans, the intervention was made to stop an ongoing genocide.

There isn't much agreement, except when justifying our military action, about the exact extent of the genocide. Either way taking the high ball estimate (200,000 including soldiers) pales in comparison to the number of people killed by our policies in the Iraq.(including deaths resulting from sanctions and the complete destruction of civilian infrastructure twice in the space of 12 years)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:14 AM on November 9, 2010


My reactions, in order.

1. Why couldn't this have come out before the election? I think the visual reminder of Sir Smirks-a-lot would have been worth a couple of points in a generic election towards the Democrats. "Hey, you think the president is bad? THIS is what a REALLY bad president looks like."

2. Matt Lauer is really a terrible journalist.

3. Bush's key failure is not going to be remembered as Katrina or mishandling the economic crisis. No, his overwhelming failure is his 9/11 response. After 9/11, there were massive outpourings of pro-US sympathy and support. There were spontaneous pro-US rallies in Cairo, Nablus, and TEHRAN. This was a generational opportunity to capitalize on the support of the rest of the world for good foreign policy and even to go after al-Qaida, and he blew it.

He screwed it up by overreach, imperialistic policies, and brutality. He launched a needless war of aggression against an Islamic country, pushed dystopian surveillance at home and abroad, and saddled the world with his horrific apocalyptic viewpoint. That he still has apologists here, and that his political heirs just won an election only two years after we finally got rid of him, absolutely gives me hives. THERE WERE SPONTANEOUS PRO-US RALLIES IN TEHRAN, FOR FUCK'S SAKE. It is impossible to overstate his failure.
posted by norm at 8:15 AM on November 9, 2010 [53 favorites]


If Obama... doesn't start another fucking war by 2012...

How many Pakistanis will we need to kill before it counts as a war?

Because Obama's score is 1,500 and counting.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you think that torture has only happened under Bush's watch then you are seriously naive. Bush just had the balls to bring it out into the open. Torture was a common occurrence during WWII and has continued up to this day.

Yes, but there is a huge fucking difference between making a public stand against torture and prosecuting people when they get caught, while still doing it in secret, and redefining torture out of existence and publicly engaging in it. There are worse sins than hypocrisy, believe it or not.

Just imagine it from the perspective of someone being tortured. It's the difference between -- "if only someone knew what was happening to me, this would all stop." And "The President knows. The New York Times knows. The Congress knows. The American people know. And this will never end." It's the difference between hope and an impossible black hole of despair.
posted by empath at 8:18 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


How many Pakistanis will we need to kill before it counts as a war?

Another war.
posted by empath at 8:19 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why couldn't this have come out before the election?

Because Bush, or his handlers, after a phone call from Cheney and/or Rove, made damn sure it would not come out before the election.

Matt Lauer is really a terrible journalist.

Matt Lauer is not a terrible journalist. Matt Lauer is not a journalist at all.
posted by blucevalo at 8:21 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


How many Pakistanis will we need to kill before it counts as a war?

Because Obama's score is 1,500 and counting.


Careful Joe you're on thin ice...
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:22 AM on November 9, 2010


Yes, but there is a huge fucking difference between making a public stand against torture and prosecuting people when they get caught, while still doing it in secret, and redefining torture out of existence and publicly engaging in it.

So ignorance really is bliss?

There are worse sins than hypocrisy, believe it or not.

Yeah like torture.

There really isn't any difference to the person being tortured. I don't think they really give those guys copies of the NY times or let them have access to the internet so that they know who is or isn't privy to their torture. Either way they are being tortured.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:26 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Those of us who were there on 9/11 should be excused from starting a war with Denmark because we were all scared it would happen again."

"Those of us who were there on 9/11 should be excused from starting a war with Venezuela because we were all scared it would happen again."

"Those of us who were there on 9/11 should be excused from starting a war with Wal-mart because we were all scared it would happen again."
posted by newdaddy at 8:27 AM on November 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Am I a horrible person for supporting a war with Wal-mart? Not GWOT style war but WWII style total war carpet bombing nukes and all.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:28 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not making torture legal also puts limits on when it can be used. If the torturer knows that if he gets caught, he'll be prosecuted, I think that they'll end up doing it in far fewer circumstances. And they certainly won't be keeping detailed records of it to scientifically improve and perfect the technique.
posted by empath at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And in Alternate Reality News, Commissioner of Baseball George W. Bush just delivered a rousing eulogy at Hall of Famer Fidel Castro's funeral, praising all the work the pitcher did in bringing Latin American youth to the game.

Meanwhile, international criminal Richard Cheney threw the newspaper on the floor of his jail cell and pledged for the millionth time to get that Batman.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:32 AM on November 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Bush just had the balls to bring it out into the open.

You make this sound like a good thing. He took it from a fucked up thing that might be engaged in in back rooms illegally to sanctioned policy. He made it "ok" for us to do, because he said it was "ok".

Either way they are being tortured.

And after it became politically acceptable, they were being tortured in record numbers without much public outcry. Again, because despite the fact that we found the Japanese guilty of this exact same thing in WW2, it was acceptable for us to do it because the Executive branch told us it was.

He's a war criminal.
posted by quin at 8:46 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Office of Public Saftey became the cover under which the CIA developed experts in torture in the 1960's and 1970's. At the Latin American Defense College, School of the Americas, International Police Academy, and U.S. Border Patrol Academy, courses in interrogation, anatomy, and basic electricity were offered.

General consensus is that International Police Academy was the worst of the prestigious Police Academy series. A precursor to the bulk of the 1980s series, IPA was deemed too violent for the general public, and the focus was shifted to slapstick comedy.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:47 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And after it became politically acceptable

It's always been politically acceptable. Democrats and republicans both funded the torture schools. It's not like no one knew about this. The American people are just not very good at taking responsibility for their actions or rather the actions of their elected officials. If you mean politically acceptable as in the media is telling us about in a way in which we can't ignore it than I guess I agree with you.

He's a war criminal.

I agree.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:56 AM on November 9, 2010


Yeah, here's the key thing about the School of the Americas. Once the torture training became public, it was stopped. Nobody in government stood up to defend it (except for Dick Cheney).
posted by empath at 8:59 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Off the top of my head, I can think of flouting habeas corpus, invading Iraq for oil (killing people, destroying infrastructure and allowing the looting of the museum of Baghdad), supporting torture, squandering the soft power of the US with America rah rah bullshit, his mendacity, fundamentalism and exceptionalism, slashing funding for stem cell research, tax cuts for the rich and an inept handling of 9/11 and Afghanistan. And you still have his SCOTUS justices, right?

I don't see how comparing him to other presidents exculpates him.
posted by ersatz at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh him. I really wasn't looking forward to his memoirs. I'd prefer to forget him. Hell, i would have taken the John McCain circa 2000 (before he sold out, this based entirely on that one essay by David Foster Wallace where he follows the press around for the primaries)

Is it safe to call him the worst president ever? Those last four years that had republicans in all three branches of government. Remember when a Democratic led obstructionism (over a single bill) was dubbed "the nuclear option?"

Seriously, fuck this guy.

And Joe, how can you compare him to Bush? Bush had the Prince of Darkness as vice president. Joe Biden is an excellent return to form, and he's funny to boot. I wanna say Joe Biden is the best vice president ever. Right after the worst.

I admit I don't have anything constructive to say about any of this. Just raw, grammatically unsound emotion.
posted by hellojed at 9:02 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear AElfwine Evenstar --
Nice comment. Alas, when you glance over the history of our imperial conquest of the world, the building of empire, under the guise of bringing democracy to places that don't want it or don't know what they would do with it if given them, and look at the history of manifest Destiny, another name for land grabbing, you then see that it is both the Democrats and the Republicans who unite in this one thing and continue on the road to militarizing the world and now into space. So, to answer your statement: No. We do not have the power to change things because if we could have, it would have taken place some years ago.
posted by Postroad at 9:18 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure he says "I'm not going to debate the issue, Matt."
posted by mintcake! at 9:23 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


How does one keep a dubya from re-occurring?

Keep him from being elected governor of Texas.

Seriously. You want to change the government? Start toward the bottom, not the top.

Before their presidential or vice-presidential runs ... see if you notice a pattern.

Obama: Senator
Bush II: Governor of Texas
Clinton: Governor of Arkansas
Bush I: Congressman, general politico (e.g. director of the CIA)
Reagan: Governor of California
Carter: Governor of Georgia
Ford: Congressman
Nixon: Congressman
Johnson: Congressman
Kennedy: Congressman, and then a Senator
Eisenhower: Here, finally, we have the last president that wasn't in an elected position prior to the presidency. Almost 50 years ago.

Want a new president? Unless there are any five-star generals handy, first, get a Congressman, a Senator or a Governor that you like...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:23 AM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't see how comparing him to other presidents exculpates him.

I don't see anyone trying to do this.

Once the torture training became public, it was stopped.

Cite? If you are willing to take the military's word on this, the same military currently engaged in torture, than I guess we have come to a stalemate. Maybe you should tell these people that the SOA is all good now.

U.S. Army Maj. Joe Blair, a former director of instruction at the school, said, "there are no substantive changes besides the name. They teach the identical courses that I taught, and changed the course names and use the same manuals." (source)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:27 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


[bunch of comments removed - you know the drill folks. Don't make this personal and don't turn every thread on politics into a repetitve, non-conversational "Obama is bad too" series of pullquotes]
posted by jessamyn at 9:30 AM on November 9, 2010


What I want to know is, WHY WON'T ROSS PEROT SAVE US????
posted by spicynuts at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2010


No. We do not have the power to change things because if we could have, it would have taken place some years ago.

On my more hopeful days I would disagree but when all is said and done I have to unfortunately agree with your statement. I would say, though, that we do have the power but that this power is controlled by the media and power structures in question. I used to think that the internet would be the tool that would allow our people to focus and use their power but as the latest election illustrates this is probably a pipe dream.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is, WHY WON'T ROSS PEROT SAVE US????

"He could still surprise you!"
posted by Joe Beese at 9:37 AM on November 9, 2010


I'm pretty sure he says "I'm not going to debate the issue, Matt."

"You're glib. You don't know the history of Iraq. I do."
posted by Joe Beese at 9:39 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just for giggles I downloaded the first chapter to my Kindle.

Nearly all the historians suggested that I read Memoirs by President Ulysses S. Grant, which I did. The book captures his distinctive voice. He uses anecdotes to re-create his experience during the Civil War. I could see why his work had endured.
posted by blucevalo at 9:40 AM on November 9, 2010


empath - the School of the Americas is still going strong (related). Recently U.S. Embassies Denied Visas to SOA Watch Vigil Speakers.
posted by adamvasco at 9:42 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nearly all the historians suggested that I read Memoirs by President Ulysses S. Grant, which I did. The book captures his distinctive voice. He uses anecdotes to re-create his experience during the Civil War. I could see why his work had endured.

Why is he excerpting his old sixth grade book reports in his memoir?
posted by EarBucket at 9:43 AM on November 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


The interview clip that shocked me was when Bush confirmed his regular daily reading was the Bible followed by the Wall Street Journal.


I got the feeling he views the Bible as a concordance to the WSJ, or perhaps the other way around. Either way, it was a horrible thought.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


on preview the elf beat me to it
posted by adamvasco at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2010


Clinton in the Balkans

Funny how this has become a thing for the dumber left. Those poor Serbs, minding their own business, when bad old Amerikkka started opressing them!
posted by rodgerd at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2010


"You're goddamn right I ordered the Code Red!"
posted by JackFlash at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dubya T F?
posted by coolguymichael at 10:03 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Funny how this has become a thing for the dumber left.

Not sure what you mean by "dumber left". Maybe you mean people who don't worship the ground Clinton walks on just because he is a democrat.

Those poor Serbs, minding their own business, when bad old Amerikkka started opressing them!

You see this isn't the point I was making. The point is that Americans use atrocities no matter what the scale to justify bombing other countries. When this is pointed out if the incumbent of the White House happened to be a democrat the claim of false equivalency is trotted out. You can't have it both ways. If you are going to use the false equivalency argument than you have to look at how you are justifying actions like Iraq. During the Clinton regime around 2 million children died of easily preventable diseases and malnutrition all as a result of the sanctions. So if you are talking about equivalencies of magnitude than by an sane measure our crimes in Iraq are surely greater than any atrocity committed by the Serbs. By this logic some third party would have been justified in bombing any country participating in those sanctions(U.N. Security Council) because of said atrocities. The point isn't big bad Americans picking on the poor serbs the point is don't point out the speck in your neighbors eye and proceed to bomb them back to the stone age when you have a plank in your own.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:07 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or more simply don't fucking bomb people.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:08 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nearly all the historians suggested that I read Memoirs by President Ulysses S. Grant, which I did.

That might have been simply their way of ridiculing him as a drunk.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:18 AM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


He uses anecdotes to re-create his experience during the Civil War.

I love the way the guy uses stories to tell stories. What a character!
posted by Think_Long at 10:34 AM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry I see I am beginning to kinda derail. Just to clarify my point. The Bush presidency was not an anomaly as far as the U.S. governments sanction of torture is concerned. The only thing anomalous is that the media reported it to the extent that it did. The idea that we have somehow crossed a line is ridiculous. This is a media lie that has been constructed to desensitize us to the fact that our government tortures people as a matter of policy. The fact that we have been torturers for years is ignored and the saner segment of the populace gets to exercise it's moral outrage while at the same time the idea is injected into the american consciousness. The fact that you or I is outraged that this happens doesn't really change the fact that this type of behavior has been sanctioned, funded, and carried out by our government for decades. If anyone wants to discuss particulars about past administrations maybe we should do it via mefimail. Feel free to drop me a line. Otherwise we should probably try and stay on the topic of Bush II. Again sorry if I am contributing to a derail. For the record, in my opinion, Bush II is probably the worst president in living memory.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:48 AM on November 9, 2010


Matt Lauer just conducted an interview with George W in a church. I am assuming the reason the interview takes place in a church was to make sure Cheney couldn't be present.
posted by iamabot at 10:53 AM on November 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


Is that video still working for anyone (or is it just me who can't get it to load)?
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:55 AM on November 9, 2010


You can't have it both ways.

I don't understand what the other way is. Very few people who are talking about war crimes here would attempt to justify the invasion of Iraq. The argument is that there is a false equivalency between civilian deaths in well-justified wars as against wars of aggression, and between indirect deaths, such as those caused by sanctions, as against state-sanctioned genocide (as the most extreme example).
posted by Marlinspike at 11:37 AM on November 9, 2010


Wonder what will happen next?

Immunity for the Shameless

Standing Tall for Tyranny
posted by homunculus at 11:42 AM on November 9, 2010


Reading all of these quotes, I just hear Jon Stewart doing his George W.
posted by dobie at 11:50 AM on November 9, 2010


Former British Government Minister Disputes Bush’s Claim That Waterboarding Foiled Terror Plots In Britain
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only thing anomalous is that the media reported it to the extent that it did.

This isn't precisely true. And with respect, you're oversimplifying a very complex cultural change that has developed since the Vietnam era.

Since 9/11, there's been an ongoing dialogue in this country about national, regional and personal security, government and military transparency, what constitutes a threat and what proportionate / appropriate responses to those threats would be. Also, there has been a great deal of discussion about various historical perspectives, including how our country's actions have turned allies into enemies and vice versa.

The tragedy triggered an ongoing dialogue and focus that we've seen reflected in and to some extent driven by the news media. But it's also been the natural consequence of introspection, and a reaction to political fearmongering and machinations. We were more informed and aware of events like the Abu Ghraib tortures and Guantanamo, because they became a referendum on how we should act as a people during wartime. (Even when a war hasn't been declared.) The Bush administration took many unilateral actions over an eight year span, and justified many of them through lies, misdirection and fearmongering.

All of this comes at a time when we are better informed and connected than any other. News spreads like wildfire. It no longer takes days to filter through our cultural collective consciousness. We hear about events on the other side of the globe as they unfold. We are hyper-aware of the effects of propaganda and various entities efforts to influence public opinion. We are interconnected in ways that were practically unimaginable 20 years ago.

Since Vietnam, we Americans have expressed more cynicism and mistrust of their government, the military and corporate influence than in any other time in history. The last 40 years have been a cultural watershed for us, which didn't come about simply because the media decided to speak up.
posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bush interview is a ratings flop.

Nostalgia 'aint what it used to be.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:59 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Former British Government Minister Disputes Bush’s Claim That Waterboarding Foiled Terror Plots In Britain

It doesn't actually matter whether it is effective. I'm sure there are plenty of appalling things you could do that would provide useful information. To make the argument opens you up to a trivial rebuttal. Torture, including the infliction of pain without permanent damage, is both abhorrent and illegal.

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information...

posted by Marlinspike at 12:07 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please, I need other ears. Tell me that around 5:25, when he's all misty about his daddy, he doesn't coin another brilliant Bush-ism. Tell me he doesn't say "psychobible" instead of psychobabble. Priceless.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:31 PM on November 9, 2010


Miscarried fetus in a jar???? WTF?!!!

We elected the wrong Bush!
posted by mazola at 1:04 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kind of surprised nobody's linked to this yet.
posted by EarBucket at 1:10 PM on November 9, 2010


We elected the wrong Bush!

Maybe it wasn't a miscarried fetus so much as Jonas Venture Jr. to Dubya's Rusty Venture.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:17 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Limbaugh/Bush interview you've been waiting for
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:45 PM on November 9, 2010


There is a thin veneer of honesty around some interview subjects, times when Bush admits he made a mistake. But these mistakes are all about appearances and political image -- looking at New Orleans from Air Force 1, "Mission Accomplished", and so on -- not about matters of substance. Still, Bush manages to project a certain likability in this interview. I have more respect for him as a politician after watching it and I think I better understand why some people voted for him.

(On the other hand: Worst President Ever.)
posted by CCBC at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2010


norm: "Why couldn't this have come out before the election? I think the visual reminder of Sir Smirks-a-lot would have been worth a couple of points in a generic election towards the Democrats. "Hey, you think the president is bad? THIS is what a REALLY bad president looks like.""

CNN Poll: Was Bush better president than Obama?
Americans are divided over whether President Barack Obama or his predecessor has performed better in the White House, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday also indicates in the battle for Congress, Republicans hold large advantages over the Democrats among independents, men and blue-collar whites. The poll also indicates that Republicans are much more enthusiastic than Democrats to vote.

By 47 to 45 percent, Americans say Obama is a better president than George W. Bush. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.

"Democrats may want to think twice about bringing up former President George W. Bush's name while campaigning this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
We're in a bad way here, folks.

Cool Papa Bell: "Keep him from being elected governor of Texas.

Seriously. You want to change the government? Start toward the bottom, not the top.
"

Speaking of governors of Texas, Rick Perry was on the Daily Show last night. Though Stewart kept him on his toes (especially with his comparison of low-tax, low-regulation Texas poaching jobs from California to third-world outsourcing), Perry came of as slicker than I thought he'd be. I wouldn't be surprised to see him run in 2012.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Democrats may want to think twice about bringing up former President George W. Bush's name while campaigning this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

If all the Democrats have is comparisons with Bush, then they will deserve to lose in 2012. That's not the voter's fault.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:39 PM on November 9, 2010


EarBucket: Why is he excerpting his old sixth grade book reports in his memoir?

Those were his golden years, before the wild days of high school, the dangerous period in college, and the really dumb shit he did while pretending to be in the National Guard. His mind was sharp, his wit keen, and he could do anything.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, the fact that he has now come out from under his rock and is fucking everywhere almost makes me pine for the horrible pre-election days - the media might have been a parade of horribles but at least he was hidden away so as not to fuck up anyone's chances.
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2010


Rhaomi: By 47 to 45 percent, Americans say Obama is a better president than George W. Bush. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.

If the economy picks up during Obama's presidency, should change. Right now, everything is tinted by the current economic situation (in that the US is crawling up from a recession), so pitting the current guy, under whom you lost your job, vs the old guy, when you had a job, is a hard comparison. Memories of the past problems fade quickly, when the past was a time of prosperity.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:59 PM on November 9, 2010


If paying attention to American politics has taught me one thing, it's that Americans are completely immune to the concept of causation.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Perry came of as slicker than I thought he'd be. I wouldn't be surprised to see him run in 2012.

That's the buzz around here. So, I guess I should start my apologies from the state now because if you thought Bush was bad... On the plus side for Texas, sometimes it's the only way we can get rid of a governor.
posted by Houstonian at 4:00 PM on November 9, 2010


...Perry came of as slicker than I thought he'd be. I wouldn't be surprised to see him run in 2012.

If this is the same Rick Perry who has repeatedly gone on record that he would support Texas' secession from the Union, I think not. Though I'd love to visit an alternate universe where he threw his hat in the ring, became Republican nominee in 2012, and got like 2% of the vote.
posted by Sara C. at 4:37 PM on November 9, 2010


The Bush presidency was not an anomaly as far as the U.S. governments sanction of torture is concerned. The only thing anomalous is that the media reported it to the extent that it did.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:48 PM on November 9


i agree with all what you've said but this point. "the media" didn't report all the atrocities of the war. bloggers did.

when there was almost a complete ban on images of the war, there were people like me reading international sources and reposting anything and everything we could get our hands on. please remember that back in 2002-2003 you couldnt access the BBC unless by proxie. El Pais was behind a paywall. Der Spiegel didnt have a full English edition.

Also please remember that there were places like The Memory Hole that served as source for a lot of the images that US newspapers wouldnt post: wounded soldiers, caskets arriving at USArmy bases, images of the dead.

Then there was Abu-Ghraib. Does anybody remember how nobody wanted to pay attention to the 60 minutes report and how Seymour Hersch was being bad-mouthed all over the place? Abu-Ghraib came to light but at cost? The swiftboating of John Kerry and the downfall of Dan Rather.

The media didn't report the atrocities of the war out of its own volition. The media reported it because many blogs, big and small, kept pushing the story in the United States until it was impossible to ignore it. You can thank Google's ranking system and the basics of SEO for that.

Of course, that was then when blogging was still young and there was still a lot of cohesiveness among the indies. Now things are different with petty pissing wars and various degrees of throwing people under the bus. The fission came when certain war bloggers morphed into partisan water-carriers of all sorts. The minute partisan money came into play, the "blogging revolution" was over. Am sure there are many more Abu Ghraibs out there, but now too many people are too fixed on their next PAC fundraiser or their next behind-closed-doors sit down with sundry grand poobahs on Capitol Hill.

So yeah... The media's handling of the war? From where this blogger sits, it still sucks. The fact Wolf Blitzer still has a job should be reason enough to weep for freedom of the press that never was.
posted by liza at 4:39 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


you're oversimplifying

That's true as far as the "national debate" is concerned but not so much when it comes to the actions of our government implementing torture. Yeah I agree zarq that the way we as a people interact with our government is a complex issue but that is not the main issue that I am addressing. My main point is that America has always tortured and that the only thing that has changed is that it has been shunted to the forefront of the american consciousness instead of lingering in the limbic striatum.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:19 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Regarding McCain, “I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” Bush told the group, according to two people present.“I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”
posted by caddis at 7:39 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now THAT seriously makes me question my support for Obama.
posted by angrycat at 9:03 PM on November 9, 2010


At least in the case of the Balkans, the intervention was made to stop an ongoing genocide. Now, perhaps US foreign policy goals were also being met, which is why we intervened in the Balkans but not Darfur, but nonetheless, the argument can certainly be made that less lives were lost overall as a result of American and European intervention.


Was there actually a need for American intervention in the Balkans? Was there a clear threat to the United States from Serbia? Some might argue that Hussein was genocidal, would the al-Anfal Campaign been sufficient justification to invade Iraq? How about the reprisals against the Shia, Marsh Arabs and Kurds after the 1991 rebellion? I'm not saying the war in Iraq was justified but that when you get down to brass tacks there hasn't been a single justifiable large scale American military action since V-J Day.
posted by MikeMc at 9:27 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


While the Balkans campaign involved lies or misinformation about ethnic cleansing campaigns and the like (understandable considering that ACTUAL ethnic cleansing campaigns had been happening in the area for the previous ten years), at least Clinton pursued his war in the context of a collective security organization to enforce UN resolutions (although I will concede that the Balkans intervention was much more problematic legally than I realized, upon doing some basic poking around online just now).

And this goes back to my previous point: Bush didn't give a fig about basic international law. Hell, there was this term that was coined to justify his total flouting of international law: the Bush Doctrine. "Preventive war" is just a "war of aggression" with a prettier sounding name. That the (arguable) leader of the Tea Party famously didn't even know what the Bush Doctrine was when asked just brings the present political situation to a predictably depressing full circle.
posted by norm at 7:10 AM on November 10, 2010


Perry was also in an episode of Frontline a few weeks ago for his role in allowing a Texas man to be executed for a crime he obviously didn't commit: Death by Fire.
posted by homunculus at 8:34 AM on November 10, 2010


The thing with Bush not wanting to endorse McCain is:

Common things to hear about him are "he would have nuked someone after 9/11"; things like that. Long after the 2000 primaries. These are all whispers among Washington insiders and the like because damn, the Republican party has good discipline.

However, he is seen as an unpredictable wild cannon who makes impulsive (often bad) decisions. I know some Republican congressional staffers who were not thrilled at the idea of him becoming president for that reason.

You saw his impulsiveness during the campaign, and his poor decision-making skills are of course quite obvious in his choice of running mate.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:55 AM on November 10, 2010


Can someone link me to the lies or misinformation spread about the campaign in the Balkans?

I'm hearing a lot about it lately, and almost never before now. It seems like a talking point that is being accepted as true without a lot of evidence.

People seem to be accepting it as sort of a "well, to be fair" concession in arguments about Bush II.

In light of the strange "Bush is great" PR and astroturfing I've seen, it's very suspect.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2010


Speaking only for myself, my recollection was that NATO acted to enforce UNSC resolutions, which turns out to be not true, or at the very least questionable, based on sources as linked in this Wikipedia article. I was particularly troubled by the claim that 100,000 Albanian men had gone missing, repeated by Clinton and Cohen, which turns out not to be true (cite). I tried to be clear in my not-so-equivalent comparison above that I think there's an order of magnitude difference between the Kosovar campaign and Iraq, but there's a strong argument to be made that the NATO action in Yugoslavia was also illegal.

This isn't to negate the proposition that the Iraq war didn't violate international law; I cannot think of any serious scholar that makes that argument. Hell, the link I posted in my previous post has a quote from Richard Perle that concedes that it DID violate international law but argues that it was justified anyway. Sigh.
posted by norm at 9:21 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the Hague Tribunal, with additional support of Human Rights Watch (from wikipedia):
The Yugoslav Army and the Serbian Police in early 1999 "in an organized manner, with significant use of state resources" conducted a broad campaign of violence against Albanian civilians to expel them from Kosovo and thus maintain political control of Belgrade over the province.[4][5] Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing was cited in support of the NATO intervention. After the war, International War Crimes Tribunal sentenced some of the top Serbian political and military leaders for forcible population transfer, deportation and persecution of Kosovo civilians.[4]

From here (Frontline) more evidence that there was justification for the general Balkans strategy under Clinton (and the rest of NATO, with Russia coming in and out of alignment and UN support). Note the huge number of refugees that resulted from Milosevic's war of aggression, and note the succesful disarmament of the Kosovar defensive army (KLA):
14 June 1999 Ethnic Albanians beginning flooding back into Kosovo; within three weeks over 600,000 will return in one of the most rapid refugee returns in history. As many as 200,000 Serbs and Roma begin moving toward Serbia and Montenegro to escape retribution.

18 Jun. 1999 After a week of tension, confusion and discussions, Albright, Cohen and Russians reach preliminary agreement over Russian participation in peacekeeping force. In all, over 20,000 international troops have moved into Kosovo.

20 Jun. 1999 Serbs complete withdrawal from Kosovo, and Secretary General Solana formally ends NATO's bombing campaign.

21 Jun. 1999 Under NATO pressure, KLA agrees to disarm.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2010


Former British Government Minister Disputes Bush’s Claim That Waterboarding Foiled Terror Plots In Britain

The current UK government are, of course, an evil bunch of shits, but I do sort of admire their willingness to distance themselves from Tony Blair and his warmongering bullcrap whenever the subject is raised. Here's hoping at some point they decide to giev the public mood a boost by putting him on trial for treason and burning him at the stake.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, norm, for pointing me to those two articles.

They are very POV and lack adequate citations and in fact, make assertions that are contradicted by news sources like the BBC as well as the final determination of the Hague tribunal.

I would like more criticism of the Clinton administration's claims from reputable, educated, and not wildly partisan people. The only two people who are cited as criticizing the campaign in this article are:

Joseph Farah: also questions Obama's citizenship and wants to see his birth certificate

Phyllis Schlafly: "The internationalists want to get the United States in some kind of world government and, since the United Nations is in such disfavor, NATO can serve as a useful stepping stone. Using NATO instead of the UN avoids the criticisms about U.S. servicemen wearing UN uniforms or serving under foreign commanders. "


Take claims like 100,000 men missing and put them into the context of a very real document outlining a plan for ethnic cleansing (the Horseshoe Plan), and they seem reasonable:
The Hague Tribunal ruled that over 700,000 Kosovo Albanians were forcibly displaced by Yugoslav forces into neighboring Albania and Macedonia, with many thousands displaced within Kosovo.[22] By April, the United Nations reported 850,000 refugees had left from Kosovo.[31] Another 230,000 were listed as internally displaced persons (IDPs): driven from their homes, but still inside Kosovo.
You have a million displaced people. A million. Villages that turn up empty. I think that "up to 100,000 missing" is sensible. Up to 100,000 dead? Iffy, but I think still justifiable.
Many accounts from both Serbs and Albanians identified Yugoslav security forces and paramilitaries as the culprits, responsible for systematically emptying towns and villages of their Albanian inhabitants by forcing them to flee.[34] A postwar statistical analysis of the patterns of displacement, conducted the American Association for the Advancement of Science, found a direct correlation between Yugoslav security force operations and refugee outflows, with NATO operations having little effect on the displacements.[35]
Some of those sources are from dead links, so I'll keep digging.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:03 AM on November 10, 2010


Young Rope Rider, if you ever read anything where the reporter's main source for a particular claim is Phyllis Schalfly, you can just discount it out of hand. No reputable journalist is going to use her as an unbiased source after 40 odd years of her obvious partisan buffoonery. It's kind of like if you were reading an article that used Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky as unbiased sources totally lacking in any particular agenda.

(Love Nader and Chomsky, but even as an unapologetic left-wing nut, I know they are biased sources.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:24 AM on November 10, 2010


Estimates of the dead have ranged from 25,000 to 250,000. The most reliable numbers put the dead at around 97,207.

IDC data indicates that, out of the total number of victims, 57,523 were soldiers and 39,684 civilians. The total number also includes names of 3,372 children who died during the war.

According to this data, 89 per cent of victims were men and ten per cent were women. Most victims were aged 25 to 35.

In terms of ethnicity, 65.88 per cent were Bosniaks (64,036), Serbs 25.62 per cent (24,906), Croats 8.01 per cent (7,788) and others 0.49 per cent (478).
(source)

According to the article this number( 97,207) should be viewed "as an approximation of a minimum and not as a complete total", but it is the most reliable total to date.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:32 AM on November 10, 2010


Apparently some bookstore visitors are quietly moving copies to the True Crime section.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2010


@CunningLinguist

ooooh! that would be an interesting RANDOM ACT OF FACT CHECKING: have people all over the country on the same day move Dubyas book from wherever the bookstores are cataloging it to the CRIME NOVEL section.
posted by liza at 1:30 PM on November 10, 2010


That reminds me, liza. Just so you know, I got so mad reading your last comment, the one about how "the media didn't report all the atrocities of the war. bloggers did," that I had to do the close-the-browser-and-walk-away thing. That's about as furious as I have ever gotten in my many years on metafilter.

I just typed out a long angry screed, but whatever. I'll just link here and walk away again.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:55 PM on November 10, 2010


I'll just link here and walk away again.

82% Local
18% Foreign

In my opinion liza's assertions are pretty accurate. I took her as referring to the MSM not the media as a whole of which bloggers are part and parcel. Look at it this way. The bloggers got their info from reporters who were doing the trench work but being ignored by the major networks and print media. So yes the assertion is true, in my opinion, that the MSM has it's hand forced by the bloggers to actually report things that would normally have been swept under the carpet. Kinda like what happened in the first Gulf War. This isn't really the fault of the individual newspeople on the ground but rather the fault of the fuckstick editors who follow the script handed down to them by the Pentagon and their corporate task masters.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:13 PM on November 10, 2010


Bush accepts Kanye West's apology: "I would tell George Bush: In my moment of frustration, I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist," the rapper explained.
posted by shinybaum at 3:06 PM on November 11, 2010


Outrage Mounts over Bush’s Waterboarding ‘Confession’
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:36 AM on November 12, 2010


Digested read: Decision Points by George Bush
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on November 15, 2010


Bush could be Arrested in Europe
posted by homunculus at 4:31 PM on November 21, 2010


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