Friday, August 04, 2006

Bush Isn't Ready to Make Nice

By now, it should be painfully obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that President Bush's foreign policy isn't just a failure, it's a catastrophe. No, it's a crime.

It started with the lie of 9/11. No, I am not advocating some whacked-out conspiracy theory. But the President was never honest with the American people about why it happened. "They hate our freedom," he explained, speaking of al Qaeda.

But that isn't true. What they hate is our foreign policy. They're not attacking us because they don't like how we live our lives at home, they're attacking us because they are angry about our domination of local politics in their own homes. Yes, our middle eastern misadventures stretch back decades, long before George W. Bush. But he is uniquely responsible for misundereducating the American public about the complex history that led to 9/11 and the present collapse of the middle east.

Yes, Hezbollah started the present crisis with Israel; yes, the Israeli government has the right and duty to protect its citizens. But it's been decades now, and yet no one seems to have learned that military action is not terrorist pesticide, it's fertilizer.

President Bush has no moral center. He would prefer that human embryos that are not going to be implanted be tossed out as garbage, rather than used for research that could prove critical to curing a variety of medical conditions. He thinks the trash bin shows more respect for the sanctity of life than a petri dish. This is the same President who thinks tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians is progress toward democracy.

And so it was that a few weeks ago he announced, via Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, that he would not seek a cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon, because it wouldn't last and would only be a temporary solution. To this president, open war is preferable to a temporary cease-fire, during which diplomacy could resume.

The President and his advisors and supporters live in a simplistic la-la-land where centuries of ethnic, religious and sectarian hostilities can be instantly transformed into pro-American democracies at the drop of a bomb. But it hasn't proved so easy.

In Afghanistan, we chased the Taliban out of the capital Kabul and installed a new government, but the country itself is ruled by traditional warlords in the north and the Taliban in the south; it takes all the coalition's might just to maintain the present status quo. And not to defend Saddam Hussein, because he was unquestionably a monster, but no one can rationally say the people of Iraq are better off now. We removed their dictator and left them with a civil war.

And in Palestine and Lebanon, where we hailed elections as signs of the effectiveness of the Bush foreign policy, we were dismayed to see that pro-terrorist, anti-Israel and anti-American parties won.

So while the fundamentalists who harbored bin Laden regain control of Afghanistan, as Iraq implodes, as Iran builds nuclear weapons, and as Israel bombs U.N outposts and cars full of fleeing civilians, Bush smiles, congratulates himself and says these are just the "birth pangs" of democracy.

As the Dixie Chicks would say, it's too late to make it right. And Bush wouldn't if he could.

23 comments:

Travis said...

Did you go to the Chicks concert, Andy?

I lost my voice in a Dixie Chicks sing-off the weekend before last (to Not Ready To Make Nice coincidentally).

I'm proud to say I WON!

DJRainDog said...

Travis: What's a sing-off? And how did you lose your voice singing a Dixie Chicks song?

chiron said...

I saw the Dixie Chicks' new video two days ago on Montreal TV. They loves them some Chicks in Quebec. I'm not ready to make nice either. I'm so glad somebody said it and happy to be among people who agree. (I am however a gracious host, and a loyal friend, and always polite to God's children. But not Bush: that shit don't work with him.)

Andy said...

No, I didn't go to the concert -- was it good?

little-cicero said...

"Never hate your enemies. It clouds your reason" -Michael Corleone

LeshDogg said...

Oh Andy, I disagree...

W is ready to make nice with people. Provided these people blindly support his agenda.

He's the president! Don't you know we shouldn't question his judgment?

Travis said...

DJ - a "sing-off" is what Upstate New Yorkers call karaoke, moistly because they cannot pronouce karaoke....it comes out more as "kroakie".

While the Chicks vocal range would normally not allow for one losing their voice, with the right mixture of shouting, singing lower than your own normal range, and cheap rum, it is quite possible.

DJRainDog said...

OHHHH!!! Sounds fun! All but the voice-losing part. That hurts.

little-cicero said...

I did kareoke on vacation and I was fabulous (If I say so myself). I sang "The Lady is a Tramp" and "Shameless". No Dixie Chicks. I'm having trouble understanding why a guy would sing a Dixie Chicks song, but then I've never been drunk.

Glenn said...

You went to the Dixie Chicks concert? Did you take the cats with you?

Andy said...

No, I just got the song off iTunes.

Andy said...

Little Cicero, you'll probably just accuse me of moral relativism, but *I* am not the one dropping bombs on people.

little-cicero said...

Why did Clinton drop bombs on the same people in Iraq?

Andy said...

To eradicate what was left of Saddam Hussein's WMD arsenal. Read the reports by President Bush's personally appointed investigators David Kay and Charles Duelfer.

little-cicero said...

But it was justifiable to kill innocent civilians with our bombs then? Would it be fair to say that for other noble purposes it is also justifiable- or at least something other than "evil".

Andy said...

Little Cicero, if you can't see the difference between limited, strategic airstrikes to disable known munitions locations and an invasion and occupation based on allegations of massive arsenals of banned weapons and an alliance with a major terrorist organization, neither of which existed, then you need help.

Also, I won't say it couldn't have been a smart decision to remove Saddam Hussein; that was a valid option. But Bush and friends did not pay attention to Iraq's history. They thought Saddam was "the" problem, but he was "a" problem. Removal of Saddam just unleashed these other problems he had held in check -- albeit with an iron fist. But they ignored the expert warnings that fragmentation and civil war was EXACTLY what we should expect from our invasion, and developed ZERO plan to deal with it.

little-cicero said...

All I'm asking of you is some moderation. Most of the world thought that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I am willing to offer proof.

The question I want answered is: "If there was a significant stockpile in Iraq, would you agree to regime change"

For the sake of clarity, this question must be answered!

Andy said...

Well, in proper Little Cicero style, I'm going to split hairs. No, most people did not "believe" Iraq had banned weapons; the general consensus was that the available intelligence was insufficient, but given Saddam's passion for pursuing them and the lengths he had gone to in the past to avoid detection, it was a reasonable conclusion that he still possessed some measure of weapons capability. That much I definitely grant you. I also believed he possessed weapons at the time of the invasion.

But that's really truly beside the point. More important is that the international community and sane people here in the United States strongly disagreed that an invasion and occupation was the correct solution to the problem, and, once that decision had been made anyway, no one was confident that Bush and his advisors actually had a plan for the occupation and reconstruction -- at least, not a plan that was grounded in Middle East realpolitik.

You are forgetting that in late 2002, Saddam allowed UN inspectors into Iraq and gave them previously unprecedented access to suspected weapons sites and even his private palaces. The inspectors reported that they were finding no signs of any ongoing program, but needed more time to make an authoritative conclusion.

It was Bush who ordered the inspectors out of Iraq for their own safety; it was Rumsfeld who scoffed at the apparent ineptitude of the UN inspectors for being unable to find the weapons. "We know where they are," said Rumsfeld, haughtily. "They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." However, when the UN inspectors asked the US for intelligence assistance in finding these weapons, the locations of which Rumsfeld assured us he knew, we declined. I wonder why?

You have fallen prey to the classic idiot Republican dualism on the Iraq war, that our choice was either regime change through invasion and occupation, or do nothing. That's a false choice. I absolutely believe we could have removed Saddam from power in a way that wouldn't have cost us hundreds of billions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives and our national credibility and integrity.

little-cicero said...

Of course there was a middle ground, but if Hussein was a problem, regime change was necessary. Bush I made the mistake of getting rid of the weapons and not the regime that made the weapons.

I remind you that Bush's move was not truly regime change at the outset. He set forth two ways to deal with the problem, neither of which was to do nothing. The ultimatum gave Hussein a chance to save his country by going into exile. The fact that this option is laughable is due solely to Saddam's meglomania.

Cutting off Saddam alone would have been like cutting off the head of a hydra. Cutting off his arms supply would have been like taking the serial killer's gun away and letting him run free. The fact is, there were plenty of other choices, but none of them would complete the job. They were short-term solutions that had failed to remove the real problem: Saddam Hussein's regime (and you surely wouldn't posit that killing him alone would do the job as his sons were up to the challenge of regime leadership).

little-cicero said...

Correction: Hussein didn't have to go into exile, he just had to leave Iraq with his two sons.

Jarred said...

LC: Regarding your last comment: Erm, what's the difference, exactly?

little-cicero said...

Exile means you have to go to one specified location for life. Expell means you have to go anywhere BUT one specified location for life. Either way is undesirable, but the difference is significant enough for a footnote of correction.

Jarred said...

Thanks for the clarification on the distinction between the two you're making.