Thursday, July 12, 2007

Madman

We are in so much trouble.

President Bush is a lunatic. There’s really no other way to put it. Our president is a man so arrogant, so completely assured of his own wisdom, that to this day he continues to define the situation in Iraq in ways that are wholly at odds with reality. A president who cannot accurately recall his own steps in leading the nation into war and who repeatedly demonstrates he does not understand the goals of the players involved will never be able to lead us to the triumph he asserts is necessary. How do you win a war if you fail to understand who your opponents are and what motivates them?

His press conference this morning was ghastly. After trying to spin the Iraqi government’s failure to achieve “satisfactory” progress on a majority of the 18 mandated benchmarks as a cause for optimism, he then completely re-wrote history in response to a question about whether the authority to end this war rests with him.

“Actually, I was hoping to solve the Iraqi issue diplomatically,” he said. “That’s why I went to the United Nations.” That’s just a flat-out lie. He tried everything he could to avoid the U.N., and for a while the White House talking point was how we should not let our policies be dictated by foreign diplomats. He only went to the U.N. when the political pressure made it necessary. And then, when he could not get his resolution approved by the Security Council, he withdrew it and invaded anyway.

Today, he tried to gloss over that appalling diplomatic failure by confusing it with resolution 1441, which passed unanimously and, in the president’s words, required Saddam to “disclose, disarm or face serious consequences.” But as tragic events demonstrated, Saddam did disclose. He had disarmed. He had none of the weapons or weapons programs of which he was accused. To claim now that Saddam was in violation of 1441 as a justification for the war is insanity.

And then he argued the decision to go to war was Saddam’s, anyway.

He repeated the bogus idea that “we ought to defeat them there so we don’t have to face them here,” as if the conflict in Iraq were some kind of all-powerful terrorist magnet that prevents radical Islamists from staging attacks elsewhere in the world, or that our victory in Iraq could ever be so complete that the planet would be forever free of terrorism.

“The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th,” he said. If he is serious in making this statement, then we truly have a president who is profoundly confused about matters of terrifying importance. It doesn’t even allow for the reality that both sides in the sectarian fracas are bombing each other. He just thinks there’s Al Qaeda and the Good Guys.

He also mischaracterized the discussions going on in this country about the war, and in the process, insulted the American people. It is no longer a question of whether we can win, as the president seems to believe. (His answer is, “We must.”) The question before us now is, how do we get out? The reality we find ourselves in is that the president has left us no good options. Yes, there could be a bloodbath if we leave. Yes, radical Islam might gain a secure foothold in Iraq. The country could fragment. But no one believes that there remains anything for the United States to do about it. The president now has a six and a half year record of being wrong about everything. He asks for patience and recommends that we continue throwing away American lives for an unachievable objective. Noble as his vision might be, it’s a fantasy.

He said he understood that the American people are “tired” of the war. I have an incredible urge to insert an expletive here. We are not “tired” of the war, like it’s a once-promising TV show that has lost its edge and we’re looking for something else. We’re dismayed. We’re horrified. We are clamoring for justice, honesty and accountability. We are begging to end the loss of life and the hemorrhaging of dollars that could be better spent. We are despondent that the people responsible for leading us into an illegal, unjust, futile war will never pay a real price for having done so.

45 comments:

Jeff said...

I hate that whole "they'll follow us home" argument. They just had two attempted terrorist attacks in the UK. And 9/11 was perpetrated by only like 18 people. We've got to stay in Iraq, because, those terr'rists, they don't know how to multitask!

AAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHH.

Mark G. said...

It was upsetting to watch - especially when today's headlines across the web were "Al Qaeda strongest since 9/11." If that is true, then it has to be obvious even to GWB that he has failed miserably these past several years.

DJRainDog said...

You see, this is why I say they all must die. Everyone currently in power in this country and everyone who wants to be in power in this country needs to be dispatched. Immediately. Okay, fine, try them first. Due process and all that. But they must be found guilty. And they must be publicly executed. As to my position on the Middle East, you can see my comments on TK's latest entry. I can say I'm sorry a million times, but it's more important that we be relieved of all this terror, and in order to do that, we must neutralise the sources which perpetuate it, both at home and abroad. *sigh* So sad.

Andy said...

DJ, I'm not in favor of the death penalty. Instead, I think we should declare them enemy combattants and detain them in an undisclosed location without access to attorneys. And if Cheney won't be forthcoming about all the stuff Congress wants to know, then I propose we render him extraordinarily to someplace like, oh, Syria, and see if they can get him to talk. He seems to think that works, so why not?

little-cicero said...

So, if the magnet theory is so idiotic, why is it that we have not been attacked since 9-11?

As Richard Miniter pointed out (to no evident advantage for a conservative cause, as with dispelling the myth of suitcase bombers and terrorists entering the border) in Disinformation, Al Quaeda and Osama Bin Laden are not as rich as they have been made out to be. Their resources are far more finite than the sensationalist mainstream and conservative medias have suggested, and it is perfectly plausible for Iraq to attract enough resources to discourage the formidable cost of mounting an attack on America- especially since they have no choice but to make the next attack far more if not as spectacular as 9-11. (They know very well that a minor attack- like a subway bomb, would be as anti-climactic as the succession of Pirates of the Carribean movies- which in effect depicts the entire organization as hack).

As it is, the goal of kicking the Greatest Nation on Earth out of Iraq is first priority, and it should be from their perspective. In doing so, they have not only Palestinians and Iranians celebrating in the streets when the mission is accomplished- they will also have European and American leftists joining the party.

So, when we do serve this great justice of leaving the Iraqi people unshackled to be decimated by their genocidal defenders, al Quaeda will not be content to fight Baathists for the right to kill Kurds in Iraq. They will a) destroy Israel b) fight a hot war with India in union with Pakistan (perhaps a stretch, but possible) and of course b) Terrorize the American Satan into pushing for the concession of further Israeli lands and the expulsion of American oil interest from the Middle East.

Good Day Sir!

Andy said...

Oh LC, what would I do without you?

why is it that we have not been attacked since 9-11?

Risky argument, there. One might well have argued on September 10, 2001, that we had not been attacked by Al Qaeda since 1993. In fact, that's just what then-attorney general John Ashcroft did, because on that date he cut the DOJ's counterterrorism budget in half.

Who is this "we" you refer to? I'm not sure the people of London, Madrid and Glasgow would be so quick to agree with your assessment of the effectiveness of the Iraq disaster as a deterrent to terrorism, especially since the perpetrators of the most recent efforts specifically cited anger over the war on Iraq as justification for their actions.

Are you reading the news at all? Look at all the plots of late that have been hatched against domestic targets in the U.S., most independent of Al Qaeda and therefore -- thankfully -- not competent and therefore not successful: the plot to blow up the oil tanks at JFK, the group in Miami who wanted to blow up the Sears Tower, the plot against Fort Dix. These guys were all hacks. But someday, one of these groups is going to get lucky, and what this underscores is that terrorists or wannabe terrorists don't have to go to Iraq and fight that war, they can attack us just fine, here.

I might also mention the foiled plot against transatlantic airliners last summer, which is why we can now only bring 3 oz of liquid on a plane with us.

It just doesn't make any kind of sense at all to argue that if a terrorist individual or group is angry at the United States, he MUST go to Iraq to express that rage. (Or, that he must come FROM Iraq. The Fort Dix guys were former Yugoslavians, and the JFK plot was hatched by men from Guyana.) I mean, I'm sorry, it's just A STUPID ARGUMENT.

They know very well that a minor attack- like a subway bomb, would be as anti-climactic as the succession of Pirates of the Carribean movies- which in effect depicts the entire organization as hack

Well, you might possibly have a point that I'll have to concede, because there WAS an Al Qaeda plot against the NYC subways planned for 2003 using cynanide gas that was called off for an unknown reason by bin Laden's deputy al-Zawahiri. I can't seem to find it now, but I remember reading that the conclusion was that it had been canceled in favor of a more spectacular attack. So far as I know, even the Bush administration did not claim they gave up because of the "success" of the Iraq war.

I think you SIGNIFICANTLY underestimate the effect an attack on the vulnerable subways would have. At rush hour, there's over 100 people per car on 10 car trains. A cyanide attack would kill everyone in a car; a powerful bomb not only would inflict severe casualties (though, because of the density of flesh on a train, probably would not kill everyone) could damage the tracks or the tunnel itself. My old line, the A train, carries 800,000 people daily. Now, if someone were to hatch a plot similar to the London attacks two years ago, with multiple bombs on several subway lines, they could cripple the system. In January of 2005, a small fire in a tunnel on the A line (they think it was caused by a homeless person trying to keep warm, but it just as easily could have been garbage on the tracks ignited by a spark) burned up a bunch of switches in a control room, which resulted in the A train being reduced to 1/3 of normal service. I can't tell you what that was like -- people literally could NOT GET ON THE TRAIN. The early estimates were that it was going to take 3-5 years to repair because the switches are so old you can't buy them anymore, the would have to be specially manufactured. (Fortunately, they found spares they didn't know they had, and the disruption lasted about a week.) My point is, it would be SO EASY to completely disrupt New York City Transit. The transit strike of 2005 was estimated to cost the city of New York between $440-660 million a day. An attack on the subways would have a huge impact on our nation's economy, particularly if it were on a scale that would require reconstruction of tracks, tunnels and stations. If New Yorkers can't get to work, it's going to cost this country money.

Then there's the fear factor. Londoners and Israelis may have developed thicker skin when it comes to going about their daily lives following a terror attack, but I'd bet if there were an Al Qaeda attack on the subways, ridership would drop for a while because of people too terrified to get on the trains. That is, in large part, why I moved. I couldn't take the anxiety anymore. I felt like a sitting duck.

So, that's a long way of saying I don't think you should write off a potential transit attack as small potatoes. It's a tempting, EASY target that could have enormous national repercussions.

Al Quaeda and Osama Bin Laden are not as rich as they have been made out to be.

Honestly, LC, plane tickets and box cutters don't cost very much. Was Timothy McVeigh a wealthy man?

"Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" was formed after our invasion of Iraq by the late Jordanian terrorist Zarqawi. This Sunni insurgent group is made up almost exclusively of Iraqis, according to David Mixner. They have sworn allegiance to bin Laden, yes, but there's no evidence of any kind of actual organizational link to suggest that bin Laden is calling the shots, OR that bin Laden does not have the resources to mount an attack outside of Iraq, completely independent of this new group. Experts say that Bush is wrong to claim that the insurgents in Iraq are "the same people" who attacked us on 9/11.

That gets coupled with the new US Government report that says "Al Qaeda is the strongest it has been since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Then there's this: Al Qaeda sharpening U.S. focus, officials fear. And this: Chertoff Warns of Higher Risk of Terrorism.

Why haven't we been attacked? Because we've managed to thwart the plots. But it's only a matter of time, LC, and our presence in Iraq is providing all the inspiration the terrorists need.

Andy said...

according to David Mixner

Okay, that's an error. I was just listening to NPR -- I think yesterday or Thursday -- and there was some army guy, "Mix-"? something, I can't remember (apparently!) and he was directly disputing the Bush assertion that Al Qaeda in Mespotamia is made up largely of foreigners linked to bin Laden; he said no, it's almost exclusively Iraqi in membership. Of course, I can't remember his name (frack!) so I'm having trouble finding back-up for it.

David Mixner is an LGBT rights and Democratic activist. My excuse for messing that OBVIOUS thing up is three glasses of pear vodka and soda. Mmmm.

little-cicero said...

Sorry- I should have responded by now but I went on a golf outing today. I'll respond tomorrow.

DJRainDog said...

Golf?! Of COURSE, you golf! Thank God...Now, I have a REALLY valid reason to categorically dismiss you. :-P

little-cicero said...

I don't know if it helps my case, but I'm not even good enough to keep score. This will probably be my only outing of the year. I've broken two of my clubs in the past month between yesterday and my only trip to the driving range.

little-cicero said...

"We" is the United States. I love the people of Europe, but this nation is first priority when it comes to foreign affairs.

As you say, the foiled plots were not by al-Quaeda in this country. Those outside of this country, to me signify an avoidance of the US as a target.

On funding: Subways are not blown up by box cutters. In the case of 9-11, the box cutters were certainly not a primary expenditure. They had to send these guys to flight school, they actually put an old Bowing 727/747 in the middle of the Iraqi desert to practice with, they were all the while funding their transportation and other miscellaneous expenditures. It's just like any other business- it's only from the outside looking in the costs are so miniscule. In this case, not only training is required, but also the actual weapon if they are to do anything as spectacular as 9-11. The relatively cost effective hijacking is no longer plausible.

I trust your perspective and understanding of the subway attack's plausibility, so my only remaining objection is still that it lacks the vital elements of spectacle and, to add one- symbolism. These guys want to induce terror through images, and while the reports of danger would certainly terrify New Yorkers, I suppose it would fall short of the nationwide terror invoked by knocking two of the tallest towers in this country to the ground.

I'm sure you're right, that bin Laden has the resources to pull off an attack outside of Iraq, but I'm also sure that Europe is both easier and more cost effective- and Iraq is the easiest and most cost effective- as targets go. As you say, the financial link between al Quaeda and al Quaeda in Mesopotamia is not known. Still, as far as bin Laden's wealth, it is mostly based on a fixed income from his father's inheritance and what's left of his father's construction company, and as the US has been freezing pieces of his and al Quaeda's wealth full force for nearly six years, I'm sure he's pinching every penny at the moment.

When I feel disillusioned about this struggle, it is not the racial and religious conflict that gets to me. It is the thought that those races and religions and culture might be innately incapable of democracy. It scares me that my thoughts should grow so bigotted through despair. Then I look at a picture of an Iraqi voter risking his life by marking his thumb purple, and I think "This just might work"

kr said...

new thought

what if the tactical of where to attck is not the decision-making factor?

it occurs to me that defending the Arab Lands actually might be important enough that both sides are right:

invading Iraq breeds anti-Americanism like nothing else could have (remember especially that we didn't guard the Arab-Pride archaeological sites nor effectively guard the money-machine oil infrastructure)

invading Iraq puts the average pan-Arabist into an uproar such that they want us OUT FIRST and only if they can be convinced attacking here will do that will they attack here rather than running to "defend" Iraq

third bit, maybe someone out there has realized that attacking here again (unlike in Italy, Spain, and to a lesser degree Britain)--and especially atacking ina spectacular way--will more likely shore up support for an extermination effort than turn the operation off.

just thoughts.

Andy said...

LC...

It's Boeing, not Bowing. And, what? The 9/11 hijackers were never training in Iraq, leastways not on a 727 or a 747 -- by the way, those are wholly incompatible planes, the 727 being 150 seat medium range airliner that had almost completely been retired from commercial service by 2001 and the 747 is a 300+ seat (depending on arrangement) twin-aisle long-haul carrier. I have never heard anyone allege that they trained on a 747 in the Iraqi desert...I'm gonna need some kind of legitimate source for that? AND, we might mention that the airliners used in the attacks were 757s and 767s. You're just not even making sense, you're just making stuff up now.

but this nation is first priority when it comes to foreign affairs.

That's ridiculous. First it's meaningless and second, while I concur that the president's first responsibility is to American citizens, to disregard the significance of the lethal European attacks as evidence that the Bush fantasy "if we attack them there they won't attack us here" is foolish. Why is it that the Iraq war allows terrorists to strike in Glasgow but not in Cleveland?

I am not concerned that Al Qaeda doesn't have the financing necessary for a spectacular attack. I'm sure they have PLENTY of money.

still that it lacks the vital elements of spectacle and, to add one- symbolism

Yes, I think that's why they think it was called off. Nonetheless, the subways are sitting ducks. An attack is inevitable.

I am just not sure that Al Qaeda is thinking along the lines of "cost effectiveness."

little-cicero said...

I'm looking for my legitimate source now. By the way, please forgive the misspelling of Boeing and my lack of clarity on that report. The report is out of Richard Miniter's book "Disinformation" which, I should add, contradicts the conservative agenda on the subjects of Islamist infiltration through the Mexican Border, the reality of suitcase nukes and the wealth of Osama bin Laden.

As you can tell from my tendency toward philosophy blogging as of late, I do not enjoy doing research, but in this case I have spouted off, so I have no choice. Good night...

DJRainDog said...

Ah, Andy. I love you, but at heart, you're a coward, just like most of AmeriKKKa. (That is, you even confess, part of the reason you fled the City.) If I believed an attack on the subways was "inevitable", I would certainly not play Russian Roulette riding them for at least an hour a day. Thank you for smacking some sense in l-c's direction, though. The devil (or God, if you prefer) is ALWAYS in the details. Sadly, American children are no longer taught that, and thus we have such lazy half-baked pseudo-intellect buzzing around. I hope he finds himself at a serious liberal-arts college, where they'll make him think thoroughly.

kr: Thank you for bringing up the "Arab Pride" archaeological sites, museums, etc. I was reading an article about one of the tour-guides/caretakers of the excavated Babylon site. Shame on us for not securing MAJOR relics in the scheme of the history of Civilisation. Yet another area where this absurd war has been ill-conceived! There are even some interesting (if a bit too conspiracy-theorist for my taste) reports which insist that Americans must have assisted with the lootings. I hope they're wrong. I think you're also right to point out that another attack on American soil will likely foment a "Kill 'em ALL" reaction of the sort I recently posted in TK's blog.

Sadly, I'm already there. And I'm not just there with regard to Iraqis. We can no longer just pull all U.S. interests out of the Mid-East, as I once would've suggested doing. They have too much knowledge and power, now, so they will always be a threat. The crazy fundamentalist segment of the population is too large and too rabid to be smacked-down by the decent people.

I just don't know what else to do.

little-cicero said...

Legitimate Source: "Disinformation" by Richard Miniter, using only reputable news and information sources other than himself, including Sunday Times of London and 9-11 Commission in the following paragraphs.

The funds: The 9-11 report suggests that al-Quaeda may be eking out a bare existence, "Intelligence analysts estimate al Queda's operating budget may be only a few million dollars per year, although such estimates are only tentative" Funding relies upon Debit and Credit Card fraud and abuse of zakat through fraudulent charities. "Al Queda fund raising was largely cyclical, with the bulk of money coming in during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan." concludes the 9-11 commission. As far as Bin Laden's wealth, In 1994 his share of the family business were forced by the Saudis to be sold, and assets were put into a frozen account. By a financial planner's estimates, an optimistic estimate for bin Laden's potential nest egg could only be worth $73, 105, 939, says Richard Miniter, using numbers from Richard Clark that said he recieved 1 million a year with annual earnings of 8%.

The airplane: I used that as an example of a terrorism expense, and while according to my source the compound, containing a full sized Boeing 707, was run by Iraq Intelligence, it was used both by fedayeen that reported to Saddam Hussein directly and by other Islamic militants. According to my source, the Sunday Times of London (via "Disinformation", collaborator Richard Miniter), a defector codenamed Abu Mohammed who was a colonel in the fedayeen in 1997 encountered bin Laden's fighters as well as Turkish and Pakistani terrorists. They were training to hijack planes with knives. Major Ali Hawas told the fedayeen colonel, "You'll have nothing to do with these people, they are Osama bin Laden's group and the PKK and Mojahedin-e Khalq," As for my argument, it was a moot point insofar as Iraq intelligence paid for the expense, but it does underscore Iraqi involvement in sponsoring terrorist groups, and perhaps makes President Bush look like less of a "Madman,"

On expense of terrorism: 9-11 Commission estimates are that the costs of the 1998 US embassy bombings were $10,000, the September 11th attacks were between $400,000 and $500,000, the Bali bombings cost $20,000, and planned operations against tankers in the Strait of Homuz cost $130,000. A 2004 report from the United Nations claimed that the Madrid bombings cost $10,000"

My take: All things considered, I'm sure al-Quaeda doesn't want to think along lines of "cost-effectiveness," But if your depending on zakat in the name of Islam from people who are striving to live a life of poverty in the name of Islam (: all while your funds are being frozen faster than a shallow puddle on a night in January you will have little choice but to do so.

Why I don't do this on my blog: I'm lazy.

kr said...

DJR: yes, the thought of that looting almost makes me cry, even still ... I used "Arab Pride" because in fact those digs were a stated part of the build-the-Arab-identity/pride effort by both Saddam's govt and by general pan-Arabists ... but clearly a HUGE loss to western civilization. Myself, I do not doubt that some Americans or other internationals in the know about the invasion arranged to spirit away at least some key pieces if not large shipments ... but then I am a cynic about the infiltration of greedy people in our government.

General: religious work doesn't take much money, if you have dedicated volunteers.
Especially volunteers who are willing to kill, or be killed : P.

General: I return to the thought that it's amazing to me more people don't die violent deaths every day, given both the miscellaneous and purposeful dangers of modern life. Nothing suggests to me more strongly that a protective divine power exists, and that prayer matters.

DJR: my, you're on a high horse lately. (Sez one bitch to another ;). ) (Apologies if that is derogatory in the gay male context ... )

LC: How is it that you are proud of your philosophical thinking while at the same time wallowing in it specifically because you are feeling too lazy to do 'real' work ; P ? Hardly the hallmark of a Great Thinker ;) ?

Andy said...

but it does underscore Iraqi involvement in sponsoring terrorist groups, and perhaps makes President Bush look like less of a "Madman,"

No, it doesn't. Would you please engage the real argument, here? NO ONE, not the craziest, most idiotic liberal of your dreams, not even Michael Moore, is going to claim Saddam Hussein wasn't a bad guy or wasn't dangerous or that Al Qaeda isn't a MAJOR concern.

The fact remains that the President thought the middle east would bloom into pro-American, western-style democracy as soon as we went in and removed one bad guy. He showed no regard for the fact that Iraq is an artificial country made up of three distinct groups of people who have hated each other for centuries, none of which have any interest in sharing power with the others in any kind of meaningful way. It showed no comprehension that one of the reasons we are so hated in the middle east is because we keep messing in their regional politics. It made everything worse.

little-cicero said...

KR: I'm so ashamed (:

Andy: I'm not engaging in any extreme argument here, just the quite moderate argument that George W. Bush is a madman because of his initiative and continued advocacy of the Iraq War. Being that you yourself wisely avoid advocating immediate withdrawal (this I will never take for granted- it is much appreciated) I assume that it is the initiative more than the continuance that you set your sights on.

I was only saying, in the process of conceding that the Boeing 707 had no relavence to the expense of terrorism, that the situation might indicate that the initiative that made Bush a madman might not have been so mad to begin with.

What I like is that we are now getting at the crux of your arguments. All the false premises in the world wouldn't make you like Bush or his war any more so- you disagree with Nation Building.

Before going any further, am I correct in this clarification.

little-cicero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
little-cicero said...

I don't mean to be a bitch, but not only is DJRaindog on a high horse, he's also calling for the public execution of an entire administration. I don't know if it's tongue in cheek, but if that is one of those things that can change my level of respect for an individual.

DJRaindog, I despise you as I would despise any traitor to this country. As long as your citizenship is in tack, you're still an American, and he is still your President, no matter how unwise you think he is. I appreciate your candor, but that is about all I can appreciate of you. You're a child of God, and I love you for that, but you are not a patriot.

little-cicero said...

Oops- I must make less typos when chewing people out. "but if SO that is one of those things that can..."

Andy said...

While I think Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld's actions certainly merit the death penalty under their own understandings of treason and patriotism, I am opposed to the death penalty. Those folks are no better than Osama bin Laden. We need to rise above these idiots. They belong in jail for crimes against humanity, certainly. But public execution? That would only bring this country down to Al Qaeda's level. So, on this, I'm in agreement with LC. As much as I might like to shake President Bush by the shoulders and scream, "HAVE YOU NO CONSCIENCE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!?!?!?!?!?!?!" I fear it might be counterproductive.

LC: honestly, I'm not sure what your clarification is supposed to be. Bush is not insane because he rationally identified a potential threat in Saddam Hussein and, certainly, Al Qaeda? That Bush is not insane because he developed a hardline, military response to these threats? I'm fine with that.

But under present circumstances, no, Bush has to be insane. Everything he says only serves to demonstrate that he has no concept of what's actually going on in his own war. His statements and his prescriptions have no rational basis. And he's been wrong, as I said, about EVERYTHING. Yet he shows no indication that he's remotely aware of his catastrophic failures here, that all along the way he's ignored, derided and punished those who tried to warn him about exactly this possibility/inevitability.

It's not insane to want a hardline, forceful response against Al Qaeda. It IS insane to claim that our "success" in Iraq is making us safer at home. Iraq is not a success and we have done nothing for the last six years but increase the anger against us.

little-cicero said...

Okay, let's try this clarification: Bush is a madman in the Quixotic sense- that he clings to the idea of a war, perhaps even on the basis of a rational perception of that war's imperative, and does not come out and admit failures when they materialize.

First of all, I would doubt the productiveness of a president admitting failures every time they materialize. In the case of Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, it was not an ongoing conflict, so it was wise to admit failures in planning. In the case of an ongoing conflict to which the solution must be all (safe transition of power into Iraqi hands) or nothing (leaving immediately), which in my opinion it is, the President's duty is to pick a goal and defend it. If he presents nuance, he may be seen as weak and indecisive to an impressionable enemy.

As far as being Quixotic, I think that's just a male trait that varies in intensity- some of which are considered insanity. Men obsess-over and romanticize the searches in their lives. A President ought to have reason rule over emotions, but I don't believe Bush is a madman.

Andy said...

I don't think being "Quixotic" is a quality we want in a commander-in-chief...? Just me.

little-cicero said...

That will do as a witty finale to this rhetorical spectacle. Good Day Sir!

DJRainDog said...

kr: You can call me a bitch anytime you want, hon. And no, in the "gay male context", it's not derogatory. Many of us call each other that all the time, and fondly. (Of late, though, we've taken to pronouncing it "betch". Google the terms "Kelly" and "Shoes" and watch the video. Just make sure the kids are out of earshot.)

Oh, l-c: Despise me all you want; it only makes me giggle. First off, my citizenship is not "in tack"; it is "intact". Those are two very different situations. And how can you say I'm not a patriot because I wish to see our leaders tried before a jury of their peers (The American People - Due Process!), duly convicted, and executed for their crimes against the people they are sworn to serve and protect and the laws they are sworn to uphold? Were not the French who led the Revolution (Well, okay, here one might ask WHICH French Revolution I'm talking about, but I'll let you choose the one you like best), guillotining anyone they believed abused his/her power and oppressed the masses patriots, as they did what they did in the interest of bettering their nation? Were not our own forefathers patriots when they refused to pay allegiance (and taxes) to a government which abused and failed to represent them?

Ah, and am I seriously advocating the execution of an entire administration? Or am I merely being a provocateur? Sometimes, even I can't tell the difference anymore. As a Christian, and perhaps especially as an Episcopalian, the death penalty conflicts with my understanding of my Lord's teachings. All the same, I'm human, and consequently, fallible, subject to all manner of unholy influences. And yes, I really would like to see the entire administration executed, publicly, as an example of what happens in this country when you so hubristically vacate the law of the land and betray the trust of so many people. Right down to Harriet Miers and that wretched little wench Sara Taylor.

And of COURSE I'm on a high horse! I'm fairly tall. A low horse would leave my feet dragging the ground. ;-)

DJRainDog said...

Oh, and another thing, which I've said before and will say again, Bush is NOT my president. I do not respect the man; I do not acknowledge that he has any kind of authority over me; it is questionable whether I shall ever again respect the office he holds, as I do not believe he got it properly in the first place, and if this is the sort of person that the American people WANT in that office, then the office itself, as well as the electorate, should be regarded with the utmost scorn and derision.

little-cicero said...

To be completely honest, I don't despise anyone at the moment. I'm so relaxed this summer that if Hitler himself showed up on my porch I might shrug my shoulders and offer him a drink. I suppose I said I despised you for rhetorical effect, which was obviously as impotent as it could have been.

So Ruth Bader Ginsberg is NOT MY JUSTICE!

I've thought of having T-Shirts made, but a disappointingly small pool of people would know who she is. Sigh.

That is a ridiculous proposition- when we form that social contract with government, the very thing we agree to is to be ruled over in-between elections. We don't rule ourselves, we merely pick our rulers. That is the nature of a Republic such as our own, and frankly this democratic delusion we fill our heads with is responsible for the very disillusionment you are espousing. To be considered "Not my President" through a trial of impeachment, a President must commit an act of Treason or other High Crimes and Misdimeanors against the republic.

Can't you understand that having "acting against your country's interest" as a justification for such harsh penalties as you propose is the first and last step toward tyranny. For if you, the ruled, are so richeous in qualifying as such, why shouldn't the ruler adopt the same reasoning against his enemies. You may as well reenstate the Alien and Sedition Acts.

I can only hope that you reconcile your "unholy influences" with the Holy Spirit to the best of your ability. I certainly try to do so. Remember that if hell is the absence of God, then evil is the absence of love (God=Love in my philosophy of religion). Evil is not a thing of malicious intent, but rather it is a void of that which binds you to your brothers and sisters on Earth. George W. Bush is one of those brothers with whom you have become alienated.

Let's suppose for a moment, hypothetically, that the President is praying for YOU right now. What if he loves you in the way that he loves his brother Jeb or his friend Scooter (: - would this change your hatred of him?

DJRainDog said...

l-c: I really hope you're doing some under-age drinking this weekend,'cause I've just read your reply a half-dozen times and it's incoherent, at best. Clean it up, and I'll try to address your points after mass tomorrow. (It will be well after noon; we Episcopalians take awhile.)

kr said...

Andy: As much as I might like to shake President Bush by the shoulders and scream, "HAVE YOU NO CONSCIENCE, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!?!?!?!?!?!?!" I fear it might be counterproductive.
Aww, but so much fun ... especially if you warn us ahead of time so we can pop some popcorn and find good seats for the show ;).


DJR: ok, I TOTALLY will be chanting "Shuz. Shuz. Shuz." in my head for like the next FOREVER :)! Ai, I have so much more to say but it is SOOOOO off-topic ... I am glad, though, I watched that after the small ones were asleep, with headphones. The flaming hula hoops were ... an education ;).
(Bitch: I could never tell if it was like the n-word for blacks--maybe ok within the group but NOT ok from outsiders. "Betch" seems to be fast becoming the long-needed official masculine form of "bitch." Thus filling a hole in the language :).)


LC, oy. I never ever agreed to be "ruled" by anyone, and I think considering oneself to be ruled by anyone is in opposition to our nation's founding principles. As a citizen, I agree to follow the laws of the land (inasfar as they are just, which is a separate set of questions), and, further, to live by the spirit of the laws of the land. (All of which is in line with the Catholic principle of obedience, as well.) If the President understands that he/she, like every other elected official, is a citizen given special responsibilities toward gaurding and propigating (and following!) the laws of the land, then they probably earn my loyalty. If they consider themselves/their office above/separate from the laws of the land, or themselves more important than any other American, then no, I am not going to bow down just because they sit in a fancy office and are called the President. Being the President, being "my" President, requires being a President. Living up to the office.

Have Bush et al have stepped so far out of line that they have defined themselves antithetically to the claimed authority/title? Lots of people think they have.

"Ruled." Psh. I'm frankly surprised an American patriot can even use that term positively. "Ruled." Tsk.

And, we (people alive now) didn't form a social contract with the govt, we inherited it, although hopefully we each at some point make a concious choice about it. However, with each new election cycle, the government (made up of people, that are elected by the citizenry) DOES, specifically, make a social contract with us (hence all that swearing in stuff). THEY are supposed to serve US.

"Ruled." Pff. In fact, : Phbbbtttt.
(That would be an emoticon raspberry. I can't figure out an effective way to communicate tongue-clicking and head-shaking.)


the President's duty is to pick a goal and defend it. If he presents nuance, he may be seen as weak and indecisive to an impressionable enemy.
AH, because we are _so_ impressing the enemy right now. RIIIIGHHHHT. I forgot.
Seriously. At least if he presented nuance we MIGHT be able to have a coherent national discussion and solve a few problems, and perhaps he would ACTUALLY have the nation at least somewhat in support of his chosen actions. And he might choose better actions.
Is he really afraid of what the terrorists "might" think? What they are thinking now doesn't seem too great for us.

As was once pointed out to me:
"Well, [kr], THAT'S not working. Maybe you should try something ... else?" (Oh. Yeah. DUH.)

Definition of insanity and all that.

(Check it Owwwt. I totally came back around to the title of the blogpost. Rock rock on.)

Spooooooon!

Andy said...

Oooooh, fun discussion. : )

LC, our allegiance is not to the President, but to the Constitution. We presently have an executive administration that has demonstrated consistent contempt for that document and the guarantees and restrictions contained therein.

High crimes? If taking the nation to war based on lies doesn't qualify as treason, I don't know what does. Oh, wait, yes, I do. Claiming that anything and everything that the President does is exempt from Congressional oversight. It's interesting to me -- to use one of the President's favorite phrases, when what he really means is, "I think this is bullshit" -- that the argument they used to defend the illegal wiretapping (i.e., governmental oversight) was, "People who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear." Well, that should be the same justification for his turning over anything and everything Congress wants to see and allowing people to speak. If Harriet Miers has done nothing wrong, put her before Congress and let them make that determination. Alas, the standard notions of justice don't seem to want to apply to these guys (see Libby, "Scooter").

No, I don't see that we are Constitutionally bound to support our President. I think he has betrayed the people of this nation and the visions of its founders, and I think he should suffer the appropriate penalties.

I've thought of having T-Shirts made, but a disappointingly small pool of people would know who she is.

True. But that's no reason not to have a t-shirt made. You could help educate Ohio.

By the way, have you ever read any of her decisions?

LC, you seem unwilling to grasp the obvious here, which is that our President has left reality behind. This war only makes sense in the bizarre little global context that exists only in his brain. It is not based on any kind of sophisticated comprehension of the complexities involved in middle east politics or even at a basic level what is really going on in the ground in Iraq. For Pete's sake, the man can't even correctly identify WHO it is that we are fighting and WHY. I'm supposed to respect him and trust him WHY, exactly?

(PS, these shoes suck.)

DJRainDog said...

With minds like Andy's and kr's on this, I don't really have a lot to add; I fully support their statements in their most recent points, as they've served to further elucidate and emphasize what I would have said. (Sorry I didn't get back to this on the week-end, but a few events came up that I simply couldn't pass up.) Brief notes:

I don't think anyone's ever claimed that Justice Ginsburg's appointment was improper. Allegations of impropriety continue to hover over the presidential elections of both 2000 and 2004 like the rain-clouds which are soaking NYC today. I do not merely state that Bush is not "my president" because I didn't vote for him; there's plenty of reason to believe he should never have been allowed to move into the White House, spilled milk under the dam though that is.

Your hypothetical scene of the prezidont praying for me, however, gave me pause, particularly as we pray for him every week. I'd like to dismiss the idea on the premise that he and I clearly do not pray to the same God, but in the end, I just don't believe that the man believes that God is any greater than he is. I will say, though, that I do not hate the president. When I pray for him, it's sincere; I pray the Lord may turn his heart and set his mind upon true righteousness and love of his neighbour. I fear, however, that a cataclysmic event will be required to remove the man's gaze from mammon.

little-cicero said...

Briefly:

I have little to offer in the way of psychoanalyzing the President or anyone else, and frankly have no idea how in touch he is with reality. I do know that if he is any less in touch with reality, it is because he is more in touch with spirituality, which is why I brought up the hypothetical of the President praying for DJRD. I believe there is a rational cause rooted in reality (whether the action is right or wrong according to outcomes) for everything the President has done- then there is a corresponding irrational cause; all of which is based on speculation.

KR: What I love about our government is that it avoids despotism by way of separate branches scrutinizing one another. There is a populist branch involved, as well as a timeless elitist branch and a momentary commander branch, but they conflict with each other in such a way that the government in general is less powerful and less capable of ruling. Yet it still rules in-between elections. The idea of the system of checks and balances and constant changes of the seats of power is that We, the People, are ruled by one another and scrutinized by one another.

The innate human desires are to govern (rule) and to be governed (ruled). This is proven by the popularity of parenting as part of the human condition- men and women alike, in times of maturity, both want and NEED to build a family and lead a family, and in times of immaturity they want and need to be led. Democratic Republics are triumphant in their ability to allow us to rule and be ruled according to our maturity level at the moment- if we are mature, we will work hard to put good statesmen in office, and if we are immature, we will trust statesemen to rule us whether we put them in office or not. Mature citizens are never satisfied to be ruled by an idiot, as you might call Bush, but will work to have him removed from office according to the law of the land. Yet at the same time they have the maturity to come to terms with the fact that they are ruled by that President as long as he IS in office.

DJRD: I appreciate that you pray for the President, and I congratulate you. I guess that’s a “Yes” on the question “Was your call for his assassination tongue-in-cheek?” If “No” then you have a lot of explaining to do! From where I stand, you’re not such a bad guy after all, and I will pray for you as well.

That’s all for now. I must go.

DJRainDog said...

l-c, you have SO much to learn!

You say of Bush, "[I]f he is any less in touch with reality, it is because he is more in touch with spirituality . . . " Are you fucking kidding me?! I can think of no public figure who is less in touch with spirituality and more obsessed with material wealth! Do I need to cite examples? They are so many! I must solicit suggestions from Andy as to where I ought to begin.

You say of our government, "We, the People, are ruled by one another and scrutinized by one another." Herein lies Bush's greatest problem: he believes himself and his actions to be above that scrutiny. He is WRONG!
Your whole paragraph on the "innate human desires" to rule and be ruled is completely baseless and incorrect, particularly in what appears to be your conclusion that these desires are the driving force behind what has come to be known as the "nuclear family". Regardless of my own maturity level, for example, I neither want nor need to build or lead a family, nor do I want or need to be led. You're totally talking out of your arse here!

Furthermore, I am not, nor do I consent to be "ruled" by any human person! I am ruled by my God, my Conscience, and the Law of the Land, all of which, fortuitously for me, happen generally to be in concord.

Finally, a clarification: At no time have I called for the assassination of the President. I desire that he should be indicted, tried by a jury of his peers (and yours and mine), found guilty, and sentenced to die for his crimes against the people of this nation and of the world, and indeed, against the planet itself. I would be immensely pleased if he were to see the error of his ways and mend them before that happens, in order to minimise any further damage that he might do.

kr said...

Mature citizens are never satisfied to be ruled by an idiot, as you might call Bush, but will work to have him removed from office according to the law of the land. Yet at the same time they have the maturity to come to terms with the fact that they are ruled by that President as long as he IS in office.

mighty big talk about this here "matur'ty" stuff, comin' from an eighteen yee'r ol'
(seriously, LC, could you try to come across as a LITTLE less sure of yourself when you are speaking of things you are only theorizing about? just because YOU seem interested in power and control (er, leadership) to a degree that sometimes worries me, does not mean it is a universal preference!)

I don't think Bush is an idiot, btw

little-cicero said...

First of all, please do accept my apologies for mischaracterizing your comments on the President's demise- there is indeed a considerable difference between wanting the President to be killed and asking that the President be killed. Honestly, any satirical undertones in your writing have evaded and confused me to the point that I can no longer address that particular comment.

I can understand your being offended by the argument on basic human desires, but for goodness's sake, I am not the first person on the planet to argue that a boy becomes a man when and only when he devotes his entire being to something outside of himself, whether it's a family or a diety. This is based on the crazy notion that self-maturity is a limitation of the self, and a transfer of concerns from the Self to something more important. Whenever we make strong, unbreachable committments such as these, we are confirming a life-long exchange of governance. You are ruled by your devotion and you rule by your devotion- only with such a relationship does a boy become a man.

This is not to say that there are not great, courageous, wonderful boys out there over the age of forty. I don't mean to insult anyone here, and I understand that marriage and parenting may be a touchy subject around here. For that, I apologize... Sincerely.

Consider the undesirable nature of marriage and parenting- particularly for a man. A man knows going in that sex is a non-entity in marriage, that it denies his sex drive of the desired variety, and that it requires him to take on myriad obligations, emotional, economic and otherwise. Why would a mature man with half a brain want to enter such a covenant?

How about something innate in the human condition? Just arguing out of my arse? You're the one contradicting thousands of years of human history, pal!

little-cicero said...

KR, for your benefit I will not only concede that I am in every way immature, I will also concede that I am not ready for a relationship, much less marriage. I'm sorry if I sound too sure of myself; I'm no rhetorical genius, but I've never guessed that sounding unsure of myself every moment was a powerful rhetorical tool. If I was involved in a dialogue by which I could invoke hints of irony and sarcasm along with a genuine mention of my ignorance, I would certainly do so, you best of women (a favorite ironic phrase of Socrates). :)

Look- I've thought a great deal, and I think I have worked hard enough to have a temporary working definition of maturity. I can define and even discuss VD without having it- in fact people without VD occassionally have more to offer on the subject than your average infected sailor. :P

Andy said...

I don't think Bush is an idiot, btw

Oh? Which adjectives do you prefer? Fuckwit comes tripping nicely off my tongue these days.

LC, in my present state of mind, I don't have the *#@($&! necessary to make this point as eloquently as I wish I could, but you seem not to understand that there is a MAJOR difference between governing and ruling.

Maybe it's time to dust off the Declaration of Independence: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Little Mr. Strict Constructionist, I don't know where you obtained this idea that once s/he's won an election, the President gets to "rule" over America and the rest of us just have to do whatever s/he says. Yes, there is power invested in the executive, but it was limited by the Founders in the Constitution for the express purpose of preventing the United States from having anything resembling a monarchy; the President must be accountable to the other two branches as well as the people. For, as Jefferson wrote, "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it."

Like DJRaindog, I am aghast that you seem to think President Bush is "in touch" with his spiritual side. I see no evidence of this. All we've had over the last six years are some coded catchphrases inserted into speeches HE DIDN'T WRITE meant to dupe evangelicals into thinking he's one of them. (See their reaction to him now: many feel extraordinarily betrayed.) He certainly has not put forth a compelling theological argument for any of his positions. There is nothing to indicate that he is not Biblically illiterate.

No, I stick to my original thesis. I fear our President is genuinely insane.

kr said...

LC, I'm not even bothering with the rightness or wrongness of the maturity assertions: just saying, adding a "The way I understand maturity is ..." (or "implies ...") would save you a lot of grief. Speaking as if the whole of humanity agrees with you, when even at our blog you posted your theses expecting (and receiving) much argument, is not a sign of weakness. Posting a point of view so non-universal as if it was universal makes you look intellectually ridiculous instead of thoughtful.

Ruling: that whole "consent of the governed" thing? We three think that is a constant (Jefferson's "whenever"), you seem to think it only applies up to, what, the inaguration? Everything changed radically on 9-11, again when we invaded, again when the Iraqis held an election: do we get take-backs at any of these times? Our government is set up to be continually responsive, both between the three branches and each branch to the people, as well as people to each branch. And part of that is that the citizens must be constantly vigilant.

Andy: No, I don't think Bush is an idiot. Some form of unhinged (see previous comment, ending "Spoooon!"), or misguided, or maybe even evil (although I hope not ... I do perceive him to have surrounded himself with evil). But not an idiot.

kr said...

"is not a sign of weakness."
should read
"is not a sign of strength, and making obvious the personal nature or your assertions is not a sign of weakness."

Shouldn't have expected to be coherent at 3 AM.

Sorry.

DJRainDog said...

1. There is no satire, nor even a whiff of irony, in the final paragraph of my last comment. I must think long and hard on the death penalty, though, even for the prezidont. I am conflicted, and I'm aware that I've been rather vengeful and bloodthirsty lately. If Jesus could forgive him, then I should at least try, right?

2. "A boy becomes a man...only when he devotes his entire being to something outside of himself." Obnoxious, trite platitude duly noted. I am glad, however, that you don't seem to think that raising a family is the only possible commitment here. I think this "litmus test" for "boy vs. man", however, is absurd.

3. I am horrified at your statement that, "A man knows going in that sex is a non-entity in marriage." Pardon the pun, but what the fuck?! There are PLENTY of people out there in loving marriages who have healthy, satisfying sex-lives with each other. It sounds like someone in Middle America has bigger problems with marriage than even I do. I'll consent to your "something innate in the human condition" as a response to, "Why would a mature man...want to enter into such a covenant?" however, and I'll take it one step further: I call it love. And yes, even I know how that feels.

kr said...

Death penalty = OK if there is no other way to keep society reasonably safe (which assumes the person is and will be a continuing danger)

honest conversion+healing of the villian would negate the need to actively protect society

at that point it becomes vengence or somesuch

or an alternate point of view: a long time ago I read a very interesting interview with a man scheduled to die who had converted to God-is-love Christianity; he was at peace with his (unchanged) sentence because real world actions should have real-world consequences, and he completely owned the real-world actions that landed him where he was.

little-cicero said...

KR, you are a very beautiful person, and I enjoy these discussions with you.

DJRaindog, you are very abrasive, but I still enjoy these discussions because you are interesting- which is more than I can say for most people in this world.


Andy said:
"whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.

This implies a contract of government. Start with the liberarian notion that whenever a law is made, another gun is pressed against the heads of Americans. Of course we are not killed for resisting the law itself, but rather if we resist those enforcing it, but ultimately, the government has the temporary duty to put aside all rights: life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness, for the sake of the rights of the whole of society.

What does it mean to be ruled? To me it is somewhat the opposite of being free- it means being on a "leash," if you will. Governments are leashes- the only difference any amount of democracy can make is in the length of the leash. Even if the added liberty is constantly added, there is still a governmental framework. Even if a leash is infinitely long, it is still a leash, and assuming the space it restricts is also infinite, it still upholds its proper task. So, Americans are ruled liberally by one another, and as soon as one takes the initiative one can become a ruler as well. This is not tyranny- it is government!

The difference between government and rulership is essentially one of connotation.

More later...

little-cicero said...

So, are we moving this show to the most recent post that linked here, or continuing here?

I suggest we move, so that it's easier to access the thread. I also made a clearer argument on that thread, as well as on my blog.