Monday, May 31, 2004

What's wrong with "the war on terror"? Even the newswires assume the war was fabricated by the president. (emphasis mine)

Bush honours U.S. war dead
Mon 31 May, 2004 18:30
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush has acknowledged the "great costs" of American military deaths from his administration's war on terror at a Memorial Day service as the combined U.S. death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan climbed toward the 1,000 mark.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Despite a year and half of dialogue, seeking congressional support and attaining a UN mandate, Kerry Accuses Bush of "Rushing" to War. But no worries, Kerry will use his magic wand to get more international support.

Jon Meacham is lost in the details while he tries to teach Bush the “true” lessons from Churchill and FDR. I just do not get it. Meacham criticizes Bush for taking too simplistic and selective an approach to historical lessons, but then does much the same himself.

First, he assumes “…no doubt that the early returns on Bush’s war leadership are troubling.” Meacham may be doubtless troubled, but I doubt that everyone doubts the returns of Bush’s leadership. But that doesn’t stop Meacham from supporting his troubled argument with doubtful anti-Bush claims:

“Despite the administration's claims, there is still no convincing evidence of Iraqi ties to terrorism; no weapons of mass destruction have been found; we have not been greeted as liberators, and more Americans have died in Iraq since Bush prematurely declared victory aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln a year ago than had died there before. So the president has a learning curve to master…” Come now Meacham, no weapons of mass destruction? And no ties to terror? Sure, the evidence of terror ties maybe circumstantial, but what are we trying to do, sue them or defeat them. And I recall many Iraqis celebrating the overthrow of Saddam. The fact that life has to go on beyond that celebration (admittedly curbed by the threat of terror) does not invalidate it. And Bush rightly declared the end of major military operations in Iraq in a speech that correctly marked the end of the Baathist government and the beginning of the reconstruction. If that’s too subtle a point for Meacham to understand, it’s not Bush’s fault.

When Meacham tries to point out differences in planning and events between WWII and The War on Terror, he choose petty and doubtful examples:

“…and the landings on the Normandy coast 60 summers ago were the result of years of thought, planning and debate—endless, frustrating, face-to-face arguments among the British, the Americans and the Soviets.” Implying that the Iraq invasion was an impromptu response. But after Bob Woodward’s book, I thought the left now has been criticizing Bush for planning the invasion of Iraq well before 9/11? Regardless of Woodward’s claim, the discourse on an Iraqi invasion was publicly underway shortly after 9/11, a year and half before the invasion.

And then this assertion: “The British people can face peril or misfortune with fortitude and buoyancy. But they bitterly resent being deceived or finding that those responsible for their affairs are themselves dwelling in a fool's paradise." Of course, this assumes that Bush new the WMD claims were bogus and went on with it anyway. Personally, the fool’s paradise I see was from the previous administration which thought that serious action against terrorism wasn’t necessary and that the U.S. could be everyone’s friend.

“Acknowledging error is not weakness; it can be wise statecraft. ‘It is common sense to take a method and try it,’ Roosevelt said. ‘If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.’ Churchill is great not only because he refused to give in to Hitler but because he understood the art of alliance.” All of which, applies to Bush. He’s not averse to changing tactics or methods to achieve a goal – though he knows better than to feed a frenzied press needless apologies. Perhaps one of his greatest mistakes as president was to admit that the 16 words in his 2003 SOTU address were a mistake.

This nitpicking only has traction if you believe the occupation to be a disaster, which is a misunderstanding itself when you ask the historical question: compared to what?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

While Japan’s involvement in Iraq is encouraging, and Japanese worries regarding China and N. Korea may point to a more militant nation in the future, this story seems to be jumping the gun a little.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

This one hurt:I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on the radio while driving home, and her guest was a fiction writer who was complaining about the war. Since I had come in during the middle of the interview, I wasn't exactly sure who the writer was. As he went on an anti-Bush screed - blaming him for stifling freedom of speech & basically saying that dissent in and of itself is the greatest American virtue, and providing all the anti-war/anti-Bush talking points - I was fiercely rolling my eyes and thinking loudly "give me a break!! Who is this moron?" But as he related questionable history to support his argument and as I noticed the age of his voice, I started getting a sneaky suspicion of who it might be. "Please don't be E.L. Doctorow," thought I. "Please, PLEASE!" I'd never heard him talk before - but I just had the sinking feeling. I really really love Doctorow - bar none, he's my favorite living novelist. I knew he was on the left & had seen an article or two in the NATION but I chose deliberately to pass over them. I wasn't yet aware that he'd been the speaker at a commencement speech at Hofstra where he received a notable, if mixed, reception for calling Bush a liar. But by that point the show took the first call and my fear was confirmed. The caller greeted the writer as.....Mr. Doctorow.

The pain went straight into my heart. I'm generally alright with my entertainers being on the wrong side of the war. I raz them and make fun of them because I believe if someone has something laughable about them, then they should be spent in that way. I still like Sean Penn and Mike Farrell, if not Norman Mailer, amongst others. And I still have a need for entertainment. But this one got to me.