Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Bush haters case for Bush

I've talked about this article elsewhere, but I figured I post the pertinent quotes from it...

YEAH, YEAH, I KNOW: Nobody who opposes Bush thinks that terrorism is a good thing. The issue is not whether the United States should be involved in a war on terrorism but rather whether the war on terrorism is best served by war in Iraq. And now that the war has defied the optimism of its advocates, the issue is no longer Bush's moral intention but rather his simple competence. He got us in when he had no idea how to get us out. He allowed himself to be blinded by ideology and blindsided by ideologues. His arrogance led him to offend the very allies whose participation would have enabled us to win not just the war but the peace. His obsession with Saddam Hussein led him to rush into a war that was unnecessary. Sure, Saddam was a bad guy. Sure, the world is a better place without him. But . . .

And there it is: the inevitable but. Trailed by its uncomfortable ellipsis, it sits squirming at the end of the argument against George Bush for very good reason: It can't possibly sit at the beginning. Bush haters have to back into it because there's nothing beyond it. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, but . . . but what? But he wasn't so bad that we had to do anything about him? But he wasn't so bad that he was worth the shedding of American blood? But there are other dictators just as bad whom we leave in place? But he provided Bush the opportunity to establish the doctrine of preemptive war, in which case the cure is worse than the disease? But we should have secured Afghanistan before invading Iraq? But we should have secured the cooperation of allies who were no more inclined to depose Saddam than they—or we, as head of an international coalition of the unwilling—were to stop the genocide in Rwanda ten years before? Sure, genocide is bad, but . . .

We might as well credit the president for his one great accomplishment: replacing but with and as a basis for foreign policy. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, and we got rid of him. And unless we have become so wedded to the politics of regret that we are obligated to indulge in a perverse kind of nostalgia for the days of Uday and Qusay, we have to admit that it's hard to imagine a world with Saddam still in it.
I WILL NEVER FORGET the sickly smile that crossed the president's face when he asked us all to go shopping in the wake of 9/11. It was desperate and a little craven, and I never forgave him for it. As it turned out, though, his appeal succeeded all too well. We've found the courage to go shopping. We've welcomed the restoration of the rule of celebrity. For all our avowals that nothing would ever be the same, the only thing that really changed is our taste in entertainment, which has forsaken the frivolity of the sitcom for the grit on display in The Apprentice . The immediacy of the threat was replaced by the inexplicability of the threat level. A universal war—the war on terror—was succeeded by a narrow one, an elective one, a personal one, in Iraq. Eventually, the president made it easy to believe that the threat from within was as great as the threat from without. That those at home who declared American moral primacy were as dangerous as those abroad who declared our moral degeneracy. That our national security was not worth the risk to our soul. That Abu Ghraib disproved the rightness of our cause and so represented the symbolic end of the war that began on 9/11. And that the very worst thing that could happen to this country would be four more years of George W. Bush. In a nation that loves fairy tales, the president seemed so damned eager to cry wolf that we decided he was just trying to keep us scared and that maybe he was just as big a villain as the wolf he insisted on telling us about. That's the whole point of the story, isn't it? The boy cries wolf for his own ends, and after a while people stop believing in the reality of the threat.

I know how this story ends, because I've told it many times myself. I've told it so many times, in fact, that I'm always surprised when the wolf turns out to be real, and shows up hungry at the door, long after the boy is gone.


TrappedinJapan said...

I don't understand your argument very well. I guess you think Bush keeps us safer? I think that's you're point. I am not big on political bashing and debating, but (and there's our favorite word- I think it's a good one. It shows an ability to look at both sides of a story and appropriately consider them for there are always at least two sides)I've had personnal dealing with this new Homeland Security Department and let me tell you if they're in charge of finding the terrorist threats then God help us all. As far as I can figure it's a huge bloated department in which no one knows who's supposed to be doing what. (Aren't Republicans for smaller government hmm...) Everyone there knows they're pretty damn important though and they won't hesitate to let you know it. They are also well aware that no one is in control of them. There is no one to complain to and no one checks their work. As far as our current immigration policy goes not only are we not making any friends, we are turning old friends to enemies. It's insanity. Meanwhile the people who want to do us harm probably have enough money to buy their way into the country anyway. Let's be realistic here- if you have the money somehow you will be able to buy a way. I can't understand the American thinking any more. Is the view from the outside that much different from the inside? Of course there is a threat, but don't you think you are overreacting just a bit. Everything Bush does happens in a frenzied rush and the fact that his campaign exploited 9/11 made me sick. Of course he did what he had to during 9/11- any president would have. That's their job. And let's talk about Bush in Iraq. Now there is genocide in Sudan and even if we had the desire to there is no way we could send troops to help. There are awful things happening in Africa- things you and I cannot even begin to imagine. And there is a known terror threat building in areas of Sudan, Kenya etc. etc. Shoot- they had an embassy bombing in Sudan. What a good reason to go in there and give their government a run for it's money. But hey, let's take Saddam out of power because he's a bad guy. I don't get it! What was the argument again?
And by the way, I guess there are a few Iraqis that can still imagine the days before the U.S. declared war.

Evil Sandmich said...

Just a few quick quips.

Firstly, I've no desire to re-argue the Iraq war, that was a debate the left argued and soundly lost. In fairness the legibility of the war isn't a point you advance.

Secondly, many people critical of Bush point out his failings, but what's the alternative? Kerry wanted to make HSD a unionized mess. It's pretty stupid as well that Bush is so lax on border enforcement while implementing what can at best be considered a mediocre job of securing the airports. BUT, it's pretty hard to go Kerry when he's saying "I'll see your mistake and double it" when it comes to national security. A VDH article I pointed out elsewhere in my blog pointed out that the real winning strategy would have been to run to the right of Bush on his failings.

Thirdly, I'm glad you have confidence that "any president" would act as Bush did. I can assure you that it would not have been the case. If Kerry were president we would still be negotiating with the Taliban to get Osama and he's more or less indicated this would be the case. (Remember the left ranting about how Kabul (and then Baghdad) would be our Stalingrad? Bush didn't care about those ranting idiots, but Kerry would).

Fourth, even if Kerry would act after being attacked, big friggin' whoop-dee-doo. There's only one person running for president who might attack someone before they attack us (two words "global test"). The fact that the enemies of the U.S. are killing more people to get Kerry elected and have said they want Bush to lose is the clincher.

Fifth, Africa, what to do? You under rate my knowledge of the subject, I can do more than imagine pretty bad, I know pretty bad; but that's a discussion for another day. I'd just like to say that we didn't invade Iraq for entirely altruistic reasons, and no nation on the face of the Earth in the history of humanity has had the resources to correct every wrong being perpetrated.

Anonymous said...

The US led the liberation of Kuwait. Good or bad?

The US liberated Europe. Good or Bad?

Time will tell if we are doing the right thing in the Middle East.

The only question I have to ask myself is; would I want someone out there to rescue me and my family from a government that raped, murdered, and pillaged its subjects?

The answer is; HELL YEAH! Take this guy out.