I Simply Do Not Believe Bush Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm
After a week of hearing from General Patreus and Ambassador Crocker--both well regarded public servants to our country--we heard tonight from President Shrub. My gut level reaction--I just can not believe anything that comes out of his mouth.
There was plenty in his address that one could quibble with, and some things one could find that might, might, might sound hopeful coming from someone else. Hearing it from this President, I could only shake my head, and wish I had the ability to show him out of the Oval Office for the last time, and give him one final free ride on Air Force One back to Crawford Texas forever.
No chief executive in any organization who has demonstrated such a complete lack of touch with reality would be allowed to stay in the job one more hour, let alone another 18 months. He is our modern day Commander Queeg, so deluded in his thinking that one would take pity on him were it not for the fact that he is putting others' lives in mortal danger with his contnued delusional thinking. How frightening it is that someone so incompetent is at the helm until January, 2009.
No matter where one is on the political spectrum or even on the reasons for this war, this is not a man who is up to the job he has in managing this country's affairs--he ably demonstrated that tonight, but little else.
Posted by Apples, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:25 pm
Every time Bush's competence, or lack thereof, is brought up by someone, I can't help and think back to the presidential campaign of 2000.
During that campaign, Bush agreed to be interviewed by a journalist in a free-ranging format. The journalist, in the course of the interview, asked Bush what were the names (at the time) of the prime minister of India and the president of Pakistan, two countries that are very important to the US. Well, Bush did not know either one. When confronted with this lack of knowledge, Bush made a comment about it not being so important.
However, tellingly, from then on out, he refused to give free-ranging interviews, and participated only in well-scripted events controlled by Bush campaign HQ .
If all that was not a telltale sign of gross incompetence, I don't know what could be. Unfortunately, Americans tend to not pay attention to such important "details"... Will they have learned from their experience with the Bush presidency ??
Posted by chrisk, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Sep 13, 2007 at 11:30 pm
Let's hear from some Bush supporters. Bush couldn't continue to get his way unless at least 33.4% support him (to avoid having his veto overridden).
If Bush is one of the worst presidents in history, is it possible that he has 33% support? I'm sure if 10% of the anti-Bush group could convince only 1 Bush supporter to change his/her mind, then Bush would no longer be able to get his way. Why are these people having so much difficulty reducing Bush's support to a level at which he can be overridden?
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 7:51 am
President Bush is competent and an honorable man, unlike many of his liberal predecessors. If you want to talk about incompetence in government, look only as far as the Democrat controlled Congress. They're public approval numbers are about to fall into the teens. They have no credibility with anyone.
Posted by dems no better, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 9:37 am
Democrates in control of the house and senate are no better than Bush. They are jnust as much liars. Lying to the American people saying that they will withdraw all troops from Iraq and end the war. Years after we are still in Iraq and the moronic people in the house are slugging through stupid legislation. People need to see what is wrong with the government in a whole not just Bush.
Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 10:17 am
Say what you want about Congress, and there is plenty that can be said about the formerly Republican controlled Congress and the current Democratic-controlled Congress. But don't let that distract from the fact that it was THIS President who took us into this war, something his father deliberately chose not to do.
It is this President on whose watch the lies about weapons of mass destruction, about the so-called "war on terror" having its roots in Iraq, whose poor grasp of the Middle East in general and what it takes for there to be true democracy to take hold in any nation have led us to our current state. He "sold" this war grounded on these premises. Even he is not selling such representations now.
Competent? Honorable? How about bait and switch? How about no clue? How about hubris? How about shameful? Where is the accountability? After such a performance and clear evidence of his mis-handling of this matter, I don't see how anyone, regardless of their political leanings, can view this guy as a leader this country or the rest of the world should take seriously, let alone follow.
I keep reminding myself that this Administration and this President are not the same as this country and its vast majority of citizens. W stands for Wreckage, it will take a very long time to get over the damage he and his administration and the Republican led Congress did in his first six years of office.
And the Democrats, as usual, lack a meaningful alternate beacon. They seem to win by default, but their victories don't last because they don't seem to stand for much that people comprehend, let alone get behind. I am a lifelong Democrat, and I get wistful for the days of Reagan--I did not always agree with the man, but I knew where he stood.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 11:44 am
"I am a lifelong Democrat, and I get wistful for the days of Reagan--I did not always agree with the man, but I knew where he stood."
A Boomer, that is a curious statement. Bush can be criticzed for many things, especially planning for the Iraq war, but his strength is his determination to bring "democracy" to Iraq. He has said it all along, and he still believes it. In fact, he reminds of Reagan in that sense. Remember, Reagan was severely criticized by the left for taking a strong stand against the Soviet Union, yet he perservered, dispite being called a dunce by even his own party members. History shines favorably on Reagan now (he won the Cold War), but public opinion, especially from the left, was just as off-the-wall as it is today vs. Bush.
Bush will be judged in the next 20 years for what he has, and has not, accomplished in Iraq. One indisputable fact is that Saddam is dead. He would still be in power, but for Bush.
Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 12:50 pm
Overthrowing a petty dictator, even one as bad as Saddam, pales in comparison to facing down the Communist empire during the Cold War.
I would suggest that Bush the First's getting rid of Noriega in Panama is closer to what Shrub was doing in Iraq, not with what Reagan did with the Soviets.
Shrub's "vision" of bringing democracy to the Middle East at a high level is a laudible thing. His very poor understanding of the region and what it takes to bring about and sustain a democratic form of government in a country, let alone a region, unaccustomed to such a thing, shows once again that he is in over his head trying to do the job of US President.
Need I point out his hypocracy around a "democratic" Middle East, where Egypt's Mubarak is tolerated, the democratically elected Hamas party of Palestine is undermined despite being democratically chosen in elections (they are an awful bunch, but that is not the point), US Shrub Administation efforts to foster democracy in such kingdoms as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other stable Gulf principalities appear non-existent.
Shrub, Cheney and Co. wanted to take out Saddam, they weren't interested in truly bringing about democracy to the region. Just another fig leaf.
I have my doubts that a democratic regime will end up running Iraq at the end of the day, but even if one does emerge, it will have little or no effect on how the neighboring countries govern themselves. They will largely remain dictatorships/kingdoms of one sort or another, as they have been for hundreds of years
We do agree on two things Jack, Saddam is not missed, and Shrub will be judged--very unfavorably, IMHO--20 years hence and beyond.
Incompetence will be the word historians use--from neo-cons to left wing Democrats, the man has incompetently carried out his job such that he has let down even his most ardent advocates.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 1:14 pm
"I have my doubts that a democratic regime will end up running Iraq at the end of the day, but even if one does emerge, it will have little or no effect on how the neighboring countries govern themselves."
A Boomer, isn't that the central argument? If you are right, Bush is wrong, and will be judged as such. If Bush is right, and democracy begins to spread in Arab and Muslim countries, then he will be seen as a true visionary.
Reagan re-armed America, put medium-range missles in Europe (against left wing protests), supported anti-communist forces, provided stinger missles to the mujahadeen vs. the Soviet Union, stood solid against socialist thinking and, perhaps most importantly, supported SDI, but he did not have any very serious direct military confrontations. I think Bush has a much harder time, compared to Reagan.
Bush is inarticulate, not very smart...but smart enough to figure out the bigger vision, while 'smarter' people are befuddled by the notion of the bigger picture. In this way, he is like Reagan.
Posted by A Boomer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 3:07 pm
Shrub did not and does not have a vision for democracy beyond that word on a page. He is a shallow, uncurious man, who had several other "reasons" in addition to "democracy" that he used as pretenses to do what he really wanted to do--which was to take out Saddam, finishing the job his dad chose not to do. He had thought it through no more than that, and we now are dealing with the consequences big time.
Each reason he has concocted for removing Saddam has been revealed for its mendacity, and his tactic is to concoct a new one, when the prior ones don't stick.
My original point was another thing altogether, which is that I don't believe this guy, because he is inept, inccompetent, and has misled people time and time again to no good end. Even if I bought your polemic that he has a true grasp of what bringing democracy to the Middle East really meant, or any other so called "vision," he has amply demonstrated that is incapable of getting this or any other job done that we expect from someone holding this office.
I doubt any neo-con in his right mind would recommend Shrub as the "go to guy" for carrying out their agenda and world view, "knowing then what they know now" to paraphrase Hillary Clinton.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 3:53 pm
If Hillary or Obama get elected, they will both STAY in Iraq, very similar to Bush. Why? Because the consequences for failure there, are much worse than the consequences of staying the course. They may both take MoveOn.org money, but they are both realists, and they are not stupid.
In fact, they may well reinstitute the draft.
The U.S. military and diplomatic core will be in Iraq for a long time.
Posted by Thank you!, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 14, 2007 at 5:19 pm
Right on JACK!! You rock! The truth is that there is no option but victory, as defined as stable democracy in Iraq.
So, the Dems are trying to fool their base, but in the end will STAY until we are done. They have to. They don't want a real repeat of the disasters of pulling out of Vietnam just as we had attained military dominance.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2007 at 1:18 pm
Some things that all the Bush haters refuse to discuss about Iraq:
1. If Saddam was still in power, would that bode well for American or regional security? Please explain.
2. If Islam is not pushed into the 21st Century, by events such as the Iraq (Bush) war, what would be the consequences, in an age with easy-to-obtain weapons of mass destruction.
3. Given that the Iraq war is currently a mess, what would the Bush haters actually DO? Basically, I just hear "cut and run" or "blame Bush" or "chase Osama in Pakistan", none of which is a real policy.
Posted by chrisk, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm
Which country is more critical to the future of the U.S., China or Iraq?
You have an unnatural obsession with Iraq. Other countries will blow by us as we become increasingly enmeshed in quagmires.
How do you think the Korea model applies to Iraq? The Vietnam experience might be closer. Do you remember that?
Do you consider that the American presence in Iraq allows the combatants to take more risks in their civil war? If they did not have the U.S. babysitting, they would have to be responsible for the results of their own actions. They would not have the U.S. as both a safety net and a whipping boy.
You are very good at picking up Bushie's buzzwords which have no substance. Can you say "return on success"?
Posted by watching and predicting, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2007 at 8:37 pm
yes, the results of us pulling out of Vietnam was the massacre of at least a million in Vietnam, and another million from emboldened Communists in Cambodia.
Gosh, that is exactly what would be a responsible thing to do to the Iraqis, wouldn't it?
Back to Greenspan comment..just read a headline with a small blurb about Greenspan saying Iraq was about oil. Can't wait to read the whole thing. It will be spun by those who do not understand that "ah-ha, it WAS about stealing oil!" or "about making sure we can get oil from Iraq" ( though, please note, we had gotten no oil from Iraq in about 13 years and were fine, thank you).
What I am willing to bet my arm on is that what Greenspan means, ( and I haven't read the book, yet) is that if Saddam was allowed to continue with his plans, which were to develop enough weapons ( which he was starting) to hold oil and Israel hostage, Saddam could have sent the world into a depression as bad as or worse than the Great Depression of the early 1900s, killing millions in starvation.
THAT is what I will bet the real meaning is behind the simplistic headline "Greenspan says it was about oil". This should be interesting to watch unfold over the next few weeks.
Posted by Can't have one without the other, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2007 at 8:47 pm
ChrisK: you have a strange definition of Civil War. Normally it refers to a country fighting between itself..this is not happening in Iraq. If you believe it is anymore than outside countries trying to take over Iraq, please explain how you come to this conclusion.
Also, do you consider that Police presence in LA during the riots just allowed the police to be whipping boys and only allowed the LA people to take more risks and not assume the consequences?
And, last..if our way of life is destroyed by continuing terrorist attacks and threats, then China is irrelevant to us. We can only maintain our ability to interact in the world economically and politically if we survive. So, the fascist threat means more to me than whether or not China or any other country is "more important" to me. Frankly, I don't think China is that important to us, until it goes democratic. Once it completes the transition to a full democracy with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness fundamental to their people..we lose our dominance in the world, I have no doubt. Until then, I prefer to focus on fighting back Islamofascism until Islam goes through its reformation and pulls all the Muslims into the modern age.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2007 at 9:15 pm
"Which country is more critical to the future of the U.S., China or Iraq?"
chrisk, That is a good question, although you seem to have asked it as a rhetorical device.
China seems to have many people spooked, because there are over a billion Chinese, and its economy is growing along with its military. It is a rational state that wants influence and power, just like some other states, including the USA. It is not in China's best interest to get reckless with its military. If it did, that Three Gorges Dam sures looks like a prime target! China could dump its US bonds, but that would hurt the goose that lays the golden trade egg. China will challenge US hegemony, but it needs the US, so tensions will be there, but will not boil over, IMO.
Iraq, of course, is a different matter. If it spins apart, there would be very serious consequences in the Mid East, probably involving several nations, including the US. Depending on how the players line up, it could lead to a global war. If Iraq settles down, there could be another new world order in which Muslim nations start to see the light, and demand political freedoms, indpendent of the fundamentalist yoke.
So, to answer your question, Iraq is more important at this stage.
Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2007 at 1:32 am
It's quite fair to ask us war critics what we would do differently. It is unfair to suggest that you have a crystal ball with perfect hindsight that tells you, for example, if we hadn't invaded Iraq, Hussein would still be in power. There's never any way to know what would have happened, especially the further away we get from the selected "origin" for the argument.
And now, although I say it's fair to ask a war critic's strategy, I'm declining to follow that route. I'm no military expert. (I'm not a football coach either, but I can see when a team performs poorly, and I don't have to know the solution to offer the observation). My chief concern is that our current strategists have yet to succeed in any phase of this war beyond the initial days, and that they offer us only death, debt, and deceit at every step, which they try to dress up in various guises that fail so pathetically they have lost credibility with most of the world, most Americans, and an ever-growing number of their former supporters.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2007 at 7:09 am
"It is unfair to suggest that you have a crystal ball with perfect hindsight that tells you, for example, if we hadn't invaded Iraq, Hussein would still be in power. "
That one is not exactly crystal ball stuff. Based on Saddam's demonstrated ability to crush his opposition, there is no reason, other than natural death, to suspect that he would not still be in power. It is much more rational to examine what that would mean, instead of suggesting that it might not happen.
If Saddam had not been removed by Bush, there probably would a mixed bag of results:
- A rough, but effective stability in Iraq. It was a police state, and methods did not matter.
- Continued deprivation of the Iraqui people, as Saddam squandered his resorces for his own pleasures and his military. He had invaded two countries, and was being punished for it, but he took it out on his own people, not himself or his family.
- Continued corruption of the UN oil-for-food deal. This one had tentacles that spread deeply into major institutions around the world, especially Europe. Once the scandal was finally broken, it might be the end for the UN.
- Continued and enhanced pursuit of WMD. He had them and used them. He had a major nuclear program that was completely missed by UN inspectors. Only when his son-in-law spilt the beans, did Hans Blix realize how serious it was. It was only a matter of time before Saddam got his hands on such weapons again.
- Continued no-fly-zone activity by the U.S., with Saddam becoming ever more aggressive with his missle shots at our planes. Remember all this was based in Saudi Arabia, which lead, directly, to 9/11.
Many war critics say that we would have been better off with Saddam, compared to the current mess in Iraq. Maybe so, but they should at least attempt to consider the consequences.
Posted by Fact thinker, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2007 at 1:16 pm
To Factchecker..was interested to go to your link, but rapidly realized it wasn't a fact check, but an opinion piece. Within the first couple sentences of the "analysis" it turned into an opinion. To say point blank that those who threaten Iraq are not the same as those who threaten the US is an absurd assertion to posit as "fact".
Iran and Syria threaten Iraq, wanting to turn it into a mini-me of themselves. Al-Qaida threatens Iraq, wanting to turn it into a safe haven for themselves. All 3 of the above also threaten us through, at the most benign, wanting to turn a friend, the Iraq of an elected govt, into an enemy of the US.
I read no further because it was clear to me that this was not an "unbiased" piece. But,then I looked at the top and saw it was from NPR..what a shock.
Posted by I knew it, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2007 at 1:25 pm
Finally got a look at more of what the supposed "it was all about oil" opinion from Greenspan headlines were..sure enough, my prediction was correct.
"Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction,' American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy," Greenspan wrote."
Hmmm.."were also concerned"..means one of many reasons..."harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy"...Can you explain the effects in numbers of deaths from a worldwide depression from holding it hostage? Cutting off 15% of the world's oil supply may not sound like much, but the financial ripple would be a tidal wave of misery.
Of course, foolish people who make the headlines in the papers continue to either really believe, or try to fool people into thinking, that what he is talking about is "war for oil" so we can all selfishly live our profligate lifestyle. No, the people who would be most hurt are the lower middle class and poor around the world.
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2007 at 2:34 pm
I don't see any nefarious conspiracies in the U.S. attack on Saddam. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Saddam was not the run-of-the-mill Mid East strongman. He was a Stalinist with typical megalomaniacal instincts. Occasinally, there is a leader, along with his inner circle, that needs to be killed, and he is one of them. Unfortunately, there is no super-duper sniper that can do the job, so war is the only way.
Every war has its own time and place, usually with a long string of events and issues. This one is no different. Once the war starts, there are no guarantees. They are all ugly, even if we happen think they are clean (e.g. the first Gulf War, under Bush I). As wars go, this one is not very expensive in either blood or treasure, despite what we hear every night on the news. It cannot compare with Korea or Vietnam, for instance. WWII was immensely more exspensive, yet the stakes are about the same. However, the cost is being borne by a volunteer military, which has now run its course. These men and women are a brave lot, and we owe them our immense gratitude and support.
The future course in Iraq, which is extremely important to the West AND the East, depends on the continued presence of U.S. forces, for the foreseeable future, probably for at least two decades, similar to Korea. In order to sustain such a presence, the draft will need to be reinstituted. This will get upper middle class and rich kids involved. Europe and Japan will also need to really commit.
Current politics suggest that none of the above will occur. However, if Hillary or Obama are elected, they will take a sober look at the reality, and demand that the U.S. commitment increase, not decrease. And they will demand the draft (the Nixon goes to China effect). If I am wrong, and they cut and run, they will be blamed for a catastrophic event that did not need to occur.
Posted by Admire Jack but DISAGREE, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2007 at 4:30 pm
Draft gets the upper middle class and rich kids involved? NO THANKS.
Talk to ANYONE in the military..they prefer all volunteer and all volunteer only. They would rather have 10 people who want to be there, then 10 plus 90 who resent being there. They want their backs covered by PROFESSIONALS, not slaves.
Also, would you say that Congress people are upper middle class and rich? If so, did you know that 1% of their kids have volunteered for the military, compared to .5% of the general American public? Twice as many. I don't think the draft has anything to do with distributing who volunteers. The rich and upper middle class will simply keep going to school. Simple.
Posted by Admire Jack but DISAGREE, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2007 at 4:32 pm
However, I do agree with you Jack. The Democrats will push for a draft, because they don't really care about the reality of the effect on the military, they care about the general public's perception of "fairness". Which is newspeak, there is nothing fair about forced labor, there is nothing fair about forcing your son or daughter to work with a resentful, incompetent "draftee".
Posted by Jack, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2007 at 5:22 pm
With respect, I must say that an all volunteer army only goes so far. Despite the common perception, WWII was a draft military. Even with that, and all the early patriotism, Bull Halsy made public speeches beseaching the Anmerican public to stick with it to the end, and not surrender to peace negotiations with Japan, which many Americans wanted to do. The atomic bomb was dropped, in part, to end the debate. It worked.
The draft will be reinstated, but probably only when the stakes are finally realized. At that point, the death toll will be much higher than it should have been... on all sides.