01/31/2005: Iraqi Vote...Eventual Success towards "SELF RULE"
As a Patriot, it is heartening to have seen such a sucessful Iraqi voter turnout. Some pundits, who know infinitely more about the region than I (like Christopher Dickey and Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek) spy a kind of hope...though it may be, in their opinion, 15-20 years down the road to truly re-making this troubled country into a model of working "Self Rule."
Just to "Clear The Record": I've not ever been a supporter of this administration...though I allowed GW his shining "moment" right after 9/11 (regardless of whether he should be held "accountable" for any of the intelligence lapses which led up to 9/11); the Afghanistan War; and even support (initially) for the Iraq War...I was one of the "dopes" who believed our government "must" have had some evidence, not just vague "intelligence", about WMD's to launch an entirely pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation. So, I've had a slightly evolving take on the Iraq War...while patriotically HOPING for successes, being disillusioned about the "incompetence" of this administration's efforts and angry at the outright deceptions that were interwoven into the rationale to be there in the first instance.
It was actually my husband who didn't believe - for even a minute - that the "intelligence" about WMD''s was sufficient proof of their existence to justify this war. He had a former brother-in-law who was an FBI agent who used to describe "intelligence" and "intelligence gathering" this way:
If something is "known" then it no longer qualifies to be called "intelligence." Intelligence is only the vague suspicions and tendrils of a supposition based on some known facts...but once these suppositions actually become "known facts"...then it's not intelligence anymore."
So, when this administration talks about using "iffy" or "poor" intelligence as the rationale for this war...they are speaking about stuff so vague and so unsupported in a world of information which is already vague and unsubstantiated that this can't even qualify to be called "good intelligence."
For more than you ever wanted to know about my "Positions on this administration" click on the "more" section to read more.
What I said back then:
I finished reading the book “Intelligence Matters” by Senator Bob Graham and Jeff Nussbaum, and his indictment of various failures of the Bush administration and President Bush. I have a comment on Grahams’ multiple examples of attempts made to warn George Bush that his plan for Iraq would become a huge, destabilizing mess, bad for the entire Middle eastern region and impossible for even for “friendly” Muslim countries to support.
It’s like hoping that if you blow up an entire city, as the bricks and plaster rain down from the sky, some of the pieces will fall and regroup themselves into a perfectly constructed, immaculate rendition of the ideal American House of Democracy just ready and waiting for its new occupant. While, in the realm of an “everything is possible” theoretical version of the world…don’t they always say if enough monkey’s were given typewriters one of them could eventually compose a Shakespeare sonnet?…it’s just more likely that when you create the mass destruction and chaos throughout an entire country and its society you’ll end up with a large, uncertain mess that’s about as likely to reform itself into this American ideal (as seen through the rose-colored prism of G.W. Bush’s now famous “spreading liberty” worldview) as monkey’s writing Shakespeare.
What was, and is, far more realistic to assume is that even with the “freedom to choose” and “elections” for its now liberated-to-become-their-own-renegade-warlords and guerilla militia leaders, the populace in these countries will not end up a model of American democracy, but a model Theocracy of narrow extremist religious views. It is far more likely that there will be a continuation of warring factions fighting for the slim reins of power and control over rival religious points of view. Those that don’t win in these elections will just go out and take their own chunk of the liberated pie by force or coercion. In the lawlessness and chaos, and with long rooted histories in localized tribal rule rather than acquiescence to and outright aversion for strong central government, it is the most foreseeable scenario that these groups will continue to just ignore our “democratizing” efforts or create more insurgency to fight them. The vacuum of control has allowed in real Al Qaeda elements to enter (or re-enter) and organize and flourish as well. It’s already happening, as predicted, in both Afghanistan and in Iraq today.
Even on my soccer mom's budget of time, research ability I've come to see that there aren't many places where democracy flourishes at the end of the muzzle of a foreign invader's gun unless it translates into the that "security" and "promised peace."
The 9/11 Commission report cited a “failure in imagination” as the Bush administration mind-set resulting in that fatal catastrophe. Unfortunately, “lessons learned” is not a strong suit in our President’s efforts and he just keeps “failing to imagine” the unintended consequences of his actions no matter how much advice, warnings and objections surface before he implements his plans of attack. Senator Bob Graham is right when he states that this outright incompetence and “failure in leadership at the highest levels of government” (plus all the other assorted maneuvers and cover-ups for poor government) should result in the removal of this President. I applaud Senator Graham for this strong stance and call for the responsibility of these failures to be addressed which are “so serious that it warrants the removal of George W. Bush from office.”
Finally, given the multitude of evolving (and debunked) rationales for exporting this pre-emptive war to gain a democracy, somehow the entire notion doesn’t just seem to sit well with the indigenous population that pays a far worse price in fatalities than we do...I wonder why they’d act like venal ingrates by creating insurgencies against our efforts and occupation?? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’re achieving the American model democracy “over there.” It almost guaranteed to produce an angry, anti-US theocracy rooted in extremist Islamic fundamentalist religions. But in this desperate attempt to secure oil, as any good US Imperialist will tell you…what’s good for the US is good for the world. If this effort fails, well…we can always try exporting this “most favored nation” status to… oh, let’s say Iran, and see if we get the promised flowers and chocolates from that populace.
It’s time for our administration, however, to quit the “lying through their teeth” terrorism excuses as a rationale for Iraq and have that discussion of whether this is the right US policy. We won’t start saving any American servicemen’s lives until we have the proper national debate over this “regime change for oil” policy.
2000 Election battle and Anti-Bushism:
My objections to this President began during the 2000 election campaign debacle. I am a graduate of NU School of Law and licensed attorney here in Illinois. I read ALL those briefs and the cited case law put forth during each step of those legal arguments all the way to the Supreme Court level...and what solidified my BAD opinion of this President is that he was perfectly willing to swear an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States while simultaneously presenting (through his lawyer Ted Olson) arguments ripping the rug from beneath all the legal precedents and standards upon which it is built.
If you aren't an attorney and didn't read those briefs...the entire rationale of the legal battle was encapsulated in sound bite of a mere election lawsuit Bush v Gore devolving down to “who won who lost”...end of story. But that simplistic understanding belies the fundamental arguments put forth (and the "twisted" -legally speaking) Supreme Court response and reasoning in it's opinion that his “right to vote” was SO important it rises to the level of falling under the 14 Amendment (equal protection under the law) yet incredibly doesn’t mean there is any corresponding requirement to actually finish an on-going effort to count those votes.
What had occurred, since that time, is the feint of hand Bush administration rhetoric touting support or improvement in various programs, laws, regulations, et.al. while literally undermining them behind the scenes. This is the source of my anti-Bushism position which allowed him his "shining moment" on 9/11 and Afghanistan, but was snuffed out by Iraq and various other legal and regulatory issues. It's his playing fast and loose with the laws, the truth, the facts and our very Constitution. This is why he's a most dangerous man to be opposed...for very practical, legal and issue based reasons. (Then you can add my personal dislike of his lazy, frat boy petulance and incipient cowboyism.)
Revisionist Historians in our midsts:
Previous terrorism administraion responses and “some people” wanting to reframe the “date all this really started” to some earlier moment (the first World Trade Center bombings) in a continuation of the “Blame Game” efforts to distract from what is happening NOW.
Just for historical clarity…the real date of the Al Qaeda turning from being one of our allies (Osama worked with our own US forces to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan) into our most bitter enemy can be traced directly to George H. W. Bush and his close (overly close) personal relationship with the Saudi Royal family and particularly with Prince Bandar. It was the decision (exact date is not at my fingertips) of the Saudi Royal family to reject Osama bin Laden and his Mujahadeen fighters in the first Gulf War and choosing American soldiers and Bush Sr.’s help. Then the establishing of US bases on Saudi soil (plus using female US military personal) in the homeland of the sacred Muslim Holy sites of Mecca and Medina that began this whole odyssey and “war” directed at us from Al Qaeda.
This “dissing” of Osama’s manhood and capabilities of his fighters…who in his estimation had defeated one of the great Super Powers on the planet…as not worthy to go after that secular infidel and aggressor Saddam, was what turned this ally into our most murderous enemy. It was Bush Sr.’s lack of basic misunderstanding in how to approach these foreign cultures which directly resulted in Osama’s rage at the US and the Saudi Royal family.
So, it is not just each particular incident, attack and the overall “failure” to realize the extent of the capabilities of this group and efforts to “take them out” prior to 9/11 which is the fault of several Presidents (the current Bush included.) However, since it has been known, documented and revealed that whatever the “system blinking red” threats passed G.W. desk, he did nothing either, that’s an argument going nowhere. One could hypothesize the ‘what if’s” all the way back to “what if Osama had never been born” and still be no closer to what we must do NOW.
One final comment on the egregious errors of this administration that simply can not be passed backwards no matter how hard you spin it, it the irreparable damage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses that falls squarely at the feet of this President. Misunderstanding that male culture that reveres honor and manliness (so unlike our touch-feely evolved new generation of American male culture) over their very life. These images and the ignorant Bush approach to those “legalisms” as he calls the Geneva Conventions will not be undone until we change our leadership. We have no hope of gaining that essentially crucial support from the Muslim world community as long as George Bush is our misguided leader representing our country as the face of America.
9-11 Commission Report and Kerry candidacy for President:
Response to Chuck Goudie: (TV news personality and columnist):
Only President Bush and his cabinet were responsible for the "System Blinking Red" 8-9 months of information warning of Al Qaeda intentions to kill Americans on US soil…and no Senators or Congressmen see daily PDB's with these dire warnings except our fearless leader. So, as to what each man could have known in that instant and to who bears the responsibility for ignoring the information is no comparison. You're just providing a perverted twisting of the "buck never stops here" excuses of the Bush administration and attempting to foist them on the non-President, non-commander in chief, non-PDB informed person and assessing their reactions as equivalent in knowledge, duty and responsibility. It can't be done and it's shameful of you to dissemble like this without having done all your homework and required reading to qualify the facts for each person in their entirety. Only one of them was acting as the sitting President, The Commander in Chief, wearing the mantle of the duties of that office and its responsibility to immediately act. Moreover, the mere fact that our dear Prez had finally, finally gotten the message from Richard Clarke on Sept 4th 2001, and been warned of this Al Qaeda danger…don't ya just guess he might, possible might have had some inkling more than the average person or Senator as to what was going on in those attacks than anybody else around????? Shortening Bush's time to "think" about what he had not acted on earlier?????
Second, if you've read the actual 9/11 Commission Report (somehow I doubt it) you'd see some interesting things about the recommendations to "deliver us from this evil." I'll quote a few sentences that illustrate my point that the real choice is between creating stronger international alliances and avoiding the "attack cowboy" that had so decimated our standing in the Muslim countries where we need support and cooperation to have any hope of achieving our goal to get the terrorists where they live and operate:
Page 363-364 More than a War on terrorism:
The first phase of our post 9/11 efforts rightly included military action to topple the Taliban and pursue Al Qaeda….America's strategy should be a coalition strategy, that includes Muslim Nations as partners in its development and implementations.
No where is Iraq mentioned in the report as necessary or related, except in the President's misguided mind, as part of this greater picture in reining in the new terror threat. Further on page 375, the report continues:
The United States is heavily engaged in the Muslim world…This American engagement is resented…Polls in 2003 show two-thirds of Muslim countries from Indonesia to turkey (a NATO ally) were very fearful or somewhat fearful that the United States may attack them…Support for the U.S. has plummeted…Polls taken in Islamic countries after 9/11 suggested that many or most people thought the U.S. was doing the right thing in its fight against terrorism…By 2003, polls showed that 'the bottom has fallen out of the support for America in most of the Muslim world.'
These statements are directly reflective of the nature and "miscalculation" of the war in Iraq.
The report notes back on page 334: 10.3 'Phase Two' And the Question of Iraq, that there was no connection of Iraq and the Al Qaeda problem of terrorism yet Powell told the commission that Paul Wolfowitz "saw this (9/11) as one way of using this event as a way to deal with the Iraq problem." And (big surprise) we have a President and V.P continually trying to bootstrap Iraq onto the Al Qaeda issue to present it to the American public as a legitimate and necessary effort, expense and policy decision in the "new war" on terror. The President's faulty reasoning and presence in Iraq fuel the plummeting favorable ratings beyond countries in the Middle East. Favorable rating for the U.S. have fallen from 61% to 15% in Indonesia and from 71% to 38% among Muslims in Nigeria.
The commissions strongest recommendations all involve cooperative efforts, turning national strategy into coalition strategy, improving relations with Muslim countries, engaging other nations as the best way to combat and confront the future of these terror threats. No where can this report be used to imply the "go-it-alone" Bush Doctrine of unilateral, preemptive strikes against all possible terror targets is the appropriate or best strategy for our national security or to "deliver us from this evil". The report stresses the very opposite, yet you wish to spin, out of the greater context, one small piece as an argument for the "choice facing voters" to back the Bush Doctrine and Bush's version of preemption as the answer.The real issue and choice is between a "coalition strategy among many nations" and particularly Muslim nations versus a "go-it alone in the world strategy" (Bush Doctrine) and the 9/11 commission report clearly backs a coalition style candidate (John Kerry) as the best hope and answer.
About the New “Critics from the Conservative Right”
You need to take up the cause of the "Hipocracy Hotline" for a**-holes who think their "conservative" bonafides make them the...how did Andrew Sullivan put it..."the new critics are on the right. And the point of the criticism is that we are better positioned to win."
What a bunch of whining hipocrits!!!!! Those of you who supported the "Who's you daddy" line ad nauseum on our Fearless Leader, now want to turn your hipocritical cheeks and become the self-righteous critics demanding reforms from this "lacks-a-learning-curve" administration as some self-proclaimed mantle of legitimacy in punditry criticism??? Mistake me if I am wrong, but are the very head-up-your-arse group who gave Bush his policy confirming victory at the poles (and you're all so certain in your crystal ball of crystal balls that Kerry's military ideas for Iraq would have been worse?!!?) Where's the legitimacy of pulling up the boot-licking rear of the criticism lines a massive day late and a dollar short??
The real problem with Team Bush is not admitting mistakes, which leads to admitting a need to change, which leads to changing personnel as the way to FIX everything (though it would be refreshing if they even tried it once in awhile.) The problem is in doing all of the above...yet being unable to actually FIX anything. If the fixative solutions keep leading to more massive failures, more of the same, no end of the line solutions...that would be a much worse picture of systemic failure. So, Team Bush has wisely decided to ride out all criticism and repaint this pig-in-poke to a resounding Success all across the board and hide as many unpleasant FACTS as have the temerity to come forward.
So criticize all you want from the "pulling up the rear of this wagon train"...but just as surely it will avail you naught. It's just so not on the agenda of these "reality is ours to decide" administrators.
Karen on 01.31.05 @ 09:38 AM CST