Saturday, October 27, 2007

The GOP vs. the U.S. Military: Part Eight - The Generals Speak

In Parts One through Seven, I laid down a careful case that showed, in one categorical area after another, how the Bush Administration and the entire neoconservative movement have effectively been “waging war against the professionals and of the US government, especially the men and women of the military Officer Corps. A perspective that I have been trying to get people to see, for close to five years, now.

Now, delayed and distracted by other things, I feel I must try to finish off this topic, getting the rest of my stored-up material online, even if it comes across less-polished than some of the other sections.

* The Growing Revolt of the Senior Officer Corps.

I have been tracking for years the blatant fact that this administration is more despised by our senior generals and admirals than any other in living memory, even including the Nixon and Johnson officials who meddled cluelessly, while sending men into a useless attrition quagmire on the continent of Asia, dividing the nation, wasting its treasure and credibility and alliances, demolishing America’s position of leadership for a generation.

Take some recent examples:

Oct. 12— In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top American commander called the Bush administration’s handling of the war incompetent and warned that the United States was “living a nightmare with no end in sight.” In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability.

“There was been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding later in his remarks that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

Or this one: "The (Bush) administration has dumped the entire Middle East problem onto the back of the soldier and the Marine," retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton said in an interview from his Fox Island home. "The 'surge,' a modest success, is counterbalanced by our failure to get out a diplomatic surge. ... I believe this administration is incompetent beyond any dream of the American people. This administration is a one-trick pony: military action, military action, military action." Eaton is a product of the U.S. Military Academy. He is the son of a fellow West Point grad, an Air Force pilot who went missing over Laos 38 years ago. Both of Eaton's sons have followed him into the military, one of them to West Point.

Still, after a 2003-2004 tour of duty in Iraq, he was among the earliest to critique then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the neo-conservative warriors of the Bush Pentagon. "It is not typical of retired generals to go to the media. It is not customary for retired generals to make public displays of criticism toward administration policy. But it is our duty, under oath, to support and defend the Constitution. It is not a matter of duty to support and defend the administration."

Joe Conelly, a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says: Winston Churchill, to whom George W. Bush has likened himself, declared: "It is better to 'Jaw, Jaw!' than 'War, War!' " The iron-willed wartime prime minister was also a driven diplomat. Such, too, has been a talent of America's best military leaders -- coalition building and skill at achieving national objectives without the clash of arms. Gen. George Marshall blocked Soviet domination of Europe, not by blowing up the Red Army's T-34 tanks, but by rebuilding war-ravaged Western and Central European countries with the Marshall Plan. The grandiose-sounding Gen. Douglas MacArthur proved subtle and culturally sensitive in the post-World War II dismantling of Japanese militarism.

In the mid-1990s, at an air base outside Dayton, Ohio, Gen. Wesley Clark and presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke persuaded an odious Balkan dictator -- Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic -- to sign the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina...

Well, well. It’s good to see SOMEONE raising the Balkans War as a point of comparison, showing the “Powell Doctrine” at its best and most effective, in comparison... in comparison to....

* Turning to the “Petraeus Report”

All right, the following is a few weeks old. But it’s still relevant. For only PART of the Officer Corps is fuming. There are others, in an era when sycophancy is rewarded. (Look into history and tell me when that ever happened, and the nation, at large, benefited.)

The right’s attempt to create a Cult of General Petraeus has been touted by cable news shills and denounced by opponents far more influential than me, from a zillion angles. But let’s go to the heart of it, as an example of the lengths that the Bush Administration will go, in order to maximally achieve their apparent goal -- the destruction of the United States Army.

Ponder this caustic snippet from Russ Daggett: ”Petraeus announced that, "the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met." And based on all that "progress," he said, "we will be able to reduce our forces to the pre-surge level of brigade combat teams by next summer without jeopardizing the security gains that we have fought so hard to achieve." He noted that "pre-surge levels" could be reached "by mid-July 2008." But it would be "premature" to discuss force reductions beyond that.

“In other words, 20 months after the people spoke, in the 2006 elections, US forces would be at the same level they were on election day, with absolutely no commitment to reduce them beyond that level. “But in recent months, senior military leaders -- including Admiral. Michael Mullen, incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- have acknowledged that the surge would have to end by April 2008 in any event because there are no fresh replacements for troops who would be completing their 15 month deployments.

“What a coincidence -- Petraeus is offering a force reduction that has absolutely nothing to do with "conditions on the ground" -- it is just the maximum level that our broken military can withstand. Whereupon the levels will stay that way indefinitely -- i.e., until Bush leaves office. “By portraying that inevitable unwinding of the surge as being a response to military success, Petraeus was engaging in political spin. That's one of the dangers of a general allowing himself to become the frontman for a highly-political White House propaganda campaign. Not everyone in the military is happy to see a general become the chief salesman for the administration's war policies.”

Russ goes on to quote at length from an article: Petraeus Out of Step with Top Brass   

”In sharp contrast to the lionization of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting. Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say.

“Fallon's derision toward Petraeus reflected both the CENTCOM commander's personal distaste for Petraeus's style of operating and their fundamental policy differences over Iraq, according to sources. The policy context of Fallon's extraordinarily abrasive treatment of his subordinate was Petraeus's agreement in February to serve as front man for the George W. Bush administration's effort to sell its policy of increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq to Congress.

“In a highly unusual political role for an officer who had not yet taken command of a war, Petraeus was installed in the office of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, in early February just before the Senate debated Bush's troop increase. According to a report in The Washington Post Feb. 7, senators were then approached on the floor and invited to go McConnell's office to hear Petraeus make the case for the surge policy.

“Fallon was strongly opposed to Petraeus's role as pitch man for the surge policy in Iraq adopted by Bush in December as putting his own interests ahead of a sound military posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia -- the area for which Fallon's CENTCOM is responsible. The CENTCOM commander believed the United States should be withdrawing troops from Iraq urgently, largely because he saw greater dangers elsewhere in the region. "He is very focused on Pakistan," said a source familiar with Fallon's thinking, "and trying to maintain a difficult status quo with Iran."”

...dang. I mean. Dang. As with the US Attorney firings scandal, people seem to miss the key point in the tussle over the Petraeus report. In that other scandal, the issue should not be the eight US Attorneys who were let go, for not perfectly toeing the line, but rather, the eighty or so who are still out there, doing a “satisfactory job” in Bush’s eyes, by performing politically twisted versions of a task that they swore to do for us impartially and professionally.

Likewise, re the military. I have inveighed about the number of valuable officers who are being transferred or forced out, in relentless Bushite purges. But as Petraeus clearly shows, the real issue is not the good men and women who have been purged, but the roll-over lapdogs who have been promoted in their place, collaborating in the bullying, dismemberment and destruction of a proud and skilled military that -- only half a decade ago -- seemed invincible in the eyes of all the world.

* Long have we asked this question: who is the enemy?

Not Osama, since Bush recently dissolved the very CIA unit assigned to tracking the master terrorist down!

Not our Shiite “friends” or our Sunni “friends”, who sometimes flick, like a switch into opposite roles, in a dizzying whirl of masks and reciprocal blame.

Not potential super-rivals like China or Russia, since no attention is being paid to their recent arms buildups and our own military strength has been torn to bits.

What the Bushites DO seem to care about is redesigning the United States Officer Corps. In stocking political and social fanatics into the service academies, at the bottom, while harrying and chasing out the best and most professional flag-level commanders, replacing them with a coterie of those who are willing to shift their loyalties from the Constitution to the Neocon Agenda. This clear choice of priorities and mission makes clear who the Bushites consider to be the enemy.

It is us.


Return to Part 1 of this series


David Brin said...

In scratching an itch and cleaning out heaps to postables I'd put aside, let me dump a few more here. Some are a little dated. Sorry. But still cogent.

And this from Russ Daggett: Forgetting entirely the lessons that he claimed to have learned from a war in which he did not serve, Bush invaded Iraq in March 2003 hastily, without just cause, without enough troops, and lacking a clear goal. For years, he maintained Iraq and Vietnam had no similarities. In an interview, he said:

QUESTION: How do you answer the Vietnam comparison? BUSH: I think the analogy is false. I also happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops, and sends the wrong message to the enemy. Above all else, to maintain political support for his war, Bush has to insist on the prospect of "victory. So Vietnam analogies were bad. But now the narrative has changed. Last November, speaking in Vietnam of all places (insert cringe here), Bush said the "lesson of Vietnam" was, "" Is this military strategy or The Little Engine That Could?

Alas, are there ANY democrats or commentators who know the knack of hurling manic reversals into the faces of these hypocrites? The Vietnam analogy has one rich one that could be mined and turned into bullets. Just sift through that 30 years that followed our Vietnam humiliation and find a major conservative who did NOT blame that defeat on:

“Outrageous meddling in military matters by clueless, draft-dodging, self-serving politicians.”

One could fill an entire web site with such quotations... and yet that mantra is never spoken today. I wonder why.

Likewise, those who raged at Clinton and the UN over purported graft in the old “Oil for Food” program seem unwilling to mention it anymore, now that the American-supervised Iraqi Oil Ministry is losing more in any given WEEK - in both petroleum and cash - than the Oil for Food program did in its entire span.

Another potential bullet-word is “nation-building”. Sift through the past and you’ll find most republicans castigating the “failed and discredited notion of US intervention to pursue the naive and utopian goal of so-called nation-building” I mean... dang... with WMDs and terrorism refuted, nation-building is THE justification for hurling our abused armed forces into a meat grinder. All some democrat has to do is use that term, and a million republicans will wince. A few may even wake up..

We're weeks into the Bush administration's "the-surge-is-working" PR blitz, which culminates this week with the Congressional testimony of St. Petraeus. Timely reminder: It was Bush, not Congressional Democrats, who came up with the "benchmarks." These would be standards by which Bush's escalation would be judged.

As Russ Daggett puts it: “So now the real bamboozlements starts. Despite the "benchmarks," the metrics for judging "success" have, yet again, been changed. Now, we are supposed to believe, success should be judged by reductions in "sectarian" violence (more on that later) and arming the militia of Sunni tribal warlords in Anbar province who were until recently killing American troops. Sunni tribal sheiks in Anbar rejected "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" before the "surge" even started and did so for their own reasons -- because they got sick of the Sunni on Sunni violence and didn't want to see their own power usurped. And of course they are going to ease up on attacks on US troops -- for the time being -- if we are supplying their militia with arms with which to solidify their power. But those arms will eventually be trained on the Shiite "government" and on us (if we are still around).

They have made that absolutely clear: They hate al Qaeda, the "Persians" (i.e., Shiites) and us, in that order.“ “Minor short-term tactical gains (buying off Sunni sheiks by arming their militia) at the expense of the long-term strategy (creating a centralized "unity" Iraqi government). Typical Bush game plan.“

Whoosh, That's Russ...

Oh! Has anyone seen that new movie “The Kingdom?” One gets an impression than will trillions flowing in at unprecedented rates, this was financed to paint Saudi elites in positive light.
As "victims" of Al Qaeda.

Is that right?

Soon $100/barrell for oil. Is that the best "Ostrich ammo" of all?

David Brin said...

Another (briefer) followup. A participant in the blog, who shall nevertheless be left namelss for now, wrote in with this a while back:

Hello David, I felt compelled to e-mail this given the current vein on your blog. As an employee (manager) at the US Military Academy at West Point, I can give you my impression of what I have seen over the last 15 years. Yes, I have seen more fundamentalist cadets and officers actively pushing their beliefs.

More frightening though is the inculcating of the view that there is one set of rules for the average soldiers and another one entirely for cadets and graduates (ROTC and OCS officers are looked down upon).

I have seen many instances where cadets are taught that it is okay to break state laws and regulations. Their mentors often enable this. Even more disturbing is the arising of the Roman Empire mentality. College athletics and glory is more important than honing their military education. Michie Stadium is becomming a Coliseum. And, alumni are donating large sums of money in the interest of athletics.

Had to share some of this. Yes, retaliation will occur whenever someone attempts to shed light on the seedy, sordid side of West Point. If a good investigative reporter wanted to dig into what is occurring, the shock might be even more troubling. J

Woozle said...

Do you have a source for "...Bush recently dissolved the very CIA unit assigned to tracking the master terrorist down!"?

My ostrich consistently ridicules anyone who says "Bush is more dangerous than Osama". If it could be irrefutably pointed out that Bush seems to have inexplicably abandoned the Super-Urgent Hunt for our Number One Bad Guy...

I'm sure he'll come up with some rationalization, but hopefully it will be another crack in the sand.

Woozle said...

Never mind the source question; found one with a little google-fu:

2006-07-04 C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

On July 4, no less.

Obvious ostrich rebuttals:
* "Well Bush didn't call off the search..." you think maybe he's actually unhappy about this, and is somehow unable to persuade the CIA to change their minds?
* "Well obviously Osama is no longer the top priority; Al Qaeda isn't as hierarchical as we thought..." All the rebuttals I can think of have ostrich-head-sized holes them, so I guess we're back to square one.

Now, maybe if I could find solid documentation of the claim that the CIA created Al Qaeda in the first place, through the Pakistani ISI... (Just being eternally optimistic here.)

David Brin said...

There's no point in using hyperbole with an ostrich. "Bush is more dangerous than Osama" merely gives him something to ridicule.

Instead, super reasonably, ask him : "would you go back to the same doctor, over and over again, who mis diagnosed your disease and gave the wrong treatements repeatedly... JUST because he's likeable and "on your side"?

SHould the Bushes be listened-to at all, when they coddled Saddam and Osama, nurtured them, sent them weapons and training, called off the CIA and protected them and their families... then ignored warnings they were about to bite... then went after them with unbelievable incompetence?

Why should folks like that be "deciders"?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brin,

Something about this post reminded me of one of my pet peeves about politicization of the military: the conversion of operational code names to propaganda.

We have Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom today. Clinton had Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. Bush the Elder had Operation Just Cause in Panama.

Compare these to World War II: Operation Market Garden, Operation Gomorrah, Operation Husky, Operation Overlord, etc.

The transition may have occurred during the Reagan administration (that's as far back as my political memory goes, and I don't have time to do a lot of Vietnam/Korea googling just now) where Grenada was Operation Urgent Fury but Libya was simply Operation El Dorado Canyon.

Regardless, the propagandistic formulation of operation names makes the military not simply the apolitical tool of administration policy--as it is supposed to be--but a party to pushing the rightness and goodness of that policy. I can think of few things more clearly deserving the label "spin" than these propagandistic names for military operations.

Perhaps not incidentally, this appears to be a largely American phenomenon. The UK participation in the Iraqi invasion was Operation Telic and Australia's was Operation Catalyst.

(I should note that some smaller scale American operations are often given non-propaganda names, such as Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, while others are not: the first battle of Fallujah was Operation Vigiliant Resolve, for example.)

Unknown said...

Two juicy bits of news:

The House Judiciary Committee `accidentally' sends emails of 130 whistleblowers to Cheney. They sent a mass email by CC instead of BCC, and also decided to add for some reason...

Glenn Greenwald gets a nasty email from Col. Stephen A Boylan, the Public Affairs Officer and personal spokesman for General David Petraeus. He later gets a follow-up in which Col. Boylan tries to deny he sent it without saying it outright.

Anonymous said...

More evidance that the GOP is intent on squelching any enlightenment criticism and accountability from the man that invented the term “Politically Correct”

“D’Souza contends that the cultural left is responsible for 9/11 in two ways: by fostering a decadent and depraved American culture that angers and repulses other societies—especially traditional and religious ones— and by promoting, at home and abroad, an anti-American attitude that blames America for all the problems of the world.”

“In order to defeat the Islamic radicals abroad,” D’Souza writes, “we must defeat the enemy at home.”

I have not read the book but its summery makes me think that the true abbreviation of the GOP is Genocide Optional Party. D’Souza seems to be advocating a genocidal purge of the Left. Would the Democrats as flawed as they are accept and shower speaking arrangements on Ann Coulter who has publicly advocated genocide of Islam? They hate the millitary because it is too open minded after 200 years of enlightenment values.

Tony Fisk said...

The cc *might* be a mistake.
Adding vice_president, though....

Message to whistleblowers: Gotcha!

(Which is also the message Greenwald is sending to Col. Boylan.)

Meanwhile, I note that the Iranian bluff is being called by the UN atomic agency:

UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed El Baradei said he had no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding "fuel to the fire" with recent bellicose rhetoric.

(and, before anyone asks 'with a name like that...?', he's Egyptian, not Iranian)

GOP = God's Own People.

Jumper said...

Sort of on topic, and interesting general synopsis worth thinking about.

Peter said...

This post by Glenn Greenwald seems apropos :

Mostly because it seems like evidence of the second side of all these scandals. Namely, if the people who are refusing to be partisan are being forced out, what is the condition of those who are staying? In this case, it looks like the Colonel who is Gen. Petraeus' spokesman wrote a bizarre, ranty, very partisan email to Glenn Greenwald and is now trying to deny that he wrote it. The electronic evidence is against him though. I wonder if any hay will be made of this, or if this stuff is now just standard operating procedure.

I mean, the guy is a *Colonel* and a *spokesman*. This behavior just seems bizarre.

Unknown said...

Peter remarked:
I mean, the guy is a *Colonel* and a *spokesman*. This behavior just seems bizarre.

The behavior is predictable when you stop to think what's going on. All totalitarian strongmen purge the military in order to extinguish opposition and install their own toadies. Stalin left the Soviet Army essentially worthless and full of incompetents with his 1920s-1930s purges prior to WW II, and Mao gutted the Red Army with both his Great Leap Forward and again in his 1960s Cultural Revolution. The totalitarians in the White House are doing the same thing. Thus, it stands to reason that the ass-kissing cronies in the U.S. army would crawl and cringe like obsequious serfs, since they were chosen for thsoe qualities.

I'm baffled that Dr. Brin seems to be so concerned about the military. Much more serious problems confront us today. The destruction of the constitution and the eliminiation of most of our basic rights, along with the rapid rise of a police state in which the law of law has in effect been suspended, pose a much greater danger than incompetnt fundamentalist Christians in the officer corps. Ask yourself -- which is more worrisome? Being arrested for no reason and tasered or beaten without charges, then dragged away to be tortured to death without possibility of trial? Or having a weak military?

Even more devastating than the collapse of the rule of law in the United States, however, has been the collapse of science. Without decent science, we're destined to become another Mexico or Thailand. If things don't change, America will become nothing more than a destination for sex tourism, cheap recreation drugs, and raunchy underage porn:

Anonymous said...

As long as there are no further acts of terror on American soil, the ostriches will go along with the government in supporting the sequal to Vietnam (with some of the same people calling the shots).

As for the GOP's "War on the Military", it's just a by-product of the government's desire to feed the Military Industrial Complex that Ike warned about some fifty years ago. Hot or cold, we have been in a near constant state of war for more than half a century. Wars cost gobs of capital, said capital is distributed by the powers that be to companies whose in turn provide the people doling out the tax money cushy jobs as lobbyists, consultants or public speakers when they're done with the
political rat race.

The only thing new is that this administration doesn't give a shit how transparent their motives appear to be, and even less for the minions that it has charged with carrying out their orders. They cut their pensions, screw them out of GI Bill benefits, and even haul them into court marshalls for carrying out orders to torture prisoners. The military is chock full of ordinary people who are beneath the contempt of the people that this government at large represents: the oligarchy of
lobbyists, beuraucrats and those with the means to buy political favor.

Anonymous said...

“Outrageous meddling in military matters by clueless, draft-dodging, self-serving politicians.”
You can't make this claim about the political leadership during Vietnam; JFK and LBJ were both in the navy and saw combat; Nixon was Army.

"Ask yourself -- which is more worrisome? Being arrested for no reason and tasered or beaten without charges, then dragged away to be tortured to death without possibility of trial? Or having a weak military?"
How about having a military that (because it's a bunch of cronies and sycophants) backs up the police, breaking up peaceful protests with automatic weapons fire and tanks?

Unknown said...

Hawker Hurrican unintentionally made my point for me when he uniwttingly rebutted:
How about having a military that (because it's a bunch of cronies and sycophants) backs up the police, breaking up peaceful protests with automatic weapons fire and tanks?

That's precisely the problem, you see. Today the police have been militarized so you no longer need a military breaking peaceful protests with automatic weapons fire and tanks.

The police now have tanks and automatic weapons so they can employ this kind of previously totalitarian violence against the population.

The problem with militarizing the police is that the military is for use against the enemies of the state, while the police are there to deal with ordinary citizens. When the police become the military, the ordinary citizens tend to become the enemies of the state.

"This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a brave, much-decorated high-level military man who is not only on the watch list for his criticism of the administration — his family is now on the list. His elderly mother is on the list. His teenage son is on the list. He has flown many dangerous combat missions over the course of his military career, but his voice cracks when he talks about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment."

TSA breaks man's laptop, then threatens him with arrest for protesting:

Man's 81-year-old father arrested and frog-marched out of airport for
no reason.

Man tasered to death at Vancouver airport after police speak to him for 24 seconds:

Man tasered 5 times while handcuffed by deputies in jail; he dies, jury refuses even to view the video of the incident before acquitting the deputies:

House passes "Homegrown Terrorist" Bill -- this comment could be considered "homegrown terrorism" and I could be tasered, hauled off in a black hood and tortured to death at Gitmo for criticizing this legislation, according to this bill:

An historical plaque commemorates George Orwell's house...while 32 closed-circuit TV cameras scan every move
on the streets around it:,%20Big%20Brother%20is%20watching%20your%20house/

David Brin said...

Zorgon, I am perfectly right to worry deeply about subornation and repression of the most important and by far most-powerful center of raw power in our civilization. So long as the Officer Corps is more loyal to People and Constitution than it is to the President, then these guys have got a real obstacle in their path.

Moreover, almost any step that we take to protect the military officer caste will also protect the other professionals who are the core victims of the neocon "revolution." WE PAY THESE PEOPLE TO PROTECT US FROM THE VERY SAME TYPE OF SLIDE TOWARD TYRANNY THAT YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT.

Yes, some of these professionals have already sold out. Some were monsters to start with. A great many are ostriches, conservative by temperament and inclination, and deeply reluctant to wake up to the fact that their "side" has been hijacked by enemies of the republic.

And - yes - petty micro-tyrants will swell their chests and bully normal folks, any chance they get. The personality type is attracted to jobs where they can force regualr people to sweat.

So? What would you have us do? Attack the whole Protector Caste for creeping Orwellianism? This will NOT help, for many reasons.

First - ostriches will hear you complain and reflexively apply Fox dismissals of typical whining liberalism. "F@$%$ing commies have more sympathy for Gitmo prisoners than for the victims of 9/11." Yes, that makes them assholes. But I want them to WAKE UP from being assholes. Hence I want to SAY THINGS THAT THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY HEAR.

Complaining about neocon abuse of the military spears right past their Fox defenses. It shakes them up.


That will only happen if we reach out to them.

Tony Fisk said...


Here's why: would your ostrich be more prepared to listen to some lefty rant, or the opinions of a former Prime Minister of a conservative government?

(It might not be considered appropriate to mention but, in his day, Mal was variously caricatured as an emu and 'Blind Freddie'. Oh, and this is where usage of the term 'liberal' gets interesting. All I can say is that it doesn't seem to have gotten in the way of George W's relationship with John Howard!)

Anyway, here is what he said recently:

FOLLOWING the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, George Bush's presidency halted and even in some aspects reversed much of the progress of previous decades. There are many who think that 9/11 changed the world and American attitudes forever. To the neo-conservatives around the President, it presented an opportunity that they seized avidly.

...While there are those, like Bush, who act as though we cannot fight terrorism and at the same time live by our own standards, there are many examples that suggest otherwise.

Britain never went to such extremes in seeking to overcome the IRA. Germany and Italy were able to maintain the rule of law and overcome serious terrorism from the Red Army and Red Brigades. These problems and others have been overcome by an exercise of restraint, by diplomacy and within the law, even as human rights expanded and gained traction through the world.

The war against Iraq, Bush's major contribution to the war on terror, is an unmitigated disaster. It represents the worst fears of smaller nations in the developing world about the unrestrained use of American power.

And there's plenty more where that came from

Anonymous said...

I think the Daily Show got Sanchez the best, since the entire time he was in charge of operations in Iraq, he was saying how great things were going. Is the Daily Show really the only news show with video archives so they can look back and see what people said months ago?

Sanchez is trying to shift the blame on to anybody else now, now that it's impossible to pretend Iraq's not a clusterf****.

And in OT News of the Weird, Newt Gingrich has a new book out. A Contract With Earth. I haven't read it yet, I'm not expecting much. But even so.

David Brin said...

Nate & Tony, excellent posts! That piece by Malcolm Fraser is devastating. Of all Bushite crimes, the driving away of our allies is clearly among the worst... and most suggestive of "manchurian" motives. Since even insane incompetents would not do such a thing.

Nate, thanks for the link to Newt's latest wildy gyrating veer. I expect much Bjorn Lombergism... yet with glimmers of olive-branching plus "who me?" attempts to claim he was on the right side all along. Sure... but WHICH Newt Gingrich.

Will someone finally admit there are a dozen of him?

Anonymous said...

Dvorsky replies to Dr. Brin's on SETI.

As a non american, I want to encourage threads that are (mostly) a-politic! :)


Tony Fisk said...

Hmmm, whatever opinions you might have wrt 'Manchurian' puppet masters, I think this might be worth a look.:

John Simpson's Interview with (Saudi) King Abdullah

I haven't actually watched the interview itself, but some of the comments in the accompanying article are intriguing. In doing last minute negotiations on what the King was and was not prepared to discuss, Simpson writes:

"...Something else had become clear to me by now. The king was not refusing to talk about Iran and Iraq because he was not interested in them.

On the contrary, I now realised he felt so strongly about what the US had done in Iraq, and the thought that they might soon bomb Iran, that he felt he might upset his relations with Washington if he spoke openly to me. "

A genuine opinion? A distancing from potential fallout? Part of the setup of the US as a world pariah? I have no idea.