Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…(pt. II)

January 21, 2009

Yea, I know I’ve been over this before, but I thought I’d mention that there now appears to be a website created for the purposes of formally thanking Bush for it (h/t LGF):

bushmissionaccomplished

Never mind the irony that Bush has stated on multiple occasions that he regrets the whole “Mission Accomplished” thing, of course.  On his watch, nearly 3000 died in the worst terrorist attack in American history.  In response, he turned around and invaded a country that had nothing to do with it, resulting in even more American lives lost, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent…and nearly 6 years later, we’re still there.  But we’re supposed to thank him, because the batshit crazy cave-dwellers haven’t managed to pull off another stunt with knives and flying lessons?    They’re saying that not allowing the same mistakes and oversights to happen again is cause for some sort of praise, and willfully ignoring the fact that the battle was being waged well before 9/11, and making the assumption that those of us that hadn’t died horrifying deaths would be living under bin Laden’s rule if it wasn’t for the protective blanket provided by Papa Bush.   I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. 

Well, if one admits that it’s a cop-out for unconditionally supporting the guy all these years, then maybe I get it.

Anyway, if you click the image, you’ll see also that the site’s founders make the claim that “the president’s Number One Mission is to protect our nation” (bold in original).   But as we saw yesterday, the oath requires the president to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States”.   Much has been made of the conflict between the two principles during Bush’s eight years in office, certainly, and I would assume that the ultimate goal would be to avoid sacrificing one for the sake of the other.   So how did Bush do with regard to the actual oath?  Pretty poorly, it would seem. 

So go ahead and thank him, if you wish.  You’re just a couple clicks away.  Give him the ol’ A for effort.  For myself, I think instead I’ll wait see if Obama is capable of cleaning up the mess first.

Exit thought:  That image of Bush has always spooked me.  Is it a gay lover look?  A Manson-esque stare?  The failed televangelist?   I’m not sure, but I’d take his ridiculous eyebrow-contorting phony smirks any day of the week over that crazy mugshot.

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Bush’s Departure Reminder

January 16, 2009

Somewhere within all the coverage of the jet diving into the Hudson river, I happened to notice Bush decided to give a farewell speech (something his father didn’t do).  As it turns out, I’m kinda glad he did, ’cause I’d almost forgotten to pick up some beer for the party I’m gonna have in a few days.  I’m sure he’s glad he did it too, ’cause if nothing else, it gave him one last chance to stand up in front of America and make those ridiculous eyebrow-contorting smirks:

bushfunnyface1

from yesterday's video

After this boilerplate performance, I take great comfort in the thought that this was the last display of fumbled phrases and childishly robotic over-enunciation of everyday words.  The last attempt to whitewash his unwise decisions with platitudes about “taking the fight to the terrorists” and head-scratchers like “promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity”.   The last Bush speech from behind a podium. 

Finally, it’s over.

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…

December 5, 2008

I have to apologize to my fellow members of the WPPBA, ’cause I really haven’t been paying as close of attention to politics as I should as of late.  So, I return to the fray… 

I couldn’t help but notice the recent hubub over the “Bush Legacy Project“.   Interesting, but not unexpected, all things considered.  I suppose the operative word there is “project”.  Hmmm…”project”.   When I think of “projects”, the first thing that comes to mind is one of those assignments that teachers hand out to groups of high school students.  And in the history of “projects”, I imagine that this would go down as one of the tougher ones.   Just think, having to come up with positive things to report on the Bush presidency.  I’d hope those kids would be graded on a curve.

But, hey, someone’s gotta try, right?   So, enter Peggy Noonan, who gives it a shot in today’s WSJ:  ‘At Least Bush Kept Us Safe’

Back to the Christmas gathering. There was no grousing about John McCain, and considerable grousing about the Bush administration, but it was almost always followed by one sentence, and this is more or less what it was: “But he kept us safe.”

Now, I’m not sure who hangs out at Peggy’s Christmas gatherings, but I can’t picture that statement resonating with anyone besides the zombie-eyed Bushbot kool aid overdosers that make up that 20% of Bush’s approval ratings.  Maybe it’s just me.  I guess if you’re that desperate to look at the glass as full even when it’s nearly empty, this kind of notion probably elicits a few head nods in a room full of like-minded individuals.  But the reality is that it’s so hollow that the sound of bullshit splattering actually echoes when shoveled with this sentiment.    Yep.  {{{{{echoes}}}}}  Here’s why…FILES-US-ATTACKS-BUSH

In order to really embrace this idea, one has to commit to a couple intellectually dishonest assumptions.   The primary one, of course, being  the assumption that the whole “keeping us safe” concept didn’t get added to the list of presidential responsibilities until after 9/11 (’cause certainly 9/11 was a far cry from “keeping us safe”).  The subset of that would include the “out of the blue” arguments I’ve heard from Krauthammer and others; as if the president and the entire U.S. intelligence community had never heard of Al Qaeda or bin Laden, and no one had ever thought about counter-terrorism before that day.

Since this one is pretty obvious, the 20 percenters usually follow “he kept us safe” with the qualifier “since 9/11”.   This is a nice segue into the next assumption…

A secondary assumption is that one really understands al Qaeda’s capabilities, motives or intentions.  After 9/11, no doubt many of my fellow Americans believed that AQ’s goal was something along the lines of systematically striking at every major city until we were all dead.  The attacks supposedly (perhaps because of their magnitude) marked the beginning of some onslaught, and we were expecting to be faced with wave after wave of terrorist plots and bombings.  A crisis that only a strong president could do what needed to be done to prevent the imminent Armageddon.   Or something like that…which is supposed to give the weight to the “after 9/11” portion of the meme.

The problem is, this mindset ignores whether real terror threats to domestic targets have actually increased or decreased since 9/11.  But we’re to assume, I guess, that they’ve increased.  As Noonan correctly pointed out, much of that information is kept out of the public view, so we could speculate all day long, but just entertaining the question leads one to ponder the second one:  Has Bush kept us “more safe” than, say, Clinton?  And once you’ve gone there (comparing to other presidents), you’ve effectively watered down “he kept us safe” as a notable accolade. 

Or, it could very well be that we haven’t been attacked since 9/11 because, frankly, they haven’t really tried to.  Maybe they haven’t felt the need to.   To use a hockey metaphor, it’s hard to congratulate the goaltender that lost a 1-0 game, even though he only let in one goal.  Many, including myself, have suggested that 9/11 was less about killing Americans, and more about provoking a response.   Bush certainly gave them a response, and we got a giant, expensive, and deadly mess in Iraq (and occasionally a mocking by the al Qaeda creeps via the internet along the way). 

Anyway, after eight tumultuous years, and where we find ourselves now, its kinda telling that people like Noonan are posting up op-ed’s saying “Hey, at least we weren’t bombed again!”, and presenting it as the primary thing that matters.  It probably sounds good to the aforementioned faithful, but I don’t think it’d help the grade out on the “project”.

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Update:  Meanwhile, over at the discussion-free zone dubbed JammieWearingFool, JWF posts the following:

Say what you want about George W. Bush, but you cannot deny him this. Despite every effort made by the media and the left to undermine his policies designed strictly for this purpose–to keep us free from terrorism post-9/11–he got the job done, and for that he has earned his legacy.

That’s right, not only was Bush doing battle with al Qaeda, he was winning in spite of the plans of the evil media and half of the American citizens.  No doubt, it must be tough for him to keep that cape hidden under his suit.

Anyway, aren’t we counting our chickens before they hatch a bit here?  There’s still 40-something days left in Bush’s term, after all.   But should the unfortunate occur, I have no doubt that voices like JWF’s and Noonan’s Christmas Coctail Team will go moaning on about how much we could really use a Republican taking the oath Jan. 20 instead of Obama (because of those innate national security skills, of course) or blaming the media and/or the left for “undermining” the policies of the wise GWB.

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Who Are You Calling “Anti-American”?

October 25, 2008

I’ve had plenty of time to ponder my post on the Bachmann incident (I was initially speechless), so I decided that a follow up post was in order… 

You see, I realized there was something I was missing, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Something that I was leaving unsaid, more specifically.  I know that her comments revealed that she views her colleagues in Congress through a “pro” and “anti-American” lens (which is in and of itself pretty disturbing, and the underlying reason why her campaign has been suffering lately), but there was a gaping hole in the entire discussion, and I’ve finally figured out what it was:  

For how much the phrase gets tossed around lately, “anti-American” really deserves a cohesive definition that everyone can agree on. 

So, considering my tradition of using the Chamber as a platform for defining things and establishing paradigms, I figured that this might be a good idea going forward.  After all, who knows how often we’ll see the term flung about around here?  I should really have something set in stone.  And in an attempt to set a definition that will be accepted and universal, I think we should first start with defining what “American” is.  That would be logical, right?  It would appear to me that it’s not the “anti-” that should be explored (assuming we can juxtapose “anti-” and “un”).  Everyone knows what that means, after all. 

I argue that, while many may agree that quaint things like apple pie, baseball, Uncle Sam, Mt. Rushmore, etc. are intrinsically “American”, there is still a possibility that not all would agree.   Indeed, the Founding Fathers wouldn’t have seen much significance in any of those things (apple pie recipes from the 14th century?).  My proposal would be to strip away all of the cultural icons, traditions, monuments, and any given individual’s belief in what the American “spirit” is (thanks Alfie), thus leaving just the lowest possible standard of what is unequivocally American:  The U.S. Constitution.   The Chamber position is that, at the end of the day, it’s essentially all we have.  The president takes an oath to “protect and defend” it.  The Supreme Court interprets it.  The Congress can collectively amend it.  One could make a pretty compelling argument that, without recognition of the Constitution, there is no America.  Cities may burn and towns may flood.  The Federal Reserve may be depleted of funds.  Half the U.S. population could be wiped out by some horrible disease.  Great American traditions like World Series could disappear forever.  But as long as the tenets of the Constitution remain intact and can be effectively upheld and executed, America remains.

That said, I shall declare:  From this day forth in the Chamber, anything that doesn’t meet the standards of (or anyone who seeks to undermine) this most American of ideals will be considered as “anti-American”.   Calls that don’t meet this lowest of bars will be deemed to be just hallow, inflammatory, pejorative-laden rhetoric, and will be called out as such.   Even an activity like, say, burning the Flag is subjected to this basic requirement.  

OK, I’ve brought down the proverbial gavel.  I think its time to test the definition.  Let’s use a hypothetical scenario:

Debater A claims that Obama policy X is “socialist” and his views are “anti-American”.  Debater B asks A if there is anything in Policy X that would be considered unconstitutional.  Debater A thinks for a second, and responds “It should be”.  Debater B then points out that if one cannot prove that policy X is unconstitutional, then one must conclude that the Constitution makes room for (what A considers) “socialist” policies and thereby cannot be deemed “anti-American”.

hhmmm…it seems to work.  Perhaps it makes for a clumsy debate the way I’ve phrased it, but I think it is logically sound*.   

Now that we’ve agreed on that, let’s come full circle, and revisit what Bachmann said about the would-be Democratic president and her colleagues in Congress:

“I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views”

“I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think the American people would love to see an expose like that.”

And I say to Ms. Bachmann that, when it comes to your fear of your fellow politicians having “anti-American” views, perhaps you might want to “take a great look at” your most favorite-ist person in the whole wide world.  You know, the current president:

*I suppose I should open the thread up to more tests or to point out holes, so have at me.

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Does Al Qaeda Care About Our Elections? (Part III)

October 22, 2008

Interesting.  A month after I posed the question in Part II, I think I saw the answer pop up today.  Here’s the WaPo via memeorandum: On Al-Qaeda Web Sites, Joy Over U.S. Crisis, Support for McCain

Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market’s downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America’s economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.

And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.

“Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the “failing march of his predecessor,” President Bush.

The Web commentary was one of several posted by Taliban or al-Qaeda-allied groups in recent days that trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers. In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had “exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.” It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.

Whether the current financial situation we find ourselves in is due to the expensive “War on Terror” is surely to be disputed, of course, but it’d be pretty hard to argue that it’s helped the situation (unless one wants to make the claim that the Iraq intervention has somehow prohibited another financially ruinous attack, thereby being a net plus).  It’s been 4 years since Osama released his “bankrupt the U.S.” October surprise, and it has been argued that the tape put Bush in the White House (as designed), so one may naturally wonder if AQ has something up their sleeve this time around.  And like I posted in Part II, there apparently have been warnings of another attack.   So, What would they do?  An attack, or maybe drag Osama out of the cave to release another taunting video?

Actually, the better question would be:  Would the American people fall for it again, whatever they did?

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Update: No signs of Qaeda election threat – U.S.

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James Kirchick Didn’t Get the Memo, Apparently

June 16, 2008

I came across a post by fellow blogger Jimmie over at Sundrie’s Shack, in which he reported on an editorial in the LA Times penned by the assistant editor of New RepublicBush never lied to us about Iraq: The administration simply got bad intelligence. Critics are wrong to assert deception.

Now, as tempted as I was to dissect this over at Jimmie’s place (since it was the second time in a week that an editorial rebutting the “Bush Lied” meme was featured over there), I figured that it’d be better for me to address this over here in the Chamber, and give my pal Jimmie a couple of pingbacks instead.  That, and I do feel frustrated that when the topic comes up, the focus is always on claims about WMD intelligence and connections to al Qaeda.  And as much as I’m convinced that the administration attempted to hyperventilate the American public with ad nauseam presentations of worst-case scenarios as iron-clad fact, this misses what I feel is the actual, bigger “lie”, so if I haven’t covered this already (I have), I’m going to do it now…again

From what I remember, the “Bush Lied, People Died” really picked up steam after the publication of the famous Downing Street Memo, because the focus was primarily on the passage that read “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy“. To be certain, that portion of the “memo” deserves a fair amount of attention, but what most people miss is the broader point, encapsulated by the sentence the preceded it, reading “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD“.

The meeting took place in Britain on July 23, 2002, remember, and it’s fairly contradictory to what Bush himself said months later in October, when he signed the AUMF:

“Our goal is not merely to limit Iraq’s violations of Security Council resolutions, or to slow down its weapons program. Our goal is to fully and finally remove a real threat to world peace and to America. Hopefully this can be done peacefully. Hopefully we can do this without any military action. Yet, if Iraq is to avoid military action by the international community, it has the obligation to prove compliance with all the world’s demands. It’s the obligation of Iraq.”

There are plenty of reasons to believe that the Congress took him at his word here, and that the AUMF was meant as leverage to force Saddam to comply with U.N. disarmament resolutions, and not a green light for invasion.  Indeed, Congress wouldn’t have granted an AUMF under other conditions, and the administration knew this.  So, the idea was to play along, attempt to scare up public support, convince a few allies to come on board, and when they felt they had jumped through enough hoops (like sending in U.N. weapons inspectors), they went ahead and used it.  It’s really not that complicated.

Of course, there are war supporters out there who are quick to discredit the DSM (even though no one has challenged its authenticity), and I certainly wasn’t going to base my entire accusation on one document.  But lets face it, there is enough evidence out there (other documentsstatements from high-ranking officials, and other evidence) to corroborate the notion that Bush was more interested in invading than he was about finding out if the weapons inspectors were actually going to find anything.   But for some reason that just doesn’t sink in for everyone.  Heck, I’ve come across war supporters who concede that the nation was misled, but it was necessary and that the ends justify the means.  I just don’t get it;  it’s OK with them?  But make no mistake, misled we were…lied to, in fact.

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McClellan Book Reaction Hilarity Depot Thread

May 28, 2008

This is a thread for all the LOL’s over this McClellan book thing.  I just find it hilarious width and breadth of the theories I’ve come across.  Like, “who got to him” type stuff.  “I question the timing” .  Ya know.  Deflector shields on MAX. 

Also, I’ll admit that I heard this on the radio today.  This Scotty thing actually brought a woman to tears:

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We’ll start with Darla in Bellingham, Washington. Hi, Darla, nice to have you here.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I tell you, I’m so… I’m so… I can hardly talk. I am so upset about this Scott McClellan book. I — I have children and grandchildren that I have to try to protect in our great nation. And here for a buck, for payback, I don’t care what it is. He can’t wait ’til the president’s out of office? We have to do things, and, of course, he has more credence because he’s known, quote, unquote, the president longer than many so he comes out with this trashy crap in this book that gives to the haters of this country, the terrorists of the world. If it makes our news media wonder if the president’s going to comment on it while he’s trying to give a speech to a graduating class then, oh, it must be that important, well, if they say it and it emboldens them — and it always does embolden them — well, does it make the country safer? Where is the patriotism in this country? I can certainly say it. We have lost our soul. Scott, you’re a citizen of the country first. If it’s payback to the president, fine. Is it payback to me? Is it payback to my family, too? Do you have to make the buck first? (voice breaking) I am sorry I sound upset but, Rush, that’s just — I — I — I don’t get it. I’m — I’m fed up. Where is the patriotism in this country? Where? Why have we decided that we don’t just have to hate the president, we have to hate our country, we have to hate what it stands for, we have to put our desire for money and our 15 minutes of fame above everything?

 I’ll try to get more as I stumble upon it.

Update:  Good stuff at Sadly No! and Hysterical Raisins.

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