Finally, A Real Reason To Vote For Bush

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My take on Bob Novak's fairly dubious claim about President Bush's planning a post-election departure from Iraq. I say a grain of salt is in order here, but it does illustrate a scenario wherein Bush is the right candidate for those of us who want the War On Everything to end as soon as possible. It seems inevitable to me that Bush won't have as much interest in the War On Terrorism once it's no longer of any use to him. A Kerry win, however would leave us with a president who has inherited one actual war (in Iraq) and one meta-war (on terrorism), both of which have already been fully paid for by his predecessor. He's got no incentive to do anything other than milk them for all the dread and discipline they're worth. The precedents of Nixon's continuation of the Vietnam War or Ford et al's continuation of the War On Drugs are not promising. That doesn't mean Bush will definitely dial down the Fortress America business—only that Kerry definitely won't.

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  1. …and it only means Kerry “definately won’t” if you believe Kerry is looking at the fiasco his predecessor got us into, and is saying, “Yum!”

    Bush and Rove couldn’t get this disaster to be a political winner, and you think Kerry believes HE can make it one?

  2. This sounds absolutely nuts to me. I don’t believe it for a minute. Bob Novak can’t be trusted as far as he can be thrown.

    It’s just another play for votes. A pathetic one at that. We’re supposed to believe that Mr. Never Say Die is going to magically reverse himself and allow everything his cronies have worked for go down the tubes.

    Hear that bell. It the alarm clock! Wake Up!

  3. libertarian = A Republican who likes to smoke pot.

    Cavanaugh = “Republican who likes to smoke pot to take some edge off the freebase. Throw in some cheap acid — the kind with lots of strychnine.”

  4. I’ll just repeat my post from the earlier thread started by Michael Young on the same article:

    “This could also be to deflect attention from the claims that came out last week (and were referenced over the weekend by Kerry) that Bush is planning on a massive troop call-up right after the election. Something important to consider about Bob Novak is that he is a Republican flack first and a non-interventionist second. He would only be running with this if he thought it would help Bush.”

  5. Where exactly is the huge political pay off Bush has gotten from Iraq? He’s milking this for what?

  6. oh man is this rich.

    Vote for Bush because he’ll end the Iraq war and presumably fire Ashcroft and discontinue sowing the politics of fear for his hoped-for Republican successors.

    Good christ.

  7. Why aren’t more troops just more targets, without much additional that they can do? Diminishing returns and all that. A certain size minimizes casualities to do a job, and this may very well be it.

    The Iraqis are supposed to be taking up increasing slack; adding troops undermines that as well.

  8. It seems inevitable to me that Bush won’t have as much interest in the War On Terrorism once it’s no longer of any use to him.

    Yeah, Cavanaugh, Bush invaded Iraq to boost his poll numbers and get re-elected.

    Reason?

  9. Part of me is hoping Bush II wins, if only to see how much more convoluted and entropic Conservative rhetorical logic can get.

  10. If we stay we lose, if we leave we lose. This was the dumbest experiment in US history.

  11. My brain hurts.

    I was opposed to the war in Iraq because I saw it as a personal vendetta and power play by Bush and his advisors and a distraction from the important war on terrorism. So I now must vote for Bush because he is the only one who can be trusted to end this ill-conceived and poorly-planned war?

    I suppose those who have been in favor of the war in Iraq then should vote for Kerry?

    I’m so confused.

    What about the drug war? Is Bush withdrawing there, too?

    I haven’t been this confused since Novak complained that Dan Rather should be forced to reveal his sources.

  12. Sounds like re-election trial balloon or perhaps bargining chip for the meet with Iraqi Prez (as already stated here and elsewhere).

    What if it is true? Then I would guess that the plan would be a grand finale sunni triangle blitz. It’s likely bs, only time will tell.

  13. Sounds like re-election trial balloon or perhaps bargining chip for the meet with Iraqi Prez (as already stated here and elsewhere).

    What if it is true? Then I would guess that the plan would be a grand finale sunni triangle blitz. It’s likely bs, only time will tell.

  14. If we stay we lose, if we leave we lose. This was the dumbest experiment in US history.

    The existance of the “war on drugs” is, by itself, enough to show what a moronic statement that is.

  15. I agree with Dan. Anybody who wants to say “X is the dumbest experiment in US history” had better take a long look at the various boondoggles that have been tried.

    Personally, I thought that “The Blair Witch Project” was the dumbest experiment in US history 😉

  16. While I’m impressed with Cavanaugh’s cynicism, I join Horst Graben:
    This is a trial baloon doubling as a distraction to Kerry’s new pitch–which is very distractible, as are all his pitches.

    Plus, as I said earlier, it makes Dubya appear to have a “secret plan” (which was so useful to Nixon).

    Longer term, I’m cynical enough to believe Dubya will simply get the US deeper into every war imaginable. For example, I don’t believe he’s been disabused of his notion of crusading.

  17. Wow Tim, if you are saying what I think you are saying, then I say Bush would belong next to Milosovich at the War Crimes Tribunal.

    Plus, didn’t Powell tell Bush prior to invading Iraq, “You break it, you buy it?” Now that we own it, wouldn’t it be stupid to….

    Ahhh, never mind….

  18. You know, as much as I hate to admit it, there might be something to Tim’s idea. Look, Bush has a real incentive not to leave this big steaming pile for posterity, because it has his name all over it. (I’ve always thought that Bush’s enthusiasm for overthrowing Sadam had something to do with what he felt was his father’s unfinished business. I’m receptive to the “familial pride” reading of this Presidency.)

  19. This is amazing double-speak. On the one hand, Bush is the only candidate who has the guts to see this through — Kerry would pack up and leave in four years! How irresponsible! But on the other hand, if Bush’s advisors actually do push for an immediate withdrawal, Bush will still be the right man for the job. According to Novak:

    Getting out now would not end expensive U.S. reconstruction of Iraq, and certainly would not stop the fighting. Without U.S. troops, the civil war cited as the worst-case outcome by the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate would be a reality. It would then take a resolute president to stand aside while Iraqis battle it out.

    What’s the implied message here? Who will be more resolute and stand by while millions of people are thrown into the turmoil of a civil war? Who will not get involved in nation building, no matter how loud the cries from the bleeding hearts on the left? Why, Bush of course! He’s more resolute than that flip flopper Kerry!

    After all, Bush did run as a “no nation building” candidate in 2000. And we all know, he’s nothing if not resolute about keeping his word.

  20. The column warrants even more skepticism as in almost the same breath Novak speculates that Wolfowitz might be promoted to Secretary of Defense.

  21. Well, in his debate with Gore, Bush did advocate a “more modest foreign policy”. Gore would have none of it. However, I’m afraid that the administration just fed this stuff to Novak as a way of countering the latest iteration of Kerry’s Iraq war position, which critical of the war.

    A real hint is that Novak claims Wolfowitz would be the new defense secretary and that he would opt for a withdrawal. This is the same Wolfowitz who actually pounded the table for going after Iraq instead of Afganistan right after 9/11! And, he made previous determined entreaties as far back as 1998 to attack Iraq. He was a co-signor on a letter from The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) to President Clinton in January of 1998:

    http://themoderntribune.com/letter_to_clinton_1998_war_on_iraq_project_new_american_century.htm

    It’s signed by Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, , Richard Perle, William Kristol, James Woolsey, Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams and others. The letter argues for aggression against Iraq. They lobbied both Clinton and Gingrich to remove former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power using military force and indict him as a “war criminal.”

    Unsatisfied with Clinton’s response, Wolfowitz, Rumsfield, Kristol and others from the Project for the New American Century wrote another letter on May 29, 1998, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott:

    “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power…”

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/022003Leopold/022003leopold.html

  22. While I find the claim that Bush has a “secret plan to end the war” to be absurd, I do buy that Wolfowitz will be promoted to Defense Secretary. There have been whisperings since last year that Rumsfeld would like to retire (he is 74), but wanted to see the Iraq campaign through to “victory”. Since that isn’t going to happen any time soon, retiring as part of the traditional second term turnover would be a somewhat facesaving way to leave. It also isn’t that improbable that Wolfowitz would win Senate confirmation. If the Republicans still control the Senate (which they probably will), then Bush could nominate a horse to a cabinet position and they would approve it.

  23. “That doesn’t mean Bush will definitely dial down the Fortress America business?only that Kerry definitely won’t.”

    I worry about where the country is going,
    I really do.

  24. Even if you thought the war was an idiotic idea to start with, now that we’re there, don’t we have to see it out? A US withdrawal will almost assuredly lead to complete chaos, Kurdish secession, Turkish invasion, Sadr and his ilk warlording it up, and just generally everything going straight to hell.

    And then even more Iraqis will die than are now. Everyone across the world will blame us. Islamic nutball terrorists will take credit for forcing the Great Satan from Iraq, and will be emboldened to take action.

    I don’t think cut and run is an option. If a presidential candidate advocated it, I would vote for the other guy without hesitation.

  25. Bush could nominate a horse to a cabinet position and they would approve it.

    Or, if the Wolfowitz rumor holds, just the ass portion of the horse.

  26. both of which have already been fully paid for by his predecessor.

    Bahahahaha! Next you’ll be telling us Bush has paid for the prescription drug benefit too!

  27. Hey, hey, hey, thoreau! Don’t you be disrespecting “The Blair Witch Project!”

    You’re right about one thing, though – there is no shortage of candidates for “the dumbest experiment in American history.”

    I nominate Urban Renewal.

  28. Brian Cook,
    What if the US suddenly cut and ran in the War on Drugs?
    Thousands, if not millions, of poor misunderstood yoofs now peddling drugs would be forced into minimum wage jobs.
    Oh the humanity!

  29. I didn’t say anything about the War on Drugs. I am in full support of cutting and running in that case. The Onion said it best: “Drugs Win War on Drugs.”

  30. I didn’t say anything about the War on Drugs. I am in full support of cutting and running in that case. The Onion said it best: “Drugs Win War on Drugs.”

  31. Brian Cook,
    If you read Onion you should understand what I’m telling you: the terrorists have won the war on terror!
    Oh the humanity!

  32. Actually, the police are winning the War on Drugs–because it’s only ostensibly against drugs. What it’s really a war against is the traditional liberties of the American people: specifically, the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Thanks to the WOD, those amendments have been terminated with extreme prejudice.

  33. No, the worst experiment in American history was the war of 1812.

    With reasoning behind it including
    “Let’s invade Canada! They will welcome us with open arms as liberators!” (the first known use of the TWWUWOOAL fallacy in US history)
    and
    “Let’s get in a naval war between our six frigates and the five hundred warships of the dominant naval power of the world, which has just spent the last twenty years beating hell out of every other navy in Europe!”
    not to mention
    “Let’s get in a ground war with the nation whose army just defeated essentially everyone else in Europe, and which now, along with its commander, the greatest general in the world, has nothing to do!”
    and of course
    “Let’s invade Canada again! Maybe this time TWWUWOOAL!”

    Frankly, Madison got off lightly with just the strategic defeat of his navy, the embarrassing defeat of the Canadian invasions, and the burning down of almost every government building in Washington and the vicinity.

  34. TWWUWOAAL

  35. Oi Vey, I feel like one of those confused elderly Jews for Buchanan who made their presence known in Florida four years ago.

    My guess was that invading Iraq was a political risky thing for Bush to do, but now it seems the worse Iraq gets, as reported by the media, the worse Kerry’s chances are. Which doesn’t seem quite fair.

    Now that pro-Kerry rag Salon is reporting the Saudi elite want Bush to lose.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/09/21/saudi_arabia/index.html

    Have we entered the Bizzaro dimension or the “Outer Limits” or something?

  36. Peter K,
    Now that Kerry has signaled that it’s okay for Democrats to actually talk about the catastrophe in Iraq, I’m thinking the polls could turn back in Kerry’s favor. I mean there’s a lot of Democrats gonna be doing a lot of grumbling… grumbling with beheadings as background noise.
    Kerry is clueless, but I’m thinking the electorate will be giving a mandate for a big change in the war on terror.

    Terrorists always win.
    Maybe, next time, US government types will listen to their grievances a little before getting in hopelessly deeper and deeper.

  37. Ruthless:

    Perhaps we all could just behead ourselves, and save them the work.

  38. You clown. Why the fuck wouldn’t Bush continue the war to milk it for the next interim elections in 2006 and go for what he really wants? Despite the catastrophe he has shown that milking war and cheap patriotism will get him whatever he wants. Privatization of Social Security, the emasculation of medicare and medicaid and the abolition of the income tax: this is what he’s after in term two.

    On the other hand, Kerry has everything to lose by alienating his base and sustaining the Iraq conflict any longer than it takes to get out in one piece.

    This is a cheap ploy to get votes from idiots who are skeptical about Bush and the war but are too stupid to vote for Kerry.

  39. Privatization of Social Security, the emasculation of medicare and medicaid and the abolition of the income tax: this is what he’s after in term two.

    I’m so glad you realize that this is Bush’s game plan. Now, with Social Security gone you’ll need some sound investments to provide for your retirement. I have this great beach-front lot in Nebraska that I could get you a good deal on. In fact, if you just come to my office to hear me out, whether or not you invest in the property I’ll write you a check for $200 from my bank account in Nigeria.

  40. Col. DuBois,
    Let’s be practical here: I’ll behead you, then you can behead me.
    Happy?

  41. terrorists may always win, but it’s not too late for us to put up greater terror than those troubling us at the moment

    for every american eager to have the terms of surrender dictated to them there’s another who’d just as soon crank the vice on the nuts of every non-cooperator and use strategic missle strikes and bombing against the likes of iran and north korea (after we remove our 30k hostages in uniform from the south and perhaps those in japan)

    these measures, and a different kind of pressure on pakistan, saudi arabia and syria, are at least as promising as retreating from the world into a hermetically sealed and relentlessly monitored fortress america–we lost our tallest buildings and suffered our worst ever attack trying a ‘third way’

  42. Withdraw from Iraq to where?

    Iran? Syria?

    Doesn’t that seem like a plan
    for Secretary of Defense
    Wolfowitz?

  43. Brian Cook asks, “Even if you thought the war was an idiotic idea to start with, now that we’re there, don’t we have to see it out?”

    It’s already been “seen out.” Saddam’s sons are gone. Saddam is gone. An interim government is in place. The U.S. should have pulled troops out the minute Saddam was pulled out of his hole.

  44. “for every american eager to have the terms of surrender dictated to them there’s another who’d just as soon crank the vice on the nuts of every non-cooperator and use strategic missle strikes and bombing against the likes of iran and north korea”

    And fortunately for all of us, the two groups together don’t amount to any more than statistical noise.

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