Buh-Bye

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A few early reviews of our most recent ex-president's eight-year performance:

The Economist sends Bush back to Texas with a boot to the ass:

HE LEAVES the White House as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. At home, his approval rating has been stuck in the 20s for months; abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America's reputation since the second world war. The American economy is in deep recession, brought on by a crisis that forced Mr Bush to preside over huge and unpopular bail-outs.

America is embroiled in two wars, one of which Mr Bush launched against the tide of world opinion. The Bush family name, once among the most illustrious in American political life, is now so tainted that Jeb, George's younger brother, recently decided not to run for the Senate from Florida. A Bush relative describes family gatherings as "funeral wakes".

That's just the beginning. There are another 2,500 words like that.

Over at the Guardian, Reason contributor Jeremy Lott says Bush Derangement Syndrome is the new rational thinking:

By conviction or necessity, we are all Bush haters now. Even those conservatives who defended him while in office will now face a stark choice: repudiate much of Bush's legacy or be rendered ridiculous.

[…]

Bush leaves behind a Republican party that is reduced in numbers and respect and too militaristic for the hawkish American people, an obese government that is substantially larger than the overweight one he inherited, a busted budget and a bleeding economy. History shouldn't forget that, and it isn't going to.

Ouch.

But Bush will always have the Weekly Standard. There, Fred Barnes has penned a laughable early Valentine to the outgoing president, ticking off W's top ten ("at least"!) "achievements," all, according to Barnes, driven by the man's unflinching courage. Included on Barnes' list:

• Unlike most politicians, Bush had the courage to significantly increase the federal government's role in the public schools. Ballsy!

• Bush had the courage to torture people!

• Bush courageously pandered to seniors by signing the prescription drug benefit, the largest new federal entitlement program in 40 years. Hey, it takes guts to tell the most active and politically powerful voting age group that you want to give them free stuff.

• Bush bravely fought to vastly expand his own power and to govern in secrecy. Unheard of! 

• When his disastrous war in Iraq began to implode, Bush fought to save his reputation by calling for more troops and more money. What fortitude!

Is it too late for Bush to give Barnes some sort of medal?

NEXT: Non-Believers Also at Inauguration

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  1. I didn’t realize America’s reputation in the world suffered a catasrophic collapse during World War Two.

    George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America’s reputation since the second world war

    What on Earth was that supposed to mean?

  2. You’re right, current Bush appear to be look batshit insane.

    But what can we expect, really? The Dark Tower to colapse and his minions to either fall in a hole or scatter like rats? If only…

  3. Ouch, that was a horrid editing job…

  4. Shrug. It all would have been worse under Kerry or Gore.

  5. “Shrug. It all would have been worse under Kerry or Gore.”

    So sayeth the mystic TallDave.

  6. Speaking of horrid editing jobs, maybe that’s what’s wrong with this Barnes piece? He kept writing about how Bush had great “chutzpah” and some overzealous copy editor changed that to “courage” instead.

  7. Someday they will build statues to our Modern Churchill!

  8. Well, at the nadir of the U.S. Viet Nam experience (somewhere in Johnson or Nixon administrations) I suspect that America’s reputation was just as low as it was under Bush.

    As for the economy, just to be fair, the seeds of the industrial policy of the U.S. – government management of the housing industry – lay far back into the 19th century, so what has been wrought by that can’t be laid exclusively at Bush’s door.

    Happily I can comment that I never voted for the guy.

  9. I think there was a period when the Japanese didn’t like the USA very much.

  10. joe, I think it meant that ever since WWII, America had a great reputation despite our faults and this is the worst its been since the world gave a crap about what we thought or did.

  11. As for the Iraq war, well, the Bush administration convinced the only people they really had to worry about – the U.S. populace. And they did it for an amazingly long stretch of time too.

  12. Or some Italians and Germans.

  13. Nick,

    I’d say that for large chunks of the 60s and 70s the U.S. did not have a great reputation, and of course, during the Reagan administration I suspect that America’s brand wasn’t all that hot in certain places either.

  14. “His fifth success was No Child Left Behind (NCLB)”

    Only a complete fucktard would think NCLB was successful.

  15. Not to take the taint off of the absurdity that was the Bush administration, but our international reputation didn’t go from 100 to 10 because of him or even because of the Iraq occupation. It was low in the first place because of our sole superpower status, more than anything else, and our general need to intervene and make no one happy in various parts of the world.

  16. I want him in prison. He tortured people. Now he should spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. His legacy should be graffiti on a cell wall.

  17. I want him in prison. He tortured people. Now he should spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. His legacy should be graffiti on a cell wall.

    QFT. But along with him should be all the people who enabled him to continue his reign of terror, and by that I mean all the people who perpetuate the myth that democracy = liberty.

  18. Dr. T: The BushMan of Alcatraz? I doubt you can get Burt Lancaster for the part, though.

  19. I think Bush should take his wealth and cat-like reflexes and personally hunt down bin Laden.

  20. He tortured people.

    He was just following orders.

  21. If you can dodge a shoe, you can dodge and RPG.

  22. Remember that time we had a referendum on torture, and it passed?

    Me neither.

  23. I reiterate my prediction of Bush Nostalgia in 18 months.

  24. Remember that time the Congressional Democrats decided they were going to actually preform their constitutional role and impeach Bush for torture?

    Me neither.

  25. Only a complete fucktard would think NCLB was successful.

    Hence why Barnes described it as successful…

  26. Remember that time when the Congressional Democrats as a block prevented the Iraq War from beginning?

    Me neither.

    Funny they suddenly found they were able to do that when Social Security was going to be reformed. Hmm…

  27. Is it really shocking that the economist was unkind to Bush? Can anyone point to an economist article that was kind to Bush? Isn’t this like saying “The Washington Times destroyed Clinton in an article. It goes on for 2500 words”. yeah….and?

  28. Oh, is this a thread about Congressional Democrats?

    Yeah, well, look over there!

  29. “I want him in prison. He tortured people. Now he should spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. His legacy should be graffiti on a cell wall.”

    Agreed. His acts of treason deserve no less

  30. joe,

    Remember that time we had a referendum on torture, and it passed?

    Me neither.

    Has someone in this thread supported torture? I admit I skimmed most of it, but I didnt see it, who was that aimed at?

  31. robc,

    See 1:56 comment.

  32. Remember that time we had a referendum on torture, and it passed?

    Me neither.

    Here you go.

  33. By getting us out of the ABM treaty, it may be that he will have saved our lives. And the war in Iraq is substantially, though not entirely, won.

  34. My point was, joe, there was a time to investigate Bush and the Dems passed on it.

  35. Kolohe,

    I don’t recall Bush running on torture in 2004. In fact, I remember him doing precisely the opposite, and insisting that the government and military didn’t torture.

  36. You know if it was a Democrat torturing with a Republican Congress, he would have been removed from office. I mean they impeached Clinton over a blowjob! What is it about Congressional Democrats that makes them such wimps as an opposition party?

  37. joe,

    Ah, gotcha.

    If it was aimed at my 1:59 post I was going to mock your lack of sense of humor again. But now I cant. 🙁

  38. What a speech not to remember…

    No specifics, no content, no substance…

    But that is what this new President presented during the long campaign…

    Nothing…

    And “we the people” (those that elected him) took him for is word or, lack thereof.

  39. BDB,

    Congress is not a law enforcement agency. It has no other standards than political considerations.

    The time to investigate criminal acts has most certainly not passed.

  40. matt2–

    I too liked George W. Bush and his small government ideas with a “humble foreign policy” in 2000. Unfortunatley that guy wasn’t elected.

  41. joe,

    No, but they’re mightily complicit, too. They could’ve made some effort to actually rein in the various abuses, but, of course, to do that would take away the power of a Democratic president. I expect lots of window dressing and not much change in what the government will allow itself to do.

    The previous Congress is guilty, too.

  42. BDB,

    I don’t think that’s true.

    Republicans really do support torture, and they really do opposte cheating on your wife.

    If it was a Democratic president torturing and it came to light, the Republican Congress would pass a resolution of support.

  43. And the war in Iraq is substantially, though not entirely, won.

    I’m sure if we started blowing up aboriginies in Australia, we could be successful there, too. The issue isn’t whether we can “win” in Iraq or not: the issue is whether we were justified in going in there, guns blazing, in the first place. This whole tactic of talking about the Iraq war, whether winning or losing, is deflecting attention away from the real issue.

  44. Joe, the fact that Gingrich cheated on his wife too didn’t stop him from making political hay out of it when the other side (Clinton) did it. Just saying.

  45. Dec 2002
    U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations
    ‘Stress and Duress’ Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities

    Seymour Herch’s Abu Ghraib article came out in may 2004.

    The American People knew, and a majority either denied it was going on or were fine with it.

  46. joe,

    Probably not. The GOP generally didn’t much care for Clinton’s wars, as you may recall. Which is a sad commentary on our parties that they seem to care more about domestic politics than the U.S.’s position globally, but there you are.

  47. Congress is not a law enforcement agency

    It is when it comes to impeachment.

  48. certainly investigating former presidents for executive decisions made while in office would be the height of political theatric douchebaggery, and would lead to rampant abuse and retaliation. It would doubtless lead to a sharp decrease in the power of the office, and – hay wait, i’m warming up to this idea after all…

  49. BDB,

    I’m saying, opposition to infidelity is a stated part of the Republicans’ belief system, even if they often violate that belief.

    Opposition to torture is not. Quite the opposite.

  50. Joe,

    “Republicans really do support torture”

    like McCain I suppose…

  51. Pelosi has said something to the effect that ‘she keeping open’ the possibility of investigations.

    Which is like the police coming to your house only after the burglers have left.

    As for criminal prosecutions, ‘when the president does it, it’s not illegal’ has been a cold hard realpolitik fact since the Alien and Sedition Acts.

  52. American people, an obese government that is substantially larger than the overweight one he inherited

    I’m confrused. I thought Bush was “starving the beast”, shrinking government, slashing, deregulating, and cut to the quick. No? Hmmmmmmm?

  53. Bush, sadly for this country, didn’t have the skill set to be a successful President. Opportunities were squandered, especially on the domestic front, by his inability/lack of inclination to communicate, numerous political miscalculations, and lack of adherence to a small government mindset.

    You’ll all throw shoes, I know, but I think the one accomplishment of his Presidency was winning the war in Iraq. Assuming that is not squandered (by us or the Iraqis), I think that could be game changer in the Middle East, in the long run. We will see.

    If it was a Democratic president torturing and it came to light, the Republican Congress would pass a resolution of support.

    You’re giving the Congressional Republicans too much credit, joe. They’d leap at the partisan opportunity to damage the Dem.

    And the Dems would mostly close ranks to defend him, with loud cries of tu quoque. Such is the nature of power and partisanship.


  54. As for criminal prosecutions, ‘when the president does it, it’s not illegal’ has been a cold hard realpolitik fact since the Alien and Sedition Acts.”

    Yup. Did Eisenhower investigate people in the FDR Administration for Japanese Internment? Was Wilson investigated by Harding for his wanton abuses of civil liberties? Nope.

    My guess is there might be a few lower rung goons prosecuted to appease the left but that’s about it.

  55. Pro Libertate,

    The GOP generally didn’t much care for Clinton’s wars, as you may recall.

    I’m not usually one to defend the Republicans, but I think they get a bad rap on this.

    There were genuine, principled differences between (many) Congressional Republicans and the Clinton administration about Kosovo, and the continuation of the Somalia mission. He believed in humanitarian interventions even when the connection to American security was indiret, and they (the ones who opposed those actions) disagreed. This isn’t some ginned up partisan argument, but the expression of a genuine divergence of opinion.

    Even the carping about “Wag the Dog” when Clinton tried to kill bin Laden – Clinton was genuinely more concerned about al Qaeda than were Republicans at that time.

  56. I for one would like to see some of you left wing fucktards in a prison over in North Bumfuckistan. I am talking to you joe and thoreau.

  57. It is when it comes to impeachment.

    And since that has happened twice in the entire history of this country, that plainly isn’t a major part of how our laws are enforced.

  58. And both were B.S. Impeachments, which is depressing.

  59. Eric Atkinson,

    Awww, poor baby. Having a rough day?

    That’s a shame.

  60. “Clinton was genuinely more concerned about al Qaeda than were Republicans at that time.”

    because security is an exectutive burden. If something goes wrong in that department, people blame the prez, not congress. Even if they try – each congressman has hundreds of others to point the finger at when called to task by his constituents. Look for Hopey to become more embroiled abroad, and quicker to use intervention and force than Bush. It certainly worked that way with JFK. Obama took a play from his book too – with regard to pakistan, afghanistan etc.

  61. Term limits are a wonderful thing.

  62. “You’ll all throw shoes, I know, but I think the one accomplishment of his Presidency was winning the war in Iraq.”

    If by winning you mean spending trillions of dollars, sacrificing thousands of American lives (and tens of thousands Iraqis), and creating a haven for terrorism why yes, Bush won the hell out of that war.

    And even if you ignore all of that it is not like a flowering democracy has sprung from the ashes of Iraq. More than likely he has created another dived Muslim state that wont be two crazy about us. This isn’t Japan circa late 40’s early 50’s.

  63. You’ll all throw shoes, I know, but I think the one accomplishment of his Presidency was winning the war in Iraq. Assuming that is not squandered (by us or the Iraqis), I think that could be game changer in the Middle East, in the long run. We will see.

    How? Iraq is a tribalistic third world country. How is it ever going to be a game changer in any regard? Any concept of a shining Iraqi democracy dissolves the instant one sets foot in the country. It’s a shithole. We’ve spent over a trillion on a shithole. And it’s not like they appreciate us for it, either.

  64. What do you think has Ewik more upset?

    That we’re denouncing torture, or that we’re denouncing George Bush?

  65. My god MAX HATS….get out of my head!!!

  66. joe,

    And since that has happened twice in the entire history of this country

    That is about 5%. That may be a low indictment rate is you are a black male, but it seems pretty high to me. Realistically, it goes up to 7.5%, Nixon “pled guilty” before the indictment came down.

  67. domo,

    because security is an exectutive burden. I don’t think that’s it – Congress passed resolutions in support of Operation Desert Fox, recall.

    No, there was (and remains) a genuine difference of opinion between the parties in their view of international relations and security. The Democrats are, and have for a long time, been more concerned with stateless terrorists/rebels/movements as such, while the Republicans have downplayed them as an important force, viewing the world more in terms of traditional power struggles between nations, and treating sub-national groups primarily as expressions of the states that support or tolerate them.

    This goes back to the Cold War, too. Democrats saw Central American revolutionaries primarily as Central American revolutionaries, and Republicans saw them primarily as pawns of Moscow. Ditto the VC and NVA.

    Similarly, Democrats see Hezbollah primarily as a phenomenon of Lebanese Shiites, and Republicans see them primarily as a phenomenon of Syrian and Iranian power politics.

    This is why George Bush thought the war in Afghanistan was won once we took the capital and routed the Taliban/al Qaeda militias. It’s why he thought that the next step in fighting international terror wasn’t to finish off bin Laden, but to overthrow a hostile government in Iraq and install a friendly on which would allow us to use its territory to project force against other hostile governments.

    And it’s why Bill Clinton’s administration made the Director of Counter-terrorism a cabinet-level position, and created the bin Laden unit in the CIA, while Bush demoted him back to sub-cabinet level and reassigned FBI agents from counter-terrrorism to more important things, like obscentity prosecutions.

  68. “What do you think has Ewik more upset?

    That we’re denouncing torture, or that we’re denouncing George Bush?”

    Maybe its the fact that you are a left wing fucktard that can’t spell?

  69. I can spell just fine.

    Realignment: R-E-A-L-I-G-N-M-E-N-T.

    Realignment.

  70. joe-
    while your post at 2:36 is an interesting premise, both Kenya/Tanzania and Kosovo contradict it.

    And it’s a bit a stretch to say that George Bush ever said or thought that the war in Afganistan was ‘won’.

  71. the issue is whether we were justified in going in there, guns blazing, in the first place.

    That ceased to be the issue as of March 2003. We had that debate for 18 months and Congress went ahead with the AUMF. The question is: What now?

    Keep in mind I am not diminishing the fact that we do not belong in Iraq because Iraq is an object lesson for next time (looking at you, President Obama, WRT Sudan) someone tries to embroil us in a foreign country for no good reason.

    FWIW, I know that Bush and Co probably arm-twisted the evidence, but that still does not make invading Iraq wrong. I think that the grand strategy was to establish a permanent presence in the Middle East, and THAT is the debatable question.

    Any childish nonsense about prison and war crimes and treason can safely be ignored.

  72. IOW, what joe said here:

    to overthrow a hostile government in Iraq and install a friendly on which would allow us to use its territory to project force against other hostile governments.

    That’s the strategy, whether you like or not, and criticizing that strategy doesn’t involve acting like a hyperemotional airhead.

  73. And I also don’t put 100% stock in Richard Clarke’s narrative.

  74. Eric Atkinson,

    What’s so bad about opposing torture and wanting to see torturers in prison? Are you one of those anti-American types who reject freedom and the rule of law?

  75. joe,

    I think you are right (shudder) on the R v D view of the terrorist orgs. Interestingly, I think they are both wrong (or maybe they are both right). Like socialism/capitalism it is a continuum. Some groups are fairly tied into nations, some are mostly independent.

    In the case of Al Qaeda, while they were tied to the Taliban in Afghanistan, they are clearly more independent (which is why going after Hussein made no sense as an anti-terror plan). The 80s CA revolutionaries were tied closely to Moscow/Havana. Ditto the IRA, they fit the GOP model, via Sinn Fein.

    I dont know how you merge the two views from a policy perspective.

  76. I didn’t realize America’s reputation in the world suffered a catasrophic collapse during World War Two.

    Maybe not catastrophic, but it suffered to some degree.

  77. See, I knew you’d throw shoes.

    Those of you counting the cost of the victory are missing the point. Sure it wasn’t cheap, but it was still a win.

    Those of you asking what we won are missing, well, what’s missing in Iraq. Namely, Saddam Hussein, a major state sponsor of terror. AQ in Iraq, lured into a killing ground. Iranian-backed terror squads (still around, but keeping a comparatively low profile).

    And, of course, we have a reasonably legitimate government that just negotiated a pretty tough SOFA with the US.

    Are the Iraqis capable of wrecking all this? Sure. Are we capable of pulling the rug out from under them? Sure. But as of today, Iraq stands as a victory.

  78. Namely, Saddam Hussein, a major state sponsor of terror.

    Yes, but too bad it wasn’t “terror that affected, you know, the United States

    AQ in Iraq, lured into a killing ground.

    AQI didn’t really exist until we overthrew Saddam (thanks in no small part to Saddam). Meanwhile, the removal of a secular Stalin-type character means that the radical Islamic states of the KSA and Iran have more influence in Iraq than during the Hussein years.

    We have to ask how many of those terror squads and groups we empowered and enabled because of our actions. How many of those groups were created by using the invasion as grist for the mill?

    I see the the strategic move Bush was doing; I just don’t agree with it.

  79. “That’s my Dad’s shootin’ car.” [Nelson fires at a rusted-out heap full of bullet holes] “Three more payments and it’s ours!”

  80. joe, interesting points. I don’t think congressional resolutions are quite what I had in mind. I was speaking more of political consequences. Congress authorized use of force in Iraq as well, it certainly didn’t hurt Hillary as much as it did GWB – although consitutionally speaking – one could make the argument (though I’m certainly not) that she is more responsible.

    JFK certainly saw the Vietcong as broader communist pressure on democracy, and his policies reflected that. I think a great deal of this supposed difference in viewpoint that you assert could be due an actual shift in strategies and associations of radical groups that occurred during the Reagan-Bush I years. A shift which occurred, in part, because of the stiffer resistance they faced from those adminsitrations. Compared to – say – Carter.

    I would also point out that there is quite a lot of evidence for the view that terrorist actions are often perpetrated by state actors – such as Pan Am 103 which was almost certainly a response to Regans actions against Libya – which was itself an escalation of a dispute over international waters – a very orthodox nation-to-nation dispute. Of course I realize your point wasn’t to argue one view or the other – merely that there is a party-line split.

  81. Bush tortured the nuttier leftists for 8 long years (as opposed to short ones) – drove em right up to and even over the edge. That was awesome. All good things come to an end. In that respect, Bush set a pretty high bar for Obama, but I have hope.

  82. “bigbigslacker | January 20, 2009, 3:05pm | #
    Bush tortured the nuttier leftists for 8 long years (as opposed to short ones) – drove em right up to and even over the edge. That was awesome. All good things come to an end. In that respect, Bush set a pretty high bar for Obama, but I have hope.”

    bigbigslacker–

    So far, if the guy posting under 600 different names is any indication, he’s off to a good start on doing the same thing to right wingers.

  83. All those tallying Iraq as a “win” – just wait a few years. Then a few years after that. And so on and so on. The fundamental reasons that led Iraq to explode into violence are still in place. This isn’t peace in Iraq, it’s a cease fire.

  84. Kolohe,

    joe-
    while your post at 2:36 is an interesting premise, both Kenya/Tanzania and Kosovo contradict it.

    Well, for one thing, I’m talking about tendencies, locations on a continuum, not black and white.

    For another, Clinton actually struck at bin Laden after his terror attacks, while Bush got the report on the Cole handed to him during the transition, but didn’t do anything.

    Third, Kosovo doesn’t refute my point at all. Republicans saw a hostile state breaking up and said “Eh.” Democrats saw it and thought “Those sub-national militias going at it could really be a problem.”

    And it’s a bit a stretch to say that George Bush ever said or thought that the war in Afganistan was ‘won’. No, it’s not. He declared victory, said the Taliban had ceased to exist.

  85. Frankly, I think it’s childish of either side to make political hay over national security concerns, because they’re both right: States do sometimes engender, sometimes enable or, at best, actively refuse to police terrorist groups. At the same time, part of the reason that the states refuse to do so is because of the fear that they’ll anger a popular constituency and weaken their governments.

    It’s a knotty problem for the United States to go after terrorist groups when the concept of state sovereignty exists and even knottier to make allies of those who are probably worsening the problem (i.e. Pakistan) because you need immediate access to the groups that immediately threaten you.

  86. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    WHAT’s the statute of limitations on war crimes?

  87. WHEN were we at war? WHAT was the crime committed within the context thereof?

  88. domo,

    JFK certainly saw the Vietcong as broader communist pressure on democracy, and his policies reflected that. True, true. I think the modern Democratic view of foreign relations and security, even that of Democratic hawks, is very much a post-60s view. To a large extent, it’s a reaction to the overemphasis (as they see it) to the excessive smooshing together of many different, independent phenomena into a monolith titled “International Communism,” which itself was understood primarily as the foreign policy of Moscow.

    And once again, I’m talking about tendencies. Of course, the Democrate realized that there were relationships between Central American revolutionary groups and Cuba and/or the Soviet Union, just as Republicans were aware that there were local differences between various groups and movements.

    I would also point out that there is quite a lot of evidence for the view that terrorist actions are often perpetrated by state actors There are certainly cases that are quite clearly one or the other – Lockerbie was all about a nation’s intelligence service, while Tim McVeigh was very much a self-starter (though there are somewhat respected righties who attempt to argue otherwise). I’m talking about their takes on the cases in the middle.

  89. “For another, Clinton actually struck at bin Laden after his terror attacks, while Bush got the report on the Cole handed to him during the transition, but didn’t do anything.”

    Yeah – I remember both incidents very clearly. Clinton blew up $300 worth of tents in the desert with $30mm worth of Tomohawk missiles. The actors in the Cole incident were already dead, and not much more was possible. I think this actually cuts against your point joe – you thesis should have Bush responding against a state actor militarily in retaliation. Mind you – i don’t have much of a dog in the fight – I agree with TAO that each terrorist/insurgent group is different, and that different parties screwed up their responses to these difficult problems in different ways at different times. I think I’m right though – that stateless terrorism actually increased dramatically under Reagan/Bush I.

  90. I think this actually cuts against your point joe – you thesis should have Bush responding against a state actor militarily in retaliation.

    Downplaying the significance of the attacks, to the point that there wasn’t even an observable response, makes my case pretty well, I think. Before 9/11, the Bush administration considerred attacks from sub-national groups so unimportant that they didn’t respond in any noticeable way. As opposed to what they would have done if a Russian, Chinese, or Iraqi hit squad had killed 1/10th the number of people.

    But as far as Bush attacking a nation in response to a terror attack by a statelss organization, I think the Iraq War example goes without mentioning.

  91. while Bush got the report on the Cole handed to him during the transition, but didn’t do anything.

    Cole happened even before the election. The transition was delayed for obvious reasons. And I have firsthand experience that changes were made after the Cole on a retail level.

    Third, Kosovo doesn’t refute my point at all. Republicans saw a hostile state breaking up and said “Eh.” Democrats saw it and thought “Those sub-national militias going at it could really be a problem.”

    Only 7 something years after it started. And how did we go about stopping it? By going after their state sponsor. Also, those sub national militias had a free reign in Africa his entire term with nary a peep.

  92. And JFK positioned himself very much to the right of Nixon on security. I agree there is a big policy shift on defense post JFK in the democratic party.

  93. Ah – I see your issue here. You are saying they ignored actions from non-state entities – not that they mistook them for state actions. Very well then, I suppose I see how Kosovo/Cole/Somalia/afghanistan and even my example of Libya make that point.

    So then, the question is what response is appropriate against stateless actors. I think theres a lot of room to justify both parties responses in their respective situations. I will accept your evidence as circumstantial.

  94. Kolohe,

    And I have firsthand experience that changes were made after the Cole on a retail level.

    That’s all well and good, but are “changes at a retail level” how the Bush administration responded to things they considered important?

    Only 7 something years after it started. And when he did so, the Republicans opposed them, both the air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs, and the action in Kosovo.

    And how did we go about stopping it? By going after their state sponsor. Actually, initially, Clinton launched air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions.

    Also, those sub national militias had a free reign in Africa his entire term with nary a peep. Clinton did even less about African states than African sub-national groups. He barely had an Africa policy at all.

  95. domo,

    You are saying they ignored actions from non-state entities – not that they mistook them for state actions. Actually, I’m saying both.

    And, minor quibble, I wouldn’t say “ignored” so much as “put a low priority on.”

    So then, the question is what response is appropriate against stateless actors. I think theres a lot of room to justify both parties responses in their respective situations.

    Certainly, different situations require different responses. The al Qaedists in Afghanistan really were closely tied in with the Taliban government.

  96. Kolohe,

    On the Serbian state: Clinton’s initial efforts involved negotiating with the Serbian/Yugoslav government, to try to get them to back off their support for the Serb militias. In other words, he actually tried to differentiate the non-state group from the state that supported them, even when the two were as closely tied as the Serb government and the Bosnian Serb militias.

  97. joe, I don’t see that approach necessarily as a virtue. It sometimes pays to paint states broadly with the brush of the bad associations – even if the truth is more nuanced. As long as the point is clearly heard that “we know you guys are behind this crap” it gives the state actors a chance to throw their ragtag groups under the bus. Play the sides against the middle.

  98. domo,

    I’m not trying to talk up one over the other, just saying that there is a difference in viewpoints.

    Certainly, there are times when it makes more sense to focus on state sponsors, but at bottom, this distinction isn’t about strategy (what to do about security challenges) but perception (what is the nature of the security challenges, or of a particular one, that we face?)

  99. So then, the question is what response is appropriate against stateless actors.

    to kind of oversimplify things, & w/out going into all the specific recent examples of how our politicos from both parties (but most spectacularly the neocons) have fouled it up, doesn’t it make any kind of sense that the stateless perps of terrorism are more of a law-enforcement problem, for our spooks & the spooks of our allies (which calls for good, intelligent diplomacy)…it seems to me that all our military might is/ought to be intended for other purposes…

  100. Buh bye, George. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  101. “I am fairly out and you are fairly in. I wonder which of us will be the happier?” – George Washington in “John Adams”

  102. “By conviction or necessity, we are all Bush haters now”

    I don’t hate Bush, nor would I hate Obama if he fucked up. Jeremy Lott should speak for himself.

  103. “But along with him should be all the people who enabled him to continue his reign of terror”

    Hahahahaahaha, reign of terror? Give me a fucking break. Why don’t you hyperventilate elsewhere.

  104. Are you for real? Bush’s “imploding war”? Do you live in this world, or a fantasy world?

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