LOOKING FOR LIFE BEYOND CABLE NEWS AND FINDING THAT RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
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Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
- Chinese Proverb
Well, look who came to dinner!
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Tag Archives: George W. Bush
In previous posts on this tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I failed to mention the Prince of Darkness, Richard Perle. He called early, often and urgently for us to send our young people to die in Iraq. By the time Bush got into office, Perle was on the official Iraq War Marketing Team. On The Dish, Andrew Sullivan reminded us and quotes Pearle in an interview ten years on:
Montagne: Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?
Perle: I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done with the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.
Perle was an early member of PNAC calling for a ‘new American Century” and the removal of Saddam.
From David Corn in Mother Jones:
Perle began calling for war in Iraq nanoseconds after September 11. He told CNN, “Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden. That can be documented.” In 2002, he suggested a war against Iraq would be a cakewalk: “It isn’t going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn’t going to be months either.” He asserted Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.” He claimed the post-invasion reconstruction in Iraq would be self-financing. He got everything wrong.
And still he said: “You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.”
Maybe he can’t. We can.
By the way, Sullivan himself was an early and ardent supporter of the Iraq invasion. He’s been tripping all over himself in the last recent years saying he was wrong and apologizing for that. But my oh my how he did once love that war. He proved it by damning – over and over again in strong language – those who would dare oppose the war likening such opposition to anti-Semitism and calls for American defeat. He wasn’t just wrong – as he admits – he nearly called the left traitors.
And like many at the time – and right up to today – he claimed that opposing the war was equivalent to morally condoning Saddam’s record of human right abuses.
This lazy form of moral equivalence is not rare among the radical left in this country. But it is based on a profound moral abdication: the refusal to see that a Stalinist dictatorship that murders its own civilians, that sends its troops into battle with a gun pointed at their heads, that executes POWs, that stores and harbors chemical weapons, that defies 12 years of U.N. disarmament demands, that has twice declared war against its neighbors, and that provides a safe haven for terrorists of all stripes, is not the moral equivalent of the United States under President George W. Bush. There is, in fact, no comparison whatever. That is not jingoism or blind patriotism or propaganda. It is the simple undeniable truth. And once the left starts equating legitimate acts of war to defang and depose a deadly dictator with unprovoked terrorist attacks on civilians, it has lost its mind, not to speak of its soul.
Really? Sullivan never apologized for that part. Here’s his March 2003 archive; lots of nasty stuff.
As I said below about Wolfowitz, the ones who got it wrong still occupy positions of influence. They may be scorned on this tenth anniversary, but mostly they’re in the background making money and calling always for more war, war, war. It’s what they do.
And so it began ten years ago tomorrow.
This week Brown University (another bastion of liberal lies and anyway, it’s un-American since it was founded before the American Revolution) published a comprehensive study of the costs – in blood and treasure – of our adventurous invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq. (The full report is here. It’s broken down by subject – dollars, lives, politics etc.)
According to the report, the war has killed at least 190,000 people, including
men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians and will cost the United
States $2.2 trillion.
Among the group’s main findings:
- More than 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence in Iraq have been civilians — an estimated 134,000. This number does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher.
- The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.
- Th $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the United States almost $500 billion through 2053.
- The total of U.S. service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors have died as well, a number often under-reported.
- Terrorism in Iraq increased dramatically as a result of the invasion and tactics and fighters were exported to Syria and other neighboring countries.
- Iraq’s health care infrastructure remains devastated from sanctions and war. More than half of Iraq’s medical doctors left the country during the 2000s, and tens of thousands of Iraqi patients are forced to seek health care outside the country.
- The $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds.
Dont know if they touch on this, but neither electricity nor oil production has reached pre-war levels yet. And there is that business of Iraq now being a Shia ruled country aligned with Iran. But Cheney et al got their blood. So there’s that.
I think it’s pretty unusual for a public attitude to survive this long, but I’m not much of a poll watcher, so perhaps you know better. Go ahead and correct me; I’ve recently realized that I apparently don’t actually know everything.
According to the newest NYT/CBS poll, 44% still blame the Bush administration for the mess. 15% blame Obama and oddly, that’s a tie with Congress, who also get 15%. I am really surprised. Good old American people seem to have their blinders off at last. The poll is here if you’re interested. It’s not particularly long and has more interesting stuff.
In an earlier post, kitchenmudge asked if this nation ever had a balanced budget. I don’t know, but this post says the last time we did it was 1957. He has some nice clean tables there. In this one, note that the deficit went down every one of Clinton’s 8 years in office and it went up in 7 of 8 years of George Bush. Say no more.
And this is a good summary of historic trends in our debt; it sounds like any law demanding a balanced budget would preclude our ability to go to war since wars are always fought on borrowed money. I’ve faulted GW Bush for that, but the real problem was that he simultaneously implemented huge tax cuts.
The United States has had public debt since its inception. Debts incurred during the American Revolutionary War and under the Articles of Confederation led to the first yearly reported value of $75,463,476.52 on January 1, 1791. From 1796 to 1811 there were 14 surpluses and only 2 deficits. The first dramatic growth spurt of the debt occurred because of the War of 1812. In the first 20 years following the War of 1812, 18 surpluses were experienced and the US paid off 99.97% of its debt.
The second dramatic growth spurt of the debt occurred because of the Civil War. The debt was just $65 million in 1860, but passed $1 billion in 1863 and had reached $2.7 billion following the war. In the following 47 years America returned to the practice of running surpluses during times of peace experiencing 36 surpluses and only 11 deficits. During this period 55% of the US national debt was paid off.
The next period of major growth in debt came during WWI reaching $25.5 billion at its conclusion. It was followed by 11 straight surpluses and saw the debt reduced by 36%.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Via Juan Cole, Daniel Ellsberg interviewed on CNN’s “In the Arena”:
[CNN]: These days, when you find yourself thinking about Richard Nixon, what comes to mind?
[Ellsberg]: “Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life. (And his aide Henry Kissinger was not the last American official to win an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize.)
He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me-which forced his resignation facing impeachment-are now legal.
That includes burglarizing my former psychoanalyst’s office (for material to blackmail me into silence), warrantless wiretapping, using the CIA against an American citizen in the US, and authorizing a White House hit squad to “incapacitate me totally” (on the steps of the Capitol on May 3, 1971). All the above were to prevent me from exposing guilty secrets of his own administration that went beyond the Pentagon Papers. But under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, with the PATRIOT Act, the FISA Amendment Act, and (for the hit squad) President Obama’s executive orders, they have all become legal.
There is no further need for present or future presidents to commit obstructions of justice (like Nixon’s bribes to potential witnesses) to conceal such acts. Under the new laws, Nixon would have stayed in office, and the Vietnam War would have continued at least several more years.”
Bin Laden and Nixon are probably laughing in Hell right now.
Thomas at Middle of the Freakin’ Road noticed something yesterday. That zany crew at Fox & Friends reported (in their own special fashion) that Bush captured Osama Bin Laden). Steve and Gretchen and that other guy were so proud of him.
I guess in this regard they have been consistent. After all, even though 9/11 took place when Bush was president, they blamed the attacks on Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton. So it makes complete sense in Fox World to give credit for the killing of bin Laden to Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, even if he has been out of office for two years.
Now that I hear Republicans swooning over “Obama’s own debt commission’ as the gold standard which Obama isn’t honoring because he’s so perfidious, perhaps those Republicans also agree these words from the co-chair of that august commission, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY)?
The biggest spending president in the history of the U.S.? The answer is George W. Bush not President Obama. Never vetoed a single bill, spending bill for six and a half years. And then the Republicans sit there and say, yeah, but this guy is worse than he is three to one.
From Taegan Goddard, via Talk and Politics
Moments when this country could have made epic and positive changes – but didn’t.
President Andrew Johnson – He entered the White HOuse following Lincoln’s assassination. He had utter disdain for the emerging Reconstruction policy, stopped it and led with is own bigotry. The legacy of slavery wasn’t addressed again until the mid-20th century (Truman to Johnson).
GW Bush – Following 9/11, just eight months into his presidency, George Bush had a nation that would have followed its president anywhere, risen to any challenge. He had a chance to give us a ‘go to the moon’ challenge and the US could have begun a journey to lead the world in alternative energy technology (not instead of Afghanistan; the efforts could have been side by side).
Obama – He walked into office on a day when the nation would have enthusiastically gotten behind a call for vast reform of the financial industry, the tax codes and a stronger regulatory structure. But he didn’t. Stimulus was the right thing to do, but it stopped short. And in the financial industry at least, it reenforced the bad behaviors that led to the meltdown.
From last week: Former Iranian president: Rafsanjani is out of any power in the government in Iran. Too bad. He’s somewhat moderate and friendly toward Western culture; his replacement is a strict hard liner. Let us hope Rafsanjani joins the budding opposition movement. He’d be a fine figurehead.
He was the guy who was poised to be re-elected to the Presidency of Iran until the ‘axis of evil’ speech in 2002 insulted the Iranians so thoroughly that they turned around and elected an uber-nationalist instead.
The only US Presidents who raised taxes in the last 31 years were Republican.
“What would it look like if Obama didn’t have to pay for Bush’s wars . . .didn’t have to pay for Bush’s prescription drug plan, didn’t have to pay for Bush’s tax cuts, didn’t have to pay for stimulus funds to rescue the country from Bush’s Great Recession, and didn’t have to pay interest (one of the biggest items in the federal budget) on the money that Bush and Reagan borrowed previously? Most likely, it would look like it did on January 20, 2001, the day that Bush came to office, and the United States was running the greatest surplus ever in its history.”
Most distressing to us should be that of those interest payments, 50% go to China. In earliler years that money stayed in the country with American citizens holding the debt in the form of bonds.