One of the things I remember liking about the George Herbert Walker Bush administration is that he kept Israel on a tight leash. He had a coterie of smart Jewish advisors, if I recall correctly, who helped craft our foreign policy.
Those days are long gone. Today both political parties try to outbid each other to placate the most unreasonable Israeli settlers like those who burned down a Palestinian Mosque a couple days ago. This, of course, has the effect of angering the vast majority of people living in the Middle East who are Muslims.
It reminds me of the beginnings of World War I which seemed to come as a major surprise to those nations caught fighting it. There were all sorts of secret agreements that led each to declare war on the others when an ally was attacked. Many of the major players had governments that did not survive the war including Tsarist Russia. Russia had a secret agreement to protect tiny Serbia should it be attacked. It was an alliance largely based upon religious loyalties. When Serbia was attacked by Habsburg Austria all the other secret agreements kicked into effect.
On the eve of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis John Kennedy was reading Barbara Tuchman’s masterpiece the Guns of August about the unwitting march to war. It was very much on his mind as he prepared to deal with the still secretive and paranoid USSR.
Israel is America’s Serbia and the GOP in particular gives almost unanimous carte blanche to the hardest of Jewish hardliners who think nothing of displacing Arabs from their homes so that Jews can move in. I don’t think this will lead to World War III but its unsettling that an unbending core of Republicans believe the end of days is imminent and are rooting for Republicans to bring it about more hastily. If an when it happens it won’t just be Russia that comes to an end. It will be the end of the world. These are my kind of patriots.
Folks like Karl Rove have called these folks “crazies” then worked their butts off to get them to the polls. Now the crazies are running one house of Congress and the Republican Party.
When I was in Faribault, Minnesota last week, a former School Board member to took umbrage to my embrace of Obama told me that I can’t blame America’s fiscal problems on Bush any more.
As “conservative” pundits spread misinformation and falsehoods around to each other like a herpes virus concerning the Bush Administration’s mistreatment of prisoners, 100 of whom died in custody, its good to see a little disinfectent on the Internet:
From Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com:
Essentially, the current posture of the U.S. to the world is this:
Yes, we implemented a worldwide torture regime that we justified with lawyers’ memoranda that were false, wrong, shoddy, lawless, sloppy and extremist, but because those lawyers were such warped radicals, they probably believed what they were saying at the time, so we’re going to declare that we had the right to do what we did and are shielded from all consequences, even though we’ve signed treaties agreeing to prosecute anyone who authorizes torture and constantly demand that other nations prosecute their own torturers. Besides, we have important things to do and so we want to Look Forward, not Backward.
Ah yes. Always look forward.
Read the entire column which leads up to this caustic summation here.
The foolish provocation by Georgia of Russia, which has been itching under Putin to flex its muscles, is something an engaged U.S. President should have attempted to stop at all costs. President Bush is busy cavorting with the US woman’s volleyball team instead. Now that the deed is done and the Ruskies have invaded Abkazia we have no moral standing to tell them to get the hell out. We charged into Iraq with no more justification.
Those claiming to be Republicans who can not bring themselves to condemning this Bush Administration are accompolices to the dismantling of the GOP.
There is a book recently written by an old fashioned conservative Republican. His title is “Party Snatchers” not Body snatchers. Its lambasts the theocons who have taken over the party. Here’s a positive review by the Daily Kos.
Starting in the early 1990’s this was my description of the new folks innundating the Republican Party. I always used to say that I felt I was surrounded by pod people.
Federal prosecutors successfully convicted an Honduran fish exporter of violating a law that his country overturned a decade ago. Not an American law mind you but a Honduran law.
Bush won’t pardon him. Bush won’t pardon anybody. Except Libby maybe?
Bob Novak of Valarie Plame Fame reported it before any of out troops got on the ground. Read the Dinesh post also linked on this page.
I’ve been busy and thus only put in rare blog entries these days. This troubling entry from Andrew Sullivan hits me where I’m currently working. I’m deep into my year-old project on the Boyd scandal of 1978 here in Minnesota. Lets just say that political considerations in who gets prosucuted is not a new thing.
The President and the military are busy reading up on Algeria’s 1950’sÂ revolt against the French. This very thoughtful blog entry at Paco Pond examines the differences and similarities between these two conflicts and concludes with this haunting question:
But there’s one final consideration, something that truly troubled me about Horne’s book. That is the fate of the harkis, the Arabs who sided with the French. There were many thousands of them, and at the exodus of the French, they were slaughtered. The FLN were always viciousâ€”and their viciousness was reciprocated, to be sure, by the French, but the FLN were brutal and unforgiving and murderous with those who had opposed them. No reeducation camps, as in Vietnam. Harkis had their throats slit, were disembowled, mutilated, left to die within earshot of French troops, who by terms of the disengagement agreement would not intervene to save their lives. The French were incredibly callous in their attitude toward their erstwhile allies. We can contrast that with the American effort to evacuate the leadership of South Vietnam. What will become of the translators, the drivers, the Iraqi collaborators with the American occupation? George Packer, in The New Republic, has argued that we should save everyone we can. But I’m afraid we will not follow his suggestion. Our collaborators will have to make their separate peace, if they can, with Al Qaeda or the Mehdi Army. I doubt we will accept them into this country. And the world will see the truth, to our shame, that to us, to this day, Muslim lives are expendable.
Now that we’ve unleashed Hell on the Iraqies I hear more and more of the Republican architects of this war saying that’s what’s going on is the Iraqi’s own fault. That sounds like the beginning of a rationalization for leaving the people who helped us behind to the same fate as the friends of the French in Algeria.
It would be the second time a Bush enabled the slaughter of innocents in Iraq.
Once again Hollywood is the enemy of the truth as Newsweek’s Evan Thomas points out.
This is a great movie. Its one of my all time favorites. Now imagine making the really bad guy in it – the commandant of a POW camp – more civilized than President Bush.
Years ago when the current President was still out of control his father had him talk toÂ Billy GrahmÂ to help straighten him out.
As President the junior Bush made a point of saying that he listened to his Father…the one in heaven implying that he wasn’t inclined to pay any heed to his own Father’s advice. Now, many people are pointing to the Iraq Study Group as the latest intervention by the elder Bush to help his struggling Son.
YesterdayÂ the former President broke up repeatedly in talking about the honor of his son – Florida Governor Jeb Bush.Â
Andrew Sullivan speculates that it is because the former President is grateful to have at least one son whoÂ wh is livingÂ up to the high standardsÂ the elder BushÂ would like, or would have liked, both his sons to live up to.
Evidently Karl meant it when he said the Republicans would keep control of Congress.
From Brett Arends of the Boston Herald:
“Real conservatives, after all, believe in smaller government, lower spending, balanced budgets, individual freedom, checks and balances, political restraint, states’ rights, a prudent foreign policy, and a deep respect of the Constitution.
Seen any of that recently?
A vote for divided government is a vote for the basic principle of our republic. Our Constitution doesn’t mention political parties. The Founding Fathers warned against them. But they were explicit about the need for checks and balances, and for a tight rein on the executive branch.
Can anyone but a partisan hack seriously argue we have that right now? America has done best when the White House and Congress have been in different hands.”
Andrew Sullivan is reporting that the Army Times is about to call on the President to remove Don Rumsfeld from his cabinet.
Someone sent him the editorial the Times is about to publish perhaps before the midterm elections. Its powerful and persuasive.
Vic sent me this email which ought to hammer in the last nail in John Kerry’s presidential ambitions.
President Bush has seized on this as the salvation of his campaign to retain control of Congress. He’s been concentrating on the few locations where enthusiastic crowds can still be put together in congressional districts where the incumbents are brave enough to have Bush come in and stumpÂ for them.
I can’t help but think that the images of enthusiastic Bush supporters on the news will only cause Democrats to redouble their efforts to get their people to the polls next Tuesday. Furthermore, Bush’s recent promise to keep Rumsfeld on until the end of his term of office can only cause more doubts among voters who think the Administration is incapable rethinking solutions to its problems in Iraq.