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September 8, 2003

To put it bluntly
Posted by Teresa at 08:44 PM *

The Scarlet Pimpernel sent me these pictures of vox pop roadside signs, photographed a few days ago on Interstate 5 between San Diego and Los Angeles.

I should note that the third sign is not correct. Georgie Boy did mention Osama bin Laden once this past summer. It took a point-blank question at a press conference to do it, but he did actually allow the name to escape his lips.

dulce&decorum.jpg 32000.jpg 14mosOsama.jpg

Naturally, George doesn’t want people remembering that Osama bin Laden was the actual author of the 9/11 terrorism. His first-term agenda called for picking a fight with Saddam Hussein, not bin Laden. That way George could one-up his dad, chalk up an easy victory (Bush & Co. really did expect that), possibly use Iraq’s resources to help defray the cost of the war, and get himself re-elected. Meanwhile, with everyone distracted by the war, he’d loot the national economy on behalf of his rich backers.

Then some little Saudi radical had to make trouble by taking out the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon. It was too blatant. George had to do the war-with-Afghanistan thing instead. But as early as he possibly could, he transferred all the emphasis to drumming up the war with Iraq. That’s why there was no provision made for the post-war reconstruction of Afghanistan that would have made the war there worth something. The war with Afghanistan was never part of the plan in the first place. Bush & Co. simply weren’t interested in pursuing it.

It’s also why Cheney’s attention was already focused on pinning the attacks on Saddam Hussein by the afternoon of 9/11, long before the administration had answered questions like “what is going on,” “are there any more people alive under that rubble,” “what’s needed here”, or even “how are all those stranded people going to get home from the Maritimes.” 9/11 was a crisis only insofar as it had interrupted their agenda, and Cheney was trying to push things back on track.

And it’s also why Bush & Co., especially Rumsfeld, repeatedly and personally (and by all reports very uncivilly) insisted on overruling the Pentagon planners who told them how many troops and what kind of backup were going to be needed for the invasion.

How is it that you go in understaffed and undersupported when you’ve got the most powerful military on the planet? You do it when you were never really serious about the war in the first place. When it was only a means to an end, and that end only incidentally involved winning an actual war and securing your position in the aftermath of the fighting.

George W. Bush has achieved a worldwide reputation for not keeping his word. I’m constantly amazed by all you fellow-citizens who think you know what Georgie and his cronies believe. You have no idea. Neither do I. George and the Bushmen don’t talk to us little people unless they want us to do something right then. George absolutely doesn’t feel himself obliged to keep the promises he makes, or tell us the truth about what’s going on. Personally, I resent that.

I arrive at my judgements by keeping track of the things Bush & Co. remember to do when they’re not being prompted, or when they’re not being obliged to say the right thing in the wake of some awful disaster.

For instance, all that stuff about helping the victims of the 9/11 attacks? That was pure hooey. George was doing his President Routine for the benefit of the cameras. That’s the real reason he’s not coming to NYC this September 11. He wussed out on all those brave-sounding promises to help the poor and the needy and the sick and the afflicted, especially the bereaved and heartstruck FDNY and NYPD. He told a lot of lies, got his pitcher took with the big guys, and booked.

What stays on his personal agenda? Cutting taxes for the rich. Cutting capital gains taxes. Cutting estate taxes. Cutting deals for the outfits whose support got him into the White House. Getting re-elected. That’s it and that’s all.

I’m not going to call you a sucker for voting for him. I’m telling you that he thinks you’re a sucker. That’s when he thinks about you at all, which isn’t often.

Sorry. I’m ranting. I hope The Scarlet Pimpernel doesn’t disagree too much with my sentiments, given that I didn’t take the pictures that accompany them.

Thanks, SP. Good ‘uns.

Comments on To put it bluntly:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 12:16 AM:

ORGUN, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Two years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the leaders of the al Qaeda network and its Taliban allies remain at large and there are indications that the remnants of their forces are regrouping in Afghanistan.

#2 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 12:49 AM:

I think we do know what Bush thinks about us: he's made pretty clear from his actions that he thinks we are idiots.

And the ones who aren't idiots are dangerous to his agenda.

Possibly in the same way that ants are annoying at a picnic.

#3 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 01:05 AM:

Just wanted to put my Latinist hat on and point out that the first poster is slightly wrong; it should be pro Halliburton mori.

And you, as always, da man. In a manner of speaking.

#4 ::: Jane ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 03:36 AM:

Thanks, T. Got my blood moving this morning.


#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 07:20 AM:

You're welcome.

Christ, I had to tidy those pictures up in Photoshop. It was hard to resist the temptation to change "por" to "pro".

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 07:23 AM:

Jim: Just as you say. We're paying almost no attention to al Qaeda, and they're the guys who attacked us in the first place.

#7 ::: i ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 08:53 AM:

That second sign is gibberish. Or I don't get it. Or something. Weren't we saying we didn't want the war to be about oil? Or didn't Bush NOT say it WAS about oil? Would the 32,000 lives be more well-spent if gas was back down to a buck fifty?

#8 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 09:29 AM:

Shrub said lots of things, but one thing almost no one believed when he said it, was that the war wasn't about oil.

Or, if it really wasn't about oil, it's awful funny how the only critical installations our military forces had orders to protect were the oil fields and the oil ministry offices.

#9 ::: Rob Tomshany ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 09:30 AM:

i, the second sign is intended as a dark joke. Even though various creatures of the administration have claimed (often repeatedly) that "it's not about the oil," many of us view that claim with some, shall we say, skepticism. With that in mind, the sign makes a bit more sense as a mock-complaint.

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 10:54 AM:

Where the foo's the deck of al Qaeda playing cards with Osama bin Laden as the Ace of Spades and Mullah Omar as the Queen of Hearts?

For that matter, our success in rebuilding Afghanistan is, I'm certain, doing more to boost the confidence of the folks on the streets of Baghdad than almost anything else we're doing.

For that matter, if Rummy thinks that the terror bombers of Iraq are getting a lift from the various towns in America that have voted not to enforce the USA PATRIOT act within their borders, what's he think about having troops so scarce on the ground in Iraq that they can't guard the ammo dumps where the explosives are being kept?

#11 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 11:07 AM:

I just want to say that I resent that Bush doesn't feel obligated to keep his promises or tell the truth too.

I agree with you wholeheartedly.

#12 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 11:41 AM:

Anyone But Bush in 2004. I knew he would be bad as soon as he won^H^H^H was installed, but I didn't realise he would be comic-book bad. You think you're reading The Onion, then with a terrible lurch you realise it's actually the NYT.

#13 ::: Jazz ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 12:25 PM:

Oh, thank you!

And here I was having a lousy morning.

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 12:29 PM:

Suggesting that Bush II is in the same league as comic books is a deadly insult, sennoma . . . to comic books.

#15 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 12:49 PM:

Oh, I don't know, Stefan--ever read Brother Power--The Geek? (Or do I have that backward?)

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 12:55 PM:

i, I'd translate that one as "Not only did we go to war for the wrong reasons, but we're not even getting what we went for."

Jim, I've wondered why there's no al Qaeda deck. I mean, those are the guys who blew up a chunk of my city. And given the amount of trouble we're having with roadside bombings, those inadequately secured ammo dumps are just appalling. Consider this story:

forensic evidence gathered from the bombing scenes in Baghdad and Najaf, where Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohamad Baqir al Hakim was killed, indicates striking similarities in the explosives used in both attacks.

Military sources confirm reports from the crime scene that explosives used in the Baghdad U.N. attack were apparently a collection of bombs and other military ordnance most likely looted—or secreted—from Saddam’s old arsenals. Sources say that initial investigations indicate that the materials used in the Najaf bomb which killed Ayatollah Hakim were the same.

#17 ::: Ann ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 01:08 PM:

Yesterday on All Things Considered:
A 59 yeat old woman from Chicago said of Bush, "He's always been very honest, ...and it's the first president I've ever known to be that honest."

Nearly drove off the road upon hearing that.

#18 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 01:09 PM:

Sorry about the unclear comment, Stefan. I meant that Bush minor puts me in mind of a comic book supervillain. He's so thoroughly horrible, with his lies and his smirk and his prosthetic package, and the greedy pack of evil corporate weasels that feed in his wake like so many remora(e?) following a shark, that he belongs in a fantasy universe.

I *like* comics. :-)

#19 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 01:54 PM:

Awww, I was trying to be funny.

I don't think that Bush & Co. *measure up* even as comic book villains. They're evil without being appealing. They're bad without being Bad.

I mean, sheesh, if Cheney had any supervillain chops he would wear a bulky cyborg chestpiece to house his cybernetic heart, and he'd arrange for his SS retinue to all be seven feet tall and have silver teeth.

And his secretary would be a slinky calico- cat-woman chimera that gives Ashcroft the willies.

#20 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 02:39 PM:

You don't even need to know Latin, just reference your Wilfred Owen properly. Maybe they were working from (faulty) memory.

Bush's boots are blessed with gold.

#21 ::: Lee Hauser ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 02:39 PM:

Oh, Teresa, if those bombs were from Iraqi arsenals, wouldn't they be full of germs and nerve gas and stuff?

Oh, right, I forgot...nobody's found any of that stuff yet. Sorry...

#22 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 02:58 PM:

I feel like I've been living in the wrong time line since, oh, 'bout October 2000.

As soon as I find my time machine I'm outa here.

#23 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 03:43 PM:

Bush's boots are blessed with gold.

We're in luck, then. We can heave him overboard and he'll go straight to the bottom.

#24 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 03:54 PM:

Charlie, the hell you are. Not without the rest of us. Not without helping to fix this mess.

I feel like we're trapped in the initial expository lump of a not very good alternate history novel in which somebody's blunder has screwed up the main timeline. The main characters are going to figure out how to fix whatever happened so they can get back to the good timeline. Meanwhile we'll be stuck here, a mere unexplored implication of that short paragraph in which one character unconvincingly explains to another that all possible alternate universes exist.

#25 ::: Peter Harkins ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 04:07 PM:

Do you know more about where or when that speech this summer was? I've tried looking for it, but it's pretty impossible to pick a set of keywords to narrow it down.

#26 ::: pepper ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 04:35 PM:

Theresa--that's a brilliant explanation for this insanity we're living in.

Hey--do you read science fiction by any chance?

Loved your rant, too. Rants are good things when they're that eloquent.

#27 ::: Steady Eddie ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 05:01 PM:

Pepper, it's almost (not quite) straight from the book "Dimension of Miracles" by Robert Sheckley, a sci-fi author in the 1960s who was very much underappreciated -- probably because his SF was mostly witty social commentary rather than gee-whiz juvenile stuff. In "Dimension," an average New Yorker gets taken by mistake to the Galactic Center to receive a Prize for some interstellar sweepstakes, and has to find the right earth at the right time out of all the various possible earths. Looks like we ended up on the wrong one, at least for now.

#28 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 06:17 PM:

"I arrive at my judgements by keeping track of the things Bush & Co. remember to do when they92re not being prompted, or when they92re not being obliged to say the right thing in the wake of some awful disaster."

When I was working on my dissertation, perhaps my favorite, certainly one of my top five, works of modern Arthuriana was Gillian Bradshaw's trilogy (Hawk of May, Kingdom of Summer, In Winter's Shadow -- collectively still shorter than Mists of Avalon). I liked it better than Parke Godwin's Firelord, I think in large part because Firelord had been -so- praised to me that nothing could live up to the hype.

In any case, in the first two parts of Bradshaw's trilogy, the plot turns on a character deciding to trust Gawain (Gwalchmai), and in both cases the reason is the same: Gawain does good even when no one of importance is watching, when there is no possible gain to be had. Mordred (Medraut) carefully stages his gracious moments, and even there, it's clear from the behaviour of his nervous servants that they are staged.

When the mask finally comes off Medraut's comment is: "I am glad it worked this way, whatever Mother says. I do not like having to be gracious to insolent servants."

Is it just me, or, if you make that statement just a bit more rough hewn, maybe substitute "Father" for "Mother", it's something Shrub could have said?


#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 06:40 PM:

Mr. Bush said the words "Osama bin Laden" on 03 July 2003, while taking questions from the press. You can find the full text here.

Post-2001 he also mentioned Mr. bin Laden on 24 June 2003, 14 October 2002, and 25 April, 2002. In all of these instances it was in an answer to a direct question from a reporter.

But while looking for those, I did find something interesting. Here's a reporter asking about bin Laden (on 31 December 2002), and here's Mr. Bush's reply. You can put this into the "it was never about weapons of mass destruction" folder.

Q Mr. President, looking ahead here, with a possible war with Iraq looming, North Korea nuclear conflict as well as Osama bin Laden still at large, is the world safer as we look ahead to 2003?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it's a lot safer today than it was a year ago, and it's going to be safer after this year than it was this year because the United States of America will continue to lead a vast coalition of freedom loving countries to disrupt terrorist activities, to hold dictators accountable, particularly those who ignore international norm and international rule. And the American -- this government will continue lead the world toward more peace. And the American people need to be mindful of the fact that our government is committed to peace and committed to freedom.
And we hope to resolve all the situations in which we find ourselves in a peaceful way. And so that's my commitment, to try to do so peacefully. But I want to remind people that, Saddam Hussein, the choice is his to make as to whether or not the Iraqi situation is resolved peacefully.
You said we're headed to war in Iraq -- I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully. We've got a military presence there to remind Saddam Hussein, however, that when I say we will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him if he chooses not to disarm, I mean it. And we will continue to work to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful way.
And it was right here in Crawford, Texas, where I had a meaningful and good discussions with Jiang Zemin. Heck, it wasn't all that long ago that a U.S. leader never spoke to the Chinese leader. And right here in Crawford we had a dialogue where we both committed ourselves to working in a way to convince Kim Chong-il that it's not in his country's interests to arm up with nuclear weapons. And I believe that can be resolved peacefully.
Listen, thank you all. I'm thinking about a little nature walk in a couple of days. Anybody interested?
#30 ::: Jazz ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 07:24 PM:

This being an alternate timeline makes horrifying sense. In that vein, I propose the title "Schrodinger's President."

I would be afraid of having nightmares about this tonight, but I'm already half convinced that we've been in one for the last three years, and will never wake up.

#31 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 07:43 PM:

Mr. Bush mentions Saddam (an incomplete list):

September 14, 2002 (radio address)
March 17, 2003 (address to the nation)
February 10, 2003 (TV address)
January 29, 2003 (speech in Grand Rapids)
February 6, 2003 (prepared statement)
January 31, 2003 (press conference, with Tony Blair)
March 4, 2003 (remarks to the AMA)
February 26, 2003 (remarks to the Latino Coalition)
March 15, 2003 (radio address)
February 20, 2003 (remarks from Kennesaw, Georgia)
February 10, 2003 (Remarks by the President and Prime Minister Howard of Australia in Photo opportunity)
March 1, 2003 (radio address)
February 24, 2003 (remarks to governors)
February 7, 2003 (remarks by the President to the Press Pool)
January 30, 2003 (remarks at photo op with Prime Minister Berlusconi)
January 22, 2003 (remarks in St. Louis)
November 3, 2002 (remarks in Sioux Falls)
October 7, 2002 (remarks in Cincinatti)
September 4, 2002 (remarks at photo op with Congressional leaders)
July 17, 2003 (press conference, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair)
July 23, 2003 (Rose Garden press conference)
June 21, 2003 (radio address)
December 4, 2002 (remarks while signing Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002)
April 10, 2003 (message to the Iraqi people)
January 28, 2003 (State of the Union speech)
January 21, 2003 (remarks after meeting economists)
November 21, 2002 (remarks in Prague, Czech Republic)
November 20, 2002 (remarks in Prague, Czech Republic)
November 13, 2002 (remarks after meeting with Cabinet)
November 13, 2002 (remarks at photo op with Secretary Annan)
November 12, 2002 (remarks to Columbia Police department)
October 26, 2002 (remarks at photo op with Presidente Fox)
October 25, 2002 (press conference with President Jiang Zemin)
October 16, 2002 (remarks while welcoming Prime Minister Sharon)
October 11, 2002 (remarks on Senate vote)
October 7, 2002 (address to the nation)
October 5, 2002 (radio address)
October 1, 2002 (remarks following meeting with members of congress)
September 27, 2002 (speech in Houston ("the guy who tried to kill my dad")
September 25, 2002 (remarks at photo op with President Alvaro Uribe)
September 18, 2002 (remarks at meeting with Congressional leaders)
September 13, 2002 (remarks at meeting with Central African leaders)

September 7, 2002 (remarks at photo op with Prime Minister Blair)
September 4, 2002
April 6, 2002 (remarks at press conference with Prime Minister Blair ("Saddam must go"))
November 26, 2001 (Newsweek interview ("Saddam is evil"))
February 22, 2001 (news conference)

#33 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 07:48 PM:

I've said it before: When the "presidents elected in a year ending in zero die in office" rule gets broken, bizarre things happen.

Sometimes good bizarre things, like Eastern Europe tossing out the communists in 1989. That could only have happened in a Bizarro universe . . . one we slipped into when Hinkley failed to kill the Gipper.

Our current predicament can be blamed on Bush II's dogs, who woke him after the pretzel incident. Damn sons-of-bitches!

#34 ::: Brian Parry ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 08:56 PM:

Well let me state (before I get flamed) that I hate 99.999999999999% of all politicians. And I certainly would never paint myself into either dumbass party. But I do get disturb when bad info or illogical or hypocritical messages are thrown around. Example, "tax cuts for the rich" - it's because they pay the tax. Example - "Bush is a liar" when it is obvious that out of the last 2 prez's, Clinton was the bigger liar - but a liar is a liar. I don't know, maybe it is me, but this BLOG seems horribly against Bush. He ain't a saint in my eyes but it seems strange to pick on a sitting president when the one before was far worse in many ways. But wouldn't it be really nice if we could respect our presidents and they could be respectable! :-)

#35 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 09:14 PM:

"He ain't a saint in my eyes but it seems strange to pick on a sitting president when the one before was far worse in many ways. "

Clinton the jackass is out of office and can't come back. Bush the jackass is currently in office, and *can* do more harm. What's so strange about it?

#36 ::: Justine ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 09:17 PM:

In response to Brian Parry:

Where does the stuff about respecting US presidents come from? The Republicans seemed not to show much for Clinton when he was president. Does the respect only apply to Republican presidents?

I ask as a curious Australian. Being from a nation state largely brought into being by transported, largely poor and working class law-breakers, respect for authority has never been Australia's strong point.

In a non-violently flamey way I do find it extraordinary that so many USians feel that Clinton was a worse president than Bush. What criteria are they using to judge? Surely not economic ones.

Just curious.

Very enjoyable blog, Teresa.

#37 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 09:49 PM:

Brian: Mostly we are anti-Bush. He and his pals are attempting to destroy democracy and freedom and the constitution. What's not to be against?


#38 ::: Speck ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 10:26 PM:

Side-stepping the USAian infighting....

You've no idea how reassuring it was to read the rant. Sitting in a little country on the other side of the world, I'm perpetually gobsmacked at how blatantly the Bush Administration treats the international community as credulous and short of memory. (It'd be laughable, except they're in charge of the world's largest military monster--and they're not afraid to use it.) I couldn't help wondering if Americans in general also regard the rest of the world with such towering contempt. But, lo, it seems this administration treats its own citizens as idiots, too. And some of you don't like it. Hear me sigh with relief. Now, if only you could get your electoral system sorted....

#39 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2003, 11:27 PM:

Speck, happy to do it.

Don't think of the interactions with Brian Parry as infighting. It's more like he's a specimen of our indigenous wildlife. They wander in sometimes when you leave the door open.

Bush treats us as though we have neither intellect nor memory. Some of us notice. Some don't. The news media used to be more reliable about pointing out stuff like this, but over the last decade or two they've suffered a complete moral collapse. That's bad. They were an essential part of the system, and we haven't yet found anything to replace them.

Justine: Thanks. And nicely said.

Brian Parry, I'm not going to flame you, but you don't know what you're talking about. Your assignment, if you want to go on participating here, is to go and find out: (1.) What percentage of the overall US population benefits from Bush's tax cuts, and how much they benefit in relation to their income; and (2.) How many truthful vs. non-truthful statements Bush has made about the war, terrorism, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, the conduct of the war, the duration of the war, and the cost of the war.

This weblog doesn't exist for the purpose of slagging off Georgie. I'm not anti-Bush so much as I'm pro-American. I'm proud of my country, its history, its constitution, and its many, many fine deeds. Happens I think Bush isn't worthy to lead it. You think Clinton was worse because you've let a bunch of professional disinformationists feed you a line of guff. Clinton's peccadillos were certainly colorful, but they were also peccadillos. When it came to the job of being President, he did a damned good job.

I am morally certain that right now, all over this country, there are fine upstanding patriotic American girls who wouldn't hesitate to volunteer to blow someone in the Oval Office, if doing so would magically repair our economy, get us out of that godawful war in Iraq, and restore the respect in which the United States was formerly held by the other nations in this world.

(I am likewise certain that more would volunteer if their co-participant were Clinton, not Bush. But that's not a relevant point.)

James Douglas Ignatius sweetling, thank you for the massive documentation. How did you find those?

Jazz, when things get too bad, my shrink reminds me how people despaired during the McCarthy years. If George doesn't rig the voting too blatantly, his day will pass.

Lisa, if you can get a look at footage of Bush the night of the New Hampshire primaries after McCain has won, you can see the mask disappear for a while. It's a mean, cold face. When I saw that, I knew bad things were in store for McCain, though I would never have imagined the dry-gulching he got in South Carolina.

A friend of mine says that in footage from the 9/11 memorial service in the National Cathedral, when Bush and his father were seated side by side, you can see Bush Minor wearing that stupid gloating grin again, and his father only partially concealing his distaste for it. My friend also swears that when the service gets to the point where everyone's supposed to give the sign of peace to the people around them, George Senior carefully and deliberately manages to work it so that he doesn't exchange it with his son. I haven't seen the footage, but that's what my friend says.

Steady Eddie, I've read a lot of Robert Sheckley, but not that one. My scenario was intentionally generic, and was based on lord knows how many time travel and alternate universe stories which I've read over the years.

Pepper: Thanks. And yes, I've read just a bit of science fiction. Here and there. Once in a while.

Jeff, you've got me. I don't know the reference. What is it?

And Stefan and Sennoma, I have to say that Bush makes a lousy supervillain. Condoleeza Rice is the highest-ranking person in the administration who registers at all on the cool-o-meter, and even then she only registers about as many cool points as a chipper Legion of Super Heroes fill-in who never caught any writer's imagination, and is now remembered only by LSH trivia experts.

#40 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:06 AM:

I do wish the Bush camp would drop the whole "yeah, well, at least he's better than Clinton!" line of so-called argument. In the first place, it's debatable, to say the very least. In the second, once you start trying to draw positive comparisons to past evils, why stop with Clinton?

"Sure, Bush lied about aiding New York after the 9/11, and has established a solid history of lies, evasions, and exaggerations, and he's as fiscally competent as a hydrocephalic three-year-old, but at least he's not as bad as *Genghis Khan!*"

I keep imagining one of Tom Tomorrow's cheerful talking heads saying:

"Well, Bush may not be perfect, but at least he's not as bad as *Emperor Commodus,* right? Right? Ha ha!"

Once you start down that logical path, why *ever* stop? After all, everything we have to endure under the Bush Administration is infinitely preferable to being repeatedly stung by horse-sized radioactive scorpions, so who are *we* to complain?

#41 ::: Robert Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:24 AM:

Teresa - Hi, let me introduce myself, I've been lurking here since I saw you and Patrick on panels at Readercon.

The 'Wilfred Owen' reference is to his poem _entitled_ "Dulce et Decorum Est",
which of course is a Horace reference.

Thaks for the sanity.

- Bob Oldendorf

#42 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:37 AM:

T -- has a search engine, and has every word George ever spoke archived.

Alas, when you search they only show the top hundred hits, so I had to go to CNN to get the mentions of Saddam from 2001. Searching for Bush and Osama was easier -- nowhere near so many hits.

Nor did I go back to 2000, where in the very first presidential debate Bush mentioned Saddam and weapons of mass destruction.


As far as comparing Bush and Clinton -- shall we compare budget surplus vs. budget deficiet, or peace vs. war, or international cooperation vs. international antagonism, or jobs created vs. jobs lost, or ... what? On what basis should the comparison be made?

#43 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:11 AM:

Robert Oldendorf, glad to find out you've been here. I know the Wilfred Owen poem, and the Latin tag. What I don't know is where gold and boots come into it.

#44 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 02:11 AM:

James, let me point out that we don't know that's archive is honest. We are talking about the administration which managed to, ah, misplace Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction," after all.

#45 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 02:52 AM:

we don't know that's archive is honest

Presidential speeches, writings, etc. are also archived at, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, which the National Archives and the Government Printing Office have been compiling and publishing for many administrations now -- since LBJ, although there are retrospective collections of the Public Papers of the Presidents that cover several previous presidents [1]. I know because the library where I work, and where I'm in charge of the government documents collection, has them. These are the official records of What the President Said, not what's on the White House website (as much as the current administration might want you to believe otherwise).

[1](Not for FDR, but for every other president starting with Herbert Hoover.

#46 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 08:16 AM:

after the Republicans in Congress called for and got a $60M investigation of Clinton, they managed to prove that he had trouble keeping his pants zipped with one person. Hard as they tried, they couldn't come up with proof of financial misdeeds that benefitted him or his friends. Legal costs associated with all this cost him a lot of money too, though not as much as the US taxpayers collectively got hit with.

Clinton worked pretty well with the rest of the world. He supported some things like international legal reciprocity, respect for the world's environment, and international consensus that the current administration shows no interest in supporting. Bush has done his bit to make a lot of his and Cheney's friends richer, protect himself from any possible war crimes charges, and roll back environmental and disease-fighting initiatives here and abroad.

Oh, yes, Bush has destroyed two foreign countries and is so far failing utterly to restore any sense of order or civilization in either. Both are danger spots in which US soldiers are being killed regularly, and there's no sign yet that things are getting any more organized. Now, what did Clinton destroy that thoroughly? Other than his ability to be seen in public with a cigar?

If Bush is getting whacked here, it's because there are a bunch of people here who read a lot of news, from a lot of sources, and who remember what they read. And, when the stuff they read doesn't add up, they point out the tiny little flaws. Also the flaws you can fly a C5-A through.

#47 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 09:46 AM:

The gold and boots come from another Wilfred Owen poem, "Spring Offensive," when the poet notices that the field of buttercups the troops have just marched through (they're getting ready to crest a ridgeline into one of those WWI artillery-and-machinegun hells that produced thousands of mangled dead in minutes) has coated their boots with golden petals.

#48 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 09:49 AM:

I know the Wilfred Owen poem, and the Latin tag. What I don't know is where gold and boots come into it.

A reference to Owen's poem "Spring Offensive," first published 1921. I googled it out after my drive-by 'witticism,' worried I'd missed something important. Lovely stuff.

If I read things correctly, Jeff Crook is suggesting that Bush is about to make a charge into hell—but whether that would be a solitary (political) one, or one in which the whole damn country has to go with him, I cannot say.

I hope profoundly for the former.

#49 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 10:40 AM:

What Elric said.

What James McDonald said. He's good, isn't he? And Andrew. I'm sort of a WO buff and I think his poetry is particular appropriate these days. I don't know that I intended to represent Bush as beginning his Spring Offensive, though I would by far prefer he gain the benefit of a Strange Meeting. But I don't imagine he reads much poetry beyond the occassional limerick scribed upon the bathroom wall. Or left upon his pillow by Dick Cheney. Certainly nothing that might disturb his world view.

If only he could sleep now. Or we could wake.

These men are worth
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.

- from Apologia Pro Poemate Meo, Wilfred Owen

#50 ::: Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 11:34 AM:

I was intrigued by this paragraph in the post:

His first-term agenda called for picking a fight with Saddam Hussein, not bin Laden. That way George could one-up his dad, chalk up an easy victory (Bush & Co. really did expect that), possibly use Iraq92s resources to help defray the cost of the war, and get himself re-elected. Meanwhile, with everyone distracted by the war, he92d loot the national economy on behalf of his rich backers.

What evidence is there that that Bush's "first-term agenda," prior to Sept. 11, included a plan to attack Iraq, etc., etc.?

#51 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:02 PM:


I think that is in reference to the PNAC document Planning for the New American Century (or something like that) written by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, et al. That's pretty much what it describes.

#52 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:06 PM:

Sept. 11 has been designated as Patriot Day by Congress. President George Bush is calling upon all Americans, institutions and government agencies to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff tomorrow. In addition, the president is asking all Americans to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m., ET, in remembrance of the 25 minutes he sat on his butt in a 2nd grade class and did nothing while America was under attack.

#53 ::: Niall ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:07 PM:

I went to look at the first Bush-Gore debate to see what Bush said about Saddam, and I was struck by this answer from Governor Bush:

LEHRER: New question.

How would you go about, as president, deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force? Generally.

BUSH: Well, if it's in our vital national interests. And that means whether or not our territory -- our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our alliances -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force.

Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be.

Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped.

And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy.

I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops.

The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.

BUSH: I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place.

And so I take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power.

Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years, we have not met recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places.

And, therefore, I want to rebuild the military power. It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform, a billion dollars more than the president recently signed into law, to make sure our troops are well-housed and well-equipped; bonus plans to keep some of our high-skilled folks in the services; and a commander in chief who clearly sets the mission, and the mission is to fight and win war, and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place.

#54 ::: Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:13 PM:

Do you mean this report from the Project for the New American Century? It does not even mention the possibility of attacking Iraq. At most, it urges that the U.S. should maintain the no-fly zones that were in place since the end of the first Gulf War. (See page 17.)

#55 ::: Jesse ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:20 PM:

Teresa says:

I am morally certain that right now, all over this country, there are fine upstanding patriotic American girls who wouldn't hesitate to volunteer to blow someone in the Oval Office, if doing so would magically repair our economy, get us out of that godawful war in Iraq, and restore the respect in which the United States was formerly held by the other nations in this world.

Never mind that. I'd blow Bush right now if it would bring about that magical list of results. I'm a heterosexual guy who wouldn't normally volunteer such things, but these are desperate times :(

#56 ::: Jp ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:24 PM:

Stuart - look at this document, for example, and look who the signatories to it are...

#57 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:38 PM:

Something more for the "it was never about weapons of mass destruction" folder.

This is Bush on 02DEC99 in Manchester, New Hampshire:

MR. HUME: Governor Bush, Saddam Hussein is still there.

What would you do about that, if anything, that is different from what President Clinton has done?

GOV. BUSH: I wouldn't ease the sanctions, and I wouldn't try to negotiate with him.

I'd make darn sure that he lived up to the agreements that he signed back in the early '90s. I'd be helping the opposition groups. And if I found in any way, shape or form that he was developing weapons of mass destruction, I'd take 'em out. I'm surprised he's still there. I think a lot of other people are as well.

MR. HUME: Take him out?

GOV. BUSH: To out the weapons of mass destruction.


On the New American Century, try this, dated 26JAN98:

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.
#58 ::: Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:40 PM:

That's a very interesting letter. But what evidence is there that President Bush was actually laying plans to attack Iraq before September 11? I could be mistaken, but I simply don't recall that Bush himself had any intent to attack Iraq until long after Sept. 11, 2001.

#59 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 12:56 PM:

Jim, Andrew, thanks for the explanation. And yes, Jeff, they are.

Niall, good stuff.

Stuart, if you'll go back and re-read my post more carefully, and read the intervening messages, you'll find your question answered.

However, if what you're asking for is a citation of a specific occasion on which Bush explicitly said that, I'm afraid you're doomed to disappointment. And if that's your standard of proof, you're also doomed to go stumbling through life in a state of ill-informed confusion. Bad guys who reveal the gist of their Insidious and Crafty Plan in a few concise expository sentences may be a staple of popular fiction, but one ought not expect to encounter them in real life.

Jesse, you're a real patriot.

#60 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:09 PM:

On PNAC, see also this report:

The "new Pearl Harbor" remark is on page 63 of the document that Stuart linked to above. Iraq generally and Saddam in particular are mentioned repeatedly throughout the document.

While the words "find a pretext to start a war against Iraq" do not appear in the document, I'd like to invite everyone's attention to the mission statement in the box on page 14: "Secure and expand zones of democratic peace; deter the rise of new great-power competitor; defend key regions; exploit transformation of war."

What exactly do they mean by "secure and expand"? Given that the document talks exclusively about the application of military force, I doubt that they are thinking of multilateral diplomatic means.

#61 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:16 PM:

But what evidence is there that President Bush was actually laying plans to attack Iraq before September 11?

Aside from his remarks in the debate in Manchester, which I already quoted? How about appointing Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle et al. to his government, which he did significantly before 9/11/01?

#62 ::: Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:24 PM:

I've read the post a few times, and it seems to be clearly suggesting that Bush already had an agenda for conducting a war with Iraq from the very beginning; that September 11 was therefore a distraction from Bush's real plan laid long before; etc. Are you saying that's a misreading of your post?

Of course, it's utterly obvious that at some point Bush decided to attack Iraq. But the question is when that decision was made. The post seems to say that the decision was made before Sept. 11, and that it was part of Bush's "agenda" from the beginning.

I'm wondering what the evidence is for the timing there. Bush certainly wasn't talking about Iraq before September 11 -- at least not much -- and it's not as if he could have fought a war without anyone knowing about it.

You suggest that bad guys rarely "reveal the gist of their Insidious and Crafty Plan in a few concise expository sentences." Well yes, but this seems awfully like the classic conspiracy theory line of argument: The absence of evidence is just further proof that the bad guys were oh-so-careful at covering their tracks. The question is, how am I to know that there was such an "insidious and crafty plan" in the first place?

When you answer, do keep in mind that I tend to agree with the war on Iraq, although I'm somewhat skeptical of its handling. But I don't share the automatic assumption that Bush is a "bad guy" whose every action must be reduced to the most venal of motives. Thus, a little more in the way of evidence and argumentation is required, particularly for a claim that, quite frankly, I've heretofore seen only on conspiracy websites (i.e., that Bush and a cabal of neo-conservatives entered office already bound and determined to attack Iraq no matter what so that they could make money.)

#63 ::: Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:36 PM:

Yes, I admit that 1) there were several prominent conservatives who urged the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in the late 1990s, and 2) some of those conservatives ended up in the Bush administration in some capacity.

This is what I would call circumstantial evidence. For someone predisposed to think that Bush is a "bad guy," it might be enough.

But not for me. What I don't see is any evidence that 1) Bush appointed these individuals because he agreed with their arguments on this particular point, as opposed to the many other reasons he might have had for appointing them; 2) Bush himself intended to attack Iraq even before Sept. 11; 3) Bush himself would have attacked Iraq even if Sept. 11 hadn't happened; or 4) Bush himself (or any of the others) had the motivation of enriching himself or his friends, as opposed to the publicly-stated motives (which may, in retrospect, have been overstated, but which were nonetheless not frivolous concerns at the time).

#64 ::: Stuart Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:55 PM:

It occurs to me that I may have been misreading the following sentence from the post: "Meanwhile, with everyone distracted by the war, he92d loot the national economy on behalf of his rich backers." I had interpreted this as making the complaint (heard often elsewhere) that the Iraq war was undertaken in order to reward Bush's rich backers, i.e., Halliburton or other large corporations. But I realized that perhaps the sentence was referring to Bush's tax cuts.

If the latter meaning was intended, I apologize. In that case, I would restate my last post to say that the mere appointment of a few Iraq hawks to the administration does not amount to evidence that Bush all along intended to attack Iraq merely as a distraction from his tax cuts, rather than for the publicly-stated motives (which may, in retrospect, have been overstated, but which were nonetheless not frivolous concerns at the time).

#65 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:58 PM:

Stuart --

Your standard of what constitutes a Smoking Gun and mine are pretty different. Kinda like "Preponderance of the evidence" on my side, "Beyond a (reasonable -- arguable term) shadow of a doubt on yours." We're not actually dealing with a court of law here -- we're dealing with Best Guesses.

I agree that it might take more than shows up in the public record to convict GHWB on _criminal_ charges (which is why there are subpoena powers connected with criminal charges); I personally think the citations here reach the level of civil proof.


#66 ::: the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:59 PM:

I agree with the part that Bush's only agenda is helping his country club friends pay less taxes and get better government goodies, and getting himself reelected.

And I agree with the premise that maybe Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted a war with Iraq as soon as they could get one.

Where I disagree is that the Bush Administration would have gone to war with Iraq regardless of 9-11. No way. I don't care about the PNAC documents. Bush is fundamentally about the country club; if Jim Baker suggested going to war with Iraq, I would agree with you-- but he opposed it until it became a foregone conclusion. The PNAC document was prepared by a bunch of Jews who worked for Reagan. Big deal.
Bush seemed almost committed NOT to do anything about Iraq.

Lookit: in the aftermath of 9-11, there were people BEGGING Bush to invade Iraq once and for all-- as 9-11 was still fresh, there was the Prague meeting with Atta, which, though later discredited, there was good evidence Saddam was involved in the FIRST WTC attack in '93, all of which was a hell of a lot more convincing than the WMD shit (I know-- I was ONE OF the people BEGGING Bush to attack Iraq AT THAT TIME).

As unpleasant as it would have been, there would have been an international consensus that Saddam game playing with WMD inspectors close to 9-11 was casus belli, period. There would not have been months of agonizing; not even the French would have been that crass with 9-11 still fresh.

BUT... it was never about WMDs. or terrorists, or the security of the AMerican people. IT WASN'T EVEN ABOUT AVENGING PAPA. Instead, the decision was made to make Iraq a political football to take back GOP control of the senate in '02. As I said at the time, by FAILING to remove the threat posed by Saddam Hussein for SO LONG, Bush should have been impeached either for (1) clearly OVERSTATING the actual threat and committing us to a costly military action FOR NO REASON; or (2) by clearly UNDERSTATING the actual threat, he gave Saddam the better part of another year and a half to plan his deadly counter-attack using his WMDs, and thereby, Bush's actions were criminally negligent.

And, with the senate safely captured and the house safely held, it was onto Baghdad to work the '04 reelection campaign.

As bad as the reasons Teresa lays out, I think the reasons I have given are far more insidious. Its one thing to do evil because you wrongly believe certain strategic doctrines; its far worse to do evil just to hold onto power. That's what had separated American leaders (prior to the current one) from Saddam Hussein.

#67 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 01:59 PM:

((the endquotes in that previous comment should be after "doubt", not "yours", as you well know Bucky))

#68 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 02:48 PM:

Charlie Stross: I feel like I've been living in the wrong time line since, oh, 'bout October 2000.

As soon as I find my time machine I'm outa here.

"I wasn't born for an age like this;

Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you?"

#69 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 02:49 PM:

oops 97 misplaced </i> tag; it should come after "here."

#70 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:01 PM:

TNH: And Stefan and Sennoma, I have to say that Bush makes a lousy supervillain. Condoleeza Rice is the highest-ranking person in the administration who registers at all on the cool-o-meter, and even then she only registers about as many cool points as a chipper Legion of Super Heroes fill-in who never caught any writer's imagination, and is now remembered only by LSH trivia experts.

Agreed. I just finished a reread of George R.R. Martin's The Armageddon Rag. Ananda Caine could eat Condi Rice for breakfast.

#71 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:20 PM:

We probably won't find a news report with Bush in 2000 saying "First thing, I'll start a war with Iraq." That conversation would have taken place a long way from any reporters.

Let's see:


The smoking room at the Bush ranch.
Interior, Night

CHENEY: Do you know why he called us here?

RUMSFELD: Not a clue.

Cheney pulls two CIGARS from his pocket, hands one to Rumsfeld.

CHENEY: I got these from Kenny Starr. From Bill's _personal_ stock.

Rumsfeld sniffs cigar.

RUMSFELD: A piquant bouquet.

The doors slam open, and GEORGE W. BUSH enters.

BUSH: Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

RUMSFELD and CHENEY (together): Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

BUSH: I suppose you want to know why I called you here.

CHENEY: That's astounding! We _were_ wondering. How did you know?

BUSH (winking): I have the room bugged. But seriously, now. I've read what you've proposed, and I like it a lot. When I'm elected, how soon can you give me a war against Iraq?

(Bush makes little hook finger "quote marks" in the air when he says "elected.")

CHENEY: No earlier than spring of '04.

BUSH: That's cutting it close. I need a victory in time for the next election.

RUMSFELD: If you make me SECDEF, I can give you the war in '03.

BUSH: Dick, how about you?

CHENEY: I'd be satisfied with vice president.

BUSH: Great! That's decided. Now, Rummy, how cheap can you give me the war?

RUMSFELD: Fifty thousand troops. The war's over in two weeks, and we pay for the whole thing from the oil revenues we get from Liberated Iraq.

BUSH: Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Exactly what I wanted to hear you say. That's all, gentlemen. Stay in touch.

Bush exits.

CHENEY and RUMSFELD (together): Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!


Scene: Executive Office Building
Washington, DC. August, 2001.

Interior, Donald Rumsfeld's office, day.

RUMSFELD is sitting at his desk. A knock sounds at the door.

RUMSFELD: Come in!

Enter John Ashcroft, holding a sheaf of papers.

RUMSFELD: What's on your mind, John?

ASHCROFT: I've been looking over the domestic intel documents, and I think I might have it.

RUMSFELD: Slow down! Have what?

ASHCROFT (consulting papers): A terrorist act right here in America. You know that 'new Pearl Harbor' you've been looking for? This could be it.

RUMSFELD: Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!


RUMSFELD: I was just remembering something. Never mind. Where are the terrorists from?

ASHCROFT: The mid-east. Most of 'em are Saudis.

RUMSFELD: Saudi Arabia? That's right next to Iraq! Better and better! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Where are they going to hit?

ASHCROFT: New York and D.C.

RUMSFELD: D.C.? Got a date?

ASHCROFT: September the 11th. Sometime in the morning.

RUMSFELD: We're going to have make sure George is out of town ... maybe reading a story to a bunch of school kids in Florida. I can handle that part....


Notice: There were no reporters present for any of these possible conversations. In fact, I just made them up.

But that doesn't mean that they didn't happen.

#72 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:45 PM:

The absence of evidence is just further proof that the bad guys were oh-so-careful at covering their tracks.

Alas, there isn't an absence of evidence. There was no secret plan. The plan was open, it was published, and it was called The New American Century. They didn't bother to cover their tracks, suspecting, perhaps rightly, that no one would care, or if they cared wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

Consider that what Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Armitage and all the rest (who, by merest coincidence, all wound up in the Defense department) proposed in 1998 took place exactly as they stated publicly that they wanted to see it happen.

Think of the New American Century as the Mein Kampf for a new generation. I wonder if the American Century will last longer than the Thousand Year Reich did?

Why do we think that Afghanistan was a distraction from the real plan? Here we are two years later, and Afghanistan hasn't gotten the rebuilding that it desperately needed. The Taliban are still there, al Qaeda is still there.

The war in Afghanistan was justified, supported world-wide, and necessary. Why then has it gotten such a low priority? One answer comes instantly to mind: it wasn't the real objective. Rather, it was a distraction from the real objective. Can you suggest any other motive?

Bush's objectives were so glaringly obvious in late 2000/early 2001 that, even before he was sworn in, we were seeing things like this mock-Bush speech: "Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity are over."

Oh, and by the way, we lost two more troopers killed in Iraq today.

#73 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 03:57 PM:

I am morally certain that right now, all over this country, there are fine upstanding patriotic American girls [sic] who wouldn't hesitate to volunteer to blow someone in the Oval Office, if doing so would magically repair our economy, get us out of that godawful war in Iraq, and restore the respect in which the United States was formerly held by the other nations in this world.

I'd blow anyone you care to name for that result. Well, except Rush Limbaugh. I'd try, but be prevented by the uncontrollable vomiting.

It's my standard response to people who say dumb things like "Clinton was just as bad;" I say "More Blowjobs! Fewer wars!"

And Alan (and everyone else who thinks they misplaced a tag) - the italics are cleared when you paragraph. Have to put in new ones for each para.

#74 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 04:36 PM:

Of course I'm stating the obvious here, but the winner of the 2000 election can't die in office. Maybe that's what the Supreme Court was laboring so hard to prevent. Why, they're misunderstood saints.

#75 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 05:44 PM:

Even if GW did succumb to Tecumseh's Curse, don't you think they'd set up a Disney animatronic in front of a desk with a big microphone covering half his face than let Cheney get on TV and scare the living hell out of everyone? Oh my God! It's... it's... it's... our president! Aieeeeee!

"Shut up. You know, I eat fat little boys like you for breakfast. I'm not above cannibalism if it silences a critic. Slave girls. There aren't enough slave girls. Where's my doctor!"

Smirk & Sneer '04

#76 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 05:54 PM:

I am morally certain that right now, all over this country, there are fine upstanding patriotic American girls [sic] who wouldn't hesitate to volunteer to blow someone in the Oval Office, if doing so would magically repair our economy, get us out of that godawful war in Iraq, and restore the respect in which the United States was formerly held by the other nations in this world.

Yep, you betcha. Much druther do almost anybody other than W, but I am willing to sacrifice much for my country. Now Clinton...Clinton wouldn't be a sacrifice. I've always thought he was cute. For all his flaws, he appears to be kind to his lovers, insofar as cheating permits. He really should give up on this whole monogamy thing and have an openly open marriage. I guess it'd do Hilary too much political damage, though.

Did you look at Bill on the podium when Hilary made her acceptance speech during the election? He was grinning from ear to ear, and his eyes were bright with tears. He practically beamed love and pride. It's also useful to note that during the eight years he was in the Whitehouse, the press didn't fuck with Chelsea. Carter cheerfully offered up his children to the altar of public relations, but Chelsea was not subjected to that kind of intrusion. The only person who dared to insult Chelsea was Limbaugh, and I believe he was given a pretty rough time about it, and only did it once. Philandering or no, I like his family values.

#77 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 06:03 PM:

Stuart, I have a completely honest question. What lies did Clinton tell?

I expect we have a very different opinion about how horrible the words, "I did not sleep with that woman," really were. However, other than lying about Monica Lewinsky, (and I still think he should have said, in his most serious Southern drawl, "Gentlemen don't answer such questions,"), what lies did Clinton tell? I very honestly can't think of any. I am excepting the normal sort of prevaricating that all politicians do, answering a different question than asked, or limiting the answer to a single example, and those sorts of rhetorical tricks. George W. does them as much as anyone else. What actual, total, blunt lies did Clinton tell?

I've had this question for a long time, actually. They started calling him Slick Willy before he got to the Whitehouse. He had a reputation in the press as being a liar before he was inaugurated. I never could figure out why. After watching the press's behavior during the last campaign, the way they insisted on painting Gore as a liar by lying themselves, causes me to think that perhaps I didn't miss something important. Maybe I was being lied to, but it wasn't Bill that was doing the lying.

So, quite seriously, can you give me, like 3 lies that Clinton told while in office that didn't have to do with sleeping around? I'll concede all those.

#79 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 08:11 PM:

Jim, that's not a list, that's a polemic. (And is that the same John Ellis, Dubya Bush's first cousin, who declared Bush the winner on the night of the 2000 election?) Could you have found a more biased and less reliable source?

#80 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 08:22 PM:

On Bush planning a war in Iraq pre-9/11....

From Mr. Bush's very first press conference after being inaugurated:

... But the primary goal is to make it clear to Saddam that we expect him to be a peaceful neighbor in the region and we expect him not to develop weapons of mass destruction. And if we find him doing so, there will be a consequence.

What sort of consequence could that be?

Well, more than a year earlier, asked much the same question, Bush replied "Take 'em out."

And what "consequence" to "developing weapons of mass destruction" did Saddam actually face this last spring? A war.

Here we see Bush developing the ground work, in his very first press conference, for a coming war in Iraq.

On 9/11 itself, we saw Rumsfeld calling Wesley Clark (then a CNN talking head) to ask him to tell the world that Saddam had been behind the terrorist acts. That sounds very much like a long-planned operation being moved up. Clark didn't go for it.

The whole weapons of mass destruction thing (where are they, anyway?) had been brought out early and often as a reason for going to war. There were a lot more than "sixteen words."

As to whether Bush would have gone to war against Iraq absent 9/11... Despite half-hearted attempts to link Saddam to 9/11, no one bought them. That wasn't the cause of this war. We know that Bush would have gone to war in Iraq if 9/11 had never happened because 9/11 was irrelevant to the stated reasons for going to war there.

#81 ::: Mudbug ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 09:40 PM:

For Stuart Buck, the following item from CBS News:

(CBS) CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq 97 even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.

That's according to notes taken by aides who were with Rumsfeld in the National Military Command Center on Sept. 11 96 notes that show exactly where the road toward war with Iraq began, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin.


With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." 96 meaning Saddam Hussein 96 "at same time. Not only UBL" 96 the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.

"Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

#82 ::: Nathaniel Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2003, 10:50 PM:


You're a bit misinformed about that call to Clark from Rumsfeld -- not surprising considering the general noise and confusion surrounding the issue. In fact it never happened, and Clark never claimed that it happened. Rather, the Right, in an impressive albeit precedented bit of kettle-calling, has been trying to smear Clark as a liar for his "claim".

Spinsanity seems to have all the relevant quotes.

#83 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 10:11 AM:

It's a list and a polemic. Hey, why need one exclude the other? I mean, one of the pleasures of reading this blog is the healthy mix of facts with polemic—even if you don't always agree with it.


#84 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 01:34 PM:

Clinton's performance as president (and, by the way, I didn't like him, but it had nothing to do with his, er, smoking habits) has nothing to do with Bush's performance as president.

Period. Full stop.

Clinton could have been an incestuous pederast with hair growing out of his palms who brought us to the brink of total extinction, and it would still not have anything to do with whether or not Bush was a good president.

Bush should not be judged on whether he is better (or worse) than Clinton, or any other president. He should be judged on what his decisions (and the decisions of any his appointees) have led to.

I, personally, am apalled by George Dubya "Look at me, I'm a cowboy" Bush and his decisions, his misdirections, his outright lies, his inability to stick by his promises, and his jingoistic, short-sighted presidency.

I love my country, but boy, do I hate my politicians.

#85 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 01:39 PM:

Not a good response to the question Lydia asked, though: she asked for facts, Jim gave her a polemic by a journalist of known bias and dishonesty.

#86 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2003, 01:53 PM:

Yep, and most of the lies listed were in exactly the areas Lydia said she'd concede -- and there's the whole thing about the difference between active lies and misdirection she mentioned as well. Anyone who thinks "But I never inhaled" is a lie on the level of "We know where the WMD are" is not paying attention to the difference between private actions and a _casus belli_.


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