Uncommon sense

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by fofumfee, May 12, 2004.

  1. A time for truth

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posted: May 12, 2004
    1:00 a.m. Eastern

    Pat J. Buchanan


    © 2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


    With pictures of the sadistic sexual abuse of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison still spilling out onto the front pages, it is not too early to draw some conclusions.

    The neoconservative hour is over. All the blather about "empire," our "unipolar moment," "Pax Americana" and "benevolent global hegemony" will be quietly put on a shelf and forgotten as infantile prattle.

    America is not going to fight a five- or 10-year war in Iraq. Nor will we be launching any new invasions soon. The retreat of American empire, begun at Fallujah, is underway.

    With a $500 billion deficit, we do not have the money for new wars. With an Army of 480,000 stretched thin, we do not have the troops. With April-May costing us a battalion of dead and wounded, we are not going to pay the price. With the squalid photos from Abu Ghraib, we no longer have the moral authority to impose our "values" on Iraq.

    Bush's "world democratic revolution" is history.

    Given the hatred of the United States and Bush in the Arab world, as attested to by Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, it is almost delusional to think Arab peoples are going to follow America's lead.

    It is a time for truth. In any guerrilla war we fight, there is going to be a steady stream of U.S. dead and wounded. There is going to be collateral damage – i.e., women and children slain and maimed. There will be prisoners abused. And inevitably, there will be outrages by U.S. troops enraged at the killing of comrades and the jeering of hostile populations. If you would have an empire, this goes with the territory. And if you are unprepared to pay the price, give it up.

    The administration's shock and paralysis at publication of the S&M photos from Abu Ghraib tell us we are not up to it. For what is taking place in Iraq is child's play compared to what we did in the Philippines a century ago. Only there, they did not have digital cameras, videocams and the Internet.

    Iraq was an unnecessary war that may become one of the great blunders in U.S. history. That the invasion was brilliantly conceived and executed by Gen. Franks, that our fighting men were among the finest we ever sent to war, that they have done good deeds and brave acts, is undeniable. Yet, if recent surveys are accurate, the Iraqis no longer want us there.

    Outside the Kurdish areas, over 80 percent of Sunnis and Shias view us as occupiers. Over 50 percent believe there are occasions when U.S. soldiers deserve killing. The rejoicing around every destroyed military vehicle where U.S. soldiers have died should tell us that the battle for hearts and minds is being lost.

    Why are we so hated in the Middle East? Three fundamental reasons:



    1. Our invasion of Iraq is seen as a premeditated and unjust war to crush a weak Arab nation that had not threatened or attacked us, to seize its oil.

    2. We are seen as an arrogant imperial superpower that dictates to Arab peoples and sustains regimes that oppress them.

    3. We are seen as the financier and armorer of an Israel that oppresses and robs Palestinians of their land and denies them rights we hypocritically preach to the world.

    Until we address these perceptions and causes of the conflict between us, we will not persuade the Arab world to follow us.

    What should Bush do now? He should declare that the United States has no intention of establishing permanent bases in Iraq, and that we intend to withdraw all U.S. troops after elections, if the Iraqis tell us to leave. Then we should schedule elections at the earliest possible date this year.

    The Iraqi peoples should then be told that U.S. soldiers are not going to fight and die indefinitely for their freedom. If they do not want to be ruled by Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr or some future Saddam, they will have to fight themselves. Otherwise, they will have to live with them, even as they lived with Saddam. For in the last analysis, it is their country, not ours.

    The president should also offer to withdraw U.S. forces from any Arab country that wishes us to leave. We have already pulled out of Saudi Arabia. Let us pull out of the rest unless they ask that we remain. Our military presence in these Arab and Islamic countries, it would seem, does less to prevent terror attacks upon us than to incite them.

    A presidential election is where the great foreign-policy debate should take place over whether to maintain U.S. troops all over the world, or bring them home and let other nations determine their own destiny. Unfortunately, we have two candidates and two parties that agree on our present foreign policy that is conspicuously failing.
     
  2. Just Trust Us
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    Published: May 11, 2004

    Didn't you know, in your gut, that something like Abu Ghraib would eventually come to light?

    When the world first learned about the abuse of prisoners, President Bush said that it "does not reflect the nature of the American people." He's right, of course: a great majority of Americans are decent and good. But so are a great majority of people everywhere. If America's record is better than that of most countries — and it is — it's because of our system: our tradition of openness, and checks and balances.

    Yet Mr. Bush, despite all his talk of good and evil, doesn't believe in that system. From the day his administration took office, its slogan has been "just trust us." No administration since Nixon has been so insistent that it has the right to operate without oversight or accountability, and no administration since Nixon has shown itself to be so little deserving of that trust. Out of a misplaced sense of patriotism, Congress has deferred to the administration's demands. Sooner or later, a moral catastrophe was inevitable.

    Just trust us, John Ashcroft said, as he demanded that Congress pass the Patriot Act, no questions asked. After two and a half years, during which he arrested and secretly detained more than a thousand people, Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists. (Look at the actual trials of what Dahlia Lithwick of Slate calls "disaffected bozos who watch cheesy training videos," and you'll see what I mean.)

    Just trust us, George Bush said, as he insisted that Iraq, which hadn't attacked us and posed no obvious threat, was the place to go in the war on terror. When we got there, we found no weapons of mass destruction and no new evidence of links to Al Qaeda.

    Just trust us, Paul Bremer said, as he took over in Iraq. What is the legal basis for Mr. Bremer's authority? You may imagine that the Coalition Provisional Authority is an arm of the government, subject to U.S. law. But it turns out that no law or presidential directive has ever established the authority's status. Mr. Bremer, as far as we can tell, answers to nobody except Mr. Bush, which makes Iraq a sort of personal fief. In that fief, there has been nothing that Americans would recognize as the rule of law. For example, Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's erstwhile favorite, was allowed to gain control of Saddam's files — the better to blackmail his potential rivals.

    And finally: Just trust us, Donald Rumsfeld said early in 2002, when he declared that "enemy combatants" — a term that turned out to mean anyone, including American citizens, the administration chose to so designate — don't have rights under the Geneva Convention. Now people around the world talk of an "American gulag," and Seymour Hersh is exposing My Lai all over again.

    Did top officials order the use of torture? It depends on the meaning of the words "order" and "torture." Last August Mr. Rumsfeld's top intelligence official sent Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantánamo prison, to Iraq. General Miller recommended that the guards help interrogators, including private contractors, by handling prisoners in a way that "sets the conditions" for "successful interrogation and exploitation." What did he and his superiors think would happen?

    To their credit, some supporters of the administration are speaking out. "This is about system failure," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. But do Mr. Graham, John McCain and other appalled lawmakers understand their own role in that failure? By deferring to the administration at every step, by blocking every effort to make officials accountable, they set the nation up for this disaster. You can't prevent any serious inquiry into why George Bush led us to war to eliminate W.M.D. that didn't exist and to punish Saddam for imaginary ties to Al Qaeda, then express shock when Mr. Bush's administration fails to follow the rules on other matters.

    Meanwhile, Abu Ghraib will remain in use, under its new commander: General Miller of Guantánamo. Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" — an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all. And Dick Cheney says, "Don Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had. . . . People should get off his case and let him do his job." In other words: Just trust us.
     
  3. Maverick74

    Maverick74

    ART? ART is that you? I see you ART! Nice try. You can't fool me. I found your tell.
     
  4. I think Pat Buchanan has zeroed in on the essential fallacy of the occupation. We went in there apparently assuming naively that we wold be welcomed with open arms. We did little to prevent troublemakers like al-sadr and the Fallujah thugs from gaining power and stature. When push came to shove, we as a country are not prepared to do what is required to subdue a defeated country with no history of democratic government.

    But should we do as he suggests and pull out when told to by whatever Iraqi government is installed? I think not. The one thing we can't do is leave things worse than they were when we arrived. As things stand now, that seems a distinct possibility. We have spent a lot of money and blood to get a military foothold there, and it would be foolish to toss it away over a few embarrassing pictures.
     
  5. BSAM

    BSAM

    AAA.....

    Can you provide a link for the Buchanan comments?
     
  6. Maverick74

    Maverick74

    Guys, make sure you welcome ART back to ET under his new alias.
     
  7. Drudge has a link to Buchanan's site.
     
  8. Turok

    Turok

    ROFLAO!!!!!!!!!!

    ART GETS NAILED!

    JB

     
  9. BSAM

    BSAM


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    Thanks AAA.....Now I'll let Pat Buchanan tell it like it is:

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    .....Bush's "world democratic revolution" is history.

    Given the hatred of the United States and Bush in the Arab world, as attested to by Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, it is almost delusional to think Arab peoples are going to follow America's lead.

    It is a time for truth. In any guerrilla war we fight, there is going to be a steady stream of U.S. dead and wounded. There is going to be collateral damage – i.e., women and children slain and maimed. There will be prisoners abused. And inevitably, there will be outrages by U.S. troops enraged at the killing of comrades and the jeering of hostile populations. If you would have an empire, this goes with the territory. And if you are unprepared to pay the price, give it up.

    The administration's shock and paralysis at publication of the S&M photos from Abu Ghraib tell us we are not up to it. For what is taking place in Iraq is child's play compared to what we did in the Philippines a century ago. Only there, they did not have digital cameras, videocams and the Internet.

    Iraq was an unnecessary war that may become one of the great blunders in U.S. history. That the invasion was brilliantly conceived and executed by Gen. Franks, that our fighting men were among the finest we ever sent to war, that they have done good deeds and brave acts, is undeniable. Yet, if recent surveys are accurate, the Iraqis no longer want us there......
     
  10. Magna

    Magna Administrator

    Well whoever it is I'm glad he posted the Pat Buchanan piece, as Pat has a way of cutting thru the b.s. and getting to the heart of the matter.

    What AAA dismisses as "a few embarrassing pictures" Buchanan properly calls them: sadistic sexual abuse of Iraqis

    And then stepping off the righteous moral ground that so many conservatives hold dear when it comes to spreading "democracy" he makes the obvious point....With the squalid photos from Abu Ghraib, we no longer have the moral authority to impose our "values" on Iraq

    And in case anyone to the left of Tom DeLay might not know by now....
    Iraq was an unnecessary war that may become one of the great blunders in U.S. history

    And the obvious as to our status in Iraq....
    Outside the Kurdish areas, over 80 percent of Sunnis and Shias view us as occupiers

    I'm sure if those same points were made by someone at the New York Times they would be thoroughly trashed by the neocons on this board. Or more accurately, the author's entire history would be dredged (Drudged?) up and full character assassination would commence, while avoiding and ignoring the points the writer made. Anyway, bring on more Buchanan for whether I agree with him or not I've always found his viewpoint quite honest and refreshing. Maverick74, no need to keep fixating on whether the poster is ART as that's not the point of this thread. I mean lots of people at ET, for instance reflexivetrader, have been known to use multiple aliases so why waste time on the unimportant?
     
    #10     May 12, 2004