November 20, 2006

Monday Run-Down

Juan Cole at Informed Comment focusses on the stupid things Bush and Rice are saying in Vietnam:
AP says that Secretary of State Condi Rice asserted Saturday that Iraqis only have a future if they stay within a single state. She pointed to Vietnam's success in reforming its economy and making up with the United States and held it out as a model to Iraq.


Rice surely knows that the way in which Vietnam achieved national unity was . . . for the radical forces to drive out the Americans, overthrow pro-American elements, and conquer the whole country. They only went in for this capitalism thing fairly recently. Rice, a Ph.D. and former Provost of Stanford University, shouldn't be saying silly things like that Iraq should emulate Vietnam. I guess if you hang around with W. long enough, you catch whatever it is that he has...

Bush went to Vietnam and boasted about how we would have won if we had not quit. This was, he said, the lesson for Iraq of the Vietnam War. He managed to be wrong about two wars at once and to anger both his hosts (how churlish!) and the Iraqi public. The American Right never admitted that they lost in Vietnam, thus the Rambo movies and, Melani McCallister argues, the US admiration for Entebbe. Iraq was their chance, they thought, to get it right. Bush had also said insulting things to the Philiippines about how wonderful it was thst we had colonized them (and killed 400,000).

Colonialism is over with. When will they get that through their heads?
I think it's worth quoting Rice's own words here, since she may well end up eating them:
It is up to Iraqis to "face up to their differences and realize that they only have one future, and that's a future together," Rice said. "They don't have a future if they try and stay apart."
If you saw her screeching these words out from here little podium on TV, she looked quite demented. I guess that's what happens if you hang around with W. long enough.

Other demented former Bush associates are quoted in this WaPo piece, which focusses on the continued bleating of Kenneth "Cakewalk" Adelman. Their admissions reflect the huge political cost of the Iraq War, a cost which has not yet been fully reckoned by the media. As Adelman says:
"The whole philosophy of using American strength for good in the world, for a foreign policy that is really value-based instead of balanced-power-based, I don't think is disproven by Iraq. But it's certainly discredited."
And here's another neoconservative on their original belief that Iraq would serve as a democratic beacon for the Middle East:
"That part of our plan is down the drain," Muravchik said, "and we have to think about what we can do about keeping alive the idea of democracy."
So not only have they lost the war militarily (as even Kissinger now admits), not only have they lost the hearts and minds of the Middle East, not only have they poisoned global opinion with a fearful strain of quite justified anti-Americanism, but they have also stained the whole concept of "Democracy", and maybe even killed off the very idea of a values-based US foreign policy.

Speaking of values going down the toilet, Josh Marshall this weekend has been posting some informed readers' comments on torture. The posts came in response to comments by Ed Meese, a former AG and now member of the Iraq Study Group, including this gem:
Jefferson wrote, "All men are created equal," not "all Americans." He said that men are "endowed by their Creator" with these rights, not endowed by "the Constitution." But that doesn't have to do with enemy soldiers.
Marshall examines how US soldiers were trained on the use of torture, and trained to resist it, during the Cold War. He says the current debate on torture runs counter to decades of U.S. military training:
Imbued within this training during the Cold War was the sense that part of what set us apart from our communist adversaries was our adherence to the Geneva Conventions, and that the inhumane tactics used by those adversaries was part and parcel of the totalitarianism that we were combating. There was also the sense--a point of pride really--that we could and would prevail despite holding ourselves to a higher standard. It was, in fact, the higher standard that we were fighting for.
The reader responses are very interesting, including thoughts from former torture instructors, and former trainees who underwent simulated torture. You can read a few here, here and here.

In other news, a Democrat war veteran explains how instating a military draft will actually deter wars:
``There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way,'' Rangel said.
Lunatics running the asylum.


Blog Archive