March 22, 2003

Grand Strategy of the United States

James Di Benedetto of the Eleven Day Empire writes:

And there were certainly plenty of people [around the world] who did consider 9/11 to be the equivalent of war, and far from reprehensible...

Yes. And now, after this invasion of Iraq, there are 10 times as many people around the world who will consider 9/11 to have been the equivalent of war, anticipatory pre-emptive retaliation for the civilian casualties caused as--as they see it--the Bush Administration went out of control, defied world opinion, defied world civil society, and launched an aggressive war aimed at the conquest of Iraq. That's likely to be the master narrative that people in future years will tell themselves about the chain of events in which we are enmeshed.

10 times as many people who say that 9/11 was what Americans had coming. 10 times as many potential recruits for Al-Qaeda and its successors. 10 times as many people who'll say, "I disapprove of their methods, but I don't think we should help the United States capture them." 10 times as many people who...

AAUUGGHH!!!

Suppose that the Bush Administration had launched this invasion after a Security Council vote of 10 yes, 2 vetoes (France and Russia), and 3 abstentions on a joint U.S.-British resolution declaring Saddam Hussein not in compliance with SC1441 and calling upon the nations of the world to use the minimum necessary force to depose him and restore a republican form of government to Iraq while making sure to keep civilian casualties to a minimum...

It would make the master narrative of what is now going on clear. The master narrative that world civil society would tell to itself would be a straightforward one: the United States and Britain, assisted by Kuwait, Jordan, and Turkey, with the broad support of a near-consensus of world opinion (opposed only by devious politicians seeking short-run political advantage), intervene to remove a dangerous madman who is both a threat to the people who live around his country and a brutal, sadistic, barbaric tyrant who has made his own people's lives hellish for two decades.

Instead, we have the other master narrative. Instead, world civil society is telling itself that the Bush Administration went out of control, defied world opinion, and launched an aggressive war aimed at the conquest of Iraq. The natural next step that many people will take is that it is now necessary to struggle, resist, and fight to curb the power of the Aggressive American Empire. That's what I'm hearing. And it is not a good sound.

Moreover, it's not as though George W. Bush has made America more safe and secure by this. Al Qaeda was always much more of a threat to Americans than was Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was a threat to his own people, to Iranians, to Iran's theocrat rulers (the main reason, I think, we left him in power in 1991), to Kuwaitis, to the oil princes of the Al-Saud and the As-Sabah, to Israelis (Likudniks, Laborites, Peaceniks, and guys who simply want to raise a family and have a dog alike). But not a threat to us.

It's enough... It's enough... It's enough...

OK. It's very clear what has to be done if we are to turn this diplomatic ratf*** into something that will help build a better world. It looks highly likely that the invasion will turn out to be a very good thing for the Iraqis. But at the moment it looks like it will have huge amounts of destructive blowback, and be a bad thing for the rest of us--unless we can change the way that world opinion thinks of it.

So here are your instructions: Your tasks are fourfold:

First, to strengthen the Concert of the Atlantic. To rebuild the image of NATO, the western alliance, and its partners as countries united in pursuit of world peace, prosperity, and democracy--as countries whose common interests and goals overwhelm their differences, and among whom disputes are limited to minor squabbles about means rather than big squabbles about ends. To this end, any of you who feel like talking about cheese-eating surrender monkeys, soft-pedal it. Let your image of the standard Frenchman and German by the Marquis de Lafayette and the Count von Stauffenberg, rather than Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder. Yes, their leaders are cynical, immoral politicians, eager to help Saddam Hussein continue to feast on the livers of Iraqis for short-run political advantage. Yes, their people have no clue about the real character of Saddam Hussein's regime. But the time to settle accounts with them is not now. Now is the time to stress that disagreements are about how to free the Iraqi people from tyranny and minimize the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Second, to soft-pedal Bush's diplomatic incompetence that has gotten us so isolated that the President of Mexico will not answer the phone when he calls. It's not worth underlining how great the gap between the Bush Administration and other world governments is. We want to repair the Consensus of the Atlantic, not point out how damaged it is. And to repair it, we need hold the Bush Administration's feet to the fire: to not let one minute pass without reminding them that their diplomatic ratf*** in the runup can only be repaired by a skillful diplomatic offensive afterwards: that their lack of concern for what they contemptuously call "nation building" cannot persist. To that end, the aftermath of the war needs to see (1) a successful and visibly successful rebuilding of Afghanistan, (2) a successful and visibly successful rebuilding of Iraq, (3) actual peace between some Israeli Prime Minister and some Palestinian Prime Minister.

Third, to focus 200% on the liberation of Iraq from tyranny. The more true atrocity stories of life under Saddam Hussein that can be repeated more often, the better. The more spectacularly successful is the war's aftermath in Iraq, the better. The master narrative that world civil society needs to tell itself is that tens of millions of people now have a much better life at a cost of a small number of mostly military casualties. It does not need to tell itself stories of Arrogant American Empires or incompetent American diplomats.

Fourth, hold tight to Tony Blair: he looks to be the only High Politician involved who is both competent and well-intentioned. He will need as much support in the next few years as we can give him.

Posted by DeLong at March 22, 2003 08:44 AM | TrackBack

Comments

Yow — what got into you this morning? Right on all points, though. America will need a diplomatic offensive like none other in living memory to repair the damage wrought during the rush to war.

The thing is, I don't see how the Bush administration can pull it off. The people most responsible for shredding any sense of concord across the Atlantic — and those who seem least interested in working toward a lasting Middle Eastern settlement — are the very ones who stand to gain the most clout in the wake of a succesful adventure in Iraq. It stretches credulity to think that, after having used Baghdad as their proving ground, the Rumsfelds, Wolfowitzes and Perles of the world will turn on a dime to become smooth-tongued multilateralists.

No, any diplomatic rapprochement — if we want one, and we should — will have to wait for a change of personnel in the White House. That makes the 2004 election all the more pivotal; it may be the last chance in some time to put America on a course toward being respected, rather than merely feared.

Posted by: Greg Greene on March 22, 2003 09:58 AM

>>Yow ? what got into you this morning?<<

Wheaties?

The Bush Administration *will* get into nation-building in Iraq bigtime if it is convinced that it will lose votes if it does not.

And foreigners' perceptions of the U.S. depend not just on the Bush Administration, but on what *we* do. We need to do our part as well

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 22, 2003 10:02 AM

>> Yow — what got into you this morning?
>
> Wheaties?

Touché. =,

When you observe that we citizens need to do our part, you have a point. When people in the nation with perhaps the best opportunity in the world to understand us actually boo our national anthem, though (see http://espn.go.com/nhl/news/2003/0320/1527086.html), you have to concede that — given the current atmosphere — our part, if it's to have any salutary impact, is pretty darned big.

Posted by: Greg Greene on March 22, 2003 10:23 AM

Brad, while I agree with all of what is posted above, I think the above instructions can all be boiled down to the imperative that we need to vote Bush out of office in 2004. If the administration didn't listen to the broad gauge of world public opinion, what makes you think it will listen to the US public's qualms on foreign policy, of all things? Foreign policy has traditionally been one of the least important issues in presidential elections at least since the days of Vietnam. The capacity of self-delusion in the current administration is such that I think only being booted out of office will make them get a grip on reality.

Posted by: andres on March 22, 2003 10:38 AM

http://www.reason.com/hod/tc032103.shtml

"But the issue should not have been framed through the term 'regime change,' which sounds like an imperial order. It should have been described in terms of ending the dictatorship and bringing Saddam to justice for his crimes against humanity. Instead, Bush opted to play this very weak card of weapons of mass destruction—which Saddam could easily trump by inviting the UN inspectors back in. There are very strong grounds for an indictment of Saddam, and the Europeans would have had a harder time refuting an argument based on international justice. Instead, you had the worst realpolitik imaginable, the most miasmatic type of negotiation."

http://www.reason.com/links/links032003.shtml

'...while it's clear that deposing Saddam will improve the lot of Iraqis, any such benefit will be discounted precisely by the amount that Saddam's defeat is seen as furthering other American interests.'

http://mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/war22.html

'Once this is over, the Iraqi people better be the freest fucking people on the face of the earth.'

Posted by: kenny on March 22, 2003 10:43 AM

Brad:

I don't mind you quoting my emails from the Culture list on your site, but please specify when you do that that's where it came from, and not from my blog, so that anybody who follows the link and doesn't find the quoted material isn't wondering if I deleted a posting or something.

Thanks!

Jim

Posted by: James DiBenedetto on March 22, 2003 10:46 AM

Why should Americans care if Fox approves of the war against Hussein? It is critical that the US unambiguously signal that it is willing and capable of unilateraly dealing with enemies. To demonstrate otherwise would only encourage and embolden those who wish it harm.

Posted by: Brian on March 22, 2003 10:52 AM

My feeling is that the USA killed democracy a long time ago. And I don't expect it to ressurrect in a lifetime. Supposing that you and the good-will citizens of the USA would want democracy, both in the USA and beyond its borders, quite a few posters in this blog are proof that you will encounter rather unsurmountable adversity. For it is not only Bush and his pals that are the cause of diffidence towards the USA. In fact quite a few sentences of your text are more than enough to put off european readers.

Speaking for me alone, I did not approve that at the end of the Gulf War the US army did not detain Saddam. I know the public rationalizations given to explain it. I do not buy into them. Likewise, today, I do not believe there is a true will to affranchise Iraqis. Oh, they will be better, still I am sure that they will tire to hear claims from the USA that accuse them of being parasites.

And since we are at it, why the USA refuse to acknowledge international laws, like the anti-landmines treaty, Kyoto, ICC? After all they had occasion to input quite of their worries, some time to the point of rendering them almost ineffectual.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on March 22, 2003 11:00 AM

James DiBenedetto:

"Yes, their leaders are cynical, immoral politicians, eager to help Saddam Hussein continue to feast on the livers of Iraqis for short-run political advantage. Yes, their people have no clue about the real character of Saddam Hussein's regime. But the time to settle accounts with them is not now. Now is the time to stress that disagreements are about how to free the Iraqi people from tyranny and minimize the threat of weapons of mass destruction."

Given the fact that the leaders of France and Germany are just as Mr. DiBenedetto describes, and that so many people are as he says clueless about the nature of the Iraqi regime, what difference would it have made it President Bush had a smoother personality and were better at diplomacy? Schroeder was determined to play the anti-American card for domestic political reasons, and Chirac was even more determined to take the US down a peg and to protect France's large financial interests in Iraq. You can't talk people into doing what they perceive to be against their own interests.

In one of those ironies of which history is so fond, the conservative Bush, who ran for president in opposition to nation building, is being forced to become a classic liberal nation builder. Liberals need to pitch in and help and stop worrying so much about Bush's Texas manner and also stop worrying so much about the opinion of fools in Canada, in France, and on the streets of Cairo.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 11:18 AM

This war will be remembered the same way the fall of the Berlin wall is. It's an epoch change. The world has changed and it is not for the better.

Watch every military buget in world grow in the next few years.
Watch Nato be killed in the next couple of years. Watch the EU being recreated as a Federal State based on a Franco-German Codomineum with a single Foreign policy.
Watch Russia & India Cooperate on new Military Projects.


The days of American global domination are now counted.

Welcome to the new concert of Nations.


And all of this because the US let an unqualified, unelected president wage an undeclared war against a country so weak that the war will be over in under three months.

Posted by: Don_Quijote on March 22, 2003 11:24 AM

"Yes, their leaders are cynical, immoral politicians, eager to help Saddam Hussein continue to feast on the livers of Iraqis for short-run political advantage."

You cannot continually expect European leaders to ignore the thoughts and feelings of their electorate. France and Germany are democracies after all. Is there now something immoral to acting accordingly to your people's will? (Stiring up populist passions is immoral on the other hand - maybe it is is assessing one vs. the other that we differ.)

"Yes, their people have no clue about the real character of Saddam Hussein's regime. But the time to settle accounts with them is not now."

I think they have at least as much understanding about what's been going on in Iraq than Americans do. What they don't understand if why Iraq, of all dictatorships? It's far from the bloodiest and it was for long the best developed Middle-East country (besides Israel).

But I could not aggree more with the general idea behind your post...

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on March 22, 2003 11:34 AM

"I think the above instructions can all be boiled down to the imperative that we need to vote Bush out of office in 2004."

I would advise you not to hold your breadth. On the contrary, people like yourself are being justifiably marginalized to the hinterlands of American political life. Have you already forgotten that you reside in Texas? You will be lucky to get a candidate elected to the office of dog catcher. I'm beginning to even think that Bush could even win in California. Berkeley is not the beginning and end of California politics.

Thankfully, the George W. Bush administration didn’t heed those whose opposition to our foreign policy is premised solely upon immature and childish envy. We will now be far more respected---and the world will be a safer and better place. President Bush will go down as one of the greatest presidents in our nation’s history. His poll numbers are already high. Soon, they will go through the roof.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 22, 2003 12:19 PM

"To this end, any of you who feel like talking about cheese-eating surrender monkeys, soft-pedal it. Let your image of the standard Frenchman and German by the Marquis de Lafayette and the Count von Stauffenberg, rather than Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder."

In other words, you are asking me to lie to myself. Unfortunately, the French and Germans are similar to an alcoholic who will not reform until they hit bottom. The land of my ancestors and their next door neighbor are in deep doo-doo.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 22, 2003 12:32 PM

Firstly, even superhuman beings could not achieve what the Bush administration would have to do to get out of its self-inflicted dilemma of charting a course of increased use of military power while at the same time increasingly needing the cooperation of the rest of the world for economic reasons.
Inevitably, the next crisis lurks where nobody suspects it. Maybe it is not North Korea. What about a financial meltdown in Japan? "On Wednesday, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, that country's equivalent of our Wall Street Journal and hardly a publication that has alarmist tendencies, reported: "The Bank of Japan supplied a large amount of funds to the money market today, as it did yesterday, to avoid a systemic financial crisis." (Paul Erdman wrote this a few days ago, I think).
Anyone expecting me to believe that the Bush administration might handle global monetary turbulences well? These are not the days of Reagan and Volcker.
Actually, incompetence does not seem to be worst trait of this administration. Many apparently incompetent politicians in American history proved to be capable of learning, but dishonesty means you do not even realize you need to learn. Morally-impaired vision does not leave much room for improvement. As for Brad´s "nobody goes into politics without a patriotic motivation"-meme: maybe this is a grandfather-and-son thing in the Bush dynasty. Remember, Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker were instrumental in preserving Nazi financier August Thyssen´s wealth while Thyssen assured the denazification interrogators that he had nothing to hide from them...

Posted by: Joerg Wenck on March 22, 2003 12:49 PM

Just to clarify: the quote that Joe Willingham attributes to me above is actually Brad's words.

Not that I disagree with it, but I just wanted to attribute it properly.

Posted by: James DiBenedetto on March 22, 2003 01:00 PM

Joerg Wenck reminds me why I'm so elated that my German ancestors became American immigrants some one hundred years ago. This nation is so drenched in evil. I wonder what the Allied forces will find in Iraq concerning Germany's relationship with Saddam Hussein. I bet the crap is going to hit the fan. Oh well, it's time to complete the marginalization of Germany. These folks have caused enough harm to the world.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 22, 2003 01:01 PM

DT: Never mind your comments. I am quite aware that I live in Texas. What I'm still trying to figure out is how many Texans actually think like you do, compared to how many of them, even the Republicans, would be embarrassed by the writings of David Thomson, Texas resident.

Brad: there is one thing which I disagree with you, and that is that the diplomatic ****up of UN Resolution 1441 was almost unavoidable given the Bush adm.'s real objective, which was military occupation of Iraq, with WMD's serving only as a pretext. The new resolution was dropped because a majority of security council members called Bush's bluff. As for democracy, we'll see how much the Bush adm. is committed to it once the new Iraqui leaders start asserting some independence, such as their right to criticize Israeli occupation policy.

In short, this was not a diplomatic ****up. It was the unavoidable, and quite possibly planned, outcome of the current administration's foreign policy objectives.

Posted by: andres on March 22, 2003 01:09 PM

andres has a good point sayng that the collision at the UN is unavoidable. To call, as Brad does in Thomas Friedman like fashion, for the government to "focus 200% on the liberation of Iraq from tyranny" is simply to ask the US administration to be smarter about their deceptions.

There is a reason why the focus in the war on Afghanistan was a party (the Taliban), whereas now the focus is on an individual (Hussein) rather than the Ba'ath party. It is likely (although who knows really?) that the US army is not so much interested in changing the regime as in changing the head of the regime. It is quite possible that the Iraq of the future will look very much like the Iraq of the present, but with closer commercial ties to the US.

Yes, I'm sure they would like a stable, pro-American democracy with a free press, flowers for everyone and so on, but when it comes to it the two parts that take precedence are "stability" and "pro-American".

In short, there may be a case to be made for a war of liberation in Iraq, but this is not that war, and it is wishful thinking to pretend that it is.

Posted by: Tom Slee on March 22, 2003 01:38 PM

On the lighter side this reminds me of a recent Get Your War On comic strip:
http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/images/war.140.gif

"The Iraqi people better be the freeest f@#cking people on the face of earth."

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on March 22, 2003 01:40 PM

Interesting points on US Strategy. Here are some on US tactics:

1. Don't kill too many more kurds. Neither the kurds nor the world opinon would think its better for them to be cruise-missiled by the US than gassed by Saddam.

2. Don't bomb any more oil installations in IraN just now. The ayatollas are probably nervous enough already, and the world might need the oil supply.

3. Anyone with access to the internet, i.e. most people in the first world, could see that reports about mil. progress is less consistent over time, and much more optimistic in US media than elswhere. Show some self-critisism!

/Mats

Posted by: Mats Lind on March 22, 2003 01:41 PM

This nation is so drenched in evil.

Um, yes, OK.

And you wonder why people increasingly don't take Bush and his sympathizers as halfway-serious commentators on anything?

Posted by: Randy McDonald on March 22, 2003 02:18 PM

"And you wonder why people increasingly don't take Bush and his sympathizers as halfway-serious commentators on anything?"

Someone is living in a Pauline Kael sort of fantasy world. The late very Liberal New York times movie critic is the one who was stunned by Richard Nixon’s landslide victory over George McGovern in 1972. “How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon.”

The polls reflect that many, if not most Americans agree with me. You need to get out a little more. It might amaze you to find out what those people outside of your immediate social group actually think about these matters.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 22, 2003 02:38 PM

DT, if Germany is drenched in evil, what should be done about it?

Posted by: Jack on March 22, 2003 02:41 PM

The Germans aren't evil. Many of them are misguided and, as Prof. DeLong pointed out, not well informed about the nature of the Iraqi regime. There are many people like that in this country.

It wouldn't surprise me to see the red-green coalition in Germany fall and the conservatives come to power. It that were to happen it would not be about foreign policy, but rather about the left's handling of the economy. But the conservatives would in fact be likely to have a much more pro-American foreign policy.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 02:55 PM

I'm afraid wishes which need magic-wands to be realized, don't strike me as very serious. (How long have we been wishing for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, for instance?)

American arrogance didn't begin under Bush. It didn't even begin under Clinton, although it did get worse (delusions brought on by the Nasdaq). If Clinton and his advisors (and other sundries) weren't lecturing Japan, they've been lecturing the Europeans - why their economies were failing, what to do about it, how we in America were doing it so much better. If you doubt, look at newspapers especially foreign newspapers around and after G7 summits. That this continued and even has been amplified under Bush, hardly comes as a surprise. Indeed look at this blog - full of disdain for the Japanese and Europeans and their economies - smug in the belief in Alan "double-or-nothing" Greenspan. If this is not arrogance and yes American arrogance, what is?

Ask the French if they think the problem is Bush, or structural - an American whose military power is so strong, that it need not fear to use that power on its own. They may say Bush, to comfort and mislead, but they believe in their heart of hearts the problem is America. Americans who buy into the story that the problem is Bush, are mistaken.

So continue and pretend. Say it is just Bush, and with your magic-wand again make him disappear. (Indeed he will probably go next election.) See if it solves anything. Because if enough people believe this, the real problem will only get worse.

Posted by: Anon on March 22, 2003 02:56 PM

“DT, if Germany is drenched in evil, what should be done about it?”

The Germans must be marginalized. President Bush should continue his policy of virtually pretending that they no longer exist. Germany has chose to play in the minor leagues---and that’s how this nation should be treated. Also, it’s time we transfer our troops to Poland and the other New European countries.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 22, 2003 02:58 PM

When you're number one you are bound to attract the envy and hatred of small minded losers everywhere. Such is the fate of this great country.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 03:16 PM

You forgot the obvious: Fifth, vote Bush jr out of power and 2004 and make sure that a government like the Bush jr/Cheney/Ashcroft one - a shame for a country with a democratic tradition like the US - will never get into power again.

Posted by: JMC on March 22, 2003 03:30 PM

When you're number one, you have to be truly exceptional not to be taken in by your own rhetoric. When anyone who criticies is defined as a loser, you have lost the ability to listen. You may still be number one. but the number one of powerful countries, not of great countries.

Posted by: marek on March 22, 2003 03:53 PM

Good post and completly right on the absolute necessity to PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH PUSH for a free Iraq, but you write:

"Suppose that the Bush Administration had launched this invasion after a Security Council vote of 10 yes, 2 vetoes (France and Russia), and 3 abstentions on a joint U.S.-British resolution declaring Saddam Hussein not in compliance with SC1441 and calling upon the nations of the world to use the minimum necessary force to depose him and restore a republican form of government to Iraq while making sure to keep civilian casualties to a minimum...

It would make the master narrative of what is now going on clear."

The problem with this is that you talked as if UN aproval would cut down on the Islamic terrorists. The ones who fly into buildings would not care if the UN approved. Because THE UN is illegal under Islamic law (Shiria) and if the US did manage to get UN approval the UN would just be talked about as US and Christian lacky. We got UN approval for the first Iraq war, but Bin Laden still thought that was a bad thing for us to do.

The people who are mad at the US for not going through the UN are the Europeans, and they are not going to be helping Islamic terrorists anytime soon.

Posted by: Mike Ralls on March 22, 2003 05:39 PM

Amusing post Brad. Now, given the Bush administration record on nation building (in Afghanistan) their demonstrated complete incompetence in economic matters, their complete devotion to enriching their cronies and the rich, the massive and crushing deficit/debt and their demonstrated complete inability to manage diplomacy - why would you think that they can manage all or any of your points?

Posted by: Ian Welsh on March 22, 2003 05:41 PM

"When you're number one, you have to be truly exceptional not to be taken in by your own rhetoric. When anyone who criticizes is defined as a loser, you have lost the ability to listen. You may still be number one. but the number one of powerful countries, not of great countries."

Not everybody who criticizes is a loser - far from it. Constructive, reasoned criticism is a good thing. The criticism coming from the European and American left, from the French, and from the Islamic world is for the most not constructive and reasoned. Some of the criticism on the learned fora on this web site is well thought out, but much of it amounts to nothing more than partisan rancor.

The US is the worst of countries, except for all the others. It will become a better one when more of its own citizens learn to put the interests of the country above partisan bias. If the Republicans had concentrated more on real issues instead of on President Clinton's sex life that would have been wonderful. It would be equally wonderful if Democrats would stop letting their hatred of President Bush dominate their thinking like an all consuming obsession.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 06:29 PM

" Let your image of the standard Frenchman and German by the Marquis de Lafayette and the Count von Stauffenberg, rather than Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder. Yes, their leaders are cynical, immoral politicians, eager to help Saddam Hussein continue to feast on the livers of Iraqis for short-run political advantage. Yes, their people have no clue about the real character of Saddam Hussein's regime."

Anybody who watches TV news and reads newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic can judge who is really clueless about the Middle East (hint: it is also the side of the Atlantic where a majority of people apparently believe in creationism and the devil).

Posted by: fberthol on March 22, 2003 06:30 PM

" President Bush will go down as one of the greatest presidents in our nation?s history. His poll numbers are already high. Soon, they will go through the roof."

And you can take that to the bank, along with "the war will be over in 72 hours."

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on March 22, 2003 06:31 PM

"The Germans aren't evil."

The Germans are indeed not actively evil. Instead, they remain passive when evil is committed right under their noses. Alas, Germany is collapsing and things are likely to get far worse before they get better. What is their unemployment rate? We must petition our government to remove our troops from Germany. There is simply no reason to allow them to continue mooching off us.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 22, 2003 06:34 PM

Joe, good comment.

Different subject: In the history of the United Nations, only one country has ever asked the world's permission to go to war. That country is the United States. The next time I hear thanks over this will be the first.

Many many people want egg in their beer.

Posted by: Mike Ralls on March 22, 2003 06:40 PM

A question for M. Berthol:

If Americans are so ignorant, why do they make the lion's share of the scientific discoveries and of the innovations in technology, business, and software?

Why do so many from Europe and countries all over the world choose to study at American universities?

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 06:49 PM

"If Americans are so ignorant, why do they make the lion's share of the scientific discoveries and of the innovations in technology, business, and software?"

What I am saying is that the average American relying only on news TV for understanding the situation in the Middle East is very likely to remain clueless.

The US may have most of the best universities in the world. But it doesn't tell you anything about the education level of the average American who has not studied there.
I really think that the average German, Japanese or Swede is more educarted than the average American (which does not mean that the American hasn't qualities that the others don't have).

Posted by: fberthol on March 22, 2003 07:02 PM

"What I am saying is that the average American relying only on news TV for understanding the situation in the Middle East is very likely to remain clueless."

The Americans tend to sympathize with Israel, a lone and brave democracy trying to survive in a very rough neighborhood. I don't know whether this stance is due to better understanding or just a sense of basic morality. Perhaps it is simply the relative absence in America of Europe's traditional anti-Semitism.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 07:36 PM

"The Americans tend to sympathize with Israel, a lone and brave democracy trying to survive in a very rough neighborhood. I don't know whether this stance is due to better understanding or just a sense of basic morality. Perhaps it is simply the relative absence in America of Europe's traditional anti-Semitism."

I think you are completely wrong about the prevalence of antisemitism in Europe. Outside the muslim minorities it is insignifcant.

It is also interesting to note that the countries where public opinion is the most pro-palestinian are often the one where Jews have suffered the least persecution during WW2(Spain/Italy). Your theory of a correlation between antisemistism and support for the palestinians cannot explain that.

As for your "sense of basic morality" which results in your unconditional support for Israel including the military occupation of the Territories and the settlement, I think it is contrary to common sense. The rest of the world can see it (I am not aware of any country in the world nearly as pro-Israeli as the US).

I see two possible explanations:
- the US is the only moral nation in the world
- the US policy in the Middle East is based on a flawed analysis of the situation.

Posted by: fberthol on March 22, 2003 08:08 PM

Respectfully, I don't think that the folks advocating a "marginalization of old Europe" have any idea what they are talking about, particularly in the broad context of the benefits that strong relations with other nations provide for our economy. (This is primarily an economics web site, correct?)

I am a senior member of the technical staff in the central R&D laboratory of a major multinational information technology company. Our company has sales offices all over the world, and our R&D labs have branches in England, Israel, and Japan. I personally collaborate (in the R&D sense) with scientists and engineers in the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Israel, Australia, and Canada on both industrial and academic projects.

We, as a meritocratic company, hold cultural and geographic diversity in very high esteem, because we believe that it allows us to conduct better research, as well as develop and sell better products. There's a trivial component to this (e.g., Brazilians will likely do a better job than Americans when selling IT products in Brazil), but there's a deeper aspect as well: smart people with different backgrounds than your own tend to have different ideas than your own. In the industrial R&D realm, the best ideas become intellectual property, and the best IP becomes products. Many of our patents on critical technologies bear the names of foreign employees, contractors, and consultants.

If you believe that we will be able to continue to routinely attract top international talent from the high technology labor pool in "marginalized" nations, then you are kidding yourselves. I am already beginning to see a hint of trouble in hiring summer students (perhaps the young are more idealistic?), and I am putting up with complaints of extreme American nationalism from middle-aged foreign colleagues who only occasionally kidded me about "Baywatch" in the past. I don't think that we have reached the point of no return by any means (my friends still draw a paycheck from a US company, after all), and I believe that with sufficiently skilled diplomacy we can rebuild at least some of the bridges burned during the last few months. But speaking as a capitalist, put me down for not "marginalizing" anybody in either Europe or Asia. We need the markets, too.

I apologize if I have leapt into a well-formed community and spoken out of turn; I don't usually have this much spare time, but my kids have donated a severe case of the flu to my immune system. I found this thread by chance, and I thought that a non-military perspective of the impact of world opinion of the USA should at least figure into your deliberations.

Posted by: Ray Beausoleil on March 22, 2003 09:20 PM

It is a very sad thing to watch a brilliant mind first crack, then implode on itself.

***

The UN is kaput, to the great glee of many, not the least of whom are the supporters of Jesse Helms, the former member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, who said that Kofi Annan was "a man that we can do business with."

This is the same Kofi Annan who withdrew UN inspectors when they were doing their job. The UN could have left the inspectors in place until Saddam died of old age, but noooo....that won't do; we must invade now.

Posted by: James Hogan on March 22, 2003 10:10 PM

"It would be equally wonderful if Democrats would stop letting their hatred of President Bush dominate their thinking like an all consuming obsession."

Interesting. Did the Democrats vote to a man to oppose the Senate resolution allowing Bush to make war in Iraq? Did the Democrats put every possible obstacle, including filibusters, for Bush's massive tax cut packages? Have the Democrats requested Bush to _fire_ Ashcroft for attacking the patriotism of people who are concerned about the violations of civil liberties in the wake of 9/11?

Get your facts straight, Joe. The Democrats who hold elected office right now are closer to being appeasers of Bush and the Republicans than they are to being an effective opposition. Most of the people who are posting vituperative criticism of the administration nowadays are people who hold their noses when they vote for Democratic candidates.

As for our own feelings towards the Bush adm., they are not new and not confined to GW Bush as much as to the policy outlook of the whole cabal we suspect is manipulating him. Not only was Republican criticism of Clinton pathetic in that it was based not on his policies but on his personal habits, jokes about libido and anatomy included, but it was also pathetic in that the only other member of the White House who came under massive attack was Hillary Clinton. As far as I know, there was little if anything by way of criticisms of Robert Reich, Bob Rubin (not while he was actually Treasury secretary), Larry Summers, James Carville, Madeleine Albright, etc.

Lasly, even criticism of the Bush adm. has to be seen in perspective. Much of U.S. foreign policy since WWII has been run by arrogant and utterly amoral individuals--John Foster and Allen Dulles, Kissinger, Brzezinski, Perle, Abrams, etc. The Bush adm. is simply a continuation of this trend, not a sudden 180 degree turn. Similarly, GW Bush is not the first president to have an utterly irresponsible fiscal policy--Johnson and Reagan preceded him, as would Bob Dole if he had been elected.

So in view of all this, which group that posts to blogs such as these do you think is engaged in obsessive personal hatred?

Posted by: andres on March 22, 2003 10:11 PM

As for Old Europe, sure we can start trying to "marginalize" them from a security standpoint, but if our foreign policy continues the way it is going and if Tehran is our army's next stop regardless of what other countries say, even Poland, Hungary, and Romania may decide that the U.S. is a guest not worth putting up with (their populations are already mostly against the invasion). Fortunately, by the Russia will be ready to join NATO and will be eager to host our troops. Best of luck.

Posted by: andres on March 22, 2003 10:21 PM

Andres, for all its faults American foreign policy in the last 60 years has been remarkably successful. Nazism and fascism in Europe are dead. Communism outside of Cuba and North Korea is a corpse. There remains the challenge of Ba'ath fascism and Islamist fascism, but those are nearing their end.

Thank God for American "arrogance". Without it western civilization would not have survived.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 10:25 PM

andres writes:

"As far as I know, there was little if anything by way of criticisms of Robert Reich, Bob Rubin (not while he was actually Treasury secretary), Larry Summers, James Carville, Madeleine Albright, etc"

The reason the Republicans attacked Hillary Clinton was because her health insurance bill was a dog's breakfast. The reason they didn't attack Bob Rubin and Larry Summers was because Rubin and Summers were brilliant men who did a fantastic job. What was there to attack? Bob Reich was no big deal one way or the other, so why get excited? Madeleine Albight was OK, what was the problem? They did try to go after James Carville, because of his surpassing excellence as a close-in knife fighter.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 10:39 PM

As for your "sense of basic morality" which results in your unconditional support for Israel including the military occupation of the Territories and the settlement, I think it is contrary to common sense. The rest of the world can see it (I am not aware of any country in the world nearly as pro-Israeli as the US).

I see two possible explanations:
- the US is the only moral nation in the world
- the US policy in the Middle East is based on a flawed analysis of the situation.

No, the US is not the only moral nation in the world, but it *is* the only one which believes it has a role in fostering democracy in foreign lands. Look how every other foreign country rolls its eyes when the U.S. mentions bringing democracy to Iraq (and no, I don't think it's just because it's cynicism about U.S. motives - they'd be rolling their eyes even if they believed the sole American motivation was the establishment of democracy).

Let me ask you this? Why does the U.S. support, contrary otherwise to its national interests, Israel? If it threw Israel to one side, then it could spare itself a lot of grief and might even have cheaper oil, no? If you really believe that this is because of a "flawed analysis", then we can return to your previous posts, where you treat Americans as ignorant bumpkins. Why would Americans, alone of the world, have a "flawed analysis"? Because they are not as smart as the Europeans? Too stupid to come up with the "correct" analysis?

I would suggest to you that the European attitude to Israel is based on the hopes of gathering credit with Arab regimes - and thus getting access to their oil.

In brief, when it comes to deciding about morality in international affairs, I look at the national interests of the countries concerned. And I'd listen more to the country which is acting counter to it - in the case of Israel, this is the U.S.

I speak like this, incidentally, who believes that Israel has done some terrible things, and that ultimately the solution is to get Israel back to its pre-1967 borders.

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on March 22, 2003 10:43 PM

Golda Meir said it best: When the Palestinians love their children more than they hate the Jews then there will be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Most Israelis, except for a few on the far right, accept a two state solution. Sadly, judging both by their behavior and by opinion polls, this is not true of the Palestinians. They still dream of driving the Jews into the sea. Until they abandon that sick, evil dream there will be no peace.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 22, 2003 10:51 PM

Andrew wrote:
"Let me ask you this? Why does the U.S. support, contrary otherwise to its national interests, Israel? If it threw Israel to one side, then it could spare itself a lot of grief and might even have cheaper oil, no?"

I agree with this statement. But I do not explain that by a superior morality of the United States.

There is a clear tendency in the United States to see the situation in terms of right and wrong, the Israelis being the good guys because of what Jews suffered in the past and because the bible says it is their country.
In the rest of the world, nobody takes the bible argument seriously. And we see another side to the situation: a colonial situation where the Palestinians are clearly the victims.

"we can return to your previous posts, where you treat Americans as ignorant bumpkins": Andrew, I don't what to pick a fight with you. From what I have read so far on this blog, I know that you can do better than distorting what the person you are arguing with actually said.

Posted by: fberthol on March 23, 2003 04:47 AM

"No, the US is not the only moral nation in the world, but it *is* the only one which believes it has a role in fostering democracy in foreign lands. Look how every other foreign country rolls its eyes when the U.S. mentions bringing democracy to Iraq (and no, I don't think it's just because it's cynicism about U.S. motives - they'd be rolling their eyes even if they believed the sole American motivation was the establishment of democracy)."

Most countries are indeed rollig their eyes because:
- based on its track record, they don't think the Bush administration is ready for the sacrifices it would take for nation building in Iraq.

- yes they are sceptical about exporting democracy with bombs in Iraq. Is it cynicism or realism? Anyway, this cynicism is widely shared in the State Department. Who do you trust more? The professionals or Perle, Wolfowitz and co?

- Just look at the results of trying to democratise Algeria ten years ago. Iraq looks like a more difficult country than Algeria (more divided ethnically, more dangerous neighbours...)

Posted by: fberthol on March 23, 2003 05:03 AM

"Most Israelis, except for a few on the far right, accept a two state solution."

So why on earth do they keep electing prime ministers opposed to this solution?

Posted by: fberthol on March 23, 2003 05:06 AM

In an earlier post, I came out in favor of an American missile defense shield deployment. How come I am being considered anti-American?
Leadership is about setting agendas and not being chased off the moral high ground.
Every week, Bush talks to the American public on the radio. Let him mention that the Europeans have not yet committed themselves to phasing out their protectionist agricultural policies.
Let him do that every single week - in a "Ceterum censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam" way. Watch his global mindshare grow instead of shrink.
The problem with current neoconservative thought in America is its anti-pragmatic insistence on first tackling problems that do not lend themselves to a solution. Just a random example: after Bushs last SOTU, V. Postrel wrote: "Going to the moon was great, but the way we did it wasn't." Another one would be how neocons carp about "Bismarckian socialism".
Neoconservatism currently seems to play the same role in American politics that Marxism played at the turn of the 19th century to the 20th in Central European social democracy: it diverts attention away from practical solutions and concentrates the mind on the inexorable progress of history toward a utopian society (in the case of the neocons, the utopia being waited for is a libertarian one, of course).
I am not at all opposed to "bringing freedom to Iraq". I just think (unlike V. Postrel) that it is not inevitable that someday nukes will explode on American territory (remember that Marxism teaches that the hellfire of revolution precedes the ascent of socialism and, finally, communism).
Not "bringing freedom to Iraq" might well be a price worth to pay then.
This is the information age. Al-Jazeera broadcast pictures of American bombers, missiles, bombs and hits with a small inset of Donald Rumsfeld talking about freedom in Iraq.
These may have as much impact on some Arab youths as the pictures of the first man walking on the moon had on me when I was a kid.

Posted by: Joerg Wenck on March 23, 2003 06:12 AM

"There is a clear tendency in the United States to see the situation in terms of right and wrong, the Israelis being the good guys because of what Jews suffered in the past and because the bible says it is their country.

In the rest of the world, nobody takes the bible argument seriously. And we see another side to the situation: a colonial situation where the Palestinians are clearly the victims."

I think this is a great example of what is pretty much standard reasoning in France. In one breath they accuse the Americans of dividing the world into good guys and bad guys (ah, we in France, we are so much more sophisticated than the silly little Americans). In the next the world is divided into good guys and bad guys ("the Palestinians are clearly the victims").

Actually I think many if not most Americans look at the Isreali-Palestinian conflict as one big mess, with both sides at fault, and with both sides with legitimate demands (who is at most fault and who has the most legitimate demands, is debated, but the fact that Israel being a democracy being considered a strong point in its favor).

On the other hand, as your post so apty demonstrated, Europeans tend to think they know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on March 23, 2003 06:28 AM

From an article in Salon.com by Michelle Goldberg, "Why are these people smiling"

"Yet with the war underway, whatever anti-Bush momentum has been gained on the ground will likely dissipate if Iraqis welcome American troops as liberators. And in these very initial stages, that's exactly what's happened. The Guardian, a liberal British paper, quoted a sobbing man in Safwan, "You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave."

"United Press International quoted an American pastor who went to Iraq as a human shield and left as a hawk. Iraqis, he said, 'told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler ... Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill.'"

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 23, 2003 07:24 AM

People keep saying that they US government is unfair and favors Israel over the Palestinians, but it isn't true. The administration of Bush the Elder was very arabophile and friendly to the Palestinian interest. Bill Clinton worked very hard for years for a solution fair to both sides. He invited Arafat to the White House repeatedly. In December 2000 Clinton leaned on the Israeli government of Ehud Barak to offer the Palestine a state with 94% of the West Bank, plus Gaza, plus 4% of the territory now part of Israel, plus control of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The Palestinian negotiators wanted to accept the agreement, but Arafat turned it down. This is according to Dennis Ross, Bill Clinton's chief negotiator for the US. Mr. Ross says that Arafat is simply not capable of making the transition from terrorist to statesman.

Last year Arafat said he would accept the Clinton-Barak proposal, but by then it was too late.

President Bush has announced that if the Palestinan Authority is democratized and ends terrorist activity there can be a Palestinian state within three years.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 23, 2003 07:48 AM

When fascists entered Barcelona, people cheered them... because otherwise the repression would have been worse.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on March 23, 2003 07:50 AM

Someone is living in a Pauline Kael sort of fantasy world. The late very Liberal New York
Times movie critic is the one who was stunned by Richard Nixon’s landslide victory over George McGovern in 1972. “How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon.”

Huh??????????????????????????????????????????????

Posted by: bill on March 23, 2003 08:31 AM

"No, the US is not the only moral nation in the world, but it *is* the only one which believes it has a role in fostering democracy in foreign lands."

So the hard work of the EU of fostering democracy in the so-called "new Europe" happened even when the EU don't belive they have a role in fostering democracy?
You can debate if Germany and France is right or wrong about Iraq, but to think that USA is the only country working towarts democracies in other countries is nonsense.

Hint: think Eastern Europe, think South Africa...

And to a different commetor, to say that a whole democratic country is evil is frankly stupid. Germany has worked very hard to atone for their guilt of times past, much more than for example the US has done to atone for helping dictators in other countries.

Posted by: Kristjan on March 23, 2003 08:41 AM

Germany has done a lot of good things and has worked closely with the US to the benefit of both countries. The mistaken policy of Gerhard Schroeder in regard to Iraq will soon be forgotten as cooperation resumes.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 23, 2003 08:53 AM

When you're number one you are bound to attract the envy and hatred of small minded losers everywhere. Such is the fate of this great country.

Small minded losers? You appear to have elected one.

By the way, David T: want to put money on your next prediction for when the war will be over? Your last ones didn't quite come to pass.

Posted by: nick sweeney on March 23, 2003 08:58 AM

March 22, 2003

French Jews Tell of a New and Threatening Wave of Anti-Semitism
By CRAIG S. SMITH - NYTimes

SEVRAN, France — Jérémy Bismuth is Jewish, though he doesn't wear a yarmulke or Star of David pendant or adhere to a Kosher diet or leave school early on Fridays to be home before sunset. Nothing identifies the 15-year-old French boy as Jewish except his birth.

Yet because he is a Jew, he was attacked by a group of other children, mostly Muslim, at the private Catholic school he then attended. They dragged him into the school's locker room showers shouting that they were going to gas him as the Nazis had gassed Jews. He was beaten and flogged with a pair of trousers whose zipper scratched one of his corneas.

For Jérémy and his parents, the incident a year ago was the harrowing confirmation of a trend that many say is gathering momentum: a resurgent European anti-Semitism, coming not from its traditional source among Europe's right-wing nationalists, but from the Continent's growing Islamic community, egged on by the political left....

Posted by: bill on March 23, 2003 10:03 AM

As Boulay de la Meuthe said about the execution of the Duke of Enghien: "this is worse than a crime; this is a blunder".

Posted by: Thomas T. Schweitzer on March 23, 2003 10:56 AM

"By the way, David T: want to put money on your next prediction for when the war will be over? Your last ones didn't quite come to pass."

Victory is still a foregone conclusion. It was a done deal the very first evening of the invasion. It is only our extraordinary efforts to avoid killing innocent civilians which has extended the time line. Sadly, this is costing the lives of some of our troops.

There is a very strong possibility that Michael Moore will win an Academy Award tonight. If so, he is expected to blast President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. What will be the overwhelmingly likely result? To be blunt, it will not be nice being a Liberal for the foreseeable future. Senator Tom Daschle and others of his ilk would be well advised to project a very low profile.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 23, 2003 01:09 PM

"French Jews Tell of a New and Threatening Wave of Anti-Semitism
By CRAIG S. SMITH - NYTimes"

We may not have to go to France to find anti-Semitism. The Neo-Liberals of the New America Foundation are already flirting with this intellectual virus. At least one of their people sounds a lot like Pat Buchanan. In Michael Lind’s recent book, Made in Texas,he describes Israel as a racist state similar to the Old Confederacy:

"Like present-day Israel," adds the author,"Texas before the Civil Rights Revolution was a Herrenvolk (master race) democracy, combining populism within the majority ethnic nation with the state-enforced subordination of ethnic minorities."

Lind asserts that he's only taking to task Ariel Sharon and the Likud Party. This is not good enough. His writings suggest something far more sinister. Brad DeLong is apparently trying to ignore this crisis, but he won't be able to do so for much longer. The crap will most assuredly hit the fan once the war is behind us.

Posted by: David Thomson on March 23, 2003 01:43 PM

Nice post, but how can anyone believe that the new government in Iraq is going to be remotely democratic?

One, there is a guy somewhere who is getting ready for the job of running post war Iraq. I don't know who that guy is, but he's not planning an election campaign. My guess is he's a Sunni military man from somewhere around Tikrit.

Two, this guy is going to have to stop the cycle of revenge killings and retribution. How is he going to do this? The boot to the neck. How else?

Successful rebuilding of Afghanistan? What a joke. Rebuild Iraq? See Afghanistan. Peace between an Iraeli and Palestinian PM? The Israelis have the National Union Alliance in their coalition government. They ran on an ethnic cleansing ticket. What year do you see all this happening? 2012? What happens till then?

Myself, I'm going to point out the details of this diplomatic ratf--k every day till we get a new admisistration. You should too.

Posted by: biz on March 23, 2003 02:28 PM

"much more than for example the US has done to atone for helping dictators in other countries"

The US has spent the past century preventing greedy and insane nations and empires from trying to dominate the planet. What exactly was the alternative to the dictators we helped? Was it democracy or was it a Communist dictator?

How come so few people wish to judge the US based on its track record of full scale military involvement in Germany, Japan, and Korea? Was anybody at the time really thinking that the Japanese, who were engaging in suicide attacks out of devotion to their emporer, would turn Japan into the nation it is now? I doubt it.

I think there is a severe lack of imagination among the doubters of this invasion--lack of imagination for what an insane dictator could accomplish nowadays with technology being so accessible, and lack of imagination of what the Iraqi people have the potential to be. Many of the arguments against the invasion are quite racist as well--suggesting that the inhabitants aren't capable of a peaceful existence and in fact need a dictator to keep them in line.

If a Saddam-like figure took control of France, I'm sure they would criticize the US for not invading (not so hypothetical really in the case of France). Even more amazing is that the world tolerates concentration camps in North Korea, and instead worries about the refugees which would be sure to flee this insanity if liberated.

"When you're number one you are bound to attract the envy and hatred of small minded losers everywhere. Such is the fate of this great country."

Thank you Joe for pointing out properly what has caused millions around the world to protest in favor of torture, rape, murder, and repression. The United States has been so successful in ridding the world of land grabbing empires that everyone has forgotten that this was the constant state of the globe until very very recently. Well, that's always the way things work.... once a problem disappears the solution to it seems like an unnecessary cost until it comes back.

Posted by: snsterling on March 23, 2003 03:28 PM

"72 Hours" Thompson seems to believe that all liberals speak in one voice no matter how extreme. Why would you care what Lind has to say if it is so extreme? I certainly don't.

You are a conservative so are you responsible for everything the KKK represents? I was at the home of an avowed conservative who had books such as "The Truth About the Negro" on his bookshelf next to the black and white photos of Confederate Generals. Shall I hold you responsible for that as you are holding Professor DeLong responsible for what Lind says?

Shall I ask you to answer for the Ann Coulter comment that, "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is that he didn't go to the New York Times building".

Why do you hide from the subject of your ridiculous world views by tying moderate people in with extremists? Stop hiding Thompson.

Posted by: Dan on March 23, 2003 07:20 PM

Here is what will be answered for in November 2004:

Bush Lie #1 - During the campaign that 2 of America's military divisions are unprepared for duty. Fact: Those 2 divisions were on duty and Bush was handed the greatest military in the history of the world.

Lie #2 - During the campaign that Bush would support the Kyoto Treaty. Regardless of your opinion on the Treaty Bush should not have lied about his support of the it.

Lie #3 - During the campaign that a tax cut was needed to reduce govt revenues. Later that a tax cut was needed to increase govt revenues. One has to be a lie, you choose.

Lie #4 - The deficit would have been higher without the tax cuts. The Administration reports don't enough agree with this.

Lie #5 - No matter what, Bush would call for a vote at the UN. Just a week before he scuttled a vote.

I hope the war and aftermath goes well, but even if it does, Bush II will have to answer to the American people for his incompetencies just like Bush I did after his Gulf War.

Prediction: Aznar, Blair and Bush will lose their offices at their nations next respective elections.

Posted by: Dan on March 23, 2003 07:40 PM

Dan -

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the war goes well and the economy substanially recovers before 11/04. Do you really think any of the points you raise will even be mentioned, let alone major issues in the campaign?

Posted by: jimbo on March 23, 2003 08:26 PM

Unfortunately, I think jimbo's right. Electorates everywhere have the attention span of a hyperactive mosquito - that's why politicians of all stripes can get away with so much.

Posted by: derrida derider on March 23, 2003 08:49 PM

True enough. However, Bush's economic team have their work cut out for them if they are going to have the economy sufficiently healthy to win an election in 2004, regardless of what happens in Iraq. Unless they can sabotage at least some of the electronic balloting machines.

Posted by: andres on March 23, 2003 09:16 PM

Hmm. I think I want to look at this phenomenon more closely. During 9/11, a lot of anti-American sentiment was expressed on the whole internet. However, much of this came from outside Europe, Russia and China in particular. I haven't heard Boucher/Thomson/Willingam excoriating Russia and China so far. All the heat has fallen either on European countries and Canada for their governments disagreeing with us, or on the Palestinian people in general because some of them have resorted to terrorism, a failing from which neither the Irish nor the future Israelis in 1940 proved immune. My guess is that the commenters mentioned perhaps unconsciously envy the closed, censored, xenophobic, and party-line nature of much of what passes for public media discussion in Russia and China.

It's too bad, people. As long as you insist on bashing entire countries in blanket terms just because their leaders disagree with our leaders, other people will be here to call you what you are: knee-jerk Black Hundreds or Boxers(look it up) who are not capable of detached, rational thought. This message will be repeated if necessary.

Posted by: andres on March 23, 2003 09:43 PM

“As it is, I'm not surprised so many people in France have negative attitudes towards us, given that people like Boucher, Thomson and Willingham are so prominent in these discussions.”

Boucher might be French (he sure likes Paris!)and my ancestors may very well be from an area of Germany that is now part of France. Thus, my harsh criticism has nothing to do with the racial or ethic characteristics of the French. Few hesitate to speak in general terms regarding the Germans during the Nazi era. One should also not shy away from taking to task both the Germans and French of today. These folks are largely weird and more than willing to stab us in the back. Gosh, I wonder what our troops will find in Iraq concerning the business dealings of these two countries with Saddam Hussein?

Posted by: David Thomson on March 23, 2003 10:12 PM

They probably understand that China and Russia do not have histories as industrial democracies. The totalitarian regimes of both countries portray(ed) the United States as the enemy in order to facilitate rule over their population. How many times do you need to hear Chinese people use the word 'hegemony' before you realize this word has been drilled into them by their government. Heck I'd never even heard of the word until they started using it to describe the US. Also, these countries currently have enough problems of their own that they should be expected to concentrate on their narrow and immediate self-interest.

Basically, they have an excuse. Industrialized democracies do not, especially Germany and France, considering their rather recent history involving invasion by the USA and the very favorable outcome which benefitted them.

Posted by: snsterling on March 23, 2003 10:18 PM

I don't think suggesting those who disagree with you are Stalinists, and opposed to everything good, is very helpful either.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on March 23, 2003 11:43 PM

"“As it is, I'm not surprised so many people in France have negative attitudes towards us, given that people like Boucher, Thomson and Willingham are so prominent in these discussions.”

I think you have mistaken causality. So I begin to wonder what you really know about France or the French.

France has had negative attitudes towards Americans for a long time. The French (note - this is a generalization, but from memory there are poll numbers to back it up) abhor America's: violence and guns (I agree); inequal distribution of wealth (I agree); its tendency to lecture and to foist America's economic model on others (I agree); its moral simplicity, i.e. division of the world into good guys and bad (I don't agree); its religiosity (I don't care). None of this just sprung up because of Iraq or in the past two years. Are you aware of any of this? (My list is not exhaustive, by the way.)

I cannot remember a poll discussing French attitudes towards America's, even giving the French as an option, "I have a negative view of America because Americans don't like us." It wasn't even considered until the past three months. On the other hand, you are right that it may be a consideration in the future. But in any case your causality is wrong: the French already have a negative image of America. I'm not saying it preponderates, but it is there.

The French (for your information) also fear America's power. It was a Frenchman who coined the term "hyperpower" and it is the French (this is from memory, so I could be wrong about it) who began to brand America as "unilateral".

Also (for your information) the French like: America's dynamism, its creativity, its capacity to reinvent itself, its openness, its music (well, some of it), and even its movies (well, some of them). They also like Americans and foreigners generally when they try to speak their language and understand something about their country.

I think you are the one (my apologies if you are not) who already accused me of "supporting the war", because you did not read one of my posts carefully. My reply was, "if you reason as carefully as you read..." That reply evidently still stands.

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on March 24, 2003 01:04 AM

If the war aftermath goes well and the economy is in good shape by 11/04 then Bush will win. And if I could fart hard enough I could fly. Notice 4 of the 5 lies I listed involve military/diplomacy and the economy/budget.

Bush will only be able to win if the Hitlerites of our country, such as Joe Willingham, are able to suppress dissent, further erode the independence of the press, and find scapegoats for our problems. Hmmm, the French anyone? Shall we round them up Adolph, errr, Joe?

I find myself sounding very blustery in my last few posts. In the face of the reactionary nationalism expressed by 72 Hours and Joe Willingham I feel someone must do it. History has too many examples of war-mongering idiots gaining power.

Posted by: Dan on March 24, 2003 04:16 AM

DT:Gosh, I wonder what our troops will find in Iraq concerning the business dealings of these two countries with Saddam Hussein?

me: probably no more than they would find about halliburton. but halliburton's would never see the light of day.

after all, one wonders what is in the pages we censored out of iraq's report to the un...

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy on March 24, 2003 09:06 AM

Come on, now, it was only what - 8,000 pages out of 12,000? Not even three-quarters of the material.

Probably just some items that could threaten national security if they became known. Stuff like that.

Move on, now. Get over it. Nothing to see here. Don't be anti-american. We must overthrow the government of (whatever is after Iraq) RIGHT NOW! Anybody who points out what happened after the US took over Iraq is a shrill hater!

Posted by: Barry on March 24, 2003 09:46 AM

Antoni, perhaps the U.S. didn't detain Saddam after the Gulf War because the UN authorization that backed the coalition only called for the removal of Saddam's boys from Kuwait?

Anon, I guess you don't remember when Europeans and Japanese Government officials used to lecture the U.S. about our financial mess in the 70s and 80s?

Suresh, just to see if I'm on the right page. What line of business is Halliburton in? I always thought they were in the oil business? You seem to be suggesting that they are selling arms?

Posted by: Stan on March 24, 2003 10:54 AM

//
Antoni, perhaps the U.S. didn't detain Saddam after the Gulf War because the UN authorization that backed the coalition only called for the removal of Saddam's boys from Kuwait?
//

I am still not convinced that Bush the great could not have found a way to sway the veto wielding members of the UNSC to see that the removal of Saddam was convenient to every one of them. I do not believe that I was the only one to feel that the work was left unended.

//
Anon, I guess you don't remember when Europeans and Japanese Government officials used to lecture the U.S. about our financial mess in the 70s and 80s?
//

I let that to economists, still it seems that there was some reason of concern, and the recent cases of ENRON et alia, the strong deficit of the USA etc. are not thing to take lightly today.

//
Suresh, just to see if I'm on the right page. What line of business is Halliburton in? I always thought they were in the oil business? You seem to be suggesting that they are selling arms?
//

If you allow me the joke, their line of business is making big money. If to do that they have to help a dictator to get around some difficulty getting weapons, they will do what they can to help the poor guy.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on March 24, 2003 11:41 AM

Antoni, I'm pretty sure that Bush Sr.'s decision not to try to expand the mandate was a very good decision. It went a long way toward undermining the world view espoused by many in the Middle East. Our relations improved markedly throughout the region. I believe it is too early yet to say that all of the political capital engendered by it has been squandered.

Posted by: Stan on March 24, 2003 12:00 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/20/international/worldspecial/20OIL.html

There is an important chart from the US Energy Information Administration that show the US as by far the largest importer of Iraqi oil in 2002.

Canada is a distant second. France a very distant third.

Good grief.

Posted by: ron on March 24, 2003 01:00 PM

At this point is is safe to say that Willingham's comments are beneath contempt. I despise his line of thinking almost as much as I despise the dictators he erroneously claims (without a shred of positive proof) that I support. Enough said.

Andrew, you may live in Paris and speak French, which I don't (and my previous mistake regarding your position on the war is not relevant to this discussion, I think). That gives you greater authority when pointing out specific French opinions. But it does not give you carte blanche to make blanket statements like the following:

""The French (for your information) also fear America's power. It was a Frenchman who coined the term "hyperpower" and it is the French (this is from memory, so I could be wrong about it) who began to brand America as "unilateral".

Also (for your information) the French like: America's dynamism, its creativity, its capacity to reinvent itself, its openness, its music (well, some of it), and even its movies (well, some of them). They also like Americans and foreigners generally when they try to speak their language and understand something about their country.""

In the first paragraph, there is nothing that is specific to the French position in general--I fear the power of the U.S. government and I think the U.S. is engaged in unilateralism, but so do millions of non-French people around the globe. By the way, I started reading about Bush adm. unilateralism in U.S. papers well before the Iraq crisis and well before 9/11. Perhaps some French commentator first came up with the term, but it definitely caught on well beyond French borders.

Even the positive comments above are still blanket generalizations--I'm sure a significant number of French people can be found who dislike American music and movies.

Your accusation of hyprocrisy in the way the French view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also bears the stamp of knee-jerk thinking, if I might add. Do all or even a large majority of French people hold the simplistic view "Israel=Bad, Palestine=Good"? Please don't cite individual conversations or even informal polls in LeMonde, which would not be a representative sample. i.e., if you can present scientific polls showing French attitudes (and by the way, what is a French person? do naturalized immigrants to France count? What about Muslim immigrants?) are highly anti-semitic and view the Israeli government to be evil, then I will concede your point (poll results that show that French people are simply critical of the Israeli government do not fit this category, by the way). In short, I'm skeptical and would like to see some proof that French attitudes are what you say, rather than what you imagine based on limited experience.

Posted by: andres on March 24, 2003 01:11 PM

"I'm so disappointed with the left," said Darweesh, who considers herself a liberal. "They are in complete denial because it doesn't fit into their equation of the Mideast. But Saddam is an Arab leader who has killed more Arabs than Israel ever has."

The antiwar protesters, she added, are "very condescending. They are supposed to be for human rights, but the suffering of the Iraqi people just doesn't exist for them. They deny us our stories."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-war-callhome24mar24004422,1,3509140.story

---thanks to Instapundit

Posted by: David Thomson on March 24, 2003 02:13 PM

Also from Darweesh, in the same article:

"They made my parents' lives miserable," said Darweesh, whose 32-year-old brother is a transplant surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Their father, a Kurd, was an engineer but was forced to work in a concrete factory. Their mother, a Shiite Muslim, was a chemistry professor who was imprisoned for teaching children to read and write, Darweesh said. They left in 1980, just before Tamara turned 7, escaping first to England with help from friends in Iraq who subsequently were killed for smuggling them out.


Some things stand out.

A) Saddam Hussein kills people who help smuggle people out of Iraq - (me: yes, we knew that and no, that has nothing to do with why we are opposed to this particular war)

b) Darweesh has been in the US since 1980, when she was 7. Her father, mother and brother have not set foot in Iraq for the last 23 years. (me: she has no right whatsoever to set yerself up as speaking for Iraqi people. Her parents? perhaps. Darweesh? She has known nothing but America.)

c)they made my parents' life miserable (me: i don't think i want american troops to die for that)

sorry to be so snippy, but i find it hard to sympathize with a 30-year-old who has never really set foot in iraq but who claims to speak for iraqis.

now, if she had spent her summers working for the upliftment of suffering iraqis in basra...

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy on March 24, 2003 04:41 PM

Sorry, DT, Michael Lind is hardly an anti-Semite. His book _Up from Conservatism_ attacked Pat Robertson as anti-Semitic.

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on March 24, 2003 06:47 PM

Joe,
You fail to see the irony in calling someone a Stalinist and then getting called a Hitlerite. The point is, both claims are ridiculous. Now, I am as patriotic as they come. Patriotic enough to say when our government is acting in a way that endangers our country. Patriotic enough to say when our government is strengthening the ideological position of Osama bin Laden. As for you calling me a "Saddam loving traitor" all I have to say is you are a bin Laden loving traitor. See the irony yet?

Posted by: Dan on March 24, 2003 07:23 PM

I'm not trying to defend Michael Lind (I have no idea whether he is an anti-semite or not), but the term "herrenvolk democracy" is not his invention. It is a term invented by sociologist Pierre van den Berghe, who argued that democracy in divided societies can take five different forms: herrenvolk democracy, ethnic democracy,liberal democracy, multicultural democracy and consociational democracy. van den Berghe, P. (1981): The Ethnic Phenomenon, New York: Elsevier.

Other critics of Israel (including Israeli critics) before Lind have characterized Israel as a herrenvolk democracy. See, e.g.:

http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/042000/0004066.html

http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/cra0298.htm

http://www.acpr.org.il/publications/policy-papers/pp071-xs.html

http://squawk.ca/lbo-talk/0109/0486.html

http://student.cs.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/authors/UriDavis.php

http://pages.prodigy.net/aesir/tae.htm

Regarding "the relative absence in America of Europe's traditional anti-Semitism," here is Tony Judt recently in the New York Review of Books:

"A second Europhobic myth now widely disseminated in the United States is more pernicious. It is the claim that Europe is awash in anti-Semitism, that the ghosts of Europe's judeophobic past are risen again, and that this atavistic prejudice, Europe's original sin, explains widespread European criticism of Israel, sympathy for the Arab world, and even support for Iraq. The main source for these claims is a spate of attacks on Jews and Jewish property in the spring of 2002, and some widely publicized opinion polls purporting to demonstrate the return of anti-Jewish prejudice across the European continent. American commentary on these data has in turn emphasized the "anti-Israel" character of European media reports from the Middle East.[7]

To begin with the facts: according to the American Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has worked harder than anyone to propagate the image of rampant European anti-Semitism, there were twenty-two significant anti-Semitic incidents in France in April 2002, and a further seven in Belgium; for the whole year 2002 the ADL catalogued forty-five such incidents in France, varying from anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish-owned shops in Marseilles to Molotov cocktails thrown into synagogues in Paris, Lyon, and elsewhere. But the same ADL reported sixty anti-Semitic incidents on US college campuses alone in 1999. Measured by everything from graffiti to violent assaults, anti-Semitism has indeed been on the increase in some European countries in recent years; but then so it has in America. The ADL recorded 1,606 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in the year 2000, up from 900 in 1986. Even if anti-Semitic aggression in France, Belgium, and elsewhere in Europe has been grievously underreported, there is no evidence to suggest it is more widespread in Europe than in the US.[8]

But what of attitudes? Evidence from the European Union's Eurobarometer polls, the leading French polling service SOFRES, and the ADL's own surveys all point in the same direction. There is in many European countries, as in the US, a greater tolerance for mild verbal anti-Semitism than in the past, and a continuing propensity to believe longstanding stereotypes about Jews: e.g., that they have a disproportionate influence in economic life. But the same polls confirm that young people all over Europe are much less tolerant of prejudice than their parents were. Among French youth especially, anti-Semitic sentiment has steadily declined and is now negligible. An overwhelming majority of young people questioned in France in January 2002 believe that we should speak more, not less, of the Holocaust; and nearly nine out of ten of them agreed that attacks on synagogues were "scandalous." These figures are broadly comparable to results from similar surveys taken in the US.[9]

Most of the recent attacks on Jews in Western Europe were the work of young Arabs or other Muslims, as local commentators acknowledge.[10] Assaults on Jews in Europe are driven by anger at the government of Israel, for whom European Jews are a conven- ient local surrogate. The rhetorical armory of traditional European anti-Semitism—the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," Jews' purported eco- nomic power and conspiratorial net-works, even blood libels—has been pressed into service by the press and television in Cairo and elsewhere, with ugly effects all across the youthful Arab diaspora.

The ADL asserts that all this "confirms a new form of anti-Semitism taking hold in Europe. This new anti-Semitism is fueled by anti-Israel sentiment and questions the loyalty of Jewish citizens." That is nonsense. Gangs of unemployed Arab youths in Paris suburbs like Garges-les-Gonesses surely regard French Jews as representatives of Israel, but they are not much worried about their patriotic shortcomings. As to Jewish loyalties: one leading question in the ADL surveys—"Do you believe Jews are more likely to be loyal to Israel than to [your country]" —elicits a consistently higher positive response in the US than in Europe. It is Americans, not Europeans, who are readier to assume that a Jew's first loyalty might be to Israel.

The ADL and most American commentators conclude from this that there is no longer any difference between being "against" Israel and "against" Jews. But this is palpably false. The highest level of pro-Palestinian sympathy in Europe today is recorded in Denmark, a country which also registers as one of the least anti-Semitic by the ADL's own criteria. Another country with a high and increasing level of sympathy for the Palestinians is the Netherlands; yet the Dutch have the lowest anti-Semitic "quotient" in Europe and nearly half of them are "worried" about the possible rise of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, it is the self-described "left" in Europe that is most uncompromisingly pro-Palestinian, while the "right" displays both anti-Arab and anti-Jewish (but often pro-Israel) bias. Indeed, this is one of the few areas of public life in which these labels still carry weight.[11]"

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/16151

Posted by: ben on March 24, 2003 07:24 PM

It sickens me to think that so many Greens said, "Sure, Ralph, run for president. Gore will lose, but then the repubilcans will mess things up so bad, the nation will swing left." Well done! And while I'm at it shame on all who had the chance to redirect the tran-wreck that was Al Gore's campaign and failed to do so.

The difference between the present scenario and the one Brad suggested, with UN Security Council blessing for the war in Iraq, is simply a few votes in Florida, or a damn site fewer self-righteous Greens.

There are democrats out there who know how to think, know how to lead, and, yes, know how to get special interests together into a coalition to win a presidential election. After 8 years of power, the democrat constituencies lost their hunger for it, took it for granted, and let it slip away. Why didn't Gore say, "Bush wants to run the country like it doesn't need allies. That is directly counter to the American evangelism of democracy and capitalism, and it is a recipe for disaster in those parts of the world where America's motives are already suspect." Why didn't Al Gore say, "A budget surplus is a trust fund for the betterment of our common home: America. It is not something to be spent piecemeal on huge new SUVs, ski cabins, and shiny new gadets." Why didn't Al Gore say, "My opponent sees international treaties and nation-building as encumberances to a powerful America. I see them as our noble inheritance from and obligation to those honored Americans, now passed into history and the grave, who have striven long and hard to hand down to us both the greatest democracy and the greatest military power." Rhetoric is child's play; losing an election, well, that takes trained consultants. In the next election, take the damned kid gloves off, fight for it, and win.

Posted by: Paul O'Brien on March 24, 2003 10:00 PM

Dan,

I agree, you're not really a Stalinist, and I need to stop losing my temper and mouthing off like Ann Coulter or some other loose cannon. Please accept my apologies for my untoward behavior. But I must say that you are so blinkered by political partisanship that you can't see the extraordinary nobility of the way the US is acting. We are taking many extra causalities in order to avoid harming civilians. We are making every effort to keep the civilian infrastructure intact. We are not acting like crazed imperialists. US military doctors are treating Iraqi causalities on an equal basis with US causalities. Even if he wants to, Bush can not be not content with installing a pro-US dictator in Iraq. Given all the opposition, all the suspicion of US motives, he has to do the right thing for purely political reasons. Until a new Iraqi government if formed the US is obligated under international law to govern Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqi people, and I believe that we will do that.

Maybe it will all end in disaster - the best laid plans o' mice and men aft gang agley. All you can do is try your best and pray.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 24, 2003 10:14 PM

andres: Again my point is more limited. I did not claim (and have never claimed that) the French are anti-Semitic. For what it's worth my (completely unscientific) view on this is that French anti-Semitism is exaggerated by outsiders (e.g. in America) and underestimated by the French themselves. (Should I put "the French" in quotes?) It's sometimes easier to find fault with others than with self, in part because it's easier to ask others to correct their faults than it is to correct one's own.

"Evil" - a term you have introduced - is also much stronger than "bad", and I don't think many French (even Le Pen?) would go to this extreme.

Of course I cannot find any scientific evidence to back up what is "standard reasoning" among the French; it would only be anecdotal, commentaries and editorials in Le Monde or other newspapers, or discussions with other French. And I will concede to you that "standard" may be too strong; on reflection I shouldn't claim - and you are right in criticizing me - that every or most or even many French think like that (although fberthol was one!). I would be able to find poll data where the French tend to fault Israel more than the Palestinians, but you seem to reject this (no, there is no poll where the French are asked if Israel = bad).

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on March 25, 2003 01:10 AM

I apologize for losing my temper as well Joe. Now that we can discuss this civily - America should never fight a war without the use of overwhelming force ala Gulf War I. The simple fact that political realities must dictate the strategy of the war shows we shouldn't be there. If the threat were great enough politics would be irrelevant. And when I see our pow's on tv like that I think nobility is worth very little.

p.s. it wasn't me that you called a Stalinist.

Posted by: Dan on March 25, 2003 02:36 AM

Andrew--fair enough. My definition of anti-semitism is as follows: either you think all Jews are bad or evil (which may but doesn't have to include non-Jews with Jewish ancestors) or you believe that the government of Israel is bad or evil regardless of who is running it and for what purposes. Based on such a definition, I doubt anything even close to a majority of French people are anti-semitic and in fact only Arab countries and Iran, thanks to relentless government propaganda, have majority anti-semitic populations. Note that the majority of French people may hate Ariel Sharon, his policies, and what he stands for and they may even hate the ideology of the Likud party, but this alone does not make them anti-semitic, IMHO.

You may be right in that the French are more anti-semitic than they think they are, but that probably applies to most countries--there are too many neo-Nazi skinheads here and too many Jew-baiting hooligans in the UK for us to compare ourselves favorably with the French in this respect. Where the French have a serious problem, I suspect, is that there are too many North African immigrants in France who have had anti-semitic attitudes drilled into them by their previous governments. France might need to pass hate crimes laws (though I would personally disagree: hate crime laws only serve to drive such hatred under the surface in the long run) , but the slowness with which such laws are being enacted here in the U.S. leaves us little space to criticize France in that regard.

Posted by: andres on March 25, 2003 08:40 AM

Yes. American troops are acting and will act in a noble way. What I can not understand is why we went to war? Why are our soldiers in Iraq? The answers have made no sense for months.

Posted by: bill on March 25, 2003 10:33 AM

This is the stirring pep talk to his troops by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins of 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment before going into Iraq.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag, which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them. There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory. Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.

You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don’t treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you. If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves.”

To his 800 men - an arm of the 16 Air Assault Brigade - he said: “It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive but there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign. We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow. The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.”

He said: “It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly. I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them. If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family. The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.”

He warned the troops not to get carried away in the heat of battle. “If you harm the regiment or its history by over enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer. You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.”

Warning that the troops were very likely to face chemical or biological weapons, he said: “It is not a question of if, it’s a question of when. We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself. If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.”

His closing words were resolute: “As for ourselves, let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there. Our business now is north.”

Posted by: Joe Willingham on March 25, 2003 03:19 PM

This is already a very long thread. I have two points. It might be safe to assume that Shroeder and Chirac are cynical politicians because they are politicians, but it is not reasonable to assume that no one could sincerely believe what they said -- that a UN approved invasion would be, on balance, a bad thing. I sincerely believe that even though I don't want German votes and definitely don't want France to take the US down a peg.

Second the idea of 10 yes 2 vetoes and 3 abstentions is pure fantasy. The Bushies get on my nerves, but 10 yes and 3 abstentions is beyond the pleasure principal. Note one of the abstentions is Germany and another is Syria. Fat chance.

Note among the 10 must be Pakistan and Chile. A yes from Chile is highly implausible.

A yes from Pakistan is potentially undesirable. Recall thousands of Pakistanis went to Afganistan to fight for the Taliban. Pakistan is at risk of an Islamic revolution. Pakistan has the bomb. It's better to go against the will of the Security council than to press Musharraf (sp?) into voting yes.

I actually think (really honestly) that it is better this way. I think a yes vote of the majority on the Security council would have made the master narrative that the security council is the lackey of the US president, that is, reduced the perceived legitimacy of the security council not increased the perceived legitimacy of the invasion.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 26, 2003 06:50 PM

Got a unanimous Security Council vote on 1441, and Saddam Hussein is one truly scary dude. My bet is that letting the inspections process roll forward would have produced enough to drive the Security Council to the point of agreeing that something had to be done...

And if there were no WMDs--if the inspections process didn't turn up anything--that would be OK too, wouldn't it (for everyone except the Iraqis, that is)?

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 26, 2003 07:09 PM

Even if of the left, this site is usually at least cognizant of reality compared to the rest of the Dem party. Somewhere you guys got lost in the vapor on this one. One simple fact got us into war now and will keep us rolling up these guys(North Korea, Iran, Africa)like pirates. It takes the resources of a nation-state to build WMD. Eventually (within the span of a sitting president not some long term out years scenario), one of these would take out an American city and probably not Berkeley. Choice a) risk losing city sitting behind paper and the UN or b) take action now and take out the nations that can build these things and install functional governments hooking them into the larger world picture. Chioce B is a no-brainer. We will lose a lot less people in these wars now, than waiting for that bomb to go off. The biggest flaw is that none of these places have the social fabric to support a functional government. The commitment is going to be much longer than anyone is saying right now. Looking at least at generation to build and educate a real functional government that isn't going to jump at the first strong man who comes along. That is the real problem, not the war itself.

Posted by: Mark Brown on March 27, 2003 02:17 PM

Just a comment regarding US (government) dissaproval of people disagreeing with the war its contradictory like hell. Just look at how radio stations stopped playing the Dixie Chicks, and how ppl should boycott watching FOX cause they are against the war. The Bush administration is forgetting the very essance of their country, in the core of the American Constitution. Freedom of speech, what ever happened to it. What it doesn't apply to a post 9/11 world. Get over it! 9/11 has happened and is done, the American constitution lived on through a fucking civil war but it cant get past a terrorist attack where the number of ppl who died is so small compared to the civil war that its inconsequential. Not to mention that was on its americans vs. americans. The Bush Administration needs to look back in history and realize that yes they are running the USA not some new country. To go against the consitution is to go against the country and its ideals. Bush is the worst damn president of all-time. Bring back Clinton!

Posted by: Spencer on April 6, 2003 11:17 AM

Just a comment regarding US (government) dissaproval of people disagreeing with the war its contradictory like hell. Just look at how radio stations stopped playing the Dixie Chicks, and how ppl should boycott watching FOX cause they are against the war. The Bush administration is forgetting the very essance of their country, in the core of the American Constitution. Freedom of speech, what ever happened to it. What it doesn't apply to a post 9/11 world. Get over it! 9/11 has happened and is done, the American constitution lived on through a fucking civil war but it cant get past a terrorist attack where the number of ppl who died is so small compared to the civil war that its inconsequential. Not to mention that was on its americans vs. americans. The Bush Administration needs to look back in history and realize that yes they are running the USA not some new country. To go against the consitution is to go against the country and its ideals. Bush is the worst damn president of all-time. Bring back Clinton!

Posted by: Spencer on April 6, 2003 11:18 AM
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