November 14, 2003

Why Are We Ruled by These Liars? Part CCXXV

Michael Kinsley concludes that Bush did not mean a word of his speech about democracy.

Posted by DeLong at November 14, 2003 12:03 PM | TrackBack


I'm always a bit bemused when people refer to supporters of neocon foreign policy positions as "Wilsonians." One might think, from our current rhetoric, that Wilson, noting that the Germans had inadequate popular representation in their government (with royal control of the executive branch, IIRC), should be liberated, and decided to launch an invasion of Germany on that basis.

Well, whatever.

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 14, 2003 12:18 PM


Please forgive the above post, feel free to erase. I copied it by foolish chance from another poster's Blog.

Posted by: lise on November 14, 2003 12:40 PM


I'm also amused, more generally that Wilson's name is used in any respectful sense. He's the jerk who introduced Jim Crow into the Federal bureaucracy.

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on November 14, 2003 12:59 PM


But Peggy Noonan says it was a great speech. But then again she was the one who wrote Reagan's speeches that tried to tell us that long-term fiscal stimulus would lead to more savings, investment, and growth.

Posted by: Hal McClure on November 14, 2003 01:09 PM



American soldiers 262
British soldiers 20
Coalition soldiers 22
304 Since May 2

American 401
British 53
Coalition 22
476 Since March 20


American soldiers ~2318 Since March 20

Note: American forces have fallen to 130,000
British forces have risen to 11,000

Posted by: lise on November 14, 2003 01:30 PM


"freedom is worth fighting for, dying for, and standing for"

so basically freedom is worth becoming a member of the undead for. hell who am I trying to kid, if it was cool undead like Vampires then I would be willing to do it for a can of pringles (although what I would do with them as a member of the Undead I'm not certain). What I worry about is finding out that the type of undead I'll become for freedom is a zombie, I really wish he would have clarified what kind of thing we would stand as after dying. typical bush vacuity damn it.

Posted by: bryan on November 14, 2003 01:43 PM


It was the Comintern, or should that be Condi-intern, phrase that caught my attention. Mighty Werlizer(sp?) = Comintern?

Posted by: dilbert dogbert on November 14, 2003 03:15 PM


If Kinsley's piece could really be debunked by Sullivan, as the chickenshit claims, Kinsley's piece would be a wretched piece of work indeed.

Posted by: Zizka on November 14, 2003 06:09 PM


The reason why Sullivan debunked Kinsley is: (1)he fails to acknowledge or even mention 9/11 as THE reason for Bush's policy reversal, and (2) Kinsley explicitly and erronously states that this is the first time Bush mentioned democracy, freedom and Iraq. Bush has made the link in the past, in his speech at the AEI in Febuary. Moreover, this is the focal point of the neo-cons foreign policy and has been repeadetly stated by them. The neo-cons think people flourish in democracy. When people thrive they don't support terrorists. This is the issue. So instead of ad hominem attacks on Peggy Noonan perhaps the enlightened readers of this blog can actually address the substantive policy assertions raised by Bush and the neo-cons and explain why they are wrong (or right)?

Posted by: jk on November 14, 2003 06:49 PM



I think we'd know democracy if we saw it.

No one here is foolish enough to take your bait and talk about "the substantive policy assertions raised by Bush and the neo-cons", because everyone knows that what they say has nothing to do with what they believe. What is going on in Iraq has nothing to do with Iraq, and everything to do with the factional struggle here at home. No Republican thinks of anything except civil war and sending a hundred million "liberals" to gas chambers. They have spent a generation publicly and explicitly demanding our deaths: don't expect us to fail to notice that, or to overlook it, or to rationalize it, or to forget it, or to forgive it.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on November 14, 2003 07:50 PM


me & jk: Sullivan did not debunk Kinsley at all. First, the neo-cons are not about democracy, since they supported Reagan's Central American policy. You seem to forget that the USA supported rightwing dictators who systematically went around their countries killing people and filling up unmarked graves (hmmm, who does that remind you of?). Oh the Serbs -- who the neo-cons thought we should lay off of simply to oppose Clinton on anything, well, Clinton. (Further, do not forget, William Kristol -- the dark prince of the neo-cons -- with a straight face, repeatedly on national television, used to, and I'm not kidding, advocate Dan Quail as the singular leader to take this country into the new millenium. So, just on that basis alone, I must regard anything from the neo-cons as suspect at best.) This is all about Isreal and helping Ariel Sharon. All the neo-cons and their mouth piece William Safire are decidesly pro Sharon. 9/11 became an inconvenience because it forced the Bush Administration to go after Afghanistan first. It never wanted to deal with bin Laden. They all but ignored Clinton's transition team which tried to inform them about the seriousness of the bin Laden threat. (This is the real reason why Bushy won't really cooperate with the 9/11 investigation, because it will come out very clearly and not in a way to be credibly laid at the feet of the CIA (Plame affair being the opening salvo in the CIA's defense.) The neo-cons announced their intentions when they wrote to Clinton demanding that he take Saddam out. Now they are in and they had an agenda. First, they had to sit on the side until the tax cuts went threw. That satiated the rapid nutty right. However, while they were sitting back, hatching their plans, Osama and his boys did their nutty murderous stunt. At that point no one would forgive Bush, myself included, if he did not try to whack Osama. So they had to go after the Taliban. But while they were doing that they saw 9/11 as an excuse to put their Iraq domino theory in place. Further, 9/11 became a great cover for the neo-cons. Most Americans, in my opinion, would not support these adventures. This became a great cover to get the ball rolling and force escalation (look how they tried to provoke Syria at the outset of the occupation of Iraq). I do not believe for one minute that this has anything to do with building democracy in the Middle East. Given their past history with proping up right wing dictators and their imposition of an anointed puppet (Chalabi) I think it was their intention to topple Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Lybia and scare the bejesus out of the Saudis so that the neocons could control these countries so that they would not be a threat to Sharon's vision for Isreal. Oh, and at the same time, securing lots and lots of work for Halliburton, etc. So, in the end Kinsley is correct. Bush ran on the platform of no nation building. Bush is now absolutely about face on this policy. Further, given the position he is now in: no Mullah Omar (and the Taliban getting stronger every day), no Osama, no Saddam, no WMD, NO END OF THE WAR despite his pants stuffing publicity stunt (I thought he was the President not the bassist for Spinal Tap), he has nowhere to go but to pander to the nutty right wing element of the Republican party about democracy. One thing I find curious is how all these guys simply assume that a country like Iraq will write a constitution and hold an election and everything will be hunky dory. What if the democratically elected congress of Iraq passes a law that says "We are perpetually at war with Isreal until the Palastinians have their own state." That could happen. What will we do? Over throw the government? Bush is stuck in this position. Kinsley called him on it. Me & Jk's defense of Bush and Sullivan is weak, in my humble opinion. Oh, and by the way, how self hating can Sullivan be to lick at the boots of Bush and his administration given their absolute disdain for homosexuals when Sullivan purports to be a proud gay man. He acts more like a guy with a crush on Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brother catalogue models, doing and saying anything to catch an eye and some attention, than a critical thinker.

Posted by: Cal on November 14, 2003 09:04 PM


"(1)he fails to acknowledge or even mention 9/11 as THE reason for Bush's policy reversal,"

When has Bush acknowledged he had reversed policy? when has Bush offered an explicit argument for why "nation building" was an absurdity before 9/11 but a necessity after it? According to Kinsley, the answer to both questions is "never," and that's the basis of Kinsley's criticism. Is he wrong? If so, where are the Bush quotes to show it? If not, Sullivan hasn't refuted Kinsley.

"(2) Kinsley explicitly and erronously states that this is the first time Bush mentioned democracy, freedom and Iraq."

No he doesn't. He says that "our current military adventure in Iraq... was sold to the country on totally non-Wilsonian grounds." Saying Kinsley is wrong because we can find a speech in which Bush said it would be a good thing if Iraq were democratic is absurd. Bush never said we needed to fight, or that we should fight, in order to bring democracy to Iraq. That was the bonus he occasionally promised, but it wasn't ever the selling point.

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on November 15, 2003 03:09 AM


"First, the neo-cons are not about democracy, since they supported Reagan's Central American policy."

They did? Huh. Do you know what a "neocon" actually is?

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on November 15, 2003 04:18 AM


A neoconservative is someone:

1) who subordinates the real and vital interests of the United States to the imagined interests of one faction of a foreign country;

2) who seeks to overthrow the constitution of the United States in the pursuit of point 1) above;

3) who has formed a tactical alliance with two totalitarian mass movements in the United States, each of which depsises him and everything he believes in.

Shall I go on? I can go on, and say many more things, too true to be bitter, too true to be malicious, but yet so vile that any sane and decent person would be struck blind upon reading them.

Uncorking bottles that had best been left corked seems to be a favorite right-wing pastine these days; the best we can do is try to make sure that the corks hit them in the eye as often as possible.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on November 15, 2003 06:37 AM


If this is all just another sad case of the deluded hatemonger Kinsley making up things about his bete noire Bush, it should be easy to refute his actual argument which was (again):

Bush's speech enshrines goals which he previously, conspicuously, either dismissed or at least severely downplayed;

Bush never acknowledged this change; and

Bush never explained what necessitated this change.

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on November 15, 2003 07:31 AM


Frank, that's not what a "neocon" is. "Neocon" has a specific definition, mostly as it pertains to foreign policy. Most of the people in this administration are not neocons. They are a significant faction in this administration. But Bush is not, in fact, a "neocon". Neither is Cheney, really. I dunno. Are people assuming neocon tranlates literally into "that bunch of new conservatives"? Or what? Primarily, "neocon" is associated with, for example, Wolfowitz. Neocons really are interested in promoting so-called "American values". They're sort of naive idealists. Contrast them to the "realpolitik" interventionist Kissinger-style conservatives, or the isolationist Buchanon-style conservatives. I suppose that Bush is in some ways a neocon—I think he's attracted to that a sort of naive conservatism, as was Reagan. But he, like Reagan, isn't that ideologically coherent. Bush's beliefs and affiliations are more about personalities and relationships than they are anything else. Cheney, I think, is almost certainly in the "realpolitik" mold of foreign policy. Powell is certainly *not* a neocon, just as Bush 41 isn't. Rumsfeld isn't a neocon, either.

In fact, we'd be much better off in many ways had the neocons had more influence in this administration than they did. The neocons really do believe in "nation building", and would have dedicated resources to it. I'm not agreeing with their geoplitical strategy or view---far from it--but I think that the current catastrophe in Iraq is directly the product of the fact that there are several different factions in this administration who supported an invasion of Iraq for distinctly different reasons. And while their interests converged on an invasion, they diverged strongly on the issues of occupation and reconstruction. So we got this poorly-planned mess.

I'm just tired of "neocon" being thrown around in a way that dilutes its meaning.

Posted by: Keith M Ellis on November 15, 2003 07:47 AM


Hehe...Andrew Sullivan's "rebuttal" is quite amusing, if only because he doesn't seem to understand what he is saying. He states that the United States *was* supporting regimes that oppressed Muslims before 9/11, but that after 9/11 it realized it had to change this policy and promote democractic governments in the Middle East. So he is literally saying that Al Qaeda was correct, that the US was helping oppress Muslims pre-9/11, and that the Sept. 11 attacks were necessary in order for the US to realize the errors in its ways. Therefore, by his own logic, 9/11 should be viewed as a sort of Muslim Independence Day, Al Qaeda actually *is* a band of freedom fighters, and Osama Bin Laden is a hero! Wow, this guy makes Al Jazeera sound like an American propaganda station...

Posted by: no, me! on November 15, 2003 11:06 AM


Elliott Abrams played a major role in Reagan's Central America policy, and he's often identified as a neoconservative.

Posted by: Zizka on November 15, 2003 03:38 PM


Why did my post get deleted?

Posted by: me on November 16, 2003 05:26 PM


Of course it was all bunk... did you notice where he gave it? This place isn't real.

Posted by: Josh Narins on November 17, 2003 04:48 AM


Of course it was all bunk... did you notice where he gave it? This place isn't real.

Posted by: Josh Narins on November 17, 2003 04:58 AM



Kinsley's saying what a bunch of us have thought since 1999 -- there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between Gore and Bush to begin with. Both were sons who inherited, rather than merited, power, and that power from rather undistinguished power-dads. Both slid thru Ivy League schools via favoritism. Both would say anything, during campaigning, that appealed to their respective "base"-es. And both would respond to 2001 world events using the intelligence developed between GulfWarI and
9/11 and the military force structure and weapons systems developed that same decade. Unless one supposes that Gore was uniquely able to, and could have, laid a wet sloppy "Freedom kiss" and some diplomatic Viagra on Jacques Chirac and like "allies" -- that would have somehow given the UN the moral and military potency to become a player -- the options would remain:

1)Let Saddam continue supporting terrorists and killing his own citizens, or

2) Take him down via military action, with whatever allies might be mustered.

Gore was on record in FAVOR of Kinsley's "Nation Building". So, like, tell me, how much difference between the two 2000 candidates and the 2003 war can I buy for, maybe, ELEVEN cents?

Posted by: Pouncer on November 17, 2003 06:29 AM


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