Scripting News for 10/11/2006

Reality-check time: Iraq is having a civil war. Saddam Hussein was holding Iraq together. When Bush says Iraq is better off without him, he’s wrong. When he says we’re better off without him, considering the cost to the US in lives, money, and distraction, he’s wrong about that too. BTW, I’m not a Democrat and I’m not running for office.  

It just occurred to me that the US would be better off without Mr Bush. Iraq would be better off too. Ask any Iraqi if you don’t believe me.  

And, if we weren’t stuck in Iraq we could be totally focused on rebuilding New Orleans, an American city, where Americans lost their homes, where Americans lost their lives. What utter dysfunction that we goes on with such a huge disconnect hanging over us. Iraq isn’t America. Why are we fucking around in Iraq again? 

NY Times: “Mr Lott, a Republican and former majority leader, is one of thousands of homeowners on the Gulf Coast who have been fighting with their insurers over payments for damage in Hurricane Katrina.” 

Josh Marshall: “They ditched an imperfect but working policy. They replaced it with nothing. Now North Korea is a nuclear state.” 

CNN: “War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis or more than 500 people a day since the U.S.-led invasion, a new study reports.” 

News.com: “Notes version 7.0.2 adds support for RSS.” 

The Mets have an RSS feed. The NLCS begins tonight. Let’s go Mets! 

A little bird landed on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. “Tweet tweet. Psssst. Hello Dave. I have a rumor for you from an anonymous source.” My ears perked up. I always listen when a bird says this to me. “I heard that Nick Douglas is leaving Valleywag to do a web video show with one of the big video producers.” Interesting! From my ear to your eyeballs. :-) 

Bush’s America 

When I hear that Bush is planning on invading Iran I think of how well it went with Iraq.

In our form of government it’s possible for a near-majority to be part of a country whose values no longer even remotely reflect their values. My America would never attack another country unless the provocation was severe and the threat was dire. However, in my lifetime we have gone to war over and over (not just in Iraq) with countries that had not provoked us and where the threat was not dire.

If I lived outside the US I would hate this country. Now, ironically, I feel like I live outside the US.

This feeling came home when, in the midst of the Foley scandal, the President, all alone, tried his schoolyard bully act on the Democrats, again. This time it was so obvious that the Democrats couldn’t possibly be the problem. He’s up there advertising his bravado, his manhood, and attacking the Dems because of their “soft side.” Of course this is calculated, and it’s so close to sexism that it has to be sexism. Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton do have their soft sides, I’m sure. But being tough, mindlessly tough the way Bush is, is far from what we need now. There is hope for the US because he is so naked, so alone, his approach so failed, even the Christian fundamentalists can see it now. Yes, you want to have a person with morals with his finger on the button. And no, the Republicans we elected are not those people.

I said this after the 2004 election, when I was living in Seattle and on my way to living in semi-rural Florida, the war is between Bush’s evildoers and the good folk, except his enemy lives in the minds of American cities, in educated people who care about and think about the future. His philosophy asks people to think with their emotions, to ignore what they see and believe what he wants us to believe. I wasn’t raised that way.

If you recall, early in the Bush presidency they boasted that they weren’t reality-based, and they were being remarkably honest. But eventually we have to get back to reality. A person who smokes for 30 years eventualy has to deal with the disease it causes. A country that attacks and attacks and attacks, with real weapons and occupying armies, will have to deal with the humiliation that inevitably follows. We ran from Vietnam, who doesn’t think we will run from Iraq too?

In Bush’s vision for America it’s a sign of weakness to question his judgment. That was not the vision the founders had, and there’s no reason the rest of us should accept this.

His rhetorical tricks are simple. If I say you complain a lot, then I can do whatever I want, and if you complain, I just point my finger and laugh — See I was right! Everyone has a good laugh, and we ignore whether there was cause to complain. This kind of slop is creeping into discourse everywhere, the cultural influence of Bush Republicanism is going to live long after he is history. But that kind of discourse isn’t going to dig us out of the hole he put us in.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jake on October 11, 2006 at 8:35 am

    I think you’re giving Bush Republicanism too much credit for altering the style of discourse everywhere.

    I’d hardly call anything that they do a new trick in rhetoric.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jeff VanDyke on October 11, 2006 at 8:47 am

    > When I hear that Bush is planning on invading Iran

    Do you have a link or reference to substantiate this claim?

    > In our form of government it’s possible for a near-majority to be part of a
    > country whose values no longer even remotely reflect their values.

    This complaint is heard from people from all sides of the political spectrum. The USA isn’t a pure democracy – it is a federalist system that seems to provide a pretty good balance between majority decision and minority rights.

    On that note, two thoughts:
    1) Complaining about lack of ‘majority rule’ merely propetuates the ongoing Democrat party error of ignoring the center of the country. Instead of complaining about majority rule, you should investigate how to win over ‘red states’. Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy may have its flaws, but it at least acknowledges that the government is a federalist system that requires wining more than the coastal states.

    2) I’ll repeat that the invasion of Iraq was approved by a majority in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Your disagreement with the decision to invade Iraq thus applies to *both* political parties.

    > However, in my lifetime we have gone to war over and over (not just in Iraq)
    > with countries that had not provoked us and where the threat was not dire.

    Define “provoked”? Define “dire”? I think these concepts are difficult to apply – not only now, but in the past:
    * FDR sending military aid to Europe in WWII prior to Pearl Harbor?
    * Truman defending South Korea in the Korean War?
    * JFK and the Bay of Pigs invasion?
    * JFK and the Cuban Missle Crisis?
    * JFK sending Green Beret “Special Advisors” to South Vietnam?
    * Johnson escalation of military action in Vietnam?
    * Carter failed Operation Eagle Claw attempt to rescue Iran hostages?
    * Clinton deploying of military force to Haiti in 1994 to restore democratic rule?
    * Clinton ordered missile attacks on sites in Afghanistan and Sudan following bin laden’s terrorist attacks?
    * Clinton agreeing to support NATO bombings of a fellow European country in the Balkins War?

    Which of the above (if any) do you consider to meet your litmus test of “provoked” and “dire”? Any of them?

    Reply

  3. Posted by elle on October 11, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Jeff VanDyke

    Sounds like you’re following talking points memos.

    Despite what the administration would like you to think, Congress did not vote to invade Iraq. Congress authorized the President “to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary”.

    While the difference between voting to invade Iraq and voting to give the President the authorization to use force as he sees fit may seem subtle, it’s an important point. Congress basically chose to delegate its constitutional responsibility over the decision to go to war to the President.

    Because of this, the administration is responsible for the current morass in Iraw. The resolution of Congress was based on phony information that the administration promoted, including the discredited notions that Iraq was behind 9/11 and that they were developing nuclear bombs to drop on us. The decision to use force was also the administration’s. The decisions to use smaller forces than the Pentagon recommended, not to plan for expected insurgencies, and not to get out of Iraq once the “mission accomplished” banner was hung were all the administrations.

    If you want to pin blame on the Congress, it should be for its failure to uphold its constitutional responsibilities.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Jake on October 11, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    It’s hard to believe that over 75 people per day, every day, for the last 1,000 days have been killed by car bombs in Iraq.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Will Donahue on October 11, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Dave:
    You were talking about Rep. Mark Foley a couple of posts ago, did you see this Mark Foley video over at the Huffington Post?
    http://tape.cf.huffingtonpost.com/
    Thought you might enjoy it.
    Best,
    Will

    Reply

  6. Posted by Stefan Constantinescu on October 11, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    While I too dislike the fact that we are in Iraq I have to disagree with you on New Orleans.

    When I heard about the tragedy I felt quite awful, then when I saw the images on television where the entire city was underwater, I felt even more horrible.

    But seeing people stealing shirts, sneakers, dvd’s, and playstation 2 games by the shopping cart full made me say “fuck em”

    You give me reasons why you think we should rebuild a city. What respobsibilty do we have to them? All the rich voting white people moved the fuck out and started their lives somewhere else. Now all you have left are black people complaining about how the government hasn’t given them money yet.

    Reply

  7. @Stefan,

    Just to be clear, you think every non-white person without lots of money was out stealing dvd’s and playstations. And to be more clear your message to every non-white person who doesn’t have the ability to leave and start over is: “fuck em”.

    Yikes.

    Ever heard of compassion and the non-politicized duty just to help people? It’s not them that should be fuck’d maybe it’s you.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Stefan Constantinescu on October 11, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    so you put them up in hotels for 4 months on uncle sams bank, then give them debit cards just to find out they spent it on gambling, strippers, and alcohol?

    then they have the nerve to complain and say we didn’t do enough?

    at that point, yes fuck them.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Diego on October 11, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    “It just occurred to me that the US would be better off without Mr Bush. Iraq would be better off too. Ask any Iraqi if you don’t believe me.”

    As would numerous other countries. For example, here in Australia, our Prime Minister is so far up… um.. so far in Bush’s pocket it’s not funny. Too many countries are the US’s lapdogs. More should stand up to them and say no, we’re not following you in to war. There are just causes and then there are corrupt ones. This is the latter. I applaud our neighbor New Zealand for saying no numerous times over the years.

    Now, this is not an anti-US sentiment. Not even close. Simply an anti-Bush one. Anti-stupid governments. The quicker you guys get rid of that clown Bush, the better. Please, do it for planet.

    Reply

  10. “If I lived outside the US I would hate this country. Now, ironically, I feel like I live outside the US.”

    The other countries don’t hate the US, they hate your government. A few years ago [1], you said “You can’t like us and not like our government, and vice versa.” You sure have made a 180° turn since then, and the UN resolution 1441. To your credit, you’re now in the right direction, at last.

    By the way, France says “hi” :)

    [1] http://www.scripting.com/2003/03/06.html#goingToWar

    Reply

  11. It JUST occurred to you?

    Reply

  12. Posted by Jeff VanDyke on October 12, 2006 at 4:42 am

    > NY Times: “Mr Lott, a Republican and former majority leader, is one of thousands of homeowners on the Gulf Coast who have been fighting with their insurers over payments for damage in Hurricane Katrina.”

    IMHO, Mr. Lott’s lawsuit is largely sour grapes. Even if the lawsuit *is* justified, Mr. Lott only has a claim and thus a seat at the plaintiff table because he bought an insurance policy in the first place.

    Earthquake insurance: Unless you can afford the loss of your home, then buy the earthquake insurance. With a policy, your best case is prompt payment and your worst case is a seat at the plaintiff table. Without a policy, your best case is a federal bailout and your worst case is nothing. I’d personally buy the policy unless I had the wealth (or political influence I suppose) to make it not necessary.

    > Saddam Hussein was holding Iraq together. When Bush says Iraq is better off without him, he’s wrong. …

    This is the “strong man” argument that says that certain countries require a dictatorship to hold them together. This has certainly been a USA policy in the past with some notable disasters including Saddam himself, Manuel Noriega in Panama, The Shah in Iran, etc.

    My problem with the “strong man” argument is that it has a racist undertone that suggests that some cultures/peoples are incapable of supporting democratic systems and must be “held together” via a dictatorship.

    The Bush doctrine argues that these countries and people would be better served by democracy. Obviously the issue is not just idealogy (democracy is good) but implementation (nation building is tough).

    > BTW, I’m not a Democrat and I’m not running for office.

    That’s fine. I’m conversing to provide an alternative viewpoint to sweeping generalizations. Especially ones that use the word such as “all” or “any” such as “Ask any Iraqi” or “All of a sudden these Republican assholes are all about love! Hahaaa. That’s a good joke. Republicans and love. Give me a fuckin break.”
    http://scripting.wordpress.com/2006/10/01/scripting-news-for-1012006/#comments

    Reply

  13. Posted by Robert Dewey on October 12, 2006 at 5:48 am

    If you think Saddam was better off in power, talk to my friend who was a native from Iraq… Ask him what happened to his uncle for trying to leave the country. While you’re at it, ask him what happened with his 16 and 18 year old cousins. Let’s just say that the “beheadings” over in Iraq are tame compared to what happened to these people. I’ll spare you the rest of the details, and hope that’s enough for you to flip your perspective on Saddam being such a good leader.

    Again, I can’t stress how dissapointed I am that you even said that. Saddam was like satan over there… Sure he held the country together, but he tortured tons of people simply because of their beliefs. If you think someone like that should have stayed in power, accepting the fact that he tortured innocent people, then you are no better of a person.

    Reply

  14. With a war going on in Iraq and with Iran next door moving steadily toward a nuclear bomb that could change the course of world history in the hands of international terrorists, the question for this year’s elections is not whether you or your candidate is a Democrat or a Republican but whether you are serious or frivolous.

    Thomas Sowell – October 10, 2006

    Reply

  15. Posted by Stan on October 15, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    This just occurred to you? It occurred to me when he stole the election in 2000. It occurred to me when he announced a radical new strike-first American foreign policy. It occurred to me when he made Colin Powell lie to the UN. It occurred to me when he invaded a sovereign nation that was not a threat to the US. It occurred to me when he endeavored to legitimize torture methods outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, endangering our soldiers in this conflict and ones in the future.

    Congratulations on your sudden acquisition of wisdom.

    Reply

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