May 5 Sources - What is Neocon Foreign Policy?

Good articles in this week’s sources are U.S. Foreign Policy: Explaining the Debate, outlining the evolution of a neocon foreign policy and Less Talk, More Cash, which compares what countries promise and what they really give. Hint: the U.S. pays up. Europeans (except a few, mostly Scandinavians) don’t. There is also a good look at Saddam’s Delusions. The more we learn about Saddam, the better we understand the rationale for Iraq.

Other Sources

Air Pollution and Health
America Against the World
Fairly Hated
Forging a U.S.-British Coalition to End Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program
Information Markets
Less Talk, More Cash
Saddam’s Delusions: The View From the Inside
U.S. Foreign Policy: Explaining the Debate
When Our Allies Arm our Adversaries: What to do When Diplomacy Fails
Will White Evangelicals Desert the GOP

Posted by Jack at May 5, 2006 11:53 PM
Comment #145821

Jack, if human suffering is the standard by which we measure who to invade, there were other nations far more worthy of invasion. Looking for rationalization after the fact, just doesn’t fly.

Nor is human suffering by and of itself justification for war which inevitably creates as much if not more death and suffering. How many Iraqi’s did Saddam kill? How many have died as a result of our decision to invade? See what I mean? Why did our Americans have to die to replicate the suffering caused by Saddam in power?

They want freedom as bad today as when Saddam was in power. Only now their desire for freedom is from us and aftermath we created their by invading.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #145825


I was not thinking humanitarian. If you read the article you find a very unstable leader, who IS maintaining the capacity to build WMD and just waiting for the chance to disrupt the region and hurt the U.S.

You also see a regime that is firmly in power and unlikely to change any time soon.

In other words, you see a significant risk for a long time to come.

Posted by: Jack at May 6, 2006 12:41 AM
Comment #145826

Jack, I think you need to come to terms with the fact that neocon foreign policy can best be defined as a nearly total lack of diplomacy.

Posted by: Zeek at May 6, 2006 12:44 AM
Comment #145828


Did you read the article?

Posted by: Jack at May 6, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #145834


You are the liberal relativist that my mother warned me about.

We ARE the good guys. We ARE fighting the good fight. Our sacrifices are being made so that others can achieve what our great nation has achieved. I am at peace with that. I am sorry that you are unable to have a good guy in your life’s story. That’s a sad place to be.

Posted by: Bruce at May 6, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #145835

What is going on with Republicans and gay hookers?

No one in the red column will raise this topic, but it seems worth discussing. After all, the upcoming election will undoubtedly see issues near and dear to the social conservatives once again becoming a focus. Last election, coming out in favor of a constitutional amendment preventing homosexual marriage worked like a charm. Will it be an option this time?

Will it work again, given the prediliction of Republican politicians for gay hookers?

Personally, the ‘gay’ in ‘gay hookers’ should be irrevelevant, don’t you agree? But given election dynamics, the faux moral righteousness of some, and even the occasional homophobia of a few among the right’s base, I suppose the gay aspect of gay hookers should be considered.

I’m not talking about Jeff Gannon- you know, the gay hooker who pretended to be a reporter, and was actually called on by the Press Secretary. Although Jeff Gannon made dozens of unexplained visits to the White House unrelated to press conferences, well, that’s just another White House secret, eh?

Personally, I’m not particularly offended by hookers, gay or straight. Prostitution is considered a sin by some- again, there’s that election dynamic and the nature of the Republican base to consider- but let’s move past the gay versus straight hooker portion of the discussion, and on to the meat of this matter.

What is it with Republican congressman partying with gay hookers in exchange for votes & contracts?

Can anyone from the red column explain this?

I don’t care about the sexual orientation of Duke Cunningham or Porter Goss or Duncan Hunter (R-CA) or Jerry Lewis (R-CA). I’m not particularly offended if they partook of hookers, gay or straight. For those who felt so offended by Clinton’s sexual conduct, they’ll have to make their own judgments on this matter.

It’s all rumor, of course. But it’s swirling around various sites, in particular the name of Goss, and his sudden resignaton seems hilariously coincidental. A turf war with Negroponte, & Goss defending the CIA’s honor? What a hoot. Supposedly there are pictures. I wonder how much evidence of bribery exists? It seems Goss’s personal appointment to the #3 position at the CIA is deeply incriminated.

Posted by: phx8 at May 6, 2006 1:51 AM
Comment #145838

Jack, our own intelligence community confirmed from a high ranking official that Saddam had ordered the WMD destroyed after the Gulf war in 1991. On top of that intelligence, we confirmed that he had no WMD nor equipment or installations to create nuclear weapons, and the biolabs turned out to be weather baloon vans.

So, no, he was not a threat to us. We were a greater threat to Middle East stability than Saddam ever was after we kicked his ass out of Kuwait. Them’s the facts, you can keep trying to justify your party’s leader’s actions, but, they will always boil down to this, the American people no longer believe your party’s leader and know as polls show, that Iraq was a mistake that just kept growing and growing faster than the Everyready Bunny.

But, by all means, keep the spin and irrational justification search going. You may at least find a few folks to comfort with them, but, the majority of Americans feel betrayed and they aren’t going to forget that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2006 3:06 AM
Comment #145839

Bruce, I doubt you know what you are talking about. I am more conservative than anyone in the WhiteHouse. And 64% of conservatives agree with me and not Bush on fiscal policies. Might want to be careful about throwing those liberal labels around at anyone who speaks words you don’t like. Can make you look foolish if you don’t check out who you throwing the labels at first.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2006 3:08 AM
Comment #145840

BTW, the good guy in my life is named Siddhartha. If yours is Bush, you have my deepest empathy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2006 3:10 AM
Comment #145851
” …a very unstable leader, who IS maintaining the capacity to build WMD and just waiting for the chance to disrupt …”
Sounds like Bush to me. Posted by: texxs at May 6, 2006 6:47 AM
Comment #145852
We ARE the good guys. We ARE fighting the good fight
I think you’d better re-evaluate what GOOD means, cause we ain’t it! Posted by: texxs at May 6, 2006 6:49 AM
Comment #145854

Jack, you forgot “America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy” by the pre-eminent neocon thinker, Francis Fukuyama. And you should also throw in “Dark Victory” by Jeffrey Record of the US Army’s War College.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 6, 2006 7:18 AM
Comment #145856

Cover of Time magazine 2008

“Iraqi woman wearing full burka”

Posted by: OZ at May 6, 2006 7:25 AM
Comment #145857

BTW, once again, you’ve drawn almost exclusively from right wing organizations like the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Institute of World Politics.

Right Wing Echo Chamber? Incestuous Amplification? Call it whatever you want, but it results in insular thinking.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 6, 2006 7:30 AM
Comment #145867


Based on what I read in your post, you appear to be a relativist of the first order. I merely assumed your were a liberal based on the position I believe you were taking.

In addition, saying you are more conservative than anyone in the White House doesn’t make you a conservative. 64% of the people in that poll you mentioned realize that President Bush can’t be considered anything but a fiscal liberal when you don’t own a veto stamp.

Posted by: Bruce at May 6, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #145869

I am a conservative type guy, so I tend to think conservative sources are more likely to be accurate. Anyway Pew and Foreign Policy are not particularly conservative, so 30% of the sources this week are not conservative. Each week I also look at Brookings and Harris among others. “Liberal” think tanks tend to be soft.

The liberal thinker tend to spend their time trying to show that Bush is stupid, but that he managed to trick them all re Iraq, elections, economy etc (so it is not their fault). And then they try to show how bad things are. Since it is not their fault, they want to make sure everyone thinks everything is really bad.

I am also more interested in what to do in the future than who is to blame for the past and I don’t believe in feeling guilty. So I just don’t find so much useful in liberal thinkers who tend to like to talk about guilt. When I do find something good, as in the case of the Hamilton Project or Iraq Index from Brookings, I include it.

Liberals, IMO, have a tough job just now. They have to prove how bad things are when things are getting better. So they get on the environment (which is better), the economy (which is fine) and American foreign policy (which is on the upswing) and it just doesn’t make sense.

And if all that was not enough, I just don’t like pessimists and losers even when they are right. No matter how bad the problem, the proper question is “What are we going to do to solve this problem.”

Posted by: Jack at May 6, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #145882


As a child I read Siddhartha, and subsequently a host of other books related to Hindu practices (and also anything else of which I could find written by Hesse - a brilliant man). I was determined at that early age to learn Hindi. Since then I have been a father (three times), lost my own father, supported my “successful Hollywood Executive Producer sister”, and my bartending baby sister. All of those events shaped me to be what I am today: A lovable right-wing lunatic. I love President Bush for his belief system and for what he WANTS to do. I detest the left for their lack of a belief system and for what they won’t allow the republicans to do. I wouldn’t do everything the same way as President Bush, but then, I am not the President and he is, so he has my allegience. I speak freely about the decisions with which I disagree (MANY if not most fiscal policy decisions - other than his wonderful Social Security plan, which I give my full support).

You are a thinker, Mr. Remer, but I wonder how often you step out of your tank to see the reality of your thoughts.

I have two questions for you:

1) Are you okay with there being poor, destitute people in America?

2) Who is responsible for their livelihood?

Lastly, if you want to read a great interview with a great American, read the Koch interview in this weekend’s WSJ. That is my picture of a great man with a great mind.

Posted by: Bruce at May 6, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #145885

David… I almost forgot (well, I did forget for a moment)…

There would be no buddhism if there weren’t leaders like George W. Bush. As much as I love Buddhism, it could not survive without a protector.

The world needs buddhists for morality, and it needs capitalists for survival. They work hand in hand.

Posted by: Bruce at May 6, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #145890

Bruce, to answer your questions:

1) Yes, I am OK with poor and destitute people who have chosen that way of life. I am not OK with poor and destitute people who were made that way by natural disasters, economic shifts, or policy decisions of the government.

2) For those who choose poverty, they are responsible. Your drug addicts who dropped out of school are responsible for their own plight, for example. For those who did not choose poverty but were thrown into it, I say the nation is responsible for supporting them while they take available steps to improve their situation.

Those are compassionate answers, which are hard to find amongst many conservatives who claim the moniker of compassionate.

Siddhartha was Indian but became the figurehead for Buddhism.

I am liberal on some issues, conservative on others, and independent on still others. Making assumptions about my political camp erroneous, a common mistake made by those on both the left and right in attempts to label independent voters.

You are right to praise Bush as a defender of religious expression and practice in present circumstances. However, I feel that if Islam or Buddhism were rapidly sweeping the nation, Bush would not be acting in the same manner. I believe Bush is a defender of Christianity first and foremost and believes America is a Christian nation. At least that is what the vast majority of his supporters believe about him according to polls.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #145892

Jack, it appears to me at times that some whom you deem pessimists and losers are actually critics and defensive drivers on the road to the future. I like defensive drivers who peer around the curve before entering it full speed, and take note of potential obstacles or hazards. These are the kind of leaders I look for.

You on the other hand, at times appear to be content with leaders who ride the crest of success in the present for which they had only marginal influence upon. You say our stock market is up and economy is in good shape presently. May I point out that the recession of 2000-01, was a world wide recession, and that the world wide markets and economies are also now looking perky. In fact, my returns on foreign stock indexes outpace American stock indexes both last year and this, handily.

Bush deserves credit for freeing up capital through tax cuts in 2001-03 to stimulate the economy. But by late ‘03, it was apparent the worlds economies were bouncing back and that was the time end some of those tax cuts in order to increase revenues to deal with deficits which were known to continue for an indefinite future. Unbelievably, Bush is still wanting to make tax cuts permanent despite his budget policy’s deficits now on track to take us to 11+ Trillion in national debt, and despite Bernanke and Walker, Fed Chief and US Comptroller advising him that tax cuts add to deficits, and DO NOT pay for themselves in the long run.

My biggest problem with Bush and most of his adminstration is the utter lack of defensive driving while piloting this titanic ship of state. Failure to look ahead and respond appropriately today can, and likely will, have the same end of the Titanic in the Atlantic.

In the 1950’s America had decades of untapped productive capacity and wide open global markets to tap to manage its incredible debt from WWII and the Great Depression. That is not true today as emerging industrial and technological nations own the future of untapped productive capacity and are increasingly looking to each other and not the U.S. for trade agreements and trading blocs to foster future markets. Which makes perfect sense when one looks ahead and has to decide where to direct future contracts for growth, with humongous debtor nations like the U.S., or emerging nations with decades of future growth potential and wealth ahead of them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 6, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #145909

Admittedly I only read the first two, but is there anything important that I missed in the others you cited?

As for the first, two, I wasn’t exactly impressed by them. Was there a particular point you were trying to make that I somehow missed?

Posted by: Zeek at May 6, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #145915

It is amusing to read the mental gymnastics that some people perform in order to support the current administration’s war effort. This observation applies to Republicans and Democrats alike.

First of all a disclaimer. Since day one I have felt this president was a disaster; I say this not because of his lack of intelligence, but because of his politics, which are based upon false premises and an ideology that is specious at best. All of what one can see now in the unravelling of the administration was foreshadowed in its rationalization for the war in Iraq and the “war on terror.”

The reaction to the events of September 11, 2001, was based upon fear and revenge. The two most inappropriate reasons for policy in the case of the attacks. I, and others, believe the administration overreacted and had a very unclear picture of who was responsible for carrying out the suicide attacks. The administration has consistently misread history and the nature of al Qaeda and fundamentalist Islam. In addition, the “war on terror” is the worst metaphor for a response to such a threat. It reminds one of the “war on communism”—an equally inappropriate metaphor and response to Stalin’s USSR.

This then is the first mistake—incorrectly perceiving what it is that we are up against. The second mistake was to lie about the reasons for war with Iraq. Let me suggest that all presidents lie; some do so for reasons that might be considered rational and worthy, others for reasons that are neither. Presidential liars may be members of either of the two political parties; politics, not party, lie at the basis of the lying. Think LBJ and Vietnam, Nixon and Clinton as precursors to the Bush lies.

Some of you apparently cannot tell when you are lied to. Let me set up the case for the lies. BTW, all of what I will say may be supported by a quick review of the events prior to the war with Iraq as recorded in both the print and visual media. If we look back, there were numerous times when either the President or one of his associates said that the KNEW Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda, that he was procuring yellow cake for atomic weapons and that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons. Never did any of the administrative “team” suggest that they might not know so conclusively about such things.

The question becomes, could they have know or should they have known? IF, and this is an important if, they could not or should not have known about the possible or probable errors in the intelligence they received then they could not have been mistaken about the veracity of the statements they were making. Again, what could they or should they have known? From the Downing Street Memo and the Manning Memos, courtesy of the British press, we get the first official inkling that something was amiss. But, hold on, do not rely upon those memos entirely. Look for yourself. What were the news media reporting about the claims of WMD and al Qaeda before the invasion of Iraq? I, for one, can recall plenty of disclaimers and cautions about the claims in the press. And these caveats came from CIA statements, the UN inspectors in Iraq, Ambassador Wilson, the NIE report of 1982 (as reported in the press)and numerous other examples. In each of these disclosures one certainly was informed that maybe, just maybe all the claims were false. Did the President or any of his advisers ever say that they were unsure or that the data was suspect? Never once.

My mom, a long time ago, drilled into me what was a lie. When a President and all his men and women consistently claim something to be true when they should have known and could have known was false or doubtful, that my friends is lying. Either that or they are an incredibly inept and stupid bunch. I do not make either claim and so must conclude they lied. When presidents lie to get us into a war that is certainly worthy of impeachment and possible conviction—perhaps more so than a sex scandal.

And yet few people, Democrats or Republicans,
are supporting the Conyer’s Resolution to bring impeachment charges before the Congress. We have before us a constitutional crisis that should and I believe must be faced.

Some of you don’t want to look at the past, so it seems, and are interested only in the future. Some have also said that liberals tend to see shades of grey and not what is clearly right or wrong. I ask you, is not presidential lying as described here, morally wrong? Are not violations of the war making powers as outlined in the Constitution worthy of a Congressional inquiry? That seems pretty straight-forward to me. Who was it that said those who forget the past are condemned to relive it?

The neo-con plan for the “new American century” is a plan for disaster. Even conservatives like Francis Fukiyama see that. Their foreign policy is based upon imperialism, pure and simple. They can quote Strauss and Hobbs all they want, but all one has to do is re-read some American history. The wars with Mexico and Spain in the 19th century will do for starters; you can then follow that up with a review of the 700 military bases we have positioned around the world to form what Chalmers Johnson calls “an empire of bases” to see what this new century looks like to the neo-cons. I say no thank you. Should you request an alternative plan, I would be happy to supply one. In the meantime you might start by reading some of Al Gore’s more recent remarks on these topics, if you really care, to find an alternative vision that is more aligned with what we say we represent.

Posted by: cml at May 6, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #145940

jack and bruce,
as long as you two continue to wrtie to eachother the world will be spared from all your ideological bullshit which juxtiposes itself. keep writting!

Posted by: bQ at May 6, 2006 8:39 PM
Comment #145943

jack wrtie eachother juxtiposes writting.

Posted by: jim c at May 6, 2006 8:57 PM
Comment #145946

Re tax cuts let me try to work through this based on the rationale of the times and since.

President Bush sold the first tax cut as a way of paying back an overpayment. Ideally, the Federal government should run a SMALL deficit. Without some government debt, the Feds cannot adequately control parts of the economy they are responsible for. Alexander Hamilton knew this long ago.

The government cannot long maintain a surplus, since politicians and constituents will figure out that they NEED any money that is left in the treasury. The worst way to finance government growth is through borrowing. The second worst way to do it is through taxes. The growing government spending is the problem.

The 2001 round of tax cuts were not very effective. The 2003 targeted cuts did better. If I had to give up one of these cuts, I would rather surrender the general cuts of 2001. The 2003 cuts were useful.

I agree with you about the world economy. Anybody with half a brain made money in stocks since 2003. You are right that an international index beat the S&P, but a small cap outpaced both. A smart investor keeps about a third in each of these sorts of investments.

But this just reinforces what I write all the time THE PRESIDENT CANNOT FINE TUNE THE ECONOMY. All these comparisons of job creation or growth of Bush v Clinton etc are foolish. My point is not and has never been to credit Bush with the economic growth. My point is that the economy is good and those who are trying to BLAME Bush are wrong from two angles. First because the president cannot fine tune the economy and second because the economy is good, so there is no blame to be had.

Libs and Dems are trying hard to paint in dark colors. I just point out that they are wrong. They worry that Bush will get credit because their own mistaken world view gives presidents too much credit or blame.

Novenge & CML

Do read the article. It lays out the history. It is not a reaction to Clinton in any way. The Clinton policy in Bosnia and Kosovo would probably be characterized as neocon. Some people today use neocon as a way to simple describe what they do not like.

Posted by: Jack at May 6, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #145950

One of the reasons that the economy is doing so well is because of the War in Iraq. It’s been proven that during any war in American history, the economy does well due to the larger amount of money flowing in the market. This is caused by more gov’t spending and more loaning of money from banks and such. However, along with such economical benefits of war, debt increases.

Posted by: greenstuff at May 6, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #145951

Oh yea, btw
The whole Iraq had the ability to make WMDs is a bunch of crap. In no way did Saddam import any plutonium or materials to make nukes; also if he (hypothetically) did, he probably would have used it on Iran or Israel, NOT THE US.

Instead of worrying about small fries such as Saddam, we should have focused on the Darfur Genocide (400,000 dead) or North Korea (which has WMDs that can probably reach Guam, maybe even California).

Posted by: greenstuff at May 6, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #145954


You shouldn’t have to defend yourself to AP. He must have a hard time reading or realizing this is a Republican & Conservative blog site. Regardless of whether your sources are conservative or not, those you pulled from are very thorough, intelligent, and respected by folks from both sides. He should try to actually read the articles sometime.

And is that Phx8 coming out with wild accusations again. Completely ignores the discussion at hand and comes out with ridiculous accusations about gay hookers. Frankly, who cares about that!


Aren’t we the geniuses of the bunch. Maybe you should try running for president instead of being a backseat driver. Everyone thinks they can do a better job after the fact. By the way, I’m not defending Bush, that’s his and his administration’s job. What I am doing is being realistic. I am critical of some of the things Bush has done and I agree with some of things he’s done. And I don’t attack him personally because he’s just doing the job based on what he believes is right. He hasn’t done anything personally to me so I’m not going to attack him personally.

Posted by: CFT at May 6, 2006 10:09 PM
Comment #145955


What I am doing is being realistic. I am critical of some of the things Bush has done and I agree with some of things he’s done. And I don’t attack him personally because he’s just doing the job based on what he believes is right.

Your being a realist huh? That’s funny because Senor Bush isn’t a realist, but an over the top optimist who has lost his grip on reality.


Posted by: greenstuff at May 6, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #145965

I’m sorry… But I can’t stop Laughing just from the Title of this thread…

By the way, speaking of NeoCon “Foreign Policy” - when does the Nookewlur War With Canada® begin?

[The Nookewlur War With Canada® is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BushCo, a Halliburton Industries Company. Unauthorised duplication or rebroadcast of the Nookewlur War With Canada® without specific permission of BushCo and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NAMBLA) is forbidden, and may result in extreme rendition to a “Black Prison” or other Undisclosed Secure Location, summary execution, or the insertion of a Subliminable Mind-Control device.]

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 6, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #145966


How brave you are attacking Bush from the seat in front of your computer. Again, since you must not have read the post, your a backseat driver who’s offering nothing worthwhile to talk about. Instead of attacking, provide some solutions and take some action. Complaining gets you nowhere, do something about it!

Betty Burke,

Why do you bother writing on this blog? Your suggestions are so insane and far reaching, most people won’t even understand what your talking about. I think it’s pretty sad that you put NASCAR in the same category as NAMBLA. You will sink to whatever low to antagonize and humor yourself.

Posted by: CFT at May 6, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #145969


“Aren’t we the geniuses of the bunch. Maybe you should try running for president instead of being a backseat driver. Everyone thinks they can do a better job after the fact.”

Bush knew the job was dangerous when he took it.

If he is incapable of handling the slings and arrows, he shouldn’t be there at all.

BTW, even dead, I think Nixon would be doing a better job as President right now.

Posted by: Rocky at May 6, 2006 11:47 PM
Comment #145974


Nixon was a master of foreign policy and one of the most intelligent presidents in our history. He, unfortunately, had a temperment problem.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #145975


You might want to read the sources. It could change your outlook. Maybe not. But at least you wouldn’t have to make things up.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #145976


I could really care less about the criticism Bush receives, it’s the fact that is all it is ‘criticism.’ And mostly negative at that. It’s a whole lot of talk with nothing to back it up. If Bush was so bad, why did he get re-elected?

The pessimism and talk is pathetic. It’s why Kerry and Edwards didn’t win the 2004 election. They had nothing good to say. They had no good news to bring to the table. No solid plans, nothing of substance that gave evidence they were going to make things better for the country. Just “if you hate Bush, vote for me.” Oh yeah, I’m going to vote for you when you wave that banner.

I wish there would have been a viable third candidate. Someone with some real solutions. Until we can get a candidate who’s going to tell us what he/she is going to do and how their going to do it, it’s all smoke and mirrors and everything will remain the same.

Posted by: CFT at May 7, 2006 12:27 AM
Comment #145978


Paranioa will do that to a guy.

You know as well as I, the anti-American sentiment around the world isn’t a new phenomena.
It started after the rosy glow of WW2 wore off and America displayed some imperialism of it’s own.
I don’t say that to slam America, but it happened, and there isn’t a hell of a lot we can do about it now.
Our foriegn aid policy took some of the sting out of our culturing some dubious heads of state, but when our dubious friends started to be a little over the top, we should have left them to twist in the wind.
American foriegn policy has screwed the pooch quite a bit over the last 40-45 years.

In the time since Sept. 11th, (when all of the anger at us disipated for a little while), we have become mighty aggressive around the world, and I for one, am not supprised that we have pissed everybody off all over again.

In our dealings with the rest of the world we cannot confuse vengence for justice.

I am all for freedom of speach, but America needs to shutup, and listen once in a while.

Posted by: Rocky at May 7, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #145979


“If Bush was so bad, why did he get re-elected?”

I can’t help you there.

My dislike of Bush started at the very beginning of his first campaign for President.

I have said before, that in a country that bred the likes Lincoln, and the Roosevelts, that was formed by statesmen like Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Franklin, what could we have possibly done to deserve the crop of candidates we have been getting?

Posted by: Rocky at May 7, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #145980


Most people just don’t like it when others do better than they do. As the world’s only superpower, we have to expect some (a lot) or resentment. I don’t think we can do much about the “general” American image. It is only partially related to what we actually do. I am convinced that most of those who protest against American foreign policy could not pass even an easy multiple choice test about what that policy really was, and they certainly would not be able to propose real alternatives. People enjoy the protests. It usually doesn’t hurt anything and some sorts of people really aren’t suited to anything more.

The U.S. is also used as a scapegoat. Others hide their own shortcomings behind us. Think of those clowns in Venezuela or Bolivia. In both France and German, politicians have the habit of calling tough but necessary reforms “American style”. I think the only way we can understand it is to try to remember the attitudes of Michigan autoworkers attitudes toward the Japanese in the 1980s. What were the Japanese guilty of besides selling better cars?

We should develop a thicker skin when it comes to the general image and work on some of the specifics. We actually get a lot more cooperation than some of the sound and fury would imply.

I have begun to think of this like negotiation. When you are trying to make a deal, there are some people who will make lots of noise and show negative emotions, but all that counts is whether you are getting what you need from the relationship. Also in a negotiation, you never get everything your want, and you have to recognize that.

Re presidents

I read that Nixon had an IQ of 147. Presidents should probably be a little smarter than average, but not that much. Kennedy weighed in at about 120, which is just about right. If you are too smart, you get too much into theory. Think of how poorly run university departments are. Einstein would have made a horrible leader. With our current president, we don’t have that sort of worry. His grades at Yale were only a little better than John Kerry’s.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 1:10 AM
Comment #145985

“The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points:

147 Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) 132 Harry Truman (D) 122 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) 174 John F. Kennedy (D) 126 Lyndon B. Johnson (D) 155 Richard M. Nixon (R) 121 Gerald Ford (R) 175 James E. Carter (D) 105 Ronald Reagan (R) 098 George HW Bush (R) 182 William J. Clinton (D) 091 George W. Bush (R)”

I would take this with a grain of salt.

Posted by: phx8 at May 7, 2006 1:30 AM
Comment #145986

CFT, back off the personal comments toward others, or your privilege to comment here will be revoked. Critique the Message, Not the Messenger (WB Visitors, for those who need translation).

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at May 7, 2006 1:33 AM
Comment #145990


“Most people just don’t like it when others do better than they do. As the world’s only superpower, we have to expect some (a lot) or resentment. I don’t think we can do much about the “general” American image.”

The first thing we would have to do is lose the attitude that we are better as a country than everybody else. I mean, we are, but we don’t have to rub people’s faces in it

We have a good thing going here, and Democracy is the best form of government so far, but there are some real nasty customers out there that would love America to fall flat on it’s ass.
If we continue with the “go it alone” attitude it will only be a matter of time.

Reference was made in one of your links to our anger at military suppliers that sell to the “other side”.
Isn’t that what capititalism is about?
The threat to cut off buying from these folks rings hollow, as there are probably plenty of countries that would probably pick up at least most of the slack.

It’s time to grow up, and realize just how small this planet really is.

Posted by: Rocky at May 7, 2006 2:39 AM
Comment #146006

The original premise for the Iraq war, the reasons sold to American public and the world via the UN was WMD, Iraqi ties to AL-Qaeda, and implied ties to 9/11. The US public and congress debated these reasons for going to war and Congress appropriated funds for these reasons.

Now 3 years into the war these reasons are not true. So today one can take the following three positions:

1. Bush and compamy lied the war was wrong
2. Bush company did not lie. They Thought they were right, got bad information and made the best decision on the facts, but we got it wrong.
3. Continue to defend the war by finding new rationale. The problem with finding new rationale for the war is that that the US public and congress did not debate and discuss whether this new rationale is legitmate reason for going to war.

I struggle to understand why people who initially supported the war will not admit the US was wrong. Being wrong does not necessarily mean Bush lied or conservative values are wrong. But we are human and can make mistakes.

I believe that true hard core conservatives see enemies and the world as a dangerous place more so than liberals and moderates do. They are naive in their believe that the US is truley good and blinded by their patriotic nationalism. But most importantly, whether it is communists, social progressive liberals, terrorists or those nasty French, conservatives cherish their enemies. It gives them a sense of moral direction, moral clarity and moral rightousness. It allows them to continue to see the world as a simple struggle of Good(USA) vs evil(everybody else).

Saddam played the role…..

Posted by: Steve at May 7, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #146013

George Bush has a IQ of 147, far above that of an idiot and far below that of a idiot savant.

What went wrong?

Posted by: jlw at May 7, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #146019

Some believe that Bush and co. lied about the intelligence and missled us into war.

Others say that Bush and co. did not lie. They based the necesity to go to war on the best intelligence that was available and It was not their fault the intelligence was not accurate.

To base foreign policy on a preconceived assessment that certain actions are taking place in a foriegn nation and that those actions pose a grave threat to our nation which warrants military action, then to selectivly chose the intelligence that best fits your perconceived assessment is in my opinion, in a sense lying, if not to the nation, at least to themselves.

Posted by: jlw at May 7, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #146020

those IQ numbers listed above are bogus, hey i loved Jfk as much as anyone. but a 174 IQ is hogwash, a person who is listed as 65 out of a class of 100, in high school does not have a 174 IQ. his IQ was around 128. the next big lie is bill clinton at a 182, is another classic example of liberal biased hogwash. his IQ was one of the highest. but not 182.independent thinkers put it at 140. i believe mr carter was the only president who listed his IQ, was no 1.and mr nixon was right next to him. the rest of the above blog is hogwash, and very biased. a classic example of spin.

Posted by: john at May 7, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #146028


Kennedy 174. Do you know how rare that is? And Bill Clinton 182. I think the guy who made up these numbers didn’t know much about IQ and he figured his cognitively challenged readers would accept the numbers he made up because it was insulting to Bush.

Andrew J. Wiles, the mathematician who solved solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, had a an IQ of around 170 and Steven Hawkings get 160+. Below is the IQ distribution. Tell me if you really believe Kennedy was 174 and Clinton 182

Below 30 0 – 0.0002
30 to 50 0.0002 – 0.04
50 to 60 0.04 – 0.4
60 to 74 0.4 – 4
74 to 89 4 – 23
89 to 100 23 – 50
100 to 111 50 – 77
111 to 120 77 – 91
120 to 125 91 – 95
125 to 132 95 – 98
132 to 137 98 – 99.3
137 to 150 99.3 – 99.96
above 150 99.96 – 100

I don’t think we should make too much of IQ, but I also do believe that a person with too many book smarts probably will not be a good president. I think it is clear that Nixon was book smarter than Kennedy. How well did that turn out. It is also clear that Carter would have done better on a standardized test than Reagan, yet Carter was our worst post war president, while Reagan was the best.


There were multiple reasons for the Iraq conflict. WMD was an important one, but not the only one. It is clear that Bush did not lie, but rather the intelligence was flawed. All major intelligence organizations believed in the WMD and it is likely that even many Iraqis and perhaps Saddam Hussein himself believed he had WMD. All the major Dem Senators, including those with decades of experience on intelligence committees, believed it. Bill Clinton believed it and so did Hilary. And we still are not sure Saddam didn’t have them. Not finding something is not the same as it not existing.

If we had the luxury of knowing then what we know now, we would not have behaved in the same way. Of course, we also do not know the consequences of a different course of action. NOT invaded was probably not an option after December 2002. The consequences of that could have been worse than what we have now.

But we cannot change the past anyway. We can only work in the present to change the future. What is our best course of action now. That is what we need to ask.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #146035


“I don’t think we should make too much of IQ, but I also do believe that a person with too many book smarts probably will not be a good president. I think it is clear that Nixon was book smarter than Kennedy. How well did that turn out. It is also clear that Carter would have done better on a standardized test than Reagan, yet Carter was our worst post war president, while Reagan was the best.”

Good “common sense” seems to be the one thing that is equal in all the great presidents.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to be ELECTED President. That is a fact that has been proved over and over.
Carter, while he was/is a good guy, and some good came out of his policies falls flat because of the circumstances he failed to control.
Reagan, while he may have been the best figurehead that was President, would have been significantly less effective without the people he surrounded himself with.
Bush1 tried too hard to rid himself of his wiennie image.
Clinton, a bright, mostly effective President, fails because of his all too human, lack of self control.
Our man Bush2’s major failures seem to stem from his lack of vetting the cronies he has appointed.

All Presidents win, or lose the effectiveness game by the company they keep.

Posted by: Rocky at May 7, 2006 3:02 PM
Comment #146043

I apologize, I will try to resist in the future. However, I do think equating NASCAR with NAMBLA is a low blow.

Posted by: CFT at May 7, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #146050


I disagree, it is not clear Bush did not lie. He may have believed Saddam had WMD’s but he did not know. He could not have known for sure because the CIA did not know.

CIA intellegence was flawed in only they did not know for certain. So how did the Bush administration speak with such certainty that Saddam had WMD? They never said they belived Saddam had WMD’s, they said they knew for a fact.

If you really believe Bush made the best decision on flawed intelleigence, then it implies Bush and company were uncritical consumers of this flawed intelligence. It still does not make them look good.

The case for war before the UN and the world by Colin Powell was all about WMD’s. This was the public reason for the war and the bases for getting UN approval.

Although Clinton and others believed Saddam had WMD’s, is not justification for war. They believed it only in abscence of data and knowledge. In the abscence of intellegence, they made assumptions. Only Bush decided war was neccessaary.

We went to war on a wrong pretense. The cost is high in human life, property and dollars. But you want to sweep it under the rug and not hold anyone accountable. We cannot change the past, but if we do not learn for our past mistakes, do not undersatnd what happened and not hold people accountable, then we will just repeat them.

Is the US not accountable for its actions? Can we make mistakes and not be held accountable regardless of cost? Do we hold ourseleves to a different standard than we hold to anyone else? We claim to be a moral people. Shouldn’t we hold ourseleves to even a higher standard?

To say not finding WMD’s does not mean he dosen’t have them is something that cannot be disproved. You cannot disprove a negative. This is desperatly grasping for straws to keep the justification for war alive.

The real reasons for the war was geopolitical fostered by neoconservative ideology. Transforming the middle east into pro-western democracies to ensure oil and stability. This is purely benevolent hegonomy. The belief were are a good empire. This is spelled out in the project for a New American Century It specifically calls for a new pearl harbor to justify the removal of Saddam Hussain. How else can you explain on Sept 12 2001 Rumsfeld and Wolferwitz wanted to attack Iraq, not Afghanastan?

How you cannot even be suspicious of Bush’s scincerity for reasons for this war is a puzzle to me. He was wrong on all reasons. All data made public (aluminum tubes, mobile labs, uranium from Niger) have been proved wrong. Welcome with roses, “Curveball” and Chalabi”. How you cannot be suspicious of at least insincerity and incompetence is beyond my understanding.

How can you be so forgiving?

Posted by: Steve at May 7, 2006 6:14 PM
Comment #146056


Have you been following the situation in Uzbekistan closely? Do you really think the U.S. is propping this guy up? Your definitions are more flexible.

Everyone else

The problem for Bolivia is Morales. These guys just do stupid things. Nationalizing firms is stupid. It helps keep these countries poor. Then they blame the firms. It is a cycle. The countries that have developed best are those that respect the rule of law, defend property rights and use market mechanisms.

Morales is letting his people down. They will remain poor. Some will remain angry, but they will be angry at the wrong person.


We live in a world of uncertainty, but we have to make decisions as if we were sure. It depends on how much risk you can stand. 9/11 changed the equation. It is not that Saddam was operationally connected with 9/11, but the attacks made us more sensitive to the risk. After the end of the Cold War, we believed that the age of danger had largely past. 9/11 reminded us that the bad guys could reach out and touch us.

I also do not know what would have happened absent the invasion. The situation there, contrary to the revisionist history, was very bad. Sanctions were coming lose. The oil for food program was a horrible failure. And if you read the articles and the Saddam’s documents, you see that he was biding his time until he could restart his program.

I am not forgiving. I just see that our leaders had to make decisions under conditions of great uncertainty and they had to choose among bad choices.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #146074


I apologize, I will try to resist in the future.

`No need to apologise to *me*; I can take whatever you can dish out. Easily. Frankly, I’d rather you had Full Exercise of Free Speech.

However, I do think equating NASCAR with NAMBLA is a low blow.

Touched a nerve did I, NASCAR-Dad? Tell it to The Daily Show:

Excerpted from about the middle of the page:

NAMBLA A running gag is the insertion of the phrase “…or NAMBLA” (an acronym for the North American Man Boy Love Association) instead of stating a proper abbreviation or acronym after mentioning a long or convoluted name, such as Republican National Convention or Federal Bureau of Investigation. Similarly, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was dubbed “NAMBL-OPEC” and the National Rifle Association was dubbed “BLAMBLA.” The International Atomic Energy Agency was termed IAEA-BLA. An advocacy group concerned about alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests was termed “Anti-NAMBLA”. In August of 2005, Stewart renamed NARAL Pro-Choice America “NAR-AMBLA”. In the October 2005 debut of a segment called “Man vs. Nature: The War on Terra”, which detailed the devastating effects of global warming, Stewart shivered as he said “NAMBLA” in reference to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Not much up on American Culture, are we?

That’s what one gets from only watching the 700 Club and Faux “News.”

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 7, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #146081


What do you do when your decisions are wrong? You are forgiving. In your mind the intent was noble and good, therefore, we are not accountable regardless of costs to innocent lives.

Whether or not Saddam was a risk absent WMD’s has not been debated as a pretex for war in this country. You can not claim it as a justification.

The point I am making is that the decision to invade Iraq was made before 9/11. 9/11 was the excuse.

The US can pick and choose wars of its own choosing and there is no one to stop us. We believe that in our own defense and in national security we have the moral authority to decide who is bad and who is good. We have the military strength to do it. We would not tolerate this of anybody else.

You essentially believe our leaders made the best decision based on the inteligence and information known. The had the best of intentions. Why would you think this? You see politicans who are paid off by lobbists, spin and lie in political campaigns and in the history of warfare, the first casuality is the truth. Lies have always accompanied wars. Do you really believe this is the first war in the history of mankind with no lies or misinformation?

This is an easy war for Americans to accept. Most people could not find Iraq on a map, gas is plentiful and until recently reasonably priced, most of us do not have any friends or relatives in Iraq, there is no draft, the economy is doing reasonably well and no innocent Americans are being killed. We are completely detached from this war, the horror of the war, the suffering, the costs and we feel no pain. And as long as innocent american civilians are not dying, we do not care. A least 35,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed in this war. It is estiamted that the US killed about 9,000 (3x the people killed on 9/11). The US has killed more arabs in Iraq alone(2 Iraq wars) than terriorits have killed world wide in their existance.

You give our leaders too much credit. I do not think your being honest with yourself about this situation and you are still trying to justify a bad decision. A war of choice with no immediate threat, and your initial reasons are wrong, with no post-war planning is hard to justify.

Posted by: Steve at May 7, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #146156


It depends on what you mean by accountable.

We should learn from mistakes and audit them for lessons in order to change the process for decision making. However, if the process was sound and the decision valid based on the information available at the time, the fact that it turned out poorly is not a valid criticism.

If you tell me you can flip 10 head in a row with an honest quarter, my decision would be NOT to go with your estimate. If you subsequently do just that, my decision was still valid.

The other important question is what you should do about it. The U.S. has learned from some errors and is fighting a different kind of war today than two years ago. It looks like we have learned the lessons. What else would you like? Changing the past is not an option.

Re Iraq

I don’t believe it was the best decision, but it was a valid one based on the information available. Like all wars and conflicts, this one was full of lies, mistakes and disinformation, but this is a lot like saying that a forest is full or trees. I don’t expect either perfect foresight or perfect execution.

Your estimates of Iraqi deaths caused by the U.S. are high. When a car bomb goes off in Iraq, it is not us who did it. Beyond that, even the high figures pale before those of Saddam’s regime. Some of the same guys who are estimating high numbers of deaths today were telling us that 50,000 Iraqi children (not to mention others) were dying because of UN sanctions. And Saddam’s wars and oppression are responsible for literally millions of deaths.

War is never a good thing, but some alternatives are worse.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 10:03 AM
Comment #146185

I do not like to get personal, but I guess there is no alternative. This is addressed to Jack and those who think as he does. He, they, are victims of sloppy thinking.

To argue that a president can take us to war based upon faulty knowledge and flawed intelligence is just plain delusional. Have you really looked at what you have said? As far as wars in the 20th century, yes we have been in several. Only one may have been necessary (WWII) and that only because of the first world war. Have you ever heard of Marine Corps General Smedley Butler? He got two CMHs. Go read what he had to say about the wars he fought in; what he said then (c.1930) still applies.

Wake up. This war’s real causes and rationale have been adequately covered by several posts on this blog. As to a solution to the problem I have proposed one. Look, I’m 68, far too old to run for public office. Besides, our job is to hold politicians’ feet to the fire. That is what you do in a democracy, or whatever it is we call ourselves nowadays, given the “truthiness” propagated by our Republican friends. The solution to a constitutional crises, brought about by a president who lied to get us into war, is to impeach him. Plain and simple. It’s in the Constitution-something about high crimes and misdemeanors—or is lying to get us into a war not a high crime?

September 11, 2001, may have changed a lot of things in your mind. But not in mine nor in other peoples’—we haven’t yet surrendered the Constitution my friend. We overreacted following that tragedy and let ourselves be talked into a disastrous course of action by a demagogue who had people who could write good speeches for him.

As to IQ, please! Those “tests” are really meaningless. President Bush is not a stupid man nor is he surrounded by stupid people. They are bright and highly motivated. It is their politics that are atavistic. They are the most reactionary and dangerous bunch to visit the White House and Congress in my lifetime. THAT is what has changed since 9/11.

Peace, CML

Posted by: cml at May 8, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #146229


If you agree that this war like others was full of lies and misinformation “Like all wars and conflicts, this one was full of lies, mistakes and disinformation” - How can you then so easily accept the Bush administration was honest with American People? How can you be so sure this was the right decision? the threat was or still is real? Why do you still think Saddam is hiding WMD’s? If we did go to war uneccessarily on lies and misinformation, don’t you want to know this?

By accountable I mean finding individuals who made mistakes in the decision to go to war. Find out why our reasons were wrong, how those mistakes were made and whether they were honest and competent or deceptive and incompetence. How did the Bush administration come to its conclusions? does it square with known intelligence at the time. People should be fired and impeached if neccessary. The cost has been too high to take it with a grain of salt like you do. To sweep it under the rug like it never happened because you cannot change the past. Senator Pat Stevens is protecting the Bush Administartion and will not hold any hearings on the use of intellegnece. What is he covering up?

Are we accountable to international law? Are we accountable for war crimes? We hold Saddam accounatble to them? Do we have the right to ignore international law if it serves our interests, but hold others accountable? Do we accept a double standard, one for us and one for the rest of the world? Bush did not sign the agreement to abide by international courts. He knew very well that Americans could vey well be bought to an international tribunal for war crimes.

What is disturbing is that the decision to war was a roll of dice to you. Play the odds and worry about the consequences later. It is easy to chose war when your family and friends will not be killed. Your house will not get bombed and your daily life will not be distrupted. And there is nothing anybody in the world can do to stop us or penalize us. We (USA) have become almost omnipotenet. We become the threat to world peace.

The estimates are not mine. According to, the first year of the war killed almost 9,000 Iraqi’s. The 35,000 total deaths is GW Bush’s number. Yes insurgents have killed many more Iraq1’s than Americans, but we did kill (albeit unintentionally) almost 9,000 innocent civilians. These numbers do not include wounded. Do we bear responsibility for this?

If my numbers are high, then what are the right numbers. Do you know? if not, why not? The Bush administration does not do body counts. And why not? How else will he know if he is minimizing civilian casualities if he dosen’t do body counts? Shouldn’t we know this and other costs so we know the reality of our decision?

There are always options and alternatives to war.

“There is no such thing as a bad peace or good war” - Ben Franklin

Posted by: Steve at May 8, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #146272

I think we should always analyze decision and the process to improve them. That does not follow, however, that someone is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors when decisions are not correct and/or do not work out as we wish.

Your goal is not to improve decision making, but rather to punish someone.

All decisions are a roll of the dice. There is no zero option. You had a choice of probabilities. It was the probability that Saddam had or would develop and use WMD versus the probability that he did not. The president had to assign risk factors to each. What was the price of a wrong decision in situation A versus situation B? Then we had the constraints and caveats. Each year the sanctions were weakening AND as a result of sanctions thousands of innocent Iraqis were dying. Do you remove sanctions and risk Saddam in order to save those people? How destabilizing is Saddam even w/o WMD? Given the hostility of many Security Council members, how long can you maintain sanctions? How about no fly zones? Many say they violate international law. What happens if you cannot maintain them?

You have to consider all these things and whether the situation is getting better or worse. Then you DO have to throw the dice. There is no zero option.

You go to the doctor. He says you need an operaion or there is a 55% chance you will die. But if you have the operation, there is a 45% chance you will die on the table. Both are risky. Which do you choose? You don’t have the luxury of doing nothing.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #146334

I agree with your analysis! When in doubt you tell people the chances, the probabilities. Now go back, when did the President or any of his administration level with the American public about the probabilities involved with war with Iraq? When? Please advise if you are able to find such qualifying language.
Peace, cml

Posted by: cml at May 8, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #146520

Jack - You are a good sport taking abuse from me and others on this blog. You handle yourself with dignity and politness. I have enjoyed our little debate. Although I still disagree with you, I leave you with the last word…

Look forward to another discussion..

Posted by: Steve at May 9, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #146656


The president is the decider. He is the recipient of the probabilies not the source.

Posted by: Jack at May 9, 2006 9:40 PM
Post a comment