July 12, 2005

Bush's Track Record Pre-War

Sunday Eliot Cohen, a forceful advocate of the Iraq war, had an oped in the Washington Post regretting that he hadn't realized how incompetent Bush and his team would be in conducting the war. Kevin was surprised to see that Atrios had commented that there had many who had expressed concerns about the competence of the Bush team before the war started.

Well, I sure remember that because as it became clear that Bush was bound to go to the war, I started to ask why anyone would trust his ability to do the job right. In Feb 2003, I was very concerned about what could happen if Bush was allowed to wage war in our name. As I wrote to NPR:

All of these [articles] talk about the breakdown of world concensus that there are certain things civilized people do not do in wartime. It is a very frightening step and one of the reasons I'm so opposed to us going into the war under the leadership of this administration that believes anything goes. They absolutely do not care what means they use to get what they want.

I thought somemore yesterday about why this is such a problem. It's a leadership problem. If the US is supposed to be the leader of the free world, as a leader, the way one conducts oneself is absolutely key to how others conduct themselves. If you say you are committed to the rule of law, others will think this is important. If you show by your behavior you have no respect for law, others will follow that. There are a lot of unstable places in the world and everyone of them is looking to the US to see what is acceptable or not. It is terrible that we have leaders in our country who do not understand this.

...I've been saying on Kos' place for a while that if we must go after Saddam then my advice was to hold off for 2 years until we could elect a reliable leader.

And here's another note I sent to Bill Keller after he wrote his particularly idiotic "I-Can't-Believe-I'm-A-Hawk" oped:

The most dangerous thing about this administration is how closed it is to outside input, how sure it is that it has all the answers and how unwilling it is to listen to any points of view beyond their own. I don't understand how it is possible for anyone to feel comfortable with how decisions are made by this administration. They subvert science when it doesn't conform to their views. They subvert international treaties because they have no trust in relations and believe we can live in this world by ourselves. They propose budgets that are worse than a joke. And yet you think they can make a decision to go to war?

I am amazed that you guys in the media all seem to march to the same track. When do you get your own opinions that are not shaped by the people you talk to everyday? Perhaps you should read some more foreign press? Or if you would like, we in the hinderland could try to feed you a little bit of reality?

This is how I see it:

The fact that there is no counterweight to secret government is precisely the reason we are more at risk than ever before. Now there is no check except regional courts which all can get checkmated by the Supreme Court. Besides the war, it is the most serious concern we have because as it has often been said:

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Mao started out as a person who was fighting for something bigger than himself. He ended up as one of the more extreme monsters the earth has known. If you look at what happened to him, he became totally convinced that he knew better than anyone else what was real and people stopped trying to correct his mis-impressions. And millions died when he decided he knew how to "improve the agriculture systems" by edicting that it would be 5x a realistic goal. I don't think he started out wanting to do such evil, but he did.

The biggest danger with this administration and the right-wing group in power is they do not let reality intrude in their deliberations.

I would not trust this government to boil water, much less lead our troops into war.

What surprised me then was how many so-called worldly pundits couldn't see how wrong it was to trust Bush with this power. Today, after the deaths of 1750+ American soldiers and tens of thousand innocent Iraqis, the creation of a breeding ground of virulent terrorists and no end in sight, Elliot Cohen finally understands the problem. Too bad it had to come so late.

When did you realize that this gang couldn't shoot straight and what was the trigger?

Posted by Mary at July 12, 2005 07:45 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |


Tearing up internatinal accords is one thing. Doing it to purely benefit an oil dependent economy is another.

From then on the writing was on the wall.

Posted by: symptomless at July 12, 2005 09:12 AM

Afghanistan, actually--when they let the Northern Alliance troops do the work for them, and were surprised when they would take a city, then basically let the Taliban melt into the countryside, and declare victory. This is how Afghani opponents have dealt with each other for years--they switch sides, regroup, and essentially develop amnesia about the past once the conflict is over.

I just recall the Bush administration telling the NA, "Take this town and then wait for us to...OK, take that town too, but then stop so we can...all right, but stop at this city for sure, so...hey!!"

This led up to Tora Bora, which had all the likelihood for success, of Andre the Giant going hunting for deer with air horns and car alarms draped around his neck.

Posted by: torridjoe at July 12, 2005 01:51 PM

Well, remember, the Political Animal would have given up on the war much earlier if anyone credible had opposed it.

His interpretation, not mine.

Posted by: julia at July 12, 2005 03:28 PM