Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Thank You Sweet Baby Jesus!

Good News: News-fox Daryn Kagan and Drug addict Rush Limbaugh have broken up!

Bad News: Daryn Kagan has been permanently fouled by Rush Limbaugh and has lost her 'news-fox' status.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Defending the Indefensible: Neoconservatism

Oh Francis, where to start with you and your flawed philosophy?
As we approach the third anniversary of the onset of the Iraq war, it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention itself or the ideas animating it kindly. By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational base for jihadist terrorists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at.
You know what? I don't hate saying it: WE TOLD YOU SO. Loser.
The United States still has a chance of creating a Shiite-dominated democratic Iraq, but the new government will be very weak for years to come; the resulting power vacuum will invite outside influence from all of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran.
And this new Iraq will be called "Iran Jr." and be an Islamic state with lots and lots of oil.
There are clear benefits to the Iraqi people from the removal of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, and perhaps some positive spillover effects in Lebanon and Syria.
Uh, the U.S. Government put that guy in power, helped prop him up and gave him lots and lots of pretty weapons to attack Iran with... so we certainly didn't have a problem with him for awhile.
But it is very hard to see how these developments in themselves justify the blood and treasure that the United States has spent on the project to this point.
GRRRRRR. It gives me NO pleasure to say it this time but, we told you so... you stupid stupid F@#k. Their blood is on you hands. Schmuck.
The so-called Bush Doctrine that set the framework for the administration's first term is now in shambles.
Well thank the sweet Baby Jesus for small favors, but little too little and all that...
The doctrine (elaborated, among other places, in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States) argued that, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, America would have to launch periodic preventive wars to defend itself against rogue states and terrorists with weapons of mass destruction; that it would do this alone, if necessary; and that it would work to democratize the greater Middle East as a long-term solution to the terrorist problem.
Yes, Democracy at the point of a gun and all that good stuff. We should also back it up to you Neocons and the Project for the New American Century wanting to create a SuperPower noone would dare challenge: the New Rome... and we know what happened to those dudes.
But successful pre-emption depends on the ability to predict the future accurately and on good intelligence, which was not forthcoming, while America's perceived unilateralism has isolated it as never before.
No, we had good intelligence: but it was ignored. Again: Schmuck.
It is not surprising that in its second term, the administration has been distancing itself from these policies and is in the process of rewriting the National Security Strategy document.
He fails to say "The way they distance themselves from everything they screw up: by blaming Clinton, gays and the press"
But it is the idealistic effort to use American power to promote democracy and human rights abroad that may suffer the greatest setback.
As it well it should: when you go messing around with people's lives you should be as realistic as possible. Idealism is fine in a philosophy class, but when you're gonna send someone else's kid to fight and possibly die in a foreign country, you better damn well know what you're doing.
Perceived failure in Iraq has restored the authority of foreign policy "realists" in the tradition of Henry Kissinger.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire...
The administration's second-term efforts to push for greater Middle Eastern democracy, introduced with the soaring rhetoric of Bush's second Inaugural Address, have borne very problematic fruits. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood made a strong showing in Egypt's parliamentary elections in November and December.
Hey, you want democracy? Then you gotta accept the good with the bad... like we (and the Europeans) accept the Bush/Cheney administration.
While the holding of elections in Iraq this past December was an achievement in itself, the vote led to the ascendance of a Shiite bloc with close ties to Iran (following on the election of the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran in June).
Again: Iran Jr, home of a future Islamic state.
But the clincher was the decisive Hamas victory in the Palestinian election last month, which brought to power a movement overtly dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
That's democracy: it ain't pretty, but what are you gonna do? Who knows, maybe Hamas will learn that it's easy to throw rocks when you're not in power, but once you're the man you have to worry about how much broken widows actually cost.
In his second inaugural, Bush said that "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one," but the charge will be made with increasing frequency that the Bush administration made a big mistake when it stirred the pot, and that the United States would have done better to stick by its traditional authoritarian friends in the Middle East.
Well, first off that line sounds good, but means very little: it was there to make him look presidential so don't give it too much weight. Second, remember: The U.S. Goverment has undermined democratic leaders and institutions in the Middle East for a long time (ever heard of Mossadeq?) and much of what you see in there is the result of what the CIA calls 'Blowback' (the uninteded consequences of covert operations) so get used to it.
Indeed, the effort to promote democracy around the world has been attacked as an illegitimate activity both by people on the left like Jeffrey Sachs and by traditional conservatives like Pat Buchanan.

The reaction against democracy promotion and an activist foreign policy may not end there. Those whom Walter Russell Mead labels Jacksonian conservatives — red-state Americans whose sons and daughters are fighting and dying in the Middle East — supported the Iraq war because they believed that their children were fighting to defend the United States against nuclear terrorism, not to promote democracy. They don't want to abandon the president in the middle of a vicious war, but down the road the perceived failure of the Iraq intervention may push them to favor a more isolationist foreign policy, which is a more natural political position for them. A recent Pew poll indicates a swing in public opinion toward isolationism; the percentage of Americans saying that the United States "should mind its own business" has never been higher since the end of the Vietnam War.
Well that's what happens when their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and children keep getting killed or maimed for what, increasingly, looks like a not too noble cause. Hey, look: folks keep waving the flag and putting those magnets on the backs of their cars because, despite all the evidence, they don't want to believe that, despite all the evidence, that (a) their government would lie to them and (b) it would start an unjust war. But it does that time and time again.

So congrats and reap the whirlwind sunshine.

(sorry, there's lots more and each line is sillier than the one before. Read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions)