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30 May 2006

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Keone  Michaels

Years of institutional writing creates the inevitable tendency to the arabesque. Please excuse the pun. But I love the money paragraph at the end.

The belief that each and every foreigner secretly hungers to be an American is to me one of the most ludicrous of ideas because it flatters our conceit, and, if widely believed, will prove to be a block to our moral growth as a nation.

jonst

I don't see Bush promoting, or attempting to promote, democracy, in any meaningful sense, anywhere. Leaving aside the issue Mr. Scale raises as to whether to do so, to promote democracy, is a feasible and desirable thing. Least of all in Iraq. He's not done too well by America either, if the truth be told.

Babak Makkinejad

What US could do is to insist on transparency and the rule-of-law. Even that would be a huge boon to human beings that are subject to arbitrary legal structures.

jonst

Right now, at present, what the US should do, in my humble opinion, is worry about cleaning up our own house.

lina

To read Mr. Sale's piece and see our current president's beliefs compared with those of Wilson, Jefferson and FDR is to accept the idea that Mr. Bush is something more than a Potemkin president. There is no evidence that he is. His policies are half-baked and miserably executed. This is leadership run amok due to weak central authority. Who knows what he really believes? He says what people write for him and he makes decisions based on very limited information. Why do we all pretend the emperor is fully clothed?

zanzibar

"The last thing Tony Blair and President George W. Bush need, at a moment of multiple crises for both of them, is a revamped Taliban taking control of southern Afghanistan - but that is now not impossible to imagine.

Bush and Blair have only themselves to blame, as they fought an unnecessary war in Iraq and allowed the Taliban and al-Qa'eda to fester in Central Asia during the five years that followed 9/11."

[snip]

"Despite Bush and Blair claiming to be successfully micromanaging the war on terror, the war is expanding and the region faces increasing chaos.

Afghanistan has become the new battleground for the 59-year proxy war between India and Pakistan; Afghan anger at the Pakistanis is returned in kind, as Islamabad accuses Kabul of allowing Indian spies access to Pakistan's western border, while Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad are accused of funding an insurgency in Baluchistan province. In turning a blind eye to the Taliban, Pakistan is pressuring Karzai, America and Nato to accede to its demands.

Al-Qa'eda, now under the operational leadership of the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, has helped reorganise the Taliban, create unlimited sources of funding from the sale of Afghan-grown opium and forged a new alliance linking the Taliban with extremist groups in Pakistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Iraq. Al-Qa'eda has facilitated a major exchange of fighters and training between the Taliban and the extremist groups in Iraq.

Iran is spending large sums out of its windfall oil income in buying support among disaffected and disillusioned Afghan warlords. The day America or Israel attacks Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, these Afghans will be unleashed on American and Nato forces in Afghanistan, opening a new front quite separate from the Taliban insurgency."

Afghanistan poses threat

It seems the situation in Afghanistan is not very good. Will this chicken come home to roost too? Looks like Pakistan, India and Iran have their fingers in this pie! And AQ morphing into narco-terrorists? This could all get real ugly if its not already.

hk

I think there's something inherently dangerous in dismissing President Bush's sincerity or competence, since that can logically imply that there's nothing wrong with the aim of spreading democracy at gunpoint, as long as we do it right and "we really mean it"--that Mr. Bush's efforts can be dismissed because it just wasn't done right. Indeed, a number of folks are making precisely that argument: that they can do it better. As a skeptic of "war to end all wars" enterprises in general, I think this is a dangerous tendency at worst, a copout at best.

jonst

Lina,

I lump Bush with Wilson. I think they both have a lot in common. They have,or had, in Wilson's case "policies [that] are [or were] half-baked and miserably executed". You read about Wilson in Paris? The friggin guy's insane. Both were rigid, arrogant, spolied, prissy, bastards who got early victories, Wilson with the swift conclusion of the WWI, Bush in Afghan. And both overplayed their hands, and turned the victories into utter disaster. Wilson's are with us today, and indeed, are partly responsible for the mess we are in today. Bush's screw ups will affect us a 100 years from today, I suspect.

john pfeifler

The problem for me is that President Bush cannot claim American Exceptionalism and at the same time except America from the very universal values that make it exceptional. As far as Mr. Bush's advocacy of democracy goes, advocacy would be better than imposition. Maybe Mr. Bush with regard to Iraq and Libya has learned something after all.

lina

jonst:

I doubt history will put Bush II in the same category with Wilson.

Although both got fixed on an idea that proved to be their downfall, the main difference in the two men is probably about 40 points on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale.

When (if) the truth finally comes out about the internal workings of the current White House, we will be amazed at the "who" and "how" of this president's decision making process.


b

Congrats to Mr. Sale for some sane thoughts.

jonst

I doubt that history will put them in the same catagory either. That does not mean that they do not belong in the same catagory.

hk

So, the problem with our current crusade is that incompetent and dishonest Bush II is leading it? If it were led by the saintly Wilson, it would be all and good and we'd be totally justified in knocking over whatever "bad guy" of the day we don't like?

Publius

Cynic that I am, I always thought it was about the oil and Mideast basing strategies, with some WMD puffery sprinkled in. I am literally astounded to learn at this late date that it's really all about "making the world safe for democracy" by infusing the sons of Saladin with truth, justice and the American way.

One good thing about being an old Vietnam hand is that there's always an analogy at hand: "we had to destroy the village to save it."

Wilson and Bush. What a pair to draw to.

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