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Old 10-27-2004, 10:48 AM   #1
Aackman
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Default The American Conservative speaks

http://www.amconmag.com/2004_11_08/cover1.html

Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative magazine is endorsing Kerry. Wonders never cease. I can't argue with his appraisal of Bush and Co.

November 8, 2004 issue

Kerry’s the One

By Scott McConnell

There is little in John Kerry’s persona or platform that appeals to conservatives. The flip-flopper charge—the centerpiece of the Republican campaign against Kerry—seems overdone, as Kerry’s contrasting votes are the sort of baggage any senator of long service is likely to pick up. (Bob Dole could tell you all about it.) But Kerry is plainly a conventional liberal and no candidate for a future edition of Profiles in Courage. In my view, he will always deserve censure for his vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002.

But this election is not about John Kerry. If he were to win, his dearth of charisma would likely ensure him a single term. He would face challenges from within his own party and a thwarting of his most expensive initiatives by a Republican Congress. Much of his presidency would be absorbed by trying to clean up the mess left to him in Iraq. He would be constrained by the swollen deficits and a ripe target for the next Republican nominee.

It is, instead, an election about the presidency of George W. Bush. To the surprise of virtually everyone, Bush has turned into an important president, and in many ways the most radical America has had since the 19th century. Because he is the leader of America’s conservative party, he has become the Left’s perfect foil—its dream candidate. The libertarian writer Lew Rockwell has mischievously noted parallels between Bush and Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II: both gained office as a result of family connections, both initiated an unnecessary war that shattered their countries’ budgets. Lenin needed the calamitous reign of Nicholas II to create an opening for the Bolsheviks.

Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his nation-breaking immigration proposal—Bush has laid out a mad scheme to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an American can’t be found to do it—and you have a presidency that combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious cocktail.

During the campaign, few have paid attention to how much the Bush presidency has degraded the image of the United States in the world. Of course there has always been “anti-Americanism.” After the Second World War many European intellectuals argued for a “Third Way” between American-style capitalism and Soviet communism, and a generation later Europe’s radicals embraced every ragged “anti-imperialist” cause that came along. In South America, defiance of “the Yanqui” always draws a crowd. But Bush has somehow managed to take all these sentiments and turbo-charge them. In Europe and indeed all over the world, he has made the United States despised by people who used to be its friends, by businessmen and the middle classes, by moderate and sensible liberals. Never before have democratic foreign governments needed to demonstrate disdain for Washington to their own electorates in order to survive in office. The poll numbers are shocking. In countries like Norway, Germany, France, and Spain, Bush is liked by about seven percent of the populace. In Egypt, recipient of huge piles of American aid in the past two decades, some 98 percent have an unfavorable view of the United States. It’s the same throughout the Middle East.

Bush has accomplished this by giving the U.S. a novel foreign-policy doctrine under which it arrogates to itself the right to invade any country it wants if it feels threatened. It is an American version of the Brezhnev Doctrine, but the latter was at least confined to Eastern Europe. If the analogy seems extreme, what is an appropriate comparison when a country manufactures falsehoods about a foreign government, disseminates them widely, and invades the country on the basis of those falsehoods? It is not an action that any American president has ever taken before. It is not something that “good” countries do. It is the main reason that people all over the world who used to consider the United States a reliable and necessary bulwark of world stability now see us as a menace to their own peace and security.

These sentiments mean that as long as Bush is president, we have no real allies in the world, no friends to help us dig out from the Iraq quagmire. More tragically, they mean that if terrorists succeed in striking at the United States in another 9/11-type attack, many in the world will not only think of the American victims but also of the thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and maimed by American armed forces. The hatred Bush has generated has helped immeasurably those trying to recruit anti-American terrorists—indeed his policies are the gift to terrorism that keeps on giving, as the sons and brothers of slain Iraqis think how they may eventually take their own revenge. Only the seriously deluded could fail to see that a policy so central to America’s survival as a free country as getting hold of loose nuclear materials and controlling nuclear proliferation requires the willingness of foreign countries to provide full, 100 percent co-operation. Making yourself into the world’s most hated country is not an obvious way to secure that help.

I’ve heard people who have known George W. Bush for decades and served prominently in his father’s administration say that he could not possibly have conceived of the doctrine of pre-emptive war by himself, that he was essentially taken for a ride by people with a pre-existing agenda to overturn Saddam Hussein. Bush’s public performances plainly show him to be a man who has never read or thought much about foreign policy. So the inevitable questions are: who makes the key foreign-policy decisions in the Bush presidency, who controls the information flow to the president, how are various options are presented?

The record, from published administration memoirs and in-depth reporting, is one of an administration with a very small group of six or eight real decision-makers, who were set on war from the beginning and who took great pains to shut out arguments from professionals in the CIA and State Department and the U.S. armed forces that contradicted their rosy scenarios about easy victory. Much has been written about the neoconservative hand guiding the Bush presidency—and it is peculiar that one who was fired from the National Security Council in the Reagan administration for suspicion of passing classified material to the Israeli embassy and another who has written position papers for an Israeli Likud Party leader have become key players in the making of American foreign policy.

But neoconservatism now encompasses much more than Israel-obsessed intellectuals and policy insiders. The Bush foreign policy also surfs on deep currents within the Christian Right, some of which see unqualified support of Israel as part of a godly plan to bring about Armageddon and the future kingdom of Christ. These two strands of Jewish and Christian extremism build on one another in the Bush presidency—and President Bush has given not the slightest indication he would restrain either in a second term. With Colin Powell’s departure from the State Department looming, Bush is more than ever the “neoconian candidate.” The only way Americans will have a presidency in which neoconservatives and the Christian Armageddon set are not holding the reins of power is if Kerry is elected.

If Kerry wins, this magazine will be in opposition from Inauguration Day forward. But the most important battles will take place within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. A Bush defeat will ignite a huge soul-searching within the rank-and-file of Republicandom: a quest to find out how and where the Bush presidency went wrong. And it is then that more traditional conservatives will have an audience to argue for a conservatism informed by the lessons of history, based in prudence and a sense of continuity with the American past—and to make that case without a powerful White House pulling in the opposite direction.

George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies have been based on the hopelessly naïve belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American armies—a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky’s concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft. His immigration policies—temporarily put on hold while he runs for re-election—are just as extreme. A re-elected President Bush would be committed to bringing in millions of low-wage immigrants to do jobs Americans “won’t do.” This election is all about George W. Bush, and those issues are enough to render him unworthy of any conservative support.

November 8, 2004 issue
Copyright © 2004 The American Conservative
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:54 AM   #2
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Fair and Balanced
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i...108&s=hitchens

Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush
by Christopher Hitchens

The election season is always hellish for people who fancy that they live by political principles, because at such a time "politics" becomes, even more than usually, a matter of show business and superficial calculation. Ever since 1980, when I bet the liberals of New York that Reagan would win easily (and didn't have to buy my own lunch for months afterward), I have sympathized with the "prisoners' dilemma" that faces liberals and leftists every four years. The shady term "lesser evil" was evolved to deal with this very trap. Should you endorse a Democrat in whom you don't really believe? Is it time for that deep-breath third-party vote, or even angry abstention, of the sort that has tortured some Nation readers ever since they just couldn't take Humphrey over Nixon? This magazine prints columnists who regularly describe the terms of the captivity with more emotion than I can now summon.

But absent from this triangular calculation is the irony of history. Do you know anybody who really, deeply wishes that Carter had been re-elected, or that Dukakis had won? Implicit but unstated, in the desire of the prisoner to escape, is the banal, unexciting assumption of our two-party oligopoly: Sometimes it's objectively not so bad that the "other" party actually wins. Thus I ought to begin by stating my reasons to hope for a Kerry/Edwards victory.


ADVERTISEMENTGiven my underlying stipulation, which is that this is a single-issue election and that that is a good and necessary thing, I have no formal quarrel with the Kerry/Edwards platform. It ostensibly calls for military victory over the alliance between autocracy and jihad. It does not shade the moral distinction that has to be made between "our" imperfect civilization and those who want to turn Islamic society into a medieval but still-lethal dust bowl. (Not even by MoveOn.org are we being told, of the racist janjaweed death squads in Sudan, that they are the expression of pitiable, deep-seated Muslim grievances.) The Kerry camp also rightly excoriates the President and his Cabinet for their near-impeachable irresponsibility in the matter of postwar planning in Iraq.

I can't wait to see President Kerry discover which corporation, aside from Halliburton, should after all have got the contract to reconstruct Iraq's oil industry. I look forward to seeing him eat his Jesse Helms-like words, about the false antithesis between spending money abroad and "at home" (as if this war, sponsored from abroad, hadn't broken out "at home"). I take pleasure in advance in the discovery that he will have to make, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a more dangerous and better-organized foe than Osama bin Laden, and that Zarqawi's existence is a product of jihadism plus Saddamism, and not of any error of tact on America's part. I notice that, given the ambivalent evidence about Saddam's weaponry, Kerry had the fortitude and common sense to make the presumption of guilt rather than innocence. I assume that he has already discerned the difference between criticizing the absence of postwar planning and criticizing the presence of an anti-Saddam plan to begin with. I look forward, in other words, to the assumption of his responsibility.

Should the electors decide for the President, as I would slightly prefer, the excruciating personality of George Bush strikes me in the light of a second- or third-order consideration. If the worst that is said of him is true--that he is an idiotic and psychically damaged Sabbath-fanatic, with nothing between his large Texan ears--then these things were presumably just as true when he ran against Al Gore, and against nation-building and foreign intervention. It is Bush's conversion from isolationism that impresses me, just as it is the parallel lapse into isolationism on Kerry's part that makes me skeptical. You don't like "smirking"? What about the endless smirks and smarmy hints about the Administration's difficulties, whether genuine or self-imposed? The all-knowing, stupid smirks about the "secular" Saddam, or the innocuousness of prewar Iraq? The sneers about the astonishing success of our forces in Afghanistan, who are now hypocritically praised by many who opposed their initial deployment? This is to say nothing of the paranoid innuendoes I don't have to name that are now part of pseudo-"radical" rumor-mongering and defamation. Whichever candidate wins, I shall live to see these smirks banished, at least.

I can visualize a Kerry victory, in other words (and can claim to have written one of the earliest essays calling attention to the merits of John Edwards). What slightly disturbs me about most liberals is their hypertense refusal to admit the corollary. "Anybody But Bush"--and this from those who decry simple-mindedness--is now the only glue binding the radical left to the Democratic Party right. The amazing thing is the literalness with which the mantra is chanted. Anybody? Including Muqtada al-Sadr? The chilling answer is, quite often, yes. This is nihilism. Actually, it's nihilism at best. If it isn't treason to the country--let us by all means not go there--it is certainly treason to the principles of the left.

One of the editors of this magazine asked me if I would also say something about my personal evolution. I took him to mean: How do you like your new right-wing friends? In the space I have, I can only return the question. I prefer them to Pat Buchanan and Vladimir Putin and the cretinized British Conservative Party, or to the degraded, mendacious populism of Michael Moore, who compares the psychopathic murderers of Iraqis to the Minutemen. I am glad to have seen the day when a British Tory leader is repudiated by the White House. An irony of history, in the positive sense, is when Republicans are willing to risk a dangerous confrontation with an untenable and indefensible status quo. I am proud of what little I have done to forward this revolutionary cause. In Kabul recently, I interviewed Dr. Masuda Jalal, a brave Afghan physician who was now able to run for the presidency. I asked her about her support for the intervention in Iraq. "For us," she said, "the battle against terrorism and against dictatorship are the same thing." I dare you to snicker at simple-mindedness like that.

I could obviously take refuge in saying that I was a Blair supporter rather than a Bush endorser, and I am in fact a member of a small international regime-change "left" that originates in solidarity with our embattled brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq, brave people who have received zero support from the American "antiwar" movement. I won't even consider any reconsideration, at least until Islamist websites start posting items that ask themselves, and not us: Can we go on taking such casualties? Have our tactics been too hideous and too stupid? Only then can anything like a negotiation begin. (Something somewhat analogous may be true, and I say it with agony, about the Israel-Palestine dispute, which stands a very slightly better chance of a decent settlement if an almost uncritically pro-Israeli Democrat is not elected.)

The President, notwithstanding his shortcomings of intellect, has been able to say, repeatedly and even repetitively, the essential thing: that we are involved in this war without apology and without remorse. He should go further, and admit the evident possibility of defeat--which might concentrate a few minds--while abjuring any notion of capitulation. Senator Kerry is also capable of saying this, but not without cheapening it or qualifying it, so that, in the Nation prisoners' dilemma, he is offering you the worst of both worlds. Myself, I have made my own escape from your self-imposed quandary. Believe me when I say that once you have done it, there's no going back. I have met a few other ex-hostages, and they all agree that the relief is unbelievable. I shall be meeting some of you again, I promise, and the fraternal paw will still be extended.
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:59 AM   #3
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Good article! I think I pointed out the following when I posted the PNAC paper, and some others, long ago.

The record, from published administration memoirs and in-depth reporting, is one of an administration with a very small group of six or eight real decision-makers, who were set on war from the beginning and who took great pains to shut out arguments from professionals in the CIA and State Department and the U.S. armed forces that contradicted their rosy scenarios about easy victory. Much has been written about the neoconservative hand guiding the Bush presidency—and it is peculiar that one who was fired from the National Security Council in the Reagan administration for suspicion of passing classified material to the Israeli embassy and another who has written position papers for an Israeli Likud Party leader have become key players in the making of American foreign policy.
Bush & Co. wanted a war with Iraq from the first day Bush entered office. 9/11 was godsend to these people.
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Old 10-27-2004, 11:43 AM   #4
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Its always been a Cheney dream to visit Oktoberfest as well. Watch out Germany, your next.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:05 PM   #5
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I was watching "Rumsfeld's war" on PBS last night. Compelling shit.

I'm such a nerd.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:12 PM   #6
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Rumsfield could kick your ass, dude. I once saw him flip out and go ninja in a Jiffy store and when it was over there were 4 dead Iranian clerks, 3 traumatized housewives, and a stamp machine that will never print out fuzzy bunny stamps ever again.

Fear him.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:17 PM   #7
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Rumsfeld is good people, on 9/11 Rumsfeld helped women down from the steps of the capital after the pentagon was hit. Kerry ran down the steps past other women and didnt help anyone but himself. This footage was caught on tape and it was in a movie called Clear The Skies
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:17 PM   #8
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What really scares me about Rumsfeld is the fact that he hasn't visibly changed at all (minus a few more grey hairs) since Nixon's administration.

In all honesty, Rumsfeld is a decisive, determined, charismatic, ambitious, fearless leader. However, he's prone to overstepping on nearly all of those and instead of just appearing stubborn he comes accross as a pompous, insecure ass.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by chukzombi
Rumsfeld is good people, on 9/11 Rumsfeld helped women down from the steps of the capital after the pentagon was hit. Kerry ran down the steps past other women and didnt help anyone but himself. This footage was caught on tape and it was in a movie called Clear The Skies
Rumsfeld then went to the pentagon and refused to be kept away from the crash site. There's footage of him running towards the flames and wreckage.

He's a very hands-on person. He craves authority and responsibility.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by chukzombi
Rumsfeld is good people, on 9/11 Rumsfeld helped women down from the steps of the capital after the pentagon was hit.
Dude you are insane! He was lifting up the women's dresses and trying to pull their panties off while screaming "This could be my last chance!!". He wasn't helping them down the steps! What a fucking moron.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:30 PM   #11
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Its always been a Cheney dream to visit Oktoberfest as well. Watch out Germany, your next.
yep, i believe you would follow this shit
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lallek
yep, i believe you would follow this shit
If it's during Octoberfest I would go. Wouldn't you?
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:35 PM   #13
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Dont mind Lallek, he is still bitter about the results of Steffi Grafs genetic testing proving she/he was competing against the wrong sex and having to give back all her/his titles.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:37 PM   #14
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uuhhh.... you better be quiet with your Martina Navratilova.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:40 PM   #15
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If it's during Octoberfest I would go. Wouldn't you?
i wouldnt go for the Octoberfest, too many drunken britons, horny japanese and greedy germans
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:40 PM   #16
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Martina was born with 3 testicles, lined up on the small of her back. Sort like spongey fins.
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:42 PM   #17
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Andre loves Steffi
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Old 10-27-2004, 12:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Lallek
horny japanese
I've got your picture
Of me and you
You wrote "I love you"
I love you too
I sit there staring and there's nothing else to do

Oh it's in color
Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel
And soft as clouds
I often kiss you when there's no one else around

I've got your picture, I've got your picture
I'd like a million of you over myself
I asked the doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You've got me Horny up and Horny down and Horny in and
Horny 'round

I'm Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
I'm Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so

I've got your picture, I've got your picture
I'd like a million of them over myself
I want the doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You've got me Horny up and Horny down and Horny in and Horny 'round

I'm Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
I'm Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so

No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark
Everyone around me is a total stranger
Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger
Everyone

That's why I'm Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese
I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
I'm Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so

Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
(think so think so think so)
Horny Japanese I think I'm Horny Japanese I really think so
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