George W. Bush attacks Trump for promoting “bigotry and falsehoods.”
Kurt Schlichter responds to the GWB speech of four days ago, in which the former president broke his long political silence… to attack a Republican Administration.
All human institutions are essentially a reboot of high school, and within the political scene the Never Trumpers are convinced that they are the cool kids despite being the chess club of American politics. No, they aren’t the cool kids. Theyâ€™re geeks, they haven’t won a tournament in years and, more importantly, they’re the freaking chess club.
In contrast, we normals are just that, the members of the student body who have lives and after-school jobs and girlfriends and who don’t care about the dorks padding their resume with student body presidencies or, in this case, jobs at the Eagle Liberty Council for Freedom. Except now we normals have been forced to pay attention because the would-be in-crowd has so totally screwed things up that there’s no real choice but get involved in campus activities and burn down the whole damn schoolhouse. …
What have these guys achieved? The clowns they support in Congress canâ€™t even repeal Obamacare. …
We normals are sick of being looked down upon and exploited by a bunch of people who, if this was a movie, would be played by James Spader â€“ except trainwreck 2017 James Spader, not louche/suave 1986 James Spader. I guess that makes Bill Kristol the Nepo-Con Duckie, if Duckie was a less-cool, backstabbing deep-state-loving weasel trying to sell Molly Ringwald a cabin on one of his crappy cruises.
In place of trying to earn respect by demonstrating competence, theyâ€™ve chosen to try to diss us into submission. George W. Bush decided to go all Mean Girls in a speech that insulted his (former) supporters while delighting the left, and therefore the Never Trumpers. Now, if you read W’s speech on paper, every word of it about bigotry being bad is true. But you give speeches in context, and here the context is decades of leftists and their media poodles falsely accusing the normals of racism and bigotry. So when W adopted that language, he also knowingly or negligently adopted that narrative; the former newspaper and current brochure known as the L.A. Times crowed: â€œIn stunning attack, George W. Bush rebukes Trump, suggesting he promotes falsehoods and prejudice.â€
And so, of course, the supporters of this Trump guy are thereforeâ€¦. Well, you get the picture. That is, if youâ€™re not being willfully obtuse, like the Fredocons, who were delighted that Bush decided to break his 16 years of super-principled silence in the face of liberal attacks to slander the very people who had voted for him and defended him. If being â€œprincipledâ€ means letting liberals use you like a slit trench then trashing the people who had your back to please the people using you like a slit trench, you can keep your damned principles.
David Samuels, in an important essay, argues that Osama bin Laden out-strategized a series of dimbulb American administrations, astutely predicting precisely how they would respond.
judging from his last known private letter, dated April 25, 2011, Bin Laden died a happy man. â€œWhat we are witnessing these days of consecutive revolutions is a great and glorious event,â€ he mused, after watching the fall of the secular, Western-backed regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, which he watched on CNN, before the daring Navy SEAL raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. â€œ[T]hanks to Allah things are strongly heading toward the exit of Muslims from being under the control of America.â€
Even at this late date, it seems difficult for American policymakers to grasp exactly how Bin Ladenâ€™s mastery of the inherently paradoxical logic of warfareâ€”a logic very different than the linear cause-and-effect style of reasoning that governs normal life and electoral politics alikeâ€”allowed a man without a country, heavy weapons, or even broadband Internet access to reshape the world to his advantage. The clarity of Bin Ladenâ€™s strategic insight, which now seems obvious, also suggests that the dynamic that he deliberately set in motion is still unfolding, in ways that he foresaw before his deathâ€”ways that continue to roil the Middle East and will continue to pose a threat to the safety of Americans at home. …
Bin Laden was never shy about explaining what he was doing and why. His public statements about his strategic logic and goals in targeting â€œthe far enemyâ€ remained remarkably consistent, from his first fatwa against America until the last letter he wrote before his death. In his 1996 â€œDeclaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places,â€ published soon after the Khobar Towers bombings in Saudi Arabia, he explained that â€œit is essential to hit the main enemy who divided the Ummahâ€â€”the Muslim worldâ€”â€œinto small and little countries and pushed it, for the last few decades, into a state of confusion.â€
Americaâ€™s response to an attack would be to get sucked into a war, he predictedâ€”and when the going got tough, the United States would cut and run. Responding to then-U.S. Defense Sec. William Perry, who had called the Khobar bombers cowards and had sworn not to give in, Bin Laden asked, â€œWhere was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 Marine soldiers were killed.â€ …
In public and private following the Sept. 11 attacks, he returned to the same themes, over and over again, in at least three-quarters of his public statements and in private letters to other jihadists that were seized from his compound in Abbotabad and later made public. â€œThe goal is to weaken America until it can no longer interfere in Muslims affairs,â€ he explained, in a letter whose contents were entirely typical of his communications. â€œOnce the American enemy has been defeated, our next step would be targeting the regionâ€™s leaders who had been the pillars of support for that American hegemony.â€
It is proof of Bin Ladenâ€™s mastery of the unexpected logic that animates strategic thought, and of the glaring inability of Americaâ€™s political leaders to think strategically, that not one but two American presidents have faithfully acted their roles in his geo-political script: George W. Bush, the hawk, with his open-ended and heavy-handed occupation of Iraq; and Barack Obama, the dove, with his precipitous and wholesale withdrawal of American military forces and influence from the Middle East. Both menâ€”and their many advisersâ€”should have known better.
Read the whole thing. It’s depressing reading and hard to argue with.
I had words on Facebook with James Delingpole this morning, consisting of my dissenting from his agreement with Boris Johnson’s Telegraph editorial echoing the left-wing perspective that it was the removal of Saddam Hussein from power by a coalition of 49 countries led by the United States in 2003 which, eleven years later, is the cause of the latest outbreak of barbarians in that part of the world.
Boris the blonde (who obviously devoted his time at Oxford to partying and up-sucking, rather than critical reflection) faithfully parrots the international community of fashion’s articles of faith.
The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, â€œwe snipped the spinal cordâ€ without any plan to replace it. There are more than 100,000 dead Iraqis who would be alive today if we had not gone in and created the conditions for such a conflict, to say nothing of the troops from America, Britain and other countries who have lost their lives in the shambles.
No, Boris, your “more than 100,000 dead Iraqis” figure is only a supposititious estimate cooked up for propagandistic purposes, and whatever quantity of Iraqis wound up as casualties in the course of opposing Coalition military operations or as incidental collateral damage was obviously not the fault of George W. Bush (or Tony Blair), but their own fault and the fault of Saddam Hussein and the rest of the Nationalist-Socialist leadership of that country which chose to adopt an extraordinarily belligerent and anti-Western posture and which defiantly undertook to violate an existing armistice agreement.
It is, moreover, obviously totally impossible to tell today just which and how many Iraqis might still be alive, absent the 2003 and invasion and the removal of that regime from power. Possibly some even greater number of Iraqis might have died at the hands of their own regime, in another major war instigated by Saddam, or via American retaliatory strikes after WMDs provided by Saddam’s regime to non-state jihadi actors were used to kill massive numbers of innocent Western civilians.
Many of the same countries participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq previously participated in the 1944 invasion of Normandy aimed that the “destruction of institutions of authority” and “snip[ping] the spinal cord” of a highly similar regime to that of Saddam’s, erected in point of fact on the same foundation principles of (aggrieved) Nationalism and (militarist and despotic) Socialism. No one sheds a tear for the far more than 100,000 Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and other Europeans slain in the course of opposing that coalition, nor for the many hundreds of thousands of civilians at that time intentionally targeted as the objects of strategic bombing.
The real differences, of course, reside in the much larger scale of WWII casualties and destruction, and in the thorough and completely ruthless post-war de-Nazification of the enemy.
The real tragedy in Iraq is that coalition efforts at regime change were too limited and piecemeal, too half-hearted and too confused in purpose. The WWII allies reduced their opponents to prostration and unconditional surrender, then occupied and ruled them for years, completely and fundamentally liberalizing, democratizing, and remodeling their cultures along our own lines. We attempted no such thing in Iraq, instead deluding ourselves with fantasies of being welcomed as liberators by friendly natives and trusting that the gift of democracy would in itself suffice to convert murderous and bigoted Mussulmen into bourgeois liberals.
It only required the setback of an unexpected Insurgency to unleash the hounds of treason and pacifism throughout Western intelligentsia circles. George W. Bush and his coalition allies found themselves far more effectively under attack from behind in the Times, the Post, and the Guardian than they ever were in Fallujah or Ramadi.
Boris Johnson would be right if he had attacked George W. Bush and Tony Blair for failing to put domestic traitors behind barbed wire and for not finishing the job, but when he accuses them of destroying some kind of legitimate authority or when he implies that Iraq would be better off under Saddam, he is just being a conformist tool and a complete ass.
Liberal Californian Conor Friedersdorf takes the occasion of Barack Obama’s totally unexpected reelection to throw a spitball of a column at conservatives, wondering aloud: What Has Movement Conservatism Accomplished in the Last 15 Years?
Perhaps we’ll see future triumphs from the conservative movement despite its present troubles. But have we seen any evidence of success since 1997 or so? George W. Bush created a new bureaucracy, expanded the federal role in education, approved a massive new entitlement, exploded the deficit, abandoned any pretense of a “humble foreign policy” that eschewed nation building, and left office having approved a massive government bailout of the financial sector. Then President Obama took office, presided over more bailouts and growing deficits, passed a health care reform bill that conservatives hate, and got reelected. Over this same period, the country has gotten more socially liberal. Gays can serve openly in the military and marry.
A majority now supports legalizing marijuana.
Circa 1997, if you’d told the average conservative that all those things would happen in the next 15 years, would they have declared the conservative movement finished? I suspect as much.
In the first place, noting George W. Bush’s sometimes failure to govern as a conservative (more government agencies, another entitlement, bailouts) is a fundamentally dishonest argument.
The Conservative Movement has never pretended to enjoy a national majority, nor does it claim to possess unchallenged dominion over the Republican Party. In the election of 2000, as in the elections of 2008 and 2012, the Conservative Movement contended against, and wound up compromising with, the professional politicians and Republican pragmatists. That is how American politics operates. The Conservative Movement had a lot of influence and, by an interesting kind of non-coincidence, was in every presidential election from 2000 to 2012 conceded the second place on the ticket, but it did not name the nominee.
Electing George W. Bush was certainly no unalloyed triumph for Conservatism. George W. Bush ran on a commitment to compromise with liberals and democrats and promised to govern as a “compassionate” (i.e. moderate Welfare State) Republican. There was never any reason to believe that George W. Bush was a sophisticated opponent of statism.
The Bush Presidency was radically transformed in the directions of domestic statism and foreign military operations by 9/11, which event, by any fair reading, must be looked upon as a legacy of Clintonian left-wing policy passivity.
Conservatives like myself are far from uncritical of Bush’s Wilsonianism. Some of us actively deplore the creation of the Department of Heimat Sekuritat and would abolish it and the TSA in a New York minute if we could work our will. We nonetheless wound up forced to defend George W. Bush, his Administration, and his foreign policy from essentially treasonous, dishonest, and opportunistic attack by the democrat party left. One wound up feeling like a Union conscript in the Civil War obliged to defend the leadership of General George McClellan.
We, in the Conservative Movement, can at least congratulate ourselves that our movement was able to elect George W. Bush, who was, however wrong and limited, nonetheless an honest and a decent man, over the despicable charlatan and junk science demigod Albert Gore and that we were able to spare the United States the dishonor of seeing the Vietnam War traitor John Kerry promoted to commander-in-chief.
8 years of George W. Bush, alas! failed, due to determined democrat resistance, to reform the American welfare state and put Social Security on a sound and reliable footing. Bush also failed to fully foresee and avert the real estate crisis, whose roots lay as far back as the New Deal. He did try to reform Fannie Mae, but Barney Frank and Chris Dodd successfully stood, like Horatius at the Bridge, in the way.
Bush, at least, did overthrow one of the principal outlaw regimes and sponsors of international terrorism, and he successfully averted al Qaida’s intended Second Wave attack. He built up the US military, put terrorism on the run, and delivered to Barry Soetero an ongoing intelligence operation and information obtained from captured illegal combatants which made possible his administration’s greatest triumph, the killing of Osama bin Laden.
In the same period, Conservatism’s intellectual domination of legal debates continued, and we won a decisive landmark Supreme Court decision affirming the Second Amendment and essentially recalling a cornerstone provision of the Bill of Rights from exile. We also won another crucial Supreme Court decision reversing liberal efforts to control political campaign speech. Not bad.
Mr. Fiedersdorf is a very young man lacking adequate experience of life to enable him to take the long view.
It’s easy to derogate the influence and achievements of the Conservative Movement a little over a week after it experienced a disastrous defeat. One can imagine the Friedersdorf column assessing US Naval Strength published on December 16, 1941.
It is sad, and not yet even entirely understandable yet why, that we lost this one, but frankly, Conor, old boy, I think you have a lot more to fear from the political future than we do. You put the radical Obama back into power, while the economy continues to sink, Obamacare increasingly comes into actual force and applies its terrible negative effects, and the federal budget approaches a fiscal cliff created deliberately by your party. You bozos own the disastrous US economy, and the chances that your demented ideology, your corrupt politics, and your basic bovine stupidity will do it still greater harm asymptotically approach 100%.
You are, I will grant you freely, the professionals at political manipulation, voter turnout, agitprop, and spin. You got all the weak-minded females in suburbia across the country in a tizzy over their supposed rights and they voted for Caliban out of fear that Romney would somehow personally confiscate their contraceptives and slap around their hairdressers.
What you overlook are the key considerations that your economics are fallacious, your policies are inevitably disastrous, your president is a narcissistic incompetent, and you are still, in the long-run, losing the war of ideas. Let me offer you a reciprocal challenge. Write this same column again nine days after the election of 2016, and let’s see how it reads then.
Condi Rice did a good job of standing up to him, and it is very interesting to observe how much O’Donnell relies on
fundamentally dishonest interviewing techniques. He continually interrupts his role as interviewer/debator to assume the role of judge and then tries to rule in his own favor. He relies constantly on leftwing talking points which he asserts dogmatically as the supposed fundamental facts entirely on the basis of his own native consensus on the left.
Former CIA Director Michael B. Mukasey testifies to the crucial role played by mildly coercive interrogation techniques in establishing the trail that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden.
The cosmic irony is that the single greatest success of the Obama Administration resulted specifically from the policies and tactics used by the previous administration which he ran against and has since eliminated.
[T]he intelligence that led to bin Laden came… began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of informationâ€”including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.
That regimen of harsh interrogation was used on KSM after another detainee, Abu Zubaydeh, was subjected to the same techniques. When he broke, he said that he and other members of al Qaeda were obligated to resist only until they could no longer do so, at which point it became permissible for them to yield. “Do this for all the brothers,” he advised his interrogators.
Abu Zubaydeh was coerced into disclosing information that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, another of the planners of 9/11. Bin al Shibh disclosed information that, when combined with what was learned from Abu Zubaydeh, helped lead to the capture of KSM and other senior terrorists and the disruption of follow-on plots aimed at both Europe and the United States.
Another of those gathered up later in this harvest, Abu Faraj al-Libi, also was subjected to certain of these harsh techniques and disclosed further details about bin Laden’s couriers that helped in last weekend’s achievement.
The harsh techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA. Of the thousands of unlawful combatants captured by the U.S., fewer than 100 were detained and questioned in the CIA program. Of those, fewer than one-third were subjected to any of these techniques.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said that, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations. The Bush administration put these techniques in place only after rigorous analysis by the Justice Department, which concluded that they were lawful.
The current president ran for election on the promise to do away with them even before he became aware, if he ever did, of what they were. Days after taking office he directed that the CIA interrogation program be done away with entirely, and that interrogation be limited to the techniques set forth in the Army Field Manual, a document designed for use by even the least experienced troops. It’s available on the Internet and used by terrorists as a training manual for resisting interrogation.
In April 2009, the administration made public the previously classified Justice Department memoranda analyzing the harsh techniques, thereby disclosing them to our enemies and assuring that they could never be used effectively again. …
Immediately following the killing of bin Laden, the issue of interrogation techniques became in some quarters the “dirty little secret” of the event. But as disclosed in the declassified memos in 2009, the techniques are neither dirty nor, as noted by Director Hayden and others, were their results little. As the memoranda concludedâ€”and as I concluded reading them at the beginning of my tenure as attorney general in 2007â€”the techniques were entirely lawful as the law stood at the time the memos were written, and the disclosures they elicited were enormously important. That they are no longer secret is deeply regrettable. …
We… need to put an end to the ongoing investigations of CIA operatives that continue to undermine intelligence community morale.
Acknowledging and meeting the need for an effective and lawful interrogation program, which we once had, and freeing CIA operatives and others to administer it under congressional oversight, would be a fitting way to mark the demise of Osama bin Laden.
At Red State, Jeff Emmanuel has a large graphic illustrating a number of informative comparisons between President Bush’s unilateral, war-of-choice in Iraq and President Obama’s kinectic action in Libya which illustrates a number of difficulties in the conventional wisdom of the establishment commentariat. Be sure to look at the larger original.
Hat tip to Richard Fernandez who reflects on history, while contemplating the unhappy spectacle of escalating regime violence in response to protests in Syria:
Deraa, the site of one of the many protests, was where the fledgling Royal Air Force won its first ground-air battle in 1918 in support of Colonel T. E. Lawrenceâ€™s Arab Revolt. He was cutting the lifeline of the Ottoman empire. Viewed from the 21st century, the battle seems almost quaint: biplanes dropping a few pounds of bombs from low altitude and landing to rendezvous with riders in flowing robes on steaming horses. But those riders, all encased in cotton, creaky leather and sweat, had the virtue of knowing which end was up. Today we are even luckier to be led, not simply by the competent and daring, but by leaders who are truly awesome.