micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Monday, November 03, 2003
Let's think about this
Seven days ago U.S. President George W. Bush said, "There are terrorists in Iraq who are willing to kill anybody in order to stop our progress. The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react."
Victory means being attacked, in other words.
Matthew Yglesias of The American Prospect has mocked this statement even though it is perfectly within the confines of Bush's logic. In an "Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People" on September 20, 2001, which like every date besides the first nine was exactly nine days after an earlier date, Bush said, "Americans are asking, why do they ["the terrorists"] hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."
Yep, they see "freedom" and they hate it by attacking it, which means that they see the many wonderful things happening in Iraq and decide to attack it.
Think of this what you will, but Bush's argument that "success" in Iraq will bring more terrorism is perfectly consistent with what he has said in the past, or at least most of what he said. On March 17 he informed the world that "[t]he terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed."
Now it is true that Saddam might not be disarmed (more on that below) but, if Bush is to be believed, perhaps the real solution is no more "progress" in Iraq. That doesn't mean that "progress" in Iraq is a bad thing but one has to wonder why it is being touted by a guy who has also said, "my most important job is to protect the security of the American people."
On a related manner, Raymond Whitaker and Patrick Cockburn write in yesterday's Independent that " [i]ntelligence officers and other military personnel are being pulled off the increasingly futile hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and assigned instead to deal with the worsening security situation."
The Independent report is interesting in light of what a high ranking Bush Administration official said yesterday. "We have seen an interim report by David Kay, and it was a thoughtful report," U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Meet the Press. "There's some 1,200 or 1,300 Americans there working on the weapons of mass destruction effort. He came back with an interim report that reported on the things he found thus far. It did not prove that there were -- he did not come in and say, "Here are weapons of mass destruction." Nor did he come in and disprove the intelligence that we had had and other countries had had before the war. It seems to me that the sensible thing to do was to let them continue their work and produce their final report."
Rummy also said, "The theory that he took his weapons, destroyed them or moved them to some other country, that argument, is that possible? I suppose it's possible, that he could have hidden them, buried them or moved to another country or destroyed them. The destroyed them part of it is the weakest argument. Why would he do that if by not allowing the inspectors to see what he was doing, and making an accurate instead of a fraudulent declaration, it makes no sense, because he was forgoing billions and billions and billions of dollars that he could have had had he acquiesced and allowed the inspectors into the country in an orderly way such that they could see really what was going on."
Apparently he believes the weapons probably still exist but I guess it is nothing to worry about like it was just eight months ago.
Then there's this blog post from Wednesday where BUSH-CHENEY '04 says, "President Bush has established a clear policy of doing everything to protect America and our friends and allies, and the world is more secure under his leadership. His critics offer no solution for dealing with the threats facing our nation and leave America vulnerable to new attacks."
O.K. Can someone inform me what Bush's "clear policy" for dealing with the "evil" states of Iran and North Korea is? And what about Iraq? (Other than waiting, or ostensibly endangering Uncle Sam, for over a year while openly talking about invading and then doing things that will anger "the terrorists," of course.)
Perhaps Bush doesn't think about these matters all that much.
In "Candid in Camera," an essay that appeared in The Nation in 1999 and which was included in the 2001 book The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 (Doubleday), Gore Vidal writes that Jimmy Carter "was... ill suited for the presidency because his virtues--an engineer's convergent mind--were of no use in a job that requires almost surreal divergency. Engineers want to connect everything up and make sense. Politicians--and artists--realize that nothing really makes sense and nothing ever hooks up."