The Best Defense: Analyzing Bush's doctrine of preemptive war.
In December 1837 British military forces based in Canada learned that a private American ship, the Caroline, was ferrying arms, recruits, and supplies from Buffalo, New York, to a group of anti-British rebels on Navy Island on the Canadian side of the border. On the night of December 29, British and Canadian forces together set out to the island to destroy the ship. They did not find the Caroline berthed there, but they tracked it down in United States waters. While most of the crew slept, the troops boarded the ship, attacked the crew and passengers, and set it on fire. They then towed and released the Caroline into the current headed toward Niagara Falls, where it broke up and sank. Most on board escaped, but one man was apparently executed and several others remained unaccounted for and presumed dead.
See also: Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive War
The administration's claim of a right to overthrow regimes it considers hostile is extraordinary - and one the world will soon find intolerable.
[via Follow Me Here]
Well, come on America, it's time to defend,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in another big jam
With his former partner, Mister Saddam.
So turn off Survivor, watch the News at Ten
You'll see it all on CNN
[via wood's lot]
In the nine months since Sept. 11, George W. Bush has put the United States on a course that is so bleak that few analysts have – as the saying goes – connected the dots. If they had, they would see an outline of a future that mixes constant war overseas with abridgment of constitutional freedoms at home, a picture drawn by a politician who once joked, "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier – so long as I'm the dictator."
[via also not found in nature]
State Secrets Privilege Gets a Workout: a summary of two cases in the last two months where the Bush Administration has invoked the state secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits against the government.
As the daily political and military atrocities magnetize our attention, it does us good now and then to take a step back and try for some longer-range perspectives on the world situation, and politics in the U.S. of A. So here, in short takes, are some reflections on four areas that could use some deeper examination: political despair, Bush's coming downfall, the new face of warfare, and America's response to Islam.
Bad Faith: on the tendency by Bush and Ashcroft to include only the religious in their world view.
A month or so ago, in a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters' annual convention, Attorney General John Ashcroft said the following: "Civilized individuals, Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator. Governments may guard freedom. Governments don't grant freedom. All people are called to the defense of the Grantor of freedom, and the framework of freedom He created." And with those words, Ashcroft encapsulated everything that is admirable, and everything that is awful, about the Bush administration's understanding of religion in the United States.
Americans have a right to expect that the President will have the best possible advice both about facts defining his choices and the values that should be brought to the decision. And they have a right to expect that he can tell the difference. It's a bad sign that the new President is pushing forward on many complex issues _ including preparing his first budget _ without any apparent source of advice from the science community. No Science Advisor to the President has been named (let alone confirmed) and few, if any, of the Cabinet members managing major federal research portfolios come with any experience or instincts in managing science and technology.
We hear a lot about rogue states these days. You know, the rogue states that refuse to ratify important treaties, the ones who refuse to allow international inspections of their weapons of mass destruction, the ones who ignore U.N. resolutions, who violate human rights with impunity and who refuse to sign on to human rights conventions? You know, those rogue states.
Let's get down to specifics. What would you call a country that produces the highest levels of dangerous chemicals in the world but abandons key negotiations aimed at reversing global warming? How about a country whose leader blithely announces that he is abandoning a quarter-century old arms control treaty, one the whole world understands to be the key to preventing complete nuclear madness? And what about a government that walks out of talks to enforce the biological weapons treaty because it doesn't want international inspectors peeking at its own weapons production facilities? That same country keeps rejecting human rights treaties, even the ones protecting the rights of children.
[via wood s lot]
The Indiscreet Charm of the Bush-Nazi Web Conspiranoids: on the conspiracy theories, going back to the 80s, linking the Bush family to Nazi Germany.
Conspiratorialists, whether their bete noire is Anglophile internationalist bankers, socialist one-world government advocates, neo-fascist state planners, or eugenic proponents of white supremacy, can and do find in the Bushes everything and more than they've ever wanted to imagine about American history and its rulers. Lurking in the shadows of nearly every major episode of recent U.S. history, from World War Two to the rise of the CIA to third world drug running to the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy and King assassinations, Watergate and beyond, the Bushes have emerged as the Zeligs of the global power elite.
The full sweep of the new Bush Doctrine was on display this past week, as President Bush traveled through North Asia delivering a consistent and powerful message: American security and global security require a determined assault not just on terrorists but on the three-headed hydra of tyranny, terror, and weapons of mass destruction. The imperative of regime change was the core message of Bush's State of the Union address. This week Bush made plain that the implications of his doctrine go beyond North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, the "axis of evil." Just as the Reagan Doctrine-- primarily aimed at overthrowing Communist regimes--ended up toppling right-wing dictatorships in the Philippines and South Korea, so, too, the Bush Doctrine could help undo dictatorships not only in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, but also in, for example, China and Saudi Arabia.
New Rules of Political Rhetoric: Makr Lilla calls Bush to task for using Reagan's style of rhetoric in a world where it no longer applies.
The reviews are in, and they are bad. President Bush's characterization of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" has been met by our allies' puzzled annoyance and by massive rallies in Iran that only strengthened hard-line elements there. How, one wonders, did the president and his speech writers blunder into this mess?
Ideas have consequences, wrote conservative Richard Weaver. So do words, when uttered by the most powerful man on earth.
By threatening war against Iran, Iraq and North Korea in his now-famous "Axis of Evil" address, the president painted himself into a corner. Either Bush now goes to war against one of these regimes, or he will be humiliated and exposed as a bellicose bluff.
Let me say it again: Whoever fed Bush those lines, or did not argue against his delivering them, disserved the president. For that speech has blown our coalition against terror to smithereens.
It's not often I agree with Pat Buchanan. [via Follow Me Here]
Is it just me?
Flashback to January 5th, this year: Bush stops at the Portland One-Stop Career and Youth Opportunity Center for a photo op. Fast forward to February 4th. Bush releases the budget and cuts their funding. [via Red Rock Eater]
On the transformation of Bush from "bumbler to statesman".
"Those of us who have lived through these challenging times have been changed by them," said President George W. Bush in his State of the Union message on Tuesday. Surely few people have been changed more than Bush himself. Having entered the presidency only after a bitter and divisive recount farce that undermined the authority he brought to the office; having arrived in Washington perceived as inarticulate and barely informed about world affairs, the president one year later stood before a joint session of Congress and, in a few words, reshuffled the world.
The part that really caught my attention in Bush's speech was his comments on the "Axis of Evil". He all but threatened Iraq, Iran, and North Korea based on a lot of "They could..."s:Continued...
Bush has claimed executive privilege and refused to turn over documents related to FBI use of mob informants and the investigation of Clinton fund raising activities to the House Committee on Government Reform, which had subpoenaed them under their oversight of the Justice Department function for a hearing originally scheduled for 9/11. In a memo released Wednesday, Bush claims the release of these documents would be "contrary to the national interest." The action met an angry reaction at the rescheduled hearing on Thursday.
The Weekly Compliation of Presidential Documents [via lakeeffect]