Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Am I the Only One Who Remembers Bush Sneering at "Nation-Building"?!

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a different reality from everyone else.

For example, I have that feeling every time I see Bush taking credit for the free elections in Iraq, and saying the war is worth it, because people there are voting... because Democracy is spreading. When he points with pride at the image of Iraqis with their ink-stained fingers in the air.

Thank goodness someone somewhere actually transcribes events and writes them down, so we have a record that they actually did happen.

Remember the first Gore-Bush debate? Where afterward everyone made fun of Al Gore talking about a "lockbox"?

Funny. I didn't make fun of Al Gore.

I was instead struck by Bush's creepy grin, as he whined about nation-building.

Here's the pertinent part of that night's transcript, from CNN.com:

BUSH: But let me say this to you [regarding Serbia]: I wouldn't use force. I wouldn't use force.

JIM LEHRER: You wouldn't use force?

BUSH: No.

LEHRER: Why not?

BUSH: Because it's not in our national interest to use force in this case. I would keep pressure. I would use diplomacy. There's a difference between what the president did, who I supported, [that's a lie] in Kosovo and this. And it's up for the people in this region to figure out how to take control of their country.

LEHRER: New question. How would you go about, as president, deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force? Generally.

BUSH: Well, if it's in our vital national interests. And that means whether or not our territory -- our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our alliances -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force.

Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be.

Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped.

And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy.

I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops.

The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders...

[I]f we don't do something quickly, we don't have a clearer vision of the military, if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that. I'm going to rebuild our military power. It's one of the major priorities of my administration.

--

Now, obviously the boldface was added by me.

This was supposed to be about WMD. No, it was about 9/11. No, it was about Saddam torturing his people. No, it's about spreading Democracy. That's it.

I want you to remember all of this tomorrow, when they show you those inky fingers and ask you to be proud of our accomplishments.

Our accomplishments in nation-building, all at a terrible cost in American and Iraqi lives.

And I want you to remember: it's easy to score a touchdown when you keep moving the goalposts.

2 comments:

peeky said...

you need an electric chainsaw to cut through the hypocrisy and BS. joe biden appeared on charlie rose last night and mentioned that he actually said to the president (paraphrasing): "why do you still listen to rumsfeld and cheney when every single thing they've ever told you has been wrong?" (answer: silence)

Michael Markowitz said...

It truly is a measure of the lack of intellectual and moral integrity of this bunch that Rumsfeld and Cheney are still there. I mean, Jesus. Rumsfeld would have been out on his ass in ANY other administration!