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Jackie Ashley

George Bush: Pre-Modernist Politician?

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I think that Justin is right in bringing out the cultural aspects of voting too. Last spring we ran a Partnership exchange between Swedish students and students in Missouri, where individuals collaborated on a Composition Course. The 'reward' for active participation for the Swedes was to be able to contribute an account of the on-going activity to the rest of the students in the class who weren't in the exchange. My US colleague, on the other hand, achieved high participation through giving US participants extra credits if they posted an account of what they'd done each week on their class discussion forum.

I thought that summed up the differences between US and Swedish society quite neatly! (Of course, Sweden is the way it is only as a result of an ongoing and thorough process of socialisation - just like all societies.)

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To win in 2008 the Democrats have to find someone who is appealing to those Christians in the Deep South. If they don’t do that, they will be beaten by the Republican candidate who will definitely be chosen to represent these views.

John,

It has been noted by a great many political observers, including sociology professor G William Domhoff in his several books on the upper "ruling" class in America, that American elections are a total farce, and have been for at least the last three generations. It has been noted for some time now that there is no notable differences between candidates of either party. The joke of the last election was phrased as something like "Who cares who wins the race, when they come out of the same stables?" Or the Skull & Bones dynamic duo. The massive Kerry campaign propoganda began in Iowa, where CFR owners of the newspapers in Des Moines began the assault on the Democrats.

Consequently, I find it very disappointing that you think the "Democrats" find these candidates. Personally, I think they are selected at the Bilderberg Conferences.

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The US Army yesterday announced that it was suspending Halliburton’s exclusive multi-billion dollar serving contract awarded by George Bush and Dick Cheney. The $16.4 billion contract gave Halliburton’s subsidiary, Brown & Root (yes the same company who financed LBJ’s political campaigns who then got lucrative contracts worth billions in Vietnam) exclusive rights to provide food, shelter, laundry services and transport to US forces in Iraq. It has similar contracts in Afghanistan and other countries currently with American troops. In fact, the more wars there are - the more money the company makes. Halliburton helped fund the two Bush/Cheney presidential campaigns. I wonder why?

The reason for this is that Halliburton is currently being investigated by the justice department for tens of millions of dollars in possible overcharges for its work in Iraq (they did the same thing in Vietnam). So far auditors have uncovered $1.4bn in questionable charges by Halliburton.

Halliburton also got the $7 billon contract to repair Iraq’s oilfield destroyed by the invasion.

The merit of capitalism over communism is that it encourages competition between rival firms to provide goods and services. According to economists this competition reduces prices and increases quality. However, companies like Halliburton don’t want competition. They know that the largest profits are made from monopoly contracts. In other words, the kind of contracts that are the staple diet of a communist state. You get those contracts by bribing politicians who have the power to give out these contracts.

Before people from the UK start feeling superior over their American friends you should consider why so many companies have been providing large sums of money to the Labour Party since 1997? These are the same companies that provided money to the Conservative Party before 1997. This is why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are so keen on providing monopoly contracts to companies. Take a look at the companies who have been receiving PFI contracts. Look at the business activities of people like Lord Drayson. Why did these people suddenly become converted to the Labour Party in 1997? Was it because he promised to clean up British politics?

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The US Army yesterday announced that it was suspending Halliburton’s exclusive multi-billion dollar serving contract awarded by George Bush and Dick Cheney. The $16.4 billion contract gave Halliburton’s subsidiary, Brown & Root (yes the same company who financed LBJ’s political campaigns who then got lucrative contracts worth billions in Vietnam) exclusive rights to provide food, shelter, laundry services and transport to US forces in Iraq. It has similar contracts in Afghanistan and other countries currently with American troops. In fact, the more wars there are - the more money the company makes. Halliburton helped fund the two Bush/Cheney presidential campaigns. I wonder why?

The reason for this is that Halliburton is currently being investigated by the justice department for tens of millions of dollars in possible overcharges for its work in Iraq (they did the same thing in Vietnam). So far auditors have uncovered $1.4bn in questionable charges by Halliburton.

Halliburton also got the $7 billon contract to repair Iraq’s oilfield destroyed by the invasion.

The merit of capitalism over communism is that it encourages competition between rival firms to provide goods and services. According to economists this competition reduces prices and increases quality. However, companies like Halliburton don’t want competition. They know that the largest profits are made from monopoly contracts. In other words, the kind of contracts that are the staple diet of a communist state. You get those contracts by bribing politicians who have the power to give out these contracts.

Before people from the UK start feeling superior over their American friends you should consider why so many companies have been providing large sums of money to the Labour Party since 1997? These are the same companies that provided money to the Conservative Party before 1997. This is why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are so keen on providing monopoly contracts to companies. Take a look at the companies who have been receiving PFI contracts. Look at the business activities of people like Lord Drayson. Why did these people suddenly become converted to the Labour Party in 1997? Was it because he promised to clean up British politics?

Great to see Chaney's being hung out to dry. Bush and Rumsfeld must follow.

The US War College told them but they wouldn't listen. They could only see the dollars:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0112-01.htm

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He is right or he is wrong. Which? "The war on terror is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century," said George Bush on Monday. "It is a struggle for civilisation ... The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle on the streets of Baghdad." It is as Manichean as that.

Bush is wrong. My parents endured one life-or-death struggle, against Hitler's fascism, and I grew up during another, against Soviet communism. Both were real threats. When Bush was dodging war service in Vietnam and Tony Blair was a supporter of CND, I had no qualms about backing nuclear deterrence. Foreigners did not just want to conquer my country and change the way I lived, but they had amassed sufficient state power to make that ambition plausible. I call that a threat to the security of the nation. It required massive defence.

Putting Osama bin Laden (or Saddam Hussein) in this league is ludicrous. No force they could command could possibly have ranked with Hitler or Stalin as "a threat to the future of civilisation". Such a concept of history is illiterate and warped. The comparison offends those who fought and died in previous conflicts. It is populist rant, the exploitation by nervy politicians of the obvious fact that modern terrorism can kill more people than before (though it rarely has), and its perpetrators seem invulnerable to reason (though they rarely were).

Modern terror may be more outrageous but it is weaker as a political force. IRA outrages were as effective as al-Qaida's are not. Fanatical hatred has nowhere to go beyond a bigger bomb, and the bigger the bomb the greater the revulsion from those on whom the bomber depends. Al-Qaida has terrified Americans but not achieved a political goal - beyond inducing America to make itself more unpopular. Those to whom I talk about these things claim plausibly that, had the west not overreacted to 9/11, Bin Laden and his organisation would now be dead. As the American terrorism expert John Mueller points out in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, the "omnipresent terrorist threat" has been greatly exaggerated for political ends. As a result, "the massive [$100bn] homeland security apparatus ... may be persecuting some, spying on many, inconveniencing most and taxing all to defend the United States against an enemy that scarcely exists".

Bush's morbid 9/11 soliloquy was chiefly of interest as a study in the psychology of power, as are Blair's frequent soundbites on global conflict. When in office such politicians, themselves chary of military service, love to tongue the trump of war and wrap themselves in the flag, except today they wrap themselves in the entire western civilisation. Such "threat inflation" enables them to spend huge sums on defence and send armies abroad on reckless adventures.

That Nato members are this week refusing to send more troops to die in Afghanistan is a measure of the gap opening between fine words in the White House and Downing Street and reality on the ground. Had Afghanistan been secured against insurgency in 2001-02, the case for rebuilding that country as a puppet western state might just have held water. The Taliban had bowed to western pressure (and bribery) in 2000-01 and briefly curbed poppy production. All that is too late now. Instead we have a deadly cocktail of military bravado, civilisation hanging by a thread and "after us the deluge".

The Bush/Blair thesis is that Bin Laden and his shadowy movement threatenthe American and British governments, the democratic way of life, a free press, women's rights, the Christian religion and civil liberty. This has to be nonsense. That a fanatic says something, even a fanatic with a bomb, does not constitute a cosmic threat. The west was not threatened when it was notionally "undefended" before 9/11 and is not threatened now. Most western countries are healthy democracies with entrenched liberties, near invulnerable to military attack. Presenting al-Qaida or Ba'athism or the Taliban as a menace to civilisation implies a dim view of civilisation and the robustness of its values. Such scaremongering may serve someone's leadership agenda but it is unreal.

On Monday the Tory leader, David Cameron, lectured Bush, Blair and his putative successor, Gordon Brown, on moderation. He deplored the naive language of counter-terror and pleaded for more humility and patience in dealing with Muslim states. For an advocate of the Iraq war this is something of a U-turn. Cameron declared himself a born-again "libcon", a sanitised, semi-demilitarised neocon. Where this leaves his emphatically neocon foreign affairs spokesman, William Hague, is unclear. Does Cameron really mean to revert to Blair's Chicago 1999 speech and pragmatic humanitarianism as the lodestar of Tory policy? If so, it means withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan and fighting instead in Darfur and Congo. It means cancelling Eurofighters and Trident submarines and investing in infantry and field armour. It means engaging with Iran rather than threatening to bomb it.

Even so, a Tory leader is searching for a new language of foreign affairs and using such words as humility. This is encouraging. Western diplomacy must soon move on from the present rant to treat with those whose lives and lands it has grievously harmed these past five years. Cameron's language suggests a refreshing optimism. Western civilisation is not vulnerable to jihadism, only to its own fears, insecurities and cowardice. It is that vulnerability against which "libcons" should be on their guard. The greatest threat to any democracy has always been from its own chosen rulers.

The present lunacy will pass. The west will get another bloody nose, withdraw and concentrate its proselytising zeal on aid and example rather than on bombs and bullets. The much-vaunted neocon agenda, as Cameron said, had noble ambitions but was fatally short on realism. Its wars show why democracies must keep their leaders and their armies on a short rein. The wrong assessment of Saddam's weaponry was followed by a far greater intelligence failure, that Iraqis and Afghans would welcome western occupation. They never did and never will.

Nato's impending failure in Afghanistan will run alongside the November elections in America, Blair's departure from office and Cameron's new-found enlightenment. All suggest a worm starting to turn. The stupid party in foreign policy is in retreat. Perhaps, at last, the intelligent party is returning to power.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,,1871074,00.html

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He is right or he is wrong. Which? "The war on terror is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century," said George Bush on Monday. "It is a struggle for civilisation ... The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle on the streets of Baghdad." It is as Manichean as that.

Bush is wrong. My parents endured one life-or-death struggle, against Hitler's fascism, and I grew up during another, against Soviet communism. Both were real threats. When Bush was dodging war service in Vietnam and Tony Blair was a supporter of CND, I had no qualms about backing nuclear deterrence. Foreigners did not just want to conquer my country and change the way I lived, but they had amassed sufficient state power to make that ambition plausible. I call that a threat to the security of the nation. It required massive defence.

Putting Osama bin Laden (or Saddam Hussein) in this league is ludicrous. No force they could command could possibly have ranked with Hitler or Stalin as "a threat to the future of civilisation". Such a concept of history is illiterate and warped. The comparison offends those who fought and died in previous conflicts. It is populist rant, the exploitation by nervy politicians of the obvious fact that modern terrorism can kill more people than before (though it rarely has), and its perpetrators seem invulnerable to reason (though they rarely were).

Modern terror may be more outrageous but it is weaker as a political force. IRA outrages were as effective as al-Qaida's are not. Fanatical hatred has nowhere to go beyond a bigger bomb, and the bigger the bomb the greater the revulsion from those on whom the bomber depends. Al-Qaida has terrified Americans but not achieved a political goal - beyond inducing America to make itself more unpopular. Those to whom I talk about these things claim plausibly that, had the west not overreacted to 9/11, Bin Laden and his organisation would now be dead. As the American terrorism expert John Mueller points out in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, the "omnipresent terrorist threat" has been greatly exaggerated for political ends. As a result, "the massive [$100bn] homeland security apparatus ... may be persecuting some, spying on many, inconveniencing most and taxing all to defend the United States against an enemy that scarcely exists".

Bush's morbid 9/11 soliloquy was chiefly of interest as a study in the psychology of power, as are Blair's frequent soundbites on global conflict. When in office such politicians, themselves chary of military service, love to tongue the trump of war and wrap themselves in the flag, except today they wrap themselves in the entire western civilisation. Such "threat inflation" enables them to spend huge sums on defence and send armies abroad on reckless adventures.

That Nato members are this week refusing to send more troops to die in Afghanistan is a measure of the gap opening between fine words in the White House and Downing Street and reality on the ground. Had Afghanistan been secured against insurgency in 2001-02, the case for rebuilding that country as a puppet western state might just have held water. The Taliban had bowed to western pressure (and bribery) in 2000-01 and briefly curbed poppy production. All that is too late now. Instead we have a deadly cocktail of military bravado, civilisation hanging by a thread and "after us the deluge".

The Bush/Blair thesis is that Bin Laden and his shadowy movement threatenthe American and British governments, the democratic way of life, a free press, women's rights, the Christian religion and civil liberty. This has to be nonsense. That a fanatic says something, even a fanatic with a bomb, does not constitute a cosmic threat. The west was not threatened when it was notionally "undefended" before 9/11 and is not threatened now. Most western countries are healthy democracies with entrenched liberties, near invulnerable to military attack. Presenting al-Qaida or Ba'athism or the Taliban as a menace to civilisation implies a dim view of civilisation and the robustness of its values. Such scaremongering may serve someone's leadership agenda but it is unreal.

On Monday the Tory leader, David Cameron, lectured Bush, Blair and his putative successor, Gordon Brown, on moderation. He deplored the naive language of counter-terror and pleaded for more humility and patience in dealing with Muslim states. For an advocate of the Iraq war this is something of a U-turn. Cameron declared himself a born-again "libcon", a sanitised, semi-demilitarised neocon. Where this leaves his emphatically neocon foreign affairs spokesman, William Hague, is unclear. Does Cameron really mean to revert to Blair's Chicago 1999 speech and pragmatic humanitarianism as the lodestar of Tory policy? If so, it means withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan and fighting instead in Darfur and Congo. It means cancelling Eurofighters and Trident submarines and investing in infantry and field armour. It means engaging with Iran rather than threatening to bomb it.

Even so, a Tory leader is searching for a new language of foreign affairs and using such words as humility. This is encouraging. Western diplomacy must soon move on from the present rant to treat with those whose lives and lands it has grievously harmed these past five years. Cameron's language suggests a refreshing optimism. Western civilisation is not vulnerable to jihadism, only to its own fears, insecurities and cowardice. It is that vulnerability against which "libcons" should be on their guard. The greatest threat to any democracy has always been from its own chosen rulers.

The present lunacy will pass. The west will get another bloody nose, withdraw and concentrate its proselytising zeal on aid and example rather than on bombs and bullets. The much-vaunted neocon agenda, as Cameron said, had noble ambitions but was fatally short on realism. Its wars show why democracies must keep their leaders and their armies on a short rein. The wrong assessment of Saddam's weaponry was followed by a far greater intelligence failure, that Iraqis and Afghans would welcome western occupation. They never did and never will.

Nato's impending failure in Afghanistan will run alongside the November elections in America, Blair's departure from office and Cameron's new-found enlightenment. All suggest a worm starting to turn. The stupid party in foreign policy is in retreat. Perhaps, at last, the intelligent party is returning to power.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/alqaida/story/0,,1871074,00.html

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