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William F. Buckley: It Didn't Work


Terry Mauro
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FOCUS | William F. Buckley: It Didn't Work

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022506Z.shtml

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes - it is America." William F. Buckley explores the violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq, finding that the "troublemaker in the middle" who is propelling the clash is the interfering United States.

__________________________________________________

It Didn't Work

By William F. Buckley

The National Review

Friday 24 February 2006

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes - it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that "The bombing has completely demolished" what was being attempted - to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats.

A problem for American policymakers - for President Bush, ultimately - is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.

The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.

This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail - in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take? It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.

*********************************************************

"The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism."

Why not? The "shrine of American idealism" is nothing more than a pillar of salt, lost on the neocon economic philosophy of greed established in the 1980's, culminating in all its "global" glory in the 1990's, and morphing into the out-sourcing monster presently devouring the American manufacturing and industrial base in the 21st Century.

Edited by Terry Mauro
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FOCUS | William F. Buckley: It Didn't Work

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022506Z.shtml

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes - it is America." William F. Buckley explores the violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq, finding that the "troublemaker in the middle" who is propelling the clash is the interfering United States.

__________________________________________________

It Didn't Work

By William F. Buckley

The National Review

Friday 24 February 2006

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes - it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that "The bombing has completely demolished" what was being attempted - to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats.

A problem for American policymakers - for President Bush, ultimately - is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.

The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.

This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail - in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take? It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.

*********************************************************

"The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism."

Why not? The "shrine of American idealism" is nothing more than a pillar of salt, lost on the neocon economic philosophy of greed established in the 1980's, culminating in all its "global" glory in the 1990's, and morphing into the out-sourcing monster presently devouring the American manufacturing and industrial base in the 21st Century.

Terri,

Nice post. I agree 100% with your comments. The neocon mindset thought it could just take over, establish itself in Iraq and make a (financial) killing. They don't understand foreign cultures. They don't understand why the rest of the world didn't support them. They don't understand suicide bombers. And they don't understand how America itself is imploding because of free trade, the level playing field, zero tariffs, outsourcing and all the other devices designed to maximise shareholder returns at the expense of everything else.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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Nice post. I agree 100% with your comments. The neocon mindset thought it could just take over, establish itself in Iraq and make a (financial) killing. They don't understand foreign cultures. They don't understand why the rest of the world didn't support them. They don't understand suicide bombers. And they don't understand how America itself is imploding because of free trade, the level playing field, zero tariffs, outsourcing and all the other devices designed to maximise shareholder returns at the expense of everything else.

It is true that Bush has failed but he is only the front man. The multinationals that backed him have done very well out of his foreign policy. They are laughing all the way to the bank. What amazes me is that the American public are putting up with this blatant corruption. Why are they not taking to the streets?

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Nice post. I agree 100% with your comments. The neocon mindset thought it could just take over, establish itself in Iraq and make a (financial) killing. They don't understand foreign cultures. They don't understand why the rest of the world didn't support them. They don't understand suicide bombers. And they don't understand how America itself is imploding because of free trade, the level playing field, zero tariffs, outsourcing and all the other devices designed to maximise shareholder returns at the expense of everything else.

It is true that Bush has failed but he is only the front man. The multinationals that backed him have done very well out of his foreign policy. They are laughing all the way to the bank. What amazes me is that the American public are putting up with this blatant corruption. Why are they not taking to the streets?

Complacency. It will probably come down to America reaching a critical point of wealth depletion. The big debt has America in financial trouble. There's been a sharp rise in foreign ownership of land and capital in the US so it's a huge worry for them and us.

On top of that, there's two other big factors bearing down on the US:

Terrorism: It can't really be prevented and it can potentially cripple an economy (esp. biological agents). If a terrorist used a hand held rocket launcher and brought down a passenger plane it would probably close down the commercial airline system. These are terrible scenarios but the average American probably doesn't understand the extent of ill-feeling that exists towards them in the Middle East. GWB has made it all much worse.

Oil: America's massively overexposed to oil price rises. Double the price of oil and it's like an earthquake for the economy. America should reduce consumption urgently. Other country's economies will suffer but the one's best equipped to wheather it are the countries whose oil consumption is already on the way down.

Once America gets a good dose of hard times, and it looks quite likely, then they'll wake up to what's been occuring and make changes, IMO. It's possible they may turn sharply to the left. The mega rich are really global citizens and can live anywhere.

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It appears Harper's Magazine has 'stepped up to the plate,' the March 2006 Issue features a cover story 10 page essay by Lewis Lapham, entitled:

The Case For Impeachment Why We Can No Longer afford George W. Bush.

The article in my estimation is both succinct and very well articulated. Lapham's piece is what political journalism is supposed to be a representation of 'the conscience of a nation' as well as a check and balance to corrupt politics. Although I am sure the individuals on the particular thread are knowledgeable about the Conyer's Report, it is my view that in thumbing his nose at certain institutions 'within the government' today, as well as an assortment of controversial issues too numerous to cite, I will say that 2006 may be to George Bush, what 1974 was to Richard Nixon.

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I will say that 2006 may be to George Bush, what 1974 was to Richard Nixon.

I would hope so … but in 1974, Congress had a very different make-up. I wonder if the current bunch of party apparatchiks on the Republican benches would ever leave their sinking ship … and if the Democrats would ever find the backbone to really start opposing Bush's lot.

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I think this story will hurt Bush:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4765058.stm

Video shows Bush Katrina warning

Video has been obtained by a US news agency showing President George W Bush being briefed by officials on the eve of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

The confidential video obtained by the Associated Press shows very strong warnings being given to Mr Bush about the potential strength of the storm.

It appears to contradict subsequent suggestions by the Bush administration that the threat had been unclear.

Critics say more could have been done sooner to evacuate the city.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" George W Bush, speaking after the disaster

Speaking by video link from a room in his Texan holiday ranch on 28 August last year, Mr Bush is shown telling officials: "We are fully prepared."

He does not ask any questions as the situation is outlined to him.

Along with the video, AP obtained transcripts of seven days of briefings relating to Katrina.

The footage does the president no favours, the BBC's Justin Webb reports from Washington.

It shows plainly worried officials telling Mr Bush very clearly before the storm hit that it could breach New Orleans' flood barriers.

In the past, the president has said nobody anticipated a breach but the video shows Michael Brown, the top emergency response official who has since resigned, saying the storm would be "a bad one, a big one".

"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Mr Brown says.

He also gives a strong, clear warning that evacuees in the Superdome in New Orleans could not be given proper assistance.

'Very, very grave'

Another official, Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center, tells the final briefing that storm models predict minimal flooding inside New Orleans during the hurricane.

But he adds that the possibility of anticlockwise winds and storm surges could cause the levees at Lake Pontchartrain to be overrun afterwards is "obviously a very, very grave concern".

His concern was borne out by events when levees collapsed, letting in the floodwater disastrously.

The president, however, said four days after the storm: "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Mr Bush later accepted he shared some of the responsibility for the flawed response to Katrina and the White House talked of the "fog of war" rendering decision-making difficult.

Michael Brown told AP this week that he did not "buy the 'fog of war' defence".

"It was a fog of bureaucracy," he said.

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Hi everyone

Good posts here. I think many of us have doubted that the U.S. mission to Iraq could succeed in the way Bush and his friends thought it would. Their thinking about Iraq and how it could be set up as a trouble-free democracy was highly simplistic, and it was on the cards that Iraq would break up much in the same way that post-Tito Yugoslavia broke up and fell into civil war, with one faction against another. Bush has said time and again that Iraq's quest for democracy can be likened to the growing pains of the young United States, but the parallels just aren't there, and that type of notion totally ignores the realities of the Middle East and Iraq specifically.

As for Bush and Katrina, the new revelations are hardly surprising, given that because Bush and his administration were distracted by Iraq and the so-called war on terror, they were ill prepared to act effectively as Katrina bore down on New Orleans. His promises to rebuild New Orleans have proved as empty as many of his other promises about Iraq, saving Social Security, etc.

The man probably won't be impeached, but history will record him as one of the most ineffective and destructive presidents the United States has known given that not only are lives being thrown away in Iraq... American, British and other allied lives, as well as foreign journalists, and untold numbers of innocent Iraqis... but that billions of dollars are being poured away into the desert sand. Those are U.S. taxpayer dollars that could be used to rebuilt New Orleans and for anti-poverty programs, investment in U.S. industry instead of allowing outsourcing, and so on.

Best regards

Chris George

Edited by Christopher T. George
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His promises to rebuild New Orleans have proved as empty as many of his other promises about Iraq, saving Social Security, etc.

There was a short film on New Orleans on BBC news the other night. I was amazed by the state of New Orleans. It seemed there had been no attempt to clear up the mess. They spoke to one woman who was trying to continue to live in this completely destroyed neighbourhood. As she was being interviewed a coach arrived full of holidaymakers who had paid to be taken on a tour of the devastation. The woman clearly became distressed and said that she felt totally humiliated by these constant coach tours.

Are people in America seeing film on your news about the state of New Orleans? If so, what are they saying about it?

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His promises to rebuild New Orleans have proved as empty as many of his other promises about Iraq, saving Social Security, etc.

There was a short film on New Orleans on BBC news the other night. I was amazed by the state of New Orleans. It seemed there had been no attempt to clear up the mess. They spoke to one woman who was trying to continue to live in this completely destroyed neighbourhood. As she was being interviewed a coach arrived full of holidaymakers who had paid to be taken on a tour of the devastation. The woman clearly became distressed and said that she felt totally humiliated by these constant coach tours.

Are people in America seeing film on your news about the state of New Orleans? If so, what are they saying about it?

I saw it last night, too. It appeared that the only work done by the authorities was to clear the roads (so the tour buses could get through I assume). All that debris was left at the kerbside, stretching for hundreds of yards.

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His promises to rebuild New Orleans have proved as empty as many of his other promises about Iraq, saving Social Security, etc.

There was a short film on New Orleans on BBC news the other night. I was amazed by the state of New Orleans. It seemed there had been no attempt to clear up the mess. They spoke to one woman who was trying to continue to live in this completely destroyed neighbourhood. As she was being interviewed a coach arrived full of holidaymakers who had paid to be taken on a tour of the devastation. The woman clearly became distressed and said that she felt totally humiliated by these constant coach tours.

Are people in America seeing film on your news about the state of New Orleans? If so, what are they saying about it?

Hi John

Yes the dire state of New Orleans is being covered here in the media. The plain fact is that the Bush Administration is not prepared to deal with the problem of Third World America, and the poverty in the South and elsewhere. I can say all this now that Mr. Gratz has left the room. :eat What is really needed is a new War on Poverty to deal with the problems of the poor but the Bush administration has been more intent in giving tax cuts to the rich than in addressing the problems of the poorer classes.

All my best

Chris

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