Bush’s speech at the U.N. today is one of those speeches that you just don’t know whether to laugh at or cry over. But for me, most of it was laughing. Because, after all, Bush doesn’t know the first thing about international politics. Take these sections, for example:
We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace
Because we believe in human dignity, peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace.
Translation: democracy leads to peace, whereas dictatorship leads to war. This argument, as no doubt Bush doesn’t know, originated in the Enlightenment. It was part of a broader doctrine of world politics. Known as liberalism. The irony could not be more delicious. Bush propounding hard-core liberalism, the ideology he despises most, at the U.N., the institution he despises most; it doesn’t get much better than that.
Hats have whims?
“Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat.”
Our president the scholar.
Will Saletan has probably the best piece that can possibly be written about Bush and the Guard. His summary:
In short, Bush has pulled Guard troops away from their homeland security duties to fight and die in a war unrelated to the service for which they enlisted. A guardsman who did less than he signed up for is coercing other guardsmen to do more than they signed up for.
Read the whole thing; it’s worth it. This is why Bush’s guard service matters – he’s exploited the institution twice in his life. In the 1960s, he used it to avoid serving his country in Vietnam (before you call me a hypocrite, I find Clinton’s draft dodging despicable as well). In the 2000s, he’s using it to increase the number of troops in another unnecessary war. Guards(wo)men everywhere should be outraged at this utter lack of respect for the institution. It’s disgusting, vile, and unbecoming of a president.
U.S. preparing to go into Iran, maybe:
The Bush administration’s warnings that it will not “tolerate” a nuclear-armed Iran have opened up a lively policy debate in Washington over the merits of military strikes against the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
Analysts close to the administration say military options are under consideration, but have not reached a level of seriousness that indicates the US is preparing actual action.
When asked, senior officials repeat that President George W. Bush is removing no option from the table – but that he believes the issue can be solved by diplomatic means.
Diplomacy on Wednesday appeared stalled.
The US and its European allies on the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency continued to wrangle over the wording of a resolution on Iran which insists it has no intention of using its advanced civilian program to make a bomb.
Gary Schmitt, executive director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative think-tank, says that with “enough intelligence and spadework”, the US could “do a good job” of slowing Iran’s program for a while
Via Phil Carter. This has been speculated for a while, but when the director of PNAC endorses it, it’s big. Then again, when the director of PNAC endorses it, it’s in all likelihood the worst possible idea ever thought. It’s been said that to reconstruct Iraq decently, it would have taken 500,000 troops. Iraq has about 25 million people, so that’s a ratio of about 1 to 50. Iran has around 70 million people; it would require 1.4 million troops to get to that ratio. The U.S. military has about 1,480,000 [PDF] troops. Unless we have a draft, there will simply not be the troop capacity for an operation of that size; there would only be 80,000 troops left for any other operation, and that’s assuming that no troops will be allowed to take breaks to visit family. Also, Iran is going to pop on its own very quickly. The only thing more stupid than invading Iran is invading Iran when your military is already overstretched. We’d be doing the latter.
I didn’t know that Bill Frist was retiring after 2006! Why don’t people tell me these things?!?!
“The decision by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to retire at the end of the 109th Congress has prompted two of his top deputies to begin quietly soliciting support from colleagues in anticipation of a leadership race that is not scheduled to take place until 2006,” Roll Call‘s Mark Preston reports.
Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “began meeting personally with GOP Senators several months ago to make the case that he is best qualified to succeed Frist.” Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (R-PA) “began private conversations with GOP Senators last week to express a similar interest in being the next Republican leader.”
First of all, I really, truly believe that we can retake the Senate this year. Brad Carson and Tony Knowles are looking strong, and even if Inez Tenenbaum and Betty Castor lose, I think we can pull it off. Now to the real question: will Rick “Man-on-Dog” Santorum be leading the Republicans in the Senate come 2007? Two words: NO WAY. Santorum won in 2000 by a very slim margin of 52-46. Judging by his repeated gay-baiting, I don’t think he’ll do better in socially liberal Pennsylvania come 2006. In fact, I think he’ll lose. His high profile intolerance will definitely hurt him in the Philadelphia suburbs, which decide elections in that state. So, count out George Wallace Jr. Now, if McConnell, well, let’s just say he has a few skeletons in his closet.
When it comes to Iraq, I agree with Jeralyn Merritt: a draft would probably lower morale, lower troop ability, and would hurt the military effort more than it would help. But as a matter of principle, I would support an Israel-like “draft”; i.e. one in which all citizens served from age 18 to age 20. The military has ceased to be seen as the hallmark of patriotism and sacrifice that it once was considered. It is now seen as a haven for the working poor, the stuggling, those who have nowhere else to turn. The military consists mostly of lower-class twentysomethings, and has a much higher minority population (as a percentage) than the country at large. This is wrong; service to one’s country shouldn’t be motivated by financial need. It should be motivated by love and respect for one’s country. Only with obligatory military service can the armed forces cease to be the way the are; only then will residents of both the Upper East Side and Harlem be fighting for their country. And more than that, obligatory military service will instill a civic, and patriotic, mindset into our nation’s youth. It will lead to a more active, and more altruistic population. In short, it will lead to a better America.
Dan Drezner notes that Alan Keyes has now joined Zell Miller in opposition to the 17th amendment. I don’t see why people see this opposition as so radical. The most effective branch of our government, the judiciary, is primarily appointed as opposed to elected, and acts more reasonably, and freely, than the rest of the government. If you don’t believe me, consider 1954. Any poll of the electorate would have shown great hostility to the idea of desegregation. But the Warren court had the courage, and insight, to unanimously order it. That couldn’t have happened if the Supreme Court had been elected. And I have reason to believe that acts just as great would occur in the Senate if the 17th amendment is repealed. Don’t get me wrong; I despise Zell Miller and Alan Keyes, and just about everything they stand for. I simply believe that government would be more effective if the 17th amendment was gone.