-Bill Clinton 1/8/08
Bubba was right. But he had no way of knowing which fairytale this primary was turning into.
All credit to the Public Service Admini.
I think the concern about liberal bias helps to explain the tendency of the Bush team to build walls against the media ... Unfortunately, the press secretary at times found himself outside those walls as well.OTOH, he blames it on the so-called liberal press:
If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.Equally revealing and diagnostic is McClellan's uptake on the issue of cocaine in Bush's life. The author traces Bush's penchant for self-deception back to an overheard incident on the campaign trail in 1999 when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days. The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest." Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat:
The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the 'liberal media' didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.
"The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,"I heard Bush say. "You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember."That and other character flaws led to Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq:
I remember thinking to myself, How can that be? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense.
Bush isn't the kind of person to flat-out lie.
So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It's the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true. And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious -- political convenience.
..... It would not be the last time Bush mishandled potential controversy. But the cases to come would involve the public trust, and the failure to deal with them early, directly and head-on would lead to far greater suspicion and far more destructive partisan warfare.
History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided -- that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder.Bush's top advisers, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.
President Bush has always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader. He is not one to delve into all the possible policy options -- including sitting around engaging in extended debate about them -- before making a choice. Rather, he chooses based on his gut and his most deeply held convictions. Such was the case with Iraq.
Bush is plenty smart enough to be president. But as I've noted his leadership style is based more on instinct than deep intellectual debate.
played right into his thinking, doing little to question it or cause him to pause long enough to fully consider the consequences before moving forward ... Contradictory intelligence was largely ignored or simply disregarded.Vice President Dick Cheney "the magic man" mysteriously directing outcomes in
every policy area he cared about, from the invasion of Iraq to expansion of presidential power to the treatment of detainees and the use of surveillance against terror suspects .....Cheney always seemed to get his way..In Iraq, Bush saw
his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness ..... Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would almost certainly not support a war launched primarily for the ambitions purpose of transforming the Middle East.Policy determined by politics: perpetual campaigning:
.... Rather than open this Pandora's Box, the administration chose a different path -- not employing out-and-out deception, but shading the truth ..... President Bush managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible .... The Iraq war was not necessary ..... Waging an unnecessary war is a grave mistake ..... The lack of candor underlying the campaign for war would severely undermine the president's entire second term in office.
Over that summer of 2002, top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war. . . . In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage.Scott McClellan's resignation on 19-Apr-06 was greeted by George Bush with his typically simplistic Pollyannaish and Panglossian fervor:
The president had promised himself that he would accomplish what his father had failed to do by winning a second term in office .... And that meant operating continually in campaign mode: never explaining, never apologizing, never retreating. Unfortunately, that strategy also had less justifiable repercussions: never reflecting, never reconsidering, never compromising. Especially not where Iraq was concerned.
First of all, I thank Scott for his service to our country. I don't know whether or not the press corps realizes this, but his is a challenging assignment dealing with you all on a regular basis. And I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity. He really represents the best of his family, our state and our country. It's going to be hard to replace Scott ... One of these days he and I are going to be rocking on chairs in Texas, talking about the good old days and his time as the Press Secretary. And I can assure you I will feel the same way then that I feel now, that I can say to Scott, job well done.This use of inappropriate and insincere platitudes is not evidence of a fawning naiveté on the part of our current POTUS. It's just a signature part of the script used by Busheney to dramatize the primary organizing principle of their government: a two-way life-time coda of personal loyalty between superiors and subordinates.
At sunrise on the second day of the after the Invasion. a Soviet sentry spotted five large size bags on the edge of the tarmac at Bagram Air Base in Kabul. The soldier was not initially concerned - until he pushed his rifle against the first of the burlap bags and noticed blood oozing on to the tarmac. Explosive experts were called in to check for booby traps. What they discovered was far more menacing. Within each bag was a young Soviet soldier wrapped inside his own skin. As best the medical examiners could determine, the men had died a particularly gruesome death: their skin had been sliced at the stomach while they were still alive and then pulled up over their heads.Crile adds that the Russians were destined to learn the same lessons the British learned in 1842 when a tribal chieftain who explained his laughter by saying,
I can see how easy it was for you to get your troops in here. What I do not understand is how you plan to get them out.Enter Charlie Wilson
In 1946, Charley was 13. Charlie was inseparable from his dog, Teddy. He also had a cranky neighbor named Charles Hazard who was an elected city official and who threatened all dogs that pooped on his lawns. One day Teddy died a slow and agonizing death as Wilson and all his friends watched helplessly. It turned out that Teddy had been fed some hamburger mixed with ground glass. Charlie knew who was responsible. That night, Charlie poured gasoline over Hazard's exotic plants and front lawn and touched it off. But Charlie wasn't finished. He scammed a learner's driver’s license so that he could carpool all of the town's Afro-Americans to the polls on election day. En route to the polls, he would tell his riders about Teddy’s death. When the votes were tabulated the morning after the election, Hazard couldn't understand what had happened. Just so he got the message, Charlie came around in the evening to yell at him.As the movie makes clear, there was a strong desire to “get even” with the Soviets by tying them down in a quagmire in Afghanistan comparable to the one into which the U.S. sank in Vietnam. Working back-channels, Wilson helped procure millions of federal dollars and funnel the money to Afghan resistance fighters.
...every dollar that the United States slipped into the insurrection cost the Soviets at least ten to counter. That was the beauty of being on the right side of a guerilla war; it's expensive to fight men who are not afraid to die. They just go around blasting hardware and soldiers without warning - bleeding the occupiers at will.Criley correctly comments that, despite Wilson’s wishes, that only the legacy left behind in Afghanistan were their weapons and the confidence on the part of the Mujahideen that Muslims had been able to bring the second greatest world power to its knees. This confidence was reinforced by the fact that Afghans and Pakistanis were thrown back on to their own resources and self-reliance. Along the way, Wilson had lost his Pakistani partner, General Zia ul-Haq, to a plane crash. George H.W. Bush became absorbed in throwing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait (rightly so) and Clinton became absorbed in the wars of Yugoslavian Dissolution. (again, understandably so). All aid, military and non-military was completely cut off by the end of 1993.
There was another factor. The Soviets were not using their old weapons in Afghanistan; they were deploying front line troops along with their most sophisticated Hind helicopters, MiG fighters and T-72 tanks - men and machinery that otherwise would be committed to the European battlefield, where as many as 50 divisions of U.S. and Soviet troops sat eyeball to eyeball. Every ruble they spent and every soldier they committed to Afghanistan was one less available for the European front.
I truly believe that this caused the Berlin wall to come down a good five, maybe ten, years before it would have otherwise. Over a million Russian Jews got their freedom and left for Israel. God knows how many were freed from the Gulags. At least a hundred million Eastern European are breathing free today, to say nothing of the Russian people. It’s the truth, and all those people who are enjoying those freedoms have no idea of the part played by a million Afghan ghosts.To this day no one has thanked them.I am fully aware that, on the theme of 9/11 unintended consequences, each informed reader has his own individual epilogue to offer on Charlie Wilson's war. I'll record mine as Charlie's above-stated judgment. In the way of a post-epilogue epilogue, I'll offer Charlie's recent conversation with Charlie Rose.
They removed the threat we all went to sleep with every night, of World War III breaking out. The countries that used to be in the Warsaw Pact are now in NATO. These were truly changes of biblical proportion, and the effect the jihad had in accelerating these events is nothing short of miraculous.
These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world. And the people who deserved the credit are the ones who made the sacrifice. And then we fucked up the end game.
they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims ... [but] ... if they decide to shift, we’re going to recognize that. That’s an evolution that should be recognized.
The debate we’re going to be having with John McCain is how do we understand the blend of military action to diplomatic action that we are going to undertake. I constantly reject this notion that any hint of strategies involving diplomacy are somehow soft or indicate surrender or means that you are not going to crack down on terrorism. Those are the terms of debate that have led to blunder after blunder.
The generals are light-years ahead of the civilians. They are trying to get the job done rather than look tough.
If your opponents are looking for your destruction it’s hard to sit across the table from them ... There are rarely purely ideological movements out there. We can encourage actors to think in practical and not ideological terms. We can strengthen those elements that are making practical calculations.
This is not an argument between Democrats and Republicans ... It’s an argument between ideology and foreign policy realism. I have enormous sympathy for the foreign policy of George H. W. Bush. I don’t have a lot of complaints about their handling of Desert Storm. I don’t have a lot of complaints with their handling of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
60,000 people may have died as a result of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, and at least 1.5 million are homeless or otherwise in desperate need of assistance ... France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has spoken of the possibility of an armed humanitarian intervention, and there is an increasing degree of chatter about the possibility of an American-led invasion of the Irrawaddy River Delta ... As it happens, American armed forces are now gathered in large numbers in Thailand for the annual multinational military exercise known as Cobra Gold. This means that Navy warships could pass from the Gulf of Thailand through the Strait of Malacca and north up the Bay of Bengal to the Irrawaddy Delta. It was a similar circumstance that had allowed for Navy intervention after the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.I am going to opine on this problem presented by Myanmar.
Sending in marines and sailors is the easy part; but make no mistake, the very act of our invasion could land us with the responsibility for fixing Burma afterward.Enough said on this point, eh? Where there's no exit plan, exits do not come easily.
We hope that war 'saps' both Washington and Tehran. The dispute between America and Iran is a genuine struggle, and the possibility of the US striking Iran is real. Whichever country that emerges victorious will find itself in an intensified and fierce battle with al-Qaeda.So, take care, my fellow Americans. As we do our politicking, be aware that the rest of the world is watching you.