W encourages murderous Iraqis

George W. Bush today, the most powerful man in the world, directly addressed Iraqis who are sniping and firing grenades at American troops:  “bring them on”, he taunted, according to this NYT story.  As noted in my Boston-Alaska-Baja-Boston 2002 trip report, this seems like a bad idea.  What better way to make a guy with an AK-47 feel important than by challenging him through a televised speech?


And surely American boys will die as a result of this speech.  It sounds like W. mano a mano with a young Muslim.  But having been a passenger on an airplane that makes a carrier landing does not make our President into a front-line soldier.  It will be some kid from North Carolina that gets killed.


It wouldn’t bother me to hear that an American foot soldier in Iraq was challenging the local ruffians.  But to hear a guy sitting at a desk 6000 miles away doing it?  Why aren’t military families objecting to this?


Will a day come when we Americans can hear our leader talking about something other than kicking Third Worlders around?  Something that would result in technological innovation and economic growth?

41 thoughts on “W encourages murderous Iraqis

  1. I think the easiest answer to your question of “when” would be when someone else is holding the office. Bush will do nothing but run this country into the ground, ableit possibly cleaning up a few countries in the meantime.

  2. 1) Do you think Bush’s statement really makes a difference to the people who are targeting the United States? Hard to imagine that terrorists suddenly take up arms once again simply because of statements like this. They were targeting the U.S. before the statement and nothing has changed.

    2) Leaders of nations talk about this stuff because they are leaders of a population and they need to communicate that aspect. Bush is leading and using the rhetoric of leadership.

    3) Economic issues are better left for the policy wanks out there. Do you really believe that the electorate wants a speech from Bush on that topic? I really doubt it.

  3. If Bush’s language is the rhetoric of leadership, then the lead must have suffered a decrease in their collective mental age somewhat in recent times. I was under the impresion that the rhetoric of leadership would sound just a little more dignified.

  4. I kinda like the idea of this particular loose collection of thugs taking stupid pot-shots at the US Military.

    – It means the thugs often wind up dead

    – It’s a fair fight compared to the other people they would take on

    – It means they aren’t in Iran, where the mullahs have to import outsiders to maintain control

    – It helps remove the worst element to successful Democratization of Iraq

    – It sends a strong message if the opposition HAS taken its best shot and failed

    The worst possibility for the military isn’t that the current battles get more fierc or common, but that the American public loses its resolve. Measure the rhetoric of leadership by the response of the American people.

  5. Rory, your blog entry is quite interesting. One thing at which Dubya (and/or his handlers and speechwriters) excels is endless repetition of whatever spin he and his sponsors want to promote. He (and/or his handlers and speechwriters) have undoubtedly studied Josef Goebbels’ “Big Lie” strategy and refined it for the 21st century.

    Aided perhaps by his evangelical Christian connections, Bush has the gift of getting masses of people to Believe. Thanks to his endless repetition, the majority of the American public Believes that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to the US, and even that Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11 (even though Bush never made such a claim). He has also convinced Believers that tax cuts for the wealthy will create jobs for them, removing restrictions on corporate polluters will clean the air, letting timber companies cut down federal forests will make the forests healthy, that insurance companies will provide better Medicare than the government, that obliterating the Bill of Rights will preserve freedom, and anything else that dutifully promotes what his donors have purchased (and are currently purchasing in record amounts at a succession of fundraisers).

    As part of the Big Lie, Bush (and/or his handlers and speechwriters) have so controlled the agenda and debate that “liberals” (the Dubyaese term for Democrats) are now terrified of criticizing him or pointing out the Big Lie. Let any one of them utter a peep of dissent, and Ari Fleischer or John Ashcroft will brand them with epithets ranging from “unpatriotic” to “treasonous.”

    So it’s no wonder that military families– and anyone else who doesn’t want to be branded “unpatriotic”– will raise no objection to what would otherwise seem hazardous rhetoric that endangers the lives of Americans. Indeed, they may even rejoice that the Commander-in-Chief is so bold and confident.

    Returning to Rory’s comment, Bush has convinced his supporters (which include all “patriotic” Americans) that haggis is delicious, and even that failing to eat haggis is a sign of dubious patriotism.

  6. I know that for some of you, it very hard to understand why anyone would want to enlist in the military but on this July 4th, please allow me to expound on this subject:

    1. It’s not about eating sheep shit or guts or whutever. It’s about supporting the people who are over there fighting and dying. It’s called “showing a united front to the enemy”.

    2. It doesn’t make any difference what the president says, the enemy is going to do what it can to make the best of the situation at hand. Hopefully, the president’s words will make them even more agressive and then they can make some stupid mistakes and we can wipe them out.

    3. The president has already endangered their lives just merely by the act of sending them over there. A few extra words is not going to make much difference one way or another. Besides, I’m sick and tired of mealy mouth, insincere words that supposedly supports our troops. The Democrats are just as good as the Repugnants at doing this. Remember Vietnam?

  7. 1941 Headline
    “Churchill Remain Defiant of Nazis.”

    Analysis by our American correspondant from Cambridge, Massachussets

    The jingo at #10 Downing Street has uttered intemperate remarks, actually asking those who are at war with England and sworn its destruction to come to grips in battle. This will surely result in more dead Britons, as the Nazis will now have take this as license to try to conquer the world.

    It is to be expected that Mr. Churchill’s words have now pushed the Nazi’s towards some ultimate disposition inassimilable Jewish population.

    Mr. Churchill should realize that as youth having participated in the massacre of a few messianic Muslims equipt with 18th century weapons hardly qualifies him as a front-line soldier. Having been born to privilige, Mr. Churchill made a sorry mess of his academic career, not even achieving entrance to Oxford. Eventually, he was packed off to a part-time stint in a fashionable regiment far more likely to contain the sons of the rich and powerful than a coal-miner’s sone from Wales.

    I don’t doubt that the families of ordinary Tommies should object to our Prime Minister’s rodomantade, if only they could understand the greater issues at hand.

    Once again, our government’s unilateral action stands at odds with the calm, reflective policies of the Continental governments. The word from France’s government, (recently removed to Vichy, to take advantage of the famous water) is that they will not participate in any action against the Nazis, unless there is a clear consensus from the governments involved.

  8. I think “Hitler Remains Defiant of Poles” might be a closer analogy, given who invaded whom.

  9. It’s just part of a pattern of awkward macho posturing by Bush that he inherited from his from his father, who once bragged about “kicking a little ass” in his debate with Geraldine Ferraro. They’re both obviously very defensive about their family’s effete Connecticut/Ivy League/WASP background, which is why they’ve both spent their lives emphasizing their connections to Texas at every opportunity.

  10. Is your skepticism based on personal knowledge of many military families? I know quite a few because I work on a military base. I also belong to a history discussion group, several of whose members are from military families. I wouldn’t be surprised if the families are mostly in sympathy with the President’s remarks. Before he made them I discussed the notion of “come on down, all you jihadists” with one of my friends who has a nephew serving in the US Corps of Engineers in Iraq and he was all for it.

  11. Bush is not really encouraging attacks anymore by talking like a cowboy. Any US Soldier killers are motivated by a number of actions taken by Bush before he said this. I don’t see why Bush, being at the head of command geographically removed from the fighting, is any worse than if he were in downtown Baghdad acting like a psycho. It’s the actual policy that bothers me a lot more than his remarks, though there might be something to be said for toning down his rhetoric. By making a big deal out of this one comment, you’re highlighting the <cite>much more serious </cite> failures of Bush’s foreign policy.

  12. First off the guys doing the shootings aren’t watching Bush on TV. They probably don’t have TV and if they do, they can’t understand what he’s saying unless our friends at Al-Jazeera translate it, and when they do, they’ll probably make it worse than what he actually said. The ones who are watching – if they have time to rest while we hunt them down – are the brains, and probably aren’t involved too heavily in the small scale terror attacks we’ve been experiencing.

    Secondly, quit being such a sanctimonious nancy boy. We’re trained well and as long as the politicians don’t fold, we’ll get the job done. Yes, people will die on both sides, but more of them will die than we will, and 90% of the people will deserve to die. We beat the “brutal afghan winter” and we’re coping quite nicely with the “brutal arab summer”. The arab street hasn’t risen up. The palestinans lost their primary patron. The mullahs in Iran are scared shitless. Hell, even the Saudi’s are behaving a little bit better than before. Things are going quite well if you ask me.

    The only language people in this region understand is power and the willingness to use it. Each time we cut and ran, they got bolder. Now they see we’re willing and able to come in, kick their asses and rebuild their pathetically mismanaged countries.

    They’re in shock at how quickly we overran their countries. We’re the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’re the local high school’s JV team. There’s no one in this region who can touch us in a military vs military fight. And as we get more of the right kind of feet on the ground (not more feet, just the right mix of capabilities), no one will be able to beat us in a palestinian style uprising. We have superior intelligence, superior weapons and superior training.

    Military families aren’t objecting because they know President Bush is right. The sooner they “bring it on” the sooner we can flush out the killers and their networks and the sooner we can come home.

    Yes. I mean WE. I’m writing this from GMT+3 and I’m in uniform.

  13. I don’t have a problem with what W said, just that him, it smacks of hypocrisy, like just about everything else that is emblematic with his character. He can sit at his cozy desk, thousands of miles away from the battlefields, and engage in world wide wrestling speak, while he himself ducked out of hostilities, courtesy of a cushy National Guard slot that Poppy Bush and friends procured for young George back in 1973. W couldn’t even meet his committments then, going AWOL and never showing up for duty for over a year.

  14. David Warren nails it. The reflexive anti-Bushists, lost in their Viet Nam Syndrome myopia cannot admit it.

    http://www.davidwarrenonline.com/Comment/Jul03/index150.shtml#top

    While engaged in the very difficult business of building a democracy in Iraq — the first democracy, should it succeed, in the entire history of the Arabs — President Bush has also, quite consciously to my information, created a new playground for the enemy, away from Israel, and even farther away from the United States itself. By the very act of proving this lower ground, he drains terrorist resources from other swamps.

    This is the meaning of Mr. Bush’s “bring ’em on” taunt from the Roosevelt Room on Wednesday, when he was quizzed about the “growing threat to U.S. forces” on the ground in Iraq. It should have been obvious that no U.S. President actually relishes having his soldiers take casualties. What the media, and U.S. Democrats affect not to grasp, is that the soldiers are now replacing targets that otherwise would be provided by defenceless civilians, both in Iraq and at large. The sore thumb of the U.S. occupation — and it is a sore thumb equally to Baathists and Islamists, compelling their response — is not a mistake. It is carefully hung flypaper.

  15. Let’s be honest, George W. Bush is not qualified intellectually to be presdent,
    just as he was not qualified intellectually to attend Yale. USA as a global power
    has reached end-game. Its leaders, like their European predessors, are
    increasingly, weak, flawed, lacking wisdom, or even common sense, exhibiting
    unearned macho bravado, ruthless and at bottom, insecure about their
    unearned power.
    Think back on press conferences held by JFK, the free wheeling back and forth,
    the quick wit, the spontaneous remarks, we haven’t seen anything like that in a long time. Things have deteriorated to such a point that Nixon now looks like a
    formidable leader.

  16. saw a rerun of clinton talking this may at some kennedy-dedication on cspan. watching him think so fluidly, easily, and well while answering questions just reminded me of the few bush questionings I’ve watched, where he looks like he is in some kind of exasperated frustration to have to respond and formulate any answer.

  17. Re: Clinton v Bush

    Which is preferable, an eloquent liar or a clumsy one? I suppose the eloquent liars make better conversation when dining on lobster and foie gras at UN sponsored hunger symposiums.

  18. Several items stand out: (1) the evident belief shared by many of my mis-educated peers that witty repartee and a few bon mots have greater value in the world than commitment, clarity of purpose, and demonstrable results (known to the proletarians as “effectiveness”). I guess this is why the word “academic” is frequently used as an insult. (2) The notion that a former military pilot who later became President of the United States is somehow less qualified to assess the impact of a political statement on a military scenario than a comp sci teacher is a bit odd. Why do I suspect that “some kid from North Carolina” on the front lines would strongly prefer to have Dubya as his/her spokesman and commander-in-chief as opposed to any of a slew of hand-wringing pseudo-intellectual elitists? (3) Despite Naum’s comment, even the New York Times admits that Dubya’s National Guard service is not exactly problematic (summarized at http://www.hobbsonline.blogspot.com/2003_05_01_hobbsonline_archive.html#93934189 ). (4) Aw, never mind. Reason only works on the rational…

  19. ” By the very act of proving this lower ground, he drains terrorist resources from other swamps.” ??? to draw away the terrorists to Iraq?

    are you kidding the world? or yourself?. So its okay to use US soldiers as bait? I guess your Mr. Warren does not have a son or daughter in the force, waiting to get a drink of water while she gets shot in the back of the head. Yeah, that’s what they enlisted for right? An empty, useless glory, and a measly pension for the widow.
    While Bremer conducts business from the same Palace that Bush and Rumsfeld’s ole buddy .. erm.. ex-crony built.

    NO, Most of the army enlists for scholarships, to defend their nation, to have a chance at a college education and a guranteed salary, and yes, to achieve the glory that the “Army of One” commercials promise. Defending the oil interests is not defending the USA. America gives its sons and daughters, to be slaughtered while being ordered to oppress in the name of patriotism, so that the Bechtels and Boeings and the Halliburtons can suck in the profits of “rebuilding” something that they help destroy. This has been accomplished by cultivating the rise of a docile, blind and borderline imbecelic majority, that has turned the nation into a herd of conforming (“patriotic”?) sheep. Where every word of dissent is deemed unpatriotic. Where unjust wars are justified in the name of democracy, or freedom, or soldiers that were ordered to go there. Where not supporting an unjust war is not supporting the troops, thus treasonous. And where the general public eats this grotesque filth up as if it were manna from heaven (or from CNN)

    Certainly, the vultures haven’t had it this good since the early days of the industrial revolution.

    And as for “draining” the swamp, you couldn’t be more racist or wrong sir (or madam). The frequency of terrorist attacks has increased. This may not be the direct result of Operation “Lets kick Starved Iraqi Ass and Strut Around Like victors” but looking at current happenings, it seems like the terrorists are going nuts. Every day there are US soldiers being killed/maimed and terrorist attacks happening in Afghanistan, Chechnya, West Bank, Kashmir, Pakistan, Iraq. That’s a pretty big swamp don’t you think?

    Obviously, we shouldn’t negotiate with these low-life terrorists. We never have and never will. Except when they are doing our dirty work. Or when we realize that the more you push, the more immune they get to your “shock-and-awe”.

    The whole world is a swamp, and the mightiest croc has to be the rightiest!

  20. Here is another online resource covering W’s extended absence in 72-73, less sensationalist and less partisan, with documents obtained under FOIA and newspaper accounts of what happened to those with less privilege who did as young W did.

    http://users.cis.net/coldfeet/

    And the NY Times hasn’t exactly been shown to be a bastion of credibility. As detailed in Conason & Lyons * The Hunting of the President *, they took innuendo and heresy from extremist right wing groups and neo-Confederacy scions and printed it as truth, with all sorts of factual holes. They’ve done hatchet jobs on a lot of other stories too… Just because the NY Times says it’s so, doesn’t necessarily mean it is.

    I read your link and it smacks of apolgist type reasoning and obscures the fact that it took privilege to get one of those National Guard slots.

  21. Luhrenloup says Let’s be honest, George W. Bush is not qualified intellectually to be presdent, just as he was not qualified intellectually to attend Yale.

    The following is taken from her website. I suppose it could be a parody.

    I am the seeress Luhrenloup

    Welcome to my cave. As you wander from room to room,
    sampling the bits of delectation I have prepared for you,
    be aware that I seek the way of power.
    I am the Loup, the Wolf with….

    The courage to howl in the black night,
    to bare teeth and spring to when hungry.

    I avoid the ensnaring web of society
    so as to maintain a life of freedom and awareness.
    If you come to me seeking help, I will enlighten you.
    I seek a way to cease the chatter in my head, so I may see.

    And, I seek a meaningful conversation with you….
    <c>Seeress
    Personal and Professional Life Counseling
    Dream Interpretation
    Spiritual Advisement</c>

  22. Which is preferable, an eloquent liar or a clumsy one?

    Let’s see…. The eloquent liar lied only a private sexual transgression, a matter his persecutors had no business ever prying into let alone asking under oath. The clumsy liar has made an official policy of routinely adjusting the truth, “spinning,” and outright lying about matters of public policy that affect the lives (and deaths) of millions.

    Which liar’s lies do more harm? Which liar merits the sanction of impeachment? I’ll ask no more such questions. But I will note that, yes, I did feel a pang of nostalgia when I happened to tune in to a tape of the eloquent liar at one of his brilliantly extemporized press conferences. The nostalgia turned to disgust when I realized that the clumsy liar seems to be the best that our broken electoral system is capable of turning out.

  23. Being an impressionable college student trying to decide what to do with my life, I said at one point, that if the 2000 election campaign had pitted Bradley against McCain, I would have so impressed with our political system, that I would have jumped right in willingly. There were two people who really did represent different viewpoints but were both intelligent, honest, trustworthy, and capable. It’s not that we necessarily lack good candidates – it’s that too often they get weeded out before push comes to shove.

  24. Mr. Warren is Canadian.

    Sam, the US isn’t “defending oil interests”. It is Democratizing Iraq. If we can pull it off, it will be in everyone’s interests and save millions of lives and create a productive society and put exactly the right kind of pressure on Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. The soldiers who are involved in this are the true heroes of our time. They stand on a knife edge of history. I don’t think the importance of their job can be understated due to the worldwide threat of radical Islamism.

    Tell me, when did the left stop being about ending terrorism and fascism and preventing nuclear proliferation, and start being about defending evil stupid thieving regimes in order to take piddling little political potshots?

  25. Ted,

    Which is preferable, an eloquent liar or a clumsy one? I say neither is preferable. You can’t seriously believe that Clinton’s only fabrications involved private personal matters. Also, are you saying that the Clinton administration was “spin” free? Do you REALLY beleive this?

    Jack Lunn

  26. “It is Democratizing Iraq”
    I think this is very dangerous.
    This kind of thinking is what makes USA “not so loved” in Europe.
    Most of european perplexity is about the USA government, not about the people, but these words really don’t help. And I now explain myself.

    A lot of “signals” suggest that the USA war against Iraq is not just for the sake of democracy, but the point is another.
    Is the USA-centric point of view that is alarming. Nobody gives the USA the right to decide another country destiny, in spite of ONU decisions.

    If USA begins to act out of an international consensus, what makes this country different from a so called “gangster country”? If Bush ignores international laws how can people outside USA understand who’s on the wrong side and who’s on the right one (if there is one)?

  27. “It is Democratizing Iraq”
    I think this is very dangerous.
    This kind of thinking is what makes USA “not so loved” in Europe.
    Most of european perplexity is about the USA government, not about the people, but these words really don’t help. And I now explain myself.

    A lot of “signals” suggest that the USA war against Iraq is not just for the sake of democracy, but the point is another.
    Is the USA-centric point of view that is alarming. Nobody gives the USA the right to decide another country destiny, in spite of ONU decisions.

    If USA begins to act out of an international consensus, what makes this country different from a so called “gangster country”? If Bush ignores international laws how can people outside USA understand who’s on the wrong side and who’s on the right one (if there is one)?

  28. “It is Democratizing Iraq”
    I think this is very dangerous.
    This kind of thinking is what makes USA “not so loved” in Europe.
    Most of european perplexity is about the USA government, not about the people, but these words really don’t help. And I now explain myself.

    A lot of “signals” suggest that the USA war against Iraq is not just for the sake of democracy, but the point is another.
    Is the USA-centric point of view that is alarming. Nobody gives the USA the right to decide another country destiny, in spite of ONU decisions.

    If USA begins to act out of an international consensus, what makes this country different from a so called “gangster country”? If Bush ignores international laws how can people outside USA understand who’s on the wrong side and who’s on the right one (if there is one)?

  29. “Licit Jovi non licit bovi”
    This is sad, indeed, but, yes. You’ve got the point.
    If I’m not wrong, you mean:
    USA is a rich and powerful country, and this justifies his leader for imposing his politic to other countries.

    But I still believe that USA is a democratic country, and I’m not sure
    this is what his population wants, especially if the people would know what means being invaded
    and occupied from another country.

    And of course it’s also dangerous.

    I say

    Nulla salus bello: pacem te poscimus omnes

    but other countries could say (and some are already saying)

    Si flectere nequeo superos, Acheronta moverbo

    Meddix

  30. Does anyone discussing this topic have any idea what is going on with the MIT group project GIA (Government Information Avareness)? I haven’t heard anything since the media coverage for the 4th of July and the site hasn’t progressed much from the initial launch. I am posting this here because it seems a way to reach folks who would know or more precisely care about this. I posted articles to two of my blogs today about this at http://resourcefull.antville.org
    and at
    http://firedup.blogspot.com

    I noticed this afternoon that both sites are loading slowly, and these are stripped-down blog sites, not heavy with graphics. So it is making me go “hmmmmmm”. (Things that make you go hmmmmmmm?) Both sites have comment features so anyone can post back there if there is any knowledge out there. Thanks for considering this query.

    cobalt

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