Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

Good Quote

Posted: July 1, 2009 in Uncategorized
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From a book review by Halden:

The global ambitions, both political and economic, which Bush awkwardly stumbled after through chicanery and military adventurism have a far more likely chance of being actualized under the rule of an intelligent, polished, and internationally embraced figure like President Obama. It may well be that in a post-Bush age, critiques of empire are of far more pressing necessity.

Halden blogs over at Inhabitatio Dei.

I just posted on BraveNewFilms regarding the costs of an escalation in Afghanistan.  Check it out.

UPDATE: Part two of my “No Afghanistan Escalation” series is up on BraveNewFilms.  Have a look.

UPDATE II:  We’re on the front page of AlterNet and BraveNewFilms!  Weeeeeee!

Also, I finally put up a bio about myself on the About page.

Pardon a Brief Interruption

Posted: September 17, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I have to help run a two-day conference at work, which will prevent me from blogging again until Saturday, September 20th.  See you then.  In the meantime, here’s a letter to the editor I wrote in response to a breathless editorial praising General David Petraeus’ performance in Iraq.  Here’s hoping it gets published:

I was disappointed to see the Statesman editorial page take its eye off the ball (Quiet transition of Iraqi command shouts success, Sept. 17). Only by drastically reducing the scope of discussion can one use the word “success” regarding any facet of the U.S.’s Iraq policy. The event you claim “shouts success” provides no model for future action and highlights the increasing belligerence of the Bush administration toward other nations. Wednesday’s editorial indicates ludicrously low standards for foreign policy outcomes after eight years in the wilderness.

Military and international relations expert Andrew Bacevich, himself an Army colonel and West Point graduate, recently said:  “In Iraq, President Bush’s vision of regional transformation [died]…No amount of CPR credited to the so-called surge will revive it. Even if tomorrow Iraq were to achieve stability and become a responsible member of the international community, no sensible person could suggest that Operation Iraqi Freedom provides a model to apply elsewhere.”

Petraeus and Odierno rose to their current positions in large part because they share President Bush’s view of the Middle East. Both share the President’s tendency to view our problems in Iraq stemming not from bad decisions and a lack of planning and foresight, but rather from our current boogeyman: Iran.  Odierno in command of Iraq under a Petreaus at CENTCOM gives President Bush what he wants: a consistent worldview throughout a command structure that will not challenge his basic — and horrendously counterproductive — assumptions about the region.

Success? Hardly. The removal of dissenting voices from the CENTCOM command structure indicates a Bush Administration unchastened by its repeated, disastrous run-ins with reality, and an active attempt to deepen its own myopia.

War is big business, people. According to this morning’s The New York Times:

From tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to missiles, remotely piloted aircraft and even warships, the Department of Defense has agreed so far this fiscal year to sell or transfer more than $32 billion in weapons and other military equipment to foreign governments, compared with $12 billion in 2005.

…“This is not about being gunrunners,” said Bruce S. Lemkin, the Air Force deputy under secretary who is helping to coordinate many of the biggest sales. “This is about building a more secure world.”

…In that booming market, American military contractors are working closely with the Pentagon, which acts as a broker and procures arms for foreign customers through its Foreign Military Sales program.

In the last year, foreign sales have made up nearly half of the production at the [Boeing] California plant where C-17s are made. “It has been filling up the factory in the last couple of years,” Mr. Dunehew said.

Even before this new round of sales got under way, the United States’ share of the world arms trade was rising, from 40 percent of arms deliveries in 2000 to nearly 52 percent in 2006, the latest year for which the Congressional Research Service has compiled data. The next-largest seller was Russia, which in 2006 accounted for 21 percent of global deliveries.

Remember: “This is not about being gunrunners…This is about building a more secure world.”  Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the Defense Department all have your best interests in mind and their methods can be trusted to save the world.  Right.  In other news:

The Boeing Corporation, in Seattle, sold thre two-engine airplanes to Germany. These planes “might be regarded by a military expert as admirable potential bombers,” said The New York Times; German engineers were studying them attentively…In Berlin, an American commercial attache wrote that American manufacturers were selling Germany crankshafts, cylinder heads, control systems for anti-aircraft guns, and components sufficient to make about a hundred planes a month. There were, the attache reported, orders outstanding to equip two thousand planes.

It was May 1934.

The preceding is a quote from Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization. Earlier in the book, Nicholas Baker recounts:

H.C. Engelbrecht, author of Merchants of Death, a bestseller about arms dealers, spoke at a conference of the American Academy of Political Science. “Armament is an industry that knows no politics, friends, right or wrong–but only customers,” Engelbrecht said. “If you can pay, you can buy…In every war…the armament maker who sells internationally is arming a potential enemy of is own country–and that, practically, if not legally, is treason.”

America seems to suffer from a Sisyphus curse: every generation, we roll the stone of our national consciousness up the hill of hard experience. Through wars, through follies, through atrocities wielded in the name of peace through strength, through the ultimate futility of violence as a means to shape a better world. And just when we get to the top of the hill, when we begin to rise above the fog of illusion to survey the kingdom of the battle-god where a thousand corpses lie, the curse strikes.  The angel that beckoned us, “Come up, come up!” sheds his robe of light and grins his seven-headed scaly grin.  His tail flicks! Down rolls the stone! Down through mythic rewrites of the history of slaughters, down, sped along by propaganda, by nationalism, by the dragon’s myth of redemptive violence. And again, at the bottom of the slope, unremembering, we lay down our crosses, pick up our swords, and strain for the treacherous glory at the top of the mountain.

What might have been: September 14, 2001.

My fellow Americans:

O God, how did we get here?  

Where have all of our friends gone? Where is our family?  When will we see them again?

Our friends, our loved ones – they are dead!  They are dead – pulverized to dust.  They’re in the air we are breathing right now. Fire and pressure left dust, dust that surrounds us, that falls on us like snow on a winter graveside service. To see the day when families are lucky to even a piece of their loved ones back…it’s too much to bear.

My fellow Americans, my brothers and sisters, our friends are gone. We will not see them again in this life. This crater behind us is the doorway to Hell, to the emptiness that remains when dear ones are gone. They are gone. What will we do without them?

I know you are so lost, so sad, like me.  I know you are angry.  I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

But – what will they hear?

What do you want me to do for you, as your President?  Do you want me to go get the evil bastards that did this to us, to you and me and our lost loves?  Do you want payback?

I’m sorry. You’re not going to get it.

(a chorus of boos, someone throws something, but misses)

You’re not going to get payback, and I’ll tell you why.

Tomorrow, I could order the sum of our military might into the Middle East. We could cover those countries in fire until every last person that ever looked at a person who planned this was as dead as our friends. We could blow them (and those that survive) right to Hell, but then all of us would be in Hell. You and me, we’re already there. Our pain and loss and anger is already full-grown. And let me tell you something about that pain: no amount of bombs or dead Afghans are going to make it go away. There’s not going to be closure.  You are going to look at this place every year on this day and you’ll be right back here, right back in Hell.  I can light half the world on fire, but I can’t bring them back. 

Nothing can bring them back.  They are gone. They are ashes. Dust to dust.

My friends, we made a lot of noise during the election. We said a lot of things. We said we were a Christian nation. 

Prove it.

September 14, 2001. What might have been.

Brief Interruption

Posted: August 31, 2008 in Uncategorized
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I have to get a manuscript ready for a publisher…there’s so much going on this weekend that I want to talk about but can’t!  So, here’s a link roundup. You talk about it.