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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bringing out the Big Guns:
   Ziggy takes a pot shot a Bush

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, has written a piece (yet again) criticizing Bush's policy in Iraq.

Now, I have nothing against intelligent, thoughtful criticism. It is a pity that Brzezinski seems to be incapable of it. I could only read the first three paragraphs of his October 9 article in the LA Times before giving up in disgust. Here is my criticism of that third paragraph. Please understand, I have not, and will not, read the whole article. Brzezinski starts his argument on faulty ground. It is not my job to argue his arguments.

That war, advocated by a narrow circle of decision-makers for motives still not fully exposed, propagated publicly by rhetoric reliant on false assertions, has turned out to be much more costly in blood and money than anticipated. It has precipitated worldwide criticism. In the Middle East it has stamped the United States as the imperialistic successor to Britain and as a partner of Israel in the military repression of the Arabs. Fair or not, that perception has become widespread throughout the world of Islam.

1) "has turned out to be much more costly in blood and money than anticipated". C'mon Ziggy, what war hasn't. The justification of the war was not one of counting body bags or bowling for dollars. There are serious and legitimate moral and sovereignty issues here, issues that have been explicitly stated since October 2001. While not strictly an ad hominem attack, Ziggy's logic has that same ring of logical fallacy.

2) "It has precipitated worldwide criticism". Again, the war is not a popularity contest. And the criticism has had their roots more in economic interests and fears of American hegemony than anything else. Chirac, Schroeder, Putin don't speak for the American people. Bush does.

3) "In the Middle East it has stamped the United States as the imperialistic successor ...". I guess Ziggy hasn't seen the Pew polls that indicate a supermajority (more than 70%) of Iraqis and Arabs want the American presence in Iraq, at least for the time being. Even al Jazeera has alluded to American presence as the lesser of two evils, the greater evil being the anti-democratic regimes that still pervade the Middle East, except of course in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ziggy needs to tune into Arab Street thoughts before he starts speaking for them.


Ok, I couldn't resist. I read the rest of the article.

More criticism:

In a very real sense, during the last four years the Bush team has dangerously undercut America's seemingly secure perch on top of the global totem pole by transforming a manageable, though serious, challenge largely of regional origin into an international debacle.

What Ziggy is actually talking about is that Bush took a theoretical, and untested, power and cashed it in for real power. I wonder what Ziggy's favorite philosopher Sun Tzu would say about the impotency of a power that you never intend to use in the first place..

Since before Ziggy's tenure at the helm, America had great potential power to make the world into a free liberal democracy. And, yes, in spite of the chilling effects of the Cold War and the threat of Nuclear Winter, we did make incremental gains towards that laudable goal, a goal enunciated in our history as far back as the Founding Fathers.

Ziggy alludes to this unrealized potential with words like "seemingly secure perch". Seemingly? Ziggy, was American strength all just an illusion? a con game we perpetuated on the world? a big bluff? Did Bush destroy that illusion?

Let me make this simple. Twelve years of Saddam thumbing his nose, a decade of al Qaeda attacks on American interests and American soil, yadda, yadda, yadda; they all called our bluff.

And found out it wasn't a bluff.

What Ziggy advocates is the same old tired containment theory. As long as Saddam didn't get out of hand, as long as oil flowed, Ziggy was more than happy to let Saddam manage his own internal regional issues.

There was a transformation, bigger than Ziggy realizes, or admits to. In the new unipolar world, we found we didn't have to lie down with tyrants anymore. We no longer have to rely strictly on containment or appeasement.

We got a big stick and we ain't afraid to use it.

Ziggy sounds like he thinks we should have just turned our backs on a "challenge largely of regional origin" and ignore the screams of anguish from the victims of torture, rape and murder.

It was a "manageable" situation, but only if you believe the only interest America had in the Middle East was oil. As long as the oil flowed, America had all the time in the world to resolve it through slow patient diplomacy. Saddam was certainly willing to talk.

For 12 years.

Besides, what's a couple hundred thousand lives compared to keeping our hands clean? The Europeans don't have a problem with it.


Blogger Jay Cline said...

The Standard provides some more insight into the mind of Ziggy (he is going to make the Gadfly list someday)

10/17/2005 1:38 PM  

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