May 2008

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Comments

passerby

Here is an interesting thought experiment.

The UK had a terror campaign waged against it for 30 years (IRA). The IRA terrorist were partly funded by the USA. This was by private individuals not the government(that I know of) but the government turned a blind eye to this and did nothing to stop it. Imagine if instead of the peace process that did happen the UK had invaded USA to stop this terrorism, cause several hundred thousand innocent American citizens to die in the process but succeeded in preventing any further IRA attacks against UK and toppled an unelected dictator (assuming this happened before bush's second term when he did win the election) how many americans would consider this a victory? Or are collateral causalities in the 'war against terrorim' only acceptable when it is foreigners dying?

random

Re Wil and iraq being behind 9/11
It has been well established in the rest of the world that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Guess that news hasn't reached you yet. Iraq was neither responsible nor funded those responsible for 9/11. Most of those responsible for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, your ally. Wonder why USA didn't invade that country and kill thousands of innocent people there? In your invasion of iraq your government has shown itself to be just as evil as the scum who attacked you on 9/11.

I do wonder if maybe Wil's post was actually a joke, it would be depressing if he really did believe the statements in his last paragraph.

Tom Beck

First of all, the point of the "surge" was to provide time for national reconciliation. This has not happened, and there is little evidence that it is going to happen.

Second, there would be no Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia if there had been no American occupation of Iraq. So Bush should not get credit for defeating something he created.

Third, if the surge was such a good idea, why did Bush refuse to do it before 2007? Why did he fire Gen. Shinseki for calling for more troops in 2003? And if it is working so well, why not expand it to the rest of the country? (Because we don't have enough troops, that's why.)

Fourth, considering what a catastrophe the war has been, that a tiny minor part of it may be enjoying some temporary local success in one part of the country does not ex-post-fact justify it. There were never any legitimate reasons for the occupation; Bush does not, in my opinion, get any credit for a tiny, temporary success in a misadventure that he should never have started in the first place.

Enova

Yes, I would give him full credit for staying the course, IF it works. However, I also give him the responsibility for making a decision to engage in Iraq based on faulty intelligence that people seemed much too hungry to believe. I used to wish Desert Storm had gone all the way to Baghdad and taken Saddam out on the first pass. Now, I wonder if the result would have been any different. Not only was our intelligence plain wrong, but the administration's understanding of the vitriolic hatreds that have kept Sunni and Shi'a at each other's throats for centuries was woefully inadequate, despite many voices of warning to that very effect. I'm unhappy with the loss of precious life and the waste of gozillions of dollars that would have been better spent on our schools, our children, our natural resources, and our future. The Iraqis don't seem to want democracy any more than the Vietnamese did.

It must be admitted that some very evil dictators, in Saddam, Uday and Qusay, and their henchmen, were toppled. But replacing the murder of innocent civilians by a corrupt regime with the murder of innocent civilians by corrupt sectarians parties doesn't seem like much of a trade off, and certainly not worth all the bloodshed and financial loss.

Jason Levine

To make a comparison to Dilbert, Bush seemed for the longest time to be the PHB. He kept doing the same thing over and over thinking that everything would magically change and it would work out perfectly. In fact, by ignoring anything wrong with what he was doing, Bush was even more PHB-ish. (Is that a word? Can I get credit for coining it? ;-) )

It was only because of lack of support for the war in general and his administration specifically, that he dropped the "Stay the course" mantra (and, in a move that the PHB and Catbert would envy, insisted that he was never about "Stay the course"). This is when he came up with the surge plan.

If the surge works, then I might give him a tiny amount of credit for coming up with a good strategy, but this would be unweighted by the blame over sticking with a faulty strategy for far too long.

rita mae

OMG! I finally made someone dance. JOSEPH commented that he always thought I was just flaky, but he didn't like my comment about taking over Mexico and Canada. He said I was sick.

JOSEPH, it was a joke. I know you said IF it was a joke, that I was sick. You still got all worked up about it, didn't you? How was the dance, Monkey Boy? Were you leading? C'mon, JOSEPH. Like I would really want to take over Mexico and Canada. Get real.

Thanks for the dance.

Rita Mae

PS And, yes, I AM sick. More than you could possibly know. If I quit posting here, it isn't because I don't want to post, it is because I am no longer able. Either a dirt nap or not able to reach the keyboard anymore. Enjoy me while you can. I'm a short-timer.

Mondonahue

In the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive precipitated the pullout of American troops. But most historians and former generals will tell you that although we "lost" that offensive, the damage we inflicted to the Vietcong was so severe that we actually would have won if we had stayed the course. The same is true in Iraq. Things are starting to turn. We are learning how to do this. But knee-jerk panic and short term vision will cause us to pull out. Maybe Al-Qaida was right - Americans don't have the stomach to see things thru. It will be disaster if we pull out now.

Marc Mengel

Were I to give anyone credit for improvements in Iraq, it would not be President Bush. Possibly some of the Army brass who have stepped up and changed how they did things.

But does Bush get credit for eventually cleaning up the mess he made?

No. He shouldn't have made the mess in the first place. He and Cheny should have been impeached long ago already for lying to Congress and the rest of us about the ficticious weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and for claiming that they were any kind of threat to us, and President Condi Rice should be getting credit for cleaning up the messes he made.

Mark

I knew the answer before reading any of the comments. No liberal will give him credit for anything regardless of the success. Just look at the way they are still saying he stole the election when their own liberal groups who counted the votes after it was decided said that the final count went to Bush not Gore. He won. The votes in Florida show it and they still can't let it go.

The Chief

Hypothetically speaking:

IF I come to read the blog of a cartoonist I expect to read humorous anecdotes liberally sprinkled with jokes about penises, woo-woo's, and people humping (or getting humped by) animals.

E

S wrote:

[You don't have to wait 20 years

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/profile/story/9961300/the_worst_president_in_history]

Yeah, I think we do. This seems like a perfect example of cognitive dissonance to me.

You want to believe that Bush is the worst President ever... but whether he actually is or not... is a separate question. The inability to separate those two is Scott's notion of cognitive dissonance.

Two quotes from the actual article.

One: "Twelve percent of the historians polled -- nearly as many as those who rated Bush a success -- flatly called Bush the worst president in American history."

Two: "In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a "failure."

415 people polled (in 2004 btw)
81% considered Bush's Presidency a failure (336)
12% (within the 81%) consider Bush to be the worst President ever (50)
19% considered Bush's Presidency a success (79)

A couple of things here.

First, 12% is not "nearly 19%." It would be more mathematically accurate to talk about these numbers in terms of "half as many" or "twice as many." Yes, that sound is me rolling my eyes.

Second, 12%? That is pretty close to 1 in 10. I'm not a fan of Bush... honest. But 12% just isn't a consensus. Not by anyone's math, except yours, and the author of the article. How the hell do you title this "Worst President Ever", when the data says 12%?

Does this qualify as good history, or good scholarhship?

Just think about it for a minute. This means 88% of a small poll of current historians do NOT believe Bush is the worst President ever. 88 f*ing percent. 9 in 10 of those polled do NOT believe it.

88% to 12%, data from the article YOU GAVE AS EVIDENCE. Yet you are making the argument that 12% wins. It just doesn't matter what the data says, does it?

Cognitive Dissonance. If someone has a better example, I would love to see it.

Nothing personal, but someone just has to call bullshit on that one.

My only point is that, IMO, people are judging him more harshly now than they will 10 to 20 years from now. This article gives me MORE reason to believe that, not less.

Spin is easy. We hear it every day... but good grief! We're not sheep... can we please stop acting like we are?

From this one, it would be more accurate to say the following:

In a recent poll, a surprising number of current historians consider the Presidency of George Bush a success! Of roughly 400 historians polled, 88% of those responding are not willing to call him the "worst President ever" and nearly 20%, (1 in 5) consider his Presidency to be a successful one.

But that won't sell as many articles to the younger crowd and it isn't nearly as fun as bashing him unfairly. And it would still be a very bad reading of the poll.

This is why I hate politics and our so called "political discourse." People are unable or unwilling to really look at something, because the f*ing agenda is more important than a semblance of rational thought.

The data here supports that most historians have real problems with Bush, and would consider his administration a failure in the context of history. It does not support that he is the worst President ever.

Paul

It would be the same as giving credit to an infinite amount of monkeys for eventually typing the works of shakespeare.

Steve

Persistence wears resistance.

Drew

You cannot turn a blind eye to the atrocities that have come to pass. Rumors of tortures, varified tortures, big brother becoming more and more of a reality, oil wars, and deaths are too much to give him credit for what very well could be considered a fluke. I honestly don't think it was strategy that brought them this far, but rather a stubborn nature.
Credit to the Bush administration? No dice.

Fred

I would find it hard to give him credit. It is like you have a cancel growth on you hand, and instead of treating the local spot, you cut off the arm against advise of other doctors. Would you thank him and give credit to the doctor for stopping the cancer or sue him for malpractices?

Mike

Sure, we'll give him credit .. but only in Euros.

Andy Watt

The dogged determination to prove you are right does not mean you were if you accidentally turn out to be.

Wow, that's so circular I think I just created a singularity...

In a nutshell, I think the lack of imagination, lack of hubris and general lack of intelligence combined with the sort of right-wing neo-con thought processes which lead up to staring this situation in the face and still deciding "nah, let's put more troops in" mandates that no back-slappage should occur.

Besides, if you look at an eventual success in isolation, you're acting like a f"&**£* politican, whose memories are soooo short when it comes to failures but who crow about successes till the cows come home. It simply isn't realistic to ignore failures - THAT'S HOW WE GOT INTO THIS MESS. When will humanity learn???

ANY attempt to congratulate the Bush administration will only result in America doing exactly the same thing at some point in the future when America deicides to have one of its' trademark changes of heart and elects a moron again.

And yes, I'm pre-empting the election. Sorry about that...

And while we're at it, Tony Blair is still a war criminal! So there!

random

Re Wil and iraq being behind 9/11
It has been well established in the rest of the world that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Guess that news hasn't reached you yet. Iraq was neither responsible nor funded those responsible for 9/11. Most of those responsible for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, your ally. Wonder why USA didn't invade that country and kill thousands of innocent people there? In your invasion of iraq your government has shown itself to be just as evil as the scum who attacked you on 9/11.

I do wonder if maybe Wil's post was actually a joke, it would be depressing if he really did believe the statements in his last paragraph.

HALiverpool

According to the report on public radio this morning the surge is only "working" in Baghdad. Other parts of Iraq are in bad shape. Any credit W, the blind squirrel, gets for things that happen to work is far outweighed by the cost. Let's not forget that the justification for starting the war in Iraq was a bunch of lies.

-HAL

Karmadrome

Would I? I already do give him credit. I believe that not only has the surge worked, but his entire postwar strategy in Iraq has worked out exactly the way it was supposed to. I believe that the chaos of the first year was a smokescreen that allowed all of the really important work (setting up contracts to protect American business and transfer public works to American companies) to occur. The next several years were successful because we were able to transfer vast amounts of American public money to private hands while keeping al-Qaeda in the news and keeping everyone scared. Now, when the President needs to be able to claim victory so he can move on to another war, he sends in sufficient troops to do the job.

Looks to me like it's game, set, match Bush.

The Restless Mouse

Blind Squirrel. I will not give president Cheney credit for this. (You actually think that moron Bush is in charge of anything?)

~Eric

If you teach a dog a trick, and he accidentally gets the trick right, should you give the dog credit?

DF

Maybe if Bush had played with his nuts a little more often, he wouldn't have invaded Iraq in the first place.

eD

You no doubt already realize this Scott, but you have the monkeys dancing ALL OVER the internet. All the kook liberal blogs direct their Kool-Aid drinkers over here to post after they rant in their own little whine parties.

Kudos dude.

random

Given that I don't think he should have started the course in the first place, no I wouldn't give him credit. As far as I see he (or rather people who tell him what to do) caused the problem in the first place, so I'm not going to be overly praisefull for him fixing a mess he made in the first place.

That would be like praising a drug addict for quiting. Surely people who are not stupid enough to start in first place deserve more praise that someone who just stopped doing something stupid. I know some people would say you should praise them to encourage them and maybe there are good practical reasons for that, I would have difficultly with rewarding stupidity. If I start punching myself in the face and then stopped would you tell me how wonderful I was for stopping doing that?

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