Thursday, January 26, 2006


Since President Bush’s supporters take credit for everything that has happened since we invaded Iraq, I wonder if they’ll include the Hamas victory, or later, after the civil war in Iraq, when it becomes an Iranian-style theocracy. I know: Maybe they’ll take credit when oil hits 100 dollars a barrel? Wait, they’re religious, aren’t they? Maybe they want the credit when President Bush causes Armageddon.


At 10:44 AM, Blogger Idler said...

This is just brilliant. The fact that Palestinians choose a genocidal anti-Semitic terrorist group is a poor reflection on George Bush!

If you were going to single out a U.S. president for coddling rather than stomping on terrorists and Iranian theocrats, Jimmy Carter would be a better choice.

Still, I'd love to hear the causal explanation for Bob McDonald's penetrating insight.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I believe President Bush has created more terrorists than any other President in history. I believe there are more terrorists now than when he started, and that at the very least he should have concentrated on Osama, before shifting our forces to a misadventure in Iraq.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Idler said...

Sorry I called you Bob, Bill.

Now, we already know that any unfortunate event in the world can somehow be traced to the evil and/or incompetence of George W. Bush.

But what does this tell us about the Palestinians?

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Bill-Bob, it doesn't matter. I just appreciate that you'd write in. And I wouldn't say that any unfortunate event in the world can be traced to George W. Bush. Take Saddam for example. I think President Reagan had a lot more to do with helping him become the monster he was, by supporting him with weapons and intelligence during his war with Iran. Now which is the great President and which is the Loser? Reagan or Bush?
Answer: Neither when it comes to Mid-East policy.
And if you don't like Hamas wait till you see the people who end up running Iraq.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Whoops, I meant neither was great, and they BOTH are losers. We're still paying for Reagan's mistakes and our great grandkids will be paying for Bush's mistakes, if we aren't extinct by then.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, you a good comedian. It is hilarious to blame Bush for Hamas taking over. After all Fatah just did the normal thing in pocketing the money and leaving their people to starve. All Hamas has done is attack Israel which was forced to close the borders to Palestinian workers so they have to be dependent upon the "government" for survival. Is this the equivalent to the Democrats "Big Business is bad. Private insurance is bad. Government control of everything is good -- unless Republicans are in control."?

At 1:40 PM, Blogger rickyragg said...

Golly, Bill-Bob

In the interest of dispelling any possble inference that you're just a "small p" partisan, how about sharing your thoughts on whether any Republican president since WWII has ever done ANYTHING POSITVE.

In the same vein and for the same reason, any thoughts on the possibilty of Democrat presidential missteps, mistakes or malfeasance.

Maybe the hyperventilating haters on the left appreciate your analyses(?) of domestic and world political events and maybe it's all a joke. Either way, it's funny.

And all this from a guy who thought my Old McDonald rhyme was juvenile!

I'm pleased to see that some others find your diatribes as one-dimensional, repetitive and laughable as do I.

If you really believe what you write then I have nothing but sympathy for you. It must be rough to deal with surreality every day.

But, humor helps, doesn't it?

Or does it?

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

If President Bush wants credit for Libya and elections in the Middle East, then he should be prepared to take the blame if his actions make the Mid-East more militant and the region gets worse. I'm just wondering why he didn't send his team from Ohio in to rig the election results.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Dear Ricky,
I liked Eisenhower. I believe that if this corrupt bunch of losers we have now hadn't smeared a genuine war hero like John McCain we would be in the second term of his presidency and we'd be much better off.
By the way, I have a recent post that is anti-Clinton, and I wouldn't have voted for Gore against McCain. Gore is a dud, and McCain is remarkable. After he won New Hampshire, Karl Rove and his henchmen destroyed him in South Carolina and that was disgusting and wrong. That was W. in action.
Maybe it's because of Nixon but I do think less of modern Republican presidents. But there's something good Nixon did, right there. He resigned.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger rickyragg said...

The only genuine thing about John McCain IS the fact that he's a war hero. Other than that he's just another politician.

His only distinguishing traits are the fact that he has a VERY big mouth (even for a pol) and that he is the foil for Dem's who claim they "would have" voted for him rather than Gore when accused of being rigidly partisan. The same way people claim "some of my best friends are (fill in the minority)" when accused of prejudice, racism or intolerance.

I don't believe them, either.

As for politics being a "dirty" game, Rove & Co. are still learning. Smearing is a bi-partisan pastime and both sides play it well. Unless you're not paying attention or (more likely) turning a blind eye, I think you'll find ample evidence in the Alito hearings. With Dem poster children like Schumer, Kennedy, Biden, Pelosi and Dean, the pot/kettle simile applies.

And Bill, EVERYBODY likes Ike.
But, MOST PEOPLE don't hate Bush.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Dear Ricky,
If you don't believe me that's irritating but I'm already over it. I think there's a lot more to McCain than you give him credit for, and he especially came through on the subject of torture. But how about that fire on the aircraft carrier before McCain was shot down? He always seems to land in the middle of history.
As far as your statement that Karl Rove is still learning the dirty game of politics, well, I'd be rich if I could write comedy that good.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Idler said...


First, allow me to point out a common fallacy: that in foreign policy (as in much of life) choices are generally right or wrong. In reality, choices certainly may be more or less unwise, but they are often between the lesser of evils not the right and wrong choice. They involve the need to act without either satisfactory information or some magical power of prognostication.

This is the real idea behind the term "blowback": it's not the evil that happens to you because of an evil choice, it's the evil that happens to you regardless of which option, and even in spite of making the better choice.

Did Osama bin Laden prosper under US protection in Afghanistan? Yes. But Soviet expansion was halted in Central Asia, one of the most strategic locations on the globe. Was it worth it? Not easy to say. That's what happens when one makes decisions in the real world.

Would it have been better to allow Iran to be victorious in the Iran/Iraq war? Hard to defend that position. Did we pay for the position we took? Doubtless. It's a sucky world.

One can argue about either of those policies, but in the absence of a sober consideration of the costs of the alternatives, it just sounds like promiscuous partisan carping.

Again, with the present administration's actions in the Middle East has come the complaint that it has created more terrorists. But what alternative do you offer? Many people, myself included, expected things to get worse before they got better. It was predictable that, when someone finally took a stand against fanatic Arabism and Islamism, there would be a reaction—particularly since those parties (which are heavily interpenetrated by each other) believed that US forces were weak and that the American public could be dissuaded from seeing the fight through, a la Vietnam. You seem to be just the kind of person they can depend on.

What's your recommendation? Just lie supine while these forces continue to metastasize? I argue that a confrontation was inevitable.

Now, let's consider Carter's policy. He was naive about the Russians until they made him personally look foolish. He was naive about the Iranians, and we're still paying the price. He continues to be naive about the Palestinians. What has the result of coddling these parties? Carter didn’t so much as make bad choices as avoid making choices. Under the influence of Brzeninsky he believed the world was going through an inevitable process of melioration and that we just needed to understand each other a little better. Ironically, believing your opponent thinks like you do and wants what you do is often precisely to MISUNDERSTAND him.

The difference between taking credit for Libya and not for Hamas (which could turn out to be a salutary development anyway) is that the Libyan tyrant was clearly reacting to a clear threat from the US and its allies. The Palestinians, in electing Hamas, are acting in the ABSENCE of threats to their barbarism. The left in Europe and America, blinded with guilt theories about racism, colonialism and capitalism/imperialism, have steadfastly resisted seeing the Palestinian movement and its cynical Arab exploiters for what it was, in its actual character.

In the movie “Munich,” screenplay writer Tony Kushner trots out the old misconceptions: this Israelis and Palestinians are morally indistinguishable parties animated, at base, by the identically desire for territory. All other differences are trivial, and thus irrelevant. And that’s how the rationalists of the left have reasoned about foreign policy since Korea at least. We're all reasoners, we all want the same things, we all come to the same conclusions. Well, no we don't. And if you want to know what Palestinian and fanatically nationalist Arabism is like, the Palestinian elections have made it a little easier today.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Dear Idler,
Wow, I'm so impressed with how much you put into that response. Okay, if we could turn back time, what would I do differently?
In 1953 I would not have overthrown the populist government of Iran, to install the Shah. That led directly to the Muslim fundamentalist backlash that swept the Persian Gulf.
In general, I'd say America solves a short term problem with longterm consequences. We are still paying for our actions in 1953, today, and we'll be paying for this Iraq War for another 50 years.
One of the hallmarks of a horrible foreign policy is that it leaves you with few good choices.
I think we've made things a lot worse here.
The Munich movie was excellent in that it shows what happens when you respond to terrorism by crossing the line into the dark side. I'm sure there's a lot of young Iraqi kids who are going to spend their lives trying to avenge their parents death, and it won't really matter to them if we admit the reasons we went into Iraq were wrong.
Terrorism is a tough problem, and George responded in an immature way, that made it worse. A great leader would not have done that.
Oh, and one more thing for Ricky, I met George and chatted with him, and I found him affable like someone on your pool tournament team. I also met Rudi Guiliani and felt I was in the presence of greatness, so that McCain token thing is wrong.
In conclusion, Idler, thanks, it's only Thursday, but you get the nod for most impressive contribution of the week.

At 3:05 PM, Blogger rickyragg said...

War hero, great aura, whatever - I think you confuse style and substance. I don't care if a president is personally appealing, if he can make good judgements and act accordingly.

Your assumptions all seem to have as a premise that ANY different actions on the part of the US government would have had a "better" result; yet you offer no evidence or alternatives. The notion that our enemies and the whole Middle East imboglio devolves ONLY from US policies is nonsense on the face of it. This is the heart of my charge of partisanship. Simply gainsaying any US action or position advances no argument.

For instance, you simplistically state that the US "overthrew" the "populist government" and "installed the Shah" when the truth is much more complex and enlightening.

The US, through the CIA, at the request of Great Britain, certainly played a part in helping to finance the ouster of Mossadegh. But the Shah was already "installed" and had been ruler since 1941. The general population was fairly evenly divided over question of the monarchy until tough economic times arose. This was due, almost entirely, to various sanctions GB imposed in response to the nationalization of British oil interests by the Iranian government. When oil price negotiations with Britain broke down, the push for nationalization was driven, in no small part, by nationalists and religious zealots.

Tellingly, when Prime Minister Razmara opposed nationalization, he was assassinated by a radical Muslim. Later, in 1952, Mossadegh (who was by now PM) resigned after the shah refused to grant him "emegency powers" over the military. The Shah appointed a moderate to replace him who stated his intention to resume oil price negotiations with the British. Riots, led and fanned by Kashani and his followers, swept over Iran. The Shah, under pressure from these “democracy-loving” mobs, re-appointed Mossadegh PM. Until he was arrested in 1953, Mossadegh presided over a crumbling, increasingly divided country. As he tried to hold on to power he held a vote to dissolve parliament. His claim of a 99.9% yes vote shows his disdain for both the truth and a large portion of his countrymen.

The CIA and MI-6 both helped advance the discord and finance the supporters of the Shah but to ascribe responsibility for “..the Muslim fundamentalist backlash that swept the Persian Gulf.” is beyond reason.

What a concept; that, but for US intervention, everything would be sweetness and light.

What a profound faith you have in the all-powerful nature of US influence.

What a condescending attitude to those non-Americans whose power and ability to change human history is relegated to insignificance.

Mossadegh was a westernized, Paris-educated,secular leader whose allies in the radical islamic factions, led by Ayatollah Kashani, deserted him as soon as it became clear that his usefulness was deteriorating. He was a TOOL.

Muslim radicalism in Iran was already alive and well long before your alleged “cause”. There are many more examples of the convoluted paths nations and peoples have traveled to get to where we are today, but they just don’t fit your preconceptions.

It’s just not that simple.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I never argued that the Middle East was simple. I've always been in awe of the Middle East's ability to go off which is why pumping energy into it with an invasion and occupation was such a bad idea. By the way the right-wing former publisher of the Jerusalem Post argued on Imus today that the US and the free world were to blame for the victory of Hamas. I didn’t go that far. I just said if you brag about the positive results of your actions you certainly have to confront the bad. Are you saying Iraq has had no effect on the Arab
street? It's also mind boggling that you would take this position on simplicity when Bush has bragged about being a moral-clarity guy who sees things in simple right/wrong terms.
The entire point is that he approached this with an overly simplistic view, yet you claim I've got the problem of not sensing the complexity in this ancient land. That's just a preposterous line of debate.
Do you concede the Shah was our guy in Iran and that we helped train his secret police, the Savak, who carried out a brutal reign? Do you think the Ayatollah Khomeini just came back because pistachio nuts were on sale? There was a time after WW2 when America was loved by the Iranian people. What happened to make that change? Are you saying America never made a mistake in the Persian Gulf? If any of those countries intruded into our country as much as we intruded into theirs, would you just sit by and roll over saying, “This is way too complicated for me to understand!” Oh, I forgot, we’re America, we have a right to do any damn thing we want because Jesus talks to our President and it all checked out. Maybe they think their God talks to them. Maybe they think, “Wow, our God must be the real one. Otherwise why did he give us all this oil?”

At 10:24 AM, Blogger rickyragg said...


It's more and more obvious to me that you've got some heavy emotional baggage tied up in your incessant, vituperative attacks on Bush & Co.

I address one of your casually tossed off assertions about Iran with some factual perspective and you launch into an argument with GW.

I feel like a spectator.

I made some narrow observations; none of which invoked all the straw men you whacked away at.

As for God talking to politicians, there's lots of that going around - and if, as you seem to portray it, it's wrong, evil, whatever - you should consider that there's a billion or so Muslims with a different idea.

Well, we just won't think about that.

You go ahead and enjoy arguing with yourself - at least you always win the argument.


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Actually I tried to write specifically to your points about the Middle East, with the current Bush administration as a context. I assume you think W's doing a terrific job, and he's just the man to stare into the complex problems we face and figure out a solution. By the way, you didn't address Savak, and the Shah's ties to us and his role in the fundamentalist backlash.
Frankly, I don't think your point that "It's a sucky world" is much of an argument.


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