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The "Blame America Last" Argument

Some people blame America first for everything that is wrong in the world. Bill Petti, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, describes the flip-side of the "Blame America First" crowd: The followers of the "Blame America Last" argument:
Those who subscribe to this view go to great lengths to deny any responsibility when it comes to American action or inaction. American policy makers are seen as consistently noble and capable, doing what they can in a selfless attempt to make the world a better place—any negative outcomes cannot be assigned to our policy makers since a) their motives were noble and who, after all, can blame a noble man for trying, and b) the outcome was destined to be bad; the situation was determined by forces outside the control of American capabilities.
Bill describes in the group blog Duck of Minerva, how Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer puts forth just such a "Blame American Last" argument in his attempt to explain why Iraq is crumbling.
Thomas E. Ricks and Robin Wright observe in the Washington Post: "As Iraq Deteriorates, Iraqis Get More Blame: U.S. Officials, Lawmakers Change Tone:"
For example, a Nov. 15 meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee turned into a festival of bipartisan Iraqi-bashing. "We should put the responsibility for Iraq's future squarely where it belongs -- on the Iraqis," began Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the committee's next chairman. "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves." He has advocated announcing that U.S. troops are going to withdraw as a way of pressuring Iraqi politicians to find compromises. (...)
"If the Iraqis are determined and decide to destroy themselves and their country, I don't know how in the world we're going to stop them," said Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.). Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie said he worries about the growing chorus of official voices blaming Iraq, and suggested that a little introspection on the U.S. side could help.
Timothy Noah adds in Slate:
It may feel good for Americans to say that postwar Iraq is a failed society because of the Iraqis themselves. Ingratitude is a common lament of embittered visionaries, because it's usually too painful to blame oneself. But it's rarely true that the people whose lives we try to transform are at fault when we can't transform them, and it certainly isn't true in the case of Iraqis. We just have to live with that.
UPDATE: It seems appropriate to quote Colin Powell's warning to President Bush before the Iraq war: "You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all." (As cited in Bob Woodward's State of Denial (Amazon.com, Amazon.de))
Related post in the Atlantic Review: Iraqi Fulbrighters Speak about their Concerns

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clarence on :

Jörg, Is there a point to this post??? The WP journalist (Ricks) is a partisan, about as objective as, say, John Kerry. Slate doesn't even meet the NYT's standard of journalism. So, what is the issue? The Iraq gov't is inept? Yes, scarcely new news. Some in the US are losing patience? Sure, why not? Krauthammer has a column? (Yawn.) So what ?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Is there a point to this post???" It's a response to your previous comment: "The warfare between Shiite and Sunni isn't our creation." [url]http://www.atlanticreview.org/archives/517-Iraq-Study-Group-Recommendations-and-the-European-Union.html#c5778[/url]

clarence on :

Jörg; I'm flattered you pay attention, but the silliness of these articles isn't worth addressing. They posit extremes in opinion that are neither widespread nor realistic. The evolution of central Iraq into a democracy or into chaos is not yet finished. We may be able to leave them with a democracy. Perhaps they can't handle it. But, we did more to get them there than the EU ever has. In the meanwhile, in our own self-interest, we are rid of Saddam's gov't. So far, so good. p.s. The Kurds have no problems creating a stable environment. Umm, does the USA get credit for that? Nope. (Why not??)

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"The Kurds have no problems creating a stable environment. Umm, does the USA get credit for that?" Yes, the US should get credit for that. I think, the Kurds pretty much got their own independent state (in all but name) soon after the first Iraq war, led by George Bush senior and financed by Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Germany. We payed several billion dollars for it. The US taxpayer did not have to pay much (or anything?), I think. US troops risked their lives, though. The Clinton government maintained the No-Fly Zones. Thus, they should also get credit. There was some rivalry between the Kurds in the 90s, but they seemed to have sorted that out by themselves, i.e. without US help. I think the Kurds benefited a bit from the latest Iraq war, but they also might lose some of those benefits if the Iraqi civil war deteriorates. I am no expert in this matter and haven't studied Kurdistan. Do you know more?

Yank on :

I really wonder about people when they get something so bizarrly twisted: "Ingratitude is a common lament of embittered visionaries" Say what? Who is supposed to be the grateful party here? US? US!!! That logical screamer is well nigh unbelievable. Any ingratitude is in the Iraqis, and I really do question the lucidity of anyone so muddled they get that backwards. And your justification for your blaming Iraqis conduct on Americans (on the absurd premise that WE are guilty of whatever we can't keep THEM from doing) is to accuse those who object to this misplaced blame of being the ones misplacing blame? THAT is so twisted it's sorcery. The ones ditching blame are the ones smearing it off the Iraqis and onto us. Ah, TS Eliot was wrong: perversity is what's endless. Iraqis are murdering each other. Because their politicians won't quit in-fighting and govern. Iraqis are to blame for that. It's incredible that anyone need explain that.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Your comment proves the point of the post. Besides, who do you mean by "the Iraqis"? Do you blame all Iraqis, incl. the children and old folks? Did you read the recommended articles?

Yank on :

"Your comment proves the point of the post." No it doesn't. Again, you jump to conclusions my subsequent post (written before your comment appeared) disproved. "Besides, who do you mean by "the Iraqis"? Do you blame all Iraqis, incl. the children and old folks? Did you read the recommended articles?" These irrelevant questions are no answer. They are dodges. Who has a higher opinion of these people? Someone like me who regards them as capable of controlling themselves like adults? Or someone like that, who regards them as incapable of controlling themselves = as people who can't help throwing violent fits because someone else does something they don't like? These aren't insurgents: these are Sunni and Shia Iraqis killing each other, and you're STILL blaming Americans? If they were four-year-olds killing other four-year-olds, yes you could blame the adult in the room. But the Iraqi people are not four-year-olds. And it demeans them to regard them as though they are no more responsible than four year olds. The Iraqi people are the ones responsible for what they do. I can sympathize with their childishness to a point, because any people treated the way they have been for decades would tend to be childish. But, like any children, they will never grow up till they are forced to own THEIR responsibility for themselves. Debate me on this, or just ask irrelevant questions.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"The Iraqi people are the ones responsible for what they do. I can sympathize with their childishness to a point, because any people treated the way they have been for decades would tend to be childish. But, like any children, they will never grow up till they are forced to own THEIR responsibility for themselves." You could have said all this (incl. your previous comments) to argue that the United States should not have invaded Iraq. Let's follow your logic: You could have blamed Saddam on the Iraqis. Iraqis were responsible for allowing Saddam to govern them. Just like you make Iraqis responsible for the violence by various gangs today. It was THEIR own responsibility to get rid of Saddam etc, not the US responsibility. Iraqis did not invite the US to kick out Saddam. Why did you bother to liberate them from Saddam? Why don't you want to liberate them from those brutal gangs, which terrorize Iraqis today? "these are Sunni and Shia Iraqis killing each other" Just to be clear: Neither the Sunnis nor the Shia are all that united. The power struggles within the sectarian groups are pretty complex. And the various groups are splintering. And the ISG report made clear that the US does not understand much of what is going on.

Yank on :

PS I don't want to leave the wrong impression about what I think. Though I place the blame for this uproar of sectarian violence where it belongs - on those DOING it - I personally believe that we should be understanding of the Iraqi people. They have been treated like children for many decades. The regime was like an overweening, control-freaking parent to them. It was also a socialist state upon which they were utterly dependent. People controlled and treated like children take on the character of children. And children are, above all, irresponsible. They go wild whenever some adult can't prevent them from doing so, and it's never their fault when they go wild. This must stop. A nation of childish people who own no responsibility for themselves cannot govern itself. Yet we must be patient and understand that any people treated as they have been would be behaving like this now. Most of our politicians, even Democrats who advocate quick withdrawal, say that the Iraqi people need "tough love" from us, that we need to give them a kick in the rear to grow up and take on responsibility for themselves. I agree. The Iraqi people must realize that we are serious: they must get their act together. We are not their new Mamma. We won't be around for them to blame much longer. President Bush has long been walking the line between making the Iraqi people fear we will abandon them and allowing the Iraqi people to become dependent on us. I am glad that our politicians are calling for the Iraqis to get on the stick already. Their doing that actually helps - a sort of good cop/bad cop routine. The President reassures them that we will be faithful, while our Congress warns them that they had better not take us for granted and take advanatge of us. Yeah! Teamwork. I thought our leaders had forgot how to do it.

clarence on :

Yank, Keep up the posts!! Just don't let this raise your blood pressure. Best regards, Clarence (from NJ)

David on :

Actually it's now common to see some of the right-wing pundits in the US now blame THE AMERICAN PEOPLE for the disaster in Iraq: we just don't have the stomach or the will to get the job done. Stanley Kurtz expressed this recently in the [url=http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ODk0MjA3ZmYzNjJkZTZkYTIyMzIzN2I5MGNmMmRhYTQ=]National Review[/url]: "The underlying problem with this war is that, from the outset, it has been waged under severe domestic political constraints. From the start, the administration has made an assessment of how large a military the public would support, and how much time the public would allow us to build democracy and then get out of Iraq. We then shaped our military and "nation building" plans around those political constraints, crafting a "light footprint" military strategy linked to rapid elections and a quick handover of power. Unfortunately, the constraints of domestic American public opinion do not match up to what is actually needed to bring stability and democracy to a country like Iraq." Too bad for Kurtz and his friends that we live in democracy.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I wrote an Update, because I think it is appropriate to point out Colin Powell's warning.

clarence on :

As of any sane person should care about his opinion?? Colin Powell acquiesced in G.H.W. Bush's cowardly decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power. He did not protest (then or even now), he did not resign. He agreed. His warnings, comments, and ex post editorials cannot whitewash his failure or his cowardice. I can perhaps understand why you quote him so often, Jörg: with his (lack of) courage, he is a role model for the Bundeswehr. Please tell us: what do you think Guderian would have said of this general?

mbast on :

"I can perhaps understand why you quote him so often, Jörg: with his (lack of) courage, he is a role model for the Bundeswehr." Ah, yes, Colin Powell's lack of courage. Well, I don't know, the man did earn a purple heart in Vietnam. Where was Bush at that time, hmmm? 'Nuff said. He made a big, big mistake in supporting the Iraq war (and his speech in the UN about the WMD is the culmination of this mistake), but at least he admitted he was wrong, which is much more than the rest of the administration ever did. He still has my respect. "Please tell us: what do you think Guderian would have said of this general?" Guderian would probably have said something to the effect that he knew what it's like when you're serving under a militarily inept leader. And you should be careful with quoting German WWII generals around here.

Don S on :

Joerg, we have heard a constant refrain of 'blame the US first'. First. foremost, and always. Now a few people has the temerity to suggest that the Iraqis have to bear some responsibility for their own predicament. Gosh! Can't have that! So the same glib souls who spout the usual line break off their regularly scheduled program and call it 'Blame America Last' (tm). It's bullshit. I suppose it might be a slight improvement if only in that it breaks the tedium of the usual cosdwallop and forces them to use slightly different arguments for ones. But it's the same old crap....

Markus on :

We need a label. Guys who always blame America first are called Anti-Americanism. How do we call someone who never blames America? Someone who never admits that his country has done a grave mistake? Someone who always thinks his country is perfect?

Don S on :

I think they're called the rabid nationalists, Markus. ;) Or should I say 'we'? :0

David on :

@Markus, They are called Republicans (thankfully, an ever dwindling minority)

Assistant Village Idiot on :

I think the people who "never blame America" actually have a good record of blaming America. Many blamed Clinton while he was in office, and even some who loved Reagan blame him for his actions in Lebanon. The current president has been very clear about the fault of previous policy, trading stability for freedom. The argument seems to be "sometimes when people blame others it is an avoidance of blaming themselves. Some Americans are blaming others. Therefore it is an avoidance of blaming themselves." Arguing from the possible to the definite like that, absent any supporting evidence, only occurs when one has already made up one's mind beforehand. So the people who said "the neo-cons are promising tea and crumpets. It'll never work." are now saying "see, we told ya." They haven't told me anything. No one promised them tea and crumpets - that was always the myth they preferred. The dreaded neocons have been saying since day one that this is ultimately up to Iraqis, that it is only an opportunity, and that this OIF is only a best choice among bad alternatives. Nothing new here folks. Just people trying to score political points. As to the will of the American people: I will say again, it would have been interesting if the "loyal opposition" adopted the same view that Americans considered automatic until about 1968, and at least strove not to undermine the war effort from the start. Just because just criticism is sometimes unwelcome does not mean that all unwelcome criticism is just. To Joerg specifically. I am pleased that you seek to quote American commenters (or some sympathetic to America) who criticise American policy. It is an important effort on your part. From an American conservative point of view, I would note that most of the Americans you choose are not merely those who are in disagreement with conservatives and/or the current administration, but people who are deeply identifed with the opposition in an almost tribal sense. They may believe that they have America's best interest at heart, but their words are actually on in defense of their tribe, not America as a whole. I don't know if there is a German or European equivalent to this, and I thin one would have to live a long time in a place to feel it in one's bones. But to make the best analogy I can, if a person who has identification, and not just temporary agreement, with the SPD, criticises the policies of the CDU, it may be because they disagree philosophically what is best for Germany. I don't know what groups or subtribes in Germany identify strongly with that party - unions? East Germans? Artists and writers? - but someone from such a group might disagree on less laudable grounds. He might be disagreeing as a pure political calculation, to harm the opposition. Or he might be working to make his tribe's ideas dominant in the national attitude, not just to make money, but to validate his view that the world does work as he says it does. Many of those who quote fall into that last category. They need very badly for George Bush to be wrong, whether he is wrong or note, because their entire explanation for how the world works is at stake. I no longer consider the opposition to be 50% loyal to the US as a whole - they are loyal to their tribe within the US.

David on :

The most despicable "tribe" is the handful of Bush loyalists, determined to follow Dear Leader into the abyss. Watch for the poll numbers this week: Bush's numbers will be in 20's. The ISG report brought home to Americans the enormity of his failure.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

[i]"From an American conservative point of view, I would note that most of the Americans you choose are not merely those who are in disagreement with conservatives and/or the current administration, but people who are deeply identifed with the opposition in an almost tribal sense."[/i] Well, I have quoted two former Secretaries of State, who served under Bush senior and Bush junior and served for other presidents in other capacities. Powell and Baker are conservative patriots. Are you accusing them of disloyalty and identifying with the opposition? Perhaps we have to differentiate between conservatives and neo-conservatives. Baker, Powell and other Republicans are conservatives. Pres. Bush junior has not pursued conservative policies. Besides, there seems to be growing differences within the conservative party. I could also qoute many neocons, who disagree with Bush now and criticize the Iraq war now. What will I do wrong, if I quote them? The fact is, the number of Bush supporters has been decreasingly rapidly. [b] Can you recommend any statements[/b] by Bush or Cheney or by those Republicans, incl. Neocons, who still think that the administration has reasonably well executed the Iraq war and that America should be blamed last? I am somewhat surprised by many reactions to this post, which just points out that some blame America first and others blame America last. Opposite sites of the same coin. It does not sound all that revolutionary to me to agree that US policies are neither the first and foremost reasons for everything that is wrong nor is US foreign policy the very last thing to blame. Both Anti-Americans and "Rabid Nationalists" (Don's words) are wrong. [i]"They may believe that they have America's best interest at heart, but their words are actually on in defense of their tribe, not America as a whole."[/i] That is the typical criticism against Neocons.

Zyme on :

I certainly do not envy american politicians today. One might have expected that a regime change in Iraq won´t work - but who would have expected that it would turn out so badly? There is one point I would like to point out in this context: The easiest and most efficient way of gaining influence in the world is to spread your culture and your way of life. So to speak, the 1950s and 1960s were clearly the decades of the USA. Even in the area of soviet influence, people wanted to drink Coca Cola, listen to american music and watch hollywood movies. Everyone in Europe listened to american musicians, and american troops were the most popular among the occupying forces in germany. Half a century later, in which countries are the people still preferring the american way of life? This is probably a good indicator of how much went wrong.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Yeah. In Egypt, Algeria and other Arab countries in 60s: Several streets and squares were named after US presidents because of US support for independence and US opposition to colonialism and opposition to the French-UK-Israeli war over the Suez Canal. Somewhere I read that the Suez Canal war in 1956 was the final proof of the end of Britain as a world power. Now, 50 years later, the Iraq war shows that the US is not a superpower anymore. Sure, the US is still the most powerful country in the world, but it is not a superpower anymore. Does anybody come across the word "superpower" in the media anymore?

Don S on :

"Sure, the US is still the most powerful country in the world, but it is not a superpower anymore. Does anybody come across the word "superpower" in the media anymore?" It depends on how one defines a 'superpower'. If one uses the working definition of superpwer created during the Cold War I think the US still qualifies. If one prefers to use the 'Hyperpower' definition which became au courant in Franch and continental European circles (an all-powerful, omnipotent and evil beast) - well the US is not that. It never was that. Whehter or not the media uses a term is not necessarily germane to whether it holds meaning or not. There are many thing which are true which the media misrepresents. Either knowingly or through ignorance....

Zyme on :

Exactly. A superpower needs a considerable amount of nations or colonies that are supporting its politics. How could the Soviet Union become one? Only because many countries turned into (or were turned into) socialist societies. The same applies to the USA: Most of the western heimsphere in the 1950s recognized american leadership. They did so until the beginning of the last Iraq war, didn´t they?

VinceTN on :

That observations has proven to be the hardest to comprehend for many of us here in America. You did support us once and many Americans don't believe we are any different now. Why the lack of support now? Why was fighting in Europe and Korea good but fighting in the Mideast bad? Why were the French and Koreans more worthy of sacrifice and effort than Iraqis? We lost far more defending those nations.

Zyme on :

Back in the days of the Cold War, both North America and Western Europe had a common enemy. Iraq was not Europe´s enemy, instead it was one of the most stable factors in a very unstable region to rely upon. Also there was a reason to recognize american leadership in the 1950s: After having set itself on fire for two times, Europe was worn down to heavily to pursue its politics on its own. Now that everything is rebuilt and military transformations are currently proceeding, this is changing.

Don S on :

Ummm, yes. Of course, Zyme!. Let's see. McDonalds are closing all over the planet. Bill Gates can't sell any software. And those little things I see hanging around the necks of teenagers and 20-somethings globally - they can't be IPods - can they? Probably something Grundig or Phillips sells..... Few or no foreign students are attending US colleges and universities any more. Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford are holding tin cups outside of the Chinse Theatre in Hollywood - the film studios have collapsed because the people are not "still preferring the american way of life". Interesting - I completely missed the change. ;)

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Joerg. Timothy Noah and Carl Levin would not be counted among the conservative patriots. Powell's quote before the war does not offer evidence, pro or con, as to whether the war has gone well. Baker may indeed be patriotic, but he is also Washington establishment, and part of the lousy planning that got us to this place. As to your comment and David's that my accusation of tribalism is exactly what the neocons are believed to be engaging in: I am aware of that accusation. I am glad you catch what I mean as a general principle, anyway. The neocons do indeed have a view of the world that they believe is correct, and try to convince others that the facts accord with their view. I would counter that there remains a severe imbalance. The opposition tribe, especially the Arts & Humanities tribe that I come from originally, also exists and also has a worldview about how the world works. The difference is this: major American media is drawn entirely from this tribe and does not see the view as tribal or as a set of ideas, but simply "normal," and "what all sensible people think." Their understanding of events is also tribal, but they do not see that, which is an enormous blind spot. Secondly, I do not see evidence that the neocons exclude the other American tribes. If anything, they believe in protecting all of them. This cannot be said for the A & H tribe. As to neocons saying that the war is going well, there are plenty. The false dichotomy has been set up since the beginning that any criticism of the war effort counts as a defection from the President's position. The President has not seen it that way, but his opponents have attempted to count noses that way. If you want to pursue this, I would recommend the milblogs, stratfor, Bill Roggio, Tigerhawk, Powerline, and of course the larger sites such as pajamasmedia and Instapundit. You will certainly not find universal acclaim for our policies at those sites. But you will find many persuasive that we are doing the right thing in reasonably good fashion. If you want to compare this war, or any war to an artifical video-game standard of how things should look, then of course it's not going well. It was never expected to. But if you are operating in the actual world of human events, I would say it continues to go well. Difficulties are not failures. Zyme, if its cokes, music, and movies that are the measuring stick, I'd say the whole world is on board with the US culturally.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

[i]"As to neocons saying that the war is going well, there are plenty.[/i]" Can you quote a prominent one with a statement that makes sense? [i]"I would recommend the milblogs, stratfor, Bill Roggio, Tigerhawk, Powerline, and of course the larger sites such as pajamasmedia and Instapundit."[/i] The good stuff from Stratfor is only for subscribers. Which milblog? The others write sooo much stuff to criticize the left etc, it would take too much time to sift through them to find reasonable statements on how things are going in Iraq. If you can link to some good posts, that would be appreciated. Besides, I was looking more for statements by politicians: Can you recommend any CONVINCING statement by Bush or Cheney or by those Republicans, incl. Neocons, who still think that the administration has reasonably well executed the Iraq war and that America should be blamed last? And I don't mean folks like, Sanatorum, who tried in vain to get reelected by talking about WMD findings in Iraq, which even the Pentagon disagreed with him. It was old stuff that was not dangerous. [i]"If you want to compare this war, or any war to an artifical video-game standard of how things should look, then of course it's not going well. It was never expected to."[/i] Really? I think most Americans expected it that way. I think nobody prepared them for what we are seeing now in Iraq. If the Bush admin had been more realistic and honest, then they would have told Americans what to expect. And if the US MSM and blogs had done their job rather than cheerleading for the war and calling Europeans cowards, weasels, surrender monkeys, chocolate summit etc., then they would have prepared Americans for what is happening in Iraq now. [b]If Americans had been prepared for the horrors of war and the prospect of an insurgency, they would have had more realistic expectations.[/b] Then they would not have supported the war in the first place, i.e. Bush would have had to start the war in 2003 without popular support. Or they would have supported the war in 2003 and would continue to support the war now. Bush and co did not want to take that risk. (Or they believed their own propaganda.) [b]I think, most Americans are soooo angry at Bush and regret the war, because they feel that they have been misled in 2002 and 2003. They had the wrong expections about the war.[/b] I think you can't really blame the American people that much for being angry at Bush and the other war architects. I am sure the few remaining war supporters will blame the American people, if Bush starts troop withdrawal soon. That's not fair, because the American people were misinformed and misled about the war in 2002 and 2003. Either deliberately or not deliberately. You said "It was never expected to." So why did not Bush and co tell Americans the truth? Or did they do it, but Americans did not listen?

David on :

Interesting reading in "Vanity Fair" on the neocon architects of the war and how they are all backpeddling furiously: Read:[url=http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/01/neocons200701?printable=true&currentPage=all]Neo Culpa[/url]

clarence on :

>the American people were misinformed and >misled about the war in 2002 and 2003. >...why did not Bush and co tell >Americans the truth Didn't you once write once this blog, if I may paraphrase, "in God we trust, all others supply facts" ? I challenge you to show us, with primary sources (not a third-hand statement in a newspaper), where the American people were "misled" by Bush. I realize it is a popular fantasy among left-wing nutcases, but I thought (past tense) you had a bit more firm grasp of reality. I hope you will reply, and that you will first re-read your own words carefully. You did not state there were errors made by numerous people, Republican and Democrat alike, you clearly claim that "Bush & Co." did not tell the truth. So: please tell us what Bush & Co said that was not ALSO said by Bill Clinton, his dear wife, Al Gore, etc ?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Clarence, "I thought (past tense) you had a bit more firm grasp of reality." Very kind of yours. About the "firm grasp of reality": • 64% of Americans say that it is true that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda. (Jul 06 poll) • 44% of Americans believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on 9/11 were Iraqis. (Feb 05 poll) [url]http://superfrenchie.com/?p=870[/url] Another example: "Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country." [url]http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm[/url] You might want to cool down and read more carefully what I wrote in response to Avi's comment about expectations. I am now using bold print to emphasise the words that you did not read. At the risk of someone calling me defensive, let me walk you through. I wrote: "I think, most Americans are soooo angry at Bush and regret the war, because [b]they feel[/b] that they have been misled in 2002 and 2003. They had the wrong expections about the war." Then I wrote: "I am sure the few remaining war supporters will blame the American people, if Bush starts troop withdrawal soon. That's not fair, because the American people were misinformed and misled about the war in 2002 and 2003. [b]Either deliberately or not deliberately.[/b]" Thus I pointed out that Bush might not have deliberately misinformed and misled Americans, but was just wrong and made an honest mistake. Finally, I referred to Avi, who commented: "If you want to compare this war, or any war to an artifical video-game standard of how things should look, then of course it's not going well. It was never expected to." and then I asked him about that statement: "So why did not Bush and co tell Americans the truth? [b]Or did they do it[/b], but Americans did not listen?" "do it" clearly refers to telling the truth. Now, please, tell me, why you think that I "clearly claim that "Bush & Co." did not tell the truth."???? Why do you think that???? I am not a native speaker, so please, tell me what I have done wrong? Which sentence gave the wrong impression? I think, the misunderstanding is your fault. Not mine. Americans expected this war to be easy due to various statements by Bush and co. I think Bush and co expected this war to be easy, therefore they did not plan post-war operations sufficiently and did not send enough troops, i.e. honest mistake, no deliberate misleading and misinforming. As George in Seinfeld: It's not a lie, if you believe in it. ;-) Wishful thinking is not a lie. If you convince yourself that Iraq has WMD despite lack of sufficient evidence, then you are not lieing. (WMD means weapons that can kill masses, i.e. not the Santorum stuff.) Avi, however, wrote that this war was never expected to be like a video game. Thus, I asked him about it. As to primary sources: Colin Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld and Cheney, Bush have made plenty of statements, which Clinton and co did not make. Okay, if you want this debate about misleading Americans into war, I will give you one example. I hope you will respond to this one. Besides, I am still waiting for your response to my answer about your Kurdistan question. Think Progress in August 2006: [i]"President Bush was in the midst of explaining how the attacks of 9/11 inspired his “freedom agenda” and the attacks on Iraq until a reporter, [b]Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11. “Nothing,” Bush defiantly answered.[/b] [url]http://thinkprogress.org/2006/08/21/bush-on-911/]Watch it.[/url] To justify the war, Bush informed Congress on March 19, 2003 that [b]acting against Iraq was consistent[/b] with “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided [b]the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”[/b] [url]http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-1.html[/url] As ThinkProgress has repeatedly documented, Vice President Cheney cited “evidence” cooked up by Douglas Feith and others to claim it was “pretty well confirmed” that Iraq had contacts with 9/11 hijackers. More generally, in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the administration encouraged the false impression that Saddam had a role in 9/11. Bush never stated then, as he does now, that Iraq had “nothing” to do with 9/11. Only after the Iraq war began did Bush candidly acknowledge that Iraq was not operationally linked to 9/11. [url]http://thinkprogress.org/2[/i]006/08/21/bush-on-911/[/url] Why did Bush and co use the words Iraq and 9/11 so often in the same sentence before the war? This was misinforming and misleading the American people. Either deliberately or not deliberately. The effect is the same. Why did not Bush and co react to the opinion polls, which showed that soooo many Americans thought Iraq was responsible for 9/11 and correct this false impression? Why did not he tell American people that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 (as he admitted August 2006), but that the goal in Iraq is to create a democracy to make the Middle East more US friendly and less Anti-American so that there will be less hatred against America, that motivated 9/11? Do you think that Pres Bush's letter to Congress on March, 18, 2003 (days before the start of the war) was not misleading? [i]Consistent with section 3(b) of the [b]Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq[/b] Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, [b]I determine[/b] that: (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and (2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who [b]planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.[/b] Sincerely, GEORGE W. BUSH[/i] [url]http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-1.html[/url] Why did he mention the 9/11 attacks in this letter? Does not this give the wrong impression to Americans? Elaborate discussion about misleading and misinforming here: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/280-Chicago-Tribune-Germany-says-911-hijackers-called-Syria,-Saudi-Arabia.html#c933[/url]

clarence on :

In your long reply, I do not see one single statement in which Bush misled the American people. Your citation of his letter to Congress is not an example at all. Frankly, you do not seem to understand the English grammar in that sentence. The phrase "consistent with" does mean "same as". The phrase "...including..." does not mean "limited to". There is nothing in the resolution that applies solely to countries that were engaged in the 9-11 attack. Is that the best you can do ?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I know what "consistent" means, but I don't understand why it is "consistent"? In August 2006, Bush admitted that the Iraq war had nothing to do with 9/11. Why was it "consistent" in 2003? "The phrase "...including..." does not mean "limited to"." Look at what is written before the word [i]including[/i]. Why did he mention the 9/11 attacks in this letter? Does not this give the wrong impression to Americans? Why did not Bush and co react to the opinion polls, which showed that soooo many Americans thought Iraq was responsible for 9/11 and correct this false impression? Why did Bush and co use the words Iraq and 9/11 so often in the same sentence before the war? This was misinforming and misleading the American people. Either deliberately or not deliberately. The effect is the same. Why do you disagree? Why are there so many opinion polls that show that a majority of Americans (in particular Republicans) believe Iraq was involved in 9/11? Who is responsible for this misinformation? "A large majority of Bush supporters believes that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda and that clear evidence of this support has been found. A large majority believes that most experts also have this view, and a substantial majority believe that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Large majorities of Kerry supporters believe the opposite on all these points." [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/280-Chicago-Tribune-Germany-says-911-hijackers-called-Syria,-Saudi-Arabia.html[/url] Moreover, why did you misunderstand my first comment? I asked Avi: "So why did not Bush and co tell Americans the truth? Or did they do it, but Americans did not listen?" You, however, thought that I would "clearly claim that "Bush & Co." did not tell the truth." Why do you think that???? The word of the year is Truthiness. Some people think that whatever they feel like being true, is indeed true. Anybody who wants to thinks that someone else has claimed xyz, then it is true. That is their right. If enough people believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11, then this means that Saddam was involved. That is democracy! That is everybody's right. Facts have a liberal bias. Truthiness does not. [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/337-Bullshit-and-Truthiness.html[/url]

David on :

Here's one of my all time favorites (from his 2003 SOTU) "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa". Basically, every time Bush says "we're winning Iraq" he's lying. Bush to reporters on Oct.8, 2006 "Absolutely, we're winning in Iraq." As Woodward points out in "State of Denial", it was standard procedure in the Bush White House to engage in deception with the American people with respect to the progress in the war in Iraq. Is Woodward one of your "far left nutcases"?

Trobert on :

@Zyme "Half a century later, in which countries are the people still preferring the American way of life?" Go to China (where I am) or India, or Vietnam (the countries whose stars are rising), and you'll have your answer. People do not like Bush in Beijing, but nevertheless I have been told several times that Americans are the "favorite foreigners" and that most young people love the American Way of Life and the personal freedom/individuality it represents. By contrast, my Chinese friends in Germany are retuning home disappointed after graduation because they can't get a job. Everybody I talk to has a friend who is studying in America, or they wish to do so themselves. In fact, the first person to point out to me how the Chinese view Americans (with a visible look of disappointment) was a German classmate of mine. This is a typical German failing, this belief that they are "The Rest of the World".

Zyme on :

"The Rest of the World" might have something to do with its economical and scientific relevance ;)

ADMIN on :

Please note that by default the comments in this blog are threaded rather than linear, i.e. some of the latest responses to comments are not at the bottom, but in the middle of the thread right behind the comment they respond to. [b]At the top of the comments section you have the option to change the view from threaded to linear (=chronological)[/b], which enables you to see the latest comments at the end of the thread.

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