The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
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Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
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Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM
Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM
Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM
Idea Majorities Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM
Twilight Zone Economics.
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The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
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From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
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Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
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Let Economic Freedom Reign.
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Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
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Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
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Right To Work States Rock.
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Social Security Reform Thursday.
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Mar. 14, 2006
Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008
Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007
Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006
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July 14, 2006
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Jon Stewart's Cognitive Dissonance.
With freedom on the march in the Middle East, some of even the most ardent Iraq war skeptics are rethinking their opposition.
The New York Times, for example, editorialized this week:
"It's not even spring yet, but a long-frozen political order seems to be cracking all over the Middle East. Cautious hopes for something new and better are stirring along the Tigris and the Nile, the elegant boulevards of Beirut, and the impoverished towns of the Gaza Strip....
Indeed, Michael Barone explains that "Minds Are Changing" about the President's foreign policy at "breakneck speed" since the Iraqi elections.
Could one of those changing minds belong to Jon Stewart, the sometimes-funny host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show?
"Stewart: Do you think they're the guys to--do they understand what they've unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just come out at the very beginning and said, 'Here's my plan: I'm going to invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the swamp'--if they hadn't done the whole 'nuclear cloud,' you know, if they hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up, honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive dissonance, no mixed feelings.
Taranto then notes:
"Interesting... is Stewart's acknowledgment of his own 'cognitive dissonance' and 'mixed feelings' over the Iraq liberation. It's a version of an argument we've been hearing a lot lately: As our Brendan Miniter puts it, 'The president's critics never seem to tire of claiming that the war in Iraq began over weapons of mass destruction and only later morphed into a war of liberation.'
But WILLisms.com is not willing to let this argument stand. While not finding stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was embarrassing for U.S. (and British, and French, and German, and Russian, etc.) intelligence, a few facts are incontrovertible:
1. Iraq possessed WMDs at one point, including a nuclear plant that was destroyed by the Israelis in 1981.
Thus, using WMDs as justification for military force was completely reasonable.
However, the President's rhetoric about freedom in Iraq was not retrofitted after WMD were not found. It was not merely post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this). Draining the swamp of tyranny in the Middle East and paving the way for liberty to take hold, contrary to what Jon Stewart remembers about late 2002 and early 2003, were crucial, if not central, parts of the President's case for war in Iraq.
First, from September 12, 2002, the White House listed WMDs as its second reason in its case the Saddam Hussein was a threat to the international community, and WMDs were but one among many reasons:
"Table of Contents
It was a comprehensive case against Saddam Hussein, certainly not at all limited to weapons of mass destruction. The President's case also linked peace in the "Middle East" (e.g. Israel/Palestine) with freedom in Iraq.
More damning of the post hoc ergo propter hoc case is President Bush's address to the UN, also in September 2002:
"In the Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices....
So clearly, the President framed potential conflict in Iraq as a way to stir up a stagnant pit of hatred, introducing freedom to the region as policy. And today, we're seeing the results of the Bush doctrine.
In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush further advanced the central concept of freedom:
"And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food and medicines and supplies -- and freedom.
Then, there was what Bush said on February 9, 2003:
"And there's no doubt in my mind, when the United States acts abroad and home, we do so based upon values -- particularly the value that we hold dear to our hearts, and that is, everybody ought to be free."
On February 20, 2003, President Bush said,
"The Iraqi people today are not allowed to speak out for freedom, but they have a right to live in freedom. We don't believe freedom and liberty are America's gift to the world; we believe they are the Almighty's gift to mankind. (Applause.) And for the oppressed people of Iraq, people whose lives we care about, the day of freedom is drawing near.
Then, on February 26, 2003, the President commented:
"The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. (Applause.)
Of course, there was also the "ultimatum speech" President Bush delivered on March 17, 2003:
"Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.
When the President addressed the nation on March 19, 2003 to declare military operations had begun, he asserted:
"We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail."
Less than a month after the war started, the President noted:
"We'll help the Iraqi people to establish a just and representative government, which respects human rights and adheres to the rule of law. These tasks will take effort, and these tasks will take time. But I have faith in the Iraqi people, and I believe that a free Iraq can be an example of reform and progress to all the Middle East."
Thus, the President made bringing freedom to the region (and explained the transformative power of freedom) central to his case, BEFORE THE WAR ever started, as well as during its beginning stages. The mission was even named "Iraqi Freedom," for crying out loud, not "Operation Petro-Grab" or even "Operation Iraqi WMD" [credit for that idea goes here]. And the above quotations are not the entire extent of it. President Bush and members of his adminstration talked extensively about the need to shake up and introduce freedom to a privotal part of the Middle East.
But persistent critics of the President, like Jon Stewart, cling to the false notion that Bush made up this whole "freedom" thing when other reasons didn't work out. He surely couldn't have been right all along.
Well, the President was right all along, and freedom is on the march in the Middle East today because of it.
Would all of the above evidence be enough to change Mr. Stewart's mind about how the war was "sold" to America and the world? Would it be enough to convince him (and other like him) that the war really was about freedom all along, and cause him to drop his petty cynicism about "Mess-O-Potamia"? Not likely. But we can hope.
Posted by Will Franklin · 2 March 2005 03:25 PM
That's a mighty list of quotations, and a great deal of persuasive language, but it does not address the lynchpin of the "under false pretenses" argument, one that Stewart has touched on several times, i.e. the polling data that suggests (well, "states," but since it's a poll, we'll say "suggests") that the bulk of those Americans who supported military invasion of Iraq were (and in some cases, still are) under the impression that not only was Iraq a credible danger to the United States and Europe, but a NUCLEAR danger, and that Hussein was somehow responsible for the Al Quaeda attacks in New York and DC, and that the Ba'athists were closely linked to the Al Quaeda terrorist organization. None of those beliefs are true. Most of them were never even potentially credible (i.e. via poor CIA analyses). Which leaves us with the question that drives the righteous rage of the liberals: were we led to war by one liar, or pushed to war by many fools? That is to say, if the President did not deceive the public, how did the public (at least that section whose support allowed the invasion to proceed) develop those misconceptions? Is the data that fuels that argument just a disinformation tactic by the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy?
Posted by: Gabriel Fry at April 13, 2005 12:55 PM
I couldn't help but notice that all the Whitehouse.gov news releases dealing with Iraq up to the start of the war have the banner "Iraq: Denial and Deception." You would almost think WMDs were the issue the Whitehouse thought most important.
Posted by: whats4lunch at April 27, 2005 07:50 PM
But we didn't find any WMD's! So Bush lied! Don't ya get it?
Whatsforlunch, denial and deception was the MO of Saddam's regime. Have you been following the Oil for Food Scandal, its illicit oil trades, and his use of nerve agents in Iran and the northern Kurdish areas? It has been all over the news.
Posted by: Steve at April 29, 2005 08:19 PM
As a Dem I have to say that I quickly saw the war in terms of Iraq - Saddam > Irag + Saddam, which I viewed as for the better.
Posted by: Kevin at May 15, 2005 08:45 PM
Since I have written about this before, and since I've seen this viewpoint expressed a few times (by people who wouldn't be expressing it if WMD had been found), I'm not going to get into it more now. However, as I've pointed out before - even staunch supporters of the Iraq war have pointed out that WMDs were the fundamental and pivotal rationale given by the Bush administration for the war. In the past, I have cited chapter and verse from President Bush, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condaleeza Rice, with their statements that the Iraq war would not be necessary if Iraq were to disarm - to rid itself of its banned weapons.
Whenever a major government intervention takes place, it is natural for its proponents (esp. the head of state) to cite all potential benefits of the action. But there is a big difference between a positive result of an action, and the pivotal rationale for it. For the war to remove the taliban in Afghanistan, the issues of freedom, democracy, and liberation have also been touted by our government leaders. But they were not pivotal rationales for that war.
As I said, I have previously linked to statements from Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, and Rice, from 2002 and 2003, which made clear that the Iraq war was not inevitable, and that it could be averted if Iraq were to comply with U.S. and U.N. demands that it disarm. And I've also linked to several major pro-war bloggers and national commentators who have acknowledged this. But right now, dinner is getting cold... and the information is easily accessible, if you look.
Posted by: Aakash at May 19, 2005 09:56 PM
WILLisms.com deals in facts. Ilike that you don't make things up to suit your own political beliefs! It is too bad the MSM and Libs. feel the need to distort the real facts!
Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 29, 2005 07:48 PM
Well done, sir. Well done.
I wrote a long comment then realized you said it all. This is my first visit and you are forevever blogrolled.
Posted by: hofzinser at May 30, 2005 08:49 AM
Yecch, I hate that "WMD" stuff - an acronym the press and the parties use as a substitute for critical thought. If one means sulfur mustard, one should say so. If one means nukes, one should say so, even if "nuclear" is difficult to pronounce. The nuke question was important in the Iraq case because it implied a bit of hurry-up. It's no use puttering around for another dozen years or so before taking any action, because a guy like Saddam H., with his fascination for exotic weaponry (remember the Super Gun?), will have nukes eventually - all it takes is time and money. He has the money, so who's dumb enough to give him the time?
Anywhoo, I see blogroll material, but I can't send any traffic because I only have about two readers, and I can't spare them.
Posted by: big dirigible at June 2, 2005 05:55 PM
I have more humor in one of my sweat glands than I have ever seen on this blog.
Posted by: jon_stewart at June 8, 2005 06:45 AM
jon stewart,...You are not funny! Those laugh tracks only make you think you are funny. Don't sweat it though, at least you are getting paid for what you do!...And that is pretty funny! HA!...
Posted by: Zsa Zsa at June 19, 2005 04:08 PM