Thursday, November 30, 2006



President Bush will be long remembered as the American president who managed to make the Middle East into even more of a chaotic hellhole than it already was.

Bush is certainly not to blame for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and Palestine - plenty of that blame can be sheeted home to the demented pre-emptive war policies of the NeoCons, but to the casual observer, Bush is the main man, he made promises to transform the Middle East into something close to a paradise of democracy and so most will see the disintegration of the Middle East as a direct result of his 'War On Iraq' and ceaseless backing of the Israelis as they continued to hammer the Palestinians and then the Lebanese, while making grand claims that the US would never tolerate a "nuclear Iran."

The catalogue of screw-ups, misjudgements and failures is long and complicated, but Time magazine has pulled together a short list of the Five Most Fatal Errors :
President Bush travels to Jordan this week amid a consensus among U.S. allies in the Middle East that the region is monumentally worse off now than it was when he took office six years ago.

In Iraq, there seems little prospect of achieving anything that could be construed as a U.S. victory — and as a result, it is unlikely to send the promised tidal wave of freedom crashing across the Arab world. Instead, Iraq has effectively disintegrated into a Sunni-Shi'ite civil war that threatens to spread instability throughout the region.

Elsewhere, Israelis and Palestinians have descended into one of the most intractable cycles of conflict in their long struggle.

In Lebanon, the national unity agreement that ended almost two decades of civil war in 1990 appears to be unraveling, as sectarian factions are again edging toward another bloodbath.

Meanwhile, Arab autocrats remain entrenched, Arab democrats are feeling abandoned, and Iran's Islamic revolution is enjoying a second wind.

The fact that Bush is holding talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki not in Baghdad, but in the comparatively tranquil Jordanian capital of Amman, has not gone unnoticed.

"One hundred and fifty thousand U.S. soldiers cannot secure protection for their president," mocked a Jordanian columnist, who called the choice of venue "an open admission of gross failure for Washington and its allies' project in Iraq."

1) Bush ignored the Palestinians

When Bush became president, he ended crucial American mediation, repudiated Arafat and backed Sharon, who proceeded to expand Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. With the conflict becoming bloodier than ever, Arafat died, and Hamas, the fundamentalist party that adamantly refuses to even recognize Israel, much less negotiate with it, ousted the late Palestinian leader's party from power.

2) Bush invaded Iraq.

Iraq turned out to be more prone to civil war than democracy. It runs the risk of becoming a failed state from which terrorists run global operations, and/or breaking into ethnic mini states that inspire secessionist trouble throughout the region.

3. Bush misjudged Iran.

Just after Bush became president, Iranians re-elected moderate President Mohammed Khatami, who had reached out to the U.S. and called for a "dialogue of civilizations." Bush not only refused to extend the olive branch cautiously offered by the Clinton Administration, he declared Iran part of an "axis of evil."

Despite Bush's tough talk against Iran, the Iraq war has dramatically expanded Iran's influence in the country.

4) Bush hurt Israel.

If protecting Israel had been a key goal of the administration's policies, it is hard to see how they have helped make the Jewish State better off today. Having gotten rid of Arafat, they have instead to face Hamas.

5) Bush alienated Muslims.

It was an honest misstep, but the problem began when Bush promised to wage a "crusade" against al-Qaeda after September 11, effectively equating his war on terrorism with an earlier Christian invasion of the Middle East that remains etched in the collective memory of Muslims.

Since then, the Bush administration's involvement in or perceived support of military campaigns against Iraqis, Palestinians and Lebanese heightened Muslim anger at the U.S. and undermined the political position of moderate, pro-American Arabs, including old U.S. allies like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — and, of course, King Abdullah II of Jordan....

Go Here For The Full Story

Friday, November 24, 2006



For a man who likes portrays himself as old, weak and not much of a fighter anymore, with the every ready, and extremely handy, "failing memory", former president George HW Bush managed to rouse enough of the old fire last week to loudly, vehemently defend his son, George W. from some fairly mild criticism during a Q & A session following a speech in the United Arab Emirates.

From the Washington Times :
Former President George Bush, an angry father, took on Arab critics of son President George W. Bush during a testy exchange at a leadership conference.

A woman in the audience told the former president: "We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world."

Mr. Bush, 82, appeared stunned at first as the audience whooped and whistled in approval, then replied sharply: "My son is an honest man."

When a college student told Mr. Bush that U.S. wars were aimed at opening markets for American companies and that globalization was contrived for America's benefit at the expense of the rest of the world, Mr. Bush shot back: "I think that's weird, and it's nuts. To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy. I think you need to go back to school."

The hostile comments came during a question-and-answer session after Mr. Bush finished a folksy address on leadership, telling how deeply hurt he feels when his presidential son is criticized.

"This son is not going to back away," Mr. Bush said, his voice quivering. "He's not going to change his view because some poll says this or some poll says that, or some heartfelt comments from the lady who feels deeply in her heart about something. You can't be president of the United States and conduct yourself if you're going to cut and run. This is going to work out in Iraq. I understand the anxiety. It's not easy."

The oil-rich Persian Gulf was once congenial territory for the 41st president, who brought Arab leaders together in a coalition that drove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's troops from Kuwait in 1991.

But gratitude was scarce at the conference held Tuesday. Hostility toward his son, whose 2003 invasion of Iraq and support for Israel are deeply unpopular in the region, bubbled quickly.

He's proud of his sons, he said. He described as the happiest day of his life Election Day in 1998, when the younger Mr. Bush and Jeb Bush were elected governors of Texas and Florida. He described as acute the pain he feels when his sons are attacked.

When one questioner asked Poppy Bush what sort of advice he gives his son on Iraq, he refused to answer, blaming the presence of the media from allowing him to speak honestly.
However, he did not deny, as he has always done previously, that he is now actually giving his son direct advice. The old line was that George W. didn't ask his dad for help, and he didn't offer, because he didn't want to interfere.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006



There's been repeated use of the words 'last tour' 'farewell tour' in the US media to describe President Bush's trip to the APEC conference in Hanoi last week, with a six hour stopover in Indonesia on the way home.

While Bush can't stand for re-election in the 2008 presidential elections, it seems a bit early to claim that this will be the president's last big international tour when he's still got more than two years to go in office, and is expected to be the Australian prime minister's guest of honour at the APEC conference in Canberra in 2007.

An interesting take on President Bush and his recent travels (considering he is one of history's most reluctant presidential travellers), from the London Times :
It’s no exaggeration to say that President Bush is not much of a traveller. Some American leaders relish the opportunities that a big expensive aircraft and a superpower visa give them.

While Watergate curtailed his presidency, Richard Nixon may in the end be remembered more for his famous trip to China. The current President Bush’s father always seemed ill at ease with the American public, but he was in his element when communing with European prime ministers or Middle Eastern emirs about the post-Cold War world. For long periods of his presidency, the globally curious and energetic Bill Clinton was hardly ever home (though there may have been other reasons for that).

But not this Mr Bush.

It's hard not to blame him. American tourists, even the most self-effacing, are not always greeted abroad with the warmest hospitality, and Mr Bush is no ordinary American. Indeed, probably not since Alaric parked his Visigoths at the gates of Rome 1,600 years ago has there been a less welcome arrival than one of Mr Bush’s occasional landings at some deserted, security-ringed international airport. He once remarked during a foreign trip how pleased he had been to see people waving at him — “some of them with all five fingers”.

But as 2006 draws to a close, Mr Bush has his suitcase packed and is accumulating air miles faster than a UN diplomat.

This weekend he was in Vietnam for a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders, mainly to discuss international trade, but inevitably inviting unwelcome comparisons between the site of America’s only great military defeat 30 years ago and the current faltering war in Iraq. On his way to Asia he stopped over for a brief chat with President Putin in Moscow and then dropped in on Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

Today he is in Indonesia before he heads to Hawaii and then back to Washington and Texas just in time for Thanksgiving. But he will scarcely have the chance to clear a single square foot of brush before he is off again — next week he will be in the Latvian capital, Riga, for a Nato summit.

Go Here To Read The Full Story

Thursday, November 16, 2006


From the Australian :

Mr Bush is being pressed to take a more pragmatic approach to threats confronting the US, as pressure continues to build on his administration to open a dialogue with Iran and Syria over their roles in Iraq.

One of the most stinging rebukes yet from his own party following (the US mid-term) electoral rout, in which the Republicans were swept from power in Congress, came yesterday from New York's Republican governor, George Pataki.

At a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Mr Pataki - the US's longest-serving governor, who is stepping down at the end of the year ahead of a possible presidential run - said the Bush administration had put ideology ahead of pragmatism in its decision-making.

Mr Pataki said: "Where were the pragmatists, where was the looking at the practical problems and saying 'OK, we're going to look at an American solution to this problem'?

"Too often ideology was imposed on what should have been a practical solution to the problems we face."

Mr Pataki told the Harvard audience he felt the mid-term vote was decided not on Iraq itself but on how the Bush administration had handled the war, saying: "We do need to rethink military policy in Iraq."

Asked by The Australian after his speech if he felt the Bush administration had allowed ideology to drive US foreign policy, Mr Pataki replied: "I think we just have to continue to reach out to all the different members of the global community in an understanding way and not in a confrontational way.

"I'm a great believer, when you have intelligent dialogue and respect for both sides, that you can find common ground. It's not easy but it's what the United States needs to seek more of in the global community."

Saturday, November 11, 2006


We keep saying it, too, because it clearly is the truth of what is happening now in the White House. Yet, Bush allies and some media commentators insist that the president has not spoken to his father about the events in Iraq for months.

This may well be true, but it just seems an incomprehensible reality, particularly since so many of his father's old mates are now advising the president and vice-president, and putting together a new set of plans to extricate the US from the 'War On Iraq'. That is, if Bush Co. actually want the US to leave the region within the next decade. And so far, there has been little from the president himself to say that this is something he would like to actually see happen.

The former president Bush may be losing his memory, and suffering mild-to-troubling dementia, but he reportedly still loves to gossip and at least pretend he still has influence in the way the country is being run.

And with, literally, a team of his old cronies filing in and out of the Oval Office these days, the former president is entitled to indulge this fantasy.

The Democrats now control the House of Representatives and the Senate, President Bush has officially entered the "lame duck" years of his presidency, but US troops still seem unlikely to leave Iraq in any great number, any time soon, and it seems unlikely that the cronies of the former president Bush are going to recommend withdrawal, regardless.

You don't blow half a trillion dollars and then just walk away because a few thousand Americans have been killed. There is far more at stake than simply "a free and democratic Iraq".

From the Washington Post :

A day after suffering a "thumping" in midterm elections, the president ousted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, a longtime rival of his father's, and replaced him with Robert M. Gates, his father's CIA director. And the president has invested great hope in James A. Baker III, his father's friend and secretary of state, to come up with a plan to correct the course in Iraq in a blue-ribbon commission report due as soon as next month.

If the father was the patriarch of the realist school of foreign policy that aims to manage a combustible international order, the son brought to power neoconservatives who want to remake the world and spread democracy. The president has given speech after speech assailing past administrations for accepting tyranny in the Middle East in the belief that stability equaled security, a thesis that he says exploded tragically on Sept. 11, 2001.

The elder Bush was reported to have been skeptical of the way the younger Bush launched the war in Iraq in 2003 -- reports that were fueled in part by public comments before the invasion by Baker and Brent Scowcroft, the former president's national security adviser and close friend.

"I don't think anybody consciously said, 'Geez, let's bring the old team in,' " said one senior official in the Bush 41 White House. "I frankly think it's a natural default from the failure of this advice of the people they had. It was impossible to argue anymore that some of the people who got us into this mess were giving good advice."

Administration officials said Baker did not recommend Rumsfeld's ouster or Gates's appointment. But in meetings with the president, he praised Gates, who serves with Baker on the congressionally created Iraq Study Group. During private discussions, according to one person familiar with them, Gates has expressed strong reservations about the course of events in Iraq and the failure of the administration to adjust.

The bipartisan study group, co-chaired by Baker and former representative Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.), probably will not replace Gates because it is so late in the process. After intense meetings in recent months, the group still has not reached any conclusions, said one person familiar with its workings.

Stacked with foreign policy centrists from both parties, (the Iraq Study Group) may recommend staying in Iraq but changing the nature of the U.S. effort there.

The revamped operation would place less emphasis on military operations, cutting the U.S. troop presence, and stress training and advising the Iraqi army. Perhaps most significantly, the Bush administration's ambition of planting a democracy in the heart of the Middle East would be set aside, at least temporarily, in favor of bolstering Iraq's stability.

That suggests Bush 41 policymaking may be back.

"It certainly looks that way," said Tom Donnelly, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Even so, he said, the question remains what the president is really thinking. "Bush's mind works differently from the normal political mind. He seems to be motivated by faith and ideals and willing to take risks politically. Maybe these Baker guys can talk him off the ledge, but nobody's done it yet."

After reading far too many books about Bush 41 and 43, and their presidencies, I found little that told me the Bush 43 is living in the shadow of his father, or he is intimidated by him, and the comparable success of his presidency.

George W. Bush is far too arrogant and egotistical to be intimidated by a mere male.


It is the mother, Barbra Bush, who intimidates and cajoles and bullies both of father and son, and has vastly enjoyed doing so, for decades.

Friday, November 10, 2006



President George W. Bush actually seemed impressed with the spectacular victory by Democrats in the American mid-term elections yesterday. He called it a "thumping" victory, to the great surprise of not only the White House media, but his own staff and advisors.

Bush was impressed because he truly loves politics and electioneering strategies, despite his "Washington Sux" image and talk. And he was most surely surprised ("Shows you what I know") because his master strategist Karl Rove spent the weekend talking up the 'fact' that the Republicans would keep control of all the power come election day. Rove figured the Democrats would be left a few crumbs.

It was an astoundingly bad call by Rove, and his reputation as a kingmaker has been shattered by the electoral scouring.

Selling 'The Fear' just didn't work this time. Karl Rove's bag of magic tricks was shown to be empty, if it wasn't ever actually full in the first place.

President Bush has been mostly positive in the past 48 hours about the last 800 days of his presidency. He claims he will work with the Democrats to "fix America" and "Keep America Safe" before he packs up his desk, clamps on his cowboy hat and swaggers back down to Crawford.

But there's a lot of days of fighting, negotiating, arguing and compromising ahead. In short, for Bush the party is over.

This London Times editorial takes a prescient look at what Bush is about to endure as he enters the twlight (zone) of his presidency :
George W. Bush now finds himself in precisely the same political place as Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton before him.

Each of these three men suffered a midterm election defeat that involved at least one chamber of Congress being captured by the opposition party.

Yet all of them ended their time in office as figures having recovered from their nadir at the ballot box.

They did so by shrewdly exploiting the ceremonial aspects of their post, wielding the veto whenever necessary on domestic issues and focusing on foreign policy. This President, as he appeared to be conceding in his remarks yesterday, has little option but to do the same.

It will, however, be a more complicated exercise for Mr Bush than his predecessors. While it would be an exaggeration to assert that frustration at events in Iraq is the exclusive explanation for the Democratic victory, it obviously underpinned this ballot.

The recent conduct of the conflict has eroded what should be bipartisan backing for US troops in action overseas. If Mr Bush is to recover his position he has to be able to offer more than the slogan “staying the course”.

Mr Bush should now listen sympathetically to the many recommendations that he will shortly receive from a bipartisan commission led by James Baker, the Secretary of State under his father, along with Lee Hamilton, an experienced and thoughtful Democrat specialist in international affairs.

This would allow him to adapt his position to today’s Iraq where the prospect of an endemic bloody struggle between Iraqis poses a greater threat than so-called insurgents. In all his considerations, Mr Bush should aspire to bind Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, into his decisions.

He cannot afford Iraq to be perceived as a “Republican war”.

Go Here To Read It All

Thursday, November 09, 2006




The Democrats have taken control of the both the US Senate and Congress after Americans voted overwhelmingly against the horrorshow of sex scandals, corruption, graft and lies that infested the Republican Party.

Bush, of course, infamously said last week that if the Democrats are victorious then, "the terrorists win". He has admitted this was pure election spin. A good Karl Rove line, indeed, but yet another example of how much America has moved on from the Rove smear-and-fear tactics of 2000, 2002 and 2004.

We'll come back to what life is going to be like for Bush in the last two years of his presidency now his worst nightmare has come electrifingly true, but for now we're going to whip through a dramatic press conference President Bush gave today.

Bush began by sounding it up like he was delivering a sermon :
To our enemies : Do not be joyful...

To the people of Iraq: Do not be fearful.....

To our brave men and women in uniform : Do not be doubtful....
Then it was onto the first big announcement. Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary, "good friend", "trusted advisor" was out of the Pentgaon.
...after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.
What Bush means is that they both agreed that if Rumsfeld didn't go, they were going to face something close to a mutiny from the US military, the majority of whose leadership despise Rumsfeld and his absurd plans to replace the majority of US ground forces in warzones with robots (I wish I was kidding on that, I'm not).

Our military has experienced an enormous amount of change and reform during the last five years while fighting the war on terror, one of the most consequential wars in our nation's history. Don Rumsfeld has been a superb leader during a time of change.

Yet he also appreciates the value of bringing in a fresh perspective during a critical period in this war. Don Rumsfeld is a patriot who served our country with honor and distinction.

Rumsfeld, by ignoring the advice of people who actually served in the military when it came to total force numbers needed for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and by denying soldiers the right kind of body armour and armoured Humvees, sent hundreds of American soldiers to their deaths for no other reason than he was a stubborn arsehole, who refused to take good advice when it was raining down on his head.

No doubt, Bush will hang a medal around his neck at some point.

Bush also took the opportunity to push the new, improved 'Reduced Expectations' that will determine when the United States can declare victory in the 'War On Iraq' and get the hell out.
...that is a country that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.
The definition of when Iraq is "secure" and the US can pull out gets lowballed more and more with every passing week.

Bush was questioned today about why, when he was asked last week if he was going to do anything about Rumsfeld, he said that the defence secretary would stay on as long as he was president. As would vice president Dick Cheney.

Of course, Bush was already hunting around for a new defence secretary when he said that. So he lied to the media, he lied to America, but worst of all he lied to US soldiers.

Why did he lie? Pure politics :
I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign..

....the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.
The answer that was a complete and utter lie.

Curiously this is the first time Bush has been this honest about being so dishonest.

Strange days, indeed.

On Americans confusion about exactly what Bush intended to do about the failed methodologies of fighting the 'War On Iraq' :
Somehow it seeped in their conscious that my attitude was just simply "stay the course."
Hilarious. Bush used the term "stay the course" more than 30 times in the past two years alone. Another Rove-ian mantra tosses aside.

What did Bush have to say about his vast and vainglorious claims that the Republicans would win the mid-term elections?
I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows what I know. But I thought we were going to be fine in the election.
And then there's Karl Rove. The Evil Genius of American Electioneering. Bush's Most Trusted Advisor. He came into Bush's firing line for a good-hearted (presumably) dig at how badly he screwed up the elections :
I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he was....
Compared to numerous other press conferences, Bush was actually in fine form, cracking decent jokes, reminding people that he has been a politician for a long time and that he's used to being called the worst of the worst during the electioneering process, when the real insults fly. As Bush himself put it :
...this isn't my first rodeo.
But he also stated, categorically, what he believed was the most important work he had to do in the next two years :
...winning this war on terror is, by far, the most important priority.
Bush is going to find that the Democrats don't believe that winning the terror war is the most important priority for Americans in 2007, particularly when such a goal is so specious and vague.

How do you declare Victory in a worldwide 'War On Terror'?

Countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan, amongst the many, suffer terrorist attacks that have little to with the US, and with whom the US has little influence or involvement. They certainly aren't going to send large numbers of troops into Pakistan or Sri Lanka to fight the terrorism there, so how can worldwide victory ever be declared?

Victory can never be declared in the 'War On Terror', and that is exactly the point. The war will last as long as what remains of Bush Co. can keep it going, and that of course depends on how long Al Qaeda, and its aspirants, keep up the fight.

Security is no doubt a very important priority for the Democrats, but so is healthcare, education and making sure the dirty Republicans pay for their crimes against America.

Short of a major terrorist attack on the United States, it seems very likely that the 'War On Terror' will slip into the background for a while.

Bush has talked before about how he believes the 'War On Terror' would last for generations.

Today, talking about how he intends to work with the Democrats, he explained his belief in more detail :
I believe the Democrats want to work together to win this aspect of the war on terror (meaning the Iraq War).

I'm also looking forward to working with them to make sure that we institutionalize to the extent possible steps necessary to make sure future Presidents are capable of waging this war.

Because Iraq is a part of the war on terror, and it's -- I think back to Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Harry Truman began the Cold War, and Eisenhower, obviously, from a different party, continued it.

And I would hope that would be the spirit that we're able to work together. We may not agree with every tactic, but we should agree that this country needs to secure ourselves against an enemy that would like to strike us again. This enemy is not going away after my presidency.

What will probably surprise most Americans is just how many issues that are important to Bush are ones that he can work with the Democrats on getting right, including the immigration and border control issues.

It may be way too early to make such a prediction, but perhaps Bush's last two years in office are not going to be as grim as most of the punters, and pundits, are predicting. If Bush is willing to listen, to flex and bend and not brickwall the Democrats at every turn (as so many Republicans who've lost their seats enjoyed doing so much), Bush's last years in office may actually prove to be his most successful.

Go Here For The Full Press Conference

Monday, November 06, 2006


President Bush loves life on the road. He has said numerous times that he would much rather be talking to a hall full of small-town Americans than hanging in Washington with "all the ties".

Hundreds of thousands of Ameicans have stomped and cheered and hollered their approval of just about anything Bush has had to say during the hundreds of speeches he's made since he began his quest for the White House in 1999.

Through the 2002 and 2004 elections, Republican senators across the US would do just about anything to get Bush to come to their home towns and work his magic.

But that magic, whether real or illusionary, or manufactured, has well and truly faded.

The United States president is delivering a couple of speeches a day as he tours his favourite states, still selling the 'War On Iraq' and ripping into the Democrats for being "soft" on national security, but Republican senators are staying away from the Bush gatherings.

Bush is bad news now, and a remarkable number of senators, including California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, have refused the open-ended offers to have Bush come and give a speech and hang out.

If this is a sign of how the rest of the Bush presidency is going to play out at home, it's going to be extremely grim. For America, and for Bush.

From the UK Independent :

Unlike four years ago, when Mr Bush campaigned furiously for Republicans across the country, his own unpopularity as a result of the war in Iraq has led many candidates to make clear they would rather campaign without him.

Mr Bush's name will not be on the ballot on 7 November, but when the US votes next Tuesday the election will be overwhelmingly a referendum on his handling of a war which has led to the death of more than 2,800 US troops and perhaps as many as 655,000 Iraqis.

Polls suggest more than a third of voters intend to use their vote to signify their opposition to the President, whose personal approval rating stands at about 37 per cent. Other polls show only 38 per cent still believe the invasion was a good idea.

To see Mr Bush deliver a speech is not to witness a thing of beauty. He is not an elegant or well-timed speaker. His delivery is often clumsy, his jokes often strained. In unscripted situations he sometimes gets lost and struggles, lost momentarily, before finding his way back to a familiar sound-bite. But despite this, he is oddly effective, hammering home one or two key themes with a simplistic drumbeat repetition.

Yet however well Mr Bush goes down with the "base", his chief adviser Karl Rove knows Mr Bush is not the vote-winner he was in 2002. As a result, until this last week, the President had been kept to the margins of the campaign and used mainly for his fundraising abilities in front of small, select groups of well-heeled party supporters.

"He is not an asset in most places and for most seats," said Stephen Hess, professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. "Nevertheless the troops on the ground think it could be helpful. He is base hitting and it's always been Karl Rove's strategy to get out the base."

Four years ago, Mr Bush's situation could barely have been more different.

In 2002, with his ratings still high after the September 11 attacks and with the war in Iraq decided upon but not yet launched, Mr Bush was in great demand by candidates.

In the final five days of that campaign he stopped in 17 cities across the country and the Republicans' success in holding the House and capturing of the Senate was largely attributed to the President's decision to insert himself in the centre of the campaign.

How times have changed.

Disillusioned Americans Set To Turn Their Backs On Bush

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Historian Niall Ferguson argues that the Bush presidency has failed in its key mission statements, and its flagship effort - the War On Iraq to transform the Middle East - is set to cost the Republican Party their control over the American Senate, and possibly Congress as well.

Worst of all, failure in Iraq is showing the world that the United States under President George W. Bush is a fading giant on the world state of political and diplomatic influence.

From the UK Telegraph :

(Selected quotes)

The president after 9/11 was deluded by the notion that he had been divinely "called", just as his father's generation had been called to fight the Second World War. Believing he was "here for a reason", Mr Bush Jr was open to the argument that invading Afghanistan was not a sufficient response to the "Islamofascist" version of Pearl Harbour.

It's not that expert advice was unavailable about how many troops would be needed to police post-war Iraq (between 300,000 and 500,000). It was simply ignored. As were the warnings of those (including the president's own father) who feared a civil war in Iraq if Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

Bad news from Baghdad was hushed up. When no WMD were found, the subject was hastily changed. As the violence escalated relentlessly in 2005, Mr Cheney went on CNN to declare: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

"We're not leaving," Mr Bush told Republican congressmen seven months later, "[even] if Laura [his wife] and Barney [his dog] are the only ones who support me."

According to (writer Bob) Woodward, Mr Bush once complained bitterly about the difficulty of finding a reliable Iraqi to lead the new democratic government in Baghdad. "Where's George Washington?" he exclaimed to his chief of staff, Andy Card. "Where's Thomas Jefferson? Where's John Adams, for crying out loud?"

This is a question many Americans have been asking themselves about their own leadership deficit, as the debacle of Mr Bush's second term has unfolded.

Failure in Iraq has exposed the limits of American power. The knock-on consequences have made a nonsense of the president's national security strategy. Having asserted the right of the US to act pre-emptively against potential threats, Mr Bush now finds himself impotent to prevent the two remaining members of his "Axis of Evil" – North Korea and Iran – from, respectively, testing and building weapons of mass destruction.

The administration that once rode roughshod over the United Nations now has to engage in horse-trading on the Security Council because unilateral military action is no longer a credible option.

Perhaps the supreme irony is that the Islamist terrorists continue to gather strength: financed by Saudi Arabia, trained in Pakistan and, increasingly, hatching their plots in Britain.

Axis of Evil? This sounds more like the Axis of Allies.

Go Here For The Full Story

Saturday, November 04, 2006



It's taken more than four years for President Bush to come clean, but he has finally admitted that the Iraq War was fought for the control of the country's oil, and that the war needs to continue to keep the oil out of the hands of "terrorists".

Bush said the following in a radio interview yesterday :
If the United States withdraws its military forces from Iraq, or all of the Middle East, extremists and terrorists could then attempt to topple governments to "control oil resources."
He's clearly talking about Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Kuwait here.
(Bush is worried) "rival forms of extremists will battle for power...they will topple modern governments....they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West."
If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.'"
"You couple that with a country that doesn't like us with a nuclear weapon, and people will look back at this moment and say, 'What happened to those people in 2006?' and those are the stakes in this war we face."
Israel is the only country in the Middle East confirmed to have nuclear weapons.

Bush also appears more concerned, as usual, with how people in the future will regard the choices he makes today, rather than the chaos and destruction resulting from those choices.

He is absolutely obsessed with how historians will view his presidency and its impact on the world. Bush wants to go down in history as a great wartime president, and believes this is how he will be regarded in decades to come.
"Part of the strategy (of fighting the 'War On Terror') is to help young democracies like Lebanon and Iraq be able to survive against the terrorists and the extremists who are trying to crush their hopes, and part of the democracy is for a freedom movement, which will help create the conditions so that the extremists become marginalized and unable to recruit."
In little over a week, President Bush has re-justified the need to fight the 'War On Iraq' to include stopping extremists and terrorists getting their hands on oil supplies; the need to stop extremists from becoming involved in democracy; the need to create a 'freedom movement' across the Middle East; the importance of containing Iran and stopping Shiites from totally controlling Iraq and finally to show the rest of the world that "we don't abandon young democracies".

If Bush wants to fight against "extremists" in the Middle East influencing elections, or running in elections and winning, then he might as just come out and say, "The United States Is Never Going To Leave The Middle East. Ever."

He also seems still unable to grasp the idea that terrorists and extremists use the violence metted out against Iraqis and Palestinians on a daily basis (by fellow Arabs, "international terrorists", covert state forces and private security guards and corporate militias) as one of their key recruiting tools. The 'War On Terror' supplies endless publicity and promotional material for extremists and terrorists to recruit the young and easily influenced.

Orphaned children and widowed husbands and those who have lost their entire families to the 'War On Iraq' are also prime candidates for recruitment by terrorist or extremist groups.

"Extremists" is now the key word.

Terrorists are rarely mentioned in Bush speeches and interviews these days.

It's all about "the extremists".

Which is genuinely bizarre.

Extremism is, for the most part, a personal opinion of the actions or views or beliefs of other people.

The vagarities of defining 'terrorism' at least had the concrete foundation of the use of violence as a political weapon by a non-state entity, usually targeting civilians.

But an "extremist" can be anyone whose political opinion, or platform, you personally regard as "extreme", or non-mainstream, presumably.

But turning the American battle for world energy resources, known as the 'War On Terror', into the 'War Against Extremists' has been part of the Bush Co game plan as outlined by NeoCon strategists in the late 1990s, in the Project For The New American Century papers.

Terrorism as a tactic of war and politics is unlikely to ever go away, but you still need acts of violence and bloodshed to, at least, partly justify military action against "the terrorists, and their supporters".

A 'War Against Extremists' could be fought anywhere in the world, including the homeland, the United States of America.

The 'War On Terror' may fade, but a 'War Against Extremists' could literally last generations.

And victory in a 'War Against Extremists' would be what exactly?

A world where non-mainstream or radical thought and opinion was banned?

Would holding political opinions regarded as "extremist" mean you were a 'non-combatant', the enemy, and therefore worthy of detention or imprisonment?

The irony in President Bush preparing the ground for a 'War Against Extremists' in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon and Iraq, is that he himself is now regarded as an extremist by country and regional majorities across the planet.

In the United States today, even senators who've supported Bush ceaselessy for the last three and a half years of the Iraq War are now removing photos of themselves with the president from their own websites. He is political poison for most Republican senators in the mid-term elections this week.


President Bush is regarded as something of an extremist himself now by the majority of Americans, who not only think the President lied to them and decieved them to get his Iraq War, but also remain unsure whether or not their president was somehow involved in, or allowed, the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington DC.

President Bush will most likely be regarded by historians as one of the most "extremist" presidents in American history, if only for the way his religious beliefs impacted on the private lives of Americans. And these same historians will no doubt judge his extraordinarily deceptive sprint into the 'War On Iraq' as one of the most extreme acts of any American president.

Go Here For The Full Story

Andrew Sullivan is one of the many American conservative, former pro-Iraq war journalists and columnists now regularly shredding President Bush and the 'War On Terror' in general.

Sullivan, however, goes one step beyond virtually every other former Iraq War supporter and Bush cheerleader. Sullivan is now seriously questioning the president's mental state and publicly declared that Bush has "lost his mind".

Sullivan's remarks were spurned by Bush's declaration that both the Vice President Dick Cheney and the Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had done "remarkable" and "fantastic" jobs in pursuing the Iraq War and they could keep their posiitons in his administration as long as they wished to stay.

Well, until January, 2009, anyway.

Then again, President Bush now has the legal right to declare an ongoing state of national emergency in December 2008 and remain president for the entire length of the national emergency state.

Just the kind of thing a man who has "lost his mind" might try and do.

From Editor & Publisher :
Andrew Sullivan, the conservative writer who was once a key media supporter for the Iraq war, denounced the latest Bush statement on CNN on Wednesday night, stating that the president is ....delusional....

"It's unhinged. It suggests this man has lost his mind. No one objectively could look at the way this war has been conducted, whether you were for it, as I was, or against it, and say that it has been done well. It's a disaster.

"For him to say it's a fantastic job suggests the president has lost it, I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it.....These people must be held accountable..."
How could anyone look at what is happening in Iraq and then acclaim two of the key men responsible for the violence and death borne from the chaos and lack of control and planning, and say they have done "fantastic" jobs?

You could be President Bush and say this, and mean it, only if your intention was to make Iraq, and the Middle East in general, a place of perpetual chaos and carnage.

Sometimes it seems to be the only explanation that makes any sense at all.

If the plan always was for Chaos In Iraq, then Cheney and Rumsfeld have indeed done "fantastic" jobs.