Failed States, the Legacy of the Bush Administration and Republicans

June 19, 2007 at 9:20 am | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Christianity, condoleezza rice, conservatives, corruption, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Israel, King George, Middle East, Military, nationalism, neo-conservatives, Pakistan, Religion, Republicans, Revising History, secret combinations, Somalia, Syria, Thoughts, violence, War, War on Terror, World Events | Leave a comment

Republicans and the Christian Right should be well familiar with this particular verse from the Bible, Matthew 7:15-20:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

By their fruits, ye shall know them. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. A corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. Any Christian knows this parable. What does this mean for our world today? Let’s look at the fruits of the Bush administration and the Republican party.

Iraq

A failed state. The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine have released their annual report of the world’s failed states. Iraq is the second worst failed state in the world, only two points better in the rankings than the world’s worst failed state, The Sudan. We’re now well over four years into our war in Iraq. Let’s put that in perspective. World War II, if started on March 20, 2003, would have ended last December or so. What is worse about this is that unlike The Sudan, America has pumped billions of dollars into Iraq with so little to show for it.

That is not to say that all failing states suffer from international neglect. Iraq and Afghanistan, the two main fronts in the global war on terror, both suffered over the past year. Their experiences show that billions of dollars in development and security aid may be futile unless accompanied by a functioning government, trustworthy leaders, and realistic plans to keep the peace and develop the economy. Just as there are many paths to success, there are many paths to failure for states on the edge.

So I ask you, Americans, and especially Christian conservatives, what do these fruits tell you about the tree from which they come? Now some of you may say, the tree really is terrorism. The answer to that is, no. The tree is America. We entered Iraq with the supposed intent to recreate the Middle East, and Iraq itself. After four years, what are the fruits of our labors? An utterly failed state. Jesus said, evil fruit cannot come from good trees.

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Afghanistan

Recently a US airstrike killed seven children along with many others. More than one hundred die in three days of heavy fighting. The Taliban (living over in neighboring Pakistan) continue to plague the Americans now SIX YEARS after we attacked them. Six years. And they are still around? Afghanistan is ranked as the 8th worst failed state in the world, behind only The Sudan, Iraq, and a bunch of African states.

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Pakistan

The Bush administration continues to support the highly corrupt and repressive military dictator, Musharraf, regardless of how much he punishes reformers in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked as the 12th worst failed state in the world. Only Haiti, Central African Republic and Guinea separate Pakistan from her neighbor Afghanistan.

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Lebanon

Poor, poor Lebanon, the world’s pawn, played by all parties against her own will. Israelis bomb her to the stone age. Hezbollah is a parasitic virus, destroying the country from within. Syria assassinates her leaders. The United States sacrifices her democracy on the altar of supposed Israeli preference (though if the United States were smart, they would have reined in Israel last summer, because it is in Israel’s best interest to have a stable country to her north. Now because of their idiotic bombing campaign, Lebanon is failing). Lebanon is ranked as the 28th worst failed state in the world.

Palestine

Not a state (and apparently not ever going to be a state), this is probably the worst of Bush’s failures. Is it really in the best interest of our ally, Israel, to have a failed non-state as her neighbor? Is it really in Israel’s best interest to have 1.4 million starving raving lunatics in a 25 mile strip of land right on her border? Is this Condoleezza Rice’s idea of “birth pangs?”

Why are these failed states so important to the world? The Foreign Policy magazine states it well in their introduction:

It is an accepted axiom of the modern age that distance no longer matters. Sectarian carnage can sway stock markets on the other side of the planet. Anarchic cities that host open-air arms bazaars imperil the security of the world’s superpower. A hermit leader’s erratic behavior not only makes life miserable for the impoverished millions he rules but also upends the world’s nuclear nonproliferation regime. The threats of weak states, in other words, ripple far beyond their borders and endanger the development and security of nations that are their political and economic opposites.

These are the fruits of the Republican philosophy to the world. These are the fruits of neo-conservatives. These are not the fruits of good trees. These must be cast into the fire, metaphorically speaking. We must do what needs to be done with these kinds of philosophies, let them pass the way of the dodo bird, to be a relic of history, never to be seen again. At least, if Americans want a better world.

On Speaking Out Against A War

May 1, 2007 at 6:53 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Democracy, freedom, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, violence, War | Leave a comment

(UPDATED)

Glenn Greenwald highlights the stark difference between two democracies that were recently in wars (or still in one) and how the people reacted to the wars, especially when they went bad.

Israel fought against Hezbollah last summer. It was a grand failure. Israelis immediately began speaking out against the war, and no one called them traitors or anti-Israel.

America has been in Iraq for over four years now, and throughout the ENTIRE PROCESS anyone who spoke out against the war was branded a traitor, a terrorist lover, an anti-American.

Mature societies do not make decisions by wondering what the Bad People want and then automatically doing the opposite. That is the mindset of a child. Had that perspective prevailed in Israel, they never would have issued this report, and likely would never have withdrawn from Lebanon at all — because: “hey, Hezbollah wants withdrawal from Lebanon and will be ’emboldened’ by it and happy about this Commission report and therefore we can’t do any of that. We have to stay and fight and stifle criticisms of the war, otherwise Hezbollah will be happy.”

But Israel recognized it did not have the luxury of concealing its errors or continuing to fight a misguided war, notwithstanding what Hezbollah might say about that. As the Commission put it: “No-one underestimates the need to study what happened in the past, including the imposition of personal responsibility. The past is the key for learning lessons for the future. . . One Israeli society greatest sources of strength is its being a free, open and creative (sic).”

He concludes with this scathing rebuke of our conservative Americans:

All of that stands in such stark contrast to the shrinking though still-substantial faction in this country who see war as a fun and sterile video game that never requires them to pay any price — no matter how profoundly the war fails. That is what enables them to cheer on those wars for years without end, to urge still new and more destructive ones, and to childishly insist that there is something noble and compulsory about keeping quiet, loyally cheering on the Leader’s war, and pretending that things are going great and we are on the verge of success.

Indeed, while the Israelis who were actually at risk from the Lebanon war wanted it to end, the crazed (and safe) neoconservative warmongers in the U.S. were furious when the war ended. And — needless to say — they ran around accusing everyone responsible for the war’s end of appeasement and cowardice and all of their other inane war-cheering platitudes that have driven this country so tragically off-course.

Only people who have adolescent views of war — only people for whom war is a distant, cartoon concept and not a reality, the primary purpose of which is to endow themselves with personal sensations of strength, power and purpose in the most risk-free manner possible — have the luxury of indulging such fantasies. That is why the Israelis do not and cannot, whereas America’s right-wing pretend warriors embrace those fantasies with increasing vigor and desperation as the failure of their wars become more inescapable.

I really can’t add anything to Mr. Greenwald’s eloquent writings. Those of us who thought this was a fool’s adventure from the start were always wondering why our patriotism was questioned. Our loyalty is not to a man. It is to the country. As such if a man makes a bad decision, the truly patriotic person SPEAKS OUT!

(Update)

Gary Kamiya writes in Salon about the same claims of defeatism from the desperate crowd.

War supporters are counting on a certain level of John Wayne war-movie immaturity on the part of the American people, a Technicolor conviction that America is ordained to be, must be, eternally victorious. But Americans are more grown-up than that. They know America, like every other country, sometimes loses. Many of them lived through Vietnam, and they know that the sky did not fall. They are quite capable of weighing the pros and cons of the Iraq war and making a rational cost-benefit calculation about whether it’s worth continuing to fight. They understand the concept of a tactical retreat, of cutting your losses, of losing a battle but winning the war.

Bush is talking like Churchill, but it’s an empty act. He’s a defeated man, searching for others to blame for his defeat. He’s stalling, hoping for a miracle that will save him and his bungled war. But the end is coming. The only question is how many more people will have to die before it does.

He is a defeated man, searching for others to blame for his defeat. Nothing more profound can be said about Bush.

New Report Blasts Olmert Over Lebanon War

April 30, 2007 at 9:59 am | Posted in American politics, Hezbollah, Israel, Military, violence, War | 4 Comments

No surprise, but an internal Israeli report excoriates Ehud Olmert for his “severe failure in the lack of judgment, responsibility and caution” in the war over Lebanon last summer. Israel lost about 200 civilians and soldiers, while over 1000 Lebanese civilians died. Yet Israel failed to destroy Hezbollah, and failed to acquire the kidnapped soldiers. (In fact, Israel is now negotiating with Hezbollah on the release of those two soldiers—something they should have done in the first place).

One thing this report does not delve into, because it is an internal Israeli report, is just how the Bush administration prodded Olmert to attack Lebanon and Hezbollah. I mean, who here remembers Condoleezza Rice’s most infamous moment, the birth pangs comment:

“What we’re seeing here, in a sense, is the growing — the birth pangs of a new Middle East. And whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one. “

One has to wonder just how much pressure the Bush administration put on the Olmert administration to keep at it. I mean who remembers Bill Kristol, the king of the neo-con robbers stating:

Why is this Arab-Israeli war different from all other Arab-Israeli wars? Because it’s not an Arab-Israeli war. Most of Israel’s traditional Arab enemies have checked out of the current conflict. The governments of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are, to say the least, indifferent to the fate of Hamas and Hezbollah. The Palestine Liberation Organization (Fatah) isn’t a player. The prime mover behind the terrorist groups who have started this war is a non-Arab state, Iran, which wasn’t involved in any of Israel’s previous wars.

What’s happening in the Middle East, then, isn’t just another chapter in the Arab-Israeli conflict. What’s happening is an Islamist-Israeli war. You might even say this is part of the Islamist war on the West — but is India part of the West? Better to say that what’s under attack is liberal democratic civilization, whose leading representative right now happens to be the United States.

Note how much he has to go to stretch the logic. He concludes by saying:

This is our war, too.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kristol was doing what he could to incite violence, because well, this was not our war. This wasn’t even supposed to be a war. This wasn’t the first time (nor will it be the last) that soldiers get kidnapped by Hezbollah to deal out an exchange. This has been happening since 1982. Was such a violent response warranted by the Israelis upon the Lebanese? Well, just look at the results. Hezbollah is still around and they still have the soldiers. Israel is now negotiating to get the soldiers back non-violently. Huh, peaceful methods actually work better than violence. How ’bout that.

Finally, why is someone like Bill Kristol still so trusted on the Middle East? I mean how many times must he get it wrong before he’s finally discredited enough?

Finally Some American Realism!

February 18, 2007 at 6:39 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Military, neo-conservatives, North Korea, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan, Republicans, Rumsfeld, Vietnam, violence, War, War on Terror, World Events | Leave a comment

This is the second time I recommend an interview on the Hugh Hewitt show, but he’s getting people on there who are unafraid to tell it how it is. This time, he has Retired General William Odom who said it like it is and smacks Mr. Hewitt’s attempts to smear him back to the stone age. I’m glad to see some smart talk finding its way again on the conservative side. It’s been a while. Perhaps someday soon conservatives will realize the poison they’ve been drinking at the well of neo-conservatism.

After the bump, I’ve got some of the better sections of the interview. Upon reading these quotes, note that you are reading the words of a man who is not afraid. Note the use of fearmongering in Mr. Hewitt’s questions. Instead of following the bait, General Odom paints the clear picture of reality. Continue Reading Finally Some American Realism!…

The Unintended Consequences of the Israeli-Hezbollah War

January 23, 2007 at 1:23 pm | Posted in condoleezza rice, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon | 5 Comments

Israel launched a destructive war on Lebanon, in an attempt to weaken Hezbollah and return the soldiers Hezbollah captured in a brazen attack. However, Israel’s 34 day war went so poorly that while Hezbollah-run cities were demolished, Hezbollah’s standing both in Lebanon and in the Arab world skyrocketed. And now, today, Hezbollah demonstrated strongly against the Lebanese government, further weakening Lebanon’s democratic government.

Is this the “birth pangs” Ms. Rice was talking about last summer would come of supporting Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon?

A Report on Lebanon and Hezbollah

January 9, 2007 at 11:45 am | Posted in Hezbollah, Lebanon | Leave a comment

Michael J. Totten spends a lot of time in Lebanon, reporting on what is happening with Hezbollah. His reporting is magnificent, and recommended reading for all interested in what is happening in the Middle East. I’m not going to comment on his latest offering, except that I highly recommend that you read it.

So This is Our Victory

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