Why Bush's $87 Billion Speech Flopped





Mr. Shenkman is the editor of HNN.

Mea culpa. After Bush's big speech announcing the high cost of the occupation in Iraq I told a television audience on MSNBC that the speech likely would give the president a slight bump in the polls. I was mistaken. Instead, of going up, he went down, dropping from 59 to 52 percent in the Gallup Poll conducted immediately afterwards.

I also predicted that despite the bump Bush's poll numbers would inevitably decline as the news out of Iraq continued to spell trouble there. This prediction proved true.

But why didn't the country rally behind Bush at all? This is worth pondering. Obviously, the White House spin machine was counting on the speech to augment Bush's reputation as a leader to attract renewed support. Officials evidently reasoned that even if Americans didn't want to hear that Iraq was going to cost them a lot more money than they had been led to believe, they would rally around Bush as they had on other occasions simply because they liked his directness.

What tripped up the White House was the good old fashioned Gary Cooper myth. To be sure, Americans find Gary Cooper imagery compelling. They like leaders who come across as direct and they like themselves for liking this quality. It speaks well of the leader and well of his followers.

But the Gary Cooper imagery is myth not reality. Like all myths, it reflects not who we are but who we wish to be. Myths represent our values and sense of self. But they aren't a very accurate measure of our true identity. The gap between who we wish to be and who we are can be measured by the drop in the Gallup Poll after Bush's speech.

What then do the poll numbers say about who we actually are? They tend to confirm the suspicion that we prefer leaders who tell us what we want to hear not what they think we ought to hear.

One would think the Bush White House would have known this. It was Mr. Bush's role model, Ronald Reagan, after all, who proved in the 1980s that presidents are rewarded for sugarcoating the truth. He pretended his tax cuts would pay for themselves and lead to higher government revenues and people believed him. When, as the experts predicted, deficits began accumulating year after year he refused to acknowledge publicly that his policies had been misguided, though he quietly raised taxes on more than half a dozen different occasions to try to staunch the flow of red ink.

Ronald Reagan told people what they wanted to hear and they roared their approval. Walter Mondale told people what they needed to hear--that taxes would have to be raised to offset the deficits--and lost in a landslide.

The moral of this story? We like presidents who appear to be like Gary Cooper. But we actually reward presidents who behave like Santa Claus. We want to be showered with presents not bad news.

If a president is in a pickle and can't provide us with presents, then he has two fall-back positions, one involving hope the other involving fear. Hope is what presidents usually offer. Even at moments of crisis they lead by appealing to our better selves, counting on our characteristic optimism to carry us through the worst troubles. Thus, FDR during the Great Depression placed a great emphasis on the ability of the government to bring about an end to misery and poverty.

The other strategy is to play to our fears. Fear is a great motivator. Since 9-11 President Bush has made great use of fear in his speeches to rally the country behind him. He has used 9-11 to sell us two wars and two tax cuts. But fear has its limits. And as the news out of Iraq grew worse and worse over the summer President Bush came up against those limits, discovering that the fear of another attack had diminished as economic worries came to dominate the public agenda. In the absence of a new attack, he and his handlers searched for a new way to rally public support around his policies.

To be sure there was plenty of fear in the Iraq speech, but the bad news trumped the appeal to fear. People heard that number--$87 billion-and couldn't get over it. It's what stuck in the mind. Maybe he should have let someone else put out the specific number. Then his speech could have focused on fear alone. But he chose the Gary Cooper path. It may lead to his undoing.

It would be better if we were actually a people who wanted Gary Cooper presidents. But we don't, as Bush--and I--have just learned.




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More Comments:


JBman - 11/18/2003

Thank you F.Y. for those perceptive comments.
As I sit here in my hotel room in Eastern China, I can only think that this country is a radical divergence from the norm. It is full of people who are hard working to a fault. Before I arrived here I was no particular fan of China. However, having seen the country, having shared rice with them, having compared family photos, I think that the next 20 years will see an emergance of a Chinese society that will astound folks around the world. From my window at the hotel, I counted 47 construction tower cranes (on a hazy day). Try that in any city in the U.S.


NYGuy - 10/8/2003

These posts are not meant to dominate this board, but the changes are so dramatic and exciting that I believe it worth posting the details. Although this speech is by Murdock, please don’t try to read any political motive into my post. Instead, focus on this paragraph from the article:

“Such a speech by a foreign capitalist at the top school for party officials once would have been unthinkable. But as the party tries to keep pace with a rapidly changing economy and society, it has invited a string of foreign politicians, business leaders and academics to address its students. “

These events being posted will someday become part of history.
Peace to all.
Cheers

Murdoch Appeals to Chinese Leaders

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=516&ncid=731&e=6&u=/ap/20031008/ap_on_re_as/china_murdoch

BEIJING - News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch appealed to China's leaders Wednesday to let its media flourish, saying in a speech "The potential of the open market doesn't represent any loss of power," Murdoch said, according to a text released by his company, News Corp. It said his audience at the Communist Party School included Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Cabinet ministers and other senior officials.

Despite growing private enterprise (news - web sites), China retains some of the world's tightest media controls.

Broadcasters and newspapers are state-owned and supervised by propaganda officials. Foreign media companies have struggled to get a share of the market.

"China has the potential not only to follow the examples of the U.S. and the U.K., but to improve upon those examples and achieve a level of success all its own," Murdoch said.

"By developing a regulatory system that is both firm enough to ensure China's control over her emerging businesses and smart enough not to stifle those businesses' growth, China will create an exemplary media industry."

Murdoch's speech comes as News Corp. tries to expand its influence in Asia, especially China. His company's Star TV is shown in hotels and apartment buildings for foreigners in China.

Murdoch angered the Chinese government with a 1993 speech in which he said satellite television would undermine dictatorships. After the two sides reconciled, the Hong Kong satellite broadcaster Phoenix, in which Star TV owns a stake, was granted a license in 2002 to broadcast to a small part of southern China.





NYGuy - 10/8/2003


NYGuy

The following information is being posted for its informational content and not for political advantage. For me the past few days have been verey exciting with the release of information showing the economic and possibly the political direction of China. The following reports further support a hope that technology is bringing the world together and opens the possibility of peace through trade. I hope I am not being naïve on this point. In any case it is my conclusion that we are entering an exciting period in the history of the world and one that will change very rapidly.

Peace to all.

I). China, India Resolving Sikkim Dispute

By ALEXA OLESEN, Associated Press Writer

tmpl=story&cid=516&ncid=731&e=1&u=/ap/20031008/ap_on_re_as/india_china_border

BALI, Indonesia - China has taken the first step toward recognizing the Himalayan territory of Sikkim as a part of India, resolving a long-standing border dispute, an Indian Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday

"It is a confidence-building measure," Sibal said. "China was the only country to not recognize that Sikkim was part of India. This is an important step."


2) Southeast Asian Leaders Sign Summit Deals

By CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press Writer

BALI, Indonesia - Fresh from their landmark accord to establish a European-style economic community, 10 Southeast Asian leaders forged deals Wednesday with China, India and Japan to make partners out of regional competitors.

China and India joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's founding security pact, and the region's biggest investor, Japan, signed a pledge to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers.

China and ASEAN agreed to work faster toward a free trade agreement that would create the world's most populous market, with 1.7 billion consumers.

"It's good for the region. It's good for the rest of the world," Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said.

China and India have been siphoning off an increasing share of foreign investment and trade in Asia in recent years, and many ASEAN members are concerned their larger Asian neighbors will economically overpower Southeast Asia, where many of its 500 million people live in poverty.

The 10 Southeast Asian leaders on Tuesday launched an ambitious attempt to pull their diverse governments — ranging from Brunei's absolute monarchy to Thailand's fledgling democracy — into a Europe-style economic community by 2020.

They stressed it would not be a political union and, as if to underscore this, declined to criticize Myanmar's military government over its detention of democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi despite stern pre-summit calls by ASEAN members for her release.

On Wednesday, China joined ASEAN's 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, the grouping's founding nonaggression pact to promote regional stability. It also signed a second agreement that calls for greater economic and political cooperation.
"It means we will now try and solve problems through dialogue and negotiations," Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said.
Beijing and ASEAN already are committed to establishing by 2010 a free-trade area that would combine their huge markets. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China should be seen as an opportunity rather than an economic threat.

"China cannot develop without the support of the rest of East Asia, and the prosperity of East Asia also needs China," Wen said.

ASEAN-China trade amounted to $55 billion in 2001, with trade growing by an average of 25.7 percent annually between 1993 and 2001, according to the latest ASEAN statistics.

In her closing remarks Wednesday, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, ASEAN chairwoman, said the group pledged to work together to achieve $100 billion in ASEAN-China trade by 2005.
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi signed a wide-ranging trade deal with ASEAN. His country traditionally has been Southeast Asia's largest trading partner and investor, with two-way trade amounting to $99 billion in 2001 or 14.4 percent of ASEAN's total trade. However, in contrast to China, Japan has seen its ASEAN trade drop from a peak of $121 billion in 1995.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee signed his country's first agreements with ASEAN, acceding to the nonaggression treaty and adopting a pact to cooperate in fighting regional terrorism. India's annual trade with the regional grouping has tripled from about $3 billion to $10 billion in the past decade.

ASEAN leaders on Tuesday signed the Bali Concord II, which envisions an economic community by 2020 in a region whose annual trade currently totals $720 billion but does not create a political union like Western Europe's or a military alliance akin to NATO (news - web sites). It calls for a regional security community to combat terrorism and other transnational crimes.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand.

NYGuy

The trend of China to becoming a major manufacturing power in semiconductors and other vital products will have a significant impact on our future. Instead of countries we should start to view them as pseudo companies. As such we can then evaluate their competitive positions based on labor costs, markets, finances, etc.





NYGuy - 10/8/2003

Seems those who favor the UN in and the US out will be happy to see the success the UN is having in Africa. Hell, it is only 65 people massacred in one day. Not bad. No wonder people chose the UN over the US.

UN Says 65 Massacred in Congo, 40 of Them Children
Tue Oct 7, 3:29 PM ET By Dino Mahtani

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&ncid=721&e=3&u=/nm/20031007/wl_nm/congo_democratic_dc

KINSHASA (Reuters) - The known death toll from a new massacre in northeastern Congo has risen to 65 people, including 40 children, United Nations (news - web sites) officials said on Tuesday. A U.N. spokesman said the dead were all victims of an attack on Monday in the remote village of Katshelli, which U.N. troops visited on Tuesday.

The latest violence is certain to reignite tensions between the two tribes despite apparent recent progress in U.N. efforts to broker peace in the troubled province after a series of similar atrocities.

U.N. peacekeepers recently took over from a French-led force in Bunia, the main town in remote, densely-forested Ituri province, to stop the bloodshed between Hema and Lendu there.

U.N. peacekeepers recently took over from a French-led force in Bunia, the main town in remote, densely-forested Ituri province, to stop the bloodshed between Hema and Lendu there.

The government and foreign-backed rebel groups signed a peace deal in April and a power-sharing transition government was set up to shepherd Africa's third biggest country to elections in 2005.



NYGuy - 10/8/2003

As the world looks for leadership they turn to France while they criticize the U. S.

French Gov't to Study 35-Hour Work Week
Tue Oct 7, 3:15 PM ET

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=518&ncid=518&e=1&u=/ap/20031007/ap_on_re_eu/france_shorter_workweek

By NATHALIE SCHUCK, Associated Press Writer

PARIS - The French government ordered an impact study Tuesday of the country's 35-hour workweek — a first step toward possibly revamping one of France's boldest workplace experiments.
The shorter workweek was the signature achievement of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, whose Socialist government cut the hours from 39 to 35 to create jobs at a time of record unemployment.

However, France's new center-right government, as well as business executives, claim the shorter week has made France less competitive. One of the main complaints is the 35-hour workweek puts inordinate strain on smaller businesses.

The opposition Socialists claim the government is using the shorter workweek as a scapegoat for its poor performance.
The EU Commission must decide on Wednesday whether Paris has adequately sought to rein in spending. If not, the 15-member body could move to impose hefty fines on France by January
Social Affairs Minister Francois Fillon said the shorter workweek was an economic error because "this reform has a disproportional cost for a mediocre result."

Of Course we are want a man of integrity:

Ex-French PM Denies Fake Jobs Scheme

By PIERRE-ANTOINE SOUCHARD, Associated Press Writer
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=518&ncid=732&e=10&u=/ap/20031007/ap_on_re_eu/france_city_hall_trial

NANTERRE, France - A former prime minister defended himself Tuesday in a corruption trial, denying knowledge of a fake jobs scheme that allegedly operated at Paris City Hall when President Jacques Chirac was mayor.

All are accused of a role in an alleged fake jobs scheme aimed at filling the coffers of Chirac's conservative political party, known as the Rally for the Republic, or RPR. Juppe held the No. 2 post in the party under Chirac and served as deputy mayor for finance at City Hall.

Prosecutors allege city funds were used to pay members of the RPR during part of the 18-year period when Chirac was mayor of Paris and that Juppe knew of the payments. Chirac was mayor until he was elected president in 1995

Cabana caused a sensation Thursday when he told the court that "everyone knew" about the fake jobs scheme.

Chirac is immune from prosecution as chief of state, but the scandal has been a major embarrassment for him, raising questions about how much he knew and when.

Democcatic flavor for November: France in the US out.



NYGuy - 10/7/2003

Thanks France for the oil price increase. Can the terrorists be far behind. Maybe we will find no one is immune.

France does not like US leadership but they agree with our tax cuts. Maybe if they would have listened earlier they would not be in this predicament.

Report: French PM Says Recession Near

tmpl=story&ncid=1203&e=4&u=/ap/20031007/ap_on_bi_ge/france_economy&sid=95609868

PARIS - For the first time, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has acknowledged that France is on the brink of recession, according to a report published Tuesday.

With several other European Union (news - web sites) nations already floundering under shrinking economies, Raffarin was quoted in the financial daily La Tribune that France faces "a recessive context" in the national economy.

Raffarin made the comments Monday during his two-day trip to Russia, according to La Tribune.

The remarks appeared to confirm many economists' forecasts that France's gross domestic product would stagnate this year, a prospect deemed "premature" last week by Budget Minister Alain Lambert.

Raffarin's center-right government is in a pinch: It wants to cut taxes to help stimulate the economy, but such a move would trim tax revenue at a time of ballooning budget deficits that have topped the EU Commission's limits.

Many economists said Raffarin's comments ride on a wave of profound pessimism of French consumers and producers — highlighted by a record high 17 percent savings rate among French consumers.


NYGuy - 10/7/2003

Hector:

NYGuy, thanks for your response, but I am afraid it only "explains" the wobbliness of your ideas.

NYGuy

Well you Rob and Gus have finally hit a nerve and I won’t take it anymore. And I didn't like the remark about the Post. It is my bible.

I will restate my position again. The world is changing rapidly due to technology and telecommunications. Looking at the past does not provide the answers to the future. International economics is becoming the driving force for the future. Countries have a choice of elimination terrorism and satisfying the needs of their citizens or allowing it to flourish, which will hurt economic growth and an improvement in the standards of living. GW has brought the issue to the table. He is right and will be supported.

Here are some major changes that did not effect the world in the past and they are very dramatic for the future. Other countries either try to keep up in a peaceful world or they fall behind in a terrorist world.

Here are some links that are worth reading. We should be looking to the future not to the past.

China comes of age
Commentary: Day of reckoning has arrived

By Graham Earnshaw, Xinhua Financial Network
Last Update: 12:01 AM ET Oct. 7, 2003

http://cbs.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B81BFCAE4%2D3514%2D40D2%2D9C49%2DC61B75D114A1%7D&siteid=mktw

BEIJING (XFN) -- The days when China and its economy could be dismissed with the word "potential" have passed. This country is now well on its way to becoming the factory of the world, while its booming domestic economy is being targeted by companies from all over the world.

But the whole debate masks a fundamental shift of global manufacturing into the Chinese mainland, and a revaluation of the yuan will do nothing more than slow that process.
Also worth considering is the fact that China's booming export trade to the U.S., for instance, comes not only at the expense of factory workers in Michigan, but possibly even more at the expense of other export-strong countries.

Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. is falling, and all the former Asian Tigers, from Taiwan to Hong Kong to South Korea and Singapore, are watching the transfer of production capacity into China with mounting unease.

But for any company that's serious about its business growth over the coming decades, China can no longer be ignored. Either as a competitor or as a buyer, China is here to stay.

The Chinese consumers of the coastal cities are racing to create lifestyles for themselves that match what they see on their pirated DVD movies from the United States. They want it all and they want it now, providing an extraordinary opportunity for brands from Dunhill to Drambuie at a time when sales in Japan, Europe and the U.S. are hardly sizzling.

The Chinese economy is growing at somewhere around 8 percent year on year, and even when taking into account the unexpected -- SARS came and went and business bounced back even stronger -- the economy is expected to maintain that same growth rate for the foreseeable future.

The middle classes of China's cities have decided they want to own their own home, something almost unknown here 10 years ago. This has sparked a massive building boom across the country, along with some property bubbles too, of course. But in the process, China is on course to becoming the world's biggest consumer of a wide range of building related products.
And as for commodities, don't ask. Steel, copper, wood ... the list of products where China is becoming the dominant global player goes on and on. When China gets a cold, Chicago is going to have to get used to doing the sneezing.

Another indicator of the strength of China's domestic economy is domestic tourism, which now completely overshadows foreign tourist numbers in the eyes of China's hotels and airlines.
The first week of October was the national day holiday, and the hordes flew out of Shanghai and Beijing and other cities heading for the domestic resorts in south China, not to mention Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and even further afield.

China Nets have priced in a strong Q3

Prices soar, but does that mean they're overvalued?

By Bambi Francisco, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 12:01 AM ET Oct. 7, 2003

http://cbs.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7BE3429A41%2D4BEB%2D49F5%2D8791%2D8047FA0EDEEC%7D&siteid=mktw

All else being equal, China appears to offer greater growth prospects than the United States, where Internet penetration has already surpassed 50 percent and shopping online has become mainstream.

The bullish China scenario is based on a broad growth trend. The economy is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and next, about twice as much as the projected U.S. growth, according to independent economist Donald Straszheim. Consumer spending, while far less than U.S. consumption, is growing at a faster clip.

There is an emerging middle class, with more jobs available as foreign corporations rush into the country to take advantage of the low cost of labor.

The Chinese Internet market is in its infancy, with only 5 percent of the population online. In the urban areas, where there are between 200 million and 300 million people, the penetration rate about 13 percent, according to U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

China Quiet on Manned Space Flight Plans

Mon Oct 6, 7:57 PM ET
By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?

tmpl=story&cid=624&ncid=753&e=10&u=/ap/20031006/ap_on_sc/china_space

A successful manned launch would stand as a testament to China's economic and technical progress, winning Beijing respect abroad and — more importantly — approval at home. Chinese leaders long ago traded in leftist ideology for economic reform and, battered by corruption scandals, have used such flag-waving appeals to nationalism to bind the nation together.

China Plans to Survey the Moon Within Three Years

BEIJING (Reuters) - China, on the verge of its first attempt at manned space flight, said on Monday it would launch a satellite to survey the moon within three years.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?

tmpl=story&cid=570&ncid=753&e=9&u=/nm/20031006/sc_nm/space_china_dc

China Plans to Survey the Moon Within Three Years

BEIJING (Reuters) - China, on the verge of its first attempt at manned space flight, said on Monday it would launch a satellite to survey the moon within three years.

NYGuy

Now I am going to give you a challenge: I will forecast that both Russia and China will support GW at the UN on Iraq.
If I am right, I want you to agree that you will never again call my ideas and analysis, “Wobbly”. I would like to hear from you if you accept my challenge.

I have to confess, “I teach you guy all I know and you still don’t know anything. :)











NYGuy - 10/7/2003

Rod,

thanks, I need someone to keep my feet on the ground. Appreciate your interest in my welfare. Thanks.

Cheers


NYGuy - 10/5/2003

Gus,

Thank you for the input. I guess there is nothing that can be done. If so why do we need the UN. We will see what happens with Syria. I am sure this special organization will have an answer. But what will it be. We will have to see their leadership in solving the terrorism situation in the Mid east.


Hector - 10/5/2003


I accept your ranking of the funders of Gulf War I, Gus, (why not give figures, while you're at it ?). The point remains that most of the cost of that conflict was not borne by the U.S., most of the cost of Gulf War II is being borne by the U.S., and most of the reason for the difference is to be found in the ineptitude of the George W. Bush Administration.


Hector - 10/5/2003


You raise a whole host of issues, and unfortunately are confused about many of them. (But I'm glad to see there is still time for baseball too). You started off saying the UN had failed to do things it could have done, now you seem to have shifted to saying that the UN is incapable of doing things.

I have never seen anyone here on HNN advocating the "U.S. giving up the right to defend itself" or that "we should not spend any money on Iraq". I think you ought to pay a little closer attention to where the "messages" you are receiving are actually coming from. When I lived in Brooklyn I used the New York Post for bathroom wallpaper. If you are reading that paper instead of Wall Street Journal or New York Times, it is no wonder you are confused. (I’m not saying you necessarily are parroting the Post, but since you don’t say where your info comes from I start to suspect something of that sort. My info, by the way, comes from the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Economist, BBC News and PBS/NPR among others).

The issue here is why Pres. Bush is having a difficult time getting the very large sum of $87 billion approved. If you reread what I and others here have said, more carefully, I think you'll see that what we are saying is: It is mostly Mr. Bush's own blunders that have put him in difficulty today.

Look, the UN is not a panacea, but neither is it totally worthless. It helped us with Iraq in 1991, in Afghanistan in 2001 and it would be helping with Israel and Palestine today if Sharon, that crotchety old warrior, would stop kowtowing to the crazy "settlers" who want to grab more and more land, and if Arafat would stop trying to be a guerrilla fighter and negotiator at the same time, and if other governments, including America's, would stop pandering to these fossilized maniacs. We need the UN to take charge in Iraq and once the President wakes up to that reality, he will have less difficulty getting his spending bills approved, and will get more financial help from other countries.


Gus Moner - 10/5/2003

The cost of the first Iraqi War was borne primarily by Saudi Arabia Kuwait and Japan which, by the terms of its US crafted constitution cannot send forces to fight wars beyond its territorial deliniation and nearby waters, so they were asked to plump up some cash.


NYGuy - 10/5/2003

Hector,

Thanks for your reasoned reply and explaination of past UN activities. One of our differences is that times change and there is no direct comparison to any time in the past. Yes we have always had WMD if one includes artillery, aircraft that can bomb, tanks, etc. But we are facing much more serious WMDs now and we see people willing to use, and able to deliver, them to any part of the world. And this threat is only going to increase in the years ahead. Do you believe, the UN in and US out is the policy that will protect Americans?

There is one new fact to consider today. That is that the WTC was destroyed by hateful people who don't like a lot of people in this world and they have no qualms about killing them at random. And as we have already been shown, there is no limit on their immagation in doing so.

Except for the US action, who else is providing the leadership against these terrorists? Do we just continue to hope that the minds of these terrorists can be changed to peaceloving citizens? How? Are things getting better because of the UN, an organization for peace? Certainly not in Palestine and Isreal? The total population for these two countries I believe is about 7 million people out of the enire world. Should be a simple problem to correct by a big organization like the UN. But, who is the world looking to for a solution?

The North Koreans get more dangerous every day. What is the UN doing about this situation? Is there a coalition of UN forces that are giving a warning that developing atomic bombs is not a good thing? Or is the UN so tied up with preventing the establishment of a more stable Iraq that they don't have time to deal with other matters.

The argument is the UN in and the US out. OK. If we took our troops out of Germany and Korea what would happen? What does the world's largest organization for peace do? And, if we don't get a consenus of the Security Council and all the nations of the world on picking up the slack, then what do we do?

Meanwhile, the building of atomic bombs is properly a worldwide issue that the UN should be dealing. And of course so is terrorism a world problem. How should the UN, as the true savoir of the world, handle these issues and why have they not been more forceful in working out these problems. Perhaps as some in the democratic party are suggesting, we should return to isolationism. Would that be a reasonable solution?

As for staying on topic, the issue of the UN is part of this topic. The money the US is requesting is a drop in the bucket for countries who say they want peace and stability. Suppling soldiers to help stabilize Iraq would also be relatively easy and would send a clear message that terrorism will not be tolerated. But, the message I get from many on this board, as well as from the UN, is that we should not spend any money on Iraq. And the UN should not either. Nor should the UN take over negotiations with North Korea, after all it just give the world another opportunity to critize the US. What a great message the UN is sending to terrorist.

There are major changes in the world that could lead to a more interrelated and safer world and an improvement in the welfare for all nations. But we have this big sword of terrorism hanging over us. Do you believe the UN alone can provide the leadership that can lead us to a more peaceful future? And should the US give up its right to protect itself and rely on the UN? Evidently many say they would feel more secure if this were to happen. Not me.






when the potential for destruction was


Rod Sib - 10/4/2003

C'mon NYGuy... lighten up. If you're nice, maybe Rush Limbaugh will share some of his stash with you. (Just kidding - couldn't resist)


Hector - 10/4/2003

NYGuy, thanks for your response, but I am afraid it only "explains" the wobbliness of your ideas.

Your lack of knowledge about the UN confirms my growing suspicion that your criticism of that body is based on propaganda you have been fed, not on facts you have discovered on your own. France is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. That gives it a veto over any significant action of the UN. There is no way the UN COULD "stand up" to France.

In reality, France was with the majority of other countries in the UN who were opposed to the badly planned and badly run war in Iraq this year. In 1990, when Papa Bush wanted to attack Saddam, he was able to get UN approval for that action, and, then, as you seem to have forgotten, France, Germany, Japan etc., PAID most of the cost of that LEGITIMATE war. Very differently this time, bungling Junior Bush could not persuade most of the rest of the world that alternatives to immediate invasion had been exhausted (even if he duped Gus Moner, and many others re WMD), and, like a spoiled child, rushed ahead in defiance of the UN, and Canada's proposed compromise, anyway. As a result WE, the American taxpayers now have to foot a much higher bill (than the 1990-91 tab) almost entirely ourselves.


Gus Moner - 10/4/2003

I too can rarely see the logic behind people’s coupling of thoughts and I have yet to see much evidence presented to support assertions. However, we all opine here and seldom provide research to back it up. Often we get sidetracked from the article into our own topics. It’s the case here, but I'll try to get bak to the topic.

Just why did people blanch at the 87 gizillion speech? I opine people are beginning to come to the difficult realisation that we have been dragged into a poorly prepared scenario of war and mayhem on our enemy’s terms and that the economic conditions being fostered are wrong for the vast majority of people.

The latter first. So much money to rebuild nations we destroy wantonly just plain rubs wrong while we are sitting here witnessing increased poverty, budget deficits and lower medical educational and social services for our own people.

Besides that, lies the ongoing realisation through revelations that the entire premise for the war was wrong. Moreover, the constant substitutions of technical violations of UN resolutions that are being used as surrogates for the pre-war hype of imminent threat, WMD real or programmes, as well as the mythical link to terrorists are beginning to be noticed by even those most supportive of Bush.

As the war develops, the reasons for it also shift, the virtual war is upon us, and no one is taking kindly to it.

I too feel lied to, for whilst I vehemently opposed the war without UN consensus, I believed at least some of these weapons were there based on what I was being told. I guilelessly refused to imagine that these Judeo-Christian Conservative Crusaders would actually lie to this level of farce.

Only near the invasion time itself did I begin to doubt myself. I was suspicious of the US's hyper-willingness to storm into a chemical nightmare and waas juxtapositioning N Korea as a reference. but, it was just days before the attack, so I was indeed duped.

One can argue that the US intelligence services also were duped. However, the enormous budgets and sophisticated working conditions, coupled with the world’s finest resources these people have, hardly make a good case for being duped. Rather, perhaps the government, with so many key members predisposed to war by the vast numbers of pro-Israel pro-war and anti-Saddam staff sitting in a number of various sensitive positions, “cheery picked” what they wanted to, ignored what evidence opposed their case and went to bat.

It is a fact that Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle signed onto the letter to Clinton demanding that the US depose Saddam. They were all at the Defence Dept. in some capacity in the run-up to the war. We know the US and other associations of so called neo-cons paid informants supplied by Israel and the Arab exiles to say what needed to be said to promote the war.

Cherry picking information is always wrong, but less mortal when dealing with economic debates, social policy and other, less lethal political activities. However, war is a dangerous thing to play with.

As usual, those who did not go to war are sending the children of others to fight theirs. You can fool all the people some of the time…


gus Moner - 10/4/2003

I too can rarely see the logic behind people’s coupling of thoughts and I have yet to see much evidence presented to support assertions. However, we all opine here and seldom provide research to back it up. Often we get sidetracked from the article into our own topics. It’s the case here, but I'll try to get bak to the topic.

Just why did people blanch at the 87 gizillion speech? I opine people are beginning to come to the difficult realisation that we have been dragged into a poorly prepared scenario of war and mayhem on our enemy’s terms and that the economic conditions being fostered are wrong for the vast majority of people.

The latter first. So much money to rebuild nations we destroy wantonly just plain rubs wrong while we are sitting here witnessing increased poverty, budget deficits and lower medical educational and social services for our own people.

Besides that, lies the ongoing realisation through revelations that the entire premise for the war was wrong. Moreover, the constant substitutions of technical violations of UN resolutions that are being used as surrogates for the pre-war hype of imminent threat, WMD real or programmes, as well as the mythical link to terrorists are beginning to be noticed by even those most supportive of Bush.

As the war develops, the reasons for it also shift, the virtual war is upon us, and no one is taking kindly to it.

I too feel lied to, for whilst I vehemently opposed the war without UN consensus, I believed at least some of these weapons were there based on what I was being told. I guilelessly refused to imagine that these Judeo-Christian Conservative Crusaders would actually lie to this level of farce.

Only near the invasion time itself did I begin to doubt myself. I was suspicious of the US's hyper-willingness to storm into a chemical nightmare and waas juxtapositioning N Korea as a reference. but, it was just days before the attack, so I was indeed duped.

One can argue that the US intelligence services also were duped. However, the enormous budgets and sophisticated working conditions, coupled with the world’s finest resources these people have, hardly make a good case for being duped. Rather, perhaps the government, predisposed to war by the vast numbers of pro-Israel pro-war and anti-Saddam staff sitting in a number of various sensitive positions cheery picked what they wanted to, ignored what opposed their case and went to bat.

It is a fact that Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle signed onto the letter to Clinton demanding that the US depose Saddam. They were all at the Defence Dept. in some capacity in the run-up to the war. We know the US and other associations of so called neo-cons paid informants supplied by Israel and the Arab exiles to say what needed to be said to promote the war.

Cherry picking information is always wrong, but les mortal when dealing with economic debates, social policy and other, less lethal political activities. However, war is a dangerous thing to play with.

As usual, those who did not go to war are sending the children of others to fight theirs. You can fool all the people some of the time…


NYGuy - 10/4/2003

Hector,

Always enjoy hearing from you. One of the statements you make is:

"Not before 9-11, when the UN was asleep and the U.S. too, and everyone was ignoring the Taliban, or even earlier, when the Reagan and Papa Bush supported Osama and Saddam)."

The UN is the organization to provide peace in the world. I don't think it has, or is capable of doing the job. Its major contributions should be to create organizations and support those who are trying to make the world safer, even if the UN can not. That is why they should support GW in Iraq, and in North Korea by mobilizing its members to take actions that make the world safer. What are that actions? If the UN can't do anything effective than what use are they?

I believe that some members of the UN should have stood up to France and told them that the "Maginot Defense mentality" did not work in WW II and will not work now. What was needed was a unified response that said Iraq defied them the UN, and they will not tolerate such behavoir and because of the "Peace and Humanitarian Mission of the UN" will help the US and the coalition to restore peace to Iraq. As I said, the terrorist fear no one except the US. So aside from GW who is working to make this a safer world?

But, the truth is quoting Kofi Anan reminds me of another NY saying, Money talks and BS walks. Seems the only thing Kofi Anan can do is talk and walk. He should try for broadway where he belongs not leading an important organizaiton that has the mission of making the world safer.

I think too, that my take on how serious the taking down of the 2 WTC towers is something not understood or accepted by those who are not familiar with those building. In addition they don't appreciate the dangers to NYC. I am sure you understand that if you take a subway trip rom one end of the subway system to the other end, it is a trip of 28 miles. And most of this is underground and susceptable to terrorists attack. Times Square also has special meaning to the world and is another prized target. Taking down the WTC showed that the terrorist, brillance and ability to think out of the box, and their capabilties with out WMD, which is awesome. With WMD it could be catastrophic. The US is not asleep, but its seems the UN has turned off their alarm clock. This has not been lost on the terrorists. The only difference is that thanks to the US the terrorist threats have been reduced, if not yet eliminated. That is why we need the unified help of the world to show that they and we are at a point where we can have peacefdul world and stop meaningless killing. Further it would enable the world to accept and solve many of the humanitarian problems present on this board. Those goals can never be accomplished in an unstable terrorist world.

Saw the last game with the Yankees, but turned it off when they scored in I think the 7th or 8th. As a Ranger fan I would like to see the Cubs win this year, certainly the loyal Cub fans deserve it. I know how they may feel. It presented another of those, "Do you remember where you were when the Ranger's, and even the Mets, when they won the championship. For most NYer's the answer would be yes. I use this as another example of how the world is coming closer together and intolerance is being reduced.:)

The UN and world bank put out their estimates on rebuilding Iraq and they are in line with the US estimate. And the outlay is not for one year but spread over a period time. Not a terrible economic obstacle for the world. But with higher oil prices I now fear for France and German's weak economic conditions. A recession in these countries could subject Europe to riots, terrorists acts and other destabilizing actions. But, then I think the huge economic engine of the US could still save them both again. We will see.

Cheers.


Hector Rasmussen - 10/4/2003

NYG:

"...I critize the UN. They had to see the buildings coming down from their tower on the upper East side of NY. They had to understand what had happened and the dangers it presented for the future of the world over an extented time period say 5 years or longer. But they were incapable of taking effective action to prevent such an attack in the future...

As I said I think the UN should have reacted stronger, but maybe because of their structure they are just a paper tiger....With all the wrangling in the UN and weak leadership by France and German..."


Germany is not a permanent member of the Security Council, so I don't know where you get the idea that it is part of the "weak leadership" at the U.N.

More importantly, I'd like to know what you think the UN ought to have done that it did not do, AFTER 9-11. (Not before 9-11, when the UN was asleep and the U.S. too, and everyone was ignoring the Taliban, or even earlier, when the Reagan and Papa Bush supported Osama and Saddam). After 9-11, the UN declared solidarity with the U.S., endorsed a "war" on terrorism, authorized intervention in Afghanistan, and approved new and much tougher weapons inspections in Iraq when asked to do so by GWB a year ago. And Kofi Anan was trying to help in Iraq last month despite GWB's violation of at least the spirit of the UN charter in launching the war on Iraq (under false premises, it now is revealed) last month. Nevertheless the UN was again rebuffed, and we taxpayers have to pony up $87 billion instead. So please tell us NYGuy, since you go on and on about the UN, what should it have done that it did not do between 9-11 and today ?

P.S. I would not mind seeing the Yankees get their behinds kicked


NYGuy - 10/3/2003

Geoff,

You are something saying:

"Excellent points, Jesse. I nominate you for editor of HNN and NYGuy for a library membership with which he could start to read real books and newspapers."

NYGuy

Are you calling the kettle black. Read real books, newspapers, etc. It doesn't seem to do you much good. Aside from someone telling you what to say I don't see anything in your post that would suggest you follow your own advice, let alone say something meaningful. Even if you had to copy it out of a book or a newspaper it would be worth it. At least it would make you sound like you know something.







NYGuy - 10/3/2003

Jesse,

As I have mentioned before, I may start from a differenct viewpoint than you and therefore we come to different answers.

See my post below where I do answer some of the points your raise.

1. What was done to the WTC is scary. We, the US and the world should understand that and be ready to take the necessary actions to protect ourselves.

2. We went to the UN and they told Saddam to be a good boy and give them some information which was deemed necessary because of their past poor behavoir.

3. Saddam did not comply with the UN resolutions and the message on WMD was mixed coming form the UN. But clear from our former President and his administration.

4. Instead of the UN members approaching this matter in a serious way they allow France, the builder of the Maginot line, to throw his little tantrum, get attention on the world stage and feel like he has restored France to it past prominance. NB: France will never be a major world power again.

5. We have a right to protect ourselves, we had a country that past presidents, the UN and others said they posed a threat. We took action to protect ourselves. Were we supposed to wait and be attacked again?

6. Wrangling continues to go on at home for political reasons, and the UN doesn't want to provide leadership but is afraid it will lose some of it power. So they send a message to terrorists and rogue nations that they are a paper tiger.

7. GW put the issue on the table for all to see and give the UN and World leaders a change to stand up and be counted. France once again grandstands because they don't know what is going on. I thought the Italians were bad when it come to holding a grudge but it looks like it is the French that want to cut off their nose to spite their face.

8. North Korea says, "Hey nothing has changed. I will develop my atomic bombs. Who is going to stop me, the UN. No fear here.

9. The UN is the organization of peace, and they have a rogue nation that is threating not necessarily the US, but the entire world. What are they doing, trying to ignore it while they try to claim a little more power in Irag. Of course as they said they can't really help in Iraq some of their people will get killed. Real leadership.

10. Yes China and Japan are closer to Korea and recently China moved more troops along the boarder. Is this because they understand GW is right or are they just trying to keep out he North Koreans.

As I said before who would you rather have leading the world today, the UN, the French, the Germans or GW.

As for Russia, I also said each country will play out its hand. Let us wait and see where China and Russia come out on this matter, with France and Anon or GW. At that point one of us will be wrong.

My support for GW is based upon what I think is in the best interest of our country. I don't believe in the Democrats "UN in and the US out." But then that was just last months flavor of the month. I don't see them crying to get the "US out and the UN in when it comes to North Korea a more serious situation that needs a strong leader.

Cheers,


NYGuy - 10/3/2003

Ian,

No offense taken, it is a good questions and you are asking my opinion. That is fair.

"was it truly george who did this or was it osama and 9-11?"

NYGuy

I think both. I know it is a little streched when I say OBL pulled off the greatest engineering feat of taking down 2 110 stories building in a matter of hours. What it showed us is how cunning and dangerous terrorists are even without WMD. People can disagree with me on this point, but having been in the WTC many times and seeing it demolished in a few hours is indeed a brillant effort. So it was not just the feat, but the brillance behind it. No one thought it could be done, particularly after a prior failed attempt.

Ever watch them take down a 2-3 story house. It takes a long time, a week or two. And while you can point to the use of explosive, it still takes a lot of planning, and time to properly place explosives, again perhaps a week or two. But, OBL hit the sweet spot and that was it.

The hatred of these people, their dedication to destroying us, the brillance of their plan and the callousnous with which they kill others and themselves certainily was a lesson the world should have learned.

That is one of the reasons I critize the UN. They had to see the buildings coming down from their tower on the upper East side of NY. They had to understand what had happened and the dangers it presented for the future of the world over an extented time period say 5 years or longer. But they were incapable of taking effective action to prevent such an attack in the future and to understand WMD are even more dangerous in the hands of people like OBL. So yes we learned or should have learned a lesson from the scope of this tragedy. And I believe the terrorist also learned a lesson, get rid of GW and no one else with stand up against us, particularly the UN.

As I said I think the UN should have reacted stronger, but maybe because of their structure they are just a paper tiger. And I believe the terrorist probably feel the same way. So their is a void in leadership in the world today and someone had to fill it. I think GW did that for he put it on the line that terrorism is not a peaceful way of living and it has to be dealt with.

His actions have now unequivocally put the world on notice, either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. With all the wrangling in the UN and weak leadership by France and German, and the carping at home I believe we are telling the terrorists, "Hey, GW is the only one to fear, but those who want to play politics will try to bury him. So what have we got to fear. A good example is North Korea who says they are building atomic bombs and telling the world, we do not have to account to, anybody. Certainly not the UN.


Earl Tilton - 10/3/2003


Complete border closure and mass expulsions are not going to happen, I agree. But $87 billion would buy us much better screening , monitoring, and security for international movements of cargos and people. We should be turning Iraq over to the UN, but in a blunderous attempt to save his already mud-encrusted face, Bush still wants to go it alone, so this $87 bil. could well be just a first down payment. What worries me are the possible stunts and provocations that will be hatched to justify the next $87 bil. and the next and the next.


Geoff Ericson - 10/3/2003


Excellent points, Jesse. I nominate you for editor of HNN and NYGuy for a library membership with which he could start to read real books and newspapers. I would say that, even more than Sharon's regime, what W. cares about most are his own reelection prospects. It would not surprise me if Karl Rove etc, while trying desperately to avoid a real outside investigation into the Plame affair, are also now looking for ways to distance themselves from the Perles and Kristols and their failed chickenhawk war for weapons of mass distraction. This is a president who will spin any deceptive tale, launch any foolhardy international stunt, and contradict himself left and right if, at the time, he thinks such deceit might help his chances for being legitimately elected to the White House for the first time.


Jonathan Dresner - 10/3/2003

Mr. Lamovsky,

I'd like to take issue with your basic premise: closing our borders and expelling "anyone from a Middle Eastern country" would be a stopgap measure at best, and a betrayal of our basic principles and values in any case.

NPR reported recently that the US has already deported over three quarters of a million illegal Mexican aliens this year. The year isn't over yet, and it's not a record-setting pace, either. We have two of the longest, least defensible borders in the world, not to mention thousands of miles of poorly patrolled shoreline and dozens of sporadically inspected international port facilities. Our international airports handle tens of thousands of incoming passengers every day.

There are technological tools which can make us more secure. There are places where increased funding, manpower and facilities can deter illegal entry. But it will take time and and it will take money and it will take patience from Americans who will also be carefully screened at the border, whose cheap Chinese toys will be delayed at port, whose pretty yellow bananas will be inspected instead of waved through.

Perhaps more to the point, excluding "Middle Easterners" is a poor substitute for actually developing stronger trade and personal ties to these societies. It is a pitifully blunt policy which ignores the fact that the vast majority of Middle Easterners, particularly those in the US, are non-threatening, and that not all threatening people are Middle Easterners. You might want to consider the fact that the nation with the largest population of Muslims (if that's what you're actually afraid of) is Malaysia, that Indonesia has active jihadi movements (Bali bombing, anyone). There's a Muslim separtist movement in the Philippines. Are we going to close the doors to South Asians as well?

No, that's silly. Petulance is poor policy. We are much better served with better technology, better intelligence and much better public diplomacy.


ian august - 10/3/2003

ny guy you may feel i am picking on you and its because i am, so forgive me in advance. but you claim

"GW has brought the entire topic of terrorism and WMD onto the world stage in a way the UN never could achieve."

was it truly george who did this or was it osama and 9-11?


Jesse Lamovsky - 10/3/2003

"We went to the UN for help and we got the French, remember they build the Maginot line when warfare was becoming more mobile, trying to tell the world what was best for it."

I've asked it before and I'll ask it again: why do supporters of the war care so much about what France thinks? They didn't stop President Bush from what he was determined to do; they couldn't have stopped him had they tried. We certainly didn't need France's help to knock off the Iraqi regime. For that matter, who cares about the UN, period? It should be pointed out here that Russia, whom NYGuy praises as wanting to be "part of the new world order", also loudly criticized our actions in the UN.

"I believe we have a right to protect ourselves if some kid is crazy enough to point a gun at a cop. And sometimes he will pay for it. We were not bluffing and we were not playing kids games. Sorry Saddam was such a fool."

Saddam was doing what? Pointing what? He didn't have anything. We've put a billion dollars into that desert looking for nukes, WMDs, whatever, and we've found exactly nothing. Not even Iraq's neighbors considered Saddam a threat. The attack on Iraq was an unprovoked act of aggression on a country that posed absolutely no threat to us (and remember, Saddam most definitely had WMDs in 1991, during the Gulf War, and did not use them on us).

"And if (North Korea) does not (set off a nuke) it will prove GW right and that the world is beginning to get the message that this is not a child’s game.

Personally, I think North Korea developed a nuclear program in the first place not as a means of conducting an aggressive war, but to provide a deterent against the United States. Methinks Kim Jong II lives the high life in Pyongyang, and doesn't want to spoil it by provoking a nuclear holocaust. NYGuy should answer this question: why would North Korea attack the United States? How would the North Korean government benefit from such a move? Because Kim Jong II is a "loony"? Well, he's not that loony. He likes his life. The best policy here is engagement between the two Koreas. There's no reason the two countries can't be reunited peacefully. Germany was, and the East German leadership was just as hard-headed and intransigent as the men in Pyongyang.

"Hey what it the UN going to do? The answer is nothing and now we have another impediment to economic growth that will hurt Europe, which is already economically weak."

So we went to war to help Europe's economy?

It's funny and sad at the same time that NYGuy and other blind supporters of Bush's War fail to advocate the one policy move that could really protect us against terrorism- closing the borders to anyone from a Middle Eastern country, and deporting aliens from Middle Eastern countries who are already here. Do they know that the Bush Administration will be spending more on securing Iraq's borders than our own? Do they forget that the nineteen men with boxcutters who pulled off 9/11 simply walked into this country and set up shop?

It's also distressing to hear Americans talking like Israelis, about how countries all over the world are "imminent threats", about the need for preventive war, and so on. We're not Israel. We're not surrounded by enemies on all sides. We're the most powerful country on earth, sitting on the richest, most defensible piece of real estate on earth. We have the world's largest nuclear arsenal. Why would North Korea attack us? Or Iran? These are poor countries. North Korea can't even feed its own citizens. Yet warmongers are just positive that they're gearing up to invite their own annihilation and attack the United States, the mightiest power on earth. Sure they are.

Of course, since the only country that benefited from the Iraq war was the state of Israel, this Israeli approach would make a certain amount of sense. Is NYGuy and other Bush cultists aware that they are supporting a group of men- not Bush, but his handlers- who care nothing about this country, and everything about a foreign country, Israel? That these people are damn near traitors? That they don't care how many American lives they sacrifice, how much of our money they squander, as long as there's "security" for Sharon's Israel?



NYGuy - 10/3/2003

One of my concerns was about others who want to develop nuclear weapons and what would the world response be. Well, it seems like North Korea is turning out to be a test case.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031003/ap_on_re_as/koreas_nuclear_18

North Korea Escalates Nuclear Standoff

1 hour, 40 minutes ago

By SANG-HUN CHOE, Associated Press Writer

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea (news - web sites) escalated nuclear tensions Friday by declaring it has solved "all the technological matters" involved in using plutonium extracted from nuclear fuel rods to build atomic bombs.

All the technological matters have been solved fully in the process of making a switchover in the use of plutonium," said North Korea's official news agency, KCNA

North Korea "will maintain and steadily increase its nuclear deterrent force as a self-defensive means to cope with the (United States') ever more undisguised threat to mount a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the DPRK," the news agency said.

When reprocessed with chemicals, the 8,000 rods can yield enough plutonium to make five or six bombs, experts say. U.S. intelligence analysts believe North Korea already has at least one or two nuclear bombs.

NYGuy

My conclusion was that the UN actions against Saddam were so weak they actually emboldened others to defy the UN. By contrast, GW put the cards on the table that something can be done and the world now has some clear choices to make.

North Korea is now thumbing its nose at the UN, and the UN is hiding under the bed saying it is a US problem. Where are the French and Germans when we need them? Where is Annan who can speak so forcefully when nothing is at stake? Who are the world leaders, or UN agency that will deal with this threat?

Well, what does the UN do now, since obviously they are opposed to unilateral action by any state? And what do the democrats who want the US out and the UN in say. Where is the cry for the UN, a world organization for peace, to step into this dangerous world crisis? I say the “US out and the UN in. North Korea is a world problem so the UN should be doing something about solving this crisis, it is not the US problem it is a world problem and the UN has shown how upset they get when someone stepped on their territory.

And what do Americans do while the UN diplomats finish their meals at swanky NY restaurants. “Do we pray?” Do we hide under our beds?” “Do we shower North Korea with gifts and appease them?” Who are the leaders who will stand up to this worldwide threat to our stability. Is it going to be Annan who makes such bold statements about the US proposal in Iraq when nothing is at stake? Will the French who tested their atomic energy projects in the Pacific provide some guidance?

I guess my ultimate question is "who do you trust against such a threat, the UN, the French, the Germans or GW?







NYGuy - 10/2/2003

Rob,

Thank for the reply. Let us stay in touch.




Cheers


Rod Sib - 10/2/2003

Jesse: I appreciate your point, but I think you may be overlooking something. It is not our money as you claim. We are already running a deficit, so it is borrowed money. The odds of you or I ever footing this bill are slim. The people who will pay for it currently need crossing guards and nap time.


Rod Sib - 10/2/2003

NY Guy... Thank you for your clarification. While I do not agree with you, I can now understand your points.

Rod


Alvin W. Brinson - 10/2/2003

$300 for every taxpayer, but if it was "refunded", 50% of it would be distributed to the top 1% of taxpayers who "need it the most", of course.


Jesse Lamovsky - 10/2/2003

"$87 billion would pay the salaries of millions of teachers in the Mideast..."

Ugh. Doesn't anybody remember that this is our money? Why can't the American people just keep it in their paychecks? 87 billion is about three hundred dollars for every American citizen, and that's everybody, not just the taxpayers. Probably a lot more for us. But apparently Iraq deserves secure borders, roads, schools, and petroleum imports(!) a lot more than we deserve to keep our own money.

Methinks it was the large price tag, not any kind of "Gary Cooper myth", that caused the speech's relatively cool reception.


Hector - 10/2/2003

Saddam's threat and Osama's terrorist potential were obvious decades ago when both were supported at least indirectly by the U.S. during a time when the U.S. was training what can only be called terrorists for missions against what then American president Reagan considered unfriendly Latin American states. I bring these examples only to point out the terrorism is a long term problem with long term causes. The recent U.S. government report about how Arabs and Moslems are now much more negative towards the U.S. than before 9-11 points to serious shortcomings of Bush’s policies. That negativism did not have to happen. Immediately after 9-11 there was a wave of sympathy for the U.S. across the whole world, including the Mideast. But Bush squandered it because he apparently cares only about winning the next election and thought a quick victory in Iraq would help him.

There are something like 1 billion Moslems in the world. 99% of them will never ever become terrorists. And there will always be a handful of loonies like the DC snipers or Tim McVeigh in any sup-grouping of humanity. But 1% 1 billion people is ten million people. Whether they can be recruited in large numbers into a group like Al Qaeda makes a tremendous difference. Maybe you feel safer without Saddam. I do too, but I am more concerned about the ten million who Bush seems to be ignoring and who have been turned against us by that ignoring. Even the $87 bil. does little to address terrorism's root causes.


NYGuy - 10/1/2003

Rod,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments and causing me to be clearer on what I am saying. Much of what one’s conclusions are begins with what their starting point is, and as I read your post I believe that is the case here. And that is fine. After all we are dealing with opinions.

To answer your last question first:

“does anyone honestly feel safer now that we have done this?”

Well, yes I do, my family does and many others do. I also understand that others don’t and that is fine and perhaps the reason is we come to this discussion from different viewpoints.

I don’t accept that you have a simple mind, because if I did I would not be answering you now. And I won’t make any snide remarks about your being confused. Your comment and questions are valid and I have to answer them not to convince you but to clarify what I say. And if it makes no sense then it is my fault not yours.

One of the key starting points for me is that we are going through a major technology revolution that is rapidly changing the world. And while you can argue it has gone on for say 30 years, the pace is accelerating and affecting more people each year. In that sense I am saying that the world is getting smaller. Even countries that are being ravaged by poor governments are becoming part of this “internet” of people, something we could not do in the past.

I also pointed out that World Leaders take, or should take a longer-term view of the world and they recognize these changes. Since the changes are so rapid World leaders cannot afford to fall behind in keeping up with these changes otherwise it is my contention that they put themselves in a weaker position both militarily and economically. I think both China and Russia recognize these changes and want to be part of the new world order, as do many other countries. I have little faith in countries such as France and Germany since I don’t think they deserve the position of power they have.

An example of our differences is that you say:

“Following the above statement, you wrote, ”All societies know there are groups that you can not deal reasonably with and delay and lack of conviction is merely a sign of weakness. Wasn't this what OBL and the WTC was all about?” Well… no. It’s not what it was all about – at least not to me. Correct me if I am being too simplistic, but wasn’t it about an incredibly atrocious act brought about by hatred? Were we hated because of delay and lack of conviction? Or do you mean to suggest that because we are a patient people who attempt diplomacy, we brought this murderous disaster on ourselves?

NYGuy

I know I am emotionally attached to the WTC, but I can’t justifying completing the greatest feat in engineering history and the murder of innocent civilians because someone says they don’t like us. Which then leads to my next point that this massive destruction was accomplished without the use of WMD. Again, looking to the future, what type of terror could be carried out by these people who are filled with such hate that they have no respect for citizens of any country? Will WMD be next. My answer is yes unless they are stopped now.

As you know the WTC had people from all over the world that worked there. Since the UN is in NYC it would appear that they would understand what happened and have taken a stronger stance to show one and all that that type of thinking and actions will not be tolerated.

My next starting point is that I believe under the circumstances we have a right to protect ourselves. It just so happened that Saddam’s name came up next. We went to the UN for help and we got the French, remember they build the Maginot line when warfare was becoming more mobile, trying to tell the world what was best for it. In my opinion all it was doing is telling the terrorist what they already knew, “there is no one out there that will stop you.” To protect the US and our allies I believe we did the right thing.

You ask:

“Wasn’t it more like President Bush said there was a youngster pointing a real gun at us… but he had no real proof? I guess the bigger question is, do you feel that our President is justified in lying to the world regarding intelligence on Iraq’s WMD? Was it justified because, as you wrote, ”If nothing else there is a great awareness of WMD's even if they can't be found?”

NYGuy

This last sentence shows me why my writing can be confusing as I combined two thoughts into one paragraph. To answer the first question, using the reasoning in the above paragraph, I believe we have a right to protect ourselves if some kid is crazy enough to point a gun at a cop. And sometimes he will pay for it. We were not bluffing and we were not playing kids games. Sorry Saddam was such a fool.

The second comment is one that GW told the world either we are going do something about WMD or we aren’t. The Looney in North Korea is a great example. What happens if he sets off an atomic attack? Who is going to be happy about that? And if he does not it will prove GW right and that the world is beginning to get the message that this is not a child’s game. Do you think that China who recently rejected removing it subsidies on exports because it would hurt it growing world trade position is going to champion a rogue nation like North Korea? If so then it just means that a nuclear war was inevitable as each side wants to returned to their historical roots and set up regional pacts. So their concern for economic growth was just a lie.

The comment about the French rests on two points. First business prospers in a stable environment and if the UN was more assertive with Saddam, business leaders would be more confident in expanding their operations since there would be less risk, particularly from terrorists. Second, the French delaying tactics in my opinion enabled OPEC to raise oil prices. As one said to me, Hey what it the UN going to do? The answer is nothing and now we have another impediment to economic growth that will hurt Europe, which is already economically weak. Poor economies are breeding places for terrorism and France may well learn some lessons, that their actions hurt their people and spread more terror. But I admit there is no proof that that will happen and is pure speculation, but so would the idea that OPEC would raise oil prices a few weeks ago. And they did.

You say:

“I just can not agree that our President is justified in what he has done. I cannot agree that the billions we are spending in Iraq is necessary and I definitely do not agree with the go-it-alone mentality of the current administration. But what saddens me is the way the Bush administration is using the horrible tragedy of 9/11 to push through a questionable agenda and half the American public buys it!”

NYGuy

That is your opinion and I may not agree with it but I do see your point. But it gets to my contention that this is a good thing because the view that nothing significant could be done about 9/11 has changed because of GW’s leadership and actions. In my mind I believe that the world now understands that they have a choice, become lovers or fighters or terrorists. Daily events and diplomacy is slow, but I believe but will get more support. What are the alternatives? WMD into the Empire State building? I also believe that we are shooting ourselves in the foot by the political wrangling going on in the U. S., but recognize that is part of what makes us great. Getting behind GW would help make this a better world and the great ideas of helping others, which is expressed by many on this board, would be possible.

Lastly, thank you for helping me clarify what seemed apparent to me. Exchanging ideas on this board is what we are trying to do. I believe I present a different perspective, but I don’t say I have all the answers.

Cheers.




Rod Sib - 10/1/2003

NY Guy – I read your statement a few times and I am hoping you can clarify some things for me because I am confused. I am not trying to attack you, but after reading statements you have written in response to various articles, I am sincerely intrigued, yet also baffled, by your thinking. Perhaps I have a simpler mind, but I can rarely see the logic behind your coupling of thoughts and I have yet to see any evidence presented to support your assertions. So, pertaining to your most recent post regarding this article, I would sincerely appreciate it if you would please take a moment to clarify some of your thinking… just in case I am not the only confused person out here.

First, you said, ”When it came to the U. N.'s "big moment", they failed. The are located in NY, they saw "what is possible by rogue segments of our society" and they could not handle it.” What does this mean? What did they fail to do, other than blindly agree with the administration’s assertion that danger from Iraq posed an immediate threat and that war would be the only alternative? What could they not handle?

Following the above statement, you wrote, ”All societies know there are groups that you can not deal reasonably with and delay and lack of conviction is merely a sign of weakness. Wasn't this what OBL and the WTC was all about?” Well… no. It’s not what it was all about – at least not to me. Correct me if I am being too simplistic, but wasn’t it about an incredibly atrocious act brought about by hatred? Were we hated because of delay and lack of conviction? Or do you mean to suggest that because we are a patient people who attempt diplomacy, we brought this murderous disaster on ourselves?

Also, if Iraq had attacked us rather than Al Qaeda, I would have understood that comment. So, I had to assume that it was more of a set-up for your following point – “My perspective is that GW took action to protect the U.S against greater attacks. Saddam was a gambler and he played his hand wrong. If people do not want to play by the new rules when it comes to WMD's then the world has to be firm and let them know that is a bad decision. Like the youngster who points a fake gun at a cop. It is not a smart thing to do.”

Wasn’t it more like President Bush said there was a youngster pointing a real gun at us… but he had no real proof? I guess the bigger question is, do you feel that our President is justified in lying to the world regarding intelligence on Iraq’s WMD? Was it justified because, as you wrote, ”If nothing else there is a great awareness of WMD's even if they can't be found?”

Further in that paragraph, my assumption is that you are trying to tell us that this act will show Iran and North Korea that we mean business. No offense, it was just poorly written and I really struggled to find your point, so if I have missed it, please forgive me. I just can’t see how you arrive at that conclusion. Can you explain why we would attack Iraq when there is clear evidence that the other two countries pose a greater and more immediate threat? I mean to say – no one can argue if you suggested that they are like the proverbial youngster in your analogy. There can be little doubt that either one of those countries is in hot pursuit of a nuclear arsenal or either country is better prepared to harm the U.S. - either directly or indirectly.

Then you start on your statement about containing the terrorists by showing them that it is better to be a lover and not a fighter. What??? That one really confused me, but not as much as the next paragraph that seems an attempt to blame French arrogance for our unemployment caused by higher oil prices. I have to admit, I thought you were just rambling there, but if you feel so inclined, I would actually like to read how you link all of that together.

Its obvious from your various postings that you are a very patriotic and proud American and I would like to think that is one area we have in common. We also would agree that the world is a better place without Saddam in charge of Iraq and that our troops need our support. I just can not agree that our President is justified in what he has done. I cannot agree that the billions we are spending in Iraq is necessary and I definitely do not agree with the go-it-alone mentality of the current administration. But what saddens me is the way the Bush administration is using the horrible tragedy of 9/11 to push through a questionable agenda and half the American public buys it!

Let’s be clear. Saddam was much weaker in 2003 than he was in 1991. Saddam did not attack the USA. President Bush lied about intelligence in order to “sell” the world on attacking Iraq. It did not work and it is backfiring on him. Now we will borrow an additional $87 Billion to pay for this (twice the budget for homeland security) and in the meantime, our troops are still dying. But the big question… does anyone honestly feel safer now that we have done this?


NYGuy - 9/30/2003

Hector,

Fair comment, but perhaps I should have presented my comments in a different context. I start with the WTC being the biggest engineering feat in history. What this tells me is that the potential for even greater damage will grow in the future, enter WMD. As I mentioned before, world leaders look 5-10 years down the road, if not longer, and I believe they understand this even if they try to act in their best interest over the short run.

While debatable, I support a proactive policy of protecting ourselves. When it came to the U. N.'s "big moment", they failed. The are located in NY, they saw "what is possible by rogue segments of our society" and they could not handle it. As I said this is debatable and many said take all the time we need, which was more a message of impotence, than leadership. All societies know there are groups that you can not deal reasonably with and delay and lack of conviction is merely a sign of weakness. Wasn't this what OBL and the WTC was all about?

My perspective is that GW took action to protect the U.S against greater attacks. Saddam was a gambler and he played his hand wrong. If people do not want to play by the new rules when it comes to WMD's then the world has to be firm and let them know that is a bad decision. Like the youngster who points a fake gun at a cop. It is not a smart thing to do.

If nothing else there is a great awareness of WMD's even if they can't be found. While countries like North Korea, Iran and others have made the world aware of sick leader who view WMD as toys to get their way and are not concerned with humanitarian efforts. Meanwhile, economic development can not proceed with terrorists and WMD's. Thus my point that GW had put the real issues on the table for all to see. How the leaders of the world react we will just have to see.

HR

"Terrorism is not something that grows automatically in the brains of peoples living in the Mideast. It has to be taught, and $87 billion would pay the salaries of millions of teachers in the Mideast, and here in America, where hundreds of thousands are being laid off in instead. Thus, instead of an ounce of proven prevention we are opting for a ton of dubious cures. Bush failed us on the former, and now wants us to trust him on the latter. Based on his past history, some of us don't trust him."

NYGuy

Yes, this is an area where we have a disagreement. I think tolerance is also something that is taught and I have been saying that the world is becoming smaller with the rapid growth of technology which is spreading the word that it is better to be a lover than a fighter. As that message grows it shrinks the areas of the world where terrorists can operate and producers of WMD can hide their deadly secrets. If we still have pocket of crime and areas of the city where sane people will not go, then we can't expect to completelyh iradicate such pockets of terrorism around the world. But, in both case we can contain such areas and watch them closely. That is what is starting to happen now.

I was not happy with today's economic reports and thought a recovery in jobs was beginning to accelerate. But I still believe a recovery is on the way. Actually I believe we would have had a more robust world economic recovery if it was not for the French and their arrogant games. Now we have higher oil prices which is not great for jobs, while a more secure and growing Iraq would have provided the confidence needed to restimulate world economic growth. It is a tough choice of being isolationist or "empire builders" as the spoiler say.

But, we do have something in common as we watch the Yankees and cheer for the other team.

Cheers




Hector Rasmussen - 9/30/2003


NY Guy, you tend to combine WMD and terrorism in your comment. Both are problems President Bush would like you to think he is leading the effort to solve, but they are two separate problems. Israel is not automatically a terrorist state because it has nuclear weapons, neither is France, or for that matter, the U.S..

The U.N. has been very active, almost since its inception in the 1940s, to work (within the limits of its limited powers) to inhibit the spread of nuclear bombs. The actual destruction of Iraq's WMD in the 1990s was carried out under U.N. inspections. Quite differently, when Bush ran for president in 2000, he talked mainly about tax cuts. I don't recall him saying anything about WMD or terrorism then. Certainly these were not major themes of his campaign or prominent planks in his platform. What brought these challenges "to the world stage" was the attacks of 9-11, and I don't think you mean to imply that Bush was responsible for those attacks. He was, of course, responsible for agitating the country to go to war, suddenly this year, against Iraq, for reasons that would have been equally valid two, four, or six years earlier. If he had been more straightforward about his reasons then, he would not face the same degree of skepticism with which with his $87 billion request is now being met.

Terrorism is not something that grows automatically in the brains of peoples living in the Mideast. It has to be taught, and $87 billion would pay the salaries of millions of teachers in the Mideast, and here in America, where hundreds of thousands are being laid off in instead. Thus, instead of an ounce of proven prevention we are opting for a ton of dubious cures. Bush failed us on the former, and now wants us to trust him on the latter. Based on his past history, some of us don't trust him.


NYGuy - 9/30/2003

TG

I agree with your assessment of how historians will assess GW up to a point. My disagreement would be with your conclusion:

"If the war encourages or accelerates the development and proliferation of WMDs (especially nukes - and their delivery vehicles) around the world -in Iran, in Pakistan, in North Korea or elsewhere- and if inspectors never uncover any convincing proof of substantial stockpiles in Iraq, it will be Byrd's "sleepwalking through history" and Kennedy's "fraud" remarks that will go into the history books,"

NYGuy

My point would be that GW has brought the entire topic of terrorism and WMD onto the world stage in a way the UN never could achieve. There can no longer be any country that is disinterested in the topic and rely on the UN with its paper tiger organization. Meanwhile, rogue countries can no longer feel free to encourage terrorism or building of WMD and rely on the UN to provide a cover for them through their delaying debate tactics.

North Korea has shown its hand and its strong resolved with WMD would only be greater without GW's action. Being in Afganistan and Iraq has made it more difficult to carry out clanderstine actions and regard them as local actions unrelated to a world that is growing smaller each year. And we now view terrorists actions in the Philippines, Indonesia and other hot spots as being a global problem affecting everyone and not a local issue. Every country now knows that it can not close an eye to these activities while trying to promote economic growth since eventually everyone will have to pay the piper, and it will be expensive. I use the recent power actions in the U. S., London, and Italy as examples of how all are now thinking. If the world was not still afraid of terrorism and WMD we would not have the first comments from the countries being effected that, "these blackouts are not terror related." This means to me that everyone knows one day it could and it might involve WMD. I won't be naive with a prediction, but I hope the world is now realizing they were on a suicide mission before GW and the U. S. stepped in.


Thomas Gallatin - 9/29/2003

Mr. Shenkman suggests that President Bush has stalled because his spin doctors backed him away from proven tactics of fearmongering. That may well be the case, but historians looking back at this period are probably not going to pay much attention to the ups and downs of poll figures, or to an $87 dollar figure that is only a partial installment of a much larger eventual price tag.

The big questions have to do with the weapons of mass destruction Iraq was alleged to have had. WMDs are now, and for the forseeable future will remain, a major challenge faced by our civilization. If solid evidence turns up that the spread of such weaponry was slowed by the recent war, then Bush's presidency will almost certainly be judged positively. If the war encourages or accelerates the development and proliferation of WMDs (especially nukes - and their delivery vehicles) around the world -in Iran, in Pakistan, in North Korea or elsewhere- and if inspectors never uncover any convincing proof of substantial stockpiles in Iraq, it will be Byrd's "sleepwalking through history" and Kennedy's "fraud" remarks that will go into the history books, not whether George W. Bush followed his "role model" Reagan faithfully or not, or whether he cleverly or unwisely chose the "Gray Cooper path" in his pep talks.


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