...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

August 30, 2005

NPR Opinion Piece

i just read one of the dumbest things i've read in a while. "Lack Of Mandate On Iraq Haunts Bush," by Ron Elving, NPR's "supervising senior Washington editor." Knowledge of history or political science seems not to be a pre-requisite for his job. On the contrary, the ability to produce a slanted argument from out one's butthole looks like an asset.

While the premise―Bush's lack of a mandate on the Iraq War―is reasonable enough, the op-ed piece went downhill soon after the byline. Elving's theory, no doubt taught to impressionable young minds when he was a professor at Georgetown's Graduate Public Policy Institute, is that "the scope of [a president's] plans must be matched by the breadth of [his] support.

Elving calls this the Rule of Proportionate Mandate. i cannot find any mention of such a rule in my own library, but never mind. It seems reasonable when applied to republics such as ours. That is, as long as one ignores the historical exceptions to the so-called rule. The plans of Lincoln, FDR, Truman and even Churchill are the most obvious examples.

But this quote here is a real doozie:

Before invading Iraq, the administration of President Bush needed the broad backing of three constituencies: the Iraqi people, the international community and the American public. In each case, the administration heard just enough of what it wanted to hear to conclude it had sufficient support. In each case, it was wrong. [emphasis added]
i love Elving's new take on Kerry's "Global Test" doctrine. Did you catch it? Not only should America have the support of certain foreign powers before acting in its self-interest, but America should also have the support of its enemies before going to war!

Wow. This guy was teaching graduate students? In D.C. no less. That's scary.

Elving goes on to re-state the tired old canard that the "Coalition of the Willing" was really a disguise for unilateral action. Never mind the much debated question of whether the over 48 countries who initially signed on to help us were "window dressing" or not. Since when has the commander-in-chief been prohibited from exercising the war powers unilaterally? There is no such requirement in Constitutional law or history. Let's be clear. A president has never been required to seek "the broad backing of the international community." That's complete hogwash. i'll agree that international support is nice to have, but true leadership does not find it necessary before acting.

Then Elving says that support for the war has never been an overwhelming majority such "as in the case of Pearl Harbor or the invasion of Afghanistan." Again, hogwash. In January 2004, for example, 65% of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center thought that the war in Iraq was the "right decision," versus only 30% who thought it was the "wrong decision." Note that support for the war continued to lead by 20 points or more even when Bush's approval rating dipped below his disapproval rating a few months later, according to Pew.

Elving might rightly point out that previous support for the war has eroded today,* but for him to say that it never existed is a lie, and he should know better.

[cross-posted at A Western Heart]

* In my opinion, this is thanks to a combination of consistent media negativity and consistently inept public relations at the White House.

Posted by annika, Aug. 30, 2005 | TrackBack (1)
Rubric: annikapunditry


Fine, fine post. Apparently taking the right course of action first requires that many, many groups of people nod their heads in robotic unison first.

By the way, in future posts, I grant you permission to substitute "hogwash" with "buffalo chips."

Posted by: Mark on Aug. 31, 2005

Great piece, annika. I thought you might like to see this, in which an Iraqi politician talks about who *isn't* helping the Iraqi people. It's a touch long, but well worth watching.

Posted by: Victor on Aug. 31, 2005

I forgot to include what I see as The Money Quote: We do not hold ourselves accountable. This is why America came to demand that the Arabs be accountable. We must have more self-confidence and be accountable before others hold us accountable. We must discipline ourselves before the Americans and English discipline us. We must maintain human rights, which we have neglected for 1,300 or 1,400 years, to this day - until the arrival of the Americans, the Christians, the English, the Zionists, or the Crusaders - call them what you will. They came to teach you, the followers of Muhammad, how to respect human rights.

(That's what I get for previewing for once...)

Posted by: Victor on Aug. 31, 2005


There was wide support for the war in JAn 2004 as you say, but only because the American public and the OCngress, had been misled into believing that there was a connection between Iraq and 911. Chaney said it so many times, "Yes, Saddam was involved in 911" even after others in the government including the pinhead himself admitted in a news conference that there was less than conclusive evidence of his involvement, that the basically under-educated American voter, believed in the connection. (Chaney clearly learned something about lying from the Nazi's) So asked if the assult on Iraq was the 'right" response, they were answering affirmatively, but they had been lied to.

Had the facts in evidence been put on the table there would have been little support for the destruction of Iraq.

And for you, a shootingly bright girl, not to recognize the "coalition" as a sham is incredible.

Posted by: Strawman on Aug. 31, 2005

Strawman, it's difficult to know if you're teasing us or you're serious because your entire line of reasoning has been disproven over and over.

Saddam and 9/11 were very much connected, and Saddam and terror and al Queda were even more connected. This is illustrated in Stephen Hayes's book "The Connection." You need to read it.

Your condescension toward the average American ("the basically under-educated American voter, believed in the connection. [Chaney clearly learned something about lying from the Nazi's"]) is shameful. Is it any wonder that the average American voter isn't voting for your side anymore?

No one lied to anyone, and you know it. Even if you're correct, whatever the President said regarding WMD had been repeated by President Clinton, his staff, major Democrating Senators, and the United Nations. Please stop hiding behind this "Bush lied" slogan simply because we did not find a CostCo worth of nukes.

45+ countries lending our support is a "sham"? Please tell this to Italy, Poland, the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands especially. Funny how some DEMANDED an "international coalition" and when this President finally gets country after country involved, it's a "sham"? What kind of appreciation is this?

Posted by: Mark on Aug. 31, 2005

Even after Pearl Harbor, FDR by no means had an absolute mandate for his strategy. Many were opposed to the "Germany first" policy estalished by General Marshall, pointing out that after all it was Japan, not Germany, that had attacked us. Sound familiar?

Posted by: David Foster on Aug. 31, 2005

It's a simple thing really. There are only two schools of thought in this instance. You either run to get in front of where the chattering classes want to go, or chart your course by the light of reason as God has given you to see it. The former is feckless political self-interest, and the latter leadership. Any questions about who is who?

Posted by: Casca on Aug. 31, 2005


I think you prove my point about the average American voter.

The lies are obvious, whether Clinton or any other official spoke them, they were lies. No, Mark, it is not enough say nobody believes that old story and poof it disappears. The lies were and still are believed by millions upon millions of Americans. No WMD, no Uranium diffusion, no germs, no support of the 911 crew, no nothing except a pre-existing condition of traitorous neo-con strategists bent on inserting America's reach into the oil fields of Iraq and environs. I think I would rather listen to Richard Clarke than your hack Hayes. Condi spoke out of both side of her reptilian little mouth. He was at every meeting; he was out of the loop. Aluminum tubes ring a bell Mark? Mobile germ warfare station ring a bell Mark? The war will cost less than a billion dollars ring a bell Mark? What crap and 2000 young men and women are dead. The right is notorious for dragging out these hacks to spew the party line. How can we forget David Brock’s attack on Anita Hill? Bought and paid for by the VRWC and a lie.

Read something critical you fool


Weekly Standard staff writer and author of the book The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America (released on June 1 by Rupert Murdoch's publishing house HarperCollins), Stephen F. Hayes has appeared in recent months on numerous cable and Sunday talk shows to support his contention that there was indeed a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Despite vigorous critiques that have undermined the credibility of Hayes's contention, conservative pundits have embraced Hayes and his book in order to, in the words of Center for Strategic and International Studies fellow Daniel A. Benjamin, "shore up the rickety argument that Baathist Iraq had posed a real national security threat to the United States."

Just another hack and you my good man are his dupe.

45 countries who lent minuscule support and only because they were threatened with reprisals. We threaten everybody. We won’t send money to countries that don’t tow the line. Yesterday the military busted a career procurement officer because she expresses her outrage at the KBRoot contracts with the government. Valerie Plame, ring a bell?

Mark you are a living a dream, a sick destructive vile militaristic dream about America’s motives and worth.

Chaney’s Mentor-

Later, Joseph Goebbels put forth a slightly different theory which has come to be more commonly associated with the phrase big lie. In this theory, the English are attributed with using a propaganda technique where in they had the mendacity to "lie big" and "stick to it".²

Posted by: strawman on Aug. 31, 2005

Anita Hill? You lost me there.

Anyways, my position is well known. Given that i believe the move against Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do regardless of the existence of WMD at the time of the invasion, i don't really care whether Bush was wrong about that particular justification or not. i don't believe he lied, but if he did, i don't care because Saddam had to go.

By the way, one reason i don't believe he lied is because he hasn't planted WMD, which he could have easily done. If Bush were as diabolical and without conscience as many of his critics say he is (and someone who would intentionally start a war solely to enrich himself and his rich cronies can only be described as diabolical and without conscience) i don't understand why he wouldn't have planted WMD to silence his critics by now. Nixon certainly would have.

Another reason i don't believe Bush lied is because i have been following the debate since it started, and i have yet to hear an anti war argument that is persuasive to me, personally. i have used my own judgment, and i've tried to have an open mind, but i simply have not heard a single argument against our strategy that outweighs the argument for it.

This is not to say that i've found all criticisms of Bush's Iraq policy to be completely without merit. Just most of them. If things eventually work out in Iraq, as i believe they will, the strategy will be vindicated. The trick is to make it work, and since we're in it now, i think it's insane to work against our success there.

Posted by: annika on Aug. 31, 2005


We are supposed to believe this man because he did not commit capital crimes (planting WMD) so therefore he is honest and would not lie? You're funny. This is the most repellent, and childish rationalization I have ever heard. Nixon would have, and he lied about his knowledge of the break in, so W didn't plant wmd, therefore he lied about nothing. You went to college right?

How about this, Clinton didn't have "real" sex with Monica and he could have so I don't think she really blew him.

And what will you say if things don't work out in Iraq? Then will you care about the many ever changing justifications and the perjury he committed before Congress and the American people? This adventure will NOT work out. America has had ZERO success at making these things work out. You find yourself scratching your head and wondering if he chose the wrong dictator? Maybe it should have been Bashar al-ASAD of Syria? Or one the Saudi pigs? Pinhead chose the one in who's country women were the most liberated in the ME, the one with a secular government and the most western way of life. They all murder and torture and are repelled by the "freedom" George is trying to spread. So what was so special about Iraq? Was Saddam's aggression against Kuwait worse than ours against him? At least there was a connection: Kuwait was arbitrarily ripped from Iraq by the British and was a provence of Iraq. You think Texas is nice and we deserved to keep it, right? You do remember it belonged to Mexico and we took it because it started to look like it was part of the US. And had Mexico been able to raise a large expeditionary force, invaded and punished the States that would have been a bad thing, right?

Terrible rulers are as common as ratus ratus, my dear, and most of them owe their lives to the good old US of A, Saddam certainly did, Rummy used to give him big hugs and Dad would have licked his ass up and down the Euphrates as long as he was fighting the good fight against Iran. Was he not an evil man then? Were his rape rooms empty, and his mass graves un-dug? Who made that gas he used on those pain in the ass Kurds? We liked him then and had no moral problem, we dislike him now and we feign a moral problem to get at the oil. That is all. The rest is bullshit. And now we have a president who is too dumb to even know the difference, talk about a guy living a dream. He is a student of nothing and an expert at faith and we all know where faith gets you. AlGathafi was evil incarnate for a while, we shot up his house and killed his kid or wife, but then we lost interest. What about all the Latin American dictators we installed and supported, Batista (SP), Somoza, Pinochet just to name a few. Honey, we love dictators, rapists, torturers, destroyers of freedom as long as they are kind to our business interests, when they are not we call them commies and try to kill them or in this case substitute terrorist state for commies and scapegoat them. This took the heat off the real villians, the rest of the Bin Ladens, and the Arabs with their derricks up our butts and our cash in their banks.

Remember that dream I mentioned the other day? Please try waking up.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 1, 2005

i noticed that you didn't refute the argument about planting WMD, but that's okay. i didn't expect to persuade you, but i do think it's interesting.

Your diatribe demonstrates that you think my country has done some terrible things. Maybe so. Maybe we don't deserve all the territory we stole by Guadalupe Hidalgo. What should we do? Give it back? It's pointless now to argue about that, so i don't understand why you'd bring it up in the comments to a post about a guy who wrote a thing that i think is stupid.

You anger at this country in general and the president in particular is unfocused, illogical and a little scary. Again, i ask you to seek help. Watch more Hannity, drink my brand of Kool Aid. i gaurantee you'll feel better. The world is what it is, but it isn't as bad as you think.

; )

Posted by: annika on Sep. 1, 2005


A quick response:

The texas example was to help you understand that history is the great equivicator. Yes, we can't give back Texas but it should and can help us judge and respond to situations that are occuring currently. THe US is and has been for most of its existance a selfserving, morally repugnant blight on the earth. Not entirely but the pan of the scale tips prescipitously to the bad. We have the potential to do the most good and have for the most part chosen to do less and in so many instances have gone to bed with the devil. We give the most in foreign aid only when judged in raw dollars and the least when evaluated as a percent of our countries wealth. It is a disgrace yet we pound our chest with pride. And when we give aid we always attach strings. We try to shape the internal policies and morals of the receiving society in ways we don't even try at home. If a clinic mentions abortion as a possibility to a client we withold aid. If a country supports sex workers and treats them as men and women who do an honest days work we won't give aid. The RR gets its way with this "faith based" administration in so many ways its a scandal.

I won't even get into our militaristic adventures.

Gore Vidal is more my speed than that ignorant prick Hannity. A genuine lying sack of shit like those he defends.


What color did you say that cool aid was? Cerise? Azure? and the vintage? I like my cool aid French

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 2, 2005