The WaPo nails Al Gore’s absurd speech (you know the one that all the ‘moderate’ Democrats were crowing about):
Mr. Gore, who not so long ago was describing Iraq as a “virulent threat in a class by itself,” validated just about every conspiratorial theory of the antiwar left. President Bush, in distorting evidence about the Iraqi threat, was pursuing policies “designed to benefit friends and supporters.” The war was waged “at least partly in order to ensure our continued access to oil.” And it occurred because “false impressions” precluded the nation from conducting a serious debate before the war.
This notion — that we were all somehow bamboozled into war — is part of Mr. Gore’s larger conviction that Mr. Bush has put one over on the nation, and not just with regard to Iraq.
You can see why he might want to think so. Mr. Gore believes, for example, that the Patriot Act represents “a broad and extreme invasion of our privacy rights in the name of terrorism.” But then how to explain that 98 senators — including all four Democratic senators now running for president — voted for it? The president’s economic and environmental policies represent an “ideologically narrow agenda” serving only “powerful and wealthy groups and individuals who manage to work their way into the inner circle.”
But then why do so many other people support those policies? Mr. Gore has an umbrella explanation, albeit one that many Americans might find a tad insulting: “The administration has developed a highly effective propaganda machine to embed in the public mind mythologies. . . . ”
Thus, Mr. Gore maintains, we were all under the “false impression” that Saddam Hussein was “on the verge of building nuclear bombs,” that he was “about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs,” that he was partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. And because of these “false impressions,” the nation didn’t conduct a proper debate about the war. But there was extensive debate going back many years; last fall and winter the nation debated little else. Mr. Bush took his case to the United Nations. Congress argued about and approved a resolution authorizing war. And the approval did not come, as Mr. Gore and other Democrats now maintain, because people were deceived into believing that Saddam Hussein was an “imminent” threat who had attacked the World Trade Center or was about to do so.
The Washington Post correctly identifies this as nothing more than what Lileks called the arrogant sheeple meme:
well it’s good to see another long, thoughtful post from the conservative side..You’re getting better and better, while my old favorite Tacitus seems more and more obsessed with Islamism and a few other distinct foreign policy topics, to the detriment of many other important issues (it’s been ages since i’ve seen a good domestic policy discussion over there, for example). I want to see rational arguments from the opposition to clarify my thoughts, and you’re delivering. Keep it up.
that being said….I think you hit a lot of key ideas here, almost to the point where, like the abortion debate, it gets to the point where the facts are on the table, and you just simply have to choose what and who you believe, and what you value.
First, everyone likes to label their opposition’s arguments “conspiracy theories.” It’s a cheap rhetorical tactic no more honest than “no blood for oil” – although it’s also dishonest to claim that oil plays no role – it’s a legitimate geopolitical issue. (IIRC, the Wash Post editorial board, that bastion of left wing liberalism, supported the war. Nobody likes to admit possible mistakes, and I’m not saying this alone accounts for the harshness of their post, but..) I also would argue that the anti-war crowd isnt all anti-war, more anti-this-war, and not all on the “left.” But…anyway.
If all four Dem senators running for president voted for the patriot act, then other Democrats can’t really say anything bad about it? This only shows why I’ll never vote for the pro-iraq-war, pro-patriot act folks. You might have noticed a Dean surge. I wonder why…
as to this psychological “a-ha!” point about Gore and the Democrats thinking people were sheepish and fooled into war: Yes. I do think they put one over on the public, and I’ve been saying that for a while now, and so have many war opponents. It’s not so damning in my mind.
>The president’s economic and environmental policies represent an “ideologically narrow agenda” serving only “powerful and wealthy groups and individuals who manage to work their way into the inner circle.” But then why do so many other people support those policies? Mr. Gore has an umbrella explanation, albeit one that many Americans might find a tad insulting: ” The administration has developed a highly effective propaganda machine to embed in the public mind mythologies. . . . ”
Yep. I completely agree with the explanation. The American people were under a false impression with the saddam-9/11 bit and teh president’s WMD scare tactics, heaped on top of their already largely ignorant hawkish minds, and so they sided, wrongly IMHO, with the war guy. If you think this is such an insulting anti-democratic argument, think real hard and you might remember that Hitler grew out of a democratic government, and most people then seemed to think he was right too. I’m NOT saying Bush=Hitler, just that it’s possible for a democratic majority to be misled, misguided, and flat-out wrong. A majority supported intervention in Vietnam for most of the time too. I don’t think that’s patronizing to point out. I think it’s just the truth. It might not comply with our noble individualist society to admit that a large segment of the American public really are ignorant sheeple, but for better or worse, I think it’s sadly true. I don’t like it, but that’s why those freaky “iconoclasts” questioning the majority are never people to automatically deride and ignore. They just might be right.
>He’s not the only Democrat who thinks he can have it both ways, pandering to anti-Bush passion while protecting his national-security flank.
Right. Pro-Iraq War = National Security. Huh? To borrow a line of thought from Bob Graham, I think the guys who supported the Iraq business hurt national security, when they should have been supporting diplomacy, spending the money on homeland security, and using the troops to stabilize Afghanistan and find the guy who actually attacked us on 9/11. I think it’s quite possible to be “strong” on national security (taking positions such as supporting defense and Afghanistan) while thinking of Iraq as stupid and unnecessary. I think Graham and Dean both manage this in different ways. I think only the most arrogant, patronizing supporter of war in Iraq would refuse to admit much wrong with their case now and claim that its support is equal to “support of American strength and democracy promotion.” And that’s why Joe Lieberman is the only Democrat I would never even CONSIDER voting for at this point.
And if you enjoy the neo-conservatism of so-called liberal media like the Post, you might enjoy The New Republic, whose hawks never saw a war they didn’t like and see as politically necessary. They also like to refuse any credit to the opponents of a war, and take any opening (or non-opening) to slam Dean and crew for “weakness.” Kind of appropriate that my subscription to their intellectual cowardice and dishonesty ended with the anti-Dean flurry. It’s sad when being right is now a wrong.
after thinking some more, I figured I’d clarify that I wish I could support the heroic libertarian ideal of trusting noble rational individuals to make good decisions on their own, but when it comes to things like foreign policy, well…i’m sure you could find a million stories like this. *sigh* (although I blame the educational system as much as the people themselves for the ignorance.) They don’t know squat about fopo, so they trust the great leader in whatever he says, or at least more than they would with jobs/health care, etc, issues they can more easily visualize and put in perspective. Now you seem like fairly libertarian in many ways, so this whole strain must seem patently offensive to you, John, but it’s just what I see as a sad, necessary, truth – and I’m afraid the sheeple idea has yet to be debunked in my mind, especially in regard to foreign policy:
“I don’t care about it at all,” says Sims, while her mother and sister nod in agreement, “because we don’t know anything about this [classified] intelligence. We can’t know, as ordinary citizens, and we don’t want to know — it’s scary — and that’s why we have leaders, and they worry about that for us. I trust him to lead. I trust that he’s doing good things in the Oval Office and not bad things, if you know what I mean.
Sean, you seem like you have a thoughtful and nuanced grasp of the issues. Keep thinking; it’s the only way to get us out of this mess. And as far as the post goes,
“This notion — that we were all somehow bamboozled into war — is part of Mr. Gore’s larger conviction that Mr. Bush has put one over on the nation, and not just with regard to Iraq.”
In his book, The Best Democracy Money can Buy, Greg Palast presents hard evidence that over 60,000 traditionally Democratic voters (read: mostly blacks) were wrongly disenfranchised by faulty voter purge lists. BushCorp. stole the election in 2000, and that’s only the main reason why I’d vote for a trained monkey instead of him in 2004.
You don’t have to get in bed with the word “sheeple” to know that the average American’s impression of political, and especially foreign policy, matters is manipulable. It is possible simultaneously to believe that Americans are smart, common-sensical people and to know that polls showed 45 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the 9/11 attacks.
When you are prepared to make some serious attempt to understand this paradox, you will be ready to have a discussion with Al Gore. He has a serious position to espouse; so far, all we have here is shallow ridicule and substitution of a straw man for Gore’s actual argument.
Sorry, one more:
“they have always felt the unwashed masses are dim bulbs who need to be protected-most of the time from ourselves.”
balloon-juice-hyde, one post earlier:
“One of the main reasons the government is as inefficient and ineffective as it is might be because they have to deal with morons and cretins all day long-in other words, taxpayers are stupid.”
Self-contradiction is the key to true creativity, but one should at least manifest a kind of awareness of what one has written before.
Mark- I thought the same thing when I wrote it…
There is a difference, however. Try to find it.
John Cole: Mark-
“There is a difference, however. Try to find it”
The difference is that, rather than ‘protecting’ the ‘stupid taxpayers’, you think they should be manipulated for gain. ie, you believe the sheeple should be fleeced, and that is acceptable, moral, ethical behavior.
The eight senators cum candidates are waking up to the fact they were deceived.
Courtesy of Atrios, here’s Fred Barnes 2/5/2003:
And here’s Barnes defending Bush against Al Gore:
John, don’t be one of those sheep. Bush is a liar, we Republicans should be up in arms about our (and I mean OUR) parties refusal to nominate a real candidate. They leave us no choice but to vote for a corrupt liar (Bush), vote for a rat, or not vote at all. I’m not going to spoil my perfect voting record so I’m going to vote for Dean. I wish you wouldn’t spread this absolute bullshit either. Why don’t we encourage a real Republican to run against Bush (Frist anyone?)
It’s hilarious that you can deride those (democrats) who point out the unthinking mass behaviour of the US population, just after your “Mosquito Hysteria and the War Against DDT” post where you offer the line “One of the main reasons the government is as inefficient and ineffetive as it is might be because they have to deal with morons and cretins all day long- in other words, taxpayers are stupid.”
You seem to lack basic short-term memory!
I guess that AlGore’s (on the opinion of the population RE:Iraq) assessment was made on the basis of polls, whereas you just extrapolated from ONE letter. Much more reliable.
One of the ’93 WTC bombers was walking the streets as a free man in Iraq.
He was a member of al qaeda.
Iraq was harboring a member of al qaeda & one of our most wanted.
Rusty said: “Bush is a liar, we Republicans should be up in arms about our (and I mean OUR) parties refusal to nominate a real candidate.” Uh, Rusty, you are most likely NOT a republican. Over 95% of republicans support the president and there is absolutley no groundswell for an alternative. You are like those hard-left dems who call in to C-Span and say something like “I have always been a republican but I cannot take it anymore. I now support such-and-such hard-left position blahblahblah”
RW, 19 members of Al Qaeda were walking around freely in the USA until 9/11, so by your logic the USA harbors terrorists and is in cahoots with Al Qaeda. (I can’t wait to see your analysis applied to Saudi Arabia.)
Saddam was not involved in 9/11, he had no operational ties to Al Qaeda, he didn’t get along well with Islamic Fundamentalists, and deposing him (whatever its merits on other grounds) does not inhibit Al Qaeda.
Nor, RW, does your argument in any way resolve the obvious inconsistency in Fred Barnes’ statements.
That is quite a straw-man, that hijackers, UNKNOWN terrorists can walk around in the US is just like known terrorists can walk around Baghdad.
Look, I personally don’t know whether Saddam had anything to do w/ 9-11, and can absolutely believe that he did not.
But to believe that a known terrorist can blithely walk around Iraq without the knowledge of the Iraqi government is about as believable as the idea that known terrorists could blithely walk around Stalin’s Moscow or Hitler’s Berlin.
Iraq was hardly a democracy, with porous borders, Andrew, and it says much about your view of us (and about Iraq) that you could imply that they’d have open borders.
Stick w/ arguing that Saddam had nothing to do w/ 9-11; at least there, the facts do not automatically belie your comments.
If you’ll check virtually any liberal blog, you’ll find that the Post put a news story up the very same day that directly contradicts everything this editorial says.
It’s kind of amazing – the same sort of disconnect of dishonesty that one finds on the WSJ editorial page.
And Ricky – on September 10th, 2001, the bombers were walking our streets as free men. Correlation is not causality, as I’m sure you know.