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Bloviating Zeppelin: Bush: A Swaggering Dismissal Of Dissenting Views?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bush: A Swaggering Dismissal Of Dissenting Views?

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus thinks the Bush Presidency suffers from too much "manliness."

In response to the upcoming book "Manliness," by Harvey C. Mansfield (a conservative professor of government at Harvard University) -- in which his thesis is that manliness, which he sums up as "confidence in the face of risk," is a misunderstood and unappreciated attribute -- columnist Marcus says:

No wimpiness worries now. This is an administration headed by a cowboy boot-wearing brush-clearer, backstopped by a quail-shooting fly fisherman comfortable with long stretches of manly silence -- very "Brokeback Mountain," except this crowd considers itself too manly for such PC Hollywood fare. "I would be glad to talk about ranchin', but I haven't seen the movie," Bush told a questioner.

She further writes:

The undisputed manliness of the Bush White House stands in contrast to its predecessors and wannabes. If Republicans are the Daddy Party and Democrats the Mommy Party, the Clinton White House often operated like Mansfield's vision of an estrogen-fueled kaffeeklatsch: indecisive and undisciplined. (Okay, there were some unfortunate, testosterone-filled moments, too.) Bill Clinton's would-be successor, Al Gore, was mocked for enlisting Naomi Wolf to help him emerge as an alpha male; after that, French-speaking John Kerry had to give up windsurfing and don hunting gear to prove he was a real man. And Bush's father, of course, had to battle the Wimp Factor. Mansfield recalls Thatcher's manly admonition to 41 on the eve of the Persian Gulf War: "Don't go wobbly on me, George."

But is that really the problem? Marcus continues:

But the manliness of the Bush White House has a darker side that has proved more curse than advantage. The prime example is the war in Iraq: the administration's assertion of the right to engage in preemptive and unilateral war; the resolute avoidance of debate about the "slam-dunk" intelligence on weapons of mass destruction; the determined lack of introspection or self-doubt about the course of the war; and the swaggering dismissal of dissenting views as the carping of those not on the team.

I have written here at length about my agreements and disagreements with the various policies of President Bush. But one thing I will not fault Mr. Bush on is his "gumption" or "stick-to-it-iveness." And there is one issue over which I will absolutely insist on a president displaying those qualities: terrorism. I want a president unwavering in his or her commitment to keep my country safe. Marcus writes:

What this country could use is a little less manliness -- and a little more of what you would describe as womanly qualities: restraint, introspection, a desire for consensus, maybe even a touch of self-doubt.

I submit: regarding terrorism, that's precisely what we do want: more "manliness."


In a further display of heinous "manliness," President Bush said the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.

Acknowledging the public's growing unease with the war - and election-year skittishness among fellow Republicans - the president nonetheless vowed to keep U.S. soldiers in the fight.

"If I didn't believe we could succeed, I wouldn't be there. I wouldn't put those kids there," Bush declared.

He also stood by embattled Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.


Mr. Bush called on Helen Thomas today for the first time in literally a few years, and she wasted no time in an attempt to slam the president and his administration:

Q: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --

Q: Everything --

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

Q: -- everything I've heard --

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people. Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --

Q: They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --

Q: I'm talking about Iraq --

THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans. I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --

Q: -- go to war --

THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

Once again -- too much "manliness?" I think not.


Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 21 06

WEll he made her look like an ass. I am happy he picked her too. He has known for years that she was gonna try to rip him to pieces but I think his public speaking skills have improved to the point where he said "Screw this woman, I'm gonna ENGAGE!" And I think that is reasonable. She has probably had those same questions for like five years now! Ha! I was pleased with his response to be sure and agree basically. I don't like war, but I damned sure don't want to allow terrorists to get their hands on nukes to kill me and we just allow them to do it either!!! Good post.

Tue Mar 21, 12:19:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I was listening to Thomas speak on one of those Sunday news programs recently and what she asked today was from her mantra then. It hasn't changed. And he won't change either -- nor do we want him to change on this issue.

No sane person wants war. But if we have to reach across the oceans, a thing that (as Bush noted) once protected us, to assure our continuance as a sovereign nation, then I am all for that.

Tue Mar 21, 12:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Bush messes up on occasion and I don't agree with him on every talking point -- and disagree with him vehemently on one particular issue. Nevertheless, on the issue of Terrorism I am solidly in his corner with regard to the NSA wiretaps and the Patriot Act -- against my libertarian bent as well.

We do NOT need homicide bombers cooking off on street corners and in our malls and our post offices and on school buses. We do NOT need a SADM cooking off in the midst of downtown Detroit or Los Angeles or Atlanta.

Tue Mar 21, 12:33:00 PM PST  
Blogger Fish said...

I'm totally with the President on terrorism. We can fight them in their homes or fight them in ours. Wonder why so many Americans can't seem to grasp that simple fact.

Tue Mar 21, 02:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Fish: that's the concept distilled down to its most base. I couldn't have written it better myself.

What portion of that concept is so terribly difficult to understand? I would so MUCH rather it be THERE than HERE.

Tue Mar 21, 02:59:00 PM PST  
Blogger James Manning said...

I don't have an issue with the manliness or the 'stick to it' attitude of the president. The problem I have is what he's sticking to. A failed and failing policy.

Fact 1: When asked about a plan for civil war in Iraq he responded that the job is to prevent civil war (meaning, they don't have a plan like they had no plan for the insurgency).

Fact 2: Their plan is to allow the iraqi military to deal with it. Well, the Iraqi army is made up of Kurdish and Shiite malitias. So you want them to intervene in a civil war when they death squads?

Fact 3: This administration is all about slogans and ideology. When pressed into action, they falter. So it's easy to present that bravado but I judge folks on outcome - and this President fails almost every time.

I don't care about him being a cowboy or his attitude. He sucks, IMHO.

And that 'fight them over there so we don't fight them over here' slogan is a silly one and flies in the face of the fact that we are fighting terrorist here. Seriously, how many terrorist organization are there in the world? Are you saying that every terrorist is concentrated in getting into Iraq? I doubt it. If we had 500,000 troops in Iraq there is still a chance that tomorrow a terrorist attack could take place on our soil. That's our reality.

NOTE: Don't use the cut and run slogan on me. That's a stupid on too. I'm saying, get a better plan because the one the president has is not working.

Tue Mar 21, 04:10:00 PM PST  
Blogger sandy said...

Well James, since we have not been attacked on our soil or in our homes since 9/11, something must be working. Or do you consider us just lucky?

It's always good to take the fight to the enemy when you can. I can't see our country sitting on it's ass after Pearl Harbor and waiting for Japan to come here.

And you say we are fighting the terriosts here. Okay James, when, how and where are we fighting them here.

Tue Mar 21, 04:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Ya know, Bush DOES have a set of balls and he is not afraid to show his *macho* side, and unlike his predecessor, he keeps those balls in his pants...

The man makes mistakes, who doesn't, but he TRIES to do good things...

And THAT is the reason I have never been able to just turn my back on him, he does TRY...

Tue Mar 21, 05:29:00 PM PST  
Blogger Fish said...

No James I didn't even insinuate the terrorists are concentrated in Iraq, but that is only the site getting the press. We've sent troops into dozens of other areas of the middle east, Africa, etc. to take out terrorist training bases and groups it's just not major news according the the MSM. By hitting them over there we've kept them on the run to some extent and IMHO that is why we've not seen many repeats greater or lesser than 9/11 here at home.

Tue Mar 21, 07:53:00 PM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Planning for a civil war is a difficult thing, seeing as how you don't know which way it will split and when. We have changed from hard plans to flexible response based on available capability. I call this NetWar in which you use what you have in the best way possible and push down command capability to the lowest level. This works once the troops get thoroughly trained in where they will be, which is exactly what has happened. Also, the plan to handle a Civil War was to let the Iraqi military do so. Notice that there have been ZERO deaths due to Iraqi military intervention to stop the hotheads?

Also, the Sunnis have been signing up in very high numbers for the last year. While still disproportionately Kurd and Shia, the New Iraqi Army is slowly shifting in demographics to reflect the population as a whole. Also, the military echelons within the New Iraqi Army have clearly stated that if they intervene to stop conflict, that is what they will do and NOT take sides.

There are three sides in Iraq. When two out of three sides want to fight each other and the third wants peace and the military will follow those that wants peace, which of the sides wins? Side three. In this case, the Kurds. Neither the Sunni nor the Shia's want to make the Kurds into the peacemakers for their country.

The tactics used against both Sunni and Shia are *identical*. This points to another force wanting to inflame those two sides. The insurgents, strangely enough, do not want a civil war now as they know they will be slaughtered in trying to do so. Only terrorists want a civil war at this point. By the end of the summer over 75% of Iraq will be under control of the New Iraqi Army, up from 60% now.

I too, judge by outcome. And when each and every part of the Executive testifies before Congress and tells it: we are doing all we can do and it is not enough. I then expect Congress to damn well examine what THEY can do to help. If you think the GWOT is not being well pursued then know that the Executive does NOT have all the powers for warfare. Within what the Constitution has set up, this President has done as full an exercise of the Powers invested in that Office to uphold the Oath as anyone could ask for.

It is not enough.

The mighty Powers that We The People have given Congress to regularize Treaties, make the Laws of the Sea, to regularize Commerce with Foreign Nations and to use the full warmaking powers *beyond* declaring war are all still there. Congress can, yea and verily, tell our trading partners via treaty that: Here is a list of individuals, companies, groups, organizations and nations that support the sworn enemies of the United States and this Congress will be putting an end to all trade going to our enemies.

Congress can then, after doing so, set out a list of items and goods and transport types that it will set Bounties upon and give Warrants to private Americans and companies of them to stop, search and seize vessels carrying contraband listed and return them to ports, embassies or to military units so that the Executive may verify the goods and the seizure. Then a Bounty will be paid to those doing such good work or given the right to dispose of the entire vessel and its goods as those with the Warrant would like to do. All funds garnered are tax free.

To those doing Commerce with the enemy, you would be warned to stop doing such as the Congress has had it with you.

This is not only legal it is IN the Constitution! And we are one of the very few countries on this planet NOT to have signed away that right. No one else can wage asymmetrical warfare this way, by putting out bounties on commerce and letting their people think of new and novel ways to stop and seize it for REWARD.

And the Executive could NOT stop this. It is not in the listing of powers for the Executive, only in the Legislative.

I want *real* war. One that cuts off the enemy in a way it cannot respond to. A few large cargo vessels or aircraft seized and paid out on would get the point across. Trafficking with terrorists that threaten the United States is not profitable. Americans seizing goods and returning them for Bounties would be *very* profitable.

The President is only the Leader of the Most Powerful Nation on the Planet. The President has harsh restrictions on what can and cannot be done. The Most Powerful Weapon on this planet is not a bomb or poison or germ or virus... it is the People who live in the Most Powerful Country that give it that Power. Congress can unleash the power of the People of the United States to vigorously find and cut off our enemies from supplies. I do not complain about what a paltry few hundred thousand troops have done to free 51 million people.

What happens when the entire People set about the task of bringing an end to our enemies?

More than *just* an Army of Davids. A Nation of Davids going to War.

To Congress: set our People free to save Our nation; We are a Pack, not a herd.

And may the world quiver as a Free People devise new and clever ways to bring an end to our enemies.

I truly do believe in the Terrible Swift Sword of the Republic.

May God have mercy on Our enemies, for We will surely have NONE.

Wed Mar 22, 06:52:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

A Jacksonian: Holy Mother of God; you have certainly enfolded the crux of the biscuit on this issue with startling clarity.

"And may the world quiver as a Free People devise new and clever ways to bring an end to our enemies.

I truly do believe in the Terrible Swift Sword of the Republic.

May God have mercy on Our enemies, for We will surely have NONE."

Written as a true student of the US Constitution.


Wed Mar 22, 12:35:00 PM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - My thanks! The Constitutiion is a wonderful document... simple, clear, crisp, almost tart in its exactitude. It gives a system and is simple, even as it is complex in its enaction.

I wish Congresscritters would read it some day. Mayhap they need some language instruction in simple english, not lawyerese.

If the military is only a small fraction of what the Nation may do, then our Founders left it up to Congress to let the People loose when needs be. In older days it was those that had armed vessels by hook or by crook or by simple foreclosure.

Times change and I can think of at least 3 different ways to begin attacking the problem from a Warranted Privateer standpoint. We The People can exact a toll, but that Power we lent to Congress to decide. I see and have talked to some few that have skills and talents diverse, sifting through databases and tracking leads and seeing what leads to where and when and who.

Congress can change the shape of it all, and make asymmetrical warfare against the United States a losing proposition in life and property. Let the military have the pointy end... while the People step on the oxygen hose and withhold the meals. There are many ways to die, and I would prefer terrorists to starve without glory or mourning. Or just give up and quit to find something other to do... save those that have already done evil.

Those need hunting and hounding until death.

And many would do so given a promise of just reward for helping the Republic.

Wed Mar 22, 01:44:00 PM PST  
Blogger Dionne said...

Awesome post!!!

Bush's manliness is one of my very favorite things about him. I love him for the confidence and strength he exudes. I feel secure and safe because I know he will not back down or compromise or go weak in the War on terror.

He was awesome in that press conference. I wish we would see more of that side of W!!

Thu Mar 23, 10:43:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

LMC: I TOO wish Mr. Bush would allow that aspect of his to emerge on a more regular and frequent basis!!


Fri Mar 24, 01:31:00 PM PST  
Blogger Kirkrrt said...

We invaded Iran because the Taliban in Afghanistan harbored Al Queda?

It is clear to me now.

Sat Mar 25, 07:48:00 PM PST  

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