Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lovable Liberal: The Hard Bargain

In case you didn't see LL's link in comments below, I recommend checking out his Veteran's Day post here.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Not bad. Bush isn't mentioned until all the way down in the second paragraph. Who says the left politicizes everything?

3:28 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

And who says Tom whines about every criticism of Bush?

7:54 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

WS, thanks for the link. I've been feeling pretty close to Samuel Johnson's proverbial blockhead over there.

TVD, thanks for reading, at least to the second paragraph. About politicizing the decision to go to war: In all cases, that decision is political. It's beyond my small power to change that fact. As far as invidiously politicizing war, I plead not guilty on other grounds: I was waaay too late to the party for Iraq, which was invidiously political from the get-go.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I'd feel the same if the colors were reversed, WS. It's not about the politicization of the war, which is inevitable, but the politicization of Veterans Day.

1:40 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

The White House had said Bush was going to also use his Veterans Day speech to scold Congress for not sending him a veterans spending bill. But the president finished without any reference to the bill or Congress.

Does the White House get off the hook because their plan to use Duhbya's speech to veterans for partisan political gain was changed on the fly? What if he still used his typical, political rationales for the Iraq war?

If the White House used Veterans Day in 2005 for politics, does that matter? If Duhbya belabored "politicians" for politicizing Veterans Day, does that get him off the hook for doing that very thing?

Those Bushists, man, they politicize everything.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LL, your statement that "Those Bushists, man, they politicize everything" is spot on. Just ask John DiIulio:

“There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you’ve got is everything — and I mean everything — being run by the political arm.”

Or maybe you can ask Andy "new product rollout" Card about the timing of the legislative drive to war.

Of course there are many other examples, but who has the time?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, when I saw the link, I thought, I wonder how long it'll take to bash Bush. Like clockwork.

Good point about Bush 2005, tho. I think it stinks, and he could have given it the day off.

But by your standards, I guess it was OK. Surely you had no idea until you started trolling the internet looking for a response to me.

Unless you want to say you already knew Bush had politicized Veterans Day two years ago, and since he did it, you went against your real desires because he gave you no choice.

5:23 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Well, if by "had no idea" you mean that I had complete confidence I could find an example of Bushist politicization of Veterans Day, guilty.

It hardly seems reasonable to hold me to a higher standard than Duhbya and his political operation.

Even so, I am meeting a higher standard. Duhbya wants to pressure Democrats for a partisan piece of legislation. I want to find principles of deciding to go to war, of course in contrast to the way the Bushists decided to implement the PNAC program.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least it's a good thing the Bushies didn't politicize the management of the war and it's aftermath, though. We really dodged a bullet there:

"After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.

Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

But many CPA staff members were more interested in other things: in instituting a flat tax, in selling off government assets, in ending food rations and otherwise fashioning a new nation that looked a lot like the United States. Many of them spent their days cloistered in the Green Zone, a walled-off enclave in central Baghdad with towering palms, posh villas, well-stocked bars and resort-size swimming pools.

To recruit the people he wanted, O'Beirne sought résumés from the offices of Republican congressmen, conservative think tanks and GOP activists. He discarded applications from those his staff deemed ideologically suspect, even if the applicants possessed Arabic language skills or postwar rebuilding experience.

Smith said O'Beirne once pointed to a young man's résumé and pronounced him "an ideal candidate." His chief qualification was that he had worked for the Republican Party in Florida during the presidential election recount in 2000.

As more and more of O'Beirne's hires arrived in the Green Zone, the CPA's headquarters in Hussein's marble-walled former Republican Palace felt like a campaign war room. Bumper stickers and mouse pads praising President Bush were standard desk decorations. In addition to military uniforms and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" garb, "Bush-Cheney 2004" T-shirts were among the most common pieces of clothing.

"I'm not here for the Iraqis," one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. "I'm here for George Bush."

Haveman replaced Frederick M. Burkle Jr., a physician with a master's degree in public health and postgraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and the University of California at Berkeley. Burkle taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he specialized in disaster-response issues, and he was a deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which sent him to Baghdad immediately after the war.

He had worked in Kosovo and Somalia and in northern Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. A USAID colleague called him the "single most talented and experienced post-conflict health specialist working for the United States government."

But a week after Baghdad's liberation, Burkle was informed he was being replaced. A senior official at USAID sent Burkle an e-mail saying the White House wanted a "loyalist" in the job. Burkle had a wall of degrees, but he didn't have a picture with the president.

Haveman didn't like the idea that medical care in Iraq was free. He figured Iraqis should pay a small fee every time they saw a doctor. He also decided to allocate almost all of the Health Ministry's $793 million share of U.S. reconstruction funds to renovating maternity hospitals and building new community medical clinics. His intention, he said, was "to shift the mind-set of the Iraqis that you don't get health care unless you go to a hospital."

But his decision meant there were no reconstruction funds set aside to rehabilitate the emergency rooms and operating theaters at Iraqi hospitals, even though injuries from insurgent attacks were the country's single largest public health challenge.

Haveman also wanted to apply American medicine to other parts of the Health Ministry. Instead of trying to restructure the dysfunctional state-owned firm that imported and distributed drugs and medical supplies to hospitals, he decided to try to sell it to a private company."


11:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

It hardly seems reasonable to hold me to a higher standard than Duhbya and his political operation.

Mostly true, altho Bush is at war and you are not. It was mostly the predictability of the Bush-bashing that I found amusing. That Bush would plead for more support from his partisan opposition in the middle of a war is understandable, if not forgivable.

Even so, I am meeting a higher standard. Duhbya wants to pressure Democrats for a partisan piece of legislation. I want to find principles of deciding to go to war, of course in contrast to the way the Bushists decided to implement the PNAC program.

Supporting the troops should not be a partisan issue. According to Joe Leiberman---and I of course agree---many, altho not all, are putting their politics above the good of the country and of our troops.

As for your "higher" standard, your project is completely partisan. It may be worthy, but helps the troops on the ground not a whit. As for calling for more spending on veterans, that's a courageous stand and I salute you for it. I'm sure you'll get a lot of criticism for it, but I trust you won't back off your principles.

4:11 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

You're looking for predictability? Read yourself.

How one supports the troops is a vital issue. I support the troops by not getting them killed for imperial ambition. You may think that small, and you and Joe Lieberman may think that no support at all, but it is the heart of democracy, for which you have no use when one of your own visibly aspires toward absolute power.

The reason I have to be starkly clear about what I support and do not support in the Bushist military policy is that any less will be interpreted by you and your fellows as support for Duhbya, who does not deserve it. Getting the troops home, by the way, helps them quite a lot. Your failure to see that is diagnostic - and proof of my contention that I have to be clear about exactly what I'm for and against.

Your - and Duhbya's - constant conflation of the interests of the troops with the completion of their flawed mission in Iraq is not credible. You both know what you're doing. Neither of you will ever stop. Your authoritarian and obedience reflexes are dyed in the wool. For you, there's no contradiction in "supporting" the troops in ways that needlessly get them killed.

My project is anti-Bushist. I'm calling for a return to the two-century American consensus bigger than any party or pair of parties that war is not to be entered into the way Duhbya and his PNAC neocons did it. If there are no non-Bushist Republicans left, then my project is partisan, by definition, though without the connotation of bitter one-sided extremism.

Of course, your sarcasm toward my willingness to fund care for vets would not be so absurd except for the repeated attempts by the Bushists to fight both the war and the peace on the cheap, at the cost of many lives and many recoveries. Why would you let the truth get in the way of a riposte?

As I said a long time ago, you're a sophist. You have the ability to string words together in a way that superficially has meaning, but push on them a little and the absurdities come boiling off like flies off bullshit.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

You're the one who writes the right wing is going to take violence to the streets if they don't get their way, and can barely get through a sentence without a pejorative.

Being called unreasonable by the such a fellow is an honor. Keep it up.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They already did take to the streets. Remember the Brooks Brothers Riot?


4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here's a good measure of who supported disabled veterans in the 109th Congress:


4:59 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Shorter TVD: Nanananana, I'm not listening.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Spare us your crocodile tears for our troops---they don't need your help, and they don't want it. They're volunteers.

They'll make a difference in this world despite your support. You're about Bush and PNAC, your ideology, and nothing to do with the lives and freedom of the Iraqi people. You are excused.

The Brooks Brothers "Riot?" Hehe. How many died? Here in LA, we piled up scores of bodies and they only call it "civil unrest."

For once the counter-protesters [Brooks Brothers] got out ahead of Jesse Jackson's paid protesters and got the TV cameras first. Good on them.

After all, it was Al Gore who first filed suit to deprive Dubya W. Duhbya of his rightful victory in Florida, even challenging the votes of our brave fighting men and women overseas over technicalities.

After his campaign did that, the sentiment of the American people said, screw that, who wants that for a president?

Remember the American people standing up for Gore?

Me neither.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Spare us your crocodile tears for our troops---they don't need your help, and they don't want it. They're volunteers."

Offered for comic relief. Don't anyone ever say troop-spokesman Tom Van Dyke never did anything for ya'. As opposed to these good for nothings:


The rest of his post is twaddle.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, what has this guy:


done that compares in value to Bush having his picture taken with the troops?

2:07 PM  

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