Saturday, November 25, 2006

On, and on, Hating Bush

Either they're mad or I am.

This last week wheresoever I've surfed, I've been confronted with Bush hatred. Now we have "the realists" on the Right taking free pot shots at Bush, which is actually more stomach churning than the Left doing so (which is saying something, as I'll demonstrate). The realists hail from the Bush I era, and now that one of their own is replacing Rumsfeld at Defence, they are of course (of course?) kicking up hell by calling Bush the "Worst President EEEver". They've obviously felt outflanked by the Left on this point, and are seeking to make up lost ground.

Anyway, exhibit A: this piece of drivel from yet another great-man-I've-never-heard-of called Jeffrey Hart.

Hart is, believe it or not, a senior editor of NRO, where he seems to offer expertise in tacky Christmas poetry and snobby insights into higher education , making him ideally placed to comment on matters of global moment.

He concludes his screed:

"Supply-side ideology led to large tax cuts and mountainous deficits. Privatization ideology led to an incomprehensible and unnecessarily expensive prescription-drug plan. No previous administration has produced such an outpouring. Is Bush a conservative? Of course not. When all the evidence is in, I think historians will agree with Princeton’s Sean Wilentz, who wrote a carefully argued article judging Bush to have been the worst president in American history. The problem is that he is generally called a conservative, perhaps because he obviously is not a liberal. It may be that Bush, in the magnitude of his failure, defies conventional categories. But the word “conservative” deserves to be rescued. Against the misconception that Bush is a conservative, and appealing to Burke, all of our analytical energies must be brought to bear. I hope I have made a beginning here"

Now, as a child of Thatcher (metaphorically, and concerning my earliest memories of British national life), I would have to say that privatisation and tax cuts are precisely elements that have defined conservatism for me. They may not always be managed well, but they are inherently good because they bring the responsibility and thus the power closer and closer to where they belong- with the individual.

Our Jeffrey seems to disagree.

Also certain to disagree with that, another and more familiar brand of Bush hater- the deranged aging "entertainment" lefty. Tony Hendra was nearly a Monty Python, and it shows. The brahmins of British comedy haven't an ounce of common sense to recommend them. It's been one of those dirty little shibboleths of British society that you have to "love" the Pythons. Personally I find them mildly amusing in a juvenile sort of way. But anyway, take a look at how that generation has matured:

"I give thanks O Lord that we're getting to kick The Lame Duck when he's down. Thank you too Lord for making impeachment unfeasible so's we get to kick him and kick him and kick him, have him to kick around for two more long years, kick him so bad his stupid quacking beak comes out his own greasy-feathered DA."

Unfortunately Hendra is not jester. Just a fool.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


As the BBC heralds the restoration of ties between Iraq and Syria, Christopher Hitchens discusses the reemergence of foreign policy realism in the US.

Quietly ensconcing themselves in the seats of power, meanwhile, are the Democrats.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Apologies for the sparse posting of late. I've been doing rather a lot of thinking instead, as well as being busy in the real world. Then I put together a couple of posts and they got mangled through the blogger composition box. Excuses, excuses.

Anyway, Mark Steyn once again rather eerily illuminates a corner of my thinking. I'm of the relatively simple opinion that we wouldn't be in the slough of despond over Iraq- partly a consequence of being faced with a party in the US hostile to the US-led action there- if we had been tougher with people such as Muqtada al Sadr.

Says Steyn:

"Meanwhile, from the War Party's point of view, the Bush Doctrine is beginning to accumulate way too many opt-outs. For example, a couple of weeks back, U.S. forces in Baghdad captured a death squad commander of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army only to be forced to release him on the orders of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. When I had the honor of discussing the war with the president recently, he was at pains to emphasize that Iraq was "sovereign." That may be. But, at a time when a gazillion free-lance militias are running around the joint ignoring the sovereign government, it seems a mite pedantic to insist that the sole militia in the country that has to obey every last memo from Prime Minister Maliki is the U.S. armed forces. Muqtada al-Sadr is an emblem not of democracy's flowering but of the arid soil in which it's expected to grow. America would have been better off capturing and executing him two years ago."

There is a simple lack of balance in the US/UK approach there, one which the UK bears a lot of responsibility for. Having deposed the Sunnis chief hero in Iraq, Saddam, and having killed his successors, what we needed was to prove that we would not tolerate extremism from any quarter, where extremism means intimidation and despotism. That would have meant at a minimum taking out Al-Sadr, but probably also quite a number of his henchmen and sundry other Shia mini-demagogues.

Sad to say it, but the British softly-softly approach emanating from Basra has emboldened anti-democratic forces, and enshrined radical political influence at the political heights of government.

I remember that one of the most balanced voices in the early part of the Iraq invasion, Zeyad, the Sunni invasion sympathiser, recommended that Al-Sadr be dealt with. Fair's fair- he should have been.

Zeyad's latest post links to this in depth account of how tyrannical elements of the Shia have come to dominate, accounting for the violence quite absurdly characterised by the BBC journalist Hugh Sykes here.

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