Friday, April 02, 2004

The ends justifies the means, America rejects or accepts?

As the oldman has ennumerated, both the Clinton and Bush White Houses weren't fully operational on the war on terror. Clinton considered it a priority, but was hamstrung and distracted by issues created by his personal weaknesses like the tendency of his zipper to fly suddenly open. Bush on the other hand probably wasn't smart enough to understand the true threat of terrorism (MSNBC). Clarke completely aside, the Administration ignored a panel's recommendatiosn on how to deal with terrorism.

However, it is uncertain whether Americans feel like holding him accountable for this or not:

Lastly, many of these “lies” have a curious quality: they tend to confirm the popular view of the president's temperament and beliefs. Usually, distortions suggest that the person responsible is putting on an act or is somehow different from what he pretends to be. Yet, at least in foreign policy, the administration's errors and misrepresentations all tend to confirm the president's image as a man uncompromising in his determination to fight the war on terror as he conceives it (at least after September 2001), and willing to ride roughshod over critics and nuanced intelligence alike to get his way.

And that in turn may explain one of the most surprising features of the past two weeks: that despite all the controversy over Mr Bush's honesty, credibility and competence, his position in the opinion polls has remained resilient. In several polls he has regained a narrow lead over Mr Kerry, and 50% of voters say they are more likely to vote for him because of his actions in the war on terror compared with just 28% for his rival.

Admittedly, the margin on the latter question was even greater two months ago, and more people now think the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of another terrorist attack than think it has reduced it. Still, worries about Mr Bush do not yet seem to be translating into potential votes for Mr Kerry. It is as if voters, faced with the president's lack of straight dealing, are concluding that truth may indeed be the first casualty of the war they want to win.
[emphasis added]

Presenting the opposite view is Needlenose blog, that using LAT and CBS poll information puts Kerry ahead of Bush. Stirling Newberry discusses some of the contradictory trends including Kerry's slide in a poll but the press finally turning on Bush. Some of the variation we've been seeing in polls might be due to the public not knowing quite what to think with all the accusations flying (Andy Sullivan).

Meanwhile, I fear that the left may be going too far. Katzman is able to skewer Kos for his lapse of human decency, and in so doing obscure the indecency of hanging out guys like that in the first place to dry (Maxspeaks) for what everyone admits are at best is a poorly executed gamble.

I understand the left being angry. I'm upset too. However, again and again I've seen the left let anger get them to act silly or stupid and turn off people in the middle or the right like yours truly who have serious objections to the Administration's conduct (via Atrios). The Economist is by no means a liberal publication it should be repeated.

Meanwhile, Kerry is flat on his back for elective surgery while he let's others do the heavy lifting for him by raising record amounts (for a Democrat) amounts of money and take the hits from the Bush Administration. I was neutral about Kerry to begin with, but the man's sense of entitlement is wearing thin my nerves and about the only recommendation right now he has over Bush is that he apparently wouldn't be as foolhardy and rash.

Nonetheless, the United States may be forced under any Administration to fight three wars in the upcoming four years (Iran for nuclear proliferation, with Korea and Taiwan added because Bush has let a bad situation get far worse). Trust me, Japan isn't joining the missile shield plan for its economic benefits (NYT).

As the United States races to erect a ballistic missile defense system by the end of the year, it is quietly enlisting Japan and other allies in Asia to take part in the network, which could reshape the balance of power in the region.

Last week, a few days after the United States Navy announced that it would deploy a destroyer in September in the Sea of Japan as a first step in forming a system capable of intercepting missiles, Japan's Parliament approved spending $1 billion this year to start work on a shield that would be in place by 2007.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said it would sell Taiwan $1.78 billion in radar equipment to increase the nation's ability to detect ballistic missiles. Australia decided in December to join the United States-sponsored system, and American officials are holding talks with India.

But the network will eventually require the sharing of critical information and coordination among its members, which could split Asian nations into two camps: those inside and those outside the system. Those inside the system say the shield will be a defense against the missile buildup by nations like China and North Korea; those outside say it will destabilize the region and start an arms race.

China, already displeased with Japan's decision, said Thursday that the radar sale to Taiwan sent the "wrong message," and it reiterated its opposition to America's selling "advanced weapons" there. The United States has vowed to protect Taiwan against an attack by China, which has 500 missiles pointed at the island.

North Korea said Thursday that the Navy's deployment of the destroyer was preparation for war and part of its "attempt to dominate the Asia-Pacific region." Indonesia, which does not have ballistic missiles, has said Australia's decision could also ignite an arms race.


Meanwhile the left as usual blithely and foolishly lolligags about dithering their chance to seize the agenda from GW. Whatever is being said publicly, this Administration's actions are putting us on a consistent path toward full military escalation with China including the possibility of nuclear exchange. This while we just can't find someone to take Iraq off our hands as NATO says "No," to us.

China not to be outdone is building a fleet of ships to contest the Taiwan strait by 2006, the expected date of Chen's "constitutional reforms" that will probably trigger a Chinese blockade.

America is poised to get sucked into a giant vortex, and it will be the working class, poor, and middle class people that pay the most for all of this. I cannot think of a time that the United States' interests were more at risk than the 1960's under Kennedy when we had the Berlin Blockade, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam all on our plates. This threat level could easily exceed that if allowed to fester much further.


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