Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bush wisdom shows Dubya is no dummy Weekend Rant

Myths of 911
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Frank Devine
HAVING been reasonably diligent about splashing around in the torrents of commentary that marked the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 air raids on New York and Washington, I employed a refreshed mind to conclude that the best commentary came from US President George W. Bush.

This includes his main 9/11 speech and comments made privately to a small group of conservative journalists. Who else gets invited to the best parties these days?
Bush's commentary was distinguished, I guess, because he had access to more information than other commentators and a larger audience, including many opponents and enemies keen to rip into him. He had to watch his step.


Anonymous said...

In his speech, the President defined the enemy the US and its allies have fought since 9/11 as "a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam: a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent".

Their goal, he said, was "to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilised nations".

The war against this enemy, Bush declared, is "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation".

To the seven conservative reporters - I draw largely on accounts of the President's comments by Cal Thomas in The Sacramento Bee and Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard - Bush made this compelling statement:

"It is conceivable that 50 years from now, there will be virulent forms of Islamo-radicalism competing. It is conceivable that moderate government (will) be toppled and oil used as a political weapon. It is conceivable that a Middle East where young democracies have been undermined could be dominated by state sponsors of terrorism with nuclear weapons. The long-term strategy is to change the conditions that enable this ideology to flourish, to out-compete it with better ideas."

I'm aware that any commentary under Bush's by-line will cause some minds to snap shut.

At a lunch within the octave of the 9/11 anniversary, I fell into conversation with an intelligent and generally well informed stranger who turned out to be fixated on a notion of Bush's stupidity.

The legend of Bush the stupid is a product of the ingenious foisting on him by his political enemies of the nickname Dubya. This is how New York sophisticates believe ignorant, redneck Texas cowpokes pronounce the President's middle initial.

Dubya is easy to say, catchy and funny. But Americans haven't used it for quite a while because it has become clear Bush ain't no ignorant redneck cowpoke.

Stupid young men don't get respectable degrees from great universities (an undergraduate degree in history from Yale and an MBA from Harvard for Bush) or learn to fly hi-tech warplanes. Stupid Republicans don't serve two successful terms as governor of Texas, a dedicated Democratic state that, in 120 years, has elected only six Republicans among its 47 governors.

Stupid changelings stand out in high-achieving families (two governorships, two presidencies and the top post at the CIA for the Bushes) and George W. fits comfortably into his.

You might attribute stupidity to a president with a Gallup poll approval rating of 31 per cent on the weekend of May 5-7, a pit out of which, it was said, no president had ever climbed. But a 44 per cent rating on September 15-17 would then be an ominous sign of his getting smarter.

In his 9/11 speech, Bush said of the Iraq invasion that "Saddam Hussein's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take".

As George Friedman reports in his informative book America's Secret War, Bush and his advisers were fearful after the 9/11 air raids of a similar attack with nuclear or biological weapons. Their first significant post-attack move was to persuade Pakistan to accept on-the-ground American assistance in inventorying its nuclear arsenal and placing a guard on it.

Having invaded Kuwait, attempted to manufacture nuclear weapons and used poison gas to kill Iranian soldiers and Kurdish civilians, Saddam was an established threat. He worked hard to convince the world he had secret weapons, a disastrously successful bluff.

In his anniversary commentaries, Bush reiterated his intention of establishing "a free society in the heart of the Middle East".

"We live in a world where people expect instant success," he said. "Our enemies in Iraq are tough and committed. So are the Iraqi and coalition forces. We are adapting to stay ahead of the enemy ... The Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. Our coalition will succeed."

Nobody is obliged to agree with the President. But it is a mistake to tune out so forthright and coherent a commentator who seems to know what's going on.,23599,20455631-5007146,00.html

Weasel said...

I tire of anti Bush rhetoric. I once delightedly discovered online quote engines, some with humorous sayings. A git had thought it praiseworthy to fill these databases with straightforward comments of President Bush, framed with angry accusations.

Bush was googlebombed before 9/11/01, so that his resume was synonymous with ‘miserable failure.’

I wouldn’t mind so much, it is after all, politics, but I have been very unfairly treated by the same people, and I’m not in politics.

Weasel said...

The initial outpouring of sympathy for teenage Austrian kidnap victim Natascha Kampusch, who disappeared when she was 10 years old, has been replaced by growing hostility from the media and public as doubts are cast on her story. “Holes” in her version of events include reports her mother was a friend of her kidnapper and that she and her kidnapper went on a skiing holiday, during which she made no attempt to raise the alarm or escape. At one point she reportedly sat silently next to her kidnapper when their car was stopped by police. In recent weeks Natascha has been the target of hate mail from those who no longer believe she is the innocent victim she claims to be.

The hostility has no doubt been fuelled by the news that Natascha is in negotiations with film production companies for a multi-million dollar deal to tell her story on the big screen. Actress Scarlett Johnasson has already been tipped to play the kidnap victim.

This is on top of the 600,000 Euros and an apartment she received for the exclusive rights to her first interview to a newspaper and magazine. She gave a television interview for free to Austria’s public network, but money gained from selling the rights to that interview is being paid into a charitable trust set up by Natascha.

And there’s another 800,000 Euros expected to come from crimes compensation payments.

Late this week a neighbour of Natascha’s family said she had seen the victim’s mother in company with the kidnapper, Wolfgang Priklopil, before the girl’s disappearance in 1998. Natascha’s mother has already denied any involvement in the kidnapping.

Priklopil killed himself by leaping under a train following Natascha’s escape last month from the dungeon beneath his garage, where he kept her for eight years.

Last week Natascha’s admitted through her lawyer that she went on a skiing holiday with her abductor in February despite previously denying the allegations. She and Priklopil travelled by car to the Austrian ski resort of Hochkar. According to Stern magazine, traffic police stopped the car for a routine check, but Natascha made no attempt to alert the officers of her plight. Later at the resort she was allowed to go to the ladies toilet alone, but claims she couldn’t ask another woman for help because she was a foreign tourist who didn’t speak German.

This admission followed claims by several of Priklopil’s neighbours that they had seen Natascha with her kidnapper out shopping, driving or taking walks.

“I saw the young lady in the garden quite often over the past year,” Josef Jantschek said. “They also drove off together in his car, and every time she waved at us in a friendly way. We could not have known that it was the kidnapped Natascha Kampusch. When I asked him whether she was his new girlfriend, he only said ‘I have borrowed her from a work colleague to do some work for me’.”

The reports appear to contradict Natascha’s claims she thought “only of escape” during her imprisonment and wanted to cut off Priklopil’s head with an axe.
Since doubts began to be raised about the kidnap story, the public has started sending hate mail to media outlets accusing Natascha of being Priklopil’s “houseguest” instead of captive and saying she “doesn’t look like a victim”.

I suspect the poor girl of being as guilty as Anne Boleyn. I think the accusations look maliscious, but they are a genuine attempt at a fascile probe of the issue. I also think her captor will have had friends that would seek to discredit her.

I might be shown to be wrong, but I think she may well have gone skiing with her captor and not raised an alarm. I don’t think that means she wasn’t captive.

It also means nothing that her Mother knew the captor. It would have been surprising had she not known her daughter’s captor. It does not mean her mother was complicit.

I don’t think the suicide could have been anticipated, or the windfall. This girl will need all her strength and wits, because it is clear tabloid press will do her no favors.

I’m thinking politics when I hear of media profiles doing 180s because politics is about changing perception. Would the moon landing be subject to hoax allegations if Nixon weren’t President in ‘69? Would Irwin have been savaged by the press if he hadn’t endorsed Howard’s environmental policy?

In the sporting arena, a player may be exalted before they are interviewed, cf Dean Jones, Gary Ablett or Mundine.

Because of this girl’s circumstance, I feel there are some well placed media personalities in Europe who are keen to downplay the atrocity committed. They don’t have to be involved in the case to hold their opinion.

Weasel said...

All that needs to be said, really:

Alleged terror leader Abu Bakar Bashir said TV shows featuring scantily clad women were more harmful than the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings.
And some people still think such madmen are simply reacting to US foriegin policies

I think it illustrates the difficulties Indonesia has with its law being incapable of discriminating between a terrorist leader and an Islamic leader.

Then again, that is a world wide problem.

Weasel said...

raq the Model brings good news from Baghdad:

Anyway, it looks like the reaction of Muslims were not as violent or as bloody as the leaders wished them to be and that’s why they’re now provoking and yelling at the “sleeping” masses and pushing them to show more fury.

They want to add another big scene to the countless previous ones—angry mobs burning flags and pledging to destroy the “infidels”.

Actually their latest calls for MORE ANGER are becoming pretty much like begging.
Iran thinks the Muslim people fell short of doing their duty and Qaradawi calls Muslims to have a “day of fury”.

All these are theatrical acts directed by governments and corrupt clerics seeking controlled anger among the mobs to use in intimidating the west and discouraging it from applying more pressure on, or calling for changing, these tyrannical regimes.

What those idiot terrorist leaders don’t realise is that were they to shut up, the liberal left would be able to do so much more for them

Weasel said...

Peter Costello is quite right:

PETER Costello says Ataturk’s creation of a secular Muslim state in Turkey is a model that should be adopted by the modern Islamic world.
Of course, what Ataturk did in Muslim Turkey would be damned in secular Australia. Imagine the Howard Government imposing government controls on clerics, insisting all preaching be done in English, outlawing religious parties, banning religious headwear and veils in all state institutions and the like.

How grateful the world should be that Ataturk did what John Howard may not.

How grateful is the world that those young turks did what the liberal left will not? Imagine Beazley or Clinton applying their hamfists to WW1 Turkey? I couldn’t imagine them stopping at the border of Armenia.

Weasel said...

The we’re-all-doomed preaching of playwright Stephen Sewell is explained:

It Just Stopped was inspired by an article by James Lovelock, a scientist and environmentalist who warned early this year that global warming will mean that, by the end of this century, billions will die and that “the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable”.

Sewell was shocked by Lovelock’s article…

“I thought it’s an astonishing thing to be a human being at a time like this when you can seriously contemplate the total collapse of civilisations and death of billions of people. And it’s an amazing time for an artist as well, because that question of the meaning of it all is there. What has the last 2 million years of human development meant if it’s about to come to an end?"

Actually, the astonishing thing about intellectuals at a time like this is that they can seriously contemplate the total collapse of our civilisation with just a few breeding pars of humans left near the Arctic just 94 years from now. Exactly how did their reason get swamped so completely? You really have to want to believe in the Apocalypse and the sheer vileness of people to believe that.

And since Sewell mentions this himself, I shall, too:

Married twice, first to a teacher and then to an artist, he has a daughter from his first marriage and he helped raise his second wife’s daughter from her previous marriage.
If Sewell truly wants to save the world, he - in common with so many save-humanity types - might with profit start with trying to save little units of it first. Like one family at a time.

The rhetoric of left advocates is stifling. I recall one 20 yo girl with an amateur interest in astronomy opining of the terrible thing it would be if Mars and Venus were to be colonised. She felt people belonged on Earth, small parts of Earth.

Weasel said...

A religious group collects money from supports to further its work and even influence elections?

Sounds like the Greens to me, but the outraged Age is instead outing a Christian group called the Exclusive Brethren. True, the Greens are also mentioned in The Age‘s hard-hitting campaign:

The Age discovered that the Brethren were planning a foray into Victorian state politics with a campaign in support of Nationals leader Peter Ryan, and against the Greens.

And in a religious war between Christians and the Greens, you know on which side of the pews The Age will line up.

I heard Marr’s interview on Sunrise on the subject. What possible interest would the independant journalist (Marr) have in bashing an Anglican Church offshoot?

Marr said the Bretheren were anti gay. That the Bretheren are engaging in politics (counter to beliefs) to attack the gay lobby.

Personally, although I don’t believe Marrs presentations to be a true reflection of Bretheren beliefs and actions, I wish them well with their endeavors.

Weasel said...


An International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman explained that a photo of a damaged Red Cross ambulance, which was said to have been hit by the Israeli Defence Force during the Lebanon conflict, was removed from the ICRC website following allegations of a hoax by a blogger “in order to keep the moral high ground on the issue”.

Interesting. Where was the Sydney Morning Herald when this happened?

Weasel said...

Why am I entirely not surprised that a judge who falls for the man-made global warming hype also subscribes to the New Racism and the conceit of judge-made law?

THE nation’s longest-serving Federal Court judge - who this week capped off his career by handing down a controversial native title ruling - wants to dedicate the rest of his life to saving the planet by addressing climate change.
Murray Wilcox, 69, yesterday used his farewell speech to his professional colleagues to highlight the crisis, which he considers more serious than terrorism.

His last case was this week’s landmark native title ruling that awarded the Noongar people title over metropolitan Perth. But Justice Wilcox, who spent 22 years on the bench and presided over many cases involving environmental law, said it was his grandchildren who spurred him into action on the climate.

Most worrying of Wilcox’s comments yesterday was this:

He was inspired by former US vice-president Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth and by scientist Tim Flannery’s The Weathermakers.
I was kind of hoping that a senior Australian judge would be inspired more by, you know, evidence.

One of my lefty friends, a dad, was saying he’d read somewhere that fathers of girls were more likely to lean left. It was bewlieved to be related to their psyche, which networked entire communities :D

I’m not excusing the judge, or blaming the daughter.

Still, something needs to be done to memorialise legislation that circumvented parlaiment.

Weasel said...

I was quite prepared to believe it, and was even thinking quite highly of Armitage as a result, until I got to that last line:

President Bush said Friday that if a U.S. official tried to strong-arm Pakistan into fighting the war on terror after the Sept. 11 attacks, he didn’t know about it.

Standing beside Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Bush brushed off any idea of disagreement, praising Musharraf for pursuing terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.

``We’re on the hunt together,’’ Bush said after an Oval Office meeting with the general who is leader of the world’s second-largest Islamic nation.

Musharraf has contended that after the Sept. 11 attacks, then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Pakistan’s intelligence director that the United States would bomb the country if it didn’t become a partner in the war against terrorism.

``The intelligence director told me that (Armitage) said, ``Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age,’’’ Musharraf told CBS’ ``60 Minutes’’ in a report to air on Sunday.

The president said he first learned of the purported conversation from news reports. ``I just don’t know about it,’’ he said. ``I guess I was taken aback by the harshness of the words.’’

Musharraf declined to comment further, citing a book deal.

I had heard the same story. We were discussing it at Uni in 1985 .. :D

Anonymous said...

AP reports on the death of a spy:

Pham Xuan An, a Vietnamese man who led a perilous double life as communist spy and respected reporter for Western news organizations during the Vietnam War, has died, according to his son, Pham Xuan Hoang An…

In the history of wartime espionage, few have been as successful as An. He straddled two worlds for most of the 15- year war in Indochina as an undercover communist agent while also working as a journalist: first for Reuters news service and then for 10 years as Time magazine’s chief Vietnamese reporter - a role that gave him access to military bases and background briefings.
Can we be surprised that An could fit in so well at Time or AP?

And can we presume that no such thing happens today? Think only of the document from Saddam’s spy agency that boasted of having a source in AP. Think of the recent controversy over doctoring of pictures by Reuters’ Lebanese staff. Or think of Time todayemploying as its Baghdad correspondent the Australian Michael Ware, who, while no spy, maintains close connections to terrorists in Iraq who let him live only because (he concedes) he is more useful to them alive than dead.

Says Ware:

I’ve seen into their eyes. I find them terrifying. I mean, these are very committed men. And at any moment they could turn on me. I could suddenly be decided he’s more valuable to us on a video being terrorised than he is, you know, discussing our movement and what we’re showing him.

Weasel said...

Keysar Trad, former translator for the pro-bin Laden and jihadist Islamic Youth Movement of Australia, calls Peter Costello an “ignorant fool" for praising the founder of modern (and secular) Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Ameer Ali, the pro-Hezbollah chairman of the Howard Government’s failed Muslim Community Reference Group, says Costello is “quite wrong” and Turkey “cannot be a good model for the Muslims”.

One other thing should be mentioned about these two men who were quoted so respectfully by the Sunday Age. Trad was also the spokesman for Sheik Taj Al-Din Al-Hilali, and Ali the head of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils which made Hilali the Mufti of Australia - and Hilali is the man who said suicide bombers were “heroes”, Jews were the cause of all wars and the September 11 attacks were “God’s work against oppressors”.

All of which says that if in an argument about the role of Islam in society, I’d rather side with Ataturk than critics of him like these. He knew well the danger to Muslims of a religion represented by extremists such as these, and the rest of us must be grateful to him for his vision and his legacy.

But how dumb are we to now duchess the kind of Islamic “leaders” that Ataturk would have spurned? The Government - and the media - must look to others to represent Australia’s Muslims, and I doubt such leaders will be clerics of the kind of which we hae far too many.

Keysar is famous as not speaking for anyone worthwhile. It is his job as media whore, having an opinion aligned with mainstream media prejudices and always being available for comment, which keeps him public. Others that press might question might not answer in a way that the press like. Sunrise' Dr Keith Suter serves a similar role. Were another to be questioned by the press, they would have to ask questions about origin that Trad and Suter get a free pass on.

Hilali is not an Al Qaeda spokesperson, but he rarely seems to stray far from their prejudices and he often fails to endorse Islamic norms or practise which made Islam great.