« Manly men! | Main | Authority "not" to go to war? »

Why Bush?

My wife and others have suggested that I might be supporting Bush for the wrong reasons. They think that perhaps I should vote for somebody who shares more of my views, like a third-party or write-in candidate. This is in part, no doubt, to the fact that I become more motivated to vote for the guy by the sheer irrationality of the "anybody but Bush" mindset, and by the desire to see Michael Moore wake up shell-shocked and despondent on November 3.

Well, they've got a point. Those are not good reasons to vote for a candidate. Moreover, I've made it no secret that I disagree with Bush on a number of issues. The problem, however, is that I disagree with Kerry even more. And on the issues that are truly important to me (think war and taxes) I am especially likely to side with Bush.

And to a large extent, there is only one issue for me this year: the war. In that sense, there is nobody whom I support more than Bush. Why? Because he fights.

Three years ago, when the sidewalks were still choked with dust and the skies still heavy with smoke, this country was ready to go. We were prepared to get down to business and do what needed to be done -- to "bear any burden," to "pay any price," even if final victory were a generation away.

But now, half the country seems to have moved on. The white-hot rage has long been spent, and things have gotten a little ugly, and many of us are beginning to balk. A mere thousand days later, and pissing off France is too great a burden for many to bear.

Well forgive me, but I am far, far from being ready to move on. If that means I'm stuck in 2001, then goddammit, so be it! I don't think that's such a bad thing in this case. John Kerry can't maintain a consistent opinion on Iraq from one week to the next. How in the blue hell is he going to fight a focused, determined enemy that plans attacks against us over decades? If we're going to fight this war, we cannot do it with a leader who changes his stance every time there's a two-point movement in the polls.

Bush is far from perfect, even on the war. But like it or not, either he or Kerry will be our next president. Now I'm not any more thrilled about that than you are, but if you're like me, and you're in this thing for the long haul, and you're in it to win it, I don't see as how we have another choice on election day.

Bush in 2004.


Bravo. I'm a pretty liberal guy msyelf, but can we please focus on gay marriage and stem cells later? Right now there's a war to fight.

Bravo. I'm a pretty liberal guy msyelf, but can we please focus on gay marriage and stem cells later? Right now there's a war to fight.

Liked it so much you posted it twice, did you? ;)

Amen, brother.

Well, it is interesting that your two big issues are war and taxes because that highlights the big contradiction in the Bush administration and its followers. Yes, you have a williness to fight, but heaven forbid there be any sacrifice in order to win the fight. While Churchill promised "blood, tear, toils, and sweat", Bush doesn't even include the cost of the war in his budget and, heaven forbid, there be any sacrifice from the well-off regarding their precious tax cuts.

So what we have is a fighter willing to take on anyone on one hand, but a total williness to prepare for the fight on the other hand. So we go into Iraq with the idea that it will, according to Wolfowitz and others, be paid by Iraqi oil revenues. Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld also poohed poohed the generals (and Senators like McCain) that we did not have enough troops committed to win the occupation.

So what have we now? Enough troops to win in Fallujah or Ramadi, but guess what? As soon as they defeat the terrorists, they have to leave that part of the city to go fight somewhere else. So what happens? The territory they won gets filled again by the insurgents.

So what we have is enough troops to win a stalemate and a war of attrition is just not going to work against guerrilas who (1) who don't care if they die and (2) who don't care how many losses they suffer.

The Isreali Army is as tough as nails, but Begin and Sharon had to leave Beirut because they could not win the peace after crushing the opposition in the initial war. Now the Israelis are prevailing for the most part now in Gaza and the West Bank, but that is after years of fighting in a much smaller area.

But go ahead. Complain how weak Americans are, how they don't have the stomach for war. Then rant at the Democrats for bringing up the draft, all the while the reserves are being forced to re-enlist again and again.

Yeah, you have the stomach for war. However, you, like Bush, won't make any sacrifice to win the war. So we now have less troops per capita than we did in Kosovo - which was a far less challenging occupation.

We can't have the draft.

Because we won't send our kids there.

And we won't give up our dear tax cuts.

But we will send our under trained, disgruntled reserves there for another tour. (Hell, they're p***** anyway.)

And we will applaud ourselves for our nerves of steel.


If you are stuck in 9/11, why applaud the diversion of resources in 2002 away from Afghanistan to Iraq. In late 2001, we had much of the leadership of Al Qaeda cornered. Now, however, much of the former leadership of Al Qaeda is scattered to the point that Osama may either be in Iran, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.

Osama is reported to be healthy, by the way. That may be disinformation, but he has been able to send messages out. Indeed, attacks on the Spanish, Brits, and Itallians followed orders given on those tapes.

Saddam never was much a hero to Islam fundamentalist madmen. Now, that he's out of the way and Osama is alive.. are we that much better off?

Given that it was Osama that pulled off 9/11, I would say not much.

Well said, Barry.

PE, what you fail to touch upon in either of your 2 posts above is how your candidate (Kerry) would do a better job on leading America to victory in the "war on terror".

Well, if you think, as I do, that Afghanistan was a job begun, then largely abandoned in 2002, the result being that a large number of Al Qaeda were allowed to disperse across the globe.. well the question is why?

My feeling is that the Bush administration switched their focus from Afghanistan to Iraq largely because of the ideology of those close to Bush. I believe that people like Wolfowitz believe that a dictator such as Saddam could cause more harm than a visionary like Osama. I believe they are wrong and many in the counterterrorism field, many who have studied Al Qaeda, also believe that this was a mistake as well.

In short, I think those idealogues, whose mission is focused on the dream of transforming the middle east into some kind of democracy where there is free enterprise and flat tax, have often sidetracked this President from the mission at hand.

I want pragmatists whose focus is to cut off support, while hunting down and killing Al Qaeda members. I look at the team behind Kerry, people like Rand Beers and Gary Hart and others who have studied terrorism and have taken on terroism and I see realists whose focus is on the task at hand.
Realists who know that counter-terrorism is a deadly game that will only be won with a combination of offensive strikes and defensive measures that still have not been taken (e.g, chemical plants).

In short, the idealogues who got us into Iraq are still at the Bush White House while the pragmatists, including the many counterterrorism officials have left. Reportedly, Wolfowitz might become Secretary of the Defense. This is a guy who thought that there would be little resistance, no need for additional troops, and that Iraqi Oil revenue would pay for the occupation. Do we now want his influence to increase?

Give me realists. Deal with Iraq, but get back to focusing on Al Qaeda. Truly understand the enemy, not as we imagine but as they are, so we can take away their support and defeat them.

These realists are in the Kerry camp and they are leaving (or have left) the Bush administration.

PE, you rock. Obviously our blogger is incapable of understanding that Saddam and Osama bin Forgotten are not the same person. All Americans want an effective war on terrorists (because you can't fight a war on tactics or feelings). The difference is that those of us who actually use our brains to think realize that right now we're in Iraq killing the very same people we were supposed to be liberating, while the so-called mastermind of 9/11 runs free.

Well said, PE.

Mr. Johnson, you should listen to your wife.

Why is it that "No one" reminds me of someone?

PE, it makes for a good soundbite for the uninformed, but what else was there left to do in Afghanistan? The Taliban had been driven out. They, along with al Qaeda has taken up residence in the NWFP of Pakistan, where even the Pakistan army doesn't dare go.

Once OBL and Zarqawi got away at Torra Bora, our job there was done.

PE, first off, always a pleasure!

But you are making an assumption that somehow we have been slack in seeking bin Laden without any proof towards that end other than the fact we have not captured him.

As to his being 'healthy', well, any man who needs dialysis would hardly qualify for that description.

Exactly what would Kerry do? Abandon Iraq and utlize the troops in a search for Osama?

Shout: "Ollie, Ollie, in come free?"

His rhetoric may play to the Deaniacs these days but the logic is as evasive as that of the Montpelier Montebank, Howard Dean.

Well, I will dispute both your assertions. The number of troops and resources we have given to Afghanistan is dismal in comparison to the resources we have applied to Iraq and we did begin to shift resources away from Afghanistan in 2002. Right now, we don't know if he is in Pakistan as there are not that many troops on the border and there are various reports of Al Qaeda members moving across Afghanistan towards Iran.

As far as his medical health, a doctor who saw him right after 9/11 reported his dialysis condition as not nearly as dire as some say and that he would not die merely because he
was away from modern medical facilities.

I base my opinions on assertions from numerous people who have worked in counter terrorism as well as journalists who have been following Al Qaeda, much of this is confirmed by reports quoting military officials describing the current hunt for Osama. All these people speak of what is known and what is not. However, clearly there is a lack of resources devoted to the task as very little of Afghanistan is being effectively monitored as evidenced by the rising opium trade.

So, yes, I believe i have reasons to believe that there has been a diversion of resources/focus away from Afghanistan and that has impacted our hunt for the killers of 9/11.

Mal, you are correct in that Kerry would still have to continue to allocate considerable resources for tthe near future to Iraq. That said, the fact that his group contains officials, some of whom were working for Bush in 2002, would have had different priorities then suggests a shift of priorities for the future.

To me, it is not evasive to say that, on the one hand, a Powell, while making much of the same choices as a Wolfowitz in the short term, would make different choices than a Wolfowitz in the long term. In the case of Gary Hart whose report initially advocated a Homeland Security agency (even using that language) prior to 9/11 and a Rand Beers who left as counter terrorism chief on the eve of the iraq War.. you have two people who would have set different priorities back then and would in many cases set different priorities for the future because of their approach to the problems at hand, their desire to truly understand the enemy so to defeat them, a passion for which I still do not detect from the Bush Administration.

Indeed, Rand Beers' difficulty with the Bush Administration (he originially was hired by his father) regarding the Iraq War was not just the decision that was made but the decision process that led to it. He said the decision was made on high, its result filtering down to the counterterrorism people with little input from them. If Bush's priority is fighting terrorism, would not his first priority be listening to those whose job is tracking terrorists?

Mind you that Rand Beers is no wallflower. He was heavily criticized by liberals for his aggressive drug war policy in Colombia carried out under Bush 41.

So, to answer your question, I do not think I am being evasive in the least.. because there will be many more decisions to be made in the future. There will come a time when we are not bogged down in Iraq. Indeed, that time MUST come if we are to win the war on terrorism as Iraq is only PART of the terrorism picture.

Mal, some day go to the state department site, check out the Al Qaeda map to show where Al Qaeda has been known to operate and you will see that they have operated in every continent of the world. Indeed, the one country left off the 2001 map was Iraq. That has changed, now, of course, and Iraq must be dealt with -- but Iraq is still part of the picture and Osama Bin Laden was always the greater worldwide threat than Saddam whose terrorism influence was primarily focused on Palestine/israel. (Not to make light of that, but he was not and is not the greater danger.)

So, no, I disagree strongly with both you and CRB's that I am stating a soundbite for the misinformed. I have thought long and hard about the state of terrorism. There are serious differences in approach between those who would take the reigns in a Kerry adminstration and those who wield authority now. And, yes, resources were diverted from Afghanistan and that diversion was significant.

I disagree strongly that once OBL got away to Pakistan that our job was done. If we had continued to close in latter 2001 and the beginning of 2002, we could have worked with Pakistan towards destroying the remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda before they were allowed to regroup and disperse. I will forgive Tora Bora as a tactical mistake, but I do not forgive our giving up. Had we pursued a relentless push, that job would have been completed. Our switch to Iraq, however, complicated our relationship with Pakistan. They had supported our search for Al Qaeda, in part because they had a mutual interest in their destruction. The Iraq War, however, divided us from Pakistan, complicated their support, and affected the task at hand on many levels.

Post a comment