“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Poodle to Poodle, Did Bush and Blair Seduce Each Other?

The Britsh press to this day often refers to Blair as Bush's Poodle, but is it possible they were poodles to each other. Was there an odd nexus where they both found someting entriguing in each other and were both seduced by what each brought to the table in their different roles and personalities? This is important because even though the US role in Iraq will be changing and hopefully diminshing, it is far from ending.

This was reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in July 11, 2003.
"In September 2002, the CIA tried unsuccessfully to persuade the British government to drop from an official intelligence paper a reference to Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Africa that President Bush included in his State of the Union address four months later, senior administration officials said Thursday.... The latest disclosures further illustrate the lack of confidence expressed by the U.S. intelligence community in the months leading up to Bush's speech about allegations of Iraqi efforts to buy uranium in Africa. Even so, Bush used the charge - citing British intelligence as its source - in the Jan. 28 address as part of his effort to convince Congress and the American people that Iraq had an ongoing program to build weapons of mass destruction and posed a serious threat to the United States."

On a personal note, I was a reluctant supporter of the war in Iraq. I based my support on the British Dossier and the support of Tony Blair. I believed at the time, that when we found the weapons, we should destroy them and leave. I thought we should have left after we caught Saadam. Then we had the plan of the establishment of democracy. The closest we got was a demonocracy. All history now and no longer relevant.

The Baker mission is going to change things, but questions need to be asked. Did the British, through Blair convince Bush we should proceed against Iraq or was it the other way round?
How did we get here? What was the role and dynamic between Blair and Bush? Were there other more important players? What possible mission should keep the US and Britain in Iraq?


  1. RoadtoSerfdom said...
    Newt wrote an excellent piece in the WSJ about a month ago, comparing Lincoln in 1862-3 to GW Bush now. For Lincoln, the war had completely changed in dimension, scope and mission, and his only hope for survival was to accept and understand the change, and address it appropriately.

    Bush needs to redefine the mission (my suggestion is something he could try both at home and in Iraq - a pledge to secure the borders) and to not be shy about augmenting troop levels to address that mission.

    I don't think the conflict in Iraq was a mistake for the US, and I think the chances of us leaving a beneficial legacy to the region are better than not. To those who say we have only created more terrorists, I respond that those who behead journalists and bomb polling places of their fellow citizens were not created by us, but at least were exposed by us.

    There is new debate throughout Europe about the reach and intolerance of Islam in European culture. There are millions of women in Iraq who have voted for the first time, and increasing civil rights are sprouting up in Kuwait and around the region as a result. The genie is out of the bottle, I am convinced, and the inescapable critical path to a modern society has undeniable beginnings in Iraq.

    The hardest part facing us now is transforming a chauvinistic, violence-loving culture into a culture of tolerance and forbearance so that we can minimize our presence without worrying about anarchistic murder and mayhem. Lessons lke that aren't learned over night. And they often require a strong and consistent application of force.

    10:51:31 AM

  2. The Baker mission is going to change things, but questions need to be asked.

    Speaking of Baker, even he says Iraq is "a helluva mess". But then he's one of Bush's father's checked-pants Rockerfeller Republicans, not one of the the neocons who think Iraq can't wait to embrace New Hampshire style participatory democracy.

  3. Roadtoserfdom, I did not say or imply that they went into Iraq on a Parlour game. I believe that the US support to go into Iraq was enhanced by the support of Blair. The Britsih claim it was the other way round.The mission has changed and Baker will obviously concur that there is a mission or not based on facts as he sees them. World leaders are people first and they are influenced by their experiences and people around them. The purpose of this blog, as I see it, is to share informed opinion. You cannot do that with an audience of nodding parrots. You sir are amongst those that we all want to hear from, whether you agree with me or not. The banner says free wheeling civil conversationn. That is what we do here.

  4. The mistakes here are that we have made a virtue of murderous tyrants. Falujah I was the harbinger of demise for US policy.

    “…the ransom was raised and paid. St. Epharim’s parishioners dutifully posted 30 large signs on walls around the city repudiating the Pope’s statements. They awaited word of Fr. Iskander’s promised release. On Wednesday in the Tahir City District, a mile from the Mosul city center, the priest’s body was found. Fr. Iskander’s severed head lay atop his chest. His severed arms and legs were placed around his head.”
    The Unholy Month of Ramadan

    We are dealing with remorseless killers and filthy vermin that have absolutely no shred of human decency. If the US bombed these people into submission, the survivors would have thanked us, and if not, they would have feared us and fear is the currency of respect in such hell holes. They now neither fear nor respect us. Muslims, who are a shameless lot of liars and rank cowards, hate us for our moral weakness, as they should. These are the people who “embrace” death and are self-flagellating victim mongers. Give them what they want… not a bunch of namby-pamby handholding. This is the most humiliating thing you can do to this craven slime and it is unusually cruel. We sought to dethrone a tyrant, and instead have given birth to a nation of terrorists.

  5. To follow through with Road's comments:

    I don't resent criticizing the war effort, but I feel explanations rooted in notions of personality and psychology are more a gander than a perspective.

    How is it at all parsimonious to suggest that some trappings of idiosyncracy lead two nations to war? It may be the case, but I've read far sounder arguments on why were in Iraq, and the daily fray and gore can easily tempt one to doubt. And I think thats the chief spring of such poor explanations: doubt, which in and of itself is fine, but lets not forget the rationale as well as the mess that any war instantly becomes the moment of its waging.

    As a literary device, both Bush and Blair can serve as derivatives of each's respective empowered electorate, and their moods become the moods of the people, conceivably. But other than a literary device, and an interesting one at that, I fail to see any value to such speculation, other than an amusing departure from the grueling fate we stride towards.

  6. I recall with fondness when Mr Blair called the Iraqi intervention a
    undertaking. Mr Blair proudly wore the Progressive label. But man oh man, did the BCers take exception to describing Mr Bush that way.

    Definitions of Progressives, how they were the Worse of the Worse. To which I had to agree. They never explained, though, why Mr Blair was incorrect. How or why he had it wrong.
    How was the OIF not a
    "Progressive, radically liberal attempt to change both culture and a society, in not just a country, but a Region. Using a minimum of force."

    Wilsonian Progressives, both Mr Blair & Mr Bush, but which came first?
    A chicken hawk, a part time Reservist pilot or the eggs?

  7. Christian dhimmis raise and pay Jihadi ransom and dutifully post 30 large signs on walls around their city repudiating the Pope’s statements. The result, predictable. Christians in the ME live under daily threat of Jihadi murder and plunder. A condition very similar to that of the Jews in Nazi Europe. One has to be blind not to see where this condition is headed.

  8. d'Rat,

    A sense of expectation
    hanging in the air,
    giving out sparks.
    Across the room,
    eyes are glowing in the dark.
    Here we go again,
    we know the start,
    we know the end.
    Masters of the scene,
    we've done it all before,
    and now we're back to get some more.
    You know what I mean.

    Voulez-vous (ah-ha)
    Take it now or leave it (ah-ha)
    Now is all we get (ah-ha)
    Nothing promised, no regrets.

    Voulez-vous (ah-ha)
    Aint no big decision (ah-ha)
    You know what to do (ah-ha)
    La question cest voulez-vous

  9. The result, predictable. Christians in the ME live under daily threat of Jihadi murder and plunder. A condition very similar to that of the Jews in Nazi Europe. One has to be blind not to see where this condition is headed.

    It's headed for the self-dhimmification of all of "Christian" Europe, which seem be far better to them than living with feelings of guilt for oppressing the poor peaceful Muslims with cartoons and Papal bull. And I say good, let Eurabia serve as an eternal example of what not to do.

  10. James Baker was "visible shocked".
    The LA Times, is reporting that there will be a gradual phase out of US troops and a dependence on Sryia and Iran to provide some type of security role. The establishment of a democratic state seems to have evaporated. There has been enough foreshadowing of events to understand that after the election, "staying the course" will have ran the course.

    So I would suggest that each and every one of you stock up on ammo and MRE's becuase if you believe that they (Iran,Iraq,Syria) and the other 1.3 billion Muslims are going to cease their drive for the new Caliphate you're dream'n.
    Of course the US Generals don't know how to fight to win, to kill unmercifully. They've been learning how to integrate women,gays, and 75 IQ'er into the armed forces. Sensitivity classes. Diplomacy classes. They know the battlefield decisions will come from the WH in this age of instant communication..anything but kill the enemy, Islam,men ,women,chidren.
    We never levelled one village with artillery or B-52 strikes. We never DOMINATED, we negotiated.
    This is the third time in 50 years we've failed to use our might to WIN. Our next battlefield will be within our own borders.
    Iran and Syrian to provide some type of security role. That's rich.
    James Baker vs. Henry Kissinger.
    Kissinger said just last week it would be catastrophic if we left. It will force Israel to use the BOMB. When England stood ALONE Churchill said he would never give in, that he would rather see London in ashes.
    Every military and diplomatic mind has stated on the record that this is a 25-50 year war. Looks like we're gonna be fighting a long time in Texas,New Jersey,Michegan,California, etc.
    One thing is for sure, your grandchildren will look back in anger at why we had no will to win.
    Compared to other wars our casualties are paltry and yet we recoil from battle. We look for ways to not engage. It makes me sick.
    It is not our philosophy that is wrong, it is our civilization gone soft and beyond ripe to rotten. A gutless muticultural,sensitive,feminized,
    shadow of the men of Valley Forge,Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, and countless other battles where the breaks were beating the boys but they prevailed.
    So rest you weary heads on your soft pillows and hope you die before Islam is here in force. Leave that for your grandkids.

  11. Teresita,

    Lilliput and Blefuscu are permanently at war because of differences over the correct way to eat a boiled egg. It's the idiotic rivalry between Eastern and Western Christendom that has allowed Jihadis their victories in the ME, Asia, Europe, and elsewhere.

  12. Below Mississippi

    Arizona is Dumb
    Each year Morgan Quitno Press conducts a number of surveys about the cities and states of the U.S. Recently, the company announced the results of the annual Smartest State award. The press release announced "... Vermont as the winner of its 4th annual Smartest State award. Arizona comes in last."

    How Were The State Rankings Determined?
    There were 21 factors, some of which are considered positive and some negative. To calculate the Smartest State rankings, the 21 factors were divided into two groups: those that are “negative” for which a high ranking would be considered bad for a state, and those that are “positive” for which a high ranking would be considered good.

    An example of a negative factor is the number of high school dropouts, where a high number is worse than a low number. An example of a positive factor is the average teacher salary, where a higher number is a better number.

    After all the 21 factors are counted up, and the positives and negatives calculated, here are the "smartest states" and the ones that are not; you can find Arizona is at the very bottom of the list.

    Top Ten States
    1. Vermont
    2. Connecticut
    3. Massachusetts
    4. New Jersey
    5. Maine
    6. Minnesota
    7. Virginia
    8. Wisconsin
    9. Montana
    10. New York

    Bottom Ten States

    41 Tennessee
    42 Hawaii
    43 Alabama
    44 Alaska
    45 Louisiana
    46 California
    47 Nevada
    48 New Mexico
    49 Mississippi
    50 Arizona

    Of course, none of this means that Arizonans are dumb, or dumber than anyone else. This is a simple formula driven survey, where everyone is compared to the national average and someone has to be at the bottom. It certainly does infer, though, that continued improvement in our educational system must be a priority. Are all Morgan Quitno's factors the correct ones? Who knows? Does having fewer administrators (one of the factors) mean the students are educated better? Maybe yes, maybe no. Does spending more money per capita (another factor) always mean the students get a better education? Maybe yes, maybe no. A few factors can't be argued, though. We need more kids graduating from high school. We need more kids getting better scores on standardized tests.

  13. Madmen bent on destruction

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez will build 20 military bases in Bolivia, which will be situated on the borders with five other nations: Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Those installations will be under the control of Venezuelan and Cuban personnel, in complicity with Bolivian soldiers. Most certainly, the Cubans will carry Venezuelan passports and identification papers. It isn't easy to tell them apart. They're alike, even in their virtues and defects. The cost of the new Venezuelan armaments will rise to $30 billion. Venezuela has become the leading international buyer of arms and military equipment.

    The plan reprises an old dream and early strategic concept created by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara: to turn Bolivia, a country in the heart of Latin America, into the subversive bastion of South America. That conviction cost Guevara his own life in 1967.

    First target: Chile

    Bolivia is a country from which the entire Andean region can be destabilized by fanning ethnic conflicts. It is a country (soon with the right bases) from which the new warplanes bought by Chávez in Russia can operate. I expect the Chileans -- the first targets in the sights of the Venezuelan colonel ready to ''swim in the Bolivian sea'' -- are aware of the enormous danger that will hang over them in the not-too-distant future.

    Chávez, in cahoots with Evo Morales, intends to seduce and recruit the Bolivians into his revolutionary adventure by means of a gigantic aid plan that includes medical treatment, literacy campaigns and abundant food. He is sure that such massive aid will demolish any nationalistic wariness. He already is very much appreciated by the Bolivian masses and will be even more so in the future. Bolivia is the poorest country in the continent. Several hundreds of millions of dollars conveniently distributed (Chávez calculates) may achieve the miracle of attracting the enthusiastic adhesion of the neediest people and the complicity of the radical groups to the cause of a redemptive conquest of Latin America, a step on the road to 21st-century socialism.

    No sense of boundaries

    What we're witnessing is the consequence of a delirious vision of history and global political reality. Months ago, last December, that vision was explained in Caracas by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque, and the world was foolish enough not to pay any attention. Castro and Chávez, two absolutely messianic characters without any vestige of prudence or sense of boundaries, came to the conclusion that Marxism had revived after the debacle that ended the Soviet Union and its European satellites 15 years ago. From that conclusion, they derived the sacred mission that both assumed with the responsibility and fervor of crusaders: Caracas and Havana would bear on their shoulders the task of redeeming a humanity cowardly abandoned by Moscow.

    That's the hair-raising picture before our eyes: Caracas-Havana, and now La Paz, are the new Moscow, mother and father of world socialism. The task they have as signed themselves begins with the revolutionary conquest of South America and the installation in all its nations of sympathetic governments that will collaborate in the final battle against ``imperialism.''

    What is the objective of that battle? Obviously, to bring the United States and its despicable European acolytes to their knees. To end forever the iniquitous exploitation of the Third World by the creation of a grandiose collectivistic and egalitarian civilization that will reign eternally for the glory of humanity.

    Hungry and hopeless

    It would be a huge mistake to dismiss this blueprint to conquest just because it's the senseless madness of a couple of characters who didn't take Prozac when they should have. The Third Reich spawned by the Nazis was no less mad or absurd, yet it cost the world 40 million dead and the monstrous Holocaust. Cuba is an impoverished Third World island, hungry and hopeless, but that didn't deter its government from participating in successful coups d'etat in Madagascar and Yemen, or sending its troops to fight in bloody African wars, both in Angola and Ethiopia, for 15 years.

    With his petrodollars and the help and guidance of the Cubans, who are expert and combat-tested, Chávez is building the largest Spanish-speaking army: 1.2 million men who will have at their disposal the most destructive air force in all of South America. Once that machine is well oiled, he won't hesitate to put it to use as the Cuban armed forces were once used. Once the tool is available, it will inevitably be put into operation. No matter that Chávez is mad. Madmen also kill.

  14. Tyrants and the Bomb
    There’s a deep history to this latest Kim Jong Il move

    Kim Jong

    The Fascists Among Us
    Right Here, Now

  15. Great post, 1:45:44, habu. Comprehensive, alas.

  16. Tomorrow the UNSC fight between Venezuela % Guatemala goes into the next round. Need two-thirds to get the seat. If neither can get there, even tho Guatemala is way ahead, precedent is to elect a third, "compromise" candidate. This is for the Latin American seat, so it'll be one of the LA states.

  17. Hugo stole several elections already, is what worries me. Jimmy Carter was a crucial, invaluable accomplice in this, of course, but now he is in such position, he may can do it agains, even without the help from President Mayonnaise.

  18. That's true, rufus--but some things are even worse. USSR was the godless theology that, had it survived, would have been an increasingly awkward fit in this new religious-consciousness era.

    USSR stimulated the last red push in South America, but it sort of knocked heads with the so-called "liberation theology".

    If you saw Hugo make the sign of the cross, and prayer hands, in his UN speech--part of which dealt with theology (Bush the Devil), you had to wonder, who will knock heads with it-- liberation theology --now?

    Can Pope Benedict shoot it down, as Pope JPII--as part of his war with USSR--did?

  19. goes to what matt said upthread--about the idiotic factionalism inside a certain oblivious mindset.

  20. They've burned the Churches in Mexico, before.
    Do not count on the Pope to sway the multitudes down that way to far from their political roots or percieved self interest.

  21. I mean, how can cocaine trafficking, and terrorism, possibly hook up with liberation theology? It can't, in the rational world. But--well...the empirical evidence before us is, rationalism is under attack as a form of "oppression". Feh.

  22. As someone said of the left, it's at root an attack on "thought" itself.

    "Rationalism" is a mere tainted product of the imperialist emphasis on thought over emotion. that's why the Hugos are so theatrical--the basic premise of entertainment is "suspension of disbelief".

    Western culture is at war with Aztec "fun" in South America.

  23. rufus--yep--there's a lotta modernism in our favor--this leftist push may well be a final spasm. Depending on the breaks. Like the one on Nov 7.

  24. I think AMLO is sobering up a lot of South Americans.

  25. Rufus,
    Hugo doesn't need any more oil money, no more so than Fidel did in 1958-59 in Cuba.

    The Soviets will be more than willing to destabilize all of South America just as they did Central America and Africa. Russia has plenty of oil.
    We are being flanked. In the Far East with China feigning indignantly over N. Korean nuclear tests.
    In South America where Chavez will have a Saddam election,voted back in power by an amazing 99% of the people while building bases across the nothern tier of the continent.
    In Europe, outflanked by Islamic demographics and Old Europe's cowtowing to multiculturalism, and losing there civilizations in the process.
    Pakistan,a heartbeat away from anti-Americanism run rampant and war with India.
    China building a 600 ship blue water navy to control all sealanes and project power.
    Putin back in the assassination game to intimidate and consolidate. He too will not leave power.
    During all this the USA is turning tail. The USA is designing a lighter, more mobile military. To do what? Run around the US Intersate Highways from city to city to shovel the remains of a foreign bomb attack. It's certainly not being developed to win a war, that's not in the syllabus. We'd be better off to just turn our entire armed forces into Red Cross medics and Muslim rug beaters.
    If NoKo gets the bomb you don't think the Russians won't give one to Chavez? Of course they will...whose gonna stop them..not us..we're about to prove that beyond supersizing a Big Mac Attack that's about the extent of our will.

  26. All that is happening, true, habu, but at the same time capitalism, free-market economies, and democracy are spreading, too. It's like a lava lamp.

    It's a race. The human race is in a race.

    The human race IS a race. A race-based race race. Hope we don't e-rase.

  27. Buddy,

    The problem you're witness to is that Corruption trumps Rationalism, Religionism, Modernism.