Friday, October 01, 2004
"I don't flip-flop, I'm just retarded!"--text message from my good friend Derek Smith
It was a great night.
Before this debate, I simply considered Kerry the lesser of two evils, and supported him with great reservations. Now, I am pleased to say I support Kerry with great enthusiasm. Any sane person who can't see that Kerry is far more intelligent, experienced, and competent in every respect than is George Bush, is simply blind, ignorant, or self-deluded.
But, the one key moment: when Bush (off-script, I'm assuming) voluntarily brought up the International Criminal Court, openly and explicitly opposing it, I thought: he just shot himself in both feet, with a shotgun. (Possibly a rocket launcher.)
The supreme irony of the Iraq war is that we have Saddam Hussein in captivity, but are unable to try him in any international tribunal because we refuse to ratify the ICC, because that would require giving up our long tradition of blatant hypocrisy and Exceptionalism. Bush basically came right out and said, "Can you believe it? This court wants us to apply to ourselves the same standards we apply to everyone else! Can you imagine?!? What INSANITY!"
(Same goes, of course, for Osama Bin Laden.)
Speaking of which . . .
Conspiracy theories and rumors aside, many, many, MANY people (including almost everyone I've spoken with at my workplace, regardless of their political views) have agreed with me that if Osama is "suddenly" captured between now ("now" being early this summer, actually) and November, clearly he was already caught and this is merely a political move to regain power--the "October Surprise."
I repeat: if in fact Osama, some time in the next month and a half, is "all of a sudden" captured . . . Well, do the math.
(In any case, Bin Laden has been "marginalized," so it doesn't really matter. Bush "isn't really concerned" about him anymore, "doesn't spend much time on it" anymore, as Bush has publicly stated.)
O.K. Back to the debate.
I still have huge misgivings about Kerry voting for the use of force against Iraq. (And, I think, if he had not done so, he'd be "in like Flinn," as they say.) But the fact remains (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT):
Bush lied about the reasons for the war, about how the war would go, about the costs of the war, and about under what circumstances he would go to war.
Which brings me to the $87 Billion . . .
Forget everything for one second and think about this:
If Bush had been honest (which he was not) and had said in advance that the invasion would cost at least $87 Billion, and probably much more (say, oh, I don't know . . . $200 Billion?), and would kill at least 10,000 Iraqis (most of them civilians, and the rest of them involuntary soldiers), and 1,000 U.S. soldiers . . .
Would we have supported it? Would Congress have voted for it?
Bush was pressed REPEATEDLY to provide SOME ESTIMATE of how much the war would cost, how many soldiers would be required, how long it might last, etc. And the administration repeatedly refused--in fact, dismissed with complete contempt anyone who rasied such questions. (A top Army officer was even fired, essentially, for saying that we'd need about 200,000 troups.) When finally forced to give some rough estimate of the cost, Bush and Rumsfeld said it would be very quick and cost less than $1 Billion. Huh. (Maybe they really believed this, I don't know; if so, they weren't lying, they were just ignorant and incompetent.)
Furthermore, (which I think Kerry should have pointed out more strongly), most of the "intelligence" Bush keeps referring to (about Saddam's WMD's) was false (some of it CRUDELY FORGED). Now. Who bears the responsibility for this? JOHN KERRY? PLEASE. The most you can accuse him of is having believed the president of the United States (who deliberately hand-picked the intelligence which fit his pre-conceived plans for an invasion of Iraq. The Defense Department even set up a separate "Intelligence" agency, the "Office of Special Plans," when they weren't getting enough of the "intelligence" they wanted.).
Hmmm . . .
Other nice moments:
Kerry (rather than pretending to be some coal miner's daughter) pointed out that Bush's tax cuts benefit primarily people like Kerry and Bush (i.e., the well-off, or, to put it more bluntly, the rich). (Which, of course, Clinton also said, in the Democratic Convention--which I really liked.)
Anyone who still thinks that the media is "liberal" is a fool. Kari (my significant other for 5 years) and I flipped through the channels after the debate--not just "19th Century FOX," but ALL the major mainstream TV news outlets--and virtually ALL of them--no, not "virtually," but ALL of them--focused on KERRY'S WEAKNESSES!!! GIVE ME A FUCKING GODDAM BREAK.
The media is a fucking JOKE. And ANYONE who sees FOX as ANYTHING except a LYING PULPIT FOR THE RIGHT and a MEGAPHONE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE is an IDIOT.
There. I said it.
While I'm thinking of it: LeVina (a co-worker of mine--probably about 60 years old), asked me today (before the debate) "What do people see in him [Bush]?" I said "I have no idea. I don't like John Kerry very much, but--" She finished my sentence: "But I mean I'd vote for my neighbor's DOG before Bush." I felt very good; that doesn't happen too often.
Oh, yes: the other key moment in the debate:
Bush and Kerry "agreed" that Nuclear Non-Proliferation was the primary issue in foreign policy and national (/international) security. Yet (as Kerry pointed out) not only is Bush NOT abiding by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which states that the nuclear states must destroy their nuclear weapons), but Bush is doing the OPPOSITE by proposing to build NEW NUKES.
How in god's name can we seriously expect to convince Iran not to develop nuclear weapons???? The U.S., the country with more nuclear weapons than any country in the history of the world, and the only country to ever have used them. Furthermore, the only country to have used them on civilians.
ESPECIALLY after we (that is, Bush) have explicitly labeled Iran and North Korea along with Iraq as members of the so-called "Axis of Evil," and then invaded, bombed and occupied one of those countries.
The clear message that we have sent is: unless you want to be bombed, you had better have a deterrent (i.e., nuclear weapons).
(Iran and North Korea have understood this rather direct message quite well.)
While Bush still says the war was a good idea because we got rid of Saddam's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (Wha??), note that last night he did NOT mention Al Qaeda being linked to Saddam (asside from allusions, in referring to Iraq as the "central front in the 'war on terror'").
I wish Lehrer had asked at least one question about the coups in Haiti and Venezuela--and our apparent indifference to them.
Lastly, in Bush's first answer he implied again what Cheney said, that we will be attacked again if John Kerry is elected:
LEHRER: "New question, Mr. President, two minutes.
Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?"
BUSH: "No, I don‘t believe it‘s going to happen. I believe I‘m going to win, because the American people know I know how to lead. . . ."
At first glance, his answer was "No." But what he actually said was, "that's not going to happen because I'm going to win the election."
Citizens of all political persuasions should be appalled.