The Iraqis are owed a presidential apology Do you have any regrets?: The Iraqis are owed a presidential apology

By Johnathan Goldberg on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 04:13 pm:

    President Bush should apologize to the Iraqi people.

    No, he shouldn't apologize for any of the things the antiwar crowd thinks he should apologize for. He shouldn't apologize for the bombs or any of that. In fact, he shouldn't apologize for anything he's done at all. He's pretty much done everything right. No, he should apologize for what his two predecessors did — or rather, for what they didn't do.

    But before we get into that, let me clear the air about something else first. One of the most absurdly exaggerated journalistic clichés of the last three years has been the extent to which George W. Bush's actions have been dictated by the example of his father. I searched Lexis-Nexis for examples of journalists using the phrase "mistakes of his father" in stories about Bush and there was a flood of them, too deep to wade through. But there's no point because we've all heard it a million times by now. Indeed, as John Podesta says in USA Today this morning, "If there's one thing we know about him, it's that he has studied the mistakes that his father made and he is loath to repeat them."

    Get that? "If there's one thing we know about him . . ." We are surer of this than we are that he is a Republican or even a carbon-based life form.

    Now, I don't mean to be pedantic. The conventional wisdom is certainly right that Bush has studied the mistakes of his father — I've heard more than a few White House staffers say so themselves. I'm sure the current president is even particularly concerned about this because he was there when his father's ship went down and that was his only other significant Washington experience before he became president.

    But, you know what? Bush is also the president of the United States. And pretty much all presidents study the mistakes of their predecessors, especially the ones from their own parties — and even more especially when their immediate predecessor was couldn't get reelected. President Clinton came into office determined not to make the mistakes of Jimmy Carter. Jack Germond and Jules Witcover wrote a column in December of 1992, "Bill Clinton's Sure No Jimmy Carter." It begins: "President-elect Bill Clinton and his managers seem spooked by the idea they might repeat the mistakes that were made by Jimmy Carter, the most recent Democrat in the White House. To avoid it, they have been consulting with some of those who managed the transition 16 years ago."

    Anyway, I bring this up because, well, journalistic clichés annoy me. But it's also a very relevant point for today. One of the dumber arguments made by the antiwar crowd is that Bush has gone to war because he wants to avenge his father and finish the job his dad couldn't finish. The reason this is a dumb argument is pretty simple. The first President Bush and his defenders have spent much of the last decade lashing out at anyone who would even suggest that the first Gulf War was mishandled. The original Bushies — Scowcroft, Baker, even Powell — have repeatedly ridiculed the notion that marching into Baghdad would not have been wise or legal. What the current President Bush is doing now severely undermines the accomplishment of the first Gulf War in terms of how history will judge what his father did.

    Coming back twelve years later to finish the job only proves how Poppa Bush didn't get the job done. If George W. is interested in burnishing his dad's reputation, this is not the way to do it. Which is why, many surmise, so many people from Bush I were so reluctant to endorse this war. Another reason, of course, is that the first Bush administration was Kissingerian in its foreign policy and this administration is Reaganite. But disentangling policy from ego is never an easy thing.

    Regardless, if the past is to be judged through the prism of the present, then America messed up in 1991. It may have seemed like the right idea at the time, but in retrospect America should have toppled Saddam in 1991. We would have had all the international support we needed. The tens of thousands of Iraqis, mostly Shia, who rose up to topple Saddam, would still be alive and grateful to the United States of America and we wouldn't have had the last twelve years of sanctions and the rest of this stress. Indeed, we might even have had peace in the Middle East and no September 11. After all, Osama bin Laden saw our reluctance to topple Saddam as a sign of weakness and he saw the presence of our troops in Saudi Arabia as an insult to Muslim honor. If we'd toppled Saddam, there would have been no need to keep our troops in Saudi Arabia and we certainly wouldn't have looked weak if we'd gone all the way to Baghdad.

    Obviously, it's impossible to know for sure, but I certainly think that the world would have been better off if we'd spent the last twelve years trying to tweak and improve Iraq's fledgling democracy than we have been playing footsie with Saddam and the United Nations.

    Regardless, we can't deny the real consequences of playing the game the way we did. A little more than a week ago, when the Shiites of Basra failed to rise up against their Baathist overlords, there was a lot of talk in the United States about how this made sense considering how we'd encouraged the Iraqis to rise up against Saddam and then refused to support them when they did. We even saw the old clip of the first President Bush encouraging the Iraqis to topple Saddam. No one knows how many people Saddam slaughtered putting down the Iraqi intifada, but it's safe to assume that a lot fewer would be dead if we hadn't persuaded them to do it in the first place.

    Over the subsequent dozen years, the Iraqi government beat the Iraqi people down. Al Jazeera, Osama bin Laden, the French, the Iranians, the international Left, and of course Saddam Hussein's own massive propaganda machine all told Iraqis that their misery was the result of the deliberate cruelty of U.S. sanctions (a more Castroite argument you could not find). Obviously the Iraqis didn't buy this tripe completely, because they are now in the streets hugging U.S. troops. But it's also clear that the trust may not be very deep. These next few weeks are vital for earning the confidence of the Iraqi people and the wider Arab world.

    I think a great first step in this regard would be a simple apology. President Bush should say to the Iraqi people that he is sorry it took us so long to come back. President Clinton went on an outrageous Global Apology Tour when he was in office (See Apologia Clintonia) which only served to make America seem weak. Worse, Clinton mostly apologized for policies he disagreed with. I'm sure Clinton thought he has a Profiles in Courage Award coming for being a lifelong Cold War dove and then apologizing for what the hawks did to bring down the Berlin Wall, but that's another story.

    But an apology from Bush would have huge a huge impact. The quickest way to prove your sincerity is to make it clear that you are acting out of contrition for something you did wrong in the past. Obviously, we aren't in Iraq merely to atone for a past wrong, but there's nothing wrong with telling this to the Iraqi people, since it is in effect one reason why we are there. Moreover, a properly phrased apology could make this war less of a blow to the pride of the Iraqis. The stunning humiliation of the Iraqi army is already a major — if not the major — issue for Arabs outside of Iraq. There's every reason to think it will be a major sore point for the Iraqis themselves in the weeks to come, when things calm down under an apparent occupation by U.S. forces and various groups jostle for influence and vent imported Arab rhetoric at U.S. forces.

    We've proven our strength; we now need to prove our humility, as we brilliantly did when our troops took a knee outside the tomb of Ali in Najaf last week. An apology from Bush would demonstrate far better that we are not conquerors. And, it would contribute to a much needed, and not necessarily inaccurate, national myth or narrative for Iraq. Just as the French needed to convince themselves that they were a major factor in liberating France, the Iraqis need to think of themselves as a proud people fighting for their own freedom. The best way to do this is to frame this war as a continuation of the last. In this formulation, the U.S. troops in Iraq today are the cavalry coming to the aid of the brave men and women of the first Iraqi intifada, an Arab Alamo fighting for a free Iraq. The cavalry arrived too late, and that's why we should apologize. This would, I think, help to preserve the pride of the Iraqis and at the same time demonstrate the sincerity of our stated intentions. Such an apology could be quite convincing from President Bush because it would no doubt be sincere, and because it would implicitly admit that his own father had made a mistake.

    There's no need for Clintonian lip-biting and blubbering or beating ourselves up. But rebuilding Iraq is a form of making amends already. It will be easier to do it, if we say it first.

    THIS sums up what I meant when I said we should not be going to war in Iraq.

By Antigone on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 04:43 pm:

    spunky, would you sign your posts, please?

By Rowlf on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:03 pm:

    Every future president is going to be apologizing I guess

    Who gets to apologize for Reagan refusing to join Gorbachev in the abolition of nuclear weapons?

    Who gets to apologize for pulling out of Kyoto?

    Who gets to apologize for breaking the ABM treaty?

By Sammy D. on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:06 pm:

    The Candyman does.

By eri on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:15 pm:

    Actually Sammy it would properly be "the candyman can". Not does, but can. We can all apoligize out our asses but that doesn't necessarily mean shit, so who would give a fuck if the candyman apoligized anyway?

By Sammy D. on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:20 pm:

    C'mon baby, this Rowlf cat was asking "Who gets to apologize for" A, B and C. And the answer to those would be, "The Candyman does." Not "The Candyman can."

By Rowlf on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:45 pm:

    The Candyman can is funnier.

    Eri - 1
    Sammy D. - 0

By eri on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:46 pm:

    The lyrics of the song are "The candyman can" and not the candyman does. That is the difference right there. If you're gonna quote a song, do it right for fucksake!

By Martha washington stewart on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:51 pm:

    someone ain't gettin none tonight! yeeehaw! cottage cheese!

By Sammy D. on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 05:57 pm:

    Damn. Eri, funnier than the Sammy? Damn.

By spunkytracecartman on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 06:02 pm:

    "spunky, would you sign your posts, please?"

    I did not write that piece, I signed the name of the author. Had that been my thoughts or my words, I would have.
    I usually either use Spunky or Cartman or Trace.

    But I reserve the right to use an alias that enhances my points.

By trace on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 06:06 pm:

    My point to that post was that we had fucked up 12 years ago. World history, if left accurate, will bare that fact out.

    I have intentionally refrained from posting anything about Al Tuwaitha. But I will remind you of a post I made some months ago about something far worse being underground then chemical or biological weapons.

By Antigone on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 06:11 pm:


    "But I reserve the right to use an alias that enhances my points."

    I can't see how it could enhance your points. Are you afraid of us knowing it's you putting forward the ideas?

By wisper on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 06:41 pm:

    "Are you afraid of us knowing it's you putting forward the ideas?"

    jeezus anti, you had doubts?
    didja think it was Ophelia?

By Rowlf on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 06:50 pm:

    I thought it was the Chupacabra!!!

By trace on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 07:13 pm:

    "jeezus anti, you had doubts? "

    I hope I am not the only one that thinks we let them down twelve years ago....

By Rowlf on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 07:38 pm:

    If by "letting them down" you mean "shooting them and them hitting the ground"...

    we weren't letting them down by keeping the sanctions going even though we knew it only strengthened Saddam's regime by making people depend on him to survive?

    but yes, of course things would have been better for the Iraqis if "the job" was "finished" twelve years ago... but then again, the end is just the beginning... and again, we still do not know what will happen to Iraq now. Democracy wont happen by the wave of our hands. This isn't the end of Charlie Brown Christmas here. There are many things that could happen, for all we know if the "job had been finished" (i use these words in quotes because I hate that phrase) there could have been ongoing problems we'd still be dealing with today.

    I think even if Saddam WAS eliminated 12 years ago, after 9/11 the US would have gone after someone else... if Saddam were no longer in power it would have been someone else, no question.

    Theres always a scapegoat. Theres always a distraction overseas to keep your mind off of domestic issues. Theres always billions of fake money to spend that could be going towards education. Theres always scientists working on new weapons that could be doing cancer research.

    Money. I'm worried about the US turning into the old USSR, putting so much money and human resources into the military, war, weapons - that the rest of the country falls apart because the resources aren't there for them to succeed. A heavy price for so-called "security"

By Antigone on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 07:58 pm:

    Who needs security when there's a nuclear chicken in every pot?

By spunkydingo on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 08:17 pm:

    the "Old USSR" is not quite what it appears to be.

By patrick on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 00:59 am:

    but dude you have to have dug those old sports uniforms with the illogical (to the english speaking anyway) initials on ... what was it CCCP or someshit like that.

    also...ive been dying to know....spunk...why do soldiers have a backwards flag shoulder patch on their uniforms?

By Antigone on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 02:20 pm:

    Because they're all gay communists.

By wisper on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 05:33 pm:

    "I hope I am not the only one that thinks we let them down twelve years ago...."

    maybe not, but you're the only one who would try to start a discussion by cutting + pasting someone else's 2 page rant and then using their name as a handle, then possibly fessing up to it later. Others would just state their case or question in one paragraph, or maybe cut in chunks of another persons writing as quotes within their own post. It's kind of impersonal and in-your-face.

    I'm not saying your way is really bad, it's just what you always do, it's your style, and that's how we know when it's you posting.

    That and your IP.

By Rowlf on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 06:56 pm:

By spunky on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 08:37 pm:

    The reason why the flag is backwards (and you will notice this on the tail of aircraft as well)
    because the blue field is supposed to be on the upper, left hand corner of the displayed flag.

By jack on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 09:36 pm:

    the blue field isn't in the upper left corner on the reversed flag. (?)

    it's only reversed on the right side of vehicles, including aircraft, and on the right shoulders of personnel. it's supposed to look like the flag is blowing back in the wind as if caused by forward motion of the person or vehicle.

By jack on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 09:40 pm: if it were the same flag on the same pole as the flag on the left shoulder of the person or left side of the vehicle.

By spunkydingo on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 10:36 pm:

By dave. on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 11:10 am:

    flags are gay.

By Rowlf on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 00:49 am:

    Ban all flags

    ...or at least make them more interesting looking, or change them yearly, or something...

    I have a hard time getting excited over a couple of colored bars.

By spunkydingo on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 01:30 am:

    "The flag decals have the union (the blue area with the stars) on the side closer to the front of the plane. On the plane's left, the decal shows the flag with the union at the left, as usual. On the plane's right side, the union is on the right. This is done so that the flag looks as if it is blowing in the wind created by the forward movement of the ship or airplane. You can see this on cars and trucks as well. You can see this on cars and trucks as well. Click to see pictures of the flag decals on Air Force 1.There are two separate flag patches in the Army inventory: the normal U.S. flag replica that is worn on the left sleeve, and what is referred to as the "reversed field" flag patch, which is worn on the right sleeve."

    Sorry Rowlf, it appears that your answer is corrent and I was mistaken.

By spunkydingo on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 01:32 am:

    Oops. Jack

By semillama on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 00:27 pm:

    Holy god. is that website for real?

By spunkyDingo on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 00:34 pm:

    Well, semi, it appears that things other then assfuckings, booze and dope mean more to some people

By Spider on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 00:38 pm:

    Interesting how some people treat the flag with the reverence I reserve for the Eucharist.

By patrick on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 00:43 pm:

    sinc erowlf's post, all this while i thought you were talking about was trace's small cock.

By Rowlf on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 05:03 pm:

    EVERYTHING revolves around traces small cock.

    I learned something today, and from a geoshitties site, here it is:

    Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

    The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

    The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

    The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

    The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

    The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.

    The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

    The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

    The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

    The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

    The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

    The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews' eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

    The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust."

    After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

    There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.

    Share this with the children you love and all others who love the symbol of "Liberty and Freedom."

    I'm sorry, but thats just retarded. From now on, I'm going to make each wipe of my ass symbolic as a tribute to something else. Any suggestions?

By Rowlf on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 05:09 pm:

By semillama on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 05:32 pm:

    Spuky, I was referring to the samll dick website. That way overshadowed anything you posted afterwords.

    You can post all the flag stuff you want, but a picture of a centimeter-long penis is going to win out, no matter what.

By jack on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 05:49 pm:

    imagine that! trace misunderstood something he read!

By eri on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 07:31 pm:

    Just so that you know....that isn't Spunky's cock. I am curious to know who's it actually is.

    I once dated a guy with an itty bitty weiner. It didn't last all.

    I don't care what anyone says. Size does matter.

By Rowlf on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 09:30 pm:

    I demand spunky prove it isnt his cock

By eri on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 00:04 am:

    I would take a picture if he would let me!!! I would have to say aprox. 8 in. maybe more.

By J on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 01:17 am:

    Too much information,I have to take a bath.Jesus!!!

By Rowlf on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 08:28 am:

    I knew this one guy who told everyone he had a 12 inch cock, and he told his girlfriend to spread it around.

    In gym class when he was on the rings we pantsed him and was maybe 1 1/2 limp... since then, I only believe it when I see it.

    Cmon spunk, if you got it flaunt it

By semillama on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 09:31 am:

    For fun, folks, if you haven't figured it out, you can insert whomever's name you want into that url, after the http:// and before the first period.

By eri on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 10:28 am:

    Here's one for the other women. I heard this at PNO on Sunday.

    You know why women can never be carpenters? Because men keep telling them that this (hold fingers about 2-3 in. apart) is 6 inches!!!!

By spunkyDingo on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 11:33 pm:

    I have not responded to Rowlf's shit because I consider this to be very junior high, and was hoping it would fade away.

By patrick on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 01:43 pm:

    oh lighten up

By spunkyDingo on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 02:11 pm:

    Sorry, penise size jokes ARE junior high.

By Nate on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 02:29 pm:

    no way man. penis size jokes are wasted on junior high kids. they all have small penises.

    i think. i sure did in junior high.

    still do. tiny.

    i admit it. that was a picture of my cock. my midget man muscle.

By patrick on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 02:42 pm:

    "midget man muscle"

    such language makes me think of some language and thoughts i came up with yesterday when eva, as i was putting some rash ointment on her bum, shot shit across the room.

    as i was holding her by her legs, hiney raised a bit, i created an ass cannon, a howitzer of sorts. it made me think of the precision and geometry involved with those who operate those big ass howitzers that are seemingly shooting at stars. as her yellow poop streamed across the changing table and about 3 feet off the table on to the floor, i thought how i, was in fact part of the equation. its a lesson boys learn sooner than girls because we in fact learn early on tha the higher we aim our pee, the greater the distance we can soak. you loose pressure, but a soaking of pee is a soaking of pee.

    i was quite shocked, and indeed startled when shit streamed and launched nearly 3 times her distance. we've joked that when she poops, often it sound like a machine gun, but thats when her ass is covered. (i dont know what it is with the combat equipment comparisons but it just seems appropriate.) its a threat, the ass canon and i pay heed. im speeding up my diaper change process all the time. she's peed me like a water fountain as im about to put a new diaper on enough times now...that her 'bare time' is reduced to under 10 seconds.

    anyway.....the language that made our day...

    ass canon.

By semillama on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 03:02 pm:

    Double fun with that term, ass canon/cannon.

    The Ass Canon sounds like what Nate subscribes to.

By patrick on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 03:06 pm:

    you know, i thought twice of the usage on that one,but the phone rang, and i didnt look it up.

    yes, the ambiguity is alright by me.

By Nate on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 04:18 pm:

    "anal porn for the catholic gentleman"

    yeah, i do. but i prefer AAAR Quarterly, which i also subscribe to.

By Rowlf on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 04:54 pm:

    "I have not responded to Rowlf's shit because I consider this to be very junior high, and was hoping it would fade away"

    Wassamatta? Aint got nuttin to be spunky about... IN YO PANTS???????

    Wass in da pants? NOT A TRACE!!!!

By Traces penis on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 04:55 pm:

    please introduce me to your friends, da-da

    I just want to say hello to all the nice people!

By spunkyDingo on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 04:56 pm:

    I am wondering why the size of mine is so important to you?

By patrick on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 05:02 pm:

    its not, but its amusing fodder considering your such a big cock about other more serious subjects.

By spunkyDingo on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 05:07 pm:

    Thank you patrick.
    I am a cock. I have opinions and beleifs that are different from yours, I react with anger when called a robot, stupid, moron, etc, and so I am a cock. Right?
    Thank you, thank you for shedding light on that for me.

By Nate on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 05:11 pm:

    hey cock, are you trying to transition to using "Dingo" instead of spunky? just curious.

By traces penis on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 05:14 pm:

By patrick on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 05:32 pm:

    there you go being a big cock again.

By heather on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 07:55 pm:

    i am a robot!

By Anal comander on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 07:07 am:

    too long - iam a robot - peanut cock attack?

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