Bush: U.S. strikes first from now on

Bush: U.S. strikes first from now on

Does this pronouncement really change anything or has this already been assumed to be our defacto policy for a while now, or at least since 9/11?

You can read the whole report here (PDF file, bummer…)


I notice that it’s actually only 33 pages, as pages 1 and 2 are both title pages.

CNN.com says the report was “mandated by Congress”. Huh? Why?


I don’t think this really changes anything. It’s been crystal-clear to anyone who cared to look that this was where the current administration was heading for the last year.

I’m such a cynic–war is good for business, and ever since the Evil Godless Russkies pooped out on us, things just ain’t been the same for the defense industry…

Oh for God’s sake. When are you tedious conspiracy theorists going to grow up?

You you know why the whole debate is dominated by the right? Because the left has completely lost its compass. Even the thoughtful criticism of Bush’s policies has been coming from the right.

But whenever the left seems to pipe up these days, it’s to repeat hoary old conspiracies involving big oil, the Jews, the military-industrial complex, or “Getting even for Daddy”.

If they are even willing to discuss it, that is. The Democrats in Congress have totally disconnected themselves from the debate, refusing to even have a point of view other than routinely calling for ‘more information’.

If the left wants to engage in this debate, it had better get serious, or the Republicans will just do whatever the hell they please. And while I tend to support Republican ideals more than Democratic ones, I think the interplay and battle for ideas between the parties is a healthy thing for democracy. So you lefties should shape up and get your rhetorical act together.

Abandoning the conspiracies and comic-book characterizations would be a good start.

Wha…? Sam, are you responding to my OP question or DDGs matter of fact response and lightly humorous ending, or some imaginary, conspiracy touting liberal that creeped into this thread and left without leaving a trace? Are you sure your response isn’t meant for another thread entirely, because it really doesn’t seem (to me) to address any issue seriously raised by the OP.

Actually, it was an overreaction on my part to DDG’s last paragraph.

I had just finished reading a half-dozen other threads which were just rife with the kind of crap I was talking about. DDG’s comment about the administration attacking Iraq because ‘war is good for business’ (it isn’t), and the implication that the government goes around manufacturing enemies because it loves war set me off. Mainly because I’ve heard stuff like that substituted for real debate so many times that I’m getting pretty tired of it.

The Los Angeles Times for 21 Sept 2002 carried this story about intelligence failures before the WTC attacks. GW has been talking unilateral, preemptive action against Iraq for about 5 or 6 months using what he claims are intelligence data from the same sources described in the news article.

Perhaps the justification will be that since the intelligence community misanalyzed the terrorists intentions and GW can’t find any intelligence justification for claiming that Iraq has, or intends to use, nuclear or bio weapons, the Iraq data has also been misanalyzed and the lack of evidence proves it.

I don’t see how GW can use the information that he has been willing to make public as a basis for unilateral, preemptive war thus most likely alienating most of the Mid East and many who would be allies. And that isn’t to even mention the US casualties and the financial burden of such an action.

I’ve been listening to Rumsfeld lately and he has gotten more whiney and relies more and more on dire scenarios of atomic bombs and biological weapons producing great numbers of US casualties, but he produces no evidence that makes his hypothetical scenario true.

War isnt good for business? Well, that a new one on me, Sam. Losing a war isn’t good for business, to be sure.

But this war is going to be great for business! Even as we speak, the suits at Halliburton, Exxon, Mobil, etc. are gazing with rapt enthusiasm at thier spreadsheets.

This time, we answer to nobody. We get to install whoever we like. How likely is it, do you think, that the installee will be happy to cut us a deal for Iraq’s oil? I’d put that in the category of “damn sure bet”. I haven’t really check it out, but I got a nickle says Halliburton’s stock is on the rise.

And as for the Dumbocrats craven and spineless capitulation? All true, every word. But one can hardly blame them for being reluctant to lie down in from of the steamroller. Once they start in pounding the war drums, sanity and debate goes right out the window. Except for us loony lefties, of course.

Wonder if I still got that gas mask up in the attic?

elucidator: No, war is NOT good for business. Expending national resources to build things just to blow them up ‘helps’ the economy about as much as expending resources to dig a big hole and then filling it back in again.

At the end of WWII, the U.S. was the ONLY major combatant to make it through the war without a recession, and that’s because it spent the least amount of money on the war as a percentage of GDP.

The notion that war helps an economy is a myth. Certainly, spending of any sort can provide a TEMPORARY increase in GDP. But in the long run, an economy is measured by its capacity to produce goods and services. Wars diminish that capacity.

Wars may be good for some industries. No doubt. McDonnell Douglas benefits from war.

Some wars may benefit the economy because they remove a threat that is more detrimental than the cost of the war. Iraq may fit in this category.

Some wars may benefit the economy because they free up more resources than were expended in the war. Iraq may fit in this category.

But the original assertion I was arguing with is that war itself, absent the effects of a particular war, is good for the economy. It’s not.

I am shocked that so many people think that the President of the U.S. would engage in a war for economic reasons, or to gain in popularity. I think that only a freakish monster would do such a thing. Obviously, the war issue should be debated. The accusation that this President or any president favors war for economic reasons is shocking.

some are finding his stated reasons less than credible, thus leading to speculation of other motives.

Duck Duck Goose said:


Bushy has caught the wave of American unified patriotism and rode it. Done a decent job if you ask some. Getting us involved with the Muslim Jihad if you ask others.

I personally do not think multiple wars on many different levels is going to help global political bureaucratic bull, except maybe get GWB elected again.

Face it. America has a love hate relationship with war. We love it now in the 21st century because we are not challenged by anyone militarily. We basically go where we want, when we want, cart blanche, and flex our military muscle, “for the good of humanity”.

As to the OP:

My take: the position adopted by the Bush administration in this paper violates one of the most fundamental principles of the UN charter. There, all states are granted sovereignty over their territory, and denied the right to use force except in self-defense – specifically, when that territory is invaded or attacked by another state.

It was on the basis of this principle that the US was able to garner support for the Gulf War, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, you may remember: “This will not stand,” and all of that, yes? The idea then was that states can’t just go around invading other states at will.

Now, however, it appears that when the invading state in question is the US, all bets are off. If the US perceives a rival state to be a potential threat to its security, it reserves for itself, by virtue of this new doctrine, the unilateral right to assault it militarily. Such a position, taken publicly and as an accepted element of foreign policy, makes a complete mockery of both the UN and, well, basically, the entire nation-state system. Furthermore, it is self-contradictory to claim that the US is committed to the current international order, on the one hand, and that it has the right to violate that order at will, on the other.

It’s no secret that the US government pursues its own agenda in the world, and often seems to feel that it can do as it pleases, without concern for accepted praxis, treaty obligations, regular standards of moral or ethical behavior, or the constraints of international law. In other words, a lot of this stuff has been a part of the daily conduct of US foreign policy for decades, but has never been the official, stated policy of the US until the publication of this document. So I don’t know how it will play out in the international community – although I anticipate a very cold reaction.

Let us imagine that, say, China, rather than the US, was the major military superpower of the modern world. How do you think you might react if the Chinese government suddenly announced that as of today, it reserves for itself the right to attack, unilaterally and peremptorily, any state it perceives as a threat to its interests, regardless of any previously existing international commitments it might have? A bit threatening, don’t you think?


Very well, then let us discuss whether or not this particular war might possibly be a boon to the US economy. What is your take on that assertion?

Please explain how “Bushy” “got us involved with the Muslim Jihad”.

I tend to think it might have been Osama Bin Laden, who declared Jihad against the United States four years before Bush was elected. But no doubt I’m just a dupe of the conspiracy.

It might have had something to do with a bunch of fanatics crashing airplanes into buildings and killing more Americans than the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor. But then, I’m probably just a pawn of the oil companies.

You guys with your talk of ‘Bushy’ and all this conspiracy crap bring about as much credit to the liberal position as the right-wing nuts and their nonsense about “Klinton” and “Amerika” brought to the conservative position.

Sam, OBL, Al Q /= Iraq/Saddam.
(tho, Mr. Bush has made the claim that they’re linked, the evidence that’s been presented is less than compelling)

Phlispher is making the claim that Bush has in effect, declared war w/a religion. That also isn’t quite substantiated, since there’s quite a few Muslim nation states that aren’t included in Bush’s stated lines of attack.

BUt I agree that terms like “Bushies” and “Klinton” do nothing to advance a debate (much like exaggerated claims and strawmen)

I would be very concerned about the possibility of losing so many of the rights that I value.

Mr. Svinlesha: Good question. I think the answer to that is dependent on how the war pans out. Here are the extreme scenarios, as I see it:

Best Case:

[li] America starts an ‘info-war’ in Iraq. One day the Iraqi people find out that all Iraqi media is off the air, and replaced with American channels. They are given instructions on what to do to protect themselves, and it is made clear to them that Saddam is absolutely, positively, going to be out of power. This makes it more likely that the Iraqi people will ‘turn’ against Saddam.[/li][li]The war starts with the U.S. hitting critical command-and-control assets in Iraq, completely cutting the army in the field off from the Republican guard inside the cities.[/li][li]The U.S. ‘turns’ the Iraqi army, and uses THEM as the instrument to overthrow Saddam. The Iraqi army is not made up of a bunch of fanatics who want to commit suicide. And they know damned well what happened to them last time, and the old soldiers have had ten years to tell the younger ones what it was like when the Americans seemed to be everywhere at once, and bombs rained down from the sky with precision like the finger of god, destroying anything that tried to fight. [/li][li]The Iraqi army moves into Baghdad, and the people in the streets cheer and support them. The Republican Guard, realizing that it is fighting a losing battle, turns on Saddam.[/li][li]Sadday, Uday, and Usay are arrested, tried, executed, and dragged through the streets like Caucescu was in Romania.[/li][li]The Iraqi army is held up as heroes, and expatriot high-ranking soldiers return to their positions. A new government is installed, in command of a largely intact Iraqi army.[/li][li]The country stays together, chaos is averted, and the U.S. is seen as helping the Iraqi people liberate themselves from a tyrant.[/li][/ul]

I believe that closely describes the current U.S. war plan. And frankly, it sounds like a reasonable plan. If that’s the way it goes, then the Iraqi campaign will cost relatively little (30-40 billion dollars), and in the long run will certainly be a big economic benefit to the world.

Of course, wars almost never end exactly the way you want them to, and smart military planners never go into a war without planning for the worst, and coming up with a scenario for victory even if everything goes in the crapper. So with that in mind, let’s look at the worst case:

Worst Case:
[li]The U.S. starts the war as above. The Iraqi people, either out of nationalism or pure fear of Saddam, rebel against the U.S. propaganda and march in the streets in support of Saddam.[/li][li]The U.S. attempts to cut off the Iraqi army, but it doesn’t work. Either Saddam has built up some low-level communications networks the U.S. doesn’t know about, possibly using unjammable fiber optics and laser communications, or perhaps Saddam has written orders in place that they must follow, with key leader’s families being held hostage by Saddam. For whatever reason, the army refuses to cooperate.[/li][li]The U.S. launches a massive ground invasion. The Iraqi government holds them off long enough for Saddam to set up for siege warfare in the cities.[/li][li]The U.S. kills tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, further agitating the Iraqi people. When the U.S. reaches the cities, they find fortresses and a hostile population. Saddam is nowhere to be found.[/li][li]The U.S. engages the Republican Guard in the cities. Bloody urban warfare, high civilian casualties, opposition around the world, and no clear victory. Saddam is still nowhere to be found.[/li][li]The U.S. finds itself in the same position Israel is in, only on a gigantic scale. Troops are fired at from buildings, and return fire kills children. People at home start to question the war. The U.S. eventually prevails, but it’s reputation is severely damaged in the region, and Islamic radicalism gains in prominence and terrorism increases around the world.[/li][/ul]

This scenario is also plausible. It would cost the U.S. at least 200 billion to fight this war.

The real result is going to be somewhere between those two extremes. Exactly what that means to the economy is up in the air, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s horrifying. I feel as though I’m standing on a railroad track as the train is barrelling towards me and there’s nothing…nothing …I can do about it! But I’ll abstain, for Sam’s sake, from name calling.

The President of the United States is committing us to a monumentally stupid political stance. We will no longer have allies, only jackals. Further, we have given our enemies an utterly valid point to assail us with.

The President will have his war, there is little doubt of that. And, by so doing, he will have single handedly unified the Muslim world like no other man could have done. Thier unity will be universal contempt and loathing for the United States. The worst of it is, they have a case. Yesterday, they didn’t. But that was then, and this is now.

Our President is leading us off a cliff. Dear God, the little twit honestly believes he is a Leader of Men.

Might as well ship that Statue back to France. Such symbolism does not fit well with our new imperial status. Or at least remove that lamp and replace it with a sword.

Wring: Were you addressing that to me? I don’t recall making that connection.

Nonsense. the whole war debate is dominated by the right because only they think that Iraq is important enough to think about talk about BEFORE the economy, corporate corruption, the environment.

Fact is, Iraq is no threat to the US, however much he may be a threat to his neighbors. And making him priority 1 is just dumb.
(Or sly, if you are really only concerned with shaping public opinion rather than really doing what is best for the country).

Golly, Sam

You describe the worse case scenario in terms of its expense? 200 billion dollars. And no mention of death.

How many, Sam? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands?