Friday, March 09, 2007

Karl Rove on the Bush Doctrine: Creating his own reality

"Presidents set in motion certain things that their successors evaluate and decide by and large, particularly the structural ones, to adopt,"
These are the words of Karl Rove, and pain me as it does, I partially agree with him on this particular sentiment. To me, this is an example of how even a broken clock is correct twice daily. The truth of this statement however is the veritable grain of truth, at the center of an amalgam of untruth, fantastical delusion, and plain wrong headedness. For example:
He said that the biggest Bush legacy will be what he terms the "Bush doctrine." It "says if you train a terrorist, harbor a terrorist, feed a terrorist, you will be treated like a terrorist yourself. And then the corollary of that, which is that we will not wait until dangers fully materialize before taking action."
Quite frankly it will be the job of future leaders to entirely disassemble the so called Bush doctrine. The notion that America is justified in attacking nations which represent a future threat is outlandish. By definition, it is a doctrine which only one nation as sole world super power may hold. Any nation which holds the doctrine of pre-emptive war represents a threat to any nation which it has differences with. It is America who represents a potential threat to every nation on the face of the planet, with our weapons of mass destruction and the determination that any nation which represents a future danger from our point of view are themselves eligible for pre-emptive attack.

Besides, with the many proven examples of the Bush administration being flat out wrong about who is and is not a terrorist, is harboring, feeding or training a terrorist really the benchmark we want set for attacking another nation? Who defines terrorist anyway?

The Bush doctrine may have been accepted by a frightened nation immediately following 9/11, but Iraq, and common sense dictate that the Bush doctrine will become an unpleasant footnote in the history of this nation. America can not lead by example even as we start wars against nations which are not a threat when we launch the invasion. That example leads to global chaos as neighbors attack each other to stop possible future aggression by their neighbors.

Rove however only gives a passing acknowledgement to the damage done to the Bush doctrine by the war in Iraq:
Rove rejected the suggestion that future presidents might be deterred from the Bush doctrine by the enduring violence and unintended consequences let loose by the invasion of Iraq. "Could be," he said. "But it has a logic of force and nature and reality that will cause people to examine it, adjust it, test it, resist it -- but ultimately embrace it."
Could be? That's the only possibility Rove gives to the Iraq disaster influencing future leadership? "Could be". That's like saying that witnessing the consequences of someone getting plastered after absent mindedly walking in front of a speeding train "could be" a lesson for those considering crossing the rail road tracks. Rove cites force, nature, and reality (REALITY!) as justifications for the Bush doctrine. Considering the example of Iraq shows how all of the factors listed by Rove argue against the Bush Doctrine.

Force: Iraq has led to the over extension of American force. This is not me being a partisan hack. This is from the leaders of our military, who warn of breaking points, eroding capability and so on. If this nation were to be faced with another crisis, it is difficult to see how we could respond without instituting a draft. Our options in the use of force in response to an emergency have been curtailed due to the implementation of the Bush doctrine in Iraq. The logic regarding force seems to argue against future pre-emptive wars, not for them from my perspective.

Nature: The natural order is such that occupied nations resist. The only way to get around that is to brutally repress the natural insurgency. In doing so we renounce any claim to long held American ideals. We see the early stages of just this type of thinking in the scandal of Abu Ghraib. Make no mistake about it. For the Government of Iraq to be able to function in security there will have to be a period of time in which we turn our heads as our allies pull out the fingernails and perform other such heinous acts against those they are fighting. Without that brutal oppression, the people of an occupied nation will eventually wear out the occupiers, and that is the true nature of things. The logic of nature again argues against the Bush doctrine, as long as America stands for even the most rudimentary human rights. This administrations approach to human rights is a whole other issue for another longwinded post.

Reality: This is most ironic coming from the same administration so infamous for being proud of creating their own reality. Reality is reality, not what you make of it. The Iraq government may be a partner in the war on terror, and the beginning of the flowering of democracy in the middle east according to the reality of a lot of kool aid drinkers in the administration and across the land. But the reality is that our invasion strengthened Iran, the nation most associated with terrorism since 1979. Beyond strengthening Iran, the overthrow of Saddam has installed allies of that terrorist nation into power in Baghdad. Even as the neocons have striven to create a reality that an acid tripping heroin junkie would consider out there, they have created a reality that is the exact opposite to what they intended.

This profligate use of force has cost this nation billions of dollars and thousands of ruined lives. Another unfortunate reality which this administration, and their Congress toadies have not been able to come to grips with... beyond just burying their heads in the sand and letting the bill skyrocket for future generations to account for. Future generations which will look at the Bush doctrine and, according to Rove, continue the same folly they will have to pay for! Reality will not be kind to the Bush doctrine as future leaders consider whether or not the Bush doctrine ought to be continued.

The Bush doctrine is especially dangerous when paired with the one percent doctrine forwarded by Vice President Cheney. The Cheney doctrine is the determination that the response to perceived threats must be the same, whether there is a 100% certainty that the threat is real, or only a one percent chance that the threat exists. The response is the key to this doctrine, not the analysis of the evidence which the response is based upon.

All I can say about the one percent doctrine is that it is quite obviously bone headed. Especially when paired with a determination by idealists in the administration to manufacture evidence in order to drive public and Congressional opinion into supporting a war. Any person who considers the one percent doctrine to be an effective use of logic is nearly by definition a right wing koolaid drinker.

The greatness of America is what led us to be able to have the ability (if not the idiotic determination) to spend more on our military than the rest of the world spends on all other military forces combined. It was not a massive military which led to our greatness. It is not the ability to dominate the world with our power which will lead to American greatness going forward. If anything, it is reliance on that power to spread our will which will lead to the inevitable outcome experienced by empires throughout history. It will be the job of future Presidents to stop the march down the path trod by empires from ancient Rome to the Soviet Union. Or as Rove, Cheney and Bush seem to advocate, continue that march to empire and eventual self destruction.

I trust future leaders will see the folly of Rove, Cheney and Bush, even if R/C/B do not.

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