Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"He Fights"

Over at NRO, David Frum's back, and it's not an auspicious return. From a post he made today (my bolds):
One question I was asked a lot in my sabbatical from the blog: Did I still think President Bush "the right man"? Often the question was asked with heavy sarcasm, followed immediately by a grim roll call: Iraq, Katrina, prescription drugs, Dubai, immigration, etc.

I want to use this space over the coming days to think aloud about this question. But let me start with an observation from this past weekend. Saturday, as you may recall, was the second anniversary of the 3/11 terror attack on Madrid. I caught some of the commemoration ceremonies on the radio: mournful music, somber speeches. We all mourn with Spain.

But I couldn't help meditating on this question: What has Spain done since 3/11 to do justice to its murdered citizens? Spain's Socialist government has withdrawn from Iraq. It took a cringing line on the Danish cartoons. It has indulged in bouts of petty anti-Americanism. This behavior does not reflect the true character of a legendarily brave people. But it does reveal something important about political choice: It is not automatically true that any government of any country attacked by terrorists will respond strongly. It is even less true that governments that react with strength at first always stay the course - indeed we are witnessing how the courage of many once ferocious politicians in Washington has drained away with difficulty and fatigue.

There are many things to say about George W. Bush, positive and negative. But with his numbers dropping into the mid-30s, and even many of his friends having to acknowledge doubts and disappointments in his performance, here is one verdict that remains true, the same that Lincoln delivered on General Grant. "He fights."
Except for the boilerplate and now predictable speeches by President Bush, the shameless conflation of 9/11 and Iraq had abated somewhat. But as the situation in Iraq worsens and the marketing of Target Iran heats up, watch for the conflation to resume in earnest.


Late update: Any questions?

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing Bush ever fought against was the battle against the bottle.

3/15/2006 9:51 PM  
Blogger semper fubar said...

And he lost that battle too.

3/15/2006 10:08 PM  
Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

David Frum? Who the hell is he? Well I did just read his piece at the online site of the National Review. It is sad that he admits Bush's faults, ones that should prevent any man like him from holding office. I am posting the telling paragraph here:

http://frum.nationalreview.com/archives/03152006.asp#092405

When I wrote The Right Man in 2002, I tried to do justice to the president's personality, both virtues and vices. I carefully reread that book as part of my preparation for writing this next one. It itemized so many of the faults that have had their cost over the past year: the president's sometimes over-hasty decision-making, his disinclination to ask sufficiently probing questions, his aversion to detail, the overcentralization of decision-making, his often surprisingly poor personnel decisions, his unwillingness or inability to explain himself as fully and convincingly as a president ought.


Now you tell me. Don't almost all job posting list detail oriented as a qualification? I can go on, but I think I made my point.

3/15/2006 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should attack Iran.

1. We need the oil and are unwilling to conserve as a nation.
2. We need to spread Democracy. I know that had elections but there weren't any Americans running. That's not Democracy
3. Our intellegence tells us that they could have a nuclear bomb within years
4. Israel says so
5. Fox News says so
6. Democrats are against it. It must be good.
7. World opinion is against it.
8. Their leader occasionally insults us...that is when anything he says is actually translated.
9. 911
10. We still have bombs left over from the first Gulf War.

KPA

3/16/2006 2:53 AM  
Anonymous Antonie said...

The problem with bombs is that they kill women and children.

3/16/2006 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the only "right" reponse involves violence? I am not a peace freak by any means, but why was how they responded wrong and what we did in Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11) right?

This is an ugly American (and particularly ugly Republican) attitude which I find so utterly unhelpful in every situation, and pretty much totally embarassing.

3/16/2006 8:21 AM  
Blogger tregen said...

pathetic

3/16/2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The problem with bombs is that they kill women and children."

Well...you see....this is where separation of church and state come in.

abortion...it's murder! Though shall not kill. The state should intervene
homosexuality...it's immoral! The state should make a law banning it
war...innocents will die! But we have to separate our religious and personal feelings from state business.

The list goes on.

KPA

3/16/2006 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's plenty to be debated about Spanish politics these days including where they relate to 3/11 (not a pretty sight, although I wouldn't say it's any worse than here in the US where I live as an expatriate) but refraining from the macho posturing and the use of the military (mind you, it's not like the Spanish armed forces could do that anyway) is something that I think almost everyone in Spain but the wackiest of the wackjobs appreciates.

11/3 was a criminal act. On an epic scale, but a criminal act. So the proper reaction (and the one that's been followed) is to use the criminal justice system, which is what has been done. It's slow and boring. It's also the right way to do it. We could all have saved ourselves a lot of grief (especially Iraqi civilians, Saddam or not Saddam) if the US had thought that way (Afghanistan would have still probably been necessary but there was no real debate about that one).

Hope that helps.

3/16/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger Steve M. said...

What has Spain done since 3/11 to do justice to its murdered citizens?

I'd say that arresting and charging large numbers of people in connection with the bombings is an attempt to bring justice to the murdered citizens. But what do I know? I'm just a goddamn liberal. I don't understand that the only real way to bring justice to your murdered citizens is to go kill a bunch of people who have nothing to do with their deaths.

3/16/2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Holy Sh*t. U.S. GRANT? U.S. GRANT?

This is incredulous. Why stop there? Lincoln could have let McClellan win and ended the civil war in 1864. But no. Bush = Lincoln!!!! This logic is invincible, like America!!!!

You have got to be kidding me.

3/16/2006 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Errrr.... So does Frum want Spain to do, invade Morocco? Worked for Franco, anyway....

Seems to me that the biggest single requirement for a national-level GOP apparatchik is an extraordinarily high threshold of embarrassment.
--sglover

3/16/2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Even in cold print, John Bolton leaves one nauseous.

3/16/2006 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He Fights."

He fights, what?
He fights, how?
He fights, who?

Will we survive his fighting?
With our lives, financially, morally, environmentally?

If everyone fights, we all lose.

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Do we have a one-trick pony for a President?

"He Fights."

3/16/2006 12:33 PM  
Anonymous grass root said...

He Fights!
Sometimes in an Air Force pilot helmet, sometimes in a NY Fire Dept helmet, alway in a cowboy hat. He says "Bring it on" - what hugh cajones this fighter of a president has! Backed up by his Chickenhawk Greek chorus - He Fights!
I'm going to have to go back to reading your blog at night, TCR. At least I'm drinking.

3/16/2006 1:43 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Frum and his co-author, Richard Perle, are two of the most obnoxious people on the face of the planet. Where does the little weasel get off telling the Spaniards they are governed by cowards? And I'm sure half the world knows about Perle's proposal to re-draw the map of the Middle East that he pitched to the Pentagon.

Remember Perle's attacks on the French? Mr. and Mrs. Perle own a country home in the south of France. Whether they know it or not, every time the Perles dine out in France, they get snot or worse in their food. Just desserts, imo.

But don't just blame the neocons for the rush to war with Iran. The junior senator from NY told AIPAC that Iran is the worst threat facing Israel and the US. Ditto for Pelosi.

Remember when Barbara Bush called Hillary a name that rhymes with "witch"? Try "bunt".

3/16/2006 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He fights
and fights
and fights and fights and fights
fights and fights fights and fights
The Bush & Cheney Show


I can only say he is trying to appeal to the country western crowd.

3/16/2006 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed Rollins, on Chris Matthews, says he knows why the President is rigid: "after years and years of alcohol abuse which I'm somewhat familiar with-they get very rigid in their ways when they clean up their act." So what is mistakenly taken as steadfastness is really a character flaw brought on by abuse.

I found Noonan remark in the WSJ actually more disturbing. Noonan is describing Bush as liberal in spending and socially conservative.

There have been some really interesting articles about Bush just plain not interested in National Security. He says delegation, they say apathy.

3/17/2006 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frum has it, once again, wrong on his conclusion: Bush doesn't fight. Instead, he sends others to fight, and he struts around as if he'd done something himself. This was his style during Vietnam, in which he hid out in the Texas Air National Guard while other Americans fought a war he, at the time, supported.

If he had ever fought, I suspect he wouldn't be so eager to see military action as the default solution to all problems.

Notice this is also true of most of his most ferocious neo-con minions as well: They're not called chickenhawks for nothing.

3/17/2006 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checkout The Daily Show video (Click on WMP or QT)

Bush: Some of the most powerful IED's that we are seeing in Iraq today-includes components that came from Iran.

Reporter: Do you have proof that they are indeed behind this, the Gov't of Iran?

Pace: I do not sir.

3/17/2006 10:27 PM  
Anonymous gotgat54 said...

Mulla Nasruddin (Sufi folk-hero, originally Turkish) was on his hands and knees, poring over the ground outside his front door, under a lamp-post at night. His neighbour discovered him thus, and asked: 'Mulla, what are you doing?'
Nasruddin: 'I am hunting for some money which I dropped'.
Neighbour: 'Did you drop it here?'
Nasruddin: 'No, actually it was there' (indicating the other side of the street)
Neighbour (baffled): Then why...???
Nasruddin: 'Because the light is better here'.

That's Bush and gang fighting GWOT in Iraq.

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