Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A River Volga Runs Through It

At a daily briefing session this week, White House spokesman Scott McClellan made the following statements in response to questions about the extent of U.S. consultation with Afghan officials prior to military operations:

1. "No, I think it's consistent with what we do around the world when we have troops in sovereign countries. Afghanistan is a sovereign country. We're there at their invitation."

2. "No, I think that--I disagree with that characterization. And look at the joint declaration. It says that this is based on agreements and consultations with the government of Afghanistan. We are there at their invitation, and we are also there to help train and equip Afghan forces..."

3. "Well, it is a sovereign country, and they are a duly-elected government that represents the people of Afghanistan. We are there at their invitation."

And this, in reference to Iraq:

"Any time we are in a country that is sovereign, we are going to have agreements and consultations with the host government. And we are there at their invitation."

Remember when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and they responded to Western condemnation by claiming over and over that they were "invited" in? They also said the same thing for years about their various eastern European satellites.

Listen, invading Afghanistan certainly was justified. Iraq obviously was not. But for the White House to claim strenuously and tirelessly that we are in both countries "by invitation" betrays at best underlying lack of confidence in the mission and at worst dishonesty about our motivation and our intent. It is clumsy, ham-handed, amateurish propaganda that's either ignorant of or insensitive to history.

In other words, it's not particularly surprising, is it?


Blogger porchwise said...

A lifelong conservative? Sounds like a liberal wrote this one.

5/25/2005 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am a hardcore conservative, and I agree with this post. You sound like one of those blind, unthinking believers. Nasty habit.

5/25/2005 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always nice to see a Bush-at-any-cost supporter (porchwise) get irritated by a true patriot's call for honesty and sanity.

5/26/2005 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post.

5/26/2005 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell, I'm a liberal and I agree with what TCR has said. But the reality of the current administration and, unfortunately, republican party is that they will never accept reponsibility or blame for bad things. No, it is much more common for them to blame someone, anyone else. This has proved to be the case in EVERY INSTANCE w/ bush.

Do I hold it against all republicans? No, but I will sure respect them more when they sweep out their current leaders for ones with actual integrity.

Hell, I'd even vote for John McCain, maybe.

5/26/2005 11:19 AM  
Blogger Luneau Atheist said...

A lifelong conservative? Sounds like a liberal wrote this one.

When did honesty and respect for the memory and family of a fallen soldier stop being conservative values? I must have missed that memo.

5/26/2005 11:30 AM  
Blogger shoes said...

when things like this are said it just makes the us look stupid to the rest of the world....but there is some rube in kentucky who believes it fully

5/26/2005 11:33 AM  
Blogger David the Gyromancer said...

I'm a lifetime liberal, too, and I can say that the hypey dishonesty and Soviet-style propaganda of the Bush administration reminds me of the quite similar public comments of the Johnson administration (domestically clearly the most liberal administrationof the post war era)... same fundamental disrespect for truth and the obligation not to lie to the people.

5/26/2005 12:23 PM  
Blogger Peter Duray-Bito said...

Let's call a spade a spade here. This is nothing more than continued colonialism. The Eurocentric world doesn't think the non-Eurocentric world is quite up to our standards and we are using various means to convince them our way is best. Until they are up to our standards or in a position to impose their standards on us, this sort of thing isn't surprising at all.

5/26/2005 1:47 PM  
Blogger Michael Miller said...

I supported the invasion of Afghanistan at the time. I regret that: 9/11 called for an international police action to get the mass murderers.

The problem, as I see it, is that the real purpose of the invasion was never about justice. It was about projecting and consolidating American military power in an oil-soaked region. If our intentions were honorable...

5/26/2005 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, it is not particularly surprising.

5/26/2005 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we are in Iraq at the government's invitation then will we leave if the government asks us to leave? That Scott McClellan hasn't resigned in disgrace for the bilge that excreted from his mouth in just the last 14 days is beyond me. One wonders if true conversatives will ever say "enough" and demand accoutability and a return to a healthy respect for law, order, individual liberties and a government that is premised upon the need for a strong military that is only used in immediate defense of the nation or its undeniable interest.

5/26/2005 10:57 PM  
Blogger James Finkelstein (Ga.) said...

What helps political leaders and their administrations get away with telling us to our faces things we all know aren't true- like the statements that were were "invited" into Iraq and Afghanistan- is the willingness of the media to report news on the "he said" level.

If Scott McClellan says "the sun rose in the West this morning," the media reports it as a "he said it." And, as Bill Moyers recently pointed out, until someone in the government says it, it hasn't happened. (check out his speech at

If Michael Moore comes along and says, "Hey, the sun rose in the East this morning," it's reported as "liberal activist" or "controversial Fahrenheit 9-11 director" Michael Moore said it.

The lazy reporter wouldn't dream of getting out of bed at 6:00 A.M. and seeing for himself which side of the sky the sun first appeared. That would constitute injecting himself into the story by actually looking for facts instead of repeating charges and countercharges (i.e. the flushed Koran story that Newsweek amazingly retracted even as the ACLU was producing government documents with the identical allegations which they had retrieved in a Freedom of Information Act Request).

The latest lie of the government on the Koran abuse story is to admit that there were reports in government documents of abuse of the holy Book but that we shouldn't believe a statement of an Al Qaida terrorist. I can only hope that an intrepid reporter asks the Pentagon spokesperson where and when the trial occurred in which the detainee was adjudicated guilty of being in Al Qaida, of committing a terrorist act, and asks for details about the act the detaine was convicted of committing.

5/26/2005 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

British Member of Parliament George Galloway, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee to refute charges of corruption in connection to the Iraq oil-for-food program:

"I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr. Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the

We giveth and taketh away whether invited or not.

5/27/2005 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TCR wrote:
> It is clumsy, ham-handed, amateurish propaganda that's either ignorant of or insensitive to history.

Actually you forgot an option: it might simply be delusional. Bush and his so-called Administration probably honestly believe that Ahmed Chalabi was speaking on behalf of the entire oppressed Iraqi people when he lobbied for decades to have the U.S. bomb the hell out of the country and then set him up in power.

They probably honestly believe that Hamid Karzai was speaking on behalf of all those oppressed women in Afghanistan, who were demanding that Unocal put a pipeline through their country but the vicious, oppressive Taliban wouldn't allow it.

5/27/2005 12:05 PM  
Blogger owenz said...

Frequent visitors to TCR may remember a feisty discussion regarding the American media on this board following the Newsweek fiasco two weeks ago. Sadly, here is the final result of Korangate. Read up, before it falls into the memory hole:

As I said last week, I don't think the American PRINT media is nearly as incompetent as those on hard left and right like to claim. The real problem is that Americans have no idea what is *even said* in the American print media. Americans don't read; they watch TV. The front page of the NY Times and Washington Post is rarely reflected in American TV news anymore…

Hence, the Bush Administration's willful, intentional, brazen LYING about the lack of "credible" Koran abuse stories during the Newsweek story carries almost no political price in the target audience: the American public. Television covered Bush's aggressive attack on Newsweek because aggression and conflict rules TV news. It has not covered the fact that Newsweek's allegations were true, since nobody prominent will loudly return fire for the benefit for the cameras. Thus, Korangate is a win for the White House in a landslide. The lies are irrelevant.

It was not a win in the War on Terror, mind you (just the opposite, really). It was a win in the Republican War on the Media. Their aim to discredit and destroy what's left of the media's reputation, consequences be damned. They are succeeding, especially now that the left has jumped on board to attack the media for its incompetence and failure to stand up for itself.

5/27/2005 12:09 PM  
Blogger owenz said...

As a brief follow up, I will say that the White House only won a small battle with Korangate. After exploiting the short attention span of TV news, they are about the reap the whorlwind of the 24-hour news cycle:

TV likes images. It LOVES violent images. It's my understanding that the first batch of Abu Ghraib pictures was nothing. If these new (much uglier) pics hit cable news, torture will explode like never before...

5/27/2005 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...As I said last week, I don't think the American PRINT media is nearly as incompetent as those on hard left and right like to claim. ...

Mark Twain said, "If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed."

Media bashing seems to be vogue no matter the century.

5/27/2005 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a moderate liberal and proud of it. There is a splintering of the Republican Party that is coming because it is nearly impossible to reconcile the views of the Neocons, social conservatives, and traditional fiscal conservatives.

The "Bushie" who called you a liberal is just so typical of either a neocon or an ignorant fool who does not want to actually think for him/herself.

5/29/2005 1:54 PM  
Blogger porchwise said...

Bush-at-any-cost? I think not.

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