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08:01 AM on 09/21/2010
Maybe I get some things wrong about US foreign policy, but anyways, I'd like to share some bits and pieces of my thoughts as an outside observer:
There is much to admire about the US, about the way you manage to rally under one flag and one cause if needed leaving no doubt that you are of one mind in certain matters and principles. After the attack it was perceived favourably that there was not an immediate, undirected retaliation, but intel- gathering, forging alliances even across traditional enmities and having a clear objective.
But there was also wonder about the religious subtitles, this 'Good vs. Evil' thing culminating later in "Old Europe" and a 'either you're with us, or against us' policy. The more conservative politicians here might still have gone along with the US, not because they were convinced by the arguments, but out of principle.
I'd guess more than President Bush himself it was Rumsfeld who made many to draw a line. Clearly, even the staunchest supporters of the US would not buy that one had to preserve democracy by torture and denying due process. On top of that we became aware that we had been made accomplices in that by the abuse of sovereign rights we extended to the US in good faith (Secret flights, etc.).
Trust into the new begining with President Obama still is high here and many are aware of the obstacles he faces. But please, no more Rumsfeld, ok? ;)
09:56 AM on 09/21/2010
Intel was dummied up and down for a dumbed down nation. The you're either with us or against us bit has it roots firmly planted in religious doctrine which played really well for the brown shirted neocon base and the rest of America's attention deficit disordered and fearful clan. Any depper questioning of "why they hate us" or what US foreign policies and consequence of our direct meddling acting as a larger catalyst / trigger --- was of course met with the greatest disdain, ridicule and insult. We're American's dammit -- we don't do bad or wrong headed things --- and many claiming in their self righteous christian indignation -- "just nuke em."

George Bush suggested as the economy once again began "tanking" -- don't worry about this -- we got this - now get out there and shop for god's sake -- and American's shopped -- also buying hefty loads of metallic yellow ribbons for their gas guzzling way of life and of course a triple dose of the ole red white and blue ..

Meanwhile back at the neocon ranch the likes of Donald Rumsfeld panders a lap dog media and rummy consoles the American sheeple with classics like this .....

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." --

Yay ...
Always happy.
04:34 AM on 09/22/2010
And how many fell for the distraction in the line "they attack us because they hate our freedom and philosophy and way of life". It's hard to imagine now that anyone with a functioning brain could ever have swallowed that - but it worked. It allowed American's to avoid the fact that the attack was a direct result of American foreign policy. It was a direct result of what America does overseas, not what America is.
07:56 AM on 09/21/2010
Excellent thought provoking article . . . America is doomed to destroy itself and will probably take the rest of world with it .. if other countries do not stand up to it . . . the EU has to stop bowing to the US .. . it would do well to follow Turkey and Brazil . . . especially regarding Iran's nuclear programme.

America lost its voice and its soul forever under the bushies and Obama for all his fine rhetoric . . I am thinking back to his speech in Cairo . . . . caved by getting into bed with old Washington insiders . . the clintons, who represent the DLC crowd, biden . . . . . he should have appointed experts in foreign policy to forge a new direction in foreign policy . . . but no he has opted to continue with the aipac/israel lobby . . . a horrific mistake . . .more wars will not make America stronger . .they will as the illegal invasion of Iraq showed . . . destroy America morally, economically and domestically and internationally
Always happy.
04:37 AM on 09/22/2010
It seems so easy to stand against the extremely powerful vested interests of the US milititary industrial complex when you're not involved. JFK and RFK are probably good examples to presidents who think they can get away with curtailing the military. And all JFK did was refuse to invade Cuba after the bay of pigs, and refused to bomb during the missile crisis.
07:53 AM on 09/21/2010
Well, you start with the utter truth of this article, but, as Gandalf said to Frodo, there are good things at work as well. World War 3 is simply not going to start--too many nations have nukes, and too many of them simply aren't going to permit it. That's EXCELLENT news. And America is not the kind of nation that can be led to it's own suicide. It's too diverse. They're only getting away with this stuff by keeping a lot of it secret and plying the public with intense propaganda and not conscripting into the armed forces. Our economy is in for an extended decline--and that's the best news anyone could ever hope for. We'll have plenty of resources so people won't starve to death--we could cut consumption by 50% and still have plenty of resources--but we'll forced to rethink our culture from the ground up, and do away with this law of the jungle dog eat dog survivial of the fittest corporatism. We may get the chance to open up battle against these corporations that have assumed tyrannical rule around here--and that's a battle I am itching to fight.

Oh, it'll be tough. Interesting times indeed. But while we decline economically and militarily, we have a lot of room to grow up in terms of cultural maturity. That kind of growing up isn't easy, but I think we'll pull it off.

It's going to take everything YOU, dear reader, have.
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09:20 AM on 09/21/2010
Cultural maturity in a nation where some believe that to speak a second language means you are not a "real American"???

Dream on. It will Never happen.America knows best- about?- well everything
07:30 AM on 09/21/2010
Actually, I think you are entirely wrong. The US is the oldest government on the planet, the great granddaddy of all structures despite being one of the youngest assemblages of real estate. We forget that. Our apparatus is slow and in places archaic; see:congress. Obama is threading the needle between tradition and entrenched interests while trying to break out out of the old methods that will surely leave us behind. The main obstacle is 'established' energy. They control the markets. They will bleed us until they accumulate every last drop of wealth they can, because their end is near, that's why they caused the recession. Peak oil is coming. We are going off the global network of fuel distribution and trading and local sustainable solutions will have to come. This is change that will be so comprehensive it will frighten a lot of people. The task of ushering the concept to the people is a dicey one. Meanwhile the President is assailed as a demon, other, disloyal......the Republicans do us no service by lying about the environment and the dwindling of resources they know is coming, or maybe they don't know......I'm not sure which is worse.
10:47 AM on 09/21/2010
Mr. Obama is not a demon, but he is weak. His routine toleration of intolerable behavior in Washington DC is itself intolerable. Obama's policies, statements to the contrary notwithstanding, are only modestly different from those of his predecessor. Republicans and Democrats, at heart, are far more alike than not. Their differences are not differences that make a difference. 342HP's fawning toleration of the status quo, sops to peak oil challenges notwithstanding, along with trivially obvious observations about Republican interests (or ignorance? "maybe they don't know" Ah, yes, hide behind presumed ignorance -- always think the *best*) is itself an expression of the kind of weak leadership that infects ever level of the American social and political fabric. How lame is it to front the diceyness of ushering in a "concept."

What about leaders who are crystal clear (not a President who keeps having to say, "Let me be perfectly clear . . ."), who stand with carefully thought-out convictions and policies, and who doesn't either over- or under-react? Who will do this? Hint: It's not the guy who's now in charge. Nor is it folks who think ike 342HP.
06:54 AM on 09/21/2010
What kind of country is this - it spends huge sums on unjustified wars, yet can't feed, house or care for a 6th of its own people?
wake up americans!!!!!!!!
07:57 AM on 09/21/2010
fanned billyboil . . .one that does not care about its citizens . . and by extension its future
Linda Williams
09:46 AM on 09/21/2010
Precisely. And with mass media available around the globe America's leaders can no longer hide the truth.
06:50 AM on 09/21/2010
I feel like our ship is indeed sinking. I have been very disturbed about non-ending warfare without plunder to pay for it, the deterioration of public education, ever expanding recreational drugs, multi-media misinformation, parental disengagement, and the corporate/military takeover of the economy and the political process.
The US has lost it's moral compass. All the crap going on; the divisiveness, the bickering, the hustling, the vulgarity, the dishonesty, the immorality, the greed, the disrespect, and the paranoia are on display for the entire world to see. Many "grown ups" who are frequently in the news are behaving badly and setting a terrible example for the children today. Parents need to turn off the televisions, video games, cell phones and computers and spend more time nurturing, teaching, monitoring and guiding their children to become well balanced, thoughtful, diplomatic, honest and possibly productive and fulfilled adults. Personally I would love to revisit the 1950's. This era sucks.
Is it possible that capitalism is not all it's cracked up to be?
07:19 AM on 09/21/2010
In terms of what you want, you need a political compass. Moral is not enough.
Do you want the rich to be taxed to create jobs? If so, how much? If not, why not? Would that be immoral or moral?

Do you want US military spread across the world? Or do you want them to come home?

Part of the problem is that people engage in moral discourse as a way of avoiding political discourse.
Linda Williams
09:47 AM on 09/21/2010
Ta ta! B-15. Bingo
06:28 AM on 09/21/2010
Of the many truthful scenes depicted in this article, one stands out above all others in its ability to illuminate the problems we are facing today: "Obama evidently sat mesmerized before the screen while Petraeus spun soothing fairy tales. ".

This is the clearest picture yet of our President: A corporate team captain, relying on the companies 'experts', not for advice, but for actual guidance.

Obama seems to be trying the JFK approach of getting the 'Best and the Brightest'. But he has fallen down in two distinct ways. One, he has been very 'spotty' on getting the 'best & brightest' in many areas. two, Kennedy used his B&B boys as sounding boards, whereas Obama is using them as infallible sources, not questioning their expertise, nor taking a broader view and seeing what the 'experts' advise is going to effect outside the immediate discussion issue.

Nov 2d, will not be the Armageddon that some hope, it will however mark the end of any chance for this administration to make decisive decisions and implement will in effect be the epitaph on Obamas' presidency. It is such a shame that he is such a slow learner.
07:11 AM on 09/21/2010
I can't get the image of Bush mesmerized by a childrens book when he was told the Country was under attack.
07:18 AM on 09/21/2010
I still wonder if the dope ever turned it right-side up. I am convinced though that in either orientation he couldn't understand it.
08:02 AM on 09/21/2010
on the JFK approach . . I don't think Obama went after the best and brightest . . .he seemed to link in with the old guard DC insiders .. . he kept on Gates .. . a big mistake, betrayus is another . . . then there is hilary and biden . . . I think he got brow beaten early . . . . how he gets out of this I don't know . . the bush regime put America in self-destruct position big time . . .
06:07 AM on 09/21/2010
Michael Brenner's, America's World is the best commentary of where we truly are.
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06:01 AM on 09/21/2010
Every day that we still have troops in harms way in Iraq, the American people should be demanding that the Republicans who lied us into that war admit to and apologize for their actions. What Bush and his associates did to us and to Iraq was so egregiously immoral and counterproductive that it defies all understanding. The Iraq war and occupation, and the way we were misled into it, has put a black mark on this country's reputation that will never be erased.
Misanthropic economic and political shaman
07:15 AM on 09/21/2010
Give it 50 years. Germany has overcome the Nazi ideology to the point where there is now again a rabbinical school in this country. Look at Japan too.
America is where Great Britain was 100 years ago the world superpower in decline to a middle power which could not even defeat a continental enemy with out America's help.
Britain's problem was it's proximity to the continent America is protected by two BIIIG OCEANS!
08:06 AM on 09/21/2010
totally agree mamacat . . . and pelosi too impeachment off the agenda . . . . bush, cheney, et al belong behind bars . . yet they are walking around still raking in mega bucks and publishing books about what they did as though it was something to be proud about . . which is obviously isn't they destroyed two countries . . . and lowered America's international prestige beyond redemption . . . . the blind heinous invasion of Iraq . . was done with no result of the consequences . . . . and a rebuilding plan was never implemented . . hence the Iraqi people keep suffering and bombs are a daily inevitability . . . and America seems set to start on Iran next . . gotta'f figure there are more than a few nutters in DC . . . if America doesn't change tack . . it is all over
03:44 AM on 09/21/2010
nice !!
03:43 AM on 09/21/2010
nice article!!
03:36 AM on 09/21/2010
Now that the commonwealth games are less than a fortnight away and the monsoons showing no signs of abating, the preparations are really going down to the wires. Honestly, I am more than a little confused about whether to support the games or not.

At one level, I have started feeling bad for the organisers. The rains have been so relentless that even those who are well intentioned and want to do a genuinely good job are frustrated. Also, most of us don’t want to be embarrassed. But then, I tell myself that some of these jokers, which basically means the top guys in the organising committee and the civic administration and their political masters, have had 7 years to get things ready, and delayed things deliberately to create panic so that no question asked funds are released. So they deserve no mercy. And then again, the thought creeps up. Why should the nation be embarrassed for the folly of these individuals, especially when we know that those responsible for the mess are thick-skinned?

The Prime Minister and his boss, Sonia Gandhi, have promised that the guilty will ‘not be spared’ once the games are over. But do you really believe that one bit? I can almost envision the games being projected as a grand success and in the ensuing euphoria, all would be forgotten, including the fact that what should have cost X has cost us 20 X
chuck becker
03:17 AM on 09/21/2010
The lust for power drives people into politics.  The greatest lust leads that seeker to the highest office.  Nobody elected to be President is going to admit that "only the federal government is big enough" is a hideous myth.  Or that "the wealthiest nation on Earth" is really so far beyond bankruptcy that the world quakes in uncertainty.  Or that "the mightiest nation on Earth" in reality is exhausted, depleted, drained, but  more than anything else, discouraged by a descent into the hopelessness of that American mutation of socialism: Progressivism.  Sure, we have problems and we are going to go through some bad times, but America could deal with that if not for the utter hopelessness of the prospect Progressive policy solutions.

Nov 2nd may begin a renaissance of spirit.  The Tea Party is the product of Progressive successes.  And that may turn out to be the salvation of American prosperity.  And what does American prosperity mean?  It means hope (for democracy in Iraq, for human rights for women in Afghanistan, for opportunity for Latin Americans and Asians) and refuge for the oppressed.
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06:07 AM on 09/21/2010
Like so many others, I too am disappointed that Obama and the Dems have not been able to overcome the Republican opposition in the Senate. However, no matter how disappointed I may be in Obama and the Dems, I have no doubt whatsoever that if we now had any of the GOP politicians in the White House, things would be infinitely worse.
The eight years of the Republican presidency under Bush were the worst in the history of this country, but if we had elected McCain and Palin, we may have found that the Bush/Cheney Administration was only the second worst period in our history.
chuck becker
01:03 AM on 09/22/2010
Things can never be infinitely worse.
06:59 AM on 09/21/2010
Angle,Miller,O'donnell are the salvation of our Country????!!! Really? There will never be "democracy" in Iraq and if by some strange event we do succeed in forcing our political system on them it will be overshadowed by the religious leaders essentially becoming a theocracy. We will never force Afgans to change their attitudes towards their women, that will be up to the women themselves not an occuping army. The mission in Iraq and Afganistan was never about saving the people from themselves, that was just the great lie.
chuck becker
01:07 AM on 09/22/2010
Re: your opening sentence ... Did I say that, or are we playing strawman pinata here?  There is democracy in Iraq, and women's rights are progressing in Afghanistan.  We enjoy tremendous privilege, that carries responsibility.  Back in the days when this nation was great, we stepped up to that.  We fought a Civil War to end slavery, WWI to end a militant nation run amok, WWII to end Nazism and capital 'I' Imperialism.  I wonder whether this generation, that makes a claim to an entitlement to the emoluments of greatness, understands the responsibility expected.

You cannot create a great lie by stating that there was a great lie.  That's just another stawman.
Always happy.
02:50 AM on 09/21/2010
I don't agree that Obama is so bad. I think Obama's behaviour is consistent with a genuine desire to disengage from the rest of the world. The President of the US is limited in his capacity to reduce US military engagement. These problems also confronted Kennedy, who failed to stop the momentum that caused the Bay of Pigs, - failed on Vietnam, but succeeded in constraining the military during the Cuban missile crisis - which we should be thankful of.

I believe some of Obama's early speeches showed an understanding of America's failure in foreign military adventures, and its responsibility for the majority of the issues that the US confronts now. It was interesting to hear how he had to modify this message during the speech about withdrawal from Iraq though.

I believe Obama, along with progressive movements worldwide, need to understand that in attempting to compromise on issues of principle for the sake of reasonableness, they are being dragged to the right by the increasingly extremist right wing parties. Obama and others like him need to stop playing small target politics, and make clear statements of their beliefs. They need to fight for what they think is right, rather than attempting to reach consensus with an opposition that is only interested in power.

America needs to realise that the stated reasons for its foreign military interventions - of spreading freedom and democracy - are diametrically opposed to the reality of the military actions it engages in internationally.
Bayard Waterbury
social philosopher
06:26 AM on 09/21/2010
Mike, I am in total agreement, except to say that when it comes to what is happening, the President is simply along for the ride. Why do you think he appoiinted Gates, Geithner, Summers, et al? His presidency is captured by rich and powerful national and international interests, as is our Congress. It's an interesting coincidence that your last name is Webster. Surely you remember The Devil and Daniel Webster? The parallels with today are striking and it's surely destiny that you would pick such a situation in which to write such a profound and heartfelt work of apologetics (as opposed to apology), and explanation and forgiveness. I forgive all of them, because behind all of this is the MIC that DDE so eloquently warned this country about upon his leaving office. Something tells me that you may have read Chalmers Johnson. I also recommend Daniel Estulin if you want to find out what BBG and CFR are up to . This is about world dominion, my friend, not about terrorism.
07:07 AM on 09/21/2010
We have been on this trajectory for decades and this is just the end game. The death of free jounalism has spelled the end of any facet of truth. I cannot imagine Brinkley or Reasoner snarking at other newscasters or covering stupid vapid nonsense while real news is ignored. We have descended into a population that demands entertainment over substance and the money pouring into the political coffers is staggering and the coming bombardment of political commercials will be intended to buy the election for the corporate masters.
Left leaning independent
02:33 AM on 09/21/2010
An artistically done piece...well written, to say the least. Sadly, it says little about the part the American people play in all this. It is we who elect the stooges, and we do so informed by a well stroked pack of media whores far more committed to heat over light, to access over truth and celebrity over self-respect. The result? A gestalt within which fanatics thrive and fools flourish while reasonable people are left to twist slowly in the wind.
Raul Garcia
Documentary Filmmaker
02:53 AM on 09/21/2010
You make good points, and for me voting for Obama was the usual voting for the lessor of two evils, however we cannot ignore the fact that this President had unbelievable political wind in his sails, and has blown a golden opportunity to truly change the direction of this country for the better.

His recent flurries of heroics do offer some optimism, however only time will tell if this President is actually starting to get it, or only hashing out typical political rhetoric in time for the elections.

We will see.
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I want my jewels back.
05:22 AM on 09/21/2010
"flurries of heroics"?

Do tell. Somehow I missed them.
Bayard Waterbury
social philosopher
06:31 AM on 09/21/2010
Mark, I wholeheartedly agree. However, remember that every major media owner is operating on behalf of our wealthy oligarchs, since they are part of that clan of future world governors. It is finally happening, and the gestalt, as you call it is trending south faster than an anvil off a cliff. I must grieve for those with the ability to think and see rationally, for they are the loneliest people in the world right now, unless they happen to be vastly wealthy.