The Talking Lion

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

So I got this comment...

I hope you all read the mini-post I wrote about Bush telling Londoners how we're fighting the trrrrrists abroad so we don't have to fight them at home.

I was and still am outraged at this comment but I felt the grounds for my outrage was obvious: London's still smoking and the dead are still being collected and Bush is telling them that it was his idea to fight terrorists in other peoples homes (London).

I didn't explicilty outline said outrage and Kevin commented wondering why I was so mad. I told him what I thought (paraphrased above in bold). But apparently there is still something I didn't get across because "A Reader"had some choice words to say to me about my opinions. He seems to be (although its uncertain) Wretchard from The Belmont Club, a blog that I've never heard of, but a cursory glance at seems to be a pro-military conservative blog that deals with defense and international topics. It's not unhinged wingnuttery, his posts are generally well-written (doesn't mean he's not wrong) and his blog gets about 16,000 hits a day. So before I talk some jive like you never heard, let me first say that I'm glad you took the time to comment on my relatively small blog.

Gentlemen, sass your engines."A reader",ostensibly Wretchard wrote:
You may be missing something, and this may even be forgivable, given that whenever human lives are at stake, tempers flaring and emotions boiling over are probably not only expected, but even arguably due (as in one is morally compelled to concern) from a position of valuing human life.
And I do value human life, which is precisely my problem with Bush’s comments and his actions over the course of his administration. And as for temper’s flaring, saying what he did infuriates me to no end, so if I am a little short with you now it’s merely me taking out on you my anger at the current president.
For all the punditry and commentary that occurs after one of these attacks, there seems to be a practice to try and assign a meaning to the tragedy that thousands have experienced in each of these cases. Such conjecture is as much a coping mechanism to some as they are mere talking points to others.
I was indeed venting righteous anger by yelling from my small podium at a man that I loathe, and that does help me cope. So what does that prove? That I am wrong just because I am emotionally involved? Bullshit. That’s what.
That much of what you are saying could be understood and such an opinion is of course your prerogative etc – however, I believe you completely misunderstand what is intended in the Bush admin’s strategy for fighting terrorism (manifest in the talking point “fighting them abroad so we do not have to fight them at home”), immediately that of Islamic radicalism.
Thank you for the permission. Here’s the thing. This idea that “fighting them abroad so we don’t have to at home” is a strategy worked up in the bowels of the Pentagon by white lab-coat wearing professionals is bogus. It’s a goddamned excuse for how shitty things are in Iraq right now.

This idea was thought up to cover Bush/Rumsfeld’s ass because my country is supremely fucking up the occupancy and soldiers and civilians are dying everyday. So, of course, they needed an answer for “Why do soldiers and civilians continue to die?” and they couldn’t say “Well, we fucked up by disbanding their military and never having enough troops on the ground to secure a lasting peace, oh yeah and also killing and torturing indiscriminately thus infuriating normal Iraqi’s to take arms against our occupation.” So instead they said “Um. All the insurgents are, you know, lingering Saddam loyalist’s who want him back in power.” But then we captured Saddam and the morgues remained full with fresh bodies on a daily basis. So they fumbled a bit and then came up with “umm, these insurgents are foreign elements (from Iran a.k.a. Next) that would be fighting us at home if we didn’t head-fake them with Iraq. 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 QED.”


This isn’t a military strategy, it’s a P.R. strategy. It was enacted because the news from Iraq has never been good and won’t be (with the exception of capturing Saddam and the Iraqi election) as long as Bush is running the show.

But let’s, for a second, assume that you’re right and that we have a military strategy to attract terrorists to conduct their killing in Iraq. First of all, who the fuck gave us the right to do this? As many as 25,814 innocents have died as a result of this strategy. And not only does this country not apologize; we refuse to even acknowledge their deaths.

Secondly, it would be stupid strategy. Not only would you be encouraging more enemies to fight you than the already potent Iraqi insurgency, you would be intentionally exacerbating problems that are due to the already insufficient military presence in Iraq.
Insofar as gruesome murder can rock the convictions of a given person, there is a reason to “hammer home” some of these “talking points” in the hopes that you keep the hearts and minds of your electorate attuned to the means and ends of your strategy.
Not to be overly sasstastic, but: No shit. Of course that’s what he’s trying to do. There are more tactful ways to do this (one of those ways is to have the common decency not to insult the reason Londoners died while still in LONDON) especially to Londoners who have sons and daughters in Iraq and who would love to keep the fight from their doorsteps. So be an apologist all you want, but you’re defending the indefensible.
While perhaps such talking points could be accused of representing something quite “narrow” or “simplistic”, it seems to be the manner in which governments communicate with their electorates and you probably won’t get into the nitty gritty details of policy and governance from any “canned” speech or quasi PR campaign by whoever is in power.
Well, jeez, forgive me for being upset that the subtext (and calling it subtext is me being generous) of his statements are so unnecessarily callous and offensive.I mean, he's only my president why should I care what how he represents me?

Talking points are written and rehearsed to control the message (I know this first-hand thanks to interning at a PR firm that is contracted by the DNC). Thus, these points are vetted by staff to make sure that nothing can be taken from these phrases that can go against the message. What I am saying is that the staff knew what Bush was (perhaps, unintentionally) implying. Either they failed at their jobs, or Bush is a jerk. Either way, there is nothing you can say to convince me of the virtues of saying the following in London:

"We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home."

So, you're wrong but thanks for playing.*

*This last sentence is indeed "
masturbatory", sorry.

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