Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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What IS the Bush Doctrine?

Scores of hungry commentators eager for a chance to score a sly lay-up against Sarah Palin, have pointed to her response about the Bush Doctrine last night as evidence that she is not ready to be anywhere close to the Presidency. But William Dyer posting at Hugh Hewitt’s page argues that many of these commentators are exposing their own ignorance and doing exactly what they accused Sarah Palin of doing by coming out with a "top-of-the-head" and pat response to the question without thinking. In fact, argues Dyer, Palin’s response to Gibson’s question about whether she agreed with the Bush Doctrine in the form of a question ("In what respect, Charlie?") may have demonstrated a more comprehensive knowledge of the so-called "Bush Doctrine" than Gibson or, certainly, many of Palin’s too eager critics have shown.

Although the aspect of the Bush Doctrine that is most often invoked in questions about its legitimacy among the media elites is the claim for a right to "anticipatory self-defense," it is not fair to say that this is the sum total of a 31 page policy paper and the experience of the last six years worth of efforts to enforce it. The Bush Doctrine, in the popular imagination, is much more than the sum total of its parts--and certainly much more than an evaluation of one of its parts. Palin was right to press Gibson to clarify--not just for her own sake in giving an accurate and fair answer--but for the sake of the viewers who, whatever James Carville says to the contrary, probably have a broader understanding of the term than he seems to possess.

And, for the record, the real problem, I’d guess, is that they did not like it when Palin said, "Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligent and legitimate evidence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country." Never mind them. The American people will like it just fine.

Discussions - 20 Comments

I just made a comment on the foreign policy aspects of the interview on your previous thread.

But beyond the Bush doctrine, {which has been a dead letter for 2 1/2 years, easy} The contrast in coverage couldn't be more clear.

A media, a priori determined to find faults, and to out and out misrepresent her if necessary to destroy her.

And on the other hand a media determined to carry the water for the Democrat ticket, covering their inadquacies, veiling their mistakes, doing all they can to carry them over the finish line to victory.

What is outrageous about the question and the indignation is that when reading the question about the Bush Doctrine (with a capital D), one knows that a particular stance in foreign policy is being raised. When heard, "Bush Doctrine" may mean any number of things, so a cautious, tentative response is actually called for.

I admire your manly zeal to defend Sarah Palin against unfair attacks in the media, Dan. But there are two points that I'd like to make in response:

1. While we must certainly point to every mistake they make as they try and construct this narrative of Sarah Palin as a backwoods rube, we have to follow her example and NOT WHINE. It's so much more effective when we just answer their objections, as she does. They, in the media, are going to do what they're going to do . . . let them. So far it's been nothing but helpful in lowering expectations and insulting our now energized and indignant base.

2. I choose to have more faith in the good and fair judgment of the American people than a good number of (even conservative) commentators are inclined to have. In a year when the contrast could not be more clear (despite all attempts to obfuscate on the other side) I have no doubt that the vast majority of the American people are going to be able to call this one without much tutoring.

Look . . . when they want to go to things like getting passports and meeting famous people as a qualification for office over practical experience, grit and good sense . . . well, let's just say that the number of Americans out there who have not traveled abroad before the age of 40 or have not been to a dinner party (!?) with a head of state vastly outnumbers that band of East Coast/West Coast prigs who have and choose to think well of themselves for it. Let them go. Apart from Sarah Palin herself, they're the best friends this campaign has had!

What's next, a question about the relevance of NSC-68? Maybe ask her to speak about the Entente Cordialle.

The single most important thing concerning foreign policy is the world's thirst for oil, and how that thirst has led to the re-emergence of power politics, spheres of influence and in short, a renewal of "the great game." And on that subject, she's more than capable of speaking intelligently, for she knows more about the energy markets than Obama even aspires to know, {for Obama is painfully provincial, and deludes himself that race is the be all and end all}.

History will show that the Bush doctrine was an extreme shapeshifting of the cold war mentality of deterrence, using advanced military systems such as MATRIX, AFIS, VICAP, and TIA. Pre-emptive war included pre-mediation of terror violence, profiling the future through visual monitoring, communications interception, and transaction footprinting. The Bush doctrine includes an enormous, unthinkable swarm of discrete technologies of control and biometric identifiers understood as a surveillance assemblage. Like the movie Minority Report or like CSI, the Bush doctrine includes pre-emptive military strikes, pre-conceiving people as terror suspects, using torture as a pre-dictive device, all for pre-ventive incapacitation goals. The Bush doctrine was Bush’s gift to the world, backward in its foresight, from the pre-eminent pre-president in a post-modern world.

when they want to go to things like getting passports and meeting famous people as a qualification for office over practical experience, grit and good sense . . . well, let's just say that the number of Americans out there who have not traveled abroad before the age of 40 or have not been to a dinner party (!?) with a head of state vastly outnumbers that band of East Coast/West Coast prigs who have and choose to think well of themselves for it.

Julie - Who and what are you talking about?

Whoever it is, whatever it is, I especially like that "dinner party(!?)."

Maybe I shouldn't confess to this, but at a Washington, DC dinner party earlier this week involving some pretty sharp political and academic types (including one person deeply involved in Iraq policy) we met our match--from a school assignment question by my 10-year old daughter. She wanted to know who the two senators from Maryland were. And none of the eight people could come up with the name of the newly elected Democrat, who had defeated Michael Steele! The food was good, and the conversation good, and wide-ranging.

Bush and Co. failed completely to protect America when we faced an "imminent" strike about 7 years ago, and then used bogus and sexed-up "intelligence" to launch a pre-emptive war against a country that had neither weapons nor plans to attack the U.S. in any form, nor any links to Al Qaeda or 9/11. That country, Iraq, now has far more terrorists today, and attraction for terrorists, than it did 7 years ago. In a very limited framework, pre-emption could make sense, but the Bush administration has stretched it way beyond credulity, and there's no reason to think that McCain and Palin would act with any more level-headedness, restraint, or rationality than their pals in the Bush White House. Palin came off as simply ignorant in that interview, using the talking points the McCain campaign provided her, but stumbling when she had to actually elaborate on anything. I've yet to find any good reason to support Palin as VP beyond that she just seems friendly and affable. She might be a nice lady, and pleasant enough to have a beer with, but as we've seen over the last 8 years, that's not a good basis for choosing our leaders. Average Americans are wising up to that, fortunately.

That, Steve, is why Peggy Noonan is the master. Even when she steers off course for awhile, she almost always lands dead on in the end. I can't disagree with a thing she says there.

You are a "Former Ohio Republican" in the same sense that I'm a former member of the Politburo. Do you people really think that this nonsense fools anybody?

for the record, the real problem, I’d guess, is that they did not like it when Palin said, "Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligent and legitimate evidence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country."

Julie: with all due respect, you can't possibly believe that. The idea that countries can defend themselves from imminent threats is not controversial.

What is controversial, however, to pick a random example, is that we are authorized to invade a country and topple its leaders because we have unreliable intelligence, obtained through coercion and torture, that indicates that there might be a threat. Surely you can see why there might be some outrage over the latter scenario.

Wow, changing party is treason now. That is interesting if not predictable. That fact that you insist that this person must have always been a democrat is troubling, but I guess when we allow talking heads on fownews and talk radio to give us our ideas the problems associated with comtemplation go away.

The right left paradigm is simply a means of social control to give the people the illusion that they have a voice. If anyone wants to give evidence to the contrary then please direct me to it before our big government deficit spending "cowboy" bankrupts the coutnry from the his hollywood set down where the stars at night are big and bright.

I assume that Brutus was also "Former Ohio Republican".

Charles Krauthammer, arguably the first to "name" the Bush Doctrine as such, limns its origin and development, and adds some comments: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091202457_pf.html

John, remember what happens when you assume. Can someone also assume that you are one of the NLT bloggers or blindly loyal GOP commenters?

And thanks for addressing the substance of my comments, rather than just obsessing over my True Identity.

You assume wrong, but me saying will not convince you.

BRUTUS, you killed Caesar because he became too big for Rome, his personality dwarfed and marginalized traditional Roman Republicanism.

But now today you're strangely supporting a guy who deludes himself and others that he's "the one," who, like Caesar, will "transcend" and thus trivialize ordinary political interaction.

Brutus, Caesar was a thousand times the man that Obama could ever be. Whereas Obama has no track record, Caesar had a record of achievement that stuns to this day. So if anyone had a legit claim to be beyond politics, it would have been Caesar to ancient Rome.

Other than his skin colour, what does Obama have to commend him? Once race is removed from the political calculas, what does Obama actually offer?

Perhaps it's time you rethink your pseudonym.

There was no substance to your comment.

Bush and Co. failed completely to protect America when we faced an "imminent" strike about 7 years ago


A diary at Kos is missing it's idiot. I suppose you deserve partial credit for not whispering about how Bushaliburton planted charges to destroy the WTC.

I enjoyed reading your atypical post on this site, Stertinius. Your forward and creative thinking comes as a breath of fresh air in this mind-numbing party-line enviornment. I also enjoyed Dan's rousing history lesson, as if Brutus was advocating for Obama, or even more foolish, comparing him to Caesar. Looks as though you may have missed the point, but discussing your banter is foolishness and beside the point. I would not want to give you reason to dodge the questions any longer.

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