Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Gallup poll

This is the new Gallup Poll showing that Bush has a 57% appproval rating (up from 51% three weeks ago), with only 40% saying they don’t approve. There is more. That the Democrats are having a bit of a time of it at the moment is an understatement. I remind you of this
Noemie Emery article, "The Dems’ Week from Hell," I mentioned a few days ago.

Discussions - 25 Comments

Emery is absolutely right. When your party’s most public figures are two INCREDIBLY liberal senators, a failed Presidential candidate, and the wife (turned Senator) of the man my party deemed as their "savior", you’re pretty messed up. Dean won’t help either.

Approval rating? Let’s just send a sexy intern to George and we may see some change in the number of those who don’t aprove. Remember, in America people car more about oral sex than about starting an unjust war.

AW: The flaw in your reasoning is the assumption that Bush has no self-control like his predecessor. However, I am quite confident that a sexy intern in Bush’s office would be quite safe, and if she ever flashed her thong at him, she would not be around long.

George W. is faithful to his wife.

AW - People like you care nothing of the fact that Clinton lied under oath to deny access to justice for a young woman in a court of law (I wonder, if that were your daughter or wife, would you be so happy to dismiss it as just a man trying to save face?). All the while defacing the image of the WH, lying to America, and sending dozens in his administration down the river to keep is dirty secret from becoming the embarassment that it was.

As far as a just war, who are you to know that? If America invaded Germany to stop Hitler before he made it to Poland, people like you would be looking back at 1940 and saying America was unjust in stoping a dictator that was no direct threat to America.

Let’s see what the next 50 years brings, and then we can begin to label this chapter in history.

Don’t forget, Clinton’s approval ratings were very high even in the midst of the scandal even as people professed to despise him personally. Therefore, sending the intern in might actually improve rather than lower Bush’s ratings. I think Bush has been a nice corrective to Clinton in terms of his character because we don’t want a president cheating on his wife in the White House and the committing a crime by lying to a grand jury about it (and then defending that lie for years, obstinately blaming the right-wing conspiracy). For those of us who think that adultery is wrong, we certainly don’t want our president to engage in it. As Jabez said, Bush is a faithful man and Laura is a classy first lady.

As far as "unjust war" goes, Iraq was in violation of its 1991 truce agreement, therefore, not only were we still in a state of war, but were even in a state of hostility towards Iraq. Bush 43 didn’t start a war, but finished the war started by Saddam during Bush 41.

Just to add to what Luke says in No. 6 above, the Saddam regime’s violations took the form of, among other things, frequent attempts to shoot down and kill US and British pilots flying UN-approved air patrols that were instituted to help keep Saddam from committing any further mass slaughters against his own country’s people. Oddly, these violent attacks by Saddam against aircraft on UN-sanctioned missions are something I’ve never heard any comment on from antiwar types who claim to have such a high regard for the UN. Could it be that their regard for the UN is conditional on its thwarting (rather than approving) a US military action?


Where did you find the information that you seem to be citing. It’s not that I don’t necessarily believe you, I had just never heard anything about that before (of course, I was in grade school during Bush 41’s Presidency . . . ).

There’s nothing obscure about this information, Matt. During the 1990s Saddam’s forces fired on U.S. aircraft in the so-called "no-fly zone" on a regular basis. Like PJC, I’m surprised that we haven’t heard more about this lately, particularly from the administration during the lead-up to war in 2003. Leaving aside WMDs, terrorism, and all the other stuff, I should think that firing on U.S. aircraft would have been sufficient justification for war.

I agree, Mr. Moser, it seemed that Saddam was firing on our planes on an almost weekly basis if not more. As far as I know we did not lose any aircraft, thank goodness. Still it was an act of war. Just another violation by Saddam that the "left" overlooks.

P.S. Mr. Moser, I just want to recapitulate my apologies to you and some of your posters who were offended by my comment about terrorists bombing Boston. My comment was rash and foolish on my part. I do not know if my email to you got through regarding this.

My wife and I live in a "liberal" town as you can surmise by my screen name. Yet, I too would not want to see something tragic happen here. Again sir, my apologies to you.

John and PJC are right. I remember seeing the fighter jet cameras witnessing the SAM’s being fired at them consistently on the news throughout the 1990s. The U.S. showed remarkable restraint in enduring hostile acts by a foreign power while the UN showed remarkable weakness in watching resolution after resolution being summarily violated and finding the answer to this in passing another resolution. The UN, in my view, is going the way of the League of Nations. An international body to keep the peace cannot do so without coercion. Maybe we can have more Locarno Pact’s outlawing war from humanity.

Hello, Matt. Fair question. Below is pasted a 2002 press release from the US European Command, elements of which were responsible for "Operation Northern Watch," which was the military’s name for the air patrols designed to protect the Kurds. At the time this release was written, Saddam’s attacks (or aggressive moves such as "painting" planes w/ AA targeting radar) on USAF and RAF aircraft had ben going on for almost 4 years. You can visit the link where I got this at

Nov. 17, 2002

UNITED STATES EUROPEAN COMMAND -- Iraqi forces threatened Operation Northern Watch (ONW) coalition aircraft today. Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) from sites northeast of Mosul while ONW aircraft conducted routine enforcement of the Northern No-Fly Zone.

Coalition aircraft responded in self-defense to the Iraqi attacks by dropping precision guided munitions on elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system.

All coalition aircraft departed the area safely.

Coalition aircraft have been enforcing the Northern No-Fly Zone for more than 11 years. Since Dec. 28, 1998, Saddam Hussein has opted to challenge this enforcement by firing at coalition aircraft with surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery and by targeting them with radar. Operation Northern Watch aircraft respond in self-defense to these threats, while continuing to enforce the No-fly Zone.

For more information, please contact the Combined Task Force Combined Information Bureau at +90-322-316-3679.


Maybe we can have more Locarno Pact’s outlawing war from humanity.

FYI, you’re thinking of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The Locarno Pact was a guarantee of Germany’s borders in the West. Admittedly, it was ultimately about as effective as Kellogg-Briand, but it said nothing about the outlawry of war.

jesse fan

Again sir, my apologies to you.

I do not feel as though you owe me an apology. We all say dumb things now and again.


I should add that, as w/ many topics related to Iraq, there is controversy over whether UN Sec Cncl Res 688 actually authorized the NFZs. Needless to say, I think it did if read in light of its stated goal of stopping "the repression of the Iraqi civilian population in many parts of Iraq" being carried out by Saddam’s regime. Moreover, I would point out that one of the interesting questions coming out of the Oil-for-Palaces scandal is whether the Sec Cncl countries that ended up objecting to the NFZs and claiming they were in effect being bribed by Saddam. These countries were Russia, China, and France (in other words, I wonder if the intra-UN dispute over the NFZs wasn’t just another token of how Saddam was manipulating that corrupt organization for his own ends).

Res 688 is at

For what it may be worthy, here’s a piece from "Slate" surveying the controversy:

Sorry for some sloppy typing in that post just above.

I had meant to write:

". . . and claiming they [I.E., THE NFZs] were UNAUTHORIZED WERE in effect being bribed by Saddam . . ."

Thanks for the correction, John. I thought it was one of the two that renounced war between nations, but I did not bother looking it up. I thought you would know with your expertise in the interwar period. Nevertheless, the same misguided utopianism and misunderstanding of human nature and relations among nations will not bode well for the future of the U.N.

Does anyone think public support for the invasion of Iraq would have been different if the Bush Administration would have talked about the regular attacks in the No Fly Zone? If this is enough for people like me to rethink our opinions on the U.S. attacking Saddam’s regime, why did the administration resort to demagoguery about WMD and ties to Al-Qaeda, to instilling fear into the populace?


Honestly, I don’t know how much I believe Bush tried to appeal to emotional America. I’m wondering about him not just talking about the "No Fly Zone" situation too, but I don’t think he was attempting to "trick" America into going to war with Iraq. I think he did "declared" war waaay too preemptively . . . but I think his intelligence was just messed up, personally. I see no proof that he "lied" or attempted to mislead us.

Dan asks a good question here, and I think it’s best answered by separating the war issue into two separate questions: 1) was the war just? and 2) was it wise? One can certainly give an affirmative answer to the first question without accepting that the second was necessarily true--this is, I think, what separates intellectually respectable opponents of the war from the various pacifists, America-haters, and Saddam apologists who tended to show up for anti-war marches. That Saddam’s regime fired on U.S. aircraft was simply one among the many reasons why it was morally acceptable to destroy it. After all, few would deny that these constitute an act of war. Perhaps the administration felt that it was unnecessary to use this argument, given the sheer horror of the regime--it’s sort of like complaining about the dirty toilets at Auschwitz.

On the other hand, citing Saddam’s attacks on U.S. aircraft wouldn’t be of much help in making the tougher sell--that the war was a smart thing to do. After all, it would be hard to argue that they constituted a real threat to U.S. national security. Hence something larger was required, such as the now-discredited WMD theory, or the (in my opinion) still-valid fact of Saddam’s support for terrorism.

Dr. Moser,

Although I can’t speak for Dan, I think he and I agree that this would have had a significant impact on our views of the war, had it been publicized more. If the Bush administration would have made it clear that the Iraqis were firing on our own, American planes, it would have been a lot more convincing (and, in my opinion, realistic) than WMD or links with al-Queda for an invasion. It wouldn’t really have even been a preemptive strike. I have a big problem with preemptive war, in general, and I know that if this information would have been brought to light before the attack, I would (while still having reservations about the wisdom of the war) have not so adamantly condemned an invasion.

So, I suppose my question to you, Dr. Moser, is why not bring out any information that may create more support for the war, even if it seems trivial or that it will only gain a little bit more support. I’m not suggesting that this be the only justification given by the government, but why not include it with the WMD and terrorism claims? This is, honestly, the first time I have heard about any attacks on U.S. planes . . .

I guess there’s also the issue of how important public support for a war is. If 95% of the American population were to object to a declaration of war, I still think the administration would have a responsibility, an obligation to carry it out if they knew something the general populace did not/could not know.

... Just to be safe I should clarify that, when I say the administration would have an obligation for an act of war, I mean that whatever intelligence the administration had to which the public would not be privy would indicate a grave threat to national security. But then again, what is a grave threat to national security ... just kidding.

why not bring out any information that may create more support for the war, even if it seems trivial or that it will only gain a little bit more support.

I can’t answer this question any more than what I tried to do above. All I can add is that it wasn’t anything new; it went on pretty much throughout the 1990s. By the end of the decade it had pretty much ceased being news. It’s also worth noting that the Iraqis never succeeded in bringing down--or even, to the best of my knowledge, damaging--a single American plane.

It’s become apparent to me that the firing on American planes would not have justified what war opponents call "nation-building." The U.S. (also, the Bush family?) had beefs with Iraq since before the NFZ violations. (Beefs? Beeves? I love English.) To defend the need for extended U.S. military presence and the institution of democracy in Iraq, the Bush Administration was going to need more than reports of SAMs.

Before America invaded Iraq, almost all American policymakers and other nations believed that Iraq probably had WMDs. The reponse of the UN and others, however, was to give the inspections more time to stonewall any kind of action or to do nothing about it ever because of a mushy pacifism. The other problem with the WMDs was not that Hussein had a delivery system to send a nuke to the U.S., but that he might sell it to a terrorist or threaten other states in the Middle East, including Israel. Therefore, this rogue state could easily work with terrorists to kill lots of Americans. Thus, it was in America’s self-interest to invade Iraq and prevent such a thing.

As for the Bush Administration’s selling of the war, I’m not sure that Bush, Powell, Rice and others did not bring up all of these tangential issues during the lead-up to and arguments about the war. I encourage all to go back to the speeches of the adminstration to double-check the record. However, the previous comments are probably right that the WMDs were oversold as a reason for war, though it was not an unreasonable argument to make.

What to do about North Korea and Iran?

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