After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The end of the G. W. Bush era, if it was only that simple...

I have seen many people celebrating the inauguration of Obama and the departure of GWB from office as if this day marks the end of the damage Bushco does to America and the rest of the world. As much as I would love to share that sentiment, reality compels me to recognize that the damage the Bush/Cheney Administration have done to the global security, economic, and political environments will continue to carry on through the inertia already built up for months to years to in some respects decades to come, no matter what Obama says and does (with the limited exception of rooting out the criminality of the Bush years and having trials to expose all the rot that can be at this point, and even that will only go so far) now that he is President.

Considering the massive amount of fiscal corruption within the Bush executive branch there is much to be exposed, but it is the abuse of power corruption and the rewriting the Constitution to create a separate executive unaccountable to the other once seen as coequal branches of government that really requires such exposure and consequences IMHO. Otherwise not only do the people that did this get away with taking the US Constitution and legal structure and using it as vomit and excrement cleaner, it sets even worse precedents for further abuse down the road the next time the GOP comes back to power, just as it did post Nixon and the pardon, and again post Reagan and Bush the first with Iran Contra given that so many of the same players kept returning, with the future to worry about their understudies (aka the next generation of insane Straussians and other equally dangerous far right wing ideologues/"idealists" and religious zealots that got their training under this Administration) from this tenure under GWB.

Then there is the economic disaster that the Bushies created with not just their war spending and rampant allowing of profiteering by their cronies in the private sector but also with their moronic tax cut policies drying up revenues, finance free home ownership and talking up how many new homes were bought by people that could never afford them outside of the bubble in that market and the near nonexistent interest rates of the day, and causing massive borrowing (both domestic with the keep shopping admonitions and internationally to fuel their budgets) and their tendency to keep little minor things like war spending off book as much as possible which still has to be truly tallied up.

I mean Bushco doubled American debt in eight years and that from a surplus position when they came to power. That money had to come from somewhere, and when you are talking about the ballpark of 5 TRILLION DOLLARS of new debt (not including what dealing with this crisis is going to require Obama to spend through borrowing on top of that staggering amount) being absorbed by the global community that is money not available for spending elsewhere. The ripple effects here are just beginning to be felt, and while I am not convinced it is on a par with the Great Depression, it is most certainly the first economic crisis to come close enough to it for fair comparison and still has the possibility of getting to that level or worse depending on how the next year or two goes.

Politically, Bushco has done massive damage to the international reputation of America as a beacon of civil liberties (which granted was somewhat inflated prior to the Bush years but was still seen by many in the poorer parts of the world as a shining beacon of hope, not a small thing I would argue for helping people from reaching absolute desperation and the ills that come from such mindsets) , especially with its open endorsement of torture and extraordinary renditions to governments to torture for them a la Mahar Arar (which of course they took one last stab at via another travesty, Omar Khadr yesterday, as Dr Dawg and others took note of here). The damage done to the process of international relations and diplomacy is not inconsequential and I suspect that will also be a long time healing, both directly for America vis a vis the rest of the world and the impact on the global balance of power that inevitably brings along with it.

Then there is the damage to international security thanks to the Bush policies of torture, renditioning, preemptive war, and essentially blanket suspicion of Islamic peoples (despite all the mealymouthed comments about how it was only those that abused Islam). The impression the bulk of the planet was left with was a white Christian crusade against the dark infidel Muslim, especially after the rationale for invading Iraq collapsed beyond any resuscitation (except by ideological allies around the world of course, but then their capacity for self delusion is already well known) and ended up looking like nothing more than a crusade.

Then there is Afghanistan which WAS a legitimate target after 9/11/01 because of AQ being based there and the Taliban's reluctance to act swiftly enough against them and bin Laden. Yet that was never given anywhere near the American military resources to do the job, and much of what started there ended up being more prepositioning for Iraq in the end. Not to mention the total lack of serious infrastructure building there despite promises not to forget them again as happened after the USSR pulled out during the tail end of the Cold War. Nor for that matter America being the one attacked yet America then left her foreign allies to carry the bulk of that conflict and reconstruction costs to pursue the idiocy that was Iraq when it should have full well known they lacked the capacity in both military and civilian resources to manage that theater.

That not only strained the resources of the countries involved (including Canada's) but also did more than a little damage to the relationships between America and her traditional allies as a direct result on top of the damage done by the deceptions in claiming Iraq was a necessary war. The long term implications on security arrangements between traditional allies and alliances involved cannot be ignored nor understated as well. Not to mention also damaging the international reputation of many of those allies because of how Afghanistan was mismanaged and what the Americans made many of these other democracies a party to directly and indirectly while claiming to be the ones in charge, especially in the first few years.

I mean these are just a few major elements from the Bush years that will continue to have long lasting effects long after today has passed, and not even near a total list of such, just enough to make my point. GWB may now be no longer in a position to continue furthering the multiple disasters he and his minions have spawned both domestically and beyond, but their impacts will continue to ripple for a long time to come. Facing that I find it difficult to feel any real sense of hope and optimism with today's change, the most I can muster is a sense of relief that at least no further damage can be done by Bushco's abuses of American Presidential power.

While I would like to hope Obama is up to the task, he never impressed me all that much from the outset, and watching the way he won the primary really put me off on him overall. Too much symbolism and not enough substance. I would love to end up being proven wrong, but I can't shake the feeling he is the wrong person for this job at this time, all the symbolism of hope having an African American President symbolizes notwithstanding, and while he will clearly be a major step up from what we are losing today that does not mean he is truly up to the myriad of massive challenges facing America (and in all to many cases the rest of the world by extension) today left by the worst President in American history, let alone modern history.

Well, at least we all can have some basis for relief and hope that things will finally start to improve with the departure of Bush and the office of President not being retained by those with an active interest in covering things up and furthering many of these disastrous policies that would have occurred under a GOP victory by McCain. That in itself is worth no small thing, even if when compared to the overall situation it is still a small to almost minuscule value thanks to the unprecedented damages done by Bushco.


I know this sounds rather bleak and cynical of me, but it is what I see, and the one thing I try to do in everything I write about, be it here or commenting elsewhere is to call things as I see them, even when others disagree. I also would like to add that I hope this is not my last post for a while again, I am trying to be back on a regular basis, but I do have some medical issues still overhanging, and I have a procedure coming up at the beginning of the next month (nothing major, but given I have limited stamina and resources it may take a lot out of me nonetheless) so I can't promise anything.

My thanks to those that have wished me and my health well, and my gratitude to those that have let me know I was missed, to this day I find it hard to believe that my well known predilection for a long winded writing style is read and welcomed by as many people as I have seen it to be. In this day and age of short attention spans I sort of take it for granted that my style doesn't work well for the times I live in, but it is the only style I have. I write the way I think and speak for better or worse, and I will not change it to suit those that prefer short bites instead of the density that is my style. At least I am trying to limit my paragraph size to make reading me easier...:)


Blogger Beijing York said...

I'm glad to see you blogging again. I like your thoughtful and expansive style. In fact, I am kind of fed up with the sound bite media and blogging approach.

I have seen the same reasoned and thoughtful approach in your comments of various of my favourite blogs. Thanks to those, I stumbled onto your site.

Sat Jan 24, 10:51:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Scotian said...


Thank you for the kind words, it is much appreciated. Indeed, I share your irritation with the sound bite media in no small part because it facilitates poor memory and makes it easier to deceive because things like context and chronology get left behind as these things take extra time to deal with. One of the reasons I write in the manner I do is to show the context in which my thoughts occur, and to try and place things within a chronological order that is accurate. It also helps show that I understand what I am talking about instead of just repeating mindless simplistic talking points or something I saw somewhere without actually getting more than a superficial understanding of it.

As to sound bite blogging style, I guess that doesn't bother me as much if only because bloggers aren't the ones supposed to be informing the general public of what their government does in its name, unlike the so called free press. I'm just lucky that the blogs I leave comments are on are run by those that do not mind my comments, I gather in part because I create each comment unique to that blog (I do not spam my comments, unlike some we have seen in the online world) and because they appear to find I don't just write long works to sound self important but because I actually have something to say each time. Not that my critics from the Conservative side of the spectrum would agree of course, indeed I especially irritate some of them with my style such that they attack it instead of the content (possibly because they can't attack the content of course, the old legal adage about pounding on the table when you can't pound on the facts or the law comes to mind).

Indeed, JJ at Unrelenting Old Hippie told me the other day that she finds long comment writing an art and science that few can do pull off and that I have mastered well, which is why she doesn't mind it. I don't know if I agree with her on this, but then I tend to be my own worst critic on this point, it is a little frustrating at times because I cannot do short comment writing, it really isn't the way my mind works.

Indeed, my processing style always drove my father to distraction, for him I was always making things more complicated while for me I was simplifying it as much as I could since I never can see things in isolation, everything is in constant dynamic interaction the way my perception works and therefore I need to give a range instead of an isolated data point whenever I try to deal with something at its simplest. At least he and I managed to find ways to communicate in a middle ground, but it was really frustrating for both of us when I was growing up, was it ever, and led to some issues between us that took well into adulthood to finally work past. Thankfully these days I have the best relationship I've ever had with my parents, and even at its worst there were many others who had much less than we did so it still wasn't that bad overall despite some real bad periods. Ah well, I chalk it up to my severe ADHD (so bad I was diagnosed in the early 70s, back then you had to be pretty bad just to get noticed).

Sun Jan 25, 01:35:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Red Tory said...

Nice to see you back.

I'm not nearly as pessimistic as you seem to be about Obama, but can understand your POV in this regard. Reversing the Bush-Cheney legacy of corruption, abuse of power, torture, incompetence, cronyism, etc. is going to be a monumental challenge, there's no doubt about that, but if anyone is capable of taking on the challenge, Obama seems well suited to the task(s) at hand.

Time will tell...

Regarding the particulars of your post, allow me to take issue with one specific point here. You say: "Then there is Afghanistan which WAS a legitimate target after 9/11/01 because of AQ being based there and the Taliban's reluctance to act swiftly enough against them and bin Laden."

This is questionable. My understanding is that the Taliban offered to surrender Bin Laden, but not the USA — to the World Court. This however was unacceptable to the Bush administration as they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of that body. The pressing need for immediate revenge (and the desire to "practice" on Afghanistan as preparation for the impending war in Iraq) didn't allow this impasse to be worked out. I don't consider the war in Afghanistan as any more valid or necessary than was that in Iraq.

Sun Jan 25, 11:05:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Scotian said...


On this I have to disagree with you. This fails to take into account that the Taliban was well aware of what AQ and bin Laden's goals were prior to the attack on 9/11/01 regarding comtting an act of war against the USA and not only did nothing to prevent it but gave them active aid through providing a base and by being domestically seen to be aligned with them. Once the attack happened they dragged their feet despite the clear act of war, despite the massive anger and disgust throughout the international community for that act, and the argument that they would turn over bin Laden to a court which was as far as I know never used to deal with such an act to that point in its history always struck me as more an attempt to delay (knowing that America had no good opinion of the WC to boot, it is not like that wasn't well on record by that point too) action than it was a good faith act. It is not like I hadn't been watching the Talban's actions for years prior, nor their open support for bin Laden and AQ's goals well prior to the 9/11/01 attack you see, so I had little reason to trust their word on the WC this time around. The Taliban already had a history which made taking them at their word difficult to begin with after all, let alone on something this serious.

I know this is a matter of interpretation, but I was following matters quite closely and I was left with the distinct impression that the Taliban was playing games at a time when it was obvious its own existence was at risk. It is not like the moves to attack Afghanistan were made in secret, nor was it that Afghanistan was some sort of innocent bystander. Under those circumstances I have to call it a legitimate target given its unwillingness to act promptly to turn over those responsible for such an act of war. Remember, NATO had invoked Article Five, which states an attack on one is an attack on all, which had never happened before. If that act alone did not make clear this was an act of war and that the international community especially the USA was not willing to play games over this issue nothing wwould IMHO.

No RT, any country would want the perpetrators turned over to them in such a circumstance, and the attempt to drag the WC into it (a tool I do not believe the Taliban ever recognized as valid prior to that attempt if I recall correctly, seems to me they had contempt for most international institutions which did not accomidate their religious dogma) by the Taliban looked at the time to be a dodge to me and looking back still does. Given the track record of the Taliban where respecting international law and courts was concerned I didn't believe them then and still don't today. Afghanistan was a legitimate target because of the actions of the Taliban both prior and after 9/11/01. A State that gives such aid to a terrorist leader and group knowingly brings/invites this sort of response from a succesful attack when they refuse to act swiftly to take them into custody and turn them over to those attacked, which is precisely what happened. They knew, they supported, and they protected AQ and as sorry as I am for the Afghani people caught in the middle this was a legitimate cause for war IMHO.

Sun Jan 25, 05:44:00 PM 2009  

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