Politics Thursday: Why Miers *is* Iraq

Disclaimer: I do not plan to form any conclusions about Ms. Miers prior to her confirmation hearings. Until her testimony and/or public records show up I think any discussion of her qualifications are premature.

To the possible disappointment of a few, and to the likely relief/elation of some others, I have concluded that my preparations for the Nevada Library Association preclude me from a detailed deconstruction of President Bush's October 5, 2005 War on Terror speech at this time.

However, this being Politics Thursday, I'd like to spend a few minutes on why I believe that the perceived grievance and reaction of right-wing pundits and activists to the appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is quite similar to those across the political spectrum who opposed the President's manufactured war in Iraq.

What is being protested in both cases is a sense that the President takes decisions behind closed doors and expects Congress to rubberstamp his choices based solely on his say so. Opposition to his decision is cast as impure – being a traitor in the case of Iraq, and being a sexist, elitist, or “not a team player� in the case of Miers. I think my interpretation fairly represents the following conservative writers:

Ann Coulter

�First, Bush has no right to say "Trust me." He was elected to represent the American people, not to be dictator for eight years.�

Charles Kruathammer:

“But nominating a constitutional tabula rasa to sit on what is America's constitutional court is an exercise of regal authority with the arbitrariness of a king giving his favorite general a particularly plush dukedom. The only advance we've made since then is that Supreme Court dukedoms are not hereditary.�

George Will:

“Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.�

Although the above authors fanatically support the President's $255 Billion / 2000+ [coalition servicemember] lives project in Iraq, their opposition to Harriet Miers is rooted in a belief in Presidential unaccountability and capriciousness that is shared by the bipartisan opponents of the Iraq War and occupation. The right-wing activists are just unhappy that he's not favoring their projects and their people. In a perfect world, they'd join with us in holding the President accountable in all areas of his public life.

If we're fortunate, this rage at behind the scenes decision-making, combined with demands for rubber stamping from Congress will result in new assertions of Congressional authority and oversight in many areas. This can only serve the Republic well by dragging many secret things out into the light of public debate.


You're ignoring history, specifically Iraq's. The first Gulf War, the massacre of the Kurds, torture chambers, kids in prison, WMDs which he did have and did use, 10 years of fly-overs, paying families of suicide bombers, interactions with terrorist groups etc...

The frame of mind I'm speaking of is one of 'let them be'. That two sides disagree on the best way to stay out of the way doesn't change the intent.

I think I see where you are coming from, but I cannot agree. Arming Iraq in the 80s and supplying intelligence against Iran wasn't a case of "let them be", but a belief that countries can be our instruments for "larger causes." "Let them be" seems to mean "no intervention." But I'm willing to listen to another sense of "let them be."Using my frame of seeing that arming Iraq and aiding it against Iran 80s sprung from a belief that Iraq was a tool in a "higher cause", then the current war supporters and the people who armed Iraq in the 80s have the same frame of mind. Arming a psycho dictator in the 80s was ok because it served America's "larger purpose" of fighting Islamic fundamentalism. Invading Iraq in 2003 in the absence of a fresh causus belli supposededly served the "larger purpose" of reforming the Middle East. Thus Rumsfeld and others who helped arm Saddam in the 80s continue to have the same frame of mind -- countries are tools to use in our causes, no matter the suffering left in our wake.By the way, I still haven't seen an example of an antiwar person or group whose "same frame of mind" found them supporting the arming of Saddam in the 80s, but opposing the war against Iraq. Every message without convinces me they don't exist.

The frame of mind I'm speaking of is one of 'let them be'. That two sides disagree on the best way to stay out of the way doesn't change the intent.

Greg,I believed you changed your premise, or I didn't understand your statement to begin with:

Most of the stuff being advocated by those against the war are from the same frame of mind as those that supplied Iraq with weapons to fight and Iran and keep the whole area unstable.

What I took this to mean is that most people who currently oppose the war advocated arming Iraq in 1980s against Iran. Does this mean something else?Most of the antiwar people *I* know were deeply critical of our supplying Iraq with arms and intelligence during the 80s.And I noticed that you did not bother to provide an example of someone who opposes the current war today who was also an advocate of supplying Iraq back in the 80s. If you can't come up with an example, you're not entitled to use it as a fact.

I didn't realize I'm "anti-war". I've criticized the current strategy, but I never opposed the removal of the Baathist dictatorship. As for Rumsfeld "not thinking that way anymore", I'm sure a large number of (Communist) Russians and (Nazi) Germans also had changes of heart, but I don't think it should preclude them from being subject to a thorough investigation and, if evidence indicates, brought to trial. So I can make my own position clear: no "pull out" until democracy is established and we bring to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity (which, sorry to say, Greg...will mean some of their old American buddies...).

Yes, but Rumsfeld doesn't think that way anymore, that's the point. He recognized a different approach was required. The anti-war people today, including you, want to pull out and have some kind of oversight, some kind of long distance foreign policy and that doesn't work.

I believe I'm working from the same list you're looking at, Daniel. Yes, Mr.Rumsfeld is in my personal "top ten". A wide range of "Presidential advisors" from the Kennedy era (Yes, he of the exploding cigars) to Bush the Elder. As you can see, I'm non-partisan.

Most of the stuff being advocated by those against the war are from the same frame of mind as those that supplied Iraq with weapons to fight and Iran and keep the whole area unstable.

Do you have examples of what you mean? Most of the Americans I know who helped armed Iraq in the first place support the current conflict (i.e. Rumsfeld). Who did you have in mind?

We're in much agreement, but I'm kind of like Santa Claus. I know who's been good and who's been bad and I want some people (including numerous "patriots", etc.) brought to justice before this is over.

I don't discount that history but the rules changed on 9/11. Most of the stuff being advocated by those against the war are from the same frame of mind as those that supplied Iraq with weapons to fight and Iran and keep the whole area unstable. Temporary peace for ourselves is no peace at all.

I don't ignore history and thank you for reminding everyone of it. In fact, there's even deeper history to examine: the good old days when Saddam Hussein was an American client. It's a relationship that goes back to 1963 when the United States welcomed the "triumph" of the Baathist party. When Donald Rumsfeld is placed on a leave of absence, detained, and sent down Guantanomo way for a "debriefing", I could take the present Iraqi adventure more seriously.

First, I don't think the war in Iraq is manufactured. If it were I think they would have let me in to help the other factory workers. I have been turned down twice: first because I have pins in my shoulder from being run over so I can't join the active military forces and secondly I can't go as part of the USPHS - one of the uniformed services seldom though about. I did go to a really sandy area while on USPHS callup several years ago (while still earring my MLS via distance learning) and share my expertise in a particular subject with more than 40K US troops. I'd go now, but they currently do not want me. If I get the pins out and/or can demonstrate 80% range of motion of my arm then I can go into DOD service as a nurse, and I am working on that. That said about what you call the manufactured war (and yes I have talked to my priest about it. I won't be killing anyone unless they try to kill me.) I am a nurse and I help all those who come under my care - friend or for I care for everyone just the same. If I were to do otherwise I would rather be dead.

However the writers no matter how conservative they are, are sadly mistaken. The President alone gets to select the Justices of the Supreme Court. The Senate merely affirms them. I, and for that matter everyone else and every special interest group and of course every columnist have absolutely no input on the choice. While you can call your senator they most probably will ignore you as they do constituents on all other matters.

There are 9 Justices. One justice does not make that much difference. I too find that SCOTUS Justices are like wine; they mature and change when on the bench. If the president is confident that his choice will fairly interpret the Constitution then so am I.

I am opposed to the death penalty on religious, moral, and intellectual grounds. Does that mean I could not follow the Constitution and find that the death penalty is allowed... no. While I may find some laws morally repugnant- and that may require me to resign from the Court, I think I could still follow the rules - the Constitution.

Is abortion going to change if Meiers hits the court, I doubt it. The initial ruling about privacy was in my opinion nonsense, and we still kill about 1.5 million children a year in the US. Will abortion get worse- that I doubt too, will it get better, that I can only pray.

You have to put your trust somewhere, and I have decided to put mine in our president. I could not do a better job, and he seems to follow the same moral compass as I do. You have to trust someone and I trust our president.

Those of us who have opposed Administration policy for a long time already knows that the Administration paints its critics as unscrupulous and wicked people with hidden agendas. From the President's perspective, there is no such thing as principled opposition.Now National Review Online is discovering this same technique is being using on people they like:

If the White House was the source of this charge (and other unflattering and even more spurious notions floated about Batchelder in recent weeks), it is very troubling. As Alt observes, smearing qualified candidates for the Court is no way for this administration to win back the trust and loyalty of the conservative base.

All sides of the political spectrum need to unite and put an end to these kinds of tactics no matter which party uses them.

Can't argue with that assessment. Thanks for working with me!

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