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December 30, 2004

Comments

And you know, blogbudsman, your comment
Sure there will be some token offerings of plane loads of food and supplies. Volunteers will catch some airtime if the people they are helping look like they're suffering enough, mostly children.

is really disgusting. You succeeded in making Stan look absolutely statesmanlike.

liberal j,

Aw, was that my new year's present? Thanks!

Nice cheap shot regarding "Bush inaugural festivities".

Who took that shot? I have crticized that notion from the get go.

Well, the US just announced that it would raise its pledge 10 fold, to 350 million dollars and there is supposed to be an Annan-Powell press conference at 2000 GMT.

I see my evil plan is working!

I'm outta here...Happy New Year All!!!

lj,

It really difficult to believe that you want to raise the level of the discussion with comments like this:

"It's really hard to avoid the conclusion that avoiding any involvement with the UN was foremost on the minds of the admin (which, from your previous comments, is something you heartily approve of)"

1) People are dead and suffering! Do you not grasp this! You have no proof whatsovever that the adminstration is trying really hard to avoid any involvement with the U.N. The U.N. cannot be avoided in this situation. It would be impossible. Your statement is absurd.

2) I have said nothing about the U.N.

Wow. Is it that y'all are in a different time zone, or what? I wake up, get on-line, and find out all hell has broken loose.

I 'fess up to being a snarker: I went and pulled Stan LS's chain, and meant to. But if he is in fact a recent immigrant from a non-English speaking country, I have to take back what I said and apologize. I thought I responding to deliberate dimwittery on his part; not an actual lack of comprehension.

As to the topic: I don't buy earlier suggestions that Bush prefers behind-the-scenes disaster relief to taking a public leadership position out of some sense of modesty and gravitas. I don't buy it because there has never been any modesty or gravitas in any of Bush's actions or demeanor previous to now, so why now?

I do agree that the behind-the-scenes stuff has James Baker written all over it; that's his style. Which means that 41 probably summoned Baker in to clean up yet another of his kid's messes (as Baker cleaned up the contract awards faux pas a couple of years ago). Which in turn means that 43 probably had no intention of contributing more than $15m (if even that; he has yet to fulfill his pledge of AIDS assistance), and only did so as part of a Baker-engineered face save.

Which means the people in the disaster areas actually have Baker to thank for the US government's generosity.

And that actually explains Bush's 'modesty' in a way that makes sense.

Bush isn't being 'modest.' He's being resentful, at being forced to do something he doesn't want to do. Which isan established behavior pattern.

Mystery solved.

I think the subject of this thread was whether or not Bush made a PR disaster, not whether or not he deserved to be faulted.
I think he is to be faulted for a slow weak intital response, but our country seems to be right in there helping now and I'm glad of that.
I also think that the overwhelming tide of criticism interationally and at home is sympomatic of all the anger at all of the stuff he has gotten away with, for example the destruction of our national forests. It might not be fair but sometimes when people have justifiable rage about one issue ,they express it about another.

Ah yes, Bush doesn't want to help out. He is eeeevil. Gotcha.

I thought I said we were helping out. I wasn't trying to be offensive. I was speculating about why such a big deal is being made of this.
I do think Bush is evil, but not because of the slow initial response. That could simply have been a mistake and it's fixed now.

CaseyL,

But if he is in fact a recent immigrant from a non-English speaking country,

Eh? Not that recent. My comprehension is just fine. Punctuaton might not be, though.

lily,

I do think Bush is evil,

I thought liberals were against the "evil" tag? Or is it just when it comes to terrorism supporting states?

liberal japonicus, so you think the press is going to conduct itself heroically, show all the good things that will be happening, getting the great human interest stories that will be widespread, lavishing praise upon our administration for all the wonderful things they funded and encouraged. You really think their true colors are the complete opposite of what they are showing in Iraq, and just about every other event in recent history. I hope you're right.

I never thought I would see Bush-haters stoop so low as to try and get political leverage from such a major distater and loss of human life. There's more than one tragedy unfolding here.

blogbudsman: I'll take results and real action over fake sincerity any day.

When did this become an either/or proposition? Who is advocating for fake sincerity? How about results and a timely pledge of support? I realize Bush is a very busy man, but the benefits of actually getting out there and saying something right away are not fake, and he need not be insincere in offering his condolences and his promise of generous assistance. You, and those who keep going on about "style over substance" are inventing a dilemma where none exists.

smlook sez: And for the love of God people... shouldn't there be a posting rule outlawing the term "appointed administration".

and:

I never thought I would see Bush-haters stoop so low...

Maybe you should try setting an example.

Lily, I was responding to Casey but didn't refresh to see that your comment had interposed.

This just in, via CNN --
US pledge increased to $350 mil

Good news, to be sure. I'd like to know how it is broken down (is some of it a loan, etc...) and how this came about.

gromit, I feel your pain.

Perceptions, schmerceptions. This brouhaha started with an adversarial UN bureaucrat, helpfully magnified by unfriendly media to create this perception of American stinginess, exacerbated by unfriendly weblogs. The fact is that the US and will assume its historical role of leading the way in relief efforts, both financially and with personnel. Perception is perception, reality is reality. I'll take reality. Bruce Bartlett has more on our giving, and so does Dan Drezner.

I can't call Bush evil; that's against posting rules.

I can, and do, note that there are many instances where Bush has shown inexplicable meanness, pettiness, and emotional tone-deafness; even to members of his own family.

I can, and do, note that in one instance of the above - the flap over reconstruction contracts - James Baker was indeed called in to soothe ruffled sensibilities. I note further that James Baker is a longtime and acknowledged Bush Family fixer.

I can, and do, note that Bush has made unfulfilled pledges of international assistance before; the "$3 Billion per year for AIDS relief," for example.

I can, and do, note that it took Bush three days and unknown numbers of speechwriters to come up with a statement of sympathy which: a) most ordinary human beings can manage spontaneously, and without professional assistance; and b) sounded neither spontaneous nor sincere.

I can, and do, note that Bush spokespersons "defend" their boss by getting in a slam at Bill Clinton. I note that such juvenalia is one thing in a blog post, but quite another thing coming from a Chief Executive's personnel. I further note that there used to be a White House tradition of not badmouthing former Presidents, much less slandering them - one, incidentally, that 41 and 42 followed, but which 43 has violated since the day he took office.

I note, finally, what has been said elsewhere: Expressing compassion and sympathy to the countries hit by the tsunami immediately after the fact would have cost Bush little or nothing domestically, yet would have earned him some credit internationally. (Contrast Bush's reaction to the tsunami to the world's reaction to 9/11.) He could use some credit internationally. Saying "talk is cheap" overlooks the fact that Bush has spent years trashing our international relationships, in words and in actions. That plays very well with the bellicose and xenophobic RW echo chamber-cum-bubble universe ... but not in the real world, where the rest of us live.

Charles Bird,

This brouhaha started with an adversarial UN bureaucrat, helpfully magnified by unfriendly media to create this perception of American stinginess

Speaking of bad diplomacy! Once again UN gets a free pass.

blogbudsman: gromit, I feel your pain.

I'd rather you felt the urge to answer my question.

Charles Bird: Perception is perception, reality is reality. I'll take reality.

Again with this fictional dichotomy. Why not have both, when (at least in this case) it would have been so freaking easy, and each influences the other? Or are you of the opinion that Bush can talk the talk or he can walk the walk, but he can't do both?

Nearly every news story I hear on the subject contains a statement like "In the wake of widespread criticism over its initial offering, the U.S. is increasing its aid package..." Surely it didn't have to be this way.

Gromit,

"In the wake of widespread criticism over its initial offering, the U.S. is increasing its aid package..."

That's cause we always get criticized. That's what happens when you're at the forefront - everyone tries to nip at your ass. When's the last time you heard of, let's say, Russia being criticized for not giving enough aid fast enough?

O, Mores! O, Tempore! O, echo chamber!

Did anyone who says "the UN called the US stingy" actually read the fricking quote?

Just out of curiosity, did anyone else think of Putin staying at his dacha after the Kursk disaster when they read about Bush staying at his ranch? (Note: I am not trying to make a point and/or start something. This is, as a matter of autobiographical fact, what I thought of, and I am just wondering if anyone else did too.)

CaseyL,

"We were more generous when we were less rich, many of the rich countries," Egeland said. "And it is beyond me, why are we so stingy, really.... Even Christmas time should remind many Western countries at least how rich we have become." source.

He called all western countries stingy. That includes us, no? Note him injecting Christmas into this. I've yet to hear an outcry from the lefties. Bad, bad, bad diplomacy. One can only imagine what would break out had Bush mentioned Christmas in conjuncton with the aid... Indonesia being muslim and all..

"O, Mores! O, Tempore!"

Or, in the immortal words of Flanders and Swann, 'O Times! O Daily Mirror!'

10 points to Stan on the Christmas thing. That's hilarious. He should have said 'Even ChrismaHannuKwanzaKah time should remind...'

Okay. . 'hilarious' within the tight constraints allowed by a discussion about appeals to charity after the death of a hundred thousand innocent people. I did laugh, though.

Stan LS,

You have done a good job at pointing out once again how the MSM has taken a mole hill and tried to turn it into a mountain.

It's lose lose for Bush. If I were him I would just ignore all the Bush-haters and anti-Americansism and just work to get the job done. Which is pretty much what is going on.

sidereal,

Haw, haw, haw, but had it been Bush saying that, I am sure there would've been an outcry. Imagine! Bush attaching a Christian message to the aid desperately needed by Muslim survivors! *gasp*

Bush is like evil n stuff.

When's the last time you heard of, let's say, Russia being criticized for not giving enough aid fast enough?

When was the last time Russia's economy dwarfed everyone else in the world?

Let alone, when was the last time Russia tried to lay any (realistic) claim of moral leadership, or to forcibly promulgate moral values throughout the world?

Yes, Stan. That's the exact point you made in your last comment. Your righteous indignation at the liberal menace is again noted.

Just out of curiosity, did anyone else think of Putin staying at his dacha after the Kursk disaster when they read about Bush staying at his ranch?

Nope. But I did think of Hitler. I am not trying to make a point and/or start something, either, as you can obviously see :)

When was the last time Russia's economy dwarfed everyone else in the world?

So, stingy is a relative term. Glad we agree.

Let alone, when was the last time Russia tried to lay any (realistic) claim of moral leadership, or to forcibly promulgate moral values throughout the world?

I don't get it. I thought, cause of Bush evil (n stuff), we've lost that "moral leadership". So what gives?

This brouhaha started with an adversarial UN bureaucrat, helpfully magnified by unfriendly media to create this perception of American stinginess, exacerbated by unfriendly weblogs.

Demonstrably false. But it's a typical rightwing meme that can be easily applied whenever this appointed administration steps on its crank.

In reality, it was Norwegian (BTW Norway is one of the few nations supporting our Iraqi misadventure; but apparently, the taint of the UN is the equivalent of having the sign of the beast on one's forehead) UN relief official stated that western nation support was forthcoming fast enough and was 'stingy.'

Of course, this is recognized as a slur against the US of A by the 101st Fighting Keyboardists who recognize the US of A is truly the only western nation in the galaxy.

And, at the time the comment was made--this appointed administration had pledged a paltry $15M, or roughly Laura Bush's annual cigarette money.

Jade,

In reality, it was Norwegian (BTW Norway is one of the few nations supporting our Iraqi misadventure

Relevance?

And, at the time the comment was made--this appointed administration had pledged a paltry $15M, or roughly Laura Bush's annual cigarette money.

Or an equivalent of Hillary's abortion money.

did anyone else think of Putin staying at his dacha after the Kursk disaster when they read about Bush staying at his ranch?

They are similar cases in that both Putin and Bush elected not to interrupt their vacations in the slightest to respond to a disaster. And both took some heat for it and were forced to play catch up.

Or an equivalent of Hillary's abortion money.

Or Bush's abortion scandal coverup money or liquor money or cocaine money or drunk driving legal fees money, although I doubt 15 million would cover any of the above.

Still, good point Stan.

felixray,

I aim to please.

jade,

They are similar cases in that both Putin and Bush elected not to interrupt their vacations in the slightest to respond to a disaster

I understand the desire for the comparison... The analogy fails, however. The difference is:

Russian officials declined offers of assistance from other countries for another five days following the incident.

Bush is at fault for basically not sending a greeting card along with the aid.

It's something I feel affects all Americans, and it would very easily go away if someone would offer a rational explanation for why the Administration can't seem to get good press when they're clearly doing good work on this.

Don't have an answer for you Eddie but it isn't a new story about the MSM. Maybe it reflects that they (the media) are really lazy. It may also reflect that the current Admin seems to go out of their way *not* to throw them bones. Finally, it may simply reflect that today's media mostly come out of the same place. "Group Think" is rampant in those type of situations.

What I enjoy about your posting Eddie, even when I disagree, is your ability to lay out a logical construct. As you are aware by now, your posts on this particular subject is just down right disappointing. I just thought you should know.

Happy New Year!

Russian officials declined offers of assistance from other countries for another five days following the incident.

This isn't and wasn't unusual for Russian/Soviet Navy casualties.

Again, there are many differences between the KURSK and the recent Tsunami. Check the header of this thread to find out what the topic is.

Heh.

"Normally at the this time, we look forward to the events, hopes and fears of the New Year here in Britain. At this moment, however, our thoughts are focused on what has just happened in Asia," said Blair, who is still on holiday in Egypt, in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The article is dated December 30th.

Comments?

Jade,

Check the header of this thread to find out what the topic is.

I have, and the analogy is still faulty. Bush failed to make a statement quick enough, Putin failed to act quick enough.

Dammit, I am SO not voting for Tony Blair in the next election!!

Oh, wait -- I don't live in the UK, so I don't really care.

Might want to get that tu quoque sharpened, Stan. It's a little dull.

Hilzoy: Just out of curiosity, did anyone else think of Putin staying at his dacha after the Kursk disaster when they read about Bush staying at his ranch?

This is exactly what I thought of.

Stan LS: That's cause we always get criticized. That's what happens when you're at the forefront - everyone tries to nip at your ass. When's the last time you heard of, let's say, Russia being criticized for not giving enough aid fast enough?

Yes, being a superpower subjects us to heightened scrutiny. But are you saying that if Bush had not sat silent at his vacation home while thousands of bodies washed up on shores around the Indian Ocean that we would still be having this conversation?

Phil,

Oh my... The Putin comparison didn't draw any kind of a response from you, however. Telling.

But are you saying that if Bush had not sat silent at his vacation home while thousands of bodies washed up on shores around the Indian Ocean that we would still be having this conversation?

Maybe not this one specifically, but I am sure it would carry the same tone, and the criticisms would be aimed at the same target :)


Heh-2.

So, as we all know, Annan was on a ski vacation when the tsunami hit...

Q: Mr. Secretary, picking up on Richard's question, I think a lot of people are asking exactly why you waited three days on vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, before you decided to fly back to New York in the face of this extraordinary crisis. Could you give us a full explanation of your thinking on that? Secondly, what kind of signal does that 72-hour delay send to the nations to which you are now appealing for greater help?

SG: First of all, there was action. It wasn't inaction. We live in a world where you can operate from wherever you are. You know the world we live in now. You don't have to be physically here to be dealing with the leaders and the Governments I have been dealing with. You don't have to be physically here to be discussing with some of the agencies that we have done.

I came back here because we have reached a level that I wanted to have meetings with all the people that I have met with today. So, we have taken action. And I don't have to be sitting in my office to take action. I think the same goes for you in your profession.

source.

Comments?

Maybe not this one specifically, but I am sure it would carry the same tone, and the criticisms would be aimed at the same target

Not our fault C+ Augustus is such a target-rich environment.

Amazing, really, how that magical little "R" in the Party Affiliation column can transform even the most loutish pig's ear into a fine silk purse.

posts on this particular subject is just down right disappointing.

Maybe to you, and that's fine, but to me, seeing that the Administration has now promised 350 million, I feel that any miniscule part these posts played in keeping up the chorus of criticism was well worth it. Had there not been an outcry, we'd still be sending only 35 million.

Ahhh...democracy...I truly do love it.

e

target-rich environment.

A lot of 'R's?

Had there not been an outcry, we'd still be sending only 35 million.

Big assumption on your part.

Big assumption on your part.

Perhaps...but Occam's Razor argues otherwise IMHO.

I hope Edward won't spank too much for going off topic, but since this thread is winding down...

Who's drinking what tonight? :P

Perhaps...but Occam's Razor argues otherwise IMHO.

History, however, paints an entirely different picture as does the current Admins overall actions.

Some bright fellow talks about a "Grand Coalition" over at Tac, amazing what can be accomplished if one has vision.

I hope Edward won't spank too much for going off topic, but since this thread is winding down... Who's drinking what tonight? :P

Oh, that's what he says...but just wait until his third scotch...he'll be offering any willing stranger a paddle...

too far?

Wine, unfortunately, as I must end the evening with Champagne and mixing the grape with the grain always gives me a blistering hangover.


Hah! Glad to see you're already drinking! :P
Happy New Year!

**Yawn** I am on the undesirables list now, Stan? Did you internalize so much from Communism that you're keeping secret files now? If you want to say something about me, say it, smart guy, and don't hide behind your snide and not very clever insinuations. While I do not have the power to grant you a Posting Rules waiver, I promise not to run to the mods. So say what you want to say.

(I was about to repeat the rather obvious maxim that not commenting on everything doesn't mean you don't get to comment on anything, but since you actually DO comment on everything -- even when your comment is utterly without value -- maybe you don't actually believe this.)

Stan LS: So, stingy is a relative term. Glad we agree.

As am I, but I don't think it means what you think it means. Although, tbh, I'm not really sure what you think it means, so who knows?

I don't get it. I thought, cause of Bush evil (n stuff), we've lost that "moral leadership". So what gives?

If you're actually interested in a dialogue here, I'll be happy to explain my position in greater detail. If you're interested in bashing on a strawman of your own concoction, well, flail away; I have better things to do with my time.

I'd like to add, for the record, two things:

1) I'm deeply, sincerely grateful to my country -- and in particular the Bush Administration -- for what appears to be a goodly amount of aid to those affected by this calamity. Here's to hoping that the survivors will find sufficient comforts in the days and years ahead to help them continue with their lives.

2) I'm deeply, sincerely worried that it appears as if the governmental portion of the aid came because the Bush Administration was shamed into it. The US is fighting, and losing, a PR battle* of colossal proportions... and any opportunity fumbled or lost is one we can ill afford.

* The technical term is a "war of hearts and minds", but I sometimes prefer the more nakedly honest formulation.

Some bright fellow talks about a "Grand Coalition" over at Tac, amazing what can be accomplished if one has vision.

You talk as if "vision" is the sole necessary prerequisite...

I dreamt Hilzoy said:

Just out of curiosity, did anyone else think of Putin staying at his dacha after the Kursk disaster when they read about Kofi Annan staying at the ski resort. (Note: I am not trying to make a point and/or start something. This is, as a matter of autobiographical fact, what I thought of, and I am just wondering if anyone else did too.)

Then in my dream Jade replied:

They are similar cases in that both Putin and Annan elected not to interrupt their vacations in the slightest to respond to a disaster. And both took some heat for it and were forced to play catch up.

And then Gromit:

This is exactly what I thought of.


And then I woke up and read that Edward actually thinks the Bush-haters had anything to do with how much money we send.

If only dreams could come true and reality wasn't often so sad. Sigh.

smlook
You know, putting words into people's mouths might seem witty and all, but it really demonstrates the fact that you aren't listening to what anyone is saying. It also serves to confuse the discussion (not that there is much left after you and a few choice others (on both sides) wade in). Why are you so threatened by people taking an opposite point of view to yours?

I also think that the 'Edward actually thinks the Bush-haters had anything to do with how much money we send" line reveals a flaw worse than any other that I could think of, which is the absence of a sense of humor.

I believe it is interesting to discuss the process by which the administration went from 15 million to 350 million. I'm not really sure what you think, but given the facts on the ground, you seem to be limited to arguing that this was planned from the outset, assuming that you do not try and change the subject. My concern is the same as Anarch's, that it appears we were bullied into raising the amount. If you have some evidence for this, I'd love to see it.

I appreciate Charles (aka BirdDog) cites, and I'd agree that the notion of the US being stingy is unfair (again noting that the UN official was discussing all rich countries, not just the US, if you're Christian, a tithe is 1/10th, not a couple of thousandths) but I can't believe Bartlett wrote this.

In the area of international aid, the official data also exclude private transfers such as remittances by foreign workers in the U.S. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, remittances to Latin America alone amounted to $38 billion in 2003—more than all official assistance combined. And $31 billion of that came from the U.S. In some countries, foreign remittances came to more than 10 percent of GDP, thus having a significant impact on economic growth and poverty alleviation.

I'm assuming that these people are working to earn their money. At least Drezner doesn't peddle this line. And Drezner agrees with Edward. He says:
At a gut level, however, $35 million sounds puny compared to the devastation in the region. Combine this with reporters eager to feed the "Bush administration does not play well with others in world politics" meme and you've got a lovely political football. Of course, the initial comment by the United Nations official also fed right into the conservative meme about the UN being reflexively anti-American

Drezner goes on to update that the comment by the UN official should not be considered as anti-American.

So I have to ask. Do y'all (and you know who you are) think that 15 then 35 million was stingy, so therefore 350 million was justified? Or do you think that the US is making a big mistake and that we should let other countries handle this as we have our own problems to deal with? Or is there some other reason for attacking people who were dissatisfied with that figure?

I'm not sure, so I have to ask this out loud, embarrassingly enough: Does everyone posting here understand that neither Vladimir Putin, nor Kofi Annan, nor Tony Blair, nor Gerhard Schroeder, is President of the United States of America? And, thus, that confining one's immediate criticisms to the actions of the person who is President of the United States of America stems from the fact that we all live here, and our concerned about how our leader projects our image to the world? I don't care about how Tony Blair's actions might affect the image of the UK to the world, because I don't live there. I live in the U.S., and want the world to have a positive image of the U.S. I will let the UKoGBaNIians(1) care about what Tony Blair does.

And "Tony Blair did it too!" is not an argument. (Neither is "Vladimir Putin did it too!") It's a distraction. It says nothing about whether how George W. Bush has acted since Sunday is right, wrong, good, bad, or anything. It's the textbook example of tu quoque.

It strikes me as funny that so many people spent 1992-2000 constantly criticizing Clinton for the things he did because they made him appear "un-Presidential" and "tarnished the office." I'm not claiming that Bush's actions rise to the level of "tarnishing the office," but noting that, when the other party's guy is in office, suddenly the PR value of the Presidency, and how that person projects the U.S.'s image to the world, is important. But when it's your guy, and someone suggests that PR matters, the wagons get circled. This stuff either matters or it doesn't.

(1) Short for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," a USENET convention adopted so as not to offend those who might be Irish, Welsh, or Scottish by calling them "British." Or vice-versa.

So I have to ask. Do y'all (and you know who you are) think that 15 then 35 million was stingy, so therefore 350 million was justified? Or do you think that the US is making a big mistake and that we should let other countries handle this as we have our own problems to deal with?

Well I was more impressed that the US put together a coalition and moved two task forces to begin to address the problem. I know that doesn't answer your question but if you have some problem with the actions the
current Admin is taking, then spell them out. I prefer substance over style which is what the Admin has delivered on.

I did enjoy the false premise you raised, that America ever planned to do nothing, the grasping at straws moment highly amusing.

lj,

I am listening. But, what they are saying is just so absurd.

"Why are you so threatened by people taking an opposite point of view to yours?"

I guess it's due to my huge inferiority complex because my side lost the election. Oh no. I guess that's not really the reason, now is it? I'm not threatened. It's just that history and facts prove that in time of world crisis the U.S. is pretty much the go to country. That is the evidence that people like you are trying to deny. Why people want to deny this just so they can score political points on this administration while people are dieing is beyond my understanding.

You just don't get that Edward and others here like you are creating an imaginary problem and then trying to explain how it got this way.

BTW, guess what country is supplying helicopters that is saving lives as we speak?

Guess what country supplied an estimated 30 to 40% of all distater related aid last year under this "apppointed administration"?

Many on the left are sort of ignoring that little fact so they can try to make Bush look bad.

History is on my side LJ... in the end the U.S. will do far more in the effort as a whole than probably most countries combined.

Oh and guess what country supplies almost all the aid to Dafur? Just one guess... think really hard. Yes, once again... it was this "appointed administration". Those evil Bushies... how dare they be so generous.

Timmy the Wonder Dog: I know that doesn't answer your question but if you have some problem with the actions the current Admin is taking, then spell them out.

You are changing the subject to a friendlier (and I think largely uncontroversial) topic. The problem isn't with the actions the admin is taking. It is with the admin's apparent initial insensitivity to a colossal disaster and the effect this is having on global anti-Americanism. Remember when Giuliani refused Prince Al-Walid bin Talal's money because along with it came a critique of U.S. policy in the middle east? Did the appearance of sensitivity to human tragedy matter then, but not now? Was Rudy wrong to place a value on style then? (And this is not to compare the degree of slight nor of disaster, mind you, only to highlight the importance of rhetoric in these sorts of situations.)

I prefer substance over style which is what the Admin has delivered on.

How many times do I have to point out that this is a false choice? Will you, or anyone else taking this position, please explain why I should think otherwise?

Substance will save lives of people who are currently dieing. No matter what "style" it will be criticized as bad and a distraction from getting the job done.

Does anyone seriously beleive that if Bush had come out and said the U.S. is giving a billion dollars for relief we wouldn't still have the Iraq comparisons?

Does anyone really believe that Bush could have done anything that wouldn't be criticized? No matter what he would have said or done it would be criticized by people who hate him.

If the U.S. is going to be looked to as the world leader on every thing, then as a good parent sometimes you have to let your child solve their problems the best they can and then either let them stand or fall on their own or provide assistance.

The challenge with this disaster is not going to be financial relief... the biggest difficulty by far will be the logistic problems. Getting aid to those who need it most. Anyone disagree with that?

Not that I think the US should be the world's parent, but that is the role the world and sometimes ourselves forces us into.

In the instance of Iraq we could have gone in with 500,000 troops and done everything for them. But, then as soon as we left they might very well fall flat on their face. Whether planned or not Iraqi citizens are now fighting for their freedom. Something they chose not to do under Hussein. In the end this may make them a more confident and secure country or it may not. We don't know yet.

If the US always solves every major problem in the world, how will other countries ever fully develop into equal partners?

I am making no claim that this was what this or any other U.S. administration has had in mind. It's just an analysis of developing a more equal relationship with other countries.

Guess what country supplied an estimated 30 to 40% of all distater related aid last year under this "apppointed administration"?

Many on the left are sort of ignoring that little fact so they can try to make Bush look bad.

History is on my side LJ... in the end the U.S. will do far more in the effort as a whole than probably most countries combined.

Oh and guess what country supplies almost all the aid to Dafur? Just one guess... think really hard. Yes, once again... it was this "appointed administration". Those evil Bushies... how dare they be so generous.

Can I have some sources? It seems highly unlikely to me to be honest.

Phil,

**Yawn** I am on the undesirables list now, Stan? Did you internalize so much from Communism that you're keeping secret files now?

Eh? That's what you are resorting to now? I think I am missing something. What connection to communism do I have? Secret files? Are you off your meds?

I promise not to run to the mods. So say what you want to say.

I have never accused anyone of running to the mods.. Heh. You must be the first person to accuse me of holding anything back.

And, thus, that confining one's immediate criticisms to the actions of the person who is President of the United States of America stems from the fact that we all live here,

Or stems from the fact that those who hate Bush are grasping at straws. What's the reaction of UK bloggers/UK media to Blair's vacation during this time? What's the reaction of media/bloggers to Annan's vacation? Is it comparable to your (and other lefties') reacton to Bush's vacation? And if not, why not?

Again, I'll note that the Putin comparison (which would put Bush in a bad lighit) drew no reaction from you, it's only when I mentioned Blair that you came alive.

Anarch,

My point is that on one hand those who oppose Bush claim that because of him US lost the "moral leadership", yet when its convenient to stay otherwise, claim that we are still leading. So did we loose it or not?

Is it comparable to your (and other lefties') reacton to Bush's vacation? And if not, why not?

***dingdingdingdingding!**** There it is! That's the one I've been waiting for!! The one that shows me that the person with whom I'm engaging is so bloody shortsighted that they think they can divine my political views simply because I've dared to disagree with them about something.

Who did I vote for in November, Stan? Come on, Kreskin, give me a name.

What do you know of my politics that you feel comfortable calling me a "lefty?" Come on, out with it. Impress me. Restore my faith in humanity, Stan. Show everyone what assuming does.

Again, I'll note that the Putin comparison (which would put Bush in a bad lighit) drew no reaction from you, it's only when I mentioned Blair that you came alive.

****yawn**** Get a new shtick, kid. This one is dumb. It's barely a step above Timmy's "Why aren't you holding protests against North Korea?"

I didn't "come alive," I pointed out the absurdity of caring about what Tony Blair has or hasn't done in reaction to this particular disaster when I don't live in his bloody country. I care what my country's leaders have done. And, contra Timmy, whose faith in people extend to believing they can do one and only one thing, I believe in both form and substance, and wonder why the government feels that, when they're engaging in substance, they don't have to engage in form. Doing the latter can only help people get behind the former.

Grommit, if only George would learn to bite his lip everything would be copacetic, George got the ball rolling which is main responsibility.

Phil, did I miss all the comments on substance by you and others? Something like this, Bush is doing a good (great) job but he needs to work on the touchy feely stuff, maybe you could point it out.

US lost the "moral leadership"

I'm curious, can someone explain exactly what it means for a nation or leader to "lose his/her/its moral leadership (or authority)?" AFAICT it seems to be shorthand for "You did immoral action X, therefore you have no right to be preaching about Y." Is that pretty much it? Do you have to be perfect to have "moral authority?"

Thanks for pointing to tu quoque, Phil. That provides a nice, neat label for one of my biggest pet peeves about certain Usual Suspects here and at Tacitus--the propensity for answering any criticism of Bush or Republicans with "Look, over there, Clinton!" or some obvious variation thereof.

Doing so should instantly disqualify one from being taken in any way seriously.

Geez, I haven't seen anyone use the Clinton metric in such a long time. I guess bringing it up when it hasn't been mentioned disqualifies someone. As for current world leaders as a measure of their cheerleading qualities, it has some basis in qualifying a dog and pony "disaster", even if you don't have a chance to vote for that particular world leader.

Timmy the Wonder Dog: Grommit, if only George would learn to bite his lip everything would be copacetic, George got the ball rolling which is main responsibility.

You are still evading the question. Why are style and substance mutually exclusive in this instance? How would a timely statement of concern and commitment to assist have impeded getting the ball rolling on actually providing the assistance?

Did I say it would impede.

What I pointed out was that the actions were more important than the words in this instance. As I previously mentioned, if you had prefaced George is doing a good job but I wish he would have made a statement stating our resolve and good wishes. I may have disagreed but I would have been silent on the overall matter. Of course, that wasn't the thread now was it, hence by comments.

Phil,

****yawn**** Get a new shtick, kid. This one is dumb. It's barely a step above Timmy's "Why aren't you holding protests against North Korea?"

Huh? I am not the one who introduced other leaders into this thread - it was Hilzoy and his Putin comparison (which is, obviously, not a compliment to Bush). His post, however, did not bring about a rebuke from you. It was my post regarding Blair's vacation that did. Hmmm.


Phil,

The one that shows me that the person with whom I'm engaging is so bloody shortsighted that they think they can divine my political views simply because I've dared to disagree with them about something.

This one's too rich! This is coming from a guy who said:

**Yawn** I am on the undesirables list now, Stan? Did you internalize so much from Communism that you're keeping secret files now?

What's my connection to Communism, again?

Geez, I haven't seen anyone use the Clinton metric in such a long time. I guess bringing it up when it hasn't been mentioned disqualifies someone.

Timmy, I occasionally have cause to question your honesty, but try not to violate the posting rules while doing so. But this is such blatantly dishonest BS that I'm going to say it outright: you're a liar, and you're lying. I direct you upthread to Stan LS:

Nice cheap shot regarding "Bush inaugural festivities". Might want to mention that Democrats spent $33 million (which is 43.164 million in today's dollars according to this) on Clinton's inauguration party while somewhere in the world children starved.

Or, for another of Stan's Greatest hits, also upthread:

Who was asleep at the wheel on February 26, 1993?

Or, if you prefer someone a little closer to home, you--in the the Tac thread cited above. I didn't have to look far:

So the Press Conference where Clinton apologized for Rwanda is your preference because of the PR factor?

And these are just straight text searches, or off the top of my head. Care to hazard a guess how many other examples will pop up if we don't restrict this to Clinton, and instead track down every example of your (and others') reliance on tu quoque as a substitute for argument?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Huh? I am not the one who introduced other leaders into this thread - it was Hilzoy and his Putin comparison (which is, obviously, not a compliment to Bush).

Not that it's particularly germane to the discussion, but I'm fairly certain that hilzoy is an innie, not an outie.

But hey, she's welcome to prove me wrong. :D

Catsy,

Nice cheap shot regarding "Bush inaugural festivities". Might want to mention that Democrats spent $33 million (which is 43.164 million in today's dollars according to this) on Clinton's inauguration party while somewhere in the world children starved.

That wasn't a shot at Clinton. I was just making a point that Bush's inauguration party is comparable in cost to those a democratic president (in response to: That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities.) . Was my point not valid?

Who was asleep at the wheel on February 26, 1993?

Well, some people make it out to be like the only times we were attacked on our soil was during Bush. That is not the case as I've shown. So, again, not a shot at Clinton per se.

Hilzoy,

Not that it's particularly germane to the discussion, but I'm fairly certain that hilzoy is an innie, not an outie.

Doh! My apologies.

Thank you for demonstrating my point by explaining that both of your examples amounted to responding to your opponent's argument with "Hey, Clinton too!"

Timmy the Wonder Dog: Did I say it would impede.

What I pointed out was that the actions were more important than the words in this instance.

If the two are not mutually exclusive, then what is the point of weighing their relative importance in this context? If you are not implying that critics want nice words rather than material aid, while the no-nonsense administration has chosen action over talk, then what on earth are you saying with all this substance vs. style talk?

As I previously mentioned, if you had prefaced George is doing a good job but I wish he would have made a statement stating our resolve and good wishes. I may have disagreed but I would have been silent on the overall matter. Of course, that wasn't the thread now was it, hence by comments.

I'm sure a lot of our conversations would go more smoothly if I would preface them by telling you what a great job I think Bush is doing. Anyway, excepting the pro-administration puffery, this is what this thread has been about (and remember, Edward wrote the post before the aid package was decupled). The thread is and has always been about the bungled PR component of the U.S. response.

Catsy becoming unhinged so early in the New Year but the "Clinton Metric" would pertain to the management of the Clinton Admin, as compared to the Bush Admin. The tit for tat is amusing but not relevant, unless of course you are of the opinion that Clinton was deeply involved with the management of his inauguration, which still isn't relevant as George isn't involved in his. Next.

Stan LS: Huh? I am not the one who introduced other leaders into this thread - it was Hilzoy and his Putin comparison (which is, obviously, not a compliment to Bush). His post, however, did not bring about a rebuke from you. It was my post regarding Blair's vacation that did. Hmmm.

Hilzoy brought up Putin as an aside. She explicitly said she wasn't trying to build an argument with it, but mentioned it as a point of trivia.

Did that make sense to anyone, or was Timmy just stringing together one-liners again in the hopes someone will mistake it for a point?

I know that doesn't answer your question but if you have some problem with the actions the
current Admin is taking, then spell them out. I prefer substance over style which is what the Admin has delivered on.

Well, to spell it out, as I have noted previously, I wish (as Edward does) that the US had gotten in front of this. This latimes article discusses the worries of experts, though it also notes that some didn't think it was a big deal. However, it's pretty clear that after it happened, there were a lot of experts who realized how bad it was going to be.

All I would like from Timmy is an explanation of why the 15 to 35 to 350 million is evidence of the admin reacting appropriately. I've already noted that there are a number of points that limited the US reaction, so when you say
I did enjoy the false premise you raised, that America ever planned to do nothing, the grasping at straws moment highly amusing.
you really owe me an apology. Not that I'm expecting one, though.

smlook makes an attempt at providing a reason, which is that the admin is attempting to have other nations stand on their own two feet as it were. I would suggest that a multi-nation catastrophe may not be the best time to be starting this.

Apparently, it must have struke a nerve. But try again, I'm sure relevancy will be touched upon at sometime. Good Luck.

All I would like from Timmy is an explanation of why the 15 to 35 to 350 million is evidence of the admin reacting appropriately

Since I've never made such a comment, none will be forth coming. Now, if you have issues with respect to the Coalition Bush put together or the movement of the two USN task forces into the region, I'm more than happy to explain why the actions are appropriate. It should be self evident but I'm more than happy to explain it to you.

BTW, I've never mentioned money, money is such a vulgar subject.

The thread is and has always been about the bungled PR component of the U.S. response.

My point exactly, it shouldn't have been. The important parts of the equation had many important drivers, PR wasn't one of them.

Hilzoy brought up Putin as an aside. She explicitly said she wasn't trying to build an argument with it, but mentioned it as a point of trivia.

Note that I merely posted excerpts and links in my posts December 31, 2004 05:03 PM and December 31, 2004 05:25 PM and requested comments without making my own.

Dutch,

The U.N requested 250 million. The U.S. has provided 194 million for 2004. Go to US aid to look it up.

That's over 77% of the aid.

LJ says:

"which is that the admin is attempting to have other nations stand on their own two feet as it were"

If you actually read my post you would have seen this:

"I am making no claim that this was what this or any other U.S. administration has had in mind. It's just an analysis of developing a more equal relationship with other countries."


Timmy
Apparently, it must have struke a nerve. But try again, I'm sure relevancy will be touched upon at sometime. Good Luck.

No, no nerve struked, as it were, just trying to encourage a little more of a thoughtful approach to discussion, which entails commentors not making up things and putting ideas (or worse, words) into other people's comments. (which is why "mindreading" is a comment sin. I suppose) The apology is no big deal to me, but since it seems to be something very difficult for you to muster and, as I noted, we don't seem to have the same definition of interesting, I will leave the field to you. This means I have to leave smlook's comment unanswered, other than to apologize for thinking you were attempting to answer my query rather than merely stating your own view.

Well I wasn't answering your comment (apparently, you missed Catsy's side track and my response, no matter).

Simply put, if you want to discuss important things, I more than happy to engage. I suspect the final amount of money will end up being alot more than $350 million, so discussing dollar amounts at this time and place, really isn't relevant. Hence, I will not engage in that discussion and don't intend to in the future.

Finally, a year from now, what Bush did or didn't do on the public stage won't matter, but if he keeps his word, works with India, Japan and Australia and solves the problems, well priceless.

So LJ any time you want to have a serious conversation about serious issues, I will be happy to engage. And if snarky retorts is your preferred venue, from time to time I will do that to, just ask Catsy, but only in the framework of the "Posting Rules".

Timmy, Smlook: I confess in all the back-and-forth I've gotten slightly confused as to the actual argument that you are making. Are you saying a) That the PR component of any American response is irrelevant to an assessment of that response, b) That the PR efforts of the Bush Administration weren't necessarily as good as they could have been, but that the Bush administration would have been criticised no matter how perfect its PR efforts were, c) That the Bush Administration's PR efforts are up to par in this case?

My point is that on one hand those who oppose Bush claim that because of him US lost the "moral leadership", yet when its convenient to stay otherwise, claim that we are still leading. So did we loose it or not?

I'm in a hurry, so I'll be brief:

a) Why aren't you actually talking to me here? It feels like you're addressing a Borgish collective ("Those who oppose Bush claim..." blah-di-blah, as if I magically speak for an entire group) rather than an individual.

b) "Moral leadership", like so much in life, is not well-modelled by two-valued (or even Boolean-valued) logic. Which you'd know if you ever bothered to address me as an individual.

Well Mark two points, first, in the situation at hand, PR was not a key driver. That is, it wasn't relevant.

Second and totally unrelated, every disaster has its own life cycle, the PR critics have the luxury of looking back and commenting. I'm more interested in how it plays out in the countries affected than at the NYTs or in the European press.

'm more interested in how it plays out in the countries affected

Bingo!

Timmy the Wonder Dog: Well Mark two points, first, in the situation at hand, PR was not a key driver. That is, it wasn't relevant.

Not the key driver in what? In the actual amount or quality of disaster relief, perhaps, though this point is arguable given that relief packages from several nations increased by orders of magnitude during the firestorm of criticism (post hoc ergo propter hoc, I realize). But is PR not a key driver in the level of anti-Americanism around the world?

Second and totally unrelated, every disaster has its own life cycle, the PR critics have the luxury of looking back and commenting. I'm more interested in how it plays out in the countries affected than at the NYTs or in the European press.

As far as PR is concerned I'm most concerned with how it plays out in the realm of national security. This means those countries that might spawn terrorists, and those whose cooperation we need to fight terrorism. We need to work really hard to avoid reinforcing the view that we are spoiled and uncaring, particularly when doing so costs us next to nothing. That our president doesn't seem to consistently see the connections here I find unsettling.

And this is not a case of hindsight being 20/20. This was foreseeable, and our executive and all the smart people with whom he has surrounded himself seem to have been caught with their pants down.

The important parts of the equation had many important drivers, PR wasn't one of them.

That's silly. PR is carefully interwoven into everything the government does, from the background and lighting at a Press Conference to the talking points for each and every announcment. Nothing is left to chance. To say PR isn't important is more or less to agree that here they screwed it up.

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