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June 15, 2005



You and I agree on little, but I am glad to see that you are a man of principle.


If the words of the Second Inaugural Address are to be taken seriously

Umm, you might not want to give away the ballgame right off the bat like that.

Good sentiment, so congrats for that. Short on specifics, though; where are your previously called for specific, constructive, recommendations, and your specific criticisms of those at fault (whomever they might be)?

But not to neglect the cookie: good sentiment. Biscuit.


I think Kristof's challenge is exactly right, and that an invitation to a meeting at the White House is called for.

Nice post Charles.

Have to second CharleyCarp. Bush needs to invite Mukhtaran to the White House. He needs to insist that she come very publically.

"because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth."

And that would be? Vishnu?

And that would be? Vishnu?

no, gravity - and the weak nuclear force.

Good post, Charles. And I second CharleyCarp.

Well said.

Decent post, proving that Charles would be a step up from the current occupant of the White House (admittedly not the highest threshold).

Regarding how "good" Charles' post is, it begs the question: Then what? No matter the readability and deft turns of phrase, his post is still a rant. A well-written rant, but still a rant it is. The venting may make him feel better, as well as the readers who agree with him, but where does it go after that? Nowhere. If Charles truly wants change, then I expect him to tell me how. Where is the constructive strategy, what are the big ideas, what are the tactics, what are the priorities, etc. You can't just say "we have no power so we're not obligated to provide solutions." Well, how are you going to get your power back without them? "No" and "anti" aren't good enough.

Also: ...no real answers. At least think about it when you're penning future posts.

Oh, sorry, I wasn't clear. Every word above in this comment was written by Charles Bird, save for the first six words, and save for my changing "her" to "him" and "hilzoy" to "Charles," either at June 9, 2005 03:07 PM or at June 10, 2005 11:41 AM here. Perhaps Charles would like to discuss this amongst himself, and work out whether he'd like to praise or criticism himself, or agree or disagree, or clarify what's a good post and what's a rant. Perhaps not. I really have no idea.

"we can still hold their feet to the fire"

Not precisely the best turn of phrase to use, is it? Yes, the US military is, under the Bush administration, committing torture: but that's hardly the point you would wish to remind people of when trying to claim lofty principles for the Bush administration.

If the words of the Second Inaugural Address are to be taken seriously--

Did anyone take them seriously? Bush's previous record as President proved that certainly he didn't.

Gary: also well said.

What Charles said. Heck, what Bush said.

If we could program Deep Thought with the contents of Bush's speeches & then make it President, it would probably be a distinct improvement over the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Karimov and Musharraf chose wisely.

*pictures Karimov and Musharraf choosing ... unwisely, turning to dust and blowing away in the wind.*

I am pleased to learn that we all agree that the Two Stooges are bad and badder, but then, I never believed that responsible people felt otherwise.

We can still be engaged, we can still be allies and we can still hold their feet to the fire.

Let's not confuse specificity with constructiveness, Gary.

"Let's not confuse specificity with constructiveness, Gary."

Sure, Sebastian, I'll be sure to take care of that as soon as I change my name to "Jesurgislac." :-) (Don't worry about it; any of us can misattribute a comment.)

If it had been me who had written that comment, though, you might have seen Politics And The English Language brought up again.

I'm not sure what you're getting at, Gary, but I don't think it's applicable here. Seems to me that Charles is quoting his concluding sentence as being an exemplar of constructive advice that isn't specific, using your name only to draw attention to this fact. I could well be wrong, I suppose, but I don't see any way to interpret his post in such a way to make your response relevant; YMMV.

Whether the advice is, in fact, constructive -- especially constructive in contradistinction to hilzoy's post -- is not a question I feel bilious enough to tackle.

I've got a related question -- if we take it as given that at times it's expedient to ally with countries and individuals who have less than adequate respect for human rights in service of a larger, longer-term goal, should our leaders make a point of acknowledging and explaining that, rather than engaging in the sort of sweeping freedom-for-everyone rhetoric that we see in the 2nd Inaugural? Are the American people not mature enough to handle the concept of tradeoffs and "enemy of my enemy is my friend" and so forth? Wouldn't it be better for our image abroad to acknowledge that in some cases we're not able to "stand with those who stand for liberty", rather than be seen as hypocrites? Or does our alliance with such countries depend on our not mentioning their unsavory nature in public?

"We can still be engaged, we can still be allies and we can still hold their feet to the fire."

Posted by Charles B

I agree that we can. I don't believe that we will, at least in this administration.

"Seems to me that Charles is quoting his concluding sentence as being an exemplar of constructive advice that isn't specific, using your name only to draw attention to this fact."

Could be. I assumed he was responding to Jesurgislac's more recent use of the phrase at 03:46 PM, but I could have been all wrong (in which case I apologize to him and all for a confusing and misfied response). If Charles were otherwise arguing with something he said, I don't know why my name would enter into it.

gary farber: "a confusing and misfied response"

misfied? (can't even figure out what word this was intended to be.)


Hey, I prefer to get paid to porf-read. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. If you don't like it, though, I'll tell you another.

GF: Thanks. Thought perhaps "mistified." (actually just re-snarking re: neocons a few threads back). I like your style & attention to detale.

Lincoln gave a Second Inaugural Address. Bush gave a second inaugural address. And it had lots of pretty words in it, too, just like this post.

If you let the Department of State run foreign policy you might get there, Charles. If the DOD continues to do it, it won't happen.

The failure is in the leadership up top. This WaPo article laid it out rather concisely:

State and Defense department spokesmen, asked to comment about the debate, said that Washington has one policy and that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld -- at the ministerial meeting -- verbally endorsed previous statements about the incident by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Bush.

Other officials said the disagreements between Defense and State officials reflect a continuing rift in the administration over how to handle a breach of human rights that has come under sharp criticism by the State Department, the European Union and some U.S. lawmakers.

Rice has said publicly that international involvement in an inquiry into the killings in Andijan is essential, and she has declined an Uzbek invitation for Washington to send observers to a commission of inquiry controlled by the parliament. Three U.S. officials said Uzbek President Islam Karimov has retaliated against her criticism by recently curtailing certain U.S. military flights into the air base at Karshi-Khanabad, in the country's southeast. The U.S. military considers the base a vital logistics hub in its anti-terrorism efforts.

Four sources familiar with a private discussion among the ministers on Thursday said that the Defense Department's stance on the Brussels communique's language placed it in roughly the same camp as the Russians -- but for different reasons. The Russian position, as spelled out by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in statements before and after the ministerial meeting, is that the incident, although alarming, was "inspired" by Afghanistan.

As it was when Colin Powell was Secretary of State, Rumsfeld continues to be the one determining foreign policy. If the president wanted to change the position he could. His failure to do so shows to me that he just wants to keep his hands free of it and probably doesn't care.

Some leadership there.

Yea, I don't see how anyone can read the above quoted WaPo article and not come away with the clear impression that the administration is interested only in press opportunities and symbolic holding of the feet to the fire.

Seems a lot more hypocritical than whatever it is that C. Bird was upset about regarding AI, btw.

Just sayin'.

Alternatively, the view urging caution from someone presently in Uzbekistan.

Charles- Wow it sounds like you are at last begining to see the George W. Bush has a serious problem telling the truth. Congratulations on your progress.

Thanks for that link, Gary. It pretty much sums up my opinion on this issue - and much more eloquently than I could have.

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