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Sarah Palin and the Bush Doctrine
Article added on September 13, 2008

The Bush Doctrine

What the heck is the “Bush Doctrine”? It is true that the governor of Alaska has no foreign and defense policy experience. But Sarah Palin was right to ask ABC's Charles Gibson what he meant. There was no need for condescending Charlie to do as if poor Palin could not grasp the obvious answer. He should have been more specific from the start, and when he became more specific, it became clear that he had a limited vision of the Bush Doctrine.

Charles Gibson asked: “
Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?” Sarah Palin: In what respect, Charlie?” Gibson: The Bush - well, what do you - what do you interpret it to be?” Palin: His world view?” Gibson: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated in September 2002, before the Iraq war.” Palin: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.” Charlie was unsatisfied and defined it himself: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?” Palin: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

Dear Charlie, if that was all there is
to the so-called Bush Doctrine, the situation today would not be so bad as it is. The Bush Doctrine also seems to include the right to abduct people in foreign countries and torture them. Torture gets redefined. Waterboarding is no longer torture. Some freaks might argue that American torture is different from Saddam Hussein's torture. But since when does Saddam set the standard for the civilized world? Under the Bush Doctrine, to ignore human rights, to ignore national and international law becomes a common practice. As an occupying power, the United States had to guarantee law and order in the occupied territory. Instead, the United States publicly announced that it was not up to the U.S. military to stop the widespread looting in Iraq. To ignore advice and stick to a failed strategy is another trait of the Bush Doctrine. Already in 2004 - check my articles of May and November 2004 - it was clear that additional troops were needed in Iraq. Some 100,000 people have been killed and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted because dilettantes were and are running the White House and the Pentagon. The Bush Doctrine also includes that states that harbor terrorists should be treated no differently than terrorists themselves. The United States act unilaterally if needed. NATO allies are not consulted. And the list goes on and on In short, Charles Gibson has a limited idea of what the Bush Doctrine is. There are many elements to it. To reduce it to preemptive strikes is reductive. There is no single paper defining the Bush Doctrine. It may not be clear to President Bush aka the Torturer himself what it includes. It surely comprises incompetence and the absence of alternative plans. [added on September 13, 2008 at 15:55 Riga time: in fairness to George W. Bush, let's add that the Bush doctrine also includes the expansion of freedom around the world].

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Regarding earmarks and the Bridge To Nowhere, Sarah Palin had to admit that she first had supported the project before sinking it, when it had already drowned. Once in office, Governor Sarah Palin understood the problem and began scaling them down. Her predecessor, Frank Murkowski had last submitted 63 earmark requests for a total of $350 million. In her first year, she reduced them to 52 totaling $256 million and, for 2008, she asked for 31 earmarks valued at $197 million. She moves in the right direction. Her meeting with John McCain in early 2008 has probably convinced her further that this is the right path to go. In the ABC interview she clearly supported McCain's plan to eliminate pork. As a mayor of a small town, she had been an avid pork seeker, totaling $27 million worth of earmarks in her career. As a mayor, you want of course free money to improve the infrastructure in your city. But she seems to have learned the lesson that this is the wrong way to improve your city.

As for the overall picture, as positive as this fight against earmarks and, therefore, corruption is, we are talking about pork bills of about $35 billion to $65 billion in recent years in the United States. A large part of these earmarks are tied to foreign aid to strategic allies or friends, including Israel and Egypt. The pork in 2008 that can be eliminated is estimated at some $18 billion. The U.S. Federal Budget for the fiscal year 2007 foresaw spending of $2,730 billion and a deficit of $162 billion in 2007; the budget deficit for 2008 is estimated to increase to $410 billion. In short, both the McCain and the Obama camp have not come up yet with a convincing plan of how to balance the budget - and all of that before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ended up under state control, before the U.S. has officially gone into a recession (which seems likely now) and before the credit crunch and mortgage meltdown has yet spilled over into the looming credit card crisis (U.S. citizens are highly indebted).

The Chosen, Barack Obama, looked for the first time likeable and sincere in the two interviews he gave recently to O'Reilly on Fox and to Letterman on his show. Obama's problem seems to be that he always wants to look presidential, lecturing people in his speeches. Once he renounces on his Holy Obamaness, he is a guy one can have a discussion with.

However, the talk with Letterman also revealed once again why you cannot vote for Obama: he stressed that his government would create jobs. He still has no clue about what the government does and what the economy is.

Stick with John McCain and free trade. With the Democrats, you might end up with another New Deal. David M. Kennedy admitted that the New Deal did not end the depression, World War II did. In the 1930s, the United States and Europe opted for protectionism, with disastrous results for the world economy. In the electoral campaign, Obama repeatedly pandered to protectionist industrial worker, subsidy seeking farmers and NAFTA critics. That is no change we can believe in.

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 ©  Louis Gerber All rights reserved.