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Author Topic: The "If you're not with us..." thing
WarrsawPact
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This deals with an older subject (November 2001) that has been dug up so often that I think it's time I addressed it.

A lot of people have consistently put Bush to the millstone for his statement:
quote:
"A coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy, a coalition partner must perform. That means different things for different nations. Some nations don't want to contribute troops and we understand that. Other nations can contribute intelligence-sharing. ... But all nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something."
"Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."

What I haven't expressed my discontent with is this: Why is what Bush said a bad thing?

Is it not true, when you're talking about a spreading tactic or ideology, that indifference and unwillingness to act on principle makes you an abetter of the crime?

Is it necessarily a bad thing to point out that in a conflict of ideas, not being a part of the solution means you're part of the problem?

Bush didn't require everyone to send or pay for an Abrams tank in order to be on the "good guys" side. But what Bush did do is set the bar so that people who wanted to call themselves our allies or friends would have to do more than play lip service. I have the same policy with people who try to call themselves my "friends": I'm careful about who I call my friend and I take people to task who claim to be my friend but do not show it in their actions. If I'm in a sore spot and I really need support, nobody who wants henceforth to be called my friend is going to sit on the fence.

Anyways, I arrived at Ornery after Bush made this address in the news conference with Jacques Chirac. Since I've arrived, I've seen this brought up a half-million times as a way to jab at Bush's attitudes about multilateralism and realism/idealism. I think it's about time we brought this up for all the people who've showed up in the last (almost) three years.

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Snowden
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It's the perspective that the entire world is in terms of us, not just our world, but their world too is oriented around us and on our terms. Even if you consider those terms to be reasonable, it's a little audacious to unilaterally set them and then expect the world to be judged by them, unless you can claim some supremely wise perspective that precludes how every other person in the world may see the terrorist situation.

If someone were to say that to me, I'd smile say, "Good for you," then go about my business.

[ August 30, 2004, 03:44 AM: Message edited by: Snowden ]

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WarrsawPact
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But he was talking about coalition partners, back in 2001.

The truth is Bush made it clear what he was saying in context when he led into the last sentence with:
quote:
Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity.
We were saying, if you don't see this terror as a threat we need to stamp out together, we don't see our relationship the same way. You don't belong in anything called a "coalition" with us and we're going to treat you as such.

[ August 30, 2004, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
If someone were to say that to me, I'd smile say, "Good for you," then go about my business.
Good for you, Snowden. Unfortunately, others don't go about their own business, but have chosen to bitch and whine and speculate about what Bush said 3 years ago, as if Bush applied it to every activity that the US was involved in. That's just BS.

What it meant then, is that if your country harbors our enemies, then you are our enemy. This applied to the Taliban. Back then, Moore and other twerps made shrill noises about our aggression of invading Afghanistan. Others cried about how we didn't have proof that OBL was responsible. Today, those protests look pretty stupid, don't they?

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tshaw
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I know I'm taking a big chance here. I'm sure people will jump at the chance to call me naive, but here I go.
I never liked Bush. I hated his smirk. I hated the way he walked and talked and stood. I thought he was a light-weight. And maybe he was, before 9-11. But I saw a change in him, and in fairness to him it may have just been a change in my perception of him, after 9-11. When he stood at ground zero with his arm around the fireman I said to myself, "This is a different president than we had before."
I believe that before 9-11 Bush and Clinton and the rest of the world really wanted to believe that the great conflicts were over. The Soviets had been defeated, Germany was reunited, Eastern Europe was embracing freedom, the Chinese were starting to shed their 50 years of Mao style communism, although very slowly. We all wanted to convince ourselves that the Bin Ladens of the world were minor threats that would be handled far from our shores.
In America, the biggest problem seemed to be the Dems unhappiness over the 2000 election, and the fact that we had burst the internet bubble and were heading into a recession.
Then came Sept. 11th, and we were faced with the fact that we weren't secure, that there were people in the world who could and would hurt us. (Isn't is sad that things like the Rwanda massacre barely infringed on our thinking, or at least, mine.)
The thing I have seen since 9-11 is that the little cocky guy from Texas suddenly filled the boots of Washington and Lincoln and Roosevelt, (both of them) and became the man we needed to take on this new challenge. And he did it in the way that one would expect from a son of the most independent, self reliant nation in the history of the world. He stood up straight and told the world what we were going to do. And then he told them to stand with us or get the hell out of the way, although his words were a little different. ("You're either with us or against us")
The Democrats call him a liar, but I don't believe he's said anything but the truth since 9-11. I believe Bush's opponents hear what he says and, believing that he's lying, twist the meaning looking for the hidden agenda. Well folks, there is no hidden agenda. Bush says what he believes, and lets the chips fall where they may. His intelligence may be faulty sometimes, and he may make some mistakes, but I believe he acts wholly for the good of the American people and civilization.

[ August 30, 2004, 04:21 AM: Message edited by: tshaw ]

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WarrsawPact
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You're right. People are going to call you naive.
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tshaw
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lol
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Sancselfieme
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If you're not with Bush you're against him, oops, except if you're Saudi Arabia, oops, except if you're Pakistan, oops, except if you're Israel, etc.,etc.
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RickyB
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The point is that it's totally possible to be all for the war on terror and yet against the way
Bush is conducting it, and particularly against the war in Iraq. Bush is requiring that agreement in general priovciple automatically entail agreement in every detail. Many of us utterly reject that.

Do you require your friends to agree with every course of action you set on in order to probve that they support your COMMON general objective? Do you declare them disloyal if they refuse to risk much on ACTIVELY JOINING what they see as a destructive approach?

Do you dictate to them what your COMMON interest is, and then refuse to respect their opinion regarding it?

Do you, while attempting to convince them to adopt your course of action, insult them gratuitously? I somehow doubt it.

Now, add to that the kind of double standard alluded to by Sanc, and you'll see why we find Bush's attitude, and that of senior administration members, to be inconsistent, shallow and destructive.

tshaw - since all you offer are your subjective impressions, I can't argue with you. Others here will be glad to point out numerous instances where Bush (and senior admin officials) lied and mislead, but of course it is possible you will either find a way to persevere in the belief that they are not lies and flasehoods after all, or discount them as minor technicalities. I will refrain from speculating on WHY you hold the opinion which you stated, although an explanation does come to mind and is perfectly reasonable and natural. However, I will ask this: What will it take to convince you that you are wrong?

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jouissance
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"Is it necessarily a bad thing to point out that in a conflict of ideas, not being a part of the solution means you're part of the problem?"

what is a bad thing is when you claim to know the world so well you can show tht there are only 2 ideas, in opposition.

This is an attempt to define reality as my way or the highway- when there ARE many other ways. To say that inaction vs action is a problem is one thing but to say- I have a plan and if you do not support my plan then you are part of the problem. and since the problem has been clearly defined as evil- if you do not support my solution, you are evil, does not even allow the possibility of dialog . this is why this rubs people the wrong way.

many of us on the forum plea all over the place for each other not to do this- not to state an issue as either this or that- you either hate gays or you want to legalize marriage for example. there are many different angles on every issue and if you REALLY WANT to get a broad consensus, you are going to have to work through the various issues no matter how much you don't like the other angles.

i think the french were wrong to follow their own self interests and oppose bush's plans in iraq THE WAY THEY DID, but i also hold bush responsible for not having enough political skill to make it harder for them TO follow their own self interest. this is what leadership is all about. building consensus is hard, and maybe not always possible, but do many people think bush tried very hard, with sophistication and ample hard work, to get france and germany on board? i don't even think he tried to create the notion that he worked hard at it.

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ATW
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Is it necessarily a bad thing to point out that in a conflict of ideas, not being a part of the solution means you're part of the problem?


I think that's a good thing. And if Bush had worded it like that it would have been better received.

"You are either with us or against us" has a completely different tone than "if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

"You are either with us or against us" puts the emphasis on the US and what its doing.

"If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem" put the emphasis on "you" and the "problem" where it properly belongs.

If you go with that wording instead you get to beat heads of state over the head with everything they aren't doing which is helping terrorists. Everyone gets the chance to wonder why the head of state isn't doing everything possible to hinder terrorists.

If you are telling heads of state that they should be standing with the US, a good portion of their voters are going to be thinking "no we shouldn't" regardless of how righteous the cause might be.

Bush's people picked a phrase that would resonate by talking tough to the people back home rather than a phrase that would be useful in dealing with the international community.

OTOH, Bush has been astoundingly successful in getting new countries to open up to military bases and/or electronic eavesdropping and getting countries you would never have thought would cooperate to help cut off terrorist funding.

I mean when Syria which has harbored terrorists for many decades is cooperating with FBI bank auditors to track down and seize terrorist money, you know something special is going on.

Not as good as it could be but not a complete cock up either.

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drewmie
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I'm with RickyB and jouissance. Bush wants to take a TRUE general principle and apply it simplistically to its application. I disagree with many viewpoints regarding how to conduct the War on Terror. Does that mean one of us must be FOR terror? Of course not. Well-meaning people who truly hate terror and want to fight it can disagree on the best methods. Bush doesn't get this. Consequently, he is horrible diplomatically.

Take Reagan. This is a man who RAILED against Communism philosophically, but when he actually met with Gorbachev, they found a great deal of common ground. The emphasis was ALWAYS on finding common objectives and building good relationships of trust.

IMO, Bush truly believes he is doing what is best for America. It's just unfortunate that his methods include alienating so many, and squandering so much post-9/11 good will. ATW is right. The emphasis should be about doing what's right, not doing just as the U.S. does.

[ August 30, 2004, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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tshaw
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I make no claim to any proof as to the things I stated in my, overly long, statement above. It is strictly my opinion based on hundreds of hours spent watching news broadcasts from all angles and points of view, on reading hundreds, or maybe thousands of news and opinion articles, also from as wide a range of views as I could find, and from then sifting those views through my, admittedly weak, powers of deduction.

I am 53 years old, and I have been a news and political junky since I debated the 1964 presidential debate in my 8th grade American History class, taking the side of Lyndon Johnson, by the way. Ah well, we all live, and hopefully, all learn over time.

When you're such an old fart as me, you sometimes gain the wisdom to sort through the bull**** and get down to reality, and maybe you just learn to convince yourself that you have gained some wisdom. I don't fault anyone, or any nation for not supporting the US war on terror, but I do fault those who would stand in our way.

France and Germany could have stated their disagreements with us over Iraq, and then stood aside. But they didn't. They did all they could to stop us. Maybe, if the facts about the oil for food program ever come to light, we will all know why they were really so against us.

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jouissance
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i do not think one should discredit france's long nasty postcolonial history as well- i am a historical novice to say the least but it seems to me a great deal of what we walked into in vietnam was the result of how france walked out a few years before.

i do not think oil interest was the only reason france did not want to go in just as i do not think oil interest is the only reason we did (want to).

i wish all the best for iraq and hope this nation building exercise works but when france helped the US in our little nation building experiment back in the day (because it suited their agenda against britian) they were helping a people that had many strong political leaders who wanted to build a new nation.

if chalibi is as close to the US founders as iraq has, methinks we (all of us) is in trouble.

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Zyne
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The only thing worse than Bush is Bushies...

I don't fault Bush alone for the sentiment. It makes sense in context and I don't find it that offensive. It bugs me that it can be taken as a threat against other nations, but hey, it's not an attack on individual Americans.

Buuuuu-huuuuut: Some have taken those words out of context, redefined 'with' and used them to draw a line between themselves and other Americans. Skipping over whether 'if you're not with the President the you are against him' can be an always true statement (it's not), the words have been rewritten to say 'if you are not with the President then you are with the terrorists.'

Bush's words words have been used by numerous Bushies in an attempt to smother and, in some cases, criminalize dissent. Including by Bushies who hold important governmental appointments. Disagreement--including disagreement about the blatant distortion--is often impossible.

Pete has said:

quote:
Unfortunately, others don't go about their own business, but have chosen to bitch and whine and speculate about what Bush said 3 years ago, as if Bush applied it to every activity that the US was involved in. That's just BS.
It's the mindless hoardes who have expanded the idea to apply to everyone. I wish I could go about my business but with, for example, nuns on a secret do-not-fly list I can have no trust that my own business would not be interrupted by the with-us-or-against-us folks in power.

[edited--fixing bad word choice]

[ August 30, 2004, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: Zyne ]

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Richard Dey
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J said: "but do many people think bush tried very hard, with sophistication and ample hard work, to get france and germany on board? i don't even think he tried to create the notion that he worked hard at it." How very observant!

It's true. He didn't. France and Germany had years to secure their primary source of oil and didn't. Cripes, they would have been obliged to forego their August vacations and pretend they were at war!

My neighbors were so guilt-ridden about going on vacation in time of war that they sent some poor kids to camp instead. Do you think a Euro would even think of such a thing? It ain't Eurotic.

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kelcimer
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Great topic.
quote:
Snowden :
It's the perspective that the entire world is in terms of us, not just our world, but their world too is oriented around us and on our terms.

For me the key phrase in that is "on our terms." Yeah. We choose to be who we are on our own terms just as any one else may choose to be who they are on their own terms.

This is about who we are.

Here's an analogy: Frontier environment. Some feller from two valleys over came and raped and killed a man's daughter. However he acts will say something about him, no two ways about it. So he and his brothers sets out after the feller. Along the way he crosses paths with alot of folk he knows. Some are very helpful and come along to help track down the perpetrator. Some set up roadblocks and swear all the while that they are his friend. Whether or not the man continues to call the false friend a friend says something about him yet again. There are some who are far fropm the trail and can't be of any real use and they are not to be faulted for this. (Yeah, I don't see how Bolivia could really help, do you?)There are some who are unable to join the posse who are able to offer food and shelter and pass what tidings they know of. These people are friends as well, for as much as they are able they help the man's quest. These people react and act in regards to this man's quest says something about them as well. There is no excaping the fact that when the chips are down we find out the mettle of individuals, communities, and nations.

Now within the family there may be discussion as to how to track down the murderer, but the question of "should we track the guy down" or "should we take action" should not even come up. Of course we are going to take action to track the feller down. what kind of people would we be otherwise?
Now the thing is that all Bush did was point out the line. He didn't draw it. It is always there for those who will see. And pointing out the line what he does is leave no room for ignorance. No plausible deniability. What bothers people about what he said is that it doesn't leave any wiggle room. They can't say "oh, I didn't know that line was there." True, those people the man encountered on his journey didn't have a choice about not having something be said of them, but neither did the man have a choice about the situation happening to him. That's life, folks. You can't run away and you can't do over. All you can do is determine how you will meet it. Do you meet it head on and take it like a man or do you run from it? There is no middle ground. There is no "I'm not running away, I am just refusing to engage it." It is a yes or no question. Don't balk because you got asked a question. Answer it straight and you'll account yourself well. Don't and you'll not.

To continue the analogy further: The man realizes that two valleys over they don't raise themselves civilized like. That were it not for that environment the murderer would not have been spawned, that he would have had the opportunity to grow wings. If he gets just the one guy another is just as likely to come and do the same. So the man takes a strategy that stands a chance of there not ever being a murderer to come out of there again like that. Does it require a lot more time and resourses? Yes. But once committed to it he most stay the course, for he has kinda bet double or nuthing. Once committed it is more dangerous to backpedel then to continue on.

Once shots were fired in Iraq we were committed to that path. Now the trick of it is that we being committed needs to be acknowledged. Opponents of the Iraq campaign are not ardent when they say "Were committed so we gotta do this right and stick it through." the emphasis is not there. It is more of an after thought. That is the whole of the reason why from the democratic field I could not find a candidate outside of Libernman that I could vote for. Because that is the most important thing to recognize what is more dangerous for this country and to proceed accordingly, to give due weight to it. And that is where the democratic field would not perform.

Losing the campaign won't be a matter of a dramatic pullout. It will be a death by a thousand pinpricks. Someone who is ardent on that point I wouldn't have to worry about throwing the fight like that, whether they were for the war or not. Whether or not a person was for the war should not be the issue. It should be an after thought. But it is not an after thought. It is still an issue however some people wish to dress it up.

So in that aspect there is a bit of "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror" domestically. Part of the problem there is that for some people they just stop at the guy -AlQueda- and that is what terror in that sentence means. For other people the community two valleys over -the middle east- is what we are against. There is a basic disagreement about what our target is, but that should not effect our country's commitment thus far. I would love to be convinced that the opposition is ardent on this point, but it is naturally hard to believe when they don't make a point of it.

And I'll stop right there to see what sticks to the wall. [Smile]
quote:
ATW:
Take Reagan. This is a man who RAILED against Communism philosophically, but when he actually met with Gorbachev, they found a great deal of common ground.

That's in large part helped by the fact that they had common ground to be able to find. I sincerely doubt that Bush and Bin Laden could do the same. Remember, Gorbachev didn't launch an attack that would have removed such a possibility.
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Mr Xin Ku
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Tshaw, thanks for posting your comments. I feel similarly even now. There are some things that genuinely concern me over Bush, but not his war-time leadership -- which is by far the most important issue in our selection of a president this time. Comments like yours don't tend to evolve into a string of warm, fuzzy affirmations, but I suspect a lot of people read and appreciate your comments, they just tire of having the same arguments with the same people without the dialogue getting anywhere.
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TomDavidson
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"There are some things that genuinely concern me over Bush, but not his war-time leadership -- which is by far the most important issue in our selection of a president this time."

Really? I think it's largely irrelevant, and mainly amounts to posturing.

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jouissance
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which war was that again? the war against terrorism? Or the war in iraqi? or was that the war against drugs? or maybe it was the culture war.

since leftys use words 'loosely' to try and bend and manipulate things but rightys use words literally- using the one True definition- being president during any of these wars makes Bush a war-time president. so which was most important again?

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