Monday, July 31, 2006

Quote of the day: For the first time ever, we have a DWT quiz-quote—who said it? (Plus: Paul Krugman takes a grim look at the mess in Lebanon)

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"So now we're judging each other based on things we've done? Real fair! Class act!"

Who said it?

(a) Karl Rove, to President Bush

(b) President Bush—and for extra credit, who did he say it to?
• his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush
• his wife, First Lady Laura Bush
• his brain, Karl Rove
• his Fox News enabler, Brit Hume
• a joint session of Congress


(c) Attorney General Al "The Torture Guy" Gonzales, to Tim Russert on Meet the Press

(d) former Attorney General "Honest John" Ashcroft, recalling his Senate confirmation hearings

(e) Supreme Court Justice "Sammy the Slug" Alito, recalling his Senate confirmation hearings

(f) Vice President Cheney, to the only person he allows to judge him, himself

(g) Sen. Joe Lieberman, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times

(h) Homer Simpson, to Marge

For the shocking answer, check here.


ALSO TALKING—Paul Krugman on the war in Lebanon

"For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It's as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld."

—start of today's NYT column, "Shock and Awe"*

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*The complete text of the Krugman column is appended in a comment.

4 Comments:

At 8:05 AM, Blogger keninny said...

Here is the full text of the Krugman column:

July 31, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Shock and Awe
By PAUL KRUGMAN

For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It’s as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld.

Yes, I know that there are big differences in the origins of the two wars. There’s no question of this war having been sold on false pretenses; unlike America in Iraq, Israel is clearly acting in self-defense.

But both Clausewitz and Sherman were right: war is both a continuation of policy by other means, and all hell. It’s a terrible mistake to start a major military operation, regardless of the moral justification, unless you have very good reason to believe that the action will improve matters.

The most compelling argument against an invasion of Iraq wasn’t the suspicion many of us had, which turned out to be correct, that the administration’s case for war was fraudulent. It was the fact that the real reason government officials and many pundits wanted a war—their belief that if the United States used its military might to “hit someone” in the Arab world, never mind exactly who, it would shock and awe Islamic radicals into giving up terrorism — was, all too obviously, a childish fantasy.

And the results of going to war on the basis of that fantasy were predictably disastrous: the fiasco in Iraq has ended up demonstrating the limits of U.S. power, strengthening radical Islam—especially radical Shiites allied with Iran, a group that includes Hezbollah—and losing America the moral high ground.

What I never expected was that Israel—a nation that has unfortunately had plenty of experience with both war and insurgency—would be susceptible to similar fantasies. Yet that’s what seems to have happened.

There is a case for a full-scale Israeli ground offensive against Hezbollah. It may yet come to that, if Israel can’t find any other way to protect itself. There is also a case for restraint—limited counterstrikes combined with diplomacy, an effort to get other players to rein Hezbollah in, with the option of that full-scale offensive always in the background.

But the actual course Israel has chosen—a bombing campaign that clearly isn’t crippling Hezbollah, but is destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure and killing lots of civilians—achieves the worst of both worlds. Presumably there were people in the Israeli government who assured the political leadership that a rain of smart bombs would smash and/or intimidate Hezbollah into submission. Those people should be fired.

Israel’s decision to rely on shock and awe rather than either diplomacy or boots on the ground, like the U.S. decision to order the U.N. inspectors out and invade Iraq without sufficient troops or a plan to stabilize the country, is having the opposite of its intended effect. Hezbollah has acquired heroic status, while Israel has both damaged its reputation as a regional superpower and made itself a villain in the eyes of the world.

Complaining that this is unfair does no good, just as repeating “but Saddam was evil” does nothing to improve the situation in Iraq. What Israel needs now is a way out of the quagmire. And since Israel doesn’t appear ready to reoccupy southern Lebanon, that means doing what it should have done from the beginning: try restraint and diplomacy. And Israel will negotiate from a far weaker position than seemed possible just three weeks ago.

And what about the role of the United States, which should be trying to contain the crisis? Our response has been both hapless and malign.

For the moment, U.S. policy seems to be to stall and divert efforts to negotiate a cease-fire as long as possible, so as to give Israel a chance to dig its hole even deeper. Also, we aren’t talking to Syria, which might hold the key to resolving the crisis, because President Bush doesn’t believe in talking to bad people, and anyway that’s the kind of thing Bill Clinton did. Did I mention that these people are childish?

Again, Israel has the right to protect itself. If all-out war with Hezbollah becomes impossible to avoid, so be it. But bombing Lebanon isn’t making Israel more secure.

As this column was going to press, Israel—responding to the horror at Qana, where missiles killed dozens of civilians, many of them children—announced a 48-hour suspension of aerial bombardment. But why resume that bombardment when the 48 hours are up? The hard truth is that Israel needs, for its own sake, to stop a bombing campaign that is making its enemies stronger, not weaker.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

 
At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sick of watching the chickenhawks demoralizing and crushing the souls of men and women all around the world. It's All Quiet on the Western Front meets Vietnam meets Stalingrad again and again. I saw footage of some young Israeli soldiers yesterday and felt terrible for them -- almost as bad as for the Lebanonese civilians--or maybe just in a different way. I fear the Israeli soldiers will be suffering the same trauma as Iraqi and Vietnam vets.

 
At 4:36 PM, Anonymous teach said...

I think Bush said it. But, I cannot think to who for extra credit.

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Bush said it to his enabler,
shit fume?

 

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