2004/09/08

Does Bush believe in democracy?

From Bush's Convention speech:

America has done this kind of work before -- and there have always been doubters. In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times, "Germany is ... a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. [European] capitals are frightened. In every [military] headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed." End quote. Maybe that same person's still around, writing editorials. Fortunately, we had a resolute president named Truman, who with the American people persevered, knowing that a new democracy at the center of Europe would lead to stability and peace. And because that generation of Americans held firm in the cause of liberty, we live in a better and safer world today.


What is the message here? We have a pessimistic statement by that "liberal" paper, the infamously peacenik-leaning New York Times (That also published the articles of Judith Miller getting all hysterical about Iraqi WMD and thereby helping get the Iraq War started.) that did not take into account the fact that America's heroic President was on the case (Harry Truman, in this instance.). The American people get a walk-on role as those who allowed the hero President to persevere. Uncannily, the hero President of the past had the very same goal that a certain President of the present day has. The message is clear: The people who are "
still around, writing editorials" are nagging busybodies who need to get with the program. The message boils down to: "Sit down, shut up and trust the President to guide us safely to a bright future." There is no indication that the public really contributed anything besides heroically standing beside the President, no notion that there may have been some back and forth.

The first problem is when the editorial was written. "
In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces", uncannily like the present day. What was the situation at that time? The Wikipedia says:

Originally, it was hoped that little would need to be done to rebuild Europe. It was hoped that Britain and France, with the help of their colonies, would quickly rebuild their economies. By 1947 there was still little progress, however. Drought in 1947 and a cold winter in 1947-48 aggravated an already poor situation.

In his speech George C Marshall say:s:

Meanwhile, people in the cities are short of food and fuel, and in some places approaching the starvation levels. So, the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure these necessities abroad. This process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for reconstruction. Thus, a very serious situation is rapidly developing which bodes no good for the world.


So the situation wasn't that great, eh? In fact, it sounds pretty disastrous. But what about the Marshall Plan? Wasn't that the brilliant plan that pulled Europe out of it's despondency? Well, yes. But George C Marshall first gave his speech on that in June 1947, not only considerably after the editorial that our current President cited, but after considerable public criticism had persuaded the government to try a different plan.

No, the proper role of the US public is NOT to sit down and shut up and follow their "Dear Leader" (As Kim Jong Il likes to be called), but to carry through on a thing we like to call democracy.
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Final note: White House aide Andrew Card:-

This president sees America as we think about a 10-year-old child. I know as a parent I would sacrifice all for my children. But there is no doubt about the president's commitment to make sure that he protects us no matter what the polls may say, no matter what focus groups might suggest, no matter what the UN [gives] permission to do.

Folks might remember that Bush called the protests of 15 February 2003, the most geographically extensive protests ever, a focus group.


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