"Axis of Stupidity" vs. "Axis of Snobbery"

By Letters to the Editor
Published February 17, 2002 12:15AM (EST)

Read "Axis of Stupidity

David Talbot's piece on Bush's "axis of evil" is the most devastatingly brilliant critique of the Bush II presidency I have ever encountered. If only Talbot were a round-the-clock Presidential Channel in the vein of C-SPAN, this presidency would be a lot more bearable.

-- Jason Liechty

There is no doubt that Bush's view is too simplistic and confusing. It is also true that in the days of the Cold War the world was seen as black-and-white and we supported some very unsavory leaders.

I believe the media has been way too silent about the relationship between the Bushes and the Saudis.

However, [New York Times columnist Thomas] Friedman is right. We must bring the war to those who will cause us great harm. It is the sophisticated analysis of the David Talbots and our refusal to hit back that has created our danger. David Talbot's splitting of hairs and sneering will cause many more Americans to die at the hands of terrorists.

-- Daniel Greenbaum

Thank God someone is calling attention to President Bush's diplomacy train wreck. I can just picture Colin Powell running around behind the scenes every time Bush opens his mouth in public, trying to undo all the damage Dubya has done.

I am seriously afraid that Bush with his tough talk is propelling us toward World War III. Someone give that man a brain implant, or at least get him to shut his mouth! Anyone with a shred of common sense knows that diplomacy beats swagger, hands-down, on the world stage. Are we really prepared to go it alone, which we just may have to do if this unilateral boasting doesn't cease? Ask our military folks that question. I bet they hope to God not.

-- Julia Sathler

David Talbot's article answers the very simple question: "Why do they hate us?" Talbot looks at the history of U.S. intrigue in Iraq. When the same journalistic approach is applied to Chile, Bangladesh, Cuba, Libya, E. Timor, Iran, Cyprus, Cambodia, Vietnam, Congo and dozens upon dozens of other countries throughout the world where the U.S. has played its "national interest" game, we find that this country has pissed off a hell of a lot of people around the globe. Yet American citizens are so oblivious to world events, so insulated from the geopolitical, economic and social realities outside of their borders, that they can ask such a childish and ignorant question, all the while feeling that they are the true victims. I would love to see a journalist or scholar make an in-depth, country-by-country study of U.S. interference; this would include not only economic and political strong-arming, but also U.S. support for military coups, U.S. arms sales and other such details that are normally left out of mainstream news reports.

-- Hector Carosso

Thank you for a continued voice of reason. My question is, who are these American people we keep hearing about who are in full support of Bush? Can it really be as high as 80 percent? My current fear is the international retaliation on the USA if his policy of intimidation and stupidity is allowed to gain strength at the rate it has over the past few months.

-- Lisa Taranto

Read "Axis of Snobbery"

"I don't think anybody, left or right, can quarrel with the fact that Bush put together perhaps the best foreign policy and defense teams of any postwar administration," crows David Horowitz.

Hey, David, put that up to a vote at Salon and you'll be defeated four votes to one on that, so alas this assertion is actually false and a tad moronic. Commercial vested interests (see Enron, see Halliburton) of the most amoral of human instincts inform energy policy, which in turn informs foreign and military policy. Best for whom?

Horowitz writes, "If you like the results, common sense and common decency require proper respect for the man responsible."

And so if you don't? Then contempt would seem to be in order. Personally, as God is my witness, I see a different picture across the Atlantic: With the increase in military spending up to jaw-droppingly obscene figures -- no less than 12 zeros attached -- my mental painting would show a twitching simian sloping across the White House floor toward Bethlehem pointing a mean-spirited birdie to the heavens, as Satan who put him there rocks with malice and mirth. So I have to beg to differ. The invasion of Afghanistan was posited and planned long before 9/11 -- and anyone who knows anything about "the Great Game," so called, knows it had bugger all to do with USAma bin Laden, whose ties to the CIA, Saudi wealth and Pakistan seem to have been more his historical trademark. Look at the U.S. government's energy reports in July -- the reports are online. The facts speak for themselves.

David Talbot is a fine chap but he supported the war so I'd hardly call that from the left as Horowitz claims -- but alas like all reactionaries (and especially those whose politics traveled with their increasing bank balance on a journey to the fat complacency of easy street and the right margins,) they invariably regard the liberal center as the left.

And here he comes again -- more unctuous flattery: "If this was a brilliant war -- and it was -- then George Bush has shown himself to be a brilliant leader. Gentlemen, some humility please."

Personally I can only think, "Gentlemen of the press, and David H in particular, please get your brown noses out of the rich boy's arse for goodness sakes!"

But where have I heard all this bollocks before? Wasn't it posited about Reagan, at least until it had to be admitted that the "Saturday Night Live" jibe "the President's brain is missing" was entirely true.

Based on a different interpretation of the facts, Bush comes across more as an ignorant, none too bright, smirking jerk in elevator shoes. And from where I see it, the world knows it, most of America (who didn't vote for him) knows it and sooner or later we'll all have to pay the price for this ludicrously inappropriate clown having more power than anyone in postwar history. If you want to hang your reputation on his, Mr. Horowitz, then good luck to you, but please don't ask the rest of us to join you in your sycophantic delusion.

-- David Knopfler

David Horowitz, as always, shows himself to be an effective communicator when he keeps a lid on the venom and his blatant dislike for all things liberal. Why can't he write like this more often?

His analysis of Bush's "axis of evil" phrase is well conceived and thoughtful. His criticism of Europe well placed. And while he can't help but take a few extra shots at Clinton and intellectual liberals, the sensible tone of this piece makes Horowitz more than just tolerable. It makes him a little bit convincing. And you don't get much more liberal than me.

-- Jason Owens

If Bill Clinton was espousing the current Bush administration foreign policies, David Horowitz would be comparing him to Woodrow Roosevelt. Ah, the life of a revisionist historian like Horowitz.

For instance, the Bush administration is plotting to overthrow Saddam Hussein without first capturing the person who perpetrated the evil deed in the war on terrorism in the first place: Osama bin Laden. Indeed, how can the most powerful and technologically advanced military in the world still be looking for a man who is without an army to defend him?

George the second is making the same mistake as his father: Declaring victory before finishing the war. George the first pronounced victory in the Gulf War even though the U.S. simply won the Battle of Kuwait. He left the Middle East while the dastardly Hussein watched with detached amusement, realizing that the war was not over.

George the second is declaring victory in the war over Afghanistan, which simply had a third-rate band of thieves running the country. However, without capturing bin Laden and his top compatriot, the U.S. cannot declare victory in the war on terrorism.

Horowitz, who wears conservative blinders that fail to grasp some simple concepts, fails to realize that the greatest U.S. victory in the Cold War was won by the courageous stand by President John F. Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis. That was the first step in the dismantling of the Soviet Union.

Perhaps a simple high school course in American history will help Horowitz see the error of his vision.

-- Hugh Conrad

Nobody says Rumsfeld is a dummy, just his boss. I suspect even a myopic observer of the national scene such as yourself has observed that all information regarding the wag the dog war in Afghanistan is given by Rummy. George has a real talent for dodging responsibility -- just look at his business and political record in Texas. On your next trip to Houston, take a good deep breath of Enron (read George Bush) air.

David, you have been sampling those funny pretzels again -- it shows.

-- Jack Madsen

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