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The Axis of Evil: Bush's Worst Invention

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carzen Donating Member (112 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 02:57 PM
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The Axis of Evil: Bush's Worst Invention
In his first State of the Union Address in January 2002, George W. Bush deployed the expression "axis of evil" to describe the governments of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Critics jumped on the president for his belligerent rhetoric. But the problem with Bush's formulation wasn't his use of the term "evil," a perfectly apt description of the regimes of Saddam Hussein, the Iranian mullahs, and Kim Jong-il. The real issue was with the "axis" part. With the reference to the Axis powers of World War II, Bush suggested that there was some sort of alliance or cooperation among these three enemies of the United States. His turn of phrase indicated that they represented a unitary problem and implied that in taking on one, America would be dealing with all three.

Nearly five years later, we can see the damage caused by the president's too-cute slogan and the muddled thinking behind it. By failing to distinguish clearly among the overlapping security threats presented by rogue states, nuclear proliferators, and supporters of terrorism, Bush helped bring his own nightmare to life. Thanks to his foreign policy, many of the world's dictators do now function as a kind of anti-American axis, in a way they didn't when he made that speech.

Let's look back at the members circa 2002. Though they shared an interest in proliferating and were all brutal violators of human rights, the regimes in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea posed distinct and very different problems for American foreign policy. Saddam's Baath fascists in Iraq were shooting at American planes in the no-fly zone and defying the international community over sanctions and inspections. But as we now know, they weren't major sponsors of terrorism, and were nowhere near building, buying, or giving nukes to others. The theocrats in Iran, on the other hand, had a long history of backing anti-American terrorists and presented a longer-term proliferation threat. North Korea's Stalinists were stroking their fuel rods, menacing the South as usual, and counterfeiting dollars, but not supporting terrorism. All three regimes were hostile to the United States, but their animosity wasn't synchronized in any meaningful way.


But the president's biggest act of axis-enhancement was tying up our military in Iraq and antagonizing our allies. While the global cop was busy in Baghdad, the world's other worst villains staged a jailbreak. They understood that Bush couldn't readily respond to their provocations with force. The opportunity cost of occupying Iraq has also been felt in Syria and Sudan, among the other places where evil has gone unchecked for want of effective American leadership. At another level, our Bush- and Iraq-inspired unpopularity has spurred an informal new post-Cold War anti-American International, with Hugo Chvez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and George Galloway running for General Secretary.
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pwb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:03 PM
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1. Bring it on....brought down the trade centers
presidents usually do not say such things. they may think it, but only a moron would say them.
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Phredicles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 03:20 PM
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2. "Axis of Failure" is a better phrase.
Sure, our Dear Leader has plenty of failures to his name elsewhere, but a whole lot of them, especially his various crimes against the Constitution, arise from his obsession with "getting" these countires.
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:19 PM
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3. No, that's just one of his evils.
The real problem: his excess of evil.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 05:16 PM
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4. It Would Take Nitpicking Analysis and the Benefit of Hindsight
to decide which of Bush's words and actions are worse than others. Perhaps we could just throw it all in the trash can, and have a do-over? With someone else in the White HOuse, of course!
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