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I encourage you to read this New York Times Magazine article first. Full credit to my friend Terrance over at The Republic of T for linking it first. It's long, but well worth the read.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

The information cited in the article gets worse. Furthermore, please, pay close attention to the number of Republicans that are quoted with negative things to say. It's not just partisan politics as usual here, folks. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, so to speak.

I'm not saying Kerry is a wonderful candidate. I'm not. But, quite simply, he scares me less than the alternative.


Oct. 18th, 2004 11:00 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading it.

I agree with you, absolutely, that while it contains some interesting information, it also contains its own biases. Quite correct.

I probably should have clarified in my post that I didn't post the excerpt about Sweden to highlight yet another malapropism by Bush. I posted it because I believe it reflects a fundamental personality trait about him: an inability to acknowledge when he has made a mistake.

That fundamental, relentless doggedness creates problems when driving the boat. I dislike the sense that he's not listening to advisors like Colin Powell, and that he's perfectly willing to steer the ship right into the iceberg rather than admit its time to change course, and that he may have erred in the original mapping. Commitment to an ideal is admirable, but there is a difference between confident commitment and overzealous obsession.

Hey, I'm with the fact that Kerry changes with political winds. Like I say, he ain't a wonderful candidate. But at least he'll be on my side of the issues some of the time, rather than Bush who's against most them all of the time.

BTW, did you see Team America?


Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

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