Sunday, September 14, 2008

More About the Bush Doctrine

After Sarah Palin's dismal response to Charlie Gibson's question about the Bush Doctrine, I can't get the issue out of my head. So many people are brushing off her lack of knowledge saying, "well, she'll only be VP." However, Glenn Greenwald sums up why we should indeed be scared:

To see why that matters, look at this excerpt today from a new book by The Washington Post's Barton Gellman, which details how Dick Cheney's office exerted virtually exclusive control over large numbers of key U.S. programs, and specifically over the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program -- facts that Gellman had previously documented. There is every reason to believe that Palin, too, would wield very substantial power as Vice President.

In general, the White House is now far and away the most powerful branch of our government -- state power is centralized there to an unprecedented degree. The presidency is so powerful that it's almost impossible for a President not to share substantial responsibility with the Vice President. Moreover, if McCain wins, he is quite likely to perceive -- accurately -- that his victory was due in large part to Palin and the enthusiasm she generated. Independently, her immense political popularity among key GOP factions will empower her. The fact that McCain seems completely uninterested in any issues other than fighting and starting wars and his petty fixation on earmarks -- underscored by his acute indifference to domestic policy -- will leave vast areas for her to manage. His advanced age and previous health problems makes it far more likely than usual that the Vice President will become President.

And so we'll have a powerful VP with no clearly-defined positions on many issues. Palin hasn't studied these policies or thought them through. And yet, without knowing the subject matter, her instinct was to embrace whatever this Bush Doctrine thing is.

What's doubly disturbing is that Gibson asked the same Bush Doctrine question to all the Republican and Democratic candidates during the primary debates, and all candidates were able to answer the question satisfactorily. So that leaves me wondering... wasn't Palin even watching the debates?

But here is the really big question: do we want a president who will continue the Bush Doctrine?

McCain clearly supports it (if video doesn't show, click here):

Barack Obama says that the Bush Doctrine is flawed, but it seems he hasn't rejected it completely:
OBAMA: And that's the flaw of the Bush doctrine. It wasn't that he went after those who attacked America. It was that he went after those who didn't.

And as a consequence, we have been bogged down, paid extraordinary -- an extraordinary price in blood and treasure, and we have fanned the anti-American sentiment that actually makes it more difficult for us to act in Pakistan.

Just one more point I want to make on this, Charlie. I think it is absolutely true that we have to, as much as possible, get Pakistan's agreement before we act. And that's always going to be the case.
At least, maybe, Palin (the moose caught in the headlights) has woken up the public to a foreign policy issue they should have been paying attention to all along.

No comments: