The harmeless president?

Nov 2013
9,512
8,736
NY
#11
George Herbert Walker Bush is dead and buried with full honors as the 41st president of the United States. What we are told to remember about him is circulating on television, radio, newspapers and social media. Apparently he was great man who did great things like say we needed a kinder, gentler nation and no new taxes. I voted for Ross Perot to try and save the company pensions and affordable health insurance you no longer get.

The official narrative is awash with quaint references of bush being the “quiet”, unappreciated president who did no harm. The problem is I don’t have amnesia. An article in the New York Times on Sept. 23, 1990 pointed out that the invasion of Kuwait which resulted in the Gulf War began with Bush and his kinder, gentler approach to a menace named Saddam Hussein.

Hussein was rattling a sabre with 30,000 troops amassed on the Border of Kuwait. Bush dispatched April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq on July 25, 1990 to meet with Hussein where she delivered a message. The message did not say, if you attack Kuwait we will intervene militarily. Glaspie delivered Bush’s message that the US wanted to maintain friendly relations with Iraq and was curious as to Saddam’s intentions.

Saddam was at the end of his rope because he was heavily in debt to Kuwait and Kuwait was producing oil at a high level cutting into Iraq’s revenues. Saddam was testing the waters when he announced to Glaspie that he fully intended to annex Kuwait under the pretext of it stealing his oil through slant drilling unless a solution could be reached.

Incredibly, Glaspie responded by saying that the US has no opinion on border disputes between Arab nations. Clearly Saddam understood this to mean that the US would not intervene; he promptly took Kuwait eight days later.

Students of history may recognize that this is the kind of lethal diplomatic incompetence that starts major wars and the Gulf war ensued ending with Saddam’s retreating troops mixed with civilians in Volkswagens being slaughtered on the highway of Death which enraged Arabs everywhere.

1993: Arab revenge attack # 1 on World Trade Center. 2001: attack #2 by agents of Saudi Arabia utterly destroys it. 2003: Bush’s son attacks Iraq which had no part in 9/11 obscuring a black mark on his father’s legacy.

Arabs still hate us; more attacks coming.

https://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/23/w...-us-envoy.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...040203485.html
https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/09...addam-hussein/
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/sk...d-kuwait-37237
https://www.history.com/topics/middl...rsian-gulf-war
1. Saddam entered Kuwait, with violent and harsh intentions, willing to "annex" a free sovereign country. Not cool.
2. Congress sanctioned all war activities in the first gulf war. Bush Sr. did act as a President is supposed to act, he went to congress.
3. The UN was in agreement with military action to defend Kuwait, Operation desert storm / desert shield was following multiple UN sacntions against Iraq, and the war was a coalition of 35 nations led by the US, under UN resolution and sanctioning.
4. Glaspie was pretty clear in expressing to Saddam that she - representing the US - was indeed "concerned".


On the 25th, Saddam met with April Glaspie, the US Ambassador to Iraq, in Baghdad. The Iraqi leader attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the UAE:

So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights ... If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you ... We do not place America among the enemies. We place it where we want our friends to be and we try to be friends. But repeated American statements last year made it apparent that America did not regard us as friends.[52]

Glaspie replied:

I know you need funds. We understand that and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait ... Frankly, we can only see that you have deployed massive troops in the south. Normally that would not be any of our business. But when this happens in the context of what you said on your national day, then when we read the details in the two letters of the Foreign Minister, then when we see the Iraqi point of view that the measures taken by the UAE and Kuwait is, in the final analysis, parallel to military aggression against Iraq, then it would be reasonable for me to be concerned.[52]
Gulf War - Wikipedia
 
Jul 2011
45,191
7,891
NYC
#12
When Saddam's troops along with civilians were fleeing on the Highway of Death they were cut off from both sides and had nowhere to go when they were slaughtered with air power. That was almost certainly a violation of the Geneva Convention. Not that anyone should care about the Iraqi army but the civilians died with them.


Oh really? I was there calling in those air assets. We targeted no civilians never did. we went out of our way to avoid civilian casualties.
 
Apr 2018
9
3
New Hampshire
#13
I was a radar operator in Vietnam. I know what collateral damage is. Many of those retreating were attacked with cluster bombs; not the most accurate ordinance available. You may not have targeted civilians but many were hit. It was widely reported at the time. Hey, I'm all for defeating the enemy but the Arab world saw things differently.
 
Likes: MaryAnne
Jun 2014
42,554
41,307
United States
#14
Saddam was at the end of his rope because he was heavily in debt to Kuwait and Kuwait was producing oil at a high level cutting into Iraq’s revenues. Saddam was testing the waters when he announced to Glaspie that he fully intended to annex Kuwait under the pretext of it stealing his oil through slant drilling unless a solution could be reached.

That wasn't a mere pretense. Kuwait absolutely was stealing oil from Iraq via slant drilling.
 
Aug 2018
635
1,010
Vancouver
#15
I also don’t have amnesia. I remember the daily mocking Bush Sr took in pop culture and media for being a “wimp”. That was the catchphrase. He was a “wimp”. “Wimpy”.

Pick up a humour magazine from his early term. Or watch one of Dana Carveys SNL impressions.

Bush Sr had a very serious “wimp” problem. Until the Gulf War.

Simple logic should tell us that Saddam would not have invaded Kuwait if he had been told that the US would protect it. He was, at the time, a US client state. Fresh off the Iran Iraq war he’s waged with explicit US help and approval. He obviously believed the US would do the same for him in a second invasion.


His invasion of Iran was a wholesale slaughter that the west assisted him with. One would have to be hopelessly naive to believe that the sane US administration that gave him helicopters a d satellite targeting to drop poison gas on Iranian towns was suddenly shocked offended by the injustice of a second identical invasion. That’s absurd. It’s an absurd narrative.

Saddam solved Bush’s “wimp” image problem. A solution likely pushed by Baker. It almost worked. Unfortunately for the administration, Bill Clinton played sax on the Arsenio Hall show.

“Wimpy” didnt matter anymore.
 
Jun 2014
42,554
41,307
United States
#17
I also don’t have amnesia. I remember the daily mocking Bush Sr took in pop culture and media for being a “wimp”. That was the catchphrase. He was a “wimp”. “Wimpy”.

Pick up a humour magazine from his early term. Or watch one of Dana Carveys SNL impressions.

Bush Sr had a very serious “wimp” problem. Until the Gulf War.

Simple logic should tell us that Saddam would not have invaded Kuwait if he had been told that the US would protect it. He was, at the time, a US client state. Fresh off the Iran Iraq war he’s waged with explicit US help and approval. He obviously believed the US would do the same for him in a second invasion.


His invasion of Iran was a wholesale slaughter that the west assisted him with. One would have to be hopelessly naive to believe that the sane US administration that gave him helicopters a d satellite targeting to drop poison gas on Iranian towns was suddenly shocked offended by the injustice of a second identical invasion. That’s absurd. It’s an absurd narrative.

Saddam solved Bush’s “wimp” image problem. A solution likely pushed by Baker. It almost worked. Unfortunately for the administration, Bill Clinton played sax on the Arsenio Hall show.

“Wimpy” didnt matter anymore.

It was complicated. The US was on friendly terms with Kuwait. Iran? Not so much.

We wanted Saddam to attack Iran (as payback for the hostage situation... which was payback for the 1953 Iranian coup... etc., etc., etc.), but in the process of doing so, Saddam had become too powerful. Besides, we needed a big, boots on the ground military victory to get the taste of Vietnam out of our mouths, or so the conventional wisdom went back then.

As for the wimp persona, Bush did shake that and become quite popular during the war. For some reason, the good will didn't last very long after the war was over.
 
Aug 2018
635
1,010
Vancouver
#18
It was complicated. The US was on friendly terms with Kuwait. Iran? Not so much.

We wanted Saddam to attack Iran (as payback for the hostage situation... which was payback for the 1953 Iranian coup... etc., etc., etc.), but in the process of doing so, Saddam had become too powerful. Besides, we needed a big, boots on the ground military victory to get the taste of Vietnam out of our mouths, or so the conventional wisdom went back then.

As for the wimp persona, Bush did shake that and become quite popular during the war. For some reason, the good will didn't last very long after the war was over.
He had a lot of baggage just for being Regan’s VP, too.

The admiration and respect that so many feel now for Regan was almost non-existent back then at the end of his second term. The sense was that normal people were struggling while the rich were partying it up in the penthouse.

Looking back, that feeling seems unjustified. Because by today’s standards - wealth inequality back then looks like nothing at all.

Boy did THAT ever get worse.
 
Apr 2012
55,158
40,032
Englewood,Ohio
#19
He had a lot of baggage just for being Regan’s VP, too.

The admiration and respect that so many feel now for Regan was almost non-existent back then at the end of his second term. The sense was that normal people were struggling while the rich were partying it up in the penthouse.

Looking back, that feeling seems unjustified. Because by today’s standards - wealth inequality back then looks like nothing at all.

Boy did THAT ever get worse.
True, but Reagan started the process of protecting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
 
Likes: steezer
Jul 2014
31,044
7,937
midwest
#20
George Herbert Walker Bush is dead and buried with full honors as the 41st president of the United States. What we are told to remember about him is circulating on television, radio, newspapers and social media. Apparently he was great man who did great things like say we needed a kinder, gentler nation and no new taxes. I voted for Ross Perot to try and save the company pensions and affordable health insurance you no longer get.

The official narrative is awash with quaint references of bush being the “quiet”, unappreciated president who did no harm. The problem is I don’t have amnesia. An article in the New York Times on Sept. 23, 1990 pointed out that the invasion of Kuwait which resulted in the Gulf War began with Bush and his kinder, gentler approach to a menace named Saddam Hussein.

Hussein was rattling a sabre with 30,000 troops amassed on the Border of Kuwait. Bush dispatched April Glaspie, US Ambassador to Iraq on July 25, 1990 to meet with Hussein where she delivered a message. The message did not say, if you attack Kuwait we will intervene militarily. Glaspie delivered Bush’s message that the US wanted to maintain friendly relations with Iraq and was curious as to Saddam’s intentions.

Saddam was at the end of his rope because he was heavily in debt to Kuwait and Kuwait was producing oil at a high level cutting into Iraq’s revenues. Saddam was testing the waters when he announced to Glaspie that he fully intended to annex Kuwait under the pretext of it stealing his oil through slant drilling unless a solution could be reached.

Incredibly, Glaspie responded by saying that the US has no opinion on border disputes between Arab nations. Clearly Saddam understood this to mean that the US would not intervene; he promptly took Kuwait eight days later.

Students of history may recognize that this is the kind of lethal diplomatic incompetence that starts major wars and the Gulf war ensued ending with Saddam’s retreating troops mixed with civilians in Volkswagens being slaughtered on the highway of Death which enraged Arabs everywhere.

1993: Arab revenge attack # 1 on World Trade Center. 2001: attack #2 by agents of Saudi Arabia utterly destroys it. 2003: Bush’s son attacks Iraq which had no part in 9/11 obscuring a black mark on his father’s legacy.

Arabs still hate us; more attacks coming.

https://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/23/w...-us-envoy.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...040203485.html
https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/09...addam-hussein/
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/sk...d-kuwait-37237
https://www.history.com/topics/middl...rsian-gulf-war
I don't think he's "buried" just quite yet.

That is scheduled to occur later today.