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Friday, September 12, 2008

International Herald Tribune defends Charles Gibson's ignorance.

Apparently Charles Gibson of ABC asked Sarah Palin a question about the Bush Doctrine. When she asked him to explain what he meant when he used one of the most over-used and misunderstood terms in modern media, the International Herald Tribune approvingly "reports" that "Gibson made a point of explaining exactly what it means — pre-emptive self-defense — and demanded that she tell him whether she agreed with it." (emphasis added)

The problem (or one of them anyway) is that Gibson is wrong; that is not the "Bush Doctrine" and the Governor Mrs. Palin was correct to demand he explain himself. All nations always have reserved the right to "pre-emptive self-defense". Like, for thousands of years. Like, since there have been nations (and likely before that as well). What the Bush Doctrine declared was that a nation that harbored non-state actors (jihadi terrorists in the current case) would be considered hostile and subject to attack if those non-state actors attacked the United States. Further, the United States reserved the right to consider a nation hostile (and subject to our attack) if that state actively supported non-state actors that attacked the United States.

The right to pre-emption was already there. The Bush Doctrine tries to spell out how a nation might foolishly, uh, qualify for such pre-emption.

UPDATE: Seems I'm wrong too but not as wrong as Gibson and the IHT. (At least I got one of the meanings correct.)

Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post:

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

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