Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Pigeons Have Come Home to Roost

My Saturday news commentary:

First, recent polls show that the popularity of our fearless leader is down.

"President Bush's January decline in public opinion started soon after a top adviser on the search for weapons of mass destruction said he did not believe Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons, a tracking poll suggests.
David Kay made his initial comments about doubting the weapons existed soon after the administration announced Jan. 23 that Kay was being replaced as the top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq.
Bush's job approval rating dropped 10 points from Jan. 25 through Jan. 31, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey. The tracking poll takes a nightly sample and rolls together two or three nights' findings at a time to produce periodic reports.
Support for the war in Iraq also dipped in that period, from a majority saying the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over, 53 percent, to 46 percent during the last few days of January saying it was worth going to war and 49 percent saying it was not. "

This is interesting though not that important. Not important, because there's still plenty of time before the elections for the administration to take care of this little problem. Interesting because I thought that everybody knew that there was no evidence of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just as there was no evidence of a connection between the terrorist attacks against the U.S. and Iraq. To be quite honest, I thought that those people who backed the war, any war, did so largely to get their desire for revenge satisfied. Gods and goddesses often used to do such things, and I assumed humans had taken up the same custom.

The drop in the polls is not the only piece of bad news for the administration. The U.S. allies are also getting a bit jittery about the way the dollar has been allowed to plunge in the international markets:

The Bush administration tried Saturday to reassure America's major economic allies worried about the sinking dollar and the exploding U.S. budget and trade deficits.
In the face of stinging criticism from other rich countries, the administration defended its hands-off approach to the dollar's sharp slide, which has pushed the greenback in recent weeks to record lows against the euro, the common currency of 12 European nations, and to three-year lows against the Japanese yen.

The low value of the dollar is great news for the U.S. export industries which have suffered from unemployment in the recent past. It's not happy news for the importers, of course, and it's deplorable news for some of the foreign allies:

Europeans complained, however, that their companies were being forced to bear the brunt of the dollar's plummet because Japan, China and other Asian countries were intervening massively in currency markets to stem the dollar's fall against their currencies.

That way the Asian countries can still continue their cheap imports to the U.S., they are happy, we are happy, and the Europeans are grumpy. But who cares about old moldy Europe anyway?

Maybe Rumsfeld does, believe it or not. At least he gave an impassioned speech in Europe, to defend the Iraq war. Some tidbits from it:

""I know in my heart and my brain that America ain't what's wrong with the world," Rumsfeld told a German questioner after his speech.
"To the extent that that concept is promoted, as it is," Rumsfeld said, "only time will deal with that."
Rumsfeld asserted that the war showed other "rogue regimes" what could happen if they should refuse to come clean about disarming. He did not mention that inspectors have failed to find banned weapons in Iraq, a principal reason the Bush administration gave for invading last March. "

Doesn't he look cute when he gets 'impassioned'?* This is why Donald thinks that the Iraq war and occupation are worthy things to have accomplished:

"Rumsfeld said there was more at stake in Iraq than just banned weapons. He asserted that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have liberated 50 million oppressed people."

Um, Donald, that should be roughly 20 million oppressed people. The women in Afghanistan may be slightly better off than they were, but their future looks very uncertain, and the women in Iraq are not going to be liberated any time soon.
*I always wanted to mirror this sexism to see how it works. I think Rumsfeld can take it.