Maureen Dowd does not approve of the tone of President Bush’s State of the Union Address:

You wonder how many votes he scared off with that testosterone festival: the taunting message, the self-righteous geographic litany of support? The Philippines. Thailand. Italy. Spain. Poland. Denmark. Bulgaria. Ukraine. Romania. The Netherlands. Norway. El Salvador.

Can you believe President Bush is still pushing the cockamamie claim that we went to war in Iraq with a real coalition rather than a gaggle of poodles and lackeys?

Aside from the fact that Dowd’s statement is incredibly insulting to the thirty two members of the Coalition, this is idiotic even by Dowdian standards–which is to say, pretty damned idiotic. For one thing, if one reads the actual speech, it’s apparent that she omitted Britain, Australia, Japan, and South Korea, the first four countries listed. Those evil ellipses strike again.

Let’s be clear here: Any military coalition that includes the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia as its lead actors is off to a good start. Especially when the adversary is Iraq. I would note, as evidence of this, that coalitions featuring those three are currently undefeated against coalitions featuring Iraq.

What significant players that might be considered traditional allies of the United States are not included on the list? France and Germany. Germany is 0 for 2 lifetime against the US, UK, and Australia. France is currently 0 for the last couple centuries in wars in which they weren’t bailed out by the US, UK, and Australia.

His State of the Union address took his swaggering sheriff routine to new heights. “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country,” he vowed.

Translation: Hey, we don’t need no stinking piece of paper to bring it on in other countries. If it feels good, we’ll do it, and we’ll decide later why we did it. You lookin’ at me?

I believe only Dowd and Howard Dean have that impression of that sentence. That any state, let alone the world’s sole superpower, will act to in what it perceives to be its best interests, is the essence of state sovereignty. It’s a truism, not a point of controversy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Boyd says:

    Facts and reality have never had much influence on the lunatic fringe.

  2. There was a lot to mock in Bush’s speech. Leave it to MoDo to pick the one thing that’ll make her look stupider by attacking.

  3. LittleA says:

    Using the Dowdalizer&reg, the excerpt you quoted becomes:

    “You wonder how … the self righteous … can … believe President Bush is … cockamamie.

    … We went to war in Iraq with a real coalition…”

  4. C.J. says:

    A British pundit pointed out that over in the UK, they speak about the British-occupied Southern Iraq as if it’s completely separate from the US occupation. British pols also stopped trying to persuade Brits that a coalition was involved. (I believe he was on NPR’s “To the Point.”)

    I don’t often agree with Maureen Dowd, but I did agree with her on the permission slip statement. Personally, I’m sick of the rhetoric that the UN somehow diminishes our safety simply by existing. I’m not a left wing nut simply because I believe in diplomacy and multilateralism.

  5. Chuck says:

    As of Thursday, Jan. 22, 503 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq, according to the military. Of those, 347 died as a result of hostile action and 156 died of non-hostile causes, the department said.

    The British military has reported 55 deaths; Italy, 17; Spain, eight; Bulgaria, five; Thailand, two; Denmark, Ukraine and Poland have reported one each. [ed.: Dowd’s lapdogs and poodles]

  6. Brian says:
  7. David Andersen says:

    “I don’t often agree with Maureen Dowd, but I did agree with her on the permission slip statement. Personally, I’m sick of the rhetoric that the UN somehow diminishes our safety simply by existing. I’m not a left wing nut simply because I believe in diplomacy and multilateralism.”

    CJ –

    The time for the thumb sitters in Europe to join those who actually took action was over. There were multiple opportunities to proceed “multilaterally” and they either failed or were shunned. How many more years do you think this one needed to be worked out diplomatically? A decade was not long enough? Diplomacy is wonderful until it fails. I’m sick of the rhetoric that bullies can reasoned with in a conference room. History is not on the side of that viewpoint and it strikes me as all too easy to say from the comfort of one’s living room, far away from the tyranny.

  8. J. Link says:

    I’m always amazed by those who think we need to get the UN’s sign-off on anything. the UN is mainly composed of non-elected governments, dictatorships or thuggeries of one kind or another. That group, of course, includes Russia and China. Why should we
    let such nations (run by undemocractic people) determine OUR fate?

    I applaud bush’s poking a sharp stick in Kofi’s eye.

    Kofi is just another corrupt technocrat.

    Want to be he’s got a Swiss bank account with a billion or so in it?