Stupid Public Service Debate Joint Appearance Thread | Main | Down the Memory Hole: ABC Edits Out Gibson's "Exact Words" Insistence, and Palin's Accurate Statement That She Was Being Misquoted, In Order to Spare Gibson Additional Embarrassment
September 11, 2008


A lot of people are piling on Palin for seeming not clear on what the Bush Doctrine was.

The thing is, it's not clear:

A common misconception is that the Bush Doctrine states that America has the right to preventively attack any country that it believes in the future will be a threat to America, as Charlie Gibson seems to believe. This is simply not true. Rather it is part of the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine, which was laid out largely in the National Security Strategy of the United States in 2002 ( has many less controversial aspects to it including that any nation harboring terrorists should be treated as a terrorist state, and that the United States should remain the sole superpower in the world. So, therefore, when Palin said that the Bush doctrine was Bush's world view, one can argue she was techincally correct, in that the Bush doctrine is a collection of Bush's policies. Gibson, however, is undoubtably wrong. Even the top of the wikipedia article has got it right: If Charlie Gibson wants to turn an interview into a quiz, he should at least have a correct answer key.

"[The Doctrine] has many less controversial aspects to it including that any nation harboring terrorists should be treated as a terrorist state, and that the United States should remain the sole superpower in the world" -- actually these seem more controversial to me than the idea you'd attack someone preemptively you knew was preparing to attack you.

To be honest, I forgot what it was, exactly. I knew it wasn't about keeping the Spanish out of our hemisphere. When I saw the transcript, I immediately "remembered" (you know, how you remember once you're told the thing directly).

But when Allah mentioned to me she had seemed to have forgotten the Bush Doctrine, I kinda did what she did: I extemporized. "Really?" I said, trying to remember what exactly it was. Then I changed the subject.

Thanks to Frances.

The doctrine that the US will attack a foreign country preemptively if it is preparing to attack us, by the way, is not the or even a "Bush Doctrine." It's an American doctrine. Every president would do that, unless he's Jimmy Carter or Barack Uhhhbama, and it hardy needs to be stated formally as a "doctrine."

It's just common sense. It's self-defense.

It has been so stated formally, as part of the Bush Doctrine, but it was true before ever being so formulated.

Treacher parodizes tomorrow's interview.

More From Andy (Mannequin) McCarthy: Here, in which "The Bush Doctrine" didn't even include preemptive attacks when announced; and here, as experts disagree on exactly what is and what is not part of it.

Correction: Frances tells me what makes Bush's idea of preemption controversial is that he applies it to "growing" threats.

Preemptive attacks are uncontroversial, as they're defined, I'm told, as responses to immediate or near-immediate threats.

Preventative attacks are more controversial as they seek to head off not-yet-ripe threats.

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posted by Ace at 10:57 PM

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