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Why do they hate America?

November 18th, 2005

In the leadup to the Iraq war, we were repeatedly told that anyone who disagreed with the rush to war, or criticised the Bush Administration, was “anti-American”. It now appears that the majority of Americans are anti-American. A string of polls has shown that most Americans now realise that Bush and his Administration lied to get them into the war and that it was a mistake to go to war. The latest, reported in the NYT is this one from the Pew Research Centre.

It has a lot of interesting statistics on the views of Americans in general, and various elite groups. The truly striking figure is Bush’s approval ranking among leading scientists and engineers, drawn from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. In Aug 2001, it was 30 per cent – not strong but not negligible either. In Oct 2005, it’s fallen to 6 per cent, with 87 per cent disapproving. I’d guess that the scientists in the sample are more hostile than the engineers (though, obviously, the engineers must be pretty hostile). Looking around science-oriented blogs and websites, I’d say that the attitude of Academy members is pretty representative of scientists in general. Anytime you find a favourable remark about Bush you can count on it that the site is an astroturf operation like Flack Central Station or the aptly-named Junk Science.

Scientists and engineers are not generally seen as a highly political group, but they can recognise enemies when they see them, and no government in US history has been more anti-science than this one.

Update: In the comments thread at CT and elsewhere, it’s been denied that anyone ever asserted that opposition to the war was anti-American. This post from Media Matters gives a number of instances, and there are more in the CT comments thread. Others, like Instapundit, preferred objectively pro-Saddam

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  1. Terje Petersen
    November 26th, 2005 at 20:00 | #1

    Corwin,

    YOU SAID: {terje talks of “trillions� spent for “Star Wars�.Presumably,he knows what a “trillion� is}

    However I did no such thing. I merely quoted somebody else who talked of trillions. I made no statement at all about the cost of Reagans star wars program. If you look back over this discussion you will find that you have made a mistake in attributing a comment to me that was not in fact my comment.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  2. avaroo
    November 27th, 2005 at 03:03 | #2

    PMLawrence, all we have to go on to determine whether or not Saddam complied are UN inspector reports. I understand that you don’t want to do this, because your case falls apart if we look at what UN inspectors said. The facts may be inconvenient for you but they are nonetheless the facts.

  3. avaroo
    November 27th, 2005 at 05:07 | #3

    “no, in fact, as I’ve pointed out it has had three distinct governments in that period.”

    elected by Americans?

    “Their primary point of continuity is, as you point out, that they are provisional (i.e. temporary, ad hoc and lacking in substance and legitimacy.)”

    Obviously the Iraqis who are voting disagree with you Ian.

    “Or perhaps you feel that the fact that insurgents haven’t actually managed to capture Baghdad is a major cause for celebration.”

    Actually it appears that you feel that their failure to capture Baghdad is cause for pouting. You don’t have to like the Iraqi government, any Iraqi government. Wherever did you get the idea that the legitimacy of Iraq’s government was subject to your approval?

  4. Ian Gould
    November 27th, 2005 at 08:09 | #4

    Tell you what avaroo, give me a dollar today, then give me a dollar tomorrow and a dollar the next day.

    Then the following day I’ll give you the dollar back.

    You point ot electio nas the sacred proof of the legitimiacy of the Iraqi government – then inist that this applies to Bremer’s and Allawi’s governments, neither of which was elected.

    As for your final smear – great illustration of the “everyone who doesn;t support Bush is pro-terrorist” McCarthyism that was the original topic of this thread, by the way – read my other posts on Iraq here, the ones where I argue that a loss in Iraq would be catastrophic for the Iraqis and the west.

    However, I believe that the persistent lies about the course of the war are the principal reason for the lack of public support for the war in the US – and that is the now the greatest threat to the situation in Iraq.

    You, for partisan advantage and to evade any personal moral responsibility for being a cheer-leader for the murder of 100,000+ Iraqis, think that people should be lied to about the situation in Iraq.

    I, on the other hand, believe that an honest appraisal of the istuation there is essential to win.

  5. November 27th, 2005 at 09:07 | #5

    Avaroo, when all you have to go on is a set of UN reports, that does not justify jumping to a conclusion. If you don’t know enough, you don’t know enough. And I have certainly come across a wide range of assertions that Saddam Hussein accepted UN inspections without restrictions to keep out US spies, right at the end when he was desperate. This offer was not taken up; it’s something that did not produce an event, certainly not one recorded in the UN reports.

    So, you can cite all the UN reports you want and it won’t provide evidence on the point. And we can remain in any degree of uncertainty with the evidence, and we do not have to jump to any conclusions.

  6. Ian Gould
    November 27th, 2005 at 12:07 | #6

    “6. How do you achieve making ‘GHG reductions’ a commodity? The only way I know is via step 5, which requires a non-market agent. Furthermore, in the case of GHG, it requires agreement among governments (I don’t believe in miracles – nothing less would seem to be required to achieve voluntary agreement on ‘a number’ by ‘everybody’ in the world on a particular day.)�

    I agree that government intervention is probably necessary as a matter of practicality to achieve a sufficient reduction but I will point out that it is not an absolute requirement. We have already seen voluntary reductions and voluntary trading schemes undertaken in which firms voluntarily reduce emission or purchase credits for emissions.

    It seems to me, in theory, that if sufficient private philanthropic funds were provided to purchase such reduction credits, a given reduction target could be met without government intervention. (I concede however than, in practice, the scale of funds required make such an approach impractical.)

    “7. Suppose we would have a ‘polluter pays’ legislation and it would be enforceable at negligible costs. Which prices would decline over time?�

    Emission reductions and sequestration are essentially technological issues:

    For example, if sufficient firms adopt highly efficient microgenerators of the type offered by firms such as Capstone, the price of such generators will fall as the technology matures and the scale of production increases.

    Similarly, the cost of afforestation is likely to fall over time: better species of tree will be developed; planting techniques will improve, uncertainties over issues such as fire insurance will resolve; the risk premium required for invest in a new industry will decline and so on.

    I will point out that there are existing successful examples of emission trading:

    http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/750/Trading_in_pollution.html

    “From emission levels of 10 million tonnes for affected units of SO2 in 1990, emissions fell to less than five million by the end of the decade. Moreover, this was achieved at much lower costs than had been anticipated: original estimates of permit prices in the first phase of the programme had ranged between US$181 and US$981, but actual prices have hovered around US$150 and have rarely been in excess of the lower band of estimates.�

    A constant nominal price over a decade is, of course, equivalent to a decline in constant dollar terms.

    The issue which you and Andrew raise regarding fraud and enforcement issues are hardly unique to emission trading. There are elaborate mechanisms to monitor emissions from regulated sources and verify reductions. Where governments have imposed emission taxes they have a clear incentive to enforce these rules.

    In point of fact, one of my principal concerns about Kyoto is that there may be little incentive on governments to achieve compliance. If a country exceeds its emission quota for the first emission period, it simply deducts the excess from its permissible emissions for the next period. There is no other penalty involved – this was one of the concession demanded by the Clinton administration and the fact that such major concessions had been made to the US was one reason for the anger at the Bush administration’s repudiation of the treaty.

  7. Ian Gould
    November 27th, 2005 at 12:13 | #7

    With regard to the question of EU progress on its Kyoto targets:

    http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/climat/progress_report.htm

    Projected progress of the EU based on Member States projections

    The ‘business-as-usual’ scenario (with existing measures) suggests that between the base year and 2010, EU-25 emissions will decrease by 4.7% while EU-15 emissions will decrease by only 1.0 %. This will leave a gap of 7.5% regarding the Kyoto target from 1990 and 2010.

    Most Member States have identified additional policies and measures to achieve their commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. If these are implemented , EU-25 emissions will have decreased in 2010 by 9.4% from base year level. The EU-15 emissions, on the other hand, will have decreased in 2010 by 7.7%. In addition, the intended purchase of Kyoto Mechanisms by 40 Mt CO 2 eqivalent emissions amounts to 0.9% of the base year emissions. Therefore, EU-15 is forecasted to reach its commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

  8. Ernestine Gross
    November 27th, 2005 at 23:45 | #8

    Ian,

    Thank you very much for your detailed responses. I hope it didn’t spoil your week-end.

    On first reading, the prices of the pollution credits seemed to have behaved rather like IPOs.

    Regards
    Ernestine

  9. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 01:29 | #9

    Ian, you have been reduced to whining that “everyone who doesn’t support Bush is pro-terrorist”. And it only took about 3 posts. Congratulations.

    How is an independent “partisan”? Can you simply not abide people disagreeing with you? My voting record is far more democratic than it is republican. I’m all for an honest appraisal of the situation. It’s a shame that you are not.

  10. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 01:35 | #10

    PMLawrence, assertions that Saddam accepted inspections without restrictions by people who were not in a position to know (i.e. anyone who wasn’t a UN inspector) don’t count. Any moron can make an assertion. UN inspector reports are the ONLY evidence which count. If you had any UN inspector reports that corroborated your claim that Saddam cooperated without restrictions, you’d be holding them up and screaming that they were proof positive. Sadly for you, you do not have any such reports. Because they don’t exist. Because he didn’t cooperate unconditionally.

  11. Ian Gould
    November 28th, 2005 at 08:02 | #11

    “Ian, you have been reduced to whining that “everyone who doesn’t support Bush is pro-terroristâ€?.”

    I have?

  12. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 08:21 | #12

    yup, you have. See above.

  13. Ian Gould
    November 28th, 2005 at 09:20 | #13

    “See above” when there are a hundred or so previous messages isn’t particularly helpful.

    In my last message to you I specifically complained about exactly that.

    It appears your literacy skills are on par with your numeracy skills.

  14. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 09:59 | #14

    See your message, Nov 27 8:09am. You were not complaining about me saying “everyone who doesn’t support Bush is pro-terrorist” because nowhere have I said that. Complaints about things I haven’t said are not my problem, they are yours.

  15. gordon
    November 28th, 2005 at 10:51 | #15

    Anybody interested in reading the report “Crude Designs”, which formed the basis for the Independent article of 22/11/05 (referred to in my earlier comment) will find it downloadable from http://www.carbonweb.org/crudedesigns.htm. This report makes a convincing case for regarding oil as the major motivation for the Iraq invasion and occupation and discusses the pros and cons of various types of contractual arrangements for oil extraction in Iraq. It is dated Nov. 2005.

  16. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 11:40 | #16

    Is carbonweb a reputable source? Reading its platform, it appears to be somewhat biased.

  17. November 28th, 2005 at 14:25 | #17

    Avaroo, I don’t think you have been paying attention. Right at the beginning what I did was cast doubt on your unsubstantiated assertion that Saddam Hussein blocked all inspections. I invited anyone with references to supply them – but I don’t have to, since I wasn’t trying to support a position but elicit and bring out information.

    And UN reports are not the definite evidence that Saddam Hussein made an open offer of imspections; since the offer was open, it should be available somewhere on the public record. UN reports inherently don’t report on things outside what was presented to them, so they can’t be used to prove or disprove a negative with any reliability (which was the point I was making about them).

    But there’s little point commenting further on this area; We’re just going round in circles. As the old saying has it, you can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.

  18. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 14:42 | #18

    PMLawrence, what you’d have to do is cast doubt on UN inspector reports. And so far, you haven’t done that despite being given many oppotrunities.

  19. avaroo
    November 28th, 2005 at 14:47 | #19

    and that’s no way to talk about your mother!
    :)

  20. Graeme Bird says:
    January 29th, 2006 at 14:01 | #20

    “In the leadup to the Iraq war, we were repeatedly told that anyone who disagreed with the rush to war, or criticised the Bush Administration, was “anti-Americanâ€?.”

    No you weren’t. That’s nonsense.

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