Patterico's Pontifications


AP Mis-States The “Bush Doctrine” in Criticizing Palin For Not Being Able To Explain The Bush Doctrine

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — WLS @ 11:42 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Here is the lead paragraph from the AP story on the ABC interview of Palin:

John McCain running mate Sarah Palin sought Thursday to defend her qualifications but struggled with foreign policy, unable to describe President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threatening nations…

For those of you who haven’t watched the tape, Gibson asked her if she agreed with the “Bush Doctrine.”  She gave a generalized answer supporting President Bush’s strategy of combating Islamic extremism wherever it is found. 

Here’s the problem — the “Bush Doctrine” is many different things, not one thing that Gibson thinks he knows it to be or the AP thinks it knows it to be.  I’ve seen other critics of her performance describe it as the “You’re either with us or against us” warning to third party nations harboring terrorists.

Here is the actual “Bush Doctrine” — otherwise known as the National Security Strategy of the United States 2002:

It’s actually a 31-page policy paper that spells out how the United States intends to pursue and protect its national security interests in a post-9/11 world.  It is both the justification for preemptive war, as well as a justification for including rogue nations in the same class as terrorist organizations. And it’s a lot more.

Which just goes to prove that allowing reporters to ask questions on subjects about which they have an incomplete understanding is an invitation to hilarity — at the reporter’s expense.


Link Fixed.

The Document linked above was issued Sept. 2002. 

There may have been an oral formulation of the policy in a speech given earlier than that date.   So, what’s the point of Gibson’s question?  Whether she had memorized different Presidential speeches that were given on different days and in different locations? Whether she had read the 2002 version of the Policy, or the revised 2006 version of the Policy? 

Generically calling a broad national security policy by its short-hand title, and asking someone if they “agree with” it, is inane.

42 Responses to “AP Mis-States The “Bush Doctrine” in Criticizing Palin For Not Being Able To Explain The Bush Doctrine”

  1. The Associated Press is destroying its brand. Every conservative I know regards the AP as an organization worthy of intense mockery.

    Now I understand why Bush doesn’t make many attempts to communicate his positions. He just figures the bastards are going to distort what he says and means, so screw em, they get squat. Sad, but it’s come to that.

    The pressure on Palin is immense. She has to sit a foot or so away from a pompous talking head, all the time telling herself not to give this asshole a gotcha moment.

    Gibson looked sour and more tight assed than usual.

    PC14 (ec0516)

  2. WLS, the hyperlink there is broken, although cutting and pasting the URL works.

    Beldar (8a23eb)

  3. Wikipedia gets the gist of it right, too:

    The Bush Doctrine is a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, enunciated in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The official term recognized by the White House for the Bush Doctrine is The National Security Strategy of the United States of America of 2006.[1] The phrase initially described the policy that the United States had the right to treat countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as terrorists themselves, which was used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan.[2] Later it came to include additional elements, including the controversial policy of preventive war…

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. Has anyone noticed that Associated Press begins with “ASS”? They need to change their name to JackAssociated Press.

    peedoffamerican (389cf6)

  5. Has anyone noticed that Associated Press begins with “ASS”?

    Nope, never occurred to me, not even once.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  6. Ping. (I haven’t figured out yet whether I can do trackbacks from, where I’m guest-blogging, but I quoted you there, WLS.)

    Beldar (8a23eb)

  7. “Which just goes to prove that allowing reporters to ask questions on subjects about which they have an incomplete understanding is an invitation to hilarity — at the reporter’s expense.”

    True, but too many people believe the reporters line without asking questions, and the reporters support Obama. Quite often by the time the truth gets out the damage has been done.

    tyree (7a25f8)

  8. BARACK OBAMA: In a conference call with reporters, Obama said Clinton would continue the “Bush doctrine” of only speaking to leaders of rogue nations if they first meet conditions laid out by the United States.

    Looks like Obama doesn’t know what the Bush Doctrine is!

    Shakes The Clown (c6b8b9)

  9. I don’t think Bush knows what it is anymore. She needs to learn to lie in order to deal with these interviewers. They can’t handle the truth.

    It’s like the way they distorted her comment that she didn’t know what the VP does. Nobody else does either except to vote in ties in the Senate and take over if the president keels over.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  10. “It’s like the way they distorted her comment that she didn’t know what the VP does. Nobody else does either except to vote in ties in the Senate and take over if the president keels over.”

    Mike K – The problem is that Progs all know that Cheney really runs the country and Bush is just a figurehead, which is why they are so worried about a baby birthin’, gun totin’, moose dressin’, god botherin’ Caribou Barbie like Sarah.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  11. Beldar — Hugh Hewitt?!?!?!?!?!?!?


    Don’t forget us when you’re famous like Barnett.

    wls (06079b)

  12. Here’s the Bush Doctrine, “democracy ends with the election, then it’s Autocracy”. Palin’s background is consistent with this.

    Amer (6c4685)

  13. Here’s the Liberal Doctrine: Lie until elected, then outlaw elections.

    PCD (1df2b5)

  14. Beldar, congrats on the substitute gig with Hewitt.

    Hugh is one of the genuine gentlemen of the business.

    Oh, Insert a dis of the Generalissimo’s Camaro. (I used to work for the Generalissimo.)

    PCD (1df2b5)

  15. #10, daleyrocks, “Caribou Barbie” put a smile on my face. I’m going to use it, thanks.

    Hat tip to Beldar. He was right about Sarah Palin. In my push for Condi Rice, I failed to appreciate Palin’s talent and accomplishments. Clearly, I underestimated her, overlooked her, and didn’t see the paradigm shift she represents, as others are doing now. Pass the crow pie, I’m happy to have another bowl.

    As for the “Bush Doctrine,” in an age of weapons of mass destruction, it’s only common sense to stop an enemy from inflicting such a devastating attack on our people. To advocate any other policy is insane, and should be denounced as such from every forum in the land.

    Anyone who refuses to protect the nation while giving the enemy time to strike us isn’t fit to lead a dog and pony show, much less the USA.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  16. Here’s the Bush Doctrine, “democracy ends with the election, then it’s Autocracy”.

    When did that happen? And if so, then WTH are we going through the motions of this election?

    Rob Crawford (6c262f)

  17. Here’s the Liberal Doctrine: Lie until elected, then outlaw elections.

    Variation: Here’s the Liberal Doctrine: Lie until elected, then start running for reelection.

    Icy Truth (0e4d32)

  18. I agree the Bush Doctrine is more than just preemptive action but Palin should have just given Gibson the answer he was looking for and then expanded on what a McCain/Palin war policy would be. Now it just looks like she doesn’t know what the common (albeit simplified and incomplete) understanding of the doctrine is. I think it’ll be easier for libs to spin this their way, especially given how it is being reported (whether fair or not) that Palin “does not know what the Bush Doctrine is”.

    That said, when I hear the words “Bush Doctrine” I do have to think about exactly what it is. Usually I think Bush Doctrine=”Kicking ass and taking names.” How I wish she had said that! Gibson would have fainted.

    Peter W (d63e2b)

  19. Peter W — how could she give Gibson “the answer he was looking for” since his question could have been construed to address about a half dozen different issues?

    A better framed question would have been “Do you agree with that component of the Bush Doctrine that holds that the US is allowed under international law to engage in pre-emptive military action against sovereign nations if we have intelligence information that that nation intends to strike at us?”

    WLS (26b1e5)

  20. Until someone starts a separate thread, I will post this here. During his appearance on The View today, the following took place (as reported, without shame, by HuffPo):

    McCain was also pushed on his stance on abortion, saying he thought Roe v. Wade was a bad decision. Saying he’d nominate justices who interpret the constitution, Whoopi asked if that meant she’d be returned to slavery

    — That tells you absolutely everything that you will ever need to know regarding Whoopi Goldberg and politics.

    Icy Truth (0e4d32)

  21. Peter W — how could she give Gibson “the answer he was looking for” since his question could have been construed to address about a half dozen different issues?

    Hey, I agree with you. But if she had said, “the Bush doctrine is preemptive action among other things and I think (blank) about that and etc, etc.” I don’t think the media would be having the field day with it that they are. I could be wrong but I think if she had mentioned that part of the Bush Doctrine she wouldn’t be getting hammered as she is.

    My point is that it is not about the truth. It is about whatever the media can do to take her down and whatever she can do to avoid that.

    I see your point that maybe Gibson was just trying to trap her and any answer she gave would have been unacceptable.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love her as the VP candidate and think she has done wonders for our side.

    Peter W (d63e2b)

  22. Ropelight’s Doctrine:

    The United States of America will attack immediately, directly, and violently with all the power at our disposal, any nation, organization, or individual who makes threats against us, and who either has or is attempting to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Our decision to attack, or not to attack, will be based exclusively on our own calculus, without extraneous considerations.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  23. There’s an updated, 2006 version, too.

    V. Prevent Our Enemies from Threatening Us, Our Allies, and Our Friends with
    Weapons of Mass Destruction

    A. Summary of National Security Strategy 2002

    The security environment confronting the United States today is radically different from
    what we have faced before. Yet the first duty of the United States Government remains
    what it always has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an
    enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate and
    counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave
    damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more
    compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty
    remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than
    a terrorist attack with WMD.

    To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if
    necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense. The United
    States will not resort to force in all cases to preempt emerging threats. Our preference is
    that nonmilitary actions succeed. And no country should ever use preemption as a
    pretext for aggression.

    Countering proliferation of WMD requires a comprehensive strategy involving
    strengthened nonproliferation efforts to deny these weapons of terror and related
    expertise to those seeking them; proactive counterproliferation efforts to defend against
    and defeat WMD and missile threats before they are unleashed; and improved protection
    to mitigate the consequences of WMD use. We aim to convince our adversaries that they
    cannot achieve their goals with WMD, and thus deter and dissuade them from attempting
    to use or even acquire these weapons in the first place.

    Quoting the 54 page version. Preemptive strikes seem to be optional rather than required.

    htom (412a17)

  24. I just love watching the Left try to figure out just how to deal with Gov. Palin.

    JD (5f0e11)

  25. 22, ropelight, if that is so, why haven’t we killed Ayers and Dorhn?

    PCD (1df2b5)

  26. #25 – PCD

    Because we haven’t elected ropelight.

    Icy Truth (3b614c)

  27. 26, Maybe we should and I could be his VP.

    PCD (1df2b5)

  28. #25, Don’t get me started. But, I like the way you think.

    #26, If nominated, I will not run, If elected, I will not serve. Been there, done that. (still got my amateur standing)

    #27, I could do worse. I’ll keep you in mind, and thanks for volunteering. See #26 above.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  29. 28, then if you get elected with me running as VP, I would be President when you resigned.

    Liberal Hell On EARTH!!!

    PCD (1df2b5)

  30. Better get yourself a food taster, Ropelight!

    Icy Truth (3b614c)

  31. PCD, what would be your first act in office? Take your time, this is a serious question, even if the initial assumption is far fetched. Others can play too.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  32. #31 Ropelight:

    what would be your first act in office?

    Turn on the lights?

    EW1(SG) (da07da)

  33. Clearly your first act in office would be to oppress women, minorities, children, and the elderly. Then, an elective war for arugula,capped off with shredding the Constitution.


    JD (5f0e11)

  34. #32, as you were, sailor. Pipe down! If I wanted your opinion, I’d give you one. I’m not takin’ no lip from washed-up swab jockies or jackass deck apes. You probably get nauseous watching reruns of Victory at Sea, and I bet you still roll your clothes. You don’t know the difference between flotsam and flounders, and when’s the last time you had SOS, eh pal?

    Your mates ought to put you in a lifeboat till you’re sober. Probably can’t shoot straight either. You probably can’t even swim or tell an ebb tide from low tide, or distinguish between a cinder block and a cinderella liberty.

    My first act would to clap your insubordinate salty rear end in irons and have some Marines escort you to paint Davey Jones locker, and not the one in Honolulu either.

    I’m beginning to like my new job. Carry on!

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  35. Probably would declare Whoopi to be your personal slave. Racists.

    JD (5f0e11)

  36. #33, not quite. But your memtion of the Constitution does give me an idea. I’d make a point of reinvigorating the 10 Amendment. That would put a sharp limit on the size and scope of the Federal governmant and reduce the DC bureaucracy by about 2/3rds. Then I could cut taxes in half, secure the borders, put criminals in jail, and frog march Pinch and the editorial staff of the NY Times to Rikers Island. Cold Cash Jefferson wouldn’t last 30 minutes on my watch either. Say, this is fun, I could really do this job.

    Whoopi’s too ugly to be seen in the people’s house. I don’t want any slaves anyway, too much trouble and I don’t want the responsibility. I’ve got other fish to fry.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  37. The Bush doctrine is very clear. Lie your way into a war, dress yourself up like Roger Ramjet to paint yourself as a military hero, attack the motives and patriotism of those that question your sanity and honesty and laugh behind their backs at those that dont. What’s so difficult about explaining that? Sarah loves to lie so what?

    VietEraVet (543dfe)

  38. Roger Ramjet, meet Sammy Spambot.

    Icy Truth (582d04)

  39. #37, VietEraVet, your link doesn’t work. Are you the guy who used the name “psyberian” here?

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  40. VEV – Take your meds. Listen to your doctor. They truly do have your best interests at heart.

    JD (6a8c0a)

  41. #34 Ropelight: Dang me! Not bad for a landlubber!

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  42. That’s Mr landlubber to you, blue jacket.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

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