August 22, 2005

Bringing back the Vietnam protest ethos.

Should Democrats bring back the Vietnam era anti-war imagery, with folksinging gatherings and get-out-now rhetoric? I can understand wanting to express yourself that way if that's what you feel, but you know it didn't win elections back then. There were some intense events, like the Democratic Convention of 1968, but then Nixon got elected.

Armando at DailyKos quotes Hillary Clinton — "She said the United States should remain in Iraq until peace can be maintained by the Iraqi people, saying the mission was part of the 'long struggle against terrorism' by the U.S. 'The threat of terrorism is as close as our daily commute'" — and agonizes:
So Hillary agrees with Cheney while the Republican Hagel is at war with Cheney. And we Democrats are supposed to smile for that? Not this Democrat. Finally, if you believe success in Iraq is "too important" how in God's name can you keep quiet while this unbelievable group of lying idiots bumbles their way to utter disaster?
But Clinton has just figured out what it takes to get elected. Flipping out like this makes it hard for Democratic candidates to position themselves to be trusted to take over from those "lying idiots" who are driving you crazy. If you're big on learning the lessons of Vietnam, there's that one too.

In the 170 comments so far on Armando's post, the name "Nixon" does not appear, interestingly enough. Perhaps Kos readers are too young to remember. But even if Nixon isn't in your personal memories, you must remember the last election, which Kerry lost because he couldn't inspire trust about how he would work toward success in Iraq. All the noisy anti-war types got out in front of him, and he could never manage to find a way to talk to those of us who demand that the President win the war.

But I'm not saying people like Armando should shut up for the good of party politics. I hate party politics myself. People should express what they think about the war. Squelching yourself for years in the hope of helping Hillary isn't worth it. I would just hope that people try to think clearly about the importance of success in Iraq. Don't be blinded by your hatred of Bush. If Kerry had won, we'd still be struggling and making mistakes there. And if Gore had become President in 2000, he would have had to do something about Iraq sooner or later. So express yourself, but face up to the difficulties of the real world. Think hard before going into full Vietnam peacenik mode.

189 comments:

EddieP said...

If I support someone you call an idiot, then by implication I'm an idiot as well. I ardently support Bush in the WoT, but not everything else. If you want to convert me to your point of view, you don't start by insulting me and calling me an idiot. Why is this so difficult for these people to understand?

corbusier said...

Ann,

You point out a fact I’ve always had to remind myself with when confronting older people who reminisce and glorify their Vietnam protest days. Many presentations in magazines and TV about what was going on the late sixties and early seventies make it appear that almost everyone was a flower-child and thus everyone was against the war. It’s quite easy to get lost in thinking that the changes in the culture translated to a new political landscape. But then I recall that Nixon won handily in ’68 and ’72 and a Republican has been president for a total of 25 years since the “summer of love”. The current protesters who were around back then appear to be quite myopic about the effect their efforts had on political change.

www.architectureandmorality.blogspot.com

Sloanasaurus said...

The anti-war movement motivates those who support the war as much as those against it. I recall some of my more liberal friends privately stating that they were relieved that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld were in command after Sept 11 rather than the Democrats. Even though they still despise Bush et al and will say so publically every time, one wonders how some of these people will actually vote when it matters.

Democrats won't be able to shake the perceived weakness in defense in 2006 or in 2008 (they are no longer JFK's party). Democrats will have a better chance of getting elected when the war is won, which is why they should support winning the war rather than losing it.

Matt said...

The theory that calling your opponents idiots wins voters is based on this idea--that doing so ("standing up" and "having backbone" are the common phrases on places like DKos) energizes a group of non-voters/disillusioned voters far larger than any segment that is alienated. In these people's view, anyone who voted for Bush is lost to the Democratic party forever and will never change their mind. (A Variant are--"anyone who's pro-life will never vote Democratic no matter what we do on abortion, so why don't we push abortion harder to energize pro-choice people.")

I think that makes for an overly simple understanding of politics, but that's the theory.

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
A minor point, but it seems to me that Armando also mischaracterizes Hagel's position on the war in Iraq. From the beginning he favored the US going into Iraq, but he also favored committing sending in a larger force to pacify the country. (He even ruminated about the possibility of reinstituting the draft at one point about a year ago.) His comments on Sunday specifically included his opinion that events in Iraq have overtaken his previous advice favoring a larger force and that our continued presence there is destabilizing of both Iraq and of the region.

In no way can he be described as opposed to the war in Iraq. His criticisms have been tactical, not strategic.

Clearly, Clinton and Hagel are in agreement about Iraq; Hagel has simply been more forthcoming with suggestions for how that policy might be pursued differently and to his mind, more successfully.

Mark Daniels said...

Sloan:
Like you, most of the Dems I know expressed relief that Bush and not Gore, was president on September 11, 2001. They also continue to feel that the country generally dodged a bullet when Gore was not elected in 2000, even though they dislike Bush intensely.

But most Dems and some Republicans of my acquaintance draw a distinction between the war on terror and the war in Iraq. They still wouldn't want Gore in the White House, but they are dismayed with the President's present performance.

Gerry said...

Ann,

I know you did not intend your post to be such, but it read like a letter to a Democratic party-- one that ceased to exist at some point in the not too distant past.

corbusier said...

slaunasaurus said:

…I recall some of my more liberal friends privately stating that they were relieved that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld were in command after Sept 11 rather than the Democrats. Even though they still despise Bush et al and will say so publically every time, one wonders how some of these people will actually vote when it matters...

Isn’t this precisely the problem? It’s no way to advance the cause of Democrats if liberals tell each other that there should be no effort to groom candidates who have respected reputations in dealing with foreign crises and can win the confidence of the military, since we’re all better off with the Republicans on such matters. It appears that some liberals agree with the status quo, letting republicans deal with the dirty business abroad, and then have the democrats take over once it’s all done. That’s not a good strategy for long-term control of the nation’s agenda if the foreign crisis is long-lasting, as the cold war once was and the global war on terror could possibly be.

Mark Buehner said...

Whether they should or not is immaterial. It is inevitable. It is also a disaster waiting to happen for the Dems. The upshot is a 'bring em home' candidate is going to beat at Hillary for the nomination, or at least marginalize her enough for a John Kerry II candidate to take the reigns. The former will be beaten as badly as McGovern and the latter will simply sink the same way Kerry did. More interesting is what happens to the Republican field, and who decides to pull a Nixon and run on a stealth bring em home platform.

Barry Dauphin said...

I think that it is not only that the Dems won't win elections this way. It's that, despite the many attempts to say otherwise, Vietnam is the wrong analogy and category for the present situation. Many Baby Boomers relish their protest days and have found something that reminds them of that. However, Iraq and the WoT are not Vietnam redux. The effort is doomed not because of past electoral failures but because of the inaptness of trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

jimcaserta said...

Reading a speech about Vietnam, I could substitute Iraq in for Vietnam and it could be one of Bush's. It talked about how the war was crucial to our national security and how we couldn't give up. Then I thought, "Was the national security of the USA gravely injured by our pull-out of Vietnam?"

Art said...

For the record, in 1969 I thought the war in Vietnam was a mistake. Today, Robert MacNamara, who was running things, more or less agrees.

When the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam, lots of bad things happened. Thirty years later things are less bad. Vietnam is a major US trading partner and people seem to be better off economically. They're still living under a Communist dictatorship.

Many conservatives want to blame Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, George McGovern, et al for the outcome of the war.

What I'm waiting for is a scenario under which there would have been another outcome.

If the above anti-war individuals had stayed silent, and Johnson and Nixon had free reign to prosecute the war in any way they saw fit, could we have achieved a different outcome?

Would dropping more bombs on North Vietnam have eventually made them give up? If we had doubled the number of troops had launched a full scale invasion of the north, would we have been able to hold the territory and bring it under the South Vietnamese government?

I suppose we could have dropped nuclear weapons. That would have wiped out cities and killed thousands of people. Would that have yielded a victory of the sort we won in WW 2?

George W. Bush has had a much easier life than LBJ when it comes to fighting the war. Other than Chuck Hagel, Republicans know to either stay silent or repeat whatever talking points they're handed that day. (Democrats are uncertain and disagree with each other. That's why they loose elections.) And thus far he's been able to keep the media on a short leash although they're starting to ask unpleasant questions.

But what more can we do beyond the "more of the same" that doesn't seem to be working?

Maybe they'll pass a constitution and everything will get better.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

The contemporary Liberal movements seem constitutionally unable to wield power. Extreme liberalism in its modern mode seems to find power itself to be the problem and consequently ties itself in knots whenever it seeks to actually be in power.

I am stil someone more naturally at home with old school liberal Points of View, but I find no company on the Left. The Left has become defined by its hatred of its political enemies and the belief that all positions of power are inherently toxic. Hence it has become isolationist, oppositional, and void of inspiring leadership or ideology.

Re: Matt's theory about dems giving up on large sections of the electorate is spot on. But it's true of the Repubs too. It is becoming 'necessary' for most politcians to paint themselves into a corner with their rhetoric of slashing their opponenets. If some common ground with 'the other side' ever emerges, no one will be able to grab it without looking like a hypocrite.

It's a sad state for all of us.

Larry said...

Among the many differences between Vietnam and Iraq, two of the more significant are:

No Sep 11 then.
No draft now.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan and Mark:
Unlike you most of the Conservatives I know privately admit that they are embarassed for having supported Bush. The say he is a disaster of a President both foriegn and domestic but they don't dare disagree publicly for fear of being called a 'traitor', or even worse 'Leftist'. The also privately admit that they tend conservative partially due to have incredibly inadequate genitalia.

Data is not the plural of anecdote, especially ones as far fetched as yours. I don't know a single Democrat that is thankful our 'Steely eyed rocket man' is in charge and I'm relatively certain that even less would agree to that now. Especially given his complete bumbling in the WoT.

What I'm actually curious about is how you think Gore or Kerry would have been worse? Especially when it comes to Gore (because he wasn't walking into the huge mess of his predecessor).

L. Ron Halfelven said...

The big irony in the Nixon comparison is that this time it was Kerry who had the Secret Plan for Peace With Honor.

Henry said...

Two other points of difference between Vietnam and Iraq are these:

Somalia
Kosovo

Somalia as a reminder that cut-and-run has consequences.

Kosovo as a reminder that the U.S. is the world's policeman and that it can't pass the buck.

There is also the plain fact that in Iraq, the U.S. is not buttressing a post-colonial dictatorship; rather, it is supporting a nascent democracy.

That's a big difference in context.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...For the record, in 1969 I thought the war in Vietnam was a mistake. Today, Robert MacNamara, who was running things, more or less agrees...."

Vietnam can be considered a battle of the cold war, and it is true that America won the cold war. The question to ask is could we have won the cold war without waging the war in Vietnam? Did the Communists in fact win only a pyrric victory in Vietnam? IMHO all the vietnam era generation will have to pass on before we get a better accounting of the history in vietnam.

Freeman Hunt said...

Unlike you most of the Conservatives I know privately admit that they are embarassed for having supported Bush.

I doubt that this is true. Conservatives aren't happy with the growth of government and the border situation, but I call bullshit on the idea that you know a bunch of actual conservatives who wish they had voted for Kerry.

Satya said...

Should Democrats bring back the Vietnam era anti-war imagery, with folksinging gatherings and get-out-now rhetoric? I can understand wanting to express yourself that way if that's what you feel, but you know it didn't win elections back then.

OK, but...

Those Democrats were right. The anti-war protestors who, in 1968, said we should pull out now would have saved tens of thousands of American lives (and who knows how many Vietnamese and Cambodian lives). Staying the course for seven more years in Vietnam was a catastrophic policy that lead to huge numbers of casualties with absolutely no benefit to the United States or to the people of Southeast Asia. Does this not enter in to the conversation? Is how people are perceived - and weather they win elections - all that matters these days?

Ernst Blofeld said...

In marketing terms the groups like DKos are eroding the brand identity of Democrats, or rather establishing the brand identity of Democrats as being that of DKos. Something similar happened in the '04 election when Michael Moore did more to establish the Democratic brand than did Kerry. That didn't work out so well for Democrats.

Cold Pillow said...

Freeman Hunt:
You are absolutely right, most of the Conservatives I know do not regret voting for Bush. While I do no numerous Bush voters with buyers remorse my post was meant to be a sarcastic illustration of Sloan and Marks assertion that Democrats are thankful Bush beat Gore (hence the inadequate endowment comment). But I do appreciate you illustrating your lack of perspective (and what I consider to be the general intellectual laziness of the Right) by jumping on my post while ignoring theirs.

Cold Pillow said...

no = know, I have to stop posting while trying to conference call and eat lunch. I promise to make proof reading my friend.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Unlike you most of the Conservatives I know privately admit that they are embarassed for having supported Bush. The say he is a disaster of a President both foriegn and domestic but they don't dare disagree publicly for fear of being called a 'traitor', or even worse 'Leftist..."

This is just a FLAT OUT LIE. I took conservatives a generation to lose their fear of expressing conservativism to begin with, the last thing they are going to be afraid of is debate among conservatives.

".....What I'm actually curious about is how you think Gore or Kerry would have been worse? Especially when it comes to Gore (because he wasn't walking into the huge mess of his predecessor)....."

I also think Gore would have gone into Iraq. The war would be the same, but the feeling about it would be better because Gore would have had more support from the media. I think Gore would have done alright. A lot of conservatives would have trusted him and supported the effort.

Kerry would have been a disaster for the War on Terror.

Art said...

Sloanasaurus said:
"IMHO all the vietnam era generation will have to pass on before we get a better accounting of the history in vietnam."

To which I totally agree...Then whatever conflict we're involved in can be argued in terms of who did what about Iraq.

Rinse and repeat.

Henry said...

Like cold pillow I'm bemused at the thought of liberals voicing secret satisfaction at having George Bush in charge. It sure doesn't square with my experience!

On the other hand, the idea of the Bush as a bumbling idiot is not very compelling politically. You read history and you find out that most presidents were bumbling idiots; wartime presidents especially ("shoddy" is a civil-war era term, just for one indicator).

A Democrat running on the platform of "I will fight terrorism and not be an idiot" (which I think was more or less what Kerry was trying to say) isn't going to convince. Voters know politicians screw up. Promising perfection fails the believability test.

Even a platform of fighting the war "smarter" will fail if coupled with anti-war activism. The easiest way to not make mistakes is not to do anything, to go prone, which is exactly the message that Democrats most need to avoid.

Larry said...

I think Satya makes a good point about the issues that go beyond electoral calculations. But if he'd read to the end of the post, he would have seen this: "People should express what they think about the war. Squelching yourself for years in the hope of helping Hillary isn't worth it."

And, regarding the past, it's not just those who forget it that are condemned to repeat it -- it's also those who obsess over it, or become trapped by it and its faded rhetoric and rituals. So -- even assuming those Democrats were right then doesn't make these Democrats right now.

PS: "cold pillow" is what's known as a troll -- one sign being an inordinate concern with the size of people's genitalia; it's kinder all round just not to feed them.

Mark Daniels said...

Cold Pillow:
I'm not claiming that my anecdotes add up to hard data nor was it my intention to defend the President's policies in Iraq. I was simply reporting my awareness of the almost unanimous verdict of my Democratic friends in this area following the events of September 11, 2001 that they deemed it a good thing that Mr. Bush was President and not Mr. Gore at that moment.

I pointed out that they--as well as some Republicans I know, all of whom voted for Bush in 2000--draw a distinction between the actions taken by the President immediately following the 9/11 attacks, on the one hand, and the invasion of Iraq on the other. They support the former and look askance at the latter.

Sloan:
I am a Republican and I can report that in this county which has no Democratic officeholders, except a smattering of township trustees here and there, no Republican would dare to publicly express their misgivings about the Iraq policy, although I've had a handful do so with me privately. These are prominent persons, too.

Each party produces its own brand of political correctness, militating against people actually thinking. Instead, they mimic their party's prevailing lines.

This is what I find so refreshing about Hagel and McCain. While clearly conservatives--more conservative than the President who has violated much of conservative orthodoxy while claiming fealty to it, they're unafraid to think outside partisan boxes.

Now that I've ticked everybody off, I will close.

Mark

Elizabeth said...

I don't think Cold Pillow is a troll at all. He used satire to point out that Sloan's comment about liberals being secretly relieved Bush was in charge on 9/11 is a silly fantasy. You must not have actually experienced internet trolls if you think a simple little piece of sarcasm is trolling!

Freeman Hunt said...

But I do appreciate you illustrating your lack of perspective (and what I consider to be the general intellectual laziness of the Right) by jumping on my post while ignoring theirs.

Relieved to find that you were being satirical. Do not, however, jump to conclusions. I jumped on your post because it was one of the very few that I actually read. It caught my eye because I haven't seen you post on this blog before, so I read your comment.

I do not have any liberal friends who secretly like Bush or are glad that he is in office. I did, however, vote Gore in 2000, and I'm glad that my side lost. Of course, I'm also a conservative now, so that's not the same as being a liberal who is happy that Bush is in charge.

Tom said...

My next door neighbor is a firefighter who still gets teary-eyed at the thought of the World Trade Center towers collapsing. The guy who lives across the street is an engineer whose job was outsourced to China. The guy next door is a Democrat. The guy across the street is a Republican. The guy next door voted for Bush. The guy across the street voted for Kerry.

My point: our political system is in the middle of a radical reinvention, but too many people are still analyzing it using archaic definitions and assumptions developed between August 1945 and November 1989. But the end of the Cold War, NAFTA, free trade in general and September 11 have changed things immensely. In this world, it shouldn't be a surprise when Hillary and Hagel find themselves in places where one doesn't expect them. Like when a Democratic firefighter votes for the Republican, and the Republican corporate engineering manager votes for the Democrat.

Simon Kenton said...

You guys are treating this from the perspective of policy, and I like to be boring in those ways too, most of the time. But doesn't anyone else here react nauseously when thinking, "God, here we go again. "folksinging gatherings and get-out-now rhetoric.'" That endless pukey sincerity, and we're trying to impose it all over again? From time to time I get the same feeling listening to oldies stations: nearly all this stuff is just such CRAP, and my generation is pigs to the wallow about it. All that dismal earnestness was bad then, and we're looking to rub the kids' faces in it for another 20 years? O les beaux jours que ce siecle de fer...?

So, ploopusgirl, ready? Cumbayah.

Nathan said...

Staying the course for seven more years in Vietnam was a catastrophic policy that lead to huge numbers of casualties with absolutely no benefit to the United States or to the people of Southeast Asia.

Only because the United States subsequently withdrew, betraying the South Vietnamese people and completely nullifying everything that both Americans and South Vietnamese had fought and died for.

Of course you do not benefit by quitting halfway! Instead you lose all the effort that was put in until you quit. Just because you have to put in more effort to achieve something, does not mean that you should stop.

Freeman Hunt said...

But doesn't anyone else here react nauseously when thinking, "God, here we go again. "folksinging gatherings and get-out-now rhetoric.'" That endless pukey sincerity, and we're trying to impose it all over again?

Heh. Yes to the nausea. A rehash of the lamest aspects of the baby boomer generation.

Sloanasaurus said...

Partisanship is important during war time. If people start falling off and second guessing, you will surely lose the war. Imagine if Republicans would have abandoned Lincoln in 1864 to save their own political skins.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Some quick thoughts:

-Approximately 80% of the population in Iraq (Shiites and Kurds) is working with us. Hmmm, same as 'Nam, or different?

-The death count in this war is radically low by any measure (and by any measure of any war). Same as 'Nam, or different?

-In this war we invaded a nation that had violated U.N resolutions and agreements that they had pledged to live by when we beat them the first time (when they invaded another sovereign nation). This war did not spontaneously come out of the blue, and in effect is resolving a long standing stagnating situation (more resolutions, no-flight zones, a missile here, a missle there) in a more organized and resolute fashion. Same as 'Nam or different?

-This war is being fought by a volunteer army. Same as 'Nam or different?

-This war involved deposing a ruthless dictator who was not a popular figure loved by more than half a nation. Same as 'Nam, or different?

-This war is in the Middle East, in the year 2005, and involving natural resources that the entire world depends on. Same as 'Nam, or different? (And if you said same, isn't it finally time to put the drugs away. Hunter Thompson is fireworks now, kiss the past goodbye).

-Finally, we have Krispy Kremes everywhere now. Same as 'Nam, or different? (Yes, I saved the most cogent point for last).

Telling people this war is like 'Nam is like telling old folks that they will lose their social security (with any S.S. reform) and end up being pimped out by Harold the bridge champion, who hangs out in the community's rec room. Utter nonsense. Harold, like Joan Baez, lost his pimp hand long ago.

Simon Kenton said...

Mr Hunt -

After I posted on the nausea of warmed-over Namprots, I encountered this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/21/AR2005082101113_pf.html

"They are Stardust, and in Texas"

"It's kind of like if Woodstock was really organized...." organized....

I think this WAPO headline gets the unintentional hilarity of the week award - though the week is young. Where I come from - New Mexico, a proud impoverished colony of Spain, Mexico, and now Texas - we have a lot of trouble associating Texas with stardust. Oil and cowshit and big voices, but not stardust.

Cold Pillow said...

larry:
I'm not a troll, I was making a point about the creation of anecdotes to back up our beliefs. Sorry that my humor was lost on you.

Mark:
Thank you for your reasoned response. I still find it hard to believe that Democrats find comfort in Bush's actions after 9/11 but I suppose that could vary significantly given the diversity of opinion on the left. Although I find it especially hard to believe they would be reassured given what we now know about W's actions(or lack thereof) BEFORE 9/11. If this is an allusion to the myth that the wimpy liberals would just try to reason with the terrorists or give them 'therapy' then we are probably too far apart for this to be worthwhile. However I don't really get that impression from you.

So I'm wondering what was so impressive about Bush's performance that put people at ease. I lived in NYC during 9/11 and remember thinking what a sad spectacle the president was when compared to Giuliani.

Although, on some levels, the Iraq war can be seperated from his actions immediately following 9/11 it is too hard to ignore the connections. With Osama Bin Laden still free, Afghanistan falling back into lawlessness, fewer allies around the world, a complete failure to develop a sensible energy policy and the large scale creation of terrorists through our percieved attempts to conquer large muslim populations (now with color photos to give their hate and propaganda validation).

So my question is, why are you, why is anyone glad Bush was in charge? I honestly don't get it.

Cold Pillow said...

Nathan:
Only because the United States subsequently withdrew, betraying the South Vietnamese people and completely nullifying everything that both Americans and South Vietnamese had fought and died for.

How much longer would it have taken for us to be successful in Vietnam? How many more soldiers would have had to die? What would have been acceptable for 'victory'?

Now what about Iraq? If it took the same amount of time and same number of casualties would you still support the war?

Freeman Hunt said...

Good point, Sloan. And very good thoughts, Finn. That pretty much lays it out, doesn't it?

LOL at that article, Simon. I especially liked the little things such as "'It's kind of like if Woodstock was really organized,' said Chris Voigt, 51, an architect from Fort Worth who was volunteering in the spacious kitchen tent, scraping a frittata pan." Haha. It was something about the "fittata pan" that got me. So fitting. All the pretentious ex-hippy baby-boomers making spacious kitchen tents, eating fittatas, reminiscing. Gag.

Minor note: It's Mrs. Hunt. :)

Freeman Hunt said...

So my question is, why are you, why is anyone glad Bush was in charge? I honestly don't get it.

Because he doesn't treat combating terrorism as a function of law enforcement, and he led us to oust Saddam. I am 100% behind the idea of bringing democracy to the Middle East. The day that Democrats started coming out against the Iraq war was the day I took a hard look at the DNC and left. It also led me to examine all of my other formerly held political notions, and I ended up changing my mind on a lot of issues. (Of course, I had also recently made the transition from college student life to real life, so that was a big eye-opener as well.)

Cold Pillow said...

I also think Gore would have gone into Iraq. The war would be the same, but the feeling about it would be better because Gore would have had more support from the media.

I won't say Gore would not have attacked Iraq but I will say with a large degree of certainty that he wouldn't have turned it into the clusterf#*k it is today. I also don't believed he would have alienated us from the rest of the world in the process but that is just speculation.

However I think it's downright hilarious for you to suggest that Gore would have gotten friendlier treatment from the media. First I don't see how that's possible since the media has gleefully gone along with the Bush Doctrine of moving the goal posts. Whether it's WMD's, resisting the UN, spreading democracy, or fighting the terrorists they were right there with him. I am relatively certain that Gore, like Clinton wouldn't have been able to do anything without the media turning into 12 year olds and giggling about how he claims to have invented the Internet. And I'm sure the conservatives and Republicans would have fought him every step of the way in an effort to discredit him just as they did with Clinton. Unlike the docile Democrats who rolled over for Bush for the majority of his first term.

Lets just not pretend that the myth of the liberal media is anything other than a myth.

Freeman Hunt said...

Lets just not pretend that the myth of the liberal media is anything other than a myth.

Is that also a bit of satire?

Wurly said...

If the Democrats join with the anti-War protesters, they are enaging in suicide. The most vocal of the new activists simply do not care if the Democratic Party is a casualty of their campaign.

In New York last week, I was given a flyer by a group organizing a new march on Washington against the war. The protesters were holding signs saying "Support Cindy." The literature was explicit that that the organizers were not supporting Democrats, who were instead vilified for compromising with "fascist" Republicans.

An older (late 50's) man was hollering that the people shouldn't look to the Democrats, because they were no better than the Republicans. When Kerry's name was mentioned, the participants booed and called him a traitor.

I don't think that appealing to party loyalty, however you view the concept, will dissuade them.

Cold Pillow said...

Freeman Hunt:
Because he doesn't treat combating terrorism as a function of law enforcement, and he led us to oust Saddam. I am 100% behind the idea of bringing democracy to the Middle East.

As John Stewart would say, WHaaaaaaaa?
What the heck does ousting Saddam have to do with stopping terrorism? Unless of course you mean the way we took the most secular country in the middle east and turned it into a breeding ground for terrorists? Or maybe you were referring to how we squandered our massive political capital to invade a country THAT HAD NEVER ATTACKED US, meanwhile allowing Afghanistan to fall back into the dark ages. Or maybe it was the overall message we sent to troubled nations: "We won't mess with North Korea or Pakistan because they have nukes, and Saudi Arabia is our special buddy, but we'll fight terrorism by killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civillians to bring them democracy*/find the WMD's/'avenge my daddy'/fight terrorism. (*unless you are a woman). So basically you're safe as long as you have Nukes, Lobbyists, or are located somewhere in Africa."

Yes, Bush has turned us into a beacon of clarity and hope for the world. And we are surely safer from terror now that we've declared war on it*.(*That was sarcastic larry).

Sloanasaurus said...

Cold Pillow: We want a strategic and lasting victory in this conflict. We want a Congress of Vienna, not a Versialles.

Iraq is the center of the Arab world. The war has to be waged there eventually.

Elizabeth said...

Iraq is the center of the Arab world. The war has to be waged there eventually.

So we're at war with the Arab world? That's news. I thought we were at war with terrorism. This is an excellent illustration of just how nebulous and shifting are the reasons for our war in Iraq--WMDs; bogus 9/11 connections; it's not a new war, just continuing Desert Storm; and now, Iraq is the center of the Arab world, so war was inevitable there. Reminds me of the first Gulf War slogan: Operation Just Cause. Just 'cause we want to. Just 'cause we can. Just 'cause it's there, in the middle.

Don said...

Yes, the Iraq and Vietnam wars are different, but they are being fought for basically the same reason.

No, the Democrat's anti-war fanaticism in the late sixties didn't win them any elections, but it did lose us the war. And eventually gave us Jimmy Carter.

The anti-war crowd now, who are basically the same people as then, are using the same tactics this go around that they did back in the Vietnam ara: A war of attrition against public opinion. In that sense, this war is like the Vietnam war.

Given the President's current job approval numbers I'd say the strategy is working. It might not win any elections for the lefties, but it will sure undermine the opposition and the war effort.

-Don

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan
Cold Pillow: We want a strategic and lasting victory in this conflict. We want a Congress of Vienna, not a Versialles.

And I want a pony and a Ferrari but that doesn't make it so. I agree on the importance of reform in the middle east but this crew of bunglers has given me little reason to be optimistic. Whether through torture, corruption, or the massive scale slaughter of civillians I fear we have done irreperable harm to our ability to bring peace and stability to the Middle East. Not to mention the damage it has done to our credibility across the world. Whether you like it or not Iraq was neither the greatest threat nor the most oppresive country in the Middle East before our invasion. Now it will likely remain in a state of chaos and a drain on our already taxed resources for the forseeable future with one of our best options being it comes out of this looking like present day Iran. So you'll excuse me if I don't jump for joy at our achievement.

Daniel said...

Anecdotally, I also know a few Democrats and Libertarians who were very relieved after 9/11 that Bush was President rather than Gore. I think they perceived Gore as being more politically opportunistic and unprincipled than Bush, as evidenced by the way Gore kept trying to adjust his personality and reinvent his past depending on the audience he faced.

This is not to say that Gore wouldn't have reacted to 9/11 in a forceful manner, similar to Bush. He might well have. Democratic Presidents have been at least as willing to involve the country in foreign wars as Republican Presidents. But the problem is that no one could have reliably predicted Gore's reaction, or whether he would have subsequently waffled back and forth depending upon fluctuations in public opinion polls. Whatever criticisms people may have of President Bush, no one doubts his tenacity/stubborness.

John Kerry faced an even bigger political problem, given his history as a major anti-war protester. His over-compensation by over-emphasizing his brief Vietnam service record while simultaneously playing to the vocal anti-war faction of the Democratic Party caused severe cognitive dissonance, which the Swift Boat Vets were able to take advantage of.

In 2000 Gore lost the election despite winning the popular vote because anti-war candidate Ralph Nader (with Michael Moore's enthusiastic support) siphoned off just enough votes to hand Bush an Electoral College victory. In 2004 the anti-war types suppressed their doubts about Kerry and his "I voted for it before I voted against it" waivering in order to avoid a similar fiasco. But Bush won despite the absence of a strong third-party anti-war candidate.

In 2008, Dean's "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" is not going to quietly swallow a candidate who is not rabidly anti-war. They figure that they sacrificed in 2004 for the sake of unity, and it gained them nothing. So if a major political figure or celebrity (especially a rich one) decides to step forward as an Independent anti-war candidate, that person will split off a significant number of votes from the Democratic nominee. The level of self-delusion on the far left (as evidenced by the recent Cindy Sheehan activity) is such that many will believe a purist Independent anti-war candidate can catch fire and win a three-way race. After all, Ross Perot was surprisingly competitive, at least for a while.

That is probably the Democratic Party's biggest danger: That a big-name Independent will fission it's base. There's some chance that McCain could do the same to Republicans if he ran as an Independent, but it's a much smaller risk. After all, nobody but Main Stream Media reporters get emotionally excited about a McCain candidacy.

Jack Roy said...

And if Gore had become President in 2000, he would have had to do something about Iraq sooner or later.

Utter mythology. Is this because Saddam had WMDs, or because he was behind 9/11, again?

Clearer reasoning, please. There are convenient metaphors that help people make sense of the world. But lawyers don't get to use the excuse that a pleasant lie is easier to tell than a hard truth. And the question remains, if it's not begged, what consequences there would have been to leave Saddam in power, as weighed against the consequences we're now witnessing of removing him. It's not terribly helpful to elide that step of reasoning.

Matt said...

I'm a big fan of the idea of bringing democracy/democratic change/peace to the Middle East. However, I think invading countries in order to do so is a singularly ineffective way of accomplishing that (admittedly positive) end.

Jonathan said...

Cold Pillow wrote:
Or maybe it was the overall message we sent to troubled nations: "We won't mess with North Korea or Pakistan because they have nukes, and Saudi Arabia is our special buddy, but we'll fight terrorism by killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civillians to bring them democracy*/find the WMD's/'avenge my daddy'/fight terrorism. (*unless you are a woman). So basically you're safe as long as you have Nukes, Lobbyists, or are located somewhere in Africa."

I assume you would object if we invaded North Korea, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

We are applying pressure as we can to our adversaries and not using military force unless there is no better alternative. In the case of NK, an attack by us would probably lead to catastrophe, so we are doing what we can via diplomatic coalitions and other nonviolent means. In the case of Pakistan and SA, we have substantial diplomatic influence, and there appears to be a good chance that these countries will reform without war. By contrast, Iraq was both incorrigibly hostile, strategically important and militariliy weak, so the likely benefits of invasion outweighed the costs, and none of the many nonmilitary alternatives we tried (e.g., the final 6 months in the UN) worked. Looks to me like we have followed a careful policy and have avoided force to the extent possible.

Of course it could be that you disagree that we are at war with fundamentalist Islam, but in that case I suspect that nothing we could do in the Middle East would please you.

Nathan said...

How much longer would it have taken for us to be successful in Vietnam? How many more soldiers would have had to die?

I quote your president John F. Kennedy, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Did the American president and the American people carry out this promise to South Vietnamese? No they did not. This promise was a lie to the South Vietnamese. Do you think it should be a lie to the people of Iraq as well? Perhaps you disagree with President Kennedy and you think that the Americans are the only ones who should have freedom.

Now what about Iraq? If it took the same amount of time and same number of casualties would you still support the war?

The Americans have suffered many more casualties from their other wars in history, but they did not quit and they emerged the victors. Long before Vietnam, Americans were prepared to sacrifice one million of their soldiers to reform the Japanese. They did not have to do this, but now Japan is reformed and the world is a better place. Why should the Americans not be prepared to sacrifice one million of their soldiers to reform the Vietnamese or the Arabs? Are these people not as worthy as the Japanese? Maybe you think they are too low-life. Or maybe America is just a country of weak people now.

Cold Pillow said...

I assume you would object if we invaded North Korea, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

Yep, it would be a disaster. Especially if lead by 'the gang who couldn't shoot straight.'

In the case of Pakistan and SA, we have substantial diplomatic influence, and there appears to be a good chance that these countries will reform without war. By contrast, Iraq was both incorrigibly hostile, strategically important and militariliy weak

Diplomatic influence? Maybe. But not enough to get Saudi Arabia to stop summarily executing or raping women, provide significant financial assistance to our cause in the middle east or prevent dozens of their citizens from Attacking the US. Our influence with Pakistan hasn't exactly been a windfall either. Their own government agencies have assisted the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden(remember him). Now they are likely helping to destablilize Afghanistan and we are seeing record casualties there. Not to mention the thousands of young Muslims trained in their Madras's to hate America and learn nothing but the Koran. Oh yeah, and we give them Billions of tax dollars.

So here is my question, if Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan were turned into Secular states with no history of terrorism, no nuclear weapons or program, that never attacked the US would that be ok with you? What if they had the most liberal freedoms of the region? Because that is pretty much the state of the country we chose to invade. Saddam was a monster and I'm glad he's no longer in power.


so the likely benefits of invasion outweighed the costs

But was it really worth it, will it ever be? Was it worth thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars? Was it worth 10 thousand injured American soldiers and 10's of thousand dead Iraqi civillians? If it was can you tell me why? How great would Iraq have to turn out for it to be worth this? Especially as it looks more and more like Iraq will never be free the shining democracy of the middle east, if anything they will end up an islamic state with questionable freedoms. Iran Light if you will. I for one am not feeling like it was worth it and I didn't have to lose a friend or family member to feel that way.

XWL said...

Just as Republicans created a couple of generations of Democrats due to their reactions to the Depression (though serious debate could be made over whether FDR actually worsened the Depression with his socialists cures, the perception was that FDR cared, Republicans didn't), the current Democrats are creating future generations of Republicans by their continued fascination with reviving the tired rhetoric of the Vietnam Era (and to extend the analogy the Democrats appear to be the party that only cares about political points rather than the pain and anger caused by 9/11 and the Republicans offer a way to act against future attacks rather than waiting to react to the next attack, and again history will debate whether or not GWB's programs were positive or negative).

The majority of politically active people under the age of 40 (those too young to remember Vietnam or Watergate first hand) loathe Boomer/Hippie nostalgia (but let's see if any pollsters test that) and the longer this rhetoric is associated with Democrats the longer they will be out of power.

The icing on the cake this weekend was Joan Baez joining Camp Casey.

Seems to me there was much sloganeering back in the Vietnam Era about not trusting anyone over 35, but now that the shoe is on the other foot the current posturing is about not trusting anybody under 50 to make decisions for themselves (which might be why volunteers in their 20s and 30s are constantly infantilized by leftist and mothers of dead soldiers must speak for them rather than the soldiers themselves through their choices in life).

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Iraq is the center of the Arab world, so war was inevitable there..."

Yes it is. The Iraq war is all about the war on terror. The war on terror is all about WMD.

The question for the long term is what do we do about the proliferation of WMD? What do we do about the proliferation of WMD in the most unstable region in the world. The answer is: you cannot prevent the proliferation of WMD. Step 2, what do you do about the proliferation? You can try to create an atmosphere where governments are less likely to develop and use WMD and where governments are less likely to succomb to coups and islamist tyrannies. We know that freedom and democracy can create this atmosphere. We know from the Iraqi elections that the people do not want to live under tyranny.

The most corrupt and contemptable and aggressive regime in the middle east was Iraq. Taking down that regime is the heart of the whole long term strategic vision.

Maybe it is all a dream....but so was the United States of America in 1776.

Cold Pillow said...

Nathan:
Wow Nathan, that is an impressive collection of straw men you setup there. I really have nowhere to begin. But if you're willing to sacrifice 1 million Americans for the chance at a Democracy in Iraq we are pretty opposite ends of the spectrum.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan,

Saying it's so doesn't make it so. Iraq was not the center of the terror attack on the US, the U.S.S. Cole, and so forth. We're down to "yes it is" and "no it isn't" so that's not going anywhere as an argument.

As for the U.S. analogy, that wonderful 1776 dream came from within, not from an invading force. We can't just up and create democracy in Iraq, as we're seeing clearly with the farce of a constitution that's being rushed through on false deadlines, with undue deference to the Iran-style mullahs. I am aghast at the idea of pursuing war for a dream, but not that I think about it, it sure explains the debacle of our Iraq policy.

Nathan said...

What is "straw men"?

But if you're willing to sacrifice 1 million Americans

Is not my choice. Is choice of American president and American people.

for the chance at a Democracy in Iraq we are pretty opposite ends of the spectrum.

I see. Iraqi people are not worthy, but Japanese are? Or Japanese are not worthy either? What about Vietnamese? I thought America was not so racist country. Maybe America is not worthy either.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan:
You can try to create an atmosphere where governments are less likely to develop and use WMD and where governments are less likely to succomb to coups and islamist tyrannies.

We might start by not selling them the weapons in the first place. We could also stop supporting coups of democraticly elected leaders when they disagree with US policy. Thats a good start.

We could also make it less painfully transparent that the only thing we respect is nuclear weapons and the only surefire way to avoid us intervention is to get them.

We could also work to multilaterally disarm nuclear aresnals around the world and attempt to secure 'loose nukes'.

Unfortunately George W. Bush has failed on almost all of these levels. And I don't think its a strain to say we are facing a greater nuclear threat than before he took office. We are also facing a greater threat from terrorists. President Bush has assured that the most fanatic islamists have a rallying cry for the foreseeable future. But even worse he has made it so much harder for Arab and Muslim moderates to preach restraint and affect change when it seems like the US is an anti-islam aggressor.

Cold Pillow said...

Nathan:
Straw Man Fallacy - The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.

I never said Iraq didn't deserve Democracy. I never said Iraqis are less deserving than anyone else. You made that all up and created a false choice. I either support America invading these countries to bring Democracy at ANY cost or I'm against Democracy. It was dishonest and either you know it or should take some alone time to think it over.

Sloanasaurus said...

Elizabeth you are so pragmatic. I guess we should have just let the middle-east figure stuff out for themselves. We could have waited around for Iraqis to raise up and take down Saddam's great grandsons Maybe it would have taken a few hundred more years or a couple of nuclear wars, but they would have done it.

Thankfully, the French were not as pragmatic.

Cold Pillow said...

So no one is really answering my original question with regard to Vietname and the Iraq war. At what cost to American lives and money does this cease to be worth it? What degree of freedom and succcess must be achieved for this to be worth it? And why are we only having this discussion now that 1000's have died, 100's of billions have been spent?

I'm sorry if I sound preachy and bitter but it really pisses me off the number of time my patriotism was questioned by people on the right because I thought this war was a bad idea in the first place. I lived in NYC on 9/11 and am no stranger to what happened or how significant it was. Yet according to this administration it was imperative that we invade Iraq and you were either with us or against us. Now we have been there for 3+ years, had 1000's of American casualties, spent Billions of much needed money and what do we have to show for it? What will we have to show for it? I just don't see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan:
Elizabeth you are so pragmatic. I guess we should have just let the middle-east figure stuff out for themselves. We could have waited around for Iraqis to raise up and take down Saddam's great grandsons

See above description of Straw Man. Intellectual dishonesty gets us nowhere.

Nathan said...

Cold Pillow:

Oh, I see. Thank you.

I never said Iraq didn't deserve Democracy. I never said Iraqis are less deserving than anyone else. You made that all up and created a false choice. I either support America invading these countries to bring Democracy at ANY cost or I'm against Democracy.

Your "straw man" is that you can go back in time and undo the invasion of Iraq, and then do all those nice things you suggested instead. But you cannot, nobody can. Since Ann talks about everybody thinking like this is Vietnam again, you Americans now have opportunity to prove that you are not weak like in Vietnam. Real choice, not straw man choice, is that right now either you can stay or you can go. Which one do you support? Betray people again? Or stay, maybe ten years, maybe fifty years? Maybe never leave, like Japan and Germany, who are good friends with Americans now?

Sloanasaurus said...

"....We could also work to multilaterally disarm nuclear aresnals around the world and attempt to secure 'loose nukes'....."

Yes lets do this. Everyone in the world is so agreeable. You have to be realistic about human behavior. History shows that agreement is only temporary with dictatorships.

"....President Bush has assured that the most fanatic islamists have a rallying cry for the foreseeable future....."

What is that rallying cry and how is it different than before? I have a prediction: Perhaps the rallying cry be curse the democratic infidels in Iraq.

Elizabeth said...

Cold Pillow--add "false dilemma" to that list of logic problems with Sloan's argument.

Larry said...

CP: I'm not a troll, I was making a point about the creation of anecdotes to back up our beliefs. Sorry that my humor was lost on you.

Yeah, I'm sorry too. I guess, now that you point it out, the idea that the "adequacy" of people's vaginas or penises is a function of their political leanings is pretty funny if you're fixated on genitals to begin with, but it's curious that only you (and Elizabeth) noticed it.

For such a satirist, though, you seem pretty short-sighted and confused. Let's see: you "agree on the importance of reform in the middle east", and you "won't say Gore would not have attacked Iraq" ("a country", remember, "THAT HAD NEVER ATTACKED US"), and you think that "Saddam was a monster and I'm glad he's no longer in power" -- but at the same time you say "I for one am not feeling like it [the Iraq invasion] was worth it and I didn't have to lose a friend or family member to feel that way". Is that just mood swing? You could, with a little work, reconcile these statements, it's true -- but I see no evidence that you've tried very hard. Instead, it looks more like just another case of that old Bush Derangement Syndrome.

And Elizabeth, I'm disappointed. For someone who usually makes interesting and intelligent comments (even though I usually disagree), referring to the motives behind the first Gulf War, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, as "Just 'cause we want to", etc., seems just crude and silly. My deficient sense of humor again, I guess.

Mark Buehner said...

And one more thing, before we get too far down the Vietnam legend compared to the reality, we might want to examine the truth for a moment. It wasnt black clad Viet Cong locals that rose up and finished of South Vietnam, it was North Vietnamese tanks that tore up the peace treaty and defeated the South conventionally because the US Congress had cut off the funding that kept SV alive. Had we continued to support or earstwhile ally, there is every indication they could have held out. And as to how many died do to our actions... well perhaps but condemning our allies to communist prison state and all the mass killings inherint in that, as well as the spread of communism to neighboring nations spurring things like that Khmer Rouge, i'd say its pretty facile to go judging numbers like that in hindsight. All the same factors apply to Iraq, and then some. The Middle East is a vital US interest which can never be said for Vietnam.

Elizabeth said...

Larry, my use of "just cause" was in response to Sloan's "because it's there" argument. "Just Cause" was a poorly chosen slogan, in my view, and unwisely allowed for too much satire. It does seem too applicable now, however. "Just cause" Iraq is the center of the Arab world? Not a good enough rationale for war, I say. If that was a poor jest in your opinion, then I can only reget that I will from time to time disappoint you. Thanks, though, for the little compliment imbedded in your critique; I take both the critique and compliment seriously.

By the way, I don't recall noting much less echoing the particular genitalia joke you refer to. I only pointed out that Cold Pillow's "anecdote" about conservatives regretting Bush being in charge was a humorous fiction, not a real story, as some readers had misunderstood.

Aaron said...

One thing that no one seems to be arguing though it begs for a defense is that it seems unrealistic to claim that Iraq is an unmitigated disaster and that if the Dems foriegn policy team were in charge we would be moe efficient about it. I am sorry but sad as 1800 dead is - it isn't spit compared to any other fight of this scale in history. Saying it is a disaster because people are dying is not an argument it is an assertion. We are making progress. Michael Barone has a great article on some metrics to judge success. Using our body count as some sort of negative metric seems a poor measure to use. I also think counting insurgency attacks or members in country is problematic because the insurgency is promoted from abroad so we really have to ask how many jihadis were out in the world in toto. I also am just not pragmatic enough to see appeasement to such barbarous thugs as worth any notional short or mid-term gains.

It is hilarious hearing people honestly make the argument that some version of the Clinton foriegn policy team would have been superior war time leaders. I'd say a strong majority of the armed forces would disagree. I'd be suprised if they would have managed an equal performance. I'd suggest folks read some of the NYTimes op-eds written by ex-Clintonites during the beginning of the AFGHAN war. They promoted ideas and tactics that reality proved wrong.

Another assumption some seem to bring to this discussion is that the choices were between good or bad options. Sadly, we had all bad options in how to prosecute the war on terror. It is a war and so no matter how you handle it the very fact it is necessary means that your options are bad. Liberals running things - not attacking Iraq and letting sanctions dissolve would have had there costs and consequences. Some here seem to argue as if there was a right answer that would have made things all sweetness and light. That in itself makes me question their judgement.

Ann Althouse said...

Jack Roy: We had a big discussion last week on this blog about what Gore would have done. Remember that the Gulf War had never really been resolved, and there was a problem with the sanctions. I suppose we could have muddled along in that condition, but even the decision to do that would be something that would have been criticized. It was an unstable situation, and the recent emphasis on the weapons of mass destruction rationale has obscured that. Gore would have had to do something -- and nothing would have been something. Don't fantasize about how good things would have been for him.

David said...

Well, having visited a "learn in" near Taos recently I have an aesthetic comment on this issue. It might have worked 40 years ago when we young. But the same group today is well, sad. I had to leave the "learn in" as my 15 year old daughter started shaking with laughter. All the way home she said over and over (from South Park):

Hippies........Hippies....They want to make the world a better place but all they do is smoke dope and smell bad.

Elizabeth said...

Aaron,

Only 1800 people have died as a result off the Iraqi war? Oh, you mean 1800 Americans. So, the dead Iraqis aren't part of the metric? Nor the servicemembers who die after being evacuated to Germany or the U.S. after being wounded? Nor the Brits and Spanish and Italian service members? I think the count is subtantially higher, but more to the point, I think leaving out the Iraqi citizen death toll reveals a cavalier attitude.

Jonathan said...

Elizabeth,

You are leaving out of the equation the countless thousands of Iraqis who were murdered by Saddam Hussein, and who but for our intervention would be being murdered still.

BigDirigible said...

The phrase above from Daniel - "Democratic Presidents have been at least as willing to involve the country in foreign wars as Republican Presidents" - brings an obvious but oft-overlooked fact to mind. There were four major 20th century wars in which the US was involved. (I'm not counting smaller stuff like the Honduran Intervention.) US involvement started in all four when which party held the Presidency?

Jonathan said...

Cold Pillow wrote:
So here is my question, if Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan were turned into Secular states with no history of terrorism, no nuclear weapons or program, that never attacked the US would that be ok with you? What if they had the most liberal freedoms of the region? Because that is pretty much the state of the country we chose to invade. Saddam was a monster and I'm glad he's no longer in power.

I think your premises are invalid. Hussein's Iraq had a long history of terrorism -- e.g., involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing, and paying death subsidies to the families of West Bank suicide bombers. As for "liberal freedoms," are you joking? Iraq was one of the most brutal dictatorships in modern memory. And don't forget the mass murders of Kurds, Shiites, etc. Iran and Saudi Arabia are like Costa Rica by comparison.

Elizabeth said...

Jonathan,
And you are omitting our responsibility for the Iraqis dying now because of our "flypaper" strategy, to bring the fight to Iraq, on the theory that we'll fight them (terrorists) there, rather than here in our own streets. So, apparently, we find it acceptable to expose the people we've liberated from tyranny to the attacks of the insurgency we didn't adequately prepare to put down, and in fact, invited into Iraq's borders.

If we wanted to be lauded for liberating Iraqis from Saddam, we ought not to have exposed them to the Jordanian, Irania, Saudi, and Syrian terrorists exploding car bombs and IEDs in their markets. In any event, in keeping track of deaths, we ought to count all of them, not just U.S. service members.

Tom said...

Here's the major problem with this war: The reasons we went in were a lie, plain and simple. Yet, Bush continues to act as if it was the right thing to do to protect our country. All evidence so far supports the fact that Hussein was not a threat. We contained him for years and could have kept those policies. Going to Iraq has caused -- and I applaud Hagel for stepping up and saying so -- the Mideast to become more unstable. Bottom line is that this war is a lie and Bush doesn't have the cajones to say he was wrong. And yes, if you support this war based on the facts presented, you are an idiot!

On the other hand, we're there now and we've created a huge mess. We can't, unfortunately, just pull our troops out and bring them home -- it's impossible. Again, I agree with Hagel in that we need a strategy. And 'Stay the Course' is not a strategy, its a slogan. In fact this whole damn war is one big slogan. While the politicians are pointing fingers and throwing stones, our troops -- our friends, neighbors, our families -- are being killed. Come up with an intelligent and practical plan, implement it, and let's get the hell out of there.

Mokie Joe said...

It's my experience that in order for either a conservative or liberal to regret their support, they would have to admit they were wrong. And most people I've met seem more interested in maintaining their pride than the truth.

But most conservatives I know are intelligent. I think they might change with a little 'therapy'. And the sooner -the better.

So Republicans - repeat after me

“Bush is a lousy President.”

Oh, come now! Nobody will make fun of you. We won’t think you are a lesser person because you admit a mistake. In fact, here’s a big secret: We’ll actually think better of you if you start seeing reality for what it is – and not what Fox News tells you it is. So - c’mon, big guy. Say it.

“Bush is a lousy President.”

There, now. Was that so hard? Hey, don’t feel bad. I admit that good ole’ boy from Crawford is likable. He’s got loads of charisma. Hell, I’d even like to have a beer or two with him. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that George W. Bush is the first President in the history of our country to start a war on a lie.

NO, WAIT! Don’t start quoting Rush Limbaugh. Especially right after I ate. You see, freedom and democracy in Iraq sound good, but there is nothing in our constitution nor his job description that calls for our military to reform other countries in our fashion. C’mon. Let’s try it again…

“Bush is a lousy President.”

OK…I know that hurts. But think about all the recent developments that you no longer have to accept as “liberal” spin.

- No longer do you have to defend Dick Cheney’s “Haliburton” as it gobbles up obscene amounts of money in non-competitive defense bids.
- When the oilman President does nothing about soaring gas prices, you don’t have to make excuses for him. Just check out the profits for U.S. Petroleum companies. (Up 42 to 46% from the same time last year).
- You no longer have to wonder how much you will really benefit from tightening bankruptcy regulations, medical malpractice caps, tax loopholes for the rich, repeal of the estate tax… and all the other Bush proposals that make the rich richer – and deteriorate the middle class.

That has got to be a burden lifted off your shoulders! So just say it…and you can start seeing these guys for what they really are. Pigs at a trough! All right…once more.

“Bush is a lousy President.”

What’s that you say? At least, Bush is a good Christian who didn’t cheat on his wife. Ahhh. But you see…when Monica gave Bill a ‘hummer’, it didn’t kill almost 2000 Americans, and seriously wound tens of thousands more. The good Christians I know follow Jesus’ teachings about caring for the poor. Bush does not. And while Christ spoke against male prostitution (not homosexuality), Jesus knew the biggest threat to society wasn’t gay marriage: it’s divorce. All you have to do is look at your own friends, family and neighbors to know that’s true. Now…one last time.

“Bush is a lousy President.”

Oh, I am so proud of you. I think you are making tremendous progress. Same time next week?

steve said...

The Vietnam protests were an effective mechanism to influence policy outside of the polls. Back then, they probably helped contain the war to Vietnam itself rather than allowing it to spread further to Cambodia, Laos, etc. Witness what a talking point the bombings in Cambodia had on the American electorate. Similarly, the vocal resistance to Bush is probably having a similar effect now: i.e. not giving Bush the mandate to "do" Iran, Syria, etc.

Aaron said...

Elizabeth,

Yep that is me - Senior Aharon De Cavalier!

It is really irksome having to constantly reiterate my reverance for human life - Iraqi or otherwise in debates with anti-war folk. Or to have my care for some of the best among us called into question as if only those who are against the war give a damn. Yeah - the anti-war folk are the only who really care and I am nothing but a war monger for whom other's deaths aren't real. I need to wallow in every possible death brought on in this war to discuss it. I think you are using the war dead as a human shield to shut down debate. You use a non-sequitor to try and stake out the moral high ground built on bodies that aren't yours to claim.

For the record I give to veterans charities - I send care packages - I attended the Memorial Day ceremony near me this year. I do what I can. I mourn when I think of dumb ass college kids who wallow in their ease and plenty while some of the best of their generation are busy being adults and getting hurt. It maddens me when I think of fascist thugs killing Iraqis just trying to build their country or when Iraqi professors are beheaded for agreeing to teach.

What I was saying was that the horror of war is not a great litmus test for whether we are succeeding or whether we should be fighting. It puts the decision in the hands of the willingness of your enemy to be brutal disgusting thugs. Was the war in the pacific not worth it given what the Japanese did on the Bataan Death march? Do we cut and run because the insurgency blows up innocent Iraqis? It is irrelevant to me.

If I am cavalier then you are callow and maudlin. Don't like that? Then don't dish it out.

Should I mourn the 100K dead cited by that Lancet article?

Bruce Hayden said...

A lot of what has been said here is, to some extent, silly. But a couple of facts do jump out.

Vietnam was lost when President Ford was unable to meet our committment to the S. Vietnamese to provide them with ammunition and the like when the NVA tanks rolled down from the north. I remember him essentially begging Congress for the money. No soldiers. Just money for bullets, shells, etc. They refused, and S. Vietnam fell. And ultimately, millions died in the killing fields of Cambodia and the reeducation camps of Vietnam.

Ultimately, I think it a mistake to have gone in there, because abandoning the South Vietnamese was, IMHO, much worse than just letting the North conquer the South in the early 1960s. Or, indeed, more likely, having the South fall to a local (VC) insurgency.

I will suggest that our weakness in abandoning S. Vietnam to the North emboldened the Iranian students to take our embassy, and Carter's failure to stand up there, via a number of other signs of weakness, ultimately led to 9/11.

Another thing that is usually forgotten about the Vietnam war is that the peak casualties were in 1967, before the anti-war movement really got going. This, BTW, also coincided with the Tet Offensive, where the MSM declared the war lost, but where we won a significant military victory, and the VC were essentially eliminated as a fighting force. And this was thus when the war went from a revolution to one of invasion. For the next five years, the war was against NVA regulars infiltrating from the North. Because it was an invasion, and we had complete air supremacy over the South, their casualties were horrendous. And so, they signed a peace treaty in 1972, that they broke three years later, after we were gone.

AST said...

Boy, this brings it all back for me. The arrogant tantrums, the bitter epithets, the "Never trust anybody over 30" cockiness.

These people haven't learned a thing. They were jerks then and they haven't grown out of it. They remember the era as victorious because we pulled out of Vietnam. I remember the Boat People, the South Vietnamese who fled to the U.S. and the many more interned in "re-education" camps and, of course, the Killing Fields.

I also remember John Lennon singing, "But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow!" It always seemed pretty good sense to me, even when he abandoned it and started writing stuff like "Imagine."

Their lack of success in politics, along with Jimmy Carter, drove them back into the woodwork, but John Dean reawakened that old fervor with his angry rants. They're doing the same thing to the Democratic party that they did in 1968. More power to 'em!

Elizabeth said...

Aaron,

Without questioning your humanity, my point about citing only the 1800 dead remains: there are far more, and in general, our discourse focuses only on our own losses. I agree that a body count is not the only or even the main factor in judging success in a war. But in this war, I tend to believe that we omit that other figure because it calls the purpose of the war into question--the shifting purpose. If we say our purpose was to liberate the Iraqi people, then I just don't believe that, given the fact that the prosecutors of this military action--not the military but Rummy and the civilian side planners--have not shown much care about protecting their lives and property, and in fact have crowed about the flypaper strategy of bringing the fight to Iraq. I cannot see that as anything but cavalier. And here is where I owe you an apology, for not making it clear that I aim that word at an institutional attitude, and not you personally. I regret that, and I can see from your reply that you were rightfully upset. I don't change my position, but I am reminded to pay attention to loaded words, and the grammar that shapes their meaning and purpose.

The Exalted said...

Aaron,

I suggest you compare the body count of Kosovo to Iraq.

I assure you, Kosovo's "isn't spit" compared to Iraq's, 0 to 1800+?. . .

(and that is just the American fatalities)

But yes, the Clintonites were incompetent bozos . . .

Ann Althouse said...

The Exalted: Only American bodies count, right?

Aaron said...

Elizabeth,

Apology accepted. You are also correct - the total deaths in this war are higher. As you mention I was refering to the fact that our media tend to use the figure cited as some sort of yardstick to measure our march to defeat.

On your other point - Flytrap rhetoric is rather few and far between coming from the administration. Still - it is an argument put forth by supporters of the war. I usually hear the argument made in terms like "it is better to fight them over there with equiped soldiers than here in our skyscrapers, trains, and bridges." It is unfair and sad that Iraqis are being forced to bear the brunt of our fight with terrorists. But it doesn't seem like there are any real sidelines. Bangladesh is pretty far from Iraq.

I dislike the use of the term shifting rationale as I think that there was never a monolithic single reason for the war. The human rights case for the war has been made consistently. Saddam was monstrous and now he is gone.

One of the things I found most interesting from the last Pew poll of Iraqi public sentiment was that security didn't crack the top three in the ranking of Iraqi concerns. I honestly think Iraqis are better off than before - things could be much much better but I believe that this is because of the insurgency - not a cavalier attitude on the part of those designing our strategy.

Aaron said...

The Exalted,

Of course the Clintonites were bozos! It was a war unsanctioned by the UN! And it was all about making us forget about Monica! Heh.

Anyway there is a falacy here that you illuminate. If we use this metric that you seem to have accepted the two most moral and great wars America has ever participated in are Kosovo and Granada. The two most evil and corrupt wars are WWII and the Civil War. Something seems wrong with this.

Actually their was much to critique in our war in Kosovo (where we still have troops -QUAGMIRE!). We were so "cavalier" in our bombing we blew up all sorts of incorrect things like a chinese embassy, etc. Who can forget Jessie Jackson's prayer circle with Milosevich during his negotiation for the release of our pilots. Where was Madeline Albright? Did we call her Maddie like some call Rumsfled Rummi? (seriously I have no idea if that was common insult) Moving on - what about the french colonel who sold our bombing plans to Milosevich (and then conveniently commited suicide before we saw who else was in on it). Talk about having problems managing our allies...

I'll also wager that Saddam will pay for his crimes sooner than Milosevich will.

I am not a great scholar of Kosovo - however it seems clear to me that Kosovo was not so much a better prosecuted war so much as a more popular one. The American body count was kept so low by sacrificing Croatian lives. The American body count is high in Iraq precisely because we aren't willing to just blow the hell out of things. We could have leveled fallujah without sending in groud troops. Heartless Rummie has struck a different balance. Christopher Hitchens made a pursuassive argument that the balance could be even farther towards trading American lives for Iraqi civillians when setting up rules of engagement but I think it is fair to say it is a way more civillian friendly balance than Kosovo.

Also, I think there was little organized resistance to the Kosovo war and the political opposition was more somber in their criticism.

Larry said...

Elizabeth: "Just cause" Iraq is the center of the Arab world? Not a good enough rationale for war, I say.

Excellent point, it's not. For all the acuity you display in understanding that, however, you lose more by implying that you seriously think anyone at all believes it is a "good enough rationale". Just for the exercise, let me try again, then, to answer the question "why Iraq"?

Even most leftwing critics of the war agree, especially in retrospect, that the Afghanistan invasion was okay, legitimate, justifiable, etc. (I say "most" because there certainly was leftwing opposition even to that at the time, and for a recent illustration, currently in the news, see that anti-war icon, Cindy Sheehan.) So Afghanistan was pretty much a no-brainer, as they say, and even Gore or Kerry would have invaded (though, of course, either Democrat would have done everything right, nothing wrong, rather than the vice versa, like Bu$h). But, in the wake of Sep 11, the Bush administration realized that, by itself, this was just another reactive response, and did nothing to get at what war critics liked to call the "root causes" (irony noted). They saw that the problem went far beyond just this latest atrocity, perpetrated by just the latest nebulous terrorist group and the latest figurehead, and that simply capturing or killing Bin Laden, while an important step, would by no means do anything at all to stop more of the same from springing up. And going back to business as usual after Afghanistan -- that is, relying on domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, diplomatic moves, international police forces, etc., all of which we'd been doing for years -- was grossly inadequate, and simply left us a more or less passive target, waiting for the next blow. Instead, they focused on the Middle East as a whole (largely but not entirely Arab) as a region of porous borders, weak states, and brutal oppression, and saw that the "stability" of this region was a malignant stability that had been simply providing cover for the rise of a vicious and virulent brand of anti-Western Islamic fascism. The Middle East, finally, needed to be "destabilized" in its then current form, and -- hopefully -- restabilized in a more moderate form, in order to free the US, the rest of the world, and the vast majority of that benighted region's own people from the threat of the Islamist fanatics. It was, and remains, a risk, certainly -- but, after Sep 11 initially, and then the horrors of Bali, Spain, July 7 in Britain, and so on, a risk was called for.

Iraq, then, was the centerpiece of that strategy. Taking on the entire Middle East at one go was clearly not feasible. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, however weak as states, and however much terrorists operated within them, were ostensible allies, and could and did do something on their own against the Islamists. Iran looked to be teetering on the verge of its own internal revolution. Syria would have been a good and deserving target in its own right, if Iraq and the Saddam regime were not a better one.

Re: WMD and the "Bu$h lied!" bumper sticker level of analysis. WMDs were only ever a factor in the justification of the war -- a factor, by the way, that Gore, Kerry, Clinton, and most Democrats believed in themselves, so if Bush lied, so did Clinton, Gore, and Kerry. That general belief has turned out to be a mistake, as opposed to a lie, and only in the sense that stockpiles of such weapons were not found -- terrorist-level quantities of gas and biological weapons could be generated from state-controlled labs at very short notice. And Iraq was a training camp for Islamist terrorists of all kinds.

In the end, of course, this is a war that the US, and the West generally, may yet lose. But if so, I don't think it will be because we didn't use enough troops, or we used too many troops, or the troops weren't trained properly, or they didn't have the right equipment, or we backed the wrong guys, or we set a deadline, or we didn't set a deadline, and on and on, even though I'm sure all these prescriptions from various armchair generals carry much greater weight than the people with actual responsibility. If we lose, it will be for the very reason that the Islamists expect us to lose -- that we lack the staying power they have.

[Apologies for the length.]

dancewater said...

I think the lessons of Vietnam is that we didn't learn a damn thing.

dancewater said...

Is how people are perceived - and weather they win elections - all that matters these days? -satya

It would appear so. Certainly, the suffering of the Iraqi people does not count for anything. If it did, there would be an accounting of how many have been killed and injured.

Rather peculiar in light of the pretend cause: "bringing freedom and democracy". So the immaginary weapons and the pretend cause have lead to the deaths of tens, or hundreds of thousands. With no end in sight.

miklos rosza said...

in talking about the vietnamese war it might be nice if some who believe abandoning south vietnam was such a victory could reference anyone vietnamese and ask them what they think.

"the jaws of history" by bui diem (who is not related to the former leader) is a good start.

"vietnamizaton" was working, until congress cut off all aid. meanwhile the north vietnamese received trainloads of supplies from china and the sovet union, even had chinese manning anti-aircraft guns.

900,000 vietnamese fled north vietnam to the south in the late 1950s, in order to get away from communism.

the corruption in south vietnam was no worse than that in thailand, the philippines, indonesia or malaysia. the election of president thieu was a real election.

abandoning the vietnamese as we did was truly shameful. but there were no protests in the u.s. or europe after 1975. tom hayden and jane fonda and joan baez exulted because they had "won." meanwhile the vietnamese people suffered and were "re-educated."

bui diem was a student of giap's in hanoi. he was a member of the viet minh (nationalists seeking to expel the french). but then the communist faction began assassinating any viet minh who were not communists.

and a cult of personality was pushed for ho chi minh (just like previous personality cults for mussolini, hitler, stalin and mao). i once bought a book of poems by ho chi minh. i wanted, as a teenager, to believe in his myth.

read books by vietnamese. they're out there if you care to look.

similarly, rather than looking at iraq through partisan political eyes, read what iraqis have to say on their blogs. "iraq the model" by an iraqi dentist might be a good place to start. he had a brother killed by u.s. soldiers -- but he's still glad saddam is gone. follow the links.

write to them.

dancewater said...

so if Bush lied, so did Clinton, Gore, and Kerry. -- larry


got that right!

dancewater said...

"iraq the model" by an iraqi dentist might be a good place to start. he had a brother killed by u.s. soldiers -- but he's still glad saddam is gone."


I have been reading Iraq the Model for awhile now, and I don't think it is accurate that he had a brother killed by US Soldiers.

Elizabeth said...

Larry, what a labyrinthine attempt to persuade me of Bush's hidden wisdom in focusing on Iraq. No luck. He had his sights on Iraq even before getting elected. Iraq was a target the moment they realized they could use 9/11 as a pretext. For all your gymnastics above, it all comes down to believing invading Iraq would have some effect on reducing Islamic terrorism against the west, and there's no evidence to support that. Meanwhile, Osama's still out there somewhere, perhaps in a comfy chair. It's amazing how quickly that went to the wayside once Bush misdirected the fear towards Iraq. And now things are backsliding in Afghanistan as well. Aren't there any standards you want to hold this administration to? Some slim criteria? I'm underwhelmed by your Middle East democracy domino theory.

miklos rosza said...

dancewater,

maybe i'm confusing iraq the model with healing iraq or hammurabi or some other -- but someone had a brother pushed off a bridge into the tigris where this brother drowned. the matter was taken up by the military justice system.

i also like michael yon online from mosul, and 365 and a wakeup, which often features some very lyrical prose.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think the Iraq debate, the arguments made by Elizabeth, myself larry et. al. prove once again that we are never going to agree. No matter what argument you give in support, someone can make an argument against, even if its just an assertion. For example, Elizabeth argues that there is no evidence to support that Iraq has reduced terror in the West. This assertion is basically impossible to disprove because we can't replay history without Iraq. Thus, Elizabeth and all others on her side can continue to make this assertion with impunity until the end of time. Even if a full fledge democracy flowers in Iraq, the war will still be pooh poohed for decades by those in opposition as still not being worth the cost. (The only thing that may possibly dampen the opposition is the formal presentation of evidence at Saddam's trial over the genocide committed in Iraq. The power of this presentation is yet unappreciated but it soon will be if done correctly. It is very likely that without the evidence of the holocaust, the debate over the cost of American lives and Treasure in World War II would be waging today. People seem to forget how costly world war II was for America (250 dead per day, 150% GDP). The evidence of the holocaust dampened this debate).

Consequently, supporters of the war need to cease wasting time and energy trying to argue the merits of the war to those already opposed. Instead we need to recognize that the opposition is ready and willing to sabotage the war effort. History shows that opposition parties have no boundaries (i.e. War of 1812). As such, we need to concentrate on maintaining the majority support for the war in Congress so that a repeat of 1975 does not occur. No matter what the opposition states, they should not be trusted with power during this war.

This means continuing to counter anti-war propaganda from the media and from leftist groups like Cindy Sheehan. This means continuing to deliver the whole truth about Iraq (not just the cost) to maintain the support. This means concentrating on the Republican base and keeping together the conservative coalition politically and countering opposition trying to fracture the coalition (such as the illegal alien issue). This means punishing those politicians who leave the reservation and use the media salivation over their opposition for their own political purposes. In a nutshell we need to practice hardball politics.

Brando said...

There is no doubt in my mind that if Gore had been elected (which he in fact was) that we would not be in the intractable clusterfuck in Iraq. Iraq has made the so-called war on terror ten times harder, and set us back for at least a generation. Say what you want about Gore, but he wouldn't have been sitting there reading "my pet goat" like a deer caught in headlights in response to news of 9/11.

But the problem is that no one could have reliably predicted Gore's reaction, or whether he would have subsequently waffled back and forth depending upon fluctuations in public opinion polls. Whatever criticisms people may have of President Bush, no one doubts his tenacity/stubborness.


Give me a break, Daniel. You have clearly been watching too much Fox. If you mean by "waffle" that Gore would have given some rational consideration to what the the best course of action ought to be, then I'll take Gore's "waffling" over Bush's stubbern-god-talks-to-me-damn-the-facts-machiavellian-kneejerk-good-versus-evil form of decision making any day.

Yeah, Gore may have made some mistakes. But he would not--and i reapeat--would not have led us down this dangerous blind alley that we find ourselves in today.

Bush is Osama bin Laden's wet dream. OLB found America's weakness in 9/11--fear of the some alien rogue force--and Bush capitalized literally and figuratively on this fear to mount a war of aggression that has isolated us in the world and inflamed the Muslem world against us. Gee, and in the mean time, i don't think we've caught OLB, that guy actually responsible for 9/11.

Sloanasaurus said...

It would be interesting to hear peoples arguments about what would merit a war.

do you have to be attacked directly; indirectly?

Does the war have ot be sanctioned by an international body? Does just a coalition count.

Does the war have to meet some sort of "international standard" Which international standard?

Is it justified to go to war to stop genocide?

Is war justified to rid a country of a tyrannical government?

Is war justified to assist in ending the slave trade or some other morally suspect activity. Is war okay if another uses low level force against you in their mission to stop the morally suspect activity?

Is preemptive war ever justified. Is war okay to prevent an adversary from becoming aggressive.

Is war justified to further socialist revolution?

Is war justified if the people conquered are better off (by all objective and subjective standards) than they were before. What if 90% of the population is better off and 10% is worse off. What if it is 55%-45%.

Is war justified if the vast majority of the people want to be invaded, but the government does not.

Is it okay to go to war to help defend an ally who has been agressively attacked? What if you don't have an actualy treaty with that country.

What if its not an ally but any other country being attacked.

Is it justified to go to war over an embargo?

Would war be justified if another government killed your ambassador? What if they attempted to kill your ambassador?

Is the breaking of a peace treaty from the last war enough to justify war?

What if another power merely declares war. Do they have to send an official document? Do they have to be at a certain level of strength to make their declaration meaningful?

How about escalating aggrevation. Is war justified if a "competitor" continusously aggrevates you?

Is war justified against an enemy who commits espionage or other forms of domestic sabotage against you.

Is war justified against another who provides material support to your enemy? What if they are just trading with your enemy? What if they continue trading even though there are international sanctions.


Is war ever justified?

Elizabeth said...

Sloan, you're amazing. You're abandoning the shifting sands of the many, many reasons for this elective war, and moving on to painting its opponents as the enemy. That's a lot of enemies, as support for the war wanes among the wide range of Americans. What are good reasons for waging a war? That onus is on the ones banging the drums, not the opposition. You haven't made the case.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....Bush capitalized literally and figuratively on this fear to mount a war of aggression that has isolated us in the world and inflamed the Muslem world against us...."


How do you support this assertion?
Where are Osama's armies of mad muslims. Are they rising up? Where are they? How come America has not been attacked since 9/11? We have a million buses and subways running every hour in this country and not one attack. In London they have managed one attack in 4 years, even after all the threats.

Minneapolis and burbs are full of Muslim immigrants. They drive cabs, work in shops, go to school, work in banks, etc. Why do they keep coming here if they are so inflamed and riled up. Are they all secret soldiers of Osama's army?

Where is the international isolation? Are we banned from the G-7, from trade agreements? Are supporters of the war losing their elections; Blair, Howard, Bush? How about the war opponents? How are they doing? Chirac and Shroeder?

If you are right about Osama's strategy - is it really working?

Larry said...

Elizabeth: I'm underwhelmed by your Middle East democracy domino theory.

But I proposed no "Middle East domino theory". Doesn't matter, does it Elizabeth? If Bush came out in favor of sliced bread you'd be against it, right?

Sloanasaurus said...

"...You're abandoning the shifting sands of the many, many reasons for this elective war, and moving on to painting its opponents as the enemy...."

GET REAL. How pathetic. I have argued these positions constantly on this board. My point is that to people like you it is impossible to make the case.

In return, I make an equally provable assertion: Those who oppose the war in Iraq support tyranny in Iraq, are against freedom in Iraq, and support the proliferation of WMD by tyrannical leaders around the world. How is this not true?

Elizabeth said...

How are these things not true? They're strawmen, that's why. I don't support tyranny in Darfur, but I don't support a U.S. invasion there, either. What does WMD proliferation have to do with Iraq? You don't have an persuasive case that invading Iraq has lessened our exposure to WMD development; for god's sake, Iran is developing a nukes program right now. What has this war done to lessen that threat?

Where do I oppose freedom in Iraq? And have you looked at the constitution in the works there? It's not bolstering freedom! When Bush ran for office, he came out against using the military for "nation building"; he didn't argue at home or before the U.N. that we needed to go into Iraq, right now, fast, hurry up, don't bother with the post war planning, to bring freedom. He argued that Iraq was a direct and looming threat. The freedom argument was lagniappe, not primary.

You do in fact make this argument over and over. It's just a bad argument. Don't try to pin a love of tyranny on me because I reject the path Bush has taken in responding to terrorism.

Elizabeth said...

Larry, sliced bread is a good idea. If Bush came out for it, I'd support it. That's how good ideas work. Bush has values fundamentally different from most of my own, so it's likely there will be little overlap in what we see as being good. That's not a blind opposition on my part, it's a conflict of ideas.

Satya said...

"I quote your president John F. Kennedy, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Did the American president and the American people carry out this promise to South Vietnamese? No they did not. This promise was a lie to the South Vietnamese. Do you think it should be a lie to the people of Iraq as well? Perhaps you disagree with President Kennedy and you think that the Americans are the only ones who should have freedom."

Yes, I disagree with the rhetorical excesses of President Kennedy. It is not worth 50,000 American lives for the Iraqi people to live in a democratic state, especially since all indications are that they would prefer to live in an Islamic state than a democratic one (just as the Vietnamese ultimately preferred to live in a communist state than a capitalist one). I also think that, if you truly believe that, you should support policies that would reinstitute the draft, and push literally millions of Americans into military service. Seriously. See how far that gets you with the American public. See if they are willing to accept 50,000 casualties. See if, in fact, they are willing to accept a million. Or two million. Or ten million.

The obvious answer is no, they are not. And I assume, unless you are idealistic to the point of idiocy, that you are also not willing to risk millions of American lives for the cause of Iraqi freedom. So coldpillow's question remains: how many lives are you willing to risk? (And, since I assume that you yourself are not willing to go to war, what this really means is: how many lives of other people and other families are you willing to risk?).

We stayed in Vietnam until the point at which the most anti-communist president in our history concluded there was no hope for victory: that was only after 50,000 Americans were dead and 3 million Vietnamese and Cambodians were dead. How many people have to die before we see our mistake this time? It seems that, in your vain bloodlust, there is no number high enough to make you rethink this ill-advised war. That's fine. But don't expect the rest of us - and the American public - to be soo myopic.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...You don't have an persuasive case that invading Iraq has lessened our exposure to WMD development..."

Here is an attempt:

Isn't it true that Saddam wanted to produce WMD? Isn't it true that Saddam tried several times to produce nuclear weapons and was thwarted in 1982, again in 1991. Isn't it a reasonable conclusion that Saddam still wanted to produce nuclear weapons.

Isn't it true that Saddam probably had the most concentrated power of any dictator in the world. Isn't it true that sanctions were about to end with Iraq prior to the invasion. Isn't it true that Saddam would be personally grossing more than $50 billion in oil revenues today or more than three times the amount he pocketed during the 1990s. Isn't it true that Iraq has existed with virtually no oil money during the sanctions. Isn't it true that $50 billion per year is more than the defense budgets of Britain ($49 billion) France ($40 billion). The relative comparisons get skewed also because saddam only needed to pay his soldiers a few $$ per month.

Iraq was indeed the most dangerous threat and would have been the worlds foremost WMD proliferator - in fact Iraq would have been more agressive in WMD proliferation becasue of Iran's pursuit of Nuclear weapons.

How about aggression. How does Iraq stack up? Has Iran invaded any of its neighbors recently? (no except in self defense from Iraq). Has North Korea recently invaded any of its neighbors? No, not in the last 50 years). Has Iraq invaded any of its neighbors recently? Why yes - Iran in 1980, Kuwait in 1990, he also attacked Israel and Saudi Arabia. On top of that Iraq summarily repressed its own people, including mass executions.

So with Iraq you had a serious history of agressive war; the concentration of wealth to mass military power and bribe the international community to gain political clout, and the concentration of power in one individual to do whatever he wanted.

The first Gulf War left unfinished business in the middle-east, just as 1918 left unfinished business in Europe. The world was about to make the same mistake in Iraq that it made in Europe.... except Sept 11 happened.

Brando said...

Do you read the news, Sloanasaurus? But don't take it from me. Take what Chatham House, a well respected UK think tank, says on the issue:

The report claims that there is ‘no doubt’ that the invasion of Iraq has imposed particular difficulties for the UK and for the wider coalition against terrorism. According to the paper, the situation in Iraq has ‘given a boost to the Al-Qaeda network’s propaganda, recruitment and fundraising’, whilst providing an ideal targeting and training area for Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

Listen, I know it's hard to accept. But we have to give some serious consideration to the distinct possibility that Iraq has made our position with regard to the war on terror weaker. (Let’s forget for a moment about the immorality and illegality of it all). I know dropping the shock and awe on Iraq was sort of a rush at the time, giving many Americans a brief psychological sense that "we're tough and we'll fuck you up if you mess with us" sort of thing. But Iraq was not a security threat to us. But it is now, and judging from the polls, many Americans are wising up this reality. Osama's “armies of mad muslims” are now in Iraq, more organized and beefed up than ever before, and there also seems to be a recrudescence of terrorism in Afghanistan. Our military is overextended and morale is low; our ballooning deficit makes us economically vulnerable to countries like china and other market fluctuations. The reputation and moral authority of the US has been badly damaged (in no small part due to the torture and humiliation of Muslim men, women and children at the hands of US forces). We have lost the "soft war" of public opinion in the Muslim world for more than a generation.

We have no good options left to us

Oh, and by the way, the above report suggests that Britain, one of our only major allies in this Iraq folly, doesn’t like being a lackey of the US:

A key problem for the UK in preventing terrorism in Britain is the government’s position as ‘pillion passenger’ to the United States' war on terror. Formulating counter-terrorism policy in this way has left the ‘ally in the driving seat' to do the steering.

Wake up folks. Our arrogant unilateralism doesn’t win us friends or cooperation from abroad. An it doesn't win us the so-called war on terrorism.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan,

So his nuclear ambitions have been thwarted twice. Excellent. Why invade now?

He invaded Iran and Kuwait--and wars were waged then. Why now?

There was a good case to extend the sanctions. That's part of why our invasion was so vehemently opposed by other powers. There was no actual, current threat, and there were other means to contain Saddam's aggression and his desire to develop weapons. I've heard that "he wanted to make WMDs" argument since day one, and it doesn't wash. What policy says we can invade people because of what they "want" to do? That's madness!

Larry said...

Elizabeth: What policy says we can invade people because of what they "want" to do? That's madness!

A policy of pre-emptive response to threats before they become actual or "immanent", as enunciated by that sliced-bread fan, Bush. I agree that that must appear to be "madness" (complete with exclamation mark) to soft-focused liberal eyes, but not, fortunately (so far), to the majority of the American people, to whom it looks like common sense.

Brando: But Iraq was not a security threat to us.

Yes, Brando, it was [sigh], as was, and is, the Middle East region as a whole, for which Iraq was simply the point of attack. The concept may be hard to get your head around, I know, since this is not a war like any that we've fought before, nor is this enemy like any we've fought against. But they're quite real, and they have long time lines. You're right about the polls, which may reflect exactly the kind of exhaustion that Bin Laden and Co. have been counting on from the start. In that case, it will truly be a tragedy for all, as we may well see.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Do you read the news, Sloanasaurus? But don't take it from me. Take what Chatham House, a well respected UK think tank, says on the issue..."

Brando, what you are pointing out is an opinion, it is not news.

It is easy to argue that our attacking in Iraq has created more enemies in Iraq. After all, our attack on Nazi Germany created more Nazis. The size of the Germany army more substantially increased from Dec 1941 - May 1945.

It is true there are terrorist attacks that kill people in Iraq But, how is that different than the era of Saddam. It has been said that an average of 50 people were killed each day by Saddam and his thugs. I guess the press wasn't covering that.

Tell me how are we in more danger now that Saddam, one of the most wealthy and despotic leaders in the world, who had more money at his disposal than the defense budgets pf 1st world nations, who who twice invaded his neighbors without provocation, and attacked several other of his neighbors, who consistently developed nuclear weapons. How is it that the world is more dangerous without him?

Sloanasaurus said...

Elizabeth, go back and review the history on the sanctions. It was clear the sanctions were falling apart. France had already moved several times in the late 1990s to loosen the sanctions. They wanted the sanctions gone. Further, the corruption of the UN shows the the sanctions were not working anyway either.

It was obvious that France, China, and Russia were not interested in maintaining sanctions. So how can we expect to continue them.

"...and there were other means to contain Saddam's aggression and his desire to develop weapons...."

What other means? Like the cooperation we were getting from Russia, China, and France? This is just foolishness. It ignores history, and it ignores human nature.

I don't buy that saddam wasn't a current threat argument either. Saddam was the most obvious threat in the world. Your attidude in dealing with Saddam is the same as Daldiers in the 1930s. Its not a new attitude, just a naive one.

Bruce Hayden said...

Satya

You are making a couple of historical errors:

"just as the Vietnamese ultimately preferred to live in a communist state than a capitalist one"

This isn't historically accurate. As noted above, the indiginous insurgency was effectively over after Tet in 1967. Those were NVA regulars invading from the North that conquered the South in 1975. They had been massively rearmed after the Peace Treaty they signed in late 1972. So, when faced with this formidable force, S. Vietnam asked for bullets and artillary shells from us to resupply what they were expending. This was refused by the Democratic Congress of the time. And thus, without bullets and artillary shells, etc., the South fell. But not to a popular insurgency, as you suggest, but a heavily armed invasion.

"We stayed in Vietnam until the point at which the most anti-communist president in our history concluded there was no hope for victory: that was only after 50,000 Americans were dead and 3 million Vietnamese and Cambodians were dead."

First, the real blood bath wasn't until afterwards.

Secondly, we weren't losing, rather, militarily, we had won. We had come close to destroying the NVA army by that time.

There was a big difference in the war pre-Tet and post-Tet. Pre-Tet, we were facing a local insurgency, where the VC could fade back into the population during the day, and just come out at night. That was extremely dangerous for us.

But post-Tet, we were facing NVA regulars, who, though they looked the same, weren't. The result was that there were a lot of larger unit engagements. Unfortunately for the NVA, we had complete air supremecy in the South, and when they would congregate for an attack, were extremely vulnerable from the air. As an example, at Khe San, four NVA divisions (approx. 10,000 men per division) attacked four Marine battalions (about 500 men each). The estimate is that we lost 250 men, and the NVA lost somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000. All four division were effectively destroyed.

Our estimate of NVA killed was about 500,000. In 1995, Hanoi admitted that it was closer to 1,100,000. That is over a million invaders from the North killed trying to conquer the South. No wonder they were willing to sign a peace treaty.

Bruce Hayden said...

I hate it when people reference their own blogs, but I discuss there some observations made by Ken Pollack, in charge of middle eastern affairs for the NSC under Clinton. In short, Saddam Hussein was wacko. He spent his entire reign doing dumb things, from challenging the Shah right after gaining power, to calling our bluff right before we invaded. My quote from Pollack has more details.

What is interesting about the WMD discussion is that, by now, we all know that only minimal quantities were ever found. Obviously, there is still the question of where did they go. But of more interest to me is the other, most often ignored, thing that we learned after invading Iraq - that the reason that France, Russia, and China were moving very quickly away from supporting sanctions was that they had been massively bribed by Saddam Hussein. This only really came out when we got access to the Iraqi records. It was not just the Oil for Food program, though that was a big part of it, but also that these countries were (illegally) selling Iraq a lot of arms.

I remember at the time of the invasion, the comments from some military units that they were surprised to be facing modern French missles. After all, Iraq was supposedly forbidden from acquiring arms by both UN sanctions and the peace treaty they signed. Come to find out that the French had not been alone. The Russians and the Chinese were involved too.

So, when we invaded Iraq, we knew that sanctions were rapidly falling apart. Three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council had told us that they were not really in favor of them. We just didn't know why. Well, now we do.

Brando said...

Iraq was simply the point of attack

what the F? You like all the neo-cons are smoking the crack pipe of imperialism. Worked out for the British real good. And the attack so far has been so brilliant and successful. Time to shock and awe the shit out of Iran, Syria, and hell, how about Venezuela too while we're at it. That'll show 'em. The only thing i can't wrap my head around, sloan, is your insanity.

Larry said...

Brandy: Time to shock and awe the shit out of Iran, Syria, and hell, how about Venezuela too while we're at it.

I think we should leave Venezuela out of it for now.

Brando said...

Since you are actively involved in fighting in Iraq, Larry-o, I'm sure things will work out fine. You're enlisted, right? You're probably chummy with the bush daughters who are currently serving as well. Perhaps you have the honor of serving the the very regiment that Cheney served in too.

Larry said...

Alas, Marlon, I haven't had that honor.

Freeman Hunt said...

Brando, so you have to be enlisted to support the war?

ploopusgirl said...

Aaron: Not sure when you originally posted your sad whine, but I'm now responding. You cried because Elizabeth called you cavalier :( and allegedly questioned your humanity :( and you're tired of demanding your humanity every time you debate the war with evil leftists :(. Too friggin bad. Don't you think that we liberals are sick and goddamn tired of defending our love for America? Every time sloanasaurus, the biggest friggin moron I've ever encountered by the way--and that's sad, post anything he manages to bring it back home to the evil leftist agenda and how we all want the war to be lost so we can prove Bush wrong and we hate America, and blah blah blah. I'm sick of defending that. I love America; I love what it stands for; I completely disagree with the reasoning for going into the war and I completely disagree with how the war is being handled, BUT (this is for you Sloan, you beacon of idiocy) I do NOT want us to lose this war. How would this benefit me at all? We've made a commitment to the Iraqi people and we have to bring them democracy now--and yes, I want this to occur, just in case I haven't been clear. ... Rant over.

So poor little you, Aaron. I feel so bad you were called cavalier and you had to defend your poor little self yet again to the poor evil leftists. We would have no damn idea what that's like.

Sloanasaurus said...

Brando, I am having a hard time understanding your comments because I cannot see around your "Free Mumia" placard.

Bruce, it is also true that Russia/France/China wanted to sell arms to Iraq again and had already been promised exclusive contracts in Oil infrastructure.. In the 1980s, Iraq became one of the most important arms purchasers around the world. At the same time the arms industry in europe was struggling because governments in Europe (France especially) were reducing their defense budgets. Consequently, the industry looked to places like Iraq to pick up the slack. Gulf War I was devestating to the French arms industry which dropped by nearly 50% from the late 1980s to 1991.

Sloanasaurus said...

Thanks Ploopusgirl, I will wear your name calling with a badge of honor.

Brando said...

no i have not enlisted. i don't support the war. Given the recruitment woes facing the armed services now, I like many others am not interested in being suicide bombing fodder for a illegitimate, ill-defined, unwinnable war run by an incompetant, unstable chickenhawk in chief who is taking a vacation from his vacation at an Idaho resort.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloans Fillibustering and insisting that anyone against the war is "support tyranny in Iraq, are against freedom in Iraq, and support the proliferation of WMD by tyrannical leaders around the world" has pretty much exhausted my patience for these comments. I will however leave you with a joke.

Whats the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

George W Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

Brando said...

nice one, cp

Sloanasaurus said...

Cold Pillow, if you read the threads more carefully, you would notice that those comments were made and the context of the difficulty and frustration of defending blanket assertions for or against opposition to the war. There are a fair share of ridiculous assertions made in this thread.

Although I did not expect a response, I thought Elizabeth did a good job responding to them anyways.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan, I understood the context but its still insulting and just a poorly reasoned assertion. I do agree with you though that we aren't getting any closer to agreement. The problem is that I can see how the war on terror could have been done right, with a reasonable expectation of a better outcome. The thing that frustrates me is the way you and numerous other people unflinchingly carry water for this administration, forgiving every mistake while relentlessly attacking those who disagree. Jamie Gorelick is a problem, Ms. Shaheen is the problem, Joan Baez is the problem. But god forbid someone question or point out the obvious failings of Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld. Its laughable but that many people opposed the war and were exactly correct in what they percieved as problems. Yet they were attacked relentlessly by the pro-war crowd. Its the same thing today, despite being correct on numerous levels, despite the Right being wrong in so many ways, it's still the anti-war crowd that is in the wrong, lacking in dedication or patriotism. I'm resolved to the fact that this administration will continue to screw up this country through their ham-handed foriegn policy and morally and intellectually corrupt domestic policy. Luckily for them they will always have armies of supporters willing to blindly support them.

Brando said...

perhaps we should look at it this way cp: We are winning the "War of Error."

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Luckily for them they will always have armies of supporters willing to blindly support them...."

There are loads of critcs. I am a defender of the policy in general and I think the Iraq war has been strategically brilliant in the context of the war on terror and for the future of peace in the world. Why should I waste my time nitpicking the tactical mistakes made by the army or the administration...that only damages the end goal (and they know well their mistakes)


For your fodder: I think the the misstart in the iraqi army and police training program was badly planned. I think we could be down to less than 100k troops today but for this mistake.

I think the delay in taking down Falluja was a mistake. It gave the terrorists a window of time to organize rather than being on the run. We are still paying for that today.

But these are only tactical misstepts. Anyone can be a critic.

Larry said...

CP: The problem is that I can see how the war on terror could have been done right...

Oh, sure, you can see it, CP, but you're a superior being after all, with skills galore. It must feel just terrible being surrounded by such relative imbeciles (apart from your select band of followers, like Brando -- I mean, fellow peaceniks -- I mean "war opponents"). When, when will the world recognize your genius, that's what I want to know?

Sloanasaurus said...

Larry has a point. To be fair critics should provide some sort of analysis of the war on terror without Iraq.

For example, while I believe that the fly paper theory of Iraq may be suspect in terms of terrorists coming to america, it is very certain that these same terrorists would be fighting us in Afghanistan but for Iraq. Is Afghanistan a more hospitable battlefield than Iraq? History says no way. While the support in the U.S might be greater for the war, it could probably be worse for our troops doing the actual fighting. How would we supply our troops? There is no port that we control, nor is Afghanistan surrounded by neighbors "friendly" to us. Would Saddam be using his oil money to fund the terrorists in Afghanistan? Most likely.

Critics overlook the point that Afghanistan has much more potential to be a "Vietnam" than Iraq.

Tom said...

Sloan: But at some point, enough tactical missteps will undo even the most brilliant strategy, right?

Sloanasaurus said...

If you want an example of how bad a battle was planned and conducted read D-Day by Stephan Ambrose. The whole day was one giant mistake after another.

Aaron said...

Ploopus Girl,

This is the third or fourth time you have argued that two wrongs make a right. Or that if someone else isIf you are tired of defending yourself from unfair attacks then why is it ok for Elizabeth to unfairly malign someone? Also - I am not Sloan so if you have a problem with him why don't you grow up and be an adult and argue with him over your issues. I actually wrote a very similar response to you back in an old thread that had been dormant where you had said something about how I can't call leftists anti-semites because there are right wing bigots. As I mentioned then there are bigots on both sides of the political divide. You may think in some simplistic way that the left is about diversity so therefor all who claim to be from the right must be racists - this is poor thinking. It is also irrelevant to my assertion that the left has anti-semites coming out its ears. You should really reconsider arguing that because you feel someone else on the right unfairly questions your patriotism you then have the right to act like a git towards completely different people on the right. This is called collective punishment and was introduced into the modern era by Stalin - not that you have to take responsability for Stalin's actions. See - I am differentiating.

I thought Elizabeth was using a variation of the chickenhawk argument. I think she and I came to a mutual understanding. In any event the chickenhawk argument is weak and been dissected six ways from sunday. I think to the extent that I personally would be embarassed to make it.

I am sorry you feel persecuted under false pretenses. From my perspective your greatest sin is that you are a left wing version of Sloan. You lump people together as he does. You use hackneyed language. You both go ad hominem. You both tend not to add anything particularly interesting to the discussion. You use tired arguments in ways that make me think you expect your disputants will stop in shock and awe over your mentioning that Bush Lied! or there are right wing bigots! or whatever. I tend to agree with sloan on policy and I appreciate his passion - but I think you are suffering from projection with your litany against him.

In any event you asserting I am a whiny baby has really rocked me to the core. I am going to go hug my teddy bear and register democrat tomorrow to earn your respect.

ploopusgirl said...

And you're asserting that I am a left-wing version of Sloanasaurus has rocked me to the core as well, Aaron. Indeed, I'll be crying all not long and registering Republican first thing in the morning.

The point was that I, nor anyone else, cares that you're tired of defending yourself from the opposite end of the spectrum. We all have to do it because we're all overzealous, overly-generalizing jackasses. We just have different opinions. So your whine (and yes, it was a whine) about your humanity, while a good point, is irrelevant because it's all anyone ever does within political debate; why should you have special treatment.

Brando said...

here larry, take this flower, and let's dance around a tree together and talk about what a wonderful happy place the world is.

Larry said...

Groovy. Jes' get ever'body tokin, man. Peace out.

Brando said...

Come on, let's go! Flowers for everybody. Kumbaya...

Brando said...

Come on, let's go! Flowers for everybody. Kumbaya...

Cold Pillow said...

The sad thing is that I am relatively inexperienced when it comes to policy or foriegn affairs. Yet somehow I was still able to 'guess' that abandoning Afghanistan to fight an unprovoked and unnecessary war in Iraq might not be in our best interest. I just never bought into that whole 'mission accomplished', 'greeted with flowers', 'cakewalk', 'ignore the people who actually attacked us to fight the guy who tried to kill my daddy' mentality. Weird how that works. If you doubt my uncanny, nostradamus like abilities feel free to check the archives at the washington monthly or billmon.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Yet somehow I was still able to 'guess' that abandoning Afghanistan to fight an unprovoked and unnecessary war in Iraq might not be in our best interest...."

How is it that we have abandoned Afghanistan? What accomplishments could we claim if we would have put 150,000 troops in afghanistan instead of Iraq? The death rate in Afghanistan is actually higher than Iraq. There have been some 227 deaths with only 16,000 serving in country. Compare that to 1800/150,000 in Iraq. Consider the history of Afghanistan, an uncompromising landscape where we have no reliable allies in country and no Port. Consider Iraq, a perfect landscape for modern war where we have good allies in country (the Kurds) and potentially good allies (the Shia) a port, and plenty of good allies in the region.

Try to think strategically. Planners of this war had to think long term and out of the box. They had to ponder questions about where to use our resources. If the war on terror requires more than a military victory, how can that victory be accomplished with what we have. If we are going to suffer casualties no matter what, where can the greatest gain be achieved through those casualties... in Afghanistan? In Iraq?

You can belittle this think all you want, however, this is the kind of stuff our government must consider to defend this country.

If you know anything about World War II, Roosevelt and his staff pondered over what to do politically about Germany and Japan on December 8. They had already decided that the U.S. would commit nearly 9/10ths of our resources to the fight against Hitler....yet it was Japan that had attacked the U.S. not Germany. In fact Rossevelt had been trying to provoke Hitler into a fight for over a year.

Fortunately for Roosevelt, Hitler declared war a week later.

Brando said...

Can somebody explain to me what winning the war on terror would actually mean? How do we know if we are winning or losing? Is it when all americans feel safe like pre-9/11? What are the metrics here? What metric is Bush using?

Sloanasaurus said...

I think the cold war is a good comparison to WOT. Winning the war on terror means an end to the movement towards islamic fascism, which is essentially the ultimate goal to the ideology put forward by Osama Bin Ladin. His goal was to take control of states and create the new Islamic caliphate.

We know we are losing if states fall to Islamic fascism. We are winning if states move ahead to freedom and democracy. We know we are not winning if nothing changes.

Brando said...

hmmm, well, i can see that the long term goal--that of promoting democracy and freedom--are the same in both the cold war and the WOT, with downfall of communism the result the cold war and the downfall of islamic fascism in the case of the WOT.

but, it seems off the top of my head that there are at least two major differences between the cold war and the WOT. first, the WOT is ostensibly a hot war, whereas the cold war didn't involve direct confrontation, invasions etc. second, the WOT unlike the cold war poses the so-called asymmetrical threat. there is no one country that is the bad guy in the way that the soviet union was.

In any case, the paradigmatic islamic fascist state i take it would be Iran, and the former taliban controlled Afghanistan. While Saddam was a brutal dictator, my understanding is that Iraq was essentially a secular state and did not have any connection to the OBL’s aspirations, although Saddam did support hammas and likely other anti-israel activities. Saudi Arabia is essentially a full fledged monarchy/oligarchy, but has a fair amount of the population that is quite fundamentalist and somewhat sympathetic to OBL (most of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia). Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. Although democratic on paper, Syria has a political system much like Saddam’s was—autocratic yet secular. Libya is essentially a dictatorship, with Qadhafi ruling by decree.
There just ain’t a whole lotta democracy to be found in that neck of the woods. Leaving out Israel, Egypt is perhaps the only democratic success story and not a great one at that.

Indeed, bringing democracy to Iraq would be a noble end, but is it realistic? I donno. Although the jury is still out, it seems fair to say--and correct me if I’m wrong--that Iraq my very well be in the grips of organized Islamic fascism where it wasn’t before with Iran no doubt doing lots of aiding and abetting. Judging by this metric, then, it would seem that we are in fact losing WOT. Is this fair to say? Am I missing anything?

Sloanasaurus said...

"...Indeed, bringing democracy to Iraq would be a noble end, but is it realistic..."

Yes, I agree with you we don't know.

I think it is a mistake to argue that Saddam was less of a danger because he was a secular regime. I think it is clear that Saddam was most dangerous because he was a totalitarian leader with concentrated power with a history of agression.

the most brutal leaders in recent history have been the secular ones... stalin, hitler, pol pot.

Religious fanaticism does not always mean aggerssion. Despite the religious revolution in Iran, its leaders did not pursue a policy of foreign agression. Further, the Mullahs in Iran share power with each other and with the civil government. Iran is still a nasty tyranny, but not near the danger of Saddam. The Saudi Monarchy is also a power sharng arrangement among the royal family. Such sharing of power tends to moderate the policies of the leaders.

Larry said...

CP: Although the jury is still out, it seems fair to say--and correct me if I’m wrong--that Iraq my very well be in the grips of organized Islamic fascism where it wasn’t before with Iran no doubt doing lots of aiding and abetting. Judging by this metric, then, it would seem that we are in fact losing WOT. Is this fair to say? Am I missing anything?

No, I don't think that's fair to say at this point. Because:

1) It's certainly not clear that Iraq will end up like Iran -- see, among others, this post as an example of contrary argument.

2) Even if it did, it's not clear that it would support, actively or passively, terrorist operations.

3) In any case, Iraq itself is only a battle in the larger (and longer) war -- see this article for an example of "metrics" taken from that larger context.

I think on the whole that the larger war is being won -- though slowly and with unquestionable setbacks, as there are in any war. It's a mistake, in trying to assess this, to focus on one particular theater, or one particular arm or instance of the enemy -- before OBL there was Abu Nidal and hordes of others, and after OBL there's Al-Zarqawi and there will be hordes more. But if Sep 11 taught us anything, it should be that the stakes here are far higher than partisan bickering allows for -- unlike Vietnam, this is a long-term struggle that we simply can't afford to lose.

Larry said...

Sorry, Brando, I wrongly attributed the quote to Cold Pillow -- it's yours, of course.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan:
How is it that we have abandoned Afghanistan? What accomplishments could we claim if we would have put 150,000 troops in afghanistan instead of Iraq? The death rate in Afghanistan is actually higher than Iraq.

' the United States has stationed around 10,000 troops to cover a country with 647,500 sq km of territory and over 28 million people'.

Maybe that helps explain the casualty rate we are seeing there?

Maybe that helps explain why warlords are taking over large portions of the country and lawlessness reigns.

Maybe this explains why we have yet to catch Osama Bin Laden(remember him? Does Bush?) and numerous other Al Qaeda operatives believed to be in Afghanistan.

Maybe this explains the unchecked increase in poppy production and continued erosion of rights we went over to fight for.

If Afghanistan is the poster child for what happens to a country when we 'bring them freedom' is it any wonder that Iraqis don't want us in their country?

Cold Pillow said...

So Larry, can we take that to mean that you think an islamic state in Iraq would be ok as long as they didn't support terrorism against America?

And whats with the 'after OBL there's Al-Zarqawi ' comment? You know we never got Osama Bin Laden him right? Whatever happened to 'wanted dead or alive'? What kind of a message does it send that the mastermind for the largest attack on American soil is still walking around 4 years later? I'm sure you can find away to argue that this isn't a big deal and that it surely isn't Bush's fault.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...If Afghanistan is the poster child for what happens to a country when we 'bring them freedom' is it any wonder that Iraqis don't want us in their country...."

Maybe you should do a little research before making a statement like that. The Taliban was a nasty tyrannical government. You imply that nothing has changed.

You make good points. However, I don't think reducing poppy production or resolving local tribal conflicts are worth placing 150,000 troops to achieve.

I think most people advocating putting more troops in Afghanistan to look for Bin Ladin don't really believe it. They are just using this as part of their argument to oppose the Iraq war...

Sloanasaurus said...

I thought Khalid Shaikh Mohammad was the mastermind of 9/11??? I think he is watching cable TV at the moment at Gitmo.

All sources say we had OBL surrounded but he managed to slip out. I don't think "walking around" is a correct description of OBL's freedom of movement at the moment.

Larry said...

CP: I'm sure you can find away to argue that this isn't a big deal and that it surely isn't Bush's fault.

No, no, it's Bush's fault alright because that's where the buck stops, as they say. I'm just unconvinced that Gore would necessarily have done any better, or that Kerry wouldn't have found a way to pass the buck anyway. More than that, I think the fixation on OBL is evidence of either dangerous near-sightedness, or mere partisan obsession (just a stupid way of saying nyah, nyah to Bu$h, i.e.). Islamist terrorist groups merge, split, and morph, and their leaders come and go. The problem is bigger than OBL, more extensive than Al Qaeda.

Now of course, if you, CP, could only bring your "guesses" into play here, your "uncanny, nostradamus like abilities", well, things would be cleared up in short order, I don't doubt. Lacking your insights, however, people just have to muddle through.

blueenclave said...

Historical footnote:
My mom was a precinct captain in Robert Drinan's first campaign for Congress, which he won by being against the war.

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan:
I never implied that 'Nothing has changed' in Afghanistan. So please don't try to move the goal posts on me.

I said: "...If Afghanistan is the poster child for what happens to a country when we 'bring them freedom' is it any wonder that Iraqis don't want us in their country...."

And I mean that we took responsibility for the progress of Afghanistan when we invaded. It is not doing very well right now and it doesn't seem to be a real priority for our government. I believe we should have finished what we started there before moving on to Iraq. Unfortunately we did not and now it seems to be in a serious decline. How can we take this Administration seriously about Democracy and Freedom in Iraq when they seem to be pretty poor at securing it for Afghanistan.

Larry:
Either your sarcasm detector is way off or you're twisting my words. But if you want guesses, how about this. If we fail to secure Afghanistan (the whole country, not just governemnt buildings in Kabul) and allow it to decline back into the dark ages then we will be facing the same pre-9/11 problems there again in my lifetime. If that happens then not only will Bush have failed but it will be a disgrace to those who gave their lives for Bush's asserted intentions of spreading Democracy and Freedom.

Brando said...

well, those are helpful responses. unfortunately, i think one of the big problems is yer man Bush. and this isn't a pot shot. Bush sold the war in Iraq as A when it really is B. Where B is this noble yet somewhat murkie nation building adventure with the long term goal of bringing democracy to the middle east. The American public thought we were going to Iraq because of the imminent threat of "mushroom clouds."

It seems to me that the American public has war fatigue and is simply confused: what are earth are we doing? And I frankly think their concerns are justified. Unless Bush can explain to us in any convincing way what is going on, what the costs and risks are, and so forth, then this adventure is truly lost. Like Hagel said, "stay the course" isn't a plan but platitude.

And if the real plan was B from the get-go, we certainly could have gone about it in a much better way than we did.

Larry said...

CP: If that happens then not only will Bush have failed but ... Bush's asserted intentions ....

At some point you're going to have to get over Bu$h, CP. There are bigger issues at stake here. If and when you -- and the rest of the liberal-left -- do, then your strategic and tactical criticisms will carry some weight; until then, they're just so much partisan hot air. (And I say that without sarcasm.)

To Brando, I'd just say that I think the public in general has a better instinct for what the war is about than most of its critics -- and fundamentally it's about defeating Islamist fascists, not about a "noble yet somewhat murkie nation building adventure with the long term goal of bringing democracy to the middle east", which is simply the strategy. I do agree there are signs of fatigue with it now, though, and the anti-Bush critics can certainly take "credit" for at least some of that.

As always, we're in the middle of history and don't know how it will turn out. We may, in fact, lose this after all. If we do, we should at least have the maturity to understand that it won't just be Bush's failure -- it will be our failure, and the consequences will be borne by our people and our children.

Sloanasaurus said...

Cold Pillow: I guess I disagree with you about Afghanistan "not going well." When will you be satisfied that it will be going well?

They are about to have legislative elections. 40% of the voters are expected to be women. The have a stable elected president. I read the other day that Kandahar (home of the Taliban) restored postal service for the first time since the Soviet invasion. If things are so bad there how did they manage to do that?

There is a guy in the blogosphere and WSJ Chrenkoff who compiles good news stories from Afghanistan that are not published in the US Media. You should read it. It will make you proud to be an American knowing the gift that our country and our soldiers have given to these people.

Sloanasaurus said...

Brando, Bush sold me on the war with Option B. Option A never mattered to me, it was just another argument among many. (Clinton sold me on the Serbian war also with Option B), but I am a sucker for noble causes.

Some people were sold with Option A (the current threat of WMD, which no evidence of has yet to be found). Nearly all of the Option A people are "traditional" even "paleo" conservatives that don't believe in liberal adventures like Option B. (You can find them all on Lawrence Auster's blog). Bush needed these conservatives to cobble together majority support for the war. The problem for democrats is that Option A voters are never going to vote for democrats. They may show up in polls as being "frustrated" with the war, but do not show up in polls as supporting democrats. All the potential Democrat voters are in the Option A group, the so called Neo-conservatives and others who support stuff life nation buildng and Wilsonian foreign policy adventures.

This reflects the current quandry for democrats. How do they attract voters from the republican coalition if the party is mostly anti-war?

The anti-war; anti-bush crowd never accepted Option A or Option B. They just like to continuously point out the WMD issue (I would too I suppose).

Brando said...

Well, there are many important issues here. I pigeonhole myself as a Democratic warhawk who if it had not been for the "mushroom cloud" rhetoric would have otherwise NOT supported invading Iraq or at least not have rushed ahead with it without more planning and public dialog.

Anyway, Larry, you highlight a HUGE issue. You are suggesting that bringing democracy to the Middle East is not and end, but a MEANS, a means to what? Our security. That suggests to me that our noble cause is not particularly noble afterall.

And what evidence is there that bringing true Freedom and Democracy to the Middle East would bolster our security? Here in the U.S. have our own homegrown potential for terrorism, take Timothy McVey. And heck, given Pat Roberson's dangerous and dispicable remarks regarding the assasinating of Hugo Chavez, we have our own version here in the US of Christo-Fascists. Couldn't true US-style democracy in the Middle East be a really good environment for islamic fascists to connive, conspire and collude?

Cold Pillow said...

Sloan:
2005 has been the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since the invasion.

The Taliban is growing with the help of outside fighters coming across the border. They have promised to continue the attacks and disrupt the elections.

Many of the parties involved in the elections are independently arming themselves.

1,000 people have been killed in the last 6 months, including 66 us soldiers and 100 afghan security soldiers. 2 Westerners have been kidnapped from the capital of Kabul.

I agree that we need to wait and see what whill happen in Afghanistan but lets not pretend like things are peachy or even improving. Bush abandoned Afghanistan to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq. Now he's talking about the pullout from Iraq. I have very little faith in his ability to bring either of these places to a satisfactory outcome.

Cold Pillow said...

Larry:
Admittedly I do take a certain perverse joy from picking the Republicans often asinine policies apart. However that pales in comparison to how it pains me watching him screw things up for this country while his supporters pretend he can do no wrong.

My greatest fear is that no matter how badly things go and how much this country declines a large chunk of the right will continue to support the President and his policies. They will defend them on the radio, the tv and internet forums because they are too invested to honestly admit that their side and our government has messed up. Now I am not claiming that this is unique to the Right or that there aren't people on the left who attack anything he does. However the Right controls all 3 areas of our government so our failure falls pretty squarely with them. By unflinchingly supporting these misguided policies we as a country will fail to recognize and learn from these mistakes. Instead we will further instill a partisan sense of us vs. them where we are destined to repeat the same errors over and over to our own peril.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...My greatest fear is that no matter how badly things go and how much this country declines a large chunk of the right will continue to support the President and his policies..."

What is your objective observation to show that whether or not the country is in decline? Is it GDP? The number of Jobs, the consumer confidence poll?, home ownership, the average lifespan?

I guarantee that if these types of things really do actually decline under President Bush, everyone will feel it and no one will support him.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...1,000 people have been killed in the last 6 months..."

Cold Pillow, the web site at the bottom says that more than 1.8 million die as a result of Afghanistan's civil wars from 1979-2001. That is an averge of 40,000 every six months.

Statistics don't tell everything, but maybe the difference between 40,000 and 1000 is why a post office was finally able to open in Kandahar this year.


http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat2.htm#Afghanistan

Brando said...

cold pillow, it has not been since the time of the prohibition that the religious right has had such control of government and policy in the US. Bush could nuke all of Africa and hold public executions of adulerous women on TV and they would still support him. it took the Great Depression for Americans to come to their senses then. Hopefully it won't come to that this time.

Cold Pillow said...

That statistic is pretty dishonest given the history of Afghanistan. However I do see your point, killings are not a good metric, especially considering that it is(sadly), not new for the country. A post office isn't exactly a the end of the rainbow either though. Like I said, only time will tell but it seems like the US abandoned them prematurely to fight in Iraq. I think the troops could have been useful and the money put to better use making sure we finished what we started in Afg. That is the point.

Larry said...

Brando: That [promoting democracy as a strategy against Islamofascists] suggests to me that our noble cause is not particularly noble afterall.

Well, fine. The world isn't Sunday School or a Civics class, and I continue to be astonished at the number of liberals -- who frequently pride themselves on their "sophisticated" understanding of the world -- who seem to imagine it is. So, yes, as the vast majority of Bush voters understood immediately, the US is spending billions of dollars, and the lives of its own soldiers in pursuit of a strategy that it believes is essential to its own long-term security -- I can only hope that isn't news to you.

Now, you can certainly question that strategy -- and in doing so you would at least be elevating the discussion above the simplistic levels of "Where's Osama?", or "Where are the WMDs?" But I think the strategy, while founded, as it should be, on our own security, is both far-reaching and profound -- it sees that our ultimate and best form of security is bound up with the spread of democracy and freedom in the world, and in that sense I wouldn't hesitate to call it "noble".

Sloanasaurus said...

"...That statistic is pretty dishonest given the history of Afghanistan...."

I agree, we cannot verify that statistic, however, it is true that the whole country was completely devestated by the time Americans arrived. In fact the Taliban and Northern Alliance were still conducting a hot war with static front lines etc... in 2001. I recall in the mid 1990s that one of the various warlords rocketed Kabul night and day for a month killing countless civilians.

Further, it has been recently reported that some 2 million Afghan refugees have left UN camps in Pakistan and other border areas to return to their homes. This alone is a stunning statistic of success.

Your right postal service may not on its own be much of an accomplishment, but sometimes little facts like that can explain a lot.

Larry said...

Brando: Bush could nuke all of Africa and hold public executions of adulerous women on TV and they would still support him.

Just when it seemed that it was safe to get back into at least a semi-rational debate, along comes a statement like this, which deserves to become an artifact in a Museum of Early 21st Century Left-Liberal Dementia. (Against the dodge that it was just satire, sarcasm, etc. see the surrounding context.) This is the real illustration why no amount of reason, evidence, or argument regarding Iraq will ever make the slightest impression on the obdurate Bushophobes of the left.

Sloanasaurus said...

"...it has not been since the time of the prohibition that the religious right has had such control of government and policy in the US....

It was also crazy religious evangelicals who led the fight to end the slave trade and the eventual abolition of slavery.

Brando said...

well, Larry, i think you're operating more on faith than reason here. Noble or not, I do not even think that much of your own base bargained on a ten or fifteen or twenty year kazillion dollar bloody stuggle to mold the Middle East into a democratic image of the US whose outcome Colin Powell and Daddy Bush understood was uncertain from the get-go.

Brando said...

okay, the Nuke africa was over-the-top invective but I still have Pat Roberson's assasination of Hugo Chavez comment on the brain.

Here, Larry and Sloan, have another flower. I'm learning much from our interchange.

Brando said...

cold pillow, will you take a flower too?

Sloanasaurus said...

Robertson is a nut. So is Chavez.

He should have been more "delicate" in his comment. Perhaps he could have said something like "I pray for an untimely fall from power for Mr. Chavez."

Larry said...

Agreed -- Robertson is indeed a nut, and a distasteful one at that.

Brando said...

but is it not fair to say that Pat Robertson represent the mainstay of Bush's base?

Sloanasaurus said...

Sure. I guess you could extrapolate and argue that Bush's base wants to do away with Chavez. Are you implying that is a bad thing?

Larry said...

Brando: but is it not fair to say that Pat Robertson represent the mainstay of Bush's base?

I don't quite know, to be honest, what's meant by a politician's "base". Does it mean the most extreme of his/her supporters, who are supposed to have nowhere else to go? If so, would it be fair to say that Michael Moore, or Noam Chomsky, or, god knows, Ward Churchill represent the "mainstay" of, say, Kerry's base, or Gore's? And if so, would it be fair to cherry-pick among the most ridiculous or nutty of their comments and hang them on Democrats?

Brando said...

indeed, there are basketloads of nutjobs on the left. but the linchpin of Kerry's campaign was not to mobilize the extreme left elements of the party. It was--or at least attempted to be--more centrist.

It is my understanding that Rove's successful strategy for bush was decidedly not centrist but geared entirely toward generating high turn out from the far right elements of the republican party, those consisting in large part of the very audience that Pat Robertson caters to. Hence the extent to which Bush is beholden to nominating a supreme court justice that is going to support striking down roe v wade.

i mean, can you think of a president in the history of the US that is as far left as Bush is right? Such a president would have to have been virtually communist to make a comparison valid. Daddy Bush looks liberal compared to the Son. Perhaps for the next election we can get Castro elected in order to balance things out.

Larry said...

Brando: i mean, can you think of a president in the history of the US that is as far left as Bush is right? Such a president would have to have been virtually communist to make a comparison valid.

I don't say this to shock you, but I actually don't think Bush is particularly right wing. In fact, I'd like to see him more ideologically right, especially regarding free trade, balanced budgets, smaller government, etc. But instead -- I hope you're sitting down -- he's pretty much a centrist, on these and most other issues. And don't take my word for that -- ask most of the actual Bush voters, relatively few of whom are on the far right.

Unless of course you think that that many people really are far right, in which case there may be a kind of principle of political relativity operating -- Bush and the Bush voters only appear to be far right because you're far left. Whatever, good luck with the Castro idea (maybe you could just, you know, "animate the base" ...).

Brando said...

With all do respect, Larry, have you seen the budget lately? Did you notice that pork barrel energy bill? Do you remember the Terry Shievo case where Bill Frist led a charge to micromanage her care from Washington? Do you remember that Bush supports a constitutional ammendmant ban gay marriage (most americans don't support this)? Did you notice how he supports striking roe v. wade (whereas most Americans support restrictions on abortion but believe women should have a right to choose)? Did you notice how how he pre-empted the autonomy of states to formulate their own environmental regulations? Do you remember his attempt to privatize social security?

What, did 9/11 gave Bush some special mandate to force a far-right, anti-conservative wingnut agenda down the throats of the American electorate?

Brando said...

I mean, at least if Castro was elected President of the US we would know that we have a left-wing commie bastard on our hands. As opposed to Bush, who with full complicity and support of the party of republican lackies have duped people like you into thinking he is moderate/mainstream straight talking conservative folkie family values dude when in fact he is the prime nutjob in chief for the Pat Roberston American Taliban freaks.

I donno, if was a moderate republican i'd be a bit tired of being bent over the table. And I think the American public are figuring out where all the soreness is coming from. And before you accuse me of invective just remember what President ran as a "Uniter, not a Divider."

Sloanasaurus said...

Brando, you didn't do a very good job on pointing out Bush's supposed Right Wing Agenda. In fact you exaggerated on each point.

"...Do you remember the Terry Shievo case where Bill Frist led a charge to micromanage her care from Washington..."

The Congress merely told the federal courts to review the Shaivo case. They did not micromanage her care. The federal courts of course reviewed the case and found nothing wring with the state court's opinion.

..."Do you remember that Bush supports a constitutional ammendmant ban gay marriage (most americans don't support this..."

Bush said he supported an Amendment because of the possible unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (Which Clinton signed). Most Americans do think they should be able to decide this issue through the votee, not the courts of some other state.

".....Did you notice how he supports striking roe v. wade (whereas most Americans support restrictions on abortion but believe women should have a right to choose)?...."

Maybe Bush does support striking down Roe. But Bush knows that striking down Roe will not take away abortion rights. It just allows states to decide (and most states will keep the rights). Bush has not annouced support for federal legislation to ban abortion.

"...Did you notice how how he pre-empted the autonomy of states to formulate their own environmental regulations?..."

Preempting states rights sounds very anti-right wing.

"...Do you remember his attempt to privatize social security?..."

Bush never said "privatize," but I will let it pass, because I wish he would have.

Ill give you this one. "Priviatizing" social security is an excellent idea... but it is certainly not an idea that a liberal socialist would like.

Brando said...

Earth to Sloan. Bush is bending you over the table too. Bush is not only bad for America, he is a complete clusterfuck for the Republican Party, not that i care because you've all been acting like irresponsible, incontinent crack babies. Problem is that momma-geogie all done run outta the crack cause she been living too large offa dat mandate.

Sloanasaurus said...

Brando, you seem pretty smart. maybe you should come up with some good ideas on how to improve our country.

You can start by trying to convince people on this board as to why your ideas will work. After that you can start your campaign to win back America from Bush.

Brando said...

fair enough, sloan. i can't figure out what the democrats are doing half the time. but things are changing. one guy to keep an eye on is wes clark. he is tough but fair on evaluating Bush's failures, and seems to be giving sensible arguments that, at least as Iraq is concerned, gives an honest outlook about how we might proceed. Check out his recent op-ed piece here.

Peace, bro.

Sloanasaurus said...

I don't mind Clark. Although I would like to know his views on the role of government. Democrats should find this out too before they vote for him.

If you read Clark's op ed piece, it is no different than his usual pieces. It is classic criticism. First he says the whole thing was a mistake. But then he basically says the Administration needs to do stuff (they are already doing). He provides vague suggestions such as forming regional committees, etc.. This is not really criticism of any meaningful substance. He also criticises the military for being too slow on training Iraqi troops and partnering with Iraqi units. This is great... I agree with him. I also agree that the Military made bad mistakes in the float tanks it equipped during D-Day. So what.

Clarks op-ed piece is is low quality mental reasoning. Anyone can make any criticism if you are not required support your criticism. To really prove your point, you must make criticisms with example and show why doing something differently would have been better. Clark doesn't do this.

Brando said...

lay out some slack, amigo. it's not as if there was room to write a dissertation. the guy graduated first in his class as at west point. and he makes miles more sense than Bush who can't even complete the sentence involving his "stay the course" canard.

Given that Clark was also Managing Director of Merchant Banking of Stephens Group, Inc, i doubt he is a commie liberal flower toting peacenic. but i don't know his position on government though. but give the guy a hearing before you go into McCarthy-esque denounciations.