November 27, 2005

War poll: "55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale."

WaPo reports:
The results surely will rankle many Democrats, who argue that it is patriotic and supportive of the troops to call attention to what they believe are deep flaws in President Bush's Iraq strategy. But the survey itself cannot be dismissed as a partisan attack. The RTs in RT Strategies are Thomas Riehle, a Democrat, and Lance Tarrance, a veteran GOP pollster.

Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."
Not really surprising, is it? I think most Americans are not hotly partisan and are pretty sick of people who are.

IN THE COMMENTS: Lots of discussion, including this from DrillSGT:
As a Vietnam Vet (enlisted), subsequently a Regular Army Officer, and the Husband of a currently serving National Guard officer I can anecdotally state with near certainty that US public opinion belittling the hard work and sacrifices of soldiers in a combat zone and hearing their elected officials say things like "Bush Lied, soldiers died" and Democrat John Kerry accusing President Bush of sending U.S. troops to the "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" has a strong negative impact. It initially impacts the families at home. They get a constant stream of comments and it eats at their morale. That in turn bleeds over to the soldiers in the war zone. Unlike my war, soldiers in Iraq have access to real time MSM and can see that the MSM ignores all the successes and finds fault in every opportunity.

It hurts. It hurts. An average American understands what "support the Troops" means. Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership are rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens the average American.


MORE IN THE COMMENTS: Readers give DrillSGT a hard time for the quote I front-paged, and he reframes it. This post is certainly getting a lot of comments. I don't post very much on the war in Iraq, though the large number of comments a post like this gets shows me how very much people want to talk about it. I'd just like to say that I never write about things like whether we had enough troops when we started or how many troops should be brought home now. How could I possibly have a valid opinion here? I'm not a military strategist, and I don't have the inside information the people who are conducting the war have. My posts tend to be about political strategies and rhetoric about the war. As to the actual war, it seems pretty obvious to me that we must win. But it would be bizarre for me to act as though I knew how to do that.

187 comments:

reader_iam said...

It's beyond me why partisans to the left can't understand that it's possible to think going to war was a mistake AND still think criticism of the current effort hurts morale.

Just as it's beyond me why partisans to the right can't understand that it's possible to think criticism of the current effort hurts morale AND still think going to war was a mistake.

These partisans on both sides seem to insist on an "OR" worldview. Whereas the majority of people live in the the world of "AND's."

No wonder so many average people are disgusted.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Performing Bear said...

"I think most Americans are not hotly partisan and are pretty sick of people who are."

I'd venture further--and this could be wishful thinking: Most Americans are not partisan at all. They are situational voters; they understand (subliminally, perhaps) that because there are only two teams in the political major leagues, voters must allign themselves with one or the other, making those compromises necessary to play the Game.

The major parties are locked into appeasing their bases and losing out on the opportunity to sign the dissaffected middleEarthers (myself included) who will allign themselves with whichever party has the vision to moderate.

erp said...

Constructive criticism by the loyal opposition is one thing, calling the president and others in his administration, including military leaders, liars and worse is very damaging to our country.

The left is bent on regaining power and is doing anything and everything it can to weaken Bush in the hopes Democrats will gain congressional seats the 2006 elections, and elect a Democrat to the White House in '08.

Jacques Cuze said...

A poll measures attitudes, it doesn't measure accuracy. While people may believe that criticism hurts morale, that is really not relevant to the question is it? To answer that you would have to study the military itself.

You can also ask yourself why the public is answering this in that manner. They may be parents worried about their sons and daughters. They may be misinformed by this Administration's frequent lies and the lies of Fox.

As William F. Fore, B.D. Yale Divinity, Ph.D, Columbia, a Methodist minister, lecturer at Yale Divinity, and author of Image and Impact, Television and Religion: the Shaping of Faith, Values and Culture and Mythmakers: Gospel Culture and the Media said in Truth, Lies and the Media an article in the Christian Century in 2003,

Why when almost every major denomination on record opposed unilateral U.S. action in Iraq, did most people in the pews support it? In recent months researchers have begun to address that question by examining knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about involvement in Iraq. The findings reveal a deeply disturbing gap between the facts and the public’s beliefs.

"Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War," the most recent study was released in early October by the Program on International Policy Attitudes of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (UM). The primary question asked was, "Are average Americans ‘misperceiving’ information about Iraq and the war?"

Between January and September of 2003, after conducting seven different polls, researchers found that the answer was yes: "


Even assuming that it is true, a reasonable question is if the truth, the criticism, is worth the cost in terms of hurt morale.

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Vietnam veteran, respected politician, and presumed presidential candidate in 2008, criticized the way the war was being waged and the administration's criticism of its critics.

"To question your government is not unpatriotic - to not question your government is unpatriotic," he said. "America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."

Or Michael Kinsley, The Phony War Against the Critics

Until last week, the antiwar position in the debate over Iraq closely resembled the pro-war position in the ancient debate over Vietnam. That is: It was a mistake to get in, but now that we're in we can't just cut and run. That was the logic on which Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger took over the Vietnam War four years after major American involvement began and kept it going for another four. American "credibility" depended on our keeping our word, however foolish that word might have been. In the end, all the United States wanted was a "decent interval" between our departure and the North Vietnamese triumph -- and we didn't even get that. Thousands of Americans died in Vietnam after America's citizens and government were in general agreement that the war was a mistake.

We are now very close to that point of general agreement in the Iraq war. Do you believe that if Bush, Cheney and company could turn back the clock, they would do this again? And now, thanks to Rep. John Murtha, it is permissible to say, or at least to ask, "Why not just get out now? Or at least soon, on a fixed schedule?" There are arguments against this -- some good, some bad -- but the worst is the one delivered by Cheney and others with their most withering scorn. It is the argument that it is wrong to tell American soldiers risking their lives in a foreign desert that they are fighting for a mistake.

One strength of this argument is that it doesn't require defending the war itself. The logic applies equally whether the war is justified or not. Another strength is that the argument is true, in a way: It is a terrible thing to tell someone he or she is risking death in a mistaken cause. But it is more terrible actually to die in that mistaken cause.

The longer the war goes on, the more Americans, "allies" and Iraqis will die. That is not a slam-dunk argument for ending this foreign entanglement. But it is worth keeping in mind while you try to decide whether American credibility or Iraqi prosperity or Middle East stability can justify the cost in blood and treasure. And don't forget to factor in the likelihood that the war will actually produce these fine things.

The last man or woman to die in any war almost surely dies in vain: The outcome has been determined, if not certified. And he or she might die happier thinking that death came in a noble cause that will not be abandoned. But if it is not a noble cause, he or she might prefer not to die at all. Stifling criticism that might shorten the war is no favor to American soldiers. They can live without that kind of "respect."

Gerry said...

Ann,

Oddly, your post on the wigs is somehow broken in that if one hits the comments link, it gets a Blogger "page not found" error.

I wanted to post this on that thread for you. A few of the images give one a better closup of some of the wig-wearing faces.

Jacques Cuze said...

“Dick Cheney said Thursday that if he and George W. Bush are elected they would look at crafting an exit strategy to get U.S. troops out of the Balkans. European allies could take on "a bigger share of the burden there," the Republican vice presidential candidate said. … Cheney also said President Clinton has no clear plan for removing troops from the Balkans. "I haven't seen yet any proposal from the administration to get out of Kosovo or Bosnia," he said while campaigning for the GOP ticket …”

Associated Press story, Aug. 31, 2000

...

"Why should one U.S. airman give up his life when our national security is not in imminent danger?"

Sean Hannity, March 24, 1999 speaking about Kosovo



http://thinkprogress.org/2005/06/28/in-1999-bush-demanded-a-timetable/In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war.

George W. Bush, 4/9/99:

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”

And on the specific need for a timetable, here’s what Bush said then and what he says now:

George W. Bush, 6/5/99

“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”

[ed. note: article originally ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 6/5/99]

VERSUS

George W. Bush, 6/24/05:

“It doesn’t make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you’re — you’re conceding too much to the enemy.”

EddieP said...

Saddam lied, many people died

Ann Althouse said...

Gerry: Thanks for the heads up. I've never seen that happen before. I republished the post and it fixed the problem. But I'll add your link on the front page.

Ann Althouse said...

Gerry: Wait. I don't see better close ups there. It's the same problem. I guess they're restricting them so you'll go to the gallery. It's a damned lame project -- in these days of Flickr sets.

Ross said...

It's often said that war by its nature tends to undermine democratic habits. It becomes more difficult to discuss the most urgent matters of government policy, precisely because being a team player is so important. This seems an example of that phenomenon.

Goatwhacker said...

Quxxo, I think you bring up a good point with the Kosovo quotes - both the GOP and the Democrats have been inconsistent with their viewpoints on exit strategy and war decisions, the main determinant seeming to be whether it's your guy in the White House or not. This kind of partisanship and inconsistency on both sides is not very helpful towards meeting the goal of a free Iraq or Kosovo.

Jake said...

A more important survey showed that 90% of the Al Qaida members think that the MSM and Democrats criticism greatly helps their morale and they would have given up long ago without that criticism.

Mickey said...

What we need is an all-star major league team for government, the best of the best.
~Imagine~ that !

John(classic) said...

Remarkable Agreement on Iraq ... and Disagreement

If we put aside the extremes, there is remarkable agreement on Iraq policy from both the left and right. The end goal is to have a stable democratic Iraq.

The means to achieve that goal is to build up Iraqi institutions, particularly the police and military. As those institutions become more capable, we will withdraw our presence.

So why all the "sturm und drang"?

The critical question for many politicians is simply: who will get the credit?

A clear Bush "victory" in Iraq would be devastating for the Democrats.

Thus the loud demands that he do what he is doing, all the time pretending that he is not doing it, and were he doing it, that they could do it better as he is doing terribly at it. If he does it, of course, he does so in unwilling response to their demands, even if he announced long ago that that was the plan.

For a few , there also is a willingness to see if they can keep him from doing it -- because they value a political victory more than a national one.

No one is willing to admit that the basic plan is the same for almost all responsible politicians.

Politicians really are wretched creatures these days.

Jacques Cuze said...

So why all the "sturm und drang"?

Because we cannot let politicians lie over war.

Because we cannot let politicians or anyone else claim that peaceful dissent is dangerous or treasonous.

Troy said...

Quxxo -- you're forgetting the most important date in ytour list. 9/11/2001.

After that -- there was no hope for Saddam. Spare me the he didn't do 9/11 bit. Assuming that's 100% true, the playing field had changed and Saddam could not be allowed to roam -- especially in light of France and Russia all but abandoning sanctions. Use a Criminal Justice example for a bit. If Al Capone's organization erupts and starts killing cops or shooting civilians in drive bys... The cops will do 2 things: crack down hard on Al Capone AND crack down hard on every other gangster because if Capone gets away with it, then the others will start feeling their oats. Now magnify that with chemical, biological, and nukes or even the potential to have them say 5 years down the road. OK OK -- the very realistic and almost universally held notion that Saddam had nukes.

What was said before 9/11/2001 about exit strategies, etc. is mostly irrelevant except as relics of a more naive time.
Besides -- Kosovo, Serbia, etc. were not funding international terrorists on a large scale and/or threatening to blow up Israel, and invading oil rich countres, etc, etc. I can't belive this has to be explained still... Amazing.

oldgranny said...

Bush has an exit strategy, it's just not the one the left wants to hear. He's said repeatedly that as Iraqis are able to take on a task, our military will pull back until the Iraqi police force and the Iraqi army are totally responsible for Iraqi security.

We'll stay there as a presence until our military and Iraq's democratically elected government agree it's time for us to pull out, not when Mrs. Sheehan's handlers think we should.

This isn't a PR stunt like Clinton's forays into battle. Why is that so hard to understand?

DCWilly said...

Troy:

Please explain, using you post 9/11 criteria, why we haven't invaded North Korea, a country we know has several nuclear weapons (and is producing more), has an autocratic ruler who starves and murders his people, and has within the last 50 years invaded a neighboring country. If 9/11 made Iraq so crucial, why not North Korea? The answer is, of course, Iraq plans had been drawn up BEFORE 9/11, and that horrible day just provided the necessary pretext.

Jacques Cuze said...

We'll stay there as a presence until our military and Iraq's democratically elected government agree it's time for us to pull out, not when Mrs. Sheehan's handlers think we should.

OG, you need to get with the news. Leaders in the Iraqi democratically elected government says we should get out, with a timetable, and also says it's okay for the resistance to shoot at us.

And Bushorwell has finally put his own plan forth, except that it is really the Democrat's plan, and guess what, it's withdrawal with a timetable.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House for the first time has claimed ownership of an
Iraq withdrawal plan, arguing that a troop pullout blueprint unveiled this past week by a Democratic senator was "remarkably similar" to its own.

...

The statement late Saturday by White House spokesman Scott McClellan came in response to a commentary published in The Washington Post by Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he said US forces will begin leaving Iraq next year "in large numbers."

...

Less than two weeks ago, McClellan blasted Democratic Representative John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), saying that by calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the congressman was "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore," a stridently anti-war Hollywood filmmaker.

...

Even though President George W. Bush has never publicly issued his own withdrawal plan and criticized calls for an early exit, the White House said many of the ideas expressed by the senator were its own.



Talk about Orwell! (But no, no, no, not a PR Stunt, this one involved the deaths of thousands, restrictions on our own civil rights, endangering a country by forgetting about the real terrorists, a seek for revenge for daddy and repudiation of daddy all at the same time, making our country a pariah, and the plundering of the US Treasury. Nope, not a PR stunt at all, probably best described as a high-crime.)

Jacques Cuze said...

Troy, 9/11 changed everything. I couldn't agree more. That's why we went after Osama Bin Laden, and that's why we didn't divert from that effort to go into Iraq, and that's why we captured Osama Bin Laden in May, 2003, after which President Bush announced, "Mission Accomplished" and then went on to ensure that loose nukes in the former Soviet Republics were being destroyed....

In the meantime, President Bush stepped quadrupled our no-fly zone and Iraqi sanctions regime by placing two carriers offshore over the horizon, going from a cost of $1Billion per YEAR to $4 Billion per YEAR. That and the forced inspections revealed that Iraq had no WMDs present.

And finally President Bush reopened multilateral discussions with North Korea which has proved promising as well.

Yep, 9/11 changed everything.

P. Froward said...

If you tell David Duke he's wrong about black people, he'll ask you why you're trying to "suppress" the "truth". If you tell quxxo he's wrong in his views, he asks you the same question. No doubt Duke thinks he's offering "constructive criticism" to the "mud people". I'm sure he's quite baffled by how unreceptive they are.

Telling unpleasant truths is not unpatriotic, but we're not talking about that. We're talking about propaganda.

Secondly: To disagree with Hagel, or Duke, or quxxo, is not to silence them. Nor is it necessarily unpatriotic to disagree with them.

quxxo, you have a perfect right to tell the craziest lies you can dream up, but the rest of us have an equal right to call you on it. That's the way it works.

Your problem, or one of them, is that you think that the great obsessive intensity of your hatred makes your views more true. But that's dumb.

EddieP said...

quxxo

9-11 didn't change everything, the dems are still whiners, quitters and losers.

Nice move for them to now claim Bush is implementing their plan for withdrawal. Bush's plan from day one. "We'll come home when the job's done."

Nothing's changed there either. Do you want a recount of the House 403-3 vote as well? Regards

Jacques Cuze said...

We're talking about propaganda.

Where's the propaganda? Where's the proganda in Murtha's, John Warner's or Carl Levin's statements?

Where's the propaganda? Where's the propaganda in Dick Cheney's statements? "One might also argue," Vice President Cheney said in a speech on Monday, "that untruthful charges against the commander in chief have an insidious effect on the war effort." That would certainly be an ugly and demagogic argument, were one to make it. After all, if untruthful charges against the president hurt the war effort (by undermining public support and soldiers' morale), then those charges will hurt the war effort even more if they happen to be true. So one would be saying in effect that any criticism of the president is essentially treason.

Lest one fear that he might be saying that, Cheney immediately added, "I'm unwilling to say that" -- "that" being what he had just said. He generously granted critics the right to criticize (as did the president this week). Then he resumed hurling adjectives like an ape hurling coconuts at unwanted visitors. "Dishonest." "Reprehensible." "Corrupt." "Shameless." President Bush and others joined in, all morally outraged that anyone would accuse the administration of misleading us into war by faking a belief that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear and/or chemical and biological weapons.
Kinsley, ibid.

p.froward, your entire last post consisted of nothing. no argument, no facts, just innuendo. You can do better than that.

Paul said...

I know I cannot articulate why I think Democratic attacks on The President and calls for Time Tables hurt the troops enough to convince any other.
I just know they do. With all sincere respect, been there, done that.

Mark said...

Quxxo,
keep up the good work. By the way, there was a good article by Frank Rich in today's NY Times about the Iraq war. I think Raw Story has excerpts from it.

Also, what does it mean exactly "hurts morale" of the troops? And why does it matter? Will they fight differently because they know the war is not popular? I just think it's such a condescending attitude to the troops to pretend that criticism of the war somehow makes it more difficult for the troops to do their job. The troops know full well that there is a difference of opinion regarding the war and they can handle it.

Mark said...

EddieP

that was a cheap shot regarding the House vote. You know full well that the House defeated a Republican resolution which was a caricature of Democratic position. If Republicans were so confident, why didn't they put to a vote a real Murtha's resolution? But this point was argued and re-argued on this blog before, so I don't think it makes any sense to resume discussing it.

Also, if you think that the plan to withdraw significant amount of troops from Iraq in 2006 has nothing to do with politics and reflects Bush's strategy from the beginning, how do you explain that Bush and his team consistently lowered the expectations for so-called "victory" in Iraq? How do you explain that there was no talk of any timetable prior to a week ago? How do you explain that the Iraqi army suddenly went from being unable to defend against Zarkawi to being at a point where a lot of US troops can be withdrawn? How do you explain that McCain and others argue that we need more troops, not less?
Can you say with a straight face that Bush's plan to withdraw troops has nothing to do with current mood of Americans? Even Bill Kristol, a leading neocon, admitted that Bush looks weak now for essentially succumbing to internal pressure.

Aspasia M. said...

People who are and have criticized Bush's Iraq military policy:

1) retired General William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency under Reagan.

2) retired General Joseph Hoare.

Are these generals hurting troop morale? And is that really the most pertinant question to be asking in this situation?

The above Generals are concerned, among other things, about the future availablity of forces. They are also worried about the strain caused by the repetative deployments.

I'm no expert on military force availability, but I don't think we have unlimited forces for deployments.

All sections of our society have been criticizing the Iraq war. The talk in military circles is particularly concerned with the short and long term effect on the health of our military.

Palladian said...

Well, if they're grown up enough to take the constant criticism of their mission from back home (including the delightful stickers I have seen around New York that read "Fuck the troops") then they're certainly grown up enough that your friends on the left can stop calling them "children" who were "misled and coerced" into enlisting, right?

Send a memo to Cindy, if she's finished worshipping at her new monument in Crawford. That monolith to manipulative emotionalism is sort of like the monolith in "2001: A space odyssey" in reverse: touch it and devolve into someone who thinks showing "solidarity" to the Iraqi dead by eating salmon on Thanksgiving is an effective strategy for winning over the American public.

Jacques Cuze said...

Thanks Mark. I do what I can (to keep me from having to look at my real work).

I owe too much to those that have come before me in this country, and too much to my daughters as they come of age to let this stuff slide by. Since 9/11, I have been forced to confront an understanding of how good Germans followed the program in 1930. Scary scary stuff.

Mark said...

"Well, if they're grown up enough to take the constant criticism of their mission from back home (including the delightful stickers I have seen around New York that read "Fuck the troops") then they're certainly grown up enough that your friends on the left can stop calling them "children" who were "misled and coerced" into enlisting, right?"

It's mixing apples and oranges. The fact that the troops know that there is a criticism of the war and can handle it has nothing to do with whether the troops (and the nation) were "misled and coerced". A mother who lost her son in Iraq has every right in the world to call her son "a child" and to do whatever she wants to stop this war. I may not necessarily approve of all her actions, but I think that she has every right to them.

Aspasia M. said...

The poll question about criticism is rather broad. For example, criticism about the lack of armour on vehicles might hurt moral in the short term, but would be welcomed if the criticism resulted in more up-armoured vehicles.

A free expression of ideas usually places a check on those in power.

In this tradition, two retired generals who have criticized the Iraq war are retired General Joseph Hoare and General William Odom.

Finn Kristiansen said...
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Finn Kristiansen said...
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Troy said...

DC Willy...

If you don't know the difference between North Korea and Iraq then I can't help you. Partof putting down a bully is picking a target you can take down.

You see Bush really doesn't like to see people killed like the Kool-Aid drinkers would imagine. Invading NK would kill thousands if not millions of Koreans (North and SOuth, Chinese, And of course American and other allies and potentially Japanese and Filipinos, etc.) We had the reasonable, but mistaken idea that Saddam had nukes. We're fairly sure that Kim Jong Il has them, he's even a more certifiable nutbag, and he has a highly motivated and disciplined military - not to mention a hellacious artillery setup along the DMZ. Tougher nut to crack plain and simple -- plus he's isolated there on the little toe of Korea and not near any major oil reserves, etc. That's not to say there isn't a contingency plan.

Finn Kristiansen said...

(Please pardon my first two previously deleted posts-typo errors and other fixations).

Quxxo said:

Since 9/11, I have been forced to confront an understanding of how good Germans followed the program in 1930. Scary scary stuff.

Uh huh. Yea that's an appropriate picture, Bush as Hitler, Americans as Germans. Did you paint that with fingerpaint?

Anyway, all those who say, "Why not North Korea or Iran" are being a bit hypocrital, for had we invaded either, the criticisms would be the same (and the deaths multiplied by about 100 fold).

Handling one dictatorship that is not in compliance with U.N. resolutions, and who you already have a legal right to confront based on violations of the agreements signed in the first Gulf War, does not then mean you should fight all of them, or handle them in the order of their theoretical evil.

That is, doing good does not imply that you have to clear the world of all evil, or handle the worst evil confronting you, any more than police should let theives run free while pursuing murderers.

Saddam, dating back to the first Gulf War, had certain things that he agreed to do so that we would not kick his derriere totally back to Baghdad, and you cannot look at this war out of context with the previous history. It's continuous.

As to withdrawing from Iraq, Bush from very early on has maintained that we would withdraw when Iraqi military and police forces reached a required level of strength, and when the political steps leading to a new constitution are finished. Those steps are coming to an end, and everyone, Dems and Reps alike, could see them coming.

All we are seeing here is some Democrats trying to get credit for the sun rising, and they will have the dubious honor of having been against the war, responsible for the winning of the war, and the "architects" of a new Iraq, and in one fell swoop.

Some Dems will claim, once the troops are home that would have been home anyway, and if Iraq thrives, that it was their position on bringing troops home that allowed Iraq to breath and move forward, while at the same time saving American soldieres from death. A message in perfect time to fit with the coming political season in 2007/2008.

Jacques Cuze said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jacques Cuze said...

Finn Kristiansen, the picture I see is not that Bush is Hitler, it is more that you, Finn Kristiansen are closer than you know or care to admit to being a Hitler Youth, member of the SS, German Troop, or just good german.

Don't tell me how Bush is not Hitler. Tell me how you differ from german citizens in the 30s.

Goatwhacker said...

Quxxo, do you really feel that the "Bushorwell" and "Donny Rumsnamara" comments strengthen your position?

Jacques Cuze said...
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Jacques Cuze said...

Comparing Bush to Orwell? Comparing the best and the brightest Rumsfeld of the Iraqi Quagmire to the best and the brightest McNamara of the Vietnam Quagmire?

Does it strengthen my position?

Aspasia M. said...

Rumsfeld ain't no McNamara.

And that's a compliment to McNamara.

BeyonceKnowsBest said...

Finn, your comment:
"Anyway, all those who say, "Why not North Korea or Iran" are being a bit hypocrital, for had we invaded either, the criticisms would be the same (and the deaths multiplied by about 100 fold)."

This comment is absurd on two fronts. First, you are clearly someone who holds only disdain for the critics of the Iraq conflict. You are not presenting yourself as someone who could possible be an authority on how these people you debase would react to an entirely different situation.

Secondly, North Korea and Iran have ADMITTED to having nuclear material, and the vast majority of nations in the world concur in the judgment that they are both proliferating rather than using existing material for purely civil energy programs. Right off the bat, the evidence makes each of those scenarios different from Iraq, where the WMD claims have been officially recanted for the past two years.

The criticism, therefore, could not possibly be the same. North Korea has disclosed its possession of WMD, and Iran has the raw materials as well as the suspicion of the majority of nations. Iraq had neither of these elements.

Blind hatred of opposing viewpoints leads to unbalanced thinking.

Jacques Cuze said...

Rumsfeld is McNamara

James Atticus Bowden, is a retired United States Army Infantry Officer. He is a 1972 graduate of the United States Military Academy and earned graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. He holds three elected Republican Party offices in Virginia

Years later, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara acknowledged that he knew the U.S. could not, or would not, win the Vietnam War. Yet, he stayed in office for years to tinker with technology and management-based theories of guerilla war, while pursuing his fascination with operations research for 'rationalizing' our National Defense. The theories failed, not the soldiers. McNamara didn't know what war to fight. He disputed the Generals on how to fight. He insisted on having his way no matter what.

Before 9-11, Secretary Rumsfeld viewed his return to the Department of Defense as an opportunity to get right, finally, what he learned from his first secretariat. But, he learned wrongly. His fixation with one armchair theory of war is based on a fascination with high technology air and space power. Platforms have targeting kill chains and network-centric warfare instead of fighting human will and commander-centric command and control. Rumsfeld had a dogmatic fixation to cut the Army by two divisions and more.

Consequently, the invasion of Iraq was shaped to his theology. GEN (RET) Tommy Franks will insist he had a free hand to plan the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a manhood issue. But, Rumsfeld's final responsibility for accepting a plan that didn't have enough troops as the Army Chief of Staff suggested and failed to have the 4th Infantry Division on the ground from the 'get go' had consequences on the battlefield. The lines of communication weren't secured. The Iraqi Nation wasn't decisively engaged — psychologically with the appearance of allied troops everywhere — even though the Iraqi forces were decisively defeated when they fought.

Additionally, the big shock and awe bombing campaign was a bust. It didn't collapse the regime. It killed civilians and destroyed records that would be very useful for the nationwide intelligence needed to restore security. Clearly, Rumsfeld thought the war meant defeat Hussein and get out. The plans called for a reduction from about 150,000 U.S. troops rapidly down to 30,000. How could the Sec Def not know there would be an Occupation?

The colonels at the Army War College knew it. The Army Chief of Staff, GEN. Eric Shinseki, who was let go, knew it. Just like they knew, and recommended, to keep the Iraqi Army on the payrolls, intact, and selectively weed out the Baathist bad guys.





Hackworth on McNamara

Had McNamara stood tall in 1967, over 40,000 soldiers whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial would be alive today. ... "McNamara now admits he was wrong and regrets we got stuck in Vietnam," says Bud Bresciani, a Ranger from New York City who was permanently disabled. "Back then, the brass blamed the warriors -- me and the guy over there behind the tree -- for blowing it."
...
McNamara put loyalty to his President above a higher loyalty to his country; he clearly failed in his duty. At least now he's finally found the guts to take the blame.
...
This is a lie, but the war was a big lie from the very first shot. McNamara has at last delivered the truth and accepted the consequences.

Goatwhacker said...

Comparing Bush to Orwell? Comparing the best and the brightest Rumsfeld of the Iraqi Quagmire to the best and the brightest McNamara of the Vietnam Quagmire?

No, I'm sorry, I asked the question poorly. I mean do you feel that using these nicknames strengthens your position in convincing other people to agree with you? Speaking only for myself, they make me take you less seriously.

Jacques Cuze said...

Well, I write with the sense of humor that I have, not the sense of humor that I want.

Hmm,

I mean, I write within the constraints of the media such as it is, not within the constraints of the media that I would make.

Jacques Cuze said...

goatwhacker, you're not going to want to click on this link (results of a google search for bushorwell) (NSFHI)

Goatwhacker said...

Well, I clicked on it. I'm not sure I understand your point.

wildaboutharrie said...

"Jake said...
A more important survey showed that 90% of the Al Qaida members think that the MSM and Democrats criticism greatly helps their morale and they would have given up long ago without that criticism."

Jake, can you link this? I can't find it.

wildaboutharrie said...

"Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale."

That's different from saying criticism in general hurts the war. What is turning people off, I would assume, is criticism by Democratic Senators who voted for the war and say they were mislead. Some (Rockefeller comes to mind) are sounding pretty partisan and are not taking responsibility for their votes.

Responsible criticism is a different story. If people shut up just to keep morale of the troops up, they are not performing their moral and patriotic duty.

Sorry, you don't get to declare war and escape accountibility on the backs of soldiers and the "morale question".

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't know where the quote from the colonels at the War College came from, but those who have attended and have blogged seem to uniformly believe that Rumsfeld is the best SecDef in their careers and that they, and not he, are really driving the strategy in Iraq. Indeed, that is one of the reasons that they are so high on him - strategy is being made at the staff level, at the War College, etc., and not in the highest reaches of the Pentagon (McNamera) or, worse, in the White House (LBJ).

wildaboutharrie said...

To clarify - Rockefeller is free to criticize, but he should explain why he and others did not look harder for dissent on the WMD question.

Powell's presentation to the UN Security Souncil? Did anyone see that and think "Wow, that cinches it!" (Did anyone else watch it?)

And watch Rumsfled. He's distancing himself from all this. "Not my idea" is his shiney new mantra.

Brendan said...

Gee, you mean telling these guys that they're "losing" the war as well as fighting and dying for a "lie" tends to put them in the dumps? You don't say.

Aspasia M. said...

Quxxo-

What I should have said, in reference to Rummy, is that he now sets the standard for the model of how to be a bad Secretary of Defense.

What was up with no post-war planning? Not expecting an insurgency? Torture? Trying to fight a war on the cheap? Cutting divisions? Problems with the armour. Ect, ect.

Bruce Hayden said...

There are a lot of reasons why we invaded Iraq and not North Korea or Iran.

First, and foremost, it was Iraq under Saddam Hussein, that was actively aiding and abetting terrorism worldwide, and, was the one who was most likely to give terrorists WMD.

Add to this that our invasion there was legal and well sanctioned by some dozen UN resolutions, etc. Saddam Hussein was in serious violation of the Cease Fire that ended the First Gulf War.

I should point out that there is no indication that the Iranians have any interest whatsoever in giving their few nuclear weapons to terrorists. You might want to read the "Persian Puzzle" by Pollock (who was the Iraqi and Iranian NSC head for Clinton) for more insight about them. He makes a very plausible argument that the Iranians are not, for the most part, crazy, and know that giving nuclear weapons to terrorists would result in massive retaliation.

Some more reasons. The population in Iran is about twice that of Iraq, and it is significantly more homogonous. Also, about Iran is about twice the size geographically, and is much more geographically challenging. Invading Iran would be the fasted way to get all those protesting students behind their government. Let me note that this has apparently been war gamed repeatedly by our military, repeatedly with the result that we would need to commit far more troops than we did in Iraq, and the casualties would be much, much, higher.

As for North Korea, the biggest reason to not invade is one word "China". North Korea is a token subject state. It depends on China for food, fuel, etc. So, the Chinese have repeatedly made clear to us that this is their back yard. They would take it "personally" if we invaded. Thus, it is likely that we wouldn't just face North Korean troops, but also Chinese troops and air force. In short, a rerun of the Korean War.

So, we are doing there what has to be done - putting pressure on North Korea through China. China is not much happier about NK having nukes than we are - but won't stand for us to do anything directly about it. This, BTW, is why the six party talks are so important - nothing is going to happen with NK without Chinese backing.

The Drill SGT said...

"quxxo said...
A poll measures attitudes, it doesn't measure accuracy. While people may believe that criticism hurts morale, that is really not relevant to the question is it? To answer that you would have to study the military itself.
"

quxxo, based on your record of posts, you clearly have a well formed negative opinion of both the current administration and the Iraq war. From that starting point, your comment above though reasonable seems to obfuscate rather than clarify Ann's original observation.

As a Vietnam Vet (enlisted), subsequently a Regular Army Officer, and the Husband of a currently serving National Guard officer I can anecdotally state with near certainty that US public opinion belittling the hard work and sacrifices of soldiers in a combat zone and hearing their elected officials say things like "Bush Lied, soldiers died" and Democrat John Kerry accusing President Bush of sending U.S. troops to the "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" has a strong negative impact. It initially impacts the families at home. They get a constant stream of comments and it eats at their morale. That in turn bleeds over to the soldiers in the war zone. Unlike my war, soldiers in Iraq have access to real time MSM and can see that the MSM ignores all the successes and finds fault in every opportunity.

it hurts. it hurts. And average American understands what "support the Troops" means. Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership are rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens the average American.

Bruce Hayden said...

As Rumsfeld has pointed out, you go to war with the military you have, not the one you want. In this case, if they had waited to invade until we had everything that we wanted, it would have been too late. Sanctions were failing very fast - as we later found out because Saddam had massively bribed two of the permanent members of the Security Council. Indeed, not only did we not know about the bribery, we also didn't know about the illegal arms shipments from these and other countries. (If you will remember, during our invasion, our troops were surprised to find themselves facing almost new French missles - given the arms boycot - that the French had helped authorize).

In any case, almost no one expected the war to go how it went. The left was predicting massive casualties. They didn't happen.

But no one was also expecting the widespread use of IEDs, which is why we needed all those up-armored Humvees. So, if we had waited another year or so, it is unlikely that we would have had that many more of them.

This was a new type of warfare that we really had no experience with. Doctrine of the time called for Humvees to be used behind the lines, and, thus, have no need for armor. Of course, here, lines disappeared.

But what must be remembered is that a massive effort was undertaken to up-armor thousands of Humvees, bring Strykers online early, upgrade body armor, etc. The situation today is much, much, different than it was in the year after the invasion.

So, enough 20/20 hindsight. Unless you can show me personal blog entries or the like prior to the invasion of Iraq predicting the widespread use of IEDs, the need for armored Humvees, better body armor, etc., I will take those comments as hindsight.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see questions about tactics, staffing levels, etc. as being totally illegitimate in a time like this. And here, I fault the Administration. I think from all I have seen and heard that they had good reasons for their strategy, tactics, and staffing levels. But they haven't always made those clear to the U.S. public.

And maybe the 900 lb gorilla standing in the corner of the tent is that the Clinton Administration Peace Dividend, resulting in a reduction by half of the active Army divisions has put a major strain on our military in carrying out this war. If we still had those divisions, it is likely that our active military, and esp. our Reserves, would not be stretched nearly as thinly.

And that is the real problem. That if we had put more troops in Iraq earlier, we would be even more hard pressed today. So, it was really a balancing act, putting as many troops in Iraq as could be kept there for a period of time, without significantly sacrificing our ability to win.

And maybe it was strategic to not make this dynamic clear. After all, our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan have made obvious that they too watch CNN, and I suspect that if they knew that we were stretched too thin, it would give them added resolve to survive until we had to pull out.

Luckily though, it appears (at least to me) that the gamble paid off. Militarily, the news is mostly good in Iraq these days. We were able to hang on long enough to train up enough Iraqi security forces that they have seriously started to take over security responsibilities in their country, leaving our troops now available to actively engage the enemy in NW Iraq and to hopefully shut down the infiltration routes from Syria.

Finn Kristiansen said...

BeyonceKnowsBest:

I'm sure my original post shows blind hatred of those with opposing viewpoints. Yah.

Quxxo says:

Don't tell me how Bush is not Hitler. Tell me how you differ from German citizens in the 30s.

That would take copious amounts of typing to separate your pile of fruit into apples and oranges.

Rather than do that, I will just agree that I am a Hitler youth and save us all some time. You are very perceptive. Yay!

APF said...


I don't know where the quote from the colonels at the War College came from, but those who have attended and have blogged seem to uniformly believe that Rumsfeld is the best SecDef in their careers and that they, and not he, are really driving the strategy in Iraq. Indeed, that is one of the reasons that they are so high on him - strategy is being made at the staff level, at the War College, etc., and not in the highest reaches of the Pentagon (McNamera) or, worse, in the White House (LBJ).


Bruce, do you have any illustrative links you could share as support?

Mark said...

"it hurts. it hurts. And average American understands what "support the Troops" means. Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership are rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens the average American."

I don't presume to talk for "the average American", but what sickens me is this nasty accusation that most leading Democrats are rooting for a defeat in Iraq. If that's not an accusation of being unpatriotic (and probably a traitor), I don't know what is.

The Drill SGT said...

Bruce Hayden: I agree with most all of your comments.

For the record, I think my position on the war is:

- Saddam needed to go.
- I wish we had waited a bit and gotten more troops there. (Old military saying: Few battles have been lost because of too many resources")
- Having defeated Saddam, we owe the Iraqi and the American people a victory. We need to stay till the job is done. Last week, a guy I admire said it very very well:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 23, 2005 (AP Online delivered by Newstex) — U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman told Iraq’s prime minister Wednesday that U.S. forces will remain in Iraq until their mission is complete, despite growing unease in Congress about the progress of the conflict here.

“We cannot let extremists and terrorists, a small number, here in Iraq deprive the 27 million Iraqis of what they want which is a better freer life, safer life for themselves and their children” Lieberman said after his meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

The Connecticut Democrat, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the cost of success in Iraq would be high “but the cost for America of failure in Iraq would be catastrophic — for America, for the Iraqi people and I believe for the world.”

XWL said...

Military criticism of Sec. Rumsfeld comes from two directions. In part it's from officers who are truly opposed to the operation in Iraq and were so from the beginning. These officers are from the Scowcroftian realpolitic school that believe preserving the status quo, regardless of what that means for the people around the world, is the paramount mission for both the DOD and the State Dept..

They are wrong, in my opinion. The status quo was deadly, if not now, then in a decade or two. Acting before the threat proved imminent was a dangerous move politically, impossible to justify to critics, and susceptible to the sort of backbiting and sniping that now occurs.

The second wave of criticism against Sec. Rumsfeld comes from life long Pentagon bureaucrats who have found their world turned upside down by Rumsfeld's massive push for the Future Combat Systems remaking of the entire military. He was demanding faster, better and cheaper from all levels of the military and pushing for a review of every weapons system. That's a lot of toes stepped on, a lot of pet projects squashed.

Like all bureaucrats these officers are well versed in the art of leaks, innuendo, and indirect criticism. If you want to pull selective quotes from disgruntled brass, you can find them, the size of the military guarantees that there will be critics of every policy and every administration.

However if you do an honest appraisal of the overall mood of military leadership and the enlisted you'll see that the mood towards 'Rummy' is almost worshipful and they are thankful that he has worked so hard to restore dignity and respect which had been undermined during the eight years of President Clinton's administration.

And for proof, just look at the re-enlistment rates of active duty troops. There is a strong positive correlation between combat in Iraq and re-enlistment, and the correlation is stronger the longer a troop has served in theater.

Does that sound like a demoralized group who don't know why they are there?

Or does the fact that eagerness to do the job grows with exposure to the job being done suggest that the reality in theater isn't the tragedy that so many are trying to portray?

The Drill SGT said...

Well Mark: that's pretty much what the poll found that the average American thinks about why the Democratic leadership is attacking the war:

"Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."."

seems like most Americans agree with me. Don't shoot the messenger. Fix the problem by writing your Senator.

Mark said...

DrillSgt:

First of all, the poll did not ask: whether you think leading Democrats are rooting for US defeat in the war. The question was quite different. If you can't see the difference between your position and the poll's question, I cannot help you.
And what you level is a nasty accusation indeed. Fix the problem by not leveling it.

Aspasia M. said...

So the comments of Drill SGT and the topic of this thread raises the obvious question:

Is it possible for a loyal opposition to exist in wartime?

In other words: Should citizens refuse to discuss a war because this might hurt troop morale?

I would suggest that there is a difference between questioning a party, a Sec Defense, or a war policy, and criticizing the military service of the soldiers themselves.

Bruce Hayden,

Are you asking if people predicted an insurgency before the invasion? Or if insurgents would use IED's and suicide bombers?

The British invaded Iraq earlier in this century. The Brits experienced an insurgency that ultimately drove them out of the country. In fact, in 1920 the area around Fallujah had strong support from the insurgency.

I routinely saw commenters discussing this earlier insurgency before we went into Iraq. The occupation of Iraq by the British and the resulting insurgency wasn't a secret. I would have expected any decent Sec. Defense to have studied that insurgency.

I can't see any reason why Rumsfeld wouldn't have predicted a insurgency similar to the one experienced by the British. Why wouldn't insurgents use suicide bomers or IED's? We're not talking about brain surgery here, just a basic level of competence.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

Hermann Goering:
Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_patriotism.html

P.S. It sure works for many people in the United States.

The Drill SGT said...

Geoducks, I think you can criticize the war as long as you offer solutions. I don't have any problems with Murtha's stuff, though I think he was wrong. On the other hand I am confident that Murtha isn't rooting for defeat.

Mark, let's look at two opposing hypotheses:

1. Leading Democrats are leveling criticism to "gain a partisan political advantage." However they really secretly in their hearts want the war and Iraq to turn out a success, for the good of the country even if it vindicates Bush. They just want to "help" Bush do it right.


2. Leading Democrats are leveling criticism to "gain a partisan political advantage." They secretly savior all bad news from Iraq and the opportunity to say "we told you so" at every opportunity. They are prepared to pull out of Iraq prematurely even if it means much more bloodshed (all Iraqi) after we leave as long as it vindicates their position and hurts Bush.


Now apply Occam's razor and tell me which is more likely based on the behavior (facts)we see from the Leadership.

Occam's razor is a logical principle attributed to the mediaeval philosopher William of Occam (or Ockham). The principle states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed. This principle is often called the principle of parsimony. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building. It admonishes us to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest one. In any given model, Occam's razor helps us to "shave off" those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon. By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies.

APF said...


Is it possible for a loyal opposition to exist in wartime?


I'll throw it back at you: do you think "the troops" are demoralized by the criticisms of, say, John McCain?

XWL said...

Saying we are in an unwinnable fight, with our troops dying for no good reason isn't dissent it's defeatism.

The majority of people who join our all volunteer military believe in there ability to protect the homeland and project positive change around the globe. (Don't forget the two massive humanitarian efforts in South Asia after the earthquake and the tsunami in SE Asia, that produced more good will and should have positive repurcussions that are immeasurable).

Dissent is possible without defeatism, but so far most Democrats haven't figured out the difference.

(and isn't it funny how the poll pimps from that side of the aisle are now trying to explain how polls don't always capture the full reality of the situation)

(and I'm sure Mark wasn't trying to evoke Chimpy McBushHitler by quoting Goering)

Mark, pacifism on the part of Great Britain and France was precisely what lead to Germany's opportunity to grow into the threat they did.

Wouldn't the world have been better off had Hitler been crushed before the threat he posed became imminent?

Mark said...

Drill Sgt:

It's very nice that you know what Occam razor is.

You omit a third hypothesis:

3. Leading Democrats criticize Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq and his motives "to gain a partisan political advantage." (note that the poll did not say ONLY to gain a partisan political advantage). They honestly believe that the Bush's Iraq war made us all less safe. While they criticize Bush, they also don't want to hurt the country because they are patriots (as you are) and want the best for the country. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to make the country more safe precisely because they want to stop the unwinnable war. They don't savior bad news, but the bad news make their belief that the US doesn't achieve its goals by keeping the troops in Iraq forever even stronger.

That's my position and I am convinced that it is shared by most anti-war critics.

Jacques Cuze said...

I don't know where the quote from the colonels at the War College came from,

Click the linky thing.

Unless you can show me personal blog entries or the like prior to the invasion of Iraq predicting the widespread use of IEDs, the need for armored Humvees, better body armor, etc., I will take those comments as hindsight.

Uh, so what do you think General Shinseki was thinking about when he projected a need for 400,000 troops?

You are very quick to appeal to your internal knowledge that things are better than they seem. An appeal to higher authority is not an argument. Why should we believe you over dozens and hundreds of our representatives and former members of the armed forces that at least have much better access to people and to facts?

Jacques Cuze said...

The Drill SGT, someone so well versed in Occam's Razor is surely just as well versed in the fallacy of the excluded middle.

Mark said...

XWL:

Of course, the world would have beem far better off had Hitler been crushed earlier. What you apparently don't get is that the modern day equivalent of Hitler is Osama bin Laden, not Saddam. Foraying into Iraq is like attacking Italy instead of Germany in 1939. It's actually even like attacking Iran or some other neutral country because at least Italy was Hitler Germany's ally, while Saddam was never an ally of Saddam.

Jacques Cuze said...

ADM, I'll throw it back at you: do you think "the troops" are demoralized by the criticisms of, say, John McCain?

I don't know. I suspect many of them are saying go get 'em John, we don't want to be torturers and we don't want to be tortured. But I don't know. I also don't know that it matters.

Jacques Cuze said...

xml, "Saying we are in an unwinnable fight, with our troops dying for no good reason isn't dissent it's defeatism."

Saying that "Saying we are in an unwinnable fight, with our troops dying for no good reason isn't dissent it's defeatism." isn't an argument, it's an appeal to emotion, an appeal to fear, and guilt by association.

Please stay on track.

Mark said...

"Defeatism" is such a vague and imprecise term, especially in the context of the Iraq war, where the concept of "victory" is never well defined and is constantly shifting. By logic of some commenters here, President Bush is a defeatist because he now wants to withdraw some troops in 2006 from Iraq before Iraq becomes a shining democratic hill in the Middle Eastern plains. In fact, he's an even more terrible defeatist because he doesn't believe that Iraq would be such a shining hill any time soon, if ever. Isn't it nice, how defeatist he is!
When will people understand that a realization that some goals are unachievable is not defeatism, it's realism. The US troops in their current numbers are not stabilizing Iraq; they are destabilizing it, which is why most Iraqis want us to leave. We should either drastically increase the number of troops (unrealistic) or withdraw within a year.

The Drill SGT said...

Mark,

that is an honorable hypothesis, but it isn't strongly supported by the snippets we have of that Polling info. I wish we had a link to the real poll data. Note the section of the article:

Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq.

that seems to me to indicate that even though your motivation may align with Hypo 3, that the average american (small A, due to the unknown sample size here) doesn't buy into your hypothesis. At least that's how I read those lines.

Palladian said...

How many violations of Godwin's Law does there have to be in order to impose UN sanctions on this thread?

Jacques Cuze said...

Your hypotheses are not honorable, and you don't have teh data, but you're sticking to them, and claiming that you are honorable.

Woohoo, neat hat trick!

Jacques Cuze said...

On the front page of Ann Althouse, Ann updates with the slur: An average American understands what "support the Troops" means. Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership are rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens the average American.

Come on Ann, o moderate blogger you, Mark has pointed out this is just a smear.

Do you really want to be spreading that slur?

The Drill SGT said...

apf:
I'll throw it back at you: do you think "the troops" are demoralized by the criticisms of, say, John McCain?

I think that the troopers are confident that the criticism that McCain, Murtha, Lieberman and others provide on the conduct of the war is "constructive".

The Dem's generally don't understand several of those fundamental rules of constructive criticism.

1. "Criticize the work, not the worker"
2. "offer solutions, not problems"

Jacques Cuze said...

Ann, why do you hate our democratic processes?

This sort of all too common one-sided pushing of the lines is why I think law professor bloggers are rarely credible. Somehow their acceptance of the hegelian process in court leads to their feeling justified to produce biased and misleading statements all over their blogs. Well, it's in the name of the vigorous defense of their client, the truth can take care of itself.

Sad.

Mark said...

Drill Sgt:

I think faced with a choice whether a politician is doing something for his own benefit or for the benefit of the country (when you have to choose only one of the choices), most Americans, being disgusted with most politicians, will choose the former. It would be nice to see a poll question about whether Cheney is criticizing Democrats because he believes they hurt the troop morale or because he wants to score political points. I can bet that up to 70% will choose the latter.

Mark said...

Yes, I am very disappointed that Ann posted this comment in the update. She may as well have posted latest hysterics of Ann Coulter where she openly accused Democrats of being gutless traitors. I don't see any significant difference between what Ann Coulter said and the accusation that leading Democrats want to see the USA defeated.

Icepick said...

Quxxo wrote: Come on Ann, o moderate blogger you, Mark has pointed out this is just a smear.

Do you really want to be spreading that slur?


And exactly how many times are you and Mark going to smear all pro-war folk as mindless proto-Nazis? Is that not also a smear? Or is it only a smear if it offends you virtuous anti-war types?

Mark said...

As for me, I don't smear anyone as being a "proto-Nazi" whatever this term means. But I can and I will point out that the methods used in whipping up the pre-war hysterics share the common traits. Quoting one of the leading Nazist does just that.

Palladian said...

quxxo & Mark: Are you both trying to convince us of something? Or are you just here to mock and insult people?

Your tone and tactics in this thread, the same tactics that seem to have been adopted by the Democratic party under the influence of Dr Dean, are one of the reasons the party continue to lose elections. The whole point of this thread is to point to evidence that the American public is not fooled by the flimsy veneer of "we support the troops" hiding the snarling, Bush-hating hearts of so many of the "loyal opposition". Lost on you is the irony that you are displaying the attitude that led to the results this poll presents.

Aspasia M. said...

quxxo,

That wasn't Ann, that was a quote drom DrillSGT's comments.

Again, the central question of this thread seems to be:

Is is possible for a loyal opposition to exist in wartime?

With this question I am attempting to underline the implication of the poll question.

If criticism hurts moral, then...what? Do we shut down debate? Do we label debates as unpatriotic, immoral, or even potentially treasonous?

For the record, I believe that it is a duty of citizens to question and critique the president, military policy, the war strategy, ect.

I think it is very dangerous to suggest that we shut down debate because it could hurt morale.

What kind of country would we be if we refused to allow critisism of policy or politicians just because we were at war?

wildaboutharrie said...

"Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq."

Drill Sgt - But that DOESN'T mean that 7 of 10 think the criticism is meant to HURT U.S. efforts in Iraq. Some might think they want to get at the truth, hurt the President's credibility, get re-elected, prevent this sort of war from happening again, etc.

Jacques Cuze said...

Hey IcePick, I certainly did not smear ALL pro-war folk.

Since 9/11, I have been forced to confront an understanding of how good Germans followed the program in 1930.

Note, I was not smearing anyone here in particular either. I was speaking to my own enlightenment of many of our behaviors.

In response Mr. Kristiansen claimed I was comparing Bush to Hitler which I hadn't.

t is more that you, Finn Kristiansen are closer than you know or care to admit to being a Hitler Youth, member of the SS, German Troop, or just good german.

Don't tell me how Bush is not Hitler. Tell me how you differ from german citizens in the 30s.


Optimistically, I was hoping to find out why my fears are unfounded. Sadly, not one of you can tell me why I don't have to fear that America post 9/11 might fall into the same trap that genuinely good germans fell into post WWI.

And all of that is beside the point, the point being, why would Ms. Althouse post a smear on her front page? Your response are that two wrongs make a right.

You'll have to do better than that.

vnjagvet said...

qxxo:

Why don't you accept that a law professor can sift through arguments from all sides and come to a conclusion that might differ from yours?

If you think you can convince all rational people who hear or read your arguments, you live in a fantasy world.

Democracy implies there are many sides to every issue, but final judgment by the people and their duly elected representatives rules.

On this blog, the duly elected representative is Althouse. Hence the blog's name.

Palladian said...

And I just have to add that I find it deeply, unspeakably offensive that you (Mark & quxxo) continue to trivialize the true horror of what Nazi Germany did and what it represented by making ridiculous comparisons to the American public and to Bush. The fact that you have done so again and again should have made it clear long ago that you were both not worth answering or even addressing. I wouldn't expect such immoral and historically ill-informed comments from the worst student in a junior high school debate club, so I certainly didn't expect them here.

Mark said...

Palladian,

Of course, it's impossible to convince some die-hard Bush supporters of anything which requires disagreeing with Bush.
However, you're wrong that Democrats fail to convince independents. According to exit polls in 2004 elections, independents broke narrowly for Kerry (49% to 48%). The reason that Bush won was the high turn out by religious conservatives.
Yes, Democrats need to convince more independents. However, I think they are doing just fine, Bush's approval ratings among independents are in 20s. The reason Bush is in high 30s now is because of high support among Republicans.

Of course, I don't accept your accusation of me "mocking and insulting" people. If anyone is mocking and insulting people (me personally) it's you by this comment. I was also disturbed by characterization of leading Democrats as rooting for the defeat of the country.
Other than these points, I think the debate here is quite civil and informative.

Icepick said...

Ah, the sneering condescension of the secret aristocrats. How droll, Mark. You choose the most loaded possible quotes, and then swear you didn't mean for anyone to draw the obvious conclusion. How sophisticated.

Quxxo wants to know why the citizens of this country aren't like the citizens of 1930s Germany, but no doubt isn't comparing us to Nazis. Nope, that's not it at all.

And the two of you dare to challenge the rhetorical stylings of others as being misleading and appealing to base emotions?

Jacques Cuze said...

vnjagvet, I agree with you completely. 100%. At other times though Ms. Althouse portrays herself as a moderate, and it seems completely relevant for me to point out now and at those times that what she chooses to post again and again are not the posts of a moderate.

palladium, you are just arguing ad hominem in an attempt to evade the question. redo please.

Mark said...

Palladian:

Without understanding the past, we'll never understand the present and the future. My point was that the methods used to start wars are similar in many regimes, authoritarian, dictatorships, democracies, etc. It's your misunderstanding of the comments make me think that your own comments belong to junior high school debate club. Here, most people actually read and respond to the comments.

Jacques Cuze said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wildaboutharrie said...

"Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership are rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens the average American."

I think there are those among the minority leadership who want to see the President impeached for how he got us into the war. But they still want success in Iraq.

If you're ready to accuse these folks of being traitors, you'd better have something specific to support your argument.

Jacques Cuze said...

Licepick, palladium, it's perfectly acceptable to challenge the premise of a question. You say, "I challenge the premise of your question." Or you say, "mu".

At that point it is your opportunity to explain why the premise is wrong.

But responding by saying only that you are offended by the very premise of your question itself and then smearing the questioners is intellectually dishonest.

Please help increase the level of discussion in here.

The Drill SGT said...

wildaboutharrie:

I generally disagree. I wish we had the real poll data instead of a shop para about the poll. We know:

30% accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq.

>50% A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage

can't tell if that is 51% or 70%

Given the lead in sentence:
Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war.

I don't think you can then turn around and impute that that 50-70% also think that :

Some might think they want to get at the truth, hurt the President's credibility, get re-elected, prevent this sort of war from happening again, etc.

I read the skeptical line to mean that they DON'T see postive motives of whatever kind in the criticism

wildaboutharrie said...

Drill Sgt - fair point, but I still maintain they differentiate between hurting the President politically for how he got us into war and supporting success in Iraq. It's possible to do both.

Note, I'm not saying people like Kerry are speaking out because they just have to spread the truth, being honest upstanding, non-partisan fellows. Hell, no. Kerry is a cynic and a haircut.

But to say he wants defeat in Iraq? I'd get it in writing.

Aspasia M. said...

As long as we are talking about offensive comments...

It's deeply offensive to suggest that Democrats want the troops to suffer and die for political advantage.

Well, I think we can see from the rhetorical swings taken at people why fist fights nearly broke out in the House during the Murtha debate. Rep. Ford had to be literally held back by other Reps.

We haven't had so much excitement since Senator Sumner got beaten over the head by Preston Brooks with a cane.

The Drill SGT said...

Folks,

I have never ever accused anyone of being a traitor. If "rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush" were the definition of traitorous conduct, let us say there would be a lot of folks who could be called traitors, but I haven't made that claim.

The 1st amendment gives people freedom of speach, but public figures need to show some maturity and judgment in its exercise.

If you want an example of specifics to support an argument of how should we describe it? Bad judgment? Making US Foreign policy without a permit?

The following is a transcript from "FOX News Sunday" that aired on Nov. 13, 2005.

WALLACE: Now, the president never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn't it Jay Rockefeller?

ROCKEFELLER: No. I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I'll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq, that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.


Now the Senator is the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The problem with having access to intelligence is that after you learn secrets, it's very hard to have an unclassified thought process and an unclassified discussion with others. Seriously, how can you separate what you know from classified sources and what you know from unclassified?

So here we have the Senator traveling overseas after 9/11 but BEFORE Bush takes any action against Iraq and going to Syria where he passes on the fact that he is convinced that Bush is going to war next door with Syria's friend Saddam.

At a minimum that shows extremely bad judgment that should be reflected in a re-assignment off the intelligence committee and a second look by the voters of WV. Traitorous? I don't think the Logan law stretches that far.

The Drill SGT said...

wildaboutharrie;

agree.

I'd certainly have put Murtha in that category last month.

I'd be willing to stipulate that a fair number of Dem back benchers would split that argument as you stated

I haven't see that point of view from the Dem Leadership (e.g. Reid and Pelosi)

The Drill SGT said...

wildaboutharrie;

Now why did you have to go and mention Kerry :)

Kerry might (I'll concede that is possible) not want us to lose this war in Iraq, but I think it's very clear and on the record that based on his public testimony in 71, that he wanted us to lose the Vietnam war (after of course the time when he wanted us to win the war :)

His testimony and that of the other fabricators and fake vets was clearly intended to damge US public opinion and troop morale. I was near Hue is Vietnam when Kerry was in front of Congress. Here's a clip of somebody else's perspective on the testimony:

The broadcast on Radio Vietnam by "Hanoi Hannah" was used to reinforce the message of his captors during torture sessions, said Galanti, 64, now retired in Richmond, Va.

"We were not prisoners of war, we were 'war criminals,' they would say. 'You are going to be tried, you will never go home.'"

Then came Hanoi Hannah introducing a clip from Kerry's testimony.

"I couldn't believe it, a Navy officer saying we were all war criminals, that we raped and pillaged the countryside like Genghis Khan," said Galanti.

wildaboutharrie said...

"It's deeply offensive to suggest that Democrats want the troops to suffer and die for political advantage."

geoduck, exactly. And Drill Sgt, I'd argue that if they do hold this attitude, they are traitors. These folks in the Senate and House are not Joe Public - they are policymakers. If they are "rooting for defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush" with their votes, their voices on the floor, their influence with their colleagues and constituents, they they are traitors. So you need to be careful.

But I will grant you this - there surely are deeply immoral, or stupid, or insane people in this country who DO hope for defeat in Iraq to hurt the President. There have to be. But I don't know who they are and I'm not about to go around pointing fingers at random protesters. I leave that to Michelle Malkin.

Finally, for the record, I think it's OK for Mark to use that quote, but it would be a good idea to make it clear that you're talkinga about war and not calling the President a Nazi, particularly in "mixed company". I think asking people to prove they're not like the Germans is insulting, quxxo. But I think comparing you to David Duke is about as bad.

PS DS - I just caught your Kerry quote, lemme get back to it. I mentioned Kerry because you did. Also I'm from MA. Please pity me, a good Democrat with these two senators.

Jacques Cuze said...

Yeah, except that Kerry never said that.

Read what he did say in the Winter Soldier Investigation, and read more about Winter Soldier including how military papers were scrupulously checked and not one false testimony was ever found then come back and make your claim again.

Look, I honestly respect and thank you for your service, but you are doing now what you did at the start of this thread, making your own projections based on no data, and telling us we should believe you because you were at Hue. That's an appeal to authority, it's not an argument.

Mark said...

Drill Sgt:

"Now the Senator is the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The problem with having access to intelligence is that after you learn secrets, it's very hard to have an unclassified thought process and an unclassified discussion with others. Seriously, how can you separate what you know from classified sources and what you know from unclassified?"

Your accusation of Senator Rockefeller has any merit if one accepts the premises that a) Bush had decided to launch a war in Iraq by early 2002; b) that it was known by the Senator; c) that he decided to reveal it to embarass Bush. Of course, of these premises
only the first one is arguably true and it's not easy to prove it given the high secrecy of this administration. In fact, Bush supporters vehemently dispute the first premise. The other premises are false: do you honestly think that Bush would have revealed to the Senate his intentions to go to war with Iraq in early 2002? Come on. That would require an immense stupidity on Bush's part.

Also, you didn't have to be the Senator on the intelligence committee to have a personal conviction that Bush will invade Iraq. By the way, the Senator is the politician with the highest approval levels in WV; I think it's in the 70s range. So, I highly doubt that they will take a "second look" at him.

The Drill SGT said...

I forgot that I mentioned the jr Senator from MA, I try not to think about him much.

For the record, I'm one of those RINO's the the right wing of my party complain about. If you give me credit for my campaigning for Mcarthy in 68 then I'm fairly split.

68 McCarthy
72 Humphrey (no way Nixon)
76 Carter
80 Reagan
84 Reagan
88 Bush
92 Clinton (yeah I made that mistake once, anybody but Bush 1)
96 Dole (anybody but Clinton)
00 Bush 2
04 Bush 2 (anybody but Kerry)

wildaboutharrie said...

DS I just read the transcript again, and the fact that what he said was used by torturers is awful. And perhaps that sort of testimony should have been given in secret, for the protection of the soldiers still in Vietnam. But he was witnessing to the soldiers who did commit these acts, because it was part of the culture of war for them. It was part of the horror of the soldiers' experiences (and horrifying for the Vietnamese).

Your perspective is really interesting to me as I know some military wives but have no immediate family in the service. So thank you for the back and forth. Sadly, I have to get to bed, as my little ones are up by 6. I'll check here in the morning. Good night.

PS I was sorely tempted by Dole, God love him! Me: Mondale (ugh), Dukakis (uh...), Clinton, Clinton, my brother, my brother. My brother would make a great president.

Jacques Cuze said...

Comparing me to David Duke is asinine, I have made no racist statements in this forum and I have never said anyone in this forum or a population in general is trying to suppress the truth. The administration, yes, that's why there is a special prosecutor.

Asking folks to help me understand why America is not falling into the trap that Germany fell into is hardly insulting. It is a question of economics, of culture, of the internet, of communications, of education, of diversity, of understanding media studies, of law and due process, of leadership, of branding and advertising, etc.

It is a question asked by many current academics and pundits including those at Harvard as well as by officers in the Army, at least that's what google tells me. YMMV.

The fact is, I accused no one of being a Nazi, and only asked one person in direct response to his false claim, to show me how he differed from german citizens of the 30s.

And the other fact is, the only response here has been people ignoring the issue and claiming offense. And now your milquetoast agreement that it was an offensive question.

Well, let me tell you, as an American Jew whose father flew more than 50 missions over Germany during WWII to keep SockPuppet DrillSgts young butt safe, and who had relatives die in the Holocaust and caught up in the Soviet Union, and whose daughters are close to draft age, and as a Jew that knows that all of PJM is telling me that anti-semitism is on the rise, and that the world is caving in to islamo-facism, I don't find the question insulting at all.

I find it extremely interesting.

The Drill SGT said...

quxxo,

The quote and claim was from Galanti a POW.

I did look at your first link and found this quote that I would argue is in line with Galanti's claim:


would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command....

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.


This appears to align with Galanti's statement

Jacques Cuze said...

Right, so did Galanti hear what Kerry said, all of what Kerry said? Or was Galanti saying about the edited excerpts he heard, or was told he said?

Fact, Kerry did not say what Galanti said he said.

Fact, who are you Drill Sgt going to believe, Galanti or your lying eyes?

Evidently you don't trust your own eyes.

Jacques Cuze said...

Drill Sgt, If "rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush"

You are accusing people, dems of rooting for defeat in Iraq to hurt Bush.

You may not feel that that is treason. I do. I am offended by your statement. You have no data. No proof. Just smear.

I consider your statements to be fighting words.

Prove that there is one single person on this forum, or in the "respected" (american portion of the) blogosphere left or right, or in the senate or house, or any democrat anywhere that believes that.

Or withdraw the claim.q

Jacques Cuze said...

"I couldn't believe it, a Navy officer saying we were all war criminals, that we raped and pillaged the countryside like Genghis Khan," said Galanti.

He was right not to believe it. He never said that and your quotation of the statement shows that.

Why do you continue to believe he said that? Because it is convenient for you.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark: "I don't see any significant difference between what Ann Coulter said and the accusation that leading Democrats want to see the USA defeated."

I think it is important to recognize that this is the impression a lot of the war criticism makes. I, myself, get this feeling. I'm not saying the anti-war people really do want us to lose, but they seem glad whenever things go wrong. They seem hungry for defeat. It's horrible. Intolerable! Shameful! I'm willing to concede that they are actually good people who mean well, but I'm being honest about the gut reacction they inspire.

Ann Althouse said...

Okay, that's 14 mentions of Hitler. I think you can stop now.

Icepick said...

Asking folks to help me understand why America is not falling into the trap that Germany fell into is hardly insulting. It is a question of economics, of culture, of the internet, of communications, of education, of diversity, of understanding media studies, of law and due process, of leadership, of branding and advertising, etc.

Okay, how about this, then.

Of Economics: Germany in the 1930s was a severely depressed economy beset by hyper-inflation and an inability to meet its current payments. The USA in the 2000s IS NOT.

Of Culture: Germans in the 1930s didn't listen to Hip-Hop and have a hankering for Thai food. Modern Americans do. (And before you dismiss this as flippant, you'd best stop and consider. This is a deeply profound statement.)

Of the Internet: Well, Germany in the 1930s didn't have the Internet. Capice? More to the point, it is impossible for the government to control all media in this age. It's impossible for the government to squash all criticism in this age.

Of Communications: Admittedly, Michael Moore is no Leni Riefenstahl, but he's the best the Dems have to offer.

Of Education: I have no idea how to respond to this, because you haven't actually even hinted at a point.

Of Diversity: Are you really suggesting that the USA of 2005 and the Germany of the 1930s have ANY similarity in demographic mix?

Of Understanding Media Studies: You've got to be kidding me, right? Is a thorough understanding of Derrida and McLuhan necessary to NOT become a slavering war machine of a people? You cannot be serious. It's just not possible.

Of Law and Due Process: Right. We've held Padilla in jail for three years without charges. What are we thinking? We are on a slipperly slope to DEATH CAMPS. We'll have them any century now....

Of Leadership: Let's see, Hitler basically called for exterminating everyone who stood in the way of the Third Reich. Bush has constantly called for everyone to calm down, because Islam is a religon of peace. LOT'S of similarity there. Not to mention the way that we've treated Afghanistan and Iraq is EXACTLY the way Hitler treated Poland and the Soviet Union.

Of Branding and Advertising: WTF? "I'd like to buy the World a Coke, and blow it all to Hell!" What are you even trying to say?

Of Etc.: Well, I guess you've got me here. We're EXACTLY like 1930s Germant in the Etc. Department.

It is a question asked by many current academics and pundits including those at Harvard as well as by officers in the Army, at least that's what google tells me. YMMV.

Too bad I'm an athiest, because I can't help but think "God help us."

Mark said...

Ann,

With all due respect, I think that this is the impression that is made only on people who are completely deaf to any criticism of the war. I distinguish it from the impression that some Democrats criticize the war for political reasons. As people here noted, it's possible to criticize the war for political reasons and at the same time root for your country.

You say that Democrats seem to be doing all these bad things: glad when things go wrong, hungry for defeat, etc. Can you speak more specifically: what Democratic actions indicate that Democrats glad when things go wrong? when did Democrats appear hungry for defeat? Or do you equate honest assessment that the war is not winnable with "hunger for defeat"?

Aspasia M. said...

Quxxo,

I am also fascinated by what causes a public to follow a fascist regime. (Shutting down political dissent is an essential component for the success of fascism, I think.)

But the label "Nazi" is so inflamatory, that without qualification your question will be seen as an insult, not a serious query.

Maybe your question needs to be reframed? What was is about the German public of the 1930s that facinates you so and relates to this thread?

This this thread asserts a poll that shows how the majority of the American public believe war criticism hurts troop morale.

Once possible solution to this is to label dissent as unpatriotic. A slippery slope...no?

I have read a book you might be interested in by Gerda Lerner that describes Austria in the 1930s. It also details her escape from Austria to the U.S. during the war. (The book is titled _Fireweed_)

Later in life she had sort of a "test" when talking to a German if they had lived through that period. She refused to go to Germany for many years. There is good essay on her first visit to Germany and her impressions titled "In the Footsteps of the Cathars" in _Why History Matters: Life and Thought_.

Icepick said...

Excuse me, but the German economy had been ravaged by hyper-inflation in early 1920s, not the 1930s.

reader_iam said...

Quxxo:

Finn Kristiansen, the picture I see is not that Bush is Hitler, it is more that you, Finn Kristiansen are closer than you know or care to admit to being a Hitler Youth, member of the SS, German Troop, or just good german.

Don't tell me how Bush is not Hitler. Tell me how you differ from german citizens in the 30s.


Are you kidding me???!!!

(And don't bother to tell me to read the posts before or other. I always read every darn one.)

I'm often at least sympathetic to your point of view and what you post (as I've noted before), even when I disagree, and even when others jump on you, but not this time.

Neither Finn nor I nor anybody else here has to explain any damn such thing to you, especially when you put it in that way.

Shame on you.

(And go ahead--jump on me. At least in this instance, it'll be easy as pie to consider the source and let it flow like water off a duck's back.)

Consider--just for a moment--whether you should, well, consider, if going over the top like that, for whatever bit of satisfaction it gave you, actually undercut your credibility, and thereby the very arguments that you hold dear and were trying to make?

Do better, Quxxo. I know you can.

reader_iam said...

Of course, "other" should be "after," regarding the posts. Not that it matters to the central point.

Jacques Cuze said...

No iam, no, I don't think you did read the posts carefully. Go to the top of the page. Search for german.

The comment I made was primarily a comment about myself. Finn jumped on me claiming I had compared Bush to (H) (trying not to increment the Althouse count) I let Finn know, in no uncertain terms I was not comparing Bush to (H) (still don't want to inc that counter), I was more interested in the population themselves.

I uh, don't care if you let my statements flow off your back or not.

But if you read from there on down, you'll see all 14 counts of (H), most were not by me.

The question still stands, how do we ensure that America 2005 is not falling into the same trap that Germany did in 1930. I gave icepick some answers and he dutifully filled in the blanks -- not terribly convincing stuff.

Mostly what I've seen is the shocked, shocked take such as yours that the question is completely beyond the pale.

But as google reassures me, it's a very relevant question these days.

So neither you nor Finn nor even Mr. IcePick Serial Killer has to answer the question for themselves. The question remains unanswered for this group.

You might be interested in Umberto Eco's take, or Mike Malloy's reading of Lawrence Britt's Take. Britt is a Ph.D, and a former VP Finance at Xerox as well as being an executive at Allied Chemical and Mobil. His list is also here.

Jacques Cuze said...

Actually another reasonable answer that Mr. Icepick Serial Killer didn't address (since it wasn't on the answer key he thought I gave him) was the US Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

'Course that only assumes our Bill of Rights is being actively protected and isn't being watered down.

Brando said...

Those damned, gutless democrats. if they'd just shut their yaps and let the president do his job, everything would be perfectly fine.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Quxxo:

Oh I am so sorry. I assumed you were comparing Bush to Hitler when you suggested that I was closer than I knew to being a Hitler youth or member of the German S.S.

Let's do some math. Let's make an equation and put the German population on one side of the equal sign as the denominator (as number 4), and their leadership (Hitler) as the numerator (or number 1). Let's call it, 1/4, with leader atop population.

Now on the right side of the equation, let's put the American public as the denominator (4), and leave the numerator as X.

You have already suggested some equivalence between part of the U.S. population today (specifically the Finn Kristiansen part of the population) and the German population...so our denominators are the same (the number 4).

We end up with 1/4=x/4. If we were to solve for X, what would we get, by implication or mathematical fact?

Under your brilliantly original rationale, and if we continue on present course, it will be 1930's Germany all over again, and I assume we will begin euthanizing people and finding unique ways to murder an unpopular ethnic group. Hmmm, as a minority maybe I SHOULD worry, but then again, I am a Hitler youth, so, why worry?

Quxxo... I know you care deeply about me, and this country, so, when you notice us invading a third country unprovoked (as opposed to two countries, and provoked), let me know...just keep looking...and looking...don't turn away from the window. Stay vigilant. Don't sleep or comment blog. Aufenthalt wach, mein Freund!

Mike Griswald said...

Saying we are in an unwinnable fight, with our troops dying for no good reason isn't dissent it's defeatism.

I'm just curious, but what if, even in your view, our troops are dying for no good reason in an unwinnable fight in some war somewhere? Would you feel it your duty as a citizen to say something then or would that be "defeatism?"

WALLACE: Now, the president never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat.
~~~
Bruce Hayden: As Rumsfeld has pointed out, you go to war with the military you have, not the one you want. In this case, if they had waited to invade until we had everything that we wanted, it would have been too late. (My emphasis).

There you have the whole "imminent threat" ruse in a nutshell, where the parsing of language always reaches new heights of embarrassing ridiculousness.

And since this is a classic example of a certain kind of unintentionally hilarious thread comment (it even uses the word "irony"!) it bears repeating:
Your tone and tactics in this thread, the same tactics that seem to have been adopted by the Democratic party under the influence of Dr Dean, are one of the reasons the party continue to lose elections. The whole point of this thread is to point to evidence that the American public is not fooled by the flimsy veneer of "we support the troops" hiding the snarling, Bush-hating hearts of so many of the "loyal opposition". Lost on you is the irony that you are displaying the attitude that led to the results this poll presents.

wildaboutharrie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
wildaboutharrie said...

quxxo:

Asking "help me understand why America is not falling into the trap that Germany fell into" is different from saying "you, Finn Kristiansen are closer than you know or care to admit to being a Hitler Youth, member of the SS, German Troop, or just good german." If you're not interested in influencing how people view the war, I guess the second approach makes sense.

The Drill SGT said...

In the light of day, I'll make two last comments that moderate or walk back from my previous statements a bit:

1. On Morale: I can say with certainity that undue criticism at home hurts morale and effectiveness in the field. My personal proof is how I felt in April of 71 in Vietnam when I heard Kerry's Congressional testimony and how that same sort of criticism impacts my wife and her soldiers today. As an aside, I'm certain that individuals and even units did some pretty ugly things in Vietnam, but then I am certain that war is ugly and always has been. I never saw anything that would come close to Kerry's testimony and I don't think that officers all up and down the chain of command were implict in those "crimes".

2. On Defeatism: I'll take counsel from Ann and moderate my statement. think it is important to recognize that this is the impression a lot of the war criticism makes. I, myself, get this feeling. I'm not saying the anti-war people really do want us to lose, but they seem glad whenever things go wrong. They seem hungry for defeat. It's horrible. Intolerable! Shameful! I'm willing to concede that they are actually good people who mean well, but I'm being honest about the gut reaction they inspire.

We'll never have "proof" that some politicans are hoping for a defeat because nobody is dumb enough to ever admit that.

I modify my statement to:

It hurts. It hurts. An average American understands what "support the Troops" means. Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership give the appearance, accurate or not, of rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens this average American.

3. Where we go from here in Iraq. Some good old words I wish I heard from our leaders of either party today. 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.

JFK


I'm done

wildaboutharrie said...

Serious question: When Republicans and conservative media pundits criticized President Clinton's decisions during the war in Kosovo, did that seem as if they wanted the war to fail for political gain? If not, why not? What is the difference?

knoxgirl said...

Ugh, I wanted to resist getting into any war discussions but of course I can't.

All I will say is, if you are one of the many on the left who endlessly criticizes EVERYTHING about the war, the way it's executed, the progress we're making, the progress Iraqis are making, the reasons we went to war, etc.... then just have the balls to say: "I'm being critical EVEN IF it's demoralizing to the troops. I feel that's better than to remain silent."

Do NOT try to have it both ways and say that your criticisms don't hurt the troops, or that they are *actually* patriotic, blah blah blah. It's just not believable, sorry.

It's not believable because you haven't given our troops enough time to start criticizing their performance yet--we haven't been there that long, do you know any history???? And anyone who bothers to read any military blogs knows that we're actually making good progress. If you *cared* so much about success in Iraq you would be much more judicious before dismissing our efforts and our goals.

reader_iam said...

Knoxgirl:

just have the balls to say: "I'm being critical EVEN IF it's demoralizing to the troops. I feel that's better than to remain silent."

There it is, in a nutshell. Good job!

And by the way, I can absolutely, positively envision circumstances under which I would make that judgment and choice. I think that position can even be a deeply honorable one.

That's assuming, of course, that the criticisms are offered constructively and out of sincere concern for our country and society as a whole, and that they don't devolve into personal attacks and the cheapest of partisan politics.

Brian said...

"-It hurts. It hurts. An average American understands what "support the Troops" means. Beyond Lieberman and a few other dems, the average American recognizes that Dean, the DNC and much of the minority leadership give the appearance, accurate or not, of rooting for a defeat in Iraq because it will hurt Bush. That sickens this average American.-"


Umm, speaking as an average American I can say for a fact that it doesn't. What sickens me is the cheerrleading that went on in the months before the war from those( most of which never put on a uniform) on the loudmouth right such as fox and the entire AM radio band. Yet now, those of us average Americans who never wanted to go to war in the first place are just supposed to shut up and watch the incompetence and carnage without uttering a peep? Is that what being a good american is to you? Look at the poll numbers, believe me, it's not Dean we're pissed at, it's the empty sloganeering from the right. And perhaps you could explain to me, an average American just what the hell does "support the troops" mean anyway? Does it mean never mention the three hundred pound gorilla sitting in the living room, just smile and slap this five dollar, made in china-magnetic ribbon on your truck? Just quietly let the politicians who got us into this mess try and muddle thru with one eye on the poll numbers and the other on the "attack-critics-as-unpatriotic" button? Support the troops is morphing into a shield the right uses to deflect ANY criticism of the war or the administration.



"-It's not believable because you haven't given our troops enough time to start criticizing their performance yet--we haven't been there that long, do you know any history????-"


Umm, yeah, I do. I remember being told that we'd be greeted as liberators, flowers strewn at our feet. I remember being told that the oil would pay for it all and that it wouldn't last more than two years and that the mission was accomplished and that there were massive piles of chem, bio and nuclear WMD and that the looting was just a byproduct of liberty and you go to war with the army and armor you have and that the insurgency was in it's last throes. I remember all of that, do you?

wildaboutharrie said...

"It is a terrible thing to tell someone he or she is risking death in a mistaken cause. But it is more terrible actually to die in that mistaken cause." Michael Kinsley, quoted earlier in the thread. But he would argue that is IS patriotic to risk morale for the greater good.

OK to answer my own question about the difference between now and Kosovo, I'd say there is none. Back then, criticism from DeLay, Lott, etc. was seen by the Right as fair, correct, a patriotic duty, and by the Left as partisan. So either we project onto these people a ruthlessness and cynicism that isn't there, or we really do have some evil, traitorous people in Congress on both sides of the aisle who gamble with lives of soldiers and innocent civlians for political gain.

knoxgirl said...

Brian:

Your slavering disgust for patriotic ribbons belies your point better than any response I could make.

Mark said...

Knoxgirl:

I have no quarrel whatsoever with patriotic ribbons, but they do not compensate for misleading, incompetence, and cheerleading this nation into war.

Latest developments surrounding pre-war intelligence only strengthened me in my opinion that this nation was misled:

1) The National Journal article detailing how Bush was warned by the CIA that there was no colloborative relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda;

2) The fact that PDB specifically warned that no such relationship exists (from the same article);

3) The LA Times article that German intelligence repeatedly relayed to the CIA that Curveball (the source for many WMD claims) was a very unreliable source;

There is probably more proof but given that a lot of information remains secret, it's not available yet. But even given what we know now allows me (and I think not only me) to conclude that Bush and Co, did mislead.

And to those who say that it doesn't matter anymore, that we should win however we got into Iraq, I would ask how they have any confidence that the President has any credibility and competence to win.

Eli Blake said...

The reason why so many more people are against the war now than when it started is pretty simple:

People supported getting rid of WMD's, NOT trying to create a government in another country more in our own image.

Want proof? We have a brutal dictator 90 miles away from the US. Now, ask people you know whether they would support invading Cuba to create a Democracy. Probably, you will find no one in favor of the idea (unless you live in certain neighborhoods in Miami). But if it turned out that Castro had nukes, a lot more people would support it. And they did, during the Cuban missile crisis.

Once we looked, and there were no WMD's, the mission changed. (and it's changed a lot, going back and forth between fighting the terrorists who have now come there so they can fight us, to supporting Democracy, to 'because we have lost 2000 troops already,' as the President said Saturday.) Not sure what exactly the 'course' is, anymore but I guess he is saying we have to 'stay it,' whatever it is.

And, by the way, 'supporting the troops' means not cutting combat pay, closing VA hospitals, cutting veteran's healthcare, and cutting funding for the schools where the children of active duty soldiers go. These are all things that the President has proposed at some point during the past four years and which were opposed by Democrats, so don't say it is DEMOCRATS who aren't 'supporting the troops.'

Mike Griswald said...

knoxgirl said...

Brian:
Your slavering disgust for patriotic ribbons belies your point better than any response I could make.


Translation: I can't respond so I'll accuse you of saying something you didn't and then ascribe meaning to it that it doesn't have. (viz. cheap shot)

It's interesting how we forget that prior to the invasion of Iraq the majority of Americans were opposed to the idea. Of course, maybe they were simply above average.

Mark said...

Sorry for copying and pasting, but I think it is one more piece of the puzzle to how the war was politicized from the very start by the Bush administration:

From: http://www.thinkprogress.org/

Daschle Asked To Depoliticize Iraq War Vote, Bush Refused
In recent weeks, President Bush has used the October 2002 Iraq war vote to deflect criticism of his conduct in the lead-up to war. Today’s Los Angeles Times reports that, in September 2002, Sen. Tom Daschle asked President Bush to delay the vote on the Iraq war:

“I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: ‘Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?’ He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: ‘We just have to do this now.’ “

In so doing, President Bush departed from the example of his father, who waited until after the 1990 midterm elections to call for a vote on the first Iraq war. Bush’s decision to rush the vote had two important effects:

1. Members did not have adequate time to review the National Intelligence Estimate.The 90-page unclassified document was delivered to Congress on October 1, the night the hearings began and less than 10 days before the vote. Members “could look at it only under tight security on-site. They could not take a copy with them for review.”

2. The vote was overly politicized. E.J. Dionne noted recently that Bush “forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.”

----------------------------------
Since Bush politicized the war from the outset, any charge that Democrats criticize the war for political reasons rings extremely hollow.

knoxgirl said...

Mike:

I am not interested in responding to arguments asserting "Bush Lied." Sorry, maybe on some other day, on some other post. Just because I don't engage on that subject doesn't mean I have no response.

The whole point of the original post is that poll numbers show the majority of people believe criticism of the war is harmful and disingenous. I contend that Brian's comment, with its derisive reference to "five dollar, made in china-magnetic ribbons" captured in a nutshell quite nicely why people feel that way.

Mark said...

"The whole point of the original post is that poll numbers show the majority of people believe criticism of the war is harmful and disingenous. I contend that Brian's comment, with its derisive reference to "five dollar, made in china-magnetic ribbons" captured in a nutshell quite nicely why people feel that way."

Not so. The poll numbers (and the way the question was phrased, it's almost a push poll) may indicate that most people think that leading Democrats' criticism hurts morale of the troops. It doesn't indicate that the criticism is harmful (because it's possible to "hurt morale of the troops" and still serve a valid goal), nor does it indicate that it's disingenuos (it's possible to criticize for political reasons and still be honest in the criticism).
By the way, it's funny how supporters of the war are grasping at one poll of questionable validity which may support them, while ignoring many more polls which indicate that the majority of the people believe that Bush was either misleading or dishonest in getting us to war.

knoxgirl said...

Mark, please explain what you think was the point of Ann's original post then....?

As for your criticism about the poll--it is addressing peoples' opinions and feelings. Nothing more. You're right, it does not prove anything. It's all about perception. Which is what my comments are addressing.

References to Hitler, to "cheerleading" and "sloganeering," as well as veiled insults about people who put magnets on their trucks (a not-so-veiled blue-collar slur) is typical of so many arguments against the war--and this is what turns people off. Thereby creating the perceptions the poll reveals.

If you choose to dismiss the poll, fine, I can't stop you. But then why bother commenting on it.

Mark said...

Knoxgirl:

What do you mean, what was the point of Ann's post? It's clear that Ann posted this poll because she believes it supports her (and yours) position that criticism of the war is harmful. But the fact that you believe it doesn't make it true. As was previously pointed out on this thread, the poll doesn't indicate that the criticism is harmful or that democrats are rooting for defeat. The poll only showed (from little that we know about it) that majority of people believe that Democratic criticism of the war hurts troops' morale (not that it is harmful and disingenuos as you claim).

It's easy to see why this is not a fair question. As Armando pointed out at DailyKos, the question assumes that the criticism has either positive or negative effect on morale. There was no choice of "no effect" or "doesn't matter". That's why 17% of the people chose "not sure/refused to answer".

And cheerleading and sloganeering are not empty references; they reflect the reality. One of the reasons we are in the mess that we are is because media utterly failed to do their job in the wake of 9/11. Instead of questioning the Bush administration's claims and serving a safeguard, the media were lapdogs of the administration, gleefully cheerleading this war. Not only Fox News (for all intents and purposes a Republican TV channel), but all major news channels are guilty of this.
As far as ribbons, as I said, placing ribbons is not a substitute for holding the administration to account and demanding TRUTH. If you are willing to let your leaders mislead you without any consequences for them, then it's your position and I can't change it. But you should admit that this is the case. In the wake of recent revelations, there's simply no way not to see that Bush misled this nation by exagerrating the evidence and concealing the contradicting evidence.

Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson, the National Journal article, the LA Times article all conclusively prove it.

Why bother replying to this poll? Because it's a relevant poll, even if it is very flawed.

The Drill SGT said...

I know I said I was done, but I stumbled on the raw poll results:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/RT_Topline_2005-11-20_Final_PtP.pdf

You can now spin these to your hearts content.

wildaboutharrie said...

DS, thanks, I was looking for that.

Mark, I agree the poll has some flaws (re forced choice unless pollees "volunteer"), but Democrats should take note, anyway. Unless they think it's OK to seem to be more interested in political gain than in soldiers, Iraq, etc., they should take a look at how they do what they do.

Basically, "average Joe" doesn't really trust either party right now.

knoxgirl said...

Mark, Mark, Mark...

"Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson, the National Journal article, the LA Times article all conclusively prove it..."

This is as ridiculous to me as if I cited evidence from FoxNews as conclusive to you! Surely you are aware that many people do not take everything Richard Clarke and Joe Wilson say as Gospel? Not to mention the LA Times!

I also think you need to reread my last comment, I don't think you quite understood what I was saying. Again, I *agree* with you that the poll doesn't prove anything...but it does reveal that people see Democrats as acting solely for political motives, like it or not.

Mark said...

KnoxGirl:

I perfectly understood what you were saying. Your point is that people see Democrats as exploiting the war for political reasons. My answer is that a) the poll is questionable; b) the poll doesn't really support your position since the question was more nuanced and more pushy at the same time.

Well, you say that my evidence doesn't convince you. A few posts above, I provided a more concrete evidence based on the National Journal article (citing a secret PDB and exposing how the "alternative intelligence office" was set up to get reults that Bush wanted, i.e. link b/w Iraq and Al Qaeda). You don't have to trust LA Times, but their article is based on German intelligence which repeatedly questioned the veracity of Curveball, one of the leading sources for Iraq/WMD claims. Or do you not trust Germans either?
Richard Clarke said that Bush wanted to go to Iraq right after 9/11. Former Secretary of Finance Paul O'Neill said the same thing.
The NY Times debacle with Judith Miller showed how the press was fed the unsubstantiated and weak claims.

I mean, what more evidence do you need? Would anything less than a memo signed by Bush saying "I am going to mislead Americans" satisfy you? The evidence that Bush misled, politicized, and rushed into the war is overwhelming. It's not like citing Fox News, because I rely on facts, something which is missing from Fox News.
Why do you think 70% of Americans who watched Fox News mistakenly believe that there was a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda; that US found WMD in Iraq and other nonsense? The answer is, of course, that Fox News was (and is) a rupor for the administration's agenda.

Again, I am not asking you to rely on "liberal media" (another myth of the right-wing); simply analyze the facts and arrive at your own conclusions. Why did Bush not release the PDB which undermined his rationale for the war in Iraq? Why did he set up an alternative intelligence office with a purpose of substantiating his fantasies about Iraq and Al Qaeda/WMD? Why the fact that German intelligence repeatedly questioned the reliability and veracity of Curveball was hidden? Why did Bush seek to have the vote authorizing the use of force right before the 2002 elections? Why did both Richard Clark and Paul O'Neill claimed that Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq right after 9/11? Why were the inspectors not allowed to finish their inspections which did not reveal any WMD? Why was General Shinseki forced to retire after he said that we need many more troops in Iraq?

If you can honestly answer these questions without arriving at a conclusion that Bush wanted to go to war regardless of WMD; that the US public was misled and confused with various Iraq/WMD/Al Qaeda linkages; then I can't change anything.

Wildaboutharrie:

I agree that public perceptions matter. However, I don't know what Democrats can do differently. They already express their support for the troops and direct their criticism at Bush and his administration. Perhaps, they should offer more solutions, but I believe they are doing it already. If anything, Democratic criticism has been too timid, I think.

wildaboutharrie said...

Mark, did you read this?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2005/11/18/AR2005111802397.html

(Sorry, couldn't get link to work.)

Aspasia M. said...

I wasn't alive during Vietnam, but I get the impression from history books that the anti-war movement was much more active then anything happening today. (Students shutting down colleges, Kent State, ect.)

It seems like this poll was a response to Murtha's comments. (But we are not experiencing marches at schools or shut downs, or riots around the Pentagon.)

Murtha proposed a pull back and pundits have been talking about him for over two weeks.

Does anyone else think our discussion about morale is odd considering that the anti-war movement is comparatively small and quiet?

wildaboutharrie said...

I'd be surprised if the negative reaction was about Murtha. I don't suspect many people think he spoke out for political reasons.

Aspasia M. said...

I guess I'm trying to figure out what we are talking about.

What, exactly, is the criticism and where is it comming from?

If we aren't talking about Murtha's statements, then what?

Was it the Thanksgiving dinner of salmon and lentils (or whatever?) at Crawford? Because that was pretty small and I didn't see a lot of coverage.

Mark said...

wildaboutharrie:

Yes, I read that editorial by Graham. It's one more piece of the evidence that the claim that Democrats saw the same intelligence is a lie. Did you notice how Cheney backed off this claim? In his latest speech, he did not say the "same intelligence", instead he said something like "the intelligence".
Drip, drip, drip at credibility of Bush and Co.

wildaboutharrie said...

Geoduck, it was a poll about how people feel about war criticism from Democratic senators, so not anti-war criticism in general. The original post has a link to an article, and Drill Srt posted a link to the actual poll.

My word verification had TMI and WAX in it.

tcd said...

Mark,

Somehow, despite your repeated claims for truth, I just don't buy that truth is what you're after. Certainly not when you mention a known liar like Joseph Wilson to back up your argument. Whatever. It's your right to believe what you want, just don't think that you are fooling anyone here. The 2004 Presidential election proved to me that the average American is a lot smarter than what Democrats like you give them credit for.

Mark said...

geoduck2:
I wasn't alive during Vietnam either but I share your perception that the anti-war movement then was much more forceful. I think Ann mentioned some time ago that at that time, the anti-war people proudly said that they are unpatriotic. I also think they didn't care about the effect of the protests on troop morale; maybe they even wanted to bring the morale down to end the "senseless" (in their view) war.
The current anti-war movement is much more supportive of the troops, believes that they are patriots (I know I do), and directs its anger at the leaders, not the troops. That's why its baffling that some people still equate criticism of Bush and how he got us into this mess with being unpatriotic, rooting for defeat, etc. If anything, we are more timid than we should have been.
I think the relative complicity of Democrats and the media in 2002 is explained by 9/11: noone wanted to be seen as irresponsive to security concerns; and the Bush administration did a great job of making sure that those who spoke against it were seen as naive peaceniks who "don't get the post 9/11 world". Of course, the truth is that it is Bush and Co. who don't get the post 9/11 world and who diverted the resources from the war with extreme Islamists to the war with Saddam's secular dictatorship. In the process, they made America less safe by making Iraq a playfield for Al Qaeda and other violent extremist organizations.

Mark said...

tcd,

What exactly did Wilson lie about? Keep in mind that despite the spin from the right wing media, he never said that Cheney sent him to Niger.

I give a lot of credit to Americans. They re-elected Bush (foolishly) due to a high turnout by religious conservatives; the independents broke for Kerry. It's too bad that Republicans were able to use wedge issues (such as gay marriage) to galvanize the extreme right wing. Also, Kerry was not the best candidate, obviously; and he was demonized by various smear groups. Anyway, it's pointless to reargue the 2004 elections.

And, whatever you may think, it is the truth that I am after. Would you be able to accept the truth if it contradicts your notion of Bush?

Mark said...

One more thing,
when you say that I am free to believe what I want, you are certainly right. However, facts are stubborn things; even if you disagree with them, they are still true. A lot of what I listed as evidence are facts; I don't think you can dismiss them by simply saying that you don't believe them. Fine, you're free to disbelieve Clarke and Wilson, but what about facts, such as PDB (presidential daily brief), alternative intelligence office, documents demonstrating German intelligence's repeated attempts to point out that the Curveball was unreliable; the fact that the vote was held on the eve of the midterm elections
You are free to question conclusions that I draw but you cannot disbelieve facts.

knoxgirl said...

See, Mark, you call all this stuff "Fact" without recognizing that others might view those "Facts" in a somewhat different light.

For example, your assertion that the US--not Saddam!!!--thwarted the UN weapons inspectors is ridiculous on its face. I laughed out loud when I read that.

I'm not going to go through one-by-one and explain why I don't just passively accept all of the other arguments you present as "Fact." Let's just say, as you suggest, I choose to question the conclusions that you draw.

Brian said...

to "cheerleading" and "sloganeering," as well as veiled insults about people who put magnets on their trucks (a not-so-veiled blue-collar slur) is typical of so many arguments against the war--and this is what turns people off.



Ok, here's a new rule: Unless you're blue collar, you don't get to decide what is a blue collar slur. I'm a carpenter from chicago and the only thing I found insulting was the constant apologizing for bush when he butchered the english language. -Oh, he'll appeal to the "blue collar types." Talk about a veiled insult. And while we're on the subject of what "average Americans" think, do us a favor and give us the credit we deserve, because what we hate the most is the feeling that we've been lied to. Maybe you can continue to swallow the latest excuse for the latest fiasco, but us "average types", we've had enough.

Mark said...

knoxxgirl,
Fine; you may draw different conclusions. It would be interesting to see what other reasonable conclusions can be drawn, but if you choose not to explain how you draw your conclusions, that's fine.

About inspections. Read mu post more carefully, please. I didn't say that US thwart the inspections; I said that they were not allowed to finish their work. I don't know where you get your information from, but it is a FACT that the inspectors and other nations on the Security Council wanted more time to complete their work. The United States did not allow it and effectively cut the inspections short.
Now, that is not to say that Saddam was always cooperative with the inspections. However, after the UN Security Council resolution in October 2002, the inspectors were able to go where they wanted in Iraq without any hinderance on the part of the Iraqis. That's not me saying it; that's the inspectors who said it.

Hans Blix, the chief of the inspectors, said that he preferred more time to finish their work.
In fact, that's why Bush was unable to get UN authorization for the war, since most other nations wanted the inspections to continue.
Shortly before the start of the war, the USA gave notice to the inspectors that it was no longer safe for them to stay in Iraq (because of the imminent start of the war), and so they left.

Again, what I just said is not my "arguments", these are facts, easily provable or disprovable.
Please don't rely on solely right-wing media, do some independent research of the facts.

tcd said...

Mark,

You're right. I can't disbelieve facts, but the facts as they stand alone do not necessarily support your conclusions. Without your conjectures, the facts are just facts. For example, you conclude that because the vote was held before the midterm elections that this is bad faith on Bush's part and further proof that Bush misled the country. The Democrats in Congress were free to vote their conscience like everyone else and the majority of them voted for the war. So are you telling me that Bush was holding a gun to their head to make them vote the way he wanted? Or could it be that they all made a calculated political move and are now backtracking? Didn't they care about the "truth" then? Did you?

wildaboutharrie said...

tcd, yes, I agree as I think I said above (getting threads mixed up). There's no excuse for going political on this decision. If the President pushed for the vote before elections to put the pressure on, oh well. If the Democrats had doubts but voted yes to avoid being called "soft on terrorism" during the elections, they need to own that. Saving your seat is not a good reason to vote for war.

As for Wilson, there were problems - I'm going from memory so feel free to correct me.

1. He said his wife had nothing to do with getting the assignment for Niger. Technically true, but she did recommend him for the assignment. He should have just said so.

2. He said he knew certain documents were forgeries before he had even seen the documents in question (he said he was confused and mixed up documents).

3. There were two committees that looked at his report, and while one supported his claim, the other said that what he found out actually was more supportive of the Iraq/Niger connection.

The problem with Wilson is he comes off as a blowhard and a publicity hound, which wouldn't matter if there weren't the other credibility issues.

knoxgirl said...

Mark,

I know all the sad and pathetic failures of the UN inspectors, but thanks for the review. Their task, by the way, was not to find weapons... but to witness the destruction of those we KNEW Saddam had. They were unfortunately reduced, through Saddam's obfuscation, to a pathetic and pointless cat-and-mouse game which--surprise! ...turned up no weapons.

AGAIN: let's agree that we draw different conclusions from the same "Facts": People like me felt like 12 years was long enough for inspections. People like you think 12 years isn't enough to give inspectors, but 2 1/2 years is too long to give Iraqis to build a democracy in Iraq, before declaring the effort a "mess" among other things.

Mark said...

tcd,
In fact, we agree on some things.
I think that the vote was held on the eve of the midterm elections is not a proof of misleading the country; it is however, a proof that the war was politicized. Especially when it's looked in combination with Andrew Card's statement that from a marketing standpoint, you don't sell the war in August and with Tom Daschle's account of his conversation with Bush when he asked him to reschedule the vote until after the elections. Bush played political hardball with the war and that in itself is despicable.
His father waited until after the midterm elections before the debate about the Persian Gulf war; now that was a really statesman-like act.

You're right; I fully agree that many Democrats voted the way they did chiefly for political opportunistic reasons. They were a) trusting Bush; b) too lazy to actually read NIE (even though in all fairness, Bush did all he could to complicate their task by releasing the NIE just 10 days before the vote; restricting access to it, etc); c) were afraid to be demonized as being weak in the post 9/11 environment.

I was anti-war then and I am anti-war now. I am proud of Senators Feingold, Byrd, Boxer, and others who voted their conscience. I think that Democrats who voted for the war were mistaken. But the primary responsibility is nevertheless on Bush; yes, many Democrats were too complicit and weak, shame on them too. I don't idealize Democrats, especially who voted for the war. However, it is Bush who took us to war and he bears the lion's share of responsibility.

Mark said...

Knoxxgirl:

Yes, let's agree to disagree. You think that it was too much to give weapons inspectors another month to demonstrate that Iraq had no WMDs and that it was worth cutting the inspections short and rushing into war; I disagree. I think that the democracy cannot be imposed by force from abroad; you disagree.
I think that we should heed the wishes of most Iraqis and leave them alone within a year or so; you apparently disagree.

I think that our leaders should be honest and truthful...I hope you agree.

knoxgirl said...

No, I want them to lie to me.

Aspasia M. said...

You know, if a kid points out that the Emperor has no clothes, that not the observer's fault.

It's not like the Emperor would have have gotten dressed if the kid had shown the Emperor more support. And it's not the troops fault that the Emperor got up that morning and refused to put on any clothes.

Now an argument could be made that the Emperor's best friend, Big Time, should have given the Emperor some better advice about his wardrobe.

Goatwhacker said...


OK to answer my own question about the difference between now and Kosovo, I'd say there is none. Back then, criticism from DeLay, Lott, etc. was seen by the Right as fair, correct, a patriotic duty, and by the Left as partisan. So either we project onto these people a ruthlessness and cynicism that isn't there, or we really do have some evil, traitorous people in Congress on both sides of the aisle who gamble with lives of soldiers and innocent civlians for political gain.


harrie, you are spot on. The example of the party stances on Iraq vs. Kosovo reflects obvious hypocrisy on both sides. In both settings one side demands exit strategies while the other decries them as dangerous. In both one side accepts civilian casualties while the other condemns them. In both one side condemns an attack on a sovereign nation while the other claims it's for the greater good. In both one side points out we are attacking a nation that poses us no direct threat while the other says we need to look at indirect or global threat.

If I don't fill in the blanks with GOP or Democrat, Iraq or Kosovo, you won't know which conflict I'm talking about. So while I hesitate to call our government intentionally evil and traitorous, I will call them hypocritical on both sides. I suspect rather than 'evil" this is more related to rationalization in order to support one's own party and gain political advantage.

I will also say that based on my conversations in conservative discussions during Kosovo there were certainly those who would have enjoyed a certain schadenfreude if our troops met with failure. There was a time I would have counted myself among them, I'm ashamed to admit. I am sure such people exist now on the liberal side.

The Drill SGT said...

Kosovo?

OK, I thought I was done with this post but I can't resist a few comments.

1. I agree that there was some of the same anti-admin sniping from the GOP, there were also:

2. real concerns by some in the GOP that we were sending too Little to the region, trying to win a war without US casualties , just bombing people, when we should have gone in on the ground and avoided some civilian damage at the risk of losing a soldier.

3. There were also GOP folks who were isolationist. e.g. Not our fight, let the EU deal with it.

Both of these represent honest policy issues (e.g like Murtha's viewpoint)

4. Lastly I note that we went to the region in 95 I think and we are still entangled there. That's 10 years of peace keeping.

ChrisO said...

This is my first time posting here, and I'm glad to see that for the most part the discourse is fairly civil, considering the volatile nature of the discussion. I have a few somewhat disconnected thoughts.

I think it's unfortunate that criticism of the war may hurt troop morale (although I note the poll in question asked if Americans thought it hurt morale; it wasn't a poll of the military.) That said, I don't think public policy can be determined by the military. The logic presented here by supporters of the war seems to be that once we commit troops, the civilians have to step back and let the military tell us what our policy should be. As long as the military tells us they're making progress, and we're assured it will hurt morale if we criticize the effort, what room does that leave for public debate? Especially since I think it's only human nature for soldiers to want to believe that they're fighting and dying is worth something, even if they were sent in harm's way in support of a misguided policy.

And by the way, I regret if my opposition to the war hurts morale, but that doesn't mean I don't support the troops. I get really upset when I hear about the deaths, and when our military gets into a firefight I hope they win. But supporting the troops and supporting the war are two different things, no matter how much the Right tries to marry the two.

One of the reasons I focus on the deceptions Bush used in the lead-in to war is because I resent the position I'm in. I hate that we're in Iraq, but Bush and company have created a situation where we have to stay for a certain amount of time, and no matter what we do there will be chaos. I really believe there's no good answer at this point, and somehow I'm told that the onus is on the Democrats to present a plan to fix the nearly unfixable mess the Republican have made.

A key difference between Kosovo and Iraq is that I don't recall the Democrats labeling their Republican critics traitors and accusing them of wanting America to lose. There's a ton of differences between Kosovo and Iraq, and it's reasonable to support one and be opposed to the other. It's the approach to the debate that's quite different.

Here's a perfect example. Knoxgirl wrote "Do NOT try to have it both ways and say that your criticisms don't hurt the troops, or that they are *actually* patriotic, blah blah blah. It's just not believable, sorry." So in other words, if we oppose the war it's not only not possible to support the troops, it's not possible to be a patriot. Gee, why don't we just admit our unpatriotism?

I for one am really sick of being called a traitor. It used to be a big deal to question someone's patriotism, but the Right has turned it into a parlor game. At what point are we allowed to punch someone in the mouth?

Finally, I have to say that xwl's comment was one of the most incredible leaps of logic I have seen in this whole debate. Are you saying with a straight face that the high re-enlistment rates in the military aren't attributable to a desire to finish a mission, or support their comrades -- it's because they worship the Secretary of Defense? That's got to be a first.

Buck Pennington said...

Q: "Does the criticism hurt morale?"
A: Answering for me, personally, yes. I was on continuous active duty from before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution until the last chopper lifted off the roof of the embassy in Saigon (yeah, I know we were in it before the GoTR, but only as "advisors"). The anti-war movement really ticked me off. I'm STILL pissed. It's not something one gets over easily.

Answering for my two sons, both active duty, not necessarily. But they too are ANGRY, more at the tone of the criticism and the apparent amnesia of the leading congressional critics of the war. And they're angry about the "useful idiots" aspect of the criticism. There IS such a thing as the "will to fight." Our enemies know it, and if you don't think they're enjoying watching Reid, Pelosi and Co undermining the war effort, then you're sadly mistaken. But then again, from what I've read in this thread from the anti-war contingent, you guys are mistaken about a LOT. My $0.02.

vbspurs said...

This post is certainly getting a lot of comments. I don't post very much on the war in Iraq, though the large number of comments a post like this gets shows me how very much people want to talk about it.

It's not clear whether by "people want to talk about it" you mean your readers or Americans in general.

I venture to tell you, Ann, that BECAUSE you don't post often about the Iraq war, you are seeing a sudden maelstorm of commentary.

(And it's "helped" by the fact that we have at least two disaffected parties in this thread, who keep getting responded to, because they vary from the mainstream of your readers -- OF BOTH political sides)

As you well said, Americans are by and large, not very partisan people.

I go further -- most Americans are sick and tired of hearing about the Iraq War.

It's not about fatigue, although most Western peoples don't have staminas for the kind of protracted engagements of say, WWI or WII.

It's just about the barrage of news about it -- with the talking heads of both sides just yammering on about it, politicising it all the time.

Ugh, as Knoxgirl said.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I come from two sides of mikitary families, and my cousin Gervaise was a medical officer in the British Army in 2003, at Basra.

I can tell you first-hand, as I am sure many others can too, that criticism is felt keenly by the soldiers and others in the military.

Many people entered the military because they wanted to, not because they were drafted, conscripted or otherwise.

They know why they are there.

If by criticising the conflicts your countries are involved in, you are exercising your rights of free speech as citizens, go ahead, by all means.

But don't think it doesn't get those who take bullets for us, down.

Cheers,
Victoria

Aspasia M. said...

You said it so much more eloquently then I ever could. Thank you.

chriso said:

"So in other words, if we oppose the war it's not only not possible to support the troops, it's not possible to be a patriot. Gee, why don't we just admit our unpatriotism?

I for one am really sick of being called a traitor. It used to be a big deal to question someone's patriotism, but the Right has turned it into a parlor game. At what point are we allowed to punch someone in the mouth?"

wildaboutharrie said...

"I go further -- most Americans are sick and tired of hearing about the Iraq War."

That's true and sad on so many levels. God bless the soldiers.

Goatwhacker said...

I for one am really sick of being called a traitor. It used to be a big deal to question someone's patriotism, but the Right has turned it into a parlor game. At what point are we allowed to punch someone in the mouth?

One thing I have trouble understanding is why the left is so concerned about being called traitorous or unpatriotic. I continue to believe the number of people complaining about being perceived as unpatriotic is much greater than the number of people actually calling them that.

To my knowledge, the number of elected GOP officials actually saying Democrats are unpatriotic is very small. You may hear someone like Hannity or Coulter say it and if so, what do you care? You're not going to go to bed worrying about it. When someone makes a veiled reference to me as a Nazi I'm not going to go pine about it, I just figure the person's ignorant because I know I'm not. All this hand-wringing about being called traitorous or unpatriotic is the adult equivalent of running into the schoolhouse crying because someone called you a name.

For the record, as far as I can tell no one on this thread is unpatriotic or traitorous, even the ones I don't agree with. To say that this name-calling is a major difference between Iraq and Kosovo is a narcissistic way to look at the war.

wildaboutharrie said...

"Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory." J. Lieberman, today's WSJ.

Sorry, not directly related, except as polls go...

XWL said...

These Iraqi war threads get heavily distorted due to each side talking past each other.

Just to satisfy my curiousity I counted the posts of the three most vehement anti-Iraq war commenters.

Geoduck2, Mark, and Quxxo account for 70+ posts by my rough count (That's a significant portion of the total).

A portion of those are responses to the other side, and re-responses to responses to their responses.

Plus there is the small set of comments that are of the 'I'm not the one who Godwined, you are, I'm just responding to the accusations that I violated Godwin's law' variety.

There are commenters with multiple posts on the other side too (most prominently The Drill SGT, Bruce Hayden, Palladian, Finn Kristiansen and I guess myself), but their total doesn't come close to the left leaning triumvirate of geoduck2, mark and quxxo.

Plus wildaboutharrie has many posts, but she has been more or less critical and supportive of both sides depending on the aspect of the discussion she has focused on, so she occupies her own space in this thread (and I'll state that's admirable, lest she construe that as criticism).

I've made the point in past threads that volume doesn't equal quality, I guess I'll repeat that again here.

ChrisO said...

Goatwhacker:

I go to a fair number of right wing blogs, and whenever I post something in opposition to the war, I am invariably called unpatriotic, often in the vilest terms. I don't like it when people on my side make Nazi references, and I don't like it when I'm called a traitor. Your response is illustrative of just how pervasive this has become. As I said, you used to call someone a traitor to his country at your own peril, and no one would criticize someone who responded with great offense. Now your response is "So they called you a traitor, big deal."

Goatwhacker said...

Now your response is "So they called you a traitor, big deal."

Yes, that's exactly my response. People who resort to name-calling are generally not worth taking seriously. Why does it bother you what those people are saying? They don't know you and are wrong about you.

The larger point I was making though is I truly don't believe most conservatives or elected GOP officials think Democrats are traitors, and there is no reason for liberals to act like it's a big problem. You can't project "vile comments" from far right radicals onto all conservatives.

Mark said...

Goatwhacker:

I think most Democrats take offense not only in being expressly called traitors by people like Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity(you're right, few people take them seriously), but also in characterization of Democrats as rooting for defeat or otherwise wishing harm to the USA. This characterization is much more prevalent in conservative circles than the express name-calling, but it is equally offensive.
In fact, on this very thread this accusation was leveled, although subsequently modified (for which I'm very glad, by the way)
It is this hijacking of patriotism whereby your opponent is presumed acting contrary to the country's best interests which pisses many off.

Not to sound too high-minded but it would be great if everyone realized that his/her opponents share the love for the country and want the best for it, even if their methods/positions may be diametrically opposed. If everyone did that, then the level and the depth of the discourse would be significantly elevated.

knoxgirl said...

XWL,
For what it's worth, I too,enjoy wildaboutharrie's comments for the same reason I enjoy this blog--moderate, and more importantly, not predictable. Anyway...

wildaboutharrie said...

That's nice of you to say, knoxgirl. I do try to be nonpartisan, but I've been a bit strident in tone in the past, and I'm trying to be more modulated. I want to be a good guest.

Quxxo calls me milquetoast. Even more alarming, Revelation 3:16 - "So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth." When God and quxxo agree that you're lame, you should probably reassess.