Democrats & Liberals Archives

Hurray For Democracy!

Although the press and the Bush administration are treating Hamas’ crushing victory in Palestine as a surprise, you, my dear loyal readers, saw this coming a mile away because I’ve been predicting it for a year now. Sometimes I hate always being right.

People in the Middle East are pissed off. They're going to vote for anyone they think is standing up to Israeli and American policies in the region. Everywhere President Bush encouraged free and fair elections -- from Riyadh to Baghdad, from Cairo to Beirut -- angry Islamists gained political power.

Since last night, I've seen a bunch of analysts claiming that having to actually govern will temper Hamas' desire to destroy Israel, as if delivering the mail and hating Jews are mutually exclusive. Maybe those guys don't realize that Hamas has been providing social services and governance in the occupied areas – as well as killing Israelis -- for decades, going back to their association with the Unified National Command during the first Intifada.

Not surprisingly, the Israelis tried to warn President Bush:

Against the advice of Israeli officials, the administration had pushed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold the elections without delay, believing that the voting would strengthen his hand in disarming militia groups. Instead, the plan backfired, and an organization that has claimed credit for dozens of suicide bombings -- some resulting in the deaths of Americans -- is poised to take power.

Even Abbas wanted to postpone elections until he was sure Fatah would win, but though that would have been beneficial to the United States, it's not really democracy, is it. And President Bush is a stickler for democracy -- except in Pakistan, Haiti, Venezuela, and probably Bolivia after Morales nationalizes the natural gas industry there.

As President Bush painfully tried to spin the free election of Israel's mortal enemy as "positive" yesterday, he said "democracy yields peace." That's utter nonsense. Hitler's Nazi Party was democratically elected. Slobodan Milosevic was freely elected, and Iran’s “healthy” system elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. On the other side of that coin, Singapore is not much of a democracy and neither are China and Dubai – yet their citizens aren’t strapping on the dynamite vests.

Democracy by itself does not yield peace, and this flawed belief keeps smackin’ President Bush right in the puss with "surprise" election results like Hamas' victory in Palestine, Hezbollah's success in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood's success in Egypt, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq's victory in America’s 51st state.

Anyhow, you can be sure Hamas isn't going to pick up the Middle East peace process where Fatah left off. It's a whole new ballgame.

Posted by American Pundit at January 27, 2006 11:30 AM
Comments
Comment #117556

Excellent post. I would add that democracy is a great deal more than just counting ballots correctly and fairly (remember Florida?).

You also have the rule of law, precedent, protection of minorities, and a sound understanding of constitutional principles. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be bumps along the way in any if not all of those areas, but for it to be a true democracy, they will ONLY be bumps. Let’s not forget that American democracy failed in 1861 — 72 years after our constitution had been put into place.

Getting back to the Middle East, the U.S. puts far to much faith in the ballot box and not enough on developing the social and political culture that keeps democracy healthy. The fact that a “terrorist organization” can win an election (and in one of the more “westernized” parts of the Middle East at that) will hopefully cause the U.S. to re-evaluate its entire approach to the Middle East.

Posted by: Steve K at January 27, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #117562

I wonder if Bush is unifying the Middle East after all? Unifying it against Israel and American intervention.

And about China…How would we know if there were people up in arms over there? Half their news is censored. And it was and is having its issues anyway….just not with us, like the rest of the world. :-)

Posted by: lymond01 at January 27, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #117565

AP,

I guess that we in this country will have to learn a new word.

In the stunning words of George Bush,

“It’s called diplomacy”.

Posted by: Rocky at January 27, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #117569

Hamas will be drunk with power for awhile demanding that earth and heaven yield to its will. Then, after the corruption, internal civil strife, and loss of international funding set in, so will the reality that power is only as useful as it is absolute, or in the public’s interest, ALL the public’s interest.

A reality Americans are having to grapple with again on their own home turf as our President’s secret attemtps to make his own power absolute, become revealed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 27, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #117572

I guess that we in this country will have to learn a new word.

In the stunning words of George Bush,

“It’s called diplomacy”.

Well, it’s not a new word, but when Bush uses it, it usually has a new definition.

Posted by: lymond01 at January 27, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #117574

When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing more to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.
Plato

Posted by: layne45 at January 27, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #117576

Who is surprised?

People in the middle east are:

educated the children to hate Isreal and the west

will send their children to die to kill civilians

Hamas is a terrorist group - as a government they will lose all financial support from USA and fail to build an economy and civil war will continue. Failed governments and ecomomies always blame others - the victim mentality works to divert the attention from their real problems and gives the masses some thing to do.

Posted by: Reporting for Doody at January 27, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #117579

What does this mean AP? The failure of Democracy?

If you were to put aside your partisanship for just a few moments and think about this rationally…

Let me sum up your post: democracy doesn’t create peace.

Does this mean that dictatorship is preferable to democracy if the people would freely choose dictatorship? Or does it simply strengthen the principle that the people should decide?

Details: Hitler was elected to a minor position in government but if I remember correctly was not freely elected as absolute ruler.

Democracy ends after the dictatorship is in power. But the Palestinians have never had a democratic election. Were there free elections under Arafat? No. Arafat controlled the press, the vote, the counting of the votes, and the announcement that the PA had again won.

Let’s not forget that ‘colaborators’ (anyone suggesting that peace is possible without total victory) are routinely dragged into the street and shot by Palestinians.

Should we continue to prop up the PA as a ‘moderate’ alternative when it has always been Hamas that has been in charge? There really is no change here except for the fact now that the mask is off and even the Euroweenies cannot hide from the fact that the Palestinians do not want peace and continue to want war.

Better that we all deal in the open than pretend reality is something different, especially when the Euopeans have essentially been funding terror against Israel all these years by funding the illusional Palestian Authority, Arafat (billions in the bank), Fatah…

I don’t see anything useful in your post at all unless you have a partisan axe to grind and don’t care about facts.

Posted by: esimonson at January 27, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #117580

RfD,

“Hamas is a terrorist group - as a government they will lose all financial support from USA and fail to build an economy and civil war will continue. Failed governments and ecomomies always blame others - the victim mentality works to divert the attention from their real problems and gives the masses some thing to do.”

I guess that’s just the penalty for being a democraticly elected government.
We talk a mean democratic game, but when a democracy that we dissagree with pops up, well now, we just can’t have that.

Posted by: Rocky at January 27, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #117587

Reporting for Doody:

Ofcourse, having your Land confiscated to build Settlements has absolutely NOTHING to do with enraging Palestinians to fight back.

Ofcourse, having nothing but assault rifles and rocks to fight American-made Tanks, American-made Apaches, American-made Jets and American-made Gizmos has absolutely no effect on making Palestinians Suicide Bombers.

Ofcourse, having the Settlements increase by 300% since Oslo has nothing to do with Palestinians feeling that negotiation does not get them anything.

Ofcourse, having Israel drop 500 pound bombs into the most densely populated bantustan in the world and killing dozens of civilians for each terrorist dead has nothing to do with Palestinians feeling that no ceasefire is taking place.

I swear. There will never be peace as long as the US is part of the negotiations. You can never have peace with such a biased third party.

Posted by: Aldous at January 27, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #117588
I don’t see anything useful in your post at all unless you have a partisan axe to grind and don’t care about facts.
Posted by: esimonson at January 27, 2006 01:05 PM

Hello, Mr. Kettle? We have a Mr. Pot on hold with a message for you…

Posted by: LawnBoy at January 27, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #117589

ericsimonson:

If Israel wants peace, why have the Settlements increased by 300% since Oslo?

Just exactly how much Land do you think Palestinians should have? How much water? How many Palestinian Refugees should come back home?

This hypocrisy you have is disgusting. If Israel were any other country, the reaction would be far different.

Posted by: Aldous at January 27, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #117590

“Between 1994-2004, the donor nations gave the PA $6 billion. Where did all this money go? Fifty-six million dollars go to salaries every month. There are $100 million in revenue every month. There are 37,000 fictitious jobs - the colonel, his wife ‘the coloneless,’ his son, his daughter - they all get paid, as you know very well.”
-Mahmoud Al-Zahar


That’s from the debate transcript found at Memri.org.

Posted by: George in SC at January 27, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #117592

I should also point out that the social wing of Hamas is regarded as highly efficient and honest. They handle virtually the entire welfare system in Gaza and it works. Their Books are clean.

Hamas ran on an anti-corruption platform.

Posted by: Aldous at January 27, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #117593

Hitler, Hitler, Hitler.

Nonsense.

There has never been any genocide on Jews by Arabs in two thousand years.

Only Europeans massacred Jews.

So unless there are any Europeans posing as Arabs in the Middle-East, I doubt there will ever be any “Arab Final Solution”.

Posted by: Aldous at January 27, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #117597

Hamas is a peaceful, loving organization.
It is the US that are terrorists.
GW Bush is why Pal and Isr can’t live in peace.
Impeach Bush now.

Posted by: kctim at January 27, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #117598

AP,

Good post. Not great (too partisan), but good. I was wondering which column would be the first to address this issue.

Remember, though, that Bush hasn’t been the only president pushing democracy as the cure-all for the world’s ills. Pretty much every president since WWII has done that. And every president since Carter has spoken the oft-quoted fallacy that “no two democracies have ever gone to war against each other”. (Never mind the fact that the first two democracies in history, Athens and Syracuse, went to war against each other!)

Steve K:

Excellent post. I would add that democracy is a great deal more than just counting ballots correctly and fairly (remember Florida?).

You also have the rule of law, precedent, protection of minorities, and a sound understanding of constitutional principles.

Yet another attempt to redefine the word “democracy” to fit only those countries we consider worthy of it. Democracy, by definition, is government by the people. That pretty much means elections, either to decide the issues or to choose who will decide the issues. It doesn’t mean human rights protections, freedom of religion, right to keep and bear arms, or any of that stuff. Those are the things we have in addition to Democracy that make our country so great.

I recently found THIS webpage, which does a pretty good job of explaining how democracy alone isn’t enough. I would be interested to hear your opinions about it.

esimonson:

Should we continue to prop up the PA as a ‘moderate’ alternative when it has always been Hamas that has been in charge? There really is no change here except for the fact now that the mask is off and even the Euroweenies cannot hide from the fact that the Palestinians do not want peace and continue to want war.

Euroweenies, eh? How enlightened of you — childish name-calling is always helpful in a rational debate.

But you’re right, Eric. The “mask is off”. The Palestinians have spoken, and they have said they want the destruction of Israel. So now that all the excuses are out of the way, are you and the rest of this country finally willing to look at WHY they want the destruction of Israel?? I don’t buy that it’s solely due to religious differences — since there are millions of Muslims all over the world who AREN’T voting for terrorist parties or calling for the destruction of Israel.

Are you willing to consider now, after all of this, that perhaps, just maybe, Israel has done something wrong to encourage this sort of hatred? Is that a possibility that you’re willing to allow on your radar-screen somewhere? Or is this all STILL just the fault of hardliners in an otherwise peaceful Palestinian population?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #117599

Nah, there are much better reasons to impeach Bush. However, this “democracy is on the march” is just making him (and us) look dumb when these countries democratically elect hard-liner anti-american leaders.

Anyone up for dominoes? How about Battleship?

Posted by: MyPetGoat at January 27, 2006 3:01 PM
Comment #117602

Aldous,

You realize that Hamas has said they will not stop their terrorism until Israel is destroyed? And that all Israel is asking before negotiating with them is that they retract that pledge?

You can’t force a horse to drink water. These people don’t want to participate in meaningful dialogue. They don’t want democracy. Give them a pile of money and they will spit on it and burn it just to show their contempt. Cutting off their noses to spite their face is a way of life. Also, how can you keep yabbering about the settlementsas being the reason for this vote when Israel was (I hope no longer) leaving the settlements?

Sad day. Oh, and thank you Bush for continuing your excellent record of destroying everything you touch. Heckuva job.

Posted by: Max at January 27, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #117603

kctim,

Hamas is a peaceful, loving organization. It is the US that are terrorists. GW Bush is why Pal and Isr can’t live in peace. Impeach Bush now.

I assume you’re being facetious.

The Isr/Pal problem has been mismanaged by pretty much every US president who’s been involved. The Democrats and Republicans both have pretty much tried to blame the entire thing on Arafat (who was by no means blameless, but certainly didn’t deserve ALL the blame). The US has NEVER called Israel to task for its part in this conflict. Considering how much money they get from us, you’d think we’d be asking for a little better conduct from them.

Bush has actually done more than most presidents in reversing that trend. Under his administration, for the first time, the US allowed the UN Security Council to condemn the actions of Israel without being stopped by a US veto. We didn’t go so far as to vote FOR the resolution — we abstained on that vote — but it was more than Clinton, Reagan, Carter, or any other president in recent history has done.

The problem is that there’s a misconception in this country that Israel = Judaism, so that criticizing Israel is considered anti-Semetic. The equation is simply not true, however — I know several American Jews who are opposed to the actions of Israel, too. But the belief is so popular that no American President is willing to risk a backlash by being the one to call Israel on the carpet.

This is where I think Bush missed a golden opportunity. After 9/11, Bush had a lot of “political capital” — he was given a pretty long leash to do what needed to be done. He chose to spend that capital leading us into Iraq. He would have better served the “War on Terror”, IMHO, by directing that effort toward Palestine. Imagine if, instead of pressuring the UN for an invasion of Iraq, if he had instead pressured Israel to turn the occupied Palestinian Territories over to UN control. Then, instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq, we could have spent that money rebuilding Palestine, growing their economy, compensating those who have been “relocated” by the Israelis, and helping them truly become an autonomous country.

By ending Israeli occupation of Palestine, we could have defused one of Al Queda’s biggest recruitment tools, built an Islamic democratic model for other countries to follow, and shown the entire world that we’re not just pro-Jew/anti-Muslim.

But, unfortunately, Palestine didn’t have as much oil as Iraq, so it wasn’t as high of a priority.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #117605

RC
“I assume you’re being facetious”

Yeah. Just trying to fit in over here, not allowed to disagree or your a blind follower.

I’m more for cutting off ALL US aid, but I like your ideas to. They are more practical.

Posted by: kctim at January 27, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #117619

OOOPPPS!!!
We’ve changed our government! (and I wasn’t even watching)!!!! (maybe that’s why the Palestinians election didn’t meet our standards? ( I wish I was joking)
We no longer live in a REPUBLIC OR a DEMOCRACY (which we never have).
We live in a REPRESENTIVE DEMOCRACY.
There is major difference.

Please read the links and teach. The representatives we elect don’t seem to know this information. They seem to believe that they have a majority rule, regardless of who’s in charge. It is through EDUCATION that we can defeat corruption, KNOWLEDGE about our own government,that will put US the CITIZENS back in charge and current truthful (I’m not sure I trust any of the networks)INFORMATION to avoid falling into the uneducated traps will continue to deepen the mire we are currently in. We need to get people to realize that VOTING is not just for some but for all - it is not only a RIGHT, but a DUTY, and a MAJOR OBLIGATION weALLhave as a citizen of this great country.

And we need to seriously consider what we need to do to stop the indifference most citizens have. Be it a holiday, tax deduction, etc. Somehow we need to make it FEEL mandatory.

No one is capable of taking over our government, unless we allow it. Instead of fighting about PARTIES we need to be trying to fight for our COUNTRY and our GOVERNMENT. Right now we don’t have time to argue about who is right or wrong especially other counties. We need to start worrying about our OWN

http://www.usconstitution.net/constfaq_a4.html#Q76
Constitutional Representative Democracy

==================================================

Forms of government
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_government

Representative democracy

Democracy
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/democracy

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/pure+democracy

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/social+democracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliberative_democracy

Republic:

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry?id=republic

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry?id=democrac
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republics

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/republic

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry?id=republic

SOURCES
The American Heritage® Dictionary

Columbia Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted by: Linda H. at January 27, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #117621

Careful Linda, you’re starting to sound like me.
Next thing you know, you will be thinking for yourself more and more.
Then you will be ready for:
infowars.com

“Instead of fighting about PARTIES we need to be trying to fight for our COUNTRY and our GOVERNMENT”

I think I’m in love.

Posted by: kctim at January 27, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #117631

Rob wrote:

Yet another attempt to redefine the word ‘democracy’ to fit only those countries we consider worthy of it. Democracy, by definition, is government by the people. That pretty much means elections, either to decide the issues or to choose who will decide the issues. It doesn’t mean human rights protections, freedom of religion, right to keep and bear arms, or any of that stuff. Those are the things we have in addition to Democracy that make our country so great.

Have to disagree with you there Rob. Democracy is made up of a lot of things — not just elections. Unless you can show me a country that you consider a “democracy” but doesn’t have the other things I mentioned (or at least a significant amount of them), I gotta say you’re definition is a little warped.

Posted by: Steve K at January 27, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #117634
“Sometimes I hate always being right.” Posted by American Pundit at January 27, 2006 11:30 AM

Careful, you’re sounding like a Repuglican, don’t start getting that self-righteous bighead.


kc and linda,
maybe after you get a room you’ll be a bit more relaxed and able to listen to other points of view than your own.

Posted by: Dave at January 27, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #117640

You a riot Dave.
I find it funny that the ones talking about the people waking up, working together and taking back our country are the ones who need to “listen to other points of view than our own.”

I am so sorry for being soooo closed minded for thinking that way.
It’s Bush’s fault.
It’s Bush’s fault.
It’s Bush’s fault.
There. I’m sure those are the “other points of view” that you were wanting to be heard.

PS
Linda made a statement. I agreed with it responded in a corny way (its Friday! unless Bush did something to make that bad also) and I’m sure she thought it was dumb.
Lighten up, the cornball crap is ALL on me.

Posted by: kctim at January 27, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #117643

You folks do have some interesting viewpoints.

Here’s my take. Hamas is definitely a terrorist organization, dedicated to the elimination of Israel. No way to deny it, or get around it since they have publically called for the erasure of Israel from the map.

If by democracy you mean a free election of a government, no matter what the type, the the Palestinians just participated in a democratic process.. The fact that we may not approve of the government being formed is totally irrelevant. It’s there, get over it.

As to the hatred the Palestinians feel for Israel, that goes back to 1948. The Balfour Declaration that carved Israel from what had been Arab land for centuries. Naturally, the Arabs didn’t like it.

The situation is easier to understand if we take a hypothetical situation in this country, based on historical facts. The state of Kentucky, where I live, was once inhabited by the Cherokee, among others. The white settlers chased the Cherokee out. Let’s say that the descendants of the Cherokee filed a lawsuit asking for their land back. The Supreme Court agrees with the Cherokee and gives all residents of Kentucky who cannot prove Cherokee ancestry 60 days to vacate the state and find another place to live. How would we feel? Maybe like kicking a little Cherokee butt?

I do not condone the methods of Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, but I can understand how they might feel.

Posted by: John Back at January 27, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #117656

Steve K,

Have to disagree with you there Rob. Democracy is made up of a lot of things — not just elections. Unless you can show me a country that you consider a “democracy” but doesn’t have the other things I mentioned (or at least a significant amount of them), I gotta say you’re definition is a little warped.

I’ll use the best, closest-to-home example I can think of — the United States of America, circa 1790.

In 1789, we adopted our Constitution. We became the model for democracy, which we’re still trying to promote around the world. Yet, at that time, and for decades after, we still maintained slavery, lack of women’s suffrage, government-sponsored religious persecution, etc. By today’s standards, we were a barbaric, bigoted, oppressive society. But we were still a democracy (a representative democracy, to be specific).

Again, to qualify as a democracy, all you really need is choices to vote on. Civil rights, rule of law, etc. are important to a free society, but they’re not required for democracy.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #117672

A big reason that democracies succeed is that citizens have to take responsibility for (and live with the consequences of) the choices they make in the election booth. It’s a learning process, and sometimes a slow one.

For decades, though, the international community has taken the exact opposite aproach to the Palestinians, rewarding and making excuses for things as terrible as deliberately blowing up busses full of schoolchildren. It’s no wonder that the Palestinians have not learned to connect their choices to consequneces.

If the Palestinians are finally forced to take responsiblity for their actions, including their polticial choices, this could turn out to be a great learning experience for them.

They say they want a war with Israel, and they celebrate acts of terrorism, while Israel, a true democratic government, responds in half-measures in order to avoid to the extent possible the ire of the international community.

Elect Hamas, however, whose stated goal is all out war with Israel, and they might just get what they say they want—which can end only one possible way, with their own destruction.

If the gloves come off, Israel will crush them totally and nobody will be able to do a thing to stop it.

The biggest victors in the Palestinian elections were the Israeli right, who will now have a much freer hand to impose their will.

Posted by: sanger at January 27, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #117678

AP,
“Everywhere President Bush encouraged free and fair elections — from Riyadh to Baghdad, from Cairo to Beirut — angry Islamists gained political power…Anyhow, you can be sure Hamas isn’t going to pick up the Middle East peace process where Fatah left off. It’s a whole new ballgame.”


That’s it, blame Bush. How original and just. These militant islamist have been breeding hatred and it’s not the Jews or the US’s fault. It’s there fault, and don’t even try to insinuate that Fatah were better off than Hammas; they’re both terrorists that hate Israel. This is Germany 1935 and we now have a chance to stop this hatred before an annihilation and eradication of Jews even begins. The thing to watch here is what side people are going to be on? Who’s “with us or against us” as our President so aptly phrased it about the terrorists. Let’s see who the abolitionists will be in this dilemma. I’m sure the Bush bashers will be front and center; they’re wrong and will be proven wrong (AGAIN!), yet it’s going to be interesting to live this history, rather than read about it like we did with Hitler and WWII.


As I’ve been saying, figure out what side you’re on and get on it…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 27, 2006 8:46 PM
Comment #117686

Get the room first, kc.

Posted by: Dave at January 27, 2006 9:07 PM
Comment #117687

rahdigly,

This is Germany 1935 and we now have a chance to stop this hatred before an annihilation and eradication of Jews even begins.

There’s a much bigger problem here, though… how exactly do you “stop this hatred”? Iraq was easy — just take out Saddam and the Baath Party. Unlike Iraq, this isn’t a case of a dictator in power over an oppressed people — these folks were democratically elected BY the people! If your plan is to go in and take out all those who oppose Israel, you better be willing to commit some serious genocide, because the Palestinian people — en masse — have spoken up in favor of war on Israel.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 9:09 PM
Comment #117688

AP:

What is with you and Al Gore? Condemning leaders before they even get sworn in. Give Hamas some time to do the math.

1. Israel if militarily superior.
2. We are dependent on foreign aid.

People change. Politicians change. The world looks very different once elected.

There is a process in place that will lead to change in positions and attitudes. Democracy is a great moderating influence on ideas. I don’t think it should be condemned and declared a failure before the people are even sworn in.

Craig

You and Al Gore been talking?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 27, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #117690

So problems cannot be solved under current conditions.

Nobody who hopes for peace can be happy with the result. It is obvious that democracy can produce bad results. But what is the alternative?

So we blame the President for being in favor of democracy. The alternative he should have supported was to prop up a government that didn’t represent the people and try to recreate and perpetuate the neo-colonial control by the Israelis.

We have a bad situation and a problem that cannot be solved at this time and must be tolerated. I don’t see it as a failure of anyone’s policy, nor to I see any solution at this time.

George Marshall, one of our greatest Secretaries of State and a man of unquestionable honor opposed U.S. recognition of Israel during the Truman Administration. He lost the argument to Clark Clifford, someone for whom principles were more fluid. We could talk about how history could have been different. I respect that our President is standing on the principle of democracy. I don’t see any other way.

I think of this like kayaking down white water rapids. You don’t know what you are going to do until you see which way the water breaks.

Posted by: Jack at January 27, 2006 9:17 PM
Comment #117693

Rahdigly, the liberal posters here have been wrong about this from the start—at least since the start of this thread.

American Pundit said in the orginal post:

President Bush painfully tried to spin the free election of Israel’s mortal enemy as “positive”

This is nonsense, and saying such a thing shows a willingness to say anything at all, even something completely false, in order to bash Bush. Bush has actually said that he isn’t going to deal with this new goverment at all unless they completely renounce everything they stand for.

I agree that Bush has made major blunders in dealing with the Palestinian issue, and he gets no points here on either style or substance from me. So this has nothing to do, from my perspective, with defending Bush.

All of Bush’s blunders stem from following the same policies America has followed through Carter, Reagan and Clinton and from abandoning the principles he’s followed in other parts of the world. The mistake has been an over-reliance on the powers of toothless diplomacy and turning a blind eye to what the Palestinians say to each other in their own language while striking a pose of victimhood and speaking of “peace” to the international community.

Allowing Arafat to die a natural death was one significant blunder. Taking anything that came out of Oslo at face value was another.

Despite decades of diplomacy, billions of American and international dollars, and two Nobel Peace Prizes, the Middle East “peace process” is now officially in a worse state than it was twenty years ago. All hail the diplomatic prowess of the international community!

Perhaps it’s in the worst state ever. After all, an even worse terrorist organization than the last terrorist organization that ruled the Palestinian territories (Arafat’s) is now in power.

When will Bush, the UN, Israel, and all the nations of the world catch on to this? It isn’t that difficult. You don’t coddle terrorists. You don’t give money to terrorists. You don’t negotiate with terrorists. You either kill or isolate them. There is no third way.

Posted by: sanger at January 27, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #117701

Sanger,
“You don’t coddle terrorists. You don’t give money to terrorists. You don’t negotiate with terrorists. You either kill or isolate them. There is no third way.”

Don’t be silly. No need for histrionics. There is most certainly a third way. In fact, bribing terrorists is an excellent idea, and throughout the history of the region, it hs worked very very well. Co-opt movementd, pay off leaders, absolutely, by all means. In much of the world, what we consider bribery is considered a perfectly honorable and acceptable way of resolving conflicts.

In a sense, all negotiations are a bribe. In a sense, the Camp David agreements were merely bribes of enormous proportions. To this day, we still pay Egpyt & Israel to keep the peace.

Will it work with the Israelis and the Palestinians? Maybe not. But I wouldn’t rule it out for a second.

There are better ways to resolve problems than killing people.

Personally, I don’t have much sympathy for the Palestinians, who have time & again resorted to the most ruthless violence against the Israelis. I don’t have much sympathy for the Israelis, either, who time & agains have suppressed the Palestinians with ruthless violence.

The Israelis are trying the South African ‘apartheid’ approach by creating impoverished Palestinian Bantustans. Israel is a very fine democracy if you are Jewish. It is not a democracy if you are not Jewish. Hamas is unlikely to accept a long-term Bantustan solution. And neither side is likely to come to their senses, and establish secular states.

We could stand aside, and let them have at each other. If the Israelis want to have a Jewish state at Palestinian expense, and the Iranians want to have an Islamic state, and the Iraqis want to have an Islamic state, and the Palestinians want to annihilate the Jews, then let them resolve their own problems, for better or worse.

But if we must interfere, why not pay them off? It’s better than watching people cut each other’s throats.

Posted by: phx8 at January 27, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #117703

Rob,
“If your plan is to go in and take out all those who oppose Israel, you better be willing to commit some serious genocide, because the Palestinian people — en masse — have spoken up in favor of war on Israel.”

You can “take out” the Iranian Islamofascists without destroying everyone in Iran. I’ve mentioned before that the world community has to (MUST!) come together and sanction this regime. It has to! Iran controls the world largest oil supply and they must be hit where it hurts them most. Period.

Now, Bush was definitely right to encourage democracy throughout the middle east; this is a case of the palestinians showing us who they really are and support, terrorists! Not all, but damn, come on! They replaced one Jew hating group with another. The election result tells us more about the Palestinians and what they believe. Bush was also correct to not deal with them until they renounce their views of Israeli destruction.

Sanger,

“The mistake has been an over-reliance on the powers of toothless diplomacy and turning a blind eye to what the Palestinians say to each other in their own language while striking a pose of victimhood and speaking of “peace” to the international community.”


I definitely agree with you. It’s always been the Israelis that have made concessions and the PLO has done nothing (NOTHING!). The palestinians always play that victim bull crap while they send suicide bomber after suicide bomber and terrorist faction after terrorist faction and I feel enough is enough. Let’s make economic sanctions that’s strict enough to make them suffer and let’s destroy all six of the Nuclear Plants that they have. Then, they’ll have to make concessions and recognize Israel as a Jewish State. If not (and probably not), then it will be worth the effort in the long run; no matter how many people die and how much destruction takes place.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 27, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #117712

Phx8, I wasn’t disagreeing with you. In fact, bribing terrorists in the way you describe is what I meant when I suggested isolating them.

If they can be bribed, by all means, bribe them and isolate them from the goals of their followers. I think that’s what we’ve done with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Al Sadr (so far) in Iraq.

When dealing with that part of the world, you can’t always stand on principle—no disagreement.

Palestine is different, though. We tried bribing Arafat, for decades, and he still called for the Second Intafada and kept on inciting the terrorists while holding out his hand for donations from Europe and the US.

It was an incredibly sobering moment, and the whole world missed the boat. Palestine was offered their demand for a state and they refuesed it because it didn’t include the destruction of Israel.

But when Arafat’s duplicity was made obvious, when he refused the offer of an independent Palestine and took the path of inciting terror instead, he needed to keep a well-deserved appointment with an Israeli missle. WE, and Bush, sadly, buckled to pressure from the Europeans and kept that from occuring.

And we all see the results now: Hamas in power. The Palestinians, I suspect, are going to pay for this and pay dearly. It didn’t have to be this way.

Posted by: sanger at January 27, 2006 10:40 PM
Comment #117713

>>The state of Kentucky, where I live, was once inhabited by the Cherokee, among others. The white settlers chased the Cherokee out. Let’s say that the descendants of the Cherokee filed a lawsuit asking for their land back. The Supreme Court agrees with the Cherokee and gives all residents of Kentucky who cannot prove Cherokee ancestry 60 days to vacate the state and find another place to live. How would we feel? Maybe like kicking a little Cherokee butt?

J Back,

I may be wrong, but when Truman and the Brits conceded Palistine to the Jews, I don’t think there was a state. It was a British Protectorate. At the time there were as many or more Jews living there as Arabs. Truman drew up the borders and the Brits took off like a stampeding herd for parts unknown. The ‘48 war would never have taken place if the withdrawl of British forces had been done properly.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 27, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #117715

Kctim,
Thanks for the support and the love note, but I’m afraid I may fall off your pedestal rather quickly.

I really don’t see how Bush can honestly be blamed for what has happened in Palestine. From what I’ve heard, most of the Middle East is illiterate - which means, I suspect, that most only know what they are told by their comrades.

I’m quiet sure that Bush and the US have been touted as the most horrible, idolizing monetarily greedy, torture-loving, war-mongering people to ever exist.

I remember being in Spain many years ago (Franco was very much alive and in control) and seeing a Spanish newspaper showing a US policeman beating a small child. My first reaction was to be horrified. My second was to take a much closer look, where, even with untrained eyes one could see where the picture had been spliced. I’m sure the process has been refined since then.

While I can find much to criticism Bush’s Administration, (as well as several others) what has happened in Palestine has more do to with ignorance - the much the same ignorance that seems to be plaguing our own country.

I still maintain that EDUCATION is our only choice - that and more voters - REGARDLESS of political of affiliation.

P.S. Again thanks for helping me out with the ah strong and slant and other stuff. As you can see I am using it without abandon.
Dave, (heaven forbid)maybe be right -

Maybe we should get a room so we can conspire together (I went to the site you posted!!!)
We wouldn’t want to bore Dave by repeating ourselves! ;-)

Posted by: Linda H. at January 27, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #117723

Marysdude

Truman recognized the state of Israel and was recognizing the facts on the ground. He didn’t cede anything to anybody. We need not always look at everything through the American prism. The U.S. was not a particular supporter of Israel until after 1967. In fact, during the Suez Crisis the U.S. acted against Israel and our French and British allies to the benefit of Egypt.

I think this whole post and most of the comments are a little off the mark in that they implicitly treat the U.S. as the actor and everyone else as objects. We have to recognize that we don’t have the power to do everything and others have to acknowledge that not everything is our fault.

The Palestinians have put themselves in between a rock and a hard place. Because of the choices they made, many of them will die and if they persist in their error, it will wreck their prospective country. The circumstances are not entirely of their making, but they have the most to gain or lose by making good choices.

What should we do about it? Not much. We can’t deal with Hamas as long as proudly proclaim themselves to be terrorist.

I saw a Hamas candidate interviewed on TV. Three of her sons had killed themselves while trying to kill Jews. The woman was proud of them. In fact she claimed she had encouraged them when they were young to do just what they did. What is a mother to do? They blow up so fast, don’t they?

Posted by: Jack at January 27, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #117726

Marysdude, your read of history is pretty good.

There was no nation called “Palestine” when all of this went down. In fact, most of the national boundaries of the Middle East were arbitrarily carved out of European colonies at one time in history or another.

But hell, that’s true of North and South America too. The boundaries between Canada and the US are old boundaries of English colonies, and the boundaries of Mexico are roughly carved out of the lines of the old boundaries of the colonies of France, England and Spain.

In the Middle East, there are huge swaths of Arab lands and one tiny stretch of land for the Jews. At certain places, you can actually stand and look from with your own eyes from the Eastern to the Western border.

Israel wants a tiny piece of real estate where they, the most persecuted minority in the history of the world, can live and feel safe, but anti-semitism and Arab nationalism doesn’t want to give them anything and wants them destroyed.

The number of “Palestinians” now in the Palestinian territories hugely outnumbers the population of Arabs who have historically ever lived in the tiny slice of land where the Jews want to live and make a safe refuge for themselves in the face of the world’s genocidal hate.

Anybody who disagrees with the international community’s decision to create this homeland for the Jews is fifty years too late. The world made that decision, just as they determined the borders of all the states in the Middle East.

After the holocaust, the Jews who have taken the world up on this offer of a homeland do not deserve to be blown up on busses and killed in their beds just because Europe or the UN might be having second thoughts now about the decisions THEY made decades ago.

Posted by: sanger at January 27, 2006 11:30 PM
Comment #117727

rahdigly,

You can “take out” the Iranian Islamofascists without destroying everyone in Iran. I’ve mentioned before that the world community has to (MUST!) come together and sanction this regime. It has to! Iran controls the world largest oil supply and they must be hit where it hurts them most. Period.

Iran’s a different story. When was the last time Iran lost land to someone, and the US vetoed a 14-1 Security Council vote to defend them? The answer is NEVER. Iran is in a position of safety and security relative to the Palestinians.

And, for the record, Iran doesn’t have the world’s largest oil supply. Saudi Arabia has the largest, and Iraq has the second largest. Iran is at best third on the list.

Now, Bush was definitely right to encourage democracy throughout the middle east

I agree. I don’t necessarily agree with his methods (i.e. invading Iraq), but I do agree that encouraging democracy in the region is a good thing.

this is a case of the palestinians showing us who they really are and support, terrorists! Not all, but damn, come on!

Yes, the Palestinians are supporting terrorists. These terrorists have done horrible, horrible things, and are daily spreading a message of hate and violence throughout the Middle East. I’m in complete agreement there…

…but…

Who exactly do you think they SHOULD have voted for?? The unfortunate truth is that the Palestinians are a horribly downtrodden people, and the only ones standing up to defend the rights of those people ARE the terrorists! We’re not defending the rights of the Palestinians. Israel certainly isn’t defending the rights of these people. And every time the UN has discussed the idea, the US has vetoed it.

By constantly ignoring the very real problems that the Palestinians are facing, by consistently turning a blind eye to the atrocities that have been performed against them, we have forced them into the arms of the enemy. If you’re stuck at the bottom of a hole, which keeps getting deeper, and the Americans won’t help you out, and Europe won’t help you out, and the only people offering to help you out are the terrorists, are you going to live at the bottom of the hole on general principle, or are you going to take the only helping hand that’s been offered? That’s the situation the Palestinians have been in for decades. It’s no wonder they’ve thrown their support to Hamas! What choice have they been given?

They replaced one Jew hating group with another. The election result tells us more about the Palestinians and what they believe. Bush was also correct to not deal with them until they renounce their views of Israeli destruction.

The Palestinians are losing ground every single day. Israel is dismantling settlements with one hand, while building a wall to claim Palestinian land with the other hand. The Palestinian people have never been in a position of safety — their land has constantly been under seige. The ONLY people offering to defend them have been the terrorists.

If you want the Palestinian people to “renounce their views of Israeli destruction”, you’ll first have to stop Israel from stealing their land. If you want the Palestinian people to support someone other than terrorists, you’ll first have to show them that someone other than the terrorists is willing to defend them.

The reason why the US needs to do this is because WE are the ones who have kept it from happening for decades. Through our vetoes on the UN Security Council, we have ensured that nobody BUT the terrorists could raise their voice in defense of Palestine.

This isn’t just about President Bush. This is about Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Ford… a consistent policy of neglect that has spanned several decades and both parties.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #117736

Rob,

Bull. The Palestinians were given the chance to go back to pre-1967 borders with a promise of peace and they said no. Nothing short of the complete destruction of Israel will satisfy them - hence Hamas. The peace talks were working, and that is what drove the vote for Hamas, because they don’t want peace.

Also, the analogy between Palestinians and American Indians is bogus. There was hardly anyone at all living in Palestine before there was an Israel.

Posted by: Max at January 27, 2006 11:51 PM
Comment #117738

sanger,

Anybody who disagrees with the international community’s decision to create this homeland for the Jews is fifty years too late. The world made that decision, just as they determined the borders of all the states in the Middle East.

Creating a homeland for the Jewish people wasn’t the problem — kicking the existing residents out of their homes to do it was. That’s a practice that is expressly forbidden by the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, that practice is still occurring today.

Israel has had the means to end this conflict for decades. It just takes three basic steps:

#1) Israel needs to decide where the border between Israel and Palestine will be. It can be as big or as small as Israel wants it to be, as long as they uphold #2 below. Hell, they can claim the whole damn Palestinian territory if they’re willing to go that route.

#2) Accept that with the land comes the people. Accept the people who live on the land that is claimed for Israel as citizens, with full rights and priviledges thereof. Do this regardless of race, religion, or political belief. Do not relocate anyone.

#3) Transition the remaining territory into self-rule and eventual independence.

The problem, of course, is that Israel is not willing to accept #2. They are unwilling to give the Palestinian people full citizenship rights within Israel, for fear of losing the Jewish majority. So they’re constantly redefining the Israel-Palestine border so as to claim as much Palestinian land as possible, and as few Palestinian people as possible. Establishing a solid, unmoving border is not within Israel’s best interest, because they would lose the ability to reset the playing field as local demographics change.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 11:53 PM
Comment #117739

Jack,

What is a mother to do? They blow up so fast, don’t they?

That is about the sickest thing I’ve ever read on WatchBlog. Do you actually think that was funny?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #117743

Rob, the very same international bodies who ratified each of the many versions of the Geneva Convention are the same bodies who created the state of Israel. Any objections to their decisions should be taken up with them, and not the civilians of modern-day Israel who had nothing to do with those orginal decisions.

What if the French sent suicide bombers to Louisiana to protest the fact that it used to be French? What if the Dutch or English sent suicide bombers to New York because long ago the French and English were driven from their homes in these places?

After WWII, many Germans were evicted from their homes in what is now Poland, the Czech Republic amd Russia. Many Japanese were evicted from their homes in what used to be parts of the Japanese Empire. I’m not saying that this was always fair, but it all happened generations ago.

Only the Palestinians have failed to be intigrated in other places at this point, and that’s because the vast Arab territories that surround Israel refuse to intigrate them as part of a campaign to try to isolate them and make them miserable as part of a PR campaign to rid the Middle East of Israel.

The boundaries of the present state of Israel are only partially determined by the orginal mandate. They are also determined by several wars in which Arab states invaded Israel in an attempt to exterminate and commit genocide.

The vast majority of those who live in Palestinian territories today NEVER lived in Israel. Some of my ancestors were driven from their homes in Ireland, but I’m not about to lay claim to these places where I’ve never lived and to which I have no contemporary claim just because history was once unfair to my anscestors.

There are huge uninhabited areas of places like Jordan and Saudi Arabai where the Palestinians now living in squalor could go, but they’re not allowed to go there because they are pawns in a game to eradicate Israel.

Posted by: sanger at January 28, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #117745

maybe it’s time the UN recognizes a Palestinian state complete with official boundaries so at least both sides know what they’re fighting for.

Posted by: Tom at January 28, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #117747
President Bush painfully tried to spin the free election of Israel’s mortal enemy as “positive”

This is nonsense, and saying such a thing shows a willingness to say anything at all, even something completely false, in order to bash Bush.

sanger, I’m merely quoting President Bush. He described the free and fair election of Hamas terrorists as “positive”.

“There’s something healthy about a system that does that,” President Bush said.

If you don’t like it, take it up with him.

You and Al Gore been talking?

Of course, Craig. Al Gore gets all his talking points from me. You should, too. After all, I predicted this outcome a year ago. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 28, 2006 12:31 AM
Comment #117748

sanger,

Ok… great. So any Palestinian claim to the original mandate of Israel is bogus, or at the very least undefendable. I agree.

But Israel isn’t sitting on just its original mandate, as you have pointed out. It’s occupied a great deal of land (the “Palestinian Territiories”) during wars with its neighbors. And in taking over that land, Israel has been unwilling to accept the population that is on that land. They are STILL — TODAY — moving Palestinian people off of that land to make room for Jews. These are the actions of modern-day Israel, not the leftover remnants of the mistakes of Europeans in 1948. And they are in violation of Geneva Convention rules.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #117749

Here’s the serious response:

Let me sum up your post: democracy doesn’t create peace.

Does this mean that dictatorship is preferable to democracy

Preferable to whom, Eric?

The US is obviously better off with Musharraf in charge of Pakistan and the Saudi royal family in charge of Saudi Arabia, and Mubarak in charge of Egypt. Or would you rather see terrorists running those nations too?

The fact that we may not approve of the government being formed is totally irrelevant. It’s there, get over it.

John and Jack — I think you’re saying the same thing — no doubt Arafat’s PLO and Fatah were parasites on the backs of the Palestinians. Neither were given a mandate to rule or speak for Palestine.

And given Hamas’ record of honesty and good governance, I fully expect them to govern Palestine well — and to continue working toward the destruction of Israel. As I said, the two are not mutually exclusive.

…I think of this like kayaking down white water rapids. You don’t know what you are going to do until you see which way the water breaks.

See, this I don’t like. I am a firm and unrepentent foreign policy conservative. President Bush’s extremely liberal passion for turning over Middle Eastern countries to freely elected terrorists doesn’t make America safer.

Jimmy Carter had the same disease with his human rights agenda. He stopped supporting the Shah of Iran, who tortured and suppressed Iranian Islamist militants — and gave the Islamists their first state.

Now President Bush comes along with his mistaken belief that “democracy yields peace” and gives away the entire Middle East to the terrorists along with all its strategic resources.

Both those guys may follow ideologies that help them sleep better at night, but it doesn’t strengthen America.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 28, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #117750

American Pundit, I hope you don’t think you’re fooling anybody by selectively pulling out one word like that and saying that it means something it doesn’t.

What Bush said was “And there was a peaceful process as people went to the polls, and that’s positive.”

Then he went on to say, “I have made it very clear, however, that a political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of its platform is a party with which we will not deal.”

Posted by: sanger at January 28, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #117754

Tom,

maybe it’s time the UN recognizes a Palestinian state complete with official boundaries so at least both sides know what they’re fighting for.

Exactly. Recognizing official boundaries is the important part. It would discourage Israel from redefining the border whenever it was most convenient to them.

Also, while I don’t think Palestine is quite ready for full independence, I do think that it’s high time the UN took over the occupation. Having their greatest enemy in control of building their state hasn’t really been working all that well….

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #117755
American Pundit, I hope you don’t think you’re fooling anybody by selectively pulling out one word like that and saying that it means something it doesn’t.

sanger, now you’re pulling out one single quote and trying to fool everyone. Here’s what President Bush said in context:

So the Palestinians had an election yesterday, and the results of which remind me about the power of democracy. You see, when you give people the vote, you give people a chance to express themselves at the polls — and if they’re unhappy with the status quo, they’ll let you know. That’s the great thing about democracy, it provides a look into society.

And yesterday the turnout was significant, as I understand it. And there was a peaceful process as people went to the polls, and that’s positive. But what was also positive is, is that it’s a wake-up call to the leadership. Obviously, people were not happy with the status quo. The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find health care.

And so the elections should open the eyes of the old guard there in the Palestinian territories. I like the competition of ideas. I like people who have to go out and say, vote for me, and here’s what I’m going to do. There’s something healthy about a system that does that. And so the elections yesterday were very interesting.

On the other hand, I don’t see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform.

President Bush clearly feels that the election of Hamas terrorists was “positive” and “healthy”. He just has a problem with their agenda.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 28, 2006 12:45 AM
Comment #117757

AP,

President Bush clearly feels that the election of Hamas terrorists was “positive” and “healthy”. He just has a problem with their agenda.

Wow… that’s more than most Republicans would say about the election of a Democrat! (Or vice versa…)

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 12:49 AM
Comment #117761

Rob, where are you getting any of this about a violation of the Geneva Conventions? The Palestinians have tried to push this idea about the Geneva conventions for a long time now, and it’s gotten nowhere even in the European courts because it’s nothing but Palestinian propaganda that can’t even get a hearing in otherwise sympathetic international courts.

The Fourth Geneva Convention, the only one that might pertain (which covers the treatment of civilians) does not pertain to territory taken in a defensive war.

Even the Europeans agree that Israel fought defensive wars against invading Arab armies. There are no grounds whatsover to say otherwise.

The whole world knows full well that if they open that Pandora’s box, France, Poland and other European countries will have to give parts of their countries back to Germany in order to restore the pre-WWII boundaries. Germany fought an aggressive war, and they lost land as a result. That’s the price you pay.

The international community, especially those in Europe, just don’t want to go there, and it would be rank hypocricy for them to demand that Israel do something they’d never consider doing themselves.

Posted by: sanger at January 28, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #117763

American Pundit:

I think your point about Saudi Arabia is spot on. If the Saudis had an election tomorrow, I understand that the subjects there would probably vote for a conservative, leadership essentially directed by an even more conservative set of clerics (i.e. Iran). Since we must continue to manage multiple relationships with countries who have the resource we want most, why destabilize those relationships by throwing in a “mob rule” vote where the rule of law simply doesn’t exist? As far as Iraq goes, we brought a mob rule election to a country that really isn’t a country. It’s a collection of three tribes who have fought each other to the death for hundreds of years. Sure, Saddam was a scumbag, but the world is full of them. Why destabilize the one who could provide two million barrels of badly needed oil-per-day, and spend an unbelievable amount of money doing it, so that we now have a much much bigger problem of handling what would have been a small problem for the loss of resources that should come out of Africa? If we had simply stood up and told the world that we’re different now, we’re the only superpower left, and yes, we will now refer to the Defense Department as the Offense Department, never let Iraq have a vote, but instead leave a very large military presence in Iraq, maybe even change the country’s name—a rebranding (bidness folks understand rebranding), and stay there until we’ve sucked every last natural resource out that we needed, then left it to the camels as it once was, we’d at least have been philosophically consistent and forthright. No one could have denied that we weren’t “stand up guys.”

Posted by: JW at January 28, 2006 1:02 AM
Comment #117767
No one could have denied that we weren’t “stand up guys.”

Heh. Seriously though, that’s a big problem with President Bush’s foreign policy. The world wonders why President Bush is willing to got to war for democracy in Iraq, but supports coups against the democratically elected leaders in Venezuela and Haiti. The world wonders why deomcracy in the Middle East is so important for world peace, but democracy in Pakistan is unnecessary.

Beyond the apparent hypocrisy, you have to wonder why President Bush is supporting a democratic agenda in places that will surely put terrorists in charge if given the chance. How does Hamas rule in Palestine, SCIRI rule in Iraq, Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, Islamist rule in Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah rule in Lebanon benefit the United States?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 28, 2006 1:14 AM
Comment #117774

AP.
“… You have to wonder why President Bush is supporting a democratic agenda in places that will surely put terrorists in charge if given the chance. How does Hamas rule in Palestine, SCIRI rule in Iraq, Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, Islamist rule in Saudi Arabia, and Hezbollah rule in Lebanon benefit the United States?”

Well said. But this is a point where I actually agree with Bush. In the long run, we’re better off with countries run by governments which reflect the desires of their people, even if that means groups like SCIRI, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others attain power. I agree with the idea of placing human rights, self-determination & self-rule, and so on, at the forefront of American foreign policy. It’s our greatest strength.

But it does require a different mindset. Helping countries transition to representative governments has to be a peaceful process (when we participate). It absolutely will not work when imposed by military force, by invasion & occupation, as in the case of Iraq.

It requires a different mindset, for example, an even-handed approach towards the conflict between Israel & the Palestinians. It requires coming to terms with Islamic regimes. It requires developing a respectful relationship with countries like Iran.

For the Bush vision of democracy & liberty to succeed, the US will have to put aside talk of terrorists. We’ll have to stop attempting to intimidate Iran and other countries.

This will take a lot of patience. It may mean years of gritting our teeth while the fires of democracy burn hot in places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other nations. There are a lot of injustices to be righted, past policies to be atoned for, resentments to be aired, and so put to rest.

As someone noted earlier, education will be key. Interaction, globalization, trade, and western culture will ultimately make the process successful.

The real test will be whether we can help other countries make these cathartic transitions peacefully.

Posted by: phx8 at January 28, 2006 1:58 AM
Comment #117775

American Pundit:

I think the answer for why Bush is pushing for democracy where it probably doesn’t serve the U.S. is because he is an idealogue, just not a very deep thinking one.

Ideally, I get it. I’m an idealist and I’d love the world to be one big democracy. (Based on the last two presidential elections, I’m not convinced we’re really a democracy right now, but I digress.) But this just wasn’t the right place or time. The Middle East is a far different place than Central America or a non-oil producing country in Africa or even Eastern Europe. The stakes are much much much bigger. The dollars to be made for American interests in Iraq alone are simply mindnumbing.

The U.S. has a history of destablizing countries and then not receiving the benefit that it wanted, and usually ending up with something worse and much more expensive to manage. Bush has decided that a vote by newly annointed “citizens” whose civics education was received at the business end of an AK-47 somehow must be better than just dropping in a puppet. In Iraq’s case, I believe that we should not have gone there in the first place. But because we did, we should have set the tone that we were there to “update the management structure of the oil-for-food program.” We would now manage it. We would provide the food and we would receive the oil.

Bush strikes me as a John Wayne wannabe, and it would not surprise me at all if Cheney and Rumsfeld were for turning Iraq into a U.S. colony, but somehow “the democracy thing” popped up. Hmmm. Now what do we do? We can’t afford to stay and fix the infrastructure. It’s not easy to tell an enemy from an ally there. The Shiites and the Sunni are ready to do battle to the death. Both are ready to kill our military, civilians, and journalists in the process. At least the Kurds are pretty happy with where they are and are moving forward.

I’m with the purple-hearted senator on this one. It’s time to come home. Let the civil war really ramp up. We can sit this one out and shift our focus to kicking some but in Africa and taking their oil. Once we’re done, we can introduce democracy there—but only after we take what we came for and thoroughly crush anyone who stands in our way (this is where I fade out with a menacing laugh—cue the echo)

Posted by: JW at January 28, 2006 2:00 AM
Comment #117776

sanger,

The Geneva Convention violations have nothing to do with Israel not giving the land back. They have everything to do with the treatment of the civilian population of that land. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifically forbids moving the conquered civilian population out of the area, or moving the occupying civilian population into the area.

Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories specifically violate the clause in Article 49 which states:

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Israel has every right to occupy the territory. But they don’t have the right to uproot the population. Yet that has been happening, again and again, for decades. And we support them doing it.

And, yes, Europe does “want to go there”. Consider, for example, the March 7, 1997 draft resolution to the UN Security council, proposed by “France, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, expressing concerns over continued settlements in the Palestinian territories, and calling upon Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention. That one got a 14-1 vote in the Security Council. It would have passed if that 1 vote hadn’t been a US veto. That’s one of over two dozen resolutions regarding Israel that we’ve vetoed, as the sole opposing vote, since 1983.

Do you still want to stand by that statement that even Europe doesn’t believe Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention? Because that simply ain’t true. And, based on voting records, everyone knows it except the US and Israel.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 2:01 AM
Comment #117788

rob,

Are you willing to consider now, after all of this, that perhaps, just maybe, Israel has done something wrong to encourage this sort of hatred?

Yes, wanting to live is a grave wrong. Are you kidding me?

You and Aldous are articulating the far-left’s radical ideas about Israel: It’s all the ‘joos’ fault. Nice.

But then it’s not very different from pronouncements of 9/11 being our fault as well, is it? Our ‘imperialist’ foreign policy and support for the zionist state?

Hellooo?

What jews did was return to the land of their fathers. Palestinians were not ejected from their land to make way for jews. ONLY AFTER— after ‘Palestinians’ decided in their anti-semetic hatred that ‘jews’ should all be killed and forced out of Israel did any Palestinians lose their land. Palestinians decided the jews had to die and they had the unfortunate problem of losing the war they started.

Geneva Convention specifically forbids moving the conquered civilian population out of the area, or moving the occupying civilian population into the area.

There are no civilians, Rob. Because there is no ‘Palestinian’ military. It is a guerilla war fought by ‘civilians’.

Posted by: esimonson at January 28, 2006 2:49 AM
Comment #117793

The problem here is that Americans are simply myopic about Palestine. Unless the US is willing to face the abuses of BOTH sides, they will never be a honest broker.

Posted by: Aldous at January 28, 2006 3:03 AM
Comment #117795

esimonson:

Land of their Fathers? Kinda hypocritical, eh? Even the Bible says that the Jews stole the land from other people in the Old Testament. Remember the City of Jericho? Their justification was that God gave them the Land.

Really. The American People’s unwillingness to admit ANY blame on Israel is the main reason this is going on.

BTW… We already know you favored the killing of women and children. Thanks for confirming it.

Posted by: Aldous at January 28, 2006 3:11 AM
Comment #117808

Take a look at this map:

http://www.gush-shalom.org/thewall/

Posted by: Aldous at January 28, 2006 4:46 AM
Comment #117811

Sad situation. I read somewhere that the mitochondrial DNA evidence points to close relationship between many Jews and Palistinians. They are ,after all, children of Abraham.
If Isreal could get over the idea that it has to be a Jewish state and just be a good state where Jews are safe there could be some hope. Isreal does not recognize a marriage between a Jew and an Arab for example. Why could’nt the settlements on the west bank just been housing developements where anybody could live?
Pretty naive I’m afraid. This is more evidence of just why religion must be kept separate from government for peace.

Posted by: Bill at January 28, 2006 5:23 AM
Comment #117848

Rob,
“Who exactly do you think they SHOULD have voted for?? The unfortunate truth is that the Palestinians are a horribly downtrodden people, and the only ones standing up to defend the rights of those people ARE the terrorists! We’re not defending the rights of the Palestinians. Israel certainly isn’t defending the rights of these people. And every time the UN has discussed the idea, the US has vetoed it.”


???? So, let me get this straight, you’re saying the palestinians are the victims here? The US and the Israelis are the problem? It’s the US’s fault for Vetoing them in the UN. ??????


How many times do the Arabs countries veto anything to do with Israel? What’s always talk about is that Saddam had 17 UN violations against him; however, Israel has nearly double that amount b/c the UN is filled with anti-Israel countries. Remember, it was our current UN Embassador that (then with the State department) lobbied to overturn the “Zionism equals Racism” resolution in the UN. Remember that? Were the palestinians “vitcims” then?! Was it Americas fault or Israels, for that matter?


Come on Rob, you have to stop blaming the US and Israel and start placing your finger on the real problem; the palestinians and the radical muslims. They are the ones who are “intolerant” and can’t live amongst anyone else. Until they do, they will get no sympathy from the US and Israel and, hopefully the rest of the world will wake up, as well.


“It’s no wonder they’ve thrown their support to Hamas! What choice have they been given?”


As opposed to Fatah?! Arafat?!! Each of the groups had one thing in common, they hate Israel and won’t recognize a Jewish state. Period! So, they weren’t “thrown” into anything, their hatred and ignorance will get them killed and it’s their own, damn fault. And, if Iran keeps up their disgusting hate, then the US and Israel will solve the world’s energy crisis; we’ll take them out and seize their oil. Oh yeah, you read that right. Keep it up, Iran. Think we won’t put you in your place. They’re nothing but a bunch of “Hitler in headscarves”…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 28, 2006 9:21 AM
Comment #117860

When all a people sees is the military boot of democracy, how can you expect anything other than disdain for it?

We love to talk about all the good he have to offer… but we fail to show it.

Posted by: tony at January 28, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #117864
In the long run, we’re better off with countries run by governments which reflect the desires of their people, even if that means groups like SCIRI, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others attain power.

phx8, that assumes the choice is either-or. It’s not. It is absolutely possible to build up democracies in these countries that don’t elect terrorists. But it takes time.

We already saw what happens when you rush to democracy in Angola in 1992, Bosnia in 1996, and Liberia in 1997. Elections were held before the militias were disarmed, before the countries were stabilized, before democratic media and institutions were established, before moderate parties were organized and trained. That environment played right into the hands of leaders who used fear and prejudice to gain votes.

The pro-Iranian Islamist government in Iraq is a fresh lesson in what happens when you hold pre-mature elections, and yet President Bush still pushed for an ill-timed election in Palestine against the better judgment of both Israeli officials AND Palestinian President Abbas.

Yes, democrifying ((c) American Pundit, 2006) the Middle East is the long term goal, but it’s better to set the stage for a peaceful transition to democracy, rather than prematurely forcing opening up the polls and putting the people through the assured violent failure of terrorist leaders elected in the heat of passion.

You’re arguing that, in the long run, the violence and instability will be worth it. My point is that the violence and instability are unnecessary.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 28, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #117867

rahdigly, esimonson,

Nobody here is saying that it’s “all the ‘joos’ fault”. There’s fault on both sides. And, yes, when you weigh it out, the Palestinians are more at fault than Israel. That’s not in dispute.

The problem is that people such as yourselves want to place ALL of the blame on the Palestinians. Your claiming that Israel has clean hands in this, when it clearly doesn’t. If you want to address the problem in the region, you have to address the WHOLE problem, not just one side of it. Why is that so hard to understand?

There are no civilians, Rob. Because there is no ‘Palestinian’ military. It is a guerilla war fought by ‘civilians’.

There are no civilians??? So, a newborn Palestinian baby is automatically a “guerilla” in your book? There’s a word for that, Eric. It’s called “racism”.

How many times do the Arabs countries veto anything to do with Israel?

Never, because none of Arab countries have veto power. There are only 5 nations who have veto power on the Security Council — US, UK, France, Russia, and China.

What’s always talk about is that Saddam had 17 UN violations against him; however, Israel has nearly double that amount b/c the UN is filled with anti-Israel countries.

The makeup of the UN Security Council changes on a regular basis. There are 5 permanent members with veto power (listed above), and 10 seats that rotate through the UN members. The list of countries that have, while on the council, sponsored resolutions against Israel in the last 15 years includes (but is not limited to):

Algeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Colombia, Jamaica, Mali, Mauritius, Singapore, France, Portugal, Sweden, UK, Botswana, Honduras, Indonesia, Nigeria, Oman, Rwanda…

If you want to argue that the “Hitlers in headscarves” all hate the Jews, fine. But Singapore? Jamaica? Sweden? Honduras? Come on, people! Countries from every part of the world have condemned Israel’s part in this! Why can’t we see that?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 10:35 AM
Comment #117869

Tony,
“When all a people sees is the military boot of democracy, how can you expect anything other than disdain for it?”

The same goes for when all we see is “suicide bomber after suicide bomber” and a never ending hatred for Israel. The “boot of democracy” isn’t the problem; it’s the palestinians and their hate. The Israelis are always giving up something in the “Peace process”; however, the palestinians never give anything up. Ever! That’s bull…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 28, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #117878

rahdigly,

This is all the result of 18th and 19th century colonialism, of western countries sticking their noses where they didn’t belong in an effort to “save the heathens” from their pagan gods.
For millenia these folks managed to live in relative peace, though the borders were always in flux.

“The Israelis are always giving up something in the “Peace process”;”

Here is some history;

http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_early_palestine_name_origin.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #117890

>>The U.S. was not a particular supporter of Israel until after 1967.

Jack,

Not a particular supporter is right.

Truman was very brave indeed to back the move, because there were powerful political forces against such a move. Of course Truman was never one to quible when he thought something was right or necessary.

But, that does not limit the importance of the US agreeing to it. Without our ‘support’ there would have been no Israel.

As for land grabs and settlements infringing on Palistinians and dislocating them…that did not occur until after the 67 war. Borders were expanded because Israel rightfully wanted some buffer between it and those opposing forces around it.

I’ll not say that the creation of Israel was the right thing or wrong thing to do. I will say that it is too late to change that now. But, something had to be done, and a separate nation in a God forsaken corner of the world…a dry patch of land, with little potential and limited population seemed to be the best at the time.

In other words, sending the dislocated Jews back to their places of origin would have been even less desirable.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 28, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #117891

Rob

Yes I do.

I have nothing but contempt for suicide bombers. If their mothers want to praise and encourage their behavior, my contempt extends to them as well. The funniest thing that can happen is if the suicide bomber blows himself and his friends up while trying to strap on the bomb. Sort of like a Nazi killing himself with poison gas.

Posted by: Jack at January 28, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #117902

I visit this site occassionally just to read the outrageous, demented, convoluted thinking that is sometimes expressed by would-be “great thinkers” and self-nominated purveyors of “truth.” Really folks, do you have any idea how silly most of you sound? It is rare to read anything approaching sound thinking, compassion for justice and truth, or a committment to patriotism. Blather on boys and girls…if nothing else, you are very entertaining.

Posted by: James Martin at January 28, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #117911

Jack:

I couldn’t agree with you more on your lack of empathy for the families of suicide bombers. When you see the righteous, pleased attitudes of surviving family members after one of the barbarous attacks, it’s is impossible to view the Palestineans as victims. The image of the toothless hags dancing in the street after 9/11 stayed with me. Now when there is a particularly bloody attack against zionist or western forces, the adults give candy to the children to celebrate the event. What a sick culture!

Posted by: goodkingned at January 28, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #117919

Rocky,
“This is all the result of 18th and 19th century colonialism, of western countries sticking their noses where they didn’t belong in an effort to “save the heathens” from their pagan gods.
For millenia these folks managed to live in relative peace, though the borders were always in flux.”

Wrong, Rock. The palestinians have yet to prove the can coexist with Israel; so until they do, they are the ones I’m going to blame, not Israel or 18th century colonialism. It’s their fault that Arafat did nothing in way of peace process, b/c he made so much money off the war and Abbas and the fatah did nothing as well. So, now we have a known terrorist group in the gov’t; which I think will turn out to be good, b/c now they have to be held accountable and every (political) move will be calculated by other gov’t’s and the press. We’ll see if they add anything to the Peace Process (yeah right).

Posted by: rahdigly at January 28, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #117922

rahdigly,

“Wrong, Rock. The palestinians have yet to prove the can coexist with Israel; so until they do, they are the ones I’m going to blame, not Israel or 18th century colonialism.”

Where in your rant does it prove that for the reasons I stated, this hasn’t been caused by intervention by colonialists?
Have you no concept of history, or is just another “gut feeling” of yours?

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 2:49 PM
Comment #117928

Rock,

Nice try with characterizing my post as a “rant”. Since you’re such an “historian”, maybe you can tell me if the Ottoman Empire was before the 18th century colonialism? How about even further back then that, let’s say the 6th century. This is for all those trying to tell us that Jews and Muslims had a “relatively” peaceful co-existence.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jews-umar.html

“THE Pact of Umar is the body of limitations and privileges entered into by treaty between conquering Muslims and conquered non-Muslims. We have no special treaty of this sort with the Jews, but we must assume that all conquered peoples, including the Jews, had to subscribe to it. Thus the laws cited below and directed against churches apply to synagogues too. The Pact was probably originated about 637 by Umar I after the conquest of Christian Syria and Palestine.”

Posted by: rahdigly at January 28, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #117931

rahdigly,
“This is for all those trying to tell us that Jews and Muslims had a “relatively” peaceful co-existence.”

Also from your link;

“All this we promise to observe, on behalf of ourselves and our co-religionists, and receive protection from you in exchange; and if we violate any of the conditions of this agreement, then we forfeit your protection and you are at liberty to treat us as enemies and rebels.”

All who were conquered were allowed to live in relative peace, and in fact many cultures prospered, by adhering to those agreements.

So, what is your point?

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #117934

James,
Feel free to add something to the discussion.

AP,
Good comment. I fall for the non-violent, kumbiyah version of liberal idealism everytime, and occasionally Bush & Rice will appeal to it. Unfortunately, Bush & Rice usually smack me back to reality within 24 hours by burbling something about attacking Iran or Syria or whatever.

A hallmark of the Bush administration policy is their lack of preparedness, their lack of planning. It seems every event sends them reeling, like a boxer who steps into the ring, and acts stunned after the opponent lands a hook. The Bush people are constantly backpedaling, with ‘x’s’ in their eyes, they’re in perpetual reaction mode. Again and again, there seems to be an initial plan, but no contigency planning to back it up. When something happens like the election of Hamas, the Bush administration seems absolutely dumbstruck.

AP, you make a good point about proceeding with caution. However, a cynic could call this the ‘go-slow’ approach of gradualism, something the Civil Rights movement faced for decades. Caution? Yes. An excuse to enfranchise dictatorships, a la Jean Kirkpatrick? No.

The disappearances of Arafat & Sharon from the political stage are incredible gifts for the Middle East. Unfortunately, everyone will have to deal with their legacies of polarization and violence.

For everyone’s sakes, lets up the Israelis and the Palestinians aren’t forced to reap what they have sown.

Bill,
You write: “If Isreal could get over the idea that it has to be a Jewish state and just be a good state where Jews are safe there could be some hope… This is more evidence of just why religion must be kept separate from government for peace.”

Right on the mark. Unfortunately, it’s against the law in Israel to run for office as an advocate of a secular state. It’s ironic. The state Israel resembles more than any other in the world is Iran.


Posted by: phx8 at January 28, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #117936

Maybe it is time to either pull out of this region and let the chips fall where they may or to start at one end and just go forward and kill whatever moves. This hate has been there longer than this country has been in existence. So for fools such as every Pres. since 1948 to think we can make a difference is a waste of time. It is now time for one or the other.

Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2006 3:44 PM
Comment #117937

phx8,

“The disappearances of Arafat & Sharon from the political stage are incredible gifts for the Middle East.”

Unfortunately, it allows the Netanyahus of the Middle East to step up and possibly wreck havoc with their hard line stand against the Palestinians.

Sooner or later these folks are going to have to get along. The fight for the region may be inevitable, but no one is going to walk away unbloodied.

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 3:51 PM
Comment #117952

aldous,

Land of their Fathers? Kinda hypocritical, eh? Even the Bible says that the Jews stole the land from other people in the Old Testament. Remember the City of Jericho? Their justification was that God gave them the Land.

Really. The American People’s unwillingness to admit ANY blame on Israel is the main reason this is going on.

BTW… We already know you favored the killing of women and children. Thanks for confirming it.

What I don’t understand is why you have such an animus against Israel and seem to prefer terrorism over democracy. What is there to blame Israel for? For occupying ‘Palestine’? 

Your premise seems to be that Israelis are to blame here for perpetuating the violence. You seem to want to ignore that fact that Palestinians were not driven out of their homes to make way for Israelis. They were not even driven out out of hate. They were driven out because they attempted to destroy Israel. Palestinians could have chosen to live together in one state in peace, but instead, they chose war and hatred. 

You seem to posit that in these circumstances Israel is to blame for defending itself, and for not promptly either: laying down to have their throats cut, or leaving the middle east altogether. 

You might note that the population of Jews in the rest of the middle east has declined down to virtually none because they have been driven out or killed. But then, they are of course to blame for this too I suppose.

AP,

Yes, democrifying ((c) American Pundit, 2006) the Middle East is the long term goal, but it’s better to set the stage for a peaceful transition to democracy, rather than prematurely forcing opening up the polls and putting the people through the assured violent failure of terrorist leaders elected in the heat of passion.

You’re arguing that, in the long run, the violence and instability will be worth it. My point is that the violence and instability are unnecessary.

This brings up a good point. But then who is it that is demanding immediate results from the Bush administration and criticizing it savagely when results are not forthcoming immediately?  And what exactly is anyone capable of doing that would end the violence?

Democrats and Liberals have destroyed any credibility they had by waging an unprincipled campaign of propaganda against Bush. Especially in light of those who voted for the war and then went against it for political reasons. 

The argument has not changed and it will not change, this is a long term problem that requires that we sometimes take action to produce some immediate results. One action, one election, one battle, will not instantaneously produce liberal democracies throughout the middle east. Who said that it would?

I think that many on the left in this country do not listen as well as they think they do, because I keep hearing the left repeat what it believes Bush has said rather than his actual words.

phx8,

Right on the mark. Unfortunately, it’s against the law in Israel to run for office as an advocate of a secular state. It’s ironic. The state Israel resembles more than any other in the world is Iran.

That’s funny, I believe there are Arab legislators in Israeli Parliment are there not? Which also pulls the cover off the lie that all Palestinians were robbed of their homes and driven out. The Arabs who stayed in Israel are a minority to be sure, but they are not oppressed and imprisoned in camps as some would have you believe. Arab Israeli’s are citizens of Israel who vote and drive cars, hold jobs, own houses, businesses, property… Many are in fact very well off. Imagine if the majority of Palestinians had welcomed Jews who came to find a new life after the Holocaust and the end of WWII.

Imagine if instead of murder, they chose peace. Many Arabs and Jews view each other as cousins, the sons of Abraham and Ishmael.

I see a desire for peace on the part of Israelis, I have never seen it on the other side. It takes two to tango, but when one side follows the rule of law and is willing to have peace and the other does not, then where does the fault for misery lie?

There is nothing Israel can do to bring peace short of dismantling their state and leaving the middle east altogether. On the other hand if Palestinians stopped fighting and trying to kill Israeli’s for one year— I’d predict that after ONE SINGLE YEAR without a suicide bombing that Palestinians would be able to begin traveling into Israel with less restrictions. In a few more years, they would have their own state, and some years after that such a state could become a part of Israel or visa versa. IF- they stopped hating and fighting and instead focused on building peace where they are.

I do not see this happening. Partly because many keep insisting that Israel is somehow to blame for not having peace.

Posted by: esimonson at January 28, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #117956

People where fed up with FATAH saying they whee going to fix all the infrastructure problems. This has been happening for the last six years. These people want basic services yet they spend the money they receive on suicide bombers and the like (terrorism).Hamas over the last two years has been fixing basic service structures within araes they control. Extremists believe extreme things they don;t underestand democracy or freedom because they are taught to hate anyone not like them. Muslims kill more muslims every year than any other religous group out there. They are not freedom loving people and it is there believf system that will continue to hold them back.

Posted by: CAD at January 28, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #117965

” They are not freedom loving people …”

You actually wrote this? They hate people who they feel have been living on their religious homeland. Keep in mind that until 1950s, they all lived in the general area of Israel. Then US and Britain helped establish most of the area that is now Israel. Then, of course you have the 6 day war when Israel took control of the Gaza Strip. (It’s very similar to the Muslims hatred of US troops in Saudi Arabia.) You also have to see the desperation of the Palestinian people and the conditions they live in.

In short, they pick hard liners because their leaders in the past (those who were more friendly to the US) have been very corrupt and ineffective against Israeli aggression.

This has nothing to do with anyone’s opinion on freedom. As far as I can tell, there are very few ‘freedom-haters’, but there are quite a few who hate American (and US foreign policy.)

Posted by: tony at January 28, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #117966

(posting issues: I’ve noticed that’s it’s very difficult to post a comment here lately… I get an server error. Then I try to repost the comment and it’s then double posted. I’ve found that if I post a second comment, then both comments show up. No idea what to make of it.)

Posted by: tony at January 28, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #117972

Rocky,
“All who were conquered were allowed to live in relative peace, and in fact many cultures prospered, by adhering to those agreements. So, what is your point?”

My point is “All who were conquered”!! You call be conquered living in relative peace?! I notice you missed the part about:

“The Pact of Umar has served to govern the relations between the Muslims and “the people of the book,” such as Jews, Christians, and the like, down to the present day.

In addition to the conditions of the Pact listed below, the Jews, like the Christians, paid a head-tax in return for protection, and for exemption from military service. Jews and Christians were also forbidden to hold government office. This Pact, like much medieval legislation, was honored more in the breach than in the observance. In general, though, the Pact increased in stringency with the centuries and was still in force in the 20th century in lands such as Yemen.”


You also failed to respond to the Ottoman Empire, as well. The muslims have be waring for 1,000 of years; that’s (way) before, during and after the 18th century colonialist. The (radical) islamists haven’t proved tolerance and, until they do, I’m not going to accept that it’s anybody’s fault but theirs. Period. That’s my point…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 28, 2006 6:20 PM
Comment #117974

“The muslims have be waring for 1,000 of years; “

… guess that’s about half the experience the Christians have with war…

Posted by: tony at January 28, 2006 6:26 PM
Comment #117975

Tony,


Wrong. All religions and culture have been through war (to some extent). The Christians have proven they can “tolerate” other religions. My point is that the Muslims have been waring for thousands of years and they still are; they haven’t proven they can live with anyone (including themselves). So, you can go on believing what you want, you just won’t convince me that they are tolerant and that they are even close to being right.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 28, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #117982

rahdigly,

“My point is “All who were conquered”!! You call be conquered living in relative peace?! I notice you missed the part about:”

Yeah, I’d call after being conquered, which is when I would have signed the “Pact of Umar” living in relitive peace. By signing the “Pact” you agreed not to rebell, and as a result you pretty much got on with your life. You were even allowed to worship as you wished as long as you didn’t do it in public.
I don’t have a problem with that.

So you see, I actually read the whole piece, and actually understood what it meant.

As for the Ottoman Empire, yes they conquered a significant part of the world, as did the Romans before them, unlike the Romans though, the Ottoman didn’t necessarily enslave all those that they conquered.


Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #117986

rahdigly,

Oh, and BTW, if you had read and understood the link you provided you would have seen that the “up to this day” that you are refering to was 1938.

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #117993

To those who think this election will kill the peace process; ask yourselves “What peace process?”. One strategic withdrawl to preserve Israel’s religious “purity” and a fortified wall are not peace initiatives. However necessary, they do nothing to promote political stability, and they will work, (or not work depending on your point of view) no matter who holds office in Palestine.

One the Palestinian side, Fatah has done next to nothing to impede Hamas from terrorist activities before. This election victory simply means that Fatah will no longer have to pretend to try.

So, I will shed no tears for what’s been lost until some can point out to specifically what has been lost. On the other hand I do see some hopeful signs in this:

1. Despite your cycnicism of the ability of leadership to moderate a movement, there is precedent to it. We heard all of the present cries of despair before, following the election of Sharon. For a while, those fears were fully justified. Yet what Sharon suffered his stroke, even the Palestinians prayed for him.

You are correct that it is possible for a movement to “hate Israel and still provide services”. But Palestinian want peaceful cooexistence more than any service. Having won democratically, Hamas will feel democratic pressure to seek that coexistence and will be judged on its progess accordingly.

2. Fatah was weak, corrupt, and authoritarian. Fatah as it was, would NEVER have been able to deliver a peace. It had no street credibility and has consistently failed to live up to agreements. Quite simply Fatah needed this; a defeat to finally inspire the house cleaning that is long overdue. It is noteworthy that after Hamas victory Fatah supporters rioted; not against Hamas but against there own leaders.

I don’t doubt that things will get worse in the short term. But I do believe there is long-term hope. And that is more than we had before.

Posted by: Mike Cooper at January 28, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #118002

tony, rahdigly,

“The muslims have be waring for 1,000 of years; “

… guess that’s about half the experience the Christians have with war…

Not only that, but during those 1000 years, the Muslims have, on average, treated Jews better than Christians have. You will find many times during that 1000 years when Jews fled from Europe to the Middle East, in order to get beyond the reach of angry Christians.

Remember, the rise of Adolf Hitler didn’t introduce of anti-Semetism into Europe — it was simply a new step in a long history of European hatred of Jews. Even in America, there was VERY little sympathy for the Jewish people before WWII. During the Great Depression, anti-Semetism was very much on the rise, both in the US and in Europe.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 28, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #118005

Tony:

70% of the current state of Israel was purchased by and deeded to jewish interests prior to 1940. Some non-jewish residents attempted to discourage their neighbors from selling to jews, but the allure of an exceptional price for non-arable land was too much of a temptation.

After a three prong attack by Syria, Jordan and Egypt, and an uprising of non-jewish residents of east Jerusalem against the jewish state, Israel acquired control of additional territory to provide a buffer area between Jordan and Israel and to improve internal security.

Israel has offered reasonable concessions to the Palestineans and they have been rejected. Western nations have attempted to pour funds into the palestinean areas for the development of a working infrastructure, yet the funds are sluiced into the military arm of the Palestinean resistance movement or into the pockets of their corrupt leaders.

Palestineans have yet to select representatives that can be trusted to deal in good faith. Either their leaders can’t or won’t control the violect factions. This weakness makes diplomacy function like a three-legged horse.

Posted by: goodkingned at January 28, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #118006

Don’t get me wrong, I think religion can be wonderful for an individual… but you get 10 people together to follow a religion, and they will be at war with someone within just a few years.

A religion that is follow soon becomes practice of traditions rather than practice of the faith. After that, you have power plays, hierarchy, political battles, zealots and Holy Wars.

Name one religion (with the exception of the internally focused religions like Buddhism) that has not spent more of its effort on war than on peace.

Religion = good.

Organized Religion =bad

Zealots = really bad

Posted by: tony at January 28, 2006 8:36 PM
Comment #118008

Eric,
A list cannot participate in the Knesset “which acts directly or indirectly against the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people…” Being Arab is no problem, as long as the Arab is willing to accept Israel as a Jewish state.

“Arab Israeli’s are citizens of Israel who vote…” Yes, they can vote, as long as they vote for politicians supporting the idea of Israel as a Jewish state.

“…own houses…” Although Arabs runs the risk of their house being bulldozed if a relative commits a terrorist act. This violates international laws, which forbid retaliating against a family for acts committed by an individual. The bulldozers are provided courtesy of the US.

“… property…” Not just any property. There are restrictions. Arabs cannot freely buy property. These restrictions do not apply the Jewish population.

Being Arab in Israel can even be lucrative in the private sector, as long as a non-Jewish Arab is willing to accept curtailed rights and unequal access to government agency services & funds.


While there is insufficient data to ever make a conclusive statement:
“Palestine was not an empty land when Zionist immigration began. The lowest estimates claim there were about 410,000 Arab Muslims and Christians in Palestine in 1893. A Zionist estimate claimed there were over 600,000 Arabs in Palestine in the 1890s.”
http://www.mideastweb.org/palpop.htm

One thing is for sure. In the long run, the Palestinians will not accept living on impoverished Bantustans.

It takes two to tango… Had the Palestinians adopted non-violent resistance, the conflicts might have ended decades ago. Unfortunately, both Palestinians and Israelis will continue go be at each other’s throats, fueled by their religious bigotries.

Posted by: phx8 at January 28, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #118011

It will be interesting to see what happens the first time after the election that there is a Hamas-sponsored terrorist attack on Israeli soil. How often have such things taken places over the last few years? Every week or two?

It’s one thing for the Palestinian government to say that they can’t control rogue elements like Hamas, it’s another when Hamas IS the govermment.

The next Hamas attack won’t be a criminal act perpetrated by rogue elements. It will be an act of war. After that, things are going to get pretty tense pretty fast.

There’s been a lot of talk here about the Geneva Conventions, but the Geneva Conventions are pretty clear about one nation’s right to wage war when they’re attacked by another.

Israel will have every right, according to all international law, to wage a full scale military assault with no half-measures.

I can’t help but think that we’re going to see this very soon, and that the conflict is going spread quickly to include Iran, who Israel by many accounts was already preparing to confront as a result of Iran’s nuclear programs.

If they drop the iron fist on the Palestinians, they will already be condemned right and left throughout the world (despite the lack of the world’s legalistic grounds for doing so), so why not put an end once and for all to the Iranian problem?

This perdicament, as it begins to unfold, will put Euorope and the UN in a terrible bind, and it won’t be any picnic for the US either because the new Iraqi goverment is going to find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

I could see the Iraqi goverment coming under enormous pressure, especially from the Shia majority, after the spectacle of the Palestinians and Iranians being attacked and very likely butchered in large numbers by a US ally.

These are huge problems, and the best solution I see is the international community, including the US, guaranteeing Israel that Iran will under no circumstances be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and convincing Israel to take some blows from Hamas and restrain themselves as they did when attacked by Hussein during the first gulf war under.

The key is to provide Israel with an iron-clad guarantee that Iran will be dealt with, and by military means if necessary, over the next few months. Otherwise, they have no reason whatsover to refrain from unleashing their military on their enemies in the very near future.

Hamas in charge of Palestine plus a nuclear Iran is not something Israel is going to tolerate.

Posted by: sanger at January 28, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #118021

I guess the point is that a true democracy is only as good as the people who make it up. That’s why our founding fathers wanted a good education system for an intelligent, educated population.

Now with stupidity and fear on the rise, people like Bush and Cheney can stay in power. Same with Palestine. There’s no guarantee that the many will make a good decision any more than the few, and the majority can often be wrong.

Posted by: John at January 28, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #118032

Sanger,
You’re right, the next time Palestinian suicide bombers attack, or Israeli strikes kill civilians, the situation has the potential to spiral out of control.

The new Iraqi government has already announced its hostility towards Israel.

If US intervention could keep the Israelis and Arabs apart, I would favor it. But our policy has consistently favored the Jewish state at the expense of the Arabs.

I see no reason to intervene if the Jews and Muslims insist on duking it out. I’m pretty sure Israel can take care of itself.

Posted by: phx8 at January 28, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #118036

phx8,

“I see no reason to intervene if the Jews and Muslims insist on duking it out. I’m pretty sure Israel can take care of itself.”

You do realize that this what the Christian right has been looking for all these years?

Bush and his ilk are planning for Armageddon.

If we step in it we better bring a shit load of body bags.

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #118041

Rocky, you’ve been listening to too much Bill Moyers on NPR. That’s total crap about the “Christian right looking forward” to an all out war against Israel.

Some but by no means a majority on the Christian Right interpret scripture to say that it will happen some day, and that it will signal the end of the world.

But if and when it happens, they also believe that they, the Christians, will be rounded up and slaughtered in concentration camps that will make the Holocaust look like child’s play.

Who looks forward, even if they believe it will some day happen, to the fulfillment of a prophecy which says that they will be tortured and slaughtered along with their families?

Saying that Christians “look forward” to that because it would vindicate their beliefs is like saying that liberals look forward to the ice caps melting and global disaster because it would prove they were right.

If it comes down to full-scale all-out-war in the middle east, where I fear we’re headed, we won’t need even a single body bag.

There’s little need for body bags when stealth aircraft are carpet-bombing the enemy into oblivion from high altitude.

Posted by: sanger at January 28, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #118047

All
Now come the mighty Sicilian Eagle who has been very busy today talking to his European eagle-cousins who are pretty atuned to the situation and here is my take:

The European mood is grim…very grim…and wellets all over the continent are closing,one by one

Ultimately Hamas wSHOULD (note the word) come around because starting on Monday one EU country after another will come out and shut off funding for the Palestian government.

From what I can tell,they are over budget 700 million right now and 135,000 civil servants will be without pay in a few weeks.

The only glitch will be if Iran comes to the table and funds them,causing them to get closer to the theocracy.

This probably won’t happen as this in itself becomes an Iranian bargaining chip.

Meanwhile pretty much everyone will be putting a full court press on Hamas to tone done the rhetoric the next couple of weeks,but the bet here is that unfortunately a small blood bath will occur between Fatah and Hamas real soon.

Of course,Isreal is reaching for it’s gun (figuratively speaking) right about now.

Next week,the shit will hit the fan one way or another I fear.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 28, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #118051

Sanger,

ROTFLOL

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #118052

Rocky, “ROTFLOL” is a new one to me. I think I get it, but I’m not sure what Regular Ordinary Totally Freaked-out Liberals On Lithium has to do with the Middle East.


Posted by: sanger at January 28, 2006 11:42 PM
Comment #118056

rolling on the floor laughing out loud!

Posted by: Rocky at January 28, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #118055

If a hothead on one side or another tries to light a match in the coming weeks, cutting off funding to one or both sides would be a terrific idea. I’d like to see the US & EU coordinate & cooperate in action on this one.

Posted by: phx8 at January 28, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #118060

No, Rocky. You and I both know that it means Regular Ordinary Totally Freaked-out Liberals on Lithium. Lets be honest here.

Posted by: sanger at January 29, 2006 12:12 AM
Comment #118066

Sanger,

I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

BTW, someday you’re gonna get through your head, I voted for Reagan but I prefered McCain to Bush, and still do.

Posted by: Rocky at January 29, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #118069

Rocky, I’ve never given a second’s thought to who you personally ever voted for or why. No offense, but you have the wrong idea if you think that’s a matter of any interest to anybody in the world except you.

Posted by: sanger at January 29, 2006 12:56 AM
Comment #118071

Sanger,

Then don’t lump me in with those that you seem to hate.
I am an independent. My opinions are my own. I don’t need a Republican or Democratic playbook to tell me how to think.
When I see something is wrong with the government or those that represent me I belive it is my duty to speak up.
Belive me there has been a lot in the last few years to speak up about.
The Republicans are the ones in power, they are the ones making the mistakes and they are the the folks that should take it in the shorts for it.
If Kerry was the President and made the boneheaded mistakes that Bush has, my ire would be directed at him.

Posted by: Rocky at January 29, 2006 1:19 AM
Comment #118093
But then who is it that is demanding immediate results from the Bush administration and criticizing it savagely when results are not forthcoming immediately?

I don’t know, Eric. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Democrats, Senators Clinton and Kerry in particular, repeatedly warned President Bush that ill-timed elections and arbitrary timelines in Iraq would end in disaster,

“I have always said consistently that it is a mistake to set an arbitrary date, and I hope that date has nothing to do with the election here in the United States,” Kerry told reporters in Ohio, where he talked about his plan to revitalize the economy. “The test of a turnover of sovereignty is the stability of Iraq, not an arbitrary date.”

…”It’s going to take more time than has been allotted for the process to take hold,” [Senator Clinton] the New York Democrat said during a brief stopover to visit US troops in Kuwait. “I don’t think we should be setting artificial timelines as this is a very challenging undertaking and we need to work with our Iraqi counterparts and make sure that the steps that are being taken are going to work.”

You guys denounced this really good advice as a political trick.

Democrats and Liberals have destroyed any credibility they had by waging an unprincipled campaign of propaganda against Bush.

CPAdams made a very good observation commenting on Paul Szydlowski’s article, When Party trumps Policy, in the red column,

“The problem with the discussion today, as you correctly point out, is that party affiliation trumps policy. The primary result is that Democrats who have a problem with Bush’s policies are dismissed as partisan critics.”

You guys need to unscrew the partisan blinders and consider the idea that Democrats might be trying to help you guys out. We ALL get stuck in the mess you guys are making. It’s time to listen to constructive criticism, rather than blindly dismiss it.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 29, 2006 4:45 AM
Comment #118099
AP, you make a good point about proceeding with caution. However, a cynic could call this the ‘go-slow’ approach of gradualism, something the Civil Rights movement faced for decades.

And when they finally started really integrating into American society and politics, it was fairly peaceful wasn’t it phx8? Thank you MLK for your non-violent — yet incredibly powerful — protests.

…It takes two to tango… Had the Palestinians adopted non-violent resistance, the conflicts might have ended decades ago.

Absolutely. When the Palestinian (or Iraqi or Egyptian or Saudi) version of MLK shows up, then it’s time for free elections.

For President Bush to insist on holding elections that everyone knew would put Hamas in power was irresponsible.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 29, 2006 5:02 AM
Comment #118142

It’s obvious from the plethera of words above that no one will convince any one of their way of thinking.

So, a new issue: Does anyone not blame Bush for the fiasco which is the trial of Sadaam?

Posted by: L.Eagle at January 29, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #118146

L.Eagle, you don’t think my impeccable logic is changing people’s opinions? :)

I don’t blame Bush for Saddam’s trial fiasco. I blame the soldiers who found him and didn’t put a bullet in the back of his head while he was trying to “escape”.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 29, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #118152

goodkingned,

After a three prong attack by Syria, Jordan and Egypt, and an uprising of non-jewish residents of east Jerusalem against the jewish state, Israel acquired control of additional territory to provide a buffer area between Jordan and Israel and to improve internal security.

True. But what people seem to be forgetting is that the “additional territory” they acquired HAD PEOPLE ON IT! And, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, they can’t move those people off of that territory, or move their own people onto that territory. But that is exactly what they keep doing.

sanger,

Israel will have every right, according to all international law, to wage a full scale military assault with no half-measures.

But who will Israel wage war against? They’ve already conquered and occupied the Palestinian Territories. Are they just going to do it again? What good will that serve?

What you, esimonson, rahdigly, and others seem to be suggesting is genocide. If Israel sends in its army to wipe out all who oppose it, it will have to wipe out the entire Palestinian population, as this election has shown WIDESPREAD opposition to Israel.

If you are NOT suggesting that Israel should commit genocide against the Palestinians, then please explain what you ARE suggesting. How DO you think Israel should handle this situation?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 29, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #118176
Linda H. wrote: The representatives we elect don’t seem to know this information. They seem to believe that they have a majority rule, regardless of who’s in charge. It is through EDUCATION that we can defeat corruption, KNOWLEDGE about our own government,that will put US the CITIZENS back in charge and current truthful (I’m not sure I trust any of the networks)INFORMATION to avoid falling into the uneducated traps will continue to deepen the mire we are currently in. We need to get people to realize that VOTING is not just for some but for all - it is not only a RIGHT, but a DUTY, and a MAJOR OBLIGATION weALLhave as a citizen of this great country.

Linda H.,
You are absolutely correct about education.
Otherwise, we will probably have to wait until there is sufficient pain and suffering to motivate people to act.

That unfortunately, is a real possibility with historical precedent.

But, sometimes, humans learn from their mistakes and history.

Thus, since no one knows for certain, there is every reason to be hopeful, and resigning to despair and futility will only result in failure.

Unfortunately, and I used to be one of those people (i.e. used to be Republican), people are drawn to large organizations, such as the two-main parties, because people believe there is power in numbers. And that is true. There is power in numbers, but we need to educate the people about the Power in Small Numbers.

Un-programming is needed, and only education can accomplish this. That is a difficult task. Overcoming the brain-washing is extremely difficult, as evidenced by my own decision at age 47, to finally take off the partisan blinders, and try to see things the way they really are.

I don’t think the goal is impossible, because most Americans already believe the following:
(1) Incumbents are irresponsible (pork-barrel, graft, corruption, waste, etc.).
(2) Incumbents are bought-and-paid-for, too beholding to their big-money-donors, and refuse to tackle tough issues for fear of risking re-election, or defying their big-money-donors.
(3) Incumbents pressure and seduce newcomers into Congress to conform to the status quo, look the other way, or be shunned and isolated.
(4) Newcomers to Congress need the voters’ help, because the incumbents always outnumber the newcomers that want to pass badly needed, common-sense, no-brainer, constructive reforms (e.g. campaign finance reform, election reform, one-purpose-per-bill amendment, balanced budget-amendment, tax reform, etc.).
(5) Incumbents spend way too much time and tax-payers money (allowances) raising more money for their campaign war-chests.
(6) Incumbents fuel the petty, partisan warfare, and seduce voters into a circular pattern that distracts the voters from our pressing problems.

The voters must be made aware of the many potential reasons and benefits to vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents:

[] Accountability: The lack of accountability is not just because you failed to accurately judge the character of the candidate. It’s not because voters are consistently bad judges of character. It is because voters keep voting for incumbents. Thus, the system is dysfunctional, and breeds more irresponsibility and unaccountability. The problem is not just a few bad apples. It is majority of the incumbents that are irresponsible and unaccountable, which is evidenced by the growing corruption, and the worsening of our many pressing problems.
[] Peer Pressure: If voters continue to vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents, it will peacefully force government to police their own ranks. Politicians will get the message, and they will pressure their peers to behave, for fear that voters will not be able to discern who among the incumbents is irresponsible. If politicians want to keep their jobs, they will have to agree to many common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms, or be held accountable. That is exactly what should happen. They do not deserve to stay, and that is the price they should pay, if they continue to look the other way. Also, a severe lack of transparency keeps the voters from seeing all that really happens. Incumbents, together (i.e. as if one entity), corrupted the current system, and cleverly over-complicated the system to reduce transparency. So, until voters have the transparency to see which incumbents are irresponsible, voters should treat them as one entity, and continue to vote out (or recall) all of them until they provide the necessary reforms to allow the voters to see who exactly to hold accountable. If some good politicians are voted out, then that is the unfortunate price they pay for looking the other way, for not policing their own ranks, and not sufficiently pressuring their peers to also be responsible and accountable.
[] Peaceful Force: The voters have the means, by virtue of their right to vote, to peacefully force out irresponsible incumbents. The voters’ right to vote is a privilege that many have risked life and limb to secure. It should not be taken lightly. It should be used wisely and responsibly to peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable too. No other proposed solutions have the necessary force to peacefully bring about reform.
[] Simplicity: The right thing to do is often also the simple, common-sense thing to do. Voting out irresponsible incumbents is simply do the right thing by wisely using the right to vote. There is no need to over-complicate the goal or the means. Some will loathe it, and some will want to modify and tweak the solution. Modifications are not necessary, and it will risk failure by introducing over-complication, division, distractions, and controversy. Fortunately, the voters have the most simple, safe, non-partisan, inexpensive, ethical, peaceful, and responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along: vote responsibly to vote out irresponsible incumbents, and continue to do so until government is responsible and accountable too.
[] A Wise and Responsible Vote: This is one thing irresponsible incumbents are hoping you will never discover. Government has no power except the power that voters grant them, and the voters must stop empowering and enabling government to allow the corruption and government to grow to nightmare proportions. Only the voters can bring about reform, because government will not do it voluntarily.
[] Balance Of Power: Politicians don’t have any power except for the power voters grant them. Voters must appreciate their power and responsibility, and stop empowering politicians to continue the abuse and corruption. Voting out irresponsible incumbents provides the force required to peacefully balance the power (not merely shift it, or strip government of power to accomplish anything) between government and the people.
[] Common-Sense, No-Brainer Reforms: If Congress can be peacefully forced to pass much needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms, it would increase transparency, which would yield more accountability and responsibility. For example, some obvious reforms that are badly needed are:
____(a) One-Purpose-Per-BILL Amendment: This would reduce pork-barrel, graft, waste, and corporate welfare. It would let the voters know exactly why and who voted for or against a BILL. As it is now, no one can know why any incumbent voted for or against a 10,000 page, pork-laden BILL.
____(b) Campaign Finance Reform: Limits must be set on campaign donations. Government should not be FOR SALE. Bought-and-Paid-For incumbents are too beholding to their big-money-donors. Also prohibit members of Congress (and their staff and family members) from accepting gifts of any kind from lobbyists and special interest groups.
____(c) Election Reform: Election fraud threatens the democracy. So does main parties trying to block access to ballots for third parties and independents.
____(d) Tax Reform: The tax system is extremely complicated, abused, unfair. A simple and fair tax system is badly needed.
____(e) Balanced Budget Amendment: The government can not even account for where all the money goes. In 2003, $24.5 billion dollars could not be accounted for. The un-reconciled $24.5 billion could have funded the entire Department of Justice for an entire year. A Balanced Budget Amendment is needed to limit spending except for national emergencies (only).
____(f) Lobbying and Influence Peddling: Make it illegal for members of Congress and senior staff from taking jobs as lobbyists until after 5 years of leaving public service. The American people don’t elect their representatives to promote their bank accounts and financial status upon leaving office for a lucrative lobbying positions.
____(g) Term Limits: It eliminates the need for term-limits. It would immediately eliminate the few truly bad career politicians that remain in office as long as they keep bringing home the pork-barrel, and greasing the way for graft, corruption, and corporate welfare. But, perhaps shorter terms should still be imposed anyway ?
____(h) Ethics Commission: Create an independent Ethics Commission to monitor and investigate unethical conduct, and report illegal activity so that violators will be held accountable.

Many other subsequent improvements will probably follow, and the nation would flourish and prosper knowing it has a plan, and is upon a better path. Perhaps, taxes could be lower, while still providing for the truly needy, a strong national defense, better law enforcement and protection, and equal opportunity for all citizens.
[] Creates Unpredictability Which Reduces Big-Money Influence: Voting for non-incumbent candidates introduces unpredictability. It will help to reduce the influence of big-money on elections by making it difficult for those that abuse vast wealth and power to know which candidate to fund. Government should not be FOR SALE.

There are numerous, common-sense reasons and benefits. But, that is not enough by itself, if nobody knows about it. Thus, spreading the message is required too.

I am hopeful, based on history, based on psychology, the growing acceptance of the belief in human rights and freedom, the growing dissatisfaction with government FOR SALE, the hard won tolerance (not perfect) of others (of other religions, race, gender, etc.), the growing enlightenment, the obvious advancements since the dark ages, and advanced communications now available, that someday, maybe not in my lifetime, the people will simply, and finally do the most simple, ethical, common-sense, safe, peaceful, and responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along, to peacefully restore a balance of power (not simply shift it or strip government of necessary power to accomplish anything), and peacefully force government to be transparent, accountable, and responsible too.

No grand schemes.
No complex dialectics.
No vast theories.

Only the simple, right thing that you suggest.
Simply vote out (or recall) irresponsible incumbents.

That is all.

In my opinion, that would be most incumbents.
Most (if not all) incumbents do not deserve to stay, and that is the price incumbents should pay, for looking the other way, perpetuating the status quo, refusing common-sense reforms, peddling influence, and using their jobs for personal gain to obscene levels.
But, that is up to the voters, ofcourse.

And, as you well know, many voters may never take off their partisan blinders, to overcome the brainwashing that keeps them from seeing the real root of the problem. The real root of the problem is not the Democrats. It is not the Republicans. It is not the parties. Those are labels and tools used by incumbents to fuel the petty partisan warfare. The incumbents fuel it, so that they can distract the voters from the fact that the incumbents are corrupt, not doing their jobs, and ignoring pressing problems that threaten the future and security of the nation.

We, most likely, someday, will return to a time of increased responsibility, courage, and freedom.

The question and the choice will be:

  • the hard, painful way (again) ?
  • or, will it be the peaceful, responsible, less painful way ?

Where are we now? We are at (5) now, and starting toward (1) again. The signs are there.
[] Consider the abuse of eminent domain laws to seize peoples’ land for non-public use.
[] Consider the spying on Americans without a warrant (that could easily be obtained immediately or even after the fact).
[] Consider what happened to Spc. Sean Baker, and the cover up. No one was ever held accountable.
[] Consider the instances of people being arrested and held for years without being charged.
[] Consider the corruption of Congress and the Executive Branch, which isn’t just irresponsible, but threatens lives.
[] Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if I’m being investigated and spied on. They are spying on the Quakers for merely protesting the war.
[] Consider the selective law enforcement, and the abuse of the Presidential pardon to release felons, convicted by a jury and judge, for getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar (such as Dan Rostenkowski, who even pled guilty and one of the 140 felons released by Clinton).
[] Consider the continous growth of the government and all that it meddles in, ever larger, to nightmare proportions.
[] Consider the terrible, disgraceful way some of our troops were mistreated, waiting for medical attention for weeks, no body armor, insufficient supplies and planning … all while Congress is voting on pork-barrel and cu$hy perks and raises for themselves.

There are always some isolated incidents of such things, but the number of incidents is growing. There is a valid reason for concern. Especially since there is no doubt that we are already within steps (4) and (5).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #118180

Rob,
“But who will Israel wage war against? They’ve already conquered and occupied the Palestinian Territories. Are they just going to do it again? What good will that serve? If you are NOT suggesting that Israel should commit genocide against the Palestinians, then please explain what you ARE suggesting. How DO you think Israel should handle this situation?”


Why do you have to go and load the comment with a term like “genocide”. Israel has every right to defend themselves and they (certainly) will! If the palestinians (led by terrorists) continue murdering and destroying the Israelis (and fellow palestinians), then it will be against them. It’s definitely going to be against Iran if Iran doesn’t stop being the “Hitler of our time”.

But, go ahead, continue to defend the palestinians and Iranians and make sure you blame it on the Jews and Americans. This PC culture has people blinded from the truth and reality.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 29, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #118185

AP,
It’s amazing Saddam Hussein is still alive. I would not have been surprised if the Iraqis had dealt with him the way the Romanians dealt with their dictator. While it’s emotionally satisfying to imagine taking revenge upon Saddam, there’s might be an unexpected upside to his being alive.

We can negotiate with him.

The US is already negotiating with Sunnis insurgents. Bush usually refers to all Iraqi opponents as ‘terrorists,’ but that’s very inaccurate. The opponents are ‘insurgents,’ and for the most part, Iraqi Sunnis.

We’ve been unable to train an Iraqi army which is loyal to Iraq as a nation. With the Shias insisting upon holding the Ministries of Interior & Defense, any troops trained are primariily loyal to Shia militias. We cannot trust them, or afford to arm them, provide them with offensive firepower, and so on. Worse yet, any help provided strengthens the hand of Iran. It’s a terrible mess. Saddam Hussein provides an answer, a useful tool.

Politically it would be impossible to allow Saddam to resume ruling Iraq. Although he might be personally doomed, he could negotiate for the Sunni insurgents. If the Shias refuse to amend the constitution, and if they refuse to empower the Sunnis within the military, then perhaps Saddam could force the Shias to compromise.

Posted by: phx8 at January 29, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #118188

rahdigly,

First, I have NOT defended the Iranians. We’re talking about Israel/Palestine here. Don’t change the subject.

Second, you still haven’t answered my question. I’ll avoid the “g-word” this time, if that’ll help. If the whole of the Palestinian populace (or at least the majority, as evidenced by this last election) is in favor of the destruction of Israel, how do recommend that Israel defend itself? Taking military action against those who oppose them would require taking military action against over half of the Palestinian population, would it not?

The Taliban supported terrorists, so we take out the Taliban. Saddam supported terrorists, so we take out Saddam. The President of Iran (whose name I can’t spell) supports terrorists, so we plan to take out the President of Iran. Now OVER HALF THE POPULATION OF PALESTINE supports terrorists. Do you advocate taking out over half the population of Palestine? If not, then WHAT ALTERNATIVE DO YOU PROPOSE??

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 29, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #118192

Rob,


You asked the question who; that is why Iran came up. As for you question:
“If the whole of the Palestinian populace is in favor of the destruction of Israel, how do recommend that Israel defend itself?”

First and foremost, by renouncing them and not doing any type of agreement until they denounce the terrorism. Democracy in this region will actually help us b/c, now this gov’t (made up predominantly of terrorists) has to face the world; by that I mean the fatahs and Arafat used to hide behind the excuse of “well our people won’t listen to us” or “us fatahs can’t get the hammas to go along”. Well, now they can’t do that, they have to make good or the US and the rest of the world will cut off their money. And, without that money from other countries, they will kill their own people.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 29, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #118199
The Taliban supported terrorists, so we take out the Taliban. Saddam supported terrorists, so we take out Saddam.

Posted by Rob Cottrell at January 29, 2006 12:18 PM

Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.
When will you people face up that?

Posted by: Dave at January 29, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #118220

rahdigly,

Ok… now we’re getting somewhere. MONEY is a tool we can leverage that might actually make a difference to them. The threat of invasion from Israel, on the other hand, won’t do much. They’ve already been invaded by Israel once, and that didn’t stop the violence, so why should a second invasion make a difference?

The Palestinians have shown that they (like most people) will vote for people who can actually get things done. Hamas, despite supporting terror, does a good job of providing basic governmental services to the people. If that changes (due to lack of funds), then they may lose their support. Based upon their statements, they don’t see loss of international aid as much of a problem, but we’ll see how that works out for them in the long run.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 29, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #118223

Dave,

Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. When will you people face up that?

You are absolutely right — Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. As far as our intelligence has been able to prove, he was also not linked to Al Queda.

…BUT…

Saddam DID support Palestinian terrorists. He fed a great deal of money into terrorist organizations in Palestine. So he DID support terror. (I still don’t think that was reason enough to invade Iraq — you have to go to Palestine, not Iraq, in order to solve Palestine’s problems.)

So please don’t take my statement of “Saddam supported terrorists” as an implication of a connection between Iraq and Al Queda. As far as we know, there was no such connection.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 29, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #118252

You are partially correct when you said that “Democracy by itself does not yield peace” but when you have regular, fair elections history demostrates it holds government accountable to the people. An example of this is the Alito debate that will have closure this week due to 6 Democratic Senators who will split from party ranks. Perhaps not surprising is that 4 of the six are up for re-election this November.

Regards.
http://iacman.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 29, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #118269


phx8,



A list cannot participate in the Knesset “which acts directly or indirectly against the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people…” Being Arab is no problem, as
long as the Arab is willing to accept Israel as a Jewish state.



Wait a second… This does not sound anything like a strictly religious test. In fact it sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Is it unreasonable to require that members of  the legislature not
be committed to overthrowing the government? Do we allow such ‘freedom’?



Current US Code: Section 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or
teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of
overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or
the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession
thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by
force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any
such government; or 



Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any
such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates,
sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed
matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity,
desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any
government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts
to do so; or 



Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society,
group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the
overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or
violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any
such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes
thereof - 



Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by
the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five
years next following his conviction. 



I find it a little odd that in the name of cultural sensitivity we are told (by most of the relativistic left) that we must respect the rights of Muslims to have purely Muslim states where non-muslims
are not allowed to hold office and we must respect Muslim cultural and religious aversion to democracy, and yet when it comes to Israel we must damn it because of some religious based language that
nevertheless has working exceptions that allow non-Jews to not only be full citizens but be members of the government, the military, with the full rights thereof as long as they do not act to
overthrow the government.


How many Jewish members of any legislature are there in ANY Muslim country or any other country in the middle east?


As for some of your assertions, they obscure or blur some key facts.



“Arab Israeli’s are citizens of Israel who vote…” Yes, they can vote, as long as they vote for politicians supporting the idea of Israel as a Jewish state.



No. As long as they do not advocate, “directly or indirectly against the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people…” A perfectly reasonable restriction, especially
when in light of the efforts to wipe them out. How you can view this as a solely religious restriction as if it were merely a violation of their first amendment rights under the US constitution is
beyond me. 



Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights; in fact, it is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Arabs currently hold 8 seats in the
120-seat Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel’s ambassador to Finland and the current deputy mayor of Tel Aviv. Oscar Abu Razaq was
appointed Director General of the Ministry of Interior, the first Arab citizen to become chief executive of a key government ministry. Ariel Sharon’s original cabinet included the first Arab
minister, Salah Tarif, a Druze who served as a minister without portfolio. An Arab is also a Supreme Court justice.


Arabic, like Hebrew, is an official language in Israel. More than 300,000 Arab children attend Israeli schools. At the time of Israel’s founding, there was one Arab high school in
the country. Today, there are hundreds of Arab schools.


In 2002, the Israeli Supreme Court also ruled that the government cannot allocate land based on religion or ethnicity, and may not prevent Arab citizens from living wherever
they choose.


The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army. This is to spare Arab citizens the need to
take up arms against their brethren. Nevertheless, Bedouins have served in paratroop units and other Arabs have volunteered for military duty. Compulsory military service is applied to the Druze and
Circassian communities at their own request.


Some economic and social gaps between Israeli Jews and Arabs result from the latter not serving in the military. Veterans qualify for many benefits not available to non-veterans.
Moreover, the army aids in the socialization process. Myths & Facts - Human Rights in Israel and the Territories



When you talk about Arabs houses being bulldozed…



“…own houses…” Although Arabs runs the risk of their house being bulldozed if a relative commits a terrorist act. This violates international laws, which forbid retaliating against a
family for acts committed by an individual. The bulldozers are provided courtesy of the US.



You seem to be saying that Arabs within Israel might get their homes bulldozed. No Arab Israelis have ever had their homes bulldozed that I have ever heard of. It is quite different to point out
that buildings used by terrorists to make bombs and shoot at Israelis have been bulldozed, within areas controlled by Hamas and the PA, it is another to assert that Israeli Arabs within Israel are
subject to having their homes bulldozed. 



“… property…” Not just any property. There are restrictions. Arabs cannot freely buy property. These restrictions do not apply the Jewish population.



Can Arabs, perhaps members of Hamas, who are dedicated to the destruction of Israel be allowed to freely buy property within Israel? Certainly not. But Arab Israeli’s who live within Israel can
freely buy property. I am not aware of any restrictions that do not also apply to Jews within Israel as well.


You try to insinuate that Jews treat Arabs with prejudice by restricting their rights as Israeli citizens, but completely ignore the brutality and indeed outright totalitarianism that marks
Palestinian treatment of Palestinians. What rights do Arabs have under the Palestinian Authority?



The Palestinian Authority’s justice minister, Freih Abu Meddein, announced in early May 1997 that Palestinians who sell land to Jews will face the death penalty1 and over the
next few weeks, at least four Palestinians said to have been involved in such sales were in fact murdered.2 In addition, Israeli forces rescued a fifth land dealer as he was being
spirited from his home near Jerusalem to Ramallah, presumably to be killed.3 Evidence, both circumstantial and otherwise, pointed to direct PA involvement in each of these murders;
indeed, Yasir Arafat himself justified the executions:



Israel has always confiscated land from Arabs and dispossessed them of their property. The land always goes from Arabs to the Jews. Can a Palestinian resident of Nablus or Hebron buy land in
Israel? Therefore, what should we call those from our nation who serve Israel’s policy of stripping property? We are talking about a few traitors and we will apply what has been determined by
law against them.4


Although the PA’s actions raise a multitude of questions about its intentions to fulfill its obligations to Israel and its readiness to live peaceably next to Israel, we focus here on the
specifics of Arafat’s justification of brutal PA behavior. Is he correct that Israel’s land policies discriminate against Arabs? Is it true, as he claims, that Palestinians from Nablus or Hebron
cannot buy land in Israel. Conversely, can an Israeli buy land in Jordan or in PA-controlled territory? Can Arabs Buy Land in Israel - Middle East Quarterly - December 1997



How many Arabs in Israel can you find that have been summarily dragged from their homes and executed as routinely happens in Palestinian controlled areas? A: none. The only way one can paint a
picture of Israel being mainly at fault and to blame is by completely ignoring the nature and brutality of the Palestinains and painting them as the victims of Israeli aggression.


Israeli Declaration of Independence:



“The State of Israel …will
be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete
equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will
safeguard the Holy Places of all religions…” Bicom - Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre About Israel Arab Citizens Of Israel



We cannot find the same declarations on the other side. We find the opposite. When you point out that Arabs in Israel can be prosperous business owners but then say that they must accept some kind
of second class status, not only is this not true but you are equating possible restrictions that are minor to brutal murder.



Being Arab in Israel can even be lucrative in the private sector, as long as a non-Jewish Arab is willing to accept curtailed rights and unequal access to government agency services & funds.



There is no moral equivalence here— I don’t think you have your facts straight either. What curtailed rights or unequal access? What’s unequal is the comparison of Israeli ‘oppression’ and
Palestinian ‘victimhood’.

Posted by: esimonson at January 29, 2006 5:22 PM
Comment #118272

Has anyone noticed the Star of David on the side of ambulances and other vehicles ?

Does that bother anyone ?

Posted by: d.a.n at January 29, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #118298

rahdigly,

Am I to take the nearly 24 hours of deafening silence from you as a concession to my point?

Posted by: Rocky at January 29, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #118303

Rocky,

Dude, remind me again what your point was…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 29, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #118304

In a few more years, they would have their own state, and some years after that such a state could become a part of Israel or visa versa. IF- they stopped hating and fighting and instead focused on building peace where they are.

Posted by: esimonson at January 28, 2006 04:59 PM

This is nonsense. The reason why Sharon unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and was building his wall, is that thinking Israelis know that the demographics are against them. the Palestinians are outbreeding them, and immigration into Israel has fallen off a cliff. Those Israelis now want a two state solution more than the Palestinians as they recognise that they cannot continue to oppress such a large body of people without destroying their own curious democracy.

The election of Hamas is a hugely positive development offering the certain potential to finally resolve this intractible tragedy. I have listened carefully to what their spokesmen have been saying, and it is very rational and positive. It is also of course very realistic. As long as their people are being oppressed, made homeless and subject to careless homicide as well as targeted assassinations, impoverished and made to feel their situation is hopeless, they cannot end their resistance. Their attitude is that of a people who refuse to be cast as the underdogs in negotiations, having to accept the crumbs that are thrown from the table. They insist on being at the table as of right, and having the same status and respect as their counterparts across the table. If Israel can find the imagination and vision to do business with these people, a workable compromise may be in sight, despite the difficulties of Jerusalem and more especially of the dispersed refugees.

If people can see past the propaganda to the mutual tragedy of the present impasse, and truly listen and empathise, then all is possible.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at January 29, 2006 8:46 PM
Comment #118307

Eric,
You’re using BICOM as a source. BICOM is a multi-million dollar Israelis funded propaganda organ which is aimed at the Brits. It’s great for getting an Israeli perspective. It’s useless for a discussion by US citizens, or for obtaining an objective perspective.

If someone asked you to summarize the relationship between the US and the USSR, would you prove a point by citing TASS?

But to concede a point, I respect the Jewishvirtuallibrary. It’s a good source, and I did not know about the 2002 decision to stop discrimination against Arabs concerning land purchases. I stand corrected.

“Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.”
Ben Gurion, 1956

Are the Israelis and Palestinians morally equivalent? If, on a scale of 1 to 10, the Israelis rate 8 on objectionability, and the Palestinians 9, should we actively support a Jewish state because it is less objectionable? Because I’m not down with it. Finding the Palestinians objectionable does NOT make the Israelis worthy of our support. I don’t support a state based upon religion. That doesn’t mean we have to actively oppose such a state; but we certainly don’t have an obligation to support it.

Israel is a Jewish state. Iran is an Islamic state. I think a ‘theocratic democracy’ is a bad idea. My position towards both Israel and Iran is consistent. Is yours?

Posted by: phx8 at January 29, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #118314

rahdigly,

Must have memorable.

Posted at January 28, 2006 07:20 PM

Posted by: Rocky at January 29, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #118322

Rock,
“As for the Ottoman Empire, yes they conquered a significant part of the world, as did the Romans before them, unlike the Romans though, the Ottoman didnt necessarily enslave all those that they conquered.”


They still conquered! That’s not peaceful, unless of course you’re the conqueror. Anyway, you proved the point that the Arabs have been brutal and they haven’t shown much tolerance; I noticed you went with the Romans to try and change the subject, or at least steer it away from the Arabs. Nice, but no cigar.


How about we let the future dictate who is right about the past here. If you really think it’s the Israelis and the US that has to make an effort to restore peace, then let’s see if you’re right or not. I believe it’s the palestinians fault and they will (soon) get what they have coming to them; an Israelis b*tch slappin (yet again).


By the way, it shouldn’t be that hard to copy and paste the comment you want someone to respond to. Like we have to scroll up from days ago. Come on…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 29, 2006 9:42 PM
Comment #118329

Rahdigly,

“By the way, it shouldn’t be that hard to copy and paste the comment you want someone to respond to. Like we have to scroll up from days ago. Come on…”

I seem to remember a time, not so long ago, when it was like pulling teeth just to get you to provide a link at all.

“Anyway, you proved the point that the Arabs have been brutal and they haven’t shown much tolerance; I noticed you went with the Romans to try and change the subject, or at least steer it away from the Arabs. Nice, but no cigar.”

You seem confused.
I did nothing of the sort.
I compared an empire that was at least as large and was known for being brutal to the populations it conquered/captured. The fact that they weren’t Muslim has nothing to do with the original point.
I compared two empires.
Waging war and conquering an area that large over a period of several hundred years doesn’t require brutality. Good tactics and a few key victories and it’s all over.
Remember that for the most part in those times if you killed or captured the King, Sultan, or Emperor, the war was over. In the Ottoman Empire and amongst the other Arab nations honor was everything.
Do you understand that among the Muslims you are required to offer a truce before you attack an opponent?
Keeping the populations at peace also didn’t require brutality. All you had to do was say what you wanted and keep your word and most peasants were happy if they weren’t taxed over much, and you kept your word to protect them.

Posted by: Rocky at January 29, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #118336

Paul in Euroland,

I said that if the Palestinians would stop using terrorism, peace would follow. You say that is nonsense and then praise Hamas as positive and realistic.

Why not apply this to Al Qaeda? Why bother condemning any terrorist act? What you are basically saying is that terrorism works AND it is a legitimate tactic.

My premise stands. If the Palestinians wanted peace, then they should be at peace. Build what they can where they are and turn the other cheek. It is not Israel that is bent on destroying or committing genocide.

There is a time to fight and a time to seek peace if your enemy is oopen to it. How can you say that Israel would not welcome peace?

Posted by: esimonson at January 29, 2006 10:36 PM
Comment #118337

Israel is a Jewish state. Iran is an Islamic state. I think a ‘theocratic democracy’ is a bad idea. My position towards both Israel and Iran is consistent. Is yours?
Posted by: phx8 at January 29, 2006 08:58 PM

phx8:

I dispute your characterization of Israel as a “theocratic democracy”. Leaders are chosen by free elections and with the resulting coalition government representing a complete range of viewpoints. Frankly, I doubt that a theocratic democracy would have to form a coalition government.

To compare the electoral process and resulting governments of Iran and Israel is dimwitted.

Posted by: goodkingned at January 29, 2006 10:38 PM
Comment #118345

Goodkind,
“Leaders are chosen by free elections and with the resulting coalition government representing a complete range of viewpoints.”

Yes, that’s true of both Israel and Iran. Both countries tolerate a complete range of viewpoints, as long as those viewpoints are consistent with the religion mandated by the state. In both countries, if you wanted to run on a platform advocating separation of church and state, you would not be permitted. “A complete range of viewpoints”? No. That’s simply wrong.

Why is it dimwitted? Would you prefer “theocratic republic.” Do you doubt the needs for coaltions in Iran? Here is a passage on the coalitions in the Iranian legislature, from the CIA factbook online:

“Formal political parties are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and most conservatives still prefer to work through political pressure groups rather than parties; a loose pro-reform coalition called the 2nd Khordad front, which includes political parties as well as less formal pressure groups and organizations, achieved considerable success at elections to the sixth Majles in early 2000; groups in the coalition include: Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF); Executives of Construction Party (Kargozaran); Solidarity Party; Islamic Labor Party; Mardom Salari; Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO); and Militant Clerics Society (Ruhaniyun); the coalition participated in the seventh Majles elections in early 2004; a new apparently conservative group, the Builders of Islamic Iran, took a leading position in the new Majles after winning a majority of the seats in February 2004.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 29, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #118350
While it’s emotionally satisfying to imagine taking revenge upon Saddam, there’s might be an unexpected upside to his being alive.

We can negotiate with him.

Yikes!! phx8, that’s never going to happen for a whoe bunch of reasons… the least of which is that there’s no evidence Saddam is controlling the insurgency or would have any sway over their agenda. The Sunnis are just as glad to be rid of that hockey puck as everyone else.

You are partially correct when you said that “Democracy by itself does not yield peace” but when you have regular, fair elections history demostrates it holds government accountable to the people.

Sure, but it’s not even certain that the Fatah-controlled security forces are going to let these election results stand, much less hold more elections.

In any case, Hamas can govern Palestine and still kill Israelis. That’s not an either-or proposition. The Palestinian people knew what Hamas was all about when they voted for them, and I doubt they’ll vote Hamas out when they see their new Hamas government “exacting revenge” on Israelis.

The election of Hamas is a hugely positive development offering the certain potential to finally resolve this intractible tragedy.

…one way or the other. Don’t forget to add that last bit, Paul. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 29, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #118376

phx8:

The Israeli’s allow the practice of all religions. The government doesn’t force the restrictions of conservative judaism upon the culture. The political landscape includes zionist hardliners who favor more settlements and fierce retribution for terrorist attacks and anti-war groups who favor greater access to resources and land by Palestinean groups. The shift between these two extremes occurs with each electoral cycle.

On the other hand, the election process is tightly controlled in Iran. It is extremely difficult to qualify as a candidate if you expouse moderate, pro-western positions. The last relatively moderate president in Iran faced so much opposition from the mullahs that he was unable to effectively implement his positions. Many Iranian residents of a moderate persuation boycotted the presidential election on the grounds that it offered no real choices for moderates.

Posted by: goodkingned at January 30, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #118390

When I read you comments on how democracy brought us Hitler, I didn’t think you were right when I read so I researched the rise of Nazi Germany in the ‘30. Hitler came to power through political manuevering and an aging President Hindenburg. The Nazi Party never received more than 37% of the vote and more than 50% of the Reichstag was firmly against Nazi ideas.
To read more on this check out:
Nazi Germany - The Road to Dictatorship

Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 30, 2006 2:37 AM
Comment #118415

Jay Iacobucci,

Therein lies the problem with letting our elected officials break the law. Especially when it comes down to spying on our fellow Americans. Can we be sure, with no bitartisan oversight, that this spying is not designed to maintain “party control”? Of course it would all be in the national interest.

If the “national interest” is truly more important than “party interest” why not reinstate the draft given the current state of affairs abroad and the many assessments showing that our military is stretched too thin? Would it deal a “death-knoll” to the party in charge?

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at January 30, 2006 5:57 AM
Comment #118420

AP,

You strained my brain. Actually I must credit Sicilian Eagle with first making me break out the history books. While I wasn’t totally ignorant of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict the history of both cultures goes back to the beginning of “biblical” mankind.

To put things in some perspective I believe one must go back at least as far as the Ottoman Empire. I found the history books to be quite informative and oddly contradictory. I have a vintage set of 1955 Encyclopedia’s that tell the story in quite a different light than you’ll find now.

Anyway, on another thread, SE asked if I/we could also fault George Bush for Hamas’ win in Palestine. My short and simple answer would have been “yes, somewhat”.

My answer now is “yes, somewhat”. While Bush can’t be blamed for all of the unrest his Iraq policy has proved to be a great recruiting tool for “radical Islam” and it certainly has served as proof of the “west’s” desire to dominate the “Holy Land”.

There really is no fair comparison in American history. The best I can think of is how some Americans chose to abstain from our own Civil War. Once their farms were raided and their families , or neighbor’s families were threatened or sometimes even killed they chose sides real quick.

I know it’s a “cheesy” comparison but we’re a young nation. Just imagine if Bush proves to be the nightmare I sometimes fear and we follow a road similar to that of 1930’s Germany. Imagine Canada & the European Union bombing, invading, and occupying our cities to “free” us from tyrannical rule. Would I be glad? Well, probably not if they killed half of my family and tortured another third after blowing up most of our property. The human psyche just doesn’t work that way.

Now, I know that’s an insane comparison, but 9-11 was unthinkable too. Now, just to get it out of the way: Lewinsky! Pharmaceutical Company in Sudan! Blackhawk Down! Bombing Iraq to distract from Lewinsky! Waco! That poor Cuban kid who’s name I can’t remember! Oklahoma City bombing! Blowjob, blowjob, blowjob!

Did I leave anything out?
KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at January 30, 2006 6:56 AM
Comment #118434

Kansas Dem

Now comes the mighty Sicilian Eagle who almost crashes into a mountain after reading the above post,glad that his comments give at least one on this thread pause to think.

My point several months back in numerous posts (I wish I could do a link here so you can read them,but alas the Eagle is a computer dolt) is that as a culture have all failed in understanding Islam..for decades now…and until recently our universities did almost nothing to foster that understanding.

I had posed a simple question:Can you name the five pillars of Islam without having to Google the answer?

When I aske that question some did…some didn’t..most attacked the Eagle as being intellectually arrogant.

The last was the furthest thing from my mind.

One of the principle pillars is alms giving.However that principle now means funding insurgencies everywhere.

Every day millions pour into insurgency coffers…from known places such an Saudia Arabia,Lebabon,Syria to innocent places such as Europe….all in the names of giving to the poor.

Today,nearly 50% of the Palestinian Authority….nearly 1 billion of its 1.7 billion budget,comes from donors throughout the world.

My theory then,as it is now it to strangle off that money.Kill the money I argued,kill the insurgency.

The principle pillar…There is no God but Allah…gives rise to the concept of the infidel(a terms originially Christian…Christians used that term during the Crusades to refer to unbelievers of Christ but now the meaning is the other way around),and infidels must die.

Thus 10% of the world’s 1 billion Muslins…that’s 100 miliion folks..have embraced this radicial view .By the way,100 million folks exceeds the population of Nazi Germany during the second world war.

Since the early 1950s…in Algeria against French colonialiam,in Egypt,later on to fight the corrupt government of the Shah of Iran,this movement got legs…and grows daily,stronger and stronger.

Post 9/11 as I said I spent a lot of time in Amsterdam talking to these folks.I wanted to show them that infidels like me had family,were fundamentally good people,and wanted to live in a pluralistic society..in peace.

That message usually did not play well.

Thus,my thinking now is that 10% of the theology has been high-jacked and now is wagging the other 90%,as moderate Muslims are terrified of retribution…and have been for a long time.

Palestine has a right,a basic right to call someplace a homeland.

However,so does Isreal.

This fundamental sentence…the right to live on a land…the same land…is the unsolveable rubic,compounded by control of Jerusalem…Holy Jerusalem…and a return of Palestinians to Isreal soil which shifts forever the integrity of Isreal.

Did the president create this mess?Surely not.However I think he(and everyone in government these last 5 decades…Repubs and Dems alike)is guilty of propagating a culuture of systematicially looting each of these countries in the name of keeping the insatiable appetiate of Americian way of life.

Believe it or not,my Toyota Forerunner sits parked in the driveway now…all unnecessary things are unplugged and my house temp is at 60 degree….I wish I had done that decades ago.
Hopefully it’s not too late.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 30, 2006 8:15 AM
Comment #118456
The Nazi Party never received more than 37% of the vote

Jay, that and a climate of fear is all they needed within Germany’s particular democratic system. It was all legal and aboveboard, and it didn’t “yield peace”.

Once their farms were raided and their families , or neighbor’s families were threatened or sometimes even killed they chose sides real quick.

I saw that move. “Shenandoah” with James Stewart, right? Classic.

Anyway, on another thread, SE asked if I/we could also fault George Bush for Hamas’ win in Palestine. My short and simple answer would have been “yes, somewhat”.

My answer is “yes, absolutely”. Both Israel and President Abbas tried to put off the election until Fatah was strong enough to win, but President Bush insisted on holding elections ASAP.

Today,nearly 50% of the Palestinian Authority…nearly 1 billion of its 1.7 billion budget,comes from donors throughout the world.

C’mon, SE. You can say it. The money’s from Iran — the same government that’s bankrolling Iraq’s freely elected Shiite government and their private militias.

Believe it or not,my Toyota Forerunner sits parked in the driveway now…all unnecessary things are unplugged and my house temp is at 60 degree…I wish I had done that decades ago. Hopefully it’s not too late.

Ahh, energy independence. You sound more and more like a Democrat every day, SE. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 30, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #118469

AP
According to an article this morning on CNN

I assume though that Iran will step to the plate at some point,but they can use that as a bargaining chip(we won’t contribute to Hamas,in return you let us develop nuclear energy)right now.

Democrat?No.I am supporting McCain if he runs I decides..or Guilliani if he is the nominees.Either is fine with me.

Posted by: sicilaneagle at January 30, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #118493

Lets stop this pussy-footing around. If Israel really wanted peace, they would leave the Palestinians alone. If it takes the senseless slaughter of hundreds of Israeli women and children to finally bring Israel to their senses, then so be it. After all, the poor Palestinians have had no luck negotiating, and they have been mistreated for decades at the hands of the ruthless, warmongering thugs next door, without their own army to protect them. Even though the settlements are on Israeli land (according to some ridiculous map that is a product of the conspiring and imperial America), that doesn’t give Israel the right to let their people actually move there- it belongs to the courteous, peace loving, and misunderstood people represented by Hamas and the PLO.

I think we should send our hero, Ted Kennedy (or maybe Jessie Jackson) to Iran to express the American people’s outrage (suppressed by the evil Bush administration) at what Israel is doing and encourage them to go ahead and blow Israel off the map. Then the Palestinians can finally have their well deserved land and live in peace with their other peace loving neighbors in Syria and Lebanon. And think about how much money the US would save!!! We could probably even afford nationalized healthcare like the French! We could bring our poor, demoralized and mistreated (but angry, torturing, terrorizing) troops home at last.

Clearly, Bush is an idiot. He let Hamas win. We should have directed the elections to make sure they didn’t (oops, but we don’t want to push our form of government on anybody).

And he is a bigger terrorist than Hamas, anyway! He’s murdering millions of innocent women and children with bombs paid for by the peace loving American tax payer. He is secretly funneling millions of dollars to Haliburton and stealing oil money from the Iraqi’s to pad his own pockets! He sent the Navy Seals in to blow up the walls in New Orleans and tried to kill all the poor people so we wouldn’t have to pay them welfare. He kept the LA National Guard out of New Orleans so the poor, innocent, misguided poor people who stayed in the city after the mandatory evacuation order (Bush should have sent Air Force C-5s in to evacuate them but didn’t. He should have known that neither the Democratic Governor of the state or the Democratic Mayor of the city would do their jobs!) would learn their lesson.

Impeach Bush NOW! He is corrupt and in the pocket of the rich- he rents out the Lincoln Bedroom for donations (oops, that was Clinton). He takes campaign money from the Chinese Army (oops, that was Clinton and Kerry). He plays golf with Jack Abramoff!!!! (oops, that was Tom Daschle).

He wants to take our civil rights away! He sends in tanks to torch entire compounds of innocent women and children for not surrendering (oops, that was Clinton). He storms into the houses of innocent people in the middle of the night with guns (oops, that was Elian Gonzales). He even has the nerve to wiretap phone calls of innocent civilians who have received phone calls from people they don’t even know, just because they happen to be terrorists! Impeach Bush NOW!!!!

Posted by: Peaceandlove at January 30, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #118507

Goodkingned,
Good post. Yes, the landscape of Jewish political thought is very broad, reflecting the diversity of cultures brought to the country by immigration. Iran lacks this diversity, which, not surprisingly, reflects its own history. However, both countries act with the continuum of their religious nationalism; Israel has the broader spectrum.

Why? Part of the reason is that the two countries have a very, very different historical experience with the United States. For example, Iran has faced repeated covert attempts by the US to fund its overthrow, and one overt attempt to overthrow a democratic Iranian government, which resulted in the dictatorial Shah of Iran and the sadism of SAVAK. Israel, on the other hand, has consistently enjoyed the economic and military support of the most powerful nation in the world.

No question, the Guardian Council of the Mullahs uses their religious objections to interfere in the political process, and drive Iran towards increasingly conservative positions.

The Iranians have unquestionably given up rights because of the Mullah’s interference. But then again, the most powerful nation in the world has 130,000 troops next door, identifies Iran as part of an “axis of evil,” and regularly restates its refusal to rule out use of force. The Mullahs have encouraged curtailments of freedom and civil rights for a reason.

Just look at posts by Bush supporters on Watchblog. They can’t give up their rights fast enough if it means security from terrorism.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #118600

We should have peaceandlove as King George’s successor. With that agenda, we wouldn’t have anything left to worry about…

Posted by: Dave at January 31, 2006 8:27 AM
Comment #118613

What you are basically saying is that terrorism works AND it is a legitimate tactic……
There is a time to fight and a time to seek peace if your enemy is oopen to it. How can you say that Israel would not welcome peace?

Posted by: esimonson at January 29, 2006 10:36 PM

Terrorism is the tool of the weak and disadvantaged. War making is the tool of the strong. Usually, the weak on the receiving end of the wars of the strong, experience them as terrorism; they fight back with what they have. As for the question of whether terrorism works? How was the Irish State born? How was the Israeli state born? South Africa? Zimbabwe? need I go on? How can you say that terrorism does not work? In Ireland, we have always said that one mans terrorism, is anothers freedom fighter. Where Israel has access to all of the awesome tools of modern warfare, and is very willing to use them, often in a way that deeply punishes a civilian population. The Palestinian resistance has only the AK 47 and the suicide bomb. A people driven to desperation will use what they have.

I regret that I will be unable to engage much in this dialogue for the next couple of weeks, as I am off the Vietnam in the morning. Interesting perspective from my research on my trip. We here in the West have always spoken of the Vietnam war, most especially in the US. The Vietnamese call it the American war. Different slant, eh? And if you think about that, especially with what we know now, how futile and wasteful and unnecessary was that war? How will we look back in thirty years on the war in Iraq? Hopefully, with a similar view to Vietnam, where it is now re-entering the community of nations in a greater and more engaged way, with a spirit of forgiveness for the empires which wreaked so much destruction on the people and the country. Go in peace my friends, I will re enter the fray on my return.

Slainte (Health)

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at January 31, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #118638
As for the question of whether terrorism works? How was the Irish State born? How was the Israeli state born? South Africa? Zimbabwe? need I go on?

I’m sorry, Paul. I’m an American. I have no idea where those places are or what happened there. :)

Have fun in Vietnam. I read recently where the government is kicking the peasants off their land to build golf resorts. Is that where you’re staying? You gotta love capitalism.

If you’re going through Singapore, send me an email and I’ll meet you at the Raffles for a Tiger beer. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 31, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #118721

Paul,

American revolutionaries fought against Redcoats if I recall. There is a difference between guerilla and terrorist. I find it hard to believe that the left does not choose to ignore the difference.

War is war, whether it is waged by the weak or the strong. The difference between terrorism and ‘freedom fighting’ is that freedom fighters target the ‘strong’ enemy soldiers and terrorists don’t bother, but instead prefer to kill women and children as opposed to military targets.

As an argument I can accept a tag of freedom fighter even in the case of communist revolutionaries like Che and Castro when they target ‘Imperialist’ military targets rather than civilians, but I still don’t consider them or their cause just.

Does anyone on the left ever wonder why there might be confusion about what side the left is on? It is this kind of relativism that gives you away.

Posted by: esimonson at January 31, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #118737

Kansas Dem - I have no idea what remark of mine you are addressing in your posting but you seem to be all over the place. This is a huge problem with the way liberals like to argue. American Pundit’s reflection on Hamas and democracy is a good one and deserves discussion.

AP - When the Reichstag was set ablaze by the Communists in Germany, Hitler was able to subvert the republic. Democracy didn’t bring Hitler. In your comment section you seem to clarify this a bit by implying Hitler subverted democracy by playing on peoples fears. Well this isn’t necessarily correct either. See the problem we have here is that you want to be able to justify your criticism of President Bush by oversimplifying the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and that’s not a fair argument. You would need to add in the oppressive terms of the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI and the collapse of the world wide banking system that caused the Great Depression.

When you say “democracy itself does not yield peace” you are partially correct, but your supporting argument is not what makes you correct. You are like the student that knows the answer but doesn’t know why you are right (I mean this kindly). History has shown us that democracies tend to lead to the expansion of personal liberties, which in turns leads to economic freedom, or capitalism. The anti-capitalistic left may not like it but statistics prove that societies that participate in democracies combine with capitalism almost always denounce war.
For more information see http://www.reason.com/hod/db102605.shtml

Iac Man’s Blog


Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 31, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #118746

Jay,

“The anti-capitalistic left may not like it but statistics prove that societies that participate in democracies combine with capitalism almost always denounce war.”

Except when the war machine is in bed with the ruling class.

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

“Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

These words are just as true today as they were in 1961.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #118759

Rocky, you are being ridculous. Explain to me why the stock markets around the world take a dip any time the threat of war is eminient? Any stock broker will tell you “war” is not good for business.

http://iacman.blogspot.com

Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 31, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #118762

Jay, I appreciate the dialogue and the “kindly” correction of the support for my “correct” argument.

Here’s your problem: you’re arguing (partially correctly) that sustained democracies usually yield peace. I’m not disputing that. I’m pointing out that President Bush is completely incorrect to state that “democracy yields peace”.

There are plenty of examples that blow that statement out of the water — Angola, Bosnia, and yes, Germany to name a few.

The phenomenon of “one person, one vote, one time” is well known.

And it’s typical of Republicans to concentrate on arguing one small issue while ignoring (or intentionally distracting from) the main point.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 31, 2006 9:01 PM
Comment #118765

AP - you can’t be serious when you use Angola, Bosnia and pre-WW II Germany as your examples of “sustained” democracies! But for arguement sake I’ll let it go and use the three examples you give (I can give 20 examples of non aggressive democracies for each one btw), they proves my point; without a free market democracies have difficulties sustaining themselves. Two of the three examples you gave had economies deeply routed in socialism and Germany was just coming out of Bismark dictatorship and an exhausted war.

Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 31, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #118768

Jay,

Oh, I have barely begun being ridiculous.
So, lets go back to the statement you made;

“The anti-capitalistic left may not like it but statistics prove that societies that participate in democracies combine with capitalism almost always denounce war.”

And then lets only use tha U S as an example. Since 1900, how many wars/police actions have we been involved in?
How many times has the US sent “military advisors” into a foreign country?

I hate to say this but our “military advisors” have been in virtually every country on this planet.
Now that’s ridiculous!
We spend more money on defence than any two other countries on the planet.
Ditto!

You know, for a country that “denounces” war, America spends an inordinate amount of money and time preparing for it.

The only difference between us and the cold war Soviet Union is we are supposed to be the good guys.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #118771

Sorry that should be;

When it comes to war the only difference between us and the cold war Soviet Union is we are supposed to be the good guys.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #118772

Rocky, there is no point arguing the point with you, If you are not able to see the difference between the United States and the old Soviet Union, then fine. You have every right to have that opinion, I am not going to agree with you nor at this point discuss it any further. It doesn’t deserve my time or effort. And you remain ridiculous!

Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 31, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #118773

Jay,

I guess that means I am dismissed.

And you link us to a site that advertises Absinthe.

And you call me ridiculous?

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #118775

Jay,

“If you are not able to see the difference between the United States and the old Soviet Union, then fine.”

Get over yourself.

I am perfectly capable of seeing the difference.
I also capable of seeing the irony in a country that espouses to spread Democracy at the point of a gun.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 10:27 PM
Comment #118776

Rocky, I’ll make it easy for you. You are absolutely right, 100% correct. I can’t believe how foolish I have been, thanks for showing me the light. Thanks again. Have a good one.

Posted by: Jay Iacobucci at January 31, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #118789

Jay,

I’m not new here, and I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

I have been to other countries and seen other cultures and I have seen how the people espire to come to America because they see it as nirvana, paradise.
I don’t need to argue, I come here to discuss.
If I am wrong, fell free to point out the flaws in my logic, I am a big boy I can take it. But back it up with logic of your own.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #119499
they proves my point; without a free market democracies have difficulties sustaining themselves.

LOL! No Jay, that was my point: President Bush was wrong when he said “democracy yields peace”. As you just agreed, democracy alone does not yield peace. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 2, 2006 8:40 AM
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