Tipping Point?

For many of us who seek information to understand the current state of this society, and who are concerned with the long term survival of our way of life, all of the news is bad. In fact, I would say it is going to hell in the proverbial hand basket.

Conservatives, libertarians, centrists, non-nannystaters and everyone who strives to survive is being beaten down, submerged really, by the litany of bizarre policies created when inmates run the asylum. It appears we have lost the political war, the war on terror and apparently the hearts and minds of the voters; most of whom have no allegiance to anything, except PC and government largesse. Even though we vote, and plan to right the ship, we have lost this society. Pick a subject and disagree if you wish.

The war: Since the Democratic ascendancy it is now a “civil war”, the only questions which remain are: how do we tuck tail, how soon can we leave; and will Iran, al Queda and Syria turn out the lights on a fledgling democracy for us? This piece on an interview of Gen Abizaid, by CBS news, provides some insight on where this is going.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/26/60minutes/main2208941.shtml


The invasion: Does anyone among us believe that Democrats, or for that matter Republicans, will stanch the flow of illegal aliens and retain control of this country? I surely do not. See this piece in the Washington Times on efforts to end this human deluge.
http://washingtontimes.com/national/20061128-122911-2961r.htm


The PC craze continues to metastasize: The flying Imams are just the latest in a string of Islamic slaps of our face, which all inure to the benefit of terrorist. In truth this latest farce was contrived to test the limits of our spinelessness when responding to the threat of our destruction. We will soon apologize to Islam for even thinking these Imams could have been terrorists and pay damages for embarrassing them so. See this for the state of the flying Imams saga, and watch how it plays out in the near future:
Standing up to the flying imams : Michelle Malkin, November 28, 2006 http://michellemalkin.com/


Taxes and the economy: Where will we be when the great leveling is fact and taxes are back in the stratosphere? Obviously we do not now pay enough to fund the socialist dreams of the uber class. Deficit reduction by increasing taxes will become a construct of both political parties. Cut spending? Preposterous… votes cannot be purchased without your tax money. Look at this National Review Article which lays out the plan.

The Unfairness of a “Fairer” Economy - John Tamny- NRO
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MzdmMjQwYTNhNGY0OTkzYTAwNTllNjBkYjM1OGNlNGI=


Majority rule: Went by the wayside courtesy of the clueless and reprehensible Senate, that is, until the Democrats formally take the reins. We will not go to the wall for good people who stand up for the country. Never has my President disappointed me more than rolling over on the Bolton nomination. Of course the Senate fawns over the castrati UN, to our detriment. See Fox News on this pathetic spectacle.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,234145,00.html


All the bad aside, Fred Barnes has a great article in the Weekly Standard about the President making the next two years count. Act with “moxie” and ignore the reverses. Change some of the egregious problems such as earmarks, Iran, etc. Will the President prove me wrong?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/weeklystandard/20061204/cm_weeklystandard/moxieintheexecutive


I could continue on ad nauseum, but as the lead suggests, this country is besieged by the cumulative effect of many ill conceived policies, constraints and obligations. It is not that Democrats now have the trappings of power in Washington as these things were taking place, albeit at a slower pace, on the Republican watch, just ended.

I would argue that the reasons the Republican Congress was shown the door is their tacit support of the policies which I mentioned. It seems not many would agree, as nothing changes. The parties will simply swap seats in the future, that’s all.

Really, it is this clueless society that empowers and ignores this slide toward third world dhimmitude. Can we stop the slide? Republicans could not, or would not do so, and Democrats will not. America could slow the slide, but stop it? No, the ship will not be righted, we have passed our tipping point.


Cross posted at: www.redstate.com/blogs/Seminole_6

Posted by Seminole 6 at December 5, 2006 9:20 PM
Comments
Comment #197870

Seminole 6,

“The flying Imams are just the latest in a string of Islamic slaps of our face, which all inure to the benefit of terrorist.”

Now I have to admit I have read only one article on this “outrage”, and that at;

http://www.nationalterroralert.com/updates/2006/11/20/6-muslim-imans-removed-from-flight-300/

Call me crazy, but Muslims saying prayers at the time prescribed for prayers is an outrage?
This was worth taking them off the plane in handcuffs and making them find their own way back to Phoenix?

We might as well just quit, because the terrorists have already won.

Posted by: Rocky at December 5, 2006 9:36 PM
Comment #197871

couldn’t make it through most of this post - about the first couple paragraphs, but i think i got the gist of it.

the republicans lost - not because of corruption, incompetence, and greed - but because the american electorate is unpatriotic… worse, than that really, they have no allegiance to anything.

i really hope the republican party doesn’t adopt this verbal defecation as a campaign strategy.

i think this is the definition of ‘sore-loser.’
it’s b.s. like this that made me vote democrat (for congress) this go ‘round.

cheers.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 5, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #197875


I’m playing a sad lament on my violin with a tear in my eye.

Poor Fred Barnes, after all that crappy defense of the Bush Iraq policy, his president is going to abandon him. He will be lucky to keep from having a nervous breakdown.

Laura is a librarian, she knows what is being written in the history books and she doesn’t like it a bit. If she is half the woman Nancy was she will step in and salvage what she can of her husbands reputation. She is going to have to save him from himself.

Posted by: jlw at December 5, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #197879

Okay, the gist here is: Because Republicans weren’t re-elected, the world’s going to hell.

Newsflash: you’re not that indispensable, especially given the job performance your people have demonstrated.

First step: get over the fact that people have the gall to disagree with you. We couldn’t change the world complete our way, you couldn’t yours. People change on their own accord.

Second step: get over your denial on Iraq. The Republicans ARE losing the war they sought out and started. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can do something about it besides deciding who to blame for YOUR failures. Do you want to go down in history with a big failure, or keep at it and go for an even more massive fiasco? Your choice.

Third Step: Ditch the ideology. Get practical. Learn how to govern instead of figuring out new excuses why you shouldn’t have to put forward your best effort.

Fourth Step: stop pretending the liberals had anything to do with your failures. You were in the driver’s seat. You ran us off the cliff. Take the blame, learn from the mistake, or repeat it and regret it at your leisure.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 5, 2006 10:24 PM
Comment #197884

Flying imams? I wonder if they passed by Sally Fields somewhere.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 5, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #197887

What I hear is genuine despair. I’ve been there before for different political reasons, but, Seminole, this country does have resiliency. The United States doesn’t have any problems that it can’t overcome; it’s been in worst shape and come through. Have faith.

Posted by: Trent at December 5, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #197895

perhaps, trent.

but this type of thinking will help no one… not the party, certainly not the country. it’s hard to stomach such vitriol when i have been against these policies the entire time - and was met with contempt and accusation for my dissension. now i am a turncoat (no allegiance) because i did not vote for those who refused to listen.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 5, 2006 11:22 PM
Comment #197896

Yeah, that article sure brought tears to my eyes. Made me think of poor Adolph, in his bunker blaming the volk for letting him down, proving unworthy of the Nazi dream…

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at December 5, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #197900

forgive the superfluous post - i simply had to register my amusement with that comment. hahahhahahhhaha…… ok. i’m done.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 5, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #197909

Seminole 6, I am perplexed! Your article outlines many things amiss, all occurring under the Republican leadership of this country. The Democratic majority has not even taken office yet, so it is illogical in the extreme to blame anything on the Democrats. It would appear you are exercising your parties counter-offense when Dem’s do take office. But, aren’t you prematurely revealing your hand?

Iraq. Iraq is a no-win situation for the U.S. It is a civil war, which I have been calling and writing it to be since 2004. Nice of most Republicans to catch up and call it what it is. The military brass, late and a few hundred thousand men and women short, are finally catching on too. The goal now is very simple. Find a way to prevent the Iraqi government from falling into the hands of terrorist sympathizers and prevent Iraq’s oil revenues from being delivered to terrorist organizations. Those are the goals, now.

Are they achievable? That is the 1/3 trillion dollar question which is what Iraq will cost tax payers whether we achieve those goals or not. Fact is, this may not be achievable. As Carafano said this morning, “it is up to the Iraqis”. And the Iraqis may not be up to the challenge.

Taxes. Well, given the Republican record of bankrupting our children’s and grandchildren’s earnings with spiraling debt, raising taxes makes sense to a very large number of parents who want that burden removed from their children’s work lives. Pay as you Go is a Democratic policy that makes far more sense in controlling spending than idle empty rhetoric to the public by Republicans for smaller government as they grew its size bigger and faster than Democrats used to.

PayGo and raising taxes for those who can afford to give up a modicum of luxury and investments of investment earnings, makes sense for America’s future. I personally welcome the idea of ending the deficit bribes for votes Republicans were so proud of and which backfired in their face - HUGELY!

The War against Terrorist organizations needs to be fought internationally and using Cold War tactics and strategies updated for technological advances. That international effort requires cooperative and respectful diplomatic relations with other nations, including those of our adversaries. Frankly, I think Republicans did more to aid and abet the terrorists than Democrats could even imagine doing. One thing for sure, the best improvement for advancing on the terrorists will be the seeing Bush’s backside leaving the White House for the last time.

Bolton is a good down payment on seeing Bush’s back side for the last time. America needs the U.N. and international allies and working relationships like never before, and Bolton was ABSOLUTELY the wrong person for that job.

Now, the invasion of illegal immigrants is where you and I will agree for the most part. The Republican House had it right! Stop the flow first, then decide what to do about the illegals already here. Democrats are on the wrong side of this issue, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will wake up to that fact and change course.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 6, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #197917

Oh, it’s always nice to get a good dose of that 19th century logic over at NRO.

“Rich” is thankfully a fluid adjective in the U.S., and so long as it is, hand wringing over gaps in wealth is foolhardy and counterproductive.

Yes, just don’t worry about it. Go with the flow. Why make a fuss? And get back to work.

The marginal incentive to work and produce is reduced when each dollar of income is taxed more.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Does he actually think OCD money hoarders would abandon their endeavors simply because they lose a little more to taxes? And seriously, it’s not like their “labor” is actually worth however many millions of dollars a year they might get in salary and incentives.

It is, in fact, so ridiculous, John immediately back pedals in the very next paragraph.

The “seen” in any tax equation is the willingness of people to work despite penalties on their production. So while it’s fair to say higher taxes won’t totally collapse economic activity, it’s also true that workers on the margin will choose leisure over productive activity as their taxes rise.

Despite the back pedaling, he still insists the outliers would then choose leisure over productivity out of some kind of petty spite.

[…] The wealth gap might shrink if the Bush tax cuts expire, but it will do so at the expense of GDP. How the latter helps the downtrodden constituency within the Democratic party is one of life’s mysteries.

Maybe because life isn’t all about GDP. If the rich bail out of productivity no one will miss them. Vacuums are extremely transient. There are other margins that will gladly fill in for the lack of sociopathic money hoarders. Besides, there’s no sense in refuting his point since it’s nonsensical, as he admitted earlier in the paragraph.

The late columnist Warren Brookes once wrote that envy “is the single most impoverishing attitude of thought.”Sadly, the Democratic economic agenda is rooted in envy and zero-sum thinking; it’s a philosophy that falsely suggests one man’s success is another man’s failure.

It’s not envy, it’s social equity. Believe me, I don’t think any normal person wants ten billion dollars and the burden of feeling that that isn’t enough.

And I like how he impugns the zero-sum philosophy, as if the rich don’t hold to it as well. First, denial of zero-sum assumes markets and money are infinite, which they are not. Second, if the rich believe in an open system with infinitely expanding wealth available for the picking, then why would they be so reluctant to acquiesce taxes to restock the very economy from which they profit so heartily?

Brookes also noted that “We are all blessed by the genius of relatively few.” Rather than use their legislative majority to harm the “rich,” the Democrats should embrace the genius of the pro-growth minority.

Ah, the true elitism reveals itself. The rich are rich because they are better than the poor and Dems should simply fall in line and pay fealty to them like the dupes on the Right already do. If he didn’t have a word limit or an editor, I’m sure he would’ve mentioned something about how the rich are rich because they are blessed by god or something.

While the wealth gap will surely grow, we’ll all be better off as a result.

This is just so abhorrent. I’m sure he thinks Argentina and Chile are models of how the wealth gap helps the less fortunate.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 8:57 AM
Comment #197920
The invasion: Does anyone among us believe that Democrats, or for that matter Republicans, will stanch the flow of illegal aliens and retain control of this country? I surely do not. See this piece in the Washington Times on efforts to end this human deluge.

I find this anti-Mexican crap hilarious (face it, this isn’t about immigration, it’s about Mexican immigration). Back when I used to watch a lot of TV, I would watch a lot of shows that highlight the production of great American products and services. And though they would always interview of white person, usually a man, all the production and rendering of services was performed by hispanics - from the high end market to the low end.

We will soon apologize to Islam for even thinking these Imams could have been terrorists and pay damages for embarrassing them so.

Actually, it’s embarrassing to the morons who caused the fuss to begin with. The idea that terrorists would be so conspicuous is the epitome of American stupidity and prejudice.

I could continue on ad nauseum, but as the lead suggests, this country is besieged by the cumulative effect of many ill conceived policies, constraints and obligations.

You’ve got a point. Our nation had been shoved to the Right a few decades ago and has through inertia continued so far to the point that Bill Clinton is considered a liberal, Joe Liberman a Democrat, and John Bircher rhetoric has become mainstream. Dems fail because they have conceded this frame and try to find compromises within it. When they realize that the future is Obama and Edwards and not Biden and Clinton, they might make some progress.

Cross posted at: www.redstate.com/blogs/Seminole_6

This explains a lot. Washington Times, Michelle Malkin, NRO, Fox News, and the Weekly Standard. You are self-ghettoized.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #197921

Rocky - Thought people were more cognizant of the tale of the Imams. This was no random prayer group, their treatment was well deserved. This says it very well.


Ululations of the aggrieved
By Michelle Malkin· December 06, 2006 08:25 AM

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006489.htm

….”Ultimately, the most despicable aspect about the imams’ behavior is that when they pierced the normally quiet hum of a passenger waiting area with shouts of “Allahu Akbar”and deliberately engaged in terrorist-associated behavior that was sure to trigger suspicion, they exploited the fear that began with the Sept. 11 attacks. The imams, experienced travelers all, counted on the security system established after 9/11 to kick in, and now they plan not only to benefit financially from the proper operation of that system but to substantially weaken it—with help from the Saudi-endowed attorneys at CAIR.”

Posted by: Seminole 6i at December 6, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #197922

Joseph - ghettoized? Hardly. I expect I would be credible in your eyes if quoting those on the left. We just disagree on the appropriate reference point.

I don’t see immigration as a left or right thing but a national problem, which will only get worse without some control of who enters, and stays, in this country. I have friends from Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, India; and other places which escape me now. They have one thing in common - they entered legally, within the law. That is the immigration I support.

I do not agree that the nation was shoved to the right. It has historically been conservative, but has incrementally drifted leftward. Perhaps we will get back to the middle someday.

Posted by: Seminole 6 at December 6, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #197923

Joseph Briggs

“John Bircher rhetoric”? Know what your talking about before you start hanging tags on situations.

You don’t even know what the JBS position is on any subject.

On immigration—the immigration you speak of is probably illegal immigration which is coming across the Mexican-US border. It consists mainly of Mexican individuals, but also includes many Central American individuals as well as a large number from the middle east. They are illegal, so why do you consider criminal behavior “crap”?

Posted by: tomh at December 6, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #197925

The reason we are in deep doo-doo is because we elected a mans son to be president. A son who’s daddy needed to help get his DUI’s off his record, a son who’s daddy needed to clear his record of evidence that he used cocaine, a son who’s daddy had to get him into Yale, a son who failed every corporation venture his daddy gave him to play with, a son who’s daddy kept him out of the war while others went off to die, a son who’s daddy help gloss over his AWOL time from the National Guard…a son who’s daddy now regularly cries in public over the realization of just what a screw up he and his entire family have been to this great nation.

That’s why we are in trouble.

Posted by: muirgeo at December 6, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #197926

Seminole,

Michele Malkin is hardly a neutral source for information.
You could have used Ann Coulter, or Hannity, or Rush, or Savage, or Reagan, and gotten pretty much the same take.
All of them extremely biased and extremely bigoted.

I have read more about this since my first post, most of it is the same belligerent baloney.
More than one of the comments I read was about the fact these guys had no luggage and that their tickets were single ended.
So what?
I have had the experience of flying on a single ended ticket 6 times in the last year. Every time I was pulled aside and I, and my carry-on were searched at the security entrance to the gates. I can only assume that the same happened here.
Big red flag?
Give me a break!

To deny them access to fly after being interviewed and released by the police is incomprehensible.

These men broke no laws, and if all it takes is an “Allah Akbar” to tighten everyone’s sphincters more than 5 years later, then we are in worse straits than even I thought.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #197927

Let me make a correction.

These men broke no laws other than refusing to get off the plane when requested.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #197930

muirgeo,

“…a son who’s daddy now regularly cries in public over the realization of just what a screw up he and his entire family have been to this great nation.”

you had me up to here. this is just cold, harsh, and untrue. bush sr. was a good man and a good president - you can feel free to disagree with the latter, but the two (father and son) don’t even compare. please cast your aspersions elsewhere. the man grieves for his son’s ‘mistakes’ - i certainly don’t see where you find cause to fault him for it.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #197931

Oh, and BTW, I am a 54 year old, over weight, pastey white guy, and I travel with tools that I have to check in.
For those of you that have never been security screened because of a single ended ticket, that experience alone is pretty demeaning.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #197934
“John Bircher rhetoric”? Know what your talking about before you start hanging tags on situations. You don’t even know what the JBS position is on any subject.

Please. You assume a lot there, tomh. John Birchers are anti-left, vigorously opposed to anything that has even a hint of socialism, believe America is a Christian nation, are against globalization and the UN, and are hardline against illegal immigration. And they used to be marginalized as conspiracy nuts. Today their rhetoric infuses practically everything the radical Right proclaims as necessary to the survival of America.

So do you have a counter-argument or are you just going to continue to make baseless assumptions?

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #197935
Joseph - ghettoized? Hardly. I expect I would be credible in your eyes if quoting those on the left.

I wouldn’t consider you more credible by citing these kind of sources from the Left just as I don’t consider you especially credible by citing sources from the Right almost exclusively. I really don’t count opinion pieces from the news/entertainment industry as “sources” of anything other than opinion, so credibility isn’t an issue here. I was just implying the inherent dearth of provocative input that would arise from so many “sources” of exactly the same political slant.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #197942

The Imams aren’t the only ones:

Flatulence forces plane to land

It’s a gas!!

Posted by: womanmarine at December 6, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #197943

Joseph - I try to avoid tunnel vision when looking at an issue. All of us have biases, but when I read information provided by the left, I see vitrol and an agenda which is not good for this country. To an extent that is true for the hard right also.

It would be refreshing to see a simple exposition of fact, but there is no longer any media which will provide unembellished news. I agree that we must consider both sides when arguing or deciding what is and is not.

Posted by: Seminole 6 at December 6, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #197952

I saw a video clip of the elder Bush breaking down and I read the stories. I think it is in extreme bad taste to make political hay out of that. Clinton choked up sometimes, too, you know.

Posted by: Trent at December 6, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #197954

Oops, I missed a point I wanted to address…

They are illegal, so why do you consider criminal behavior “crap”?

That’s some very poor logic, tomh. I don’t consider criminal behavior crap, I consider the anti-immigration rhetoric from the Right crap.

That it is a “crime” is only a technical aspect of law and the insular tendencies of nation-states. There is no real victim, only indirect and speculative harm to a system. I consider it crap because all the useful aspects of the issue have been striped away and all that’s left is smelly, indigestible waste.

The Right is all about the free market right up until it gets inconvenient for them.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #197956
All of us have biases, but when I read information provided by the left, I see vitrol and an agenda which is not good for this country.

There are plenty of credible resources for data you just won’t find them in the news/entertainment industry. And there is plenty vitriol and agenda-serving on both sides. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s bad for the country. Debate and dissent make us stronger and actually demonstrate our strengths.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #197982

Seminole-

Why more of the same crap we’ve been getting for 6 years now? “Civil War”…blah blah…”Tuck tail”…blah blah…illegals taking over America…blah blah…screw the Imams’ rights…blah blah…higher taxes/socialist agenda…blah blah…Bolten’s a great ambassitor…blah blah…Bush with the “moxie” [to denounce his own practices]…blah blah…”clueless society”…blah blah blah.

Some of these are good issues. But this article is nothing but a bunch of meaningless accusations. All I can take from this is that Seminole is a die-hard neo-conservative republican. You could have saved me the trouble of reading all the other crap and just said that. And you could have saved yourself that 5 minutes it appears to have taken you to simply cite some uncredible sources and add in the occasional diatribe in between. I could have literally written the same article if I had the intention of producing a Colbert-like satire of your positions. I would only have to change my tone and inflection, add a few dramatic pauses and finger wagging, and your article becomes an instant YouTube hit with liberals all across the world. The only problem is that you are serious.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 6, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #197986

The War: The Democrats seem to be changing their tune. In the months leading up to the Congressional midterm elections, Minority Leader Pelosi along with 11 other top House Democrats sent a letter to President Bush demanding that we begin troop withdrawl by the end of this year. According to Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a smooth withdrawl would only take 6 months. All of our troops could be home by mid-2007.

Enter James Baker and Co. According to the NYT, Democrats are very happy with the findings of the Iraq Surrender Study Group. What the NYT article fails to mention is that “while the report does not set a concrete timetable for a US withdrawal from Iraq, it does say that US combat forces ‘could be out of Iraq’ by the first quarter of 2008 - if steps are taken soon to allow Iraqi forces to assume combat functions in the war” (Source: Christian Science Monitor). Talk about your big “IFs.” We’ve been working feverishly to train Iraqi forces for the past 5 years. Is there some magic training method that only Baker and Co. know about?

Well, what’s a few months one way or the other, right? Could be 2008, could be 2009. What’s the difference? The important thing is that the Democrats WON and can finally begin the important work of building a Consensus for Defeat in Iraq.

Posted by: Chris at December 6, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #197992

Chris,

“We’ve been working feverishly to train Iraqi forces for the past 5 years. Is there some magic training method that only Baker and Co. know about?”

Wow, five whole years?

Standard boot camp for the typical American grunt is only 6 weeks, that’s 8.6 sessions per year.

Are we training these guys one at a time or what?

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #197993

Chris-

What is the obsession with trying to blame the failures of this war on democrats? They were not in power, and still aren’t. Iraq is not a failure because democrats want to pull out. The whole goal is to pull out. No one ever advocated a permanent occupation. Iraq is a failure because the mission could not be accomplished, or even understood, by our military.

Nothing the democrats can do changes the simple fact that this president had full control over the military, a blank check and a rubber stamp congress for 5 years after Saddam, and that the situation has steadily deteriorated since that time. Thus, the “the important work of building a Consensus for Defeat in Iraq” has already been done, and done very well, by Bush and the crony republicans in congress.

In fact, democrats couldn’t have done it better themselves. Its just a damn shame we had to borrow almost a half-trillion dollars to learn what we already learn in elementary school…that the best, most representative, and most effective governments come from the people, by the people in a natural way…they are not forcefully imposed. Unless you WERE a “child left behind”, you should have known that too. Or were you too busy 3-5 years ago trying to convince everyone there were WMD’s and direct links to Al Quiada?

Stop acting as if the democrats have had the opportunity to impose anything but a passive influence on this war to date. Yet somehow you find the democrats’ lack of consistency on trivial matters over which they have no control anyway, like timelines, to be the most disturbing part of this debacle? What about the fact that the president himself can’t make up his mind on how to frame the conflict. He’s lowered his expectations so many times. Yet somehow his inconsistency and lack of foresight are less important than that of his powerless rivals?

As a conservative republican, I’m embarrassed that you and I share the same affiliation. I just can’t respect a poster who engages in nothing but demonizing partisan rhetoric, even at the expense of every last bit of credibility and context. Even when I completely agree with a general point you make, I find myself cringing at the ineffectiveness of your method of delivery.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 6, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #197997

The Invasion: From President Bush’s perspective, the one silver lining in the massive dark cloud that was the Midterm Elections was the possibility that a Democrat majority in Congress would approve his Alien Amnesty program, or whatever it is called. I hope not.

The Flying Imams: Some of the comments posted here paint a picture of peaceful Muslim clerics who were illegally and forcefully removed from a commercial airliner for no good reason, and suffered humiliating discrimination at the hands of racist Muslim-hating passengers and crew who terrorized them.

BALONEY. The Imams knew exactly what they were doing. Read Malikn’s article. Blogger Jim Hoft sums it up this way:

As long as Muslims are trying to explode their shoes on Trans-Atlantic flights, planning to use baby bottles as bombs from London to New York, and smashing jets into skyscrapers, we will see more instances like this one.

The six imams might as well get used to it.

And the claim that the sources cited by Seminole 6 lack credibility is BALONEY, too. They ultimately all cite the same MSM sources. Reports from the MSM conflict one another, anyway. Initial MSM reports indicated that the Imams were led off the plane in handcuffs, were kept in handcuffs during their five-hour detention, and were harassed by dogs. It turned out they were never handcuffed or harrassed by dogs.

Posted by: Chris at December 6, 2006 5:47 PM
Comment #198005

Chris,

“And the claim that the sources cited by Seminole 6 lack credibility is BALONEY, too. They ultimately all cite the same MSM sources.”

You miss the point entirely, Malkin is not a reporter, she is an editorial writer, and as such is a source only for her OPINION, just as Coulter, Hannity, Rush, etc…..

My point is that we are so freakin scared of anything that ain’t white and ain’t Christian, we might as well just surrender right now and get it over with.
There are, after all, a hell of a lot more of them than there are of us.

People pray on street corners all the time and we all just raise an eyebrow and move on, but let a guy dressed in Middle Eastern garb start praying in an airport, and we all s**t ourselves in fear.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #198009

Chris-
Five years? I will assume that’s a slip of the fingers, since this war has only been going on for three and a half, and training of troops for maybe two and half of that.

Anyways, I would like to know what your big plan for winning Iraq is. You seem all too willing to call any exit plan “surrender”, without any sense of how we win this thing.

At this point, it is so obvious that this war is not working that Bush has fired Rumsfeld, and is willingly going to employ a guy who’s coming into the job testifying that we’re losing the war.

You’re so submerged in the rhetoric that you have had opportunity to surface and realize that your own president is leaving you behind on this issue. Blame the Democrats all you want to, histories verdict will focus on those who had command control and authority over this war. That means your party. That means your President. That means your Congress.

This isn’t about surrender. We’re surrendering to no one. This isn’t about creating defeat- if it happens, the reasons for it will lie in Bush’s policies, not some media/Democratic Party conspiracy to ruin the nation. This is about salvaging something out of this God-forsaken mess which your president got us in into with insufficient foresight, flexibility and humility to get us out of it. If we have to suffer defeat because of what your president did, then most of the country prefers we suffer it on terms that are bad rather than worse.

That in the end is the set of options your President’s policies leave us. Isn’t it time you and others like you figured out what you did wrong, rather than continue to blame the people you made sure didn’t have the power to affect this war?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 6, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #198011

Chris-

If you ever force my plane to be evacuated and delayed several hours all because you couldn’t handle a few Imams praying and talking to each other freely (last I checked it wasn’t illegal to hate America), then I will make absolutely certain that I “overhear” you talking about smuggling a bomb through customs on the next go around. And that is only if I’m nice enough to not just wait for you outside and kick the crap out of you for being such a whiny pussy.

Back to the point: you don’t know what happened on that plane. You only know what you read, and based on what you said in this thread, those sources are suspect at best.

Let me explain to you how a normal red-blooded American handles that situation. Mind your own business, let security do their job, get on the plane, then fly. IF something happens on that plane, you and 50-100 people just like you immediately subdue the small group of disorderly passengers using whatever force is necessary. The plane lands, and they are taken into police custody. Simple. There will never be another 9/11. The next attack will look very different by necessity. Americans will never again allow themselves to be flown into a building without a fight.

I think its time for many scared Americans to grow a sack and think practically. The element of surprise is vital to the terror strategy. There is just no need to ruin air travel based on impractical paranoia. And telling passengers to “keep their eyes open” does not equate to playing police. Unless you hear something that would honestly lead a reasonable person to believe a crime to be in progress or innevitable, then shut up and have some respect for the fact that you live in an open society, and for the fact that other people don’t need you to impose your ignorant fears upon them forcing them to change their schedules to accomodate your fragile sense of security.

I watched those towers fall from 12th and 5th (about a mile away), I was evacuated from my building 3 seperate times due to the anthrax scare (CNN was next door), and yet me and millions of others didn’t bitch about having to get on the subway or in big landmark buildings in the following weeks. I flew in a plane a month later. I am wiser from my experience, but I am not dumb enough to let it run my life. THAT, is exactly what OBL wanted…to become a part of the American consciousness…to have the very sight of a muslim person on a plane to illicit terror in all those around. Nice job “appeasing” them, Chris. Personally, I’ll sack up and think with the brain I have, rather than the one Bush and OBL tried to mold for me with their scare-tactics.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 6, 2006 6:46 PM
Comment #198013

kevin,

you might want to tone it down a notch. i know chris can be frustrating - but he’s not worth it.

no offense; you checked me once already, i believe… just trying to return the favor; besides, there is an extreme shortage of rational conservatives on this site, as it is…

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #198015

(nevertheless… very good points)

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #198018

Diogenes-

Point taken. Thanks. I do stand by my sentiments 100%, but I may have been a bit excessive with the use of adjectives.

Maybe between the two of us, we can voice our many common positions with the level of class and decorum that we independently strive for, yet can sometimes fall short of when we are frustrated.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 6, 2006 7:45 PM
Comment #198022

Rocky:

“Michele Malkin is hardly a neutral source for information.
You could have used Ann Coulter, or Hannity, or Rush, or Savage, or Reagan, and gotten pretty much the same take.
All of them extremely biased and extremely bigoted.”

I noticed that when you were quoting media that you said was bias. The sources you mentioned are all right-wing. That is bias. Name sources bias to both sides (CNN, New York Times). I am not partisan. I am disappointed in the Republicans in not putting MORE into fighting the war. They are not enforcing illegal immigration. No one is talking about vouchers for all. We haven’t seceded from the Useless Nations yet. But to be honest, I disagree with the Democrat Party on everything so far.

The United States can backtrack from the tipping point. Limit Govt more and give the people complete control of the market. The Govt’s job is only to protect and keep order. Having a high standard of living is a privilege. Cutting taxes limits the Govt. We have too many!

Tax his land,
> Tax his bed,
> Tax the table
> At which he’s fed.
>
> Tax his tractor,
> tax his mule,
> Teach him taxes
> are the rule
>
> Tax his cow,
> Tax his goat,
> Tax his pants,
> Tax his coat.
>
> Tax his ties,
> Tax his shirt,
> Tax his work,
> Tax his dirt.
>
> Tax his tobacco,
> Tax his drink,
> Tax him if he
> Tries to think.
>
> Tax his cigars,
> Tax his beers,
> If he cries, then
> Tax his tears.
>
> Tax his car,
> Tax his gas,
> Find other ways
> To tax his a**
>
> Tax all he has
> then let him know
> that you won’t be done
> till he has no dough.
>
> When he screams and hollers,
> Then tax him some more,
> Tax him till
> he’s good and sore.
>
> Then tax his coffin,
> Tax his grave,
> Tax the sod in
>
> Which he’s laid.
>
> Put these words
> upon his tomb,
> “Taxes drove me
> to my doom…”
>
> When he’s gone,
> Do not relax,
> Its time to apply
> The inheritance tax.
>
>
> Accounts Receivable Tax Building Permit Tax
> CDL license Tax Cigarette Tax
> Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax
> Federal Income Tax Federal Unemployment Tax
>
> (FUTA)
> Fishing License Tax Food License Tax,
> Fuel permit tax Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
> Hunting License Tax
> Inheritance Tax
> Interest expense &nb sp; Inventory tax
> IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
> Liquor Tax Luxury Taxes
> Marriage License Tax Medicare Tax
> Property Tax
> Real Estate Tax
> Service charge taxes Social Security Tax
> Road usage taxes Sales Tax
> Recreational Vehicle Tax School Tax
> State Income Tax State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
> Telephone federal excise tax
> Telephone federal universal service fee tax
> Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
> Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
> Telephone recurring and non-recurri ng charges tax
> Telephone state and local tax
> Telephone usage charge tax
> Utility Taxes
> Vehicle License
> Registration Tax
> Vehicle Sales Tax Watercraft registration Tax
> Well Permit Tax Workers Compensation Tax
>
>Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and our nation was the most prosperous in the world, had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world.

Get rid of them all!!! If we have more money in our pockets we spend them on goods, which means the Govt gets it all anyways.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 8:25 PM
Comment #198028

“I do stand by my sentiments 100%”… as do i.

let’s take back the republican party.

…in the immortal words of Mr. Beamer…

Let’s Roll.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 8:46 PM
Comment #198029

kevin23:

You claim to be a conservative Republican, so I did a little research to determine for myself just how “conservative” and “Republican” you really are.

I looked at the comments posted by ‘kevin23’ on the following topics:

Who will protect us from violent Islam?
More Bounce..Bounce..Bounce…
Al Qaeda’s desperate plea
Rummy’s the Man
October Surprise: GOP de-Foley-ation

I just started with the last topic in the archive and worked my way up. There were a number of topics that ‘kevin23’ did not comment on.

In every single case, your comment was

1. contrary to the view of the (conservative Republican) author
2. negative in tone, and/or
3. openly anti-Republican.

If you can call yourself a conservative Republican and get away with it, then I hereby declare myself to be a liberal Democrat.

What is the obsession with trying to blame the failures of this war on democrats?

Did Pelosi and 11 other top House Democrats send a letter to Bush demanding an immediate pull-out, or not? Did they just recently embrace the findings of the Iraq Study Group, or not?

The arguement that this is a “Republican” war is just plain stupid. Legislation could not have been passed without the approval of a good number of Democrats. The Republican majority in the House was a slim one (227 to 205); the majority in the Senate even slimmer (55 to 44).

But I suppose that doesn’t really matter because, although Bush is an imbecile and a moron, he was somehow clever enough to dupe most of Congress with his lies about WMDs. All those reports from intelligence agencies around the world must have been fabricated by Bush, too, I suppose.

I don’t think Iraq is a failure. Those are your words and thoughts, not mine.

I liked your “passive influence” line. Poor little Democrats with no influence over the electorate at all, no help from the MSM, no help from the Internet, or the NYT, or the LAT, or Newsweek, or Time, or Al-Jazeera, or … Boo-hoo-hoo.

You think the Democrat’s lack of consistency on this issue to be trivial. I don’t. I think it reveals that the whole Democrat strategy to “Change Direction” in Iraq was just that - a strategy. A means to an end. And the desired end result was the acquisition of political power. So, here were are, post Midterm, and it appears that the retreat from Iraq is going to take a little longer than advertised. Business as usual.

Your last quip is really beyond the pale:

As a conservative republican, I’m embarrassed that you and I share the same affiliation. I just can’t respect a poster who engages in nothing but demonizing partisan rhetoric, even at the expense of every last bit of credibility and context. Even when I completely agree with a general point you make, I find myself cringing at the ineffectiveness of your method of delivery.

Since I seriously doubt that you are a Republican, your thinly-veiled insult misses the mark by a fairly wide margin. As for the ineffectiveness of my post … well, if I was as ineffective as you claim, why did my comment merit such a lengthy retort from you?

Posted by: Chris at December 6, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #198030

Joseph Briggs

The JBS is opposed to anything close to socialism. That you are correct. As far as left/right, that is a point that is always moving. The governments of this country continually move leftward. Illegal immigration does have victims. Many die after crossing into the US and it is not this country’s fault. Drugs are smuggled into this country just as often as the illegal immigrants are. People on the border have their farms, livestock and homes raided by illegal immigrants. They create mayhem on the highways. Come vist the AZ border and you will see first hand of which I speak.

BTW I am not a JBS member.

Posted by: tomh at December 6, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #198031

Diogenes:

You cautioned kevin23 to tone it down a bit because I wasn’t worth it and added that there was a shortage of rational conservatives on this site. So, am I worthless and irrational or just worthless and rational?

This is a weak attempt at humor, Diogenes.

Posted by: Chris at December 6, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #198034


stubborn conservative: This country is still the most prosperous and still has the largest middle class. I am a little doubtful as to both being true in 1906 but may be so. Those taxes had absolutely nothing to do with the national debt. We can thank the Democrats and the Republicans for that, the Republicans more so.

Administration officials anounced that The United States has offered a detailed package of economic and energy assistance in exchange for North Korea’s giving up nuclear weapons and technology. Bush taketh away before and giveth back after they got the bomb. Another failure of this Administration.

Posted by: jlw at December 6, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #198035

stubborn conservative-
Let’s see, what was our country like in 1906? Mostly Rural. It wasn’t until the twenties that the balance shifted towards the cities. Mostly industrial. Hardly any electronics that we take for granted were invented. Mostly out of touch, with nowhere near the communications capability we now have. Much poorer on average. Much less literate. Much less in the way of electrification. Pollution was simply terrible. No interstate system. Radio really wasn’t a going concern at that point. Racism was pretty thick on the ground. Sanitation was poor, as were the standards on food.

The Europeans were the major economic powers. We had our prosperity, but we were shut out of many markets due to colonialism. France and England were the big military powers…

Folks might have thought it was a wonderful time to be alive, and couldn’t imagine that things would ever shape up like this. Truth is, they would likely be shocked by the culture of nearly every American today, even the so-called (in their view) conservatives.

It’s easy to view the past as some idyllic place, but it wasn’t. It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 6, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #198039

Stephen Daugherty,

Add to that the child labor laws didn’t really happen in this country until the depression, when adults would work as cheap as a child (so much for prosperity).
In 1938 FDR signed the Fair Standards Labor act that, among other things, put restrictions on child labor.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #198044

The Republicans haven’t poured out most of those taxes. The Dems did. Dems imposed the death tax and scream when there is any reference to repealing or cutting a tax

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 9:44 PM
Comment #198046

Chris-
Just what do you hope to gain? First, and I’m reminding all posters of this, the motto here is critique the message, not the messenger. In your case, you’re actually taking the opportunity to specifically attack Kevin 23. I think he should be more restrained on some of his comments, but you’re actively attacking him. Since you are a contributing editor, you have to set an example, openly attacking a commentor is outside the pale.

As for your other arguments? First, Not a single Democrat needed to vote for the resolution in the Senate for it to pass. The same goes for the House. Both could have passed on party line votes, though the margins would have been slim victories for each. Only six Republicans did not vote for the passage in the House, and only one voted against it in the Senate.

The call for this war did not originate with the Democrats. We did not have the neoconservative movement in our ranks writing letters to Clinton calling for regime change. It was Cheney, Wolfowitz and others who were chomping at the bit to go after Saddam when most of America had a different enemy in mind to take out. This was a Republican war. It wouldn’t have happened under our auspices.

As for the duping of Congress, it’s like the old saying goes: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Bush had nearly everybody’s security clearance downgraded, such that there were maybe Eight people in all the congress who would have the real intelligence shared with them. The rest would get the Declassified NIE, and other such intelligence, which we would later learn was sanitized of a great deal of the doubts, qualifications, footnotes and other sources of potential doubt as to the information. Those who had the clearance for all this couldn’t tell the American Public or their colleagues any different. Not everything was fabricated, but a lot was disregarded, shoved back into the case for war, even with analyst weeping in frustration about how many times they’ve taken it out and told them it was B.S. Literally. Anytime you have such an inequality of access to information, it doesn’t take a genius to deceive or mislead people.

As for those Reports from around the world? Much of it was doubtful from the beginning, some of it from sources considered undependable or prone to exaggeration. Really, the more you look at the intelligence picture, the more it becomes apparent that this administration was at the very least cherrypicking for support, instead of analyzing the picture properly. They wanted to see a reason to attack, and they made it clear that was what they would accept from the intelligence community.

The Iraq Strategty is a failure. It may be partially redeemable, but it’s done the exact opposite so far of what it was intended to do. In fact, The situation is much worse than we’ve been lead to believe. The Administration has systematically been downplaying the extent of the violence.

You’re perpetually putting off the question of whether the Iraq war is succeeding. Your answer is always to wait til tomorrow, for then we could win, if everybody will let us. However, we’ve been fed that line for more than three years now, and the time has come and passed for our approach to start yielding results. So far, the results have skewed negative.

You blame this on the media, and on the political opposition and dissenters. Unfortunately for that theory, we have not had the power to subvert things. The budget and the direction of the war has been run with little interference from our side. The most we have been able to do is simply talk. That talk would have not been persuasive if the war had been productive.

Indeed, the media would lap up a success as much as a failure. It is the dramatic nature of the failure that has caused the drop in morale stateside, and the unpopularity of the war. If you had told me that we would be close to losing this war three years ago, I would have been shocked. I would have thought that any good president would have buckled down and decided to improve things, but that’s not what ended up occuring.

As for inconsistency in the retreat? Didn’t anybody ever tell you that consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds? It doesn’t matter whether the positions on these issues are consistent, ultimately, it’s whether they’re done right. That’s the important thing. To be consistent without being right is to be habitually wrong.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 6, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #198048

“So, am I worthless and irrational or just worthless and rational?”

read into it what you will.

by the by, i would far sooner question the conservative credentials of a republican like yourself - who supports a neocon (read: NOT CONSERVATIVE) president such as bush - then someone such as kevin. before you call into question my own republican status; i can joyfully, proudly aver that i am *not* a republican.

i left that party when they left conservatism (that…and rational thought).


Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #198051

Stephen Daugherty:

Five years?

I goofed. Sorry about that.

Anyways, I would like to know what your big plan for winning Iraq is. You seem all too willing to call any exit plan “surrender”, without any sense of how we win this thing.

I don’t think any exit plan is “surrender.” But setting an arbitrary exit date is no way to win a war, Stephen. When the Iraqis can adequately defend themselves, we leave. The concept is simple, but making it happen has proven to be a lot more difficult than we thought. Difficult, yes. But impossible? No, I don’t think it’s an impossible task.

Is it worth it? Yes, I believe a friendly Iraq in the heart of the Middle East is definitely worth it.

Can we afford NOT to win? What are the consequences of defeat, short- and long-term?

At this point, it is so obvious that this war is not working that Bush has fired Rumsfeld, and is willingly going to employ a guy who’s coming into the job testifying that we’re losing the war.

Actually, he said that we were neither winning nor losing the war in Iraq. And I think Bush fired Rumsfeld in an effort to appease the new majority in Congress. Someone had to take the fall, so Bush gave Rummy a big shove. I really hated to see Rumsfeld get tossed aside in such a casual manner so soon after the midterms. Watching Rumsfeld squirm during the press announcement was like fingernails on a blackboard to me.

Blame the Democrats all you want to, histories verdict will focus on those who had command control and authority over this war. That means your party. That means your President. That means your Congress.

History belongs to the victor, or something along those lines. I agree with you. If we lose the war in Iraq, future historians will be most unkind to President Bush. One more reason to win in Iraq.

And thanks for reminding me, along with the rest of the readers here, that Bush is our President. Sometimes I wonder if Democrats realize that he is their President, too.

This isn’t about surrender. We’re surrendering to no one.

Well, it’s not a formal surrender. That’s true enough. The people we’re fighting don’t even wear uniforms. (This is supposed to be a joke. Please resist the urge to explain what you meant by “surrender.” I get it.)

This isn’t about creating defeat- if it happens, the reasons for it will lie in Bush’s policies, not some media/Democratic Party conspiracy to ruin the nation.

The fact that you are even contemplating defeat at this point in time only reinforces my belief that the whole “Change in Direction” campaign was a sham. Unless, of course, that change in direction was meant to be a full 180 degrees.

This is about salvaging something out of this God-forsaken mess which your president got us in into with insufficient foresight,

Wait a minute. Just a minute ago he was our President. Now he’s just my President? (OK, ok. I was again trying to inject a little humor into this and probably should have resisted the urge.)

flexibility and humility to get us out of it. If we have to suffer defeat because of what your president did, then most of the country prefers we suffer it on terms that are bad rather than worse.

(Just my President again…)

Seems to me that you’ve given up already. I’m not there yet, Stephen.

That in the end is the set of options your President’s policies leave us. Isn’t it time you and others like you figured out what you did wrong, rather than continue to blame the people you made sure didn’t have the power to affect this war?

You make it sound as though Democrats in Congress had no say in the matter. House and Senate Democrats had access to the same intelligence information as the Republicans. Hindsight is 20/20, Stephen. It’s easy to criticize how a war was conducted after the fact.

We made mistakes. When has there ever been a perfect military campaign? Haven’t we made a huge effort to correct those mistakes?

We should have had more troops at the beginning of the conflict. How does that realization help us win the war now?

…and so on.

Posted by: Chris at December 6, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #198062
Illegal immigration does have victims. Many die after crossing into the US and it is not this country’s fault.

Sure it is. They wouldn’t die if they were allowed to come over by conventional means. They die because they need to be smuggled in trucks or cross the desert on foot. In other words, they die because of the law. Your point is like saying the violence surrounding drug trafficking is why drugs must be kept illegal. Speaking of which…

Drugs are smuggled into this country just as often as the illegal immigrants are.

I’m for repealing the Controlled Substances Act so you’ve got no sympathy from me on this point. Making drugs legal would change the world “smuggled” to “imported,” transfer these transactions from the black market to the legitimate market and subject this multi-billion dollar industry to taxation, creating revenue to correctly deal with this issue as a medical problem and not a criminal one. And, as hinted above, by taking this industry away from the black market, violence associated with drug trafficking would be eliminated.

People on the border have their farms, livestock and homes raided by illegal immigrants. They create mayhem on the highways.

So are you accusing all (or a vast majority of) illegal immigrants of this? Because that’s the only way you have a point against illegal immigration. Otherwise you’re talking about the criminal element among the population of immigrants, which, like the rest of society, is a small percentage of the whole and would be dealt with accordingly.

BTW I am not a JBS member.

Yeah, I don’t make those kind of assumptions.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #198064

Everyone:

I obviously don’t have what it takes to be an Editor on WatchBlog. I thought I was just defending myself. Obviously, I was wrong.

I’m sorry if I offended anyone. You, expecially, kevin23. Stephen’s right. I’m taking this way too personally and spend more time reading and responding than I do talking with family and friends.

I’ll continue to post comments here, if allowed. But an Editor should know better than to take comments to heart.

-chris

Posted by: Chris at December 6, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #198065

Chris,

“Hindsight is 20/20, Stephen. It’s easy to criticize how a war was conducted after the fact.

We made mistakes. When has there ever been a perfect military campaign? Haven’t we made a huge effort to correct those mistakes?”

You’ve been ignoring me so far, and I can only assume that you will ignore this as well, but I just have to speak up here.

I’ve been posting here more than two years and Stephen and others have very consistent about their criticism of the way this conflict has been run. His comments are not hindsight, in point of fact they have been rather perceptive in the light of how things have turned out.

You guys keep saying how mistakes are made in every conflict.
Yes, but it isn’t that mistakes that have been made in Iraq, it is the lack of ready solutions to those mistakes that have doomed this adventure from after the fall of Baghdad.
The lack of focus in this administration, and “our” President has bordered on criminal when the lives of our troops are hanging in the balance here.
We have been in this theater for 3 1/2 years, and there is still no security.

Why is that?

We defeated Japan and Germany in less time than we have been in Iraq with all of our modern technology.

Realistically, can you tell me why that is.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #198066

Diogenes:

Neocon is a term for a Jew. Bush is not Jewish and Neocon doesn’t mean “New Conservative.” It is just term that his political enemies use to call him names. No one should call anyone names. Critique does keep the govt in line by the people, but it is only healthy to critique the policies.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 10:39 PM
Comment #198069

Not that I’m defending Kevin23 or that I think he needs help against such weak debate but the following is just ridiculous…

In every single case, your comment was

1. contrary to the view of the (conservative Republican) author
2. negative in tone, and/or
3. openly anti-Republican.

I’m afraid you haven’t proved anything, Chris. Being contrary to the poster doesn’t prove Kevin23 isn’t Republican. Being negative doesn’t prove it either. And your last point is obviously a matter of opinion on what it means to be Republican, which you don’t specify. Also, I thought the Republican party had a Big Tent.

It sounds like you’re a hardliner who resents moderates.

What is the obsession with trying to blame the failures of this war on democrats?

Did Pelosi and 11 other top House Democrats send a letter to Bush demanding an immediate pull-out, or not? Did they just recently embrace the findings of the Iraq Study Group, or not?

Wait, so we’re failing in Iraq because the Dems wrote a letter to the president? We’re losing in Iraq because they embraced findings from a study? That is some top-notch delusional logic, Chris.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #198071

Rocky:

I know why. We haven’t fought hard enough since then. In Vietnam, we weren’t attacked on our land to get us. We were on 9/11. I expected it to be long because the enemy is not an official army, but I expected us to fight hard, but this political civil war is dragging us down.

Let’s finish this. When the terrorists retreat, chase them and crush them! The Civil War would have ended much sooner if the Potomac Generals follwed Lincoln’s orders and chased Lee down when he was weak.

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #198072

stubborn conservative,

“Neocon is a term for a Jew. Bush is not Jewish and Neocon doesn’t mean “New Conservative.” It is just term that his political enemies use to call him names.”

Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

Please go here and read;

http://www.newamericancentury.org/

Perhaps it will enlighten you to read the the website top to bottom.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #198073
Neocon is a term for a Jew.

???

Neocon doesn’t mean “New Conservative.”

??????

Sorry to be so bereft of words but… wtf? I’m afraid the prefix “neo” does in fact mean, “new.” And affixing it to “conservative” would make it mean “new conservative.” You might think it an insult, much like many liberals fell for the idea that “liberal” was an insult, but it isn’t. It’s a classification of political philosophy. If you don’t like the fact that the term is applied to Bush, then Bush will simply need to realign himself. But as it is, he is a neoconservative and has rather faithfully followed the prescriptions set forth by PNAC, the epitome of neoconservative thinking.

And what the hell does it have to do with Jews?

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 10:59 PM
Comment #198074

And thanks Rocky for providing a link.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 6, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #198075

“Neocon is a term for a Jew. Bush is not Jewish and Neocon doesn’t mean ‘New Conservative.’”

what?!?! i think you had better provide some support for this statement - because so far as i know (and i do, in fact, know), this statement is pure bunk. this administration is *chock*-*full* of neocons. and i don’t mean jews. look it up.

(honestly, how does neocon translate to jew in *any* language?)

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #198077

diogenes,

read this;

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

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #198079

Also the founders of the Neo-conservative movement were indeed Jewish.

Posted by: Rocky at December 6, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #198080

Critics:

You are half right. Neocon-according to the Webster Online Dictionary does say New Conservative, BUT look at the word “conservative”. It means “to preserve the ways of tradition.” So there can be no ‘new’ conservative. Either you are or you aren’t.

Nazis and communists called Jews neocons. Why? I do not know.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #198081

Rocky:

Thanks for doing the research for me. BTW- I didn’t find “neocon” in the site.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #198083


When that report came out a few months ago about as many a 450,000 to 600,000 Iraqi deaths it was attacked by those who have defended the Presidents policies. We now know for a fact that the administration and the Pentagon deliberately miss informed the American People about the number of deaths and the amount of violence in Iraq. The report was far more accurate than the Administrations account.

Posted by: jlw at December 6, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #198087

ok. so the founders of the american neocon movement were jewish. i understand your confusion (and my own), but it certainly does not follow that the term ‘neocon’ is necessarily (or ever) utilized as a derogatory slur on jews.

it is the policies to which i refer - as you well know (considering that you knew that little tidbit of archaic trivia, i think this is a safe assumption).

for your information, these days the neoconservative movement is more an extension of the neoliberal movement found in europe (notably, england)… that is, they pursue the same illogical policies. the founders of that movement were *not* jewish (again, to the best of my knowledge). there are subtle differences… but i’ve been through all this many times before.

regardless, the point is that most who hold these perverse and absurd ideas refer to themselves, by and large, as neocons… and it really wouldn’t matter if they didn’t (which they do), because the ideas would still be the same - and they would still be wrong.

i therefore reiterate; bush is a neocon.

and yes, i agree - neocon is a self-contradictory term = and bush is, therefore, no conservative.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 11:33 PM
Comment #198090

by the way,

i appreciate the link, rocky.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 11:35 PM
Comment #198091

I feel like we are just repeating the same things to each other. What is the difference between a neocon and a conservative?

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 6, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #198095

quit playing these circuitous games. you expect me to believe that you knew the origins of the term, ‘neocon’, but don’t recognize the difference between the two? i can’t help but feel like the butt of a neocon joke…

here’s an idea - take a look at bush, then compare everything he has done to what a real conservative in his position would have done (if you are familiar with *that* term). or better yet - look it up, and quit waisting my time.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 6, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #198098


Another disappointment, Dick Cheney’s gay daughter is pregnant. She and her partner of 15 years are very much looking forward to being parents. Details of the pregnancy will remain private.

Posted by: jlw at December 7, 2006 12:02 AM
Comment #198101

Bush has everything in common with a conservative, except that he wants amnesty. The war isn’t his fault. The war is more good for us than bad. It can be better. The War on Terror won’t be finished until the party wars end and Americans become united against the radical Islamist enemy. So Bush is a conservative, or a barely a neocon. I will research Neoconism.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 7, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #198105

amnesty? yes. now what about expansive and intrusive federal government coupled with attempts at drastic reductions in the rights of states, consolidation of power in the executive, undermining of the constitution, massive debt, spreading freedom by force - among others.

(the war in afghanistan was necessary; the war in iraq was, in fact, pointless, wrongheaded, and *entirely* his fault)

these are conservative goals? since when. now, not all of these are necessarily part of a neocon agenda, but as they are not at all part of a conservative one - and do not at all conflict with the neocon agenda (indeed, they are practically prerequisites for pursuing one) - how about citing some policies he has pursued which do comply with conservative ideology.

please, research it… but again, ultimately, i don’t care what you or anyone else calls him - so long as you recognize the inherent, severe deficiencies in these policies.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #198108

The fire between us seems to be cooling.

Neocons are like conservatives in many ways. Here are the differences: They are facist. They want bigger government. They want people dependent on the government.

The list probably goes on. People everywhere are screaming “Neocon!” If a word is used too often and unnecessarily, It unofficialy gets redefined. That is why your definition was different than mine. Corrupt politicians seeking power use this tactic. “I am a new…” or “I am a moderate…” This confuses the voters. This is when we say to politicians, “you are what you are, don’t hide that.”

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 7, 2006 12:39 AM
Comment #198112

those are certainly some of the differences. i do not see that my definition is very, or any, different than your own - but i can appreciate that you recognize a difference.

bush has never, to my knowledge, avowed that he is a neocon. a good number in this administration have, and several others are quite suspect. i understand that the term is vague, but then so are the terms ‘liberal,’ and ‘conservative’ (though i would argue, to a lesser degree).

still - the policies of this administration, for which i must hold bush solely responsible, are not those of a conservative… this is why i was careful to clarify my use of the word (at least initially). thus, it should not have mattered too much whether are definitions did differ. regardless, i am glad that we cleared that up.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #198123
You are half right. Neocon-according to the Webster Online Dictionary does say New Conservative, BUT look at the word “conservative”. It means “to preserve the ways of tradition.” So there can be no ‘new’ conservative. Either you are or you aren’t.

I don’t think you know what the word “new” means. Here’s an example using it the way you try to characterize it above: You say you own a Ford (vehicle). I say I own a new Ford. You say, that’s not possible, it’s either a Ford or it isn’t.

Like any ideology, there can be different approaches to conservativism and there isn’t anything about conservativism that excludes new approaches to preserving traditional means and ends. If you feel that the very ideology of conservativism is itself a tradition requiring preserving then… well… I don’t know what that’s called. We would need a new term for that.

My question regarding the Jews was really driving at exactly what Diegenes said:

ok. so the founders of the american neocon movement were jewish. i understand your confusion (and my own), but it certainly does not follow that the term ‘neocon’ is necessarily (or ever) utilized as a derogatory slur on jews.
Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 7, 2006 6:24 AM
Comment #198124
Corrupt politicians seeking power use this tactic. “I am a new…” or “I am a moderate…” This confuses the voters. This is when we say to politicians, “you are what you are, don’t hide that.”

You beleive that any politician who claims to be a moderate is corrupt and lying? That’s rather cynical, don’t you think?

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 7, 2006 6:34 AM
Comment #198137

Neoconservative refers not to the policies, but to the timing of the folks entering the movement, basically former liberals who crossed over when the leftist in the party took foreign policy in what they saw as a direction of appeasement- hence their obsession with confrontation.

They’re not too conservative in certain respects, and it is true that many of them are Jewish and Pro-Israel, but it’s their own rhetoric that the opposition to them and their Middle East policy is a form of anti-semitism. Folks actually are generally unaware of the ethnicity and generally don’t care abgout it.

They believe you do what it takes to slay the dragons in the world. Unfortunately, they’ve got this tendency to make dogma and theology of their positions, to use brute political force to make their positions the consensus. This happened in the 70’s and 80’s with the Soviet threat, which they greatly overestimated, and again in the 90’s and the current decade, with Iraq. They get fixated on a certain enemy and beat the shit out of everybody in order to get us to go after them.

Trouble is, they’re better at crying wolf than spotting wolves. They don’t have the discipline and reserve to sit back and analyze the position from a detached perspective. They jump the gun on figuring out what happens, on what can happen. What makes it worse is that they consider most other political positions and attitudes to be not aggressive enough, to be purposed towards appeasement and things like that. The result of this, generally, is that they won’t listen to anybody else’s advice.

They make sure that nothing and nobody gets in the way of their goals, even those trying to give them a reality check, or give greater substance to their plans. Then they bitterly fight anybody who tries to change policy after it turns out that they were wrong. This both makes it more difficult to correct the problems their policy creates, and additionally makes for a much more contentious, even divisive debate.

This is why the Neocons have replaced “liberals” as the political movement people love to hate. A bunch of people hijack the war on terror, sending us into a war they poorly plan, then start blaming us and raining insults on us for our opposition to their policies, not to mention paralyzing any change of policy.

Americans want a different direction. They want out of this war somehow. Preferably, we don’t want a disaster, but our ability to avoid that has been impaired the by stubborn resistance to reforming the plan by our Neocon friends, and their Republican enablers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #198145

Rocky:

I’ve been posting here more than two years and Stephen and others have very consistent about their criticism of the way this conflict has been run. His comments are not hindsight, in point of fact they have been rather perceptive in the light of how things have turned out.

Interesting how perceptions differ between libs and conservatives. When I maintain consistency in my views, Stephen claims I am suffering from a “fooish consistency” and insults my intelligence in a not-so-subtle manner. However, when a liberal (like Stephen) maintains a posture that is consistently critical of this President and his Administration, he is praised for being “perceptive.” Constructive criticism is warranted. But the kind of criticism liberals have embraced since the 2000 election is not “constructive” at all. I have read hundreds of liberal rantings throughout the blogosphere (WatchBlog included) that describe our President and every single member of his Cabinet as moronic, imbecilic, warmongering, you name it. The hatred for Bush predates 9/11, and nothing has changed. It’s just a happy coincidence that the war in Iraq is not going well because it gave their seething hatred of Bush the moral authority needed to turn public opinion against him and his policies. The whole “Bush is an idiot” thing wasn’t working. But when you associate “Bush is an idiot” with “Bush is sending our brave boys to die in a senseless war based on his lies about WMDs so his neocon cronies can get rich on no-bid contracts” … Well, that’s MUCH more effective.

We have been in this theater for 3 1/2 years, and there is still no security.

Why is that?

Uhm, because there is an insurgency composed of militant Islamofanatics (Sunni, Shia, Al Quada, foreign fighters from Syria and Iran, etc.) who consider the U.S. to be nothing more than a paper tiger, and all they have to do is wait us out?

We defeated Japan and Germany in less time than we have been in Iraq with all of our modern technology.

Realistically, can you tell me why that is.

We defeated the Iraqi army in … what? Six weeks? The difference is that this has devolved into a sectarian conflict (Sunni vs. Shia) with Al Quaeda types added in for good measure who have nothing to lose but their miserable lives and everything to gain by becoming martyrs for Allah.

Posted by: Chris at December 7, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #198146

I meant to write “foolish consistency,” not “fooish.”

Sounds funny, though. Fooish.

Posted by: Chris at December 7, 2006 10:50 AM
Comment #198173

Chris-

“Who will protect us from violent Islam?
More Bounce..Bounce..Bounce…
Al Qaeda’s desperate plea
Rummy’s the Man
October Surprise: GOP de-Foley-ation”

Nice cherry picking. Next time try reading articles written by true conservatives like Michael Smith. In them, you’ll find my positions on actual issues rather than my anti-fearmongering position (which I and MANY conservatives stand by whole-heartedly). You just picked the most extreme threads that were written by right wing extremists. I am not a neo-con extremist.

I don’t think your accusations hold ANY merit whatsoever, and even your researching abilities are suspect. All my posts and you only come up with the above threads? Seems suspicious to me and should be for anyone who reads my posts regularly as well. Therefore, I will simply say that I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

“If you can call yourself a conservative Republican and get away with it, then I hereby declare myself to be a liberal Democrat.”

And that will somehow prove something to me? Its a free country…you have only your dignity to lose. I’m perfectly comfortable standing by my words. Limited, accountable and responsible government, federalism and keeping government out of personal lives seems pretty conservative to me. Maybe you disagree. Fine by me…just don’t go unilaterally changing definitions on us all just to “win” an argument.

“Did Pelosi and 11 other top House Democrats send a letter to Bush demanding an immediate pull-out, or not? Did they just recently embrace the findings of the Iraq Study Group, or not?”

Who cares? They are not in power. The democrats are just punching holes in the policy by presenting alternatives that appear just as viable. Thats all they can do. And doing nothing would definately upset people more.

“The arguement that this is a “Republican” war is just plain stupid.”

Really? Who collected, analized, cherry picked, and then only partially reported the facts that led us to war? Republicans. Not all republicans were war-hawks, but civilian leadership of this war was overwhelmingly dominated by republicans. And since they used their political majority and authority to get things passed, that makes the actions distinctly republican. The fact that a small number of democrats jumped on board for whatever reasons does not change any of these facts. Do you really deny this? Or is the whole concept too “stupid” for you to even think about? I guarantee you that MANY voters on both sides do not feel that way.

“he was somehow clever enough to dupe most of Congress with his lies about WMDs. All those reports from intelligence agencies around the world must have been fabricated by Bush, too, I suppose.”

Its easy to do when there is no oversight and you get to select which facts to report. The fabrication was not on the documents themselves, but rather in the fact that certain information was expressly hidden.

“I don’t think Iraq is a failure. Those are your words and thoughts, not mine.”

You can’t even quote me correctly? I said the mission was doomed because no one understood it. Define success 10 different ways and your bound to find something that works for you. I’m more of a realist.

Chris to Stephen D: “And thanks for reminding me, along with the rest of the readers here, that Bush is our President.”

True. But does that mean his policies are our policies? Absolutely not! At least not in a working democracy. Dissent is a good thing. SOME people even learn from criticism.

Chris to Stephen D: “I don’t think any exit plan is “surrender.” But setting an arbitrary exit date is no way to win a war, Stephen.”

Since when is setting a deadline a hindrance to things getting done quickly? I impose deadline all the time on my employees. Some are arbitrary. But guess what? They WORK! No one does anything if they dont feel any sense of urgency. And if they do, what they produce is not their best effort. We need deadlines, and consequences if we are serious. Not open ended promises. That, my tunnel-visioned friend, is how the entitlement mentality starts. Any good conservative should be anti-entitlement in Iraq.

Chris to Stephen D: “The fact that you are even contemplating defeat at this point in time only reinforces my belief…”

Stop right there. If defeat is simply accounting for reality, then we lost the moment Bush changed the mission. And since when is it a good idea to have no “plan B” in war? These are distinctly white house problems. How do democrats voicing legitimate concerns about the way money is being wasted affect that?

Chris to Stephen D: “House and Senate Democrats had access to the same intelligence information as the Republicans.”

No. They had access to what the white house chose to give them access to. Often, they voted without reading it at all.

Chris to Stephen D: “We made mistakes. When has there ever been a perfect military campaign? Haven’t we made a huge effort to correct those mistakes?”

Too little too late. No one is asking for perfection. It shouldn’t take losing $300B and your congressional majority in an election-year turnover to motivate you to do your due diligence. The mere fact that real lives are on the line should have been enough. But I’m still hopeful that good changes will be made when Bush actually paying attention to his critics (now mounting up on both sides of the isle).

“I liked your “passive influence” line. Poor little Democrats with no influence over the electorate at all, no help from the MSM, no help from the Internet, or the NYT, or the LAT, or Newsweek, or Time, or Al-Jazeera, or … Boo-hoo-hoo.”

Now you are just lashing out blindly. I’m sorry you feel so oppressed. I think it is a personal problem more than anything. Boo-hoo-hoo for you too.

“You think the Democrat’s lack of consistency on this issue to be trivial.”

No, I just think it reflects the reality that there is no silver bullet. Thats a heck of a lot more honest than a unified front for more of the same.

“Since I seriously doubt that you are a Republican, your thinly-veiled insult misses the mark by a fairly wide margin. As for the ineffectiveness of my post … well, if I was as ineffective as you claim, why did my comment merit such a lengthy retort from you?”

Again, try doing some actual research rather than a blind baseless attack on me personally. You are a contributing editor here? Maybe Watchblog needs to make your status here dependent upon you having even a basic understanding of the rules. I can take it, but you are not setting the bar very high for others now are you?

As for the lengthy retort: you’ll forgive me if I like to be clear. I suppose you find it a weakness of mine that I like to explain my positions and criticisms. When someone posts something that is as devoid of logic as your initial post was, I feel it is best for the conservative movement and ideology as a whole to distinguish the good arguments from the crap. Your arguments, Chris, were crap. And I do not want my positions to be wrongly associated with crap. Its that simple. I’m sorry, but it did not have much to do with you personally. You are just not that important to me. Sorry to burst that bubble for you.


Stubborn Conservative-

A conservative believes in the value of local control over federal control and puts the focus on personal responsibility rather than government intervention when dealing with social issues. A Neo-conservative believes in using the federal government to promote their agenda. While they share SOME of the same ideas, the means to the end are polar opposites. Neocons have much more in common with liberals in the way they impliment policy. Bush is nowhere near a Reagan conservative. He’s more like a LBJ democrat, just with a much different agenda.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 7, 2006 3:11 PM
Comment #198189

Stephen Daugherty:

Just what do you hope to gain? First, and I’m reminding all posters of this, the motto here is critique the message, not the messenger. In your case, you’re actually taking the opportunity to specifically attack Kevin 23. I think he should be more restrained on some of his comments, but you’re actively attacking him. Since you are a contributing editor, you have to set an example, openly attacking a commentor is outside the pale.

You’re absolutely right. I apologized and resigned as a WatchBlog editor. Now that I no longer have to “set an example,” I am free to articulate my position however I wish. You are under no obligation whatsoever to read my comments or reply to them.

Not a single Democrat needed to vote for the resolution in the Senate for it to pass.

But 29 Democrat Senators did vote for the Iraq Resolution. That’s the point.

The call for this war did not originate with the Democrats. We did not have the neoconservative movement in our ranks writing letters to Clinton calling for regime change. It was Cheney, Wolfowitz and others who were chomping at the bit to go after Saddam when most of America had a different enemy in mind to take out. This was a Republican war. It wouldn’t have happened under our auspices.

Hmm. Well, let’s take a look at what some prominent Democrats had to say about Saddam, WMDs, and whether an invasion of Iraq was justified. I’ll take them at their word if you will, Stephen:

General Wesley Clark
“There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat… Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He’s had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001… He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we.”
September 26, 2002

Robert Byrd, (D-WV)
“The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
October 3, 2002

Bob Graham (D-FL)
“There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”
Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

Carl Levin (D-MI)
“We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.”
September 19, 2002

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
“The President has rightly called Saddam Hussein’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans. The global community has tried but failed to address that threat over the past decade. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks — and we should not minimize the risks — we must authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat.”
October 10, 2002

Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
September 27, 2002

“There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed.”
September 27, 2002

Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members . It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
October 10, 2002

John Kerry (D-MA)
“Well, it wasn’t only on that basis. … Saddam Hussein could not be left to his own devices based on everything we learned about him for seven and a half years while we were inspecting in Iraq. People have forgotten that for seven and a half years, we found weapons of mass destruction. We were destroying weapons of mass destruction. We were, the United States of America, together with Ambassador Butler and the United Nations.”
2003
CBS Face the Nation

Read more comments from beguiled and hoodwinked Democrats here and here.

As for the duping of Congress…

Amazing. All of the Democrats above were duped by Bush. Even Hillary, often touted as the Smartest Woman on the Planet.

As for those Reports from around the world? …

It is incredible to me how you can be so dismissive of those intelligence reports. At the time, it was the best information we had.

The Iraq Strategty is a failure.

I disagree. The Islamofanatics cannot beat us militarily. The Iraqi government is only in its infancy, so I’d expect them to need our help (along with the rest of the responsible free world) for a long, long time. The economic infrastructure of Iraq was in a sorry state long before our tanks rolled into downtown Baghdad.

You’re perpetually putting off the question of whether the Iraq war is succeeding.

I don’t remember anyone putting that specific question before me. Yes, our efforts in Iraq are succeeding, albeit slower than everyone anticipated. I think a more appropriate question is “Are we succeeding in Iraq fast enough?” As the Midterms and the Iraq Surrender Group have made plainly obvious, the answer is “No.”

You blame this on the media, and on the political opposition and dissenters.

And our enemies. Don’t forget them.

Unfortunately for that theory, we have not had the power to subvert things.

You grossly underestimate the power of the (overwhelmingly liberal Democrat) media on this society. The MSM are the unnamed 4th branch of government. From Day One of the conflict, you could not pick up a newspaper or watch a nightly news program without negative commentary by a Democrat celebrity or Congressman. Day in and day out, an endless litany of Bad News from Iraq.

The budget and the direction of the war has been run with little interference from our side.

That’s true enough, I suppose.

The most we have been able to do is simply talk. That talk would have not been persuasive if the war had been productive.

I think the war would have been more productive if the talk from your side had been more supportive. If our enemies had seen an uncompromising, committed, and determined United States coming at them, we wouldn’t be having this debate.

Posted by: Chris at December 7, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #198190

stephen,

“Neoconservative refers not to the policies, but to the timing of the folks entering the movement…”

i disagree with this statement - the neocons have come to be known for their agenda more so than anything else.
… but i agree with much of the rest of your post.

joseph,

“If you feel that the very ideology of conservativism is itself a tradition requiring preserving then… well… I don’t know what that’s called. “

i have heard the term paleoconservative thrown about in reference to this line of thinking. i’m not very familiar with the term, but it seems a bit of a redundancy. i intend to look into it a good deal more when i have an opportunity.

((in my opinon, the term ‘neocon,’ is itself a lie to distract and mislead; in this case, to distract and mislead true conservatives.))

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 4:13 PM
Comment #198193

by the way,

i recently found information suggesting there is, in fact, a neoliberal movement in america. if this pans out, then i guess i was wrong about the neolibs being exclusive to europe. this is news to me - as the neolibs and neocons share practically the same political philosophies/goals.

still, it’d be worth looking into, if you find such things fasci(st)nating. ;)

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #198196

Chris-

“I think the war would have been more productive if the talk from your side had been more supportive. If our enemies had seen an uncompromising, committed, and determined United States coming at them, we wouldn’t be having this debate.”

Yes, and if everyone would just follow the golden rule, there would be no wars. Denying reality and legitimate criticisms is no way to go to war. You wait until the nation is ACTUALLY fully behind you, THEN you go to war. When the support is more than an illusion, the chances of success go way up. I find your plan of hushing everyone to appear unified to be nothing more than a giant bluff…in other words, best used to avoid a war. Fighting a war requires REAL commitment and genuine belief in the cause. Without them, you are blowing smoke. America should not be in the business of blowing smoke…let alone the most expensive smoke ever conceived. It is wasteful and irresponsible.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 7, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #198203

Seminole, too many responses here to read all of them but I did want to say that I agree with you. For those who disagree I would just love to see you, for example, board that plane after watching those Muslim clergy pray and chant Allahu Akbar before boarding. Better yet let the ticket agent tell you several had one way tickets. I’d bet my house that your liberal idealism would be put aside just long enough for you to find an excuse to not board that flight.

Posted by: Carnak at December 7, 2006 4:49 PM
Comment #198213

Chris,

“Uhm, because there is an insurgency composed of militant Islamofanatics (Sunni, Shia, Al Quada, foreign fighters from Syria and Iran, etc.) who consider the U.S. to be nothing more than a paper tiger, and all they have to do is wait us out?”

So what you’re saying is that an insurgency, an INSURGENCY, has fought the worlds most powerful military to a standstill, and there isn’t a thing America can do about it?


Carnak,

“For those who disagree I would just love to see you, for example, board that plane after watching those Muslim clergy pray and chant Allahu Akbar before boarding. Better yet let the ticket agent tell you several had one way tickets. I’d bet my house that your liberal idealism would be put aside just long enough for you to find an excuse to not board that flight.”

It’s apparent from your remarks you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
The procedure for single ended tickets is like this.

Your ticket has a special mark on it that identifies you to security as having a single ended ticket, you are, depending on the airport, herded into a separate line, where your carry on is hand searched, you are patted down, and wanded, and sent through a “sniffer” (a scanning device that specifically “smells for chemicals and analyzes them),
or you are sent through the scanner with everyone else, and told to take a seat, you are then told remove your shoes and to stand on the feet marks while your carry on is hand searched, you are patted down, and wanded. All the time you are being observed by not only security, but all the other passengers as well.
Only when security is totally satisfied are you released from your ordeal.

I have been through this six different times in six different airports.
Las Vegas,
Dallas,
Salt Lake City,
Denver,
Fresno, and
Houston.
I was on a tour earlier this year, performing rock and roll for children and 15 of the crew went through this as well, and we were all on the same plane together.

Now if any of you wienies out there don’t want to get on the plane, I’ll surely take your window seat.

Posted by: Rocky at December 7, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #198245

it’s astounding, really.

people go blasting through the skies thousands of feet high, hundreds of miles an hour, in a pressurized metal tube, secured only by a belt to a chair - and then want to worry about being safe.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #198246

Rocky-

I echo your sentiments. And I’m just sorry that you had to be in Fresno for any period of time. We call it the “armpit of CA” for good reason.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 7, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #198250

Kevin,

What amazed me was that we were “searched” on the flight from Vegas to Fresno as well.

As if Fresno was the new hotbed of terrorist activity.

By the way the Buddy Holly Airlines Flight on that plane out of Vegas was brutal.

Posted by: Rocky at December 7, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #198266

Dec 7 1941 Sept 11 2001 60 years between dates about the same amount of lives lost in the two attacks on america. What a huge deference in how americans were willing to fight the enemy then, than we are today. Something to think about.
God Bless our troops then and now

Posted by: dolan at December 7, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #198269

we fought the enemy. we won. then we went to a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11… invaded their country, destroyed their government, killed their people, dishonored our own, and now, refuse to leave.

something (that’s actually true) to think about.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #198271

though to be fair, i can understand bush’s confusion. to someone that ignorant and backwards, “all ‘em damn a-rab camel jockies look the same. sunni? shiite? don’t gimme ‘at shiite, i know it’s sunni - it’s the desert… probly hot too.”

sorry. bad joke.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 7, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #198273

Chris-
When the Iraqis can defend themselves, we leave? Well, It seems like they’re good at defending themselves, just not peacefully coexisting with their neighbors. If we signal a definite limit to our committment, they might give serious thought as to what happens when their neighbors start filling the vacuum we leave.

The question is whether Iraq can cohere as one nation. Given what’s happening now, there are grave doubts about that. We can be enthusiastic as we want to be about the prospect of a free, democratic Iraq, but unless the Iraqis play ball with us on that, It doesn’t happen. Iraq becomes, or rather stays a failed state.

Wishful thinking can motivate you to win a war, given the right means at your disposal, but it can’t win it for you, especially if you haven’t taken care of business in a timely, working fashion. This war has moved much faster than the Republican learning curve on it, and folks are still failing to catch up to the reality on it.

You’re right in that we can ill-afford to lose. Unfortunately, you don’t perceive how far things have really degraded. Read State of Denial if you want to know just how bad things are there, what kind of opportunities we missed.

I agree that the shoving out of Rumsfeld was political, but that raises the question: was his retention political, too? I believe so. I believe that Rumsfeld was kept this long to supplement the “stay the course” message, to pre-empt criticism that would inevitably come of his admitting his mistake. He fired Rumsfeld ultimately because his message failed. Americans didn’t admire Bush’s determination, they resented his obstinacy, his unwillingness to change course in response to a war that was obviously not going as he planned.

History is not written by the victors. It’s written by folks with facts, and there are already enough built up concerning this administration’s behavior to paint a convincing picture of the incompetence, corruption and arrogance that has plagued this war.

You talk of surrender, but that’s just a codeword for you opposition to any definite exit strategy. The truth is, I think, we can’t surrender because we never really had control of anything. That’s the tragedy of our approach. As aggressive as your folks claim to be, your folks argued from the beginning for what was essentially a limited war, as if we could conceal the fact that we were invaders, occupiers, and a foreign presence trying to change their culture.

You folks misinterpreted Vietnam, misinterpreted the lessons. Instead of understanding how pathological the Johnson and Nixon administration’s attitudes towards the media were, and how little their attempts to force people to like the war and support it despite it’s grave underlying problems, you folks took their behavior as something to emulate.

In the end, the problem wasn’t that Americans couldn’t stomach a war, it’s that they couldn’t stomach their government perseverating in a war without generating forward progress. It is the incompetence of the handling of the war that soured people on it. You can only tell people that victory’s around the corner so many time before people rightly conclude you’re leading them in circles.

From the start, the Neocons and your people have failed to realize that the failures of Vietnam were not in terms of will or stomach, morale or backbone; what is losing Iraq, and what did lose Vietnam was a failure to match strategy to the needs of the mission.

You can break your back working towards the goal, but if nothing you do affects the issues that matter in terms of that goal, you’re only wasting strength, wasting resources. Idealism is a great motivator, but it doesn’t create success were it is not earned.

In Vietnam, our problem was that we never got the South Vietnamese rallied around a leader that they could respect and be lead by the way the North could gather around Ho Chi Minh. We supported leaders who were throwbacks to the old, corrupt French Colonial regimes, who alienated the people with their dictatorial arrogance. We never got the people around to the line of thinking that theirs was the true Vietnam, that they should defend it tooth and nail. Worse yet, we tried to fight the whole war for them, which meant they never had to grow up and learn to fight for themselves, as a nation.

It was a failure for us that we were propping them up, fighting their half of the civil war in that country for them. Though they couldn’t defeat us outright, they could handily keep us from winning, which amounted in the end to a defeat.

In Iraq, our continued presence would eventually degrade into this. The Good news is that the Shiites genuinely want to fight for their country. The bad news is so does the other fifth of the population, which has fond memories of their time in power. In the absence of law and order, a situation which our botched post-war strategy created, radical elements among the Shia have risen to prominence, both feeding upon and sheltered by our presence.

Surrender? This isn’t our war to lose anymore, unfortunately. We’re propping up what has resulted from our policy. The best we can do is to encourage the party’s involved to do what we failed to do in the beginning. We can best do that by starting to knock out the supports and demand that Iraqis do what only they can do.

Should they be asked to do this unprepared? No, I think we should bolster them up as much as possible, and give them sufficient opportunity to get their act straight.

In the end, though, we should start leaving, whether or not they’re ready. This isn’t quitting, this is finishing up. We had our chance. These chances were temporary. A number of them passed by because of this President’s unwillingness to change course. Expecting that we can do this over, like a video game player redoing a level from a previous save game, is unrealistic. We’ve had our chances. Now we have to put ourselves in a position to deal with the realities that come out of this.

Hindsight is 20/20. The real question for the future is this: how much of this war was only glimpseable by hindsight? The trouble for your argument is just how many people told the President and the public how these things would turn out before they occured. These weren’t unforseen failures, quirks of fate. These were forseeable errors. Others, more experienced in nation-building, in reconstruction, in Arab affairs and Iraqi history gave the administration and the public warnings about these events before they happened.

This has come because those who have had majority power for decades, and who certainly exercised it to get this war, thought that these rules and necessities these folks were talking about somehow didn’t apply to them. Rumsfeld was going to transform the Army, Bush was going to transform foreign policy, Cheney went about transforming the intelligence apparatus. All of them believed that by stretching things past where others had, they were freeing the country from constraints. Unfortunately, they missed the fact that many of these constraints, these inconvenient principles and theories were there for a reason, reasons they never cared to understand, and in many ways still don’t.

When you punch with a fist, you try not to have the force hit on most of your fist, but rather on the first two knuckles. Is this because we unfairly want to favor those knuckles, rather than use the full fist? No, we limit it because the other parts of the fist are vulnerable to breaking, and these two knuckles can line up straight with the armbones. Bad technique in a fight can get you hurt, even if it looks bolder and brighter and more flamboyant.

As for foolish consistencies? Well, mister, one can be intelligent, and yet be a fool. One can be mislead, can be naive, or otherwise be in a bad position to use one’s full gifts.

Consistency is nice, but its got its limits. If you’re more worried about being consistency than about avoiding being wrong, you’ve got a problem. We’d rather have to eat a few words than swallow any more unnecessary mistakes in this war.

The problem ultimately, with your picture of the war is that we can’t win by staying forever. We have to leave at some point to succeed. We cannot be more concerned about maintaining the appearance than its actuality, and staying in Iraq simply to prove a point is more likely to prove our enemy right when our circumstances force our exit. Better to leave gracefully and humbly from this kind of war than let the Insurgents have the last laugh by smashing us in some kind of Dienbienphu exercise.

On the subject of your departure, I’m rather shocked. I would not give up being an editor for that. I also hate to tell you, but you’re still obligated to stick by the motto. As for not having any obligation to read or reply to comments… well, that just wouldn’t be fun. I take the limits on personal attacks to be a challenge to throw away the crutches of ad hominem attacks.

Next you address my quote about not needing a single Democrat in the Senate or House to pass the bill. I think you miss the point about that. The Democrats were openly divided about that, and the reasons for voting for it can only be properly understood in terms of the bruising 2002 campaign, where the President set the tone by whistle-stopping for his candidates saying that we must disarm Saddam, and criticizing those who opposed taking action in Iraq.

I admit my people voted for that stuff. But I can honestly say, to paraphrase Billy Joel, that we didn’t start the fire on this one. I can also say that your party was much more unified in respect to passing the war, so much so that our presence was just icing on the cake. Republicans alone were enough to push the authorization over the top. It was literally a party-line vote.

You’re kind of fishing for a red herring here, because my point was not that Democrats didn’t support the war, but rather that they weren’t the driving force behind this war. I’m not going to address the quotes, because they’ll hammer the same point home, without explaining the crucial contexts of the support they imply.

The Democrats were intentionally kept in the dark about the shakiness of the case for war. This war wasn’t justified, it was marketed. That’s the fricking shame of it. You can market and push things when people don’t know the whole story.

As for being dismissive about the Reports? The CIA was dismissive of many of the reports. Do you know how many times the infamous Sixteen words were yanked, how long ago the implication they made was proved false?

Do you know just how messed up the Curveball source, and just how many people in the government were rightly suspicious about Ahmed Chalabi and the information he was pumping this way?

And did you, by the way, know just how many WMD sites General “Spider” Marks had confirmed when we invaded?

None. Not one. No definitive intelligence telling us that we had a single site in operation. You can talk about Prague, I can tell you that intelligence services there never heard of this meeting, and that the consensus of most experts was that Atta was here preparing for his eventual attack on our country.

Another piece of intelligence has Zarqawi as an al-Qaeda amputee recovering in Baghdad as a guest of Saddam. Nice trick if you die with both legs, having only become an al-Qaeda subordinate after the war begins.

One of the things that really turned me against Bush’s policies was all the B.S. that piled up concerning the intelligence. For a person like me, who values factual evidence over high-blown rhetoric, what really pissed me off was that they got nearly everything wrong. I mean, how the hell do you manage such consistent inaccuracy?

Well, it happens when you’re more concerned about the effect a certain piece of intelligence will have on the listener than you are about its crediblity. If you simply want to market the war, there’s no need to make sure its right. Marketing has never relied much on the truth.

Unfortunately, Democracy does, and when somebody promises solid gold and hands you bullshit, you don’t exactly feel gratitude or loyalty to them at that point.

The Bush administration has not been straight with people about this war, and it hasn’t been straight with you. The sad thing is that you haven’t recognized this fact. What of the continual escalation of violence, the breakdown of government and the peace of the region? What signs are we to seek out that demonstrate your extraordinary claim that things are getting better? I remember that nearly two year old paper you handed me. Trust me, that isn’t good enough, especially when we consider what this administration was hiding at that point about the violence in Iraq. I have been fed Bullshit from this governmen from day one. Most of their major claims are now discredited by the facts themselves.

How do we get past this, especially when this administration still refuses to be straight with us? Bush cannot have our loyalty and support, so long as he is not willing to earn that by being honest with us. That’s at the heart of it. If he doesn’t feel it necessary to trust us with the truth, why should we trust him to lead us, rather than simply follow our wishes?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #198274

dolan-
The willingness is no different. Americans just want to do it for the real thing. If folks don’t have the good sense to offer Americans real threats to fight in an honest way, then they don’t have the good sense sufficient to earn our trust.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #198283

Stephen D-
“One of the things that really turned me against Bush’s policies was all the B.S. that piled up concerning the intelligence. For a person like me, who values factual evidence over high-blown rhetoric,…”

Having read your rants for a long time I had to laugh out loud. You’ve always been against Bush, because you’re a liberal and a Democrat. You have not minded using high-blown rhetoric in the past when it suited your own interests.

By your past and present writings, I’d say your intentions are to discredit this administration at any cost, through any method, and by any means possible. Facts are nice when you have them. (I base that upon what you have said and I may be right… but do I really know your intentions?)

That being said, you may be right that Bush intentionally kept the truth from congress at the beginning. I doubt that congress has been much in the dark since. Presidents (on the whole) tell very little truth to the American public anyway. For that matter, most politicians tell very little truth to the public. So whether Americans have been told the truth matters little, in the end. For the American public it only matters that they think they can trust the president to do the right thing at the right time. (The only presidents that I have trusted on this issue since becoming a voter have been Ford and Reagan. And I’m grateful that Ford never had to deal with anything so terrible as 9/11. GHWBush (Sr) let us down in many minor ways; Carter, Clinton and GWBush (the younger)have shown themselves to be unreliable in major ways.)

Posted by: Don at December 8, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #198321
You’ve always been against Bush, because you’re a liberal and a Democrat. You have not minded using high-blown rhetoric in the past when it suited your own interests.

By your past and present writings, I’d say your intentions are to discredit this administration at any cost, through any method, and by any means possible.

You assume a lot. I’m sure that’s because you’re a conservative and a Republican, and you simply wish to dismiss your opponents by any means possible because you don’t really have a counter-argument.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 8, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #198328

“Buddy Holly Airlines”

lol…nice.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 8, 2006 1:50 PM
Comment #198331

Don,

“That being said, you may be right that Bush intentionally kept the truth from congress at the beginning. I doubt that congress has been much in the dark since.”

It doesn’t really matter, does it?

Once we were there, all bets were off. All appearances point to the truly lousy job our leaders have done leading.
Perception is everything, and the perception is that Iraq is out of control, that the Iraqis aren’t lining up to be in the Iraqi military, or police force, and in point of fact, are beginning to align themselves with the insurgents.

It’s time to wake up and smell the pavement.

America needs to either put it’s collective foot down and do whatever is necessary to regain the upper hand in Iraq, or get out.

Posted by: Rocky at December 8, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #198336

Rocky:

So what you’re saying is that an insurgency, an INSURGENCY, has fought the worlds most powerful military to a standstill, and there isn’t a thing America can do about it?

No, not at all. I have already stated that we cannot be defeated militarily. If we are fail in Iraq, it is because we lack the political will to win. It really bothers me that our national will is so fragile. The really scary part of all this is that if we bail out prematurely, the threat of military action as a deterrent is lost. America will also become a veritable pariah among nations. Our credibility will be ZERO.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #198338

Kevin23, Stephen Daugherty, Diogenes:

OFFTOPIC ALERT! OFFTOPIC ALERT!

kevin (if that really is your name), I hope you took note of my public apology for singling you out. That was wrong, especially since I was an editor at the time. I should have known better. I tend to take matters to heart when I should not. These are important issues, but it’s still just politics. Under other circumstances, we’d probably be friends.

I also want to point to to others (Stephen Daugherty, especially) that I really am learning quite a bit from you, and what I’m learning has nothing to do with politics. I’m learning that in order to be taken seriously, you have maintain a certain minimum amount of civility and treat your audience with respect - even if tempted otherwise. Maybe ESPECIALLY if tempted otherwise. I know I can be frustrating (no news to my wife of 25 years), but I appreciate your efforts. It’s only when I re-read your comments that the realization sinks in.

I don’t agree with most of you (Diogenes, phx8, kevin23, Stephen Daugherty, others I can’t recall), but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments. The challenges you place before me will ultimately make me a better person, I believe.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #198339

Correction: I meant to write “I also want to point OUT to others…”

After all these years, I still haven’t mastered the *&$#^* keyboard.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #198341

Chris,

Regardless of your opinion, we cannot win a war of attrition in Iraq. We must be proactive or we are just wasting our time, lives and resources there.

If we were winning, making serious progress, why aren’t the Bush folks showing that progress?
They don’t need the media to show it for them. The media don’t go into the streets of Baghdad because it isn’t reasonably safe to do so, and do you blame them?

The Baker Iraq report is being roundly trashed by both sides in this country. By the left because they think is doesn’t go far enough and by the right because they think it goes too far.

You say we can’t be defeated, well, we haven’t been doing enough to win, and that’s a fact.

Posted by: Rocky at December 8, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #198343

Stephen Daugherty:

I’ve read your rather lengthy comment and will reply at some point. I do appreciate the effort you put into the comment.

Regarding my resignation … Until I can get a handle on my emotions and be able to engage in a debate without vitriol, ad hominem attacks, and the like, I have no business being an editor of WatchBlog. I was truly honored to be given the opportunity, and I’ll always be grateful to David R. for the consideration. Later, perhaps. It all depends on whether I can learn anything new at my age. I’m going on 46, rapidly entering the “old dog” phase.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #198345
I have already stated that we cannot be defeated militarily. If we are fail in Iraq, it is because we lack the political will to win.

The second claim does not follow from the first because there are more than just those two requirements for success. While we can (and did) succeed militarily, the overall failure does not necessarily mean that you can point the blame at a lack of political will. Overall success in Iraq required a lot more than just political will and a strong military. It also required competence in planning and managing the post-war reconstruction, an ability to work with various groups as necessary, and several other skills.

Because the Bush administration failed to do what was necessary to turn a quick military success into a long-term overall success, the overall mission is failing, and it has nothing to do with “political will” here, no matter how much you would like to score debate points.

The Bush administration’s incompetence at planning and managing the post-war situation and their overexuberance for going into a war when they hadn’t prepared for things not going well is what is causing both the problems in Iraq and the lack of political support for their continued incompetent adventures.

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 8, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #198349

Rocky:

You say we can’t be defeated, well, we haven’t been doing enough to win, and that’s a fact.

I want to agree with you, Rocky, but something just doesn’t jive. At the risk of sounding evasive (Clintonesque?), “winning” means different things to different people. In the context of this thread, I think a “win” in Iraq would be a stable Iraq or, at the very least, a much less violent Iraq.

I think part of the problem has to do with referring to the conflict in Iraq as “The Iraq War,” as though it is separate and distinct from the GWOT. Most people think wars have a definite beginning, middle, and end. Iraq is a tiny country compared to our own, so conventional wisdom dictates that any “war” in Iraq would be expected to be of a short duration. We defeated the Iraqi army in short order. But it seems to me that we started the process of reconstruction and nation-building way too soon. We allowed the seeds of an insurgency to take root and grow, and we haven’t taken the necessary steps to decisively squash it. I seriously doubt we have the verve now. We may never have had it.

But there is no doubt that if we lose we embolden global terrorists. Our troops are re-enlisting at a high rate and we can sustain the effort for a long, long time. I don’t particularly like comparing this conflict to previous battles and wars because there are so many differences as to make the comparison meaningless, but it is true that to date our losses are relatively light. I’m not being dismissive of 4,000 deaths. Every single soldier’s death is a tragedy, an insufferable loss. I’ll just leave it at that. I’ve read posts on other blogs comparing our cumulative losses over 3 1/2 years to single battles in WW II, but that’s not just comparing apples to oranges; that’s comparing apples to steam locomotives.

Counterinsurgencies are hard-fought, long, bloody affairs.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #198350
I think part of the problem has to do with referring to the conflict in Iraq as “The Iraq War,” as though it is separate and distinct from the GWOT.

It’s a problem? How is it a problem to point out that a war against the terrorists that attacked us is separate from a war against someone who never significantly supported the terrorists that attacked us? The only way I can see it being a problem is that it doesn’t help you out rhetorically. Frankly, being honest is more important to me than giving you a rhetorical crutch.

But it seems to me that we started the process of reconstruction and nation-building way too soon.
Too soon? Don’t you mean that we started planning for for the post-war period too late?
But there is no doubt that if we lose we embolden global terrorists.
Which is yet another risk the Bush administration should have considered before going off on a hare-brained war. Posted by: LawnBoy at December 8, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #198353

Don-
I’m not opposed to using rhetoric, but I don’t like using it by itself, as the sole means of support for my rhetoric. Arguing like that is like herding cats.

Let’s take your argument here, where you say that I would discredit this administration at any costs, through any method, by whatever means possible. However, if you look at my pattern of writing, I have certain collections of facts that I employ repeatedly, and which I can source to particular works. I think my longtime readers can testify that I don’t like to traffic in conspiracy theories, and will tend to avoid claims like Bush doing all this just for the oil.

I use very specific allegations, with factual backup. My intentions should be plain: bad policies should be stopped, and Bush is less my target than the policies that I believe are putting this nation at a major disadvantage in terms of its enemies.

Chris-
I thank you for your candor on this. Truth be told, I can respect your decisions from this perspective.

On the topic of being defeated militarily, I guess it goes a little like this: what they’re saying is that if the insurgency decided to mount a battle to kick us out, things would likely turn out much like Tet did for the Viet Cong- it would devastate them.

The Bad news about our position is that big powers don’t win asymmetrical wars this way. The problem of keeping an Army in the field away from home is a significant one. It costs us greatly to do this. We can’t win this fight with the military force at hand. The solution must be political, because if we maintain things as they are, the insurgents don’t defeat us militarily, but they defeat us financially and logistically.

Seven out of Ten people would prefer that we withdraw over an extended period of time, and that we succeed in setting up something to make a working state out of Iraq.

Ultimately, no positive outcome can be had until we start leaving. We can’t win in any shape or form unless we leave Iraq self governing. To leave it self governing, we have to leave it. Then its up to them. If we lack confidence in their ability to hold up independently of us, how can we possibly win? We have to try. We have to at least begin to leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 8, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #198360

Lawnboy:

Because the Bush administration failed to do what was necessary to turn a quick military success into a long-term overall success, the overall mission is failing, and it has nothing to do with “political will” here, no matter how much you would like to score debate points.

You had me agreeing with you until the very end. I’m not trying to score “debate points.” I’m trying to present my view of The Truth without resorting to “gotcha!” tactics.

The Bush administration’s incompetence at planning and managing the post-war situation and their overexuberance for going into a war when they hadn’t prepared for things not going well is what is causing both the problems in Iraq and the lack of political support for their continued incompetent adventures.

Now you’ve completely lost me. This must have been what it felt like to be a loyal Clinton supporter during the Lewinsky mess. I’m not equating the Clinton fiascoes to the situation in Iraq, by any means. But the endless name-calling and incessant degredation of a man I happen to admire really bothers me. I’m guilty of the same with regard to Democrats and liberals, but I’m not going to do it anymore. It’s not worth the effort and fails to advance the discussion.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #198361

Chris,

Where’s the name calling?

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 8, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #198362
I’m not trying to score “debate points.”

What I meant by that is this: by implying that the only two possible causes of failure are military failure and lack of political will, you’re making an invalid claim. There’s no advantage in real terms to your claim, either; even if you were right, implying that those who disagree with you are just weak doesn’t help the U.S. in Iraq at all. The only thing it does is spin disagreeing with you into some sort of moral failing, perhaps as a way to win a debate point.

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 8, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #198364

Joseph Briggs-
1. “You assume a lot.”

No. I have been following the conversations on this blog for a long time. Stephen D really is a liberal and a Democrat. He has stated it himself on many occasions.

2. “you simply wish to dismiss your opponents by any means possible because you don’t really have a counter-argument.”

No. I wasn’t attempting to dismiss him, nor was I arguing against him, except to say that I have seen him use rhetoric alone when it suited his purposes. Thus, his statement (which I quoted) wasn’t completely truthful.

3. (Third strike) “…you’re a conservative and a Republican…”

You strike out because although I would consider myself an old conservative, I am not a new conservative or a Republican. I am not vested in the current administration because I do not see much there that fits my notion of conservatism.

If you took the time to read my entire post you would see criticism of the current administration. If you took a look at all of my posts in the last year you would see criticism of this administration AND criticism of those who attack this administration on suppositions, innuendo, and pure hatred.

Posted by: Don at December 8, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #198365

“I don’t agree with most of you (Diogenes, …”

i’m honored to claim the first position on your list…

i think we all fall back on “vitriol, ad hominem attacks, and the like” from time to time. i certainly appreciate the level of effort you seem to be exerting to avoid such methods.

while i disagree with a great many of your opinions, i certainly respect your right to hold them. in the spirit of raprochment, i sincerely hope that i have not offended you in any enduring, irreversible manner…

now, to bring this post back on topic…

concerning iraq, you are flatly wrong.

;)

Posted by: Diogenes at December 8, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #198373

Lawnboy:

How is it a problem to point out that a war against the terrorists that attacked us is separate from a war against someone who never significantly supported the terrorists that attacked us?

Hussein never attacked us in the past, and now he never will. That is the point.

This time we dealt with the threat before we were attacked. Saddam repeatedly and flagrantly violated the cease-fire agreements from the 1991 war and subsequent UNSC resolutions. The burden of proof was never on us to demonstrate that he had stockpiles of illegal weapons; it was on him to demonstrate that he did not have them. He chose not to comply and suffered the consequences.

Have you ever heard of the Salman Pak students? Salman Pak was supposedly a large terorist training camp on a peninsula formed by a loop of the Tigris river south of Baghdad.

Is there any validity to the following?

In Ankara, Zeinab was debriefed by the FBI and CIA for four days. Meanwhile he told the INC that if they wished to corroborate his story, they should speak to a man who had political asylum in Texas - Captain Sabah Khodad, who had worked at Salman Pak in 1994-5. He too has now told his story to US investigators. In an interiew with The Observer, he echoed Zeinab’s claims: “The foreigners’ training includes assassinations, kidnapping, hijacking. They were strictly separated from the rest of us. To hijack planes they were taught to use small knives. The method used on 11 September perfectly coincides with the training I saw at the camp. When I saw the twin towers attack, the first thought that came into my head was, ‘this has been done by graduates of Salman Pak.’”
(Source: Guardian Unlimited - “The Iraqi Connection”)
Israel’s military intelligence service, Aman, suspects that Iraq is the state that sponsored the suicide attacks on the New York Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington.
“We’ve only got scraps of information, not the full picture,” admits one intelligence source, “but it was good enough for us to send a warning six weeks ago to our allies that an unprecedented massive terror attack was expected. One of our indications suggested that Imad Mughniyeh met with some of his dormant agents on secret trips to Germany. We believe that the operational brains behind the New-York attack were Mughniyeh and Zawahiri, who were probably financed and got some logistical support from the Iraqi Intelligence Service (SSO).”
(Source: Jane’s - “Who did it? Foreign Report presents an alternative view”)

If there really was a terrorist training camp in Iraq as described in the Guardian Unlimited article, that would demonstrate (to me, anyway) that Iraq harbored and trained terrorists and may have even “trained the trainer” of the 9/11 terrorists. I don’t know. It certainly didn’t take very long to find the article, so that makes me suspicious.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #198377
Stephen D really is a liberal and a Democrat. He has stated it himself on many occasions.

How obtuse. That’s not what you were assuming. You were assuming thusly:

You’ve always been against Bush, because you’re a liberal and a Democrat.

And further…

By your past and present writings, I’d say your intentions are to discredit this administration

The rest was sarcasm, mocking your assumptions.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 8, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #198378

Lawnboy:

When you referred to the Bush Administration’s “incompetence,” I took that as a swipe at the President. I can see now that the two (Bush and his Administration) are not the same thing.

I still think it’s a judgement call, though. It would be less inflammatory to use the term “ineffective” and you’d still get your point across. But that’s me. You don’t like the President very much, so you are certainly free to characterize him (and his Administration) however you wish.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #198381

Lawnboy:

What I meant by that is this: by implying that the only two possible causes of failure are military failure and lack of political will, you’re making an invalid claim.

I think what you’re saying is that political will and a mighty military will not secure victory without an effective plan. I agree.

Posted by: Chris at December 8, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #198382

Quickly, I promise, this is where I guess I add my two cents.

Chris-

I actually must admit, I did not see your apology before my last post. No doubt it would have been worded differently if I had. I appreciate the remorse, and I hope you believe me when I say that I appreciate the humanity in it. It often takes one party to a conflict to back down in order for the other to realize their own follies. Like I said earlier, I’m a realist, and part of that is knowing what is, and what is not, a “victory”. Only if we both push to learn something will either of us have “won” anything. I still have hope.

I always have regrets when I re-read my most emotionally spirited posts. But it is that emotion which also drives me to do this in the first place, so I can’t deny its influence. I will stand by my sentiments, but I will say that I also continue to learn how to advance a conversation in a positive way rather than force one to focus solely on entrenching to defend. And really, as I alluded to in an adversarial way before, its nothing against you personally. Just the argument.

I’ve always been great at intense oral debate. But writing is different. Sometimes we write what we would say, and there is no body language, tone or inflection. Often people are most offended by something I intended to lighten the tone, like a quirky joke. And playing off your adversary is much easier in person. In writing, it looks like unabashed rage, sometimes. Not the intended effect, obviously.

So, whenever you get the time, I’m a big fan of finality. I too admit that my guilty pleasure is reading posts that provide viewpoints that are opposite of my own. If you believe I gave you something to think about, I’d like to know what conclusions you’ve come to. I’ll extend the same curtesy whenever possible as well. There really are a lot of important things to discuss, after all. And this thread highlights many of them, even if it does only show the tip of the iceburgs.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 8, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #198390
Hussein never attacked us in the past, and now he never will. That is the point.

So, because he never attacked us and never will, the war to depose him is part of the GWOT? I need more help to see the logic of that.

This time we dealt with the threat before we were attacked.

Yawn… I’ve heard all this before, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that retaliating at those who attacked us is a different thing than preemptively attacking those who never had and realistically never would.

And the presence (actual or not) or a small group within Iraq that also had nothing to do with 9/11 doesn’t help your argument at all, either.

I guess it depends what you mean by the “Global War on Terror”. I take it to mean that it’s a war to get rid of those that attacked us on 9/11. It seems instead that you mean it to be more expansive, that it’s a war on either an emotion (Terror) or on a tactic (Terrorism). The idea of a war on an emotion is ridiculous, and a war on a tactic will never be complete - so that term is functionally useless. So, I interpret GWOT as a war on Al Qaeda and its allies, of which the War in Iraq was no part.

When you referred to the Bush Administration’s “incompetence,” I took that as a swipe at the President. I can see now that the two (Bush and his Administration) are not the same thing.
Even if I had referred directly to his incompetence, it wouldn’t be name calling. I was describing the ineffectiveness of his actions in foreign policy, which is legion. Unfortunately, it’s more than just ineffectiveness, though. It’s really a combination of ineffectiveness and bungling that “incompetence” captures best.

I suppose you’d take less offense if I didn’t describe the situation at hand using the most accurate terms available, but sparing you from the harsh reality of the situation doesn’t help us anymore than it helps when Bush’s team tells him only what he wants to hear.

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 8, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #198396

“‘This time we dealt with the threat before we were attacked.’

…it doesn’t excuse the fact that retaliating at those who attacked us is a different thing than preemptively attacking those who never had and realistically never would.”

correct; this war can be correctly categorized as a preventive war… which is internationally recognized as unjustified and illegal… (recognized by america as well.)

what’s the difference? jus ad bellum. read walzer, just and unjust wars.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 8, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #198421

Chris-
This is from the wikipedia article on Salman Pak:

The facility was discussed in the leadup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a result of a campaign by Iraqi defectors associated with the Iraqi National Congress to assert that the facility was a terrorist training camp. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has since established that both the CIA and the DIA concluded that there was no evidence to support these claims. A DIA analyst told the Committee, “The Iraqi National Congress (INC) has been pushing information for a long time about Salman Pak and training of al-Qa’ida.” Knight Ridder reporters Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel noted in November 2005 that “After the war, U.S. officials determined that a facility in Salman Pak was used to train Iraqi anti-terrorist commandos.”[Seattle Times, 1 November 2005, p. A5].

You could argue that some of the bozos we ran into later were trained here, but the claim that this was some sort of WMD testing/Terrorist training facility is both factually unsound and a great example of the pernicious and disproportionate influence that Chalabi and the INC were allowed to have by the White House on our intelligence and plans going into the war.

It also illustrates just how much politics overrode good intelligence in the run up to the war. So much of information was like that. It’s sort of like the opposite of the marketing for that movie The Ghost and the Darkness, whose tagline was “Only the most incredible parts of the story are true.” Here, everything that mattered in making the claim that Iraq was harboring al-Qaeda terrorists was proved false.

I’m inclined to think that part of this was the willingness to “do a little marketing”, but another part was having such a low threshold of credulity for information that portended alarming developments. This attitude, summarized by Dick Cheney, and set down in the book that derives its name from that summarization, is known as The One Percent Doctrine. In short, if a piece of information has even a one percent chance of being right, we have to act as if it were right, and respond immediately.

Sounds like a rather forward thinking attitude towards threats: be proactive, don’t wait for confirmation, strike them before they strike you.

The problem is that the flow of information in this world is imperfect, and so is human judgment. Much of the reserve that Bush, Cheney and others despise so much was born of the need to compensate for this, a need made urgent by the fact that bad intelligence results in situations like we are experiencing in Iraq.

I remember when I was five removing a guardrail that was set into the top of my bunkbed, probably thinking it wasn’t necessary, only to fall off the top a few minutes later and break my arm. That’s the sort of flaw in much of the judgment exercised by the architects of this war. They played analyst, taking raw intelligence and without training sorting through the reports themselves, looking for the evidence to make their case. They picked sources that were listed as liars, exaggerators, sources that had burned other agents, sources that had agendas that could affect their reporting.

And so we get Salman Pak proclaimed as a al-Qaeda training center by this government despite the fact that both CIA and DIA disputed this conclusion.

As for Saddam proving that he did not have weapons? Trick with that is that it’s impossible to prove a negative. The trick with it is also that no violation on his part obligated an attack on ours.

While it’s true that Saddam provoked a lot of his problems by deliberately creating an atmosphere of uncertainty about his stockpiles, anybody wanting to legally justify a Pre-emptive war had a burden of proof themselves: prove that Saddam had weapons, and that he was going to use them on us.

Preventative wars are not legal under international law, so we had to go that route. However, it put the ball in our court on justify the war. Finding WMDs and Terrorist wasn’t just about justifying the pretext of the war, it was about justifying its legitimacy altogether. Having America jump at the shadows like this is not a fine demonstration of our strength.

Iraq is a front on the war on terror, but not as originally concieved, or for the reasons that were put forward to justify this war. This front opened up because left an opening, a weakness in our defense, by allowing al-Qaeda the opportunity to infiltrate a country formerly closed to them. You say we started the process of nation-building and reconstruction too soon, but the truth is that both were delayed and hobbled to begin with; thus, the opposite was true.

We never fully secured Iraq, nor maintained law and order as it was necessary. From there, started the chaos. because we were late in beginning our efforts, we had to deal with a situation that had developed on its own, like a broken bone healed wrong. This particular broken bone should have been set right immediately after the break. You never get a better opportunity to control the development of the situation than at the very first, before bad impressions and setbacks have had a chance to pile up.

As for our troops? re-enlistment remains high, but our readiness at home is in the toilet, and there will be limits to even what our most stalwart troops can endure and remain functional.

There’s also a limit to what their bravery, resourcefulness, and courage can salvage, when the people giving the orders engage in strategies that undermine the strengths they bring to the fight.

Incompetence can be defined as not knowing how to do your job properly. Ineffectiveness is one thing- a person who knows what they’re doing can screw up. However, folks like Rumsfeld, his assistant Douglas Feith, Administrator Paul Bremer and others made mistakes that the people who knew what they were doing advised them not to do. They invaded without a single WMD site confirmed by military intelligence. They invaded without the plans or funding to occupy and reconstruct, having believed claims by Chalabi and his crew, that they would be welcomed as liberators, that Chalabi and his crew could quickly move to replace Saddam Hussein, and that Iraqis would successfully shoulder the costs of reconstruction after the war.

Bremer in particular would deprive the new government of all it’s experienced technocrats by an indiscriminate De-Baathification order, a failure to retain the Iraqi Police forces, and the devastatingly stupid act of disbanding the Iraqi army, a move that threw gasoline on the fires of the insurgency. One clue as to how dumb this policy choice was is the fact that we’re mostly rehiring the same damn people. (the details of this farce are in State of Denial by Bob Woodward.

Ultimately, we must fight wars in the real world, whatever motivates us. Bush persists in fighting the wars we fight in ways that undermine the wars, and continues to peddle the dangerous slander that Americans have no stomach for extended or bloody fights, a slander which only encourages our enemies to view the disagreements which are actually about what means of fighting them are effective, as signs of our weakness. Meanwhile, Bush’s means themselves create a reality of weakness, making us unprepared to fight any other war than Iraq, and soon enough spelling problems even that. At some point, enough has to be enough. We got to find a stronger, better way of fighting this war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 8, 2006 10:45 PM
Comment #198422

stephen,

i believe you are mistaken here;

“The trick with it is also that no violation on his part obligated an attack on ours.”

this sentence implies that we had a legal option to wage war, or otherwise abdicate some responsibility on our part to do so… this is not the case. the un never passed any resolution authorizing us to do so.

were this truly a case of preemptive war, it would not have mattered; but as we failed to prove our case, and there was no imminent threat to us (or even our allies), we had no such right.

again, the un never authorized us to take unilateral military action to effect regime change in iraq - and yet we unlawfully took the initiative despite this fact.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 8, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #198429

Diogenes-
I believe what I was saying was that Saddam’s violations, as they were, did not necessitate a war, simply because he made some. In other words, like you I believed there had to be a greater reason than that, such as gross violations involving actual weapons, or a real attack in the works, to justify this war, especially in the light of dealing with an ongoing war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 9, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #198433

i figured that’s what you meant, but i wanted to be sure.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 9, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #198475

Stephen Daugherty, Diogenes, Kevin23, et al:

Thank you all for devoting so much time and effort to explain your view of things. You will forgive me if I choose to respond in a more condensed manner.

In a nutshell, what you are all saying is this:

- Although Saddam Hussein repeatedly violated numerous U.N. resolutions since the end of the first Gulf War, Iraq did not pose an imminent and direct threat to the U.S. and/or any of our allies.

- The sum total of available intelligence on Iraq leading up to the conflict was inconclusive, at best, and did little to substantiate the claims made by President Bush and members of his Administration that Iraq posed an immediate and direct threat to the U.S. and/or any of our allies.

- Saddam Hussein, although a despicable and brutal tyrant who enagaged in the wholesale slaughter of thousands of his own people, did not pose a direct and immediate threat to this nation; therefore, any notion of “pre-emptive” war is fallacious, absurd, and (as far as the U.N. is concerned) illegal.

- There are many reasons for the frustratingly slow progress in Iraq, but chief among them is our President’s stubborn refusal to admit that current tactics and/or overall strategy were ineffective.

Would you agree with the above? And, no, I’m not reeling you in just so I can spring a “gotcha!” one-liner or something. I’d just like a more condensed version of your comments to work with.

Incidentally, I was reading Men at War, a collection of short stories edited by Ernest Hemingway, this morning and read an excerpt from War and Peace that was particularly relevant to this discussion.

In “The People’s War,” Tolstoy discussed how all wars up to 1812 had been fought and won by opposing armies fielded by kings or emperors. When a nation’s army emerged victorious, the people of that nation gained in proportion to the loss of the vanquished. All this changed when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812.

But suddenly, in 1812, the French gained a victory before Moscow, Moscow was taken, and in consequence of that, with no subsequent battles, not Russia, but the French army of six hundred thousand, and then Napoleonic France itself ceased to exist.
The sequel of the campaign of 1812 - from Borodino to the final expulsion of the French - has proved that victories are not always a cause nor even an invariable sign of conquest; it has proved that the force that decides the fate of peoples does not lie in military leaders, nor even in armies and battles, but in something else.

That “something else” that denied Napoleon’s armies a decisive victory was the stubborn refusal of the peasentry to behave like a vanquished people. They refused to cooperate with the French and would burn their hay rather than give it over. The peasentry also fought in a manner “contrary to all the rules of war.” In other words, they fought as partisans or guerillas. Insurgents.

War of this kind has been called partisan warfare on the supposition that this name defined its special significance. But this kind of warfare does not follow any rules of war, but is in direct contradiction to a well-known rule of tactics, regarded as infallible. That rule lays it down that the attacking party must concentrate his forces in order to be stronger than his opponent at the moment of conclict. Partisan warfare (always successful, as history testifies) acts in direct contradiction of this rule.

Just thought this was interesting and wanted to share it with you all.

Posted by: Chris at December 9, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #198476

Correction: “Conflict,” not conclict.

Posted by: Chris at December 9, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #198477

chris,

yes, i think this is a fair assessment of my view. there are aspects i might tweak;

“therefore, any notion of “pre-emptive” war is fallacious, absurd, and (as far as the U.N. is concerned) illegal.”

…for instance, we are a member nation of the un, and have thereby agreed to abide by the resolutions set forth therein. thus, it is illegal so far as we are concerned as well…

furthermore, international law predates the un. the sovereignty of nations is a concept which it is in the best interest of all existing nations to honor, and i would argue that we have up until now (even vietnam was not nearly so unambiguously a breach of this concept).

by the way, i believe that such insurgency has far more legitimacy than our own presence. we are now fighting the people of iraq (insurgents) at best, not a government which rules them - this, we cannot do.

victory neccessitates killing a massive number of ‘free’ iraqi ‘combatants.’ if they wish to shoot eachother, that is their business, alone. if they wish to shoot at us, we are now occupiers, and it should be a sign to us that we are no longer wanted (along with the polls which say the very same.) such a war can be better described as genocide.

i would also argue that this war is now more than an insurgency - a civil war, by any definition. we are, at this point, directly interfering with and impeding their right to self-determination… not that an insurgency does not involve the very same.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 9, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #198530

Chris-
Military strategy relates to your goals. A Guerilla movement works by making things difficult for the target, increasing the costs and the effort required to maintain their military campaign. However, it’s not as simple as morale and spirit on the homefront.

They attacked many of the reconstruction jobs, and went for attacks on personnel working on such jobs. They’ve attacked the pipelines quite a lot. They attack infrastructure and government because such attacks create a real loss of power for the Iraqi military, and causes conditions that increase the unwillingness of Iraqis to cooperate with us.

The phrase “hearts and minds” is misleading in that it makes out like things are all in people’s heads, and thus can be countered by the right messages. If you’re forced, however, to deal with intermittent electricity, especially in the midst of 120 degree summers, there aren’t so many right messages that can appeal to your heart or mind. The strongest message is the character and results of one’s actions. Bush might claim that pulling out now would show us to be weak, but the fact is, his policies have had even friendly Iraqi’s asking us how America could fail.

That is a much more insidious failure, and a much more substantial demonstration of weakness than merely abandoning poorly thought out plans. Strength is not in the will to use power, but the ability, or at least the perception of your ability.

The continued failure of American policy makes America look weak. This has in fact been one of the major issues that Democrats like myself have had with Bush’s continuation of his policy. The results of beating your head against the wall don’t get prettier the longer you do so, nor does your judgment sharpen as you become more committed to it.

Our enemies look at our military readiness and know we can’t mount wars so easily. Our enemies in Iraq know we’re committed, and know they can push us and we can’t push back. Reference Al-Sadr’s ability to pull shit without getting his ass kicked between his shoulder blades by us.

It’s only because of the dysfunctional way our policy developed that the SOB has any power. Had we secured Iraq fully, this guy would have been a junior nuisance to al-Sistanis more moderate Shiites.

It’s time to admit the defeats that have already occurred, and to shift our position towards greater strength. We should do our best to wrap up Iraq, and steer it towards eventually stability, but while we hope for the best, we should engage the endgame here such that we have an option of getting out of there shorting of breaking ourselves on several levels.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #198572

“The results of beating your head against the wall don’t get prettier the longer you do so, nor does your judgment sharpen as you become more committed to it.”

brilliant analogy. many good points.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 10, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #198595

Stephen Daugherty:

Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. Your points are well taken.

Iraq is a very dangerous place, no doubt about it. The insurgents (Baathists, Al Quaeda types, foreign fighters, etc.) clearly do not want us there, and have effectively hampered the reconstruction effort.

If I understand you correctly, whatever success the forces fighting against us in Iraq (as opposed to those forces fighting one another) are able to achieve is a direct result of President Bush’s wartime policies as managed by Rumsfeld. Is that a fair summarization?

I’ve been mulling the “opposition summary” I posted earlier (comment 198475).

Let’s put intelligence failures and “cherry picking” aside for the moment. I think the most important question is whether the President had sufficient Constitutional authority to wage war on Iraq. I found a document entitled
The President’s Constitutional Authority To Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them,
a memorandum signed by John C. Yoo, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel.

Yoo established that the President had the Constitutional authority to wage war on Iraq. The conclusion reads:

In light of the text, plan, and history of the Constitution, its interpretation by both past Administrations and the courts, the longstanding practice of the executive branch, and the express affirmation of the President’s constitutional authorities by Congress, we think it beyond question that the President has the plenary constitutional power to take such military actions as he deems necessary and appropriate to respond to the terrorist attacks upon the United States on September 11, 2001. Force can be used both to retaliate for those attacks, and to prevent and deter future assaults on the Nation. Military actions need not be limited to those individuals, groups, or states that participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: the Constitution vests the President with the power to strike terrorist groups or organizations that cannot be demonstrably linked to the September 11 incidents, but that, nonetheless, pose a similar threat to the security of the United States and the lives of its people, whether at home or overseas. (32) In both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution, Congress has recognized the President’s authority to use force in circumstances such as those created by the September 11 incidents. Neither statute, however, can place any limits on the President’s determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing, and nature of the response. These decisions, under our Constitution, are for the President alone to make.

As for the intelligence issue, I think it all boils down to what you want to believe. To my knowledge, there a no “smoking gun” that demonstrates a willful and pervasive attempt by the Bush Administration to deceive the American people into believing that Iraq was a greater threat than it actually was. It is just as likely that the Iraqi threat was palpable because of the flaky intelligence and not in spite of it.

And even if the magnitude of the potential threat was way out of proportion, there was no way of knowing that at the time. The bottom line is that the President had the Constitutional authority to do what he thought was necessary to protect our nation and secure our interests overseas.

There is nothing in the Constitution that says the President must secure the permission of the United Nations in order to wage war. The U.N. is irrelevant in this regard. Russia, China, and France had good reason$ for alowing Hussein to remain in power and would NEVER vote for authorization of military force against Iraq. The President was well within his Constitutional authority to wage war on Iraq and owed absolutely nothing to the U.N.

Finally, I think that the frustratingly slow progress in Iraq is due more to the intractible nature of the enemy than to any strategic flaw on our part. We’re hamstrung by rules we have imposed on ourselves, but can we really fight any other way? Iraq is a huge jihadist magnet right now, drawing Islamofanatics from all over the world, apparently. Whether we fight them now, or fight them later, how can we fight them effectively without sacrificing our humanity?

Posted by: Chris at December 10, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #198603

Chris,

“Finally, I think that the frustratingly slow progress in Iraq is due more to the intractible nature of the enemy than to any strategic flaw on our part.”

I disagree.

Had we secured Iraq from the very beginning (including the ammo dumps we knew weren’t secured), and we did have the opportunity to do so, we probably be long ahead right now.

Yes, this is spilt milk and there is little we can do about it now, other than to belatedly attempt to assert some sort of authority, though that won’t go over well.

I think we need to pull back to those bases we built and only step in when needed.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #198609

chris,

i beg to differ…

“Yoo established that the President had the Constitutional authority to wage war on Iraq. The conclusion reads…”

yoo had no such authority to establish anything… this was his *interpretation* of the powers vested in the president by the constitution - and it is clearly and absolutely untrue. you might as well cite bush, himself, as declaring and ‘establishing’ his right to do as he has.

“It is just as likely that the Iraqi threat was palpable because of the flaky intelligence and not in spite of it.”

this is exactly the point… there was no threat, and short of this, as you call it, ‘flaky intelligence,’ bush would have been unable to convince congress and the american people that there was a threat - which makes since, as there was, in fact, none (he lied).

“There is nothing in the Constitution that says the President must secure the permission of the United Nations in order to wage war.”

no, nor should there be. however, we ceded such authority when we helped create the un, and became a supporting member nation. what you are suggesting is that, merely because we gave our word to uphold their resolutions, as well as demand that *others* respect said resolutions, this does not necessitate that we ourselves respect and honor those same resolutions . and then you want to complain that no one respects the un, and they have no ‘teeth.’

make up your mind. it is an entirely fatuous notion that one might expect others to respect a given authority while simultaneously denouncing it as illegitimate and ineffectual, oneself.

again, we broke our own laws - regardless of what our constitution states - by disregarding and abandoning internationally recognized and accepted just war practices - unless you are suggesting that the most powerful country in the world has no obligation to keep its own word… and this applies to both sovereignty of nations *and* the un.

again, yoo is not the end-all authority (or even *close*) who gets to establish what powers the president can or cannot wield… find another source. preferrably one that does not ‘serve at the pleasure of the president.’

Posted by: Diogenes at December 10, 2006 9:00 PM
Comment #198612

“which makes since”

…or sense.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 10, 2006 9:12 PM
Comment #198692

Chris-
The trouble with taking Yoo’s arguments at face value as providing Bush the authority to do what he likes in the war on terror, much less in Iraq, is that the Supreme Court has regularly been knocking these arguments down.

Yoo’s interpretations are definitely what Bush, with his pre-emptive war doctrine, and his authoritarian bent on counterterrorism, wants to hear. Trouble is, nothing about the president’s position as Commander in Chief contradicts or overrides other parts of the constitution, at least in situations where the country isn’t in civil war or being invaded by a foreign power.

The War Powers act requires the president to go to congress to get authorization for a major, ongoing use of military force. This is supposed to be deference to Congress’s authority on deciding we go to war. Declarations of war are unusual and troublesome because of all the treaties and international law implications of doing so, so all wars since WWII have been undeclared.

Authorization of force against al-Qaeda is specifically targeted at the organization, and those responsible for 9/11. The Iraq use of force resolution is not only targeted Iraq, but target as to the purposes of the war: to seek out al-Qaeda terrorists, to disarm Saddam, and of course do this through the UN if at all possible. Look it up, it’s in there.

The President’s role as CINC gives him no authority to override constitutional limitations. He must observe them even as he asserts his CINC authority. Why would a prohibition against quartering troops against an owner’s consent be written into the constitution otherwise? Here it is:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

If the CINC authority was supreme over everything, this amendment would have made no sense. The intention was not to give a CINC in time of war the ability to disregard the constitution at will. The Rights of Americans are to be preserved.

As for intelligence and the administration’s deceptions? I think there was a degree of actual belief that Iraq was a threat. But I think the Bush administration, by and large was willing to stretch the truth to answer the threat they believed was there, and hide reports and intelligence findings that might discourage people from seeking the war. I don’t think this administration had faith in the American people’s judgment, or their ability to commit to a war. Too much of that was colored by their attitudes about foreign policy and their political rivals.

They could have known that the threat wasn’t as big as it was. I keep on telling you that much of this went beyond hindsight. Folks in the intelligence community were relating the evidence that the threat was exaggerated, but the Bush administration’s political push within and without was sufficient to block the upwards and outwards filteration of this knowledge and analysis. I think the Bush administration, with its particular attitudes, was particularly vulnerable to this kind of intelligence failure.

As for the UN? The constitition says that the treaties we sign are to be treated as the law of the land, and we signed many treaties to bring ourselves int the UN, treaties we should respect. Additionally, the Iraq authorization of force directly mentions the UN, and enforcement of the UN resolutions on Iraq as being one of the conditions of the use of force.

As for Iraq? It’s intractable, and the enemies as well, because we never used the right tools for the job; that is, we never got in there with the army in sufficient numbers and with the working occupational authority to get things moving in the right direction then and there. If you try and use pliers where a screwdriver is called for, you’ll take longer at the very least, and perhaps screw up the job if you’re unlucky. We simply took the wrong approach, and still haven’t faced up fully to the need to change approaches.

As for that Islamofanatic magnet thing? Even if true, it’s counterproductive in the extreme. To put it plainly, their presence made and still makes everything else we’re trying to do harder. The whole “flypaper strategey” business is an unfortunate ongoing attempt to spin the failure to secure Iraq as a plus. Truth is, though, the terrorist have attacked infrastructure, committed provocative acts of terrorism agains the Shia, and killed government officials. Their presence has hamstrung our progress in many ways, and if this war had been run right, they should not have been a factor.

Their presence is a sign of our weakness to the world. Never mind defeating them to show our strength. Their presence alone has demonstrated our weakness. That’s the most hateful thing about that. We shouldn’t look like we’re too incompetent to face our biggest enemy. Yet this is the situation we’re in.

We should fight these people whereever we have to, but we should have never have had to fight them in Iraq, nor tolerated a continued battle with them in the name of some cockamamie spin.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #198771

Chris-

John Yoo is one of the most hated and controversial legal scholars in America today. The theory of the unified executive is a very recent doctrine. He is its most notorious and ardent supporter. The vast majority of law professors and constitutional jurists find the whole theory to fly in the face of the constitution. Diogenes is right in that it is merely one extreme interpretation of the seperation of powers which he is relying upon. And much of this interpretation came after the fact. This is like me telling you that I have a right to kill my wife and her lover in cold blood because Johnny Cochran has articulated a theory of innocence.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 11, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #198899

Diogenes:

We went to war to enforce UN Resolution 1441. Saddam willfully violated numerous UN resolutions in the years following Gulf War I. The United States had good reason to believe that Saddam would re-arm at the first opportunity. However, even in the absence of UN resolutions, the United States had just cause to engage in hostilities against Iraq because of Saddam’s actions after the first Gulf War.

After that conflict, Saddam signed a cease-fire agreement in which he agreed to give up his WMDs and submit to UN inspections. The moment he tossed out the first inspectors, he was in violation of that cease-fire agreement and the US was fully within its rights to react militarily, with or without UN approval.

yoo had no such authority to establish anything…

He is in a much better position to influence U.S. foreign policy than you, Diogenes. I’d say he has quite a bit of authority. The sum total of your arguement seems to be “No, it isn’t.” Not very persuasive.

there was no threat,

I don’t know how to respond to this. You don’t think Saddam’s Iraq posed any threat whatsoever. I think he posed a very significant and very real threat. At least three administrations considered Saddam to be a threat. Hundreds of Congressmen and Senators thought Saddam was a threat. It seems to me that you are trying to rewrite history to prove a point or, maybe, advance an agenda.

we ceded such authority when we helped create the un

Oh, hogwash! We ceded nothing. Nations of the world “cooperate” only when it is in their own selfish self-interest to do so. That’s why Russia, France, and China would never have voted for military action to enforce compliance with Res. 1441. It just was not in their national interest to do so. They had too much inve$$ted to depose Saddam. Remember the Oil for Saddam & Sons program headed by Kofi’s son?

we broke our own laws - regardless of what our constitution states

You are a globalist, so I can understand why you would think this way. I am a nationalist, which is why I disagree with you. Well, one of the reasons why I disagree with you. The President’s first duty is to protect this nation and its people from enemies, both foreign and domestic. The UN can topple and fall into the Hudson River, as far as I’m concerned. Let’s issue one-way tickets home to all the diplomats at the UN and open up a Starbuck’s in its place.

Posted by: Chris at December 12, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #198914
The UN can topple and fall into the Hudson River, as far as I’m concerned.

I’d pay to watch that. Not because I have anything against the UN, but because I’d be interested to see how a building that’s located on the East River would manage to topple into a river a few miles away.

Otherwise, your comment is a rehash of tired arguments for the war. I look forward to see how easily Stephen will dissect them.

Posted by: LawnBoy at December 12, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #198992

“However, even in the absence of UN resolutions, the United States had just cause to engage in hostilities against Iraq because of Saddam’s actions after the first Gulf War.”

not according to international law, of which, we have/had a very significant part in the making.

“After that conflict, Saddam signed a cease-fire agreement in which he agreed to give up his WMDs and submit to UN inspections. The moment he tossed out the first inspectors, he was in violation of that cease-fire agreement and the US was fully within its rights to react militarily, with or without UN approval.”

the un was fully within *its* rights to react, or authorize us to react, militarily. there was no imminent danger… your argument is bunk.

“The sum total of your arguement seems to be ‘No, it isn’t’.”

mine and every unbiased, authoritative figure who has investigated the issue. so i side with them. “no, it isn’t.”

again, find someone who isn’t hired/fired by the man he defends. “my lawyer says i’m innocent, so it *has* to be true… that’s proof!”

“I don’t know how to respond to this. You don’t think Saddam’s Iraq posed any threat whatsoever.”

there was no threat to us. don’t be naive. had there been, you really believe your president to be so incompetent as to be entirely unable to find one? and i thought you were a die-hard bush loyalist…

“Oh, hogwash!”

my sentiments exactly. you wish to cite saddam’s failure to comply with a un resolution as just cause for our invasion, yet refuse to either recognize the un as legitimate *or* recognize our own obligations to uphold international law. you can’t have it both ways. and yet again, we broke precedent which predates the un. but still no comment?

“You are a globalist, so I can understand why you would think this way. I am a nationalist, which is why I disagree with you.”

baseless and absurd. i am a nationalist. you are a hypocrite. we should never have helped found the un if we had no intention of acknowledging its authority. we certainly can’t use infractions of their resolutions as justifications for our actions, unless we intend to invade ourselves as well! such hypocrisy.

“The President’s first duty is to protect this nation and its people from enemies, both foreign and domestic.”

yes. but can he protect us from himself? apparently not.

“The UN can topple and fall into the Hudson River, as far as I’m concerned.”

is that your feeling, then. so you and saddam have far more in common than you care to admit.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #198995

“is that your feeling, then. so you and saddam have far more in common than you care to admit.”

allow me to rephrase that. that sounded needlessly offensive. what i should have said was something like…

“yes, and saddam would agree with you.”

Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 11:30 PM
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