Lay Down with Dogs & You Get Up With Fleas

The realists are back in the saddle. Reform in the Middle East is so 2002. Now we are strongly advised to talk with, and presumably accommodate, regional powers like Syria & Iran. Was it really so good in the Middle East before, when we all behaved realistically? Who are our new partners & what do want?

Expedients a like pods full of seeds of future trouble. We treated Saddam like a pariah for most of his tenure. During the middle 1980s, when it looked like Iran would win the Iraq-Iran conflict, we "tilted" toward Iraq. Although we ended up supplying only 0.47% of his weapons (that is ZERO point four seven percent), our intelligence sharing prevented an Iranian victory and allowed the misinforming to misinform the misinformed that the U.S. had created Saddam. Realism means embracing the bad guys, overlooking their faults and sometimes giving them what they want. It means making choices among bad options. Realism is necessary, but realists will never end their careers free from criticism.

Compromise is like that.

Many regimes in the world and most in the Middle East are nasty in big or little ways. Two of the worst are Iran and Syria. While I agree that it is useful to talk to them, let's go in with our eyes open.

When we say talk, what we mean is negotiation. When we say negotiation, we mean that we will be GIVING something in order to get something. It also means that we are implicitly recognizing the legitimacy of our negotiating partners. Soon somebody will publish a picture of a prominent American meeting with an Iranian or Syrian official. A couple years from now, our enemies overseas and critics at home will point to bad things Iran & Syria have done and claim that we supported these "allies".

What about the giving part. Iranians & Syrians seem fairly happy with the chaos in Iraq. In fact, they are causing for much of it. Talking to them about this is unlikely to change their minds. What do they want and what can we give them?

I do not really know. Here is some speculation.

Lebanon - Democracy almost broke out in Lebanon last year. Democracy is not something the Syrians want to risk again. They will certainly want the U.S. to "mind its own business" in Lebanon (i.e. do not encourage freedom).

Bombs - The Iranians want one. We are less enthusiastic about the prospect. The Iranians will certainly want us to show more "realism" toward their nuclear ambitions.

Darfur - Besides the actual victims, the only people really upset about the Muslim on Muslim violence in Sudan live in the U.S. and Europe. Most prefer the U.S. and its friends not to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign nation. Iranians and Syrians would not welcome a strong U.S. leadership on this.

Spheres of influence - This is the sine qua non of realism. TPowers always want spheres of influence. Iran is already building a sphere of influence in Iraq. I am sure one of their goals is to left alone to finish their work.

But let's ourselves be realistic for a minute. Which of these things CAN we give? Which should we give? What can Iran and Syria actually deliver in return?

Neither can deliver peace. It would be a good thing if they stop creating chaos, but there is plenty of chaos even w/o their meddling. They certainly do not have the capacity to establish order, even if they wanted to (and they don't).

So in our pursuit of realism we are chasing a chimera. We have the power to give many things, but our negotiating partners do not have the power to give us much in return.

It is touching how much some people hope to get from people who dislike us. We will probably end up getting to do most of the work and all of trouble.

What do other people think we can get and what should we give? What are the options?

Posted by Jack at December 8, 2006 11:57 AM
Comments
Comment #198310

Jack

The Bush administration, especially the neocons, were implementing realpolitik when the undertook to remake the Middle East by confabulating an excuse to go into Iraq and topple Saddam. Unfortunately, they were totally ignorant of the internal politics of Iraq, and didn’t care about the morality or legality of invading another country unprovoked. I agree that “realism” isn’t the best, especially when that connotes a cynical and manipulative attitude toward other countries. It has gotten us into a lot of trouble over the years (Viet Nam, Cambodia, Iran, Chile, Panama, El Salvador, Cuba, etc., etc., etc.).

Right now, we are our occupation of Iraq puts us in a morally untenable place. We invaded, destroyed infrastructure, and allowed unrestrained civil war to break out through inattention and under-manning our forces. Our only ethical position at this point is to ask the Iraqi people what to do. However, we have allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent that there is no unified Iraqi voice to respond to the question.

Those who believe that further military action will bring any good to Iraq or the Middle East as a whole do not understand the situation there. We are not protecting the Iraqi people at this point; we are exacerbating the violence, as much of it is directed toward US troops. This is orthogonal to the violence between sectarian forces as they struggle for control of real estate and political power, violence which would continue whether we are there or not. There is no evidence that our presence has done anything but increase the violence (which the Bushies purposely have underestimated so folks like you and I would think it wasn’t as bad there as it is). You may feel or suspect that we have, but the evidence doesn’t support that notion, only a sense of national pride and intensely wishful thinking does.

I think we need to place the fate of Iraq in her hands with the collaboration of her neighbors. We need to forge a true coalition (not the Bush version of one) to help get her through this dark and terrible period in her young history. Iraq needs to bring all the various factions, including Sunni Baathists and others) to a bargaining table to work out an agreement over how Iraq will be governed. The previous efforts were at the point of the US gun and excluded people we didn’t like or were mad at. We need to get out of the way and let people who know Iraq and the Middle East run the show and offer support and aid in the process. We need to offer monetary reparation to Iraq for the harm we did (removing Saddam was not a favor, despite the insistent propaganda from the administration and the RWEC).

Even if Iraq continues its slide into chaos, we will have done everything we could to repair the damage we have done and will have stemmed the bleeding emanating from our military presence in that country. We will carry the shame if what we have done for a long time (except for people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill Orally, who will continue to insist that it was liberals and the media who prevented us from being successful there). But by acting in a moral, well intentioned manner now, we will minimize the stain and provide a path out of our national purgatory.

Meanwhile, we need to impeach and convict Bush and Cheney for their criminal behavior in this manner. If lying about a blow-job deserves such treatment, then this is, in Dick’s words, a “no-brainer.”

Posted by: mental wimp at December 8, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #198311

The ultimate sign of disrespect is to ignore the party you are in conflict with. When Carter brought the Jordanians, the Egyptians and the Jews together and worked out a peace agreement ( a peace agreement that has endured some twenty-five years by the way), we had poor relations with both Egypt and Jordan. Egypt, as I recall, had close ties with and received most of its aid from the Soviets. I was surprised at the time that any agreement was achieved and doubly surprised that it held.
We push our friends to talk to their enemies (Britain-Northern Ireland, Kosovo-Serbia, Isreal-Palestine), why is it so difficult to conceive talking, without precondition, to our adversaries?
George Bush is unable to effectively communicate; certainly that much is clear now. He seems unable to conceive the notion that much can be achieved through the power of persuasion probably because he realizes that he, himself, has failed to be persuasive. Regards

Posted by: charles Ross at December 8, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #198312

Jack,

“our intelligence sharing prevented an Iranian victory and allowed the misinforming to misinform the misinformed that the U.S. had created Saddam.”

While we may have not supported Saddam that much during the afore mentioned war, we certainly did help to “create” him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam#Youth

“In 1958, a year after Saddam had joined the Ba’ath party, army officers led by General Abdul Karim Qassim overthrew Faisal II of Iraq. The Ba’athists opposed the new government, and in 1959, Saddam was involved in the attempted United States-backed plot to assassinate Qassim.

Saddam was shot in the leg, but escaped to Tikrit with the help of CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents. Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred to Beirut for a brief CIA training course. From there he moved to Cairo where he made frequent visits to the American embassy. During this time the CIA placed him in an upper-class apartment observed by CIA and Egyptian operatives.”

and,

“Darfur - Besides the actual victims, the only people really upset about the Muslim on Muslim violence in Sudan live in the U.S. and Europe.

I would say that those that the violence is being perpetrated on, probably are really upset as well.

Posted by: Rocky at December 8, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #198313

Not if you have respected the dog enough to treat it for fleas.

We need to learn to deal with other countries/cultures/religions/politics with respect. That’s the only way to even begin to have an affect.

Calling other countries “evil” as in “axis of evil” and even using the word crusade does us no good, and only ruins any possibility of negotiation or understanding.

I do love the arrogance though, I’ve come to expect it.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 8, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #198314

It’s simple. Let’s use Bush Senior’s strategy, and simply not do any business with these countries until they start acting like like human beings. They’ll either come to their senses, or weaken to the point where we don’t have to worry about them.

Posted by: Max at December 8, 2006 12:49 PM
Comment #198315

“by acting in a moral, well intentioned manner now, we will minimize the stain and provide a path out of our national purgatory.”

mental wimp,

That’s been my whole point about “diplomacy” that I’ve been talking about on David Remer’s last article in the green column. It’s a simple matter of being, or at least appearing, responsible in the international community. It may be a waste of time to try and engage the entire region in some sort of multi-regional talks, but at least we’d have tried.

Of course it would be horrible to have to say, “just look at all the words we wasted”. Must more so than having to say, “look at all the lives we’ve wasted”, eh?

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #198317

Oops, “Must more so” should read “much more so”

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #198318

Well said, KD, well said.

Posted by: mental wimp at December 8, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #198319

“Let’s use Bush Senior’s strategy, and simply not do any business with these countries”

I’m game. Let’s stop buying any middle eastern oil immediately.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #198322

“But let’s ourselves be realistic for a minute. Which of these things CAN we give? Which should we give? What can Iran and Syria actually deliver in return?”

Jack,

In this particular instance I don’t see diplomacy as a “give and take” issue. I believe a truly skilled diplomat could possibly convince ALL of Iraq’s neighbors that a stable Iraq is in their best interest. It’s remotely possible that such diplomacy could result in continued cooperation on seeking middle eastern peace. (note that I say “remotely”)

What possible harm could it do? We’re not talking concessions. What state do you think the world would be in today if we’d refused to speak to the USSR throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s? I seem to recall an old saying to the effect, “keep your close, but keep your enemies closer”. I may have botched that but I think you get the drift.

All this said, and as much as I might disagree with your conclusion, you still wrote a very good and compelling article.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #198324

I’m botching everything today.

That should be, “keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer”.

Maybe I should volunteer my services to John Kerry :)

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #198325

KD,

Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of hot buying middle eastern oil. The world oil market is so interconnected. I can see politicians making great hay about not buying ME oil, but the truth is, as long as we import as we do, we will still be contributing to the demand.

I also don’t think it’s realistic to just disengage from any involvement in the Middle East. The lesson I get from the current mess is that it is the height of hubris to believe we can simply impose our will by force. But that doesn’t mean we should simply turn our backs.

In many countries in the middle east there are populations yearning for something different. I think we can best serve them by lowering our profile, but not giving fundamentalist or anti-democratic forces so much easy propaganda to use against us. Ultimately, we have to accept that we cannot easily reshape the middle east in ways we desire. To a large degree, the people there have to work it out for themselves.

I’m also not saying we should walk away from Israel. Like it or not, we are committed to the existence of that state, and we should not let any doubt on that score persist. At some point, the Palestinians have to become realistic themselves, and understand that the only way they are going to have their own separate state is to follow the course set by moderates such as Abbas.

For our own part, we need to curb our oil dependency as quickly as possible. This effort should be sold by appealing not environmental but also national security and patriotic reasons.

I’m not an foreign policy expert, obviously, but that’s my two cents.

Posted by: Trent at December 8, 2006 1:20 PM
Comment #198326

“For our own part, we need to curb our dependency as quickly as possible”

Amen to that. Our ability to conserve is our secret weapon in the war on terror. Someone tell w.

Posted by: charles Ross at December 8, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #198327

Trent,

I agree with you. I couldn’t help myself. I’m old enough to remember the warnings of Jimmy Carter. Of course he was berated as being weak, but that’s another story.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #198340

Jack,
Good article.

“How do you manage a disaster?”

Someone phrased it that way, and it sums up the situation quite well.

As you mention, negotiation means “delivering satisfaction to obtain what you want.” By their nature, negotiation and politics involve compromise. Our situation is not necessarily as weak as it appears, even if it means recognizing & accepting some unpleasant realities.

First, we need to acknowledge the two big winners of the Bush administration foreign policy: Israel and Iran.

Israel and its right wing “Likudnik” supporters in the administration have encouraged a situation where the US has troops in the Middle East, and we side with them to the exclusion of adversaries.

Iran has seen the US make its regional dreams of power come true. We have eliminated two opponents, the Taliban & Saddam Hussein/Baathism. The eventual winner in Iraq will almost certainly be a Shia fundamentalist government friendly towards Iran. Sunnis backing the Al Qaida of Osama bin Laden & Al Qaida in Iraq are on the outs.

We can use out economic muscle & our clout with Israel to “manage the disaster.” With Syria, offering the Golan Heights & an annual bribe of a few billion dollars should do the trick. In addition, since Lebanon is also spiraling into another civil war, recognizing them as part of a Greater Syrian sphere of influence would be a carrot. In exchange, we obtain peace between Syria & Israel, discourage support for Israeli opponents, and discourage support for the Sunni insurgents in Iraq.

With Iran, we should seek a close embrace. The fundamentalists cannot survive our embrace. Western values & secular influences will encourage democracy, and ultimately discourage fundamentalism. Why not seek friendly relations, and cut the legs out from under American opponents? A nuclear program becomes irrelevant if we drive policy towards friendly relations. Generous trade incentives would be a carrot. Give the Iranians the respect they crave, recognize them as a regional power, and let globalization do its work.

There is more in regards to others, but I will have to leave it there for now.

Good comments by many earlier in this thread, much appreciated!

Posted by: phx8 at December 8, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #198344

“A nuclear program becomes irrelevant if we drive policy towards friendly relations.”

Yep, it’s like mangos vs. nukes.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #198348

Mental

El Salvador worked out all right. We never invade Chile, but their free market reforms have made them prosperous. The Marxists would have made both those place more like Cuba. If you are talking about interventions, you forget Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, Granada, Afghanistan (twice), Somalia, Korea, Japan, Germany (we still have troops there). I suppose you could also include the U.S. Navy protecting Taiwan. I am sure there are more. Some worked out better than the likely alternatives; others not.

Rocky

The victims are the one who the violence is being perpetrated on.

And I still go with the 0.47% figure as the key. There is a lot of fog and night involved with anybody like Saddam. The fact that the article mentioned both Egyptian and U.S. agents (at the time we were not real friendly with Egypt) indicates this. This is an example of the fleas I mention in the title.

Woman marine

Glad you like it.

My point is not that we should not try to engage. It is that when we do engage with less than perfect regimes (which includes almost everybody in the world) we will sometimes have moral problems. Of course, we have similar moral problems when we do nothing (i.e. Rwanda).

Charles

That talking we got the Serb and the Kosovars to do had a lot to do with American air power. I do not think we can really call that a triumph of talking.

Max

We could never have had any dealings with the Soviet Union if we followed that strategy. Today we would have to ignore not only Iran & N. Korea, but also places like Venezuela. We have to engage with less than savory characters, but we have to be careful.

Kansas
See above re USSR. The Soviets were the right kind of enemy. Really bad and potentially dangerous, but in fact fairly circumstpect and it the end not very innovative.

Diplomacy works well in some situations, less well in others. Since I do not want to get everybody attacking side issues, let me give PC worthy examples.

How could Ethiopian diplomacy stopped Mussolini or Polish or Czech diplomacy convinced the Nazis not to be so aggressive. Or how about American Indian diplomacy with the U.S. cavalry? Tibetan diplomacy and the Chinese? Sometimes your adversary wants exactly the outcome you do not. The Syrians and Iranians are causing and/or abetting much of the chaos in Iraq. They created it because they think it is in their interests. They want it to stop only if they can dominate various parts of the country.

The only silver lining is that the various erstwhile allies would fall out and kill each other, but the strive resulting would blunt that as a desirable option.

Phx8

In the long run, it is not a bad thing for Iran to become a stronger regional power. There has been power on the Iranian plateau for nearly 3000 years. The unnatural place is Iraq, which until the British created the place in 1920 was never an entity. The historical fault line runs right through the middle of the county. The problem is the breakup will be a big problem, in many ways a return to the more distant past, when that border region was a bone of contention among stronger neighbors.

It is not well known in our country, but one of the greatest and longest lasting wars was fought between the Turks and the Persians mostly along that fault line. Before that it was the Arabs and the Persians, Byzantines and Persians, Romans and Persians. Babylonians and Medes (& Persians). I think I see a pattern.

It is interesting that the Iranian birth rate has been dropping fast. This is the harbinger of peace. As you have fewer kids, you are less enthusiastic about investing them in a jihad. It is kind of a grim calculation of supply and demand.

Posted by: Jack at December 8, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #198356

Jack, the point is to encourage their actions which BOTH further their own and our objectives.

It is called diplomacy - as opposed to force. It is the art of finding, pointing out, and selling others on actions which are mutually beneficial.

Strategically, Iran is a Shiite Nation in wide sea of Sunni nations. Getting Iran to influence Shiite action in Iraq in return for measures which shore up Iran’s defenses against Sunni nations like Saudi Arabia, is common ground for diplomacy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 8, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #198359

David

Iran was a strong U.S. ally for many years, mostly for the reason you mention. Iran has been acting against its best geopolitical interests since 1979.

It may be necessary for the revolutionary generation to pass from power before they figure this out. Unfortunately, this is the peak of their time.

I think if we can hang on w/o major incident for 7-10 years, we will be okay, but that is going to be a problem.

Posted by: Jack at December 8, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #198366

Both Diplomacy and War depend on the capabilities and strengths of their users for their desired effect. Those who ignore either in waging war or carrying on diplomacy hamstring themselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 8, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #198371

Jack,

“Iran was a strong U.S. ally for many years, mostly for the reason you mention. Iran has been acting against its best geopolitical interests since 1979.”

Iran was a strong ally because we propped up the Shah. He and his Savak kept his country under control much the same way as Saddam.

Talk about fleas.

Yikes!

Posted by: Rocky at December 8, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #198375

You made some really interesting and enlightening points about how negotiations and multi-party talks are perceived by those who are less informed. Many citizens who claim they know what is happening really do not have a clue as to what is going on behind the scenes and why. When that picture is published of a prominent American official sitting and discussing with the so-called enemy that American official will be lambasted and their intentions viewed skeptically. I hate to see this happen but we all know it will. But the question I pose to you is whether or not we should expect our officials to be forthright in regards to why they are dealing with or “laying with the dogs.” Would the American people be able to understand the rationale behind these discussions?

Posted by: yusufyoung@hotmail.com at December 8, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #198376

You made some really interesting and enlightening points about how negotiations and multi-party talks are perceived by those who are less informed. Many citizens who claim they know what is happening really do not have a clue as to what is going on behind the scenes and why. When that picture is published of a prominent American official sitting and discussing with the so-called enemy that American official will be lambasted and their intentions viewed skeptically. I hate to see this happen but we all know it will. But the question I pose to you is whether or not we should expect our officials to be forthright in regards to why they are dealing with or “laying with the dogs.” Would the American people be able to understand the rationale behind these discussions?

Posted by: yyoung at December 8, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #198379

This is a rare moment. I agree with a Dem (KansasDem). Let’s get away from Middle East oil. Let’s use our own TEMPORARILY while finding a suitable alternative. Europe, Australia, and Canada might follow suit and the terrorists will lose their biggest weapon against the West.

George Bush is using the squeeze tactic on Iran. He wants the people to revolt against their radical government. He said it himself. He wants the people of Iran to see democracy on both sides and want it. If I were him in 2002, I would have gone after Iran because they are radical and chant “Death to America!” I would have gone after Afghanistan because that is where OBL is rumored to be and the Taliban supports al Qaida. But if we would have picked Iran instead of Iraq, would Iraq be doing the same things to us as Iran is now?

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 8, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #198383


Except for the President of Iran, The most unsavory leader we are dealing with is the President of the United States.

Iran has never been a strong ally of the United States. The Shah of Iran was and both he and we were not acting in the best interests of the people of Iran. believe it or not, they have their reasons for calling us the great satan.

I have strong doubt’s about Bush accomplishing much by negotiating with Iran even if he would. However, I believe they did offer to negotiate their nuclear program and did offer us assistance in Iraq in 2003 or 2004 and they were strongly rebuffed for their effort by the administration.

Posted by: jlw at December 8, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #198386

You cannot negotiate with madmen.

Terrorists=mad

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 8, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #198388

Stub Con,

“George Bush is using the squeeze tactic on Iran. He wants the people to revolt against their radical government. He said it himself. He wants the people of Iran to see democracy on both sides and want it.”

If he is using Iraq as an example, it ain’t gonna happen.

Posted by: Rocky at December 8, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #198391

When a foreign country threatens to bomb or invade, people rally around the flag, even if the government is unpopular. History is full of examples, and it was not that long ago that people rallied around Bush after 9/11.

Iranian youths will stand behind the Mullahs if the Mullahs appear to be threatened by the US, even if their religious fundamentalism is unpopular with Iranian youth.

In other words, with Iran, our belligerence accomplishes precisely the opposite of what we intended.

The Iranian Mullahs direct resentment outward, away from themselves and towards the US. It is psychological projection on a national scale, and one of the oldest tricks in the book.

We need to remove the causes of hostility, smile even if it hurts, and allow our culture and economy to bring about a natural, organic change within Iranian society. It takes time, but it is proven to work.


Posted by: phx8 at December 8, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #198393

Jack opines: If you are talking about interventions, you forget Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, Granada, Afghanistan (twice), Somalia, Korea, Japan, Germany (we still have troops there).

I thought you might go there with my invitation via the etc. at the end of the list. Note that for Germany and Japan, we invaded a country who attacked us or an ally. In Granada we rescued our people. Afghanistan we screwed over twice, so it fits nicely in my list. Granted, the second time we invaded and toppled a government, but it was working with and supporting the party that attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001. Kosovo and Bosnia were essentially the same action and Somalia was a blunder. Haiti we have screwed over so many times it’s not funny.

The lesson is that when we think we can change governments of other people to make things better for us, we fail miserably every time. When we do it for altruistic reasons or because we are attacked, it works out sometimes, but not always. The selfish set of true reasons we invaded Iraq coupled with the sheer incompetence of the current administration was an invitation to disaster, which most of us who were paying attention foresaw well before Bush actually invaded, back when he was just making the noises to indicate that he was going in. It was absolutely transparent back then that the administration was looking for excuses to go in, yet so many Americans were oblivious and bought the phony reasons proferred. Without due caution and skepticism, we are doomed to misadventures like Iraq. It is all well and good to imagine that we can re-engineer other societies to our liking, but the sorry truth is that we are pathetically inept at it, I mean as a race, not as a country.

Note, too, the difference when we have the global community on our side vs. going it alone or with a coalition of the bribed and coerced. Again, it helps to be motivated for pure reasons rather than a collection of Texan bravado and neocon wetdreams, because only if we have good reason can we get opinion on our side. Like going in to Afghanistan after 9/11/01. Of course, now the administration has screwed the pooch on that one, due to their general ineptitude, but we had the right idea at first.

Posted by: mental wimp at December 8, 2006 6:36 PM
Comment #198399

Rocky:

Oh ye of little faith.

Mental:

Afghanistan is nearly a success now.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 8, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #198400

Jack,

Every action has more than one reaction. Do you remember (or have you heard of) the Carter Doctrine? To some extent the covert operations that ensued helped weaken the Soviets greatly. At the same time it helped feed the Islamic Fundamentalists we’re facing today. The same covert operations that were started by the Carter administration later on resulted in the Iran-Contra scandal.

So, there’s at least three “reactions” to an action. The Carter Doctrine helped bring an end to the USSR, but it fed the enemy we face today, and it created a program that was ripe for corruption due to a lack of oversight. All to protect our interests in the Persian Gulf.

I say it’s time to talk. We’re still the “big boy” on the block. No one’s foolish enough to believe we can’t bomb them into nothing but rubble. I say it’s time to let the world know that’s not our intention. Peaceful coexistance worked for decades with the USSR.

Yes, this is different, but we need our best diplomatic minds at work to TRY and solve this. If it fails then it fails, but we must try. Just try!

Talk is cheap in two ways. It may accomplish nothing, but words are also much cheaper than lives. We’re losing far too many American lives now with a very doubtful outlook for success.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #198401

Afghanistan is nearly a success now.

Ha, ha, ha, ha….. Yea, so is Iraq.

Posted by: mental wimp at December 8, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #198405

“Afghanistan is nearly a success now.”

Oh, that explains this headline:

Karzai: Attacks wearing thin on Afghans
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061208/ap_on_re_as/afghan_pakistan_2

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 7:56 PM
Comment #198406

Kansas

The Carter Doctrine?

It didn’t do much until we actually started to give the Afghans something to fight with in the middle 1980s. That was the problem with Carter – lots of intention, not much follow through.

You are right, however, about the reactions or consequences. Our action in Afghanistan helped bring down the Soviet Empire, a great evil. It produced terrorists, a big evil. We never solve all our problems at the same time. We cannot.

We are all drifting away from the point of realism and the status quo ante. Most of the criticism of the U.S. in the Middle East results from our realpolitik. It started with almost 61 years ago when Abdul Aziz met President Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy in Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake. What a fitting name.

I regret that our Iraq policy is not producing the results we hoped. In the style of a bloody Metternich, we and others will set the world back. Our experiment looks like it failed this time. But it is not the end.

Posted by: Jack at December 8, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #198409

“I regret that our Iraq policy is not producing the results we hoped.”

Jack,

I expected worse initially, and once I was proven wrong, I expected much better than what we’re dealing with today. History is great for keeping someone from repeating a mistake. History can be yesterday or many yesterdays ago.

In this case every “yesterday” I look at says it’s time to talk. If talking leads nowhere what did we lose? Is it better to decide that talking will lead nowhere without trying?

It seems that you’re saying this is destiny and there’s no turning back. I think it’s always possible to turn back and change course. If I’m wrong we may well be confronting an armageddon of our own making.

I’m not suggesting we surrender or even make any huge concession. Just open up a line of communication. Compared to bombs, bullets, and blood it’s a cheap price to pay.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #198410
Our experiment looks like it failed this time.

I see the optimism you boast of is starting to erode.

Agree that it is questionable much we can accomplish simply through diplomacy at this point. It’s worth trying, but I’m not hoping for much.

There is no reason for Iran, for example, to want to negotiate with us. They are holding all of the cards right now. They’ve got oil, they’ve got a nuclear program, and they benefit from Iraq being in turmoil. It’s like asking the fox to help fortify the henhouse.

(Of course, telling them they were “evil” did not help.)

It is really just a lousy situation all around.

Let’s stop buying any middle eastern oil immediately.

Sorry, KD, but Trent’s right. To use a five-dollar word, oil is a fungible commodity. This is basically a fancy way of saying that one barrel of oil is interchangeable with another. So boycotting any particular group of suppliers is fruitless.

As long as we are dependent on imported oil, we are the benefactors of any regime that exports oil.

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 8, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #198415

Kansas

I think we ARE going back. It looks like the logic of (let’s use the word) evil in the Middle East will reassert itself. Since 1945, we have believed that we had to deal with the local tyrants because the local tyrants were the only game in the Middle East. The Bush policy broke with that tradition. Condoleeza Rice pointed out that we traded liberty for stablity and got neither.

I was hoping to break out of this. After the successful Iraqi elections, I thought it might be possible. Now that springtime of democracy turned out to be just a brief thaw in the eternal drap winter of the region.

It is profoundly distressing. The bad guys win and we take refuge in our retun to realism. I can recognize reality, but I do not have to like it.

Posted by: Jack at December 8, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #198417

So, Jack, do you think we can bomb all of the Islamic extremists back to the stone age? How many moderates will we kill along the way? How many moderates will become extremists?

I guess it all comes down to armageddon doesn’t it? Why wait for god to deliver when we have the capability to end all life. Yeah, I like that. Cut out the middle man.

Good night for now.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #198420

“Sorry, KD, but Trent’s right.”

Woody,

I already admitted that:

“Trent,
I agree with you. I couldn’t help myself. I’m old enough to remember the warnings of Jimmy Carter. Of course he was berated as being weak, but that’s another story.
Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 01:32 PM”

I was being a smart a$$ but I’m not good at it. Everyone of my ex’s say my sense of humor sucks. Three ex’s can’t be wrong.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 8, 2006 10:34 PM
Comment #198426

Oops, sorry about that, KD. I search for “oil” to avoid that scenario, but missed your comment anyway.

Far be it from me to argue with such a high authority as you ex-wives! Apparently you managed to charm them at some point…

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 9, 2006 12:01 AM
Comment #198430

Well ya’all
I was hoping that GWB might listen to the bi-partisan commission. Seems he is not interested. Now all bets are off. We,meaning the Dems,Indies or you have to get that idiot out of office ASAP.The country and world cannot wait two more years.Christ,it is like letting a five year old play with a chainsaw. It is just too damned dangerious and you know it.

Posted by: BillS at December 9, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #198440

Jack:
Ok Now for a bit less hysterical response. Apoligies but I could not believe your boy.
What would we get? Simple .Out. The American Era in the middle east is over. The winner is China. This was purely due to blundering but so what. We had no really compelling reason to be there anyway. Maybe he did us a favor by default. High time for energy independance and getting away from fossil fuels.
If we did not create Saddam we sure as hell armed him. Look at the time line. We approved shipments of weaponizeable botulism even after he gassed the Kurds with chemicals made and provided by guess who.Google it. Our conduct in that region of the world has been shameful generally. Violently replacing the democratic government of Iran with the Shah set in motion much of the hostility we now must confront,for example. This is what happens when the US lets corporations run our forign policy. In that case the oil companies . In Central America we have much distrust from letting United Fruit and others command our actions. This must stop. I hope we can agree.

Posted by: BillS at December 9, 2006 3:30 AM
Comment #198445

Stop mincing words and continuing to seek an “out” for George W. Bush (a.k.a. moronic idiot!!!!!!). The Middle East may not have been stable before 2003, but it is more unstable now because of Mr. Idiot “President.” He is responsible for what is called “Al Queada in Iraq.” He is responsible for the increased influence of Syria and Iran in the region. He is responsible the mounting deaths of American volunteers (our troops) in Iraq. This fool sent Americans into harms way based on a lie he and his minions predicated on our nation. There is VERY VERY VERY LITTLE about the Iraq situation that was not predictable before close to 3,000 Americans had to lose their lives. All of this damn political dialogue, debate, report SHOULD HAVE OCCURRED BEFORE in an attempt to prevent the disaster and tragedy that is the “Bush World War III.”

You’re “damn straight”….You lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Of course there are close to 3,000 people—fleas or no fleas—who are unable to get up at all.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at December 9, 2006 6:11 AM
Comment #198450

Those opposing our actions in Iraq are quick to note the US supported Saddam Hussein and other nasty regimes from time to time. Seems ironic that the same people are now pushing to cozy up to two very nasty regimes in Syria and Iran.

Posted by: Jack McGeehan at December 9, 2006 8:27 AM
Comment #198452

Jack McGeehan,

“Those opposing our actions in Iraq are quick to note the US supported Saddam Hussein and other nasty regimes from time to time. Seems ironic that the same people are now pushing to cozy up to two very nasty regimes in Syria and Iran.”

Unfortunately, it is just that support that got us into this mess.

Sometimes you just have to hold your nose, and do what you have to do.

Posted by: Rocky at December 9, 2006 8:42 AM
Comment #198455

BillS

We did not arm Saddam to any significant extent. 0/47% - that is our contribution. We are way behind places like Brazil or Spain. The U.S. trades with just about everybody. We were the biggest contributors of food aid to the Taliban. That saves thousands of Afghans from starvation. Did we “support” the Taliban because our help prevented their policies from killing more of their people?

Think about the articles you have read and what you have written. For example, you mention weaponizable botulism. First you have to understand that a lot of these precursor materials are used in agriculture and research. Second, the amounts were small, but most important is that Saddam NEVER used weaponized botulism. In fact, none of the thing we were accused of supplying were used for anything. What we have is some people pouring over a list of exports and looking for things that might be made to look nefarious.

What you have is stories and innuendo. Saddam was armed to the teeth in 1991. What arms did we encounter in Gulf War? Were there ANY American weapons? Maybe that is a good indication.

Reality is important here too. We have a lot of people saying, “but he could have”. I do not know about that, but I know HE DID NOT.

Kim Sue

Do you feel better ranting? Yes, I know you could do better. We know you are very good at being angry.

Rocky

The support is not what got us into this mess. We have disorganized, dangerous and violent situation put on steroids by oil. There is really no good way to handle it in the short run. Our emphasis on realpolitik since 1945 brought some stability. I think that era is over. We will go back to it for awhile now, but in a few years we will come around again to the need for reform.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 9:45 AM
Comment #198464


Sadam hid his WMD’s so well that even he couldn’t find them when he needed them so desparately to defend himself and his country from the imperialist hordes.

Our support for the Shah of Iran was just good business practice and good strategy. It is not responsible in any way for the Islamic Regime their people are living under today. Right! Right?

Jack: We don’t have a few years to wait on reforms. Our corporate controlled government and our corporate inspired foreign policy is in desperate need of reform now, immediately.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #198465

Jack,

Iran’s stubbornness may make this all a moot point anyway:

“In Bahrain, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Saturday Iran was willing to help out in Iraq, but pressed on details, he was evasive.
“When they have decided to withdraw from Iraq, then we will explain,” Mottaki said. “We are in a position to help by all means for the stability of Iraq.”“

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061209/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_us

If anyone involved in multi-regional talks starts setting “pre-conditions” all bets are off. It basically gets down to whether or not Iraq’s neighbors want to be her allies or her enemies.

This is where I believe someone like Chas. W. Freeman, Jr. could be our saving grace. You can read his bio here:

http://www.mepc.org/about/freeman.asp

Posted by: KansasDem at December 9, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #198467

“the same people are now pushing to cozy up to two very nasty regimes in Syria and Iran.”

Jack McGeehan,

I’m not at all suggesting we “cozy up” with anyone, nor is Baker. It’s simply a matter of convincing everyone in the region to cooperate with the Iraqi government. The US need offer no concessions whatever.

The sooner Iraq achieves self sustainability the sooner US boots can leave their bloody, damn Arab soil.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 9, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #198480

bills

“We,meaning the Dems,Indies or you have to get that idiot out of office ASAP.The country and world cannot wait two more years.Christ,it is like letting a five year old play with a chainsaw. It is just too damned dangerious and you know it. “

they know it - they’re too prideful to admit it, but they know it.

there is hope. senator gordon smith is finally recognizing the true nature of this war;

“I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal…

find the full speech here, as well as a short commentary on the likelihood of smith acting on his epiphany.

in light of bush’s apparent dismissal of the baker report’s recommendations, perhaps he has the balls to initiate what the democrats have, heretofore, failed to seriously attempt;

IMPEACH BUSH NOW

Posted by: Diogenes at December 9, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #198481

KD

Iran is already doing there part about the stability in Iraq. By sending terrorists, arms and bombs into Iraq, they’re doing more than their share.

Posted by: Keith at December 9, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #198487

Jack
I have no idea where you get your percenage figures. If you count total arms sales you count trucks,tire,MREs,boots etc. as well and chemicals and biologicals. Don’t you think it a bit naive to think the chemicals we exported were used for agriculture when later weapons made from these materials were used on the battlefield and against the Kurds.
We can quibble about that point but what I was trying to get across was the long term moral bankruptcy and strategical failure of most of our Middle-East policy. The reason is it has always been based on control of oil and been directed according to the desires of US oil companies. To repeat,the American Era in the Middle-East is drawing to a close and regional powers will dominate it. This is not a choice. It is what will happen. The sooner we get our troops out of harms way the better. The sooner we seriously decease our dependance on fossil fuels the better.

Posted by: BillS at December 9, 2006 5:09 PM
Comment #198494

David

We are not quibbling about points. You are talking about a total of 0.47%. You are trying to extrapolate from nothing. Check for yourself. Did Saddam own any U.S. warplanes, tanks, personnel carriers, ships, artillery, etc. I do not think they had U.S. boots or MRE, but you may know more about that. Our total trade with Iraq during the entire time Saddam was in power was small.

The WMD Saddam used was 1916 technology. It can be made with materials available in almost any country. This did not come from us. The more sophisticated materials you mention, were not used by Iraq against the Kurds or anybody else.

The idea that the U.S. was a significant weapons supplier to Saddam is plain and simply wrong. The persistence of the myth is a persistent example of anti-American propaganda.

Anybody could look at the weapons Saddam had and used and find almost NOTHING American. So they try to talk about secret WMD programs. But then you look at the WMD Saddam actually had and used and you find NOTHING. So we have one picture of Rumsfeld and a lot of ghost stories.

So now, whether you see it or not, you are moving into the next stage. The argument is more or less that we did not supply much to Saddam, but our policy was bad and would have done those things.

It is a variation of sure my facts & premises are wrong, but the conclusion is still right.

I agree that our policy from 1945-2002 was mostly based on realpolitik. I do not know what otehr alternatives we really had. Bush tried something different. It doesn’t look like it is working and we are advised to return to the good old days. That is what this post is about.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2006 6:03 PM
Comment #198510

Jack,

You are right about the laying with dogs brings forth fleas. Another Islamic terrorist act was just thwarted in the city of Chicago by the FBI. An Islamic jihadist was planning to detonate grenades in trash cans at a busy shopping mall on the weekend before Christmas to kill as many Christmas shoppers as possible. Though I read the story in my local paper, I, not surprisingly, couldn’t find it in any of the major newspapers. We wouldn’t want to report on the successes of our anti-terror surveillance operations now would we!!! It seems the fleas are jumping all over the place, not just in Baghdad. I hope they don’t become ticks, tapeworms, and all other manner of parasites, when we continue to let down our guard by reaching out to those pure folks who only want peace.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 9, 2006 9:10 PM
Comment #198514

JD, you referring to that AP story I read today on the CNN website about the reportedly lone nutcase thwarted by the FBI apparently using good old fashioned police work?

What’s your point?

Posted by: Trent at December 9, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #198571

Jack
Many of the export records are public record. We also supplied logistic and recon to Iraq in some of their battles with Iran. Even if you do not want to believe it really,really hard it does not make it disapear as history. Do you really think Rumsfeld only brought a candygram to Saddam?
We have beat this horse enough. I used arms supply to iraq as one example of a failed and morally bankrupt long term Middle -East policy.You want more/ How about the CIA installing the Shah in Iran,displacing a democratic government? How about the Iran-Conta scandle? Or was that just anti-American propaganda also?How about kissing the butts of the Sauds? You called it real politic. I would call it corrupt corporate control of our forign policy.
You try and give Bush credit for trying to try something else. What he tried was just an extension of US imperialism .An attempt to establish Iraq as an American puppet to replace Iran. If you are right and democratization was Bushes plan all along you are saying that the reasons given for the war,WMDs, was a lie all along. Great,a little progress anyway.
This is all besides the point. I have read pieces by you calling for an end to oil dependance from the middle-east. We agree. What I am saying is it is time to do exatly that coupled with a dis-engagement from the region. Again this is not a choice but a recognition of reality. Our policies there have failed and without the need for oil from the region our interest will not lie there any longer. That game is over and good riddance.

Posted by: BillS at December 10, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #198573

Oh, just to get the tap flowing — Congress is going to send to Bush, who will certainly sign it, authorizing expanding Gulf of Mexico oil exploitation. Supposedly there is 1.3 billion barrels of the stuff there, enough to feed our oil addiction of 21 million barrels a day for, oh, about two months. Of course, some folks want to open up more drilling because, you know, there might be a few years of the stuff out there.

Billions of dollars to be made, so there you go. It should make the Heritage Foundation crowd happy.

Posted by: Trent at December 10, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #198614

Trent,

Lone nut case? He had just recently been converted to Islam. I’m sure if he had just recently been converted to Christianity, you would have lumped him in with the whole, right? It’s interesting that you talk of negotiating with those Islamic countries that support terror, then try to depict Islamic terrorist perpetrators as “lone nut cases” when they do their evil deeds. The fact is this fascism has to be stopped, not bargained with. We are not at war with countries. We are at war with terrorists and terrorist regimes. In reality we have never been at war with the people of Afghanistan, or Iraq. President Bush made that plainly clear; though Democrats were quick to pervert his message by labeling it the War in Iraq, rather than the War on Terror as the President intended.
This “War in Iraq” label is what Democrats first, and then the rest of the world used to attempt to discredit Bush’s agenda of destroying those that support terror. The perversion, or confusion, that the Democrats created within our justified foreign policy of going after these supporters of terror has now created a situation in which we are being told to confer and discuss treaties with them. Factually, we are still not at war with Iraq. But we will chase terrorist “nut cases”, as you call them, down with every means necessary, in our quest to stamp out Islamic fascist terrorism. This “nut case” in Chicago is as much a terrorist of the Middle Eastern extremist fashion, as Hussein, bin Laden, or any of the others. When someone gives orders and feeds people with these extremist views to plot to blow people up in shopping malls, and then you guys depict the Islamic leadership as worthy of political negotiation, you are giving them credibility. Why would you call one Islamic extremist a “nut case”, then call for Bush to negotiate with another who would do the exact same thing to those Christmas shoppers in that Chicago Mall if he got the chance? Maybe you think the FBI office in Chicago should negotiate a treaty with the Chicago mall bomber, hmm?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 10, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #198627

JD,

Huh? If you’re going to rant at me, at least rant about the views I expressed. I have no clue what you’re talking about.

Hey, tell you what. The guy’s a nutcase who recently converted to Islam! Feel better?

Sheesh.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 12:22 AM
Comment #198636

Help! The paranoids are after me.

Posted by: BillS at December 11, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #198688

Trent,

The premise of my statement is easy to understand.
Why would you call the extremist in Chicago a lone nut case, when he is a part of the Islamic fascist whole? However, you do not consider those with whom you wish President Bush to talk as a part of the Islamic fascist whole, but simply those with whom we must come to understand, appreciate, and cooperate. Bush talking with the leadership of Iran and Syria is the equivalent of the FBI seeking to negotiate with the Chicago Mall bomber. If only the poor nut case could be understood, (heavy sigh)! Democrats say the exact same of the leadership of Syria and Iran, and it sickens me. Inherently evil people do not need to be understood, they need to be destroyed or put away for the remainder of their life!! Talking and negotiating treaties with terrorists is not some sort of moral high ground. That’s absurd!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 11, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #198714

JD,

Why do you keep putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head? The FBI caught this lunatic; good for them. The story I read said he acted alone without orders. I guess you could say he is part of a worldwide Islamic fascist movement if you think that supports whatever you are saying (a reason to support the Iraq War, I guess), but that’s like claiming a terrorist who was a Christian is party of a worldwide Christo-fascist movement. Btw, you claimed earlier that I would make a point of calling a lunatic who was a Christian a Christian terrorist — would you believe me if I said I had never written or uttered the phrase “Christian terrorist?” Maybe not, but that’s my not problem.

I guess the real difference is I think the guy is a criminal and should be treated as such, and you want to call in the airstrikes.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #198738

Trent,

That is exactly my point. You think the guy is a criminal and should be treated as such!
I think the leadership of Iran and and Syria are criminals for funding and supporting terrorists and should be treated as such. Bush should not be talking and negotiating with Islamic fascist criminals. Thank you, for understanding my point, finally!

Posted by: JD at December 11, 2006 4:44 PM
Comment #198741

JD, well, I guess I was confused, but I think understandably so because I never said a word about Iran or Syria or negotiation! And you attributed a zillion views to me!

I have to ask, though, if you think our country shouldn’t have supported the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua. If you think we should have, then I assume the justification must have something to do with the lesser of the two evils. I also have to ask if you will condemn our country’s rendition of terrorist suspects to Syria for “interrogation.”

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #198769

Trent,

I’m sorry, but I must have missed it when the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua took down a building in New York! You’ll have to refresh my memory.
Secondly, I don’t care where the terrorists are sent as long as they get their due. Maybe if liberal Dems weren’t such bleeding hearts Bush would be able to prosecute them the way he wants and wouldn’t have to send them anywhere else! Hmm?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 11, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #198776

JD,

Um, ok.

Posted by: Trent at December 11, 2006 6:58 PM
Comment #198829

Trent,

You were right, I did assume that you were taking certain positions by your questioning of my point regarding the Chicago Mall bomber. It is my opinion that our views over the last thirty years in which we have depicted terrorist acts against the U.S., and Israel for that matter, as isolated incidents, (lone nut cases), etc., has contributed to our falling asleep behind the wheel when it came to protecting America. We did not take these people seriously and it cost us greatly. We simply veiwed them as “nut cases”. Even the hatred spewed by Islamic leaders in America, like Louis Farakan, have been greatly ignored over this period of time. Instead of coming out and criticizing these people outright, we have cowered and let their views fester in America as well as around the world. This is the attitude that I read into your questioning.
Perhaps, I assumed too much?

Also, by the wording of your question- (“using good old-fashioned police work”)- I assumed that you are anti-surveillance. Perhaps, I assumed too much once again.
The fact that Islamic terrorists are at work inside America, in my opinion, displays the need for surveillance of those not only outside our borders, but also inside our borders, especially if they are known to be anti-American in their views, and even more so if they have ties to terrorist groups outside of the United States. It would be sad if the only other option is to build fortressed walls like Israel in an attempt to keep all terrorists out. (And that remark is not focused on illegal immigration, or keeping out those who do not have killing Americans on their mind when they enter). Personally, I do not want to be in the fortressed position of Israel, but one thing I do know, they understand, and are usually very well-prepared with extremely good intelligence when they are forced to retaliate against their enemies.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 11, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #198848

JD,

“It would be sad if the only other option is to build fortressed walls like Israel in an attempt to keep all terrorists out. (And that remark is not focused on illegal immigration, or keeping out those who do not have killing Americans on their mind when they enter).”

A wall will do no good if we continue to produce “home grown” terrorists.
This guy was an American citizen, and perhaps a bit over the edge.

This guy was a “looney toons”, just like the guys arrested in Miami.
He was going to trade a pair of stereo speakers for some grenades and a pistol.

Al Qaeda?

I don’t think so.

That he worked for a computer games company makes this whole thing even stranger.

Posted by: Rocky at December 12, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #199004

Rocky,

I agree with your assessment of the danger of home-grown terrorists. He does not have to be Al Qaeda to be an Islamic terrorist any more than Saddam had to be Al Qaeda to be considered an Islamic terrorist. The danger lies in brushing these people off as crazies without taking them seriously, which was my point. This radical, fascist Islamic movement must not be tolerated. It is not a religion! It is a hate group; a hate group that relies upon hatred, bigotry, and terror to spread their message. How can this be considered a religion? We do not have to have tolerance for this type of activity, or attempt to “understand and sypathize” with it.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 13, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #199008

Jack,

I don’t feel any better. You know why? Because every day American soldiers lose their lives in Iraq—and for what? Whether I am ranting or not has nothing to do with the subject of this post or my comments to it.

I understand that is important for many repondents of your “type” to avoid cogent issues and discussions by launching personal attacks. Keep up the good work you intellectual giant you!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at December 13, 2006 1:57 AM
Comment #199168

Jack,

It seems Bush isn’t going to have to lay down with dogs after all. Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has already done it for him by negotiating with the leadership in Syria. I wonder when the new Senate will pass legislation that Congressional members have the power to negotiate treaties with other heads of foreign governments? Maybe that will be included in that first 100 hours of Pelosi’s new House of Representatives legislation. What will they call it; The Congressional Oversight and Usurping of Treaty Powers Act?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 13, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #199189

Kim Sue

When you make an intellectual argument, I will answer it. What you gave me was name calling followed by assertions without even any cleverness. I understand that you hate Bush and are probably passionate about it, but emotion based arguments do not impress me.

Posted by: jack at December 14, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #199272

JD-

“Maybe if liberal Dems weren’t such bleeding hearts Bush would be able to prosecute them the way he wants and wouldn’t have to send them anywhere else! Hmm?”

Abiding by the rules of evidence, showing a defendent the evidence against them, and having some sort of review process in the event of clear misconduct is just too much to ask before sentencing someone to death, it seems.

There is always a tension between the goals of justice: protecting the innocent and making it easier to convict. In America, we constructed a system of justice where we would accept that some guilty people will go free so that we can best ensure that an innocent person will not be wrongly convicted.

Based on your posts, JD, you advocate the opposite approach in regards to terrorists. Maybe it is a response to the reality that the US government has very little in the way of credible information. The first few attempts at prosecuting their best “slam dunk” cases in federal court failed miserably. This speaks volumes about how much our government really knows about who is really doing what and why. I believe this is not reason to lower the standards. It is a reason to get more and better information. After all, if we are to fight a war on terrorists, doesn’t it first require us to have SOME solid information as to who they are? And shouldn’t this information be required to pass basic tests of soundness if we are at all serious?

In America, the game has always been to protect the innocent. To do otherwise is to open the door to corruption and manipulation, something the founders of this nation specifically sought to avoid. If we are serious about having and keeping the moral high ground in this war and garnering support accordingly, we need to start putting our actions where our mouth is and stop holding others to standards we have rejected domestically as inherently unfair and repugnant.

And if we want to “win” a war against any terrorist group, we need to be much more diligent about seperating the credible and verifiable information from that which may be tainted. Otherwise we’ll be nothing but a new tool in age old conflicts, with no way of knowing when we are being taken for a ride. As a taxpayer, I could never justify the latter. Yet there are many people who will call me an “appeaser” or “supporter of terrrorists” simply because my definition of victory includes much more than the number of bearded brown people convicted under less than fair proceedings. Is that really your difinition of “victory”?

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 14, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #199478

Kevin23,

Typical liberalism displayed. When you disagree with something someone writes, just deem them a racist in your last paragraph!!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 15, 2006 11:46 PM
Comment #199608

JD-

No…it was an over-generalization. That was the whole point. You have no idea who a “terrorist” is unless you have good information.

You’re lack of insight is sad. But Gloria Allred, Jesse Jackson and the whole lot would be very proud of you for being courageous in your liberal use of the term “racist”. Beautiful.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 17, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #199698

Kevin23,

My insight is just fine, what is sad is that you actually believe that those being held in Club Paradise Guantanamo are being held there because they happened to be born with brown skin and haven’t shaved in a week or more. I will give the Administration a little more credit than that!
The system in America which you refer to is for those covered under our Constitution. Foreign combatants are not given the same rights as American citizens, and rightly so! Perhaps, those being held who are citizens should get those protections. However, if they are accused of some form of espionage, or aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States, and their trials would shed classified information which would hurt those whom we may have infiltrating their organizations, whether ours, Britain’s, or other allied intelligence gatherers, I say either postpone the trials or hold the trials militarily rather than publicly. I also give our military more credit than equating them with “Arab haters”, or as you imply, haters of “bearded brown people”.

JD

Posted by: JD at December 18, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #199710

JD-

It’s ok that you didn’t understand. And I fully realize that you give this administration all the credit in the world. I do not. The vast majority of Americans do not. That, in and of itself, is democratic reason enough to demand oversight and transparency.

We are legally bound by international obligations which do not allow for people to be captured, detained, interrogated, and convicted to death with zero oversight and zero transparency. It is just wrong. I’m sorry we disagree.

Maybe your son or daughter will one day be captured by a foreign government and these little nuances in the application of the geneva convention guarantees will become important to you. And the US couldn’t seem to prosecute even the “slam dunk” terror cases in a formal proceeding where the rules of evidence apply. Yet I’m supposed to put blind faith in them to prosecute in good faith when there is no accountability? How is that a moral high ground to stand on?

The rest of your post is not worth a response. Frankly, it blows me away that you could stretch so far. People amaze.

Posted by: Kevin23 at December 18, 2006 6:55 PM
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