Loving George Bush

You can create a big government vehicle but you cannot determine who will drive it. Liberals, Democrats and all of us should recall that when we expand the responsibilities of government, we also imply that we grant the power to carry out associated tasks. And who will ultimately controls all this power? Maybe liberals love GWB so much they want to give him more tasks, more power.

Our American government is reasonably efficient, honest and effective. It broadly represents the will of the American people. But it is a human organization. Politicians make policies; bureaucrats carry them out. Even if they are 100% honest and preternaturally competent, there will be disruptions in communications and organizational flaws. Any large organization creates inefficiencies and those who run it get separated from their constituents and customers. So we can expect breakdowns and screw up even if we assume near perfection on the part of those making and carrying out policies for the rest of us.

Experience with politics and government has indicated that we probably cannot assume that our leaders will approach selfless perfection. In fact, much of the time our leaders will be the kind of people we do not like and they will be doing things we disprove.

When liberals advocate an expansion of the responsibilities of the federal government to alleviate poverty, they assume a hypothetical good liberal will be in charge of this apparatus. Instead, they are likely to get someone more like George Bush or Dick Cheney. Conservatives must also be circumspect. When we expand federal powers to fight terrorism, we assume a hypothetical good Republican will run the program. In fact, we might get someone more like Teddy Kennedy, maybe even a Dennis Kucinich.

When we want to create new or expanded federal mandates and federal power, the first thing to do is imagine that power in the hands of our opponents. If you love George Bush, you should advocate more federal power. If not …. Actually, Democrats might picture Cheney. Republicans can think Kennedy. Eventually the other side WILL be in power. Eventually the other side WILL control all those institutions. Meanwhile, any federal program will be subject to the usual entropy of any large organization. They certainly will not accomplish all of what you want and may produce the opposite. AND they certainly will cost you money, time and trouble.

Most problems start out as solutions. So be careful what you ask the federal government to do for you. Maybe you should just do it yourself. Once you invite the feds in, they are reluctant to leave and some of the guests that show up may be unpleasant. They will drink all your beer and lay on the couch watching bad TV and making long distance telephone calls. Be careful what you ask for. You might get a government solution.

Posted by Jack at May 27, 2007 11:41 PM
Comments
Comment #221438

I guess this article is supposed to provide a list of excuses for the piss poor Republican leadership we’ve seen in this country since Bush was elected.
It doesn’t.

“When we expand federal powers to fight terrorism, we assume a hypothetical good Republican will run the program.”

No one assumes this any longer except for a slim minority who can’t seem to use their heads for anything more difficult than cracking walnuts. What your party has proven to the American people is that they can’t do ANYTHING right, including designing and running homeland security programs, protecting the country against terror threats, and reacting quickly and effectively to domestic emergencies.

“In fact, we might get someone more like Teddy Kennedy, maybe even a Dennis Kucinich.”

And we’d be lucky if this were the case, rather than suffer with the likes of Brownie, Ridge and Chertoff.

“Eventually the other side WILL be in power. Eventually the other side WILL control all those institutions.”

Well, your side could always try to keep stealing elections and then attempt to convince the public that not only were they not stolen, but somehow reflected the will of the American people.

“be careful what you ask the federal government to do for you.”

Yes, but more importantly, be very careful about WHO you choose to run the federal government. If they’re claiming that the government can never do anything right, this is nothing but a self fulfilling prophesy. So, instead of giving the reins of power to a bunch of morons and incompetents with a highly cynical, callous and nasty attitude, one definitely wants to vote for those who have a little more faith in what the federal government can do when run wisely, intelligently and effectively.

“Maybe you should just do it yourself.”

That’s what everything has become under the current administration and far too many people are suffering needlessly. Look at the state of healthcare in this country. This callous attitude toward our middle class and our poor people (that comprise the majority of our people) isn’t working at all. We can and will do better with the help of wise, intelligent and effective leadership. And naturally the country doesn’t stand a chance of getting any of that when Republicans are in charge of running the federal government.

“Be careful what you ask for.”

Be even more careful WHO you ask to be problem solvers. Make sure they firmly believe in the idea that problems CAN be solved, and that all it takes is creativity, ingenuity and the strong desire to do well by the American people.

“You might get a government solution.”

Yes, and with the right people doing their best to solve it, it just may work.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 28, 2007 2:00 AM
Comment #221440

On the eve of Memorial Day, you’ve not picked a good time to test either our humor or resolve. As one of the revered days to remember and thank our service people, it’s incredibly sobering to look at the death toll for this war alongside all the others. Can you honestly look yourself in the mirror and feel a continued sense of pride in our leadership?? Are you still willing to face growing numbers of enlightened Americans who see Bush for all that he is and continue to support him?? May both your sleep and conscience be peace filled, Jack.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at May 28, 2007 2:51 AM
Comment #221441

Jack this is honestly the worst article you have ever wrote.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 28, 2007 3:27 AM
Comment #221443

Jack,

So, politicians should focus on longer term, aka when they’ll be no more in power, instead of the short term issue, aka gaining/keep power?
How fool are you??? How could you ask politicians to put their career off for the sake of their country future!? You can’t ask them to sacrifice their personal ambition, handing it over a better insight and future planning!?

On the other hand, if everybody were indeed trying to do things by themselves, government will have less usage in a sooner future, and less politicians will be needed, having to fight over less seats, which will ruin many careers in politics. So sad.

Now, am I the only one who can see a link between these two paragraphes? There is no corporatism in politics, isn’t it?

Richard,

Don’t be that hard on Jack. After all, these days he seems to have all the conservative blogging burden on him. It’s like “Republicans and Conservatives: Jack is doing all just fine”.
Try to be kind with him, please.

;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 28, 2007 7:08 AM
Comment #221450


Adrienne

Clinton was lucky to inherit a growing economy and preside over the most benign world situation we had seen in more than 200 years. He was a good steward of what he got, but he got a very easy game to play. Even with all this, do you recall WHY during the 2000 race Gore avoided using Clinton in his campaign and sought to distance himself from that Administration? What they called the sleaze factor was not only about his sexual proclivities.

There is a structural problem with federal power, no matter who runs it. The operation is very large and tends to lose touch. ANY large organization suffers from this. It must substitute bureaucratic rules for judgment. This is even truer in government where political pressures will ensure that any judgments are very finely criticized with the benefit of hindsight.

The problem with political programs is that there is rarely and ending worthy of the start. Government programs are like beer. They are good in moderation. When you start drinking it you feel good and confident. But if you get too much of it, you suffer mightily and by the time the hangover arrives the next guy is in office.

Sandra

This article is about the structural problems with federal leadership.

On Memorial Day we should remember the nearly 3500 Americans killed in Iraq during the last four years. We should remember all of them. I frequently pass the Marine Corp Memorial with the statues of Marine raising the flag on Iwo Jima the battle where nearly 7000 men died in a couple of days taking Mount Suribachi. But that is a different subject.

Richard

Maybe I do not express it well, but there is no doubt that any large organziation faces problems of communication and management. There are some things that cannot be appropriatly handed over to the federal government. Just because you identify a problem, it does not follow that there is a federal solution. Even Bill Clinton said that the era of big government is over.

Phillipe

Your country is now in the government cutting stage. There will be lot of interesting stories coming out of France in the coming year.

I think you see the point I am trying to make. It is not that we do not want to solve some problems or that many of us do not recognize the same ones. It is just that larger government cannot solve them and may make them worse. As we get farther away from the big mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s, we forget that in the war on poverty, poverty won and demanded reparations.

There are things government must do, things it can do and things it cannot do. Big government is good at big projects. It can build infrastructure, but it cannot fine tune. By nature, government is rules based and limits the judgement of those carrying out policies. By nature government is also political. When you are working with a 2-4 year time horizon, you do not behave the same as when you are thinking farther ahead. And when you are working with other people’s money, which you can make them give you, you tend to be less circumspect.

BTW - I consider it a gift that I get to write so much. I work through my thoughts in wrtiting and I am happy to have others attack them and reveal possible flaws.

In this particular article, I do not expect that most people will really get at what I am trying to say. They hate Bush so much that they cannot see beyond that.

I have been studying and working in large organizations for a long time. There are limits to spans of control and communications that make it impossible for large organizations to manage certain types of tasks and projects. It happens in firms; it happens in families and it certainly happens in government. Some thing just are not scalable.

To err is human, but if you want to screw up big time, you need the help of government.

Government can be like medicine. A little might make you healthy. A lot could kill you. There are also some problems that just cannot be solved to the satisfaction of everyone involved, no matter how good the intentions.

AND the intentions in governemtn are not always good.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 9:55 AM
Comment #221452

What we don’t have is any tension between those who want smaller government and those who don’t. Both major parties have presided over the fed’s growth. Although I lean left, I would value actual efforts by the right to limit the size of government because in that tension we can better define our priorities.

As someone said above, it comes down to voters. We as a rule do not represent an educated citizenry; we have allowed ourselves to be seduced by the media that technology has created. We have fallen for sophisticated campaign and advertising tactics. Functional democracy of our sort may be an historic aberration. I’ve been reading about the protests over Chavez’s closing of an opposition TV station; most were more upset over losing their soaps than over the loss of an independent media.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 28, 2007 10:42 AM
Comment #221454
hypothetical good Republican
I’ve heard the theory that such creatures still exist, but I’m afraid they’re extinct. Posted by: liberal curmudgeon at May 28, 2007 11:14 AM
Comment #221455

Jack
Although you do give Clinton some credit in this piece it is grudging. As you well know the budget surplus was an intentional result of intentional policies formulated with Rubin and others. They were passed in congress without one Rep vote. Of course he took advantage of some large opportunities,like the end of the cold war to trim unnecessary defense spending but most of the sucess came from a small increase in taxes on the wealthy. You may point to the dot com boom. Sure but remember the capitalization of the boom was largely freed up by the government not needing to sell bonds.Everyone prospered including the wealthy.
Government solutions can and do make matters worse in some circumstances. That is one reason why a viable conservative minority party is important but the Reps have gone beyond that and actually sought to cause failure. That is inexcuseable. Take SS. There are problems but the problems are not with the SS system.They are with the federal governments inability to set aside the borrowed funds from the SS system. The Bush soltion was an attempt to undermine the SS funding system through private accounts. SS itself is the most successful anti-poverty program of all time and operates on a very small overhead. Another tactic is to “starve the beast”. Underfund a program and then when it no longer works,attack it. I would point to the VA as an example. This is going on wholesale under this administration. Case in point is fed osha. They have defunded inspections and then touted how well they are doing because there are fewer violations.They are even claiming fewer workplace deaths because they administratively chose not to count long term exposure deaths(ie.aspestos)as workplace injuries.
You do have a point though. Do you really want Hillary to be able to tap phones? As I stated a viable conservative party is important to check government power but the Reps have overreached and hurt the country. I fear that without some level headed correction on your parts they will become one more wacked out minor religious party of little influence. We need you guys. I hate to admit it. Its like I hate my alarm clock but I need it. Get it together.

Posted by: bills at May 28, 2007 11:25 AM
Comment #221457

Two major Rep presidential candidates have publicly stated that they do not believe in evolution while pandering to the relidious right. Do they really believe that Americans will trust them to oversee NASA. They would be sending spaceships to the planet krackpot or what ever. The clergy does NOT have approval authority over presidents in this country. That would be Iran.Take your party back.

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 12:13 PM
Comment #221459

Jack,

When you are working with a 2-4 year time horizon, you do not behave the same as when you are thinking farther ahead.

Which is what I think is wrong with today’s politics. The political “power game” timeframe take over the long term society organization, which is the original politic aim.

In this particular article, I do not expect that most people will really get at what I am trying to say. They hate Bush so much that they cannot see beyond that.

Oh, please, I hate Bush’s policy but I can already see that one day another president will come and repair his damages. ;-)

I have been studying and working in large organizations for a long time. There are limits to spans of control and communications that make it impossible for large organizations to manage certain types of tasks and projects. It happens in firms; it happens in families and it certainly happens in government. Some thing just are not scalable.

I disagree. They’re unscalable because we just didn’t find the methodology to support it yet.

I works in IT industry as a senior software engineer. I saw many big projects called not scalable just because the organization was not enough agile to handle the project size. But very often it’s not really a question of size but complexity and foolish communication network. Reducing complexity is possible, if you have the correct methodology to split it in small pieces, and move from a hierarchical system to a dynamic collaborative one will help a sick communication project’s network.

Large organizations, governments included, could do that too, but too often they’re focusing too much on responsability due to the human ego factor, instead of focusing on results.
They lack being agile. But government’s body can be refactored to be more agile, contrary to the human ever aging body.

AND the intentions in governemtn are not always good.

So are the private sectors too. But only the first one is democratic.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 28, 2007 1:02 PM
Comment #221460

Jack:
“the intentions in governemtn are not always good.”

True, but I think it’s clear that the intentions depend entirely on WHO is running our government. When we elect people without good intentions, we automatically get bad government.
For instance, the Bush Administration neglected the terrorist threat of Al Qaeda after they’d been repeatedly warned, then we had 9/11. After 9/11, they neglected going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to start an outrageously expensive, pre-emptive war based on complete lies and cherry picked intelligence in Iraq, even though that country had nothing to do with that terrorist attack. Because they didn’t know the first thing about waging either war, they chose to ignore the advice of their generals and continued to lie about both wars to Congress and the American people at every turn. And all the while they’ve treated our soldiers like complete crap by neglecting those who are fighting in Afghanistan, by not getting them the equipment they’ve needed to fight the war in Afghanistan or their illegal war and occupation in Iraq, by over-extending their tours of duty, by not attending any of the funerals of the soldiers who died fighting in either war, and by treating the battle injuries and long-term healthcare needs of those who returned home in an injured state like a nuisance that can be ignored.

Yeah, it clearly seems to all hinge on WHO is running the country. Good intentions tend to make for better government, while bad intentions naturally only bring us bad government.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 28, 2007 1:56 PM
Comment #221462

BillS

I have said on many occasions that Clinton was a good steward of the economy. I think he certainly shares credit with Newt Gingrich in balancing the budget. After 1994 (when things actually improved NOTHING could be passed through congress w/o Republican votes, BTW since they controlled it.

If you look carefully, you see that much of the surplus came from spending the peace dividend at the end of the Cold War. The rest came from the boom in the markets in the late 1990s. Newt and the Republicans in those days took care of keeping spending low. It even caused a government shutdown, as you may recall.

Re Hilary taping phones - if she did what Bush has done so far, I would have no trouble with that. I, like most Americans, support keeping tabs on potential terrorists. It was foolish to ignore our enemies.

Phillipe

That is precisely my point. The next president will not repair the damages. The large government IS the cause of damages. It shrunk a bit in the 1990s because of a fortuitous combination of a fiscally conservative Dem president and a cost cutting Republican congress.

You put your finger on the scalable problem. When you are doing a physical problem, you may come up with a solution. We are dealing with a human problem. Human ego is involved. Human greed and motivations too.

You know even in the physical world, you run into problems. You can only build a brick building so high, for example.

Re intentions and private versus public, the government is a monopoly. If you do not like a product, you do not have to buy it. If you do not like to pay your taxes, you go to jail.

Adrienne

The 9/11 attack took a long time to plan. Clinton had eight years to deal with it. Bush had eight months while going through a transition. Neither Clinton nor Bush anticipated this sort of attack.

I had an intern who for her thesis was writing a paper re the changes in policies from Clinton to Bush. I told her my opinion, that the administrations were very similar until 9/11, but told her to check out the sources. What she wrote in school was none of my business. We did not talk about it again. A few months later she sent me a copy of her thesis with a thank you note. She found a general continuation of foreign policy (although different rhetoric) until 9/11. The Clinton foreign policy, she found, was not really very different from Bush 1 and Bush 2 looked to continue it, until 9/11. We thought we were dealing with a benign world, where trade would replace foreign policy and gradually democratize the world. Bush kept Clinton’s head of CIA; he kept on people like Clarke. There was obviously no big intelligence shake up.

You may also recall the during the 2000 race, foreign policy was hardly mentioned. Neither side thought much about it. You really cannot go back now and rewrite the history.

The Clinton-Gingrich era was generally good. But it was built on achievements of the past. The economy had shaken out many weak firms in the late 1980s and the brief recession ended in 1991. New techniques were beginning to pay off. The fall of the Soviet Empire made everyone feel optimistic. We forgot mistakes such as Somalia or Rwanda. They seemed anomalies, small clouds in a blue sky.

As I said, Clinton was a good steward. I do not criticize him for the general performance. But giving him credit for an economic boom that began a year before he took office and a world situation caused by the end of the 50 year cold war is like crediting the rooster with the sun rise.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #221464

Jack
You are correct.You can not rewrite history. The Clinton economic plan passed the House without Rep support in his first term.If anything Gingrich was a hindrance. To continue your barnyard analogy, One may thank the rainfall for a bountiful harvest but do not forget the farmer that did the planting.

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 3:13 PM
Comment #221465

BillS

Are you talking about Clinton’s early tax increases? Those did not balance the budget. Those seeds did not produce the crop.

You know that we currently are taking in record breaking revenue, even with the tax cuts. The same was true of the surge in the 1990s. The tax increases were unimportant compared to the surge of revenue caused by the growing economy. The key in those days was spending. The Republican congress did a good job in the 1990s and a poor job after 2001. The Dems did a poor job before 1994. Their current behavior does not look like it will be cutting spending.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 3:42 PM
Comment #221468

Jack,

For some time now you have been cranking out posts so fast that many active dialogues on various issues have been cycling to the bottom and off to the archives in alrming speed. It feels as though you have a lot of time on your hands.

Further, the tone of your posts is taking an increasingly *barbed* flavor! (…”Maybe Liberals love GWB so much they want to give him more tasks, more power.”). That’s preposterous, and you know it. What are you trying to do? Achieve some kind of dialogue or *aproval* from those you are trying to BARB?

Were you sufficiently well loved as a child, Jack?

Posted by: RGF at May 28, 2007 5:44 PM
Comment #221470

Gerrold
What poll showed the Venezuelans worried more about soaps? I take it as a far reach to the left on your part. Otherwise your post was good.

It is amazing that when tax cuts/increaseed revenue is brought up there is not rebuttal argument. Safe to presume that we all agree with the tax cuts except those in WDC where the brillance of a 1/2 watt light bulb exists with Rip. Pelosi is the leading light. How precious a thought that she is the leading light of the House. My personal opinion is she should get out of the government business and go back to making winos thrive to death.

Posted by: tomh at May 28, 2007 5:59 PM
Comment #221472

RGF,
“Were you sufficiently well loved as a child, Jack?”

Why are you attacking Jack?

Jack, I agree that large governments are problematic but the way you are tying in political issues between liberals and President Bush seems incoherent to me at best. It almost seems that you are arguing for small government on the basis that Republicans will screw up a large government.


Posted by: Zeek at May 28, 2007 6:10 PM
Comment #221473

Jack:
“Clinton had eight years to deal with it.”

I mention Bush, and the first thing out of your mouths is always Clinton. I’ll say this for Clinton, he was taking the threat of terrorism very seriously. Seriously enough to have warned Bush that Al Qaeda was an entity that he needed to focus on extremely closely. Clarke gave him the same advice. It’s a shame that these warnings went ignored.

“Bush had eight months while going through a transition.”

That’s an excuse. He completely ignored the threat, even after he got an intelligence memo that stated ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.’

“Neither Clinton nor Bush anticipated this sort of attack.”

Bullshit. They had already done studies on what would happen if airplanes were hijacked and used as weapons. Had Clinton been handed such a memo, he would not have blithely continued with his vacation the way that Bush did. That gets back to the fact that Clinton had better intentions about running the country than Bush did/does.

“You may also recall the during the 2000 race, foreign policy was hardly mentioned.”

That’s funny, because I remember when they did bring up foreign policy in the 2000 debates. George Bush claimed he was “against nation building”. He was obviously lying.

“Neither side thought much about it.”

Bullshit.

“You really cannot go back now and rewrite the history.”

That’s right, you can’t. Especially when the person you are arguing with is more well informed, and/or has a better memory than yourself.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 28, 2007 6:11 PM
Comment #221475

RGF

I write very rapidly. You would not believe. I not only crank out these, but also a lot more. Just for you all I put some of my barbs here. I admit that I add the barbs to get you guys to pay attention, but I think they are valid. I am right about GWB. Many actions have unintended results. If liberals believe in giving the federal government more power, they believe in giving more power to the CEO of the federal government.

Do you think I would write as I do if I wanted approval?

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 6:17 PM
Comment #221476

Jack
I was talking about the 1993 plan that was passed without Rep support. There were tax increases for the wealthy,about 400 billion in spending cuts,tax incentives for small businesses,increased investments in research,tech and education. This was a good plan.And it made a difference”an unquestioned factor in contributing to the improvement in economic activity that occurred thereafter.” Alan Greenspan

Record revenues mean less with record deficits

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #221479
What poll showed the Venezuelans worried more about soaps? I take it as a far reach to the left on your part.

tomh,

My source is this story. I’m not sure how I’m reaching to the far left here; in context I was speaking of complancency. As far as your Pelosi comments go, I just have to shrug at such invective.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 28, 2007 6:24 PM
Comment #221480

Jack:
“I write very rapidly. You would not believe. I not only crank out these, but also a lot more.”

Oh, I find it easy to believe you crank your articles out very quickly. I also think that maybe if you slowed down a bit, you’d have more time for fact checking, and they’d make much better sense overall. Just a thought.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 28, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #221484

Adrienne

What would your response be when the memos are unclassified and in the memos the BL attack had a target date of, say, 2009? or 2007? Does BS still come out of your mouth?

Posted by: tomh at May 28, 2007 7:10 PM
Comment #221486

Gerrold
What story? Who is providing the data that those people were protesting taking their soaps off the air? It has been shown in the news releases that those people protesting were opposed to HC. Their only decent source of news and information was being taken from them and replaced with comrade Hugo’s propaganda organ. Just for a bit of help do you think that Senor comrad Hugo is going to tell the truth about the poverty that is being foisted upon the Venezuelan people because of his policies and attitude?

Posted by: tomh at May 28, 2007 7:17 PM
Comment #221487

jack


“Clinton had eight years to deal with it.”

your absolutely right, and he did nothing about it, even ignoring an opportunity to kill bin laden in the fall of 1998.

adrienne


“I mention Bush, and the first thing out of your mouths is always Clinton.”

yes being as he was the was pres. for eight years prior. it’s a valid point.


“Clinton, he was taking the threat of terrorism very seriously. “


yes so seriously that he was nowhere to be found when he had the opportunity nip the problem in the bud, and when he was located couldn’t make a decision, and the moment was lost.


” It’s a shame that these warnings went ignored.”

it’s also a shame bin laden is still alive, (as far as we know) because bill was off doing whatever, playing golf or molesting another intern.

“You might get a government solution.”

“Yes, and with the right people doing their best to solve it, it just may work.”

don’t bet on it.

Posted by: dbs at May 28, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #221488

Adrienne

You might have also added more modest. Foreign policy just a second tier issue in the 2000 campaign. You can look at this primary source. Foreign policy gets not much attention. Or read this. Foreign policy was a second tier issue. Of course people thought about it - after many other thing.

One more very interesting source, just to take you back in case your memory is not as good as you think.

As I read this (I read faster than I write) I was impressed with what Doris Kearns Goodwin said in 1999.

“Despite this golden moment, despite the booming prosperity, ordinary Americans are not that much better off than they were when the boom started. We look at income statistics and it takes two people working in the family to just keep going lots of hours. Poverty is almost as bad as it was before, if not worse. So I think economic justice, the oldest theme absolutely should be at the center of this campaign.”

Was she talking about Bush?

I brought up Clinton because the heart of your statement was the things were fine before Bush was elected.

I honestly think you missed part of the argument. When I mentioned Kennedy and Kucinich, I assume Dems would think they were all right. You do not have to tell me. The point was directed to Republicans, for whom these guys are like Cheney or Delay are to you.

My overall point is that government structure leads to some of the problems. Beyond that, we will not get the “good guys” all the time. We can disagree re who the good guys are, but it is an undeniable fact that in our lifetimes the federal government has been led by men either or both of us would find less than good.

There are two sayings to recall.

1. Most problems start out as solutions.
2. Sometimes things go wrong BECAUSE of our best efforts, not in spite of them.

Re fact checking, you often disagree with my opinions, but the facts are usually right. When you give me “counter sources” I check them out. When I find that they are are other opinion pieces, I do not take them as fact checks.

When someone points out a factual error, I check it out and correct it. When they point out that somebody disagrees with me, I just take that for what it is worth.

We base our opinions on facts. Our opinions are not facts. Usually when somebody says they do not agree with my facts, it means they do not like my opinion. As I said above, I do not need acceptance.

BillS

Yes, record revenues mean less when we spend too much, but they do point to the cause of the problem. Increased spending, not tax cuts are the main cause of our current problem.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 7:26 PM
Comment #221490

tomh,

Huh? I’m not certain what you think my purpose is. It’s NOT to defend Chavez. I don’t like authoritarians of the right or the left. And no, I haven’t seen the poll referred to in the story or analyzed its methodology. Since you have strong feelings that the poll must be incorrect, I’ll leave that task to you. For my part, my focus was on American complancency, for which I think the evidence is obvious. Look at percentages of eligible voters even in presidential elections. Look at the relevant time spent by Americans pursuing entertainment as opposed to becoming informed. Look at the attitudes of most over violation of the Constitution.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 28, 2007 7:36 PM
Comment #221495

Jack, you like facts and want to discuss what was being talked about in the 2000 debates? Fine, why don’t you read an actual transcript of the debate I was referring to. After clicking on that link, you just need to do a search for the term “nation building” and will take you right to the area where they were discussing foreign policy and our military. If after reading those responses you are willing to be honest, you will no doubt tell us all about how reading what Bush said in 2000 now makes you cringe in shame — because of how transparent all the lies now are, because of low he has sunk our foreign policy, and because of the fact that he has all but broken the strength of our military.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 28, 2007 8:28 PM
Comment #221502

“I mention Bush, and the first thing out of your mouths is always Clinton. I’ll say this for Clinton, he was taking the threat of terrorism very seriously. Seriously enough to have warned Bush that Al Qaeda was an entity that he needed to focus on extremely closely. Clarke gave him the same advice. It’s a shame that these warnings went ignored.”
Adrienne

Clinton was not worried nor did he feel threatened by Bin Laden at the end of his tenure. His focus was consistently on regime change in Iraq. Nearly every State of the Union Address had these remarks embedded within it. His only mention of terrorism was the threat of terrorists getting a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) from Saddam or another Western hating government leader.

“That’s funny, because I remember when they did bring up foreign policy in the 2000 debates. George Bush claimed he was “against nation building”. He was obviously lying.”
Adrienne

You compare Bush’s remarks and Foriegn Policy attitudes before 9/11 with those after 9/11? Then, you call him a liar.
That’s brilliant, Adrienne. I guess you call every other American a liar, too. Because none of America particularly wanted to go to war with Iraq or Afghanistan and rebuild more moderate Islamic governments within their borders before 9/11. Name one person who would have gone into Afghanistan or Iraq before the 9/11 attack on the U.S., (other than the Clinton Administration who wanted to according to Bill Clinton’s State of the Union Addresses!)
Yet, after 9/11 Bush and most everyone agreed to use force if necessary to obtain compliance in Iraq regarding U.N. resolutions. If we were to remove Saddam, as Clinton wanted before Bush, we would have to nation build afterward. That’s just the way it is, and was.
Using your analogy, one could say that Democrat Lyndon Johnson co-author of the (war on poverty), was the greatest liar of all time, or as the popular left wing bumper sticker states, “This guy’s worse than Nixon”), because he continually said he would not escalate the Vietnam War. Yet, he shipped hundreds of thousands of troops to Vietnam and would have continued doing so, though nearly 60,000 came home in body bags. He did not even have an attack upon the U.S. as his motive for doing so.

One other note:
At the rate of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, we would have to be fighting over there for the next sixty years to amass those numbers of casualties.

Posted by: JD at May 28, 2007 9:19 PM
Comment #221503

RGF
Jack needs no defense from me.I appreciate his pieces (usually) and his barbs are at least thought out. I find it good practice for conversations in other venues. His comments are far better than some posters here that just parrot talk show drivvle or others that only display a fear of powerful women(see above),gays,people of color etc.Classically conservative. Things must be FINE because if we admit they are not we might have to bring about changes and changes are uncertain.That is an outlook we all must deal with in public policy as well as life.I have to admit I find his stuff more entertainning than the blue side hand wringing even if exasperating at times.

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 9:23 PM
Comment #221504

Adrienne

Bush opposed nation building. He did so in response to the mistakes in Somalia. The mood of the time was with him. He was mistaken. It does not make me cringe in shame. We make decisions with the information available at the time. If we had different information, we would make different mistakes.

The interesting thing about the transcipt is that Bush is essentially making the nation building argument his opponents do today, while Gore is making the Bush side argument. Times change.

Gore was probalby right back then and his arguments make a lot of sense today. Let me quote Gore with the substitution of Iraq “Bear in mind that we have a lot of sanctions in force against Iraq right now. And the people of Iraq know that they can escape all those sanctions if this guy is turned out of power. Now, I understand what the governor has said about asking the Russians to be involved, and under some circumstances that might be a good idea. But..”

I really believe that after 9/11, had Gore been president, there would have been a good chance we would be in Iraq today. Regime change in Iraq was a Clinton policy since 1998.

Please understand the nuance. Iraq was not operationally involved in 9/11, but 9/11 made us more senstive to potential terror threats. Iraq was that and after 9/11 Al Queda set up shop in Iraq.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think we should have carried out the Iraq war differently. I do not believe we could have avoided it, however.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 9:33 PM
Comment #221507

Thanks BillS

BTW - things are not perfect the way they are now, but many of the alternatives will be worse. I like some changes, but I want them to be improvements.

I also prefer solutions to complaining. When I get a problem, I am much less concerned with the details of who did it than what I have to do. I get the feeling you have the same method and if we worked together we would have no troubles.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 9:46 PM
Comment #221508

JD
No arguement from me about LBJ.He was a lier. He did have the decency not to run for a second term. Also note that most of the deaths occured under Nixon’s Peace With Honor catastrophy.LBJ did leave us with Medicare,a great boon for my ageing mother,and important civil rights laws.
Interesting to learn that an invasion of Afganistan was being considered by Clinton.Could you source that. I wish he had. Iraq is a different story. I am of the opinion that there were indeed people in power that wanted a pretext to invade before 9/11 and that 9/11 gave them a chance.Also to be noted the war in Afganistan had near full public support. The country was devided about Iraq.Not a good beginning for a protracted conflict.

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 10:10 PM
Comment #221509

Jack
Right Jack.Now if we could just get the rest of the world to listen to us we could…..


Historical speculation,though fun,is specious at best. Taken as a given that had Gore been president we would be in Iraq I would postulate that the “we” would have been the grand alliance forged by the elder Bush plus Russia and perhaps even China.Furthur that the conflict would have been resolved by now and with the inclusion of Arab allies would not have given rise to al queada gainng strength through out the world as protectors of the holy lands from American imperialist infidals.

Posted by: Bills at May 28, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #221510

BillS

Bush 1 built a grand alliance because it was the perfect time with the perfect enemy & the perfect situation. Russia was trying to be cooperative; the Chinese were no much interested in making trouble. Even the French were in a good mood. I do not think we could have come to that kind of consensus again.

As I wrote above, the 1990s were the most benign decade in our lifetimes and maybe in modern history.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 10:37 PM
Comment #221516

JD,

The American war casualty figures (dead and wounded} were almost exactly the same as with this current stupidity. The slight differences can be explained by our more technically advanced ‘rapid response’ emergency medical service. Less die during the first hour after they are wounded, hence a few less dead now than then. Otherwise the totals are the same.

After about four years in Nam, serious escallation was taking place, we just didn’t refer to it as a ‘surge’. More troops in, more dead bodies out…

Posted by: Marysdude at May 28, 2007 11:36 PM
Comment #221517

Jack
It will not surprise you to find I have a much darker explanation of GB’s failure to build much of a coalition even beyond a thoughtless and precipitous nature. If one has allies one must share the spoils. Control of the oil was and is paramount. Note I said control and not obtaining more supply.I have seen nothing to disuade me of this suspicion in our conduct since the buildup and I doubt most of the world sees any different.

Posted by: BillS at May 28, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #221518

BillS

If we did it for the oil, how come we are not getting it? Beyond that, if you were after the oil only, the best thing to do would be to partion the country right away. There were cheaper and easier ways to get that oil.

Posted by: Jack at May 28, 2007 11:54 PM
Comment #221520

Jack:
“It does not make me cringe in shame.”

I’m very sorry to hear that. I feel it should.

“We make decisions with the information available at the time. If we had different information, we would make different mistakes.”

In the case of the Iraq War their “information” was a bunch of BS and lies, and what’s worse, they had carefully manufactured it themselves.

“The interesting thing about the transcipt is that Bush is essentially making the nation building argument his opponents do today, while Gore is making the Bush side argument.”

No. Go read it again. Gore was making the same arguments then that he makes today, while Bush did a complete about face on the entire concept of nation building. Had we known then as much as we do now about the Neocons and the plans they had long held regarding going to war and gaining control of the Middle East, we might have seen through Bush’s comments and understood that he was only saying what he thought the public wanted to hear at that time, in order to get elected.

“Gore was probalby right back then and his arguments make a lot of sense today.”

Gore is a brilliant man. He made good sense then, and now. I would love to see him run for president, and I feel he could easily win.

“Let me quote Gore with the substitution of Iraq”

No, that’s ridiculous. It is very foolish to make that kind of substitution when you are talking about pre-emptive war. Especially in a country with a long and ancient history of sectarian strife and violence like Iraq.
Remember, Gore supported Bush Senior’s Gulf War, because Iraq had been the aggressor invading Kuwait and he agreed that the former president did right by not staying to fight a protracted war of occupation. Gore knew that invading Iraq was a very bad idea — and he was one of the first who came out against us going into the war, even before we’d gone.

“I really believe that after 9/11, had Gore been president, there would have been a good chance we would be in Iraq today.”

I strongly disagree. Gore had/has much better sense than that. However, he may well have agreed to some sort of American involvement had there been a consensus amongst our allies that Saddam was posing too much of a threat. But he would NEVER, EVER have gotten us into a unilateral war in Iraq the way that Bush/Chenney/the Neocons did.

“Regime change in Iraq was a Clinton policy since 1998.”

Al Gore is not Bill Clinton.

“Please understand the nuance.”

I now believe I understand most of the motivations behind what Bushco did, though I don’t agree with them, or with their dishonesty, or with their disgraceful methods of torture, or with the way they’ve waged their wars and totally disrespected our soldiers, at all.

“Iraq was not operationally involved in 9/11, but 9/11 made us more senstive to potential terror threats.”

It was and still is an illegal, pre-emptive war and occupation. It is a travesty that has ruined America’s good name, and I for one, am ashamed of this president and his Iraq war.

“Iraq was that and after 9/11 Al Queda set up shop in Iraq.”

Al Qaeda “set up shop” in Iraq after we illegally invaded the country. They’ve used it as a recruiting tool and training ground on how to kill American soldiers.

“With the benefit of hindsight, I think we should have carried out the Iraq war differently.”

I do hope this is an enormous understatement on your part. One could not possibly imagine a war more poorly managed and commanded than what we’ve seen in Iraq. As for me, I wish we’d never gone to Iraq at all, but had instead focused on completing the job in Afghanistan, hunted down and killed Bin Laden, and as many of his Al Qaeda followers as we possibly could.

“I do not believe we could have avoided it, however.”

You’re not fooling anyone, Jack.
And I often wonder why you even try.
Do they pay you to keep defending this administration? I honestly do hope you are getting something out of this — something other than my continual disappointment and incredulous anger.

PS. If Barry Goldwater was alive he would no doubt be even more disappointed and incredulously angry with you (and with all the others who echo you), than I am.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 29, 2007 12:18 AM
Comment #221521

Adrienne

Gore was talking about the preemptive war against Serbia/Yugoslavia, a country with a long history of ethnic strive that had attacked nobody outside its 1990 borders and was clearly no threat to the U.S. I agreed with Clinton that we had to act w/o the UN to protect our larger interests. But if Iraq was illegal, so was Kosovo.

This is what Gore said re his Iraq vote in 1991 - Back in 1991, I was one of a handful of Democrats in the United States Senate to vote in favor of the resolution endorsing the Persian Gulf War. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield, even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Kurds in the North and the Shiites in the south - groups that we had after all encouraged to rise up against Saddam. I agree that we should have finished off Saddam. Me and Gore.

The Clinton – i.e. the U.S. policy in 1998 was regime change. Given Gore’s opinion (and the fact that he never distanced himself from Clinton on this) he supported it.

Re concentrating on Bin Laden, we do not know if extra forces would have done that job. We need some good luck (like Clinton had but passed on).

BTW - the only thing I get out of this is the fun of writing and I suppose the ability to provoke anger. I know you will not understand it, but if you read my posts you will find significant differences with the Republican platforms. Of course, I do not hate Bush and I recognize the complexity of the president’s job. Check what I wrote re Clinton and you will see I cut him lots of slack too.

I will also point out that I did not start out talking about Iraq or even particularly about Bush. This post is mostly a study in organizational behavior. I do not believe that ANY organization can function well when it gets as big as the federal government and is tasked with addressing so many complex issues at the same time. I believe in decentralization and more autonomy for regions, voluntary groups and individuals.

Posted by: Jack at May 29, 2007 12:45 AM
Comment #221523

Jack,
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the way Clinton took us into war in Kosovo was totally illegal, and could have easily been considered grounds for impeachment. It may well have been the morally right thing to do in that particular instance, but it was in no way handled correctly or Constitutionally. Yet, when the GOP decided to go after Clinton for impeachment, they chose to ignore a reason that held actual reason and weight, and went instead for the naughty sex scandal, because they (correctly) assumed it would get all the hypocritical “Christians” in this country frothing at the mouth in total outrage.

That being said, Al Gore was not the commander in chief who took us into Kosovo (in an illegal manner), however. It was his boss Bill Clinton who was running that show, even if Gore did feel compelled or even forced to defend the actions of the Clinton administration during the 2000 presidential debate. As I said before, Al Gore is not Bill Clinton, and the way I see it, Gore has demonstrated an extremely careful and concerned attitude toward respecting and upholding the Constitution. As such, I don’t believe he would have taken us into Kosovo the way Clinton did.

Jack:

This is what Gore said re his Iraq vote in 1991 - “Back in 1991, I was one of a handful of Democrats in the United States Senate to vote in favor of the resolution endorsing the Persian Gulf War. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield, even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Kurds in the North and the Shiites in the south - groups that we had after all encouraged to rise up against Saddam.”

Context is really so important isn’t it, Jack? So please allow me to give a bit more of that context:

AP (4/13/91): Later Friday, Sen. Al Gore, D-Tenn., delivered a broad policy speech to the editors. He said President Bush has failed to adequately protect the environment, help the middle class and, more recently, aid Kurdish refugees…

Gore noted that he supported the war against Iraq to liberate Kuwait, but he said Bush has since let down the Kurdish and Shiite rebels who sought to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

“We should not have allowed Saddam Hussein to violate the terms of the cease-fire and use his helicopters to slaughter men, women and children,””Gore said.

The Bush administration has insisted it would be unwise to send U.S. troops into Iraq to support rebels, but recently warned Iraq not to attack refugees fleeing north.

Vice President Dan Quayle defended Bush’s position in a speech to the editors on Thursday.

NEW YORK TIMES (4/13/91):

Gore Criticizes Bush

The difficulty for President Bush is that before he can extricate himself from Iraq, his postwar policy may become the centerpiece issue at the outset of the 1992 Presidential campaign season. One possible Democratic contender who supported Mr. Bush’s decision to go to war, Senator Al Gore of Tennessee, said today that Mr. Bush’s handling of the postwar insurrection in Iraq “revives the most bitter memories of humankind’s worst moments.”

AP (4/18/91) Gore: I want to state this clearly. President Bush should not be blamed for Saddam Hussein’s survival to this point. There was throughout the war a clear consensus the United States should not include the conquest of Iraq among its objectives. On the contrary, it was universally accepted that our objective was to push Iraq out of Kuwait, and it was further understood that when this was accomplished, combat should stop.
GORE (9/23/02): I was one of the few Democrats in the U.S. Senate who supported the war resolution in 1991. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield, even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Kurds of the North and the Shiites of the South—groups we had encouraged to rise up against Saddam.

“I agree that we should have finished off Saddam. Me and Gore.”

So you see, Al Gore did not, and does not agree with you.

PS. If it makes you happy, I’m glad you enjoy our anger. I do not really enjoy inspiring anger so much. Instead, I’d much rather have you admire my reasoning, and maybe even find a way to occasionally agree with some of the things I say.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 29, 2007 2:52 AM
Comment #221535

Adrienne

We disagree re the big issue of war and peace. If you believe Kosovo was also illegal and you oppose that, you must be a pacifist. I am not. Pacifism in an invitation to agression. It is very easy to defend morally, but gets people hurt and killed in reality.

Re Saddam - Gore said we should not allow Saddam to violate his agreements. This is what Saddam did for the next 12 years. There comes a time to take action. Again, we evidently disagree on the legitimate use of force and will not find common ground. I can respect your opinion, but it is not a practical one, IMO.

I do not enjoy making people angry, but I do not make avoiding it a priority.

Posted by: Jack at May 29, 2007 7:36 AM
Comment #221540

Adrienne

re: Bin Laden

He was training in Iraq well before 9/11. He has training camps all over the world. As far as being active in a war procedure in Iraq, their presence has been passive for a few years, and now has become agressive.

Gore brilliant? I must be above mensa compared to Gore if one is using that standard. Now if you had mentioned Tom Sowell as being brilliant, I would totally agree with you.

Posted by: tomh at May 29, 2007 8:45 AM
Comment #221542

Jack,

The next president will not repair the damages. The large government IS the cause of damages. It shrunk a bit in the 1990s because of a fortuitous combination of a fiscally conservative Dem president and a cost cutting Republican congress.

Once upon a time one president did repair the damages, but a next one would not? Why this Jack?
Why a next president can’t anymore fix it? Does government size have reach some critical mass and the chain reaction started or what?

You say the (gov) size is the problem. Size does matter indeed but what matter more is how well you with what you have, whatever the size.
Size is not all. Efficiency matters more.
;-)

You put your finger on the scalable problem. When you are doing a physical problem, you may come up with a solution. We are dealing with a human problem. Human ego is involved. Human greed and motivations too.

Show me one physical problem resolved by human that didn’t involved human, its ego, greed and motivation.

You know even in the physical world, you run into problems. You can only build a brick building so high, for example.

But we find a way to scale building. We drop brick and switch to more effective, stronger *and* less heavy structure. This analogy does works on human structures too.

Re intentions and private versus public, the government is a monopoly. If you do not like a product, you do not have to buy it. If you do not like to pay your taxes, you go to jail.

Not that true. You can change government by electing a new government policymaker. And, last but not least, you can always leave for another tasteful government, in another nation…

Meanwhile, it’s very hard for John Doe to NOT buy Microsoft’s Windows when he just wants to buy a PC hardware to run Linux, BeOS, FreeBSD or whatever on it… Let’s talk about private sector monopolies. Could be fun.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 9:41 AM
Comment #221546

Jack:
“If you believe Kosovo was also illegal”

The way Clinton took us into Kosovo was illegal. That’s a fact, not a belief.

“and you oppose that,”

Yes, I oppose presidents taking our country to war unconstitutionally.
Had we gone there constitutionally, I do believe it was the right thing for the U.S. as part of NATO to try to stop Serbians from ethnically cleansing Albanians. However, I didn’t and still don’t like the fact that we used depleted uranium ammunition and cluster bombs there.

“you must be a pacifist.”

No, I’m a Liberal, which means I believe diplomacy and peaceful solutions should be tried until exhausted, and war should be the last resort.

“Gore said we should not allow Saddam to violate his agreements. This is what Saddam did for the next 12 years. There comes a time to take action.”

The time to deal with Saddam was not when we were at war in Afghanistan, trying to capture and kill Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda operatives because they attacked this country on 9/11. If we’d ever gone to Iraq it should have been with our allies.

tomh, your comments continually show you to be ill informed. I don’t care to have conversations with those who can’t be bothered to mount an intelligent argument.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 29, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #221548

Adrienne

What do you believe to be “ill-informed” in my comments. BL or Gore. Both are factual. Gore is brilliant only if you compare him with a bird.
BL was shown training in Iraq many times over from satellite photos. Do if you want to deny those things, so be it. Many people are in denial.

Posted by: tomh at May 29, 2007 11:40 AM
Comment #221551

tomh,

Why do you engage in such insults? For what it’s worth, Gore’s IQ is a matter of public record, and it’s quite respectable. Your next rhetorical move would be to use a couple of data points to claim that when it comes to presidents, intelligence doesn’t matter.

Regardless, Gore has become on of the very few genuine statesmen this country has. I personally feel it’s his duty to run for president, but I don’t think he will.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 29, 2007 11:59 AM
Comment #221554

tomh,

BL or Gore. Both are factual. Gore is brilliant only if you compare him with a bird.

You will have to BACK such claim.
Otherwise, you’re just resorting to insult, not facts.

BL was shown training in Iraq many times over from satellite photos. Do if you want to deny those things, so be it. Many people are in denial.

Again, you’ll have to BACK this claim!

I find very weird that if it’s a fact that OBL was found on genuine satellite photos training in Iraq nobody, even the worst neo-cons trying to death to link Al Quaida to Iraq didn’t succeed to make their case more truthfull if such photos did actually exists!

Now tomh you really needs to back your claims, or we can’t accept them as anything else than just your opinions and beliefs.

Being factuals means being able to show facts.
You made the claim, the burden to prove them is yours. Be our guest.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #221557
Please understand the nuance. Iraq was not operationally involved in 9/11, but 9/11 made us more senstive to potential terror threats. Iraq was that …

Iraq was *advertised* as a threat. The facts found, well not found in Iraq to be exact, and all stories about Intelligence twisting about Iraq War have shown since that it was not.
Except people died to know it, while it could have been clearly avoided, as asked by quite the whole international community.

… and after 9/11 Al Queda set up shop in Iraq.

Huh? You mean after *Iraq War* (aka since its occupation by US), Al Qaida set up shop in Iraq, right?

OBL is known to be against from his activist day one foreign occupant on islam lands. Soviets in Afghanistan. Americans in Saudi Arabia from Gulf War to, what a surprise, after 9/11. Until US troops actually occupy Iraq, OBL’s Al Qaida wasn’t that much focusing on this country.

Al Qaida set up shop in Iraq since US invaded it. Better there than here works for them too.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 29, 2007 12:55 PM
Comment #221585

Philippe Houdoin

The pictures of training in Iraq by OBL’ boys are now part of history. They were plastered all over the place. If you want me to document history, then you must expect me to ask you to document every word out of your mouth. That really does not make sense and I will not do that.

Posted by: tomh at May 29, 2007 6:51 PM
Comment #221586

philippe houdoin

BTW—I have a copy of “Aviation Week & Space Technology” January 7, 2002 and it has an article involving what I was commenting about. I have several other sources, but that is the only one you get.

Posted by: tomh at May 29, 2007 6:58 PM
Comment #221590

BillS

“Taken as a given that had Gore been president we would be in Iraq I would postulate that the “we” would have been the grand alliance forged by the elder Bush plus Russia and perhaps even China.”

Really? At what point would those countries gone to war instead of taking the kickbacks from the Oil for Food Program? It seems certain people in our government kept mum because we needed the oil. Many of the companies with contracts and individuals who were bribed were from Russia, China and France, and so I would venture a guess that those governments knew what was going on. Why would they have gone to war allied with the U.S. if they were getting money to do nothing at all?

Posted by: Mr. Haney at May 29, 2007 7:27 PM
Comment #221616

Jack
You missed my point. It was and is for CONTROL of the oil reserve not supply.There are losers in the Iraq war and there are winners. The multi-national oil firms and the Sauds are clear winners. Tanked up recently?We both agree that high oil prices will help alternative developement and that is good but I resent cartel manipulation of the market and I sure as hell resent oil industry control of US forign policy and I believe that is what we are witnessing and our soldiers are dieing for.May I suggest you look into the deals US oil companies are cutting with the Iraqi government before dismissing my opinion out of hand.

Posted by: BillS at May 29, 2007 10:14 PM
Comment #221619

Mr Haney
Kind of a non point.Were there not also Americans in the food for oil program on the take ?. A few corrupt Frenchmen do not control French policy much. Also like Gore or not,he is a wheeler dealer and would have probably offered a bigger slice to the French. Historical speculation is fun but futile. Personally I take Gore at his word that he would not have attacked Iraq under the circumstances that existed.

Posted by: BillS at May 29, 2007 10:25 PM
Comment #221620

Adrienne

“It was and still is an illegal, pre-emptive war “

no actually it wasn’t. we had the right to go back in to iraq the minute sadam broke the first cease fire agreement.

Posted by: dbs at May 29, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #221623

Philippe

Zarqawi moved to Iraq immediately after the Afghanistan invasion in 2001. He quickly found friends, some of whom were obviously there a long time before. We did not invade Iraq until 2003. By the time we got there, he was well established.


Adrienne

What, in your opinion, constitutes are legal war? War is all about forcing your will on someone else. At least one side in that conflict disagrees.

President Bush has declared sanctions on Sudan. If military force could be successful, would that be illegal?

Just for fun, was the American Civil War legal? Nothing in the Constitution said or even implied that states could not leave if they wanted to go.

The South only fired on Ft. Sumter, which was in their country, much like Saddam shot at U.S. and UK airplanes in the no fly zone. Nobody was killed in the battle at Ft Sumter. One Union soldier died in an accident while firing a salute AFTER the battle. Five guys were injured. After that, Lincoln invaded Virginia. Was it really just a war of captialist Northern aggression against the peaceful agrarian gentlemen of the South? Today Lincoln, Grant and certainly Sherman would face Hague tribunals.

Posted by: Jack at May 29, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #221634

tomh,

You claimed OBL was seen training in Iraq.
You back it with satellite photos of Al Qaida training camps that you classified as History (hello, it’s not like it was 50 years ago!). How
Salman Park satellite photos prove that OBL ever goes in Iraq? At best, it proves that Al Qaida had/have training camps in Iraq.

But that is not what you claim. Your claim is about OBL.

I’ve googled about OBL/Iraq links a lot and never whatever proof that OBL ever goes to Iraq was returned. And I’ve no doubt that many people tried (well, you still try at least) to make such link. Doesn’t make it factual, until proven.

Jack,

During or shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Zarqawi returned to Iran, where he met with Bin Laden’s military chief, Saif al-Adel (Muhammad Ibrahim Makawi), who asked him to coordinate the entry of al-Qaeda operatives into Iraq through Syria.[60][65][66] Zarqawi readily agreed and by the fall of 2003 a steady flow of Arab Islamists were infiltrating Iraq via Syria.

I didn’t follow the references, but at least the Zarqawi wikipedia page conflict with your timeline.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 3:38 AM
Comment #221635

tomh,

BTW, we still wait you to back your claim about Gore IQ vs bird.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 3:40 AM
Comment #221638

dbs,

we had the right to go back in to iraq the minute sadam broke the first cease fire agreement.

This cease fire agreement was between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and UNSC members. As is, it was under UN control and any legitimity issue on agreement breach should be regarding from UN Charter and UNSC resolutions.

Resolution 1441, drafted and accepted unanimously the year before the invasion, threatened “serious consequences” to Iraq in case Iraq did not comply with all conditions and stated that the Security Council SHALL “remain seized of the matter.”

US ambassador at UN when 1441 resolution was voted, Negroponte, said:

As we have said on numerous occasions to Council members, this Resolution contains no “hidden triggers” and no “automaticity” with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA, or a member state, the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12. The Resolution makes clear that any Iraqi failure to comply is unacceptable and that Iraq must be disarmed. And one way or another, Mr. President, Iraq will be disarmed. If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of a further Iraqi violation, this resolution does not constrain any member state from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, or to enforce relevant UN resolutions and protect world peace and security.

(Emphasing mine).

Defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, as UN Charter authorizes any of its members indeed, is the weak justification that could make this a legitimate war, for the twisted minds.

Except this “urgent” threat, the famous WMD threat, was never proved, found since it never existed and, far worse, was propaganded thru cherry-picked, biaised, twisted or even forged “intelligence” reports at White House order. As we knows now.

Maybe do you consider Saddam firing at US fighters over the no-fly zone enough to break the cease fire agreement? Okay. Then, you may consider what your that-way-legitimate war greatest achievement is: killing over 100,000 people since 2003 - 3000+ of your own guys - to defend “itself” against bullets fired by Saddam at fighters years ago that does zero victim, and increase a lot an already very instable Middle East and Muslim world. If it’s not a crazy disproportionate reaction, it’s not also the best way to “protect world peace and security”.
Notice the word “World” here, if it escape you. It spell differently than US.

Last but not least, how long do you needs to defend yourself against threat posed by Iraq?
4 years already, but still “defending” against fighters under UN mandate being fired at!?!
Or aren’t you defending since 4 years against threat you’ve created in the first place by invading Iraq?

I don’t care that much about war legitimity. I care about war being for just cause. I may eventually see one in march 2003 - even if I opposed Iraq War, but none for the last 4 years of occupation since.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 5:44 AM
Comment #221639

Okay, maybe the emphasing is mine, but screwing it is also mine.

Should have been:

As we have said on numerous occasions to Council members, this Resolution contains no “hidden triggers” and no “automaticity” with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA, or a member state, the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12. The Resolution makes clear that any Iraqi failure to comply is unacceptable and that Iraq must be disarmed. And one way or another, Mr. President, Iraq will be disarmed. If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of a further Iraqi violation, this resolution does not constrain any member state from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, or to enforce relevant UN resolutions and protect world peace and security.
Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 5:48 AM
Comment #221649

Philipe Houdoin
Having people around ones person who do specific things to make the primary individual look good is a common practice. Gore has people around him that feed him. You have brought up the IQ item. His IQ is probably no more or less than that of many of his peers and would be considered normal. IQ is only what a persons potential is, it is not the ability level. Too many put stress on the IQ of a person being bright, brilliant, etc. I have two sons who have IQ’s above 155. To some that is genius level. To others it is not. I do not dwell on it. They are teens and do not use illegal drugs nor do they use alcholic beverages. They are on the right course and I am very proud of them.
Just remember AG is a politician first. All else follows.

Posted by: tomh at May 30, 2007 9:58 AM
Comment #221658

Shhhh. Don’t mention Ron Paul, the real conservative.The RINO’s might implode.

Posted by: barneygoogle at May 30, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #221660

That is your best backing your claim that “Gore is brilliant only if you compare him with a bird.”

?!?

Okayyyyyy.

I guess we could both agree you were just using insult to debunk Al Gore, right?
In returns, I will confess that IQ measure is overestimated, sadly overhyped and could be misleading.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 30, 2007 11:24 AM
Comment #221663

Jack:
“What, in your opinion, constitutes are legal war?”

I honestly can’t even believe I have to go over this, but since it seems that none of you on the right has been able to grasp the complete illegality of the Iraq War, I will do my best to explain it to you. (Actually, every war we’ve engaged in since Dec. 11th, 1941 has been similarly illegal, and to me, it seems like no coincidence whatsoever that we have lost each and every one — for exactly this reason.)

First, for a war to be legal the president is required to give Congress a clear and concise declaration of war, as required by Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution. This declaration was and is intended to limit presidential powers, to narrow the focus of the war, and to provide a clear and precise end point to any conflict.
This was not done before we went to Kosovo, and that was illegal and unconstitutional. Likewise, there was no such declaration in Iraq. Moreover, it was a pre-emptive war of aggression based upon lies and bogus, cherry picked intelligence — which makes it not just illegal and unconstitutional, but an outrage and a travesty of truly enormous proportions.

Iraq didn’t even have a Navy or an Airforce before we invaded and occupied the country. The country was in fact, incapable of waging anything close to what we even begin to think of as a “war”, and was utterly defenseless against the overwhelming fire power of the U.S.

The Iraq was and is additionally in violation of Article 51 of the U.N. Charter:
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Bush tried justifying Iraq because of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and by trying to connect Saddam Hussein’s regime to Al Qaeda. But the WMD did not exist, nor did it constitute an emergency scenario. Not only were WMD never found, but nothing suggests that had they been found they could ever have been deployed.
But of course, Bush didn’t advocate for preemptive war against an immediate threat — instead he developed his own doctrine of “preventive war” for Iraq which was to be considered some sort of a long term threat. This doctrine is an illegal concept under Section 51.
As for the claim that Saddam supported “terrorism” this has never made any sense since Saddam despised Bin Laden, and Bin Laden and Al Qaeda viewed Saddam as an infidel. While they both hated the U.S. there is nothing to suggest that they were working together.

The other article in violation under the UN Charter is Article 39. This provides three circumstances under which the use of force can be considered legal:
1. A threat to peace.
2. A breach of peace
3. An act of aggression.
The Security Council rejected these circumstances as being in existence in the case of Iraq, but Bush went ahead and invaded the country anyway.

With the torture the Bush administration has instituted, they’ve broken with the Geneva Conventions — that constitutes war crimes, crimes against humanity.

Speaking of humanity, previously we were discussing the genocide in Kosovo — Bush might have used humanitarian reasons to make the same case for the invasion of Iraq, but the president didn’t even bother to discuss that with the Council at all.

Some may want to bring up Resolution 1441, but that did not give authorization for an immediate use of force, it only authorized inspecting for WMD in Iraq. Bush cut off the inspections and invaded.

So, to sum up, legal war doesn’t ignore our Constitution, or International Law. Illegal war does, thus, according to our Constitution and International law (not to mention Nuremberg) the Iraq war was, and is, an illegal war.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 30, 2007 11:46 AM
Comment #221729

Adrienne,

There is one more rather significant consideration: UN Article 1441.

As part of what it took to get the UN to pass Article 1441 leeding up to the Iraq war, we aggreed to forgo any unilateral action until further action was taken by the UN security council and a decision was made regarding UN involvment. WE DID NO SUCH THING! Worse yet, we lied to the UN and to the UN Security Council with regard to intelligence and with regard to our intentions. That means both American and International law were violated in a way that cost enormous loss of both American and Iraqi life. HOW IS THAT NOT TREASON????!!!!?????

I will have to beg to differ with you regarding our actions in Kosovo. The president is allowed, however dubious we think it, to engage in “police actions” for the purposes of protecting American interests. In the case of Kosovo, we were protecting our NATO aggreements, allies and obligations.

In Viet Nam, we trumped up the interests we were supposedly protecting by continually running in our destroyers and small gun boats into the Gulf of Tonkin in a way that was highly dubious and for the purpose of *instigating* the fire on those vessels for the purpose of justifying our involvement. Therefore, Viet Nam was illegal as well.

Posted by: RGF at May 30, 2007 8:50 PM
Comment #221733

RGF, you’re right about 1441, and yes, I agree it’s treason.

“I will have to beg to differ with you regarding our actions in Kosovo. The president is allowed, however dubious we think it, to engage in “police actions” for the purposes of protecting American interests. In the case of Kosovo, we were protecting our NATO aggreements, allies and obligations.”

RGF, as I said to Jack, it wasn’t our actions in Kosovo that I had a problem with. I think it was justified to do exactly what we did. The only issue I have was the way in which we went there. What Clinton did was in fact, unconstitutional, and it didn’t need to be.

Finally, I agree that Vietnam was illegal, exactly as you do.

Posted by: Adrienne at May 30, 2007 9:13 PM
Comment #221767

Jack
I could not get past the lunacy line of the week
“When we expand federal powers to fight terrorism, we assume a hypothetical good Republican will run the program.”

WHAT?????
You mean those “Good Republicans” that have trampled all over the Bill of Rights??
The Good Republicans that have repealed Habeas Corpus??
You mean the Good Republicans that have instituted torture, extrodinary rendition, secret prisons, kangaroo courts (ahhh Military Hearings??) — holding innocent people in Gitmo for YEARS without any ability to rebutt the accusations (you know, the hundreds that have been let go so far because, FINALLY somebody figured out that they had the wrong guy?? — and you KNOW that many of those probably DID go on to become “enemies of the state” — and why not??? what more do they have to lose??? we totally destroyed their lives) — Yea, your “Good Republicans are doing a “bang up” job of fighting terrorism!!
If these guys are examples of “Good Republicans” using (abusing) the increase in powers, then heaven help us, cause we don’t want any other Republicans to get their hands on the switch!!
I am all for repealing all these “increased powers for homeland security”
They are NOT NEEDED
We had ALL THE INFO we needed on the 9/11 hijackers without all this BS loss of civil liberties and jack-boot powers to the federal police — they just couldn’t get past their own power tripping BS inter-agency squabbling to put the pieces together —
THAT hasn’t changed.
What a JOKE!!

Posted by: Russ at May 31, 2007 10:24 AM
Comment #221814
When we want to create new or expanded federal mandates and federal power, the first thing to do is imagine that power in the hands of our opponents.

Isn’t that why good government involves the creation of checks and balances to the powers given? Taking responsibilities away from government in the name of shrinking governmental power is not the only way to safeguard against abuse.

Posted by: Jarandhel at May 31, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #221885

Jarandhel,

The responsibilities and powers are laid out in the Constitution. If we want to change that, we can amend it. Expanding these powers under the guise of “responsibilities” is exactly what the Constitution forbids unless admended. Creeping missions do not shrink they invariably expand.

Posted by: barneygoogle at June 1, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #221942

Jack, Your excellent post is but one reason a small Federal government is desired by many in America today.
When the Administration in power can seal itself and its inner circle of advisors off from the scrutiny of the public as our current administration has it is indeed a lesson.

The ineptitude of this administration should have taught us all, left right and center, a very valuable lesson.

The solution may not be as simple as cutting jobs and programs however so lets all be careful what we wish for. As you know humans will tend to use the tools at hand to do the job they have set out to do. To downsize the federal government to the degree we think would satisfy the Reagan conservatives would leave little but the military and portions of Homeland security under the auspices of the President. With this in mind every problem would by necessity require a military solution.
With this little scenario in mind exactly what departments, programs etc should be cut to get the Federal government to the “right” size?(pun intended)
We always seem to compare the size of the government today to those oy yesteryear. Has anyone every compared them to other governments of today to see hwere we stand?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 1, 2007 9:47 PM
Comment #222353

Why not just compare ourselves to ourselves. Let’s look at our own record:

No administration in our history has added more to the size and expense of our Federal government.

In fact, ALL of our history COMBINED has not added as much to the size, defeceit expense and national debt as this administration has in the last 6 years!

As for what departments/positions to cut -
Let’s start with the Inteligence czar, the war czar and the department of homeland security!

We’ll have to keep the INS (now part of Homeland Security), but we can also cut Military spending and put ourselves on a path to preserve peace and honor American and international law in the future.

Posted by: RGF at June 5, 2007 4:07 PM
Comment #222360

tomh,

BL was never even IN Iraq, training or otherwise.

I challenge you to find ONE article, link, page or news-story even REFERRING to BL ever being in Iraq, much less photos!…of camps, no less! HA!

You do not know what you are talking about. You are simply talking.

Posted by: RGF at June 5, 2007 5:02 PM
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