Experts Disagree. Maybe Cut the Vitriol?

I believe that current U.S. strategy in Iraq has potential for success. I fear that a precipitous pull out would be a disaster for the U.S. and provoke an unacceptable genocide in Iraq and perhaps the greater Middle East. Other intelligent people disagree. Why can’t we talk about these things w/o the hatred, vitriol and recriminations?

I watched Mike McConnell on Meet the Press. He talked about options in Iraq. He acknowledged mistakes and gave the correct interpretation that making predictions about the future and even understanding the present in our complex world is an imprecise art.

We all tend to value and believe information that confirms our beliefs and predilections and reject, ignore or overlook contradictory information. It is a general human failing that afflicts all decision making. We need to recognize that even if we achieved an impossibly high level of understanding and disinterested analysis, all of our decisions will be flawed and none of them will be among optimal choices.

What bothers me about the Iraq debate is the extreme level of hatred and recrimination. Opponents of the current policies feel the need to do more than disagree. They have to believe that their opponents lied and acting out of greed and callousness. It is getting out of hand. I understand that my side has sometimes engaged in a parallel silliness. We sometimes feel that opponents are short sighted and stupid. Neither of these things is useful.

What we need to do is really debate the costs of staying in Iraq too long and the costs of leaving it too quickly. No serious candidate advocates a complete U.S. withdrawal. A criticism that I think is valid is that Dems imply that there will be a pull out soon if they get their way. They do this to play to their extreme base. Real candidates will soon need to discipline the moveon.org and daily Kos types.

I also watched Chris Matthews this morning. David Gregory made a good point. He said that Hillary Clinton might soon have a Sister Souljah moment, like the one when Bill Clinton had when he put extremists in their places. Maybe Hillary will need to discipline Kos et al. If that happens, maybe we can all talk as Americans again and look for workable solutions.

I assume that opponents are as concerned about American lives and interests as are the President and his supporters. There are no supporters of "the war". We disagree about where we should go from here and what course would be best for America.

Posted by Jack at July 22, 2007 12:38 PM
Comments
Comment #227088

How can there be success?

I do NOT wish to sound like a nay-sayer, but seriously, Jack —— HOW?

Let us suppose for a minute that somehow the wildest and craziest of dreams for Iraq comes true. Ley us envisage the accomplishment of a peaceful regime in Iraq with little or no insurgency, or an insurgency that is satisfied with a conflict of words rather than bullets and bombs.

What would we actually have????

We would have a government in Iraq that was widely recognized and considered to be one of our choosing. The entire middle east would see Iraq as a puppet regime of the US. Every oil transactio n would be tightly scrutinized by both friends and foes. Iraq, itself, would be a focus for venom and hatred of all those in the middle east who hate us. Our success would have the result of becoming the greatest boon to recruitment and fund-raising that our most dangerous enemies could ever have hoped for in their wildest dreams!

Further, if Iraq actually became stable and enjoyed peace, then the most dangerous terrorist organizations out there, who have taken advantage of our presence in the Iraqi battle field, would seek new ways to get at us —- such as on American soil, for instance!

In other words, Jack, we will have LOST.

Winning is losing in this conflict. That is why this is a LOSE-LOSE.

Unlike others who oppose Bush, I do not believe he is all that stupid. I think he knew this was a likely scenario in which we are now stuck. Therefore there must have been another goal in mind. It will be a goal that is perhaps achieving success as we speak.

Ask yourself: Who is profiting from this war?
It isn’t a hard question, Jack. They are the same people who have been backing Bush and other top republicans for a long time now.

Posted by: RGF at July 22, 2007 1:06 PM
Comment #227090

RGF

I do not believe anybody is profiting from the war in the sense you refer. Some firms, such as KBR have more business and they are making money. But when you subtract cost of doing business, materials etc, profits are not exorbitantly high. It makes no sense that anybody would have to start a whole dangerous war to create a relatively small profit opportunity for a few firms, which – BTW – are publicly trades firms that anybody, you and me included, could buy into.

Re winning in Iraq - you seem to believe that terrorist are unstoppable and/or doing nothing will stop them. I recognize the possibility that we will not achieve all our objectives, but I also believe that there is a point of success.

We achieved a standoff in Korea that allowed in the fullness of time a reasonably free, prosperous and democratic south. The North is the dangerous and nasty place it has always been. Just because you cannot achieve everything does not mean you should do nothing.

I also recognize the problem of terrorism will never be solved. It is like piracy. A well ordered world limits piracy, but it always exists. Iraq is currently the central area in the fight against extremism. The bad guys think so, at least.

What we do in Iraq comes down to what we think will happen in the various scenarios and what we can tolerate. I also saw Russ Feingold on TV. He seems to think that if we pull out of Iraq, it will actually be a setback for the bad guys and that after a short time the country will reach some kind of stability. I do not believe that is the likely scenario, but I recognize that if this is what he truly believes his call for immediate withdrawal is reasonable.

What I am calling for here (in my small way) is a reasonable consideration of the possible scenarios. We do not have to assume cupidity or stupidity on the part of our opponents. I think Feingold is sincere. I think he is sincerely wrong, but that does not mean he is dishonest or cowardly.

We also need to figure out what we consider acceptable. Some of those who advocate quick withdrawal have disregarded the probably catastrophic loss of Iraqi lives. They might argue this point (although I think the argument is deplorable), but they cannot simultaneously decry to loss of Iraqi lives in the current scenario.

Anyway, the question is where do we do from where we are now?

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #227094

Here is a very good article on the current US strategy in Iraq & its implications; the plusses and minuses of arming Sunni insurgent groups against Al Qaida, and the unaddressed problems this strategy portends for Shia groups:

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sami_ramadani/2007/07/the_insurgents_achilles_heel.html

Why does almost any discussion of Iraq generate vitriol & name calling? Iraq is not a unique issue in this regard. US history is full of examples of vitriolic discussions and even violent confrontations.

Vice President Aaron Burr killed former Sectretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

In 1856, Senator Sumner was caned on the floor of the Senate. Personally, I would kind of like to see all the Senators provided with canes… just in case the rhetoric became overheated. C-SPAN ratings would soar.

In more recent times, the Vietnam war generated huge divisions. The rise of hate talk radio, led by Rush Limbaugh, made a big contribution to the lack of civic discourse. Throw in the partisan impeachment of Clinton under dubious circumstances, and… here we are.

Let us not forget, Bush and Rove rose thanks to a willingness to resort to dirty politics and vitriol- remember the Bush campaign smears of McCain in the SC 2000 primary, and Bush standing next to a speaker who accused McCain of being a Manchurian Candidate without Bush saying so much as a word?

Bush took the political campaigning concepts developed by Ailes and extended them. All issues were treated in the style of a political campaign, and it became 24/7, round-the-clock approach of attacking issues with a partisan slant. As a result, bipartisanship disappeared. What Bush Supporters and Republicans failed to realize was the need for broad support on issues such as the Invasion of Iraq. While the vitriolic attacks pleased the Republican base, it left the other 2/3 of the country in the cold.

And here we are.

Posted by: phx8 at July 22, 2007 2:01 PM
Comment #227096

Jack,

I agree. Hillary Clinton should tell those extremists who want to escalate the war to stuff it.

Statistically speaking, those are the extremists.

Posted by: Woody Mena at July 22, 2007 2:12 PM
Comment #227097

Again: In a few months of group of Senators and Congressmen out of GOP leadership are going to walk into w’s office and unplug him. They are not going to risk the implosion of their party to long-term minority status because of his incompetence. It’s not about Iraq, or the lives of our brave soldiers, or about “spreading Democracy”; it’s about a party trying to reposition themselves to salvage something out of the next election vs. a president who is trying to salvage some level of respect when historians review his conduct.
Both entities will be fighting one another in the coming months with these goals in mind and both will fail.

Posted by: charles ross at July 22, 2007 2:16 PM
Comment #227098

Another factor making debate so difficult is the replacement of television news reporting with infotainment, the ownership of television news by five corporations, and the replacement of journalism with mere regurgitation of government news releases. Investigative journalism is rare. Government news is uncritically parroted. Arguments replace debates because shouting is more titillating, more likely to garner ratings.

And then, of course, there is the internet.

Is it time for radio and television to return to the Fairness Doctrine?

Posted by: phx8 at July 22, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #227099

Jack,

Ok. I’ll bite.
I believe you have your head in the right place. You seem to be asking the question some open-minded objectivity. Thanks, for that.

I believe it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to gain the support and involvement of middle-eastern nations in Iraq. We cannot take on the task of achieving that peace or keeping any peace should we ever achieve it, without appearing just as I outlined above.

We have no choice -
Nations such as Syria, Egypt, Iran…
We need the support of Islamic nations in order to avoid the scenario I outlined above.
That should be priority number one.
In fact, the more we are seen to distrust the nation we gain assistence from, the better for the sustainability of peace in the region.
For that reason, Syria and Iran are prime candidates.

Posted by: RGF at July 22, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #227100

Jack I agree, there are still ways to win this “battle” and therefore the “war” on terrorism. The committment to defeat is deep. Any succcess in the next six months means a far different stage for campaigns and agenda during the Presidental elections. I have to admire the strategies here by some extermists, that the war must look like a failure prior to September to avoid bringing the American public back to neutral (unlikely but per your post, possible if there is cooperation).

Clarence Page quoted Whitney Young this morning on an article on civil rights, and the riots of the 1960s.

“Whitney Young, a great black leader of the 1960s put it, we may have come here on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

Let us start acting like we are in the same boat, and improve dialog and eliminate vitriol?

Posted by: Honest at July 22, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #227104

Jack:

You sound oh so reasonable. Did you want a debate before the war was declared? During the war, did you not tell the world that all those who are against the war were traitors? Today, do Republicans listen to anti-war people? In the Senate, many Republicans talk about getting out and then vote against it every chance they get. Then they blame Reid.

You say you can have a decent debate. Just keep MoveOn.org out. What kind of debate is that? Do you want to debate only those who agree with you? I hear the same kind of talk by Republicans about DailyKOS. DailyKOS is against the war. Why don’t you debate him?

The vast majority of Americans - almost 70% - want us to get out of Iraq. We are way past debate. When Republicans had the ear of Americans, it never dawned on them to debate. Now that they are on the wrong side with reference to Americans in general, they want a debate.

The only debate I am interested in is what is the best exit strategy.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 22, 2007 3:12 PM
Comment #227105

I must agree.

ANY U.S. involvement in implementing peace or any new governemtn in Iraq will only yield a tarnishment of the image throughout the muslim world of any allies from whom we may enlist assistence.

We MUST leave and let some other local middle-eastern nations help Iraq to achieve its feet again. There simply is no other way.
Failing to see this reality means running headlong into the lose-lose scenario I outlined above.

Posted by: RGF at July 22, 2007 3:25 PM
Comment #227106

Jack
So we should not be angry about one of the greatest forign policy blunders in US history?Largely what you will find on the other side is the recognition that there is no good end. Pulling out sooner will save the lives of soldiers and a great deal of expense. The first rule of holes. When in one ,stop digging.Intel shows that our enemies are stronger now than before the incursion. When a country wages war for 4 years and their enemy increases in strengh there is obviously something flawed in strategy. More of the same is NOT in order.
You are incorrect to say there are none that have profited greatly from our invasion. The Sauds,the oil companies,the MIC are in high clover not to mention Halliburton,Blackwater and others.Being able to also profit from it by buying stock in them is about as cynical a justification as I have ever heard. A version of hush money?
I keeping with the tone of your piece,I did appreciate Lamar Alexander’s plea. He said that if the president would commit to supporting the conclusions of the ISG and Dem leadership would back off,we could find a way forward as one nation. I was not very supportive of the report,favoring a more rapid pull out but I could be moved if there is a chance of progress and importantly,that their is no intention of a permanent occupation.Thoughts?

Posted by: BillS at July 22, 2007 3:26 PM
Comment #227107

Jack:
“What bothers me about the Iraq debate is the extreme level of hatred and recrimination.”

I think you’re forgetting that the reason it’s risen to this level is because anyone who has questioned, or is now questioning the wisdom and necessity of this disastrous war, or complained about Bushco’s “stay the course” losing strategy has been labeled a “terrorist sympathizer” or a “traitor” by many folks on your side of the aisle. Additionally, a great many of us feel that if we had actually been fighting a truly necessary war, we’d have likely been asked to sacrifice something, but all that has been sacrificed has been our Constitutional rights and personal freedoms. In our minds, not only did your leaders not have the right to shred the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but we feel that in doing so they have given the terrorists exactly the kind of victory they wanted.

“Opponents of the current policies feel the need to do more than disagree. They have to believe that their opponents lied and acting out of greed and callousness.”

Well, since we know the “facts were fixed around the intelligence” we’ve been forced to acknowledge that we were taken there dishonestly. We know that we didn’t go to Iraq because it was teeming with Al Qaeda (although there are a lot more there now) or WMD, so we can’t understand why our soldiers are being asked to keep fighting and dying in order to maintain an occupation in a country where the citizens have targeted them in order to force them to leave. And where the government is comprised of a weak, totally ineffective leader in command of nothing, along with a bunch of mullahs who control militias — all of whom seem to want nothing whatsoever to do with our brand of democracy. In fact, rather than democracy, we are asking our troops to stay in a country that is guaranteed to result in the establishment of one or more theocratic governments that we know will prohibit the free exercise of religion. So as the chance of freedom and democracy steadily slipped away as the stated and expected goals, we knew there must be a another reason we’re forcing them to stay the target of so much hatred as they fight and die and become maimed in such large numbers.
Greed, conquest, and the usual callousness that goes with them, has indeed come to seem the most likely reasons.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 22, 2007 3:48 PM
Comment #227109

Jack,

Considering the GOP’s labeling of Democrats as “cut-n-runners”, “surrender monkeys”, etc. and the kind of “reasonable” debate we witnessed when Murtha first began to express concerns about our troops being stretched too thin (pretty slick how they turned that into an “immediate withdrawal” bill)I find your request to drop the vitriol and hatred akin to a wife-beater saying, “honey, I’m sorry can’t we work this out?”

My answer and hopefully that of our Democratic leadership is, “go to hell, you’re one black eye late”!

Posted by: KansasDem at July 22, 2007 4:17 PM
Comment #227116

Jack, I have the potential of walking into Las Vegas with $100 and leaving with 1 Million, too. But, I would be a damned fool to waste my $100 on such a potential.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 22, 2007 4:41 PM
Comment #227118

Jack,

BTW, that “go to hell” is not intended to be a personal attack. As much as I disagree with you most of the time I quite often find your articles informative and stimulating.

I was trying to make a point and made a poor choice of words.

Posted by: KansasDem at July 22, 2007 4:42 PM
Comment #227119

Paul

When pressed, leading Democrats usually admit that U.S. troops will be in Iraq for a long time. One of the problems with the early Bush strategy was that he figured on getting the troops out too fast. You cannot jump a chasm in two leaps.

RGF

The sticking point in getting cooperation with other nations of the region is that they do not want to cooperate. What kind of concession can you make to Iran that will satisfy them and want to make them cooperate with the U.S.? If you make that concession, will the Syrians, Saudis or Jordanians also accept that? You may recall that the region is not very stable in general and there are no working Arab democracies.

BillS

You can be angry all you want. Anger is a very satisfying emotion for some people. It depends on what you want to actually accomplish.

What do you think would happen if Bush and the Republicans just let the Dem do whatever they wanted? I do not mean this as rhetorical question. I believe that if the Republicans let the Dems do whatever they wanted, the troops would not come home any quicker. There would be a lot more talk about things and our chances for success would be diminished, but the troops would not be on their way home anytime soon.

Adrienne

Some extremists take as a matter of faith that they were tricked. You have to believe Clinton, Kerry, Edwards and many other prominent Dems were so effectively misled by George Bush et al. Then you have to figure out WHY Bush would go through all that trouble. Then you have to explain why, if Bush were so clever and dishonest, he did not plant WMD. After all, for a man who can trick all the smartest Dems and most of the world’s intelligence services, planting a little WMD should be small potatoes. AND if he knew that there was no WMD and he did not have plans to plant his own, what was the point of misleading all those easily misled smart guys because even they would figure it out in a few months?

Kansas

I still think Murtha is not playing an honest game. The only time I called him names, however, is when he attacked those Marines in Iraq. I was impressed by Feingold. I think he is sincere, but I think he is just wrong.

Re anger etc, I am less affected by that particular deadly sin. Many other people enjoy the sensation more than I do.

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2007 4:42 PM
Comment #227122

Kansas

I understood. No problem.

David

It depends on your other options. I think the chances for full success in Iraq are small. The chances for an acceptable solution are much better. Leaving too soon is also not cost free and it entails risks. My belief is that the risk from going too soon is greater than the risk of leaving too late. Our goal should be to find the right mix that produces the best result.

We cannot wish for the best case scenario; we have to work for it and maybe fight for it.

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #227126

Jack, as for the vitriol, it is mandated by a public which loves a fight. A large part of our culture is built on vitriol, scandal, and the favorite American pasttime, “Let’s you and him fight”, which millions of Americans pay 100’s of millions of dollars to witness each year in the kickboxing ring, nascar race track, and in the news. Vitriol, PR and Marketing firms who consult for politicians and parties know all too well what gets headlines, TV News and blog coverage.

It is America’s version of Ancient Rome’s gladiator games and Town Crier reporting on the news of the Roman Senate. A public accustomed to violence, vitriol, and games of defeat, is a public which cannot be easily shocked or moved to insurrection or revolution by gross assaults or injustice in the political realm. Such a public merely takes on the role of hyperbolic fan of one side or the other to the conflict or disagreement.

It is not an accident that our political system aimed at limited and little educated minds, has been simplified to the basics of just two political parties. More gets confusing for them. Two parties only allows all discussions or conflicts to be reduced to the simple equation, Democrats do what they do because they oppose Republicans, and vice versa. No other explanation or understanding of what the issues are, or the debate is over, is necessary.

Education created great social upheaval in the 1960’s with the greatest number of young people in college our nation has ever seen. It is no accident that the quality of K-12 education in America has been going downhill ever since, or that when and if America needs brainpower, it imports it from societies known for its citizens complying with authority, like China, India, and Korea.

The social engineering toward a manageable and impotent populace in America has been sheer genius, of a very nefarious nature, under the guidance of the consultants of the Democratic and Republican Parties who in the inner circles are acutely aware with a wink and a nod, they they, together, are in control, with their joint ally, the suppliers of ever more and new consumables.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 22, 2007 5:03 PM
Comment #227127

Jack, I agree timing is vital. But, the probability of a stable Middle East is much greater under international cooperation and military assistance than if the U.S. remains, as a single target and recruiting poster for fundamentalists.

Leaving in a fashion that clearly tells the International Community that the chaos that will ensue with our departure can be averted by their pulling together for the express purpose of keeping Middle Eastern Oil moving, and which gives them time to gather their resources and design cooperative agreements to step in as we withdraw, has a higher probability of stability than our remaining and being drawn into further conflict with Iran and its ally, Syria.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 22, 2007 5:13 PM
Comment #227129

Jack:
“Some extremists take as a matter of faith that they were tricked.”

The Downing Street Memos are inconvenient for you Bushie loyalists/apologists, aren’t they? Because it took a statement like the one you’ve made above from a matter of speculation or “faith” held by “extremists”, and turned their dishonesty and trickery into an unavoidable fact you must continually ignore and run away from. Indeed, it is especially impossible for you to acknowledge them because the majority of us know those memos were authenticated by Tony Blair.
I also noticed that you are ignoring the rest of what I wrote. I can only assume you find it preferable to keep steering the discussion back to the start of this disastrous quagmire that was started on cherry-picked and/or transparently bogus intelligence, followed up by lies and doomsday scenarios of “mushroom clouds,” because talking about where we are today makes you even more uncomfortable and ashamed of this “war-on-terror-leadership” of ours.
As well it should.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 22, 2007 5:51 PM
Comment #227131

Adrienne,
Good point. Is there a point in abstaining from vitriol, given the fact- THE FACT- that Bush Supporters stood behind an UNJUSTIFIED INVASION of another sovereign country? An invasion- AN INVASION- based upon misinformation, misleading statements, and outright LIES? YEs, lies. That due to gross incompetence, corruption, and an absolutely dunderheaded attempt to impose a conservative economic structure upon Iraq, all of which has resulted in a war which was lost-

LOST BY Republicans-

- years ago.

Even now, this Bush administration, these Bush Supporters, are doing everything possible to delay withdrawal, hoping to evade responsibility for one of the WORST FOREIGN POLICY DEBACLES in the history of the United States.

Thousands of American lives lost, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqs dead, hundreds of billions of dollars squandered-

Liberals like you and me have been absolutely, 100% right about Iraq. And the blame for this debacle will be assessed and awarded to the people who deserve it: the Bush administration and Bush supporters. It may be impolite, but unlike those at fault, at least we have the virtue of being both right, and honest.

Posted by: phx8 at July 22, 2007 6:24 PM
Comment #227132

Jack,

Yes, I agree it will not be easy to find any regional assistence with this mess. No question about it.

However, the alternative is that we keep losing our American troops lives, we play into the hands of the terrorist and the region never stabilizes.

It is a rock-and-a-hard-place kind of choice.
…But it’s the only way to achieve anything other than total disaster.

phx8 and Adrienne,

While I agree with you and you both make VERY valid points …
However, let’s try yo indulge Jack a little here.
This is the first attempt at non-vitriolic discussion and analysis of this issue involving both sides of the political spectrum that I have been aware of for more than 4 years!

Posted by: RGF at July 22, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #227134

David

Have you followed the Kosovo situation? There we have a much easier situation. Yet we cannot get the Russians to cooperate. International cooperation is good, but seldom seen and never long lived in any charged political situations.

Adrienne

We continue to disagree re the meaning and significance of the Downing Street memo.

I would ask, however, what did Blair and the UK government hope to gain by helping trick those Democratic Senators? Does Blair own a lot of Halliburton stock?

It is amusing to believe that GW Bush is so smart that he can trick Dems, some of whom have much more experience. He can keep Bill Clinton quiet so that he does not even let it slip to Hillary that something is fishy. He gets the Blair, who had been in office many more years, to do his bidding AND he did all this in such a way that his tracks are still mostly covered. How smart to you think Bush is really?

Re the origin of the problem, I am more interested in what to do now. Historians will sort out all this history. We cannot make decisions about what to do in the past. All decisions are future oriented.

Re the future, I still believe we can get a better outcome in Iraq by staying engaged than by leaving too soon. That does not mean “staying the course”. The course has changed radically this year. We can have honest discussions about the right policy in Iraq. The vitriol doesn’t help.

It seems to me that we now have come up with a method that has a good chance of working. We are making military progress. We are working politically with provincial reconstruction teams. We have a serious problem with the Iraqi government. I do not negate that. However, hearts and minds often follow hard events on the ground.

I believe that a precipitous retreat from Iraq will cause more death and destruction than a more measured policy. I also believe that most Democrats know this. They have having fun with their politics and I can understand that, but at some point they will have to be more serious. We do not want to blow the chance for success because politics is too much fun and anger too self satisfying.

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2007 6:58 PM
Comment #227135

RGF,
You can exchange comments with Jack without taking my comments into account. However, it is impossible to discuss the topic of where we should go, without an honest assessment of where we are, and where we have been.

That honesty is lacking in the current Bush administration talking points. Take a look at the link I provided earlier in the thread. The current talking point is that we are working with “tribal leaders” against “Al Qaida.” That is false to a large extent. We are working with the followers of Saddam Hussein, Sunni nationalists, and the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades- in exchange for arming them and leaving them alone, they purse the group Al Qaida in Iraq, which is NOT the same as the Al Qaida of Osama bin Laden. The current strategy ignores the obvious; we can withdraw and let the Sunni nationalists do exactly what they are already doing without our help; that it does not address the underlying enmities between Sunnis and Shias; and worse, that we are actually arming the Sunnis who are the most numerouse, most powerful, and most likely to mount an organized civil war against the 100,000 members of the Mahdi Army.

This is a matter which needs to be solved regionally, through UN coordination. It cannot be solved by prolonging our unwarranted, unjust occupation. We have no right to be there, we have no right to give their oil to our oil multinationals, and we have no right to establish permanent military bases upon their soil.

In addition, it is nearly impossible to discuss the situation reasonably because of the continued misinformation and controlled propaganda to which we are subjected.

What is actually going on? What are the metrics, what are the military and econonomic trends? The Bush administration does not provide the information. Instead, we rely upon other sources to find out what is actually going on, and it is much, much worse than most Americans realize.

Posted by: phx8 at July 22, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #227136

phx8, damn straight. Tell it, brother!

You wrote:
“Even now, this Bush administration, these Bush Supporters, are doing everything possible to delay withdrawal, hoping to evade responsibility for one of the WORST FOREIGN POLICY DEBACLES in the history of the United States.”

They can’t, and won’t evade responsibility for it. The problem is, they just can’t bring themselves to face up to it yet, so they keep heaping their vitriol and abuse on lefties like us, hoping they can sufficiently scare their followers into believing that leadership from the left would have screwed things up equally, or worse. But since, as you say, there truly is no foreign policy disaster to compare with the Iraq debacle, only the most dimwitted, brainwashed and koolaid-drunk amongst them still believe that wild conjecture could possibly hold a grain of truth.

“Thousands of American lives lost, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqs dead, hundreds of billions of dollars squandered-“

And no end, or solutions in sight. Still, they keep hoping for a miracle (as we heavily arm the same damn Sunni insurgents that killed so many of our own troops) and cheer for a victory (even though it could be nothing but Pyhrric). The entire mindset of the thin sliver of remaining Bushie loyalists just sickens me.

RGF:
“However, let’s try yo indulge Jack a little here.”

No. The Bushies have been indulged far too often, and for far too long in the MSM. The internet is only place where our message isn’t being controlled, or somehow manipulated in some fashion. These people need to hear from folks like us — straight up, no rocks, or twist.

“This is the first attempt at non-vitriolic discussion and analysis of this issue involving both sides of the political spectrum that I have been aware of for more than 4 years!”

Is it? I guess I’m not seeing it as all that mild and placid and friendly-like since Jack had to immediately throw out the word “extremist” when I dared to bring up the Downing Street Memos. :^/

Posted by: Adrienne at July 22, 2007 7:38 PM
Comment #227137

Adrienne

I mentioned the extremists taking it as a matter of faith that we were tricked. I do not think the evidence indicates that anybody was tricked. As I wrote, I find it hard to reconcile the idea that Bush is so smart that he can pull the wool over the eyes of so many Dem senators, former President Clinton, Tony Blair usw, with the idea that he is so bubbling that he would fall into so much error so fast.

I think that we all got a little passionate after 9/11 and made some decisions based on that. Passionate desisions are rarely well considered. It was not only Bush who was caught up in that. Dems were in on it too and so were most Americans. That does not mean all the decisions were wrong and it certainly does not follow that they were dishonest.

It is easy to recontruct events after the fact. We can easily spot the mistakes we made. It is harder to spot the mistakes we WILL make in the future. Also by focusing on the mistakes we did make, we still do not know the consequences of different action.

For example, Saddam was a bad guy who wanted to harm the U.S. By taking him down, we let loose a set of events. By not taking him down, there would have been a different set of events. Maybe better, maybe not. Bush opponents have managed to explain every postitive outcome (such as the Libyans giving up WMD, terrorist plots broken up or avoided) as thinks that would have happened anyway, while attributing every negative to the Bush policy. This is not accurate.

On 9/12/2001, I expected other terror attacks in the U.S. I feared a general collapse of our economic system and thought that the whole world was changing in a very negative way, and I was moderate. Many people I knew - many liberals - advocated bombing of Islamic places. Many people complained that Bush was not doing enough to retaliate. It is hard to put ourselves back in that mind set. Now we are convinced we had good foresight. As so often is the case, our memory of our previous judgements is better than the real thing. That is why so many people claim to have foreseen great events, but so few have acted on that information.

The other thing I am asking here is to look forward. What do we do now?

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2007 8:02 PM
Comment #227141

Adrienne,
Thanks for the comment! As I said, discussion is difficult if we cannot agree what happened, or why, or what the situation actually is today.

Today, the vast majority of Sunnis and Shias want us out of their country.

Nearly everyone agrees the situation must be political, rather than military.

The solution is simple and obvious. Withdraw quickly and completely. This could be accomplished in four months.

A typical counter for this solution is to invoke the fear of negative consequences. But invoking fear of chaos or deaths is a little ridiculous, since chaos and deaths are already rampant in Iraq.

The neighboring countries, coordinated by the UN, need to assist the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds, financed by the US. Somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 Iraqis will wish to leave with the US, which is fine; that is roughly the number of Iraqi refugees in any given month anyway.

Posted by: phx8 at July 22, 2007 9:01 PM
Comment #227142

Jack said: “Have you followed the Kosovo situation? There we have a much easier situation. Yet we cannot get the Russians to cooperate.”

Jack, Kosovo doesn’t threaten the industrialized world’s oil supply. Entirely different situations.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 22, 2007 10:02 PM
Comment #227143

Jack:
“What do we do now?”

phx8 just fully answered this question in his reply to me. We begin withdrawing our troops. Quickly and completely. Something that could be accomplished in roughly four months. Let me just add that we’d better start getting to it soon too, or we risk not being able to do so at all.

phx8:
“discussion is difficult if we cannot agree what happened, or why, or what the situation actually is today.”

I couldn’t agree more. Just look at the total malarky that Jack tried to throw at RGF from the first posts in this thread:

I do not believe anybody is profiting from the war in the sense you refer. Some firms, such as KBR have more business and they are making money. But when you subtract cost of doing business, materials etc, profits are not exorbitantly high. It makes no sense that anybody would have to start a whole dangerous war to create a relatively small profit opportunity for a few firms, which – BTW – are publicly trades firms that anybody, you and me included, could buy into.

Nobody is making a profit?!!! It is to laugh!
I sincerely hope you didn’t believe this nonsense for a minute, RGF. If no one is making any money then why is this concise Rawstory summation of a Washington Post story on their main page as we speak?:
Defense Stocks Skyrocket
People have made, and are making money RGF — in spades.

As for KBR and Halliburton — don’t we all know they’ve been continually defrauding and ripping us off? Especially our soldiers. Repeatedly.
Please, Google it, and don’t be surprised as you tally up how much they have cheated our men and women in uniform, and calculate the amounts they have stolen from us and from our children’s futures.
Here’s an article from a short while back on all the waste, and about how they’ve been defrauding us.
And here’s the very latest we can add to that very long list.

When anyone tries to tell you that no one has made a profit from this war, they’re just lying. Period.
And I’m truly sorry, but there really is no way to put that nicely.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 22, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #227146

Adrienne

What do you think happens if we have managed to withdraw our troops in four months?

Which of the Democratic leaders really advocate withdrawing in four months?

Re profiting - I do not know your experience with stock investing, but you might check how other industries are doing before you are too impressed with the returns from one of them for any particular period. A friend of mine bought three foreign stocks a couple of years back (RIO, POSCO and ICICI bank). I guess the Bush plan also included the economies of Brazil, Korea and India because these stocks have really done well.

Stocks in general have skyrocketed since 2003 and international stocks have done better than American ones. You can buy into any of them, BTW.

It might have been the Bush plan to make the whole market go up all over the world. If that was his plan, he succeeded. Since the war began in 2003, the market really spiked up. International markets AND American markets. So Bush made everybody - American and others - richer. It sounds like a round about way to make your friends rich, but if you say so…

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2007 11:15 PM
Comment #227150

Jack,

Did you read the link provided by Adrienne?

“Since 2001, defense stocks that make up the S&P Aerospace & Defense Select Industry Index have climbed 181.7 percent; the broader market is up 17.6.”

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2007 12:29 AM
Comment #227154

General Petraeus, among others, participated in interviews for this article from the Atlantic Monthly in 2005:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200512/iraq-army

I would encourage people to read it. Here is the last paragraph:

“America’s hopes today for an orderly exit from Iraq depend completely on the emergence of a viable Iraqi security force. There is no indication that such a force is about to emerge. As a matter of unavoidable logic, the United States must therefore choose one of two difficult alternatives: It can make the serious changes—including certain commitments to remain in Iraq for many years—that would be necessary to bring an Iraqi army to maturity. Or it can face the stark fact that it has no orderly way out of Iraq, and prepare accordingly.”

Since this was written, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated. “We will stand down when they stand up” is no longer mentioned. Instead, the US military is involved in a surge, and so far, 50% of Baghdad is under control. The rest is out of control, in chaos. By any measurable means, the situation is worse today than in 2005.

The conclusion is inescapable: the US military is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

So! An option is to stay another five years, or more. To make an extremely conservative estimate, this would cost an additional $500 billion in direct costs, 5000 American lives, several tens of thousands more American soldiers wounded, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in the ongoing chaos.

Does that seem like a sensible choice?

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2007 1:25 AM
Comment #227156

Phx8

Different sectors do differently. Aren’t you a stock broker? I own a couple of good stocks and some bad ones. My total porfolio does okay, but some stocks do better and others do worse. That is the nature of porfolios, as you know. One stock, Comp Vale do Rio Doce, is up 1,265% in the last five years. Since this is a Brazilian company, how would you explain that in terms of the Bush example. The sector, diversified metals and mining, is up 128.7% this year alone. What does that signal to you? And if you had a portfolio of international stocks (presumably not helped by Bush) you would have done wonderfully since 2003. Maybe next year it will do down. That is how it goes. It is not nefarious, not magic and not corruption.

It is just a fallacy to look backward like that and attribute such causality to a diversified stock group. And, frankly, 181.7% is peanuts over five years if you have access to the U.S. treasury. It just does not make sense to believe this war was undertaken for profit. There are much easier ways for fat cats to make the big bucks if they control the treasury.

Re your comment on Iraq - I think it is a valid opinon. Nobody wants to stay in Iraq any longer than necessary. But we need to consider the best scenario.

I disagree that the situation is getting worse. From what I hear in the news and what I hear from several friends in Iraq, as a result of some hard fighting and decent diplomacy, things are improving. Naturally, defeating an enemy requires fighting andd losses in the immediate term. More people died after June 6, 1944 than would have died if the D-Day force had not crossed the channel, but it would have been wrong to consider that a failure.

The post Rumsfedt strategy run by General Petreaus is very different from the strategy of 2005. I fear that the consequences of a quick withdrawal are much more dangerous than those of a longer commitment. If Iraq can be stabilized, it would be worth it to still have troops there in April or May. That is why it is foolish to set an inflexible date.

We all would like to bring the troops home. But I think this panic to do so is silly. In some ways we got into a mess when passions rules post-9/11. We should not be ruled by passion now to get out.

Posted by: Jack at July 23, 2007 7:08 AM
Comment #227160

A few observations—

the vitriol and hatred spoken about in the article is a matter of perspective and inference—Who, but God, knows the hearts of women and men?

as far working together—that is a message that needs to be accepted by the so-called “president” of the US.

the “hype” concerning what will happen if US forces leave is just that—nobody knows what will happen—and the cost of one more American soldier’s life is too high a price to pay because of reckless “decision” making by the “president.”

The same stupidity that took American soldiers into Iraq is the exact same stupidity that keeps them there—the fact that “president” Bush does not think that Arabs/Muslims can control their own destiny. They need the US to show them the way to freedom—more to the point—the need Bush to show them the way.

If there is one thing that all Muslim share is the solidarity of Islam. There is no true democratic (or perhaps I should say capitalist) Muslim nation in that region and the probability there will ever be one that reflects the US and West is “slim to none.”

As it is, American soldiers are fighting for a country that is not their own, they are fighting a causeless mission, they are paying the entire toll of this fiasco that is the Bush war. Most disturbing of all is that US Soldiers are giving their lives for a cause for which so-called Iraqi soldiers are not willing to give their lives.

The solution is to withdraw American troops. Anything short of that is politics irrespective of whether it comes from the left, right, or third.

The main component of “freedom” is the self-determination. It is up to the Iraqis to determine what freedom is for them. If this involves escalation of civil war, then sobeit.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at July 23, 2007 8:21 AM
Comment #227164

Jack,
War for profit? “If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” For some Neocons, military power seems like the only answer to threats; and there is a mindset which craves an enemy of apocalyptic proportions, a modern day USSR; 9/11 allowed these people to fix radical Islam as the new threat. But the sad truth is that radical Islam never presented a real threat to national security. The Bush administration made some good moves in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, culminating in the invasion of Afghanistan.

There are powerful vested interests in perpetuating an endless war, i.e., the military/industrial complex, as well as Big Oil. These interests act in the same way as most large organizations; their interests & motivations are driven by profit and self-preservation, the free market, if you will, so Iraq offered them a tremendous asset.

Two other observations:
1) Attacks against US troops hit an all time high in June 2007. This is partly due to the nature of the new strategy, which exposes troops to more attacks by putting them on the streets in smaller numbers & more exposed positions, in order to establish a more localized presence.

2) Access to the Treasury? The largest transfer of cash in history occurred in Iraq. The Federal Reserve shipped $2.5 billion in cash to Iraq on C-130s. The money was distributed in shrink wrapped bricks from the back of pick-up trucks to contractors. No records were kept. The cash is unaccounted for.

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2007 11:15 AM
Comment #227173

Jack, Bush did very little to affect international markets, except for his laudable tax cuts during 2001, and 2002. By 2003, the recession was over. Now this was not rocket science, and any President with economic advisors would have stimulated the economy to fight the recession. That said, Bush did the right thing. Then he turned right around and turned a good outcome into a long term bad problem. Much like Iraq, He helped (with the Fed) to bring the economy out of recession. The world’s economy had dipped as well. By 2004, the right thing to have done was to raise taxes and halt the deficits, and veto a spending bill or two. But, Bush didn’t do any of that, because he had no sense of too much of a good thing, and he certainly had no economics saavy regarding the economic problem we face with entitlements.

The rest of the world came out of its recession too. This was a cyclical thing partly caused by rising interest rates that went a bit too far, and the investor over confidence and exuberance in technology companies which allowed equity pricing to exceed fundamentals by a big bubble.

As for Iraq, it is still whack a mole. Why in Anbar province better, because the kitchen got to hot and al-Queda moved away to less intense places. Same thing occurred in Baghdad. The fallacy and error of this so called “improvement” is that we don’t have sufficient forces, even with the Iraqi Army willing to show up, to BOTH continue security in the areas we have gotten under control, AND deploy to where the insurgents and al-Queda have moved on to. Whack-a-mole, was our strategy 3 years ago, and still is today.

That is not improvement, that is only a shift in geography of hot spots and challenges, for which we are undermanned and lacking Iraqi political and military cooperation to resolve. We are still incurring large numbers of American and Iraqi force casualties. The enemies of peace there have not been defeated nor contained. They have just shifted geography and tactics, and are replenishing their losses with more recruits from the disillusioned Sunni and Shiite populations.

Most Iraqis now want us to leave. A majority believe with our departure, the violence may worsen for a time, but, there will be resolution. Only a minority believe there will be any resolution to the violence as long as we remain as an instigating occupier of Iraq.

And we utterly lack the resources or ability to change their opinion, which is fuel to the fire of violence there.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 23, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #227174

From what I have read in the comments above, I find that there is a disconnect between what happened during the time period prior to the invasion of Iraq and the Big Picture of the Middle East. Recall that in 1998, Clinton had warned of the prospects of an Iraqi invasion for precisely the same reasons that the U.S. invaded in 2003 — Saddam Hussein continued to try to purchase weapons specifically prohibited by U.N. resolutions and continually violated U.N. agreements to allow inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, in 2002, the U.N. unanimously approved a resolution ordering Iraq to allow inspections under the threat of military action. Naturally, like the League of Nations, the U.N. failed to apply teeth to its own resolutions, which accounts for why things get so out of hand everywhere around the world.
Saddam, you might recall, was a Baathist, which is an Arab nationalist party with a lot of roots to the Nazi Party (its founders were avowed Nazis and Saddam made no pretenses about greatly admiring Adolf Hitler). As a Baathist, Saddam attacked his neighbors, Iran and Kuwait; brutally gassed his own people (poisonous gas is a weapon of mass destruction); and repeatedly threatened to attack Israel. When U.N. inspectors came around, Saddam’s thugs intimidated them and prevented them from making inspections, and for all of the world, gave every indication that Iraq had WMDs to hide. Intelligence from around the world and inside Iraq made clear that Saddam had WMDs, and those who heard the intelligence reports — including leading Democrats, France, Britain, Germany, etc. — had no reason to doubt that they existed.

What I read here tells me that people who pathologically hate Bush and Republicans refuse to acknowledge that there is a Big Picture in which Iraq represents one piece in the puzzle. The greatest threats to the Middle East and world peace at this time are the Wahabis throughout the world and Iran. Each has vowed to destroy Israel, each fosters terrorism, each wishes for the destruction of the Western world and of democracy as we know it. Yes, the government in Iraq represents our interests, but I fail to see why that is so bad. It is not the Iraqi government blowing up innocent children with suicide and car bombs; it’s not the Iraqi government fomenting sectarian violence. It doesn’t take a genius to see that if that government is allowed to fall, what is likely to take its place in the resulting vacuum will be an Iranian-backed hunta a la Hezbollah or Hamas, or another Saddam emerging from the chaos to take control by force. Either way, neither represents anything in America’s interests.

Gripe all you want about oil, Bush, whatever: the facts remain clear — we pull outnow, we will be back later; most likely after another attack on the U.S. by terrorists. We are engaged in a global war, like it or not; and running away and hoping that everything will be rosy will just not make it so. America turned to isolation after World War I and look what it got — World War II.

Posted by: Goomba at July 23, 2007 1:17 PM
Comment #227176

So Goomba as part of this global war why is it the repubs will not set up a draft and raise taxes to properly fund this war in the here and now as opposed to forcing the costs on the next generations of Americans?

Posted by: j2t2 at July 23, 2007 1:55 PM
Comment #227178
Why can’t we talk about these things w/o the hatred, vitriol and recriminations?


Some extremists take as a matter of faith that they were tricked.

Jack

By equating the people who believe that the President “tricked” them to extremists, violates what you seem to be advocating. You are right in asserting that the discussion of Iraq quickly disintegrates into distrust and vitriol. But the assertion that Congress got the same level of unaltered information that the President had, prior to the attack on Iraq is clearly and demonstrably wrong. Does that means he lied about WMD’s in Iraq? I can’t claim to know what lies in his heart. I do believe he believed that he was right, and he felt that history would prove him so.

However Bush was wrong and we now know the information available indicated we were not certain what Saddam possessed. We had an arms and technology embargo in place that we know (and did) degraded if not stopped Saddam’s ability to maintain a WMD program even if he wanted to continue it (Which is not to be confused with the food for oil program, which we already knew was being violated.). This information plus the analysis given to this Administration should have prompted them to be more cautious in their assertions and decisions. They also should have been more careful on how this intelligence was reassembled for Congress. Instead of a legacy of glory, this President will leave a legacy of failure that may have needlessly extended a senseless war and cost American soldiers their lives.

Either way, in the 2006 Gallup poll on Iraq, 51% of the people believed that the President intentionally misled them about WMD’s in Iraq. I suspect if this same question had been asked in the most recent 2007 poll, this figure would now be higher. If you wish to believe that more than half the United States is extremist, then perhaps you should rethink your position about how to improve the level of discourse that exists.

Posted by: Cube at July 23, 2007 2:50 PM
Comment #227179

Goomba seems to be running fast and loose with the facts.

Posted by: Cube at July 23, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #227182

Phx8,

I understand completely. However, we are left with an unbelievably unsavory reality brough to us by the treason of Bush and his republican administration: Somebody’s gotta clean this un-holy mess up in a way that works!

The American people are getting smarter and wiser every day. The Democrats are increasing local efforts to keep the republicans honest during elections and the republican presidential hopefuls are self-destructing and sniping each other with the same wild abandon with which they persue the continuation of the war in Iraq!

So, since the responsibility falls to us, how are we going to effect the best possible clean up of this disaster?

Posted by: RGF at July 23, 2007 3:26 PM
Comment #227185

Sounds like the same ole Bush Bashing…Well, at least there’s some positive news about the recent events in Iraq:
Al-Qaeda faces rebellion from the ranks
Sickened by the group’s barbarity, Iraqi insurgents are giving information to coalition forces

Posted by: rahdigly at July 23, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #227186

Jack:
“What do you think happens if we have managed to withdraw our troops in four months?”

There will be a short period of intense violence if we leave, no doubt. But since they overwhelmingly want us to leave, that’s what we definitely need to do. Then, as phx8 said:
“The neighboring countries, coordinated by the UN, need to assist the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds, financed by the US.”
I agree with that. It will be in the entire world’s best interest not to let Iraq become more chaotic than it already is.
However I’m not all that sure that we should do every last bit of the financing. We’ve already spent (borrowed, wasted, were robbed of) so much money in Iraq, I don’t think we can afford to foot the entire bill ourselves. Besides, the Euro has recently begun to kick our asses, so perhaps they can afford to pick up some of the tab on those costs:
US Dollar Plummets To Record Low Against Euro

David:
“As for Iraq, it is still whack a mole.”
“And we utterly lack the resources or ability to change their opinion, which is fuel to the fire of violence there.”

I Agree 100%.

Jack:
“I do not know your experience with stock investing, but you might check how other industries are doing before you are too impressed with the returns from one of them for any particular period.”

“It is just a fallacy to look backward like that and attribute such causality to a diversified stock group. And, frankly, 181.7% is peanuts over five years if you have access to the U.S. treasury. It just does not make sense to believe this war was undertaken for profit. There are much easier ways for fat cats to make the big bucks if they control the treasury.”

Jack, the facts are so very easy to find, so please, stop this nonsense.

The returns from bellwether defense stocks have trounced the S&P 500 for 27 years. And the months and years ahead may be more lucrative yet…

Fact is, the U.S. military is one of the most profitable clients a business can serve.

Not only is it a loyal, repeat customer, the Department of Defense spends big…

In fact, it spends more money on national defense than China, Russia, The U.K., Japan, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, and Australia combined.

Next year, the DOD’s expected outlay is $481 billion, up 58% since 2001. By 2010, the budget could be north of $500 billion.

And while its spending habits may often be questioned, big budgets mean big bucks to companies delivering products and services to the armed forces. Indeed, profits at three defense contractors in particular have been on a tear for decades.

Here’s why business should only get better, and how to capture another decade of double-digit growth, starting now…

Tap Into the “Industrial Military Complex” for Mega Defense Stock Returns

Business at Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and Boeing (NYSE: BA) is thriving.

So are their stocks. Take a look…

As the link in my previous post showed, it isn’t just these three entities raking in hefty profits. It’s practically every business that is given a contract to supply the needs, or the arms, or the machines of war for this country. Which is perhaps why so many politicians (on both sides of the aisle) don’t seem as anxious (as they should be) to end this madness.
I have a very serious problem with that, because I don’t think our soldiers should be asked to put their lives on the line for oil companies, or the defense industry, or for the stock portfolios and hefty profits being raked in by wealthy investors.

PS. to Cube, excellent points.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 23, 2007 4:11 PM
Comment #227207

Goomba,
Give it a rest. There were no WMDs, no matter how hard you spin it. Prior to the invasion, the US public was nearly unanimous in its dislike of Saddam Hussein, and regime change was an appropriate policy; but regime change is very different from invasion.

The reasons for invading were not valid.

Enough.

RGF,
We broke Iraq, but the Iraqi Shias & Sunnis have made it abundantly clear that they do not want the US occupying their country. It seems pretty straightforward to me. It is hard to see how this will turn out well. Really, there are no good choices, other than to have not gone into Iraq in the first place, but it is a little late for that now. The war was a mistake, and mistakes have consequences, and with a mistake of this scale, the consequences are horrendous, and we have found out the hard way.

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2007 7:23 PM
Comment #227210

Adrienne

Let’s be clear. There was a defense buildup and it was good for defense contractors. That is a far cry from saying that the presidents started a war so that defense contractors could have higher sales. Once again, it is a very round about way of making somebody rich. The very fact, as you indicate, that almost all the firms in that sector have made money argues against your point that the war was designed to make some people rich, since it would end up spreading the wealth very far indeed.

Beyond that, many industries have registered similar gains. These are the returns by business sector. If you can find a pattern that you can predict into the future, you will soon be very rich. You will notice that the five year return of aerospace and defense is in the middle, behind things like business services, jewelry, and water transport.

The article you mentioned did what dishonest brokers do to scam their clients. They fooled you by giving you raw data, accumulated over a several year period, w/o context. You see when you look at the whole story, there is nothing surprising.

If you want to argue that the Bush policy pushed up markets all over the world and made lots of people richer, I think you could support that argument. If you think he targeted specific people or industries, the data does not support you.

Cube

I am not impressed by what the polls say on this. The public now has the benefit of hindsight. Most people fool themselves into thinking they were smarter in the past than they really were. Please see above re stocks. This capacity for self deception is why so many people think they understood the movement of the markets but so few actually have the success to prove it.

Beyond that, Dems have been actively pushing the idea that Bush misled the public.

In addition to all this, the public does not have any more information about what Bush knew than they did in 2003. Any changes in opinion are based on no new information and they are worth what that implies.

Posted by: Jack at July 23, 2007 8:19 PM
Comment #227231

Phx,

“We broke Iraq, but the Iraqi Shias & Sunnis have made it abundantly clear that they do not want the US occupying their country.”

They are (however) making it clear that they do not want Al Qaeda occupying their country.
Al-Qaeda faces rebellion from the ranks

The ground-breaking move in Doura is part of a wider trend that has started in other al-Qaeda hotspots across the country and in which Sunni insurgent groups and tribal sheikhs have stood together with the coalition against the extremist movement.

The secretive group, however, appears to be losing its grip as a “surge” of US troops in the neighbourhood – part of the latest effort by President Bush to end the chaos in Iraq – has resulted in scores of fighters being killed, captured or forced to flee.

Posted by: rahdigly at July 23, 2007 11:39 PM
Comment #227234

Rahdigly,
Yes, I linked this news earlier in the thread, from another UK newspaper, The Guardian. This is an example of “good news, bad news.” The good news is that the US is arming Sunni insurgent groups, such as the 1920 Revolutionary Brigade, in exchange for autonomy and killing the Islamic Salafists, the foreign jihadists, Al Qaida in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq- the religious nutjobs- and the nationalists are very good at taking out the nutjobs.

The bad news is that those are the same people who have been attacking US troops. These are the Sunnis nationalists, including the ex-Baathists of Saddam Hussein. They know how to get things done. The Shias find this development extremely alarming, since the Sunni nationalists are the most powerful insurgent groups, and there is no love lost between the Sunnis nationalists and the Shias either. If the US withdraws, and there is a showdown, it will be these two groups.

According to polls, the most unpopular faction in Iraq is Al Qaida in Iraq and the like. The next most unpopular is the US military.

Posted by: phx8 at July 23, 2007 11:57 PM
Comment #227237

You know, it’s statements like this that truly make it impossible not to become vitriolic, and angrily irate and heavily sarcastic:

Jack:
“Let’s be clear. There was a defense buildup and it was good for defense contractors. That is a far cry from saying that the presidents started a war so that defense contractors could have higher sales.”

What Jack is actually saying here is that there is no such thing as
The Military Industrial Complex
(aka the Iron Triangle), nor is there such a thing as War Profiteering.

I’d love a show of hands here from those reading this thread — would any of you say that you honestly believe that there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between George W. Bush, and his father with The Carlyle Group, and Dick Cheney and Halliburton (and their multiple subsidiaries)?

“Once again, it is a very round about way of making somebody rich.”

Oh, I think it depends entirely upon what rich somebodies we’re talking about, Jack.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 24, 2007 12:13 AM
Comment #227240

Jack:
“Beyond that, Dems have been actively pushing the idea that Bush misled the public.”

He did mislead the nation. The administration asked Colin Powell to get up and lie to everyone in the world at the United Nations, and Powell complied with that request. And Bush lied in his State of the Union address about Yellow Cake Uranium from Africa.

“In addition to all this, the public does not have any more information about what Bush knew than they did in 2003.”

Yes, actually we do. We have the Downing Street Memo(s). But because they are highly incriminating smoking gun documents, Bushie Loyalists have always chosen to act as though their existence and what they say has no real significance.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 24, 2007 12:52 AM
Comment #227243
I am not impressed by what the polls say on this. The public now has the benefit of hindsight.

Jack

It seems more and more this will become the mantra of the Republican Party: “we don’t care about the polls.” That is, at least until we get closer to the next election.

The point isn’t what the public now knows, or what they knew. The point is that the public feels deceived by Bush. You can blame the Democratic Party for this, but none of this would be possible without the actions of this President. In politics, perception is far more important than facts. Just ask Bush, he has made good use of this in the past.That the evidence is out there that support the Democratic claims, is just frosting on the cake.

Meanwhile our servicemen are in harms way, and their situation has become more dangerous because of this President.


Adrienne

You are deservedly respected here, so I appreciate your complement.

Posted by: Cube at July 24, 2007 1:04 AM
Comment #227247

Jack,

I agree with you about the vitriol. This problem is not limited to discussion of the Iraq war. While some measure of animosity always has and will be part of politics (and may even be beneficial in some respects), the civility of our public discourse has diminished greatly in the last decade or two. The Murdochization of the media has fostered this downward slide. The shout-fests that pass for interviews and commentary in today’s media are effectively training viewers and listeners that this is the way political debate is done.

Just as a family feud, once started, takes on a life of its own, the vitriol of public discourse, once turned up, is hard to dial down.

I understand this from my own experience. I opposed the war. (I’ll spare you a recitation of the reasons, all of which you’ve no doubt heard many times.) As the buildup progressed, I was angered at the prospect my country would start an unjustified, unnecessary war, that many lives would needlessly be lost, and that I and my fellow citizens would likely spend many billions of dollars and most of the rest of my natural life dealing with the aftermath. For this, my intelligence, sanity, and patriotism were questioned (to put it mildly). As it has become apparent that the stated reasons for starting the war were empty and that the disaster we triggered has only grown, I have looked for ways we can contain the damage and move ahead. For this, my intelligence, sanity, and patriotism are questioned—by the same folks who did so before. You will understand, I trust, if I occasionally grit my teeth and curse.

My personal response to this problem has been to do most of my teeth gritting and cursing in private and strive to keep my public discourse respectful and civil. Being only human, I will admit I can be goaded into an occasional snide remark—or worse.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at July 24, 2007 3:07 AM
Comment #227255

Adrienne

We have a military industry. We have many industries. This war helped those who sell things that military uses. They use lots of things. That articles you gave re big profits in the defense industry were written by someone who does not understand how investments work. He mistakenly (or purposely) left out the context, which I supplied.

BTW - do not make investment decisions based on left wing hype. I know you are too smart for that. It is fun to play with, but will ruin you in the real world.

The Germans have a good phrase, BTW - “Talk left; live right.”

Cube

My point re the polls is very narrow. Polling is overused. A poll reveals opinion. But if opinion is uniformed by new facts, or facts at all, it means little. A significant and growing number of people believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. They are wrong. It does not matter if that becomes a majority opinion. I am sure you agree with that. So why does it matter if public opinion shifts about any other assessment of fact?

It is like the stupid poll I saw the other day saying that some % of the people reported they thought they had cancer. What does that mean? Either you do or you do not. Your opinion about it is meaningless.

Doug

Anger is natural, but some people enjoy it too much. Anger can provoke useful action, but it can also inhibit real solutions. Much of the anger about Bush is in that latter category. We have a serious problem to address with the war in Iraq. Our decisions are about the future. Yet we have all these guys who want to fix blame for things that happened in 2002. This is something that may be useful for historians, but distracts from the decision making at hand. When your house is on fire, you take care of that first. Later you can discuss if the kids were playing with matches.

Posted by: Jack at July 24, 2007 8:05 AM
Comment #227259

Jack:
“That articles you gave re big profits in the defense industry were written by someone who does not understand how investments work. He mistakenly (or purposely) left out the context, which I supplied.”

Actually Jack, you didn’t provide any context at all. The Sourcewatch articles I previously linked to provide the context on who has and is profiting from the Iraq war, with lots of no bid contracts, zero accountability, and many billions of our tax dollars, and borrowed tax dollars, wasted and ripped off. It reads like a bloodsoaked Who’s Who of connections to the Bush Family, and Dick Cheney, and The Project for the New American Century. People who are real big on the socialization of costs and the privatization of profits.

“BTW - do not make investment decisions based on left wing hype. I know you are too smart for that. It is fun to play with, but will ruin you in the real world.”

I make investments much as I live the rest of my life: according to my principles. I’m doing very well thanks, with the side bonus of a clear conscience that will actually allow me to enjoy it.

“The Germans have a good phrase, BTW - “Talk left; live right.”

Well, I suppose that’s definitely an improvement on “Sieg Heil!”

PS. to Cube, I’m not so sure of that, but you’re quite welcome. ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at July 24, 2007 10:19 AM
Comment #227260

Jack and others.
Our newish ambassador to Iraq has pleaded with the administration to allow many more visas for Iraqis ,helping the American effort,to emmigrate to the US. This is just like Cuba and Vietnam and a clear indication. Its over. Sacrificing more of our troops is a dispicable exercise in face saving.

Posted by: BillS at July 24, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #227262

Jack, how do you expect to “maybe cut the vitriol” when the other side feels they are justified because they are right and you are wrong, about everything?

Reasoned debates biggest nemisis is politics, Jack. Created truth which produces votes is more important than factual truth.

Posted by: kctim at July 24, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #227263

Goomb

“America turned to isolation after World War 1 and look what it got_ World War 2”

That is factually incorrect. We were far less isolationist after WW1 than before. We were pursueing an expansionist agenda in the Pacific. We were involved in the League of Nations, had continued European alliances etc.
The biggest cause of the European theater of WW2 stems from the excessively punitive armistace terms imposed on Germany giving raise to the Nazis.There was a great deal of resistance in the US into our entry into WW1.Had the isolationist(read peace movement) prevailed and we had not entered ww1 there is some reasonable historical speculation that the European powers would have been forced into a stalemate and the Germans would have recieved more favorable terms,avoiding the rise of Hitler and avoiding WW2 in Europe altogether.

Posted by: BillS at July 24, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #227271

kctim:
“Jack, how do you expect to “maybe cut the vitriol” when the other side feels they are justified because they are right and you are wrong, about everything?”

The real problem is that Bushco and their Loyalists keep insisting that they were and are right even long after they’ve been proven wrong. Exceedingly, horrifically, gobsmackingly, WRONG. And that makes those of us who held opinions that turned out to be right all along, but who have been and often still are, heaped with totally outrageous slurs and insults, really very angry.

“Created truth which produces votes is more important than factual truth.”

Not to me.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 24, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #227275

Adrienne
vitriol
noun
abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will

Bushco, Loyalists, liars, facists, racists etc… pretty much sums it up: Your own “totally outrageous slurs and insults,” vitriol, makes those with differing opinions, really very angry too.
BOTH sides believe their words are justified and the others are not. It does nothing but turn debates into shouting matches and nothing gets done that way.

Even if the facts supported your views, do you really think you can get people to listen when the first thing you do is negatively label everyone who has a differing opinion?

Jack isn’t saying to forget the past or present, he simply suggests that we “cut the vitriol” so that we can communicate and progress into the future.

Posted by: kctim at July 24, 2007 1:03 PM
Comment #227294

kctm
Since when is “loyalist” an aspersive term? Bushco is a slight knock on Bush whoes regime has been charterized with cronyism but is directed at them,not others. Fascist,racist are not terms flung about by Adrienne so why bring them up. As for “liar”,if one does not want to be called one then telling the truth is a good start.Would you prefer more polite contrivances like”credibility gap”.”dis-engenious”,prevaricator” etc?Perhaps that would would be nice. I had no idea you so sensitive.

Posted by: BillS at July 24, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #227295

Adrienne

The link I provide gave you a list of industries and their profitability. It indicated that the defense industry was about in the middle. Your article gave the growth of the defense industry w/o pointing out that important fact. You can make all the comments you want about how the defense industry is making the big bucks. The fact is that they are making returns like many other American industries. Better than some, not as good as others.

Re Bush being right - We went with a completely different strategy post Rumsfeld and with Petraeus. There have been many changes. We have been talking about mistakes all the time. The difference is that too many Dems attribute all mistakes to malice and all misunderstandings to dishonesty.

I have been trying to seek the useful truth on Iraq for a long time. I find it very difficult to figure out all the permutations. Life is not so black and white. I see that we made significant mistakes going into Iraq. There were significant failures of intelligence. But the situation was dangerous and invading Iraq was among the logic options given what was known at the time. I know it is counter propaganda to say so, but I am not sure it was such a bad idea even in retrospect. Saddam was dangerous. Now he is gone. We did an excellent job of winning the war and a terrible job of winning the peace. I believe we still have a chance to get it right and that we should make the attempt. I believe it is worth the risk. I know you disagree, but did you notice that I was able to write a whole paragraph w/o any strong vitriol.

BillS

I favor making it possible for Iraqis who work with us to get preference for visas. This is a smart move and a moral one. It provides an insurance policy. If things go badly wrong, they will be safer. I expect you have life insurance. Does that mean you plan to die soon?

Posted by: Jack at July 24, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #227297

Iraq will revert to civil war and dictatorshiop shortly after we leave regardless if we leave a year from now, 5 years from now, or 10 years from now. It’s what they know and understand.If we wanted stability there we should have put a strong man in power who would rule with an iron fist but would be aligned with us. I don’t like that idea but I really don’t think democracy will work for them.
Same holds true for Afghanistan.

Posted by: Carnak at July 24, 2007 5:00 PM
Comment #227300

BillS
Loyalist, BushCo etc… are all thrown about today in a disparaging way. The exact same way the right throws liberal around.

“flung about by Adrienne so why bring them up.”

Because I was staying on topic. They are all “vitriol” and are used as such by both sides.

Now that I re-read what I wrote, it was not my intent to suggest that she did say that. I was being too broad and in a hurry and I apologize for that.

“Perhaps that would would be nice.”

I don’t care about being “nice” Bill, you know that. But tossing around words like that does ntohing but cause people to immediately go into defense mode and it is harder to talk with people when you put them in that mode and much harder to convince them you are right.
I am guilty of doing so most of the time.

“I had no idea you so sensitive”

Me? Sensitive? The guy who wants SS, income tax, welfare and drug laws ended and the Constitution respected and honored again? Good one.
But I’m not totally bullheaded either. I know you have to respect the other person if you want them to listen.

Posted by: kctim at July 24, 2007 5:51 PM
Comment #227337

Good post Jack
I believe if both democrats and republicans had stayed together as they were after 9/11 and backed our president, troops, these campaigns in Iraq, Afganistan which are both part of the overall war on terror we would have seen much more progress. As soon as the war became a tool for politicions to get re-elected our country became divided.The vitriol just entrenches the parties in their positions deeper and deeper. America can never be defeated if we stand together,but it can fall if we stay divided. Both parties had better come together in this war our governments first job is to protect us.

Posted by: dolan at July 24, 2007 9:54 PM
Comment #227340

dolan,

“I believe if both democrats and republicans had stayed together as they were after 9/11 and backed our president, troops, these campaigns in Iraq, Afganistan which are both part of the overall war on terror we would have seen much more progress.”

Really?

Ya think?


Jack,

No offence pal, but if we don’t recognize where we came from we can’t judge where we are going to.
Mr. Bush seems to want to work with folks only if they do things his way.

I do know you are a reasonable man, but the discourse from the right hasn’t all love and kisses.
You can’t reallly expect those on the other side of the aisle to play nice if those on the right continue the vitriolic baloney.

Posted by: Rocky at July 24, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #227350

Rocky,
“Mr. Bush seems to want to work with folks only if they do things his way.” I suppose a democrat president wouldnt want to work only with folks only if they do things his way. And only the right is vitriolic? Get real both side are guilty and the nation is split roughly 50/50 and it is not just the president that has a different view than you do. What Im trying to say is we are playing into our enemies hands with this hatred that permiates between the the two major parties of this nation.

Posted by: dolan at July 25, 2007 12:55 AM
Comment #227351

kctim:
“Bushco, Loyalists, liars, facists, racists etc… pretty much sums it up:

Sums what up? I replied to Jack and in the blink of an eye suddenly turned into an “extremist” because I had mentioned the existence of the Downing Street Memos. I’m afraid I can’t act like they don’t exist/have no significance, yet that is the little game of denial that Jack obviously wanted to play.
In my view, that kind of denial denotes an intense political loyalty that I find distasteful and quite alien to my character.

“Your own “totally outrageous slurs and insults,” vitriol, makes those with differing opinions, really very angry too.”

Yeah well, what can I say? I guess I’m just an “extremist” who has never learned how to lower my lashes demurely, and sink gracefully into a deep, thrown-room-style curtsy that satisfactorily bares my decolletage to the glowering hauteur and smug dismissal of my opponent.
I’m such an incorrigible. ;^)

“BOTH sides believe their words are justified and the others are not.”

Tim, did you even bother to take a look at the Sourcewatch links I put up? Maybe follow even a few of the many links to more info on those pages? I know that Jack didn’t, but did you? FYI, Sourcewatch is part of the Center for Media and Democracy. And CMD:

is a non-profit, non-partisan, public interest organization that strengthens participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda, and by promoting media literacy and citizen journalism.

It’s not a bunch of partisan spin or bullsh*t. It’s strictly factual material dealing with where our tax dollars (both spent and borrowed and ripped off, and defrauded) went. Are you interested in such information? Or are you more interested in defending Jack, and therefore, feel a greater need to admonish me for my manners?

Please, do get back to me on that.


“It does nothing but turn debates into shouting matches and nothing gets done that way.”

This is a debate website. I was attempting to debate with Jack (though he’s ignored and dismissed too many of my links, as well as my replies for me to continue).

“Even if the facts supported your views,”

They do, Tim. Whenever I link in this blog, I am doing my best to deal in the facts. After all these years, I really thought you would have picked up on that by now.

“do you really think you can get people to listen when the first thing you do is negatively label everyone who has a differing opinion?”

Tim, I replied to Jack’s post with what was my sincere and honest opinion. Go back and look at it. I labeled no one negatively — until I was negatively labeled.

“Jack isn’t saying to forget the past or present, he simply suggests that we “cut the vitriol” so that we can communicate and progress into the future.”

No. Jack’s game is to frequently act superior to whatever opinion I offer, and to more often than not deny and dismiss every fact I attempt to contribute. That is no way to “cut the vitriol” and no way to debate.
And, to be perfectly honest, I’ve never been the type to react passively to such dismissals, nor to what I perceive is a clear insult to my intelligence. Some people admire that trait, while some will claim it’s a serious fault. Judging by your comments I suppose you’d fall into in the latter category.

But my character is neither here nor there. I’m just hoping that one of these days that you’ll decide to actually glance a few of my links and then refrain from this type of comment:
“Created truth which produces votes is more important than factual truth.”

PS. to BillS: Thanks for watching my back.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 25, 2007 1:23 AM
Comment #227353

dolan,

“What Im trying to say is we are playing into our enemies hands with this hatred that permiates between the the two major parties of this nation.”

I am not attempting to cast judgement on anybody here, but I haven’t called anyone a traitor, or accused them of treason, or said that they supported terrorism.

Who cast the first stone?

America had nearly universal support after Sept. 11th.
Where exactly has that support gone?

Our “enemies” didn’t steal it from us. They didn’t have to.

We gave it away.

Posted by: Rocky at July 25, 2007 1:40 AM
Comment #227364

Adrienne

While I value your input, sometimes I just provide context or information that contradicts it. The whole thing about this war being done to make money for defense contractors just does not work. You give lots of decent argument about why it should be true, but the bottom line is that it is not. The defense industry made good money since the war began in 2003, but so did many other industries. Defense is roughly in the middle. I gave the link to the returns. There just is nothing there that should surprise anybody.

American industry is fairly transparent. You can watch the flows of money. You can also freely invest. It would be a very round about way for Bush to reward his friends AND since the whole market has gone up since 2003 (many sectors much more than defense) he must have a lot of friends to help.

In my work I hear lots of stories. My job is often to get to the bottom line. If a guy comes in with a great plan that he tells me worked in the past, I ask him how much he made from it. If the answer is not much, I do not have to hear much more of the story. Sometimes you can get to the disconfirming evidence. I hear long stories about how someone could have done something. I always just ask, “Did he?” If the answer is no, the story does not mean much.

People can construct very convincing and logical narratives. Sometimes you have to ask how they know that. If their source is flawed, so is the story, no matter how elegant. I was trained in history. I was very surprised at how much accepted history has no real basis. When you trace it back, it has no roots.

This is the way things often are. A lot of people believe a lot of things, but you have to trace it back to the sources. If the sources are wrong, the stories are wrong.

Posted by: Jack at July 25, 2007 7:44 AM
Comment #227368

Adrienne
I looked at your links and have seen much of the same before. My favorite site is infowars.com for gosh sakes and most of what you post has been on there.

I would never try to defend Jack, he is way more intelligent than I and can handle his own. I would bet that we don’t see eye to eye on many things and that I am one of those people whom he believes would just shut up sometimes.
But, I believe many of you read into some of his posts just so you can disagree with him.
Is cutting the “vitriol” so that we may move forward as a nation really such a bad idea? It doesn’t appear to be to Jack and his side receives the majority of it.

“feel a greater need to admonish me for my manners?”

I apologized for being so broad and in such a hurry. My intent was not to signal you personally out, but to try and show how both sides need to stop if we wish to move forward as a country.

“Even if the facts supported your views”

Again, my intent was not you personally. I should have typed something more along the lines of “even if the facts supported ones views, do you really think people would listen…”

“Jack’s game is to frequently act superior to whatever opinion I offer, and to more often than not deny and dismiss every fact I attempt to contribute. That is no way to “cut the vitriol” and no way to debate”

First, I do not get the impression that Jack is playing a “game” with you all. From what I have read, it is not your facts that he dismisses or denies. IMO, he disagrees with your opinion of what those facts mean and in turn, you disagree with his opinion of what those facts mean.

I don’t believe its as personal as you believe or that there is some hidden, evil meaning behind his words either.

One thing is for sure though. The only way we can move forward as a country is to do what Jack says: talk as Americans again and look for workable solutions.

Posted by: kctim at July 25, 2007 9:33 AM
Comment #227374

kctim:
“The only way we can move forward as a country is to do what Jack says: talk as Americans again and look for workable solutions.”

I’m more in line with phx8’s and Rocky’s view, that if we don’t acknowledge how we’ve gotten to this dismal point, we aren’t going to be able to adequately judge where we are headed. We can apply this to the entire war, how we were taken there, how so much of our tax dollars disappeared (and into whose pockets). Why we’ve had so little progress or success. Why the general agreement now is that our military is now stretched too thin. What is the meaning of victory after all this time and all this blood spilled (American and Iraqi) and all this chaos and destruction. When we’ll be able to leave. Everything.
But if you read the news, you’ll see that the president is once again selling the war and once again claiming that Al Qaeda in Iraq is tied to Sept. 11th, while terrorism experts and former US intelligence officials are seriously questioning these assertions.
We thought that September was the time needed to assess The Surge, but no, now it’s December, even though another US commander is saying we’ve “turned a corner.” Oh, and by the way, it will take two more years for Iraqi forces to “stand up” before US troops can “stand down”. And after those two years,
we’ll probably only be there for five to ten more years.

Sound like a workable solution to you? Think the Defense Industry won’t be making any money? Hmmm?

Posted by: Adrienne at July 25, 2007 11:43 AM
Comment #227375

My last link doesn’t work. Here it is again.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 25, 2007 11:47 AM
Comment #227376

There is a huge difference between acknowledging the past and dwelling on it Adrienne.
IF, there is justification, have a non-partisan investigation into how we were taken there, where the money went and why such slow progress.
In the meantime, we should work together for a better intel agency, accounting and better military plans for the pacifist style of war we now fight.

And if the facts of those investigations show the left was right and the right was wrong, whoopie! You guys can say you were right and they were wrong all you want if that will make you feel vindicated. But even that will be meaningless unless we learn from it and fix it.

“Think the Defense Industry won’t be making any money?”

Why wouldn’t the Defense industry make money during a time of war? Thats like saying a carbon company isn’t making money during this latest “green” push.

Posted by: kctim at July 25, 2007 12:20 PM
Comment #227399

kctim,

“Why wouldn’t the Defense industry make money during a time of war?”

The problem is that the MIC always makes money regardless if there is a war on or not.

Another problem is that America spends money on the most expensive, whiz-bang technologies without covering our soldiers butts first.

Posted by: Rocky at July 25, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #227419
Think the Defense Industry won’t be making any money?

Oh, it is. My defense stocks have tripled since I bought them in 2002. How could you not see that coming. I wish I had a million shares of L-3.

Bring them home! But give me a little warning so I can cash out first. :/

Posted by: American Pundit at July 26, 2007 1:03 AM
Comment #227449

AP,
When and if you do ever cash out, you might choose to take a minute to look at one or more of these links:
PVA
DAV
BVA

Posted by: Adrienne at July 26, 2007 2:10 PM
Comment #227475

I don’t get it, Adrienne. I’m well aware of those organizations. My Dad is a member of the DAV.

Posted by: American Pundit at July 26, 2007 7:34 PM
Comment #227490

“I don’t get it, Adrienne.”

Oh you know, Good Karma, AP. But it’s just a suggestion — and you are certainly free to take it or leave it. I was only thinking that since you’ve tripled your investment in what is often thought of as a “sin stock”, you might choose to consider sharing some of it with those brave soldiers of ours who have paid the ultimate price — functioning as the users of those tools of war created by the defense industry.
It’d be a tax deductible donation, too.

“I’m well aware of those organizations. My Dad is a member of the DAV.”

Great. So, then you’d just be continuing a wonderful family tradition! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at July 26, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #227522

AP & Adrienne

Charitable giving should be part of your life portfolio. You (Adrienne) mentioned something about how wealth works, however, when you advocated that AP give to those charities. You have to create wealth before you can give it away. AP’s investments will ALLOW him to be generous. If he had foolishly not invested or “virtuously” given away his smaller pile of money years ago, he would not be in a postion to do this.

I see that you recognize it, but my guess is that some of your friends would be vaguely uncomfortable with the making of money. They might call it “selling out”. Tell them the those who “sell out” and make money are the one who support all those free sprit lifestyles and handle the lion’s share of taxes AND charity. And when they give you that crap about % remind them that 10% of a million dollar is better than 100% of $25,000 and that they may have failing in creating the CAPACITY to do good.

Posted by: Jack at July 27, 2007 7:41 AM
Comment #227524

Jack,

“Tell them the those who “sell out” and make money are the one who support all those free sprit lifestyles and handle the lion’s share of taxes AND charity. And when they give you that crap about % remind them that 10% of a million dollar is better than 100% of $25,000 and that they may have failing in creating the CAPACITY to do good.”

The “CAPACITY” to contribute to charity has little or nothing to do with one’s financial worth.
It is a common mistake is to assume that true charity comes from the pocketbook, when actually it comes from the heart.

Posted by: Rocky at July 27, 2007 8:47 AM
Comment #227533
Great. So, then you’d just be continuing a wonderful family tradition! :^)

Of course. Why would you think I’m not?

Posted by: American Pundit at July 27, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #227550

Jack:
“You have to create wealth before you can give it away. AP’s investments will ALLOW him to be generous.”

No, people can be generous without any real wealth at all. In fact, giving of one’s time is often just as good, and sometimes better, than giving money.

“If he had foolishly not invested or “virtuously” given away his smaller pile of money years ago, he would not be in a postion to do this.”

I agree. Yet, one can also choose to invest virtuously and reach exactly the same position. For instance, I feel better about making money by avoiding investment in certain stocks — like the defense industry that is guiding our foreign policy, or any businesses that are harmful or destructive to our environment, or those who outsource most of their production to foreign workers, and/or are located offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Others I personally consider “sin stocks” and thus avoid include companies who are hostile to Unions, and generally pay their workers minimum wage (Walmart, etc.), because I recognize that these entities only create a drain on necessary government programs, which in turn, creates the need to increase our taxes.
I’m fully aware that this narrows my choices in investments, and while I like to make money as much as the next person, the truth is, I’m just not happy or comfortable with returns that don’t reflect the principles I live the rest of my life by. I honestly think the world could be a totally different and far better place if the majority of people were more selective and careful about where their money goes, and interested in how that could affect the way this country goes about creating wealth. Just my opinion.

“I see that you recognize it, but my guess is that some of your friends would be vaguely uncomfortable with the making of money.”

Jack, I’ve got a lot of friends, and they hold all kinds of different points of view on this and many other topics. I’d be bored to death if they didn’t! But I’ve never cared whether my friends have, or stand to make, any money or not — though I do tend to like those who are wise, smart, funny, or talented in some way (or some combination thereof). I also like people with opinions, or who at the very least, are interested in knowing about the opinions of others.

“They might call it “selling out”.”

In my view, there are lots of ways to “sell out.” Becoming obsessed with making money is just one of them.

“Tell them the those who “sell out” and make money are the one who support all those free sprit lifestyles and handle the lion’s share of taxes AND charity.”

This is a gross generalization, IMO. It also smacks of the kind of judgmental mindset that I try to avoid being around.

“And when they give you that crap about % remind them that 10% of a million dollar is better than 100% of $25,000 and that they may have failing in creating the CAPACITY to do good.”

Rocky answered this perfectly.

Rocky:

“It is a common mistake is to assume that true charity comes from the pocketbook, when actually it comes from the heart.”

I adore people like you, Rocky. I don’t often tell you so, but I think you’re frequently brilliant at cutting right through the crap around here.

AP:
“Of course. Why would you think I’m not?”

Just to be a bee in your bonnet. ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at July 27, 2007 2:00 PM
Comment #227577

Rocky

People have different capacities to do good. Back when I just started to work, I was in student loan debt and I did not earn much. I would give a couple hundred dollars to the nature conservancy and a few other things, but I could not afford much. Today I more. I can give significantly more to those charities and I can afford to directly buy and protect 30 acres of bottomland forest.

Your heart may be in the right place, but if you lack the capacity to do much good, it really does not make a practical difference to anybody.

Adrienne

A good heart will not buy you much. If somebody needs $100 to pay the rent, and you do not have it, it does not help if you feel for him. There is also the luxury of time. There is no reason to believe that the more well off give less of their time.

I know some people feel very bad about this capacity thing becaue it treats people unequally. But as I said to Rocky, I have much more capacity to do good than I did before. Had I not built that capacity, my contribution to the good of society would be much less.

When I graduated with my MBA, I did not apply to firms making things I opposed and turned down a job with an ad agency when I found out I would be working on cigarette ads. Liberals are not the only ones with priciples.

Re investing in “good” things, it depends on your point of view. I invest in things I like. Those are mostly good things. But I do not have you omniscience to know if all the outcomes will be good.

Rocky & Adrienne

You must have watched that movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Remember the scene at the end when all of George Bailey’s friends come to help bail him out. They all bring in a couple of bucks, but George needs $8000, which was big money in those days and you know that those hats are not going to contain enough to save him. But then they get a wire from Sam Wainwright, his rich friend. Sam wires the money that will really do the trick. It is easy to miss that, but Frank Capra knew he needed to put that in there for credibility. All those good people were great, but not sufficient to do the job.

Good intentions are great. They are great pavement for the road to hell. I think people have the responsibilty to be able to make good on their promises and to support their good words with good deeds.

Posted by: Jack at July 27, 2007 9:09 PM
Comment #227581

Jack,

True charity isn’t just about good intentions.

“I think people have the responsibility to be able to make good on their promises and to support their good words with good deeds.”

Having the money to give a charitable donation so that you might use it as a tax write off isn’t true charity.
True charity is putting some one else’s needs above your own, even when you don’t have it to give, and good deeds are worth far more than just money.


Adrienne,

Thank you.
You do quite well yourself.

Posted by: Rocky at July 27, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #227583

Jack,

BTW,

I am not denigrating your ability to give or your interest in giving.
For some folks though, the giving is more self interest than charity.

Posted by: Rocky at July 27, 2007 9:43 PM
Comment #227594

Rocky

I do not care why they give. The tax deduction thing doesn’t really fit. If I give $1000 and get a deduction of $300, I still am giving away $700. You can easily give away all your money “saving” like that.


Beyond that, deductions are a part of our decentralized system of government payments. The U.S. government “spends” much more on culture, for example, than the French government. The French do it with direct payments. We do it by giving tax breaks to a contribution to the art museum.

Re my giving - I actually have never figured out why I do it. Unlike some people, I really do not feel any guilt or responsibility. I guess I just support the things I like to do so it is a form of self interest. I give money to particular bums who hang around near the Metro. I figure they just drink it up. Probably the best thing I could do for them is withhold the money.

Posted by: Jack at July 27, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #227669

Rocky:
“Thank you.”

You’re welcome.

“You do quite well yourself.”

Not always, but I certainly try.

Jack:
“A good heart will not buy you much.”

Of course not. That’s because good hearts aren’t about buying or selling. They’re about giving and receiving.

What was that phx8 said earlier:
“If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
I think that applies here too.

“Re investing in “good” things, it depends on your point of view. I invest in things I like. Those are mostly good things. But I do not have you omniscience to know if all the outcomes will be good.”

I don’t have omniscience, only strong reason and principles and a unique devotion and fortitude to sticking by them. Doing so makes me happy, and the way I see it, that can’t help but lead to better outcomes — though not necessarily perfect luck, or huge yet soulless windfalls of cash on every single investment.

“You must have watched that movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Remember the scene at the end when all of George Bailey’s friends come to help bail him out. They all bring in a couple of bucks, but George needs $8000, which was big money in those days and you know that those hats are not going to contain enough to save him. But then they get a wire from Sam Wainwright, his rich friend. Sam wires the money that will really do the trick.”

Yeah Jack, but “Hee Haw!” everybody also knows that Sam Wainright is really nothing but a big jerk. It’s so obvious. A sweet and lovely girl like Mary Bailey didn’t want to marry a creep like him at all — no matter how much her annoying and shallow mother encouraged her to grab onto that brass ring. Wainwright is just a rich guy whose very last link with any sort of decency and goodness and real character is the fact that people like George and Mary Bailey are nice enough to still tolerate him as a friend. His other friends giving him that couple bucks meant a lot, but Wainwright making up the balance to get them out of their jam didn’t really cost that guy a thing. In fact, they did him the favor of letting him show his gratitude to them for putting up with his arrogant, annoying self for all those years! And you just know that when he’s an older guy whose tired of keeping that string of cheap dames around who only use him for his money, it’s likely George and Mary who will fix Wainwright up with a nice woman that’ll actually care about him more than his bankroll. These things are always fully reciprocal, you know. And I speak as someone who has friends amongst a few Sam Wainwrights of my world. Not to mention the Uncle Billy’s, Bert and Ernie and Violet’s, as well as the Mr. Martini’s and Nick the Bartender’s! :^)
Though it’s true that I spurn the Mr. Potter’s whenever possible.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 28, 2007 4:26 PM
Comment #227673

Adrienne

Sam was a jerk, but he ultiimately bailed out Bailey. That is the point.

My other point has to do with dynamism. Lefty analysis of society usually do not account for change. If you are a generous person who creates the capacity to do good, you are a more useful do-gooder than one who just claims to “feel the pain” of others.

We all know lots of people who are always talking about what they are going to do but never develop the capactity to do it. We often cut these guys too much slack if they talk the talk.

Think of the other character you mention, lovalble Uncle Billy. He is a major screw up. While Sam bailed George out, Uncle Billy caused the whole problem by his incompetence. This was probably not the first time Uncle Billy royally screwed up. Each time he felt bad and crawled back into the bottle instead of doing the right thing and improving.

I always tell my kids that when you say you are sorry for something, it means you are not going to do that thing again. Your behavior indicates your TRUE intention. People who do not care enough to work at creating the capacity to do the things they say they think are good show what they truly value too.

Posted by: Jack at July 28, 2007 4:42 PM
Comment #227678

Jack:
“Sam was a jerk, but he ultiimately bailed out Bailey. That is the point.”

That seems to be your point, Jack. You’re basically skipping right past mine.

“My other point has to do with dynamism. Lefty analysis of society usually do not account for change.”

Another arrogant, gross generalization about Lefties. Shall I start throwing out some about Righties?

“If you are a generous person who creates the capacity to do good, you are a more useful do-gooder than one who just claims to “feel the pain” of others.”

Usefulness isn’t always about who’s got the most money to give. Being a generous person with the capacity to do good doesn’t always mean your also a rich person with lots of cash to spare.

“We all know lots of people who are always talking about what they are going to do but never develop the capactity to do it.”

Yeah, but that doesn’t mean we should stop encouraging them to try. Some people are just late bloomers.

“We often cut these guys too much slack if they talk the talk.”

I think you’re showing a real lack of patience here. Not everyone in the world comes pre-charged with ambition and know-how, Jack. Besides, even if someone you know never does anything with all their good intentions, you should still cut them a little slack — if only for pity’s sake. Besides, they probably beat themselves up enough for not finding a way to make their thoughts and ideas into realities.

“Think of the other character you mention, lovalble Uncle Billy. He is a major screw up.”

He’s a lovable unique character whose a bit slow, and whole lot eccentric. He would not be a screw-up if one gave him the kind of tasks he would naturally excel with.

“While Sam bailed George out, Uncle Billy caused the whole problem by his incompetence. This was probably not the first time Uncle Billy royally screwed up.”

No. George Bailey caused his own problems because he was a poor manager. Knowing Uncle Billy as he did, George was especially in the wrong to give Billy a task that carried so much responsibility.

“Each time he felt bad and crawled back into the bottle instead of doing the right thing and improving.”

As I recall, he wasn’t a drunk, just an eccentric with a sweet but rather distracted disposition, and real soft spot for his pet squirrel. He got drunk at that party in the film, but wasn’t hitting the bottle the whole time. George should have given him tasks that matched his short attention span. Like answer phones and take messages at the bank, and answer customer questions in person, and hand out the lollipops to all the kids. He was well suited for that, not for something like handling the money.

“I always tell my kids that when you say you are sorry for something, it means you are not going to do that thing again. Your behavior indicates your TRUE intention. People who do not care enough to work at creating the capacity to do the things they say they think are good show what they truly value too.”

I think it’s good to keep a real balance when you talk about, or try to encourage people to do what you know, or suspect, they are capable of achieving. Because life and people aren’t always perfect and sometimes everything can go wrong, no matter how you, or they, plan and organize and prepare. It can pay to be firm, but also pay to be kind and patient with people — and without a doubt, it always pays to have a sense of humor, no matter how situations or events turn out.
Just my two cents.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 28, 2007 5:51 PM
Comment #227699

Adrienne

As I understand your point, it is that people with good hearts are good. I agree. But it is not enough. W/o the backing of Sam, George Bailey would be in the slammer and Clarence would remain wingless.

Re capacity to do good - if you develop the skills, time or resources to do good, you CAN do good. If you do not, your supposed good intentions do nobody any good. I suspect that if you have not developed much capacity to do good, you probably really do not care as much as you say.

Re late bloomers - I am 52 years old. Some people might bloom late, but I figure if you have not gotten around to doing much by the time you pass 50, your odds are not good, Colonel Sanders not withstanding. I have nothing against encouraging them, but it is the triumph of hope over experience too expect much.

“Besides, they probably beat themselves up enough for not finding a way to make their thoughts and ideas into realities.”

This is where we really see things differently. I know people who constantly fail the people around them. I have noticed that they often feel very guilty. But we cannot let their feelings of guilt compensate for their consistent lack of reliability.

Think of those guys who beat their wives. They often feel very guilty after. The beat themselves up for not being able to make their good intentions into reality. After that, they beat their wives again.

We should not be so quick to forgive that sort of behavior. Repeated failure to live up to intentions may indicate that the person is not being truthful about his intentions.

You are right about George Bailey being a poor manager for giving Uncle Billy too much responsibility. You can develop some people and some are just impossible. Uncle Billy is good for comic relief but he cannot be relied upon. He is like lots of people I know.

Posted by: Jack at July 28, 2007 11:37 PM
Comment #227703

Jack,

Perhaps you have missed the point of the story.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a fable. Every character in this fable is flawed, including Clarence the angel.
George Bailey is an everyman, that gives up a life of adventure to serve his community. His aim wasn’t to give out charity, but to help those in his fellows with a fair shake, against a man, Mr. Potter, whose only interest is to make a profit, even to the detriment of the same community.

The moral is that a man that has friends, and the support of his community because he is a fair man, can live a far richer life than a man that seeks only to profit off of the misery of those that he seeks to control.
People make mistakes, people aren’t perfect.

Money is power.
Most people do not feel the need to seek money or power, and they still have the capacity to live rich lives regardless.

One man may have the ability to give a million dollars to charity, yet a million people have the ability to give 1 dollar.

There is no difference.

Posted by: Rocky at July 29, 2007 12:07 AM
Comment #227706

Jack:
“As I understand your point, it is that people with good hearts are good. I agree. But it is not enough.”

To you. You seem to think everyone should try be a Sam Wainwright, and that there can never be too many Wainwright-like people, and the Uncle Billy’s of this world are pretty much losers we shouldn’t appreciate or care too much about. But the way I see things is that it’s impossible for everyone to be a Sam Wainwright (whose father bankrolled him btw), and not everyone is cut out, or even wants to be like him, and Uncle Billy is sweet and loveable, and special in his own way, and he’ll be perfectly okay as long as everyone he knows doesn’t act like a tyrant, and as long as no one is stupid enough to expect him to run the bank and make all the deposits.
The truth is though, most of us are really George Bailey. We’re pretty good people overall, and do most things we try to do pretty much right, though every once in awhile we’re bound to royally screw up and give the bloody bank deposit to Uncle Billy. If we’re lucky, we have at least one or two Wainwright-style friends who are willing to bail us out if need be.

It’s really funny — because when you examine this, it has a lot to do with what makes you a conservative, and me a liberal! And it’s good that there are people who think like both of us.
And of course, nobody in this world needs a Mr. Potter, although there are far too many of them.

But you know what? It wouldn’t make as good a story, but if I was George Bailey, and had screwed up the way he did, I wouldn’t have even yelled at poor Uncle Billy with his pet raven and little baby squirrels. I’d have immediately taken the blame on myself. And instead of yelling at the family until everyone starts crying, and acting like a lunatic all over town, and thinking of killing myself for the insurance money, I’d have immediately thought of Sam Wainwright. I would swallow my pride, and make that call. I would explain how badly I’d messed up, and what was at stake, and ask him to please loan me the money, that I would pay back, with interest.

“W/o the backing of Sam, George Bailey would be in the slammer”

Yeah, you’re right. Wainwright might be a total jerk, but thank heavens he’s there. :^)

“and Clarence would remain wingless.”

Hmm… not so fast… If George had immediately admitted he had been the one at fault, maybe Clarence would have scored his wings without all the trouble of having to go jump in the freezing river. But like I said, it wouldn’t have made nearly as good a story.

PS. I totally disagree about late bloomers. I know several, and they surprised everybody.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 29, 2007 12:54 AM
Comment #227707

Nicely put, Rocky. You’re absolutely right.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 29, 2007 12:56 AM
Comment #227717

Adrienne & Rocky

I am not making my point clear. I am trying to make the distinction between want to do something and the capacity.

Doing something effectively comes when you have the desire, skill and resources. If you subtract one of these things, you problably get not much done. We are often too generous with people who SAY they want to do something good, but never seem to carry it out.

Since I see that life is dynamic, I see that people can often develop capacities and resources to do the things they really want to do. We all know people who have nice cars or take nice vacations, but perpetually seem too poor to do the good things they claim they value.

So I believe you should do what you think is right. I also believe you have a positive responsibility to develop the capacity to do what you think is right. It is a little higher standard that the belief that good intentions alone are enough to make you a good person. I do not believe that this is a liberal/conservative issue. At least it should not be.

Re late bloomers - it is statistical. There are some, but not many. People develop habits that are hard to break. Some habits enhance effectiveness; others harm it. Usually by the time you are around fifty your habits are fairly well set and the results are fairly clear to see. There are exceptions, but you would not want to depend on them. Uncle Billy might become a totally reliable man. He might.

Posted by: Jack at July 29, 2007 8:47 AM
Comment #227723

Jack,

“Doing something effectively comes when you have the desire, skill and resources.”

Now I know that your point misses reality.

Resources cannot be defined to just mean money. Resources can be contacts that have money. Resources could be time. Resources could be anything that we can draw upon to help.
We don’t have to be monitarily wealthy to effect change in the human condition, because for a goodly percentage of this country wealth is merely a dream.
Each and every one of us, wealthy or not, are capable of drawing upon the resources that we possess to be charitable.
That doesn’t make the man that has less, any less effective.

Posted by: Rocky at July 29, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #227724

Rocky

You are right that resouces mean more than money. But money is one of the more useful resources. Beyond that, it is often true that money, managment skills and energy are found in the same places.

And if you are talking about contacts that have money you still are talking about money. You just have moved it one step away.

I never set out to do anything just to make money, but I find that when you do something useful reasonably well, money follows and if you manage it reasonably well you end up being fairly well off.

So I am not saying that having money makes you good, but it is clear that there is no virtue in being poor. Being rich and having resources makes it more likely a person can do good.

The other problem comes with pulling your own weight. A person who does not even pull his own weight requires somebody else to do it for him and so lessens the total good.

Posted by: Jack at July 29, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #227744

I think Rocky is right. But then, he and I have been trying to make points that are based on what we see as reality, and also on what we see as the intrinsic value of altruism and kindness — be it made in any form.
Jack, from what I can gather, the points you’re trying to make all seem to revolve around money and access to power. On placing a designation of higher worth on people who have money, and on knowing how to make more. On top of that, you seem to feel that altruism and kindness is actually wasted on some people.

As I said earlier, this conversation has really pointed up the clear differences in outlook and philosophy that exist between Liberals and Conservatives. And just like in so many other areas and topics, we seem not to be able to understand or make sense of how the other one thinks. As a result, we frequently seem to be talking right past each other.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 29, 2007 3:14 PM
Comment #227779

Adrienne

I really think you are mistaking me with your sterotype of a conservative.

Let me try one more time with an analogy that does not concern money. What if you, Rocky, AP and I have similar athletic abilities and we plan to run a race as a relay team. You three work out every day and develop your abilities and get much faster. I promise to do that too, but something always comes up to get in my way. On the day of the race, we are all enthusiastic. I want to win as much as you all do, but am I really carrying as much of the burden as you are? Wouldn’t you feel, at least a little, that I had let you down? Wouldn’t it be better for all of us if I did my part?

Posted by: Jack at July 29, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #227803

Jack,

We all pull our own weight according to our own abilities. You assume in your scenario that the three of us are equally athletic in our abilities, but not necessarily in the same shape.
Some of us are able to do more than others, but we aren’t all created with the same abilities.

Let’s put it this way;
You may have a talent with numbers, I may have a talent with creativity, Adrienne may have a talent with communication.
If we were to form a company I wouldn’t expect you to be the salesman, nor would I expect Adrienne to be the bookkeeper. We would each have to find our own niche and work within our own capabilities or together we wouldn’t be successful.

Money isn’t the be all, end all, of charity.
Yes, it has it’s importance, but without the tireless work of those with the talent and the dedication to actually be in the trenches, most of whom haven’t acquired vast riches, money is merely paper.

Posted by: Rocky at July 29, 2007 9:16 PM
Comment #227809

Rocky

I know you do not believe that everyone works up to his potential. Some people are more motivated and work harder.

We do not have to talk only about money. When you pointed to resources that include time, skill etc, you were right. But clearly some people try harder than others and accomplish more with similar endowments.

Beyond that, you do expect your team members to work up to a reasonable standard.

Very often I meet - and you must too - people who claim to care a lot about various good causes. But their behavior does not match their words. I think what you do and where you spend your time and money is a better indicator - what you do is a better indicator of what you really are than what you say.

Posted by: Jack at July 29, 2007 10:21 PM
Comment #227820

Jack,

“I know you do not believe that everyone works up to his potential. Some people are more motivated and work harder.”

It isn’t my place to judge what another’s “potential” is. Some people are more motivated, and some work harder.
I was a disappointment to my mother because she wanted me to be a priest, my stepfather was disappointed because I didn’t love math with his zeal (he was an engineer).

What exactly was my potential?

In my business everything must be perfect. I learned my job by doing my job. We all work hard or we’re looking for another gig.
Some businesses aren’t quite so harsh in their requirement for perfection.
I work hard because that is what I do. I expect more from myself than I expect from other people.

BTW, both my mother and my stepfather felt I turned out OK.

Posted by: Rocky at July 29, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #227906

Rocky

We (both of us) in fact do have the duty and right to judge the potential of others. I do it every day as a manager. So do you. It is great to expect more of yourself, but you have to expect others to carry some share of the load.

Our market oriented, pluralistic society give people a variety of opportunities and lots of chances. This is a good thing. That is why I think government setting single standards (i.e. laws) that apply to everybody should be done sparingly.

We may disagree re competence and importance, but we all have the duty to judge it. It is not fair to the hard workers to treat the poor workers as their equals.

Posted by: Jack at July 30, 2007 9:53 PM
Comment #228000

Jack,

As I said before. There are no “poor workers”in my field. In my business you are either good or you’re gone. The type of work I do is a very small niche, and there are few companies that do it. Poor workers are usually gone from the first job, and they rarely get more work.
We expect professionals, and are rarely disappointed.

The other trades on the job site are either ready for me or they’re not.
If they are ready, I have nothing to judge, if they’re not ready it’s the generals problem, and I get paid to sit.

Posted by: Rocky at July 31, 2007 9:08 PM
Comment #228374

Jack,

Looking back over your posts I think you are mistaking “capacity” for capability.

Many people have the “capacity” to do good works and give to charity.

Few people have the capability to give large sums of money to charities.

Posted by: Rocky at August 4, 2007 9:13 PM
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