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Tilting at Windmills

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April 21, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

REFERENDUM IN IRAQ?....Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg is exercising his brain cells:

Here's an old idea that I've been noodling again for a while: Why not let the Iraqis have a referendum on whether US forces should stay? Here are some reasons, off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

[Long list of reasons why a referendum would be a terrific idea.]

I think the referendum would have to be worded carefully and cleverly, and I can think of other problems and benefits, but I think as thought experiment there's enough here to noodle.

Leaving aside the notion that we're in any position to "let" the Iraqis have a referendum I think it's more likely we'd have to beg and plead, myself what's the deal with wording it "carefully and cleverly"? Here's my stab at it:

Do you want all coalition troops to leave the country within the next 12 months? Please answer yes or no.

Is that clever enough? I think so! What's more, I can't actually think of any compelling reason to oppose this idea, especially since, unlike Jonah, I think that once the campaign got underway the No votes would carry the day pretty decisively. As any conservative should understand, jingoism is a lot easier to sell in times of fear than prudent policy.

UPDATE: In comments, Wagster points out that I answered my own referendum question incorrectly. My wording wasn't clever enough, I guess! For the record: I think the Yes votes would carry the day pretty decisively.

Kevin Drum 1:08 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (126)

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Comments

I think I figured out why Bush didn't accept Rumsfeld's resignation: his letter said "Do you want me to disolve the department of Defense, thereby eliminating my powers as Secretary of Defense?"

Bush said "no."

Posted by: A-ro on April 21, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

A national referendum would result in another three months political campaign and could not be organized unless a new goverment is established.

U.S. troops would coordinate the election security.

The end result would simply be that the Iraqis, learn, one more time, how to vote.

According this, correct theory, Iraqis should be voting every three months from here to eternity, so, I vote yes. Have them vote on this, vote on school bond measures, vote in primaries, vote to have garbage collected. Voting is the best edcational system these folks have.

Posted by: Matt on April 21, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you might want to clarify. Unless I am misunderstanding, if the Iraqis answer no to your question then you are actually agreeing with Jonah.

From polls I've read, I think Iraqis favoring withdrawal count for around 70%.

Posted by: wagster on April 21, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but there's a third choice, and to eliminate it from consideration would be a disservice to the Iraqis whom we've disserviced quite enough already. "Do you want *some* of the coalition troops to leave the country? Yes or no" should be added. Otherwise, Iraqis who really want military trainers who train the *Iraqi* army or some other consultants who might also be soldiers to remain would be forced to choose between all or none. That wording would give them true freedom of choice - though, that was never the point of the invasion in the first place.

Posted by: greennotGreen on April 21, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Do you want all coalition troops to leave the country within the next 12 months? Please answer yes or no.

Why the "next 12 months"?

Try this: Do you want all coalition troops to leave the country immediately? Please answer yes or no.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

There have already been at least two British polls taken in Iraq during the past six months which reflect the fact that a majority of the Iraqi people want the United States to stop occupying their country. One was used by Congressman Murtha, which showed that 80 per cent of the Iraqis want the U.S. to leave as soon as possible. The other poll had two thirds of Iraqis wanting the U.S. to get out of their country. It is [almost] hard to believe that Jonah was not aware of the results of these polls which just happens to reflect the desires of the Iraqi people.

Posted by: Erroll on April 21, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why do we even need a referendum? Who are we trying to convince? Most of us know we shouldn't be in Iraq anymore - an Iraqi referendum has an intended audience of one: Bush. And, as we know, he decided to go to Iraq and he's decidin' to stay. There ain't no use changin' a mind that ain't gonna do no changin'

(sorry for the degredation into stereotypical "wild wild west speak," but how else can you listen to Bush these days)

Posted by: rusrus on April 21, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think it'd be a great idea. Once they've formed a government, have the referendum. It should be suggested to the Iraqis, and needn't be done so by our government.

Here's a chance for democrats to actually do something useful. Call for it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The reason he's talking about wording the thing cleverly is that, to the American right, the purpose of having elections in other countries is to allow those countries to officially consent to whatever it is that the American right wants them to do. So you word the question the way a good prosecutor does, so that you know what answer you're going to get, and you want that answer.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 21, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hey let's have the exact same referendum in America.

I bet the result here is "Yes"!

Posted by: Martin Morgan on April 21, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

gnG - if you decide that removing only some of the troops is a viable option, then those troops should be allowed to vote, too.

I think 'careful and clever' wording would generate whatever answer we wished to generate.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on April 21, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Brain cells? Plural?

Posted by: Jo Jo Jo on April 21, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why not let the Iraqis have a referendum on whether US forces should stay?

About a year or so ago, during one of the myriad turns of the corner, the right wing was loudly trumpeting the fact that we'd given the Iraqis back their sovereignty and it was now their own free country to do with as they wished.

Now, however, Jonah "Doughboy" Goldberg is asking whether we should "let" the Iraqis hold a referendum in their own country.

Sovereignty's just another word for nothin' left to lose, isn't it....

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

There have already been at least two British polls taken in Iraq...

Talk is cheap and polls are talk.

A referendum would involve open debate by politicians, public figures, and private citizens, and would have all the symbolism that a poll never would have. It would invest everyone in the decision. Duh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Do you want the Doughy Pantload to monitor the election in person?

Please answer Yes or No.

Posted by: Roger Ailes on April 21, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg is exercising his brain cells:

Probably the only exercise he ever gets...

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: I think that once the campaign got underway the No votes would carry the day pretty decisively.

HUH? Whas that a typo?


Posted by: jayarbee on April 21, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

A referendum would involve open debate by politicians, public figures, and private citizens, and would have all the symbolism that a poll never would have.

Considering that many if not most Iraqi politicians are afraid to appear in public, and that candidates in the last election were too terrified to allow their name to appear on the ballot for fear of murder, I don't know how much "open debate" there can really be in Iraq.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Jonah's looking for a quick way to declare victory and GTF out, with as little damage to the GOP as possible. The way you do that is you declare victory and GTF out, though I'm afraid I can't help them with the political damage. Too many people will want to know what we got for all that blood and treasure (though Bush can fairly say, "I got re-elected is what I got.")

Posted by: kth on April 21, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Now, however, Jonah "Doughboy" Goldberg is asking whether we should "let" the Iraqis hold a referendum in their own country.

So predictable. In a few hundred word article that had some great ideas in it and some out of the box thinking, you dwell on the one key target of snark, the choice of "let" versus "ask". How typically vacuous.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Last poll to ask this question (at least according to the Brookings Iraq index):

OCTOBER NOVEMBER, 2005: TIME-ABC NEWS POLL

When should Coalition Forces leave Iraq?
When security is restored: 31%
Now: 26%
After a new government is in place: 19%
When Iraqi Security Forces are ready: 16%

As I read it, that puts it 45% for Americans leaving immediately after the government is formed, 47% for them staying until security is restored/Iraqi security is ready.

That seems to me to debunk Kevin's thesis.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Do you want the Doughy Pantload to monitor the election in person?

Please. That pathetic little coward would faint dead away if you even pointed him in the direction of a plane that was flying to Iraq....

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

kth
Jonah's looking for a quick way to declare victory and GTF out, with as little damage to the GOP as possible. The way you do that is you declare victory and GTF out, though I'm afraid I can't help them with the political damage.

So???

So what?

What do *you* think of the idea of a referendum? Think for a second about the idea on its own merits, not whether god forbid it might somehow play into a republican's hands. How about our country's? Their's? Geez...

I get the impression that democrat = anti-republican, and that's the extent of it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

One of my commenters wrote this today and perhaps you might be interested in addressing it:

***

Has anyone else noticed the thundering silence on Washington Monthly's blog about the difficulties of their guest blogger Hiltzik ? Kevin is too busy writing pieces about "Conservative Crackup." The left is good at looking for the mote in conservative eyes.
Mike K |

Posted by: Cathy Seipp on April 21, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

In a few hundred word article that had some great ideas in it and some out of the box thinking, you dwell on the one key target of snark, the choice of "let" versus "ask". How typically vacuous.

Words do have meaning, though the right-wing fantasists continue to try to persuade us otherwise. If he'd meant "ask" he could have written "ask," but he wrote "let" instead. Whether it was a deliberate choice or a Freudian slip, the choice of the word itself is telling and reveals who he really thinks is in charge over there.

Don't believe me? Let's go ask Alice:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone," it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

That seems to me to debunk Kevin's thesis.

Actually, if you bothered to read or think, it supports his thesis.

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else noticed the thundering silence on Washington Monthly's blog about the difficulties of their guest blogger Hiltzik ? Kevin is too busy writing pieces about "Conservative Crackup." The left is good at looking for the mote in conservative eyes.
Mike K |

The left only cares about sock puppets when they are conservative sock puppets.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, if you bothered to read or think, it supports his thesis.

Um, I don't think so.

Kevin writes: "I think the Yes votes would carry the day pretty decisively."

Now, I guess if you think he means by "carry the day pretty decisively" losing the referendum by 47% - 45%, perhaps yes. Of course, that wouldn't be part of the Reality-Based Community.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

If the Iraqis want us to stay, as Jonah suggests, you have to admit they have a very strange way of showing us.

If this is their welcoming mat, I'd hate to see what they're boot looks like.

I'm being sarcastic of course: a plebicite would be superfluous at this stage. It's very clear what the Iraqis want: us out.

Posted by: a fundie's fundamentalist on April 21, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Exercising his brain cells?

Did someone take away his tennies with the velcro closures?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 21, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - actually, you were right the first time. Most Iraqis recognize if our troops leave too soon, the violence will INCREASE not decrease.

But hey, most Bush-haters like you don't get that.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 21, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum nailed it!

(It was a typo but he nailed it!)

Heh.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 21, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

What do *you* think of the idea of a referendum? Think for a second about the idea on its own merits, not whether god forbid it might somehow play into a republican's hands. How about our country's? Their's? Geez...

I think it's a good idea, and I think it will result in the majority of Iraqis telling us to get the fuck out, which I think would be the best thing for our country.

After that, though, comes the question of what Cheney and his lackey Bush would actually do if confronted with such a poll. Would they apologize profusely, pull up stakes and withdraw all US forces, making sure not to slam the door behind them on their way out? Let's assume no. So then what?

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but I thought the whole point of flipping the bird to the UN & NATO was because neocons thought it was important to say, "we don't need anyone's permission to do what we want with our army!" Because, somehow, in their minds it this was in doubt and we needed immeidate and dramatic action to clear it up.

So, um, the neocon position is currently, "only the people of Iraq get to tell us what to do with our army! Not NATO, not the UN, not Congress, not the American people--the decision rests with the people of Iraq!"

Fascinating thing, the neocon mind. First, piss off your allies (and play into your enemies' hands) by running off half-cocked to invade a country that's no threat to you. Mext, screw up the democracy-building because you ran off so half-cocked. As the place descends into chaos, give the people you invaded veto power over your army's next deployment.

Absolutely fascinating what passes for national security or military strategy with these people.

Posted by: theorajones on April 21, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

After that, though, comes the question of what Cheney and his lackey Bush would actually do if confronted with such a poll.

It'd sure as hell put them in a corner, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: UPDATE: In comments, Wagster points out that I answered my own referendum question incorrectly.

Since we don't all refresh our screens every few minutes to see if you've updated or corrected your posts, perhaps it would be helpful to reflect changes in the comment sections--particularly when such a change is a complete reversal of your position.


Posted by: jayarbee on April 21, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

theorajones, you've nailed it.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, let's have a referendum here: do you want the people who disappeared billions in CPA money to be prosecuted? Yes or No?

Do you want a president with the powers of a King? Yes or No?

Do you want to know if your president engaged in insider trading? Yes or No?

Do you want to know if your president needed a prompter to get through a television debate? Yes or No?

Do you want to know if your vice-president bullied CIA personnel to give them information which conformed to his predetermined results? Yes or No?

Do you want to know if our war in Iraq was waged to divvy up Iraqi oil reserves among American corporations? Yes or No?

Oh, if those walls could talk ...

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 21, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK
I think the referendum would have to be worded carefully and cleverly...

...like a FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK
A referendum would involve open debate by politicians, public figures, and private citizens, and would have all the symbolism that a poll never would have.

The actual elections for public office didn't even include much of that, or even publicly available candidate lists. Why do you expect that a referendum would, any more than the discussion on the US role that is already taking place informally?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

You're right theorajones. A referendum is a horrible idea. Why? Because it would somehow play into the hands of the republicans since one of them thought it up (and therefore its true purpose must be to defeat the anti-republicans), and as anti-republicans who draw your entire self-identities from republicans, you could never support it, much less even read it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

What do *you* think of the idea of a referendum? Think for a second about the idea on its own merits, not whether god forbid it might somehow play into a republican's hands. How about our country's? Their's? Geez...

So let's assume, arguendo, that Iraq is indeed, as Bush assures us, the central front in the War on Terror (TM). And then let's assume that the Iraqis hold that referendum and tell us to fuck off.

How many right-wingers will be comfortable with retreating from the supposed central front merely on the Iraqis' say-so? If we need to fight them there so we don't fight them here, why would we ever leave just because the Iraqis want us to -- won't that mean, then, that we'll merely have to fight 'em here?

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

losing the referendum by 47% - 45%,

yes, this would happen if the referendum were held SIX MONTHS AGO.

Posted by: benjoya on April 21, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else noticed the thundering silence on Washington Monthly's blog about the difficulties of their guest blogger Hiltzik ?

I'm sure the relevance to Cathy Seipp is that one of Miltzik's sock puppets "described Los Angeles writer Cathy Seipp "as a 'tool' and as someone 'hampered by her own ignorance, '" (quote from Howie Kurtz column, but I'm not sure about the relevance for the rest of us.

Posted by: kth on April 21, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it seems to me that Goldberg is looking for a way to lay the blame on the outcome of this Iraq escapade on the shoulders of the Iraqis themselves. "Hey, if they'd just let us stay, everything would have ended up peachy!"

Posted by: Royko on April 21, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

and red state mike's snark is well placed. i think it's a good idea cause it will either help get us out of there, or, as per Stefan, it will lay bare once again bush's anti-democratic tendencies.

Posted by: benjoya on April 21, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Because it would somehow play into the hands of the republicans since one of them thought it up (and therefore its true purpose must be to defeat the anti-republicans), and as anti-republicans who draw your entire self-identities from republicans, you could never support it, much less even read it.

You know, Mike, as revealing a glimpse of psychological projection as that is, just so you know most of us here don't depend on the antagonism of a frightening "Other" as the basis of our identity.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

as far as laying blame, condi has already started pointing fingers at the military (exactly who makes "thousands" of "tactical mistakes"?) this is helping the retired generals find their voice, no doubt.

Posted by: benjoya on April 21, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

A referendum is a terrible idea as a US policy, since it reflects the idea that the US is the government of Iraq, and gets to make decisions, including decisions about which policies can be pursued independently, and which need referred directly to the Iraqi people.

If the Government of Iraq wants to have a poll on whether US forces should stay, or if it wants to make that decision on its own without punting to a referendum, well, that's what sovereign governments exist to do.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

yes, this would happen if the referendum were held SIX MONTHS AGO.

What's you point? 47% said that they wanted US troops out once security was restored/Iraqi security forces were ready. Has either of those things happened yet? I didn't think so.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

If we need to fight them there so we don't fight them here, why would we ever leave just because the Iraqis want us to -- won't that mean, then, that we'll merely have to fight 'em here?

The problem here is that your looking for some kind of internal consistency in all the statements issued by this administration.

It's like trying to reconcile the lives and stories of the DC Comics characters from the 1940's with those of their modern counterparts. Like the statements of the Bush administration, they are all disconnected narratives told for different reasons at different times that can only truly be reconciled by postulating the existence of infinite Earths.

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

The problem here is that your looking for some kind of internal consistency in all the statements issued by this administration.

Actually, I'm trying to use sarcasm to point up the inconsistency in all the statement by this regime, but yeah.

Posted by: Stefan on April 21, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

You can bet your rectal cavity and the family jewels that all the people of iraq will not be dining on anything GWB and Mr. Rumdedumdum has on their serving tray. their answer -- not no , but hell no ! !

Posted by: BRASS MONKEY on April 21, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK
47% said that they wanted US troops out once security was restored/Iraqi security forces were ready.

Yeah, so what? Whether, e.g., Iraqi security forces are "ready" is subjective, while I certainly don't think they are ready to much of anything, I have no idea what standard the Iraqis voting in the poll were applying for readiness.

Further and more importantly, people's minds change. Particularly, people's minds could change about whether or not US forces are even making a positive contribution to security.

And even further, a 47%-45% result in a poll, almost certainly within the MOE, is hardly a commanding result.

Its also not that reassuring when, the same poll (see p. 37, ) shows 44% strongly oppose Coalition forces, and 21% somewhat oppose.

Reliability and stability of opinion toward US forces is undermined further by the fact that polling only 2-3 months earlier showed 82% of Iraqis strongly opposed to US forces. (Same source, p. 38)

IOW, if those poll results are the best support you have for the contention that continued US presence would win a referendum now in Iraq, well, you're pretty nuts to act like it is meaningful.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

If a referendum would provide the Administration with the political cover it needs to save face while doing the right thing and getting us out of there, then I'm all for it.

But its illogical in a lot of ways. We didn't invade for the benefit of the Iraqis. We invaded to protect our own interests and any benefit that accrues to the Iraqis is gravy on the side. Within this framework, why does their opinion matter? If our interests have been satisfied, we'll leave whether they like it or not. And if they have not been, who cares what they think?

Or maybe I've been reading the Administraton's rationale wrong all these years.

Posted by: Alden on April 21, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

To cmdicely's point: A vote in the National Assembly might be a good start, maybe on a regular basis, such as an authorization or request that must be renewed...

The legitimacy of the US/multinational force in Iraq derives from UN resolution 1637, renewed in 11/05, which expires 12/06, and which must be reviewed in 6/06. (Of note, the US wanted a 2-year extension, but ony got 1.)

After all, the National Assembly is the democratically elected representative of the people. (Or didn't those elections mean anything?)

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

What's this "within the next twelve months" stuff? Are you expecting the Iraqis to predict what the situation is going to be like a year from now and base their answer on that?

Here is some simpler wording, "Do you want all coalition troops to leave the country now? Please answer yes or no."

I think the answer from the Iraqis to this question would probably be no. Kevin obviously added "within the next twelve months" so he could justify a yes answer.

Posted by: c on April 21, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg is exercising his brain cells

I wonder, does that give off any heat at all?

Posted by: craigie on April 21, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

OT (slightly), Kleiman notes:

Earlier, I remarked while most Western European leaders had recognized Prodi's apparent victory with congratulatory telephone calls, the three B's Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi himself were holding out.

That's no longer true. Blair has done the right thing. The remaining holdouts are Bush, Pope Benedict, and Vladimir Putin.

If Bush is such a lover of democracy, why has he refused to recognize the legitimate democratically-elected Prodi?

Could it be because conservatives only like democracies they can control (i.e., not a real democracy) or ally themselves with both politically and philosophically?

Yep.

For conservatives, democracy is just a convenient tool to use when necessary to gain power or to mask their corruption.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I get the impression that democrat = anti-republican, and that's the extent of it.

Almost.

See Democrat == pro-America, and Republican == anti-America, therefore, anti-Republican == pro-America.

See how that works?

Now if your guys start proposing things that actually help this country, I will support those things. But not your guys. They are still icky.

Posted by: craigie on April 21, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

IOW, if those poll results are the best support you have for the contention that continued US presence would win a referendum now in Iraq, well, you're pretty nuts to act like it is meaningful.

I didn't contend that "continued US presence would win a referendum now in Iraq". I contended that Kevin's statement "Yes votes would carry the day pretty decisively" (emphasis added) was unsupported by the available evidence.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Al: I contended that Kevin's statement "Yes votes would carry the day pretty decisively" (emphasis added) was unsupported by the available evidence.

There was less evidentiary support for WMDs in Iraq, but that didn't stop Bush from invading.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 21, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Listened to MN Public Radio today with Newt Gingrich doing his usual parsing of questions. God, he still sounds so annoyingly credible . . . if you're ignorant and a non-critical thinker!

Anyway, he blamed all the Iraqi mess on Bremer's mistakes, but we're now on the "right track" the last two-and-a-half years. Well, at least he got the first half right.

There still is no security in Iraq. There is no government in Iraq. There is no healthy open debate. There is no effective democracy. I think that Stefan's point on language use is right on and belies the underlying hubristic, jingoistic, neocolonial thinking underlying the administration and other like minds.

Why did we go there? What is our objective there? A "Yes" vote would allow the US to withdraw under a figleaf of public will leaving Iraq in particular and the Middle East as a whole balanced on a knife edge of chaos with the unpredictable US scorpion looking for a reason to get reinvolved.

But that would all be so much easier if we are still there in force. So only a referendum/vote with a predictabe (favorable?) outcome (see Al for win/loose a referendum? Nice democracy, bud!) and continue to see this administration jump into a fight posture as soon as anybody says anything they don't like; conversation, negotiation, engagement not on this agenda ANYWHERE!

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

If Fox were writing the poll:

In fact, the withdrawal of U.S. forces within 12 months is nearly certain to destablize the Middle East and result in al Queda seizing control of Iraq and establishing a totalitarian fundamentalist Caliphate. Does knowing this make you feel more likely to want the U.S. to leave, less likely, or doesnt it make any difference?

Posted by: Catch22 on April 21, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Seipp typed: "The left is good at looking for the mote in conservative eyes. Mike K |"

Yeah, Republican motes like White House-vetted sock puppet Jeff Gannon. IOIYAAR.

A media ethics lecture from Republicans is like art criticism from the color blind.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 21, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The poll does not give enough choices to the Iraqi people.

1) Do you want the invaders to leave?

Yes or No?

2) Do you want the invaders to contract bleeding string warts on their genitals?

Yes or No?

Posted by: The Reverend Hostile on April 21, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK
I contended that Kevin's statement "Yes votes would carry the day pretty decisively" (emphasis added) was unsupported by the available evidence.

If you assume that the sum total of the available evidence was that one six month old poll, you might have even had a relevant point.

But if one reads, say, the most recent Brookings Iraq Index report, one finds a more recent poll in which 87% percent support the Iraqi government establishing a timeline for US withdrawal, but only 23% believing the US would withdraw if the Iraqi government asked them to. You find 47% supporting attacks on US led forces.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

craigie
RSM: I get the impression that democrat = anti-republican, and that's the extent of it.

Almost.

I'd say about 90% of the posts in this thread are standard anti-republican snark, 5% address the merits of the idea of a referendum in some way, and then there's a couple from the intellectual black hole of Advocate For God's brain, where thoughts go to die.

That's what I mean when I say democrats define themselves by where they stand with regard to republicans.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Should Red state Mike,Al and Tbroz go to Iraq and Fix this Mess YES or NO ?

Posted by: Booo on April 21, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

That's what I mean when I say democrats define themselves by where they stand with regard to republicans.

This statement would only be meaningful, Mike, if it weren't equally or more accurate about your side.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 21, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Should Red state Mike,Al and Tbroz go to Iraq and Fix this Mess YES or NO ?" Posted by: Booo on April 21, 2006 at 4:43 PM

Always good for a laugh:

"As for why my sorry a** isn't in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give -- I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few -- ever seem to suffice."

He forgot to add another possible reason: being a pusillanimous wanker.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 21, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK
I'd say about 90% of the posts in this thread are standard anti-republican snark, 5% address the merits of the idea of a referendum in some way, and then there's a couple from the intellectual black hole of Advocate For God's brain, where thoughts go to die.

I'd say either you can't count, or you wouldn't know a substantive comment on the issue from snark from a substantive comment on a tangential issue if God Himself came down and pointed out the difference to you.

But then, given that all you seem to do is make handwaving generalization about how much anti-republican snark and how little substantive comment on the issues there is here, that's not surprising. I mean, its not like you add much substantive to the discussion besides your own particular brand of snark.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Alek Hidell
RSM: That's what I mean when I say democrats define themselves by where they stand with regard to republicans.

This statement would only be meaningful, Mike, if it weren't equally or more accurate about your side.

Surely you don't miss the irony of responding to a comment about how you define yourselves by comparison to republicans by immediately comparing yourself to republicans.

Heh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I mean, its not like you add much substantive to the discussion besides your own particular brand of snark.

When in Rome...

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK
Surely you don't miss the irony of responding to a comment about how you define yourselves by comparison to republicans by immediately comparing yourself to republicans.

Surely you don't miss the irony in your lack of substantive comment on the issues and endless snark about the prevalence of snark and lack of substantive comment on the issues in these threads.

Oh, wait, that's hypocrisy, not irony.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK
Surely you don't miss the irony of responding to a comment about how you define yourselves by comparison to republicans by immediately comparing yourself to republicans.

Hate to respond to the same bit twice, but weren't you just a little while ago denying that you were a Republican? If that were true, wouldn't "your side" not be the same as "Republicans"?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Future Citizen of the As Yet To Be Finalized Potential Republic Or Iraq. Please select the option below which best expresses your opinion:

__ I am not aware that there are any foreign military forces in Iraq. I have not seen any of those since the Day Of Throwing Flowers At The Feet Of The Liberators.

__ I am happily employed as a construction worker building the largest military airbase/residence complex on planet Earth, and look forward to the future generations of my family which shall grow wealthy trading stolen materials on the black market.

__ I am somewhat concerned about the non-Iraqi military forces, non-Iraqi paramilitary patrols, non-Iraqi corporate looting, and non-Iraqi bureacrats who are running my country and are yet to prove that they can keep me safe from non-Iraqi terrorists that they have allowed to infiltrate my country. It would be nice to know that they will consider emigrating back to their natural countries during my lifetime, assuming that the borders of those countries have not been sealed by Congress.

__ I am grateful for the presence of Coalition forces, now that their masters have screwed up totally and turned my country into the world's largest terrorist training camp. I don't ever want to see them leave.

__ I would prefer to see the Coalition forces start planning for withdrawal from Iraq immediately, with a departure program that will safely conclude before the end of the current American Presidency and not allow that idiot to foist his mistakes onto the lap of his successors. Which would be a nice change in his basic character.

__ I would like to see the Coalition forces begin to leave immediately, and invade Iran for a nice change of pace. I expect the terrorists to follow. This should occur on ar just prior to the American mid-term elections of this year.

__ I would like to see the Coalition forces relocate up to the Kurdish territories, and out of what will end up being Iraq, so that our merger with Iran will go more peaceably. Maybe they can take out the Al Qaeda training camps that the Kurds allowed to exist there, behind the old northern "no-fly zone", which were blamed on Saddam anyway.

__ There is no need to worry about the Coalition forces. Allah ensures their departure every day as our majestic military destroys them wave after wave after wave, like the infidel dogs that they are. (Yes, checking this option signifies that I am whatever happened to Baghdad Bob.)

__ I want the Coaliton forces to leave as soon as possible, taking their American businesses with them, and abandoning the billions and billions of dollars worth of military infrastructure that they have put into place which a normal person would realize is the clue that proves that they are never going anywhere, but the boobs at Fox News fail to realize exist at all.

__ The Coalition forces can stay here. I don't care. I am moving to Mexico. Immigration amnesty is right around the corner in America.

Posted by: SoCalAnon on April 21, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK
When in Rome...

Do as the Romans do, but castigate them for it!

Look, even if your accusations were generally accurate, your doing what you whine about would make you a hypocrite.

As you are really one of the worst "offenders" against your own supposed desires, well, if you wanted this place to have a lower snark:substance ratio, the best thing you could do is leave.

But, really, it seems what you object to isn't so much that there is snark in place of substantive comment, but that the snark is anti-republican.

You're not objecting to people putting tribalism ahead of substance -- you do that as much as anyone. You're just angry that on a left-leaning blogs comment threads, the political tribalism isn't in the direction you prefer.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Surely you don't miss the irony of responding to a comment about how you define yourselves by comparison to republicans by immediately comparing yourself to republicans.

Whatever. My statement still stands.

Republicans do define themselves by comparing themselves to Democrats. In every election the Republican candidate warns of all the awful things that will happen if the voters are careless enough to elect a Democrat ("He'll ban the Bible and allow gay teachers to indoctrinate your children!!"). The thrust of the entire GOP philosophy over the past 25 years has been to define the party in terms of what it's against: abortion, homosexuality, "big government," "immorality," etc. Yet in all that time it has not banned abortion, homosexuality is more accepted than ever, government has only grown larger, and the kinds of immoral behaviors that allegedly repulse you have only gotten worse. So not only do I not know what you're for, except by inference (for you dare not say them explicitly), I'm not sure what you really oppose, either. Since the election, for example, how much has Bush done to get that gay-marriage amendment passed?

Speaking only for myself, I consider myself less a Democrat than a non-Republican. I have problems enough with the Democratic Party, but they pale next to the issues I have with the GOP.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 21, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

But, really, it seems what you object to isn't so much that there is snark in place of substantive comment, but that the snark is anti-republican.

No, I expect a certain percentage of snark. but I also expect some real debate.

Look, even if your accusations were generally accurate, your doing what you whine about would make you a hypocrite.

Look at my first comment in this thread. I actually thought the idea of a referendum was an interesting one...worth noodling over, as Goldberg said and Drum agreed with. Something maybe, just maybe, everyone could agree on. But that was not the direction the thread took.

The other day we had a thread, and I stated my personal position on Iraq and Sudan and where I stood, and I waited for the locals here to do the same. Crickets. Just more, "But the republicans said..." and "Why should I do your job?" evasion. Frnakly, it was bizaare.

Hey, I'm tilting at windmills. I know it. Same thing with ad hominem-omania. but it's just electrons.

Do the right wingers do the same thing? I don't know, since I don't frequent their comment sections. Ever. Too vitriolic, when I took a peak long time ago. I guess they still do, since I get told they do by folks like you.

Every time I hear, "But the republicans said..." I think of Bush's comment on the poverty of low expectations. Using the repubs as a litmus test or some sort of bar for your behavior? I guess.

And now I am off to home.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

My spelling sucvks toady.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, wait, that's hypocrisy, not irony.

No, it's recursion.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK


ALEK HIDELL: Speaking only for myself, I consider myself less a Democrat than a non-Republican.

Hear, hear! Not just for yourself, for I too am far more a non-Republican than I am a Democrat. So too, am I more a non-idiot than I am a genius. I am more a non-murderer than I am a policeman. I am more a non-Nazi than I am a Jew. But since I am also more a non-devil than I am an angel, I try not to hate too much those who defend the lying, stealing, killing bastards in charge of this country.


Posted by: jayarbee on April 21, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Kevin--a referendum is a fine idea worded as Kevin wrote it, no need for "clever" wording.

If you need to use spin and use push poll tactics to get the result you want, then you're clearly not serious about a referendum.

Posted by: haha on April 21, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

The other day we had a thread, and I stated my personal position on Iraq and Sudan and where I stood, and I waited for the locals here to do the same.

You're pathetic attempts to avoiding holding the Republican leadership of this country responsible for anything was duly noted.
Bizarre indeed.

Posted by: haha on April 21, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Look at my first comment in this thread.

I did. As well as all the rest.

I actually thought the idea of a referendum was an interesting one...worth noodling over, as Goldberg said and Drum agreed with.

Actually, what you said was that it was a great idea. Of course, that's not much of a substantive comment, and you provided no reason for thinking it was a great idea.

You followed the empty endorsement that it was a great idea with anti-democratic snark, in that first message.

And that was pretty much the substantive peak of your contribution on the issue of the referendum -- and, no, demanding that other people provide substance isn't substance.

The other day we had a thread, and I stated my personal position on Iraq and Sudan and where I stood, and I waited for the locals here to do the same. Crickets.

Presuming you are talking about the April 10 thread on Darfur, your revisionism is interesting, but there were many substantive posts on the issue before you even showed up on the thread, and the opening salvo of substance-free snark was mca's anti-Democratic "Global Test" snark.

Indeed, the reference to Wes clark and John Prendergast's "A US plan for Darfur" preceded your petulant demand to know where the Democratic voices were. And your suggestion was simply we need to bomb and do "regime killing" and let them sort out the post-war on their own.

So, as usual, you came in in your first post, ignored most of the substance already there, offered some half-considered idea, pretended despite the clear counterevidence already presented in the thread that Democrats weren't offering any ideas and used that for some anti-democratic snark.

And now, perhaps hoping that memories have faded, you try to get away with making up clever stories about it to justify your continued whining about the snark level while doing plenty of snarking and little to contribute to substance yourself.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Why a referendum is not the appropriate first step...

In November 2005, the Iraqi government explicitly supported a continued MNF presence in Iraq (see my previous post). In January 2006 the National Assembly was elected.

It would be good to have the since-elected National Assembly affirm, repudiate, or otherwise modify that position as they see fit. An appropriate time would be June 2006.

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, correction to previous post: "In January 2006 the National Assembly was elected" should read "In December 2005 the National Assembly was elected".

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Do you want to len credibility to Jonah Goldberg by seeing his idiotic meanderings and his distortions of facts and civics distributed out to a wider audience through other blogs, especielly liberal blogs at that.

Answer yes or no.

Second question, is Jonah Goldberg an idiot?

Answer yes or no.

Does Jonah Goldberg deserve any or your mind space?

Answer yes or no.

Gee, I wish I had the last three minutes of my life back.

Posted by: Bubbles on April 21, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

New hardcore french writer:

"Idologiquement Cash/Chiotte

L'aplat de niaiseries rpandu sur le texte a empch de dvoiler la puissance colrique des propos en gnral. Une sorte de philosophie en parfaite adquation avec l'poque. Ni avant-garde, ni conservatisme."

To be continued: http://hirsute.hautetfort.com

Posted by: Andy Verol on April 21, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I should mention that a downside (depending on your point of view) of having the National Assembly vote instead of a referendum: Assembly representatives could more easily maneuver the administration over a barrel.

As in "What will you give is for not kicking you out, or demanding a timetable for withdrawal, or more progress on reconstruction, or money, or embarrrassing you, or... ?" I'm surprised something like that hasn't yet happened (or maybe it has and we haven't seen it), although arguably they have other things to worry about. However, the mid-terms could offer an unsurpassed opportunity for Iraq to extort something out of the administration.

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

has407

There is NO government in Iraq, only elected party representatives, to maneuver anyone. It has taken 4 months to get a prime minister, incapable of forming a government of majority, to step aside. Now the shia parties (hopefully in negotiation with other parties) have to find a more broadly acceptable PM. Think Italy or Israel without political experience.

Holding a referendum tomorrow might give the US a reason to leave without there being any effective government or security in place. In Powell's "you break it you own it", this would be the vandalism of walking in the store, smashing everything in sight, and walking out. Nice Job!

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Back in May 2004, I wrote on iSteve.com:

A New Iraq Exit Strategy
The Clash Referendum: "Should we stay or should we go?"

If we go there will be trouble.
An' if we stay it will be double.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on April 21, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

What interests me about about the Red State Mikes of the world is how history passes them by two years ago, "Democrats are merely anti-republicans" might have been an effective, though off-base, criticism, but today the entire country, is anti-Republican. Even if the criticism were accurate, Democrats would not do poorly by embracing it.

Posted by: Boronx on April 21, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely
And that was pretty much the substantive peak of your contribution on the issue of the referendum -- and, no, demanding that other people provide substance isn't substance.

No, in my first post I said it was a great idea, and said we needn't have governments to call for it. I suggested democrats do it (with some snark in there).

My second post explained why polls don't count, and why a referendum would have meaning beyond just counting votes.

Presuming you are talking about the April 10 thread on Darfur...

Nope, wrong thread. The 19 April "Too Much John Wayne" thread is hte one I'm talking about. So the rest of your comments are overcome by events.

Boronx
"Democrats are merely anti-republicans" might have been an effective, though off-base, criticism, but today the entire country, is anti-Republican.

You are completely missing the point of my comment. I'm not saying you are against republicans (though you are) I am saying you define yourselves by your position relative to republicans. Without republicans there would be no democrats.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-CIA agent says WMD intelligence ignored

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA had evidence Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction six months before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion but was ignored by a White House intent on ousting Saddam Hussein, a former senior CIA official said according to CBS.

Tyler Drumheller, who headed CIA covert operations in Europe during the run-up to the Iraq war, said intelligence opposing administration claims of a WMD threat came from a top Iraqi official who provided the U.S. spy agency with other credible information.

The source "told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," Drumheller said in a CBS interview to be aired on Sunday on the network's news magazine, "60 Minutes."

"The (White House) group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested," he was quoted as saying in interview excerpts released by CBS on Friday.

"We said: 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said: 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change'," added Drumheller, whose CIA operation was assigned the task of debriefing the Iraqi official.

Posted by: dts on April 21, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

notthere -- Understood there hasn't been much of a govenment (as I mentioned, "arguably they have other things to worry about"), although it looks like there's been some progress. To be clear, I don't advoate a referendum, at least as a first step (see post upthread).

That said, not holding a referendum because it would give the US an excuse to leave is no reason not to have one. If the Iraqis want us to leave or, to be more accurate, unless the majority of Iraqis are willing to provide active support (being passive doesn't count), then the MNF can do little more than act as targets that shoot back, get killed and maimed, and create additional friction. Maintaining troops in Iraq in such a situation is counter-productive for everyone, Powell's "pottery barn rule" nothwithstanding.

Posted by: has407 on April 21, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Fact check, Red State Mike, the Democratic Party existed long before the Republican Party.

Posted by: Boronx on April 21, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

A Republican so deranged you can't help but love her,


http://www.majorityreportradio.com/weblog/archives/003989.php

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/008272.php

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/008271.php

Posted by: cld on April 21, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Katherine Harris must have been grown on the Anita Bryant girly farm.


Well, someone had to say it.

Posted by: cld on April 21, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK
Nope, wrong thread. The 19 April "Too Much John Wayne" thread is hte one I'm talking about.

Okay, well, your comments are equally misplaced there. There are plenty of substantive comments about Iraq before your first post in the thread (the main article was about Iraq, not Sudan.)

Since the substantive positions on Sudan had been made very well in the conversation you participated in a week and a half earlier (the April 10 thread I mentioned in the earlier post), and since you raised the Sudan issue not with any kind of substantive comment but with dismissive snark, your objection seems to be that people won't rehash substantive discussions with you on demand to put your mind at ease that they really have substantive positions, after they've already hashed them out in discussions in which you participated.

And you expect this to be taken seriously?

I'm not saying you are against republicans (though you are) I am saying you define yourselves by your position relative to republicans. Without republicans there would be no democrats.

Two parties that define themselves largely by opposition to each other (all too often, by false definitions of the other) is pretty much a natural consequence of the US electoral system. Much Republican campaigning is against strawmen created as the supposedly Democratic positions (or set up as democratic causes that aren't even linked to concrete positions, like the "homosexual agenda), and quite often, very little substantive in policy terms actually materializes around these positions.

This is simply the structural incentive of the electoral system. That's not to say everyone does it -- there are plenty of US political parties that don't. The thing they all share in common is that they win precious few elections and exert little other significance at any level; even the minor parties that occasionally become make significant waves define themselves, very strongly, by opposition to both major parties.

Now, if one wanted to address substance, one would suggest alterations to the system which produces this result, rather than spouting endless whining about the fact that one major party happens to (just like the other, and like even the minor parties of any note) engage in it.

But whining seems more your style.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 21, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Every month this goes on is a further indictment of US foreign policy. We should not have gone in, but we did. We should have had a plan, but we didn't. We should have adapted and followed through to put Iraq back on its feet, but we signally failed.

Now we are debating a referendum for a country that has no security and no government.

I can't think of one comparison for this abject failure. And the worst of it is that the Democrats were too cowed by the post-11th September admin propoganda to really rebel against the Republican hegemony of government and executive.

Fake Patriotism Is Rated Too Highly.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Jason and tbrosz: There also seems to be serious brain drain from Iraq as professionals are reported to be leaving in droves.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060417-122711-9199r

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 21, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Tbozo,

You still think Iraq is salvagable in some republican political philosophy kind of way?

Wow.

You are way beyond gullible.

I've got some Kansas beach property I'd love to sell you; complete and ready to develop; I will even throw in Katheleen Harris to play Gidget to your Moon-doggy. You can fuck her right there on the sand next to the cardboard cutout surfboards.

Wake up sonny.
You are looking like a dummy.

Posted by: Christian Charlie's Ghost on April 21, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely
But whining seems more your style.

Heh. you spend 90% of your posting essentially saying it's the repub's fault. Sure sounds like whining to me.

OK, let me be clear. Although I said dems are defined by repubs, what I really meant is the people on this blog are defined by their response to repubs.

And if asking for substantive discussion (which means more than just echoing dem talking points, it includes giving serious consideration to the other side) is whining...

Since the substantive positions on Sudan had been made very well in the conversation you participated in a week and a half earlier (the April 10 thread I mentioned in the earlier post), and since you raised the Sudan issue not with any kind of substantive comment but with dismissive snark, your objection seems to be that people won't rehash substantive discussions with you on demand to put your mind at ease that they really have substantive positions, after they've already hashed them out in discussions in which you participated.

I asked a straightforward question in the thread that had not been addressed in that thread or the one prior, and I got evasion. A refusal to even entertain the question. And the question was a simple one. What was the individual stands on genocide and things like Rwanda. I gave my answer. The answers I got back were along the lines of, "Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand" or "Why I should I give ideas to the repubs" or "repubs blocked Clinton in Rwanda" which may all be well and true but had nothing to do with the question. Simple question, discombobulated answers. Go back and read it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on April 21, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why are we debating what "we" should do in Iraq?

The last time I checked, our tax-dollars have been used to good use all over Iraq.

We have successfully deposited depleted uranium across the country, established permanent military bases and are now constructing the largest embassy compound in the world.

See, it doesn't matter what joe/jane public think/want in either USA or Iraq, because Bush/Carlisle/McGraw-Hill(yes they have a construction division)/Haliburton/Betchel are making out like bandits.

Iraq is a mess but where else (besides NOLA) can you reap obscene profits rebuilding an ever-sabotageable infrastructure?

God bless our war-profiteers.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 21, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

'And the question was a simple one. What was the individual stands on genocide and things like Rwanda. I gave my answer. The answers I got back were along the lines of, "Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand" or "Why I should I give ideas to the repubs" or "repubs blocked Clinton in Rwanda" which may all be well and true but had nothing to do with the question. Simple question, discombobulated answers.
--Red State Mike

I don't have time to check this blog more than a few minutes every day, if that, so I don't have the complete context to be able to respond to your question. But, if I understand it to be "How do you (a liberal) feel about genocide?", my answer would be that I am a Christian and I condemn the slaughter of innocent human beings anywhere, for any reason. That is why I am so fundamentally opposed to this horrific slaughter in Iraq. If your follow on question is to be "why didn't Clinton do something about the Rwandan slaughter?", my answer would be - he should have. I make no pretense that Bill Clinton is without fault. He was a very flawed man, in many ways. As we all are. I would suggest that in 1994, he was being hammered by Republicans over the mock Whitewater scandal and the mock "Vince Foster was murdered" myth and was probably way too distracted to focus on the Rwandan genocide. Which also causes me to ponder out loud as to whether the FBI could have uncovered the 9-11 plot before it happened, if Ken Starr hadn't had 75 FBI agents tied up investigating Bill Clinton's sex life.

I also think that Clinton's bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan in 1998, in response to the East African embassy attacks was a hige mistake and a great humanitarian disaster, as it led to the deaths of thousands of African children as a result. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 21, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an old idea that I've been noodling again for a while: Why not let the Iraqis have a referendum on whether US forces should stay? Here are some reasons, off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

[Long list of reasons why a referendum would be a terrific idea.]

I think the referendum would have to be worded carefully and cleverly, and I can think of other problems and benefits, but I think as thought experiment there's enough here to noodle.

Please allow me, if you will to dissect that what this man speaks, for it is but words, the name of the man matters not, what is important is that which he wishes to impress upon your visualization [Roseanne Arnold having Sex with Arnie] See? what in your mind did that cause? Ecchh? Ewww?
Yukkkk?
K. Heres the Word's of Jonah Disseminated;
Here's an old idea that I've been noodling again for a while: Why not let the Iraqis have a referendum on whether US forces should stay? Here are some reasons, off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

[Long list of reasons why a referendum would be a terrific idea.]

I think the referendum would have to be worded carefully and cleverly, and I can think of other problems and benefits, but I think as thought experiment there's enough here to noodle.

{key words}
Referendum, careful. Clever, benefits.

So Jonah wants to screw someone, or a group, thru clever words, how to benefit on that groups "hatred" or Bias..$$

Can you be not to see what Jonah is all about? $$

YaY Jonah, take Your greedy gomer ass back to KHAZAR, you red headed inbred fecks.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

but I think as thought experiment there's enough here to noodle.


WTF???
I think [maybe] as a thought [define thought?] experiment [on what you cant define?] there's enough here to noodle [Chicken Soup?]

This is mental masturbation.
Nothing here at all. The man may as well be brain dead.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Moving Forward;
Try this: Do you want all coalition troops to leave the country immediately? Please answer yes or no.
Posted by: Al on April 21, 2006 at 1:18 PM |

Al if you asked what I wanted and not the CHOICE of what I wanted I may be inclined to answer your Polling. Till You ask a non-slanted question you will not get an answer.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Now how ironic is this. A liberal championing the cause for Democracy in Iraq through advocating a referendum on troop withdrawal, while throughout the transition the lefts position has been one of illegal occupation, immediate withdrawal on account that democracy would not work in Iraq.

It's shocking the heights of hypocrisy that the left will resort to.

Posted by: Jay on April 21, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Now how ironic is this. A liberal championing the cause for Democracy in Iraq through advocating a referendum on troop withdrawal, while throughout the transition the lefts position has been one of illegal occupation, immediate withdrawal on account that democracy would not work in Iraq.

It's shocking the heights of hypocrisy that the left will resort to.

Im not a liberal, though you maybe inclined to believe so, why? I dont know, Yes know that many democrats want more troops, yet again you projecting your visual upon me, Democracy didn't work in Afghistan or India, as they both joined other groups, did you not know?, The Left???
Hardly 66% Of american disagrees with Bush Policy, not democrattic policy, that makes america 66% liberal? And after 9/11 america was 90% republican? Surely you can see the problem with your math. Please continue the 'Liberal' diatribe because as your the last one to believe it, you are funny to watch!

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen/Mike: Clinton himself has said he made a mistake regarding Rwanda and he regrets it.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 21, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

And just so you know my relatives, and current family have all served the forces.
From Rosey the Riveter to Vietnam. They were there, as my father, and brother, and uncle, and Grandfathers.... No, Sir, You Do not know what you speak of if you want war. And IF YOU DO WANT WAR take you happy ass to the recruitment office. We [My Family} has been there. Its time fot the republicans and the Jonah Goldbergs to go to War. Money and name be damned, we will never have peace until these fools shutup.

Posted by: Hamster Brain on April 21, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

one eye: I, for one, opposed invading Iraq because I knew Iraq was not a threat and because there was no way I would be so arrogant as to think I could with any assurance bring democracy to Iraq. Why would I step in and take responsibility for wreaking violence in Iraq? Am I so smart that I could know it would work and be worth it? No.

It certainly had nothing to do with thinking democracy would not work in Iraq.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 21, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

The First has been achieved.
The Second as well.The Third is not yet done, but it cannot be stopped once began.
Ideas? LOL surely You Jest? Republicans Democrats?

Posted by: Trinaruy Suka on April 21, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well that explains it, you're for it when you're not against it.

Democracy didn't work in Afghanistan? Really. Did democracy work in Lebanon?

Claiming that Iraq is the illegal occupation of a sovereign country with a legitimate government, inspite of violating 17 UN resolutions over a 12 year period, is not exactly supporting "democratic policy". But it's fun to say it is.

Keep believing in those polls, they've worked well for you so far.

Posted by: Jay on April 21, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not pro-war Jim, my family has been thru alot of wars, I'm against it. Let the GOP fight it is what I'm saying

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

I was pasting from previous post, interpolate.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jay is lost. Come back Shane, come BACK.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

The goal was never Iraq.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 21, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

If you read the article, there is no actual evidence shown that "thousands" of Iraqis are leaving the country. Many are moving from one place to another inside Iraq

Evasions and half-truths, as usual.

Jason was exactly right: Iraqis are voting with their feet. Whilte there might technically be no evidence from that particular article that Iraqis are fleeing the country, there is plenty of evidence elsewhere...which you're probably aware of and just chose not to admit.

The Brookings Institute estimates that since the invasion 12,000 doctors alone have Iraq -- and that's just doctors.

Let's continue:

Syrian officials say 700,000 Iraqis from various ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds have arrived since the U.S.-led invasion, far more than in any other country in the region. The flow has spiked in the past four months.

So that's 700,000 refugees as of fourteen months ago in Syria alone.

As for "people moving from one place to another inside Iraq:" if there ever was a callous, dishonest euphemism meant to minimize what is a terrible situation , that was it:

"On March 22, the number of the displaced was 3,400 families, with each family made up of seven to 11 people on average," Sa'id Isma'il Haqqi said. "Between March 22 and April 15, the number of the families [displaced] jumped to 9,900 nearing 10,000 families" (click here for full interview). If Haqqi's figures are correct, the number of people displaced now stands at about 89,000.

Both the UN and the Red Crescent maintain that the number could be far higher, as many families opt to seek shelter with relatives in different cities rather than in camps. Many of those who fled said they had lived in their homes for more than 20 years.

While the majority of those displaced appear to be residents of Baghdad, minority communities of Shi'ite and Sunni Arabs across the country have fled violence and threats. The surge in sectarian violence is a sufficient threat in and of itself, with dozens of Iraqis now turning up dead on the streets of Baghdad and other cities each week.

In addition, nearly 20,000 Iraqis have been kidnapped so far this year, including 4,959 women and 2,350 children, according to an April 19 report compiled by a group of 125 Iraqi NGOs in Karbala, theaustralian.news.com.au reported the same day.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 21, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jay
The left's position? Who exactly represents that? The communist party? The greens? All card carrying Democrats? Anybody with a view opposed to your own and your fearless leader?

Wouldn't exactly say that democracy has been established in Afghanistan yet. Don't think Karsai does either. As to ignoring and violating UN resolutions, illegal occupation, breaking international laws to do with being an occuppying power, illegal and unaccountable use of violent force and detention in same, illegal seizure of property, deprivation of democratic rights, etc., etc., etc. Don't expect us to lift a finger to pressure Israel in any way any time soon.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

No was the correct answer to leaving in 12 months; try Do you want the coalition forces to be gone in 12 days?

Posted by: Brian Boru on April 22, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Stephen/Mike: Clinton himself has said he made a mistake regarding Rwanda and he regrets it.
--little ole Jim from red country

Thanks, Jim.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 22, 2006 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

In fact, Clinton has said this is his "biggest regret" and "greatest regret".

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

This post got me curious. A little research on Rwanda has shown me it was even worse than I remembered. And it all happened very quickly.

Some people are very hard on Clinton regarding Rwanda. I would have to have a lot more detailed information. You don't just quickly and cavalierly commit a large number of ground troops to foreign soil. He and the military were no doubt still spooked by what had happened in Somalia.

The ideal it to line up international support, including support via the UN. Takes a little time and aggressive leadership. Considering what happened, I dont doubt Clinton not only regrets not trying, he probably truly feels very bad about it.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 22, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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