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Tilting at Windmills

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June 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DEMS ON IRAQ....Matt Yglesias chides Democrats for being unwilling to get serious about taking on Republicans over Iraq:

Democrats need to be prepared to fight this battle. They need to figure out what they think about Iraq and then they need to put in whatever time is necessary to craft a compelling message out of that policy. And they need to do it before they get ambushed by congressional Republicans, and before something or other forces them to talk about the war.

Disagreeing with this is sort of like disagreeing about the yumminess of apple pie, but I think it misses the real issue. The problem isn't that Democrats are unwilling to craft a compelling message, the problem is that there are deep and genuine divisions among Democrats that are simply not going to go away. Even if there were a compelling message just waiting to be crafted about which I have my doubts what possible message would satisfy Joe Biden, John Murtha, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Joe Lieberman? It doesn't exist. At the very top levels, senior Democrats disagree strongly and deeply about what we should do in Iraq.

This is why 42 Democrats supported today's Republican-sponsored war resolution. It's why the DLC's book With All Our Might doesn't even have a single chapter about Iraq. It's why the "Real Security" plan offered up by Democrats a couple of months ago could only come up with a feeble suggestion that we should make sure 2006 is "a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty."

There's no question that Democrats ought to get their act together and put up a united front on Iraq. But how can they do that when no one agrees on what that front should be?

Kevin Drum 12:54 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (278)

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Comments

How bout a call for a timetable for withdrawal? Wouldn't please everybody, but it's vague enough to please most. So we'll be the party of ending the war (or cutting and running) and they'll be the party of defeating the terrorists (or continuing to fight Bush's doomed war based on lies). Let Biden and Hillary vote against it and doomed their chances for the nomination. It's the debate we need. It's a debate we can win.

Posted by: david mizner on June 16, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

"And they need to do it before they get ambushed by congressional Republicans"

Ambushed by what? Their terrific ideas for ending the war with a minimum of bloodshed? Or more likely by their "cut and run" talking point.

Posted by: tg on June 16, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is correct but the problem is even worse. The problem is not just that democrats do not agree on a position. It also is that there is not even a small group that has a good serious idea about how to proceed.

Of the most proimnent, Murtha is a blowhard who makes no sense when you listen to the details of what he says, and Kerry is a joke who actually ran for president without a sensible and specific position on Iraq and is now just trying to come up with something that positions himself for the 08 nomination.

It is really very hard to take the democrats seriously on Iraq or the War on Terror -- it is obvious they are driven by politics, not any intelligent assessment of the national interest. I don't see how it is going to change because such a large and powerful part of the party is against any significant military response to terrorism.

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

How about just, "George Bush must give the American people a plan." Or, "Bush owes our servicemen and women more than just a slogan." Or, "Stay the course is a slogan, not a plan." Or or or.

This is sort of Lakoff light. Don't worry about coming up with a "solution." Even if we could, Rove would mischaracterize it and then attack the mischaracterization. Make the frame George Bush's Failed War, and craft a message around that.

I think the Democrats COULD coalesce around something like that.

Posted by: bleh on June 16, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Ambushed by the bullshit move that got pulled in the House today, where we formally tie together the Iraq clusterfuck and the amorphous and inane "War on Terror".

King Canute would feel right at home in today's DC.

Posted by: sglover on June 16, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

> what possible message would satisfy Joe
> Biden, John Murtha, Hillary Clinton,
> Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Joe
> Lieberman? I

Echoing the old Seasme Street song, it seems to me that one of these things is not like the other. Specifically, one of those people has extensive military experience including actual (and reportedly very ugly) combat operations. Howzabout we go with his advice as opposed to, oh, say, Joe Biden's?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 16, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Dems should be able to clearly state the problem: the Republicans have created a horrible mess. The Dems should be able to explain that reasonable minds differ about the best way to clean up the Republicans' horrible mess.

Posted by: dogfacegeorge on June 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"a large and powerful part of the party is against any significant military response to terrorism."

This is a lie, Brian, and you know it. You're not a serious person.

Posted by: david mizner on June 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

You Dems just keep goin' round and round, and the American people will keep the Real Men in power! A billion dollars a week is a small price to pay for Freedom! You commies would use the money for BS like universal health care!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on June 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

If David's "timetable for withdrawal" is a serious comment, it is a recipe for disaster because it is a bad idea (what war was even won on a timetable?) and it reinforces democrats as the cut and run people.

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

I also think it is funny (in a sick way) that that list is supposed to represent the spectrum of thought among Democrats, even though AFAIKS it contains no representative of the group that got the Iraq question right, and all the names on it were totally snookered by W, Cheney, and Rove.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 16, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

How about benchmarks for withdrawl?

How about defining "victory" in Iraq so we know what we're shooting for? (pun intended)

GWB keeps saying that we'll stay until the job is done. What will a done job look like?

Posted by: Tweez on June 16, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

It is really very hard to take the democrats seriously on Iraq or the War on Terror -- it is obvious they are driven by politics, not any intelligent assessment of the national interest. I don't see how it is going to change because such a large and powerful part of the party is against any significant military response to terrorism.

Get real. It's hard to take Democrats seriously?!?! Try, "It is really very hard to take the entire governing class seriously", if you want to make any sense. And in fact, that class is only doing what the citizenry, in their enlightened wisdom, deems adequate.

The whole political system is profoundly broken.

Posted by: sglover on June 16, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

If only Bush hadnt cut and run from the pursuit of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda might be a distant memory.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 16, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Kevin is writing a rebuttal to his own post; The Failure of Conservatism.

Posted by: smitty on June 16, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

And Brian, please! It's hard to take Democrats seriously on Iraq or terrorism? After the gigantic bungle that George Bush has created and perpetuated and shows no sign of being able to manage any more competently in the future than he has to date?

I'm sorry, but this is a terrible double standard. And worse: if anybody needs to be held to a stricter standard, it's the people who have the power and have so terribly misused it.

And "driven by politics"?! Good grief, have you heard even a few of the, oh, billion or so invocations of "9/11" that have come out of the mouths of administration sockpuppets in support of everything from tax cuts for the rich to warrantless spying on Americans? And you are, what, shocked (shocked) by the Democrats actually engaging in politics?

I suppose it's a division of labor thing: Bush makes a gigantic mess and gives the Treasury away to his buddies (it's hard work!), so it's only fair that the Democrats be saddled with cleaning it all up.

Sheesh...

Posted by: bleh on June 16, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

There's the debate, Brian. My side says withdraw; your side says keep fighting and killing and dying. 60 percent of the country says the war is a mistake. Let's make that the big question in November. If Dems can't win this national security issue they'll never win a national secuirty issue.

Posted by: david mizner on June 16, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

You want a plan? Just read/listen to what Zbigniew Brzezinski outlined Wednesday night on Jim Lehrer's Newshour:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june06/turningpoint_06-14.html

His four-point plan:

"I have been advocating a four-point program which, in a nutshell, is the following.

Talk at length with the Iraq leadership as to when we have to leave. Those who say, "We don't want you to leave," are the ones who leave when we leave. The real leaders, probably not living in the Green Zone, will say, "Yes, leave." I suspect Sistani is among them.

Secondly, then announce jointly a date, but a date set jointly.

Then, thirdly, let the Iraqi government convene a conference of all of Iraq's Muslim neighbors about stabilizing Iraq and helping it to stabilize. Most of them will want to be helpful, maybe even Iranians.

And, fourth, we then announce as we're leaving a donors conference of interested countries in Europe and the Far East who benefit from Iraqi oil on helping to rehabilitate Iraq."

Posted by: Mike H. on June 16, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

If David's "timetable for withdrawal" is a serious comment, it is a recipe for disaster because it is a bad idea (what war was even won on a timetable?) and it reinforces democrats as the cut and run people.

And yet it was the Republican Senators who were arguing yesterday that Iraqi terrorists should get amnesty and "forgiveness" for attacking our troops.

Republican logic: if you attack our troops in Afghanistan you get an indefinite stay in Gitmo. If you kill our troops in Iraq, well...we forgive you.

Posted by: feh on June 16, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Okay David, if I'm wrong in my opinion, tell me what significant military response to terrorism the Pelosi/move on/daily kos crowd is in favor of.

It just seems so obious that, regardless of whether we should have attacked Iraq, we now are fighting terrorists there and we need to win -- plus that a win in Iraq has the potential for tremendous long term beneficial consequences while cutting and running has the potential for future disaster (especially for democrats if they are responsible for it).

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think if you could convince the hawkish end of the party (maybe not Lieberman) that the political cost of advocating an organized pullout would be low--and I believe it would be--you'd start to see a more unified front from the Dems. Importantly, the greater the unification, the lower the cost.

Posted by: Timothy Francis Sullivan on June 16, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry is a joke who actually ran for president without a sensible and specific position on Iraq

Golly, imagine that. As opposed to Bush, who actually waged a war without a sensible and specific plan on Iraq...

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

When I see war supporters (of whatever political stripe) lobbying for tax increases and a draft, in order to really control and pacify Iraq, then I'll take them seriously.

Until then, Iraq is just a war waged for GOP partisan advantage, and nothing more.

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

david mizer "60 percent of the country says the war is a mistake." Actually 60% say the war WAS a mistake, but now that we're in it, a majority supports continuing the war effort. As USA Today points out, Zarqawi reported to UBL as head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, so it's hard to dispute that Iraq is now a part of the WoT, whether or not it was part of it 3 years ago.

I think the Dems have made a political mistake by emphasizing withdrawal. Many Republican and independent voters are disappointed by the Republican Congress, but the issue of winning the WoT and winning in Iraq can trump our disappointment over earmarks, high spending and corruption.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

It just seems so obious that, regardless of whether we should have attacked Iraq, we now are fighting terrorists there and we need to win

And whether or not we should attack Venezuela we'd end up fighting " terrorists" there, and whether or not we should attack Iceland we'll end up fighting "terrorists" there. The Nazis fought French "terrorists" when they invaded France.

You create the intractable problem by invading the country the first place.

Posted by: feh on June 16, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

'Okay David, if I'm wrong in my opinion, tell me what significant military response to terrorism the Pelosi/move on/daily kos crowd is in favor of."

Um, Brian, did you know that there's a war going on in Afghanistan, a war that (unlike the war in Iraq) was a repsonse to terrorism, a war that the Pelosi/move on-daily kos crowd (I'll pretend such a thing exists) supported? I guess maybe you're not dishonest, just ignorant. Sorry.

Posted by: david mizner on June 16, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly I don't know why Rep. John Murtha doesn't run for president. I mean really, I see Murtha as type of real centrist Democrate that could really influence conservative voters because Murtha IS THE REAL DEAL and not the fake TNR ones, that pretend be Dem but really fantical right-wing blow hards. Murtha is a real military person what believes in real conservative values - values of strong conviction, speaking his mind and still being tough on terrorism but taking no bull. No whimpy Clark type.

And why are Republicans battling the poll numbers with this Bush loyalty worship charade/parade in full veiw of public?

This bill had nothing to do with policy but was only designed to make Dems angry and create geater strife in Washington. This whole bill was ONLY about Bush and as Bush use to tell everyone that Dems were "politicizing" the war - but it was never true. Dems don't politicizing the war - Republican do that and Bush does it with is bring em on photo ops BS.

Posted by: Cheryl on June 16, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Keven, first time poster.

They need to change the question. By continually falling for the "what do we do about Iraq now" question, it enables the GOP to use "support our troops" and "war on terror".

But by hammering on the real question: "Knowing how incompetantly they carried out the war, should we have allowed this administration to invade Iraq?" That speaks to the heart of the matter, speaks the nature of this war as one of choice and not of necessity. Plus, it answers all the moral challenges regarding Saddam as a killer - it's not that he shouldn't be removed, but should we have allowed this administration to do it?

Then, when challenged harping on history versus the reality on the ground today, they can articulate how little CAN be done now. A good analogy would be a train wreck - you can affect a train wreck before it happens (by correcting problems before they occur) or after it happens (by learning from mistakes and not repeating them, thereby avoiding future wrecks).

But you can't do anything WHILE a train is crashing. It's impossible and unrealistic. So the Dems need to characterize themselves as the emergency responders: The people who will put out the fires caused by the wreck, help those injured by the wreck, clean up the mess and then figure out how and why it happened and fix or change whatever was wrong in the system that allowed the wreck to happen in the first place.

I know I'm ranting, but the Dems need to forget about what needs to be done NOW in Iraq because that's not a question anyone can answer effectively.

Posted by: aabroder on June 16, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK
It just seems so obious that, regardless of whether we should have attacked Iraq, we now are fighting terrorists there and we need to win -- plus that a win in Iraq has the potential for tremendous long term beneficial consequences while cutting and running has the potential for future disaster (especially for democrats if they are responsible for it).

Sorry, but this is delusional. We are not fighting terrorists in Iraq. We're hunting them, we're trying to limit their ability to operate, but we're not fighting them in any militarily meaningful way. We would have won a long time ago if we were. And the goals we are trying to achieve would be better served by a political equation that did not include an occupying force. People need to stop imposing the rubric of a sporting event with a clear, decisive outcome onto the war and occupation. It's not a matter of cutting and running. It's a matter of making the right choices to ensure the best outcome.

Posted by: Timothy Francis Sullivan on June 16, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see the issue in proposing a withdrawl time frame that is a few years out. I'm sure many want to see it happen within a year, but I don't think that's very realistic. Can someone honestly say that proposing a full withdrawl within 4 years would be a cut and run? If Iraq hasn't stood up by that point, it's likely they never would.

Posted by: Quinn on June 16, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

One problem is that the meme is out there that the Democrats are not serious and/or credible on national security, and there's no way to change the media's mind on this. If the Dems just go along with whatever Bush wants, they're not presenting their own ideas (and they're certainly not going to win a lot of elections by doing so). If they propose anything other than what Bush wants, they're supposedly not strong enough on national security.

Any position to the left of Bush's is automatically deemed not credible, even though the majority of Americans agree with it. I don't exactly know how we're going to fix that.

Posted by: Boots Day on June 16, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

How about every time the Republicans try to put the Dems on the spot with one of these fake votes, the Dems refuse to play game and not vote at all. And then blast the Republicans for playing politics instead of trying to find a solution.

Posted by: Mike on June 16, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think this is really an area where a single "Democratic strategy" is essential; it is a case where it is important that every Democrat running for office have a clear, strong approach to sell to the voters, and it certainly would help to have an agreement on very broad principles.

And then the voice of the voters in the 2006 general election can control which visions of how to acheive those objectives are most influential in setting the final Democratic approach.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"now that we're in it, a majority supports continuing the war effort.

No they don't. A plurality at best supports saying, the polls are ambiguous. About 48 suppots staying as long as it takes and 47 supports leaving ASAP. With some leadership and bravery from Dems, there'd be a strong majority in favor of a phased withdrawal.

Posted by: david mizner on June 16, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

They should start by admitting that 95% of the insurgency is home grown civil war. Bush is fighting the 5% foreign jihadis and letting the Sunnis and Shia go at it. Work on solving that and then the Iraqis will be able to solve the jihadi problem.

Posted by: tomeck on June 16, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Many Americans need simple-minded messages that arent more than a few words long or they just dont get it. When a conservative politician says We cant cut and run, the knuckledraggers nod their unwashed heads and say Ditto, Rush. Here a few simple, sound-bite ready rhetorical nuggets to lob back at them:

How do you win an occupation?

or

If you love the war in Iraq so much, pay for it!

Or the one that Democrats should repeat every time these criminals propose another tax cut:

Stop stealing from our children!

Everyone can understand that last one even a conservative.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 16, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

How about we just offer to end the war today and spend all the money we save on tax cuts?

What's that? The Republicans already did that? Without ending the war? Well, where did they get all the money to do THAT?

What? They're they're just spending money we don't have, promising us the moon, ingoring fiscal reality, and constantly changing the subject?

Well, that's just terrible. It sounds like a political winner, though.

Posted by: fat smelly birkel on June 16, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck what might satisfy Hillary Clinton concerning Iraq because she's still wrong.

Feingold, Dean, Inslee and a few others were right about Iraq from the start. These are the people who should be dictating the terms of Democratic response. It's that simple.

Posted by: JeffII on June 16, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

David, thanks for the respecfulful 1:13 response, which I agree with (with the correction that the 60% "mistake" relates to the historical decision on the war, not the current prosecution of it):

"My side says withdraw; your side says keep fighting and killing and dying. 60 percent of the country says the war is a mistake. Let's make that the big question in November."

I guess I also should thank you for changing me for dishonest to ignorant. But rather than personalize things, my question was "tell me what significant military response to terrorism the Pelosi/move on/daily kos crowd is in favor of." You answer by claiming they were in favor of a past action, Afghanistan. Your assertion is dubious history (many folks hostile or silent about Afghanistan at the time now claim they supported it), but more important, it does not answer my question of what significant miliary response they currently are in favor of. The trite about "tracking down Bin Laden" is not responsive -- it is not a significant miliary response and, with his current largely powerless state, it is significant only as a symbolic measure. The truth is that most of the democrat party does not support any significan miliary response to the war on terror -- as Kerry once said, they consider it mostly a law enforcement matter.

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Per Bleh in Comments: " How about just, "George Bush must give the American people a plan." Or, "Bush owes our servicemen and women more than just a slogan." Or, "Stay the course is a slogan, not a plan." Or or or.

This is sort of Lakoff light. Don't worry about coming up with a "solution." Even if we could, Rove would mischaracterize it and then attack the mischaracterization. Make the frame George Bush's Failed War, and craft a message around that.

I think the Democrats COULD coalesce around something like that."
************************
Bleh has it right - this needs to be turned back on George Bush and his Republican masters. Dems aren't running the government - Republicans are, and they need to tell us what THEIR PLAN is. Since they can't/won't (because they don't trust the 'people' to understand what is in America's long-term strategic interest, or whatever) then Dems need to constantly hit on the incompetence/incoherence issue.

Posted by: MaryLou on June 16, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Okay David, if I'm wrong in my opinion, tell me what significant military response to terrorism the Pelosi/move on/daily kos crowd is in favor of.

Going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. Y'know, the job Bush promised to do five years ago but then cut and ran from.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Kevin can square these two propositions:

the problem is that there are deep and genuine divisions among Democrats that are simply not going to go away

There's no question that Democrats ought to get their act together and put up a united front on Iraq.

And I agree with cmdicely that unity is not essential on the question on the grounds that the situation is extremely complicated. So complicated, I think, that it would be foolhardy to stake out an immovable position.

Democrats can agree that 'Bush created a disaster' but beyond that... Matt Yglesias' youth is showing.

Posted by: obscure on June 16, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Im not sure why you think this problem in the Democratic Party extends only to Iraq? Its extraordinarily difficult to find agreement upon any subject whatsoever: well, unless you think "elect us" is a surprising thing for a political party to say.
I wouldnt say it was much better in the GOP either.
That bi-partisan vote on raising the minimum wage is an example of people actually all working together to the same end. Unfortunately, (as is so often the case) when all politicians agree theyre doing the wrong thing. Why do they want to reduce the incomes of the working poor?

Posted by: failingeconomist on June 16, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

One thing that seems to be missing in this, I think people that support staying in Iraq until we 'win', ought to say what exactly has to happen in Iraq that they would support leaving. For instance, are they waiting for no more violence? A certain number of Iraqi troops to be trained? Restoration of electricity or the economy? Without saying what conditions have to occur in Iraq for us to leave, we have nothing to hold people to.

Posted by: JeffB on June 16, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

You answer by claiming they were in favor of a past action, Afghanistan. Your assertion is dubious history (many folks hostile or silent about Afghanistan at the time now claim they supported it),

By Karen Hosler
Balitmore Sun National Staff
Originally published September 15, 2001

WASHINGTON - Voting overwhelmingly, Congress gave President Bush sweeping powers yesterday to use military force to avenge Tuesday's terrorist attacks. But it stopped short of granting the president open-ended authority to prevent future attacks.

The House completed action on the measure late last night, voting 420-1 to back the president's use of force. Congress' authorization - which many legal analysts say is not required by law - is intended to demonstrate congressional support for what the administration has called a global war against terrorism. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, cast the dissenting vote.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"The truth is that most of the democrat party does not support any significan miliary response to the war on terror"

"Democrat party"? Looks like someone just emerged from a Limbaugh re-education camp...

You can call Iraq "The War on Terror" if you want, but that's like calling the Spanish-American war "The War on Maritime Explosions" -- it's just semantics to make the actual invasion of an actual country seem like less of an option.

The U.S. and Britain decided to invade Iraq, a sovereign nation. Whether you support the idea or not, don't make that action into anything it's not.

Posted by: fat smelly birkel on June 16, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin I agree with your post - though the asinine House war resolution was a silly, political dog and pony show signifying nothing.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies in advance to all except the target. I'm just utterly sick of bullshit shoveled by fuckwits.

It just seems so obious that, regardless of whether we should have attacked Iraq, we now are fighting terrorists there and we need to win -- plus that a win in Iraq has the potential for tremendous long term beneficial consequences while cutting and running has the potential for future disaster (especially for democrats if they are responsible for it).

Hey, Clausewitz -- the onus is on you. Why don't you first give at least a hint of a definition of what "winning" means, now? I'm pretty certain that you don't have the foggiest idea, save for some nostalgic liberation-of-Paris notion that is totally irrelevant to situation we're now mired in. And those "tremendous long term beneficial consequences" -- what are those, exactly? They sound a helluva lot like the ignorant wish-thinking that war advocates have been passing along, like bad money, from Day One.

Shitheads like you talk about how nobody can take the Democrats seriously?!?!? Your crowd got us into the worst strategic debacle in at least 50 years, you've been wrong on every fucking thing, from the little details to the Big Picture -- all that, and you never have the simple common decency to say "I was wrong", and then shut the fuck up. You should be ashamed.

Posted by: sglover on June 16, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq is now a part of the WoT, whether or not it was part of it 3 years ago.

Thanks George. Spreading fear and global terrorism for 3 years now.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

As many of the posts here make clear, the left has been far more driven by Bush-hatred and criticizing any and every mistake the administration has made than it has been motivated to define some credible alternative to Bush's actions. What I think Kevin rightly points out is that the only real unifying theme for the left with regard to Iraq and the war on terrorism is that Bush is wrong.

But almost five years after 9/11 and over 3 years after the liberation of Iraq, it is astonishing that the left today is no nearer having a coherent strategy on national security that could explain to the average American what they would do as opposed to what Bush was wrong to do. The left hasn't even been able to organize itself into a few, well-articulated movements that could represent the diversity of opinions it has on this issue.

Bush bashing is fun I suppose and a good way to energize a crowd. But it is well past time the left took up its own responsibilities and developed something better than the convoluted, contradictory, and ever-changing legion of arguments, accusations, and heavy breathing that constitute the bulk of the left's contribution to the debate. And yet many folks here think the answer is to turn up the rhetoric against Bush.

Everyone understands the left thinks Bush is incompetent, the war illegal, the people misled, Haliburton evil, and all the rest. No one understands what the Bush critics would do instead. Maybe it is time to focus on that.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I guess maybe you're not dishonest, just ignorant.

He's both.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

The problem isn't that Democrats are unwilling to craft a compelling message, the problem is that there are deep and genuine divisions among Democrats that are simply not going to go away.

Not to mention the fact that there is no good solution to this cluster fuck. Pull out too soon and the house of cards known as the Iraqi government may well collapse. Stay too long and be seen by even more here and abroad as a colonial occupier. Dozens of permutations; dozens of equally unattractive outcomes.

BTW Kevin, What do you feel we should do?

Posted by: Keith G on June 16, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

But almost five years after 9/11 and over 3 years after the liberation of Iraq, . . .Posted by: Hacksaw

Just a Freudian slip there or are you going to tell us from whom we were liberating Iraq? I wasn't aware that the country prior to 2003 had been invaded by another. As a matter of fact, I think were the only occupiers that "country" has seen for nearly 100 years.

Posted by: JeffII on June 16, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

So Brian, you are saying that the US should be in a constant state of "military response" now regardless of whether there is a logical target or not? This goes back to blowing up shit for the sake of "doing something". Iraq was not a logical target. Afghanistan and Al Qaeda was (and was/is not finished). This is where we differ.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

The trite about "tracking down Bin Laden" is not responsive -- it is not a significant miliary [sic] response and, with his current largely powerless state, it is significant only as a symbolic measure. The truth is that most of the democrat [sic] party does not support any significan [sic] miliary [sic] response to the war on terror -- as Kerry once said, they consider it mostly a law enforcement matter.

First, we know bin Laden is largely powerless how? Al Qaeda related terrorism attacks worldwide are at an all-time high, having increased by a factor of more than ten in this decade.

Second, Saddam was laregly powerless, and yet it was supposedly imperative, imperative that we invade him without a moment to lose.

Third, punishing the man responsible for the largest act of mass murder in American history is only a "symbolic measure"? Well then, let's not bother to capture or convict any more murderers, since that only has "symbolic" value. I'm sure the families of the 9/11 victims will love to hear that.

Fourth, if for argument's sake we assume that bin Laden is indeed largely powerless, then what do we need the significant military response for? If he's largely powerless and isolated, then why isn't it merely a law enforcement matter of going in and picking him up?

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

There are two reasons why there is no consensus.

1. There is no good answer. None of the proposals short of complete withdrawal is even coherent. Bush has never stated a mission goal. Murtha's plan can't work--the armor, the air and the logistical tail can't leave. Timetables are stupid; they set the enemy agenda and allow for enemy planning. Withdrawal based on benchmarks can't work with these clowns because they lie about the benchmarks. And it seems clear at this point that meaningful benchmarks aren't attainable.

So you have the completely unacceptable option of complete withdrawal and no alternatives. What is completely unacceptable about withdrawal? It is defeat, first and foremost, which no politician is going to put his fingerprint on. It's admitting to a foreign policy disaster. It's admitting to a disaster in Iraq, and pretty much completely undermines the strong America idea. The fact that it is the best alternative doesn't change the fact that it is an unacceptable alternative.


2. The US is not leaving Iraq. There will be a permanent force component in the tens of thousands, 50,000 according to a recent report. That force component will be there indefinitely, in the permanent bases that represent the reason this war was conducted in the first place.

The US cannot leave Iraq. The country is defenseless. There is no armor. There is no airpower. They can't move goods. The entire post-war scenario is built around the US providing the Iraqis with national defense support. The entire training mission is to create not an Iraqi military, but an Iraqi internal security force.

Nobody wants to admit this. Perhaps it is that they can't admit it to themselves, but this administration has put the US and Iraq into completely untenable situations. When politicians are in completely untenable situations they turn into Mr Micawber, as has Bush: "Perhaps a turning point will turn up."

Posted by: JayAckroyd on June 16, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

This is a big reason why I repudiate the Democratic Party. It is filled with Republicans.

Posted by: Hostile on June 16, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

The strategy is this-- as Bush would say, he "doesn't negotiate with himself." The key is not to propose a bill-- the Republicans are in control. The key is to swing public opinion on the issue. Coming up with timetables, bills, "4-point plans," and the like is about convincing other legislators. Let's be clear, convincing the Republican leadership in congress about anything is a waste of time. The point is to convince America about what we need to do -- get out of Iraq -- and let public opinion force the legislature and the president into making the specific decisions about how to do it.

, Murtha is a blowhard who makes no sense

I believe by "Murtha", you mean bush. It's amazing how hostile and angry th=at the right-wingers will get when faced with someone whom they've never heard before who makes bush look bads. All this time you've had an incompetent blowhard in the form of GW Bush, and you never took him to task about that-- in fact, you mindlessly supported him. Maybe when your ideas are something other than "I hate everyone who disgrees with Bush," you'll be taken a bit more seriously.

Posted by: Constantine on June 16, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Too fucking late. It's not 2002 anymore.

Dems need to grow up and move on. The only way they'll get support is if people can trust them to keep the people doing their jobs in Iraq there and stay out of the way. When I can trust them to keep their grimmy hands off Iraq, then I'll vote for them just to get the republican schmucks' hands out of the cookie jar.

Posted by: aaron on June 16, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Just let things run their course in Iraq for christ's sake!

Posted by: aaron on June 16, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, the key to an Iraq Policy is not all that hard to identify:

Premise: If the Iraqi government was strong enough, the Iraqi government would almost certainly ask us to leave;
Therefore,
Conclusion: a reasonable policy would be to so strengthen the Iraqi Government that it asks us to leave.

Instead, the Democrats play into the Republican narrative that "war is hard work" and persistance is a virtue. A Democratic plan for unilateral withdrawal is an invitation for the Republicans to accuse Democrats of wanting to give up.

Bush does not want the Iraqi government to be strong enough to ask us to leave. Such an outcome is unacceptable to him, but would be regarded as desirable by a majority of the American People.

Strike thru the deceitful pretense of Bush's Iraq policy -- that we are strengthening the Iraqi government -- and the Democrats would stand a real chance of bringing down the whole house of cards, which is the Bush policy in Iraq.

The failure to increase electricity production; the failure to adequately arm and train Iraqi forces, the failure to enable Iraqi oil production; the failure to enhance Iraqi infrastructure and health services, etc. -- all of these failures make sense, in light of the PNAC goal of remaining in Iraq "permanently", a goal which requires a weak Iraqi government.

A strong Iraqi government implies an American withdrawal -- indeed an ejection, and creating a strong Iraq is honorable. That should be the Democrat's policy goal: a genuinely strong Iraq.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on June 16, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, it's really hard for the Democrats to reach a united position on Iraq which is different from the Republican war-whooping! After they, being a very inclusive party, think about the political consequences of alienating those 33% of Americans surveyed who think the war was worth the cost. It takes a lot of political courage to write those votes off and it just seems like political cowardice to pander to the 66% of Americans who think the war wasn't worth it. Even if you disagree with the Democrats for not taking a united position against the war and offering a clear alternative to the Republican position, you have to admire them for just not giving in to the will of the people. That, folks, is real political craftsmanship!

Posted by: Taobhan on June 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

When I can trust them to keep their grimmy hands off Iraq...

I sure wish Bush had kept his grimey hands off Iraq.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Nice try. But the September 15 vote was a general authorization for the use of force four days after 9/11, and it is hardly evidence of liberal democrats backing the specific actions taken in Afghanistan at the time they were taken in October and November.

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce's strong Iraq theme is pretty good as a matter of national policy, but how in the world are the democrats going to support the actions necessary to create a strong Iraq?

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"There's no question that Democrats ought to get their act together and put up a united front on Iraq. But how can they do that when no one agrees on what that front should be?"

Yep.

The consensus is forming.

It is just going to take a couple more years of lost troops, lost treasure, and Halliburton profits.

Apparently you've got to get seriously burned twice (Vietnam and now Iraq) before you realize that you don't belong in another fella's country.

Oh well... stupid is as stupid does.


Posted by: koreyel on June 16, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously think one of the problems the Democrats have is that they are so used to demonizing their opponents on the right they do not know how to constructively disagree amongst themselves.

Its pretty hard to come to the table with someone when you think their position defines them as an idiot.

This happens on the right too, but IMHO without a lot of the arrogance seen in the major players on the left.

Posted by: John Hansen on June 16, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

But the September 15 vote was a general authorization for the use of force four days after 9/11, and it is hardly evidence of liberal democrats backing the specific actions taken in Afghanistan at the time they were taken in October and November.

Y'know, I thought of responding to this, but then thought that, no, it's so blatant in its craziness and/or blatant dishonesty, its crazed refusal to admit reality, that I'll just let it stand as its own refutation to itself.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce,

You wrote "A strong Iraqi government implies an American withdrawal -- indeed an ejection, and creating a strong Iraq is honorable. That should be the Democrat's policy goal: a genuinely strong Iraq." And I agree that this is the goal we seek.

But how would you craft the Democratic strategy to achieve that goal?

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,

Why do you keep asking us to answer what "significant military response" to terrorism the non-hawkish left is offering as if its how you ante-up to being politically viable in the U.S.

The reason we rightly criticize Bush is that he subscribes to this childish, self-pleasuring lunacy.

I think most people on the left would agree that a combination of aggressive law enforcement, rich intelligence, and covert, small-scale military action, such as blowing up terrorist camps is the way to go.

Being against invading countries that have little relevance to terrorism, spending vast amounts of money, losing lives, killing civilians (this is a wildly neglected point), making us more vulnerable to conventional military threats, losing the goodwill of our allies, may not be proactive, but it's a vastly superior perspective to the arbitrary belief that we've got to take our tanks, planes, and soldiers and go fuck up some other country in order to protect ourselves from events like September 11th.

Posted by: Timothy Francis Sullivan on June 16, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously think one of the problems the Democrats have is that they are so used to demonizing their opponents

psychology students take note-- this is what we call "projection." Ask Tom Daschle, Richard Clarke, Joe Wilson, Murtha, and John Kerry how Republicans don't engage in unhinged demonization of their opponents.

Posted by: Constantine on June 16, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

the demacrats don't know how to fix Iran because it's FUBAR !

Posted by: jwf on June 16, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

brian: but more important, it does not answer my question of what significant miliary response they currently are in favor of. The trite about "tracking down Bin Laden" is not responsive -- it is not a significant miliary response and, with his current largely powerless state, it is significant only as a symbolic measure. The truth is that most of the democrat party does not support any significan miliary response to the war on terror -- as Kerry once said, they consider it mostly a law enforcement matter.

Why is a large scale military reponse (like the invasion of Iraq) the de facto appropriate way to combat terrorism?

Posted by: cyntax on June 16, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Repubs have methodically moved from the hotbutton issues (they're waiting until Jul 4 for the flag-burning amendment) - to Iraq.

The Dems, are like deer staring into the headlights of an oncoming car.

Liberal America needs a real party to represent them.

The dems are like the crabby grandmother, dying of cancer, but lingering, racking up huge hospital bills, smelling up the house, and complaining - but they just wont die, and leave us in peace with our inheritance.

Die, Democratic party, please die. So that we can take our country back.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 16, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK


It's not like the GOP has a unifying strategy for Iraq among their own members except "stay the course." Maybe the Dems just need to say "change the course" without specifying how.

I mean "staying the course" hasn't worked out very well to begin with.

Posted by: bprogressive on June 16, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Timothy,

I think you have fairly summarized one part of the left's view on how to combat terrorism. I don't know if you supported invading Afghanistan but either way there was certainly an argument that following the collapse of the Taliban (can I call that a liberation, JeffII) the U.S. should have pulled its military forces home and focused its energies on the intelligence and law enforcement pieces (kind of like a more robust version of what we were doing prior to 9/11).

Personally I think such a defense posture may have bought us time and saved us money and lives but would ultimately have only kicked the can down the road since it would not address the sources of the threat we face. But be that as it may, I wonder what you think the country should do now to get back to the policies you think we should have adopted?

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Read an analysis that discusses the risks associated with the strategy and the message the Democrats offer on Iraq and how some within the Party may be taking different positions for future political gain...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito on June 16, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce's strong Iraq theme is pretty good as a matter of national policy,
Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

No it's not.

It's a terrible idea.

A Strong Iraq is what got the wingnuts so terrified in the first place, that they had to make up stories about Saddam Hussein to justify an invasion.

The fearmongering works, because it convinced Americans that they don't want a Strong Iraq, or a Strong Iran, or a Strong ANY country that could potentially be a threat. That's why Americans spend 48% more on "defense" than any other nation in the world. Post-Red-Scare Americans are a paranoid lot. It's been conditioned into them for several generations.

Trying to sell a "strong Iraq" to Americans won't work. They want a weak Iraq. So Iraq can't play hardball with oil, like Iran and Venezuela are doing.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 16, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if you supported invading Afghanistan but either way there was certainly an argument that following the collapse of the Taliban (can I call that a liberation, JeffII)Posted by: Hacksaw

No. That was "regime change." Liberation suggests occupation by a foreign power.

Just give it up. You're a war monger xenophobe hiding in the bunker completely out of sorts as to why we aren't loved by the whole world. People like you are a big part of the problem.

Posted by: JeffII on June 16, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously think one of the problems the Democrats have is that they are so used to demonizing their opponents on the right they do not know how to constructively disagree amongst themselves.

Christ, another one. God knows the Republicans are just meek wallflowers, who'd much rather hang out over a spreadsheet modelling tax schemes, than pander.....

The Dems have a problem now because foreign policy and international relations have always been a second-tier issue for them. This shouldn't be a surprise, since the largest blocs in their coalition came for domestice economic policy, and isn't very interested in events beyond our shores, except insofar as it threatens jobs at home. In an interdependent world, it's a blinkered way to look at things, but that's how it is. The Dems try to paper it over by cultivating guys who spent some time in uniform, because these days Americans view military service as tantamount to foreign policy insight.

This allows Republicans to take advantage of what's essentially an empty niche, but they hardly deserve much credit for that. They haven't had a real foreign policy insight since Eisenhower opted to follow the strategic worldview laid down by anti-Soviet liberal Democrats after WW II. Consider: In the wake of the first Iraq War, Bush the Elder could've got anything he wanted from the Congress. For instance, he might've come up with some imaginative way of radically reducing the ex-Soviet nuclear arsenal, and our own. But neither he nor his "wise men" had a speck of imagination between them. And even he looks positively majestic compared to the son, who's simply out of his depth, but apparently lives under the delusion that he's somehow uniquely gifted -- the most irritating trait of the coddled.

Posted by: sglover on June 16, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well JeffII, you've managed to confirm not only your lack of a sense of humor but also your complete disinterest in engaging in meaningful debate and your insatiable need to insult people you know nothing about.

Not bad for a few sentences.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

There's no question that Democrats ought to get their act together and put up a united front on Iraq. But how can they do that when no one agrees on what that front should be?

And the question then becomes
a) why is that?
b) what do we do to stop it?

And the answeres to these are:
a) Many elected Democrats (Biden,Hillary,Joementum) have been converted to the same view of national secutiry and international relations that infect the republican party: neo-conservative "full spectrum dominance" theory.

b) The personnel is the policy. Get rid of democrats who support neo-conservative policies and ideas.
Dump Joe Lieberman
Elect Ned Lamont

b2) Encourage elected to dems to listen and support independent expertise on international relations; certain university faculty, uncompromised think tanks, honest thinkers. Use discrimination and look carefully for agendas and bias.

Posted by: Nemesis on June 16, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why Kerry isn't also calling for a pull-out of our troops from Afghanistan? Isn't he being inconsistent?

Posted by: Jose Chung on June 16, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well JeffII, you've managed to confirm not only your lack of a sense of humor but also your complete disinterest in engaging in meaningful debate and your insatiable need to insult people you know nothing about.

But he was generally correct. Your approach to "meaningful debate" is to obfuscate by dragging Afghanistan* into criticisms of the Iraq adventure, and conjuring up some kind of false equivalence. But very, very few people in the anti-war camp opposed overthrowing the Taliban. In fact, before September 11 it was primarily leftists who were passing around anti-Taliban petitions.

You guys keep talking about how Dems can't be trusted with national security, because they won't come up with a plan for Iraq. (Of course, it's mighty convenient to gloss over the reality that Iraq offers no good options, and that nobody could come up with a convincing plan. War sceptics predicted this result from the start.) What the hell is your plan? What the hell is Bush's plan? You don't even know, do you? Be honest for once, and admit that you have no better suggestion than muddling through, until -- what?

* Meanwhile, Dear Leader seems to be pulling troops out of Afghanistan, despite many indications that Taliban elements are making a comeback. But we don't want to dwell on that, do we?

Posted by: sglover on June 16, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Why not come up with a cogent plan to fight the "war on terror"? In forming such a plan, they may come together on how Iraq needs to be handled. However, this is, perhaps, a bit too logical.

Posted by: Mazurka on June 16, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

sglover,

I was hardly trying to drag Afghanistan into the Iraq debate. Quite the contrary, I was assuming Timothy support the invasion of Afghanistan but felt we should return to a law enforcement/intel base approach to counter-terrorism and I wondered what his though on how he would get the US back to posture were.

As for Bush's plan, he has made it abundantly clear. You might disagree with him (I'm quite sure you do) but he consistently talks about his goal, his strategy, and the broad metrics by which progress can be measure. You can disagree with his comments, you can disagree with his metrics, you can criticize the prosecution of the war and the occupation, you can say a lot of things but you can't really say Bush has not established his goals and strategy.

In fact, they even made a lovely little pamphlet that capture that plan You can read it here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_strategy_nov2005.html

As I said, you can feel free to say Bush's plan is wrong or that our efforts to execute the plan are failing but you can't fairly say there is no plan.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why Kerry isn't also calling for a pull-out of our troops from Afghanistan? Isn't he being inconsistent?

Not if you make a distinction between Afghanistan as being part of the war on terror and and Iraq as not.

Posted by: cyntax on June 16, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hack,

With respect to Iraq, I think we should move toward withdrawal. I think that our capacity to influence events there will improve over time. Part of the failure has largely been due to bad information and lack of knowledge on the part of the decision makers there. As our knowledge improves over time, so should our capacity to effect change. What I mean by influence events is to participate via diplomacy in Iraqi domestic politics with the end in mind of a balance between strengthening the government and limiting the power of the Shiite parties to disenfranchise minority parties, Kurds and the Sunnis. We should do our best to involve the leaders of other nations--european and middle eastern--in this process, to give them some influence over the outcome so that they come to the table motivated and because they'll probably have some good ideas.

The overarching principle is that withdrawl should be our goal and that there should be a timetable. People can't make decisions if they don't have a practical sense of the outcome they're attempting to bring about. And without a timetable, we can't make intelligent choices about what tradeoffs we're willing to make.

Posted by: Timothy Francis Sullivan on June 16, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse my misconception, but I thought the Republican'ts were in charge of all three branches of the Federal Government.

Why is no one asking THEM to come up with a plan?

Oh wait, they do have a plan. Keep our troops there to be shot at indefinitely. Now THERE's a plan!

You won't see Democrats coming up with a plan like that. Because, see, Democrats can't plan like Republican'ts plan.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 16, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

The problem for Democrats is that Bush is Commander in Chief. Bush wants to leave 50000 or so US troops permanently in Iraq, not withdraw them. The Commander in Chief calls the shots. Bush believes the military can impose his political will on Iraq. Therefore, Bush is not engaging in the political discussions that might make troop withdrawal possible. Thus, any call to withdraw the troops is sabotaged by administration policy.

The Democrats can only provide oversight or control the purse. Votes by Congress to keep troops in Iraq are meaningless. For Democrats to gain any traction on this issue, they need to switch from debating decisions made by the CIC to pledging to provide more oversight, more control of expenditures, a debate on permanent bases and more open policy. That is all that can be done from 2006 to 2009. The debate about withdrawing troops must wait until 2008.

Posted by: bakho on June 16, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw:As I said, you can feel free to say Bush's plan is wrong or that our efforts to execute the plan are failing but you can't fairly say there is no plan.

So I've skimmed it, but what struck me was a lack of detail in the sections marked "in Detail." For example section three of the political track under the detail section states:


THE POLITICAL TRACK IN DETAIL

Strategic Summary: Isolate, Engage, Build

The political track of our strategy is based on six core assumptions


  • Third, an enduring democracy is not built through elections alone: critical components include transparent, effective institutions and a national constitutional compact.

But I just read an aarticle recently that discussed cuts to funding of programs that encourage nascent democracy in Iraq:

"While President Bush vows to transform Iraq into a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, his administration has been scaling back funding for the main organizations trying to carry out his vision by building democratic institutions such as political parties and civil society groups."

So what I see after a first pass are goals but no detailed plan for implementation. So not ready toconcede that there's a plan yet.

Posted by: cyntax on June 16, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Timothy,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I agree in the main with what you wrote. My personal sense is that timelines send the wrong message in that they are action driven (X number of troops out by Y date) rather than progress driven. I agree that "People can't make decisions if they don't have a practical sense of the outcome they're attempting to bring about." And while I think the general outcome has been pretty clear (i.e. we stand down as the Iraqis stand up) I think the administration needs to be more specific about how the calculations in this regard are made. It is all well and good for Bush to say the decision is up to the commanders on the ground but then we are certainly entitled to know more about how those commanders are figuring out when we can pull down the number of forces in Iraq.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think brian's command to "tell me what significant military response to terrorism the Pelosi/move on/daily kos crowd is in favor of" begs the question as it implies there IS a MILITARY response to terrorism that can be effective.

Terrorism is a tactic, not a target. You can't use the military to wipe out maddrassas (or however you spell it) world-wide. The military is not the appropriate tool to eliminate sponsorship of terrorism in mosques in Toronto, or in survivalist camps in Idaho. (A reminder that the attack on Oklahoma City, although first attributed to Islamists was actually undetaken by ultra right-wing homegrown terrorists.)

We need diplomacy, coordinated police action, an effective international communications strategy. (Calling Karen Hughes...)

Not every problem, even every serious problem, has a military solution. Telling the difference between those than CAN be solved by military action, and those that CANNOT be solved by military action has apparently escaped brian as it has escaped the Republican't government.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 16, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Rasmussen: The President appears to have received no immediate bounce from either his trip to Iraq or the death of terrorist al-Zarqawi last week.

Or from the alleged disarray of the Democratic Party.

Or from the completion of the Iraqi cabinet.

All this "good news" and not one iota benefit to Bush or the GOP.

They still suffer from a 27% approval rating.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Making up a false "unified" position to match the lizzards (disguised as republicans) talking points game-plan is not required by democrats.

This is only asked for by newsies who would rather have a quick sound bite for their game show version of news reporting.

We have to continue a "real debate" so that even the silly people who still believe the spin can see clearly, stop feeling fear of the unknown, and rise to the true republic for which we stand.

In other words, LIVE FREE OR DIE! And DON"T TREAD ON ME!

Posted by: Patrick Henry on June 16, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Cyntax,

If you read the full article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/04/AR2006040401626.html

you can see that the administration claims that the cuts you noted are made up for by other areas of spending (for example, on projects designed to build up the Iraq judiciary). But as I said before, I am certainly willing to admit that mistakes have been made and don't have a problem with people disagreeing with the specific steps the administration takes. I simply was pointing out that there is in fact a goal and plan on how to get there.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"This happens on the right too, but IMHO without a lot of the arrogance seen in the major players on the left."

Hoo boy, that's funny. Knee-slappingly funny.

More arrogance on the LEFT??? There's more arrogance in Donald Rumsfeld's left little toe than in the entire Democratic Party.

Posted by: Cal Gal on June 16, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

The problem isn't that Democrats are unwilling to craft a compelling message, the problem is that there are deep and genuine divisions among Democrats that are simply not going to go away.

No. The problem is that Iraq is a hopeless mess for which there simply is no solution.

Posted by: Thinker on June 16, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw,

I did read the full article and don't see how the judiciary (though necessary) can be substituted for programs that promote democratic organizations. Both are necessary but have completely different purposes. And if these substitutions involve true parity, then why wouldn't the administration try to explain this:

"Officials at the White House, the State Department, the Office of Management and Budget and USAID were contacted for comment in recent days, but none would speak on the record. In response to a request for comment, USAID sent promotional documents hailing past accomplishments in Iraq, such as sponsoring town hall meetings, training election monitors, and distributing pamphlets, posters and publications explaining voting and the new constitution."

I understand that you are pointing out there's a plan, but I find the more one pokes at the plan, the less convincing it is, so I'm just voicing my skepticism regarding that.

Posted by: cyntax on June 16, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

"The problem isn't that Democrats are unwilling to craft a compelling message, the problem is that there are deep and genuine divisions among Democrats that are simply not going to go away."

"No. The problem is that Iraq is a hopeless mess for which there simply is no solution."

Another part of the problem is that most Republicans are willing, like the lemmings they are, to plunge over the cliff of political correctness regardless of how many U.S. troops and innocent Iraqi civilians die at the hands of the insurgency; regardless of how money this fiasco has cost the taxpayers; and regardless of the assured failure of their policies and strategies. Because some guy in the Pentagon has staked our defense strategy on billions for "enduring bases," or whatever Orwellian name this week has been given them, there will never be any rest from the insurgency, and we'll continue to be dragged into the bushes (pun intended). Heck, we can't even get out of Iraq now if we wanted to (and a majority of U.S. citizens want this NOW). Face it wingnuts; we're fucked, and it's your fault, not mine, nor that of anyone else who has never supported this war.

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 16, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats and their interest groups aren't milking the Iraq occupation as a cash cow like the GOP.

So, why are the Dems opposed to getting out of Iraq?

Would the Dems would be divided on Iraq if Israel wasn't an issue?

Prediction: AIPAC will keep key Dems from advocating for withdrawal until there is a lasting agreement between Israel in the Palestinians.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 16, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know whether Nyberg is right to say that being pro-Israel implies supporting staying the course in Iraq. If he is right, then the attempt to forge a consensus among Dems in favor of a withdrawal timetable is doomed from the start.

The Democratic party is an amalgam of special interest groups one of which is the Jewish community, one of the few subsets of American culture to self-identify by a majority as liberal.
A few more Senator Norm Coleman's, and the Democratic party is doomed to minority status for the forseeable future.

Posted by: JohnFH on June 16, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Cyntax,

I think your skepticism is understandable and I don't know enough about the specific programs to discuss their continued usefulness. The article indicate the funding for these specific efforts was suppose to run through next summer but may (and the funding is still being debated) run out this summer instead. At the broadest level, if the goal is promoting transparency and civic society I think it is fair to say that there remain a number of things going on in this area but I am certainly open to the argument that these specific NDI and NRI grants should be funded.

As you noted though, my basic point was to rebut the sglover's claim that there was no plan.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Norm Coleman would have run as a Socialist or a Libertarian if that's what it would take to get elected, and that probably goes for over half of Congress.

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 16, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think these Radical counterbloggers may have accidently done us a favor: these ARE some of the arguments we will be facing in 2006 and 2008. I think their intention was to test them out in a limited environment, but if anyone in the Democratic Party is paying attention, cataloguing them, and developing effective responses then the Radicals may have tipped their hand.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 16, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

A narrow majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- favors setting a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Apparently, a majority of Americans are traitors to their own country and want to "cut and run"!

Good to know that the GOP has spit in the face of the majority of Americans and told them they are cowards and traitors!

That will really help in the upcoming elections.

Now, who is it again who is telling most Americans they are stupid?

That's right, the GOP, not liberals.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats sound too much like they wish it had all been their idea.

Wars pose serious perils to even the mightiest of nations. They must only be entered when no other options exist. Any President that would hide informations so that he could lead the country into an unnecessary war is worse than incompetent, he is a traitor.

Over four years after 9/11, all evidence points to a government ill prepared for a major terrorist attack.

Osama is at large. The country he supposedly hides in has THE black market nuclear salesman under "house arrest".

There is no national response to the emerging scientific consensus that the entire planet will experience significant economic disruption due to global warming.

The President has blatantly announced that he is above the laws that Congress passes, while he refuses to provide a list of those laws he is breaking or has broken. His wisdom and fairness must be trusted in the face of this obvious power grab and all that has happened so far in Iraq, Katrina, outing of Plame, port deal, etc.

The Democrats should lose if they can't come to the nation's aid by angrily denouncing all of this without equivocation. The Democrats should lose if they dance around reality in an insane attempt to curry favor with Christian fundamentalists who applaud detention without trial, torture, feel-good-war and blatant tyranny. These people would nail Jesus to the cross if it just might advance the cause to destroy abortion, homosexuality and science.

The Democrats should stay out of power until there is some compelling and obvious proof that they are something more than envious of this crass tyranny.

Posted by: Processed Cheese Eating Quagmire Monkeys on June 16, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

JohnFH: . . . the Democratic party is doomed to minority status for the forseeable future.

Gee, the Dems have never heard that before.

Only every time the GOP manages by hook or crook to string together two or three good election cycles.

GOP: 27% approval rating.

LOL.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

To expound on the Israel angle....

Unifying Shia and Sunni is no great trick for the Iraqi gov't. All it has to do is go to war against Israel.

So, the Democrats most closely aligned with the Israel lobby will block withdrawal.

Notice, it's not the Dem hawks like Ike Skelton and Gene Taylor leading the opposition to withdrawal, but Dems closer to NYC and the pursestrings of the party.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 16, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I got it! The solution to Iraq is to put Saddam back in charge. All was well in Iraq when Saddam was in power.

Posted by: Thinker's Brain on June 16, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 I am an idiot 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Posted by: Kriz's Brain on June 16, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

When there is a Democratic presidential nominee selected in 2008, then there will be a Democratic party positions on Iraq. It's too much to ask an opposition party to have a unified position on a controversial war. A President is always the leader of his party and, when his party is also the majority in Congress, it's much easier to have a party position.

A Democratic consensus will not likely emerge until 2008.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 16, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw,

Fair enough. At this stage I'm willing to agree that they've posted a plan on the website, and it would behoove me to spend some time poking at it to see if it's a substantive plan or more cosmetic in nature. My gut reaction is that this one is a little light on the details. But I'll also say upfront that I'm inclined to hold the administration to a very high (possibly unrealistic) standard.

Posted by: cyntax on June 16, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what Democrats should be saying, not just for strategic purposes, but because it's the truth.

"Don't talk to me about a plan--talk to George Bush. Sure, I have a plan, but I'm not going to talk about my plan, because it makes it seem like we've got all the time in the world to implement the damn thing.

We don't--American soldiers don't--have time to wait for my plan. The presidential election is still two years away.

Let's start counting at today. If the current president hasn't solved his Iraq problem by November 2008, (the first chance that a Democratic administration will have to take a crack at it) we'll be ______ deeper in debt, and moreover, we will lose ____ more of our best young people in a war that everyone with any sense agrees was a mistake in the first place. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a travesty, a tragedy, and the absolute truth.

If, two years from now, you do us the honor of electing us to the White House, we will take the reins and attempt to skillfully resolve the situation in Iraq, honor the families of our dead, care for the wounded, and repair the damage to our great nation. But I can tell you that I pray every day that our current leader, such as he is, will do what he must to bring our troops home before that day comes. Because whether those _____ soldiers vote Democrat or Republican, I would rather have each and every one of them home with their families than dead in the Iraqi desert so I can see if "my plan" works.

Thank you for your understanding."

Posted by: erica on June 16, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK
If the current president hasn't solved his Iraq problem by November 2008, (the first chance that a Democratic administration will have to take a crack at it)

Presuming no impeachments, resignations, etc., January 2009 would be the first chance that a Democratic administration would have.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome back JohnFH.

Still optimistic about Iraq?

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 16, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

erica: that reminds of of Nixon's secret plan to win the Vietnam war. He did get elected saying that.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 16, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

"When President Bush calls and asks for my input, I'll share my plan. Otherwise it doesn't much matter what I have to say."

It's one way to avoid the subject.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 16, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm no expert on impeachment, but even if the president were impeached, it would still be a Repub. admin until 2008, no? (An actual revolution being unlikely.)

But what do you think of the overall idea that talking about a "Democratic plan" isn't fair to soldiers already there?

Posted by: erica on June 16, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think Timothy has it exactly right that "the [reasonble] left would agree that a combination of aggressive law enforcement, rich intelligence, and covert, small-scale military action, such as blowing up terrorist camps is the way to go."

The left really does not support any significant military response in the war on terror. I don't think they even really supported Afghanistan until it succeeded.

So the democrats should run on Timothy's platform and we should have an honest debate about it. I personally think the left is wrong, but the cost of Iraq is very significant and the issue deserves an honest debate in a national election.

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

If it worked for Nixon, surely it could work for anybody. :^)

But really, talking about what Democrats would do does make it seem like it makes a difference between now and 2008, and it doesn't. It's bad enough that Republicans mismanage the thing; it only makes it worse for Democrats to pretend that their brilliant ideas will be heard or implemented.

I really think Democrats would be better to say that they will take the reins in 2008 if they must, but if we are still there in 2008 the blood of all those who lost their lives is on this President's hands. Because it's true.

Posted by: erica on June 16, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Erica,

It's a transparent cop-out. People expect that if the Democrats criticize the administration they will also have their own thoughts on how to do things better. That's the difference between being a critic and being a leader.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 16, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Our leaders need to hear from us. The will of the people, especially Democratic voters is that we get out. That's not only the politically popular thing to do, it's morally right and good policy. Murtha is right. Our troops' presence exacerbates the civil war. How long is it before the Iraqi PM isn't disavowing amnesty for killing US soldiers? Does anybody think that won't eventually be part of a peace deal? We can't fix Iraq, we can't do anything to make the situation better. The Army is being crippled and we're going broke. Call your congressmen and senators and tell them.

Posted by: Mark Garrity on June 16, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

The first date a Democratic administration had to take a crack at the Iraq problem was January 20, 1993.

Clinton didn't make the problem worse, but he didn't accomplish anything, either. If he had achieved some progress in Iraq problem during his 8 years, the public would have more confidence in Dems now.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK
I'm no expert on impeachment, but even if the president were impeached, it would still be a Repub. admin until 2008, no?

If only the President were impeached and removed, it would still be a Republican administration until 2009.

If the Democrats took back the House, and the President and Vice President were impeached and removed, the Speaker (presumably Nancy Pelosi) would be President, barring other oddities, until the next President elected to the position were sworn in, again, in 2009.

But what do you think of the overall idea that talking about a "Democratic plan" isn't fair to soldiers already there?

cop-out, an avoidance of the responsibility both of individual members of Congress and the Congress as an institution. Now, that being said, there is a good point to be made that members of Congress aren't president, and that the role of the Congress needs to be considered in any map forward those candidates provide: particularly, they need to say what action Congress should take to improve the situation in Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think Timothy has it exactly right that "the [reasonble] left would agree that a combination of aggressive law enforcement, rich intelligence, and covert, small-scale military action, such as blowing up terrorist camps is the way to go."

Pretty much, yeah. That, for example, is the approach the British adopted against the IRA in Northern Ireland, or that the Israelis most often used against the PLO (their disastrous invasion of Lebanon aside, the lesson of which speaks for itself).

The left really does not support any significant military response in the war on terror.

Upthread brian claimed that Al Qaeda was "largely powerless" and that any action against them had value "only as a symbolic measure." So if the people we're supposed to be conducting this amorphous War on Terror (TM) against are, by his own admission, "largely powerless" then why do we need a "significant military response"? Significant military response against what? They don't have planes or tanks or aircraft carriers, they don't have cities or military bases or vast armies -- so what will this "significant military response" consist of? You can't carpet bomb five guys sitting in a rented apartment in Orlando.

I don't think they even really supported Afghanistan until it succeeded.

Patently untrue. As I've shown above every single Democrat in Congress save one voted for the war in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

The left really does not support any significant military response in the war on terror. I don't think they even really supported Afghanistan until it succeeded.

Christ, Brian, can't you make it through one post without bashing some strawman called "the left" and what it supposedly thought?

Hell yes, we supported the Afghanistan campaign. To a man? No, but that's never the case for anything, on the left or right. The military response in Afghanistan was entirely appropriate, but your continual assumption that it's the only meaningful response is ridiculous. What was the appropriate military response to the terrorist cell recently caught in Canada?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 16, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton didn't make the problem worse, but he didn't accomplish anything, either. If he had achieved some progress in Iraq problem during his 8 years, the public would have more confidence in Dems now.

US casualties in Iraq under Clinton: zero.

US casualties in Iraq under Bush: 2,500 and counting, with no end in sight.

What didn't Clinton accomplish? He didn't accomplish tens of thousand of American casualties and the waste and theft of hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Hacksaw and cm,

I don't think it is a transparent cop-out to point out that Dems can't do a thing about Iraq until 2009. (Thanks cm)

No Democrat has a t-shirt that says "Commander in Chief. And any plan the Dems lay out now will almost certainly be stale by 2009.

If people want something done about Iraq, they need to tell the current president so. And if Dems end up inheriting the issue, it will be the currents president's fault. I just think we should be honest about this instead of acting like our ideas make a darn bit of difference.

Posted by: erica on June 16, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think they even really supported Afghanistan until it succeeded.

Don't look now, but it hasn't succeeded yet. Every year casualties are mounting and insurgent tactics are escalating. The government has no real control over the country outside of the capital.

Posted by: mloth on June 16, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think they even really supported Afghanistan until it succeeded.

Is it not amazing how the right-wingers are so deluded that the rewrite past history for themselves?

It wasn't until the rational people in america opposed the invasion of iraq that right-wingers started claiming that Democrats didn't support the invasion of Afghanistan.

Posted by: Constantine on June 16, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

The will of the people, especially Democratic voters is that we get out.

A CBS News poll from June 10-11, found that 48% of respondents want U.S. troops to stay in Iraq "as long as it takes to make sure Iraq is a stable democracy, even if it takes a long time," versus 46% who want U.S. troops to "leave Iraq as soon as possible, even if Iraq is not completely stable." The margin of error is 4 points, so the two responses are statistically even. The question has been asked every few months since November 2003, and though there has been a bit of fluctuation, the results haven't really changed much over that time.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

You got to be fair. I said I thought Bin Laden was largely powerless, not Al Queda. And the September 15 vote was not for a war in Afghanistan. No one knew what we were going to do as of September 15. Once we moved on Afghanstan, there was a symphony of liberal voices warning of a "quagmire." I have not researched it, but I do not remember many liberals strongly supporting Bush when the bombing actually started in Agfhanistan.

In any event, we should have the debate in a national election about whether the view of reasonable liberals is the correct one for our country: focusing on "aggressive law enforcement, rich intelligence, and covert, small-scale military action, such as blowing up terrorist camps is the way to go."

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

US casualties in Iraq under Clinton: zero.

Iraqi civilian casualties under Clinton: hundreds of thousands.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Rwandan civilian casualties under Clinton: Almost a million.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

You got to be fair. I said I thought Bin Laden was largely powerless, not Al Queda.

Bin Laden is the head of Al Qaeda. If the organization that he commands is powerful, then so is he.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands.

Sudanese casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Dems need to grow up and move on. The only way they'll get support is if people can trust them to keep the people doing their jobs in Iraq there and stay out of the way. When I can trust them to keep their grimmy hands off Iraq, then I'll vote for them just to get the republican schmucks' hands out of the cookie jar.

Does this mean you want Mossad to continue fomenting war between the Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'a and that if some Democrats had their way and removed the US military it would not allow for the continued strategic destabilization of the Middle East?

Or, does this mean you have a lot of money invested in Black Water and other killing organizations that are cashing in on the violence in Iraq?

Or, does this mean you have developed a taste for juvenile Iraqi liver, and peace would end your feast?

I have news for American cannibals: Peace will end your feast!

Posted by: Hostile on June 16, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

And the September 15 vote was not for a war in Afghanistan. No one knew what we were going to do as of September 15.

Yes, it was a vote for war in Afghanistan. Here from CNN that day:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday authorizing President Bush to use force against those responsible for Tuesday's terrorist attacks, the same day it unanimously approved a $40 billion emergency spending package.....

The measure authorizes the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Once we moved on Afghanstan, there was a symphony of liberal voices warning of a "quagmire." I have not researched it, but I do not remember many liberals strongly supporting Bush when the bombing actually started in Agfhanistan.

OK, research it. Find me this "symphony" (remember, that word implies "many") of liberal voices not strongly supporting the war in Afghanistan. The fact that you don't remember something, given (if you'll excuse me) your rather shaky command of facts and history, is hardly definitive proof.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands.

Please substantiate this claim.

Sudanese casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands.

Under Bush, even Sudanese and Iraqi casualties combined aren't as high as Rwandan casualties under Clinton. Estimates of Iraqi civilian casualties under Clinton exceed 500,000. So that's 1,000,000 dead in Rwanda under Clinton, plus a likely 500,000+ dead in Iraq under Clinton, plus all those slaughtered in the Bosnia genocide under Clinton, and more.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

North Korean civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands.

Iraqi civilian casualties under Reagan and the first president Bush: hundreds of thousands

Kurdish civilian casualties under Reagan and the first president Bush: hundreds of thousands

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan...Please substantiate this claim.

Uh, that's not me. I don't post under other people's tags. (though, OK, I was "Master Yoda" yesterday).

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands.

The wikpedia entry casualties of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 puts total Iraqi casualties as of June 10, 2006 at 30,000 to 100,000.

Where does your "hundreds of thousands of civilian causalties" claim come from? Please cite your source. Or are you just making it up?

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Uh, that's not me.

It isn't? I must have confused you with someone else.

Whoever wrote the post containing the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands," please substantiate this claim.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Casualties of the conflict in Iraq under Clinton: zero

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

It isn't? I must have confused you with someone else.

No, it isn't. The fact that someone was stealing my handle in the "Worst Practices Update" this afternoon does not imply that I was stealing someone else's handle in this thread.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK
I don't think it is a transparent cop-out to point out that Dems can't do a thing about Iraq until 2009.

Well, its a cop-out, because Democrats in Congress, particularly if they take a majority in at least one house, can in fact do something about Iraq.

The US is not, at least yet, an executive dictatorship, and it is a disservice to their constituents (or would be constituents) for members of (or candidates for) Congress to act as if the Congress has no power over or responsibility for what goes on with respect to Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

If you're going to invoke Reagan and Bush I, then...

Total casualties from the Vietnam War (mostly under Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and Democratic Party control of both the Senate and House of Representatives):

1 million to 5 million North Vietnamese Army
1+ million South Vietnamese Army
2 to 3.5 million Vietnamese civilians
1.5 million Cambodian civilians
500,000 Laotian civilians
Approx 70,000 U.S. Army
Additional numbers of Filipinos, Thais and others.

Posted by: Democratic Warmonger on June 16, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Casualties of the conflict in Iraq under Clinton: zero

Casualties of the Clinton-supported Iraq sanctions under Clinton: Hundreds of thousands

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, that's not me. I don't post under other people's tags. (though, OK, I was "Master Yoda" yesterday). Posted by: Stefan

I knew that was you! Must have been the cologne.

Posted by: JeffII on June 16, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, If you're going to invoke Reagan and Bush I, then...

Oh, for fuck's sake, I don't post as "GOP" (though GOP, for some reason, kept posting under my name in the "Worst Practices Update" thread earlier today).

I'm increasingly coming around to the idea that registration would be a good idea....

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Over twelve million Iraqis have died since the war started in 2003. We have fourteen separate highly-reliable sources on this.

Posted by: truthout on June 16, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

brian: In any event, we should have the debate in a national election about whether the view of reasonable liberals is the correct one for our country: focusing on "aggressive law enforcement, rich intelligence, and covert, small-scale military action, such as blowing up terrorist camps is the way to go."

You know, I can absolutely agree with this. We should have this debate.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

During Clinton's Presidency, there were almost 4000 military deaths just due to accidents. That perhaps puts the 2500 Iraq deaths figure into some kind of context. It may help explain why morale is so high among the military in Iraq, even though they bear the cost of the war.

By the way, there are now 265,000 Iraqi security forces fighting with us agasint the insurgency and against al Qaeda.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Peace will end your feast, GOP.

Posted by: Hostile on June 16, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, for fuck's sake, I don't post as "GOP"

Right. Of course you don't.

Would Stefan--sorry, I mean, whoever wrote the post containing the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands"-- please substantiate this claim. The casualty estimates cited by wikipedia contradict your claim.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

If David's "timetable for withdrawal" is a serious comment, it is a recipe for disaster because it is a bad idea (what war was even won on a timetable?) and it reinforces democrats as the cut and run people.

As opposed to the loot and kill Republicans or the lie and manipulate Republicans?

Posted by: bblog on June 16, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

During Clinton's Presidency, there were almost 4000 military deaths just due to accidents. That perhaps puts the 2500 Iraq deaths figure into some kind of context.

You know, we still have those accidents -- in fact, we have more of them due to the stress and sleeplesness of an active war. The fact that we're now in a shooting war doesn't mean the accidents stopped, does it?

It may help explain why morale is so high among the military in Iraq, even though they bear the cost of the war.

Why, because there are no more accidents? Truck and tanks don't roll over into ditches anymore?

By the way, there are now 265,000 Iraqi security forces fighting with us agasint the insurgency and against al Qaeda.

Don't forget the unicorns! And the Elven archers! Because they're just as real as those "265,000 Iraqi security forces"....

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

In 1996, Madeleine Albright, the Clinton Administration's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on the television program 60 Minutes to defend the Clinton Administration's policy towards Iraq, including the sanctions. When presented with an estimate that 500,000 children under five had died because of the sanctions, Albright did not challenge the figure, but instead replied "we think the price is worth it."

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Hey everybody, it's good to be back. I'm in New Orleans with members of my congregation doing post-Katrina relief work. There are signs here and there cussing out the government (FEMA, but also the State of Louisiana and the municipal government), but lots of thank yous for the thousands of volunteers drywalling and reflooring and cleaning up the city one house at a time.

Stefan is in excellent form. I don't remember many people in either party being against our invasion of Afghanistan. Today the only people against our staying the course there are isolationist conservatives against nation-building on principle.

If a Democrat becomes President in 2008, there is no way in the world that he or she will bail in Afghanistan, or Iraq, for that matter. Nation-building in both places is the order of the day, and will be for many years to come. As far as I can see, anyone who thinks there other viable options out there is drinking some pretty strong Koolaid.

Am I optimistic? Not in the short term. It's going to be a mess for a long time to come.

Posted by: JohnFH on June 16, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Hey everybody, it's good to be back. I'm in New Orleans with members of my congregation doing post-Katrina relief work.

Oh, good for you. Well done.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

30,000? No. 100,000? No.
How Many Iraqis Have Died Since the US Invasion in 2003?
By ANDREW COCKBURN

President Bush's off-hand summation last month of the number of Iraqis who have so far died as a result of our invasion and occupation as "30,000, more or less" was quite certainly an under-estimate. The true number is probably hitting around 180,000 by now, with a possibility, as we shall see, that it has reached as high as half a million....(snip)

Of course the survey on which all these figures are based was conducted fifteen months ago. Assuming the rate of death has proceeded at the same pace since the study was carried out, Sprey calculates that deaths inflicted to date as a direct result of the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq could be, at best estimate, 183,000, with an upper 95 per cent confidence boundary of 511,000.

Given the generally smug and heartless reaction accorded the initial Lancet study, no such updated figure is likely to resonate in public discourse, especially when it registers a dramatic increase. Though the figures quoted by Bush were without a shadow of a doubt a gross underestimate (he couldn't even be bothered to get the number of dead American troops right) 30,000 dead among the people we were allegedly coming to save is still an appalling notion. The possibility that we have actually helped kill as many as half a million people suggests a war crime of truly twentieth century proportions.

In some countries, denying the fact of mass murder is considered a felony offence, incurring harsh penalties. But then, it all depends on who is being murdered, and by whom.

here

Posted by: Hostile on June 16, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be nice if I held myself to the same standards for counting civilian deaths under Clinton and Bush? Wait, no, the sanctions suddenly stopped killing civilians from the time Bush took office.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't forget the unicorns! And the Elven archers! Because they're just as real as those '265,000 Iraqi security forces'...."

Here's a part of a story from today's paper,

"...Iraqi soldiers are leading daily patrols through the town, interacting with the local populace, and even catching a few bad guys solid proof to their American counterparts that an American-to-Iraqi military turnover in operations is only a matter of time.

Just two weeks ago, an Iraqi-led patrol caught two men with 122 mm artillery rounds in a burlap sack material which could have resulted in an improvised explosive device, the number one threat to both U.S. and Iraqi soldiers in this mostly Sunni city 70 miles northwest of Ramadi..."

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/ad983156332a819185256cb600677af3/7776efe3dc3271258525718f003175dd?OpenDocument


Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be nice if I stopped stealing other people's names?

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

the sanctions suddenly stopped killing civilians from the time Bush took office.

Years of sanctions under Clinton: 8
Years of sanctions under Bush: 2

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

GOP purposely omits the reception Ms. Albright received at Antioch College when she tried to take the case for more war to the American people while serving the Clinton administration. The good Leftists at Antioch shouted her down. Leftists are not timid liberals or Democrats who vote for war in order to be reelected.

Posted by: Hostile on June 16, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile:

Cockburn offers no basis for accepting his "probable" 180,000 figure over the Lancet study's 100,000 figure. UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children died in Iraq because of the sanctions between 1991 and 1998 alone. The sanctions are certain to have caused numerous adult Iraqi civilian deaths also. In addition, Saddam Hussein is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of his own people during his time in power.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

GOP purposely omits the reception Ms. Albright received at Antioch College when she tried to take the case for more war to the American people while serving the Clinton administration.

Yes, I "purposely omitted" everything that I wasn't talking about. Since the reception Albright received at Antioch College, whatever it was, has nothing to do with my point, it's not terribly surprising that I omitted it.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

The purpose of the sanctions was to incite unrest and cause the Iraqi people to depose Hussein. The exact opposite occured. The people rallied around Hussein. They had the responsiblity to depose Hussein or suffer from the sanctions. Since they chose the former, the blood is on the hands of Hussein. In this occupation the blood is on the hands of the US.

Posted by: bblog on June 16, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

The people rallied around Hussein. They had the responsiblity to depose Hussein or suffer from the sanctions. Since they chose the former, the blood is on the hands of Hussein. In this occupation the blood is on the hands of the US.

It's hard to make any sense of this. By "chose the former," did you mean to say "chose the latter?" The "former" is "depose Hussein," which is not what they did. And if you're attributing "responsibility" to them for their suffering, on the grounds that they chose not to depose Hussein, how is that blaming Hussein rather than blaming the Iraqi people?

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Another error-filled performance!"

Actually what the Dems can and should agree on is Bush's atrocious handing of the war. Unite around that. Concentrate on the lack of a gameplan for eventual handover, preventing civil war, and America's weakened standing in the world
beacuse of this war.

They need to get together soon with only about 140 days till the election.

Posted by: mikeel on June 16, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

So Republican supporters are now using Saddam Hussein's numbers on the lives lost through UN sanctions? There's a trustworthy source.

Successfuly waging a "war" on terrorism does not involve launching a massive invasion--under mostly spurious pretexts--of a country that mostly sponsored terrorism against another member of the "axis of evil."

Posted by: Wombat on June 16, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

The blood is on Hussein's hands because he is directly responsible for not alleviating the suffering.

Posted by: bblog on June 16, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

So over three years into this the Democrats are still trying to put together a collective front and a plan for Iraq. Well let us know when you come up with something.

I guess that's how insignificant the left has become, I mean does it really matter what they come up with?

Leaders lead with conviction and vision, followers guage their movements on polls. That's why the left has yet to develop that "plan". They're actually waiting for someone else to tell them what to do.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

david mizner: 60 percent of the country says the war is a mistake. Let's make that the big question in November.

At the same time, 60% of the country expects the US to win ("likely", or "very likely"). The big question might be: If we leave now, won't that turn victory into defeat?

Posted by: republicrat on June 16, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

So Israel is part of the axis of evil? Who would have thunk it?

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

The blood is on Hussein's hands because he is directly responsible for not alleviating the suffering.

Huh? The sanctions were imposed because Hussein refused to comply with the demands of the U.S. and UN. The invasion occurred also because Hussein refused to comply with the demands of the U.S. and UN. Why is the blood on Saddam's hands in the first case but not the second? And since you attributed "responsibility" for the Iraqi people's "suffer[ing] from the sanctions" to "the Iraqi people" themselves, why isn't that blood on their hands, according to you?

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Actually what the Dems can and should agree on is Bush's atrocious handing of the war. Unite around that. Concentrate on the lack of a gameplan for eventual handover, preventing civil war, and America's weakened standing in the world
beacuse of this war.

Attacking your opposition for its alleged lack of a gameplan when you don't have one of your own probably isn't very smart politics.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

So, not only do I count all the deaths owing to sanctions as Clinton's, I also fail to provide evidence that the average Iraqi is better off under Bush without sanctions. I mean, everyone knows that the morgues have more people in them now than they did under Hussein, but that's no reason to assume that there are more deaths.

Plus, I still can't figure out that there are people besides Stefan who might use my own sig to point out just how stupid my comments are.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Attacking your opposition for its alleged lack of a gameplan when you don't have one of your own probably isn't very smart politics. It's the Republican way, it wins us elections, but it isn't very smart politics.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know you've beaten them GOP when they turn to personal attacks; completely void of any coherent debate. They lack vision, they lack strength, they lack leadership and most importantly they lack a platform.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why is the blood on Saddam's hands in the first case but not the second? And since you attributed "responsibility" for the Iraqi people's "suffer[ing] from the sanctions" to "the Iraqi people" themselves, why isn't that blood on their hands, according to you?

Because it is the responsibiltiy of every nation to put its own house in order, not to have order imposed on it from without. Iraq oil revenues prewar were more than enough to for everyone to be well off. But the money did not get to the people because of Hussein. In fact, the oil revenues prewar were almost the same as now, even though the price per barrel has more than tripled, because for some reason the Iraqis are getting the same price for a barrel of oil now as they did before the war.

Posted by: bblog on June 16, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

So, not only do I count all the deaths owing to sanctions as Clinton's,

I didn't count "all" the deaths owing to sanctions as Clinton's. I said that hundreds of thousands of civilian Iraqis died under Clinton because of the sanctions that Clinton supported. In 1996, a senior Clinton Administration official defended the sanction policy on national television, saying that the estimated 500,000 children that the sanctions had killed up to that time were a "price" that was "worth it."

I also fail to provide evidence that the average Iraqi is better off under Bush without sanctions.

Since I haven't made that claim, I have no idea why you would expect me to "provide evidence" to support it.

You, Stefan, have made the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands." I have asked you twice to substantiate this claim, but you have provided nothing.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

bblog,

I think I'm going to give up with you. Your last response is completely unintelligible as a response to the questions I asked.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Since I claim that only 30,000 to 100,000 deaths are attributable to Bush that can only mean that I count deaths differently for different presidents based on their party.

After all, that's not the total number of people who have died in Iraq from the time Bush took office, it is only the number attributable to the war. The number of deaths under Clinton attributable to the war is, by definition, zero.

I have to inflate the body count and I don't feel the need to provide any actual evidence - just a non-response to the portion of the question that gave a number.

Odd that I still think this is Stefan in spite of the fact that there appear to be multiple people posting responses also as GOP. But then I claim that Bushs assault on the Iraqi and the ensuing reign of terror is costing more lives than the sanctions so logic isnt a strong suit for me.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Since I claim that only 30,000 to 100,000 deaths are attributable to Bush

The estimates of 30-100,000 Iraqi casualties from the invasion of Iraq are cited in wikipedia, as I said. I even linked to the page for you.

You, Stefan, have made the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands." I have asked you twice to substantiate this claim, but you have provided nothing.

The number of deaths under Clinton attributable to the war is, by definition, zero.

The number of deaths under Clinton attributable to the sanctions supported by Clinton is hundreds of thousands. I am not sure why you think dying of starvation or disease caused by sanctions is somehow better than dying in a war.

I have to inflate the body count and I don't feel the need to provide any actual evidence

I cited the evidence for the estimates I have described. You, Stefan, have made the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands." I have asked you twice to substantiate this claim, but you have provided nothing.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think you can seriously dispute that reputable estimates indicate that the sanctions supported by the Clinton Administration killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, including hundreds of thousands of children. Clinton has the blood of those people on his hands and should be deeply ashamed. GOP is right about that.

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

david mizner: "60 percent of the country says the war is a mistake. Let's make that the big question in November."

Although Bush's team has made any number of mistakes in Iraq, they have made good progress on their overall game plan.
1. Establish Iraq as an Iraqi state, rather than an occupied terrirory.
2. Get a Constitution approved.
3. Get an elected unity government
4. Train a large number of police and army
5. Improve the infrastructure
6. Improve the economy
7. Avoid a civil war
8. Defeat al Qaeda in Iraq
9. End the insurgency (by a combination of military and diplomacy.)

Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 are completed. Steps 5,6, 7 and 8 are well underway. Step 9 remains to be done. Given the record of success (total or partial) on #1 - #8, I am confident that #9 will also be achieved. With a unified government, the support of (most of) the people, 260,000 Iraqi troops and police plus 150,000 or so coalition troops, it's a good bet that the insurgency will be defeated.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: It may help explain why morale is so high among the military in Iraq, even though they bear the cost of the war.

Another outright lie.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Prove it advocate.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

The estimates of 30-100,000 Iraqi casualties from the invasion of Iraq are cited in wikipedia, as I said. I even linked to the page for you.

hey, that wikipedia page says those are Iraqi deaths, not casualties. Casualties include both the dead and the wounded, so if deaths are at least 30,000 then there have to be hundreds of thousands wounded, since the ratio of dead to wounded in a war is usually anywhere from 1 to 4-10. The wikipedia page says

Iraqi Deaths 30,000-100,000 mostly civilians (The lower figure was given by G. W. Bush in a public speech on December 12, 2005[2]; the higher one comes from the September 2004 Lancet study). Lancet study.

Posted by: mustard72 on June 16, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton may have that blood on his hands, but one can only claim that 30,000 to 100,000 have died owing to George Bush is to pretend that the effects of the sanctions have been reversed.

Let's reason this out. In 2001 George W. Bush took office. For two years following, the sanctions imposed under George H. W. Bush were continued. In 2003 George W. Bush invaded. This caused no fewer than 30,000 additional deaths owing to violence a completely different category of death than what cragie is talking about. But the Iraqi infrastructure was not repaired in 2003. This lack of infrastructure is the root cause of the deaths I want to attribute to Clinton. This is the reason, for example, babies died - lack of food, hospital care, and medicine. The three years following have not seen the Iraqi infrastructure improve to the point of even the pre-war status. You know, when there were sanctions. So it requires insanity on my part to claim that Bush isn't responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq. I've provided nothing that refutes any of this.

Posted by: GOP on June 16, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

don't think you can seriously dispute that reputable estimates indicate that the sanctions supported by the Clinton Administration killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, including hundreds of thousands of children. Clinton has the blood of those people on his hands and should be deeply ashamed. GOP is right about that.

This is simply not true. As I mentioned, the oil revenues were more than enough for the Iraqis to be well off. It was Hussein, who was responsible for the suffering, and it was the Iraqi's responsibilty to do something about Hussein. I expect you can understand this, but GOP has the mind of a two year old.

Posted by: bblog on June 16, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Why all the concern now for death from the left? They didn't give a rat's ass about the deaths in Iraq prior to the war, their vaulted UN hasn't done shit for Darfur, their tepid about holding Zarqawi responsible for his mass murders and I do I even have to bring up abortion on demand, no, but I will.

So I call BS on this concerned-for-life withdrawal at all cost strategy. The left have painted themselves into a corner with Iraq and when the troops head home and this battle is won, the left will have lost. BIG.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

" It was Hussein, who was responsible for the suffering, and it was the Iraqi's responsibilty to do something about Hussein."

Am I correctly following your moral calculus, bblog?

You say Saddam was responsbible for the suffering (with which I agree).

You say it was the Iraqis' responsibility to do something about Saddam.

Here's my question: In your opinion, does it follow that Clinton deserves no blame for leaving Saddam in power and Bush deserves no credit for removing Saddam for power?

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid they are right - Clinton does have blood on his hands. Don't kid yourself. His destruction of the al-Shifa pharma plant in the Sudan in 1996 is also reputed to have cost 100,000 lives, due to the malaria that the lost drugs did not prevent. His foreign policy sins tend to be more ones of omission, though. Whereas, Dubya's are sins of commission.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 16, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

I already said, it is the responsibility of every nation to put its own house in order. That is not a complex argument that is difficult to understand, although I see that the conservatives are having a hard time grasping even simple arguments.

Posted by: bblog on June 16, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: . . . the deaths I want to attribute to Clinton

Wanting something to be true won't make it true.

Conservatives want it to be true that tax cuts "grow the economy".

But faith just won't get you there.

Jay: Prove it advocate.

If ex-liberal gets to cite his claim as fact without proof, then I get to also.

Typical you demand proof from me, but not from someone who you agree with.

Double-standard is the name of the conservative game.

But, nevertheless, people who have high morale don't want to pull out of the fight on a timetable and in contradiction to the policy of their commander-in-absence G.W. Bush:

[T]he [March 2006] survey by the well-known Zogby International polling company says 72 percent of the U.S. troops in Iraq believe all U.S. forces should be withdrawn within 12 months.

Considering their commander-in-absence has lied to them . . .

85 percent said they believed a main reason for invading Iraq was to retaliate for Saddams role in the 9/11 attacks. Thats despite the fact that there is very little concrete evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida, and that several independent inquiries have found no links whatsoever between Saddam and the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

. . . it is unsurprising they want to leave and that support for Bush within the military has been plummeting.

But the real point in saying that ex-liberal is lying is that there are no recent reliable polls of military morale, so his claim has no factual foundation - therefore, it is a lie.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

No mis-understanding. We're currently putting our house in order. That's why the Democrats are not in power.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

The only plan for Iraq this voter has seen is this one. While a lot has pissed me off over the last few years, I find some of the comments on this thread and what Pelosi/Reid/Murtha/Kerry are saying to be so far from the reality of what has taken place and what is taking place in Iraq that no matter how much I would like to vote for the Democrats in 2006 (having voted Democratic for every election but one), it just isn't going to happen. I made up my mind today. Why? No plan. Just noise. And don't tell me Murtha has a plan. Or Kerry, I was "misled", has a plan. Talk about empty rhetoric. I will not support a party that believes a temper-tantrum is policy.

What the polls will not catch is a fundamental realignment. Only elections prove that thesis. My money is on it having occurred. Of course, with a move towards the center the Democrats might have been able to blunt the effects and even start a counter-attack, but instead the Democrats will be lucky to hold onto Murtha's seat with the bunch they've got running the show. Haven't changed my registration up to now, but I'm ready now. Lieberman--Go Independent! Who needs the agony. Senate: 61 Republicans. House: gain of ten seats for the Republicans. We should've given Bush a gold watch and retired him in 2004. But instead we ran Kerry and had Michael Moore sitting next to Carter at the convention and on and on. And the circus continues. Well you got yourself your Vietnam. Get ready for your McGovern landslide. Idiots.

Posted by: bob on June 16, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: They didn't give a rat's ass about the deaths in Iraq prior to the war . . .

You are talking about conservatives who actively supported Saddam while he was murdering his own people by sending him money, military assets, and the means to produce WMDs and giving him international political support, even calling him friend.

So, since you are referring to the Left, that makes you a liar.

. . . their vaulted UN hasn't done shit for Darfur . . .

The conservatives' vaunted (as opposed to vaulted) Bush has done nothing about Darfur.

As for the Left, we don't hold the UN as vaulted or vaunted.

That's just another lie and strawman created from whole cloth by mendacious Righties like you, Jay.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: We're currently putting our house in order.

Another lie.

It is the Dems who are removing those shown to be corrupt; the GOP simply promotes them and funds their futile defense funds.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: That's why the Democrats are not in power.

The Dems aren't in power because the GOP lied, cheated, stole, and engaged in voter intimidation and fraud in the last three elections.

Which is why so many of them are in jail and will be going to jail over the next few months.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Right now most Democrats believe we need to get out of Iraq. Their are several ideas out there to that end. What is wrong with that? If they ever get the power to do something about it, it will be discussed and a solid plan will evolve. It seems to me the Republicans don't have a plan either - at least they don't have a plan to either win or get out. They do, however, have the power to STAY which they seem to be able to convince enough people is a real plan. This freedom and democracy thing is a ploy to stay there as long as they can to get as much oil as they can. That in reality is the GOP plan. Everything else they say is hot air.

Posted by: Lynne on June 16, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Good boy advocate. I like to make you do your homework. I will agree with however, on that there are no reliable polls on this topic, nor with most other topics. There is far too much inherent bias in today's polling.

What I did read in those polls though were the troops confident that there mission may be completed within the year (whatever year that was), which merely echoes the conventional thinking of the time. Not an admittance of defeat, nor unsatisfaction and in respect to the second poll, well that must have been the liberal soldiers they polled.

And what claim by ex-lib are you referring to? Ex-lib merely posed a good question.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Zbigniew Brzezinski's 4-point plan is a perfect illustration of why Jimmy Carter's foreign policy, and his presidency, were such abject failures.

Posted by: Kyda Sylvester on June 16, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

bblog, I confess I am having trouble grasping your argument. I don't see how it can be fair to say it's the responsibility of people to put their house in order, when they don't have the means to do so.

I also don't understand when you would apply this principle. Would you have opposed sanctions against apartheit South Africa? How about Clinton's efforts to help Haiti? Is foreign aid wrong? Should the US ignore the suffering in Darfur?

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate, are you sure you don't write for moveon.org, or Airhead America Radio? Yes, that's it, no wonder they're going bankrupt.

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Lynne, are you really that blind? Have you missed the three extremely high turnout elections, the drafting of the constitution, the permanent government formation, the training of nearly 250,000 Iraqi military?

What was the Democrats plan again?

Posted by: Jay on June 16, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, Cockburn provides a very good argument for a minimum of 180,000 dead Iraqis, who you and I are responsible for killing, and is probably 300,000 short of the actual amount of blood on our hands. I did not expect you to accept findings of science, afterall you are a faith based believer and not an objective observer of the world.

You are the one who brought up Albright, and failed to acknowledge that Leftists were the ones pointing out sanctions in Iraq were killing lots of people, maybe even hundreds of thousands, not war pig slaves to capital like yourself, who were the ones enabling Saddam to kill those other people with US supplied chemical weapons and satellite photos. You think you can bully liberals with the stink of death from their own compromised political expediencies, but us Lefties have always known who the real killers and profiteers of death are. I am compelled take responsibility for the crimes of my nation, but you relish drinking the blood of our victims.

Posted by: Hostile on June 17, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

There's no proof that Bush has materially improved the lives of Iraqis over the GHWBush sanction era. So why would bush deserve credit for removing Hussein?

Posted by: heavy on June 17, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

The notion that the whitehouse.gov nonsense with its fearmongering, distortions of history, and feeble platitudes represents a "plan" is laughable. There is no more plan to win in Iraq there than Oceania had a plan for fighting Eurasia.

Posted by: heavy on June 17, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

We're currently putting our house in order

Bwaaaaa-hahaha! The Codpiece dingleberries control the WH, control the Congress, have perpetrated a disastrous war in Iraq, gained advantage on the SCOTUS, and still the GOP doesn't have its shit together.

Heckuva job!

Posted by: ex-GOP Jones on June 17, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

I love the taste of liberal blood on election day.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

bblog, I confess I am having trouble grasping your argument. I don't see how it can be fair to say it's the responsibility of people to put their house in order, when they don't have the means to do so.

I also don't understand when you would apply this principle. Would you have opposed sanctions against apartheit South Africa? How about Clinton's efforts to help Haiti? Is foreign aid wrong? Should the US ignore the suffering in Darfur?

There are evil dictators throughout the world, so we should be honest with ourselves. The US did not invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons. It was a petro strategic invasion. The US should provide humanitarian aid where it can without political strings attached. It should refrain from interfering with the sovereignity of other nations.

Posted by: bblog on June 17, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, you may be correct about what the US electorate might do on election day: elect more war capitalist pigs, but that should not be a reflection on the correctness of the position of anti-war advocates, but rather a condemnation of the American people. Americans are very bad people who enjoy killing the weak. The election of 2004 proved that a majority of Americans enjoy seeing bloody, maimed corpses on TV and take pride in knowing their brave children took part in killing unarmed men, women and children.

Posted by: Hostile on June 17, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

I am a vampire sucking the life's blood out of America. I target liberals because conservative blood tastes like shit because we are immoral corrupt shits.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is my hero because he's drunk all the time just like me.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

maybe the answer to help Iraq and US and avoid the charge of cut and run is as follows...

1. MORE troops, invite cooperation with UN, get not only military units but massive numbers of engineers over there for getting power, roads, hospitals, sewers, water, etc. up and running again and to train the locals.

2. integrated patrols units, combining a consistent set of US and Iraqi's who may get to know and trust each other and learning goes both ways. Yes, this IS the wolf in henhouse bad idea, but we took over their country, and i don't know how to avoid interacting with, training and working closely with these people.

3. ensure that Iraqi police forces come from varied geographic locals so as to later avoid handing over power in any locale to an ethnically unified group.

4. Start off in smaller towns/precincts and let Iraqi's take over police, justice, schools, water, power, city infrastructure deptments as they are trained and able to do so. Start small, learn along the way, and so forth.

5. progress measured in terms of sq miles NOT under US control.

6. massive language education program needed - maybe several hours a day of radio programming dedicated to language skills so Iraqi's can learn English and vice-versa.


all of the above means more time, more US casualties, and more $$$. Yeah, it sucks to clean up W's mess.

There seems to be an obvious trend of increasing sectarian violence, so the current course is not an option, and neither is leaving.

We have a chance to avoid civil war, chaos, and the likely rise of another dictator; if we don't put maximal effort into avoiding that path, the muslim world may never forgive us.


and yes, "political suicide" is my middle name.

Posted by: tubby on June 17, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody know what the Republican plan is? I forgot. No wait! It's to drain the treasury and kill as many U.S. soldiers as possible.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Kill U.S. soldiers, yes, that's the plan. I love blood. Give me more blown-off arms and legs. They're so tasty. Um, um.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

I love the taste of liberal blood on election day.

You are a very strange individual

Posted by: craigie on June 17, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Strange? Why I'm a bitter old man who loves to kill and drink the blood of people I hate because they simply aren't in MY group.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you know I have the bloodthirst of a Rumsfeld and the black heart of a W? Katrina victims? Let them eat cake. I love mayhem and dirty politics. I'm the face of the GOP. Kill, smear, and destroy. Karl Rove is my hero.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

I'm also a schizo. My other personality will be along in a minute denying my blood-thirst as all of us in the GOP do. Denial is our politics.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

JohnFH, good to hear from you. If a Democrat becomes President in 2008, there is no way in the world that he or she will bail in Afghanistan, or Iraq, for that matter. Nation-building in both places is the order of the day, and will be for many years to come. As far as I can see, anyone who thinks there other viable options out there is drinking some pretty strong Koolaid.

In the Senate, about 6/7ths of Democrats voted to table the resolution calling for a fixed date for withdrawal of troops. In the House, about 3/4ths of Democrats voted in favor of setting a fixed date for withdrawal. In the senate, two serious contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2008 voted opposite ways: Clinton voted to table, Kerry voted not to table. I think that the Democrats have maximum unpredictability about what their candidate will favor in 2008, and whether the candidate can be elected. Kerry only lost by a whisker in 2004 (and some Democrats think he actually won but the election was "stolen"), so he could be nominated, could win, and could call for a fixed time for withdrawal independent of progress on the ground, as he is pushing for now.

Posted by: republicrat on June 17, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

The estimates of 30-100,000 Iraqi casualties from the invasion of Iraq are cited in wikipedia, as I said. I even linked to the page for you. You, Stefan, have made the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands." I have asked you twice to substantiate this claim, but you have provided nothing.

Well, first of all I never made the claim "Iraqi civilian casualties under Bush: hundreds of thousands." That was someone posting as GOP, which GOP pretends is me (or is really him; I'm finding it hard to keep his multiple identities straight -- as I'm sure is he). But since I've just had a few drinks at a bar, I'm game to take the substantiation challenge.

But how to do so? Well, GOP would like to cite Wikipedia, so sure, I'll go with his figure, but let me just check...

Well, it turns out that Wikipedia, despite GOP's claims, doesn't say that. It puts the estimate of Iraqi deaths, not merely casualties (casualties, as mustard72 points out above, are the total number of dead and wounded) as between Bush's estimate of 30,000 (an estimate which since Bush is a notorious liar must be revised upwards by at least double) and the September 2004 estimate of 100,000 (an estimate which is now 22 months old and therefore must be revised upwards).

Wikipedia also says that "Historically, 20-30% of those hit in combat died while the rest survived. That is the ratio of wounded to killed was about 3-1." This, though, is the ratio for combat soldiers, who usually get medical attention far quicker than civilians do; the ratio for civilians in wartime is probably worse. But for argument's sake let's say 3-1.

Therefore, the at minimum death rate of 30,000-100,000 would lead to, historically, at minimum casualty rate of 90,000-300,000.


Posted by: Stefan on June 17, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

You'd think it odd that Don GOP would link to the Wikipedia page if he was going to lie about its contents, which lie was easily found out, but then, that seems par for the course for him....

Posted by: Stefan on June 17, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Here is a link to the "progress" that is being made in Iraq:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=6&q=http://www.antiwar.com/ips/conley.php%3Farticleid%3D9093&e=9797

Posted by: bblog on June 17, 2006 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

Although Bush's team has made any number of mistakes in Iraq, they have made good progress on their overall game plan.
1. Establish Iraq as an Iraqi state, rather than an occupied terrirory.
2. Get a Constitution approved.
3. Get an elected unity government
4. Train a large number of police and army
5. Improve the infrastructure
6. Improve the economy
7. Avoid a civil war
8. Defeat al Qaeda in Iraq
9. End the insurgency (by a combination of military and diplomacy.)

Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 are completed. Steps 5,6, 7 and 8 are well underway. Step 9 remains to be done. Given the record of success (total or partial) on #1 - #8, I am confident that #9 will also be achieved. With a unified government, the support of (most of) the people, 260,000 Iraqi troops and police plus 150,000 or so coalition troops, it's a good bet that the insurgency will be defeated.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

For an "ex-liberal" you sure swallow all the administration's rosey interpretations and outlooks. There are so many holes in your assumed missions accomplished and "well under ways" you're obviously not based in reality.

Ex-liberal? Too much like a born-again Bushnut.

Tubby (12:24 AM) --
don't you feel the slightest twinge about having to make any of your suggestions 3 years after "mission accomplished"? This administration has been so incompetent it seems like they have never had the intention of bringing this to a successful conclusion. Seems like the the present repub plan is simply to push its own failure onto the next administration.

To me, when the repubnuts say the Dems do not have a plan, I haven't seen or heard one expressed by the Repubs in 3 1/2 years. Anyone?

Posted by: notthere on June 17, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

There is really no difference between the "plan" the Republicans put forth and Nixon's plan to win in Vietnam. This is why the trolls demand a plan from the Democrats. They know their little joke has exactly zero chance of succeeding and they are looking for a practical one they can use.

Posted by: heavy on June 17, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, every obvious point you make buttresses Yglesias' argument. The party has a message sitting right in front of it already courtesy of moderate Democrat John Murtha: the Iraq war is a disaster based on lies. Take that message to the public and beat the crap out of anyone in the party who doesn't want to back it up. Democrats who back this war and the Republicans' bullshit resolutions are already on the wrong side. They're irredeemable. We don't need them. Screw them. Screw Joe Lieberman. To hell with him. If they don't want to buy into John Murtha's message, take away their backing and their funding and run Democratic candidates against them who have sense enough to tell the Republicans to blow it out their asses when they endorse failed wars, suicidal foreign policy, torture, the destruction of the First Amendment, environmental rape, discrimination and so on.
That the DLC doesn't mention Iraq in its book is simply shameful; the DLC's cowardly avoidance of Iraq is not evidence of a fractured party, ergo, it's hopeless to think Democrats can be united and let's all wring our hands and give up. It's evidence of a throughly corrupted party establishment that it won't take a stand on one of the most disgusting events in this country's history. To hell with them.

Posted by: secularhuman on June 17, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

Honesty would get us a long way. The Republicans have only rhetoric that has nothing to do with their motives, actions, or results.

Two soldiers missing tonight. I feel pretty helpless.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 17, 2006 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

Lynne wrote Right now most Democrats believe we need to get out of Iraq. Their are several ideas out there to that end. What is wrong with that? I think she's right. Which is why progressives will win. Neolibs can live with the progressive solution (withdrawal) more easily than progressives can live with the status quo. The pragmatic neolibs arent wed to staying the course. They simply recognize that its the lesser of two evils. Whereas progressives are totally committed to leaving. They care more, theyre more committed- therefore they'll carry the day.

Posted by: moderatedem on June 17, 2006 at 6:28 AM | PERMALINK


EX-LIBERAL: If he had achieved some progress in Iraq problem during his 8 years, the public would have more confidence in Dems now.


"He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors" Colin Powell, 2/24/2001

"The Iraqi regime militarily remains fairly weak. It doesn't have the capacity it had 10 or 12 years ago. It has been contained." Colin Powell, 5/15/01

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK


stefan: Because they're just as real as those "265,000 Iraqi security forces"....


just to underline that....


The Pentagon says that "the -only- Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded." February 25, 2006

that was down from three last year...

since feb. though....

no update....

wonder why?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: In 1996, Madeleine Albright, the Clinton Administration's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on the television program 60 Minutes to defend the Clinton Administration's policy towards Iraq, including the sanctions. When presented with an estimate that 500,000 children under five had died because of the sanctions, Albright did not challenge the figure, but instead replied "we think the price is worth it."

..


"How many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? The answer is not that damned many." -Dick Cheney, 1992

(FYI: that was 4-years after saddam gasses the kurds)

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

jay: We're currently putting our house in order

The $331 billion deficit for 2005 is the 3rd worst in U-S history. Over the last 3-years 2003, 2004 and 2005 - the Bush Admin. has overseen the 3-largest deficits in our nations history. - CBO 8/15/05


The Congressional Budget Office "forecast a $371 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, compared with the administration's $423 billion - a $52 billion gap." 3/3/06


the current cost of the iraq war stands at: 320-billion

the current cost of the afghnistan war stands at: 89-billion

Congressional Research Service report says current fiscal year costs running more than 100-billion this year. That cost easily outpaces the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars.


and finally.....


Congress approved the latest debt limit bill in March....

that means the debt has grown since Bush took office in 2001 from about $5.6-trillion to $9 trillion...

about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the U-S.

it appears when jay says "our house" he doesnt mean...america's house...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

One would hope the Dems realize if they do not come together they will not get elected.

I agree with some who've posted to coalesce against the incompetency that made Iraq this problem in the first place, for which there is simply NOT a good solution.

THEN let's get some national health care going. Let's point out the abysmal, expensive Medicare drug plan that benefits drug companies and insurance companies and *coerced* seniors into joining with a penalty of all things!

Let's talk about the environment.... all the allergies, deaths, due to global warming.

That are schools are a failure is well known. However, I think it's an intentional dumbing down. Don't know who wants to take that one on.

Immigration... how about enforcing the laws against illegal immigration? I can't tell you how many Dems are AGAINST illegal immigration. It benefits two constituencies... illegals and big business. Middle class suffers.

Love that Congress votes itself a raise... but won't up the minimum wage.

The Dems have plenty they can talk about... and some to answer for.

Posted by: Clem on June 17, 2006 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

So now a liberal has faux concern over the debt (much like their faux concern over life), yet completely ready to add the biggest entitlement program this country could ever burden, UHC.

Federal revenue receipts are up over 13% of projection, unemployment is at historically low levels, the GDP is a 12 consecutive quarters of 4-5% growth, and the economy is brisk. That being said, is the national debt a concern, yes. Should it be a priority, hardly. Do you think that America's two worst disasters in our lifetimes (9/11, Katrina) both happening within 4 years of each other had any effect on the debt? hmmm.....

The best way to begin to eliminate debt is to grow the economy and expand tax receipts, not to raise taxes and slow growth.

Don't you have a war to protest, an NSA program to whine about, a covert spy to protect, muslim detainees in Gitmo to care for? Within the next two years the left will completely implode and just hope to have front row seats. Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, what is your position on Iraq again? Not that it really matters.

Posted by: Jay on June 17, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK


jay: Federal revenue receipts are up over 13% of projection

Federal reciepts (measured in contant dollars) were less in 2004 than 2000

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/TaxFacts/Tfdb/TFTemplate.cfm?DocID=200&Topic2id=20&Topic3id=23


Tax revenues hit "all-time highs" on a regular basis because the economy is constantly growing. Like home ownership.

Revenues hit "all-time highs" under Clinton too.

.....Clinton had "all time highs" in Federal tax revenues 8-years in a row, before and after Republican congresses, before and after tax increases.

....that Federal tax revenues FELL in 2001, AGAIN in 2002, and DOWN even more in 2003. That hasn't happened since the GREAT DEPRESSION.

happy days are here again....huh jay?

finally...

growing out of deficits?

In dollar terms, federal receipts from personal income taxes, at $802 billion in 2004, are still lower than they were in 1998 ($826 billion) and much lower than in 2001 ($994 billion)...

SOURCE: "Analyzing the Economic and Budgetary Effects of a 10 Percent Cut in Income Tax Rates." - Congressional Budget Office 12/10/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

jay: liberal has faux concern over the debt


cheney..."deficits don;t matter anymore"...

flip

flop

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Let's be honest about Rwanda. Clinton's reluctance to get involved was because he feared the GOP would beat him up because there was "not vital interest" worth American lives.

Two U.S. Senators said this was the wrong call before the genocide happened. One was a Republican: Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on June 17, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: . . . much like their faux concern over life . . .

The GOP already demonstrated their faux concern over life in their support for the mass-murdering torturers Saddam, Noriega, Pinochet, Rios Montt, and the Shah of Iran.

Conservatives saying liberals have a faux concern over life is like a skunk calling a squirrel stinky.

BTW, what is your position on Iraq again?

We know what yours is: continue to hold the lives of our soldiers hostage to partisan conservative interests while throwing additional soldiers to their deaths by proclaiming that only more US deaths will make the past deaths worthwhile - the same failed paradigm that kept us in Vietnam, another immoral and poorly fought war in which the lives of good men were thrown away in order to preserve the sense of dedication not of their predecessor warriors, but leaders who were, like Bush, feckless.

We also know your position on Iraq is to continue to spread the lie that the war there is related to the fight against terrorism.

But that's what you and your fellow conservatives do: lie.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 17, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK


jay: Don't you have a war to protest,

crushing your weak arugments...is just as entertaining...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

jay: what is your position on Iraq again?


dont lie to invade a country that didnt have anything to do with 9-11....


bush and cheney's war has created more terror attacks worldwide...

and more terrorists..

odd way to "fight" a war on terror...


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK


jay: We're currently putting our house in order

and thanks for not arguing my point...


by "our house" jay doesnt mean...america's house...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK


clem: Clinton's reluctance to get involved was because he feared the GOP would beat him up because there was "not vital interest" worth American lives.


to underline that...

"You can support the troops but not the president." - Rep Tom Delay (R-TX) 1999

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Fat White Lie: . . . to control with fear mongering and bribes.

You are describing the GOP, with multiple convictions for election fraud, influence peddling, and bribery.

You've earned your name, Fat White Lie.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 17, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

fear mongering and bribes

fear mongering = invoking the threat of a terrorist attack constantly, continual Homeland Security alerts (until elections are over), talk of "mushroom clouds" and drones of death over American cities, warning that terrorists will attack if we they aren't able to spy on all our conversations and email.

bribes = tax cuts, $300 tax "refunds," talk of defining gay marriage federally and outlawing flag burning.

Posted by: yo mama on June 17, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Another reason why I will NOT vote to re-elect an allegedly progressive Democratic Congresswoman, Eddie Bernice Johnson. (She has a Green opponent.)

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on June 17, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

clem: Clinton's reluctance to get involved was because he feared the GOP would beat him up because there was "not vital interest" worth American lives.

clem nailed the difference between Clinton and Bush. Bush is doing what he believes is right in Iraq, even though he's being beaten up by most of the Dems and the media.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 17, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God: Conservatives saying liberals have a faux concern over life is like a skunk calling a squirrel stinky.

If ranting and raving about the loss of life in Iraq under Bush, while ignoring the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq caused by his Democratic predecessor's sanctions, not to mention the million lives lost in Rwanda that Clinton did nothing to save, does not demonstrate a faux concern for life, it's hard to know what could.

You're a bunch of snivelling hypocrites.

Posted by: carter on June 17, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

rewolfrats

starflower? that's cute.

Posted by: republicrat on June 17, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bush isn't "doing what he thinks is right" nor is he being "beaten up" by the party that controls Congress. For Bush, invading Iraq was easy. His party controlled Congress, the American public was hungry for vengeance and Hussein was an easy target for the Bush propaganda campaign. Bush is in Iraq because he wanted to be a War President, not because there was ever any threat to national security from Iraq.

As for the cowards pretending that liberals weren't opposed to the sanctions, you are beneath contempt. Where is the proof that things are better now for the Iraqi people under Bush's reign of terror than they were under the GHWBush sanctions? If the deaths owing to conditions in Iraq count against Clinton then they must count against Bush. Then you have to add in the violent deaths that Bush has caused and there is, therefore, simply no evidence that the death toll in Iraq has lessened under Bush.

Posted by: heavy on June 17, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton took office in '93. In 1996 Husssein acepted the UN program for oil exports. By '98, the Iraqi oil revenues were 10 billion a year. By the time he left office, they were 20 billion a year.

Posted by: bblog on June 17, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

heavy - invading Iraq may have been easy in 2003, although I do recall some opposition at the time. Also, Bush oversold the war, leaving himself politically vulerable when things didn't go well. Nobody doubts that Iraq is Bush's war.

For the last year or so, staying the course has been quite difficult. If Bush changed h is mind and announced a phased withdrawal of American troops, that move would be greeted with approval by most of the media and most Americans. So, Bush deserves credit (or blame) for doing what he thinks is right.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 17, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bush deserves blame for sticking to a bad policy, but his party still controls Congress and the recent joke vote brought about by his bully boys demonstrates that the Democrats aren't able to effect change. In other words, it is still easy for him and the rest of the warmongers to demagogue the issue as one of "national security." Sure, you and I know better. We know that Bush's unprovoked invasion of Iraq has nothing to do with the United States and everything to do with the Republican Party, but that's because we've paid attention. The Democrats know this too, but they also know that they cannot sell this to the American people even now. This isn't helped by a media repeating the lie that not abusing the military is synonymous with being "unserious about national security."

Frankly, there is no evidence the Republican Party can be trusted with the military. For the last forty years they have repeatedly used the military as an ego stroke and the armaments industry as a cash cow and treasury siphon. Only in the Bizarro world of Republican think tanks could the Republican Party be called serious about national security. And only in that Bizarro world could Bush sticking to a policy of killing our soldiers and the Iraqi people be called difficult. Hes not up for election, and his party can prevent any action against him.

Posted by: heavy on June 17, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

I hear Dems saying they would like to have a policy on Iraq. I think you all would be better served to have a policy on the WAR ON TERROR.

Really, the honest truth is that we neo-cons never had a policy on Iraq per se. Our policy concerns international terrorism and it boils down to two objectives: (1) Find terrorists (2) kill terrorists.

Iraq really was nothing but a means to this end. Whether or not Al Qaeda was there in strength originally, they certainly have flowed there from wherever in the world they were spawned. So, in a sense, does a Democrat policy of getting out of Iraq not also necessarily mean that there will then be no plan to find and kill terrorists anywhere? The WAR ON TERROR is a war with terrorists. Is this just all going to uniltaterally go away?

Moreover, Iraq has been a place to learn how to get better at finding and eliminating terrorists. The exercise is going better in Afghanistan.

If the Democrats just cut and run from Iraq, I don't think I would want to be the King of Jordan.

Posted by: Mike Cook on June 17, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Once again we see the party of failure on 9/11 claiming their opposition has no policy on the "War On Terror."

Using the military to topple Afghanistan? Questionable, but if replaced by a solid government that brings peace to the Afghani people and eliminates a haven for terror? A good idea. George W. Bush's version? Topple the government, rush off to a bigger prize, and allow the warlords to take over, again - not just a bad idea, but fundamentally a way to ensure a permanent home base for terrorism. Add to that the fact that this demonstrates a fundamental unseriousness about the consequences of war to the very people who are candidates for becoming terrorists and it is easy to see there is no serious policy on the Republican/neo-con side for fighting terrorism.

Using the military to invade Iraq? That's just stupid. There was no valid "War On Terror" rationale for doing that. Only a country George W. Bush wanted to invade before he became president.

There is little value in Iraq for fighting terror either. Few of those in Iraq being killed by American troops are terrorists. Most are what Reagan called freedom fighters when they were native Afghanis, supplemented by foreign jihadis, fighting off the Soviet occupation. Now that they are native Iraqis, supplemented by foreign jihadis, fighting off the American occupation we have loons calling them terrorists.

When Bush had a coherent policy on terror, or the war on Iraq, we can have a discussion. But he does not. Keep killing people so long as we can continue to bludgeon the Democrats with the soldiers isnt a strategy it is an abattoir.

Posted by: heavy on June 17, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is doing what he believes is right in Iraq, even though he's being beaten up by most of the Dems and the media.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June

so f***ing what? A disaster is a disaster, whatever Bush believes or doesn't believe. If Dems bash him for the fiasco he has unloosed, good for them and more of it, please.
As for Clinton's lack of belief, as you aver, that's just more of the old wag the dog horseshit the raging Clinton haters used to unload by the truckful.
And as for being beaten up by the media, you're just flat insane if you think Bush has had anything but slobbery wet kisses for 6 years compared to the rabid lynching Clinton was subject to for every minute of his 8 years.

Posted by: secularhuman on June 18, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

Theres something fundamentally wrong here when the Bush voters complain about the Iraqi death count under someone else, when the Bush voters complain about the fiscal disciple under another President, or when they complain about the lack of someone elses seriousness with regards to the War On Terror. This all has its roots in their knowledge that the Republican Party as exemplified by George W. Bush has failed on all counts.

One is reminded of a joke:

Like a lot of adults Im always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up. And like a lot of other adults Im really just looking for ideas.
The point isnt that the joke is particularly good, but it is exactly what the Bush voters are doing:
Whats the Democratic idea for Iraq? We need to know so we can have one. Whats the Democratic idea for fighting terror? We need to know because we can see Bush doesnt have a clue. Whats the Democratic plan for fiscal discipline? Weve seen the borrow and spend of Bush and obviously that isnt working.

(Oh, and re-reading the earlier post: it says "when Bush had a coherent policy" - quite obviously that should read "when Bush has a coherent policy." Even the neo-cons know he didn't, doesn't, and won't. Whether they admit it or not.)

Posted by: heavy on June 18, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK


mike cook: Our policy concerns international terrorism and it boils down to two objectives: (1) Find terrorists (2) kill terrorists.


and in iraq you got (3)...creating MORE terrorists..


"We are not killing them faster than they are being created." - Brig. Gen. Robert Caslen, the Pentagon's deputy director for the war on terrorism. 3/2/06


OOPS.....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 18, 2006 at 5:49 AM | PERMALINK

Even framed as the ' least worst' option I feel realism demand's three things straight away.

1) An immediate tactical retreat to the Murtha line.
2) A follow-up strategic review by all COW members.
3) A virtual regional summit including ALL those with direct interest's including OBL.

It's interesting to me that the lunar right are haranguing the left for leadership. Its as if they feel Caligula has not long to live. The leadership is there - Lee, Fiengold, Murtha. Simply follow the leader.

Posted by: professor rat on June 18, 2006 at 7:27 AM | PERMALINK

heavy,

Your problem isn't if GWB has a coherent policy or does not, but the fact there's little you can do to stop him from whatever he chooses to do.

Actually he's has a very shrewd policy and has done a terrific job executing it. You of course saw last weeks Supreme Court decision on the exclusionary rule. Roberts and Alito were key. You are fully aware Rummy will have 8 years to complete his transformation of the military which has included removing over 100K combat troops from Europe permanently and another 20K from Japan and South Korea. You are of coruse aware of the dramatic changes in the Indian-US relationship and the coming dramatic expansion of nuclear power.

You are also aware liberal dreams of deciding anything on Iraq are a joke. You have no say in the matter and won't for another 2 1/2 years if ever. The UN will soon see the end of Kofi's disasterous terms and his replacement won't be Bill Clinton. His replacement will also have a smaller US budget and a great deal of reform to complete.

There will of course never by a Kyoto agreement that's more than a joke and the US will continue to form coalitions of the willing to bypass the UN as necessary. We will always be debating tax cuts but the obvious fact is we're all supply siders now. Our export led boom will continue for several years as European per capital income rapidly fall to

All this and the liberals are on the outside looking in.

Posted by: rdw on June 18, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: ....but the obvious fact is we're all supply siders now.


The $331 billion deficit for 2005 is the 3rd worst in U-S history. Over the last 3-years 2003, 2004 and 2005 - the Bush Admin. has overseen the 3-largest deficits in our nations history. - CBO 8/15/05


The Congressional Budget Office "forecast a $371 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, compared with the administration's $423 billion - a $52 billion gap." 3/3/06


"Under President Bush, the government has expanded by 45-percent in 5-years." - Brian Riedl, federal budget analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation. 3/7/06


Congress approved the latest debt limit bill in March....that means the debt has grown since Bush took office in 2001 from about $5.6-trillion to $9 trillion -- about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the U-S.


rdw...supplyside?

its working like a charm...

lol

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 18, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry rdw, your post is too stupid to comment on, aside from mockery. You refuted nothing and added nothing to the conversation. Thanks for demonstrating the paucity of intellect on the right.

Posted by: heavy on June 18, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

tsa,

supply-side is in fact working like a charm with surging investment, productivity, GDP growth, Unit Exports and govt receipts. Govt Receipts are running up 13% in the 2006 budget year the 2nd fastest of the last 25 years trailing 2005's increase of over 15%.


It's an obvious and transparent sham when fools use total dollars versus percent of GDP to measure budget deficits. It's the equivalent of saying, "I have nothing but I am desperate so I'll go with this".

Which BTW is fine. As with most conservatives I am more than a little bit pissed at my guys regarding spending. They've been pigs. I'd like nothing better than the Democrats to adapt spending cuts as a major campaign plank. Actually tax increases would be better but that will never happen. As I said, we're all supply-siders now. Tax increasers won't get elected. I'd much rather cut spending anyway.

One of the things Slick Willie deserves credit on was his spending discipline during his 1st term. It's a political truism that it's much easier for a Democrat to cut spending. The liberals and the MSM portray it as starving the poor. Slick Willie got a pass.

BTW: I didn't mention above the series of free trade deals ink'd by Bush. I believe the count is over 10 with almost 2 dozen countries and GWB has another dozen pending. In addition to Free Trade Deals GWB has signed a series of interim deals to improve trade without reaching free trade. His actions have been next to invisible in te MSM but not in the real world. Unit exports surged 14.7% in the 1st qtr due to dramatically increased exposure to Asia.

A couple/few weeks ago Jeffery Immelt, CEO of GW, announced GE was increasing it's goal of sales to India from $6B by 2010 to $10B by 2010. This is a dramatic change in a very short period. Intel now gets over 3x's as mamy sales in Asia versus Europe and recently announced a larg investment in a new plant in Vietnam which was coincidently AFTER GWB ink'd better trade parameters.

Even for liberals it's got to be pretty obvious what GWB has been doing, embracing globalization, and how very successful he's been. The fact is this is a much, much different world than in 2000 and GWB has 2 1/2 years left.

When Bill left office Yasir Arafat, Kofi Annon and the Europeans were his best friends. Arafat died a despised butcher taking Oslo with him. Kofi is a corrupt clown. Europe is in disarray lacking a single leader with polls above 40% and multiple divided govts. The EU constitution has failed and the entire continent is under siege from an Islamic minority poised to assume the majority by 2100. GWB has wisely removed all combat troops and returned a majority of bases.

Our Harvard MBA President can see the trends easy enough and the future is not in Europe. Thus our main allies are Australia and Japan and we'll soon add India. Only the UK and Denmark remain trusted allies and if Blair has degraded their military as some have written they'll soon go the way of France as appeasers.

Follow the money. Follow GE and Intel.

Posted by: rdw on June 18, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for demonstrating the paucity of intellect on the right.

Like John F. Kerry demonstrates intellect on the left? The simple bastard submits a resolution to pull our of Iraq and loses by a 15 to 1 ratio.

How about Nancy Pelosi and her 'Culture of Corruption' campaign? Was that stupid? What with William 'Icebox" Jefferson and Harry 'ringside' Reid did she really think we would not know?

How about Nancy pissing off the black caucus and trying to make amends by offering Alcee Hastings the top spot on the intelligence committee now held by Jane Harmon? Nothing like throwing Jane under the bus. Nothing smarter than putting a impeached Judge conviced to leaking Justice Dept info on intelligence.

How about the fact Al Gore is considered an intllectual on the left. He was a C- student behind both Bush and Kerry. He dropped out of
divinity and law school. He is a serial lair and he hasn't stopped. Al Gore is the quintessential liberal intellectual. He is a dick.

Posted by: rdw on June 18, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

rdw continues to spew without making a lick of sense. The topic, rdw, is Bush's failure in Iraq. Bush's failures on the economy can be found on other threads. Here we are talking about how Bush is killing American soldiers for partisan gain.

Yes, you are right that this is a much different world than Bush inherited. Bush inherited a surplus, peace, and warnings that terrorism was going to dominate his term. By failing to heed the warnings of the previous administration he gave aid and comfort to the terrorists. By failing to get the leader of those who attacked us he has given aid and comfort to the terrorists. With his unprovoked assault on Iraq he has provided the terrorists with a huge home base and weapons caches giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. Compared to Bush, bin Laden is a piker.

By returning to the Reganesque "borrow and spend" he has provided idiots with a false sense of prosperity and will simply pass the problems along to the next guy (whom the Republicans will excoriate even as he cleans up the mess they left in their diapers).

In a particularly brilliant move he has turned Americas powerful military into a weak force held hostage by random Iraqis. The military he inherited could go anywhere and be a powerful force for good. The military he leaves behind is exhausted, under-manned and overstressed. When campaigning he claimed that two divisions would have to report not ready for duty. Would that only two divisions were all that would have to report that in case of actual need.

Bush's legacy will therefore be war, debt, a militarily weaker America, and increased terrorist activity around the globe.

Posted by: heavy on June 18, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

rdw demonstrating his intellectual level:

He is a dick.

Posted by: heavy on June 18, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's legacy will therefore be war, debt, a militarily weaker America, and increased terrorist activity around the globe

Sorry lad, but you will have nothing to say about GWB's legacy nor will anyone in the MSM. That will be written by non-partisan Historians a couple/few decades from now at the earliest. For an example of how this happens look to Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan and Clinton.

Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan were all disrespected by the MSM with Truman holding polls numbers well below GWBs at the end of his term. ALL are now ranked in the top ten. A combination of the declassification of secret documents, the impact of later events (Reagan winning he cold war) and many ther factors provide perspective and remove the partianship for a much clearer evaluation.

Also many things that might make a campaign slogan don't make for much history. We've had over 40 Presidents. None are ranked by the budget deficit. It just isn't a factor.

In the case of Kennedy and Johnson we had a liberal icon assassinated and become a martyred hero while LBJ earned the emnity of the anti-war left forever. Thus JFK is ranked 25 spots too high and LBJ at least a dozen too low. But these post-68 anti-war blame America 1st liberals are dying off and along with them the legend of JFK has been exposed as a fraud and the animus associated with Vietnam is disappearing. JFK in 15 yers has dropped from the middle of the top ten to the low teens and will soon fall to the low 20's. LBJ will move well ahead of JFK.

Clinton won't have a legacy and will fall to the low average probably near 30. He'll be most famous for impeachment and the pardon scandal. Oslo and the infatada won't help. Nor will signing Kyoto and then sitting on it. NAFTA and his support for the death penalty, 3-strikes and mandatory sentencing will help but those are minor issues.

Clinton is known as a transitional President even by liberals. GWB has been a transformative President. Establishing Democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq are monumental acheivements. So to is the dramatic realignment of US foreign policy and trade policy. We are for all practial purposes out of Nato. It is now a coalition of the willing. This is major stuff.

Posted by: rdw on June 18, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Boring rdw. If I wanted warmed over campaign rhetoric I could go to any nest of loons. You aren't even in the class of freepers - by being violent nutcases they are at least interesting.

Here's a clue, triumphalism works best when you have something to work with. Bush's squandering of the military, the finances and international goodwill of the United States will be his stain on history.

In the future, try to make your ravings entertaining. If you cant face fact then it is the least you can do.

Posted by: heavy on June 19, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's squandering of the military, the finances and international goodwill of the United States will be his stain on history.

Under GWB the military has achieved it greatest status ever, at home and abroad. They did 3 weeks with few men what the Russians could not accomplish in a decade with over 15,000 casualties. They disposed if Saddam in another 3 weeks. This military has displayed a global dominance exceeding that of the Romans.

Even better the American soldier has been restored as a hero along with our cops and firemem. THe ivy league professor, newspaper columnists and TV talking head are back to being nothng more than liberal pinheads. Poor Danny Rather. No parade for him! This is new world.

The goodwill of the US and for he US has never been higher. The Europeans are in deep agony as they should be. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's a high speed train. Demographics are not hard to understand. Economic trends are not hard to understand. The goals of Islam are not hard to understand. For all of the whinning the EU is actually starting to face reality. Their support for Palestinain terrorism has ended and they finally comprehend the fact the Jews need someone to negotiate with. The EU also understands the US defense umbrella is gone.

Right now the goodwill of the EU is worthless. They must decide if Western Culture is worth defending and prove they have the balls to defend it. Until then the US will grow with Asia. We have far more in common with Australia, Japan and India and a far more attractive future. There is more than enough to work with.

Posted by: rdw on June 19, 2006 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

rdw, the military that invaded Iraq was the one he inherited. A military tied down in Iraq is what he will leave behind.

All your bluster is nothing more than boring puffery. I asked that you use facts or be entertaining. You failed.

Posted by: heavy on June 19, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: Govt Receipts are running up 13% in the 2006 budget year the 2nd fastest of the last 25 years trailing 2005's increase of over 15%.


that's because...

....Federal tax revenues FELL in 2001, AGAIN in 2002, and DOWN even more in 2003. That hasn't happened since the GREAT DEPRESSION.


Federal receipts (measured in contant dollars) were less in 2004 than 2000

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/TaxFacts/Tfdb/TFTemplate.cfm?DocID=200&Topic2id=20&Topic3id=23


Tax revenues used to hit "all-time highs" on a regular basis because the economy is constantly growing. Like home ownership.

for example...

.....Clinton had "all time highs" in Federal tax revenues 8-years in a row, before and after Republican congresses, before and after tax increases.

that streak ended with gwb and the gop

finally...

growing out of deficits?

In dollar terms, federal receipts from personal income taxes, at $802 billion in 2004, are still lower than they were in 1998 ($826 billion) and much lower than in 2001 ($994 billion)...

SOURCE: "Analyzing the Economic and Budgetary Effects of a 10 Percent Cut in Income Tax Rates." - Congressional Budget Office 12/10/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 19, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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