Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

June 21, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

KAPLAN ON BEINART....I've already written several posts about Peter Beinart's The Good Fight, which argues that modern liberals should look to Cold War liberalism of the past for foreign policy guidance in the present. In the current issue of the Washington Monthly, Fred Kaplan argues that this analogy finesses a critical issue:

In several respects, The Good Fight is a valuable book. Beinart is right in urging liberals to craft a foreign policy more inspiring and substantive than the clerkish "competence" promised by Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. But I wish that he had grappled more fully with the context of many liberals' vacillations on national-security policy the tension, which nobody seems to know how to resolve, between the protection of American interests and the expansion of American ideals. Bush pretends that there is no tension that our interests and our ideals are synonymous. Beinart indulges in the same pretense, though from a different angle.

In fairness to Beinart, this is a tension that pretty much every leader of every liberal democracy in history has had to deal with, and no one has come up with a way of squaring this circle yet. A bit of mushiness on this point, along with a recipe for at least maneuvering a bit closer to a consistent answer than George Bush's, is probably the most we can ask for.

More tellingly, Kaplan suggests that Beinart's entire analogy of the Cold War to the war against jihadism is a stretch:

Beinart writes, "The brave Middle Eastern liberals who are fighting for democracy and against Salafism need us. They need our money, our expertise, and our example, just as anticommunist liberals and socialists did in Western Europe more than a half-century ago." The comparison is iffy. America shared the same Enlightenment background and the same enemy in the Soviet Union as those Western European liberals, most of whom, by the way, were also heads of state. It's unclear who these "Middle Eastern liberals" are. Certainly they don't occupy positions of political power. In any case, to the extent they do need us, they may not want us and, in many cases, they can't openly say they do. This isn't to say they're not worth seeking out and supporting only that it's a far more problematic task. Historical appeals to the Marshall Plan and NATO don't really resonate.

If that's the case, though, it's back to square one, since it means that neither conservatives nor liberals are close to elucidating a solution. That may be true, but it's a discouraging thought.

Kevin Drum 12:54 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (163)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

solution to what?

Posted by: blase blastocyst on June 21, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

It's kind of a shame that Democrats take this stuff so seriously, although it obviously valuable that they do. Liberals understand that the answers to these questions are both difficult and important. Conservatives, by contrast, are happy to mouth cliches like "stay the course" or "cut and run" and think that represents an ideology. Coming up with actual solutions is invariably more messy and less inspiring.

That's probably the most important reason that the GOP wins more elections than the Democrats do.

Posted by: Boots Day on June 21, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

this is why utopianism is not a sound basis for foreign policy, despite the pretense of the bush crowd....

Posted by: howard on June 21, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Catching up with Chomsky circa 1969?

Our interests and ideals conflict. Self-determination in the middle east will not lead to pro-western democracies. A little refreshing to hear someone say it, but these are not very popular ideas. Certainly nothing resembling a campaign slogan.

Posted by: B on June 21, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Surely the "Middle Eastern liberals" are the ones wearing burkas with nothing underneath. Of course, it would be un-Islamic to check, so they are safe for now.

Posted by: craigie on June 21, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

"The brave Middle Eastern liberals who are fighting for democracy and against Salafism need us. They need our money, our expertise, and our example, just as anticommunist liberals and socialists did in Western Europe more than a half-century ago."

Though they don't, apparently, need Peter Beinart's prime fighting age body on combat patrol in the streets of Fallujah....

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

There may be times when our ideals and our self-interest are at odds, but it's hard for me to accept that the current moment is one of them. To continue an alliance of convenience with unstable dictatorships, or to give ground to a totalitarian opposition movement, are options that appeal neither to my ideals nor my practical intuition.

It's easy to poke at Beinart, but it's far more difficult to find an alternative policy that is coherent and palatable.

Posted by: Jonathan Dworkin on June 21, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

The expansion of American ideals(The White Man's Burden) is the high minded concept we have used for over 100 years to justify our over use of the world's resources. We have been an Empire for a long time,but it is becoming harder to do. The old days when a few men with Boom-Sticks could keep a vast area subject are over! We are looking at having to kill many thousands or millions of people to have control of a region.Can we accept this? Sure we can! I'm just glad that I will be gone before the worst of what we will do is done!For the Trolls here and the others that accept and will accept what we are doing and what we will do.....I pity you!

Posted by: R.L. on June 21, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

手机铃声 搞笑铃声下载 免费铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 发如雪铃声 手机铃声下载 魔法减肥铃声 手机铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 我不想说我是鸡铃声 酸酸甜甜就是我铃声 铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声 只因为你铃声 三星手机铃声 免费铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声 三星手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 三星手机铃声 mp3铃声 手机铃声 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 吉祥三宝铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费手机铃声下载 和弦特效铃声下载 文秘写作 竞聘演讲稿 个人工作总结 八荣八耻演讲稿 中国文秘网 治疗牛皮癣,阴虱特效药 免费歌曲铃声下载 免费手机铃声下载 搞笑手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载 铃声图片下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载

Posted by: cxmmc on June 21, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

America shared the same Enlightenment background and the same enemy in the Soviet Union as those Western European liberals, most of whom, by the way, were also heads of state. It's unclear who these "Middle Eastern liberals" are.

This is a good example why liberals are failing in the War on Terrorism. We do not need Middle East liberals to spread freedom and democracy to the Middle East. What we need are Middle East conservatives. Arabs don't have to support gay marriage and abortion or liberal judicial activists in order to support freedom and democracy. This is just another fallacy of liberals to think everyone must think like they do or else they're Nazis. The current elected government of Iraq is made us of Arab conservatives which is why they're the best to lead the country of Iraq to their new era of freedom and democracy.

Posted by: Al on June 21, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Al has a good point. No, really. What these guys need is conservatives, because clearly what Iraq lacks is hatred and fear. Conservatives don't just have those things, they manufacture them!

So yeah, more Dobsons and Roves and Bushs and Als and Cheneys over there please.

Posted by: craigie on June 21, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

手机铃声 搞笑铃声下载 免费铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 发如雪铃声 手机铃声下载 魔法减肥铃声 手机铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 我不想说我是鸡铃声 酸酸甜甜就是我铃声 铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声 只因为你铃声 三星手机铃声 免费铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声 三星手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 三星手机铃声 mp3铃声 手机铃声 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 吉祥三宝铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费手机铃声下载 和弦特效铃声下载 文秘写作 竞聘演讲稿 个人工作总结 八荣八耻演讲稿 中国文秘网 治疗牛皮癣,阴虱特效药 免费歌曲铃声下载 免费手机铃声下载 搞笑手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载 铃声图片下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载

Posted by: cxmmc on June 21, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

手机铃声 搞笑铃声下载 免费铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 发如雪铃声 手机铃声下载 魔法减肥铃声 手机铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 我不想说我是鸡铃声 酸酸甜甜就是我铃声 铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 铃声下载 搞笑铃声下载 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声 只因为你铃声 三星手机铃声 免费铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声 mp3铃声下载 手机铃声 三星手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 三星手机铃声 mp3铃声 手机铃声 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 吉祥三宝铃声 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声 铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声 免费铃声下载 手机铃声下载 铃声下载 手机铃声 免费手机铃声下载 和弦特效铃声下载 文秘写作 竞聘演讲稿 个人工作总结 八荣八耻演讲稿 中国文秘网 治疗牛皮癣,阴虱特效药 免费歌曲铃声下载 免费手机铃声下载 搞笑手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载 铃声图片下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声下载 手机铃声 手机铃声下载 免费铃声下载

Posted by: cxmmc on June 21, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

cxmmc:

Are you done ruining this thread yet?

Oh right -- you can't read English.

Kevin ... can't you do something?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 21, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

The chip on the Arab shoulder is that we show no respect for their mores or culture. If the perception is that the only values that count are our own and not theirs, there is an obvious conflict when we are "helping" them arrive at democracy. S. America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey; all hold lessons and examples of all the pitfalls and how hard is the path to an effective democracy.

It's this administration's impatience, need for immediate gratification (or control), lack of historical perspective that have done so much to destroy much of that slow accumulation of progress these last 60 years.

I would argue that democracy in the US is deteriorating as I type, but, nevertheless, should thank our lucky stars that the US started out with a well educated, united middle/upper class that gave this country such a sound grounding. 200 years later we seem to think democracy is easy.

I would say we should look back to the 60s and 70s for the international cooperation, the use of institutions, organizations and treaties, and the mistakes we made. Recognize the understanding and careful construction of policies needed, the patience and light touch. A foreign policy that continues through many an administration, slowly evolving. As it mostly did prior to 2001.

Here's a speech which, with some obviously needed revision, might work very well:

http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html

Posted by: notthere on June 21, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

"In any case, to the extent they do need us, they may not want us and, in many cases, they can't openly say they do."

Thomas L Friedman made this point on Chuck Rose last week or the week before, or rather he made the point that Arabs need to find their own way to democracy. But if that's the case what exactly are we doing there? Why are shovelling billions every year into Mubarak's crack? Why do we keep shovelling millions every year into the terrorists' cracks buying gas from the people who fund them? Brazil has energy independence; why don't we? What do we need all those bases in the region for?

When liberal Democrats talk about withdrawing from Iraq part of the reason people don't listen to them is because they're not completing the thought. It is not just our engagement in Iraq that is pathological and contrary to our national security interests, but much of our involvement in the region, which consists of protecting backward regimes hated by the people of the Arab world, providing billions in aid to the security services of certain said hated Arab regimes, and providing millions in indirect funding to terrorists themselves with our oil dollars.

PS Did you know that the Mandarin character for MP3 is MP3?

Posted by: Linus on June 21, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

...This is just another fallacy of liberals to think everyone must think like they do or else they're Nazis....

Posted by: Al on June 21, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't this exactly where Bushco all went wrong? Their declared belief was that all the Iraqis would wave flags and fall in line behind US driven, Chalabi lead new-democracy.

Isn't it liberals who release people from societies' prejudices and shackles, allow others to find their own solutions?

Just asking.

Idiot!

Posted by: notthere on June 21, 2006 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Beinart is sure idealistic about democracy in the middle east. But the fact is, the only reason that we (Americans, neocons, the military industrial complex, The Bush Crime Family) give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about the middle east is that it has a lot of oil that we want to steal.

Posted by: AnotherBruce on June 21, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, indeed, solution to what? Is the only theme of US foreign policy whether we can remake the whole world in our image in one generation? In addition to not occupying positions of power, and being unable to openly accept our aid, those "brave Middle East liberals" don't represent majority views in their countries, for the most part. If most people want an Islamic republic, democracy can't mean anything else, even if it is foreseeable that an Islamic regime will use undemocratic means to perpetuate itself. Get used to it.

I wish Kaplan had also attacked the fundamental premise of Beinart's policy view, that the GWOT is the beWOT and endWOT of everything. China and India will become superpowers over the next few decades, and it's important that we sustain peaceful relations with them. Millions of people are being slaughtered in an endless series of terrible wars in Africa. A billion people live in extreme poverty. But according to Beinart, we're supposed to think that those things are a whole lot less important than the ragtag bands of screw ups known as Al Qaeda. And even accepting this premise, wouldn't attending to some real problems be a more effective long term strategy for dealing with Islamic radicalism than obsessing over our "Mideast strategy" fantasies?

Posted by: Andy McLennan on June 21, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Opposing the war in Iraq really has little to do with abandoning our liberal values -- which are obviously starkly opposed to the Osamas and Zarqawis of the the world ...

It's a question, rather, of scope and proper threat analysis.

Beinart's analysis is immensely destructive because it partakes of the false analogy between the secular ideologies of Communism and Fascism and the religious ideology of radical tikfiri Islam. At the end of the day, it was pretty easy to delegitimate Communism because, as a materialist ideology founded on the same Enlightenment values as our system, it failed entirely on its own terms. It didn't create broad-based prosperity and it merely exchanged one set of corrupt, decadent oligarchs for another.

Islam, conversely, is a religious ideology that answers to spiritual, non-materialistic needs. It will never be delegitimated by any counterexample offered by our system. But our death quarrel, certainly, is not with nearly 2 billion of the Earth's people -- it is with a miniscule minority of fanatics who are unwelcome in their own countries. Tikfir is apostasy -- Job One in fighting terrorism is doing all we can to encourage the greater Muslim world to declare it so -- because only Islamic authorities can effectively make that case.

Al is -- naturally -- a very silly man, but he inadvertently makes a very good point: There is a decided difference between conservative Islam and *radical* Islam. One thing that I consider fairly insidious about Beinart's analysis (and this may be shared by reasonable internationalist liberals of the Jon Dworkin stripe) is that we can't become crusaders against all the illiberal things we as Westerners don't like about conservative Muslim societies. Sure, shariah is horrible for women's rights. Sure, there's something profoundly anti-intellectual and anti-critical thinking about the Koranic memorization that makes up the bulk of a madrasses education. But it isn't -- nor should it be -- our role in the world to reform these societies from without. It's *their* struggle along the telos of Enlightenment towards universal human rights, and only they can adapt their religion along this historically inevitable course.

What we should limit our concern to is with the things which affect our national security -- in this case, containing the spread of a pseudo-religious cultural disease that produces a handful of self-righteous suicidal psychopaths. Al Qaeda cells have more in common with (e.g.) Baader-Meinhof and drug cartels than they do with a broad-based populist ideology that promised the liberation of an oppressed people. We treat Islamic militants as we would any particularly virulent psychopathic criminal cult.

It is no garden-variety law enforcement problem, to be sure. But it's a difference more of quality than of kind. It is certainly not comparable with fighting proxy wars against established states which scourge our way of life. There is no functional Muslim state in the world -- including Iran -- that unambiguously sanctions or can live with the ideology of al Qaeda. We can and should use that to our advantage.

Opposing the war in Iraq is honoring the deepest values of democratic self-determination.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 21, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

the middle east is that it has a lot of oil that we want to steal.

Unfair! We're willing to buy it - as long as it only costs about $10/barrel. Much more than that, though, and we drop the fixed grin and start bombing some brown people.

Posted by: craigie on June 21, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Oh. Now it's clear. We're there because they need us.

Of course our soldiers, who are actually there, seem to think they hate us, because they're trying to kill them.

What, at least a hundred thousand dead by now?

Posted by: bad Jim on June 21, 2006 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

There may be no solution, but it is clear that any solution to Middle East ills will be found by trial and error (perhaps serendipitously) and not by coming up with a theoretical plan gestated in a think tank and sticking to it rigorously. That is akin to thinking that warfare is all about pre-war strategy and actual tactics are of secondary importance.

One could have used a version of Pascal's wager in evaluating George W. Bush and a liberal on foreign policy if we were unsure who is more correct. If George W. Bush is wrong, he will never admit he is wrong and will maintain course regardless of the evidence. If a liberal is wrong, he can probably be shamed into admitting it, given sufficient evidence. Thus, taking into account the probability that either might be correct, you are more likely to end up on the right path in the long run if you pick the liberal, unless George W. Bush is much more likely to be correct in the first place, which is a ridiculous notion.

Posted by: Anthony on June 21, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

wow. Nicely said, rmck1.

I think that's the inherent problem with the way a lot of people view the G*W*O*T, both liberals and conservatives. I remember Kerry (not someone I consider a visionary by any means) caught a lot of hell for one of the smartest things he said in 2004, which was that the G*W*O*T should be handled with law enforcement, or that it was primarily a law enforcement problem. On our end, anyway. The ideological battle is happening in the Islamic world, and there is a limited amount we can contribute. Reform, at least that element, will have to come from intellectuals like Said Eddin Ibrahim (who Bush, to his credit, pushed to have released in Egypt), not from anything Alexander Hamilton or Montesquieu ever wrote.

I think a lot of Americans are coming to terms with this reality (or just getting bored of a really slow, pointless war). Pity it didn't happen sooner.

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 21, 2006 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

And yes, word has come down from the DoD that the G*W*O*T must now be written using stars.

Hop to it!

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 21, 2006 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's policy of installing democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and encouraging it throughout the middle east is in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. Sadly, too many Dems oppose anything Bush supports. They are denying their own proud legacy.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 21, 2006 at 5:29 AM | PERMALINK

Kaplan's right, the comparison with US support for Western Europe in the years following WWII is indeed iffy, for the very reason that he cited. And quite frankly, it wasn't until Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe--with the obvious threat to Western Europe--became clear several years after the end of the war, that the US actually did provide any substantial support, via the Marshall Plan, to Western European countries. The Marshall Plan was not even proposed until 1947, and didn't go into effect until 1948 or so.

Posted by: raj on June 21, 2006 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK

尊敬的党组织领导、各位同学:

大家好!

今天,我们在这里隆重聚会,参加预备党员的入党宣誓活动,心情十分激动。就在刚才的那一刻我和.

各位新党员一起庄严举起右手,面对鲜艳的党旗宣誓的时候,更加的感到万分的光荣。在党组织和同志们

的帮助下,我成为了中国共产党这个大家庭中的一员,并能代表这次培训班中的新党员站在这里发言,感

到无比的自豪。
通过这几天一系列的培训活动,党章中的真知灼见经过实践的检验越发显示出真理的力量,我感觉自己精

神上重新接受了一次洗礼。不仅了解了党的发展历程,对党的性质、宗旨、任务等基本知识有了进一步的

了解,对党的认识也有了进一步的提高,真正体会到了中国共产党的伟大、光荣和正确。尤其是学习了

三个代表重要思想后,更加感到只有中国共产党才是全中国最广大人民利益的忠实代表,才是中国先进

生产力和中国先进文化的代表。中国要发展,要进步,只能坚持中国共产党的领导。
通过学习,我进一步明确,一个共产党人不管什么时间、地点,都要讲学习、讲政治与讲正气,共产党员

增强党性的核心就是牢固树立马克思主义的世界观。
首先,要坚持不懈地学习,努力用科学理论武装头脑,掌握科学文化知识,善于实现知识的不断更新。学

习既是掌握知识,增强本领,做好工作的手段,也是增强党性,加强修养,陶冶情操的重要途径,因此要

把学习当作一种政治责任,一种精神境界,一种思想境界来认识与对待。
其次,要全心全意为人民服务 。全心全意为人民服务是我们党的根本宗旨,也是衡量一个党员的根本标

准之一。一个真正的共产党员必须做到全心全意为人民服务,不惜牺牲个人的一切,为实现共产主义奋斗

终身。当个人利益与党和人民的利益发生矛盾时,党员必须无条件服从党和人民的利益。衡量一个党员是

否合格,看一个入党积极分子是否具备入党条件,就是要看他是否坚持把党和人民的利益高于一切的原则

放在首位。
再次,要开创拼搏,扎扎实实做好当前各项工作,争创一流业绩。 作为一名预备党员,必须带头做好深

化改革、扩大开放、促进发展、保持稳定的各项工作。平凡的生产、工作任务都同实现党在现阶段的奋斗

目标和党的事业紧密联系。党的先进性体现在本职工作上,最基本的要求就是立足于本职工作,埋头苦干

,奋发进取,努力创造一流业绩,为周围群众做好表率。
在做好自己本职工作的同时,还要为身边的同事、为单位、为社会做些力所能及的事,积极参与社会活动

,不断地要求自己,敢于批评和自我批评,改正存在的不足之处,不断地完善自我、提高自我。
最后,感谢机关党委为我们提供这么好的机会,感谢各位授课老师为我们付出辛勤的劳动。祝愿在座的各

位生活如意、事业有成!
谢谢大家!

Posted by: cxmmc on June 21, 2006 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

They need us. What more can we say?

They need us. They're so cute. I can't leave home without them.

They need us. That's why we invaded them and killed their leaders. At least our army isn't tasked with converting them to Christianity. That would be too seventeenth century.

Posted by: bad Jim on June 21, 2006 at 5:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kaplan's right, the comparison with US support for Western Europe in the years following WWII is indeed iffy

I agree with you raj. Bringing democracy to the Middle East is a different challenge than bringing democracy to Europe. But, what are our options?

1. Give up on bringing democracy to the Middle East. Use some other approach, e.g., install a puppet government run by a brutal dictator, like the Shah. Ugh!

2. Work harder and smarter at promoting democracy, but this may be hopeless.

3. Do nothing about internal governance of these countries and hope for the best, although leaving the Taliban/al Qaeda to run Afghanistan allowed 9/11 to happen.

Is there a better approach? Or must we choose the least bad alternative, which I think is #2.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 21, 2006 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the Chinese menu, cxmmc!

I'll have the moo shu pork, the shrimp egg roll and crab rangoons...

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on June 21, 2006 at 6:52 AM | PERMALINK

Sweaty guy wrote:
I think a lot of Americans are coming to terms with this reality (or just getting bored of a really slow, pointless war). Pity it didn't happen sooner.

Sweaty, you hit the nail right smack on the head. Not with the first part, but with the second. One of the main problems with the difficult task in Iraq is that many people stateside have lost resolve, and become bored with it.

It's amazing that so many congressional democrats seemed to think it would be a quick and easy task when they voted for it. I knew it would take at least 5 years, and that we'd have military contingent there for decades, just like Korea or a host of others.

Getting a toehold for democracy in the Middle East is a tough job. Things that are worth doing are usually tough.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 21, 2006 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

What's wrong with clerkish competence? THat really baffles me. The reason nobody's developed some magical overarching framework is because it can't be done. Instead, we have to use little thing called judgement, on a case-by-case basis. That's why we elect leaders--preferably competent ones.

A little clerkish competence is -exactly- the answer.

Posted by: gussie on June 21, 2006 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

I think the point is that "clerkish competence" doesn't really inspire people and consequently doesn't garner votes. It's not that it isn't what's needed (it probably is), it's that it needs to be gift wrapped with colorful marketing and sold by someone who isn't perceived as a completely out of touch dullard.

Posted by: Quinn on June 21, 2006 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan: It's amazing that so many congressional democrats seemed to think it would be a quick and easy task when they voted for it. I knew it would take at least 5 years, and that we'd have military contingent there for decades, just like Korea or a host of others.

Getting a toehold for democracy in the Middle East is a tough job. Things that are worth doing are usually tough.

Perhaps you would be so kind, sportsfan, as to provide multiple examples of statements from the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans in which the assertion was made that this war would take years and the occupation decades. I don't remember it being sold to the American public quite that way, and two minutes of googling would turn up scores of quotes from Republicans that would easily confirm my memory.

It would be even cooler if you could provide some archival evidence that you "knew it would take at least five years, blah, blah, blah." You know, we don't want to doubt your veracity, so help us out here.

Posted by: shortstop on June 21, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

I for one never remember any member of this administration predicting that Iraq would be a cakewalk ... oh, hold on.

Posted by: Botecelli on June 21, 2006 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Again, a lot of these political debates really need to go back to the question of who actually won the last two presidential elections. If you believe exit polls, you think Kerry won, and rather than blaming his "clerkish competence" as the reason Democrats aren't in the White House and the reason Sam Alito and John Roberts are on the Supreme Court, you simply blame the fact that the elections are horribly corrupt.

It seems silly to continue to debate policy proposals wonkishly while turning a blind eye to the problem of election integrity.

As for "middle East liberals", the neocon policies have done wonders for reformers in Iran, haven't they? There's nothing like a perception of an external threat to increase the power of local authoritarians, is there?

Posted by: RickD on June 21, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Politically, Democrats can say this, "Bush and the Republicans have alienated liberals in the Middle East. We want to ally with them."

Posted by: famonkey on June 21, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

the tension, which nobody seems to know how to resolve, between the protection of American interests and the expansion of American ideals.

That's a nice sentence. Why can't they be more in line with each other? It seems to be a liberal premise that America is inherently imperialistic (that any superpower is inherently imperialistic?), and that one of their jobs is to retard that urge. This often brings it into line with the aims of America's enemies, which is cause for much of the griping against liberals (it appears to my eye).

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Read "Terrorist Strategy 101"

www.dailykos.com/story/2004/11/10/01247/557

Calling this a "war" on terrorism was perhaps the most monumental of the multiple grievous errors we have made in response to 9/11. Bin Laden played us like a violin, and we gave him exactly what he wanted - status as a warrior and martyr. This in turn helped him achieve his goal of radicalizing the Muslim "base", a goal in which he has been extraordinarily successful.

Posted by: Virgina Dutch on June 21, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

The whole problem in Iraq (or at least a very large part of it), is in fact that our stated ideals and our interests don't even come close to matching. We're there to promote democracy, but we've put severe limits on THEIR democracy. We've put loads of conditions and decrees that they can't break. Iraqis know this, and so they see us as occupiers, and not as liberators. If they saw us as the latter, it might be a different story right now.

But that would involve abandoning US interests. And to be honest, interests ALWAYS come before ideals in the real world.

You could have done the Iraqi operation right. From what it seems, Garner had a good plan. Quick elections, no interference, and get out. That was probably the best way of planting the seed of democracy.

Posted by: Karmakin on June 21, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike,

No, I think the liberal premise is that people have a natural tendency to believe that actions which provide them with material benefit are necessarily also morally right. However, it is actually the case that some things which provide material benefit are in fact wrong. Support the monarchy in Saudi Arabia has provided material benefit to the people of the US through lower oil prices. To my eyes it seems that conservatives feel that therefore it is the morally right thing to do, case closed. We on the left are willing to believe though that it could well be morally wrong. Invading Iraq may make you feel more secure and yet still be the wrong thing to do, and so on.

Posted by: MSR on June 21, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

MSR
No, I think the liberal premise is that people have a natural tendency to believe that actions which provide them with material benefit are necessarily also morally right.

Hmmm, I disagree. I think the tendency of people is "Don't ask - don't tell" isolationism. They don't even consider what's going on, until the media present it to them (Nike sneaker factory, Darfur, etc.)

To my eyes it seems that conservatives feel that therefore it is the morally right thing to do, case closed. We on the left are willing to believe though that it could well be morally wrong. Invading Iraq may make you feel more secure and yet still be the wrong thing to do, and so on.

I actually thought for a brief moment in time that liberals and conservatives would find common ground in Iraq. Liberals, because taking action in freeing a horribly oppressed people would seem to be in the liberal tradition, at least as I knew it to be. Conservatives for getting rid of an imminent threat. Turns out the threat was empty, and liberals are more anti-war than anti-oppression.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Turns out the threat was empty, and liberals are more anti-war than anti-oppression.

Actually, we're anti-needless deaths for which the U.S. bears full responsibility. You continually talk as though removing the oppressor Saddam was the end of the story. The subsequent chapters, however, show that death and misery have multiplied on our watch and as a direct result of our actions. The people dying in car bombs, getting shot to death at checkpoints and having their heads drilled don't feel less oppressed now, Mike. They've just exchanged one form of oppression for another--and this one is our baby.

Posted by: shortstop on June 21, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

America as isolationist republic that trades with all - YES
America as last evil empire - NO
Jihad and global intifada - YES
Sharia - NO
Religious freedom including hallucinogen sacraments- YES
Gilead law - NO
Euro-colonialist apartheid police states - NO
EU and world court - YES
Net freedom - yes
Golden shields - NO
Democratic socialist grass roots - YES
Kevin Drums Vichy appeasement policies - NO
And so on...mindless manicheism for the masses.

Posted by: professor rat on June 21, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

> I think the point is that "clerkish
> competence" doesn't really inspire
> people and consequently doesn't garner
> votes.

It is the same crap in the corporate world. I can't tell you how sick I am of being "inspired" by "high energy change agents" who just happen to be obnoxious frat-boy extroverts with no concept of consequences. Much less unintended consequences.

How about some quiet, effective leadership that gets the job done, for a change?

The funny thing is that the very same people who sit around bitching about the "high energy change program" of the week at work then go home and vote for the Radicals because they promise more circuses and general excitement than liberals and Democrats, whom they somehow associate with the schoolmarms they hated in 4th grade. The Radical politicans then screw them in the exact same way the frat boys screw them at work, but they don't get the connection somehow.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on June 21, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan: It's amazing that so many congressional democrats seemed to think it would be a quick and easy task when they voted for it. I knew it would take at least 5 years, and that we'd have military contingent there for decades, just like Korea or a host of others.

That is not, however, what the Bush regime told the American people would happen. It's amazing to me that so many people like Cheney and Rumsfeld seemed to think it would be a quick and easy task when they planned it:

Feb. 7, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld, to U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy: "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

March 16, 2003 Dick Cheney, on "Meet the Press": "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months."

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan: It's amazing that so many congressional democrats seemed to think it would be a quick and easy task when they voted for it.

Shorter sportsfan: the Democrats fucked up -- they trusted us.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop
Actually, we're anti-needless deaths for which the U.S. bears full responsibility. You continually talk as though removing the oppressor Saddam was the end of the story. The subsequent chapters, however, show that death and misery have multiplied on our watch and as a direct result of our actions.

Full responsibility? Can't you give even a little bit of responsibility to the people who are actually doing the head chopping and child killing? Or are they less than human?

The people dying in car bombs, getting shot to death at checkpoints and having their heads drilled don't feel less oppressed now, Mike. They've just exchanged one form of oppression for another--and this one is our baby.

No, the people predominantly killing Iraqis are Iraqis, and they are moral actors themselves. This one is their baby to struggle through. Their civil war.

I disagree about the less-or-more oppressed. Polls have shown (from memory...no link at hand to back up) that they have no desire to go back to the "good old days" of Saddam. And the successful turnouts in the voting tells me they hunger for freedom and a democratic political process. Current conditions suck in Baghdad and the Sunni triangle (but are thriving in Kurdland).

I often wonder how things would have turned out if the UN had ratcheted up the pressure and the war had the backing of the European powers, which is to say liberals. A true coalition with an extra hundred thousand or more troops of every kind of uniform, greatly increasing security and giving real impetus to democracy during that brief pause between the end of the invasion and the beginning of the insurgency as the enemy regrouped. That moment when all the pieces were in the air, motionless. There was a moment for action, not taken, as all the great liberal countries of Europe chose inaction and realpolitick and cheap oil. Things could have been vastly different. The moment's gone, and although Saddam is gone and Uday and Qusay are gone and there have been multiple free elections in the heart of the undemocratic middle east, we're trying to declare failure and abandon their nascent efforts.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

A bit of mushiness on this point, along with a recipe for at least maneuvering a bit closer to a consistent answer than George Bush's, is probably the most we can ask for.

A bit?
A recipe?
Consistent?

How about utter incomprehensibility.
How about self contradictory muddle.
Whats your position?

Posted by: Fitz on June 21, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Two California soldiers shot to death in Iraq were murdered by Iraqi civil-defense officers patrolling with them, military investigators have found.

Nothing FUBAR about the above, eh guys.

What are the Bush lemmings going to say if it turns out that our own allies also performed the murder and desecration of our most recent casualties?

The Bush family makes friends with the nicest people, like Saddam himself and Iraqis who kill our own troops.

Now we see why conservatives worship them.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, a Bush arms our enemies and gives them the means to kill our own people.

And conservatives wonder why the "Left" hates Bush.

The question is, why doesn't the "Right" hate him for aiding and abetting the murder of our troops, for trying to take away the hazard pay of our troops, by cutting benefits to our veterans, by denying our troops the necessary manpower and equipment to get the job done right in Iraq, by sending bill collectors after maimed veterans, and by lying to our troops about why they are in Iraq.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

I hate to bash you again for bothering chatting about Beinert again, but really what's the point?

The Marshall Plan was a magnificent achievement - proposed by someone who had a stellar record of winning a war. Beinert has a horrible record of being a hack to nutcase boss, to a tiny magazine that got tinier under his tenure.

In law the principle is called standing - do you have an active interest in the case. In policy one of the first questions should be: why should we listen to this guy?

The Answer 50 years ago, is there were men of great achievements who proposed great ideas. Beinert's not.

So why comment on this? Because there are tons of other examples of wasting time on idiots. Will on Baseball, Jonah Goldberg on anything, Broder on Democratic strategy, etc.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on June 21, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney: The part you put in ". . ." would have made it clear to anyone that I was referring to "major combat operations".

Typical Cheney: never says (writes) what he means, never means what he says (writes), and lies when he can.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

by denying our troops the necessary manpower and equipment to get the job done right in Iraq

You want to get the job done right in Iraq?
Your gunning for Caseys job?
You have someone better?
Whats your position?

Posted by: Fitz on June 21, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney: The murder rate for U.S. soldiers in Iraq is LOWER than the murder rate in BLUE STATE metropolitan cities.

Translation: the murder of US soldiers in Iraq is okay, since the rate is allegedly less than in some US cities.

Tell it to their families.

BTW, citizens in "blue state metropolitan" areas don't wear body armor, don't carry assault rifles regularly, don't have armed support surrounding them, and aren't being killed by people that George Bush armed.

But we understand that Cheney puts making a partisan jibe at blue states ahead of mourning our soldiers and asking why they had to die.

For Cheney, it's all about himself first, his family second, and George W. Bush third.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney: Are you sure you didn't MEAN "Typical Stefan"?

Stefan is not a liar; you are.

Stefan cares about the American soldiers dying in Iraq; you don't.

Enough said.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

More on what the White House predicted would happen in Iraq, which shows they were either (a) lying or (b) wildly deluded or (c) all of the above. Here's Paul Wolfowitz at the House Budget Committe on the hearings for the fiscal year 2004 defense budget on Feb. 27, 2003. Read it and laugh (or weep):

But some of the higher-end predictions that we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq, are wildly off the mark.

First, it's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine . . .

There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests.

There's been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia, along with a continuing requirement for large peacekeeping forces to separate those militias.

And the horrors of Iraq are very different from the horrific ethnic cleansing of Kosovars by Serbs that took place in Kosovo and left scars that continue to require peacekeeping forces today in Kosovo.

The slaughter in Iraq -- and it's been substantial -- has unfortunately been the slaughter of people of all ethnic and religious groups by the regime. It is equal opportunity terror.

Third, whatever numbers are required -- and I emphasize I'm not trying to make a prediction, but I will say there is no reason -- there is simply no reason to assume that the United States will or should supply all of those forces.

Many countries have already indicated to us -- some of them privately -- a desire to help reconstruction of post-Saddam Iraq, even though they may not want to be associated with Saddam's forcible removal.

Indeed, remember that we're talking about one of the most important countries in the Arab world, with not only enormous natural resources that we keep hearing about, but equally importantly, I would say more importantly, extraordinary human resources.

And I would expect that even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq's reconstruction.

Moreover, the Iraqis themselves can provide a good deal of whatever manpower is necessary. We are already training free Iraqi forces to perform functions of that kind, including command of Iraqis units once those units have been purged of their Baathist leadership.

But the fourth and most fundamental point is that we go back to Yogi Berra: We simply cannot predict. We have no idea whether weapons of mass terror will be used. We have no idea what kind of ethnic strife might appear in the future, although, as I've noted, it has not been the history of Iraq's recent past. We do not know what kind of damage Saddam Hussein will wreck on Iraq's oil fields or on its other infrastructure.

On the other side, we can't be sure that the Iraqi people will welcome us as liberators, although based on what Iraqi-Americans told me in Detroit a week ago, many of them -- most of them with families in Iraq -- I am reasonably certain that they will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down. '

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly are American interests? This is a fundamental problem. If it only means Americas will than how do we make a policy for that? If it means Israel, Saudi oil, alliance with Japan, and influence in South American economics than each one must be treated separately.

What I think it means, and what is central to this issue, is how do we maintenance the post-war American system that is now coming undone. Britain has had a similar crisis of purpose.

There are two reasons for the decline of the American system.

1. There is no enemy like the Soviet Union that requires American leadership. No matter how hard the neocons try to substitute threadbare jihadist radicals for the Soviet Union it just doesnt fit and everyone likes China. The liberal neocons are nostalgic for a world where American interests, the interests of the American political parties, and Americas allies are one. But this requires a sense of universalism. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have chosen instead to jettison all pretense of universal American liberalism in favor of what looks like naked imperialism.

2. The other reason is Americas relative economic decline. Fifty years ago the US produced about 50% of the worlds goods; today it needs to import funds to consume. Indeed the failed war in Iraq, which was to be a sign of American power, is paid for with borrowed money. Not money borrowed from Americans, who now have a near zero savings rate, but from foreigners.

The simple answer to American ideals vs. American interests is, for those who are not convinced by Mr. Cheneys approach, that America becomes a democracy among democracies and is no longer the indispensable nation.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 21, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The murder rate for U.S. soldiers in Iraq is LOWER than the murder rate in BLUE STATE metropolitan cities.

Flat out lie, and one which has been debunked here many, many times. But let's ask Fox News what they think. This story is about the general Iraqi population rather than US soldiers, and is about two years old. But things have only gotten worse since then, so consider this a snapshot of how good things used to be:

FOXNEWS.COM HOME > WORLD > NATIONAL

Iraq Homicide Rate 10 Times New York City's
Monday, May 24, 2004

....The death toll recorded by the Baghdad morgue was an average of 357 violent deaths each month from May through April. That contrasts with an average of 14 a month for 2002, Hassan's documents showed.

The toll translates into an annual homicide rate of about 76 killings for every 100,000 people.

By comparison, Bogota, Colombia, reported 39 homicides per 100,000 people in 2002, while New York City had about 7.5 per 100,000 last year. Iraq's neighbor Jordan, a country with a population a little less than Baghdad's, recorded about 2.4 homicides per 100,000 in 2003.

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120735,00.html


Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz: Whats your position?

The invasion was wrong and based on lies.

The invasion and occupation were poorly executed and poorly planned.

The administration prioritized tax cuts over effective military action.

We should now prioritize body and vehicle armor ahead of tax cuts for the wealthy, sham contracts for Halliburton, and graft for GOP politicians.

We should now prioritize troop pay and benefits ahead of tax cuts for the wealthy, sham contracts for Halliburton, and graft for GOP politicians.

We should now prioritize veteran benefits ahead of tax cuts for the wealthy, sham contracts for Halliburton, and graft for GOP politicians.

We should now allow soldiers whose tour of duty was cut short by loss of one or more limbs to keep their bonuses, even if legally the military is entitled to the return of the bonus.

Bush should quit lying to our troops and to the American public.

We should now take the Bush administration at its word that there are hundreds of thousands of trained Iraqis and let them take over security in Iraq and bring our troops home, unless of course you are willing to admit that the Bush administration has repeatedly lied about this, in which case there is obviously no one to take over security in Iraq.

=====================

We know what your plan and Bush's plan is, though: send more troops to their deaths solely on the theory of making the previous deaths all worth while. In other words, a never ending stream of death as more troops are sent to slaughter because otherwise the previous troops will have died in vain and then more troops are sent to slaughter in order to justify the latest batch of casualties, and so on and so on forever and ever.

Question Fitz: how many troops have to die before the sacrifice of their predecessors has been justified and honored and when does it stop when troops continue to die and continue to require more troop deaths to do them justice?

You are an ass and so is your hero Bush.


Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I often wonder how things would have turned out if the UN had ratcheted up the pressure and the war had the backing of the European powers, which is to say liberals. A true coalition with an extra hundred thousand or more troops of every kind of uniform, greatly increasing security and giving real impetus to democracy during that brief pause between the end of the invasion and the beginning of the insurgency as the enemy regrouped. That moment when all the pieces were in the air, motionless. There was a moment for action, not taken, as all the great liberal countries of Europe chose inaction and realpolitick and cheap oil. Things could have been vastly different.

Too bad, then, that Cheney and Rumsfeld decided to stick a finger in the eye of our allies. They could have asked for help, but instead decided to mock and scorn our allies and the UN.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Heh, isn't the murder rate higher in a lot of the red states than the blue states? In fact, aren't almost every social statistic worse in the red states: teen age pregnancies, per capita income, health, poverty rates, etc.

Nice cheap shot from a troll, but sorta pathetic.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on June 21, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

I see.

"get the job done right" = surrender.

Got it.

Posted by: Fitz on June 21, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney and jay are actually illegal immigrants working for the gop on the cheap. Employed white guys wouldn't have the time to be here this much.
A real conservative would be in Iraq fightin the good fight.After all Rush keeps tellin us it's safer in Iraq than Detriot, Chicago , New York well you get the picture.
I read on a wingnut website they wanted to build a big net around the southwestern border scoop up all the illegals and send them to Iraq.

Posted by: boy george on June 21, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

In so many instances, the military option is not a good option. Democrats should focus on soft power, building international institutions and using economic aid to improve the world. Clinton had the right idea of working with other countries to promote mutual goals rather than telling them "for us or against us". Many countries where we want to make an impact just do not have the institutions in place to become democratic. Look at Iraq as an example. Regime change begets chaos and going into a void. The way forward is to do the hard work up front of building democratic institutions that will allow a smooth transition.

Posted by: bakho on June 21, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Can we just let the self-proclaimed wise men like Beinart rot in the intellectual dungeons of their own making where they can endlessly propound their profundities in front of their fellow admirers of the same ilk, while we get on with the real business at hand, to wit, to get the rascals out of power?

Posted by: nut on June 21, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

In every society since the beginning of civilization there has been a minority who had a larger, longer view of life, who espoused new ways of seeing and doing. They have always been at odds with the majority, who had a smaller, day-to-day view and couldnt imagine any way but the current way.

Usually, those who want political power must pander to the majority. Starting a war and then riding the patriotic fervor has always been an effective way. Stroking religious exclusivism and xenophobias of all kinds are also good. The Republicans think they have he drill down pat and perhaps they do.

So, Democrats, do you want power, or do you want to tell the truth? The truth wants us to leave Iraq, reduce our bloated military, spend way more on educating the poor and cleaning up the environment, give medical care to everyonein short, actually being the good guys we like to believe we are.

Fortunately, there have been enough truth tellers in history to keep the human race moving forward. The others get their power and die, never having made a difference. We can blah-blah-blah all we want about what we should think, but people know instinctively which side they will end up on.

Posted by: James of DC on June 21, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

What are the Bush lemmings going to say if it turns out that our own allies also performed the murder and desecration of our most recent casualties?

They weren't our allies. They were infiltrators, of which there are many in the Iraqi forces. A Marine was killed in a similar way. We have thousands of advisors deployed with Iraqi units right now. The infrequency of this happening is frankly surprising.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK
Our interests and ideals conflict.

Our interests are defined by our ideals.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 21, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

James of DC
So, Democrats, do you want power, or do you want to tell the truth? The truth wants us to leave Iraq, reduce our bloated military, spend way more on educating the poor and cleaning up the environment, give medical care to everyonein short, actually being the good guys we like to believe we are.

You didn't say a thing about the rest of the world. Are you an isolationist?

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK
I often wonder how things would have turned out if the UN had ratcheted up the pressure and the war had the backing of the European powers, which is to say liberals.

That it didn't is pretty much exclusively a deliberate choice of the Bush Administration, as a general consensus behind beefed up, more intrusive sanctions with firm timetables and an explicit threat of force had formed with supermajority support on the Security Council and much broader international support even outside the council than the US proposal; while its still possible France or Russia would have still vetoed it, its unlikely (no one was under much illusion that the US wasn't going to invade if it didn't get a resolution, and there would be little even symbolic value to "standing up" to the US if the US had broad support.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 21, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney: . . . rebutting exactly what AOG posted about "2 U.S. soldiers shot to death in Iraq were murdered by Iraqi civil-defense officers patrolling with them, military investigators have found."

Your information "rebuts" nothing, much less "exactly" what I posted, since I never claimed that the murder rate in Iraq was greater than in blue state metropolitan cities or in fact made any claim whatsoever about the murder rate in comparison to anything else.

You either do not understand the meaning of "rebut" or you have deliberately misused it.

Both possibilities are typical of you.

Next personal attack from your side?

Liar.

A true personal attack that is truthful.

Unlike conservative personal attacks, especially yours, which largely tend to be untruthful.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

The part you put in ". . ." would have made it clear to anyone that I was referring to "major combat operations".

Hmmm, nothing about "major combat operations" in the longer version of the transcript....

BOB SCHIEFFER: If we do have to take action, do you think it will be a long war or a short war?

CHENEY: My own judgment based on my time as secretary of Defense, and having operated in this area in the past, I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly, but we can't...

SCHIEFFER: Weeks?

CHENEY: ...we can't count on that.

SCHIEFFER: Months?

CHENEY: Weeks rather than months.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz: Got it.

I see, "get the job done" means putting partisan politics ahead of our soldiers and our national security.

Got it.

I also see that giving our troops body and vehicle armor instead of giving our wealthy tax cuts = surrender.

Got it.

Proving once again what an ass you truly are.

Now, go back and rejoin your fellow conservatives who are protesting and disrupting military funerals.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to roll another hand grenade into the discussion, before hopping in the car and driving down to DC for work. This one's been stewing in the noggin, but haven't seen the right thread to bring it up. This one will do.

The liberals/left/democrats are underrepresented in the military. Probably many would like to see if go away. But it's not going to, and it will remain one of the most important arms of our government.

My point? The military is too important to be left to the conservatives, yet that is where we sit. Liberals don't join, and it is to the detriment of hte country. Liberals need to "suck it up" and join out of a sense of responsibility for hte common good.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: They weren't our allies. They were infiltrators, of which there are many in the Iraqi forces.

Sure they were.

More rationalization by the Right.

I guess Saddam was an "infiltrator" too when Bush 41 and Reagan were funding, arming, and supporting him - they just didn't know what a beast he was and about all of his murders . . . wait, they did know.

Never mind.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

The International Republican Institute survey you're referring to (in March 2006) found that Iraqi Shiites overwhelmingly say that removing Saddam from power was "worth it" despite all that's happened since, and also want US troops to leave Iraq on a definite timetable. A majority of Shiites also approve of insurgent attacks on US troops. Sunnis, in contrast, say by a large margin that removing Saddam was "not worth it", and approve of attacks on US troops overwhelmingly.

It's pretty easy to understand these answers. Shiites are obviously not going to say that removing the hated and despicable tyrant who oppressed them for decades was not "worth it". It's difficult to find an appropriate analogy. If you had asked the Poles in the 1980s whether getting rid of the Nazis was "worth it", they would surely have answered yes, regardless of how awful and miserable Soviet-bloc communist rule had turned out to be. Ask people in Congo whether it's good that Mobutu is gone. "Yes!" - though their lives have been worse since.

But that doesn't mean Iraqis will be grateful to the US; they are in fact supporting attacks on our troops. And regardless of whether Iraqis say it was "worth it" (to whom?), from our point of view, it was a huge blunder to invade. Because, objectively, it has not made Iraqis' lives better; they are not grateful to us; there was no WMD and no threat to us from Saddam; and it has cost us $200 billion and counting, 2500 US soldiers' lives, hugely diminished international standing, far more hatred throughout the Muslim world (Iraq included), more terrorism, and more likelihood of a US city being wiped out by a nuclear bomb in the next 10 years.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Two points:

1. The question is whether our need to protect our economic interest in middle eastern oil is better protected by maintaining our current relationship with Israel supplemented by bases in countries such as Iraq or developing, to the extent possible, normal relations with popular local governments.

2. I think that the Democrat's lost in 1988 and 2004 because the election became one about competence and the public was not convinced of the Dem's superior competence. In 1988, it was an intentional choice of the Dem's. In 2004, Bush's performance at the first debate made it the issue. I assume that Rove just lucked into this (just as he is trying to use "cut and run" to justify a failed policy). Dem's need to be for something other than their inherent competence.

Posted by: steve on June 21, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I often wonder how things would have turned out if the UN had ratcheted up the pressure and the war had the backing of the European powers,

And it's Bush's fault we don't have in your words a "true coalition" with his go-it-alone, fuck the UN and Europe non-diplomacy.

I often wonder how things would have turned out if Bush had let the inspectors finish the job.

Posted by: ckelly on June 21, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I lied. One more post. This directly from the horse's mouth, i.e., our military.

All returnees agreed that we are clearly winning the fight against the insurgents but we are losing the public relations battle both in the war zone and in the States. (Ill go into more detail on each topic below.)

All agreed that it will be necessary for us to have forces in Iraq for at least ten more years, though by no means in the numbers that are there now.

They opined that 80% to 90% of the Iraqi people want to have us there and do not want us to leave before the job is done.

The morale and combat capability of the troops is the highest that the senior officers have ever seen in the 20-30 years that each has served...

...Colonel S. went out on a limb by suggesting that if most of the troops in Iraq were deployed home tomorrow he could have the entire country pacified and the terrorist situation brought under control with just one brigade of Special Forces. Since these guys are linguists, civil affairs experts, among many other skills and talents, he may not be too far wrong.

http://rofasix.blogspot.com/2006/06/notes-on-iraq-from-retired-flag.html

Advocate for God...
Sure they were.

More rationalization by the Right.

You really ought to get out and read from the milblogs more. These guys are actually fighting over there.

Col. S.s Green Berets, on the other hand, caught a national police lieutenant who was directing the emplacement of an IED by cell phone in order to disrupt a convoy immediately after the lieutenant had been briefed on the convoys route. The good news in this situation was that they were able to reroute the convoy, safely, and track the lieutenants entire network through the use of the speed dial on his phone. Having terrorist infiltrators in both the army and the police force remains a problem. But by no means does that detract from the courage and determination of those who are loyal to the new Iraq.

This guy who runs a blog is actually embedded with an Iraqi unit as an advisor, and blogs about it semi-daily.

http://www.fyste.com/

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

If we project a forward foreign policy then make sure that the beneficiaries of that policy pay their equitable portion of the cost. Too often, expecially because of ignorant freepers, the middle class gets stuck with the bill and the projection of liberal western ideals yields payoffs of higher return to the investor classes.

Jeez, I am starting to sound like a marxist, and it's scaring me.

Posted by: Matt on June 21, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

The answer to Are you an isolationist? is No, I am a patriot.

Nationalism (nearly every troll on this site is some kind of muscular nationalist) is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By patriotism I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

George Orwell
Notes on Nationalism


Posted by: bellumregio on June 21, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio
By patriotism I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people.

What if other people are having a particular way of life forced on them? Should there be intervention? Or should we look the other way ala Kitty Genovese? I don't see where Orwell's quote speaks to that.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 21, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

What if other people are having a particular way of life forced on them? Should there be intervention? Or should we look the other way ala Kitty Genovese? I don't see where Orwell's quote speaks to that.

Exactly. On to Pyongyang! Let's invade North Korea without delay! And Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, while we're at it!

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

They opined that 80% to 90% of the Iraqi people want to have us there and do not want us to leave before the job is done. - Red State Mike

Then they had no idea what they were talking about. Opinion polls consistently show that large majorities of Iraqis want the US troops to leave, and support attacks on them. I imagine people tend to respond differently to such questions when they are actually talking to an armed US soldier, as opposed to a neutral opinion researcher.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

There is only one solution: immediate withdrawl and lots of reparations paid to many different Iraqi factions. Also, the prosecution of the president and his staff for crimes against humanity might help us deal with our guilt.

Posted by: Hostile on June 21, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kitty Genovese? Been reading too much "Watchmen" again, have we?

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

>the tension, which nobody seems to know how to resolve, between the protection of American interests and the expansion of American ideals.

I'm jumping in without having read any of the posts, so if I'm repeating, please excuse. For the Bush administration, and come to think of it, for many administrations both Republican and Democrat, 'protection of American interests' is the real goal, and 'expansion of American ideals' is a pretense - although a deeply believed pretense. The European view is far, far more cynical. They have historical experience to draw from.They've had their colonies - where European interests were dressed up as the expansion of European ideals. Been there. Done that. It is deeply frustrating to me, and many on the left, that Republicans are simply blind to the parallels between the war on Iraq and similarly obtuse European adventures of the last 2 centuries. Bush's claims to be bringing democracy to the Middle East are the second millenium version of the "white man's burden", in my view.

The problem, for Democrats, in developing a more muscular foreign policy, is not to embrace better window dressing, but to appeal to a genuinely more peaceful world, and if that involves non-interference at times, it may also involve interference at others.

I'm rambling a little, so I'll leave it, but Democrats have got to develop their own way, not just be better at selling the Republican's myopic view of the world.

Posted by: ExBrit on June 21, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

What if other people are having a particular way of life forced on them? Should there be intervention? Or should we look the other way ala Kitty Genovese? I don't see where Orwell's quote speaks to that.

It seems to me that the people who are having a particular way of life forced on them are the Iraqis who were invaded by us.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, that seems to me to go too far. American attempts to force a "way of life" on Iraqis are looking pretty unsuccessful so far. The process of sketching out an Iraqi government, after some authoritarian American attempts at the beginning, is being worked out as a pretty inclusive give-and-take between Iraqi factions, and I think the American influence at this stage is mainly positive and ineffectual. And the "way of life" they had before was not theirs by choice. "Way of life" is a pretty unclear phrase, obviously.

We blew their country apart without any idea how to put it back together. But we're not really imposing our way of life on them.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: This guy who runs a blog is actually embedded with an Iraqi unit as an advisor, and blogs about it semi-daily.

Any of these the same guys that:

1) told us Abu Ghraib was an isolated case and nothing like that happened at any other prison in Iraq;

2) wrote the after action reports on Haditha;

3) promoted a false story about Jessica Lynch;

4) threatened soldiers with disciplinary action if they spoke their true feelings to the press, in blogs, in e-mails, or in any other communication, if those true feelings indicated anything negative with regard to Iraq;

5) or passed on any of the dozens, scores, or hundreds of accounts of misinformation, disinformation, or outright lies?

Yeah, the military is a great source of truth.

Not.

Maybe it's not because it is manned and commanded primarily by conservatives, eh?

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

it was a huge blunder to invade. Because, objectively, it has not made Iraqis' lives better;

Please substantiate this claim. And why is whether Iraqis' lives are better today, rather than 5 or 10 years from now, the appropriate standard?

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "If that's the case, though, it's back to square one, since it means that neither conservatives nor liberals are close to elucidating a solution. That may be true, but it's a discouraging thought."

Not really. It's encouraging if it means we're a little closer to understanding the reality of the situation. Plans and ideas based on reality have a much better chance at working than those based on fantasy (or a misunderstanding of reality).

Consider: if it's true, then we know it's not just political revolution the Muslim nations need but full-fledged enlightenment. Can we jump-start a Muslim rennaissance?

(Or even: can we boot-strap past it? Like giving developing nations alternative energy tech rather tham requiring them to go through the dirty fossil-fuel stage?)

Posted by: Adam Piontek on June 21, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

It seems to me that the people who are having a particular way of life forced on them are the Iraqis who were invaded by us.

Ha ha ha. Right. Because, of course, prior to the invasion Iraq was a model of Jeffersonian democracy and self-determination.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: What if other people are having a particular way of life forced on them?

That's happening right here in America and it's being imposed by the Bush administration and various conservative legislatures and governors across the nation.

What are you doing about it?

It's also happening in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, the Sudan, Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, etc, etc, etc, and according to conservatives France, all the scandanavian countries, and Venezuela, to name just a few.

So why aren't you demanding that Bush invade these countries and sacrifice more Americans to free those peoples also?

After all, we can invade 19 more countries and still lose no more soldiers than in Vietnam and according to Cheney (Charlie) any war in which we lose less soldiers than in Vietnam is a good war and represents acceptable losses - and heck, we lost in Vietnam and by conservative standards we've won in Iraq and will win everywhere else we invade and accomplish nothing more than the establishment of a puppet government hostile to Western ideals.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Adam:

human beings are not capable of deliberately carrying out earth-shaking intellectual projects of that nature. You cannot decide to "jump-start a Muslim enlightenment" any more than you can decide to create post-modernism. You can, however, modestly try a lot of small projects to promote democracy, human rights, liberalism and secularism, and hope they lead to good things.

One very important thing is that all such projects should be run by people who belong to the groups they're aimed at appealing to.

Also, we ought to have far more projects in the US devoted to communicating Muslim and Arab sensibilities to Americans. It is impossible to talk to someone when you have no idea what they're all about.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

We blew their country apart without any idea how to put it back together. But we're not really imposing our way of life on them.

We had been destroying their country for at least 12 years prior to the invasion with devastating economic sanctions that had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and that were reducing their living conditions to third-world status, without doing a thing to remove the murderous tyrant that was ruling over them.

How much longer do you think we should have subjected them to this appalling treatment? 5 years? 10? 20?

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: And why is whether Iraqis' lives are better today, rather than 5 or 10 years from now, the appropriate standard?

Because conservatives claim their lives are better today.

Because conservatives would never give a liberal president 5-10 years to prove their policies were sound.

Because you and other conservatives continually lie about the sanctions against Iraq being "Clinton sanctions."

Because you lie when you imply that liberals have said "prior to the invasion Iraq was a model of Jeffersonian democracy and self-determination."

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

So your position is that we should never interfere with another sovereign nation's internal affairs, right? The next time there's a Rwandan or Bosnian Genocide, we should just butt out, according to you, right? Because it's Not Our Problem, and not one drop of American blood should be shed to save a dirty foreigner from his own government, right?

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: We had been destroying their country for at least 12 years prior to the invasion with devastating economic sanctions that had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and that were reducing their living conditions to third-world status, without doing a thing to remove the murderous tyrant that was ruling over them.

Since you are known as an inveterate liar, you have to offer up proof for any such claim.

You haven't.

You can't.

Proving once again, you are an inveterate liar.

Just like you lied about the sanctions being Clinton's.

How much longer do you think we should have subjected them to this appalling treatment?

Conservatives would have subjected them to even more appalling treatment, US-funded and abetted genocide and murder, forever, as long as Saddam hadn't invaded Kuwait and a conservative was in the presidency.

In fact, they did so for nearly 12 years under Reagan and Bush, even funding and supplying Saddam's campaign of genocide against the Kurds.

Your tears for the Iraqis are crocodile tears.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

We had been destroying their country for at least 12 years prior to the invasion with devastating economic sanctions that had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and that were reducing their living conditions to third-world status

Invade Cuba, or pipe down.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: So your position is that we should never interfere with another sovereign nation's internal affairs, right?

Once again you lie and misrepresent an opponent's position, exactly like your heroes in the GOP and Bush administration.

BTW, it is the GOP that during the last election falsely claimed that other countries were interfering in American internal affairs and that is something that cannot be tolerated - so, we must presume you have a double standard for other countries and the US: we can interfere in other countries' internal affairs but they cannot interfere in our own, even when they aren't.

And you didn't care a whit about interfering in Iraq's internal affairs when your heroes Reagan and Bush 41 were funding, arming, and supporting Saddam's genocide against the Kurds.

Again, crocodile tears from GOP.

The next time there's a Rwandan or Bosnian Genocide, we should just butt out, according to you, right?

It was the GOP that said we should butt out of Bosnia and Kosovo and just let the genocide continue.

Because it's Not Our Problem, and not one drop of American blood should be shed to save a dirty foreigner from his own government, right?

Conservatives weren't willing to spend a single drop of American blood to stop genocide in Bosnia or Kosovo or today in the Sudan.

They even continued to object to intervention in the Balkans after no blood was spilled in a successful campaign to halt genocide.

Crocodile tears are just pouring from your eyes today.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

Since you are known as an inveterate liar, you have to offer up proof for any such claim.

Since you are known as a lying moron, it's not terribly surprising that you're ignoring the evidence previously cited showing the enormous damage caused by the sanctions, including the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps as many as a million people.

Just like you lied about the sanctions being Clinton's.

Clinton was a strong supporter of the sanctions. In 1996, Madeleine Albright, the Clinton Administration'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 21, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

Once again you lie and misrepresent an opponent's position

Well, make up your mind. Do you oppose interfering in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations to prevent the suffering and death of their people, or don't you?

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

Invade Cuba, or pipe down.

As I said, we had been destroying Iraq for at least 12 years prior to the invasion with devastating economic sanctions that had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and that were reducing their living conditions to third-world status.

Your response is to try and change the subject. Figures.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Invade Cuba, or pipe down.

Yeah, GOP, how come you are clamoring for the removal of sanctions against Cuba?

As I said, we had been destroying Iraq for at least 12 years prior to the invasion with devastating economic sanctions that had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and that were reducing their living conditions to third-world status.

As I've said, you've offered no proof of your claim.

In response, you try to change the subject by once again proffering a strawman and implicitly lying about what I've posted.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. That should be "not clamoring", but that is obvious since GOP only clamors when it is in the service of Bush foreign "policy".

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

Because conservatives claim their lives are better today.

Whether "conservatives" claim that or not is utterly irrelevant to the question. Why is whether Iraqis' lives are better today, rather than 5 or 10 years from now, the appropriate standard?

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: Why is whether Iraqis' lives are better today, rather than 5 or 10 years from now, the appropriate standard?

Because conservatives falsely claim their lives are better today.

Conservatives should be bound by the standard they themselves have established.

Now, continue with your lies and hypocrisies so we can all be amused - we fully understand that you loved Saddam and his murderous ways before you hated him and them, just as you loved Noriega and his murderous ways before changing your mind when it became politically convenient to do so, just as you loved Pinochet, and the Shah, and still love Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and now Libya.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

As I've said, you've offered no proof of your claim.

I have repeatedly cited a UNICEF study that estimated that 500,000 Iraqi children under five died because of the sanctions through 1998 alone. There were certainly additional deaths after 1998. And that estimate applied only to children. The sanctions also certainly killed countless adult Iraqis, especially amoung the elderly. Yesterday, someone else cited additional studies reported in that famously conservative publication, The Nation, which described the effects of the sanctions as "a humanitarian disaster" and "horrifying."

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, GOP, I'll bite. First of all, your stats are heavily disputed, but let's leave that be. I would've allowed the French and Russians to crack the sanctions on Iraq, and maybe gone ahead and lifted them altogether. The reason for the sanctions was that Saddam supposedly was breaking the rules imposed on him by not allowing inspections of his alleged WMD programs. Turns out there were no WMD programs. He, in his delusional state, may or may not have thought there were some. In any case, no harm, no foul. Iraq, by 2003, was a decrepit weakling that was no threat to anyone but its own citizens. So: drop the sanctions. Who cares? Oh, but that would've undermined the world's respect and confidence in the US's determination to enforce UN resolutions! Well, we can't have that, can we. Guess we'd better launch a war without UN approval, explicitly declare that we don't care what the UN says about anything, and convince the world that the UN is no longer "relevant" (in the words of our own UN ambassador)!

Now, you explain why we shouldn't immediately invade Cuba. Are you saying Castro wouldn't provide WMD technology to terrorists? How do you know? That he doesn't have WMD technology and never will? How do you know? Saddam didn't. That a US invasion would be opposed by the vast majority of the Cuban people? Then WHY DO WE HAVE SANCTIONS ON THEM?

Or is there some other reason why it made sense to invade Iraq, but not Cuba? Something having to do with thick black stuff that comes out of the ground?

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

Because conservatives falsely claim their lives are better today.

How does this claim support the assertion that the appropriate standard is the quality of life in Iraq today rather than 5 or 10 years from now? Since when have you uncritically accepted the answer of "conservatives" about any kind of appropriate standard?

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Rather than political solutions (liberal democracy), I wish we would push humanitarian ideals. We can't go wrong by supplying the world with medicine...

Posted by: Moe is me on June 21, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: I have repeatedly cited a UNICEF study that estimated that 500,000 . . .

This is an estimate.

An estimate is not proof.

Indeed, it isn't even evidence.

So, once again, you lie doubly: one about that study being proof and two about it being established as fact that hundreds of thousands died under "Clinton's" sanctions.

GOP: a humanitarian disaster" and "horrifying."

Neither of which is the equivalent of saying "hundreds of thousands" dies as the result of any sanctions.

It would be a humanitarian disaster and horrifying even assuming only tens of thousand had died, rather than less or more, and your claim would still be false.

GOP: Since when have you uncritically accepted the answer of "conservatives" about any kind of appropriate standard?

Again, you misrepresent (lie about) what I've posted.

I did not "accept" (uncritically or otherwise) the conservative standard; I merely pointed out that conservatives said this was the standard and they should be held to it and not allowed to move the goalposts out to 5-10 years from now.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

How does this claim support the assertion that the appropriate standard is the quality of life in Iraq today rather than 5 or 10 years from now?

Who knows what the quality of life in Iraq will be in 5 or 10 years? Or would have been without the US invasion? You could make some stuff up either way that'd be equally believable. But you can't justify killing people on the basis of evidence-free fantasies about the results. That, of course, is precisely what the Administration did in advocating the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, that seems to me to go too far. American attempts to force a "way of life" on Iraqis are looking pretty unsuccessful so far.

Well, by "forced" on them I meant that they were invaded, as a sovereign nation, against their will. You can't get more "forceful," whether justified or not, than invading another country, overthrowing its government, and subjecting everyone to your military rule.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

Ok, GOP, I'll bite. First of all, your stats are heavily disputed,

Well, so is the Lancet estimate of "excess" deaths during the 17 months after the start of the invasion, but for some strange reason you don't seem to think the dispute matters in that case. With respect to the effects of the sanctions, there are a variety of estimates of the number of deaths, but no reputable organization disputes that the number of deaths caused by the sanctions is likely in the hundreds of thousands, nor that the sanctions caused a huge amount of additional harm and suffering to even greater numbers of Iraqi people from malnutrition and disease that fell short of actually causing them to die.

I would've allowed the French and Russians to crack the sanctions on Iraq, and maybe gone ahead and lifted them altogether.

Hmmm, so you now say you oppose the sanctions. Funny how you've never mentioned this before, in all your hyperventilating about Iraq. But your newly-announced position is rather strange. Why only allow the French and Russians to "crack" the sanctions?

Iraq, by 2003, was a decrepit weakling that was no threat to anyone but its own citizens. So: drop the sanctions.

How magnanimous of you. And the price was only hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi people and the destruction of the nation's infrastructure. And yet we're supposed to believe that somehow all of this doesn't really matter, and that the invasion was a terrible policy in comparison.

Now, you explain why we shouldn't immediately invade Cuba.

We're not talking about Cuba, we're talking about Iraq. Stop trying to change the subject.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

What is really interesting is that GOP and those conservatives who objected to the sanctions were, by their standards, giving direct support to the claims made by both Saddam Hussein and Al Queda, in other words, giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Following the end of the Cold War, we did not end up with Russia and China as full-fledged democracies with soccer moms in every house and Brokeback Mountain being celebrated at sidewalk cafes. Instead, we wound up with two countries with very well-known, serious problems - at least by our standards. Nevertheless, the problems Russia and China now present are vastly less serious than those once posed and appear to be problems that we can live with.

Any serious MidEast policy should recognize that the MidEast is no more likely to become a soccer mom-filled, Brokeback haven. A sober MidEast policy should be to reduce the problems it poses to manageable scope that we can live with.

By invading Iraq, the chances for such a sober policy have been greatly reduced.

Posted by: Thinker on June 21, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

It is also interesting that GOP is furthering arguments propounded by Noam Chomsky.

So, the question is when did GOP start uncritically accepting the pronouncements of Saddam Hussein, Noam Chomsky, and Al Queda and "leftist" organizations such as UNICEF?

According to conservatives like GOP, all of the above are untrustworthy, accept when it becomes necessary to use them to score partisan political point!

Liberals have never accepted the pronouncements of any of the above uncritically, but conservatives certainly have condemned them uncritically.

Now, they want to use and depend on the very same sources they've routinely condemned as utterly unreliable.

I LOVE IT!

Hypocrisy unfettered from the Right!

Who would've thought it!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

GOOP: We're not talking about Cuba, we're talking about Iraq. Stop trying to change the subject.

No, we're talking about any other sovereign nation. After all, it was Don GOP that brought Bosnia and Rwanda into the discussion, and asked Advocate a general about whether we should ever interfere with any "sovereign nation's internal affairs" (see below). If he can bring up Bosnia and Rwanda, why can't brooksfoe bring up Cuba? Don should really stop trying to change the subject.

So your position is that we should never interfere with another sovereign nation's internal affairs, right? The next time there's a Rwandan or Bosnian Genocide, we should just butt out, according to you, right? Because it's Not Our Problem, and not one drop of American blood should be shed to save a dirty foreigner from his own government, right? Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

Who knows what the quality of life in Iraq will be in 5 or 10 years?

No one. That's why, as I have said, we won't really be in a position to evaluate the merits of the Iraq War for a decade or more.

Or would have been without the US invasion? You could make some stuff up either way that'd be equally believable.

No, you can't. All scenarios are not equally plausible. If we had not invaded, the sanctions would likely have continued, the Iraqi people would likely have continued to die and suffer terribly in huge numbers because of those sanctions, Saddam would likely have remained in power and continued to slaughter his own people, and Iraq would likely have continued to pose an enormous threat to the peace and security of the especially volatile and strategically important part of the world where it is located.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: . . . but no reputable organization disputes that the number of deaths caused by the sanctions is likely in the hundreds of thousands, nor that the sanctions caused a huge amount of additional harm and suffering to even greater numbers of Iraqi people from malnutrition and disease that fell short of actually causing them to die.

Bullsh*t.

The sanctions didn't cause any deaths.

Under the sanctions, Iraq was entitled to sufficient resources for its people.

It was Saddam's response to the sanctions that caused those deaths.

Those who imposed the sanctions are not responsible for that.

If you say they are, then you are also admitting that the US invasion is directly responsible for the deaths caused by the insurgency, since the latter would not have occurred but for the former, the same logic you are applying to the sanctions.

Indeed, there is an even greater correlation between the insurgent-caused deaths and the US invasion than between the sanctions and the alleged "hundreds of thousands" of deaths due thereto.

We're not talking about Cuba, we're talking about Iraq. Stop trying to change the subject.

Yes, we are. Quit ducking the question.

First you lie.

Then you run away from questions you don't want to answer.

Typical mendacious GOP coward.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

No, we're talking about any other sovereign nation. After all, it was Don GOP that brought Bosnia and Rwanda into the discussion,

I mentioned them in response to your and Advocate's statements indicating that you think it is wrong to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations. If that is not your position, then say so.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

All scenarios are not equally plausible.

Right. And the most plausible scenario for what would happen if we did invade is that Iraq would devolve into a chaotic war of all against all, tens of thousands of civilians would be killed, some by US forces, even more by the uncontrollably violent forces set loose by the sudden elimination of a totalitarian regime in an ethnically divided country without any competent or adequate or even serious American attempt to control rioting and enforce security, it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives, terrorists would begin to use the chaotic failed state that had been Iraq as a massive training ground for learning how to kill Americans, and there wouldn't actually turn out to be any WMD after all.

That was the most plausible scenario because it's what ACTUALLY HAPPENED. It also bears a pretty close relationship to what those of us who opposed the war said might happen.

The most plausible scenario for what would have happened if we didn't invade includes the eventual breaking of the sanctions by the French and Russians and others. That, after all, is part of the sense of urgency always claimed by conservatives for launching the war. In any case, infant mortality in Iraq right now is seven times as high as in neighboring countries, and child malnutrition is also a multiple of that in neighboring countries. Oh - and a third of the country's doctors have emigrated since the war. (This from the latest Brookings Institute Iraq indicators.) War, runaway murder, and civil unrest really aren't very good for public health stats.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

GOOP: I mentioned them in response to your and Advocate's statements indicating that you think it is wrong to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations.

Please substantiate your claim that I said it is wrong to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

The most plausible scenario for what would have happened if we didn't invade includes the eventual breaking of the sanctions by the French and Russians and others.

Which, of course, would have been extremely implausible itself since the sanctions were imposed by the Security Council and the US, with its permanent veto on all Security Council actions, could always have prevented any lifting of the sanctions.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: If we had not invaded, the sanctions would likely have continued . . .

Now you are contradicting your fellow conservatives (and probably yourself in one of your other guises) who have consistently claimed that the sanctions would have been discontinued in short order if the US hadn't invaded.

. . . the Iraqi people would likely have continued to die and suffer terribly in huge numbers because of those sanctions . . .

Since you haven't proven that they were already dying in huge numbers, you additionally have no proof that such a fantasy would have continued.

. . . Saddam would likely have remained in power and continued to slaughter his own people . . .

No, "slaughter" was ended with the no-fly zones and ad hoc military strikes as necessary.

In any event, you never cared about the slaughter when Bush 41 and Reagan were proclaiming Saddam to be our friend and funding, arming, and supporting him on the world stage - indeed, you glorified in our alliance with this murderer, even knowing of his killing sprees.

More crocodile tears.

. . . and Iraq would likely have continued to pose an enormous threat to the peace and security of the especially volatile and strategically important part of the world where it is located.

An outright lie, since Iraq didn't pose any such threat to begin with - Powell himself said so in February 2001 and since according to conservatives no one in the Bush administration ever lies, it must have been true, under conservative standards that is.

It was proven true, in any event, by discoveries after the invasion, facts which were known to the administration prior to the invasion from intelligence but deliberately hidden from Congress and the American people.

-----------------

Goobers on Parade (GOP) indeed.




Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan -

Hm. You may be right about that then. But a situation like that, which would have pitted a pro-sanctions US against much of Europe, Russia, and Iraq's traditional friends in the Far East (China, Vietnam, again) would have replicated at least some of the diplomatic and PR damage inflicted by the invasion.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

In any case, infant mortality in Iraq right now is seven times as high as in neighboring countries, and child malnutrition is also a multiple of that in neighboring countries. Oh - and a third of the country's doctors have emigrated since the war. (This from the latest Brookings Institute Iraq indicators.) War, runaway murder, and civil unrest really aren't very good for public health stats.

The argument against the UN and Bush imposed sanctions on Iraq was that the deaths were due to a breakdown, basically, of public health services, resulting in lack of sanitation, food distribution and proper medical care and causing death via disease and malnutrition.

Of course, what conservatives who are now whining about the sanctions (about which they were markedly quiet throughout the 1990s) always fail to note is that the war has made those problems of sanitation, food distribution and health care worse -- so now Iraqis are still suffering those deaths from disease and malnutrition on top of the suffering caused by the bombs and bullets of the war. The Iraqi people still continue "to die and suffer terribly in huge numbers because of" the same poor conditions as existed under those sanctions, so the American invasion hasn't ameliorated those deaths one bit -- it has, in fact, made it much much greater.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

You may be right about that then. But a situation like that, which would have pitted a pro-sanctions US against much of Europe, Russia, and Iraq's traditional friends in the Far East (China, Vietnam, again) would have replicated at least some of the diplomatic and PR damage inflicted by the invasion.

Really? You think so? I fail to see how it would have been remotely as damaging. It wouldn't have cost us 2,500 plus dead, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and the tying down of our armed forces in Iraq.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan -

No, obviously - just the diplomatic and PR damage. And it is true that sanctions generally hurt the weak while sparing the strong. I guess I'm just thinking I probably would've supported dropping the sanctions altogether, while keeping the no-fly zones etc.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 21, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

somewhat related is this:

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/06/we-are-just-as-bad-as-they-are.html

Posted by: republicrat on June 21, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I'm just thinking I probably would've supported dropping the sanctions altogether, while keeping the no-fly zones etc.

Yes, plus coupling the dropping of the sanctions with coercive periodic inspections to verify that Saddam wasn't up to mischief.

Posted by: Stefan on June 21, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Brooksfoe: "human beings are not capable of deliberately carrying out earth-shaking intellectual projects of that nature. You cannot decide to "jump-start a Muslim enlightenment" any more than you can decide to create post-modernism. You can, however, modestly try a lot of small projects to promote democracy, human rights, liberalism and secularism, and hope they lead to good things."

I agree entirely. My comment was merely to elucidate the "problem" as it stands. I definitely do not think the suggested endeavor is really possible, at least without unacceptable cost.

The Muslim world needs an enlightenment, and we cannot give it to them.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on June 21, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

The mere fact the writer would make this comparison . . .

Five and four passengers in a 2006 Volkswagen GTI each get 18.84 and 23.1 cubic feet respectively, in both cases less than the volume available in the detainee cells. And you can neither stand nor lie down in the 2006 Volkswagen GTI either. How about the twenty inches in width, isn't that inhumanly narrow? I thought so too, until I looked at airline seats. The standard economy airline seat is 17.8" wide. Business class seats approach 20" and more. My own swivel chair is 18" wide. I measured it. Take out a ruler and measure your own chair if you are as incredulous as I was. For further comparison, consider the proposed A380 Airbus Standing Seat, in which short-distance passengers would travel literally lashed upright to their chairs.

. . . is enough to dissuade me from taking him seriously.

None of these are enclosed in any the sense of the detention cells - a substantial difference.

All of these allow for communication with generally friendly neighbors and allow freedom of movement or exit (generally) from the confining space at any time, not the time of someone else's choosing.

None of them impose real claustrophobic conditions - there is more than a physical component to the detention cells, something the writer and conservative defenders of these conditions refuse to even acknowledge, much less address.

But try keeping your arms with the space allowed in the detention cells while sitting at your desk for eight hours in a swivel chair, only moving them out of that zone for occasional "interrogation" or "latrine" breaks, and put a box over the whole set up in the same size as the detention cells, and finally ignore the fact that your office chair has a cushy seat.

Hey, it's practically the Hilton compared to what Saddam imposed, right?

Now, rationalize away.


Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

stefan: March 16, 2003 Dick Cheney, on "Meet the Press": "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly, . . . (in) weeks rather than months."

the closest analogy in American history is the Spanish-American war, where the majority of American combat casualties occurred in the years after the major combat portion of the war was over. T. Roosevelt gave the order for Dewey to attack the Spanish fleet in Manilla; then he came back from Cuba to a hero's welcome and ran for governor of New York; when he ran for vice-president years later, American soldiers were still dying in combat in the Philippines, a fact noted in some of the Democratic campaign songs.

Posted by: republicrat on June 21, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal democracy is not a thing, it is not a commodity that can be imported and exported. It is a condition, a syndrome if you will, that occurs when populations become more literate and when there is greater material security. Because it is a natural outgrowth of development it has no central dogma, there can be various kinds of democracies that accept different norms. There can be Islamic democratic norms or a Chinese democracy that is quite different from what has occurred in France or the United States. The entire world is becoming more democratic because people are more educated and there are material improvements in the lives of many, no matter how meager by the standards of developed countries.

This is also one of the reasons why old 19th century imperialism cannot work and has not worked for a good 50 years. The people of the world, even in very poor places like Iraq, Algeria and Vietnam are too connected, too educated and too savvy to be dominated by a foreign power.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 21, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

the closest analogy in American history is the Spanish-American war

If the situation were to devolve with Iraqi and Iranian Shi'ites turning on the occupation forces, then the closest analogy might end up being Custer's Last Stand, and it will be just as meaningless a comparison unless trying to exonerate an administration from their criminal negligence and tragic myopia.

On your argument we shouldn't prosecute people for hit and run accidents either, because well-meaning people have committed hit and runs in the past and not been prosecuted.

The difference between this war and the one you reference: people predicted the sectarian carnage, the lack of war-justifying WMD's, the brutal living conditions. This war was undertaken for self-serving political, economic, and military aims, yet sold as a necessary measure to protect ourselves from imminent attack.

To the extent that was true in the Spanish-American war, that only makes that one more wrong not this one more right.

Posted by: trex on June 21, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention that there were only between 300-400 combat deaths in the Spanish-American War, not even close to the number of combat deaths in Iraq.

And that the deaths "years later" were actually from the Phillipine-American War, not the Spanish-American War.

Of course, republicrat, following in the Bush tradition, misleadingly says "were still dying in combat" instead of directly claiming that it was from the Spanish-American War, so he can then claim that technically he is not lying, even though he is clearly trying to leave the false impression that those deaths were from the Spanish-American War.

Misuse of semantics in an attempt to mislead the reader or listener is a conservative specialty that is better known as "lying".

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

We export our culture, by way of media and commerce. We import their culture, the same way.

Our solutions are always about how we can change them. Perhaps we need to be changed ourselves some, to learn how to work together.

Posted by: catherineD on June 21, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Advocat for god: And that the deaths "years later" were actually from the Phillipine-American War, not the Spanish-American War.

I didn't know that distinction was widely recognized. If it is then I would haver to write my point a little differently, and say that the closest analogy is to the "combination Spanish American war and its follow-on the Phillipinw-American War". There are no perfect analogies.

The people of the world, even in very poor places like Iraq, Algeria and Vietnam are too connected, too educated and too savvy to be dominated by a foreign power. Instead of an elected government, each has a government composed of a home-grown clique of thugs. It may be impossible to export democracy, but the enemy is almost never "the people" but a small clique that manages to gain a monopoly on military and police power. Most of "the people of the world" would like the opportunity to critique their governments, work for change, campaign to elect new officials -- without being beaten, sent to jail, or killed for it.

Posted by: republicrat on June 21, 2006 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate,

The sanctions didn't cause any deaths.

This may be the single most stupid, absurd statement you've ever made here, and given your track record, that's really something.

Here's someone who knows what he's talking about, on why he opposed the sanctions:

"We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral. ... I don't want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide."
--Denis Halliday, after resigning as first UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq.


Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

I do, however, refuse to address the fact that the consequences of the invasion are worse than the consequences of the sanctions.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe,

The most plausible scenario for what would have happened if we didn't invade includes the eventual breaking of the sanctions by the French and Russians and others.

It was never possible to enforce the sanctions 100%. They were always being "broken" to some extent. Countries that broke the sanctions were not providing humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq, they were providing industrial materials to Saddam Hussein for profit. There is no indication that the sanctions would have ended if the invasion had not taken place. Instead, they would likely have continued, causing countless additional deaths, after having already killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people during the 1990s.

In any case, infant mortality in Iraq right now is seven times as high as in neighboring countries, and child malnutrition is also a multiple of that in neighboring countries.

These claims, even if true, are completely irrelevant. The only relevant comparison is between conditions in Iraq before and after the invasion. You haven't provided any evidence that conditions in Iraq even now are worse than they were they when the sanctions were in place and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were dying from disease and malnutrition.


Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, GOP. You do have a point. I'll admit that. I need to rethink my position.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 21, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

See how I stupidly lash out at whomever I'm arguing with, assuming that they are the ones poking holes in my arguments with my name? This is because I lack imagination.

I also claim that others haven't provided proof that conditions in Iraq are worse than before the invasion (even though this is obvious even from just the increased morgue activity) while refusing to provide evidence that things are better.

Posted by: GOP on June 21, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

A for GThe people of the world, even in very poor places like Iraq, Algeria and Vietnam are too connected, too educated and too savvy to be dominated by a foreign power.

R-cratInstead of an elected government, each has a government composed of a home-grown clique of thugs.

A German or Taiwanese or Indian or Australian can use that 'Instead' without blushing. May I suggest that as an American you should learn to be a little more circumspect until you get your own system in order - as it stands there are way too many question marks. Especially when addressing foreigners that you are a 'model democracy' is no longer a rhetorical given.

P.S. I thought the whole point of the Iraqi government is that is was elected

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 21, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

For a Republican partisan who is eager to blame Saddam Hussein for as much as possible, GOP becomes notably reticent when it comes to describing the damage caused by "Clinton's sanctions."

The permitted humanitarian aid, and food, was sufficient to meet the needs of the Iraqi population. However, Saddam insisted that it be distributed by his government, and after a delay of several years in which the Iraqis got nothing--for the most part it was (except for a proportion of it that was taken for distribution to the Kurds in their protected area, which they would not have received otherwise). With the Iraqi government in charge of distributing food aid, it is safe to say that those who needed it most were least likely to receive it. The humanitarian catastrophe that is alleged to have ensued (based on figures provided by Saddam's government) can be laid squarely upon Saddam Hussein.

It should also be noted that some equipment needed to restore Bagdhad's water system was not sent to Iraq, in spite of its obvious humanitarian purpose. The equipment was considered to be "dual use," with the potential for use in Chemical and Bacteriological weapon development. I am sure that even GOP in his new-found "humanitarian" guise would have looked askance at potentially contributing to Saddam's WMD capability.

Posted by: Wombat on June 21, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Got here too late.

Now, I got so bored I have to admit I gave up reading.

Just wondering, what will the Iraqi living standards be in 5, 10, 15, or 25 years. Does GOP have a crystal ball

Will ne make his fortune on the stock market, on gold, oil futures, commodities?

Got to hear. Where will Iraq be in the future????

GOP?

Your call?

Oh, and in good GOP fashion, cites please.

Posted by: notthere on June 22, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God: Okay, GOP. You do have a point. I'll admit that. I need to rethink my position.

Hey, finally someone did a fake "Advocate for God".

I feel deflowered!

GOP: This may be the single most stupid, absurd statement you've ever made here, and given your track record, that's really something.

Given your track record, it really must have been the most brilliant and insightful statement I've ever made here.

But, that's always been the conservative opinion of the truth: it's stupid! it's absurd!

Exactly what Bush said when he was told that Saddam was harmless, without any significant stocks of WMDs, not inclined to give any he might have to terrorists, that it would take 300,000 troops to properly accomplish the invasion, that the post-war needed planning, and that Iraq would turn into a quagmire and never accomplish the goals he was laying out.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 22, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

shorter mhr: quack quack quack! Quack quack quack quack! Quack!

Posted by: Stefan on June 22, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Especially when addressing foreigners that you are a 'model democracy' is no longer a rhetorical given.


It is absolutely a given. This is a splendid democracy. One of the cool things about being American is we can say that without having an external debate. Canadians can accept it, or not. It really doesn't much matter.

This isn't arrogance or rudeness.

Robert Kaplan wrote a terrific column a couple of years ago while working from Europe. He had been doing the various panel discussions and was up front and close to outrageous anti-Americanism. There's nothing new about this of course but it does percolate at different temps at different times. At one seminar after hearing loads of what Europeans think of Americans he was asked what Americans think of Europeans. He wasn't prepared for the question and he did not wish to give the obvious and correct answer.

Americans don't think of Europeans/Canadians much at all. That's a fact. The common attitude is, 'they're entitled to their opinion. that and $1.15 will buy a cup of coffee'. Kaplan didn't want to further inflame the audience with facts.

Americans have plenty of their own opinions. We'll hold our own discussions and make our own decisions. Once we make a decision we'll then act. Inviting others to join. Or not. But others do not get to make our decisions. If Some Americans choose to vote according to European sensibilities that is their right. Clearly that did not happen in 2004.

Posted by: rdw on June 22, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

wow. talk about off base. No one is dismissing American right to make their own decisions - and if you actuallly had a better decision-making process that would be absolutley great.

The point was that when you guys prate on about democracy it's much like a fat guy talking about the need for discipline, you ain't going to be taken seriously (though we will pay some attention to your weapons; at the moment however you're bogged down) until you actually have a decent democracy.

Mere assertion that you have does not counter the fact

that many votes cannot be verified (sheesh, I thought this was Democracy 101)
that your districts are so hopelessly gerrymandered that you have about a 1% chance of knocking off an incumbent (historically, you've had about a 6% chance; we have about a 26% chance). Some competition. I prefer my politicians a little less blase about the electorate.
of your electoral shenanigans (provisional ballots that are suddently not to be counted etc. I tend to favor harsh jail terms for those who would tamper with the vote; this is the most sancrosanct of activities in a democracy).
that media access is almost entirely contingent on money. Media companies get publicly funded protection of their free access to public airwaves - access to their forum during elections should be their payback. Libertarian party, green party, the Lyndon Larouches... they should all be getting a chance to make their message - the paucity of viewpoints during an American election is one of the first things that gives an outside observer pause.

Repeat. This has nothing to do with European sensibilities. It has everything to do with your corrupted electoral processes.

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 22, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

We offer auto insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, life

insurance, personal loans,car donation, breakdown cover and much more!

Cheap travel insurance for holiday travel for UK and

International travellers. Single trip, Annual, Ski and Longstay travel insurance for backpackers and holidays. Travel

policies available online.So if you are searching for the policy to suit you, look no further than here.

Posted by: loans on June 23, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Ever wonder how a pre-Enlightenment president like G W Bush can be expected to impose Enlightenment values on an Islamic state?

Posted by: Critic on June 23, 2006 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

Ever wonder how a pre-Enlightenment president like G W Bush can be expected to impose Enlightenment values on an Islamic state?

Posted by: Critic on June 23, 2006 at 5:04 AM | PERMALINK

you ain't going to be taken seriously (though we will pay some attention to your weapons; at the moment however you're bogged down) until you actually have a decent democracy.

I don't think you understood my last post. The truth Kaplan didn't want to speak to his European audiences was that Americans didn't consider European and Canadian opinion because Americans simply don't care about European and Canadian opinions. It simply is not a factor.

You can take us seriously, or not. If you think our Democracy sucks that's fine. If you think it's great that's fine. So?

We are going to manage our affairs as we see fit. Nations have permanent interests, not permanent friends. GWBs brilliance of coalitions of the willing is we get to set out path and determine our missions. After doing so we invite others to join. Those with vested interests will do so. Many will not. That is how it should be.

The old model of a NATO determing the mission is gone. As Rumsfeld said, we will no longer have coalitions determining the mission.

I think it's more than clear the USA and the old NATO crowd have moved in different directions. We see the world differently. I can't speak for Canada but looking at America's most reliable allies Canada is not at the top of the list. Australia has always been our closest ally followed by the UK. Today and in the future we can see that Japan is a closer ally than Canada and India will become closer yet.

It's a natural evolution. NATO was necessary in 1945. Now it's an impediment regarding serious issues. The wise person doesn't waste time lamenting the changes but moves to embrace them. Thus USA affiliation with NATO is a fraction of the recent past and given the degradation of members defense spending can only erode further.

The single starkest statistic for Canada is that while Australia is only 2/3's the size it spends 75% more on defense and is vastly more experienced. If we need strong allies obviously Australia is dramatically more attractive.

The US and Canada and the EU will always have close security and economic ties. The changing world will necessitate different diplomatic ties. We can't live in the past.

As far as being bogged down in Iraq weakening the US militarily that's silly. The fact is from a pure readiness perspective war sharpens one skills and tactics. It's how we learn what works and what does not. As far as I know very few Canadian, French or German soldiers have ever fired a shot in anger. Except for the troops serving in Afghanistan ALL of your troops, including officers, are raw rookies.

At the current time virtually the entire US Navy is available outside Iraqi operations and most of the Air Force. These represent the bulk of our firepower. The number of troops stationed oversea today is only marginally higher than in 2000 and by the end of this year the number will be lower. The Army and Marines are far from stretched and are easily hitting all recruitment and re-enlistment targets.

It will be interesting if Canada decides to embrace Star Wars after all. Won't that be very difficult to accept? Will Canadians swallow their pride and admit Reagan was correct all along or will they risk North Korea's accuracy?

Here's an interesitng scenario: What happens if Canada rejects USA largess and refuses a missle defense system and some Korean whackjob launches a nuclear armed ballistic missle and it's headed for Canada. Does the US shoot it down?

No vote is no. We should not interfer with or disrespect Canada's defense and diplomatic decisions.

The same is also true for France and Germany now under the threat of the Mad Mullahs in Iran! At the same time Japan has joined in the R & D effort and will install a system as will Australia and eventually both Pakistan and India. This is merely the recognition of a changing word and the adaptability of the US.

You can keep your contempt for America and our democracy. Wrap yourself up in it. You have little else to protect yourself.

Posted by: rdw on June 23, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Repeat. This has nothing to do with European sensibilities. It has everything to do with your corrupted electoral processes.

Actually it has everything to do with European sensibiities and that's all this is about. As far as corruption isn't that a bit cheeky coming from a Canadian? I'll admit to not keeping current on Canadian affairs but Captains Quarters has done a very decent job detailing the endless sleeze of the last several govt's. Why are people living in glass houses the most likely to toss stones?

As far as public money being a solution to media bias that's as dumb as it gets. Public supported airwaves are the most biased in the world. PBS in the US is a joke, You can have your brand of socialism. It's not happening here. Everyone has the same right to speak. Everyone has the same right to ignore them. Giving public money to quacks is bonehead stupid. Giving control of who can speak to govt flakes is even dumber.

What drives liberals crazy is they can't control the airwaves. That's why Limbuagh and Fox are such monsters. Actually the blogs are much worse. I found out with certainty that John kerry was lying thru his teeth about Xmas in Cambodia. Absolutely, unequivically and without a doubt lying thru his teeth. We also found out with equal certainty and with amazing speed that Dan Rather was a lying fraud.

What liberals lament is the fact the public had access to this informarion. PBS covered neither is a transparent and dispicable example of censorship. Shame on them for giving the right all the examples it even needed and the stupidity of giving PBS control of anything and anytime in any place. That's partially why in the latest round of budget cuts the PBS budget was reduced by over 25%.

We are very fortunate they become less and less influential over time. Liberals have lost the media battle and continue to lose ground. While I'd hate to wish ill will on any man it's good to see Dan Rather is getting the correct treatment. Liberals are lamenting his shabby send off. If the man had a shred of class or integrity he would have resigned immediately. Even Imus, a former fan, was killing him this morning. Like Clinton and Impeachment it will always be Rather and the joke memo's. Even Kevin Drum admitted he is a disgrace.

I don't blame liberals for being unhappy regarding the media. You've lost much. And you'll never get it back.

Posted by: rdw on June 23, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Snicker-snack

Why I Love Australia
By Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- In the Australian House of Representatives last month, opposition member Julia Gillard interrupted a speech by the minister of health thusly: "I move that that sniveling grub over there be not further heard.''

For that, the good woman was ordered removed from the House, if only for a day. She might have escaped that little time-out if she had responded to the speaker's demand for an apology with something other than "If I have offended grubs, I withdraw unconditionally.''

God, I love Australia. Where else do you have a shadow health minister with such, er, starch? Of course I'm prejudiced, having married an Australian, but how not to like a country, in this age of sniveling grubs worldwide, whose treasurer suggests to any person who "wants to live under sharia law'' to try Saudi Arabia and Iran, "but not Australia.'' He was elaborating on an earlier suggestion that "people who ... don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off.'' Contrast this with Canada, historically and culturally Australia's commonwealth twin, where last year Ontario actually gave serious consideration to allowing its Muslims to live under sharia law.
***************************************

Just one timely example of the cultural move in the USA away from Canadian and European sensibilities toward Australian conservatism. Let's face it. The USA has far more in common with Australia than Canada, France or Germany.

While the liberals in the USA are perfectly aligned with Canada they are a small and shrinking minority and even at that gradually moving to the right. Look at this weeks resolutions on Iraq. Despite 2,500 casualties they've made no progress. If anything Kerry, Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, Sheehan have been even further marginalized.

We even just had a Boston globe columnists call for a draft. She was lamenting the fact there is NO anti-war movement of note and is pinning for the good ole days of Vietnam. How desperate are US liberals they're asking for a draft?

Sorry libs. The 60's have come and gone. Your breed is now getting old and passing away. The campus just isn't what it used to be and never will be again. Canada and Europe can embrace Sharia law. Europe will soon have little choice. But it ain't happening here.

Posted by: rdw on June 23, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly