Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 14, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BOMBING IRAN....You know what? I'm tired of weenie neocons. The usual knock on them is that they're too bellicose, too ready to use force, too unwilling to face the disastrous outcomes of their own policies. And that's all true. But check out this typical piece of shilly-shallying from Bill Kristol:

So the Democrats are hopeless. Unfortunately, back in the real world, Bush administration policy hasn't been particularly strong either....What good has the recent affinity for carrots done us? Are our enemies in retreat? Are Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Moktada al-Sadr, Bashar Assad, the Sunni holy warriors in Iraq, al Qaeda operatives and sympathizers in the United Kingdom, and Kim Jong Il on the run?

....The State Department has succeeded in the past year in making the Bush administration more Euro-friendly and U.N.-attentive than ever. For this, the president has reaped no political benefit at home and the dangers continue to mount abroad. How Bush deals with Ahmadinejad's terror-supporting and nuclear-weapons-pursuing Iran will be the test.

Fine. Kristol thinks diplomacy is a waste of time, a pastime suited only for fainthearted liberal appeasers. But is he willing to tell us, in clear and declarative sentences, exactly what he thinks we ought to do? No. Instead, he ends his piece with standard-issue Delphic mush, saying only that how Bush handles Iran in the future "will be the test."

But the options for dealing with Iran are limited. If diplomacy and sanctions aren't worth bothering with, that leaves military action. A few weeks ago Kristol was willing to say that we should "consider" a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, but now he no longer seems willing to go even that far. Why not? Is he afraid that teevee producers won't invite him on their shows anymore if he comes right out and says what he actually believes?

Kevin Drum 5:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (163)

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Comments

Maybe he doesn't want to get b-slapped around anymore by George Will.

Posted by: LimoLiberal on August 14, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin; I think you should ask Jimmy Carter. He certainly showed how well diplomacy worked with Iran.

Posted by: Mike K on August 14, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Did he give W two or three friedmans to pass this latest test? W of course never fails any test, so after a friedman or so I am sure a new one will be devised and this particualar one forgotten.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on August 14, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

What Kristol needs is a plan. Until he produces a plan, he can't be considered serious.....

Posted by: Stefan on August 14, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

He certainly showed how well diplomacy worked with Iran.

and what did Reagan do to secure the hostages release ? do tell.

Posted by: cleek on August 14, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

this is all i get from the Weakling Standard:

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

    [Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Data source name not found and no default driver specified

    /Include/RefreshVars.asp, line 24

looks like someone done run off with their database

Posted by: cleek on August 14, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Diplomacy might've worked a bit better with Iran if Republican traitors hadn't done a deal behind the scenes. Remember, GHW Bush was v.p. and involved in that.

Republicans must be bumfoozled about now. Their current administration is a disaster and with Dumbya as Preznit there's no way to change directions.

God, why didn't the public vote him out in '04. Oh, wait, I forgot, they did. But, Rove stole the election.

Get rid of the freakin' electronic voting machines and kick Bush out, so we can get America back on track.

Posted by: MarkH on August 14, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Is he afraid that teevee producers won't invite him on their shows anymore if he comes right out and says what he actually believes?

Wrong Kevin. Kristol just doesn't want another 9/11 to happen. You remember what happened three years ago right? Kristol doesn't want Americans to die from the terrorists but you don't care.

Posted by: Al on August 14, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Neocons never say how something should be accomplished, just what should be accomplished. Democracy, freedom, a pony and all that.

This approach of course allows them to claim that if the job had been done competetently, it all would have been peachy. No idea beforehand what might be competent, however.

Neat trick, never responsible for anything.

Posted by: abjectfunk on August 14, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

But is he willing to tell us, in clear and declarative sentences, exactly what he thinks we ought to do?

Why win of course. Must..have...VICTORY. Same as another idiot, namely Newt Gingrich wrote yesterday. Gotta win and have victory - of course neither bother to explain how or what a "win" would look like exactly.

Posted by: ckelly on August 14, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin; I think you should ask Jimmy Carter. He certainly showed how well diplomacy worked with Iran.
Posted by: Mike K

Or better yet, illegally back door deal with Iran and terrorists like Sir Ronnie Raygun - right Mike K?

Asshat.

Posted by: ckelly on August 14, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Al nails Kevin!

Any war that anyone suggests for any reason is Inherently Right!

And anyone who opposes it is a defeatist loser who wants us all to wear burkas!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on August 14, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm waaay beyond having any patience for ridiculously unserious chickenhawks like Billy K.

If his testes eventually drop and he is able to articulate a plan, he better not just specify how many killed and wounded USAmericans he is willing to sacrifice for his neocon wet dreams, but I also want him to list their names and personally apologize to their families ahead of time.

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, cleek, Reagan did win the Cold War for us


BwaHaHaHa!!!!
That's a good one Tom.

Posted by: ckelly on August 14, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, the other great Republican George Allen calls the only non-white person in his audience a Macaca, a monkey.

Here is the wikipedia entry for Macaca.

Posted by: nut on August 14, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Mike K, one thing Carter didn't do is get us in the awful trap we are in now in Iraq and the middle east in general. Too bad Carter didn't have a military with stop loss orders.

Posted by: darby1936 on August 14, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is all too typical of the neocons: the only reason force doesn't work is that we didn't use enough force. The flip side (amply on display, right now, in Israel) is that what what the West has been offering Iran/Hezbollah/the Palestinians/Iraq recently is *peace* and the fact that all things are not hunky-dory just now means that these brown people reject peace in all its forms and we should "take the gloves off."

The simple truth is that these people are war nerds -- they like war, they want war, but they don't want the responsibility of war, either in terms of spelling out what exactly they'd like to see done or in terms of actual fighting. They're the superior minds, you see, not the grunts whose role it is fight, die, or make sure anything -- peace or war -- actually works out. It's their sense of entitlement vs. everyone's else's responsibility.

Posted by: Diana on August 14, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

They've given us some clues, though. In the last month, I've seen editorials by Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthammer, and Thomas Sowell that mention "win at all costs" or something similar in one sentence, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the next.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on August 14, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush will have dealt with the rest of the Axis of Evil

Bolivia, you have been warned.

Posted by: ckelly on August 14, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kristol will be on the Charlie Rose show tonignt.

Posted by: Quiddity on August 14, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

AL is a brown person.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 14, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Somthing worked with the IRA what did the Brits do?

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 14, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, Mike K, what's your plan? Let's see it. Specifics, please.

Posted by: Stefan on August 14, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

A few weeks ago Kristol was willing to say that we should "consider" a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, but now he no longer seems willing to go even that far. Why not? Is he afraid that teevee producers won't invite him on their shows anymore if he comes right out and says what he actually believes?

Like Sullivan, Kaus and a host of others, does anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together really give a shit what Kristol has to say about anything?

Posted by: JeffII on August 14, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Why not bomb Iran? Because we'd have 130,000 Americans in the middle of 10 Million irate Shiites all with automatic weapons and explosives. Does Kristol really want the mass slaughter of our GIs in Iraq?

Posted by: Chuck Miller on August 14, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kristol will be on the Charlie Rose show tonignt.
Posted by: Quiddity

What the hell happened to Rose? It used to be that he only spoke with "personalities" and serious folk. Kristol is neither.

Oh, I know what happened. He thought they were booking Billy Crystal!

Posted by: JeffII on August 14, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

General Question:

Of our nationally elected representatives (Senators and Congressmen)- how many have children who are active duty military?

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 14, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

If, perhaps, without overstating, we could come close to achieving something somewhat resembling a satisfactory outcome, bearing in mind that other, more or less remote, possibilities might necessarily require at least cursory consideration...


How'm I doing so far?

Posted by: exasperanto on August 14, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Pat, come come, surely you remember that mammoth invasion of the USSR by american forces under the leadership of president reagan that defeated the awful commies and ended the cold war, doncha? Thomas1 obviously remembers it!

as for the Kristols of the world and their deluded fellow travellers, sheesh: you would honestly think that life is just like a videogame to listen to them talk....

Posted by: howard on August 14, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Al-

I remember what happened three ago quite well. We had just started our bogus journey into lovely Iraq. And it was "serious" war cheerleaders like Kristol that made the public case for the war.

From the context of your post, it sounds like your refering to 9/11, which actually happened 5 years ago. Of course, facts are only important to Euro-lovin' lib'rul wussies.

Posted by: CKT on August 14, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why hasn't anyone mentioned me in this thread yet?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

There are actually three options; the third is one Bush is exceedingly good at: do nothing.

Posted by: Dave B. on August 14, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

There are actually three options; the third is one Bush is exceedingly good at: do nothing.

Posted by: Dave B. on August 14, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Meanwhile, in his second term Reagan surprised the neoconservatives by meeting with Gorbachev in Geneva, Switzerland in 1985 and Reykjavk, Iceland in 1986, the latter to continue discussions about scaling back their intermediate missile arsenals in Europe."

Huh. You mean Reagan used diplomacy to help fight the Cold War?

Posted by: mwg on August 14, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Somthing worked with the IRA what did the Brits do?

I believe they bombed Dublin and invaded Ireland....

Posted by: Stefan on August 14, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

But is he willing to tell us, in clear and declarative sentences, exactly what he thinks we ought to do? No.

Billy Kristol's harangue is characteristic of totalitarian strategy. Leave it to the activists to interpret what should be done, but without a clear directive that can be traced back to its origin.

Posted by: Hostile on August 14, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why not bomb Iran? Because we'd have 130,000 Americans in the middle of 10 Million irate Shiites all with automatic weapons and explosives.

Deus lo volt! Deus lo volt! Deus lo volt!

Posted by: Stefan on August 14, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever Charlie gets nervous he starts spamming the thread with irrelevant material. It's kind of like a nervous dog pissing everywhere.

Posted by: Stefan on August 14, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Huh. You mean Reagan used diplomacy to help fight the Cold War? Posted by: mwg

Reagan didn't do shit to end the Cold War. For the better part of his eight years he was either napping or living in some imagined past in which he fought bravely in WWII and, for at least the last two years of his second term in the early stages of alzheimers.

Posted by: JeffII on August 14, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, the way Wikipedia works, you could post your own version of an article and then link to it as "evidence". Where have I heard of that ...before?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 14, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to negotiate and win then you have to negotiate from a position of strength. Staying in Iraq and winning is vital to any negotiations we might have with the axis of evil. If we prove that we will always cut and run then we can't negotiate and win.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on August 14, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

But is he willing to tell us, in clear and declarative sentences, exactly what he thinks we ought to do? No.

Please, stop being so naive, Kevin.

His refusal to be specific is code-talk for "kill them all."

They're prepping the racist-vote for the midterms. That's all.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Let's talk about *me*. Who wants some progrock factoids? Show of hands.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

What have any of the neocons ever actually accomplished. Until they can point to something somewhere sometime that any of them has actually accomplished, I don't know what we should listen to anything they have to say. By accomplishing something, somewhere, sometime I don't include making a lanyard at summer camp.

Seriously, the neocon ninnies have great press and cocktail circuit connections, beyond that not much.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 14, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

TruthPolitik: If you want to negotiate and win then you have to negotiate from a position of strength. Staying in Iraq and winning is vital to any negotiations we might have with the axis of evil. If we prove that we will always cut and run then we can't negotiate and win.

Interesting idea. Unfortunately the Bush administration doesn't share your views on negotiating; they like to back themselves into a corner first and then come out swinging with the military option:

    In May 2003, shortly after the U.S. military destroyed the army of Saddam Hussein, a fax arrived at the State Department with an Iranian offer to open talks that would include a discussion of weapons of mass destruction...The official, who saw the document, said it indicated that Iran wanted to negotiate a grand political bargain with the United States that would include everything from Iran's nuclear program to its support for groups that Washington regards as terrorist.

But at this point the military option is the worst possible scenario. Juan Cole has some very sobering thoughts about what would happen with our troops in Iraq if we bombed Iran:
    Any US attack on Iran could well lead to the US and British troops in Iraq being cut off from fuel and massacred by enraged Shiites. Shiite irregulars could easily engage in pipeline and fuel convoy sabotage of the sort deployed by the Sunni guerrillas in the north. Without fuel, US troops would be sitting ducks for rocket and mortar attacks that US air power could not hope completely to stop (as the experience of Israel with Hizbullah in Lebanon demonstrates). A pan-Islamic alliance of furious Shiites and Sunni guerrillas might well be the result, spelling the decisive end of Americastan in Iraq.

The silver lining here is that even Rummy may want us to leave Iran alone (at least for now):
    ' Rumsfeld is very uneasy with the unquestioning support for the Israeli offensive because of the impact it will have on American troops in Iraq. His point to Bush and Rice is that Iraq's Shias will not stand by while their Lebanese Shia brothers are destroyed.

But I'm sure with this administration's track record that they'll make a good decision.

Posted by: cyntax on August 14, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Let's drop Bill Kristol and friends on Iran. Their exploding heads ought to be good for something. Apologies if someone already suggested this.

Posted by: Mimikatz on August 14, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK


thomas1: The same way FDR did -- by defeating the enemy.

Days after bombing Pearl Harbor that Japan surrendered to U.S. forces: 1,365

Days since September 11, 2001 that Osama bin Laden has remained uncaptured: 1750+

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 14, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Let's talk about *me*. Who wants some progrock factoids? Show of hands.
Bob
Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

/raises hand, waves it about. ..

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also very good at psycho-analyzing trolls, if that's your pleasure.

Look, I don't mean to appear like a showoff, but as my friends will tell you, the breadth of my knowledge and expertise is breathtaking.

I also possess strong psychic abilities, as I was just describing in another thread. Would anyone care for a reading?

So if you want to know which conservatives are worth spending your time on, just ask me. If you want to know the most minute piece of trivia, I'm your guy. If you want to know how a blog *should* be run, read on.

I am writing Kevin about this, and I am putting pedal to the metal.

If Kevin can't figure out a way to raise revenue from the regular posters here to update his software and hire someone to do the update so this blog can be registered, I am fucking out of here.

I am *so* not playing around.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

*sigh*

i'm back i could't stay away. trolls or not i love this site.

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

"You remember what happened three years ago right? Kristol doesn't want Americans to die from the terrorists but you don't care.

Is this a joke?

Actually, I've read enough of Al to know that it's not. But it's funny to see that the hawks are the people who flunked that recent poll as to the date of 9/11. Either that, or Al has been operating continuously since 2004 without any reprogramming. If only we had him before Y2K, maybe he would be out of commission by now.

Posted by: matt w on August 14, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK
ask Jimmy Carter. He certainly showed how well diplomacy worked with Iran. Mike K 5:55 PM
he should have stuck with the program instead of letting people talk him into the disastrous Operation Eagle Claw. The event should be a lesson that diplomacy, serious engaged, is better than military failure, like, say, so far: Iraq or Lebanon. Of course, the October Surprise has never been investigated honestly or thoroughly either.
The same way FDR did -- by defeating the enemy.Thomas1 6:12 PM
Then the enemy could not have been Russia or China because they are still thwarting Bush II.
Does Kristol really want the mass slaughter of our GIs in Iraq? Chuck Miller 6:20 PM |
What does he care? His butt like Chuckles' isn't on the line.
President Ronald Reagan is seen by many conservatives as the man who 'won' the Cold War indirectly through his escalation of the arms race and then diplomacy with Gorbachev Thomas1 at 6:33 PM
Despite the desperation of conservatives for a senile hero, it was Gorbachev and perestroika. Reagan and Bush I were clueless bystanders. Posted by: Mike on August 14, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Folks, that is not the real rmck1; some twit has got a hard-on for him, and has been posting as rmck1 for the last few days;

Really, Kevin, time for registration.

Posted by: noone on August 14, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax - I think Juan Cole's assessment of the vulnerability of US troops in Iraq is pretty dumb.

If the insurgents can't even land more than a dozen mortar shells in the Green Zone over 3 years, I doubt they could be any significant threat to US Ground Troops. They'll have plenty of air cover. The only threat to US Ground Troops would be a massive invasion from Iran, which would be pulverized by the USAF. It's really the only trump-card we have in this game, but it's the only card that actually matters.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

A few weeks ago Kristol was willing to say that we should "consider" a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, but now he no longer seems willing to go even that far.

I don't think that's a fair conclusion. The fact that he doesn't specifically mention bombing Iran in this column does not indicate a change. His objective here was to argue that all other approaches (carrots, and even weak sticks like sanctions) do not work. He assumes that all his readers know what he's really after -- and he will probably repeat it again soon.

Posted by: JS on August 14, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

[Carter] should have stuck with the program instead of letting people talk him into the disastrous Operation Eagle Claw.

And we all know who was responsible for planning Operation eagle Claw, right?

Oliver North.

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

And, when Charlie is not being assiduously mocked for spamming Wikipedia -- he's spoofing me.

Sheesh, this really bugged me earlier in the day, but now it's just becoming a self-parody.

Oh -- and read his grandiose rant at the bottom of the Lie Detector thread, where he visualizes himself as a bold knight riding in to Political Animal to steer us all towards the path of moderation ...

The guy's profile gets more like a psycho every time I read him ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think Juan Cole's assessment of the vulnerability of US troops in Iraq is pretty dumb.

Forget the Green Zone. Do you not think that the insurgents can cut off the supply lines?

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK
according to Pat and Darryl
I'm going by his other bother, Darryl, who says that Encyclopedia Britannica is too expensive use for links.

noone, registration is elitist and sucks worse than the occasional prankster.

Posted by: Mike on August 14, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Reagan Administration did several things to win the Cold War, though they were all based on the efforts of past administrations.

1. Continuing and enhancing the military expansion begun under President Carter, the Reaganites rejuvenated the US military from top to bottom, stressing "jointness," esprit de corps, and ever increasing expertise in all military affairs. They secured the assistance of Congress in this endeavor by not seriously opposing most domestic spending. They stimulated the economy by a combination of spending and tax cuts.

2. They intentionally developed a belligerent "cowboy" image by small interventions and military actions. They ruthlessly rolled back the latest of Soviet gains, especially in the Western Hemisphere. They ignored the idiotic "nuclear freeze" idea and deployed more missiles and nukes in Europe.

3. They made the strategic choice of not directly opposing Iran, instead playing Middle Eastern factions off of each other.

4. They encouraged resistance in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, where the Pope wielded unusual influence. They cultivated our European allies, as much to get them to keep quiet as for any help they might provide.

5. They directly challenged the rationale of the Soviet Union, in terms that made sense to most people.

6. They helped bleed the Soviet Union in an endless war in Afghanistan.

7. Then, when the Soviets were broke, tired of war, reeling from a busted economy and unable to keep up, Reagan switched gears on them and became a peacemaker, offering to freely give up thousands of nukes, withdraw missiles, in return for the Soviets disarming, as well. They were lucky in that Gorbachev was a responsible leader at a time when no one else in the Soviet Union could muster enough strength to oppose him. The removal of the reason for their massive military spending came too late to save a crumbling economy and the Soviet crackup was only a matter of time.

Any and all of these things were within the capability of other Adminstrations and other men. Some had been tried before. But it took an Administration with rigorous ideological focus to ignore all the inherent contradictions in what they were attempting. How much of that attitude was due to President Reagan's mental outlook and leadership is anyone's guess. But he was the Big Kahuna at the time, so he got an aircraft carrier named after him.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 14, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

6. They helped bleed the Soviet Union in an endless war in Afghanistan.

That sounds familiar.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 14, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

War and fanaticism just beget more war and fanaticism.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on August 14, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

noone:

Thanks, whoever you are.

OBF:

That *was* true -- but what about the recent redeployments into the streets of Baghdad? There already was quite a kerfuffle when we shelled and collapsed an apartment building because a dozen or so Mahdi Army were in it. Maliki was quite pissed off about it.

If the idea is to restrain the Shia especially, whose militias have been posing as ISF -- that really *does* put us in a vulnerable position vs a vis any signals from Iran and/or Nasrallah.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

BTW: are you saying it would be O.K. to drop a couple nukes on the terrorists?
Posted by: Thomas1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Neocons controll all three branches of government, and the press.

So why the fuck don't they just fucking DO IT? Are they afraid of a little liberal whining? Don't they want to protect America from the terrorists?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

according to... Darryl, we can't use Wikipedia here anymore.

No, it's just the internet tubes are a little like a freeway where EVERYbody can put up traffic control cones. I'm skeptical of most everything--especially things I don't agree with.

;-P

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on August 14, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

Registration isn't "elitist," for god's sake.

It's SOP on every message fora extant and most blogs, besides.

Kevin's is the exception, not the rule in that regard.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax - I think Juan Cole's assessment of the vulnerability of US troops in Iraq is pretty dumb.
Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten

Juan Cole has forgotten more about the region than the sum of us will ever know. You might disagree with him. But nothing he's ever written to date could be characterized as "dumb." The Shiites already effectively control the entirety of the south of Iraq. The British remain in the region at their pleasure. If they wanted to turn them out, it could easily be done, and they would be targeted if the U.S. were stupid enough to attack Iran.

Posted by: JeffII on August 14, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

Peter Galbraith says much the same thing. His editorial on why we should move the bulk of our forces into Kurdistan is still persuasive as far as I'm concerned -- and I'd advocate it as the Democratic plan for Iraq.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'm having a difficult time understanding how implementing a protocol to prevent someone from stealing the identity of another is "elitist".

Unless of course you are an identity thief.

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Do you not think that the insurgents can cut off the supply lines?
Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

No. I really don't.

They can cause quite a bit of chaos and headache, and might even force some "redeployment" (troops will move to where they can get supplies). But wholesale cut-off air, sea, and land? No effing way. Not without any ability to centrally organize and coordinate.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

OBF,

I gotta say air cover is great, but we tend to over-estimate its effectivity. Just to give you a sanity check on Juan Cole, the guys over at Soldiers for the Truth (formerly Colonel Hackworth's site) were concerned enough to put his assesment front and center when it first came out, and usually they avoid the "talking head" stuff. Our supply lines are very exposed and we never had enough boots on the ground to lock down the rear areas. Net result, no safe rear areas. Hit and run tactics could wreak a lot of havoc on our forces' supply lines if shias really mobilized en masse the way Cole decribes.

But I think you're right to be a bit skeptical of his position. His area of academic expertise probably gives a certain slant to his analysis that overestimates what the shia could do and how united they'd be just cause he spends all his time thinking in those terms. either way, it's a hell of chance to be taking.

Posted by: cyntax on August 14, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

It might be "elitist" if Kevin were a ban-happy, rule-happy control freak.

He obviously isn't, so -- not an issue.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think the key to BushThink is this quote:
[i]....The State Department has succeeded in the past year in making the Bush administration more Euro-friendly and U.N.-attentive than ever. For this, the president has reaped no political benefit at home and the dangers continue to mount abroad.[/i]
The prime consideration is political benefit at home. Not, you know, actually doing something constructive, but getting a bounce in the polls.
It's no wonder the situation is so f'ed up.

Posted by: sal on August 14, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Registration would help with the idiotic copying of handles, of course, but it really wouldn't do much to make the comments section better. Sadly, there are no more knowledgeable and sane conservative commenters here anymore. All we have left are trolls, whackos, and idiots, with this thread a prime example.

Kevin's blog used to be known as one of the few places in the blogosphere where you could actually get a reasonable and reasoned discussion, with viewpoints from all points on the spectrum represented. That hasn't been true for months and Kevin bears much of the responsibility for it with his refusal to do even a minimal amount of policing of the comments section.

Posted by: PaulB on August 14, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

That hasn't been true for months and Kevin bears much of the responsibility for it with his refusal to do even a minimal amount of policing of the comments section.

I'd volunteer for that job.

Posted by: obscure on August 14, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, there are no more knowledgeable and sane conservative commenters here anymore. Posted by: PaulB

Who, pray tell, were these long departed souls? Also, I always thought that being conservative meant you were, at best, an out-of-touch crank, though more typically, just dishonest. Even T-Bone would retreat into cliches when on the run, which was usually the case after about three posts on any given thread.

Posted by: JeffII on August 14, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Well, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Aside from the handle spoofery (which, if taken as far as it could go, would absolutely destroy this place), registration would make it possible for Kevin to ban people.

I don't think Kevin would ban any more than a handful -- but I think that would be enough. Besides, with much of the juvenile horsing around eliminated by forcing everyone to post under a stable identity, this would potentially bring back a few of the good commenters who only lurk or visit occasionally now.

I'm hardly ready to write this place off, Paul. Despite all its current flaws, it's still one of the less toxic venues for these kinds of discussions out there.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

The thing is - if the Shia organize like that, on that scale, then they're vulnerable to air power.

If they remain disorganized, they can continue to cause serious discomfort, but I don't think they have a hope in hell of disrupting supply lines. Not long enough to affect US tactics, anyway.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

registration would make it possible for Kevin to ban people.

Not any more than he can already. Kevin can already (surely!?) block IP addresses. Having the ability to ban people based on their handle doesn't offer much more power.

*Voluntary* registration would simply give the rest of us to ability to *reserve* handles for our sole use.

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

OBF

The Shia in the South *are* organized. Just because they don't show up in reconnaissance photos doesn't mean they are not.

Posted by: Disputo on August 14, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

The thing is - if the Shia organize like that, on that scale, then they're vulnerable to air power.

If they remain disorganized, they can continue to cause serious discomfort, but I don't think they have a hope in hell of disrupting supply lines. Not long enough to affect US tactics, anyway.

I don't think we're necessarily talking about a scenario where they stage troops and engage in pitched battles. The coordination would involve communication not so much the marshalling of troops. Hit and run tactics can be very effective for disrupting supply lines and militias are ideal for this. Granted some of them would get whacked by Apaches or C-141s, but the supply routes are fixed tagets measuring hundreds of miles and the insurgents would be able to pick the ambush points from anywhere along the route. And then they get to blend back into the local populace.

Posted by: cyntax on August 14, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Does registration mean that we'd have one handle and one handle only to sign our comments? And would they be linked to the commenter's actual e-mail address?

It would definitely put a lot of starch in people's shorts.

Has any body ever tried two parallel threads - one registered, one not? And does anyone remember Darth Dubya? I'm sure it was one of the regulars here who would occasionally assume this handle to mock GWB. Hilarious stuff.

I would miss that.

Posted by: non-paying customer on August 14, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Well, Kevin has talked about this a bit, both in a blog post and in email with a few of us. While his version of MoveableType *can* ban people according to IP addresses (siteban), that's unfortunately totally useless for the vast majority of ISPs that issue dynamic IPs which change with every login.

Banning by username would be a lot more effective, if it required a real email address, and more effective still if the email address was restricted to non-netmail.

Sure, you could get another email address and re-register, but it would create an opportunity cost that most garden-variety assholes would probably just give up on.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

non-netmail = non-WEBmail (i.e. hotmail, eudoramail, gmail, etc.)

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK
Registration isn't "elitist," rmck1 at 7:30 PM
Sure it is. It makes banning too easy and it makes it a nuisance to sign up and on. I was once banned here for outing Charlie of all things, but it only applied to one ISP. If you register, who will get to be Al? What would craigie do? Remember the parody comments of yore? Sometimes they were funny as hell. Sure, it's a drag to have a name stealer, but ignore 'em: They obvious fakes. I've dropped Left Coaster, Oliver Willis, and others because of the registration hassle. Go read The Angry Arab for a real knock-down, drag-out fray; or Jesus General for some of the best comments on the net. They're both open and free to all like these threads.

Why are we even discussing this? It's Kevin Drum's site and his decision.

Posted by: Mike on August 14, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

non-paying customer:

Well, the way it worked on the Howard Dean blog was thusly: First, email addresses were protected. You had the option to leave them available, but it defaulted to hiding them. That would be essential, because we'd no longer be able to leave null addies to defeat spambots.

Secondly, you could change your username to leave parody posts -- which is totally fine by me. What you *couldn't* do was to change your name to a registered name on the userlist.

That system is really the best of both worlds.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1;
not to stroke any egos - but the main reasons why I frequent THIS blog, over any others, are:

- topical: Keven's pretty good at posting articles that I want to talk about. Usually. He gets lazy on Friday afternoons though.

- dataset: seems he has just the right amount of posters. DailyKOS is really easy to get lost in the noise, and it just takes so damn long to read any particular thread, that it's hard to post in the discussion with any relevance, and keep up. Too high volume. TalkingPointsMemo, on the other hand, has very, very few articles with discussions, and those usually have very few commentors.

- catharsis: I have to admit, I'm a compulsive troll-feeder. I can't help myself. I think part of it is just therapeutic. Sometimes kicking these stupid motherfuckers makes me feel better about how they've totally screwed up my country.

- content: some of the non-trolls occasionally post things I like to read. If I weren't so paranoid, I'd probably want to get together in a pub with a few of you sometime to comiserate and collectively drown sorrows.

Now - if Kevin did add registration, I'm afraid it would change the dynamic. I think I'd lose some of the catharsis, and I think we'd also end up with less posters overall. On the other hand, DailyKOS requires registration, and people post there like crazy.
I really like some of the topics DailyKOS comes up with - because he's a hard core defender in the culture wars. Unlike Kevin, who is a collaborator. But other times, DailyKOS tends to navel gaze and talk about specific election races I don't care about. (I know I *should* care about them - but I don't. I can't care about everything. I'm only one person).

However, I'd really like to get rid of the chinese spam, and slim. I'm not even a little Jewish. But slim really pisses me off for some reason.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

We're discussing this because it's called "lobbying." My intent is to marshall support for registration; the majority of comments about this issue are clearly pro-registration, although of course there are a few folks like yourself who express reservations.

The ease-of-ban issue is only a concern if you're dealing with a (sheesh, what would you call Kevin -- blog admin?) who has heavy-handed tendencies.

Kevin has amply demonstrated that he's neither a control freak overly concerned with decorum nor somebody who'd want to put himself in the role of nanny. And gosh, can you blame him?

So while your points have a generic validity, I don't think they hold quite true in this case. I, for one, would certainly trust Kevin to be a fair arbiter of who does and who doesn't get banned.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think Kristol is right for once and should do something about it, immediately.
If he goes to the Army's website, they are currently taking applicants up to the age of 42, and Private Kristol can finally say he's doing something positive about our foriegn policy.
Go get em, wee Willy!

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 14, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Like Pat, I am fascinated by Charlie. How does a person get to be like that? And why did God make some people so stupid?

Like, take for example Charlie/Thomas1 in "power of suggestion" mode: BTW: are you saying it would be O.K. to drop a couple nukes on the terrorists?

Poor Charlie just can't help but free-associate til he finds something that looks like a terrific trial-balloon.

"Are you suggesting we nuke 'em??? Cuz maybe that's not a bad idee!"

Posted by: obscure on August 14, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

OBF:

Perceptive and analytical comments as always. I share many of your
thoughts on what makes this blog visit-worthy.

I've been through a "registration crisis" on BlogForAmerica at the
height of the primary, when everybody and their sisters were trying to
take Dean down. The ecology was much the same as it is here, including
a good number of regular posters, a good traffic volume (not too high,
not too low) and a reasonably open moderation policy.

When we changed to registration because the attacks just got too much
-- the blog didn't change in any way that caused complaints. It
removed most of the auto-spam. It stopped the spoofing cold -- while
still allowing people to change their names to write parody posts.
While it was a lotta fun to write insanely grandiose fake tbrosz posts
as the swivellingsphinter email -- it's the only kind of troll-bashing
we'd be prohibited from doing.

So I can't see the catharsis factor going down all that much, either.

Handle spoofing is kind of like a privilege. For a great while, it was
perfectly fine; people accepted it, even T-bone didn't complain too
much. But now that privilege is being abused (and again -- recently
it's not just happening to me), so I think it's time to re-think
making that option available. If it got any more widespread, people
would start leaving I'm sure.

Yeah, slim is a bottom-dweller who pisses me off, too. But slim can
also be scrolled through just as easily as the Chinese spam. For me,
the issue is out-of-control handle spoofing.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Attacking Iraq worked so well, didn't it? Paid for itself, yesiree. Why not go after a country twice as big, geographically and in population? Seems like a slam dunk. What deep thinkers these guys are.

It's all about the oil, don't be fooled, you damn sheep....

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on August 14, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, as you noted, I disagree; but it's not merely "reservations." I reject registration outright; and, frankly, I wouldn't personally ban anyone, even Charlie who was once limited to two comments per thread. [You see how long that lasted.]

You've always been a descent chap so don't take this disagreement personally; but I regard blogs as similar to the tavern of the Revolutionary days. Back then you could bring in a pamphlet and everyone one in the establishment could argue about it. Nowadays, certain blogs attain popularity and anyone can make his opinion known and read. Then it's up to the readers to ignore it, thrash it, or challenge it. How can you be more democratic in someone else's site than that?

Go get em, wee Willy! sheerahkahn at 8:40 PM
On topic and dead on. Posted by: Mike on August 14, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

My two-cents worth: I agree that registration is a good idea to protect against spambots and userID theft. But beyond that, I don't support any serious censorship of comment content, even for someone like Slim. It's just way too easy for me to simply skip posts that really offend my sensibilities or are obviously just plain nonsense. Being a veteran of the NYT forums back in the late 90's, I understand how personally vicious people can get with the cover of anonymity. Those forums became unusable as a place to express serious opinion. Only if this site would start to approach that sort of craziness would I consider some form of control on content.

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

How about protecting just against spam blocking and userID theft? There's nothing 'unfree' about registration as long as there's no fee!
No reason to censor comment that I see....yet. Are you familiar with any forums like I described above that become totally useless? Is that OK with you? A pity, I think...

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK
Don't worry, folks -- by the end of this term, George Bush will have dealt with the rest of the Axis of Evil as well -- or, is that what you ARE worried about? Posted by: Thomas1 on August 14, 2006 at 6:07 PM

Gee, I hope he does as good a job as he's done in Iraq.

Posted by: bushburner on August 14, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody see Ahmadinejab (b??? - I'm never going to learn to spell this guys name!) on 60 Minutes last night? I missed it, but I did read the transcript of the interview. I gotta admit I sort of like the guy. Too bad there weren't more interesting questions asked of him. It was a sort of 'first date' conversation (gr).

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1:

Mike is hardly being "beyond cruel" (do you see how overblown rhetoric like this appears just a little too calculated to sound quite sincere?) -- that's his opinion and I totally respect it. I used to share it, in fact, prior to the outbreak of slim, which is what started me rethinking my support for registration.

nepeta:

I basically agree about censorship -- though I don't think I'd cry at the decisions Kevin would make about deleting this post or that. When slim first came on board as watcher, I was extremely offended. But then after a short while, it because obvious to all how easy he was to ignore. The guy never really tried to engage in discussions, just pasted his boileraplate. So we scrolled through it.

My issue isn't deleting offensive posts -- although, as I say, I trust Kevin's judgment on it (he does delete the occasional blatantly offensive post every so often already). The issue is identity theft. So you and I agree.

Also -- did you ever post in the Lewinsky forum? I used to be a regular there. The NYT fora are indeed an example of an ugly free-for-all even in the moderated fora. The Iraq fora is unvisitable these days; the crew of pro-war regulars has turned it into a sewer of ad-hominem attack.

Mike:

We're going to have to agree to disagree about banning, which is fine. I do feel that one or two bad apples can really wreck a place like this -- although I'd be perfectly content with a way to prevent identity theft and nothing further.

And the only way to do that -- for good or ill -- is through registration.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has tried diplomacy?

How can William Kristol tell?

To engage in diplomacy, you have to mean it, make many phone calls and fire a few fools like John Bolton to show you're serious. Sorry, but a few empty gestures does not make diplomacy.

And should Bolton even get credit for being involved in the current ceasefire if, as it appears, Bush gave Israel the green light? That's diplomacy? Never heard of that style of hypocrisy being called diplomacy.

Posted by: Craig on August 14, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

The important thing is that this thread has become about me, just as I wanted. Identity theft was not that big a deal *until* it was about me. This is as it should be.

What else do you want to know?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

I don't remember what forum I frequented back then, but I can assure you that Lewinsky and impeachment were constant topics. What a disaster it became. I was personally threatened by someone and, silly me, kept my doors locked for a few days. I had been stupid enough to not block my e-mail address so I figured someone might be able to find me. I think it was possible to block e-mail addresss from public view but maybe not. In any case, I haven't been back since. Sorry to hear that nothing has changed. So far spam hasn't been a big problem here but I remember on the Times fora that it got to be a real drag and slowed things down tremendously.

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1:

"Post-traumatic stress syndrome."

I truly hope you don't wonder why people think you're a troll, dude.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

But, yes, I believe Bush has done a good job in Iraq.

you need to see a psychiatrist, ASAP. delusions like that suggest severe underlying problems.

Posted by: cleek on August 14, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

The 9:36 Bob post, as it should go without saying, is once again not me.

Funny how this happened right when Thomas attempted to set Mike and I against each other by calling Mike's opinion "beyond cruel" to me.

This guy is one seriously gnarly bridge-dweller, folks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Lebanon is now the "central front in the war on terror"!

Stop the presses!

Where will it be tomorrow?

Stay tuned, while Bush makes up his mind!

Posted by: Advocate for God on August 14, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas:

Funny ... but I somehow don't feel the remotest bit of guilt :)

Now just why do you think that is?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

OBL,

" catharsis: I have to admit, I'm a compulsive troll-feeder. I can't help myself. I think part of it is just therapeutic. Sometimes kicking these stupid motherfuckers makes me feel better about how they've totally screwed up my country."

And it's cathartic for me to read your responses!
I'm not clever enough to do it myself. But neither the trolls nor your comments have become a problem yet. After all, we can't just all be here agreeing with each other all the time. That would be BORING! That's one reason, other than First Amendment rights, that I oppose content control.

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1: . . . you mean delusions like Reagan did NOTHING to win the Cold War?

Can't match the delusion that he did SOMETHING to win the Cold War.

As I pointed out for you above, at the time, that was just a little more important than terrorism.

Just because you point something out doesn't make it true or a correct interpretation of history.

Posted by: Advocate for God on August 14, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

you mean delusions like Reagan did NOTHING to win the Cold War?

what the fuck are you talking about ? where did i ever say such a thing ? i only mentioned Reagan in the context of Iran.

Posted by: cleek on August 14, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

AfG:

OMG -- that's too fucking funny. Do you have a link or a cite, just so I can read the insanity first hand?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

"You do realize he is alleged to have participated in taking hostages from our Embassy in Iran, right?"

Thomas,

'Alleged' is the operative word here. Also, that was some twenty-five years ago.

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

What is really interesting is that - George W. Bush is a bisexual. Now when is this fact going to be on the OReilly Factor, huh? Any bets it wont be in this century? Hmmm?

Posted by: Al on August 14, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

although given my luck, the fake "Thomas" would snag my name before I could

Don't worry about it Charlie - you could always go back to your original name, and we could continue calling you "Chuckles" to mock you.

Posted by: Reprobate on August 14, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

I have stories about real-life harrassment that originated in cyberspace that would curl your toes. Email me if you'd like to discuss them. If not -- that's perfectly fine as well; I surely don't blame anybody for putting those sorts of incidents behind them.

Yes, a little common-sense self-protection goes a long way in this medium -- and I think many of us were babes in the woods at one time.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1: The grown-ups are taking care of it for you.

Again, just because you say it doesn' make it true.

BTW, wanna bet Bush continues to call Iraq the central front in the war on terror?

Hint to the logic-challenged Thomas1, there can only be one central front.

Posted by: Advocate for God on August 14, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: OMG -- that's too fucking funny. Do you have a link or a cite, just so I can read the insanity first hand?

Actually, I have to admit that he did't say it was the "central" front, but you get the idea - whereever Bush needs the front to be, he'll make sure to promote it as such, just like he twisted the Brits arms to act prematurely on the "liquids" plot in order to give Senator Sore Loserman an assist.

BTW, it's one of the headlines on cnn.com.

Posted by: Advocate for God on August 14, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

AfG:

Thanks, bro. I should prolly go check the Times in a minute or two.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas,

Thanks for the quote. So, some hostages recognize Ahmadinejab, some don't. So, there you go. No one knows for sure if he was in fact a hostage taker. Btw, wasn't a revolution going on at the time in Iran against the US-installed Shah? And what in the world does any of this have to do with Charles Manson, a murderer who if I remember correctly was more than 'alleged' to have committed the crime.

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the only thing I've ever seen Kevin censor is when someone's blatantly violating copyright by reproducing articles in their entirety in the forum.

Slim - well, bastard just needs a good kick in the nuts, I reckon. I support his right to say what he has to say. . . and then move the fuck on. Once or twice is enough. He's not going to convince anyone here to start hating Jews, who doesn't already.

On Ahmanijidad, I believe that he has made public statements backing up that he was involved in the hostage crisis. Maybe he was trying to buy street-cred, maybe not. But some of the inflammatory things he has said position him on the other side of the "freinds/enemies" line from me.

I can't say that I'm a knee-jerk Israel supporter. But I support their right to exist, and their right to reasonable self-defense. I support the Palestinians' right to exist and right to self-defense as well - just not when that includes direct attacks on civillians, and I also don't support Hezbollah hiding their military equipment among their own civillians. That just sucks. Saddam did that too. In fact, as far as Hezbollah goes, I don't support their right to exist. At least not as a military entity. You're either a member of Lebanon's offical army, or your an unlawful combatant.

About which year did you know the Soviet Union had lost the Cold War? It is sometimes difficult to judge history accurately DURING the event.

I don't remember the year - but I do clearly remember watching a soviet tank shelling the parliment building on CNN. That's when I knew it was all over. Unless Reagan was driving that tank, I don't reckon he had a whole hell of a lot to do with it. Who brought the soviet union down? Their own hubris. Same thing that will bring the US down.

But, yes, I believe Bush has done a good job in Iraq. Of course, better Democrats than I have been defeated in their primaries for saying less.

Yep. And some people believe in faeries. Clap harder!

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 14, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever Charlie gets nervous he starts spamming the thread with irrelevant material. It's kind of like a nervous dog pissing everywhere.

That is the best description of Charlie I have ever read.

I like his predicatable habit of bringing up FDR and responding to multiple posters. Three years and counting...and he's still going and going and going.

Posted by: MLuther on August 14, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong - Houses of the Mole

You're wrong everytime

What makes you think you've got a god given right
For killing people in a needless fight
You're like a rapist with a target in sight
Democracy!

Whoever told you that you were bright
The skull and bones the conservative right
you're like a plague turning day into night
Atrocity!

What makes you think that you could start this mess
then crawl away to a world you detest
You're fucking evil but you couldnt care less
Conspiracy!

What makes you think that we could ever believe
A major liar with a minor in greed
You make a profit off the people in need
Hypocracy!

You're time is coming and it wont be long
the bill of rights is now the bill of wrong
allready proven that you dont belong
In History!

Your time is over-you'll be out on the street
what do you say to the people you meet
i saved the world because i didnt repeat
my policy

Posted by: Al Jorgensen on August 14, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing!!! I just read in Lebanon's 'Daily Star' that Ahmadinejab has started his own 'Daily Blog.'
The first installment tells of his early life up until the Revolution (I think). So, insight awaits us at:

Ahmadinejab's Personal Diary

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Darn, the link doesn't work. I'll check on it.

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever Charlie gets nervous he starts spamming the thread with irrelevant material. It's kind of like a nervous dog pissing everywhere.

That is the best description of Charlie I have ever read.

I like his predicatable habit of bringing up FDR and responding to multiple posters. Three years and counting...and he's still going and going and going.

Posted by: MLuther on August 14, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why does everyone focus only on the Old Soviet Union to say we won the cold war?

The only major post WWII wars we were involved in, China both supplied and backed our opponents.

Last time I checked, they were still standing...and stonger than ever.

Maybe it's the meaning of win?

Posted by: Whack a NeoCon for Christ on August 14, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

OK, I've gone to the Ahmadinejab's site. It's up and working. Unfortunately, the English translation the the Daily Star promised is nowhere to be seen. Can someone help me find how to get to the translation? I'm going to try HTML one more time. If it doesn't work, I'll just copy the url.

Ahmadinejab Blog

Just in case this doesn't work, then:

www.ahmadinejad.ir

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

nepata -- language selection is via the flag icons in the upper right, just below the banner (Farsi, English, Arabic and French).

Posted by: has407 on August 14, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1: . . . you mean delusions like Reagan did NOTHING to win the Cold War?

Can't match the delusion that he did SOMETHING to win the Cold War.

Laughing, hard.

Posted by: Hostile on August 14, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Kevin; I think you should ask Jimmy Carter. He certainly showed how well diplomacy worked with Iran.
Posted by: Mike K

Or better yet, illegally back door deal with Iran and terrorists like Sir Ronnie Raygun - right Mike K?

Asshat.

Posted by: ckelly "

Off your meds again, puppy dog. You guys are too much.

Posted by: Mike K on August 14, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Duh...Thanks, has407

Posted by: nepeta on August 14, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey Mike K, one thing Carter didn't do is get us in the awful trap we are in now in Iraq and the middle east in general. Too bad Carter didn't have a military with stop loss orders.

Posted by: darby1936"

I suspect you think that means something. Tell us how the 9/11 inside job was done again. And then tell us how the black helicopters are hovering over your house.

Carter specialized in traps, like the embassy. If you don't know that, you might do a little reading. If you can read, that is.

Posted by: Mike K on August 14, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

I can't stay away from Political Animal either. I worry registration will stifle the free flowing forum about current events.

Is posting songs as a comment a copyright violation?

Bill Kristol's belief and call for using mass lethal force to enforce dominance on a country that has not demonstrated any explicit aggression or has been a stable limited democracy is beyond scary, especially for a citizen. To think anyone would call for starting a war for no good reason when reaching out and making inconsequential concessions could accomplish so much more. Kristol's argument only requires a simple rebuttal pointing out Iran's post revolutionary history of non-aggression, democratic elections, desire for more trade, and more security, which if accommodated will relieve some of the oil supply. That Kristol is an opinion maker and Iran a nemesis is what is wrong with the media message the American people are receiving.

Posted by: Hostile on August 14, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas1, above, already established the US embassy in Iran was staffed with CIA and military operatives. I am certain they were interfering with the selfdetermination and internal affairs of the society in the throes of revolutionary change. Holding some hostages for a year's time has to be considered the most humanitarian reaction of revolutionary radicals in the Twentieth Century. Remember when the US shot down that Iranian airliner and killed over 300 people during the first Gulf War? Iran's reaction was not militant in any way. We, US citizens, can learn from that, but instead we listen intently as our government and opinion makers try to paint Iran as a mass murdering threat and weigh their words carefully. It is really scary that we could go to war over a country that has acted so civilly.

Posted by: Hostile on August 14, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile:

In general agreement with your views about Iran. The only thing I'll note is that Ahmadinejad *is* something of a religious fruitcake; there's a famous quote from him about his speaking in front of the UN. He said that he saw a holy light rising around him, and that he was speaking in the voice of the Prophet or somesuch. Really wacky stuff.

Also, he's reputed to follow a splinter sect of Shi'ism that believes in creating world chaos in order to usher in the Hidden Imam, or Shi'ite Messiah. The sect is so out-there that Khomenei banned it shortly after the Revolution. Don't know how accurate that is, but I have read it several places.

And, he *has* said some pretty damned beligerent things about Israel -- although we should take Iranian rhetoric (as we should take Arabic rhetoric) with a grain of salt. There's a long tradition of hyperbole and poetic speech in Mideast political rhetoric.

I personally think Iran is a great nation and will evolve its way out of mullah rule in due time. There's an immense youth cohort born after the Iran/Iraq war that's very Western-leaning (you hear less anti-American rhetoric in Terhan than in most Muslim capitals) and who despises the mullahs and religious police. My strongest regret with Bush is that his "axis of evil" rhetoric is setting this process back years, when we should be doing all we can to foster it.

Oh and about registration? I don't see how it could stifle the free flow of ideas unless Kevin decided to start arbitrarily banning people, and that's just somthing I can't see Kevin Drum doing.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 15, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

'Holding some hostages for a year's time has to be considered the most humanitarian reaction of revolutionary radicals in the Twentieth Century.'

Hostile, I agree. And the rest of your post is eloquent too. I just finished reading Ahmadinejab's first blog entry. It's really hard to attune myself to an 'Islamic' republic, but it's interesting to see where he's coming from.
He went from life under the Shah to the Revolution to the Iran/Iraq War. Several mentions of 'The Great Satan,' unfortunately us.

Posted by: nepeta on August 15, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

So Mike K, what's your plan? Don't just whine and complain about twenty six years ago --- do you have some plan about what to do about Iran? Because, as the conservative line has established, unless you have your own plan you can't be taken seriously.

Posted by: Stefan on August 15, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, Have you read Sy Hersh's most recent article on the neocon push for war with Iran before Bush's term ends? It's hard to believe that the US has the resources to pull this one off while remaining in Iraq, but if it's only an air attack it might be possible. I'm worried. I still tend to think that Israel's war on Hezbollah was meant as a prelude to Iran, something else Hersh discusses. Also, lots of reporting in Arab media about 'strange' weapons used by Israel in the Lebanese offensive. Scary.

Posted by: nepeta on August 15, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, Hostile, not only is every US embassy worldwide staffed with CIA and military operatives, the same can be said for the embassies of every country in the world. By long international custom, the embassy staff is assumed to include spies, both open and covert. That is why there is such a thing as diplomatic immunity. When a host country thinks that all or part of an embassy staff has abused their status, the proper thing to do is to declare them to be persona non grata and tell them to go home. Sometimes the offending country retaliates by declaring some personnel from the first country's embassy to be personna non grata, as well. They are not taken hostage.

And perhaps the Iranians did not act aggressively after the aircraft shootdown because we were clearly aghast at our mistake and apologized profusely. This despite the fact that we were engaged against Iranian mines and gunboats in the Hormuz Straits at the time. It was in 1988, three years before the Gulf War.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 15, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

I shouldn't have said Arab media. Lebanese media. Supposedly they're calling for a UN investigation.

Posted by: nepeta on August 15, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

No, I've been putting off reading the Hersh article; I know I should. I've heard about its thesis here, and I'm really not surpised in the least.

But at the same time -- I just can't imagine how we could get away with whacking Iran without paying a severe price -- either in Iraq, at the pumps or both.

Of course, getting into another little overseas adventure during an election season would doubtless be considered a gift from heaven by the GOP. Stay the course and all that rotgut.

Trashhauler -- what's your read on a possible Iranian strike?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 15, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Diplomatic efforts could only work if there is a definite "stick" to be used if the "carrot" isn't taken. That takes REAL political will to sincerely mean what is said (something that seems to be in short supply within the world community), and then, if very specific force is to be documented in the form of a strong UN resolution, there is the very real issue of ever getting countries like France and Russia to commit to such intent (let alone allowing it to come to action), due to their Iranian interests.

Posted by: Craig on August 15, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

One of the rules for negotiating successfully, apparently forgotten in the current environment, is that you to have to respect the people you're negotiating with. You have to understand their position and how it corresponds to what you want. Our government has apparently forgotten this and considers negotiating a sissie thing to do. Attacking the party they may end up negotiating with is their only tactic. This is true with Hezbolla, with North Korea and with Iran. So there really can be no negotiating with any of these. By the way, force hasn't worked but that message hasn't penetrated the skulls of Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld. It probably never will.

Posted by: OCPatriot on August 15, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Bob wrote:

"Trashhauler -- what's your read on a possible Iranian strike?"
_____________

Bob, there are several things to consider re striking Iran:

Unlike Iraq, where we had ample casus belli (even without WMD), Iran has not committed an overt act against us for some time. We suspect with near certainty that they have been acting covertly against us, but that's nothing new.

Besides, not that we couldn't give Iran a hell of a whack, but the bombing campaign required to take out their numerous, hardened nuke sites would involve lots and lots of collateral damage. Nobody really wants that.

There is no predicate act to justify striking Iran. Despite their inflammatory rhetoric and apparent desire to build nukes, we cannot attack them without sufficient justification, which is why the Bush Administration has relied so much on negotiation, chiefly through allies. These negotiations are unlikely to bear fruit because we and our allies really have little to offer Iran that they really need.

Still, despite what some neocons are suggesting, we are unlikely to hit Iran without support from the international community, meaning the UN, in unambiguous terms, such as a Security Council declaration to cease their nuclear weapons program or suffer military action. Such a UN declaration is very unlikely, so long as there is any doubt at all about Iranian intentions.

Even with strong UN support, the US doesn't need the fallout of a strike against Iran and the Bush Administration knows that. Nor do we need the distraction, which is why all of the suggestions for hitting Iran have been coming from non-governmental sources.

My sense is that the operating premise is this: Although we don't really want to hit Iran, the Administration wouldn't mind if Iran thinks we might. Diplomacy always works better with a strong suggestion of forceful options behind it. So, they'll let others urge us to strike, while we urge the international community to convince Iran to behave.

Bottomline, probably nothing much will happen during this Administration.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 15, 2006 at 5:32 AM | PERMALINK

We're discussing this because it's called "lobbying." My intent is to marshall support for registration; the majority of comments about this issue are clearly pro-registration, although of course there are a few folks like yourself who express reservations.

The ease-of-ban issue is only a concern if you're dealing with a (sheesh, what would you call Kevin -- blog admin?) who has heavy-handed tendencies.

Kevin has amply demonstrated that he's neither a control freak overly concerned with decorum nor somebody who'd want to put himself in the role of nanny. And gosh, can you blame him?

So while your points have a generic validity, I don't think they hold quite true in this case. I, for one, would certainly trust Kevin to be a fair arbiter of who does and who doesn't get banned.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 14, 2006 at 8:34 PM


This would imply that you have been playing both roles of poster and clone arguing with yourself to effect change on this blog. How many threads have you ruined ?

Posted by: vampire77666 on August 15, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Jeff1 wrote: "Who, pray tell, were these long departed souls?"

Ron, Sebastian Holsclaw, reg, John Cole -- just to name a few examples off the top of my head. There were others, as well, a year or more ago. Two of those have gone on to write their own blogs; I suspect some of the others did, as well. Others departed to more "friendly" territory (e.g., redstate.org, etc.). And still others were driven away by the trolls and by the reactions to those trolls.

Bob wrote: "Despite all its current flaws, it's still one of the less toxic venues for these kinds of discussions out there"

We're going to have to disagree on this point, as well, Bob. I just don't think this is the case any longer. Human nature being what it is, the commenters here simply cannot resist responding to the trolls and idiots, which means that the discourse is dominated by people like American Hawk, GOP, ex-liberal, Al, Thomas1, Chuckles, and their ilk, not one of whom has anything intelligent to say.

Mike wrote: "even Charlie who was once limited to two comments per thread. [You see how long that lasted]."

It was four comments per thread and it was a self-imposed "restriction" that he broke within a day or two of imposing it on himself. Chuckles was a drama queen from the very beginning.

OBF wrote: "Well, the only thing I've ever seen Kevin censor is when someone's blatantly violating copyright by reproducing articles in their entirety in the forum."

Not quite. There was a brief time when Norman Rogers was being a real pain in the ass, spamming every thread with his usual "moron" posts, and Kevin actually did act to temporarily ban him and remove his posts. It worked, too, at least for a time. Norman disappeared for several months and has had a much lower profile since then, only reappearing every now and then.

Posted by: PaulB on August 15, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, my plan on Iran is to work to destabilize the regime. That would include lots of Farsi broadcasting and Special Forces operating inside the country assisting student groups who are trying to overthrow the regime. In Iran, unlike Iraq, I think they have a pretty good chance. So far, the regime has been making them disappear. I've been reading English Iranian blogs for years. How about you ?

If you object to the use of Special Forces inside the country, I might tell you that my brother-in-law, who flew F 18s in the 1991 Gulf War, was told that, if he was shot down in Baghdad, not to fight the guys grabbing him on the ground because they would almost certainly be our Special Forces guys who were in Baghdad all through the war.

I think the Iranians can do this. I didn't think the Iraqis could, especially after Bush left the Shia to be massacred in 1992.

For someone who has read a lot about the 1930s but doesn't remember it, I have often wondered how could people have been so blind to the dangers of appeasement. Now, lots of us are seeing it in action. I reread Manchester's second volume of his Churchill biography last spring. It is amazing to see history repeat itself.

Posted by: Mike K on August 15, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Kristol mentioned the term "Bugs Bunny Democrats" in a recent column. I suppose we should credit him and his W. Standard cohorts for creating the Elmer Fud Doctrine: lots of ineffective violence that invariably blows up in your own face.

Posted by: tom on August 15, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK
Uh, Hostile, not only is every US embassy worldwide staffed with CIA and military operatives, the same can be said for the embassies of every country in the world.

Well, at least the CIA tries to make it that way. ;)

Posted by: cmdicely on August 15, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

For someone who has read a lot about the 1930s but doesn't remember it, I have often wondered how could people have been so blind to the dangers of appeasement. Now, lots of us are seeing it in action. I reread Manchester's second volume of his Churchill biography last spring. It is amazing to see history repeat itself.
Posted by: Mike K on August 15, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Riiiiight. I just finished The Gathering Storm and Their Finest Hour myself and I think you are seeing Munich's behind every corner and under every carpet.
Iraq reminds me of Gallipoli, a beautiful idea that failed utterly in its execution because it was based on utterly false premises, namely the weakness of the Turkish army in the dardanelles. Turned out the intelligence was faulty - sound familiar?

With the end of the Israel's Lebannese adventure I think all Westerners must ask ourselves if we are willing to engage in Total War to stop regimes we don't trust from aquiring nuclear capability. Because anything less than Total War is not going to cut it.

Frankly I don't see how it can work. Despite all the bloodletting between the Axis and the Allies in WWII, the peoples in that conflagaration belonged to the same larger Christian civilization. So there was a common ground to work with after the War.
Not so Iran, not so Iraq, not so the muslim world. There is no basis for a Christian culture to conquer and then guide a muslim power to better governance.

So what does that leave? I think we are back to what we had with the Soviets in the cold war: mutually assured destruction. A promise by the United States to the newly nuclear that any attack on American soil will be met with anahilation, regardless if the state in question launched the attack or a terrorist group aquired material from that state. With Nuclear weapons comes a higher level of responsibility and if a nation is not up to it, they shouldn't be playing on that field. This is why I think that one day Pakistan will be a nuclear wasteland. In fact, based on the quality of its political stability, I would say that Iran is a safer bet than Pakistan because Iran has better administration and controls. They may hate us but they are competent. I am not so sure about Pakistan and its military.

Posted by: Nemesis on August 15, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Nemesis, you haven't been reading about Ahmadinejad's conviction that creating violence will bring the 12th imam back. He is nuttier than Hitler. And he is playing a similar game to Hitler's by outwitting others who support him expecting to control him. Think of Hitler with billions in oil reserves and a nuclear weapon. Ahmadinejad doesn't have the German army but he doesn't need it. He will act through cutouts like Hezbollah and appeasers like you will oppose any effort to deal forcefully with him. Bush gave Olmert the time and cover to root out Hezbollah and Olmert gave us a "Bugs Bunny" version of Israeli action.

I was smoking cigars with two retired fighter pilots Sunday night and we all agreed the Big War is coming. The question is when and whether the left will figure out which side they are on.

Here is the sort of wisdom so lacking in many quarters right now.

Posted by: Mike K on August 15, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt I like Ahmadinejad. I am uncertain because I really do not know that what is attributed to him is what he said. I do not speak Farsi but I will not believe what the US government or the mainstream media says he says. Ahmadinejad is a politician, so I expect him to use politics to advance his power. His statements calling for the end of Israel are troubling, but they are not official policy statements of Iran, and may not have even been said they way the neo-cons interpret them.

Iran does not have a military industrial complex capable of waging war like Nazi Germany. The analogy of European appeasement is not supportive of the argument that we need to eliminate a nation that has not exhibited any militant belligerence in thirty years.

Bush says a lot of nutty things and he represents us. Let us work to eliminate his power before we try to eliminate another country's democratically elected leader.

Posted by: Hostile on August 15, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Another appeaser. You don't think Hezbollah is Iran's proxy. Here is an alterative view from a leftist who used to excoriate us but now seems to see the real enemy.

Posted by: Mike K on August 15, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Think of [Ahmadinejad as] Hitler with billions in oil reserves and a nuclear weapon.

The talking pt that Saddam is Hitler appears to no longer be operative. After Ahmadinejad, I suppose that Chavez will be Hitler, and then we'll just keep going through OPEC nations til there are no more Hitlers....

Hard to keep up with wingnut villian fantasies.

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hezbollah is a nationalist organization, representng the largest religious and poorest group of people in Lebanon, the Shi'a, who have been historically oppressed by the political power of wealthier Sunnis and Christians. Self determination of the Lebanese Shi'a is not an existential threat to any nation in the West, nor Israel.

Also, your link is nonfunctional.

Posted by: Hostile on August 15, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt I like Ahmadinejad. I am uncertain because I really do not know that what is attributed to him is what he said. I do not speak Farsi but I will not believe what the US government or the mainstream media says he says.

Smart man. Eg, the meme that Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust never happened was a blatant mistranslation that was never corrected in the MSM in the US or in Europe. (Google up his speech and check this for yourself.) Not unsimilar to the blatant mistranslation of Chavez's comments last Xmas to make him sound anti-semetic.

There are powerful forces jonesing for Iranian (and Venzuelan) oil, and the first step in any compaign to control resources is to demonize the enemy. And if there is one demonization which is virtually push-back proof, it is charges of anti-semetism.

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, Disputo.

Posted by: Hostile on August 15, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK


mike k: Bush gave Olmert the time and cover to root out Hezbollah and Olmert gave us a "Bugs Bunny" version of Israeli action.

..heck of a job...

so bush's biggest problem is he is surrounded by incompetents?

lol

Posted by: thissapceavailable on August 15, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

vampire77666:

>> So while your points have a generic validity, I don't think they
>> hold quite true in this case. I, for one, would certainly trust
>> Kevin to be a fair arbiter of who does and who doesn't get banned.

> This would imply that you have been playing both roles of poster
> and clone arguing with yourself to effect change on this blog.

"Imply." Heh. I like that. I'd suggest you get busy; there are
a lot of social scientists out there just waiting to hear the news
of your amazing discovery that correlation proves causation :)

> How many threads have you ruined ?

Every one I'm ever on. Why just ask shortstop :(

PaulB:

> Bob wrote: "Despite all its current flaws, it's still one of
> the less toxic venues for these kinds of discussions out there"

> We're going to have to disagree on this point, as well, Bob. I just
> don't think this is the case any longer. Human nature being what
> it is, the commenters here simply cannot resist responding to the
> trolls and idiots, which means that the discourse is dominated by
> people like American Hawk, GOP, ex-liberal, Al, Thomas1, Chuckles,
> and their ilk, not one of whom has anything intelligent to say.

Well I have to disagree with this rather strenuously, and on several
different levels. First, Paul, be honest with yourself: You're being
kind of hypocritical, as you're a champeen troll-baiter yourself. In
fact, there are a handful of lefty posters who despite the fact that I
strongly agree with them on issues, I can't read anymore because their
point-by-point exchanges so drip with repetitive, pompous ad-hominem.

If you're going to thwack trolls -- less is often more. If you're
responding to someone who you know isn't going to debate fairly --
then bust their balls, don't try to defeat them with facts or logic :)

Second of all, trolls aren't the problem -- assholes are. Debating
with trolls animates this place and keeps our minds sharp, whether
or not they respond thoughtfully. And there are a bunch of good
commenters (like OBF) we'd probably lose without trolls, because they
enjoy the cathartic value of a good troll-thwacking. Putting names
and rhetorical styles to GOP talking points is a salient thing for
for the left, because the very essence of politics is sharp debate.

One thing I fervently oppose is dKos's preferred answer to the
trolling problem, which is user ratings. While that instantly puts
the Scarlet Letter on any attempt at trolling, it also creates a
strong incentive for people to gain approval by writing posts within
the strike zone of dKos conventional wisdom. If there's any truth
at all to the usual grousings about dKos that it's a hermetically
sealed lefty clubhouse -- the rating system surely helps foster it.

Nemesis:

Excellent post.

Mike K:

> I was smoking cigars with two retired fighter pilots
> Sunday night and we all agreed the Big War is coming.

And the image that evokes kind of says it all ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 16, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

trashhauler:

> Bob, there are several things to consider re striking Iran:

> Unlike Iraq, where we had ample casus belli (even without WMD),

Well, we disagree rather strongly here, though I've read your
comments elsewhere and am of course familiar with the arguments.
There's nothing -- absolutely nothing -- about containment,
sanctions and weapons inspections that couldn't have been
effectively prosecuted at a fraction of the cost of the Iraq
war and with the added bonus of full international support.

Without a hyped case for a WMD threat, there would never have
been an Iraq invasion, as all the other arguments could apply to
numerous odious dictators and security threats around the world.

> Iran has not committed an overt act against us for some time.
> We suspect with near certainty that they have been acting
> covertly against us, but that's nothing new.

*nod*

> Besides, not that we couldn't give Iran a hell of a whack,
> but the bombing campaign required to take out their numerous,
> hardened nuke sites would involve lots and lots of collateral
> damage. Nobody really wants that.

And that collateral damage would only serve -- just as it has done
in Lebanon -- to strengthen the regime in Iran at the expense of
indigenous pressures for reform. One of the great tragedies in
our relationship with Iran is that the mullahs' days are numbered
regardless of what we do, because of a great demographic shift of
power to the baby boomers born after the Iran/Iraq war. They've
grown up under the Islamic Revolution and for the most part depsise
it. But just as we have done with our ill-conceived Cuban blockade,
our "axis of evil" rhetoric and attempts to isolate Iran serves both
to unite the country behind hard-liners like Ahmadinejad and allows
these hard-liners to blame troubles on meddling by the Great Satan.

> There is no predicate act to justify striking Iran. Despite their
> inflammatory rhetoric and apparent desire to build nukes, we cannot
> attack them without sufficient justification, which is why the Bush
> Administration has relied so much on negotiation, chiefly through
> allies. These negotiations are unlikely to bear fruit because we and
> our allies really have little to offer Iran that they really need.

True. There's also a genuine ambiguity about their nuclear ambitions.
While it's wise to doubt the face value of Khamanei's insistence that
nuclear weapons are anti-Islamic, we don't have any but inferential
evidence that their centrifuge prorgram will be used to make weapons.

> Still, despite what some neocons are suggesting, we are unlikely
> to hit Iran without support from the international community,
> meaning the UN, in unambiguous terms, such as a Security Council
> declaration to cease their nuclear weapons program or suffer
> military action. Such a UN declaration is very unlikely, so
> long as there is any doubt at all about Iranian intentions.

*nod*

> Even with strong UN support, the US doesn't need the fallout of
> a strike against Iran and the Bush Administration knows that. Nor
> do we need the distraction, which is why all of the suggestions
> for hitting Iran have been coming from non-governmental sources.

Well, also Sy Hersh's sources from within the intelligence community.

I really do need to check out that New Yorker article ...

> My sense is that the operating premise is this: Although
> we don't really want to hit Iran, the Administration wouldn't
> mind if Iran thinks we might. Diplomacy always works better
> with a strong suggestion of forceful options behind it. So,
> they'll let others urge us to strike, while we urge the
> international community to convince Iran to behave.

Ahhh ... the "madman theory." That's actually plausible, come to
think of it. Like the leak to the British press at the beginning
of the year about an Israeli airstrike plan. Bark rather than bite,
to keep the Iranians guessing our true intentions. Problem is ...
it only serves to allow the regime to dig in its heels in the face
of military threats. The Iranians may well choose to play this
off its traditional allies France, Russia and China for sympathy.

Although truthfully, I'm just thinking off the top of my head here.

> Bottomline, probably nothing much will
> happen during this Administration.

I'm certainly crossing my fingers ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 16, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

It's amazing how people learn only from WWII and not from WWI. WWI was a preventive war (from the viewpoint of Germany and Austro-Hungaria), and a disaster.

There was no Hitler or Holocaust back then and it still managed to kill 10 million people.

Beware of war-mongers because they look only on the wars they like.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson on August 16, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Many of Ahmadinejads interviews, speeches, and letters have been collected at http://presidentahmadinejad.blogspot.com

Posted by: Al S. E. on August 16, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and bombing Iran at this point would be wrong.

I think Europe should apologize for being so silent about the Lebanon war. It may have given the Bush administration the impression nobody will even say anything if they bomb or otherwise attack Iran.

Posted by: Bengt Larsson on August 17, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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