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Tilting at Windmills

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August 18, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FEAR MONGERING....The Republican campaign message this year is an unsubtle one: If you vote for Democrats, terrorists will kill you. John Dickerson argues today that Dems should fight fire with fire:

Here's my advice: The Democrats should embrace fear-mongering more passionately.

....The question the Democrats should be asking is whether Bush's policies are inspiring the people who want to kill us....This question derives from a central one that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked in his famous October 2003 memo: "Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?" In the short term, the answer seems to be no.

....My fear is that Democrats won't have the guts to fight fear with fear, perhaps because they don't want to be accused of being politically craven on an issue where they are weak....Still, if Democrats don't aggressively ask whether the Republican policies are inspiring a greater number of people to devote their lives to killing Americans than would otherwise be the case, we'll miss a chance to have the kind of messy, realism-filled public debate we somehow continue to skirt. Democrats should stretch beyond the bumper sticker and ask the really scary questions.

I think Dickerson is proposing the right question. The big problem with the militarism inherent in the Bush Doctrine is that even if it does manage to kill off a bunch of terrorists and disrupt al-Qaeda's current operations itself a debatable proposition it's still a bad strategy because in the long run it encourages jihadist sympathies and creates far more new terrorists than the ones we kill off today. As with George Bush's domestic policy, it creates the illusion of present-day action at the expense of long-term disaster.

But I'm still not sure Dickerson's advice is good. People who are scared want action right now, which means that a strategy of fear-mongering is simply not compatible with the long-term policy of tactical restraint, counterinsurgency, and economic engagement that Democrats need to be selling. Dickerson is right that fear-mongering helped John F. Kennedy win election in 1960, but it also contributed to the hysterical atmosphere that helped bring us the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, and finally the Vietnam backlash. In the long run, did that help either the country or the Democratic Party?

That's an extremely arguable point. But I'd like to hear those arguments before I buy into fear-mongering as a 2006 campaign strategy.

Kevin Drum 7:23 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (226)

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Comments

Wrong again, Kevin. Jon Benet was killed by a liberal schoolteacher that votes Democrat. Wait, what is this thread about....?

Posted by: Al on August 18, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Al, the medicine only works when you take it, and obviously you've been skipping your meds.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on August 18, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Dickerson is half-right (or at least, half-right in what you quoted) -- and you are wildly wrong: Kennedy's success didn't give us the Bay of Pigs, because that was an Eisenhower initiative that Kennedy couldn't kill. That failure partly gave us the Cuban Missile Crisis -- not the strength JFK conveyed in 1960.

And Vietnam? That dog don't hunt this game.

Bush's national security record STINKS. Enough with the Woody Allen routine to dance around that fact, asking 'who are we to say so?'

The DNC should run ads with Rumsfeld's face, that quote, and the headlines from Iraq, the pix from Baghdad... and a tagline: Americans know the answer.

And so do Democrats.

Posted by: theAmericanist on August 18, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

People who are scared want action right now, which means that a strategy of fear-mongering is simply not compatible with the long-term policy of tactical restraint, counterinsurgency, and economic engagement that Democrats need to be selling.

Which is why we should be telling America that we want to do something right now. There are all sorts of things we can be doing right now that will make us safer, and that don't involve spreading ill will worldwide. Dems shouldn't preach restraint; they should preach action in different areas.

Posted by: dj moonbat on August 18, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

People who are scared want action right now...

They're expecting the party out of power to take action right now to lessen their fears, while the party in charge keeps making things worse, thereby making any proposed plan obsolete before it could be implemented?

Posted by: Nemo on August 18, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

I wish people looked at Bush's and GOP's record rather than listen to their campaign ads before making decisions. I don't get the "Democrats are weak on security" nonsense. Ignore that broken frame and ask Repubs to show us what they did. Start with "why did you ignore warnings before 9/11?" A team that let 9/11 happen can't be trusted with anything. Period.

Posted by: bt on August 18, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you really are too rational. If people want action right now then that plays right into Dickerson's theme. After all, one thing we can do right now is stop encouraging people to want to become terrorists. One thing we can do right now is ask if this war is actually productive, and if so, one other thing we can do right now is raise the money to pay for it.

I suspect that if asked to actually increase their taxes to pay for war and port security and cameras up the backsides of all brown people, many of these screaming conservaloonies will lose interest. Which is another benefit of having this out now.

Plus, as you've said many times, the meta-message of the Dems continuing to fight shy of this issue (or any other) is that they are weak-kneed pansies. Better to get it all out in the open now. My suspicion is that "strong and wrong" is always going to be a good strategy, so the only thing we can beat it with is "strong and right". If only that rhymed...

Posted by: craigie on August 18, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

My suspicion is that "strong and wrong" is always going to be a good strategy, so the only thing we can beat it with is "strong and right". If only that rhymed...

Right makes might?

Posted by: dj moonbat on August 18, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, NASA on Friday picked two companies -- both recovering from different failures -- to develop a new commercial spaceship that would eventually resupply the international space station. Neither of the companies uses rotary rocket technology in its designs.

Posted by: notBrosz on August 18, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

...people who are scared want action right now, which means that a strategy of fear-mongering is simply not compatible with the long-term policy of tactical restraint, counterinsurgency, and economic engagement that Democrats need to be selling.

Yeah.

Especially when we've already headed down the "let's kill all the brown people now!" path. It will take decades of a new, enlightened policy, before this stuff even starts to work. It didn't have to be that way.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 18, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, notBrosz, that would be totally cool, if only there was some way to actually read that interdicted Salon article.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on August 18, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem with that strategy is that 1)intelligent people already realize that Bush's policies are terrific recruiting tools for terrorists, and 2) unitelligent people (or as I like to call them "Republicans") think that ALL brown people already want to kill us. This strategy assumes there are voters that can be had who don't believe that all Muslims are terrorists. I'm not sure that's true.

Posted by: Vladi G on August 18, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

It is not "fear mongering" it is appropriate alertness. If you can't understand that from the start, your campaign is unlikely to be successful.

Do more enemies enlist in the fight against us when some enemies succeed or when they are defeated? I don't know for certain, but it is certain that a lot of our enemies have their own motives and initiatives, not in reactance to particular policies of ours.

Posted by: republicrat on August 18, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure what it would take, or how many election cycles, to get some serious debate on why, exactly, we need a foreign policy and "defense" budget based upon being the world's police force.

Other countries, big and small, friend or even competitor (Switzerland, China?) seem to get along nicely tending to their own interests.

And for those who claim that some countries get away with limited military spending because we defend them, I would say, defend them from what? The Soviet Union went under quite a while ago, and recently our track record in what we actully get for all this military spending and blatant adventurism is not so good.

How about it?

Posted by: hank on August 18, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK


I'd just settle for a strategy period--one set forth by knowledgeable adults with common sense who have the best interests of the public at heart and who are smart enough to call on experts regardless of political affiliation.

Meanwhile, I am renewing my passport.

Posted by: gregg on August 18, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

"The Republicans should be very careful in trying to play politics with this London airport thing, because they're going to have a hard time with the facts," Clinton said in an interview.

"I don't think the foiling of that London bomb plot has any bearing on our Iraq policy,"

I'd say the Big Dog has it about right.

Posted by: J Bean on August 18, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Asking if Bush is inspiring terrorists is a bit indirect. I'd love to see a Democrat comes out and say it directly: George Bush's record on fighting terrorism is abysmal, by far the worst of any president. It's as bad as any other aspect of his administration.

He didn't lift a finger to prevent 9/11, he spent the actual day of 9/11 in hiding, and he's never caught the perpetrator of 9/11, and has seemingly lost all interest in doing so. There's never been an arrest in the anthrax case. While the British are arresting people who at least appear to want to engage in terrorism, we're busy fighting a whole war against people who never posed a threat to America.

Five years after 9/11, not a single terrorist has been convicted of anything, and not a single significant plot has been thwarted. How could Bush have possibly done worse?

Posted by: Boots Day on August 18, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Appeals to fear inevitably lead to demonization. At least in the early going, Bush tried [perhaps on the advice of Grover] to distinguish between "good" and "bad" Muslims, but his dualistic rhetoric of "good" us versus "bad" them always overrode that. You can't stir fear of an Other in people and then ask them to make nice with those Others to keep them from hating you; every talk-show host in America will have a field day mocking such limp-wristed touchy-feely stuff. Bad people are Bad People, they'll say, and the only way to deal with them is to zap them before they zap us. As Heather Hurlburt said several days ago on DemocracyArsenal, an appeal to fear is Karl Rove's playbook. Fear always works for the right; and if you try to stir it up, it'll just save them the trouble and money it takes to stir it up themselves. This is so because there's no necessary link between the emotional response you're eliciting and the policies you're advocating. The emotional response is to kick in the adrenalin, not to think things through.

Posted by: David on August 18, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm conflicted on this one. On one hand I think you should never stoop to the other person's level so to speak even if the other person is playing dirrrrty. I mean the US government is becoming more and more like the terrorists with bushco in charge and that's exactly what the terrorists want. Why don't others see? On the other hand, you sometimes do have to dish it back if its the only way. I want to have faith that there are enough smart people out there to sift through the bullshit but then again I remember this is America and there are alot of stupid people here. Alot of people who are to concerned with American Idol than paying attention to what is happening in the world and our country. People who can't decipher the bullshit. Does America have more "smart" people than "stupid"? I'm not sure anymore.

Posted by: dee on August 18, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

How about just fighting fear with competence? I hate to repeat myself, but the central problem Democrats have is their failure to refute the GOP fiction that invading Iraq was in some way a logical response to 9/11, rather than an almost criminal avoidance of that response.

Let's recap: Fueled by anger at the large US military presence in Saudi Arabia, Islamic fundamentalist Saudis (and a few from Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE) living inside the US on student visas and similar documents, commandeer airplanes using boxcutters and fly them into buildings.

The GOP response?

1. Let the 9/11 mastermind escape Tora Bora (current status: at large in Waziristan, filming Republican campaign commercials).

2. Focus more on pie-in-the-sky missile defense boondoggles than on practical domestic aviation, port, and industrial security.

3. Invade a secularist state with no connection to the attacks. Devote more attention and resources to Baghdad than New Orleans, and still manage to fuck things up just as royally. Mortgage the farm to China, India et. al. to pay for it all so millionaire "1%-er" constitutents can enjoy their tax break while we cut the VA budget.

4. Pull troops from Saudi Arabia (I believe that's pronounced "appeasement") and set up our base of operations in Iraq--permanently.

5. Commit our military to an indefinite occupation that's killed 2600 US solidiers and wounded ~10,000 (so far) and given Iraqis a sectarian civil war producing a new 9/11 each month. Our soldiers won their war 3 years ago, did everything we asked of them, and their reward is babysitting a sectarian crossfire as a perpetuial occupation army. Another year, another stop-loss order, another plastic turkey for a Thanksgiving away from home.

6. Abrogate large portions of the Constitution and international war-crimes treaties in order to eavesdrop, torture and detain without trial or counsel, when effective, legal remedies could've been applied.

7. Cynically claim almost any occurrence--from the perceived absence of terror plots or attacks, to the "capture" of some feckless bunch of boot-deprived militia-wannabes in Miami, to deadly terrorist bombings in Europe and Asia--as vindication of prevailing policies and a reason to "stay the course" indefinitely.

ON WHAT PLANET IS THIS "COMPETENCE"? Sure as hell ain't Earth. The Dems could improve things simply by aiming Bush's goddamn loose cannon at something other than our own feet.

Yes, I want a strong fire department. And when my house gets fire-bombed, I expect them to put out the fire and catch the creep who did it, not torch the house across the street for the arsonist's amusement and then dance around in the cinders like chest-beating baboons.

Posted by: Lionel Hutz, attorney-at-law on August 18, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever we do, we should not overanalyze the situation. What we do NOT need here is a professorial or ministerial or somesuch approach. If Republicans are using the "Democrats strenghthen terrorists" approach, we need to directly, strongly respond that the opposite is true. We know that. We know that in our head; we know that in our gut. To attempt to write a treatise or footnote the issue is to play to type, to look weak, to seem insipid, and to inspire non-confidence. If that is "fearmongering," so be it. To me, it is a forthright, muscular argument. Do not cede it...again.

Posted by: christine phillips on August 18, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Do more enemies enlist in the fight against us when some enemies succeed or when they are defeated? I don't know for certain, but it is certain that a lot of our enemies have their own motives and initiatives, not in reactance to particular policies of ours.
Posted by: republicrat

then shouldn't you be condemning those repubs who attempt the "vote dem and arabs will kill you" strategy?

Posted by: Nads on August 18, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

In the end it really doesn't matter whether a Republican or a Democrat wins in 2008, at least in terms of foreign policy. The neo-cons are as dead as their Iraq War. The only Republicans that can win in 2008 are Giuliani and McCain. Niether of them are good at all on domestic policies, so I'll vote against them, but niether of them is going to embroil us in another war like this ever again. In fact, I'd almost say Hillary would be MORE likely to do such a thing, because she has "something to prove".

The ground has shifted under the feet of the party labels. Get ready for a return of the typical boring diplomatic-internationalist vs. isolationist divide on foreign policy. The wicked witch is dead!

Posted by: kokblok on August 18, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum - It's 1972. The shrill and angry anti-war lefties have taken over the Demo party. They are running anti-war candidates. They think being anti-war and anti-Nixon will sweep them to electoral victory.

Imagine their shock when they woke up the morning after the '72 election and learned McGovern lost 49 states.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on August 18, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans should be very careful in trying to play politics with this London airport thing, because they're going to have a hard time with the facts," Clinton said in an interview.

Hey, the facts haven't stopped them before....

Posted by: Stefan on August 18, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth--
Boy that handle sure makes you seem like a reasonable fellow, doesn't it? Why a "shrill" or "angry" man would never do something like give himself a nickname associated with a crazy man who attempted to murder a famous hated so-called "liberal" figure, would he?

Naw...

Posted by: kokblok on August 18, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth--

Uh, we lost the Vietnam War, remember? And who lost it? Who pulled our troops out of Saigon? I'll give you a little hint: it wasn't an "angry", "shrill" leftist.

Posted by: kokblok on August 18, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Lionel Hutz: Yes, I want a strong fire department. And when my house gets fire-bombed, I expect them to put out the fire and catch the creep who did it, not torch the house across the street for the arsonist's amusement and then dance around in the cinders like chest-beating baboons.

I've read this several times now and every time I do I start laughing.

Or crying. It's so hard to tell these days....

Posted by: Stefan on August 18, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum - It's 1972. The shrill and angry anti-war lefties have taken over the Demo party. They are running anti-war candidates. They think being anti-war and anti-Nixon will sweep them to electoral victory.

Hey, I thought that Iraq was supposed to be nothing like Vietnam, that the proper comparison to our great and glorious adventure in Iraq was World War II, not that rather shameful war we lost.

But now, suddenly, comparisons to Vietnam are allowed again? Well alright!

Posted by: Stefan on August 18, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan--
Woo! Break out the LSD and the Janis Joplin!

Posted by: kokblok on August 18, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Boots Day nails it:

He didn't lift a finger to prevent 9/11, he spent the actual day of 9/11 in hiding, and he's never caught the perpetrator of 9/11, and has seemingly lost all interest in doing so. There's never been an arrest in the anthrax case...Five years after 9/11, not a single terrorist has been convicted of anything, and not a single significant plot has been thwarted.

Attack them for their failures. Simple, really.

Posted by: alex on August 18, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Oh my God! Democrats are going to point out Republicans' weakness? That's terrible. Don't they have their own plans and programs? And if they say bad things about Republicans, won't the Republicans kill us all liberals? I am so scared.

Posted by: nut on August 18, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bush must think we are a bunch of weenies. That turkey couldn't even protect NewOrleans after Katrina. He did a chicken little act on 911. We are supposed to depend on that idiot to protect us from terrereests? Are we men or are we wimps.

Posted by: bakho on August 18, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

This is a horrible strategy for the Dems, which will surely backfire. Instilling fear in the voters only helps the GOP.

Dems need to concentrate on instilling hope.

Posted by: Disputo on August 18, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

In the long run, we're all dead, Kevin.

Posted by: lambert strether on August 18, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are yelling fire in a crowded theatre, and the calm man trying to palliate the situation and tell everyone to please calm down is the first one trampled.

Pointing out the failures of these incompetent sons-of-bitches will probably be a better model for us to follow than fear-mongering. But nobody said anything about being nice about it.

Screw "nice." Nobody said we couldn't fight fire with fire on that level. Cut them off before they finish a sentence. Point out their flaws and failures with every breath. Preface every remark with the failures of 9/11, or Katrina, or the fact that ObL is still on the lose, or the shifting reasons for the mess in Mesopotamia. And last but not least, hammer endlessly at Cheney's secret energy task force and draw parallels with three dollar a gallon gasoline.

Oh, and that campaign add with Rumsfeld and that 2003 quote that someone mentioned upthread.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote:

"The big problem with the militarism inherent in the Bush Doctrine is that even if it does manage to kill off a bunch of terrorists and disrupt al-Qaeda's current operations itself a debatable proposition it's still a bad strategy because in the long run it encourages jihadist sympathies and creates far more new terrorists than the ones we kill off today."
_______________

But of course, that remains a theory and does not have any quantifiable facts to back it up. We are facing sizable numbers of enemies in Iraq, but relatively few are from outside. No one knows if the current widespread enthusiasm for jihad will continue or run its course. And, taken in toto, those involved in terrorist attacks around the world don't seem to be very numerous. We actually don't know how their numbers have changed.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 18, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Fear is the only way the Republicans have been able to maintain control and the only way to wrest it away from them. Dickerson is right.

The important distinction is that the fear used by the Republicans has been from the start an IRRATIONAL fear. Fear of WMD, Iraq, Hussein, the ubiquitous nondescript "enemy" that bush and cheney are so fond of spooking people with.

In contrast fear of the Republican policies that increase terrorists exponentially by the minute is a very real fear and a very RATIONAL fear.

People who vote on fear are not going to be assuaged with some five point plan.

Posted by: Chrissy on August 18, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Oh well, as I read it has all been addressed, but heres my rant anyhow...

It's their damn message every year...some things never change, as this exploitation of fear. The Republican base seems to almost enjoy it, they must be a bunch of fear junkies, and if Osama don't get them...they are counting on Christ. A more disturbed group of folks out there I do not know, and the problem is they have really stepped out past their traditional bounds. It is long past time to get this bunch back under the lid where they belong. Certainly at the very least far awary from the reins of power.

Why in hell would anyone in their right mind want to jump on that whacked out Band-wagon of fear and distortion? I just do not see the point, it is way to systemic and deep with these people, and it is really a certain delusion this group has, cult like. I have tried to discuss, debate, and find common ground with many Bush followers. But it never fails, about half way through the conversation you are wondering why you are even talking to this individual (I have finished a few "normal" conversations with Bushies, but they have been few and far between).

Yeah, we need to talk about terror and poor foreign policy and get the facts out on how this administrations policies and behavior have increased the levels of hatred for Americans and the probability of future terrorism on our shores. Not to mention we have put off nearly all of our traditional allies, we have become the new world thug. We even have our own Gulags now, my how we have regressed so nicely.

Democrats have plenty of straight up data they could be presenting, and it is only going to get through to the reality based individuals, the rest run to Hannity, Rush, Glen Beck and the like to glean the twisted RNC talking points and their fix from the "Big Head".

You could not force feed the truth to the neo-con duped group, it is not part of their construct or belief system. I would not waste effort debating delusional right wing punditry, it is just not worth the time. No, there is no common ground with these people, at least not with me, I'm tired of talking with them.


Posted by: Ben Merc on August 18, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong again, Kevin. Jon Benet was killed by a liberal schoolteacher that votes Democrat. Wait, what is this thread about....?

Time to kick Al in the teeth. Political Ideology does not negate a persons actions. If this were true then all Republicans would be as Tim Mcveigh or the Koresh [Christian Gun Lord] guy from Waco.

AL is simply creating guilt by association, which is of course wrong because this man was demented long before he became a pedophile.

AL, your just another one of the Hermeneutic Hitler youth..Lets turn the tables on AL's group by association and PROVE that AL is a pedophile;

Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.

* Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

* Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

* Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.

* Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.

* Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.

* Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.

* Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.

* Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.

* Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

* Republican activist Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

* Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

* Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.

* Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.

* Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

* Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

* Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.

See AL I just proved you are a pedophile Republican.

Posted by: Trinary Suka on August 18, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yeh Great Kevin, buy into the governance by fear thing, and lets repeat the past again...

We have been ruled by fear for too long Kevin, DO NOT buy into this argument, it is wrong to lie and it is wrong to rule thru fear.

Stop the Insanity by not condoning it!

Posted by: Trinary Suka on August 18, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

* Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.

* Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

* Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

* Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.

See AL I just proved you are a pedophile Republican.

Damn Al, that guy, the Third Parrot, just made you look like a foolish group think idiot.
BTW what was AL saying?

hahhahahahaaaaaa..

Posted by: Magnetic Poet on August 18, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Kevin D. I love ya, but you can be such a ninny. Two realities are at play here and whether we like it or not, abiding by them is a key part of being successful.

1) Its playground rules, Bubba. If you are ID'ed as soft and continue to act soft, you become a punching bag and probably move on to become the bully's bitch. If you don't fight for what you beleive in like a demon fom hell, many American voters will not trust you to fight for them. It's a gun fighter mentality and head shots count.

2) In elections the messenger is more important than the message. JFK, Reagan, Bush in 2000 model this in spades. If we ever can find a candidate who exudes a cool confidence with a sense of Eastwood-esque danger, mixed with a winning smile when appropriate, we win. Look to American male arch-types. All other things being equal, that is what wins.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

The anti-war McGovernites took over the Democratic Party in 1972, and the Dems were set back for decades. If the KOS/Lamont/Michael Moore Crazies take over the Demo party, it will be another generation before anybody takes the Dems seriously.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on August 18, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

If we ever can find a candidate who exudes a cool confidence with a sense of Eastwood-esque danger, mixed with a winning smile when appropriate, we win.

I seem to remember a guy who resembled less Clint Eastwood than Barney the Dinosaur, and who won two terms recently. Much depends on the national mood. I'll give you the winning smile, though.

Posted by: brooksfoe on August 18, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a Green, I'm not a Democrat. But if I were a Democrat, I'd be agitatin' for my party to get going on the fear-mongering. Only not on the terrorism issue. Instead, I'd wanna see some fear-mongering over global warming. I'd, basically, want to see the the Democratic campaign slogan be: "Hot Enough For Ya?"

I think it could be politically potent, and it has the nice side benefit of being true.

Patrick Meighan
Venice, CA

Posted by: patrick Meighan on August 18, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

The anti-war McGovernites took over the Democratic Party.

D G Fraizier, that statement does not comport to the historical (or contemporary) record, but if it makes you feel better mindlessly spouting such tired imaginingsknock your socks off.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

August 15: the day the Dems finally - like a slug emerging from primordial ooze - grew a tiny little spine.

August 17: the day the Dems disappeared their own video in which they tried to portray themselves as able to protect the U.S.

If the Dems don't even have the balls to keep a video on Youtube, don't expect them to have the balls to protect the U.S., much less Pawtucket.

Related: Self-Appointed Latino Spokespeople Would Sacrifice National Security to Promote Illegal Immigration, Charges American Hispanic Group

Posted by: TLB on August 18, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

How about this for a message? Bush can't beat the terrorists because he doesn't understand the terrorists.

For example, we have just learned that the Army has dismissed a record number of soldiers this year because they're gay. It seems Bush and bin Laden have the same issue with people who are gay, that is they don't like them.

In fact if we really wanted to beat the Islamic fundamentalists, we'd have nothing but gays and women in our military. It's the two things Al Queda hates the most, and they're armed with the baddest weapons ever invented. I tell you, our all-gay and female fighting squads would end this thing in no time, and the best part would be the utter humiliation of bin Laden and all those neolithic-thinking fundamentalists. They just got their asses kicked by a bunch of queers and chicks. Absolutely priceless and thorougly discrediting to the whole fundamentalists movement.

The problem is of course that the same type of thinking that runs the Islamic fundamentalists fuels today's Republican Party. So tell me, who's really on the side of the terrorists?

Posted by: kidkostar on August 18, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Brooks....that was a different time, with different sensibilities. Plus, GHW Bush's less than competent campaigning, twelve years of repug POTI combined with Perot's meddling gave Bill an opening.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok wrote:

"Who pulled our troops out of Saigon? I'll give you a little hint: it wasn't an "angry", "shrill" leftist."
_____________

No, and it wasn't a war-mongering rightist, either. Our troops had been pulled out of Vietnam at least three years earlier. What happened in 1975 was that all those gentlemen and ladies who had been elected for their anti-war stances were not about to allow the President to honor the obligations of a treaty that might involve us in more fighting.

They made the same arguments that are made today - more fighting won't solve anything, the government we're propping up is useless, those people really don't want democracy, anyway. One can be excused, I hope, in wishing that we wouldn't see the day when we'd surrender our honor so easily again.

From a political point of view, the Democrats should realize that, if they succeed in getting us out of Iraq, people aren't going to thank them for it, no matter how relieved they are at the time. The much longer held image will be of America defeated again, thanks to the successful arguments of the anti-war types.

The facts that will be remembered are that our military was intact, that we continued to successfully engage the enemy, and that the issue was still in doubt. If we withdraw too early, opinions that we could never have won, that it was all useless, and that we shouldn't have been there in the first place will remain just that - opinions. And those holding them will not be thanked, even if they might have been right.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 18, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Hot Enough For Ya?"

That will win us about ten votes per state.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

And those holding them will not be thanked, even if they might have been right.

So Trash, you feel that we should have stayed and kicked more gook butt?

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

All we have to fear is ... fear itself.

Those who foster paranoia in order to profit from it are the lowest form of humanity. But then, that's the basis of advertising.

"If we ever can find a candidate who exudes a cool confidence with a sense of Eastwood-esque danger, mixed with a winning smile when appropriate, we win. Look to American male arch-types. All other things being equal, that is what wins."

Draft Chuck Hagel to head the Democratic ticket. Only chance to head off McCain.

Posted by: cdm on August 18, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Bill would tear GWB to shreds. He's a superior campaigner and a superior television personality, and he exudes alpha-maleness without the petty, bullying, resentful mean streak GWB can't help displaying. He seems to be utterly without insecurities, and he resembles Elvis mainly in the magnetic way his personality projects straight through the screen of the TV. He gives off the aura of a winner who doesn't rub it in.

This script is one that's been winning for the Democrats ever since FDR. (Substitute radio for TV obviously.) It's the sense of personal excellence combined with care and respect for those you're responsible for, and a complete absence of anxiety.

I think that even to mention "Eastwood", at least in the Dirty Harry, pre-"Mystic River" sense, is to invoke themes that win for Republicans, not for Democrats. The sense that the problems of the world are due primary to a lack of authoritarian order, and that vigilantes can unilaterally restore order by inflicting violence on whatever "bad guys" they come across, is a Republican trope. I don't think Democrats are likely to win inside that frame. Democrats who win do so with the strength of avuncular reassurance, like FDR, JFK and Clinton.

The comparable character on the horizon today is Barack. But others may make it there.

Posted by: brooksfoe on August 18, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Our government was created to protect people from people like Republicans.

Posted by: cld on August 18, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin--

Aren't you worried more about terrorists because of the hash Bush and team have made of foreign policy?

It's not fear-mongering to say they've made a hash of it and say how we're going to do better.

When Clinton said, It's the economy, stupid, he wasn't fearmongering about how horrible our economy was, just because he attacked Bush, Sr., on the economy.

Saying that your political opponents are bad and weak in a particular area isn't fearmongering.

Now if we want to make commercials showing the US blowing up with a voiceover saying "This is where Bush's policies are leading us" --- okay, that's fearmongering.

But if we talk about the things this administration has done wrong and failed to do and the rise of anti-American feeling --- "Are you better off now?" with some statistics --- that's not fearmongering. That's providing information to the voters that they need, instead of the namby pamby way Dems usually act as if their opponents are perfectly decent people who will do a perfectly decent job, just not as liberal a one.

Because, you know, that's just not true. And if we act as if it is, we're doing something a lot worse than this so-called fearmongering. If we won't speak out when bad people come to power, and act as if everything is all right when they break the law --- well, that's how people like Hitler got into office. The shocked and overly polite people on the left failed to stop him. And while I don't think Bush is much like Hitler, the Bush model shows that a Hitler-like individual could, in fact, come to power in the United States.

Posted by: catherineD on August 18, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think McCain might be his own worst enemy. Then there is a potential bout of McCain fatigue.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, cdm. I am a huge Hagel fan. If he runs, I will quit school, quit my job and spend my savings to work night and day for his election.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

"......You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis. And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not..."

John Kerry
December 05, 2005

"pretty monolith. . .They all behave the same. They all look the same. Its pretty much a white Christian party," that in itself may be a compliment to white Americans and Christian voters..."
"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people, Dean said Monday, responding to a question about diversity during a forum with minority leaders and journalists. Were more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are. But that's not enough. We do have to deliver on things: jobs and housing and business opportunities."

Howard Dean
Jun 20, 2005

In a Senate floor speech Tuesday, Durbin cited an FBI report describing Guantanamo Bay prisoners chained to the floor in the fetal position without food or water and sometimes in extreme temperatures.

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control," he said, "you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

Senator Dan Durbin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 17, 2005

I was wonderng if the Democrats would ever resort to playing the fear card. But you guys are above that, right?


Posted by: Jay on August 18, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Brooks, I fear you are putting too much emphasis on the Eastwood-esque ref. Besides most if not all the Eastwood's notable characters were not authoritarian but very much iconoclastic rebels.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Bill would tear GWB to shreds. He's a superior campaigner and a superior television personality......"

brooksfoe

Has a better hairdo blah blah blah blah.......

um.......GWB IS NOT running for President.
Just FYI

But say hello to President Gingrich

Nobody on your side of the aisle will even come close to beating a Gingrich/Giuliani ticket.

Posted by: Jay on August 18, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Gas prices will soon affect more than your wallet and driving habits. Ford is slashing production of it's SUV's and F-series trucks (okay, it's about damn time) and that will cut jobs and union manufacturing jobs are not easily replaceable. Lifestyles are about to change because we have relied to heavily on one sector to prop up the US economy (automobile manufacturing) when drastic changes should have been made three decades ago. Here is the http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/19/business/19ford.html?hp&ex=1155960000&en=553b3386e0a3cbca&ei=5094&partner=homepage to the NYT article. Hurry before it disappears behind the subscription wall.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

I will quit school, quit my job and spend my savings to work night and day for his election.

I'm sure that would thrill Mr. Citizen, no?

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich/Giuliani ticket

Ah yes, the adulterers for Jesus ticket.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Damn. my link didn't work, and "post" is not "preview." Mea Culpa

I don't know about anyone else, but I think it is time to start yelling at the top of our lungs about Cheney's secret energy task force. Did these ruthless bastards orchestrate this crap? Hammer on the energy point until we replace the "security moms" (who are going our way in the exact proportion they went for Republicans the last two elections, by the way) with "energy moms."

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G - Mr. Citizen would do the same. Hagel and Clark are his guys. He's a retired USAF officer.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G wrote:

"So Trash, you feel that we should have stayed and kicked more gook butt?"
_________________

Where, you mean in Vietnam? Hell, I don't know. I do know that the South Vietnamese government was no worse than that of Sygman Rhee during the Korean War and that the South Vietnamese ARVN were much better troops than the ROK soldiers were during their war. The conventional invasion tactics used by General Giap in 1975 were particularly vulnerable to airpower - which was readily available. We could have at least flown in some of the ammunition we promised. Who knows what the ARVN might have been able to do if we'd shown a little resolve? At least, we could have shown some effort to live up to our solemn promises. We're still paying for the way we actually did it today. Saddam's surprise for us didn't turn out to be WMDs. It was the readiness of the Republican Guard and the Fedayeen to melt away and use unconventional tactics. Old Saddam read our history well - we don't have much stomach for the nastier types of warfare.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 18, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the kind of
shit you get when you have conservatives in charge of everything. The sick perverts.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on August 18, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich the philanderer for president? Someone needs to dial back their intake of psychotropics.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 18, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes victory isn't all there is to winning. The peace has held in the Chosin Penninsula for half a century now, and the United States just opened a new embassy in the united Viet Nam. It's in Hanoi. We have trade and diplomatic relations that are beneficial to both nations.

It was fearmongering when they taught us about falling dominos and we did "duck and cover" exercises in grade school. Everyone knew our desks wouldn't protect us. It was (ironically) purely Pavlovian conditioning of the American youth to fear the Soviets and be prepared to fight and die to protect America!

Go Wolverines!

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the kind of shit
you get when you have conservatives in charge of everything. The sick perverts.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on August 18, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Here is the Ford link that GC posted.

The slowdown represented the deepest production cuts since the industry’s crisis of the 1980’s. It also underscored the difficulty that Detroit, whose business relies on sales of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, is having as gas prices remain around $3 a gallon. Detroit’s market share has dropped to its lowest level in history, while Asian brands, known for their fuel efficiency, are setting sales records.

The production cuts are the latest indication of just how difficult it will be for the Detroit companies to rejuvenate themselves. Together, Ford and General Motors are shedding tens of thousands of jobs, closing more than two dozen plants and cutting billions of dollars of costs. But those measures are effectively canceled out when automakers cannot sell the vehicles already on the showroom floors.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 18, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for bailing me out on that one Jim - :)

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

What was happening socially and politically in South Korea and in S. Vietnam at the relevent times are only comparable in their differences. I doubt there was much we could have done to give the ARVN the wherewithal to prevail in that civil war.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

It comes down to a question of what motivates people to become terrorists? Liberal tend to think the cause is bad behavior by the west, especially the US. Conservatives tend to think the motivation comes from within the Islamic community -- Madrassa that teach hatred, etc.

That leads to a difference of opinion about the efficacy of US attacks on Islamic terrorists. Liberals believe that the attacks motivate more people to become terrorist. Consertatives think the US attacks discourage potential terrorists, because the US actions make it more likely that terrorists will fail in their endeavor.

I think the conservatives are correct. Aggressive militant resistance to terrorim will discourage potential terrorists.

Also, I think the liberal message is a political loser. It more or less amounts to telling Americans that the terrorist attacks are our own fault. I cannot believe that a majority of Americans will vote for an ostrich strategy.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 18, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, G. C. It's Go Buckeyes!!

http://www.scottkropko.com/michigan_still_sucks.htm

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

WTF??? Are these Republicans?

Posted by: Sanity and Bones on August 18, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote:

"I don't know about anyone else, but I think it is time to start yelling at the top of our lungs about Cheney's secret energy task force."
__________________

What was so unusual about the Vice President's energy task force? It's probably safe to say that every Administration since Washington has had secret meetings of various interest groups. Open meetings are almost guaranteed to make people clam up, except those primary interest is to get a headline.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 18, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich/Giuliani ticket

"Ah yes, the adulterers for Jesus ticket."

Keith G

"Gingrich the philanderer for president? Someone needs to dial back their intake of psychotropics."

bad Jim

I am telling you, philandering and adultery were Clintons strengths and look how far it got him.

Gingrich/Giuliani can't lose

Posted by: Jay on August 18, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. The Democratic leadership's response to the judge's NSA decision is telling. Politicians who were concerned about security might respond with mixed feelings. They might note that the Constitution must by upheld, but express regretat losing or weakeing an anti-terrorism tool.

The actual response of the Dems was glee that Bush was made wrong. Their response showed no concern at all about how this decsion affects our sceurity.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 18, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ex Lib, your simplistic reduction of what liberals feel is breath taking. No one I hang with uses such a juvenile formulation.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives tend to think the motivation comes from within the Islamic community -- Madrassa(s) that teach hatred, etc.

Okay, but what is the root cause of teaching that hatred? Is it American military installations in Islamic holy lands? That's part of the problem.

Is it a lack of economic opportunity and equality? That's part of it.

Is it because the west has meddled in the affairs of the Islamic world ever since some British geologist discovered the secret dinosaur burial grounds a hundred years ago or so? That's part of it too.

Is it because the west has a habit of backing the most bloodthirsty feckless thugs a country has to offer, just to insure the steady flow of cheap crude? That's another part of it.

There is a hell of a lot more to this than "us good, them bad" and the sooner that is accepted by those int he seats of power, the better off we all will be.

The fact is, whether we want to admit it or not, the west is partially responsible for the mess in the middle east. Enough with the jingoism and the cowboy antics of these morons who believe that reality is what they say it is. They are not only wrong, they are delusional, and it's time for change.

It is time for candidates who accept reality and are willing to make the tough decisions to fix what's broken. And to realize that sometimes what is broken doesn't need to be fixed, it needs to heal.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ditto your NSA ruling post.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Global, you just don't get it. Arab nationalist are supposed to enjoy being treated like shit, especially by god's (real) chosen tribe...Americans

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote:

"[T]he United States just opened a new embassy in the united Viet Nam. It's in Hanoi. We have trade and diplomatic relations that are beneficial to both nations.

It was fearmongering when they taught us about falling dominos and we did "duck and cover" exercises in grade school. Everyone knew our desks wouldn't protect us."
_____________

Yes, I agree, GC, we have trade with Vietnam now. And, who knows, perhaps in a few decades, they'll actually approach being something like a free society. And, of course, the dominoes did fall, we just chose to ignore them.

By the way, ducking under your desk actually had a real purpose to it. Nuclear blasts kill with various effects, primarily heat and blast. Radiation plays a relatively minor role in nuclear weapons, unless specially designed for it. Unless you were in the zone of total destruction, you had a good chance to survive. Schools are usually pretty sturdy. Getting under your desk would have done two things: protect your eyesight from the intense light and protect you from being shredded by flying glass. Whoever told you that it was just fearmongering was bullshitting you.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 18, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for clearing that up for me Keith G. I'll just go pop an ativan and pour a martini, play a happy tune and pretend everything is just hunky-dory.

While I'm at it, why don't I schedule some plastic surgery and go buy a Hummer. You know, son I can "get my girl on."

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

protect your eyesight from the intense light

Kids were taught to duck after the flash. 1 for 2, there.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't tell me anything about nukes. I have spent the last quarter century with a missile officer.

For what it is worth, nukes have a dual purpose and it is selected at launch. If you want to kill people, you select air burst, and no desk will help you there.

If ground burst is selected, the purpose of the launch would be to destroy infrastructure. That is where a desk might provide a little bit of protection, mostly from falling rubble. Of course, most of the rescuers would be dead, so it's really a moot point.

And it was conditioning.

As for those falling dominos: How ya figure? How many communist nations are on the planet now? A hell of a lot less than there used to be. How many are in the western hemisphere? One. Cuba. Same one that has existed 90 miles from our shore for five decades now.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an argument: Dickerson's an idiot.

Last month, he was arguing that Bush was the second coming of Martin Luther King. This month, it's campaign stategy for Democrats. He writes whatever was the last thing he heard before he tripped over the computer.

Mommy must have some powerful apron strings. Ordinarily, crap like that would be handed out for free in front of the Shop Rite.

Posted by: pjcamp on August 18, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

As a democrat, I'm agitating for the citizens of America to empower themselves, and demand answers from those who are running the government and those who are running to run the government.

Question #1: If Democrats win enough seats in both houses of Congress, what's going to change in our policies that will make Americans safer, and those involved in campaigns of terror against the U.S. no longer want to commit acts of violence against us?

Question #2: If Democrats win enough seats to take back only one house of Congress, what, if anything, will change (see above), and what would Democrats do to fill their days until the 2008 campaign season begins?

Question #3: If Democrats don't win enough seats to take back either house of Congress, what do Democrats see as happening here at home (the state of the state) and overseas (Bush and Republican foreign policy) until the 2008 campaign season begins? Follow-up: What will Democrats do: a) about Joe Lieberman, should he win, b) when another USSC seat opens up and Bush doesn't consult with Democrats and nominates a conservative, c) when Bush sends another supplemental bill to the hill for another $87 billion for the war in Iraq, d) when Bush declares that Iran has failed to abide by some Cheney/Rice/Bolton UN resolution, or some Palestinian acts in a way that Bush declares was "Hezbollah breaking the ceasefire (which means it really was Syria and Iran doing it)" or N. Korea fits into Bush's war-script of the moment, and that Bush has the unitary executive power to declare war and starts dropping bombs, or e) when Bush continues to torture foreign nationals that he renditions off of streets around the world, to secret prisons, or f) when Bush creates more secret, warrantless surveillance programs on U.S. citizens, or g) when legislation hits the floor to legalize what Bush is already doing, by having the secret FISA court continue to allow the government to convene criminal proceedings against American citizens outside of public scrutiny?

WHERE THE HELL ARE THE DEMOCRATS ON ANY THESE ISSUES?

We have government by "hunch." We have a President who gets away with saying things like "They hate us for our freedom" - what it means is anybody's guess. It's an allusion to an absurd perception that only the most ill-informed, ignorant rednecks buy. And yet Bush has gotten away with it for 5 years, without anybody confronting him.

Both God and the Devil are in the details. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have gotten away with using broad generalizations, with voters presuming to know what is meant, only to learn that they were wrong. Each party has been able to get through campaign cycles saying the littlest possible on the fewest issues affecting our lives.

WE HAVE ALLOWED THEM TO GET AWAY WITH THIS!

Killing powerless people on the other side of the world doesn't only make more powerless people realize their power through suicide/homicide and want to kill Americans; it makes Americans like me want to string the Republicans who are doing this (and the Democrats who have allowed it) UP BY THEIR BALLS!

Politicians aren't the ones who terrorists manage to hit - it's us, ordinary Americans, who fly commercial, take public transit and live in the real world who sustain the losses. The politicians are flying on corporate jets and getting rich.

In a democracy, there are no "innocent civilians," unless you're too young to vote or your vote has been suppressed/invalidated/incinerated, voted with a provisional ballot. We are responsible for what our elected representatives do to other people here at home and around the world IN OUR NAMES.

We're also responsible for knowing the truth, and for not getting it out to our fellow citizens. We're responsible for allowing the media to spend a week's worth of pre-election time on our air waves chasing a 10-year-old murder down a deadend in Bangkok.

Posted by: Maeven on August 18, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

The facts that will be remembered are that our military was intact, that we continued to successfully engage the enemy, and that the issue was still in doubt. If we withdraw too early, opinions that we could never have won, that it was all useless, and that we shouldn't have been there in the first place will remain just that - opinions. And those holding them will not be thanked, even if they might have been right.

He's right! Until of leaving Iraq now, while we still can, and saving untold lives, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and America's prestige and strategic mobility, we should wait years and years until we're decisively defeated, until the last survivor hauls his bullet-shattered body onto the helicopter taking off from the embassy roof. That's what you do when you're losing, people -- you double down, and let the good money chase after the bad. After all, why let people only suspect that maybe we never could have won when instead we can prove it....!


Posted by: Stefan on August 18, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

protect your eyesight from the intense light

Kids were taught to duck after the flash. 1 for 2, there.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

some loon: The anti-war McGovernites took over the Democratic Party in 1972, and the Dems were set back for decades.

Yes, it was decades from 1972 until they swept the 1974 Congressional elections and took the White House in 1976....

Posted by: Stefan on August 18, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

"There is a hell of a lot more to this than "us good, them bad" and the sooner that is accepted by those int he seats of power, the better off we all will be."

Global

Well let's see. We have new allies in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, and strengthened relationships UAE (depsite the port debacle, oh and by the way thanks for that), Egypt, Lybia, Turkey, Kuwait and Jordan.

Then there's this,

".....the people of Iraq are living freer than they ever have, able to voice opinions and to take part in activities that they dared not do under Saddam for fear of losing their lives, and that they are hopeful about their future. This is demonstrated by Brookings Institutions latest Iraq Index report, released June 29, which showed 64% of Iraqis thought that the country was headed in the right direction, and 77% said that removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. The same report revealed that, on an index of political freedom for countries in the Middle East, Iraq now ranks fourth (below Israel, Lebanon, and Morocco)."

So maybe Americans have a little more gray matter than you give them credit for (us good, them bad) huh? Or is that all you process?


Posted by: Jay on August 18, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yikes, user error

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G wrote:

"I doubt there was much we could have done to give the ARVN the wherewithal to prevail in that civil war."
_____________

Very possibly true, Keith. The North Vietnamese had spent three years getting ready to break the treaty and we knew it. We might not have been able to do enough to save our allies. The point I was making is that we didn't even try and, behind all the talk about "inevitability," even seemed smug about it, as if it were something we were proud of. ("See, we told you it would all turn out badly.") As I said, the Democratic Party paid a heavy price for that impression and our troops are paying for it in blood now. And we're quite likely to pay for it in the next war, too.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 18, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

We have new allies in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq,

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, etc.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: The actual response of the Dems was glee that Bush was made wrong. Their response showed no concern at all about how this decsion affects our sceurity.

Because it doesn't.

Trashhauler: And, of course, the dominoes did fall, we just chose to ignore them.

Yes, that's why Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and then Indonesia fell to the commun...wait a minute, they didn't. What the hell is he talking about? (And if he says Cambodia, I have a nice lecture explaining how the illegal US bombing campaign actually helped create the Khmer Rouge takeover).


Posted by: Stefan on August 18, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

India is taking all our tech sector jobs, Pakistan is shaky at best and they have nukes, and Afghanistan is a mess. So yeah, I'll sure take your words under the advisement they deserve, Jay.

By the way, a big huge "fuck you" for your "or is that all you process?" bullshit. Have you ever even been to the middle east? I have. I lived at Incirlick AFB for a couple of years and formed my opinions on the ground. (For the uninitiated, Incirlick is and always has been a base dedicated to intel, no matter what the USAF and the web site claim. iirc, Francis Gary Powers took off from there.)

Do not even presume to tell me about the middle east until you have spent at least a thousand days of your life living there.

Until then, better spinmeisters please.

Remember what I said upthread about being tired of being nice? I meant it.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 18, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G wrote: Arab nationalist are supposed to enjoy being treated like shit, especially by god's (real) chosen tribe...Americans

Keith's sarcastic comment actually is an argument for the conservative position. We conservatives think terrorists (like the rest of us) don't like being bombed and shot at, so our attacks deter people from becoming terrorists.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 18, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Trash the treaty we "broke" was for better or worse a set up piece, a way out, and both Kessinger and Nixon new it was a fig leaf.

Peace with honor and all that.

Posted by: Keith G on August 18, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'd go with that slogan:

You gotta fight the terrorists where they are
Not where Republicans like them to be

Posted by: Vanguardia on August 18, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Question #1: No answer

Question #2: No answer

Question #3: No answer

Maeven

Do you ever think that this is why the Democrats are not winning elections?


"And yet Bush has gotten away with it for 5 years, without anybody confronting him. "

Maeven


I'm not sure if you remember the campaign of 2004 when these very subjects were endless debated in detail (as much as detail as the Democrats had anyway) and your side of the argument lost, by more than 3.5 million votes. In '08, maybe try to stand for something.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by: Jay on August 19, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I would love to do this all night. I feel like arguing my points all night long - I will think of things I wish I had said until I fall asleep, but in seven hours a two-year-old is going to invade my house and want to go to the Farmer's market, and I know better than to argue with a toddler. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

Goodnight all - I left a big club behind the boulder on the left side of the bridge. Someone use it to whack trolls, okay?

See you tomorrow, if the kid takes a nap.

Posted by: Global Citizen on August 19, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

"By the way, a big huge "fuck you" for your "or is that all you process?" bullshit. Have you ever even been to the middle east? I have. I lived at Incirlick AFB for a couple of years and formed my opinions on the ground. (For the uninitiated, Incirlick is and always has been a base dedicated to intel, no matter what the USAF and the web site claim. iirc, Francis Gary Powers took off from there.)

Do not even presume to tell me about the middle east until you have spent at least a thousand days of your life living there.

Until then, better spinmeisters please.

Remember what I said upthread about being tired of being nice? I meant it."

Global something

See this is the balanced well thought out positions and arguments that will win the election in '08 for the Democrats.

Howard Dean couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: Jay on August 19, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

so our attacks deter people from becoming terrorists.

So how's that been working out?

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, I think you had that coming.

Posted by: Somerset's Mom on August 19, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote: Okay, but what is the root cause of teaching that hatred? Is it American military installations in Islamic holy lands? That's part of the problem.

Nonsense. The US has had military installations in Germany, Japan, England, South Korea, etc. without provoking a terrorist movement.

Is it a lack of economic opportunity and equality? That's part of it.

Yet, Osama bin Laden is wealthy. The 9/11 perps were generally not poor at all. If the Islamo fascists really wanted economic equality, they'd be instituting a western-style capitalist system, instead of a barbaric theocracy.

Is it because the west has meddled in the affairs of the Islamic world ever since some British geologist discovered the secret dinosaur burial grounds a hundred years ago or so? That's part of it too.

The west has meddled in affairs of countries all over the world, but only the Islamo fascists are fomenting terrorism.

Is it because the west has a habit of backing the most bloodthirsty feckless thugs a country has to offer, just to insure the steady flow of cheap crude? That's another part of it.

This was our policy during the Cold War. George W. Bush has reversed this policy. He promoted democratic leaders selected by the citizens in Afghanistan, Iraq, and for the Palestinians. Yet, GC gives no credit to Bush for this enlightened policy. Instead, many libs claim that Bush's approach also is a cause of terrorism. Their core belief seems to be that the US is always wrong.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 19, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

We conservatives think terrorists (like the rest of us) don't like being bombed and shot at, so our attacks deter people from becoming terrorists.

Yes, just like the Israelis being bombed and shot at has made the Israelis realize they don't like it and so they've surrendered to Hezbollah and Hamas....

Posted by: Stefan on August 19, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Not always wrong, and not always right. Nobody ever is, and thinking tht the US is always righ in every instance, is part of the problem to. I believe sociologists call it ethnocentrism.

Posted by: Somerset's Mom on August 19, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

He promoted democratic leaders selected by the citizens in Afghanistan, Iraq, and for the Palestinians.

The democratic leaders the Palestinians elected are Hamas. So George Bush promoted Hamas?

Posted by: Stefan on August 19, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Keith G.:

Obama?

Magnetic Poet:

Ryan?

Posted by: Sharon on August 19, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Sharon, Obama has a tough edge to him that I find quite attractive. He also has a disarming sense of humor. It is too early to tell, but I sense he has the makings of a strong candidate for higher office.

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, just like the Israelis being bombed and shot at has made the Israelis realize they don't like it and so they've surrendered to Hezbollah and Hamas....

Stefan, we're not asking the Islamofascists to surrender. We just want them to stop attaacking us.

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 19, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

LMAO. Jay gets his ass handed to him by Global Cit, and all he can muster is some tepid mockery. Love it when wingnuts cave so easily. Nov should be a cake walk.

Posted by: Disputo on August 19, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, you neglected to point out that our allies leading the Iraqi governnment seem to have quite an affinity for Hezbollah.

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter ex-liberal: Help! Mom! There's an Islamofascist Under My Bed!

So how's that bombing to make them stop policy going? Major terrorist incidents have increased threefold since Bush entered office (and that's NOT counting Iraq) so it seems the correlation is rather the reverse of what you think it is.

Posted by: Stefan on August 19, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Question #1: No answer

Question #2: No answer

Question #3: No answer

I'm not sure if you remember the campaign of 2004 when these very subjects were endless debated in detail (as much as detail as the Democrats had anyway) and your side of the argument lost, by more than 3.5 million votes. In '08, maybe try to stand for something.

If these subjects were "endlessly debated in detail" then "No answer" isn't the answer. You should be able to answer them in exquisite detail.

Democrats did not lose "by more than 3.5 million votes" - Democrats didn't lose at all. The American people have had at least the last two elections stolen by Republicans.


Posted by: Maeven on August 19, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, you neglected to point out that our allies leading the Iraqi governnment seem to have quite an affinity for Hezbollah.

One thought at a time for ex-liberal. I don't want to overwhelm the poor simple fellow....

Posted by: Stefan on August 19, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

then shouldn't you be condemning those repubs who attempt the "vote dem and arabs will kill you" strategy?

Lieberman's critique of Lamont was that immediate withdrawal from Iraq would encourage America's enemies. I think that is certainly true of some of America's enemies. Before condemning the Republican attack, I would like to see both sides debate the issue. Lamont, for example, could explain exactly why removing American troops immediately was better than trying to win in Iraq, and better than a withdrawal based on Iraqi accomplishments.

That's Lieberman and Lamont. Here in California the Senators are Boxer and Feinstein, and both are safe, liberal Democrats, but Boxer continues (last I read) to be a strong supporter of Lieberman.

However, admitting that some of the enemies act independently of any grievances that Democrats may imagine them to have is something that Kevin Drum and many Democrats he quotes call "fear mongering". Instead of supporting a commitment to strong defense against America's enemies he whines about the possible necessity of "fear mongering". I think that's a mistake on policy and a losing strategy to boot.

If this were a right-wing Republican blog, I would probably object to certain extremes of Republican rhetoric and action. Since this is a left-wing Democratic blog, I am criticising the idea that Democrats can win by mocking the idea that defense is a serious concern. Jimmy Carter said that Americans had to get over their "inordinate fear of Communism", but in my opinion most people opposed to Communism had a very reasonable fear of it. I'd say the same thing now about "Islamofascism" (or whatever you wish to call it): it may be that Republican exaggerate the threat, but the threat is real, and calling attention to the threat is not fear-mongering.

Posted by: republicrat on August 19, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote:

"If you want to kill people, you select air burst, and no desk will help you there.

If ground burst is selected, the purpose of the launch would be to destroy infrastructure. That is where a desk might provide a little bit of protection, mostly from falling rubble. Of course, most of the rescuers would be dead, so it's really a moot point."
_______________

Well, Global, I'm just a broken down old, retired pilot, so I can only go by what I was taught. But actually, an airburst is intended to maximize surface damage and, yes, kill people, while minimizing secondary radiation. A ground burst is most useful against underground structures and has the side effect of blowing more radioactive material into the air.

But even an airburst has a finite area of total destruction. Outside that zone, getting under anything is a good idea. And either way, rescuers from outside the blast area would have an easier time if the kids weren't all cut up by glass.

You seem to be using the word, "conditioning" as if there was some hoax that was being perpetrated. If that's your opinion, I certainly don't intend to argue you out of it. I just know that I hate the idea of nukes, always did, even when I had to deal with 'em. We should thank God that Reagan and Gorby made that deal in Iceland.

________________
GC also wrote:

"As for those falling dominos: How ya figure?"
________________

Well, Laos had already fallen, but Cambodia for a start. But the real shockwaves, the psychic dominoes, if you will, were felt worldwide in various insurgency movements from Central America to Africa. Not to mention all those "revolutionary" buttheads who kept trying to kill Americans in Europe. They found an unexploded terrorist bomb in my daughter's child care center in Ramstein. Who knows where it might have all gone if we'd stayed in our 70's malaise?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, with all due respect, some questions...

As I said, the Democratic Party paid a heavy price for that impression

Well, as someone upthread pointed out, did they not win the next pres. election? And wasn't it a Republican administration, elected on a promise of withdrawal, from 1968 through to the end of that war? And if they defeated the Democrats in '68 and '72, why were Nixon et al following the Dem script as to conducting the war, as you suggest?

our troops are paying for it in blood now

Huh? 31 years later? Please explain.

Posted by: exasperanto on August 19, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

If the Islamo fascists really wanted economic equality, they'd be instituting a western-style capitalist system, instead of a barbaric theocracy.

One could say the same about the Bushies in America.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 19, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Under Clinton, the bad guys tried to blow up the World Trade Center. The Democrats stopped them and put them in jail, where they still are.

Under Bush, the bad guys destroyed the World Trade Center and killed 3,000 Americans. Bush has, all by himself, killed 5,000 more Americans and the World Trade Center is still not rebuilt.

The Republicans don't care about average people. They can't, or won't, even protect us against hurricanes, forest fires, floods and earthquakes. How are they going to protect us against terrorists?

Everything Bush has done has made the world more dangerous, and in your heart, you know it.

If you care about your safety, and your family safety, you won't let the Republican Party stay in power one more minute longer than necessary.

By the way, New Orleans hasn't been rebuilt yet either.

Posted by: Steve High on August 19, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

stephan wrote:

"And if he says Cambodia, I have a nice lecture explaining how the illegal US bombing campaign actually helped create the Khmer Rouge takeover)."
________________

Why, sure, stephan, I'm always willing to learn. I assume you mean effects aside from "and caused an environment in which the Khmer Rouge insurgency could flourish" kind of thing.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Their core belief seems to be that the US is always wrong.

"Seems" being the operative word in that statement. As in: It seems that only a select group who thinks that other societies should/can only act in accordance with what is good for the USA.

The US is not always wrong, but our government is quite often wrong when it fais to use empathy as a tool when devising policy.

The concept of the "ugly American" is alive and well in many parts of the world who distain the reality that our government fails to take in to account (for lack of a better phrase) the feelings of others.

No I am not advocating that our govrnment so only act in ways that are "nice" to others. Still as long as we act like a bull in a china shop, we should not be suprised when others grow to dislike us.

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, I think you're absolutely right.

Iraq has been such a success story - though I'm puzzled why Bush hasn't been trying to make more of a big deal out of it. There are so many Iraqi troops trained and ready to fight, and they've been so effective at keeping the peace there, I think it would be a great gesture for Iraq to send peacekeepers to Lebannon. It would show the world what an awesome job of democracy and freedom promotion we've done in Iraq, and how Iraq is now on-par with countries like France and Germany, and is now a reformed, former failed-state, ready to take center stage in geopolitics, working for a bright future for all of us!

It just puzzles me why this great idea hasn't taken hold, particularly among the Bush administration. Surely, among those intellectual giants, the architects of this new era of peace and prosperity in the middle east, can see that this is the best way to show the world that Neoconservativism is a superior ideology, and is the way of the future! The more people on-board with it, the better it works!

Posted by: American Fuck on August 19, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Lamont, for example, could explain exactly why removing American troops immediately....

Lamont has never advocated that US troops should be immediately removed.

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Well let's see. We have new allies in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq....

Take your butt plug out, sweetie darling. You shouldn't have in there so long. It impedes your brain function as we all can see.

Posted by: The Gay Millionaire on August 19, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

stephan wrote:

"He's right! Until of leaving Iraq now, while we still can, and saving untold lives, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and America's prestige and strategic mobility, we should wait years and years until we're decisively defeated, until the last survivor hauls his bullet-shattered...."
_______________

I didn't say any of that, stephan, nor would I suggest such a course of action. My point was that, like Cassandra, those who foretell of our impending doom will not receive the love of the people. Even if they are right, the accusation (and suspicion) that they were just "weak on defense" will also be unavoidable. That suspicion will only grow the farther we get from the actual events.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

Lieberman's critique of Lamont was that immediate withdrawal from Iraq would encourage America's enemies.

Was Lamont pushing for "immediate" withdrawal? I don't believe so.

Could you explain how this notion works, Republicrat? Which enemies? Encourage them to do what? From where? With what? How? For how long?

Does "staying the course" discourage America's enemies if nothing positive can be shown from it? How about ratcheting up the belligerent talk - will that make them stand down?

Is the present status quo of neocon "war on terror" working for you?

but the threat is real

And please, without the empty, hackneyed phraseology.

Posted by: exasperanto on August 19, 2006 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

Well its time for cocktails and dancing. Hold down the fort Stefan, Exasperanto and OBF.

Ciao

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Here in California the Senators are Boxer and Feinstein, and both are safe, liberal Democrats, but Boxer continues (last I read) to be a strong supporter of Lieberman.

If this were a right-wing Republican blog, I would probably object to certain extremes of Republican rhetoric and action. Since this is a left-wing Democratic blog, I am criticising the idea that Democrats can win by mocking the idea that defense is a serious concern. Jimmy Carter said that Americans had to get over their "inordinate fear of Communism", but in my opinion most people opposed to Communism had a very reasonable fear of it. I'd say the same thing now about "Islamofascism" (or whatever you wish to call it): it may be that Republican exaggerate the threat, but the threat is real, and calling attention to the threat is not fear-mongering.

Posted by: republicrat on August 19, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

I normally don't engage with people whose arguments expose a hidden agenda - in this case it seems that republicrat is either extremely misinformed or is out to intentionally mislead and misinform others.

I suspect it's the latter (the use of the latest Republican talking point "islamofascist" suggests as much), but either way, I doubt he'd change his mind.

Only on this blog, this conservative Democratic blog of the conservative Kevin Drum, would anybody ever get away with calling Dianne Feinstein a "liberal Democrat."

There are no liberal Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Not even Barbara Boxer. She's close, but still she has been known to sell out liberal principles and causes. Her ignorance of (and then her lying about) Lieberman's position on medical services for rape victims in hospitals receiving public funds has been a grave disappointment. Boxer's and Feinstein's deals on Indian casinos (and Boxer's son's role) is something all liberals (and Californians) should be questioning.

The far-rightwing of the Republican party has caused professional politicians in the Democratic party (who are politicians, and not democrats) to hijack the party and try to "move the center" of the Democratic party to where the old moderates in the Republican party used to be. The idea is to push us liberals out to make room for conservative Republicans who aren't fundamentalist Christians, who don't give a shit who has an abortion as long as they don't have to pay for it, and has had it with the Bush/neocon deficit spending.

One more election cycle and Al Fromm, Bill Clinton and Joe Lieberman may just succeed.

Posted by: Maeven on August 19, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I think the Democrats could play the fear card, but I'm not at all sure that national defense is the place to play it. We really need to remind the voters of the Republican's attack on Social Security. We need to hammer at the budget deficit and the trade deficit. We need to remind everyone how they handled hurricane Katrina.

To my mind, there's a nice segue from the Katrina misfeasance to the calamity in Iraq. We can use the war, but mostly to put a little extra pop in the message.

One problem is that many of our voters have lost family members in the war, and may not welcome the message that they died for the sake of Bush's reelection.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

"weak on defense" is an inoperable phrase here. Rather, it is a canard.

Remember, it has been proven that Iraq was NOT a threat to the US nor to any of Iraq's neighbors. This is why comparisons with Vietnam (defending the democratic half of a country from aggessors), Gulf War 1 (defending a country), the cold war (defending the US, Europe, etc.), WW2 (defending the US from Japan, Europe from Germany) don't really work.

The Iraq war is politics and machinations, therefore no honor is at stake here.

Posted by: exasperanto on August 19, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

exasperanto wrote:

(Quoting me) 'As I said, the Democratic Party paid a heavy price for that impression'

"Well, as someone upthread pointed out, did they not win the next pres. election? And wasn't it a Republican administration, elected on a promise of withdrawal, from 1968 through to the end of that war? And if they defeated the Democrats in '68 and '72, why were Nixon et al following the Dem script as to conducting the war, as you suggest?"
_____________________

Sure, exasperanto, the Nixon Administration pulled us out. First, though, they did as much as they could to leave the South Vietnamese with a fighting chance, which is why they took three years to do it. And, no matter how cynically motivated the Paris Peace accords might have been, the Democrats "saved" Nixon (and Ford) the trouble of deciding what to do when the NVA invaded. But the real price paid by Democrats for all these years has been the impression that they weren't particularly interested in defense and, for sure, weren't interested in any hard chores overseas. Impressions like that (even if untrue) can be exploited, as has been shown repeatedly.

(And quoting me again) 'our troops are paying for it in blood now'

Exasperanto, it was not by accident that the Iraq insurgency sprang up, full strength, within weeks after we took down the Baathis regime. Having gotten a very bloody nose in Kuwait, Saddam knew that standing up in a toe-to-toe fight against the American Army is a losing proposition. In hindsight, many of the most dedicated Iraqi units simply faded away, with many reports of men stripping their uniforms. These units, the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard, provided most of the hard core insurgents fighting against us now.

We are still paying for Vietnam because our enemies know that we like quick, short wars and anything that smell of "quagmire" will stimulate our impulse to say, "F_ck it, let's quit this nonsense." We're likely to see it no matter where we fight in the future.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

I think Dickerson is proposing the right question.

Disagree. Fear-mongering is no more than making shit up. So what Dickerson is really asking is: Can Democrats make up better shit faster than the Republicans? Somehow that seems the wrong question (but maybe it's only me).

Posted by: has407 on August 19, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

I like the way Trash so casually dismisses democracy:

What was so unusual about the Vice President's energy task force? It's probably safe to say that every Administration since Washington has had secret meetings of various interest groups. Open meetings are almost guaranteed to make people clam up, except those primary interest is to get a headline.

Guess you don't care much for Congress, either, or, for that matter, your city government. In California the Brown act prohibits secret meetings of government officials (with certain exceptions for personnel matters and the like) under the assumption that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

It may well be true, in a certain sense, that a secret government is more efficient than an open government, and it does appear that this administration shares that view. That, however, is not the sort of government our Constitution gave us.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I would think Americans are sick of this paranoid bullshit, and would instead be receptive to an insouciant, Roosevelt like message disparaging fear mongers, and suavely reassuring Americans that "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

People like bold, they like to think they can be bold, and they should be righteously sick of this manipulation.

And polls indicate they are.

Posted by: Mumon on August 19, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Vietnam (defending the democratic half of a country

Ooops. Make that "the non-communist half".

Must preview for content as well as sp. and punc....

Posted by: exasperanto on August 19, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: Exasperanto, it was not by accident that the Iraq insurgency sprang up, full strength, within weeks after we took down the Baathis regime. ... These units, the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard, provided most of the hard core insurgents fighting against us now.

If you have any evidence to back up the assertion that "the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard, provided most of the hard core insurgents fighting against us now", or the implication that this was somehow inevitable, I'd love to see it.

I think you give far too much credit to those elite Iraqi military units and the implied inevitability or their pre-planning, and far too little credit to the CPA--which lit the match by disenfranchising most of the Iraqi military and those in a position of control. An insurgency, no matter how well planned, does not succeed on the skills of its fighters alone.

Posted by: has407 on August 19, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Mumon's point is good, and I think Clinton made that point back in 1992, in remarks captured just after his nomination or one of the debates.

Our guys ought to point out that the Republicans use fear to manipulate us. We need to remind Americans that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that we defy anyone -- Repubican or terrorist -- who thinks of us as cowards.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

exasperanto wrote:

"weak on defense" is an inoperable phrase here. Rather, it is a canard.

Remember, it has been proven that Iraq was NOT a threat to the US nor to any of Iraq's neighbors. This is why comparisons with Vietnam (defending the democratic half of a country from aggessors), Gulf War 1 (defending a country), the cold war (defending the US, Europe, etc.), WW2 (defending the US from Japan, Europe from Germany) don't really work.

The Iraq war is politics and machinations, therefore no honor is at stake here.
_______________

Sorry, "weak on defense" has no particular significance for me, except, well, I mostly translate it as, "stupid on defense" which is hardly different from most Republicans. ::grin::

And, yep, exactly the same stuff was said (over and over and over) about Vietnam. "What do we care, our interests aren't really at stake." "South Vietnam isn't a real country, anyway." "What they have there is a civil war and we need to get out of it." (Which is why some folks still speak of the Viet Cong and don't mention the NVA, much.) "Screw 'em, they're all corrupt." "Let's face it, those people aren't ready for democracy." Even, "It's all about the oil (from the South China Sea)." "We can't ever win, so better get out while the getting is good." Same stuff.

Actually, though, Saddam was a continuing threat to his neighbors. He still had the largest, best equipped army in the region, hadn't relinquished his claim on Kuwait, and had shown himself to be a wild card, unpredictable.

Now, when the Saudi's refused us the use of their bases and seaports for our fight in Afghanistan, my druthers would have been to say, "Okay, we're out of here. You take care of Saddam." I figured it would only be a matter of months before an uncontained Saddam was doing his thing, again. And probably deciding to help Al Qaeda, while he was at it. That probably figured into the decision to go to war against him. The way I look at it, was that the Administration took the calculated risk that we could quickly take out Saddam and turn the country over to whatever "democrats" we could find. Little did we suspect how badly the country's infrastructure had been allowed to deteriorate and, as I said, we got sandbagged by the (probably) well-prepared insurgency. I think the Administration rolled the dice and came up snake eyes. All of which doesn't change the fact that we're in it up to our eyeballs now and we've made certain promises, not least to the Iraqi people as a whole. We can certainly tell them, "Hey, sorry, we made a mistake. Sorry about the mess. Good luck and good bye." But we can't do it without paying the price somewhere down the road.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

That might make a nifty bumper sticker:

REPUBLICANS AND TERRORISTS AGREE AMERICANS SHOULD BE AFRAID
Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

bad jim wrote:

I like the way Trash so casually dismisses democracy:

(Quoting me) 'What was so unusual about the Vice President's energy task force?'

"Guess you don't care much for Congress, either, or, for that matter, your city government. In California the Brown act prohibits secret meetings of government officials (with certain exceptions for personnel matters and the like) under the assumption that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

It may well be true, in a certain sense, that a secret government is more efficient than an open government, and it does appear that this administration shares that view. That, however, is not the sort of government our Constitution gave us."
______________

Now, bad jim, you're not just trying to get my goat, are you? ::grin::

I'm a great fan of democracy. I think it is the only true revolutionary concept that works, so long as a people can hang on to it. As a revolutionary dogma, it beats Marxism all hollow, since it allows the electorate to make huge blunders and correct it all next time 'round. Other revolutionary dogmas tend to treat democracy as simply a formal procedure, to disregard as necessary. I don't.

However, as you point out, our representative Republic is run in accordance with the principles and procedures established in the Constitution. Since that document is silent on the subject of meetings conducted within the Executive Branch, I'm willing to cut them some slack. After all, Congress has closed sessions all the time, as does my city council.

So, no, I'm not dismissing democracy at all, let alone casually.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

has407 wrote:

"If you have any evidence to back up the assertion that 'the Republican Guard and the Special Republican Guard, provided most of the hard core insurgents fighting against us now', or the implication that this was somehow inevitable, I'd love to see it.

I think you give far too much credit to those elite Iraqi military units and the implied inevitability or their pre-planning, and far too little credit to the CPA--which lit the match by disenfranchising most of the Iraqi military and those in a position of control. An insurgency, no matter how well planned, does not succeed on the skills of its fighters alone."
________________

has407, well, I'm making some educated assumptions here, but sure:

1. An insurgency is hard to start and harder to organize. Historically, it has always taken a long time, months, if not years, before an insurgency really gets cooking. Not so, in Iraq. The immediate presence of great sums of money is another clue.

2. Many of the reported leaders of the insurgency are ex-Republican Guard, including some who were in that notorious deck of cards. The current suspected leader of the home-grown insurgency was a former leader of the Republican Guard.

3. Most of the home-grown insurgency is Sunni (at least, of those who most often fight Americans). Not coincidentally, so was the Repubican Guard and Special Republican Guard.

However, I don't remember saying it was inevitable. I said we were taken by surprise by the insurgency and perhaps we shouldn't have been. I don't underestimate the actions of the CPA, though they have been handy targets. Our "disbanding of the Iraqi army" was actually rather pro forma. After the fall of the regime, and even before it, all of the Shia draftees left for home and none of the Republican Guard stuck around, either. Our one experiment in using a unit under Baathist officers was a total failure - they quickly joined the other side in Fallujah.

But of course, an insurgent "swims in the sea of the people." Not coincidentally, the most particularly troublesome sea is the Sunni Triangle, where one might expect ex-Republican Guard to be at home and find help.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Are we at last ready (PLease, God!) to understand that starting a war is the dumbest thing a human being can do? If we can bring that one lesson out of the Iraqi and Israeli debacles, perhaps the innocents will not have have died in vain.

Posted by: James of DC on August 19, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

James of DC wrote:

"Are we at last ready (PLease, God!) to understand that starting a war is the dumbest thing a human being can do? If we can bring that one lesson out of the Iraqi and Israeli debacles, perhaps the innocents will not have have died in vain."
______________

Nope, it was probably the invention of the wheel. Followed by the idea of a mother-in-law. But, yeah, right behind those two....

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

2. Many of the reported leaders of the insurgency are ex-Republican Guard, including some who were in that notorious deck of cards.

(Back from the bars, and the worst for it)

Stupid me, Trash, I was inattentive when those reports were published. Would you please direct me to where those stories were reported. I simply must get caught up on the truth.

Posted by: Keith G on August 19, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Horseshit, trash. I shouldn't feed the troll (and anyone who serves up huge heaping servings of Vietnam redux out of context unquestionably qualifies for that label).

We were talking about whether the Democrats should play the fear card. We have to address it, not least because the other side will bang on it as hard as they can, and we can depend on their bringing up Vietnam as well.

I think we need to remind everyone of their attempt to destroy Social Security, the irresponsibility of their economic policies, and maybe global warming, peak oil and gas prices, too. With respect to the latter problems, all they have to offer is a miracle to be specified at a later time.

It shouldn't be that hard to drive home the point that the invasion of Iraq and the response to Katrina were both incompetent and that nothing better could be expected from this team.

Bush to the CIA briefer, who delivered "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within U.S.": okay, you've covered your ass. Bush at the Weather Service video teleconference before Katrina: nothing.

These guys shouldn't be in charge of a corner gas station, much less the country. That shouldn't be that hard to put across in a 30-second commercial.

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Under the category of "what is this crap I just tracked into the house" is the question of the length of wars we can tolerate. The Civil War, the our bloodiest mess so far, lasted just four years. WWI was about the same. WWII was a little longer, depending on the starting date chosen, but for Americans it was also under four years. Active hostilities in the Revolutionary War lasted for six years, but back then we were the anti-colonial insurgency, and the war was going to take as long as it took.

Anybody here wish the British had what it took back then?

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

Another bumper sticker:

ANOTHER KATRINA?

ANOTHER IRAQ?

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

Come on now, bad jim, Kevin first brought up the analogy of 1972 and kokblok posted something I made a comment on, which I tied back into Kevin's point. In fact, every one of my posts was in response to a question or comment made by somebody else.

I made the comment that being right about a losing war doesn't necessarily make a party popular, which comment I think was on point. Since I simply tried to respond honestly to other posters thereafter, I respectfully disagree that I served anything up out of context. I wasn't even that tough on anybody, nor did I mention any names but Republicans.

You are quite correct in saying that the Bush Administration has given the Democrats tons of stuff upon which to build an effective campaign. However, it might not be quite as effective in 2006 as it will be in 2008. With some exceptions, all politics tend to be local.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 4:22 AM | PERMALINK

My Leftist campaign slogan: If you vote for Republicans, your children will die in Iraq.

Posted by: Hostile on August 19, 2006 at 4:25 AM | PERMALINK

bad jim, with the exception of WWI (in which large numbers of Americans fought for something less than a year), those other wars were what it is now fashionable to call "existential conflicts."

Perhaps the qualifier should be "how long will we tolerate a war which does not involve the existence of our country."

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 4:36 AM | PERMALINK

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au66ge-1 Posted by: dd on August 19, 2006 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Got empathy?

Got competence?

Contrast war and war crimes, invasion and liberation, nation-building and occupation, revolution and colonization.

The fact that I'm an American does not free me from the necessity of asking, from time to time, which side am I on?

Posted by: bad Jim on August 19, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

(Incumbent Republican Congressman) and President Bush need your help. The War In Iraq needs graduating young men and women like you to serve the mission of building democracy in Iraq.

Join the US Army and help President Bush and (Incumbent Republican Congressman) stay the course in Iraq.

Join the fight and make America and your parents proud. President Bush and (Incumbent Republican Congressman) thank you for your service to freedom and the people of Iraq.

We look forward to your support.

Club for Neo-Strategic Growth

Posted by: Hostile on August 19, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Actually, though, Saddam was a continuing threat to his neighbors. He still had the largest, best equipped army in the region, hadn't relinquished his claim on Kuwait, and had shown himself to be a wild card, unpredictable." -TH

Best army? Except, of course, for his neighbor to the North, and his neighbor to the East (which had beaten his army when it was better equipped).

By the end of the Gulf War, Kuwait, and by extension Saudi Arabia had been given the protection of the US. So Saddam's only option would have been to invade Syria. Given Syria's lack of any kind of strategic or tactical resources, there wouldn't have been much point in invading there.

Also, you buy too much into the "Saddam was a madman" argument. His forays into Iraq and Kuwait were both reasonable gambles. Certainly they were much better thought through than our foray into Iraq.

Posted by: mcdruid on August 19, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

Good morning, Vietraq!


Iraq is Arabic for Viet Nam


Borrow money from your children to stay the course

Let the Decider decide which prison he wants to go to

Posted by: Joe Bob Briggs on August 19, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

If the message is true, then the decision whether to use it shouldn't be an intellectual exercise, its a marketing exercise. First, poll test it. If promising, have one candidate try it. If it works, other candidate can pick it up. But the point is, "hearing arguments pro and con", from the narrow demographic of progressive-leaning blogsphere participants, is a waste of time.

Posted by: Alan on August 19, 2006 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

Dickerson is wrong.

Democrats should be promising an end to fear.

Safety. Comfort. Prosperity. A security system that works. We can all go home and work on our personal problems again. We won't have to wake up every morning listening to the radio/tv wondering where they are going to strike us next.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

If you have any doubt as to how this can be done, go see Jon Stewart's excellent spoof on fear mongering by CNN.

Posted by: af on August 19, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with Dickerson's solution is that it's too nuanced. He's basically echoing something John Kerry said again and again in 2004, and it doesn't work. Saying that our aggressive action in the middle east is motivating or inspiring terrorists is easily flipped into an accusation that liberals are "blaming America." Remember Cheney's comment that Kerry wants to take terrorists to psychotherapy? It was in response to a convoluted Kerry explanation of what motivates and inspires terrorists. Which is exactly what Dickerson is doing.

That's not to say Dickerson's basic point isn't correct. Dems DO need to make Americans understand how GOP policies increase the danger of terrorism. But it needs to be a much more visceral, emotional argument: Republicans are not protecting the homeland -- we are in danger because of THEM, right now, because of their failures at home. Note port security (Dubai) and Republicans derailing immigration and border security (e.g. they hate immigrants so much that they won't sign bills that enable border security). Note stealing money from New York City. Note the response to Katrina (how would we respond to a terror attack?). Note how terrorism arrests never result in convictions with this inept Justice Department, run by Bush's personal lawyer (the silly Miami terror case, Padilla). Note the games with the terrorism color alert (all the "scares" that turned out to be nothing). Note Republicans killing bomb-detection for domestic flights. Note everything Republicans are doing that is making us less safe right now, inside our borders. My point: talking about foreign policy is just a distraction in this discussion. It confuses things.

The place to discuss Bush's foreign policy is in connection to Iraq. Period. All the points Dickerson makes about encouraging terrorists should flow from Bush screwing up Iraq. Our failed Middle East policy is...Iraq. After all, not only has Iraq encouraged and inspired terrorists - it has emboldened them and weakened us. Iraq hasn't just made new terrorists -- it has made them stronger.

Got that? Stoking terrorism fears requires talking about what's going on INSIDE the U.S. - how actual Amemricans are at risk. Attacking Bush foreign policy requires talking about IRAQ - how Bush's mistakes have turned the world to shit. Mixing these messages only confuses matters and allows Republicans to conflate Iraq with the War on Terror.

Posted by: owenz on August 19, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Aggressive militant resistance to terrorim will discourage potential terrorists.

yeah...look what its done for israel

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 19, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Their response showed no concern at all about how this decsion affects our sceurity.


interesting....

so its the conservative view that following the law is not an alternative...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 19, 2006 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

"That might make a nifty bumper sticker:

REPUBLICANS AND TERRORISTS AGREE AMERICANS SHOULD BE AFRAID"

bad Jim

I like this one better:

DEMOCRATS FIGHT LIKE GIRLS

Posted by: Jay on August 19, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: DONT LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES..REPEAT THEM!

Posted by: thisspaceavailablee on August 19, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: SWALLOW HARDER

Posted by: thisspaceavialble on August 19, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

The fight against fearmongering is more important than the fight against Republicans. Conceding this fight to the GOP allows them to turn themselves into Likud and guarantees their dominance over American politics for the next 30 years. A political contest in which we try to sell fear better than Dick Cheney is a losing battle.

We can tell the American people that Pres. Bush is doing a lousy job at the war on terror without turning ourselves into watered-down, liberal versions of Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted by: scotus on August 19, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

It is true, Republicans want your children to die while serving in Iraq.

Posted by: Hostile on August 19, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Kill For Peace
Fugs

Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Near or middle or very far east
Far or near or very middle east
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
If you don't like the people
or the way that they talk
If you don't like their manners
or they way that they walk,
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
If you don't kill them
then the Chinese will
If you don't want America
to play second fiddle,
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
If you let them live
they might support the Russians
If you let them live
they might love the Russians
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
(spoken) Kill 'em, kill 'em, strafe those gook creeps!
The only gook an
American can trust
Is a gook that's got
his yellow head bust.
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, it'll
feel so good,
like my captain
said it should
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill it will give
you a mental ease
kill it will give
you a big release
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace
Kill, kill, kill for peace

Posted by: Hostile on August 19, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite candidate this thread for a demagogic bumper sticker:

IRAQ IS ARABIC FOR VIETNAM

Then of course, you could paraphrase Frank Zappa with:

GOP: JUST TELL YOURSELF IT'S YUM AND SUCK IT 'TILL YOU'RE NUMB

I've basically just skimmed the thread, but I have to say that I really and truly appreciate trashhauler's contributions to this blog. I don't always agree by a long shot -- especially with his interpretation of Saddam's regime post Gulf War. But the dude ain't no troll, and for my money he's a notch above republicrat and minion of rove, two similarly well-educated and civil righties who are both much more inclined to simply push the talking points.

(None of those three are in the category of superficially civil concern trolls like ex-liberal and the "Democrat" Thomas.)

More than just an Air Force military persective (Red State Mike has that), the guy seems to have acquired some wisdom with his years, and to an important degree has rejected triumphalism. If we're going to connect with this type of pro-military persective in the upcoming election (and lords know, it would be a good idea), we can do worse than running our ideas by this guy.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 19, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, also, with the people who've said that we can't beat Rove at his own game and out-fearmonger the GOP. I think, bad Jim and others, a Rooseveltian, fundamentally optimistic approach would be wiser.

Coupled with, of course, painting the GOP as the party of irrational fearmongering. I have no problem with making *that* point thru a little well-placed Rovian demagoguery :)

GOP: The party of airport cavity searches.

GOP: The party of mindless Islamophobia.

GOP: The party of (fake) Security over (actual) Liberty -- contra Franklin and the entire tradition of our Founding.

GOP: Osama bin Laden's BFF

GOP: The cowardly and craven barroom bully who beats up a weaker party while avoiding the tough guy who spit in his face.

GOP: The movie badguy who seemed charming in the first reel, but by the end who everyone despises for his cowardly acts of indiscriminate violence.

GOP: Contra every noble American tradition.

I think we can sell this puppy.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on August 19, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

[url]http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HH18Df03.html[/url]

29 year Indian Diplomat warns of more false flags.

hint hint... diplomatic community knows 9/11 was a set up.

Posted by: clarissa on August 19, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know how to format either

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HH18Df03.html

Posted by: tj on August 19, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Politics means constantly seeking a lower common denominator. Such was the thinking of Sparta, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hitler. We should definitely pursue that way of thinking. Our mottos should be "Kill or Be Killed" and "I Got Mine".

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 19, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I have often said Kevin is just very weak on terror and military mattes. We now can add that he cannot even maintain consistency for 18 hours.

This post advocates "the long-term policy of tactical restraint, counterinsurgency, and economic engagement," while 18 hours earlier it was an "approach that relies more on military transformation, economic engagement, public diplomacy, and serious homeland security instead of color codes." Well, I guess he stuck with "economic engagement," which surely is the answer to protecting us against terrorism.

Kevin tries hard and I'm sure he is sincere, but he just has little significant to say about how to approach the war on terror.

Posted by: brian on August 19, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK
You simply have to study history. mhr at 12:27 PM
Indeed you do. It was China who entered the war and fought the US to a standstill. There is no more Soviet Union. The Korea peninsula is still unstable and the civil war still unresolved. Had Truman stayed out, the Korean people would now be united and probably free. It was Dwight Eisenhower who was the peace candidate and who ended that unpopular war. It was Richard Nixon who lost the war in Vietnam and Gerald Ford who ended our participation. The War in Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism, and Bush's illegal invasion has done nothing to increase America's security, only worsen it. When America's interests are at stake, Democrats support the war; when Republican's ideological insanity causes a war, there is no reason to support it.

Liberals seek to understand the cause of problems in order to find the best solution. Republicans check their ideological talking points and go off half-clocked in the wrong direction making situations worse. The reason bin Laden struck was because of our support for Israel and the bases we had in Saudi Arabia. The reason he was successful is because Bush ignored the threat. The reason he is still at large is because Rove wants to have an enemy to use for fear-mongering. Bush, did in fact, remove our troops from Saudi Arabia thereby acceding to one of bin Laden's demands.

Posted by: Mike on August 19, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Would somebody be so kind as to explain what the postings in Asian glyphs is about?

Posted by: janey on August 19, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler -- Sorry, my use of the term "inevitable" was imprecise; "planned with little the US could have done to stop it" is more accurate. Specifically, some level of insurgency was likely planned and at the direction of former regime loyalists.

By insurgent groups, former loyalists are the minority (probably 2-3 out of at least 12). Note that when Talabani reportedly met with insurgent leaders, there were 7 of them, and foreign groups, and former loyalists were specifically excluded. By number of fighters, it's hard to tell, but the number in former loyalists groups is likely a minority today, although they may have been a majority 3 years ago.

Agree that there was a pro-forma aspect of disbanding the "Old Iraq Army" to create the "New Iraq Army", but that did not dictate substance. Agree that keeping the Iraqi army intact (or as intact as possible) would not have created an effective force. However, that was not particularly relevant. It would have helped keep them off the street. By disbanding the army, the CPA put them on the street. Agree that many in the Iraqi army disappeared, but there were plans to try and recall them--not executed until many months later, after the mistake had been recognized, and to little benefit.

So yes, there are likely many ex-military personnel fighting in many different insurgent groups. But to suggest that the majority of insurgents formed and operate under the command of former loyalists with similar motivations or objectives, is erroneous. It is also recognized as one of the critical errors made by US intelligence; see Revisions in Need of Revising: What Went Wrong in the Iraq War.

Posted by: has407 on August 19, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Brian sez:
"Kevin tries hard and I'm sure he is sincere, but he just has little significant to say about how to approach the war on terror."

I say the war on terror begins at home - I say the first blow should be delivered against terror mongers like you Brian...I live in the most Powerful Country in the History of the Planet Earth - Just exactly who am I supposed to be so terrified of Brian ?
Go peddle your weak ass "war on terror" on some other street corner....preferably in Baghdad......

Posted by: Xmarine on August 19, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

It shouldn't be too hard to see what we should do- build enough solar and wind power to make us independent of the world energy markets.

But it is hard for most people to see that. And it will be hard for them to see that until the U.S. has suffered some major defeats. Given our present leadership, and the state of world affairs, that time won't be long in coming.

Well-meaning folk like KD continue to imagine that we have a "responsibility" to "lead" the world. Democrats depend just as heavily as Republicans on pork-barrel war spending. It seems quite likely that this democratic slush of fools, knaves, and nationalist egomaniacs will eventually create a worldwide disgust with the U.S..

I sure wouldn't sit around waiting for any of our "leaders" to get us out of this mess.

Ironically, LSD might be just what a lot of us need to escape our prisons of egomania and form better judgements about the world.

Posted by: serial catowner on August 19, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, thanks for posting on this very important issue. Once again a thought provocking set of arguements for all of the to ponder.

Posted by: Tim on August 19, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Fear-mongering is an excellent strategy. Democrats, liberals and Leftists should use it against Republicans, conservatives and moderates, especially in regards to the war. Iraq means Americans' children are dying for no good reason. Iraq means the hate generated by indiscriminate killing of civilians justifies retaliation. Iraq means the squandering of Americans' children's future. Every Republican and pro-war candidate wants to send your child to Iraq to fight for their selfish political goals and to enrich their benefactors with blood money.

Republicans will teach your children how to torture for fun and profit.

Posted by: Hostile on August 19, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Do not let the Republicans turn your daughter into a Lyndie England!

Posted by: Hostile on August 19, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: "Little did we suspect how badly the country's infrastructure had been allowed to deteriorate" re: Iraq

Had been 'allowed' to deteriorate? DOD, CIA, and just about everyone who reads a newspaper knew exactly what dire straights Iraq was in prior to the US invasion. UN sanctions had killed 500,000 Iraqi children (Unicef) from 1991 to 2003. By the late 90's the US stood alone in demanding that sanctions be continued.

"Denis Halliday was appointed United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, Iraq as of 1 September 1997, at the Assistant Secretary-General level. In October 1998 he resigned after a 34 year career with the UN in order to have the freedom to criticise the sanctions regime, saying "I don't want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide". Halliday's successor, Hans von Sponeck, subsequently also resigned in protest. Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Program in Iraq, followed them. According to von Sponeck, the sanctions restricted Iraqis to living on $100 each of imports per year.

So don't say no one knew how badly Iraq's infrastructure had been allowed to deteriorate.
That's such a lie.

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

has407 wrote:

"So yes, there are likely many ex-military personnel fighting in many different insurgent groups. But to suggest that the majority of insurgents formed and operate under the command of former loyalists with similar motivations or objectives, is erroneous."
_____________

It could very well be that you are correct, has. But by now, most of the amateur fighters are long since dead - staying alive against the Americans takes discipline and luck. An article in the Council on Foreign Affairs website said that Sunnis, led by ex-Baathists and tribal leaders, are responsible for about 85% of all insurgent activity in Iraq. I suspect that, though they might claim any number of groups, their street fighters wore a uniform three years ago.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

"The sanctions regime was finally ended on May 22, 2003 (with certain arms-related exceptions) by paragraph 10 of UNSC, after approximatly 1.5 million people had died.Resolution 1483."

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

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

There's no question Democrats should be shoving the terror issue down the GOP's ugly throat. You want immediate action? Redeploy troops on a timetable. Take funding of first responders seriously. We're losing Afghanistan: Fix it. Fund the reopening of emergency rooms across the nation.

Posted by: secularhuman on August 19, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

(After citing the lives sanctions had cost, nepeta wrote:

"So don't say no one knew how badly Iraq's infrastructure had been allowed to deteriorate.
That's such a lie."
______________

nepeta, I'm tempted to ask, so which should we have done? Kept the sanctions, which were an essential part of containment, or taken out Saddam so that we could end the sanctions?

But sticking to the issue of infrastructure, I didn't mean health care or food distribution. I meant power and water distribution, communications and sewers. Granted, those all have health significance, but no fair condemning us with twenty-twenty hindsight. Quite literally, you can suspect we knew everything, but you cannot know we knew any particular part of it, for certain. Much of this stuff is the kind of thing only assets on the ground could ferret out and only then if they were assigned to gather workable info about it. We've already been criticized for terribly inadequate intel. So, one might ask: Were we all-knowing or did our intel stink?

In any case, part of the problem with power distribution, for example, was that the Iraqis kept it together with spit and bailing wire. Much of the equipment was ancient and seemed to have no backups at all. Though we didn't target their power grid for destruction during the invasion, we were surprised to find that it had nonetheless collapsed, unable to take the strain of even light damage. Then, instead of just slapping it back together for a quick fix, we awarded contracts for whole new generation plants, delaying full service even longer. Those plants are there operating, but now it's dificult to get the distribution network operating. Such has happened to many of our continuing efforts to improve things. It's all hamstrung, like so much else, by the violence of the insurgency.


Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: "I didn't mean health care or food distribution. I meant power and water distribution, communications and sewers. Granted, those all have health significance, but no fair condemning us with twenty-twenty hindsight."

But, Trashhauler, this isn't twenty-twenty hindsight! The water contamination, which resulted in dysentery and led to most of the deaths of children was not only recognized by the US but also originally designed for just that reason. Chlorine was listed as a dual-use chemical, which it obviously is, but should never have been included in sanctions. Back when I was
researching this more intensively, there was a US government site, I forget which agency, DOD or CIA, which foresaw the result and in fact supported the sanction on chlorine. You can believe that after the invasion the US looked around with disbelief on the Iraqi infrastructure, but that simply was not the case. The UN had inspectors in Iraq on and off during the 90's. NGO's were screaming about the loss of life in Iraq due to unsanitary conditions.
I will not accept your thesis.

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler,

AND, to answer your tempting question. There was NO reason to topple Saddam. Saddam was perfectly happy ruling Iraq. I don't think he even wanted Kuwait. There was a border dispute about Kuwait drilling Iraqi oil, forget the term for it. The US ambassador to Iraq at the time has said that Saddam was given the green light for the Kuwaiti invasion by the US. Go figure.

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta,

You don't have to accept any statement or idea, of mine, nepeta. I won't be hurt or crushed if I don't convince you. I only ask you to consider this: Many people, especially opponents, strangely enough, think that just because one part of the government knows something, then naturally all parts of it do. It just ain't so. It's particularly not true between different departments. Heck, it's true in the headquarters where I work.

But, I'm curious now. The Oil for Food program was specifically supposed to take care of food and medicine. Wasn't that the money that Saddam ripped off, partly to bribe our allies? Also, we'd long been castigated for selling dual use stuff, such as agricultural chemicals. So, of course all of that stopped when the UN put on the sanctions. It sounds like the United States was in quite a pickle, damned if it did and damned if it didn't.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

"You don't have to accept any statement or idea, of mine, nepeta."

Not to worry, Trashhauler.

" The Oil for Food program was specifically supposed to take care of food and medicine. Wasn't that the money that Saddam ripped off, partly to bribe our allies?"

Regardless of who got a bigger paycheck from the 'Oil for Food' program (including US and European businessmen), the program DID work very well. A little skimmed off the top, that's all.
So what's new?

" Also, we'd long been castigated for selling dual use stuff, such as agricultural chemicals."

Are you sure you don't mean biological weapons precursors and military armaments in the 80's when Saddam was our friend? When were we castigated for selling agricultural chemicals?
Let's see, Iran/Iraq war (we support Iraq), Gulf War I (we support Kuwait), sanctions start 1991.
Doesn't seem to be a lot of time in that time-line to be castigated for 'agricultural chemicals.'

So, no, not damned if it did, damned if it didn't.

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, if you go back carefully over the stuff we were accused of selling to Saddam during the 80s, you'll find that it was dual use stuff, almost all of it insecticides. Those were the "precursor" materials we were accused of selling. I'll read any source that points out with specificity what other kind of precursor materials we might have provided.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: "if you go back carefully over the stuff we were accused of selling to Saddam during the 80s"

Sorry, I've been there, done that. But it is a tempting offer. We'll see. Why should anyone castigate the US for 'agricultural chemicals' in the '80s, when as far as I know there were no UN sanctions and the US was a firm ally of Iraq?

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, because many agricultural chemicals can be used to make chemical weapons. They are good examples of "dual use" material. I seem to recall that the idea of selling pesticides and such to Iraq belonged to the commerce department (who weren't thinking about weapons) and was eventually stopped by the State Department, but I could be wrong.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 19, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler,

That was easier than I expected. See this Wiki (with references linked). Read it and weep.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War#Iraq

"On 25 May 1994, The U.S. Senate Banking Committee released a report in which it was stated that pathogenic (meaning disease producing), toxigenic (meaning poisonous) and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. It added: "These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction."[35] The report then detailed 70 shipments (including Anthrax Bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over three years, concluding that "these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the UN inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological warfare program."[36]

A report by Berlin's Die Tageszeitung in 2002 reported that Iraq's 11,000-page report to the UN Security Council listed 150 foreign companies that supported Saddam Hussein's WMD program. Twenty-four U.S. firms were involved in exporting arms and materials to Baghdad [37] Donald Riegle, Chairman of the Senate committee that made the report, said, "UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs." He added, "the executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record."

Posted by: nepeta on August 19, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta, yeah, that's the stuff. Did the cited report say why the licenses were granted? What was the purported purpose for the materials?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 20, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Aw, come on, nepeta....

Everyone knows that Anthrax is the best fertilizer....

Posted by: Disputo on August 20, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, just read it. I had trouble picking out just two paragraphs to copy. The whole thing is just beyond belief. It seems wholely obvious to me why the licenses were granted.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

"wholely obvious"

sheesh, make that 'totally obvious'.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

check out this U.S. Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990

Most disturbing is the number of times Congress tried to do something to stop Iraq, only to have it thwarted by the Reagan admin.

Posted by: Disputo on August 20, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, disputo, we sold Iraq a lot of fertilizer to grow pumpkins. After the pumpkins started growing they were attacked by big 'pumpkin bugs' so we then had to sell them insecticide. See, it all makes sense! The US is always just so moral, and takes good care of its friends, too.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta, no, I read the whole Wiki thing. It mentioned a Senate report that it did not link to and a German newspaper that gave details about a UN report, also without a link.

The things I was looking for were whether there was a legitimate reason to send that kind of stuff anywhere, let alone Iraq. And I wanted to see who else that stuff had been sent to. I do know that Commerce authorizes thousands of licenses each year and there was obviously some failure in the vetting process.

But I didn't see anything that clearly showed motive in the article. Guess I'll have to dig up the Senate Report.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 20, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Disputo! Excellent link.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Btw, Trash is wrong about the State Dept -- they were active in making sure that nothing got in the way of Saddam receiving so-called "dual use" items.

Most critically, State kept Iraq off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list (after Carter put them on, and even when Congress tried to force them back on), which would have precluded Iraq from receiving dual-use items.

Posted by: Disputo on August 20, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler,

I'd say that thinking it's an 'oops' vetting problem on the Commerce Dept's behalf in issuing 771 export licenses is just some form of absurd
denial of reality on your part.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta, well, since I haven't denied anything yet, you are a bit premature. I just want to look at something other than a group dedicated to removing the sanctions and using tertiary sources for their points.

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 20, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

A database of US companies and the biz they did with Iraq selling dual-use items can be found here.

Posted by: Disputo on August 20, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

sorry, that is just the N-Z list;

full index is here:

http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/made-in-the-usa-part-iii-the-dishonor-roll/2889/#top1

Posted by: Disputo on August 20, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: "if you go back carefully over the stuff we were accused of selling to Saddam during the 80s, you'll find that it was dual use stuff, almost all of it insecticides."

This was the denial of reality I was talking about. I was only 'reading your mind' on the Commerce Dept. licensing, but I'd be quite happy if you could prove that those licenses were mostly just for insecticide and fertilizer.

Believe me, trashhauler, disputo and I could go on all night providing you with links. This is stuff that at least 'some' of us have known for quite a long, long time.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

disputo,

Your linked site is amazing! Thanks so much. I think this pretty much ends the conversation.
We rest the case.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry. At least I 'rest MY case.' You can continue to educate TH if you desire, of course.
I'm off for a few computer games before bed.

Posted by: nepeta on August 20, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

"nepeta, I'm tempted to ask, so which should we have done? Kept the sanctions, which were an essential part of containment, or taken out Saddam so that we could end the sanctions?"

And again, I have to ask: Does nobody have enough creativity to think that there were only two choices?

Posted by: mcdruid on August 20, 2006 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Suggested 2006 Democrat campaign theme for Iraq/GWOT

"Do you feel like we're winning ?"

Posted by: still working it out on August 20, 2006 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

trash: so which should we have done? Kept the sanctions, which were an essential part of containment, or taken out Saddam so that we could end the sanctions?"


sanctions...schmanctions....

"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." - G.W. Bush 3/6/03


clear...got that?


and how dangerous did they believe saddam was?


1991 invasion: 400k+
2003 invasion: 150k


gop: evidence is for chumps

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 20, 2006 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is the Democrats aren't saying what is true, they're saying what they think people want to hear and what will get them elected.

Call a liar a liar!

http://dontbealemming.com/2006/08/19/democrats-need-to-be-true-to-themselves-and-their-priorities.aspx

http://dontbealemming.com/2006/08/20/john-kerry-on-this-week-with-george-stephanopoulos-2.aspx

Posted by the Lemming Herder from Dont Be A Lemming!

Posted by: The Lemming Herder on August 20, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

As a shoe in to fear mongering, the Republican controlled Congress is trying to legislate the taking over of State's National Guard without consultation ....

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2003209219_guarded20.html

Call your Reps in Congress!

Posted by: anonymous on August 20, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

"The big problem with the militarism inherent in the Bush Doctrine is..." that Americans love militarism (makes them feel like big shots). The crowd has truned away from bush only because he's losing, not because of the 'no problem that can't be solved by an invasion' posture of the cult of republicanism.

Posted by: pluege on August 20, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats are smart they will ignore John
Dickerson. Its not about dying anymore its about living. The country is so fed up with living in perpetual fear. The first candidate who treats the public as adults and says, we may get hit again, but hey that life, we have to keep on living and doing our thing, thats the next President of the US.

Posted by: aline on August 20, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

"My fear is that Democrats won't have the guts to fight fear with fear"

What? Every word out of Democratic politicians mouths on any policy matter is about how the Republicans are out to do grave damage to the country.

Posted by: Dan Morgan on August 20, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: sdfs on August 21, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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