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Tilting at Windmills

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August 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LOSING THE WAR THE RUMSFELDIAN WAY....I guess one way of viewing Don Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion yesterday is that it was nothing more than garden variety election-year political pandering. Iowa farmers want to hear you swear undying fealty to ethanol subsidies and WWII vets want to hear paeans to blood and guts. Usually, they both get what they want.

Alternatively, and more persuasively, it's one of the opening shots in the ongoing Dr. Strangelove-ification of this year's midterms. In the same way that TV shows have to become ever more violent and risque in order to shock audiences who have seen it all before, Republicans must figure that the only way to make the terrorism card pay off yet again is to amp up the wingnuttery for an obviously skeptical and jaded public. And since terrorism is all they've got, that's what they're going to do. What other choice do they have?

However, at the risk of being suckered into responding to something that's obviously meant as little more than crude base pandering, let's take a look at one thing Rumsfeld said. In between the counterculture bashing that brought back memories of William Safire speeches written for Spiro Agnew, Rumsfeld asked this:

With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?

Why, no, we can't. And needless to say, no one believes this. Not Democrats, not Republicans, not anybody. Osama and his pals are fanatics, and negotiating with fanatics is pointless.

But Rumsfeld's speech was never meant to be taken seriously. It's just crude agitprop designed to keep the proles from wondering if the Cheney wing of the Republican Party is actually doing anything to make the world a safer place. The question has never been whether we should open talks with al-Qaeda, it's been what we should do to stop them from killing us. Should we fight a war in Iraq that's served primarily as a recruiting bonanza for radical jihadism? Should we refuse to talk to the Middle East's biggest regional power because we think that merely being in the same room with them is a sign of weakness? Should we encourage Israel to fight a fruitless war against Lebanon while simultaneously egging on American hawks who think a bombing campaign against Iran will fix all our problems? Should we spend homeland defense money on dumb projects in loyal red states instead of taking port security seriously?

Let's see. How about no, no, no, and no? But those are questions Rumsfeld would prefer not to address since they put the spotlight on the fact that the Bush administration has accomplished nothing over the past five years except to make a bad problem even worse which is a pretty remarkable record when you consider how bad the problem was to begin with.

But al-Qaeda won't be beaten by fighting a bunch of aimless proxy wars in the general vicinity of the Middle East. It will, eventually, be beaten when the non-terrorist population of the region decides to turn against al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies and deny them the support and shelter they need in order to function. Encouraging that to happen is the biggest foreign policy challenge of the 21st century, and because they've failed so miserably at it, it's the one thing the Bushies most want to avoid talking about.

Which is, of course, precisely why we should talk about it. Loudly and relentlessly. It's good policy and good politics.

Kevin Drum 2:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (177)

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Comments

Seems like Rumsfeld and Cheney have been talking like this for at least three years, yet every month more and more people become annoyed with the lack of progess in the War on Terror and confused about why we are in Iraq. Rumsfeld is going to face a vote of no confidence next month, which is not a sign of high popularity and trust.

It takes about three seconds to deflate these clowns. The next time they say something like "..and some say...", make them specify exactly who says what they claim is said. Make them name a name or produce a quote. This usually gets them to backpedal faster than Lance Armstrong.

Posted by: Alderaan on August 30, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Rumsfeld: Wrong, cranky, armed, and dangerous.

Why can't he just go home and remain irrelevant until trial?

Posted by: Spintingling on August 30, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Rumsfeld ROCKS!

Check out this to see how else they are making the government better!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on August 30, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't casey say today that the iraqis will be ready to take the lead in 12-18 months?

Posted by: klyde on August 30, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Creating arguments that you either can't agree with or can't help but agree with takes some ingenuity. Well, some.

Reminds me of an old SNL bit with Buck Henry as host of an unpopular radio call-in show:
"I'm in favor of forced bussing of communist sympathizers to your homes to break in and kill your puppies. Disagree? Call me now!"

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on August 30, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

This is a big issue. Democrats want the war on terror to be fought smarter. The administration is painting this as appeasement. Here's hoping enough of the American populace sees that as the pathetic straw-man argument that it is.

Posted by: mmy on August 30, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Great post, Kevin.

mmy wrote: Democrats want the war on terror to be fought smarter. The administration is painting this as appeasement.

Of course...in the face of their obvious incompetence, they have no choice.

Here's hoping enough of the American populace sees that as the pathetic straw-man argument that it is.

Indeed.

Posted by: Gregory on August 30, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: ... the Bush administration has accomplished nothing over the past five years except to make a bad problem even worse ...

That's not true. The Bush administration has enriched and empowered its already rich and powerful cronies and finanical backers in the military-industrial-petroleum complex. That's the complete and only agenda of the Bush administration, which is actually nothing but a criminal gang masquerading as "conservative" or "neo-conservative" politicians in order to misuse the power of the federal government and the US military for corrupt purposes of private financial gain.

The so-called "war on terror" is a hoax perpetrated towards that achieving that end. In terms of its true purpose, which is to enrich the Bush administration and its backers and not to "make America safer", the so-called "war on terror" has been a great success.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

But those are questions Rumsfeld would prefer not to address since they put the spotlight on the fact that the Bush administration has accomplished nothing over the past five years except to make a bad problem even worse

Let's also not forget how, a year ago, the spectacular incompetence and unpreparedness of the Bush Administration for a major disaster such as a hurricane -- or a terrorist attack.

Hmmmm....I wonder if Rumsfeld would rather we remember the shocking revelation -- again -- of this Administration's incompetence (when, of course, they've been branding themselves as the Party of Homeland Security) or debunking these obvious straw men?

Posted by: Gregory on August 30, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?

Why, no, we can't.

Then why do you support withdrawing troops from Iraq? Leaving in retreat from Iraq will only make the enemy follow us home. Why are you so willing to allow another 9/11 to happen when the Islamofascist attacked us on our own home soil? Unfortunately liberals have still not learned the lesson of WWII when the Europeans appeased Hitler. It was only too late before they realized theat you can't appease dictators or else they'll attack. With the Islamofascist state of Iran we have to be even more worried because if they ever get nukes, they could send those nukes to America by packing them in a suitcase. That's why we must destroy Iran's nuclear capabiliy now or else they'll start sending nukes at America.

Posted by: Al on August 30, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yes he did, klyde.

But then you have to enter in the Cheops Factor for the Bush administration. Which is partly why Casey also said it didn't mean the US would withdraw troops. The other reason is that "We will stand down as they stand up" has always been a political lie of the vilest kind for there are no plans currently in place to give the Iraqi military the support and supply infrastructure - nor the heavy weapons like tanks, bombers and artillery - that the US currently provides and without which the newly stood-up Iraqi army would simply fall flat on its face again. There are no plans to even look at giving Iraq that stand-alone infrastructure before 2010 - i.e before the next president puts her/his ass on that comfy chair in the Oval Office.

Regards, Cernig

Posted by: Cernig on August 30, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Very nice post Kevin.

Republicans must figure that the only way to make the terrorism card pay off yet again is to amp up the wingnuttery for an obviously skeptical and jaded public.

It will be very interesting to see if it works for them....Again.

Posted by: ckelly on August 30, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Who did business with the Nazi's in WWII? What Senator helped with the money end...hmm...what was his last name...

Posted by: The Hague on August 30, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Al, STFU

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase a Rumsfeldian speach.

"What have all Americans asked Bush and Rumsfeld to do? America has asked we hunt down Bin Ladin and the rest of Al Qaeda. Have we? Golly, no. Will we? I don' think so. Why not? Its hard work, and winning the war on terror got in the way of fighting the war in Iraq."

Arrogance piled on top of incompetence. Give that man the medal of freedom.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 30, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

If only the Bush Administration wasnt so weak on terrorism, we would all be so much safer now! After all, just look at all of the things that Bill Clinton did to fight terrorism, that were thrown out the window when Bush seized power in 2000. And then, of course, Donald Rumsfeld and the neocons tried all of that appeasement nonsense with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Look where that got us! And of course, remember that Richard Nixon sold the Shah of Iran one of the nuclear research facilities that Ahmadinejad may be using to make a nuke! We wont even get into the fact that the Reagan Administration called Osama bin Laden a freedom fighter and gave him billions in American tax dollars.

Conservatives always just molly-coddle these tyrants and create all of these terrorists with their foolish appeasement tactics. When will Americans ever recognize how weak these conservative, draft-dodging chickenhawks are on terror and vote in some Democrats who actually do something about it???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on August 30, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK
It will, eventually, be beaten when the non-terrorist population of the region decides to turn against al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies and deny them the support and shelter they need in order to function.

This, while better than the usual right-wing propaganda, makes the same critical mistake: it presumes that there is an unswayable "terrorist population" and a unswayable "non-terrorist population", and that the war with al-Qaeda will be won when the former is defeated by the latter.

The "war" will be won, however, when the terrorism meme stops spreading in the population, when parts of the "non-terrorist population" stop becoming part of the "terrorist population".

If you make the fundamental mistake of seeing the struggle against terrorism as an effort fundamentally to defeat a given population rather than an effort to arrest the propagation of a harmful meme, you'll never conduct the struggle effectively.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 30, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

A remotely related story worth following. could be a transient rather than a trend.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2006-08-29-gas-price-usat_x.htm

Posted by: republicrat on August 30, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?

With a growing record of misstakes and misjudgements can we really afford to keep Don Rumsfailed as Sec of Defense ?

Posted by: Stephen on August 30, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely on August 30, 2006 at 2:58 PM

That's a nice post. Here is a question, sometimes presented as a statement: Isn't defeating the terrorists the best way to prevent the meme from spreading? We know bin Laden's answer: terrorist success is the best way to spread the terrorist meme.

Posted by: republicrat on August 30, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Didn't casey say today that the iraqis will be ready to take the lead in 12-18 months?"

Is that two or three Friedmans?

Posted by: brewmn on August 30, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

What Kevin is saying is absolutely true: it is agit prop. But what democrats need to do to fire back is to flip the argument: Americans' hard efforts are being completely wasted in Iraq because the GOP doesn't have the guts to even admit, let alone study its mistakes.

Democrats shouldn't be afraid to tell the story of Harry Truman - who in WW II as a Democrat led the efforts to investigate the mis-steps of WW II. Now, the GOP doesn't have the courage to even look at the lessons of Iraq.

That's what the Democrats should have the courage to invoke - the pathetic cowardice of men hiding their incompetence by invoking the bravery of ordinary foot-soldiers.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on August 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK
Here is a question, sometimes presented as a statement: Isn't defeating the terrorists the best way to prevent the meme from spreading?

Depends what you mean by "defeating" and "terrorists".

If by defeating you mean "killing" or even "killing or capturing" and by "the terrorists" you mean "the set of all people who are now or have in the past participated in terrorist acts or been members of groups that have organized and executed such acts", then no, defeating "the terrorists" would probably not be a particularly effective means of stopping the terrorism meme from spreading, even if it was practically achievable.

OTOH, with those definitions, "defeating" some subset of "the terrorists" is probably one necessary-but-not-sufficient component among many of any practical effective strategy of dealing with the terrorism meme in the long term.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 30, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

But what democrats need to do to fire back is to flip the argument: Americans' hard efforts are being completely wasted in Iraq because the GOP doesn't have the guts to even admit, let alone study its mistakes.

I'll go further than that: American lives are being completely wasted in Iraq because the GOP doesn't have the guts to admit its mistakes.

Posted by: Gregory on August 30, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

GOP 06: we have nothing to offer but fear itself

shout it from the rooftops.

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you rule. A terrific post.

Posted by: Steve on August 30, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I recommend this article which documents the tremendous success of the Bush administration's "war on terror" at achieving its real goals, which have nothing to do with protecting America from terrorism:

Soldiers Die, CEOs Prosper
by Derrick Z. Jackson
August 30, 2006
The Boston Globe

Excerpt (emphasis added):

As soldiers have died in displaying personal patriotism, the pay gap between soldiers and defense CEOs has exploded. Before 9/11, the gap between CEOs of publicly traded companies and army privates was already a galling 190 to 1. Today, it is 308 to 1. The average army private makes $25,000 a year. The average defense CEO makes $7.7 million.

"Did this surprise us? No, because we've been watching since Sept. 11," said Betsy Leondar-Wright, communications director for United for a Fair Economy. "While the rest of us were worrying about terrorism and mourning the people who died, the CEOs were maneuvering their companies to take advantage of fear and changing oil supply, not just for competition but for personal enrichment."

The top profiteers after 9/11 were the CEOs of United Technologies ($200 million), General Dynamics ($65 million), Lockheed Martin ($50 million), and Halliburton ($49 million). Other firms where CEO pay the last four years added up to $25 million to $45 million were Textron, Engineered Support Systems, Computer Sciences, Alliant Techsystems, Armor Holding, Boeing, Health Net, ITT Industries, Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh Truck, URS, and Raytheon.

While Army privates died overseas earning $25,000 a year, David Brooks, the disgraced former CEO of body-armor maker DHB, made $192 million in stock sales in 2004. He staged a reported $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter. The 2005 pay package for Halliburton CEO David Lesar, head of the firm that most symbolizes the occupation's waste, overcharges, and ghost charges on no-bid contracts, was $26 million, according to the report's analysis of federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

This is the real purpose of the war that Cheney and Rumsfeld want to go on forever.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory - American lives are being wasted. And BTW one of the saddest things to me are the two stats you don't see much;

Over 15,000 Americans greviously wounded, and the uncounted Iraqis. And the money, so greviously wasted.

Sad, very sad.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on August 30, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

If only there was somebody in the White House or Defense Department Press Corp who would ask one of the top Administration officials to identify the national Democrat who says he wants to pursue an appeasement policy with Al Qaeda? If only? If only?

Na, not possible. None of those guys would ever ask a hard question.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 30, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

You missed the point (I think). Rumsfeld wasn't talking about Al Qaeda. He was talking about Iran. Al Qaeda does not exist anymore because the pundits stopped talking about them. The 'vicious extremists' are the ones trying to begin negotiations or debates with the USA. We cannot negotiate or debate them, says the GOOP, because they are vicious extremists. The only way to deal with them is to lose 3000 American lives and billions of American dollars installing an Islamofascist government in their country.

Posted by: reino on August 30, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

The real threat to the most dangerous terrorist organizations has been time. Most wither away as the movements they represent mature (including individual members) and circumstances change. ETA (not defeated by Franco) and the IRA (not defeated by Thatcher) are good examples. The kinds that can be defeated outright are not attached to broader political and social movements. You saw something like this with groups like the Baader-Meinhof Gang, which was really not undone until the 1990s. By definition terrorists do not threaten states or the military so the mobilization of the populace for a national struggle against domestic insecurity is for reasons other than the physical protection of the state. The only legitimate reason for national war.

It is mostly to manufacture consent for things that are tangential to terrorism and to keep certain people in power. There has not been a single liberal political thinker who did not warn of the short path from domestic insecurity to tyranny. Our own Ben Franklin is chief among them. The War on Terror by its nature- an exaggeration of threats to the state- is a tool of tyranny.

Posted by: bellumregio on August 30, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

a comment over on dkos

"we are all macacas now"

i had to laugh

Posted by: christAlmighty on August 30, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"when the non-terrorist population of the region decides to turn against al-Qaeda" is when Iraq and Lebanon become fully functional democracies and spread their influence to the rest of the region. It's the best chance we've got of avoiding larger scale wars in the future - always was.

It would be nice if you and like minded folks could quit your carping and realize that negotiating, even mail fisted or for that matter honey drenched negotiating, has been tried e.g. North Korea. Totalitarians can only be influenced so much through negotiations and in the end they tend to go their own way anyway, perhaps because they are totalitarians.

I understand you want to repeat the mistake with Iran. Ultimately the leaders of Iran will only understand the language of intimidation and force, but you are free to dream on at the expense of the reality based community.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Right just does not get it.They dodn't understand that they are creating these problems from misstakes they made many years ago.All this can go back to Nixon,Reagan and H.W. Bush.All they know is Stay and Die or Cut and Run they have no other Options no ideas.People this is getting serious we need to get them out of office NOW! before it is to late.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ultimately the leaders of Iran will only understand the language of intimidation and force,

You're mistaking their state of mind for your own.

Posted by: craigie on August 30, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Graham's post above is a perfect example.(The only thing that will work against these people is the tried and true Saddam option keep killing them untill they conform).

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?" Donald Rumsfeld

Reino: I think he was referring to Al Qaeda. Of course he might have been talking about Muslims generally. It's hard to tell.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 30, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie,

How about talking about the state of mind of Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad? That was the point of my post.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

As soldiers have died in displaying personal patriotism, the pay gap between soldiers and defense CEOs has exploded. Before 9/11, the gap between CEOs of publicly traded companies and army privates was already a galling 190 to 1. Today, it is 308 to 1. The average army private makes $25,000 a year. The average defense CEO makes $7.7 million.

Somewhere, Dwight Eisenhower is sadly saying, "You didn't listen to me [about the military-industrial complex]."

Posted by: Vincent on August 30, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Being safe is the Mantra of the right.Why not implant a chip into every person in the U.S and anyone comming into the U.S.Crime will stop Murder will stop.We would not need prisons anymore.But why don't we do this,ask a righty.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Mann Coulter,

One point of my post was democratization. That does not in and of itself involve killing people and can work in their favor - at least I'd like to think so. However, I am in favor of killing people who won't be negotiated down from acquiring nuclear weapons and who simultaineously bankroll terrorist organizations.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

"With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?"

Too bad he didn't come to that conclusion sooner, like back in the mid-80s when he was selling such weapons to the "extremist" Saddam Hussein. We might not be in the position we are in now but for such and similar conduct.

Posted by: bubba on August 30, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al is right. Kevins post is wishful thinking.

If America engages on one-on-one negotiations with North Korea or Iran, that's a recipe for appeasing the vicious extremists who run those countries.

Strictly speaking, pulling out of Iraq would be ignoring, rather than appeasing, the vicious extremists who are fighting to overthrow the democratic government. That's no improvement.

It's easy to find fault with Bush's war in Iraq, but the Dems cannot demonstrate that they have a better plan. In fact, they haven't come close to agreeing on a plan. This is a winning issue for the pubbies

Posted by: ex-liberal on August 30, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"It would be nice if you and like minded folks could quit your carping and realize that negotiating, even mail fisted or for that matter honey drenched negotiating, has been tried e.g. North Korea. Totalitarians can only be influenced so much through negotiations and in the end they tend to go their own way anyway, perhaps because they are totalitarians.

I understand you want to repeat the mistake with Iran. Ultimately the leaders of Iran will only understand the language of intimidation and force, but you are free to dream on at the expense of the reality based community.
Posted by: Graham"

Unfortunately for your argument, The number of nukes made North Korea during Clinton's Adminstration is ZERO, NONE. The number of nukes made after the Bush Adminstration broke off the deal Clinton made is six or eight. On a bottom line basis, you flunk.

Posted by: Jon Stopa on August 30, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

It's really not as hard as you make it out to be. One doesn't have to kill all of the terrorists or even many of them. The lesson was given by Sharon in the West Bank. It's a matter of making the acts of terror unproductive. The leadership in Hamas starting to think terror was becoming unproductive when the leaders started getting killed in rapid succession. Funny how that happens isn't it?

No defined government is going to actively and publically support terrorism against the US again after the taliban model has been established and re-established with the Saddam experience.

The dilemma the Western World faces today, and this means Europe, is the Iranian model of using proxy terror armies can and will end their cultures if they remain as politically correct as they are today.

Contrary to conventional wisdom the Iranain thirst for nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the US or Israel. The mad Mullahs understand attacking either Israel or the USA will result in their total destruction.

This weaponry would however give them a decisive edge within the Islamic world and with Europe. We know Iran supports Hezbollah and Hamas and it's only a short matter of time before they start to destabilize Europe. Europe would not contemplate pre-emptive strikes. They worship at the altar of soft power. They would need an admission from Iran that Iran is supporting European terrorist before doing anything against Iran. Obviously that will never happen. Iran merely needs to continue it's current path. Europe is too weak to interfere and demographics ensure Europe can only get weaker.

Iran wishes to restore Islam to it's former lands. They almost have everything they need. The USA is the only nation they have to fear and they won't be supporting stikes here.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Graham That would be ok exept then they can vote into power the exact people we do not want to do buisness with.Sound familar aka Hamas and what ever the hell the leaders name of Iran is.As bad as it sounds strong man like Saddam is a better option.You have to know the people you are working with,and the Right just doesn't get it.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

rdw = Bush

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

"When you crash a school bus in a ditch, the first thing you do is fire the driver. Then you get the bus out of the ditch."
B. Obama, talking about the Iraq war.

Do we really think that Dubya an Co. have any interesting in really fixing Iraq when carlyle group, halliburton, bectel etc. are in the school bus parts and repair business? All this death and destruction has only lined their pockets, what makes us think they want to stop now?

I got a campaign idea for the dems in '06 & '08.
"We're here to fix your mess" or "George broke it, we'll fix it." That's not the "cut & run" or "stay the course" bullshit,they can't shed.

Posted by: cboas on August 30, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Graham wrote: "However, I am in favor of killing people who won't be negotiated down from acquiring nuclear weapons and who simultaineously bankroll terrorist organizations."

You just wrote that you are in favor of killing the President of the United States, George W. Bush. I'm calling the Secret Service to report you.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

As soldiers have died in displaying personal patriotism, the pay gap between soldiers and defense CEOs has exploded.

If God exists, and is just, there will be a very special place reserved in Hell for the Rumsfelds, Cheneys, and Bushes. They gathered up all the people who volunteered for the armed forces after 9/11 out of patriotism, took their energy, anger and idealism, and redirected it toward their own enrichment by misleading them into the wrong war.

Posted by: mister pedantic on August 30, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Should we encourage Israel to fight a fruitless war against Lebanon while simultaneously egging on American hawks who think a bombing campaign against Iran will fix all our problems?

Are you sure the war was fruitless? Israel has been blowing up Hezbollah defensive postitions since the fighting ceased. Nasrallah says he wouldn't have done it. A person in the US was arrested for supporting Hezbollah based on papers found by Israelis in the war. A plane carrying arms from Iran to Syria was turned bacvk by Iraqi and Turkish air traffic control. Vehicles carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon have been confiscated by the Lebanese army and the border with Syria almost sealed by Syria rather than submit their vehicles to inspection. Israel now has information that it previously lacked about the exact weaponry and tactics useful to Hezbollah. In some places, Lebanese soldiers have taken weapons from Hezbollah (not a lot, but this is a first.) Hezbollah rocket emplacements are farther from Israel than before.

The list of benefits to Israel and losses to Hezbollah is quite long. It is not as clear a victory for Israel as 1967 or 1973, but it was not fruitless either.

Posted by: republicrat on August 30, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

mann

deep

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Iran wishes to restore Islam to it's former lands. They almost have everything they need. The USA is the only nation they have to fear and they won't be supporting stikes here.

Ultimately the leaders of Iran will only understand the language of intimidation and force, but you are free to dream on at the expense of the reality based community.

save us GOP-Kenobi, you're our only hope! *swoon*

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat wrote: " It is not as clear a victory for Israel as 1967 or 1973, but it was not fruitless either."

Apparently a lot of Israelis disagree with you and are quite angry with their government because they believe the war accomplished nothing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nasrallah says he wouldn't have done it.

cite?

The list of benefits to Israel and losses to Hezbollah is quite long.

and vice versa.

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote:

"Rumsfeld's speech was never meant to be taken seriously. It's just crude agitprop designed to keep the proles from wondering if the Cheney wing of the Republican Party is actually doing anything to make the world a safer place. The question has never been whether we should open talks with al-Qaeda, it's been what we should do to stop them from killing us. Should we fight a war in Iraq that's served primarily as a recruiting bonanza for radical jihadism? Should we refuse to talk to the Middle East's biggest regional power because we think that merely being in the same room with them is a sign of weakness? Should we encourage Israel to fight a fruitless war against Lebanon while simultaneously egging on American hawks who think a bombing campaign against Iran will fix all our problems? Should we spend homeland defense money on dumb projects in loyal red states instead of taking port security seriously?"
________________

Rumsfeld speech was certainly a form of propaganda, though perhaps not agitprop. But if Kevin objects to the SECDEF's use of false choices or obvious strawmen (such as, "can we truly afford to believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased?"), then why serve up a list of his own, just so he can answer, No, no, no!?" Most conservatives would also answer Kevin's questions with, "No."

Who believes that we want to fight a war that only serves to recruit jihadists?

Nobody believes that the only reason we aren't talking to Iran (if, in fact, we aren't) is that we think doing so makes us appear weak.

Who believes that the intent was to encourage Israel to fight a fruitless war?

Who believes that a bombing campaign against Iran will fix all of our problems?

Nobody will agree with wasting homeland defense money anywhere.

Rumsfeld's use of the appeasement card wasn't designed to convince opponents they are wrong. Nobody thinks of themselves as an appeaser, anyway. But, it's significant that Kevin chose not to include the other questions in Rumsfeld's list:

Can a free country really negotiate a separate peace with terrorists? (Or negotiate any peace with terrorists?)

Can we address terrorism only as a law enforcement problem?

Should we look at America as the source of the world's problems?

One can consider these other Rumsfeld questions to be merely rhetorical tricks only if one trusts that the Liberal answer to all of these questions would be an emphatic, No!


Posted by: Trashhauler on August 30, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Not meaning to hijack the thread...

But I'm not seeing any commentary anywhere about yesterday's CNN poll results.

Who would win a debate on mideast history/relations...[yada]

President Bush or the President of Iran [Ahmadinejad].

I think the final results were 62-38 in favor of Ahmadinejad winning over Bush with a hundred thousand or so votes cast. Signicant.

Posted by: Buford on August 30, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Soldiers Die, CEOs Prosper

In every American war. It is not an argument for or against any war.

Arthur Miller's play "All my sons" was about corruption in weapons manufacture in WWII. That's the play that Jane Fonda saw the Vietnamese perform when she visited Hanoi, apparently unaware of its morale-boosting intent for the North.

Posted by: republicrat on August 30, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

You mean Isreal sealed off borders, Wow could they teach that trick to Rummy.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Mann Coulter,

I think in in a properly functioning democracy / market economy it is unlikely extremists will be elected. It is not easy to create conditions so that such a democracy can emerge - it took Western Europe a centuries long bloodbath. I don't doubt it can be done in a much shorter time span but I don't think it is easy. Arab democracy is in its infancy as measured in historical time spans.

Jon Stopa,

Clinton's deal with NK was unraveling or had unravelled before GWB was sworn in. It's a simple lesson. Don't trust a totalitarian, they are responsible to no one.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist,

What terrorist organization are you referring to?

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I think the final results were 62-38 in favor of Ahmadinejad winning over Bush with a hundred thousand or so votes cast. Signicant.

Actually it's utterly meaningless. This is CNN with an uber-liberal audience that get's an audience a fraction the size of Fox. They speak to a small and shrinking choir.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

There's a great possibility that I'm just a naive liberal who believes that dialogue is possible, even with 'terrorists.' To assume that terrorists are out to get us for no reason other than jihad is misunderstanding the reality. Or, even worse, that they're out to get us because they 'hate our freedom.' How nonsensical. Terrorist groups have real 'complaints' directed at nation states, particularly the US and Israel, but also their allies in Western Europe. Bin Laden started his political involvment as a mujahadeen in Afghanistan, eventually chasing out the Russians. Another serious complaint is Israel's continued intransigence on allowing an independent Palestinian state to exist. Another complaint, the US airbase in Saudi Arabia. This base was actually vacated, but I'm sure only because the US felt its future bases in Iraq would more than suffice. I see almost everything going on in recent years as related to the 'Great Game,' where the US is attempting to gain a real foothold in the ME and thus be able to protect its energy resources. The WOT is a convenient excuse for such. There ARE other options available and have the added advantage of being global warming friendly. The Bush administration has gone 'whole hog' on it's 'great game' strategy. If you take a good long hard look at the US, you'll find that there is plenty of reason for revenge, and that revenge will come from places other than nation states. It sure makes absolute sense to me.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ultimately the leaders of Iran will only understand the language of intimidation and force, but you are free to dream on at the expense of the reality based community.

Iran has what is called a limited democracy. Iran is not a totalitarian society. The only people who understand the language of intimidation and force are the American ex-slave holders and the people who were lynched, one every day, for decades by them. I assume Graham is from the ex-slave holder population, who now wants to give stripes to Iranians.

Posted by: Hostile on August 30, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

cleet asks for a cite for "Nasrallah says he wouldn't have done it."

It was widely reported in the last day or two that in response to growing irritation with Hez by non-Hez Lebanon, Nasrallah announced that had he known that Israel would overreact to a simple capture of POWs with horrific war crimes against Lebanon, he would not have greenlighted the operation.

Posted by: Disputo on August 30, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

I'm pretty sure I read that with my own eyes, but now I forget where. Sorry.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

oh rdw, you're such a naughty little troll.

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think that there has been extensive discussion on this list and elsewhere about our military options in Iran- short answer is that they are not good. Even with overwhelming air superiority, it is unlikely to derail Iran's program to acquire nuclear weapons, assuming, that Iran is trying to do so.

It is a difficult problem, but I think that we owe it to 18,19, and 20 year olds who will die over there to try to talk the problem through before exercising another preemptive military option.

As far as a winner of the recent Israel?Hezbollah conflict? Hmmm, it is safe to say that more Lebanese civilians were killed than anyone else, Israel civilians were second, then probably Hezbollah fighters, then Israel servicemen. Currently, Iran, through Hezbollah, is spending money hand over fist rebuilding the affected areas of Lebanon. The Israeli's aura of military invincibility has been pierced. Anti-US and Israeli sentiment in the mid-East is reportedly much higher after the conflict, while sympathy for Hezbollah is said to have been greatly improved.

This administration thinks only in terms of maintaining their party's majority in both houses of congress. They will say or do anything to appease their base. So, to the extent that right-wingnuts think talking to Iran is a bad idea- it will not happen.

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 30, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently a lot of Israelis disagree with you and are quite angry with their government because they believe the war accomplished nothing.

But they are angry for reasons you would find appauling. They wanted far more destruction including the entire leadership of Hezbollah wiped-out. Already the politicians are calling for vastly higher defense spending and more aggressive generals. Olmert has also been placed on notice another weak and hesitant response will cost him his job.

The Israeli's also learned the rest of the world is more threatened by Hezbollah and Iran than they realized. For the 1st time they received unequivical support from the Germans as well as a decisive split within the EU in their favor. Only France remains in opposition and France is essentially alone.

Israel was unprepared for their broad political support. Hezbollah and Iran were outrageously stupid. They played their cards far too early. Now not even the French can deny Iran will supply terror oganizations with as many of the best missles they can buy. Not even the French can kid themselves into ignoring the fact those missle will soon reach Paris.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has what is called a limited democracy. Iran is not a totalitarian society.

That's a dumb observation. A limited democracy is as valid as a partial pregnancy. The choices in Iran are set by the mad mullahs. You can choose between whackjob A or whackjob B.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

The US population doesn't want anything but to live in peace with neighbors and to buy crude from some of them at fair market prices. They don't won't to wipe any population off the map as far as I know, or to erase them from the pages of history if you prefer that interpretation. Your right that I am from an ex slaveholder population although I doubt any of my ancestors held slaves much less lynched anyone. Even if they had do you think I should hold my tongue or hang my head in shame? I don't live in past and nor should you. There's problems to solve today that if not resolved satisfactorily would rank up there with historical tragedies like slavery.

Iranian limited democracy in practice means that those in control get to decide who gets on the ballot. It's a lot like Soviet communisim in that regard.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,

Al Qeada wants a Caliphate that extends across the entire Muslim world, including Spain I believe, since they once ruled there. The US government and most if not all others don't want that. Not much to talk about really, once you understand the parameters of the debate.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Graham, Any sources you can give me on that? Bin Laden speeches, etc.?

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

The US of A is a limited democracy, where a presidential candidate can win an election without a majority, as are all others. No nation I know of has an unlimited democracy, although I have heard rumors the Iroquois Nation required one-hundred percent majorities in order to make law, which imposes limits in its own way, too.

Posted by: Hostile on August 30, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

I found the cite on Nazrallah. Here's the quote
from Haaretz:

Hezbollah would not have abducted two Israel Defense Forces soldiers on July 12 had it known that the action would lead to war in Lebanon, the movement's secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview on Lebanon's NTV Sunday.

"We did not think that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/755225.html

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

The Israeli's aura of military invincibility has been pierced. Anti-US and Israeli sentiment in the mid-East is reportedly much higher after the conflict, while sympathy for Hezbollah is said to have been greatly improved.

This is pure nonsense. 1st, Israel has suffered several setbacks in war in the past. 2nd, the Israeli military was constrained by the politicians. 3rd, while far from perfect the military did quite well despite weak intelligence and weak logistical support. 5th, anti-american sentiment in the middle east is always rising. It doesn't matter what happens. 6th, Hezbollah screwed up badly in Lebanon. The non-Shite lebonese are furious and the Shite are none too happy either. $12K in counterfit American dollars won't replace their homes or thoose killed and maimed for nothing. The MSM always says any arab army that survives war with Israel wins because they survived. Ergo Israel has lost all of it's wars.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

It's apples and oranges. The litmus test is whether constituencies get representation and minority rights are protected. While there are shades of gray no doubt the US passes and Iran flunks.

Nepeta,

I am sorry that I can't provide specific resources right now but if you search the writings of Bin Laden on the internet (careful now, NSA may be watching) I believe you'll find that re-establishing the Caliphate is the central goal of Al Qaeda. It's hard to do when you have the US (perhaps the only power capable of getting in your way) right in the middle of Saudi Arabia and Mesapotamia (Iraq).

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Your right that I am from an ex slaveholder population although I doubt any of my ancestors
held slaves much less lynched anyone.

If your ancestors never held slaves why would you consider yourself as being from the slaveholder population?

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Al Qeada wants a Caliphate that extends across the entire Muslim world

so what? there isn't a chance in hell that they could actually get that.

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

the US airbase in Saudi Arabia. This base was actually vacated

"Mission Accomplished!"
Osama bin Laden

Posted by: mister pedantic on August 30, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Can Kevin be taken seriously on the war on terror or any military related matter?

Quote 1:
"Should we fight a war in Iraq that's served primarily as a recruiting bonanza for radical jihadism?"

I realize "recuiting bonanza" is a leftwing talking point (without any factual support -- it is essentially an unknown and repeating it a million times does not make it true), but can anyone intelligently state it is the primary result of the Iraq War? By the way, the Iraq war also has resulted in about 250,000 Iraqis fighting against radical jihadism, so is that "recruting bonanza" (actually supported by objective evidence) also something for Kevin to consider?

Quote 2:

"But al-Qaeda won't be beaten by fighting a bunch of aimless proxy wars in the general vicinity of the Middle East. It will, eventually, be beaten when the non-terrorist population of the region decides to turn against al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies and deny them the support and shelter they need in order to function. Encouraging that to happen is the biggest foreign policy challenge of the 21st century, and because they've failed so miserably at it, it's the one thing the Bushies most want to avoid talking about."

This "encouraging" Muslims to think a certain way through talking is mostly liberal gibberish, but if getting people to turn against jihadists is the goal and the "Bushies" have "failed so miserably at it," how does Kevin explain that millions of Iraqis and Afghans have not only turned against jihadists, but are actually fighting against them? And what about Libia, Egyst, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which are against jihdists and even with respect to Hezballoh in Lebanon, much of the Arab world was against them and even a good portion of Lebanon.

Kevin actually demonstrates the problem with liberals. Even smart and reasonable ones like him basically have nothing of value to say about the war on terror -- only greatly exaggerated criticism of the Bush administration.

Posted by: brian on August 30, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The US population doesn't want anything but to live in peace with neighbors and to buy crude from some of them at fair market prices.

The 2004 presidential vote makes a mockery of the above statement. A majority of American voters wanted war for oil.

Your (sic) right that I am from an ex slaveholder population although I doubt any of my ancestors held slaves much less lynched anyone.

Doubtful. Most child molestors are descendants of ex-slave owners, who molested children as a regional past time. Ex-slave holder descendants want to branch out and include Arab and Persian children in a new form of national past time.

There's problems to solve today that if not resolved satisfactorily would rank up there with historical tragedies like slavery.

No, it is more like the historical tragedy of the Holocaust. When nuclear weapons are used against populations, hundereds of thousands and even millions may die. You want Bush to drop the bomb on Iranians for no good reason except you enjoy killing people who defy your Chauvinism. Real problems are solved by adults working towards solutions that work for everyone, including adversaries.

Iranian limited democracy in practice means that those in control get to decide who gets on the ballot.

Iranian democracy is a lot like US democracy in that regard.

Posted by: Hostile on August 30, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:
Where are the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped?

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 30, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

The non-Shite lebonese are furious and the Shite are none too happy either.

This is exactly the opposite of the facts on the ground -- as usual.

The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines.According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.

Lebanese no longer blame Hizbullah for sparking the war by kidnapping the Israeli soldiers, but Israel and the US instead.

The latest poll by the Beirut Center found that 8 percent of Lebanese feel the US supports Lebanon, down from 38 percent in January.

"This support for Hizbullah is by default. It's due to US and Israeli actions," says Saad-Ghorayeb, whose father, Abdo, conducted the poll.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0728/p06s01-wome.html

As you can see, there is unprecedented support for Hezbollah right now and antipathy toward the U.S. In other words, Hezbollah won the war for hearts and minds and the U.S. lost it.

Your propaganda masked as analysis is predictably both dim and wrong. I'm surprised you're able to muster the mental precision to tie your shoes when you get up on the morning.

Let me guess -- you just save yourself the hassle and avoid wearing them.

Posted by: trex on August 30, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Graham,

I just found a short piece by Juan Cole on Al Quaeda's discussion of a Caliphate. I agree with Cleek, so what? It is a doctrine that seeks to reunite the Muslim world after the colonialization of the last century+. In effect, it's just another way to express bin Laden's anger and charges of injustice re Western imperialism.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to do when you have the US (perhaps the only power capable of getting in your way) right in the middle of Saudi Arabia and Mesapotamia (Iraq).

The USA isn't in their way. We don't have troops in Saudi Arabia and our troops in Iraq are not preventing the Iraqi's from installing Islamic law.

The USA is working to prevent the Iranains from getting nuclear material but to little effect. The US is not capable of preventing Iran from creating and funding terror organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah unless they attack the USA. This they will not do. There is little the USA can do to prevent the Iranians from moving back into Spain. That's up to the Spainish Govt. Given their proclivity to appease it seems likely when Iran decides to expand they will require Spain to appease again.

It's unlikely Iran will move soon. They are familiar with Spainish Demographics which are devastating. They are below 1.2 and still dropping. Having been well below replacement level for two decades their population is starting to shrink starting a trend that will rapidly accelerate.

Spain also sits a short distance from Islamic North Africa and is experiencing it's own illegal immigration. Spain is the weakest and most exposed of European nations. There's little doubt they will become Islamic again.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

This "encouraging" Muslims to think a certain way through talking is mostly liberal gibberish

Karen Hughes was given this job by Bush, who thinks Arabs can be convinced with talk to change their way of thinking about US military aggression and imperial coveting of their oil. Neither Bush nor Hughes can be considered liberal.

Posted by: Hostile on August 30, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

The US population doesn't want anything but to live in peace with neighbors and to buy crude from some of them at fair market prices.
The 2004 presidential vote makes a mockery of the above statement. A majority of American voters wanted war for oil.
- You are deluded if you believe most Americans who supported Bush in 2004 thought that it was a way to get more or cheaper oil.
Your (sic) right that I am from an ex slaveholder population although I doubt any of my ancestors held slaves much less lynched anyone.
Doubtful. Most child molestors are descendants of ex-slave owners, who molested children as a regional past time. Ex-slave holder descendants want to branch out and include Arab and Persian children in a new form of national past time.
- Whatever.
There's problems to solve today that if not resolved satisfactorily would rank up there with historical tragedies like slavery.
No, it is more like the historical tragedy of the Holocaust. When nuclear weapons are used against populations, hundereds of thousands and even millions may die. You want Bush to drop the bomb on Iranians for no good reason except you enjoy killing people who defy your Chauvinism. Real problems are solved by adults working towards solutions that work for everyone, including adversaries.
- Well it could come to nuclear conflict. Wars happen when differences are unbridgeable and they can get out of hand. I didnt say I wanted to nuke Iran but I did say that I dont want them to get nuclear weapons and that I dont believe negotiations will work. I even cited the example of North Korea. It would be foolish to think this conflict couldnt escalate to a nuclear one. Who would use the bomb first though and on whom?
Iranian limited democracy in practice means that those in control get to decide who gets on the ballot.
Iranian democracy is a lot like US democracy in that regard.
-Mmm hmm. In the US if you get enough signatures and you are on the ballot, period. You do need money to advertise but it can be done without a George Soros or a Haliburton in your pocket.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Where are the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped?

Hopefully still alive. Which is unlike a few dozen of their peers and over 1,000 lebonese. And your point is?

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

trex,

Thanks. I was hoping someone would respond to
the false info re: support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

The dream of a new Caliphate is similar to Catholics' dream of restoring the Holy Roman Empire. Schism and nationalism prevent both.

Posted by: Hostile on August 30, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

RDW gets his material from the far right boards and then regurgitates it here. Not only is he wrong about his claim of Hizbollah losing support in Lebanon, as shown by Trex above, he is wrong about the counterfeit dollars.

That claim was all over the right wing boards for days after the photos of Hizbollah handing out cash to war victims, but was never proven. It was aggressively pushed on the boards, comment sections and forums of MSNBC, CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS and the Wall Street Journal but was never picked up by those organizations. There are dozens of reporters from those and other national and international news organizations now in Lebanon, yet not one has yet round a counterfeit "franlkin" to report about.

Besides, why would Hezbollah be so stupid as to hand out counterfeit bills? As soon as they came to light, Hezbollah would lose an awful lot of face, goodwill and support. They may be Muslim, but they aren't stupid.

Posted by: Paul E. Tickle on August 30, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

the US airbase in Saudi Arabia. This base was actually vacated

"Mission Accomplished!"
Osama bin Laden

Actually not. There are 5x's as many troops in the Arab word now and the permanent bases in Qatar are far superior ot the bases in Saudi Arabia, which are still there if we need them. Moreover the Taliban is hiding in the same caves he is.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Funny you mention it, I had the same Dr. Stranglove association after reading and listening to slew of speeches given in my backyard by Cheney and Rumsfeld and felt the uncontrollable urge to create something that would reflect how I was feeling.....

http://www.renodiscontent.com/2006/08/29/how-i-stopped-worrying-and-learned-to-love-the-fear-mongerers/

Posted by: myrnatheminx on August 30, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

They may be Muslim, but they aren't stupid.

What does that mean?

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

My point is to counter your position that the conflict was a 5.0 victory for Israel- at a minimum, they unfortunately did not obtain the return of their soldiers. Or, are you willing to concede that the return of the kidnapped soldiers was merely an excuse for Israel to engage in an otherwise pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah?

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 30, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Spain is the weakest and most exposed of European nations. There's little doubt they will become Islamic again.

it's really amazing how dumb you managed to pack into those two sentences.

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

how dumb = how much dumb

but at least my point was correct.

Posted by: cleek on August 30, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Or, are you willing to concede that the return of the kidnapped soldiers was merely an excuse for Israel to engage in an otherwise pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah?

The fact Hezbollah attacked Israel to kill 3 soldiers and kidnap 2 more removes the term pre-emption from consideration doesn't it.

Isn't it impossible to pre-empt AFTER the event has already happened?

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Rumsfaustian bargain: never be satisfied killing people.

Posted by: Hostile on August 30, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Nepeta,

So you have a religiously driven, violent movement that would like to overthrow some 20 odd governments and establish totalitarian religious law over goodness knows how many people and you say so what? Would you be more awakened to the significance of this if say your car got scratched in the process?

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

trex to rdw: "Your propaganda masked as analysis is predictably both dim and wrong."

Paul E. Tickle to rdw: "RDW gets his material from the far right boards and then regurgitates it here."

Both of you have got rdw exactly right. He's a delusional mental slave to right-wing extremist propaganda.

He is profoundly ignorant about the real world since -- as he himself has proudly proclaimed on numerous occasions -- his only sources of information are Fox News, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and other corporate-sponsored right-wing propaganda outlets. He has written here, and I quote, that Rush Limbaugh is "a great man". He does nothing but regurgitate the scripted, programmed talking points that those people feed to him.

He is incapable of independent thought. He thinks what he's told to think. He says what he's told to say. He's the very model of the mentally degenerate, brain-dead, brainwashed, Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirt that is what passes for a "conservative" in America today.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Graham is another delusional Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirt mental slave who is incapable of doing anything but robotically regurgitating scripted right-wing extremist propaganda.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

I so enjoy being misquoted. I think that the phrase I used was "otherwise pre-emptive" as in any excuse will do. Does anyone really believe that the destruction of the Lebanese infrastructure and deaths of some hundreds of civilians was over three killed and two kidnapped soldiers? oh, that's right, Iraq had a central role in 9/11...our master says it so it must be so.

By the way, in my opinion, the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict was a gift to Islamic radicals.

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 30, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Al Qeada wants a Caliphate that extends across the entire Muslim world

OBL also wants to marry Whitney Houston.

Posted by: Disputo on August 30, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

mister pedantic wrote:

the US airbase in Saudi Arabia. This base was actually vacated

"Mission Accomplished!"
Osama bin Laden
______________

Logically, why would we want to continue to deploy to Prince Sultan or any airbase in Saudi Arabia?

Since our presence in SA is no longer required to contain Saddam Hussein and the Saudis won't let us use their bases for the GWOT, the bases serve no purpose. So be it. The world is full of bases we once used but then gave back. Surely, no one is suggesting that we should continue to deploy to a useless airbase simply to piss off Osama?

Posted by: Trashhauler on August 30, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist

Who are you trying to protect from reasoned debate by depicting me as unworthy of it? Yourself or other people on this site? I would have to infer that someone's world view could implode rather easily, or at least that they are incapable of defending it effectively.

And again, who are the terrorists Bush is supporting?

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Fact is G.W. had 89% of the U.S.Backing him after 9/11.We went into Afganistan with the Milatary leading the way,things went the way they where suppose to.Our Army had Osma trapped in Tora Bora, Then the politico's stepped in and took over and since that point nothing has gone right.Osma was allowed to escape for political reasons so the right could maintain it's majority.If you want to see things change hand thigs back over to the U.S Military tell them this is what I want, let them do what they do best and keep the politics out of the War.That is step number one. Step number two comes after the November elections when the left gains controll of both houses,then america will truly see just what a blathering idiot G.W. is.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:
"They may be Muslim, but they aren't stupid."
What does that mean?

You are right, it wrongfully suggests a contempt towards Muslims that I do not hold. Would have been more accurate to say "Hezbollah leaders aren't that stupid."

Posted by: Paul E. Tickle on August 30, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:
"Surely, no one is suggesting that we should continue to deploy to a useless airbase simply to piss off Osama?"

To the extent that pissing off Osama keeps Bush's base happy, Karl Rove is strongly suggesting just that.

Remember, this is all about the numbers and keeping Bush & Co, off of the witness stand.

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 30, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think rdw just got beat up alot in middle and high school and didn't have any dates to the prom. Now he's just another white bread, middle amurican paper pusher with his lite beer and heavy wife. No wonder he's so bitter.

The face of the modern GOP, all the losers who had to stay home on saturday night and had to 'wait' until marriage to see a female naked...snicker!

Posted by: LaRDWaL on August 30, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

The face of the modern GOP, all the losers who had to stay home on saturday night and had to 'wait' until marriage to see a female naked

I doubt that they were allowed to turn on the lights during their honeymoon.

Posted by: Disputo on August 30, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

RDW ,Iraq attacked us, So Bush lied when he said we should premptively attack them.???

Posted by: Mann Coulter on August 30, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Graham wrote: Who are you trying to protect from reasoned debate by depicting me as unworthy of it?

Not unworthy of it. Incapable of it. You've offered nothing remotely resembling "reasoned debate" on this thread, only slavish regurgitation of scripted right-wing extremist talking points that other mental slaves like yourself have regurgitated innumerable times before.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 30, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

"WWII vets want to hear paeans to blood and guts."

You have well identified yourself with that little gem.

Posted by: gc on August 30, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

My point is to counter your position that the conflict was a 5.0 victory for Israel- at a minimum.

I don't know what 5.0 means so it's not my position. I don't think Israel performed all that well, especially politically, although even that's hard to know. There's so much spin and few known facts it's hard to know why Israel was as politically hesitant as they appeared.

For example the conventional wisdom is Israeli intelligence was completely unaware Hezbollah had 13,000 missles. How do we know that? As it happens the missles were rather ineffective as a military option. Did Israel decide the Europeans needed to see how far Iran was willing to go in supplying terror groups?

Israel clearly went into lebanon to retreive their captured soldiers but only a fool would think that was the only reason. They also needed to establish for Hezbollah the cost of killing and kidnapping Israeli's. They were well aware of the difficult of ever finding those soldiers and if they found them that they would be alive. The objective here was to reduce the chances of a 'next' time.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well for you own part you win points for name calling but you haven't debated me on issues at all. It's a sure sign of a totalitarian mentality if you refuse to do so, or perhaps unfounded self righteous indignation. Neither trait reflect well on you. You claim GWB supports terrorists but have refused to say who. Are your pronouncements above question? Am I so far gone you can't speak to me? Do tell...

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin you are really full of BULLSHIT lately, what happened to the CalPundit that used to think for himself?

"Osama and his pals are fanatics, and negotiating with fanatics is pointless."

What is this, some kind of group think? Of course you can deal with terrorists, we do it all the time. It is NOT appeasment, it is called negotiated peace.

Posted by: Rick on August 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops. My last post was directed at Secular Animist.

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

RDW ,Iraq attacked us, So Bush lied when he said we should premptively attack them.???

I have no idea what you are babbling about. Regarding the recent lebonese adventure the suggestion Israel acted premptively is brain dead. Hezbollah isn't even suggesting it.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist: Apparently a lot of Israelis disagree with you and are quite angry with their government because they believe the war accomplished nothing.

For sure, there is debate. There were recriminations after the 1973 war as well. Some criticisms of Olmert and the military are certainly sound (as well as I can judge). I think the war had neither a clear winner nor a clear loser. Unless UN resolutions 1509 and 1701 are actually enforced. Then it might be a net loss for Hezbollah.

Another thing that remians to be seen is how well expressions of support for Hezbollah translate into money to rebuild, knowing that Hezbollah keeps its weaponry in civilian areas. I'm guessing investors and insurance companies will want to invest as far away from Hezbollah as possible.

Posted by: republicrat on August 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK
Al Qeada wants a Caliphate that extends across the entire Muslim world, including Spain I believe, since they once ruled there.

Its a rather well-established historical fact that they (al-Qaeda) never ruled Spain.


Posted by: cmdicely on August 30, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Do you always nitpick or are you wholly ignorant of what I am referring to?

Posted by: Graham on August 30, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK
It's really not as hard as you make it out to be.

I never made it out to be particularly hard (at least, in terms of strategy; execution may be.)

One doesn't have to kill all of the terrorists or even many of them.

I never said you did.

The lesson was given by Sharon in the West Bank.

Sharon's policies in the West Bank have not demonstrated a lasting suppression of terrorism.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 30, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, in my opinion, the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict was a gift to Islamic radicals.

We disagree completely. They badly overplayed their hand in gaining absolutely nothing and they woke up the Germans. The dramatic and total split between France and Germany by itself qualifies this as a disaster. As interesting as Merkel taking the opposite position as Chirac and standing next to GWB was her display of tactial political skill in organizing a coalition with Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic to offset France's ability to cobble together an EU statement condemning Israel. This was without Blair who clearly would not be siding with Chirac. The Palestinains have lost the EU after almost 30 years of broad, unilateral support.

This is a major event

Actually my favorite single press release was the statement by Merkel that Germany would be selling Israel two dolphin class submarines capable of delivering enough firepower to eliminate Iran.

This is an even more important event. The message Germany is sending to the entire islamic world could not be any clearer. Germany has left the appeasement camp.

You are the kind that considers any attempt by the west to fight back as a gain for the Islamic radicals. The liberal conventional wisdom is fighting back creates more terrorists. All roads lead to appeasement in your world. The fact is the trrorist are not a factor. The nature of the Islamic religion us they'll never lack for whackjobs anxious to blow themselves up.

Sharon set the standard. The idea is to wipe out the leadership. They're not into this martyrdom thing. That's for the morons.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

So, rdw, how much alcohol do you have to consume to get it up for that repulsive tub of guts you call a wife?

Posted by: Second on August 30, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sharon's policies in the West Bank have not demonstrated a lasting suppression of terrorism

Well I guess not since it's only been a few years. A bit desperate to find fault are we?

He absolutely ended the infatada and proved terror can be defeated. Yasir Arafat has been totally disgraced not just as a common thief but for having been a disaster for the Palestine people. Everywhere he's been his people were left far, far worse off. The only propserous, successful, free Palestinains are those living in Israel. In 2006 the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and Gaza are among the most pathetic people on the planet with living standards only marginally better than south-sahara Africa and North Korea. If Bill Clinton and Jacques Chirac set out to f*ck over the Palestinians they could not have done a better job.

While it's far from perfect in Israel their economy is dramatically better and they have many, many more allies. Besides the dramatic announcement of the submarine sale from Germany Israel now has the support of a majority of the EU and in another historic event the Arab nations delayed their normally instanteous outrage over Lebanon.

It is exceedingly clear Sharon has been the most consequencial figure in the Middle East since Anwar Sadat. He didn't just defeat Hamas and the PLO and destroy Yasir Arafat his pullout of Gaza exposed the pathetic nature of the Palestinian people in the region. That move created the way for Merkel to reverse German policy and move away from France. He shifted the entire geo-political balance in favor of Israel. GWB wasn't the only one giving Isreal total and complete support. There wasn't a single dissenting voice in the US Congress. For all of you liberals certain Israel is the evil aggressor that single fact has to be devastating.

There hasn't been enough time to prove Sharons policies will have a lasting impact but there is no question he has been incredibly effective in changing the world and improving Israeli fortunes at the expense of the Palestinains and other terrorists. Nor is there any doubt of his policies regarding Hamas. They will be copied, if necessary, by countries such as the USA and Germany.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Graham: "So you have a religiously driven, violent movement that would like to overthrow some 20 odd governments and establish totalitarian religious law over goodness knows how many people and you say so what?

Al Qaeda is a decentralized group with somewhat independent cells located around the globe, at this point only interested in punishing Western interests. Whenever I see an army capable of overthrowing 'Spain,' and installing a form of totalitarian Islamic rule, I'll start worrying about that problem. Meanwhile, there is a vast number of countries in the ME, who for the most part observe Islamic faith and culture. I seriously doubt that al Quaeda wants to violently overthrow these countries. Many of them are enormously threated NOW by violent US power and coercion; that's enough to worry about for the moment.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: "For all of you liberals certain Israel is the evil aggressor that single fact has to be devastating."

It is enormously devastating to me. Kofi Annan today demanded that Israel open border crossings in Gaza. The Palestinian territories are not only being attacked by Israel (170 dead in a month) but also being starved from access to humanitarian supplies, water, food. So, no, I don't support Israel in this, nor would most Americans if they had a clue as to what's happening. The US Congress is as usual, selling their souls for votes and moolah.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever I see an army capable of overthrowing 'Spain,' and installing a form of totalitarian Islamic rule

Why would Iran even consider developing it's army beyond current manpower levels? Iran is interested in developing technology. They will have their long range missles. We all understand this. They will have nuclear weapons. We also understand this.

Iran can't use tanks or meet any Western Power in a conventional war. They would be destroyed immediately. Iran is perfectly positioned to use terror to gain it's objectives. Europe is utterly defenseless against terror. 100,000 of it's native sons would be more than willing to destroy their country of birth. There's no amount of intelligence or police work that can stop moderately competent, well-funded terrorists. With unlimited funding from Iran as well as a great deal of technology it would not take much for Iran to terrorize Spain or France or take your pick.

It seems likely Spain would be an easy target. They are on the front edge of a demographic nightmare and spend less than 1/3 on Defense versus Italy and other EU peers. Worse they've already displayed a readiness to appease. While their muslim population is smaller than in France and most of Europe it is growing fast while ethnic Spaniards start to shrink rather quickly. The population over age 65 is already 23% larger than those under 14. Spain is old.

Moreover Spain is more likely to split up than other EU nations. Iran hardly needs an Army to defeat Spain. Spain will surrender, possibly deferring the inevitable but splintering 1st to preserve part of the country as non-islamic. In a democracy the majority rules while minorites get considerable rights. Islam will demand and get it's rights.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Palestinian territories are not only being attacked by Israel (170 dead in a month) but also being starved from access to humanitarian supplies, water, food

So why doesn't Gaza supply itself via Eqypt? Surely with the deep concern, and pockets, of it's EU allies and of course the very wealthy middle east nations one would think there would be no chance for a humanitarian crises.

More importantly, the Gaza strip has been populated for thousands of years. Why can't they feed themselves?

It wouldn't be because scum like Yasir Arafat and Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annon have been ripping off the Palestinians forever would it?

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

Where did this Spain 'hysteria' come from? You're talking crazy.

==========

The Karni border crossing, the major import/export crossing for all products, was closed as of Jan, 2006.

See: http://domino.un.org/UNISPAl.NSF/361eea1cc08301c485256cf600606959/048ff57a7b64ae01852571090054fd09!OpenDocument

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

PS: Kofi Annan today demanded that Israel open the border crossings that are currently closed.
I doubt that Israel will comply.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously doubt that al Quaeda wants to violently overthrow these countries. Many of them are enormously threated NOW by violent US power and coercion; that's enough to worry about for the moment

Your level of ignorance here is startling. Osama is at war with Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia remains at war with them. Al Qaeda members commit suicide before allowing themselves to be captured by the Saudis for the simple reason they will be tortured to death for intelligence. They are also at war with Kuwait, Qatar, the UAR and would kill Honsi in a heartbeat. They are also obviously at war with the Shite in Iraq and it would seem if their behavior as wedding guests is any indication the government of Jordan. Did I leave off Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Be that as it may Osama is hardly a credible threat. He's terrified to move out of his Pakistani cave. Europe's problem isn't Osama or Mullah Omar. It's the whackjobs in Iran.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

"The objective here was to reduce the chances of a 'next' time." Doesn't an unstable Lebanon and wide support for Hezbollah do just the opposite?

No, I do not beleive that all roads lead to appeasement, but I think that we have limited military options on dealing with Iran and that, as a nation, we do not likely have the desire to turn Tehran into a parking lot. Consequently, the trigger happy crowd had better take an objective look at what we can and cannot do, then sit down at the table.

Are you the type who thinks every problem is most efficiently resolved through use of force?

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 30, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Keith Olbermann just delivered a stunning commentary on MSNBC's "Countdown" that is a wake-up call to us all.

This commentary is excerpted on his blog - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12131617/#060830b

It begins...

"The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet..."

and continues...

"And about Mr. Rumsfelds other main assertion, that this country faces a new type of fascism.

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it."

Posted by: Delaware Good Guy on August 30, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: "Your level of ignorance here is startling. Osama is at war with Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia remains at war with them."

Uh, really? Exactly where does al Quaeda get most of its funds? Osama is figuratively at war with the kingdom, not with the vast majority of the population of Saudi Arabia.

And then:

"Be that as it may Osama is hardly a credible threat. He's terrified to move out of his Pakistani cave. Europe's problem isn't Osama or Mullah Omar. It's the whackjobs in Iran."

Perhaps I've gotten you and your pal Graham mixed up in my responses. So, OK, Osama the cavedweller isn't really threatening a violent overthrow of countries in the ME in order to create an Islamic Caliphate. Rather it's Iran now who's threatening Europe. Of course. Silly of me not to have known. I'm sure this meme will be getting more popular as the months pass.

Posted by: nepeta on August 30, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

nepata,

I am well aware Isreal closed the major border crossings. I know why and I'd advise them to never reopen them. But answer my question. They have a long border with Eqypt. What not use that border?

I am not at all hysterical about Spain. Note than none of this will happen tomorrow but the future is perfectly clear. The Islamofascist have been clear in their intentions to restore Islamic lands and that clearly includes Spain and large parts of Europe.

It's also clear the whackjobs are just using Israel for practice and establish fear. Iran has little to fear from Israel. They can probe and push but do little real damage. Knowing of they get too ambitious Israel will wipe them of the map. They won't kill a few million they'll kill all 80M.

Iran gets to represent all of the religious freaks. As the only one willing and capable of taking on Israel they control all of the terror groups. It's easy to set up a terror organization as needed, when needed, where meeded. The Islamic world can't field even moderately competent armies but they can do terror cells.

Europe is terrified of terrorists as they s/b. There are no less than 100,000 native sons thoughout Europe who would be proud to do a suicide bombing if they could kill as many of the infidels sharing their space as possible.

Moreover Iran knows the Europeans can only rely of soft power. Europe honestly believes the peace they've acheived since WWII was unrelated to the 200,000 American GI's keeping them company but rather their genius for Diplomacy. There isn't anything they can talk their way through toward a peaceful settlement. Now consider Iran. Have you seen anyone who likes to hear himself talk more than the President of Iran?

Iran has a perfect match and we're watching it play out as they develop nuclear weapons. It's been a comedy act. They've been shameless in toying with the EU and UN. Their willingness to ignore both is only matched by the ability of the EU and UN to keep talking as if something is actually happening. Well to be fair, something is happening. Iran is advancing toward nuclear weaponry and the missle technology to reach Paris. Iran is totally confident the EU and UN will continue to talk and do nothing more.

In considering Spain look forward 10 years maybe 20. They will be shrinking rather quickly and the Islamic population will be increasing quickly. It will be a short matter of time before Muslims in some areas are in the majority and control their fates. They will have as a guardian angel a nuclear powered Iran.

It's easy to see a situation within Spain where an Islamic majority region decides to implement Islamic law. If they're in the majority it'll be easy. It might be possible even if they're in the minority. What can the Spanish govt do if Nuclear power Iran decides to fund a terror movement in Spain in 2020?

If you look ahead it's rather easy to see how this plays out. Spain is defenseless and they're not the only ones.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Rather it's Iran now who's threatening Europe. Of course. Silly of me not to have known. I'm sure this meme will be getting more popular as the months pass.


I've never thought Osama was a threat. It's always been about Iran. The worlds worst nightmare has always been state sponsors of terrorism. In this case the threat is to their neighbors and Europe.

I've well aware many Saudi princes are funding terror as well as rich Egyptians, Jordanains, etc. I was speaking of the govts which in many cases have more to fear from internal threats than external threats.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't an unstable Lebanon and wide support for Hezbollah do just the opposite?

Lebanon hardly qualifies as stable. Hezbollah already had 13,000 missles and uncountable fortified positions. The lebanese army was forbidden to go into southern lebanon.

Wide support for hezbollah is meaningless. They are terrroists. They don't need your suipport. They need your cooperation. They get it readily because the people know they'll get their throats cut otherwise.

Not that it matters anyway.

Terrorist act to gain advantage. They killed the soldiers and captured two to gain advantage. Israel attacked back to destroy that advantage and make it extremely costly so Hezbollah would be less likely to do it again.

The Sharon model is to kill the leaders. We don't know how well that worked this time but we know enough to know Hezbollah won't be so quick to wander back into Israel.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: 联通铃声下载 on August 30, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

So you're going to admit that you were always opposed to the Afghanistan War?

I was never opposed to either the Afghan or the Iraq war.

If you are going to drop into the conversation late scroll up a bit to find out what it's about. Osama was never the threat Iran is to governments. Anyone as wealthy and as nutty as Osama can plan a terrorist attack and kill innocents. This why Europe is in such a horrible position. Their open societies allow anyone to become a terrorists.

Osama was never in a position to threaten any governments or start a war as Iran did in Lebanon. The war Osama started in Afghanistan was totally unintentional and his worst nightmare. Besides losing his base he lost the only government in the world ruling according to his wishes. The Taliban is hiding in caves with him.

The war Iran started in lebanon was intentional and with no immediate risk to Iran or it's citizens. It won't be the last war they start and is likely to be one of many.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite part of this truly stellar Rumsfeld speech is his out of the blue "personal note":

"I want to commend the American Legion for its sponsorship of the Boy Scouts. I know there are places where Scouting is kind of put down. Well, I was a proud Cub Scout; a Boy Scout; an Explorer Scout; an Eagle Scout; and a Distinguished Eagle Scout; and the Scouts represent, in my view, some of the very best qualities of our country, and they certainly merit our support."

Way to randomly work in some culture-war, wink-wink/nudge-nudge, gay-bashing b.s. I am constantly awed by this man's ability to stoop to a level where even microbes fear to tread.

Posted by: mich on August 30, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Which isn't a threat to anyone

Iran is a threat to everyone. Wasn't it interesting that when the war in lebanon 1st started most Arab governments refused to condemn israel? Wasn't it interesting for the 1st time in 30 years France and Germany split? Wasn't it interesting that Germany decided to sell submarines to Israel designed to provide Israel with enough capacity to eliminate Iran and quite a bit more of the Islamic world from the face to the earth.

You have a major problem my friend in that the whackjob President of Iran loves the sound of his own voice more than any other and has made endless promises to wipe out Israel as well as a series of other equally stupid statements. In fact one of them rather pissed off Angela Merkel a bit. Seems she didn't like the veiled treat by Iran they intended to develop the capability of reaching Berlin with nuclear misssles. Hmmmm, I wonder why he needs to be able to reach Berlin with nucear missles? Didn't Iran send 13,000 missles to Hamas and Hezbollah? Hmmm, I wonder if they'll send 13,000 nuclear armed missles to Hamas and Hezbollah?

Think? Willing to roll the dice are you?


He also mentioned Paris but Chirac, being French and oh-so sophisticated didn't take the 'promise' as a threat. Too bad Schroeder wasn't still in office. He is of course equally sophisticated as Jacques. Seems those East Germans have much to learn. Except Merkel doesn't seem interested in the education. She obviously isn't going to take any crap off Iran either. Jacques can handle the negotiations. What else can the French do? The Germans have a long history and appeasment isn't part of it.

BTW - It's because I watch Fox I don't need to pee in my pants. I'm not at all nervous. It could not be clearer. Iran is playing bureaucratic games with bureaucrats. They'll be able to toy with the EU and UN for as long as they wish. They will not confront the USA because we're not a target and we'll kill them if they do. Europe is the target as well as other ME govts. Time and demographics are on their side. They have great wealth and grow richer every day. Europe is just beginning to shrink. They will fund proxy armies on an as needed basis. They have > 100,000 soldiers in Europe ready to die for Allah.

Iran has the time, the will and the means. Europe is defenseless. I don't think Germany intends to remain defenseless for long and I'll bet their alliance with Italy, Poland and the Czech republic strengtens.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I admit it. I'm a lying sack of shit. There have been continual intelligence reports in CREDIBLE media sources which say there's no evidence whatsoever Iran instigated Hezbollah into capturing those soldiers.

I'll also admit that I have a vested interest in making Ahmadinejad look like a modern-day Adolf Hitler, the better to whip up support for military action against the country. Ahmadinejad has offered dialogue with the US on several occasions. Bush certainly doesn't have to debate him as if he were a presidential candidate -- but there's just no reason in the world not to have some kind of exchange of views.

Indeed, it is Bush who looks like the unreasonable, dictatorial one in this picture. Certainly to the majority of the world -- including the pro-US British and Australian publics.

I'm also lying through my teeth about the so-called "mad mullahs." My plan is to repeat that phrase as often as I can, to make the Iranian regime look as unreasonable as possible. Doesn't matter at all whether it's true or not -- it is a message that the GOP believes the American people need pounded into their heads. And I am nothing if not a loyal-to-the-end Party member.

The mullahs, of course, are actually profoundly conservative. They have Ahmadinejad on a very short leash, and know that his firey religious rhetoric is for public consumption, especially for the poor who tend to be much more religious than urban Iranians and who need distraction right now from a faltering economy that Ahmadinejad promised to fix.

Oh, and you'd never hear me push the meme that Ahmadinejad believes it's his religious duty to promote chaos to bring back the Hidden Imam -- the Shi'ite version of the Second Coming -- because I'm entirely pig-ignorant about Islamic theology and all that stuff just makes my retired accountant's eyes glaze over.

Much rather watch Hannity and admire how doggone *handsome* that guy is. What a hairstyle! How does he do it?
.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps they should have more wiretapping, more secret police, more torture chambers. That would solve the problem, wouldn't it? Except for the fact that...

....you need to hunt down the terrorists and kill them.


You really need to go back and read. We covered this. It's not about law enforcement. It's about deterrance. It's quite simple. Bullies bully because it works. Once they get their ass kicked they reform. It's a learned behavior.

The terrorists themselves are cockroaches. They have bodies. They can scurryabout get into the tightest spaces and cause problems but they have no brains. Their leaders and their families don't care about them anymore than I do. Sharon showed the way. Hamas and Fatah enjoyed the infatada for a time. It was going quite well. Then Sharon decided to start assassinating the leaders. It immediately started going less well. Jacques and Kofi were outraged. Sharon flipped them the bird and kept on killing. And wouldn't you know they starting thinking the terrorism wasn't working. Funny how that happens isn't it?

This is Europes hopeless dilemma. They perfected diplomacy. They are the masters of soft power. All problems can be negotiated. Except terrorist don't negotiate. They kill. Either you do what they demand or they keep on killing. Iran has at least 100,000 killers in Europe and that's just among the native sons. Either Europe is going to do what Sharon did and fight back OR they are going to appease.

This isn't real hard to figure out. Spain is going to surrender. It might be 2020 or maybe not until 2040 but their Islamic minorites will be majorities in some regions. France is going to surrender. It's just in their nature. By 2040 the Netherlands and Sweden will be majority muslim. They'll vote for Islam as the official religion.

The Europe we know is doomed. Several nations simply won't have the people to defend themselves. Iran knows all this. They don't need an army. They only need appeasement.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

I actually am a closet Europhile. I admire the Europeans greatly for all the wisdom they've acquired through centuries of warfare. They've learned a lesson about the limitations of militarism that I hardly think can be dismissed out of hand.

Unfortunately, my paymasters can't let me leak any of this out on the board. What I have to do, according to their briefing email and that nifty teleconference I got to watch of Karl Rove making the PowerPoint presentation, is to continually talk up the shifting demographics of native Europeans vs immigrants. This way, I can link the Caliphate ideology -- which of course Iran, as a Shi'ite nation, doesn't believe at all -- to the growing threat to Europe from a restive underclass population. Oh, and I'll continually call that population Muslim and conflate the causes of that problem with takfiri Sunni extremism.

I don't know what any of these words mean, but there were references to them in the appendix to the briefing.
.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

You really need to go back and read. We covered this. It's not about law enforcement.

Wrong. In fact it was law enforcement that foiled the latest plot to bring down planes in Britain and it was law enforcement that could have prevent 9/11.

Strike one.

Their leaders and their families don't care about them anymore than I do

Wrong. In fact, Iraq has shown time and time again that people often become terrorists BECAUSE family members have been imprisoned by authorities or occupying armies, and their families aid and support them. Terrorism is a tactic, not a species. People from all walks of life from unemployed farmers to professionals and Ph.D's have resorted to terrorism over the years. This includes Moslems, Jews, Europeans, Latin Americans, Asians, Christians, and plain old white folk, a la Timothy McVeigh.

Strike two.

Iran has at least 100,000 killers in Europe and that's just among the native sons.

This is the most loathsome part ever. Muslims in Europe are "killers" just because they're Muslim???

You're a sociopath. If anybody's a cockroach -- it's you.

Strike three, you're out. Not worth evaluating the other worthless crap you threw up there.

Posted by: trex on August 30, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

But you do realize--the man has no power whatsoever and his position is ceremonial? Kind of like the current occupant of the White House?

Don't you wish GWB was just ceremonial!

The whack job was appointed by the Mad mullahs and speaks for them. By himself you are quite correct. He has little power.

Perhaps you'll be able to see now why the debacle in lebanon was so politically stupid for Iran AND Hezbollah. We can at least agree it's always better to watch what a person (country) does rather than what they say. So what did we see from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

More than 200 missles launched a day out of a stock of 13,000 wasn't it? ALL supplied by Iran.
That's quite the scene isn't it?

Iran has said repeatedly thru whackjob they'd like to wipe Israel off the map.

Iran supplied Hezbollah, and Hamas and who knows who else with 13,000 missle or more.

Hezbollah launched and Hamas launched as many as they could. At Israel.

We've now established Iran will give missles to anyone as long as they will use them against anyone Iran preceives as a threat. Or maybe perceives as just annoying.

We don't know if Iran has control of those missles do we? Supposed Hezbollah wanted to take out some Marines in Iraq? Suppose Iran get's pissed at the USA, Germany, Spain, Malta?

We know for a fact they'll supply missles to terror organizations. What happens when they can supply nuclear missles?

Germany has clearly reacted to this reality in a powerful way. The announcement of the submarine sale was a clear and unambigous message. Merkel won't be taking any crap.

The others have the same clear picture. They all know with certainty Iran is developing advanced missle technology and nuclear weapons. They now know with certainty Iran is anxious to share its technology and see its products used.

It doesn't matter if the whackjob has any power. It matters what the Mad mullahs's have him saying and he's been speaking quite clearly. From Lebanon we know what they'll do.

Posted by: rdw on August 30, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I really can't just can't get over how handsome that Sean Hannity is. Were I to have had a son like that, my GOD. And O'Reilly? Makes me proud of my hardscrabble heritage, growing up in dirt-poor Irish West Philadelphia.

Just look at how these boys made good, huh. Honest regular guys, like me. Never took to the bars, never let their Irish anger derail their careers. They made it, and I'm so proud of them.

Gosh, you know, I can't help getting a little *choked up* watching them on Fox, every hair in place, the gleam of their well-cared-for teeth, their immaculate ties and jackets. Okay, granted, these feelings are a little deep. I admit it. I'm human. I've been loyal to my wife for all these years and she's never know about this ... well, what harm can it cause, if it's only directed at guys who surely deserve at least the sentiment -- like Sean and Bill.

Oh what I'd ever do if I ever met either of them in a bar. Buy 'em a round for sure! Hah hah, probably several, no doubt. Once in a while, on a special occasion like *that*.

It's okay. No really it is.

God how I love those two. Big, strong and fearless men. Ahh, this doesn't bear too much looking into does it. Time to go see if the bathroom is finally free ...
.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Wrong. In fact it was law enforcement that foiled the latest plot to bring down planes in Britain and it was law enforcement that could have prevent 9/11.

Strike one.

Strike none!

We need law enforcement now because the threats exist. We need to end the threats. We do that by ending the incentive. That's not in killing the bombcarriers they're simple morons. It's in killing the terror leaders and those governments who support them. Sharon ended the infatada by killing the leaders.

The key is not law enforcement. All societies need some level of law enforcement. The key is deterrance. If the Mad mullahs were to learn tomorrow Israel was going to drop a bomb on their head if they didn't stop Hezbollah the mullahs wold immediately disarm Hezbollah and possible even kill them.

They use terror because it works for them. We've got to make it a huge loser for them.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Iran has at least 100,000 killers in Europe and that's just among the native sons.

This is the most loathsome part ever. Muslims in Europe are "killers" just because they're Muslim???

.You're a sociopath. If anybody's a cockroach -- it's you.

Strike three, you're out. Not worth evaluating the other worthless crap you threw up there.

Stike none!

You're not very bright. This really isn't hard. If I assumed all muslim in Europe were killers I'd use a number well above 100,000 now wouldn't I, bozo!

Here's where 100K came from. The EU has 460M people. About 5% are Islamic. That's 23M. At least 10% of them are fundamentalist. That's 2.3M and at least 5% of them have been radicalized. That's 115,000.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Thirteen thousand???

Jason it's really not hard. The point we learned in Lebanon is Iran has no limits. They'll supply hezbollah or anyone with anything and as many as they can. If Iran had 13,000 nuclear missles would they give them to terror groups? Yeah!

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Right, because actually killing them doesn't stop them from committing terrorist acts.

I'm not quite sure what you mean because your points are usually so inane and I have to reread them several times.

I think you are trying to correct me by pointing out killing the terrorist DOES work because they can't kill again.

Well yes, good point. It took a great mind to figure that out. Too bad you missed the forest for the trees moron. The terrorists are expendable because they are literally a dime a dozen. There will always be a constant supply of Islamic terrorists. Listen to the whackjobs in Iran. They've explained it many times. Death is Martydom. It's a victory. Or so the morons think. The leaders never seem anxous to die if Osama and Yasir are any indication. But they can get millions to volunteer anytime!

As Sharon proved with the Infatada. Find the leaders and kill them. Darwin takes over. The next set of leaders comes in and they die. The next set comes in and they die. The next set figures evolution out. They decide to mutate. They stop the terror. They survive. Hamas is now led by people who've mutated in less than one week. Quite amazing isn't it?

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Radicalized fundamentalist Islamic Europeans are Arabic by ethnicity, not Iranian. I doubt they will pay attention to any exhortations of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to kill their Catholic, Protestant, or secular neighbors.

rdw does make a point, though. A large radicalized population of people will be returning to America sometime and a certain amount among them will be acting out murder and terrorism as a reaction to their service in Iran. Let us hope it is not 5% of them.

Posted by: Hostile on August 31, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Radicalized fundamentalist Islamic Europeans are Arabic by ethnicity, not Iranian. I doubt they will pay attention to any exhortations of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to kill their Catholic, Protestant, or secular neighbors.

They will if they have a common purpose and recognize a common enemy as happened in Lebanon. There's no shortage of Islamic radicals anxious to restore Islam to it's former glory and the various sects won't hesitate to defeat a common infidel enemy.

In Europe the infidel is most likely secular and we have examples in Britian and Spain of very successful attacks and across Europe a series of interrupted plans for attacks including Germany last week. France had a month long series of riots.

To the extent a radical group gains control of a sizeable portion of the Islamic population in a European state, and it might only be one region or large city, and they decide to press for greater control for the Imam over that population, Iran would not hesitate to 'assist' their efforts. For example the 4 largest cities in the Netherlands have large muslim populations and in the next decade the schools will be majority islamic. It's possible Rotterdam or one of the others will be majority islamic.

It seems likely that in a democracy the muslims will have significant power to make changes. What happens if the city decides Islamic law will prevail but the Federal Government tries to stop it? If the radicals decide to use terror, a favorite tactic, will Iran assist?

I think so. I think the Dutch are screwed.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

A large radicalized population of people will be returning to America sometime and a certain amount among them will be acting out murder and terrorism as a reaction to their service in Iran

Iran?

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Call me Nossel. Allah forbid American soldiers ever serve in Iran.

Posted by: Hostile on August 31, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

We're not targets. There's too much to lose. We might get the lone star freak like the loser in SF today but there's nothing to be gained in attacking the USA and much to lose.

There's a reason why Israel is not directly threatened by any Middle Eastern states. They lose. No state will support a terror attack in the USA. They'd be toast.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Olberman really ripped Rumsfeld and his ilk a big one and did it savagely. It was beautiful to behold.
The members of this regime are the most despicable leaders this country has seen for many an administration. Really, they have no decency and no honor. These men are thieves and cowards. They try to bully Americans with smears, lies and fear. Just like the build-up to the illegal, immoral attack on Iraq, Bush will try the same thing on Iran before the 2006 election.

As Sharon proved with the Infatada. Find the leaders and kill them. rdw at 12:28 AM

Sharon, a war criminal, of course proved nothing of the sort. Palestinians have been fighting a better-financed and better-armed Zionist movement for 80 years and will fight for their rights and human dignity forever unless the Israeli genocide kills them all. You are advocating and encouraging the very terrorism you claim to be against, only since you and yours are committing it, you think it's all right.
Hezbollah proved that Israel can be defeated and that despite the war crimes, crimes against humanity and sheer atrocities committed by the Israelis, people will not surrender to their terrorism.
They use terror because it works for them. We've got to make it a huge loser for them. rdw at 12:04 AM

They use the techniques of terror because of Western policies, which Bush has exacerbated. Thanks to Bush, the US has never been more hated by more people, which is as intended. A hostile world makes for a fearful population; a fearful population votes fascist as Goebbels pointed out.
I've never thought Osama was a threat. It's always been about Iran. . rdw at 9:53 PM

No, Republicans always thought of Osama as an opportunity, an opportunity to win elections, attack Iraq, smear anyone who sees through their McCarthyism. It has never been about Iran. Iran has not attacked any neighbor; Iran is not a threat; Iran has a treaty right to develop nuclear power. No, it was about Iraqi oil and now that has proven to be a fiasco, the Bush regime is trying to gin up war on Iran using the same BS. After that, Syria, because the war-mongering loonies are too lost in their own ideology to understand history and human reaction to their acts. Just as North Korea's nuclear power has made it off-limits to Bush aggression, Iran should develop weapons but isn't. Notice that Pakistan is making a new reactor that will produce 30-40 nuclear bombs per year, and Bush tried to hide knowledge of it? The GWOT is fake; the threat from Iraq was fake; the threat from Iran is fake.
Actually not. rdw at 5:51 PM

Actually yes: Osama demanded the US get out of Saudi Arabia and Bush did exactly that, which is the best example of cut-and-run since Reagan ran out of Beirut with his tail between his legs.

Posted by: Mike on August 31, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK
We're not targets. There's a reason why Israel is not directly threatened by any Middle Eastern states rdw on August 31, 2006 at 1:09 AM
Tell that to New York. Tell that to Bush because it is his sole route to election victory: the threat to the US. There is much to be gained by attacking the US, just ask bin Laden. Bush's insane response to 9-11 was the best thing that ever happened to bin Laden's group. Israel is hated by every citizen in every Arab state. The only reason those nations are not arming to attack Israel is because of the puppet regimes the US supports, the dictators in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others. One day the Arab people will see democracy and like, in Iraq, it will not be friendly to American and Israeli interests. A group like bin Laden's had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Thanks to Bush, they gained a huge following and thanks to the proxy battle in Iraq, they are learning more and more. Posted by: Mike on August 31, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

You're right on the money, Kevin. This is what's left of Rovespeak: desperate, hysterical villification designed solely to obfuscate the hideous debacle they've created.

Posted by: secularhuman on August 31, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Cleek: ``GOP 06: we have nothing to offer but fear itself

shout it from the rooftops.''

That is just flat-out perfect.

Posted by: secularhuman on August 31, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Osama demanded the US get out of Saudi Arabia and Bush did exactly that, which is the best example of cut-and-run since Reagan ran out of Beirut with his tail between his legs.


No we didn't. The only reason we were in Saudi Arabia was to push Saddam out of Kuwait and to manage the no-fly zones. After we stopped the no-fly zones we closed the excess bases. Our service personnel hated Saudi Arabia as a duty station because of it's harsh islamic rules. Qatar is the Las Vegas of the Middle East. The Saudi bases were never considered permanent although they are still available if the need arose.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Exactly what are our military options against Iran?
What are Iran's options against US interest?

Posted by: Out on Bond on August 31, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK


I don't know our range of options. I don't know the intelligence. I am not in favor of attacking Iran. Unless we have intelligence they are giving terrorists a bomb to be used against the USA. In that case my vote would be for real shock and awe designed to wipe out the political and military leadership.

I would not support a pre-emptive strike if the attack was destined for Europe with the exceptions of the UK and those in the Iraq coalition AND they also had troops in harms way.

If the attack was destined for Spain, France, Belguim, The Netherlands, or any other arden proponent of soft power I would pass on our intelligence for them to do as they see fit. I would not commit a single plane.

This is not a matter of spite. It's the only way to find out if the European Model based on soft power works. Further, it would be ludicrous for the USA to interfere in a process designed by our diplomatic bettors. The European governments, with the full support of the people, have implemented their best balance of diplomacy and military power. We need to let events follow to their natural conclusions.

I don't think we have anything to fear from Iran. Because I think Europe is their target I would defer to European sentiments. I think GWB is doing that. Clearly the UN and EU are the prime negotiators.

If we are attacked by Iranian terror groups I would expect severe retribution aimed at killing the leadership.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK
Do you always nitpick or are you wholly ignorant of what I am referring to?

Its not nitpicking to point out that "al-Qaeda" is not the "them" that ever ruled Spain. The sloppy use of "them" to shift subjects when referring to different (sometimes overlapping and sometimes completely separate groups) as if they were a single unitary group obscures, rather than promotes, understanding of the real problems and situations.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 31, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Tell that to New York. Tell that to Bush because it is his sole route to election victory: the threat to the US. There is much to be gained by attacking the US, just ask bin Laden.

NY was not attacked by Iran. The threat to the USA, and the world from islamofascism is real and there are many who would like the see the entire infidel world converted to Islam. We were talking specifically about Iran.

The leaders in Iran will not do what the Taliban did. They will not do what Saddam did.

That's the beauty of their strategy and why Europe is so defenseless. Saddam attacked Kuwait with his Iraqi Army. Iran saw what good that did. Iran is far smarter. They use proxy terror armies. Nothing good that can come to Iran in attacking lebanon or Israel. They control lebanon via Hezbollah which is in effect their army yet the Europeans will never recognize it as such. They attack Israel and France and the UN condemn Israel for fighting back. Iran is perfectly positioned.

Europe is defenseless against this model. Soft power has no deterrent potential. It is in fact an invitation for terrorists.

Osama got his teeth kicked in and lost Afghanistan for the Taliban. They never expected the USA to fight back. It was one of histories dumbest miscalculations. In addition most Middle Eastern governments governments either shoot Al Qaeda suspects on sight and if they capture them the prisoner's quality of life takes a dramatic downward spiral.

BTW: By Europe I meant the EU in general and western Europe more specifically. There has been a sharp split in the EU over lebanon and Iran even before that. It appears Germany is moving decisively away from the French model of soft power. Merkel comes from a very different culture as do most Germans versus the French. It's too early to tell but I think Germany it returning to it's pre-Hitler, pre WWI roots when it was a very progressive society. It's not in their history to appease. Merkel was originally compared to Thatcher. That seems apt. Time will tell.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

when I say "Mission Accomplished: OBL" I'm referring to his reason given for attacking us in the first place -- wanting US presence out of their sacred land, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

OK I'm a bit late in the thread.

But maybe the whole reason to invade Iraq and build permanent bases there was to allow us to maintain a presence there without having to occupy SA. Thus depriving OBL of his rationale. Hey, it was supposed to be a cakewalk, remember?

Posted by: mister pedantic on August 31, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Iran has not attacked any neighbor; Iran is not a threat; Iran has a treaty right to develop nuclear power. No, it was about Iraqi oil and now that has proven to be a fiasco, the Bush regime is trying to gin up war on Iran using the same BS.


Iran saw what happened to Iraq and will never directly attack a neighbor. That's what hezbollah, Hamas and their other proxy armies in Iraq and other places are for. Iran was solely responsible for what just happened in Lebanon.

The threat is to their neighbors, a threat those neighbors understand, and to Europe, where only a few understand.

GWB has done nothing to gin up war with Iran nor will he go to war with Iran. That's a mess for the EU and UN to deal with an they've been the primary negotiators all along. Iran sits on an ocean of Oil and even larger natural gas reserves. They are developing nuclear power for the sole purpose of gaining weapons grade nuclear material.

Because GWB will not attack Iran, nor will his successor, Iran will have nuclear power and will have nuclear weapons. Iran will also have the capability to deliver those bombs to London, Paris, Berlin and Bombay.

The whackjob in Iran recently indicated he'd sacrifice millions of his own population if he could wipe out Israel. That's not his choice. Israel's 2nd strike would effectively eliminate all of Iran. Whackjob understands this. The threat was not aimed at Israel. It was aimed at the soft power crowd. They need to understand they have to give up much in negotiations because much is at stake.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

But maybe the whole reason to invade Iraq and build permanent bases there was to allow us to maintain a presence there without having to occupy SA. Thus depriving OBL of his rationale. Hey, it was supposed to be a cakewalk, remember?

The bases in SA were never important except for the Kuwait invasion and the Iraqi no-fly zones. SA is a rotten host. Qatar is vastly superior both as a strategic location and as a host nation. We already had a huge naval base there and far better relations with the govt.

The thought we invaded Iraq to establish bases is braindead.

The invasion was a cakewalk. The problem I saw was the complete failure of intelligence. We had no idea of just how devastated Iraqi society has been under Saddam. The collapsed infrastruction was one thing. The lack of any community infrastructure and the nature of Islam as a death cult created the scenario for this disaster. I expected the baathists to go down swinging but not last very long. I knew of the potential for a sunni/Shite rift but expected that given the choice between a free, democratic, capitalist society, still under Islam, the people would jump at it.

The fact is Islam is still a medievil religion and as long as the fundamentalists dominate, the establishment of modernity is going to to be a long and expensive battle. The current leadership is fighting Al Qaeda as well as Syria and Iran. What they've done is remarkable but they need more time.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The only reason those nations are not arming to attack Israel is because of the puppet regimes the US supports, the dictators in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others

No denying you're a lib.

This is stupid squared. The reason Eqypt made peace with Israel is they grew tired of getting the crap beat out of them. In the last battle Israel could have taken Cairo and the rest of the country. The same is true of Jordan and Syria.

The Arab governmentns, all of them, are aware they can never defeat Israel in battle. They learned this the hard way. Since the last war Israel's technological superiority gap has widened significantly. The Arab governments simply cannot send armies against Israel. 2006 arms are far more lethal thanks to dramatically improved targeting. Moreover, thanks to cruise missle technology all of the Arab capitals would be visited by massive destruction. They would not escape the war. The casualties would be daunting.

What would it be like for an Egyptian tank commander with a family back Cairo to know that the missles that just passed over his head are headed to his city?

Eqypt has 80M citizens with a poverty rate of 20% and per capita income of $3,900. This is less than 1/6 of Israel. The last think Eqypt needs is a war with Israel.

Jordan and Qatar are equally unlikely. Qatar more than any other Islamic county in trying to become modern. We have a huge presence there because they want the protection. They will remain neutral.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

when I say "Mission Accomplished: OBL" I'm referring to his reason given for attacking us in the first place -- wanting US presence out of their sacred land, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

Even limiting it to that slim thread it's still a bogus assertion. Osama has been babbling away for well over a decade and he gave a long list of reasons and goals. You are picking just one.

GWB annoyed libs a while ago saying OBL doesn't matter anymore. He was quite right. We still need to kill him but he actually serves a useful purpose. The fact he needs to hide in caves and live a 15th century existance proves his many claims to wish martyrdom for himself was a crock. The man is a pussy. 2nd, he's incompetent. He lost Afghanistan and he's got to hide in caves in remote Pakistan.

The attacks on 9/11 have been a disaster for Islam. No one looks at muslims the same way. They're not trusted. Ignore all of the PC crap in the media. Last week one of the European airlines had to take two middle eastern men off a plane because of a mutiny among the other passengers. It's simply too risky to trust them.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

A comment for rdw.
I think you overstate the Europe is on a path to surrender idea. Perhaps you have been reading the Spengler commentaries over at the Aisa Times?
Three things about Europe:
They will not surrender their freedom. They will die standing on their feet before they let that happen.
The political process will produce the anti-islamic leadership needed to make policies that attack extremists. Merkel is mild compared to what European's will elect if the muslism try to carve out sharialands within Europe.
European have a lot of practical experience dealing with and defeating terrorist campaigns. People talk about the IRA, Basques and Red Brigades but I think the key one to focus on is the French state's destruction of the AIG in the 1990s. Europeans are willing to sacrifice to defeat terror.

Posted by: Nemesis on August 31, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK


"We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead." --Donald Rumsfeld

.

"I didn't advocate invasion, I wasn't asked." - Donald Rumsfeld 11/20/05

.


We never had enough troops on the ground to keep order in Iraq, and both George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld knew it. - PAUL BREMER 1/8/06


.

rummy is insane.....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on August 31, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I have a big man-crush on Sean Hannity.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Never heard of Spengler.

European have surrendered their freedom in the past, most vividly in WWII. A great many in France did not die on their feet.

I am not quite sure you understand my suggestion. What I expect we'll see is a gradual shift in European culture at different speeds in each state. The Spanish people will not lose most of their freedoms at all and won't lose their religious freedom anytime soon. But it's a safe prediction Spain will become Islamic well before the end of the Century.

A birthdate of 1.2 is a demographic disaster. They have been well below replacement level for decades and have yet to bottom out. Ethnic Spain is breeding itself out of existance.

Each country has different risks and will convert at different rates. I've read the 4 largest cities in the netherlands now have a school system which is 40% muslim and rapidly headed higher. THey are beginning the experience the classic White flight seen in US cities when whites abandoned the city for the burbs. The Dutch are not interested in sending their kids to majority islamic schools.

What happens if the Islamic population continues to grow at current rapid rates in these cities and the Dutch continue to move out? Sooner rather than later these cities will become majority Islamic and in a democracy that means they assume political control. This is an uver-liberal culture that holds all other cultures to be equally legitimate. Will they hold that view if the Mayor is an Imam of the opinion Islamic law should be enforced?

I don't know if the Dutch have to surrender to lose control. Their openness and live and let live philosophy makes them easy prey for an islamic culture that will share this openeness up until they have political control.

Nemesis,

I do hope you are correct regarding changes in European attitudes. Based on what we see and hear today that will require a substantial change. Europe's love of softpower is perfect for Iran's terror strategy. As it stands right now Europe is totally defenseless. I say that as a fan of their criminal justice systems. They've done a good jobs uncovering terrorism. But every year the odds get worse.

The terror campaigns you mention above are nothing like what Iran is capable of. They have an unlimited number of suicide bombers, unlimited funds for suicide bombers and increasingly better weaponry.

For now Iran is focused on developing their technology and toying with the diplomats. They watched Saddam toy with the UN for over a decade. He invaded a country, used chemical and biological weapons, ignored 17 UN resolutions and still the EU wanted to keep him in power.

They've got absolutely nothing on Iran. They won't do a thing. Recent estimates are Iran is 5 years away from creating nuclear bombs and the missle technology to deliver them to Paris. The UN will give Iran 20 years.

In 10 years time all of the ethnic populations of Europe will be smaller and shrinking at a rate that will increase every year for at least the next 25 years. All of the islamic populations will be larger and still increasing. Iran will be a nuclear power.

On a relative basis Iran will be in a dramatically better position to risk a confrontation with Europe and will have substantially more suicide bomb candidates. One can only assume the Mad Mullahs will have done everything in their power is incite the radical populations all over the world.

Europe doesn't have much time. Iran has all it needs.

Posted by: rdw on August 31, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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