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Tilting at Windmills

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September 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE TWO T'S....The New York Time reports today on Karl Rove's strategy for the midterm elections. Unsurprisingly, it's the same as his strategy in 2002 and 2004:

Mr. Rove...has settled on a narrow strategy to try to minimize Congressional losses while tending to Mr. Bushs political strength. The White House will reprise the two Ts of its successful campaign strategy since 2002: terrorism and turnout.

This is why I think it's curious to hear Brad DeLong say this about the Republican Party: "I do think that there is hope that they will come to their senses and that building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward will be possible and is our best chance."

I'd like to believe that too, but there's just no evidence of it. Over the past 30 years the Republican Party has gone from Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Dick Cheney i.e., from conservative to reactionary to crazy to batshit insane and Rove's "two T's" are further evidence that they have no intention of rowing this back. They're obviously getting more desperate in the face of possible electoral defeat this November, but other than that they're just doubling down on the same old strategy of cultural bloodletting in the service of economic plutocracy.

For all the talk of Joe Lieberman being "purged" from the Democratic Party last month, that was a one-off deal. It's the Republican Party that's been steadily (but relentlessly) purging moderates for the past couple of decades, swearing electoral death on anyone who refuses to accept Grover Norquist's screwball economic ideas. The result is that there's virtually no one left in the party who can be described as a moderate, and the party's continued existence depends wholly on nurturing the most radical elements of its base and then radicalizing them even further.

That's not a strategy Democrats should emulate, but at the same time it certainly doesn't bode well for the prospect of the Republican leadership coming to its senses and building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward. I think the party's leaders know perfectly well that if they were to pause their project of radicalizing the conservative base for even a short while, the party would literally implode.

Then again, maybe I haven't thought about it hard enough. Perhaps centrist Republicanism is poised and ready for a comeback. Maybe.

Kevin Drum 1:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (166)

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Comments

One bit of good news is that I read somewhere that Rove is not nearly as popular among Repubs outside the White House. That may suggest some changes afoot. That and the fact that other Republicans are starting to challenge the competence and intelligence of the White House.

Posted by: Streak on September 3, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps centrist Republicanism is poised and ready for a comeback. Maybe.

I think it's poised for a major marketing rollout, but that's not quite the same thing.

Posted by: latts on September 3, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

And a big WHAP! to Kevin for inappropriate use of the word "literally".

(This has been a pet peeve of mine ever since Ross Perot's campaign for President; when a number of Perot's campaign staff resigned in mid-campaign, one of the talking heads on network news reported "Perot's staff literally exploded underneath him." When someone says that, I want to see ambulances and scattered body parts.)

Posted by: Bruce A. on September 3, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Centrist republicans may love the idea of taking their party back, but that is now who has the reins right now. As long as the neo-con dominionists are in the cat bird seat, it will be more of the same.

Had Enough?

Posted by: jcricket on September 3, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, apparently some republicans are distancing themselves from rove the and the guy in the white house. but i tend to think they're the ones who by today's republican standards would be called moderates anyway. the batshit insane still dominate and anyone who wants to win the party's nomination for president in 2008 will have to appease them somehow, probably by sacrificing common sense. by the way, is it batshit insane or should it be bat-shit insane?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 3, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they are the only two things that still work, but they still work. Until the Dems offer a coherent alternative millions of voters will hold their nose and vote for the party that believes in American exceptionalism and respects their values. Since your party cannot bring themselves to do either they will continue to complement themselves on their moral superiority with their noses pressed up against the glass, watching the Repubs run things.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody changes their game as long as they are winning. Sometimes even then they don't change. Think Bob Shrum, seven-time loser.

The Republicans won't change at least until they are beat, maybe not until they are humiliated, possibly not until the current leadership is retired or passed on to be with the Gipper.

Have the Democrats changed, as a result of losing? Maybe. Not enough, perhaps. We'll see.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on September 3, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

The bigger deal to me in that story is Adam Nagourney's refusal to accept Karl Rove's terms for an interview -- and then reporting what the terms were.

Rove tried to control the story and the Times said f. off --
pretty cool.

Posted by: harpo on September 3, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

The White House will reprise the two Ts of its successful campaign strategy since 2002: terrorism and turnout.

Over the past 30 years the Republican Party has gone from Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Dick Cheney i.e., from conservative to reactionary to crazy to batshit insane and Rove's "two T's" are further evidence that they have no intention of rowing this back.

For good reason. Why shouldn't Republicans run on killing and capturing the Islamofascist terrorists? They've done a great of doing it. It was just reported this morning Al-Qaeda's NUMBER 2 man has just been caught by George W Bush, causing a devastating blow to Al-Qaeda.

Link

"Capture a 'severe blow' to al Qaeda in Iraq"

"Al Qaeda's number two operative in Iraq, Hamed Juma Faris al-Suaidi, has been arrested, the U.S. military and Iraq's national security adviser announced Sunday."

"Al-Suaidi, also known as Abu Rana and Abu Humam, is said to be No. 2 in the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq, behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri."

With Al-Qaeda's NUMBER 2 man being caught don't be surprised if Bush is going to soon capture or kill Bin-Laden. al-Suaidi will probably be sent to Gitmo and interrogated by whatever means necessary (torture included) so that he will reveal Bin-Laden's location. American forces under the command of George Bush will then capture or kill Bin-Laden using that information. Watch for the Republicans and Bush to win in a landslide in the 2006 elections after this happens.

Posted by: Al on September 3, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce A.,

It's one of my pet peeves also. I remember the newspaper obituary of a priest that said he was literally a father to all the boys in his congregation.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

There's another "T": Taxes, and the cutting thereof for the wealthy and somehow selling it to the masses that they too are getting big time tax relief. Paying for these tax cuts involves another letter: "B" for bankrupt, which SecTreas Paulson will be guiding us into.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on September 3, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong again, Kevin. Why is that you kneejerk liberals fail to see the myriad benefits resulting from Rove's political genius and our president's steely determination to rescue this country from a traitorous half-century of Democrat capitulation to socialists and foreign terrorists. When history looks back...(sputter)...(fizzle)...(aw, bejeebers)...

Posted by: Al (end-of-line model) on September 3, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Over the past 30 years the Republican Party has gone from Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Dick Cheney i.e., from conservative to reactionary to crazy to batshit insane"

Damn, if only my bumper were big enough to make a bumpersticker out of that.

Posted by: chaboard on September 3, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, the two T's don't scare me any more. I wish they would scare Democrats less, too.

First, terrorism. If you think the country is less safe, they why re-elect the people that made it that way? Why not do some stuff that will actually, really make us safer. Democratic candidates have to smile with glee when the issue comes up, not just show no fear, but smile the smile of the mongoose who is being threatened by a cobra.

Voters will feel that. What voters want is non-verbal. They want courage. They want someone who can take the heat, somebody who can take a punch. Don't run away from Terrorism, run straight at it. The Republicans think that Americans are cowards, that they aren't willing to give up a tiny bit of safety for freedom and justice.

The Terrorism issue is a seriously pessimistic one. That needs to be exposed.

As for Turnout. Geez, I think the Democratic party is playing catch-up, but they ARE catching up. Turnout is only important when things are close. If a Democratic candidate performs on issue one, turnout is a non-issue.

Democrats need to do a much better job at making segmented, targeted messages. There are lots of folks out there with expertise in this, many of whom are Democrats. I hope to God they are being hired.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on September 3, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

The party would 'literally' implode? What is this, FoxNews? Kevin, I thought you were educated.

Posted by: steve s on September 3, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Al-Suaidi, also known as Abu Rana and Abu Humam, is said to be No. 2 in the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq, behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri."

With Al-Qaeda's NUMBER 2 man being caught...

So he's not the No. 2 man. More like 3rd level. Maybe. And we've heard it before and the killing's still getting worse.

This kind of hype isn't helping you guys anymore. It's all played out. There aren't enough tricks left in Karl Rove's bag to remove the fetid stench from the current GOP.

But you're only a robot, so you don't really care.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on September 3, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, the "observation" that "there's virtually no one left in the (Republican) party who can be described as a moderate."

This clearly explains why the most popular Republicans include John McCain and Rudy. Maybe the real obstacle here is that Drum doesn't recognize moderates.

Lieberman is as hardcore a leftwinger as there is, save the sole issue of the War on Terror. If he is a moderate, he squarely stands on the very left edge of that group, with one foot firmly on the side of the extreme lefties. If you were to bullet point the 20 most popular issues, McCain and Guliani are more moderate than anything else.

Posted by: Rick Fontaine on September 3, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you're misinterpreting the moderates DeLong has hopes will reestablish their backbone. I'm pretty sure he's not talking about Chafee and Olympia Snowe but Hank Paulson and Greg Mankiw - people who may still have a modicum of self respect and professional integrity.

I think that DeLong may be willing to concede a certain amount of populist rhetoric being employed during election time so as to seize back some of the levers of government from Cheney and Co. But I think that one of the main reasons we are in this situation today is that ideologues in the whitehouse and congress have not been even hearing the advice or cautions of technocrats on the other side, thus not forcing their own technocrats to answer tough questions like "what if this doesn't work?"

George Bush didn't want those questions asked, and the results are obvious.

Democrats must at least force our own people to counter the arguments of the moderates from the other side. It will make policy that much better and allow an actual dialogue to begin - down the road.

That doesn't mean that I expect the Jim Talents and Rick Santorums to suddenly become moderates, or even part of a reasonable dialogue. They never will. But professional economists still have to maintain their crediblity. Conservatives like Paulson, Mankiw, and Paul O'Neill have been damaged by their willingness to capitulate to Cheney, Bush, etc. DeLong seems to have hope some may try to reestablish their crediblity in the way Paul O'Neill did.

Posted by: tomboy on September 3, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps centrist Republicanism is poised and ready for a comeback. Maybe."

Yes. and perhaps monkeys will fly outta my butt. Maybe.

The dominant agenda of today's Republicans has been perpetuation of Republican power. This goal trumps all policy decsions. Catering to the center does nothing to advance this goal (although *pretending* to be centrist might).

Posted by: Krowe on September 3, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

As the only funny Republican (P.J. O'Rourke) once wrote, in a different context, the GOP is fast becoming "the party of just you and me - and i'm not so sure about you."

Posted by: craigie on September 3, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ronald Reagan was a god...defile his name at your peril. At a time in American history when reactionaries had a bad name, Reagan could recount a movie scene and present it as an actual occurrence like no politician before or since. We need him now more than ever before...

Posted by: Wonderin on September 3, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that DeLong is anticipating a comeback of centrist Republicans in weeks or months, or by the next presidential election. I read him as refering to a longer timeframe. While I agree with Kevin's characterization of Republicanism over the last 30 years, does that carve it in granite that the party will remain batshit insane ala Cheney forever? My reading of the cycles of history says no, and I retain enough longterm optimism to hope not -- and that is essentially what I think DeLong is saying.

Posted by: Ken D. on September 3, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of Karl Rove singing his familiar songs with his usual ensemble...here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito on September 3, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Rick Fontaine:

Joe Lieberman, though nominally pro-choice, is in all other ways a cultural conservative.

Al:

I shouldn't respond to you, but I can't help pointing out that "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" is a wholly separate organization from Osama's al Qaeda. They have differences in ideology and there was a leadership struggle while Zarqawi was alive. Osama wants to creats solidarity with all Muslims to further his globalist agenda, while al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is made up of Sunni takfiri Salafists who think killing Shi'ites is doing Allah's work.

If you honestly think this "Number Two guy" (heh, where have we heard this before) knows any specifics about the location of bin Laden, then please tell me what it is you're smoking cuz I want some, too.

The only way this guy's a "Number Two" is that he is, doubtless, a piece of shit rather than a mere trickle of piss.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Al informed us of the capture of the #2 leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

-- How can that be? Dems have assured us that the global war against al Qaeda is entirely separate from the war in Iraq.
-- Is is possible that the Dems are wrong in this issue?
-- Is the public is right to see a linkage?
-- Will Democratic fecklessness on Iraq be seen as fecklessness on the GWOT?
-- Are Dem candidates in trouble on the issue of security?

"Yes" is the correct answer to these questions.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 3, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I think the party's leaders know perfectly well that if they were to pause their project of radicalizing the conservative base for even a short while, the party would literally implode.

Notwithstanding sniping over diction, I don't know that the party would implode, but I do think it would lose its current tenuous grip on power, just because the numbers wouldn't be there.

Republicans represent a minority interest -- that of the wealthy few. Their policies and tendencies are, above all, to transfer wealth upward. They may make noises to appeal to the more easily-suckered parts of the majority, but they rarely actually DO anything for them. (How hard have Republicans really worked to, say, pass a Constitutional amendment banning abortion, or gay marriage, or whatever hot button motivates the "cultural conservatives"? Compare that to how assiduously they've worked to cut taxes -- and tax enforcement -- on the wealthy, destroy or de-fund environmental and health regulations, channel gigantic single-source government contracts to political cronies, etc.)

Without the sexually frustrated armchair warriors and the Bible-thumping mouth-breathers, they wouldn't have the numbers to win today, but they'd still have their well-heeled core constituency, as they have had for at least 100 years.
That constituency won't go away -- there's too much money to be made.

Posted by: bleh on September 3, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK
That's not a strategy Democrats should emulate, but at the same time it certainly doesn't bode well for the prospect of the Republican leadership coming to its senses and building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward.

I don't think there is any evidence that "building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward" works all that well in any case. I'm not really convinced that having a strong rhetorical position and holding people accountable to it the way the Republicans have isn't a strategy the Democrats should emulate (OTOH, the part about it all being a sham to cover for serving favorred moneyed interests rather than the supposed values in the rhetoric I'd rather not emulate.)

Of course, it tends to exclude people who don't share the ideology of the party from the party, but if a political party isn't a vehicle for advancing an ideology, what the hell is it?

The problem of exclusion should be dealt with by electoral reform that means that people who are excluded from two parties aren't effectively outside the political system, not by turning the parties into ideology-free-zones.

You can't have a marketplace of ideas if there aren't strong, clear, competing ideas.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 3, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

What DeLong seems not to get is that the "redefinition" of the Republican Party is not a matter of one election cycle or two. It has taken at least three decades for the Republican Party to assmeble the current constituencies that have propelled it into power. You don't turn that on a dime. The Christian Right has certain expectations that they will not be denied, lest they turn away from politics altogether. The Southern vote likewise demands that the GOP behave in certain ways and not others. And so on down the line. The thing is, the agendas these voters seek is NOT moderate in any way.

The fact is, by the time the Republican Party can redefine itself to a more "moderate" position, the country itself will have changed so much demographically that the redefinition will have to be redefined itself.

How do you reconstitute what is in effect the Conservative Party when Conservatism is dead?

Posted by: frankly0 on September 3, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

So then, 'ex-liberal', you're telling us that the number of bombings, deaths, and injuries per week will fall as a result of this? That the Iraqi people will feel safer? Iraq will be less inclined to civil war as a result? That the power will be on longer? That my friends from Iraq will feel like they can go back to their country safely? That this did anything to hasten the ascendancy of the people who have actually attacked Americans on American soil?

"No" is the correct answer to all of this.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on September 3, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan represented the rise of the grass roots in Republicanism. He was completely discounted among the centrist, old guard elite of the Republican party -- this is what was at the core of the "voodoo economics" dig made by George H.W. Bush.

Reagan represented the John Birch wing. The crazy radicals that had over thrown the moderates in California government. The talk-radio crowd that wanted to hear about straw and boogeymen -- immigrants, communists, the tax man. This wing had always existed, but was easily ignored. Reagan began his national career with a much-listened to talk radio program. And built up a coalition of the ignorant and easily scared. Conspiracy theorists in a time a national mistrust of Washington and government. (Thank you Nixon.)

And he won!

And no one in the Republican party is every going to let the party leadership forget that again. There are a lot of stupid and scared people in America (some of them are readers of Kos, others Red State) and they are easily driven to polls.

Politics is now the process of motivating the stupid. The great liberal experiment of an educated democracy of the people that our forefathers imagined as the United States has failed.

Posted by: DC1974 on September 3, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK
Al informed us of the capture of the #2 leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

-- How can that be? Dems have assured us that the global war against al Qaeda is entirely separate from the war in Iraq.

Er, no. We've assured you that, at the time the war was launched, Iraq was unrelated to the war on al-Qaeda, and that (then and since) launching the war was counterproductive to the global war on al-Qaeda. As "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia" didn't exist prior to the invasion, and was indeed a rival Islamic extremist group not focussed on war against the US whose identity and orientation changed after the war began, as the invasion made identification with al-Qaeda and opposition to the US more politically useful in Iraq.

So, great, you created an entire enemy organization that wasn't an enemy before, and then captured one major leader of that group. That's several thousand steps backward and one forward.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 3, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Let me comment on the turnout issue - I live in one of the top ten Dem target districts, NC11, and I have to admit your guys are fired up. I have never seen so many lawn signs in my life, and I have not seen one for the Repub, Goodtime Charlie Taylor. If you guys can't win this race you should take Carville's advice and pack it in.

As far as the polarization issue is concerned, if that bothers you why didn't you complain about the public employee unions embezzling $150 million from their serfs to defeat Arnold's non-partisan redistricting plan? When we get truly competitive elections the people representing the mushy middle would look a lot more like McCain or Rudy than Nancy P. or Harry R., and I think that's the main reason we aren't going to address this problem.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 has it, I think.

In Britain, it took 18 years for the Tories to "literally implode" - but they did, when it became obvious to all that they had nothing left but their rage.

Posted by: craigie on September 3, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal is an idiot. Al Qaeda probably has a #2 man in The United States as well, so you seem to be advocating an invasion by The United States of The United States.

Kevin isn't an idiot, but his post is missing the point. The GOP will not run on T&T--they will run on the same thing they always run on, which is that the Democrats are horrible and scary and immoral. They made the 2004 Election about John Kerry even though Bush was the incumbent, and they will make the 2006 Election about whatever Democrat is running in the area.

The Democrats will win this election if they make it a referendum on the Republican Party and spend the next two months heaping ridicule upon them. They will lose under any other circumstance.

Posted by: reino on September 3, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

(Watch for the Republicans and Bush to win in a landslide in the 2006 elections after this happens.)

Al is living proof that the planet Pluto DOES exist.

Posted by: Kenji on September 3, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I think it's curious to hear Brad DeLong say this about the Republican Party: "I do think that there is hope that they will come to their senses and that building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward will be possible and is our best chance."

That is part of the strategy adopted by James Tenant of MO in his re-election campaign. In the rural areas of MO, he is taking credit for the biofuels plant built because of the energy bill that he helped to get passed, and he is promising to do more of the same in the future. In this time of high gasoline prices, the Republicans can point to such things in their districts, and highlight the fact that such construction programs were opposed by a majority of Democrats. Some Democrats have changed their minds, which shows that the Republicans have been right on the issue for the last 5 years.

Posted by: republicrat on September 3, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor Jay, I agree with your implication that we do not seem to be winning in Iraq. Like you, I am saddened by the ongoing slaughter.

If the Dems had taken a hawkish stance, they could have gone into this election with a promise to fight the war in Iraq more effectively. If they had done so, they could have won the fall elections in a landslide, in my opinion.

However, the Dems have chosen to be seen as opponents of the Iraq war. So, the public has the choice of continuing the flawed Bush/Rumsfeld approach or simply de-amphsizing the war in Iraq. That choice isn't so clear. Voters don't like the fact that Bush isn't winning there, but the Dems don't really offer a hope of winning there either.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 3, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans redefine themselves, yes. But do they control the process? No.

The problem politically is that Republicans now have a tiger by its tail. We see cultural conservatives and media personalities ratcheting up the apocalyptic rhetoric and polarization. It works on the electoral map because of the South and Intermountain West. At some point, however, the lunacy becomes overwhelming. E.g., they invade countries based on self-generating hysteria and feelings rather than geopolitical calculation. Then they lie compulsively and pathologically about their "reasons".

For better or worse, Republicans are the improbable amalgam of 19th Century Populists AND Gilded Age plutocrats. It's an Upstairs/Downstairs coalition of the greedy and the stupid.

Posted by: walt on September 3, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, who cares what they decide to do?

They lost their ability and right to govern several years ago.

They have shown contempt for this country and have done all they could to run it into the ground.

Coalitions my ass, the first thing that needs to happen is a tar and feathering.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on September 3, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal (whose comments times past fail to persuade me that he's not fudging his résumé) says

If the Dems had taken a hawkish stance, they could have gone into this election with a promise to fight the war in Iraq more effectively. If they had done so, they could have won the fall elections in a landslide, in my opinion....Voters don't like the fact that Bush isn't winning there, but the Dems don't really offer a hope of winning there either.
Presumably, then, if the GOP was to push a crash program to fly us all to the moon on gossamer wings, and if after several years of flapping none of us were airborne, most of us were hyperventilating and some thousands had simply perished of cardiac strain, it would be the Democrats' obligation to come up with a better plan (broader wings! New ultralight synthetic gossamer, with carbon nanotube struts!) rather than to note that the entire undertaking was misconceived.

Speaking of misconceived undertakings, I'm just finishing up WaPo correspondent Thomas E. Ricks' Fiasco (Clusterfuck might have been an apter title, but I can see where this might cause unnecessary friction with the marketing people at Penguin). It's clear that many of the hundreds of actors he has interviewed have axes to grind; less clear that all of them were as convinced of the folly of the project as early on as they claim (although he documents several instances that would seem to constitute impeccable I-told-you-so credentials); blindingly clear that at almost every major decision point in the planning and execution of the war, when Monty offered the principals the choice of doors 1, 2 or 3, we contrived to choose the worst possible course ("Why...this is a bag of shit!" White House: "But it's really great shit, Mrs. Presky!"). It's almost difficult to believe that mere ineptitude could produce such a preponderance of folly—surely the inept would blunder into the correct path every so often—and one could almost believe that this "fiasco" (an inconvenience, an irritation, a drain on the treasury and thousands of individual sorrows for the dead and maimed and their families; an outright catastrophe for the Iraqis who have been delivered from the simmering frying pan of Baathist rule to the fires of inept occupation and incipient civil war) was actually achieved of set purpose. But this way conspiracy theories lie, and I'm sticking with my existing belief that abundant incompetence, that infinitely-renewable human resource, is a far greater factor than organized and infallible evil behind most of the sorrows of the world.

Posted by: Rand Careaga on September 3, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Until the Dems offer a coherent alternative millions of voters will hold their nose and vote for the party that believes in American exceptionalism and respects their values.

mmm, mmm, the sound of babbling bat-shit.

Sure, if you start with the conviction that Democrats are evil, weak, immoral, America-hating, elite, wealth-grabbing commies, the Republicans seem to be a viable alternative. Yep, those damn Democrats. If only THEY were better, Americans wouldn't be forced to vote for Republicans.

Posted by: PTate in MN on September 3, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Then again, maybe I haven't thought about it hard enough..." - Kevin


Regardless of the grey matter you employ Kevin, you will never get it.

btw, moderate republicans:
John McCain
Olympia Snowe
Lincoln Chaffee (actually a democrat)
Kay Baily Hutchinson
Larry Craig
just too name a few..........

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

That's a good list to start with.

Get the bucket of tar ready.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on September 3, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Coalitions my ass, the first thing that needs to happen is a tar and feathering." - ten

I agree, let's start with Howard Dean

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

PTate,

The question is not whether I start with the conviction that Dems are evil, the question is whether the swing voters you need to get to 51% believe that. Unfortunately, you guys would rather pursue a jihad against the ten commandments, or international wire tapping, or John Bolton, or illegal aliens, etc., etc, etc. than you would reform of the tax structure or correct the bankruptcy law or roll back college tuition. That's why the Repubs still have a good chance in this election, despite GWB's shortcomings.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

editing error - should have said opponents of illegal aliens...

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Centrist Republicans?

Bwaaaaaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaaaa!

That is such a load of bullshit. There's only one prescription for today's Republican Party:

'Drive them into the sea!'

Then keep them there until they are either 'reborn' or drown. I don't care much which it is but it's clear to anyone with a functioning brain that the real enemy of America is the party of Hate, Death and Greed...The Republican Party.

Posted by: A.Citizen on September 3, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Then keep them there until they are either 'reborn' or drown. I don't care much which it is but it's clear to anyone with a functioning brain that the real enemy of America is the party of Hate, Death and Greed...The Republican Party." - A. something

This is exactly why the Dems will continue to lose. Their base is comprised of mentally deficient socialists.

Come to think of it, so is their leadership.

Hey, how is that Plame lawsuit coming along?

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: We've assured you that, at the time the war was launched, Iraq was unrelated to the war on al-Qaeda, and that (then and since) launching the war was counterproductive to the global war on al-Qaeda. As "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia" didn't exist prior to the invasion, and was indeed a rival Islamic extremist group not focussed on war against the US whose identity and orientation changed after the war began, as the invasion made identification with al-Qaeda and opposition to the US more politically useful in Iraq.

So, great, you created an entire enemy organization that wasn't an enemy before, and then captured one major leader of that group. That's several thousand steps backward and one forward.

Whether or not cmdicely's history is correct, the real question is what to do now. Regardless of how we got here, Bush and Rumsfeld properly sees the war in Iraq as a key aspect of today's GWOT. Many Dems do not.

Those who vote on "blame points" may punish Bush by voting Democratic. Those who vote on what's best for the country going forward will tend not to vote Democratic, because the Dems look wishy-washy on security. Staking out the anti-war position was an error by the Dems, both in term of real world impact and political impact.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 3, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

tomboy is correct: Drum misrepresents DeLong (unintentionally, I would guess).

Here' the full quote:

Second, while I am profoundly, profoundly disappointed and disgusted by the surrender of the reality-based wing of the Republican policy community to the gang of Republican political spivs who currently hold the levers of power, I do think that there is hope that they will come to their senses and that building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward will be possible and is our best chance.

"They" refers to "Center-right policy wonks", and not "The Republican Party".

DeLong's fuller post is worth reading and thinking about incidentally (and his last paragraph veers a little towards Drum's representation admittedly).

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/09/i_am_a_realityb.html

Posted by: Measure for Measure on September 3, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is deteriorating. He now apparently thinks it is clever and persuasive to call Vice President Cheney "batshit insane." If liberals do not grow up, and Kevin is more mature than most, they will never win and successfully lead this country.

Posted by: brian on September 3, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Staking out the anti-war position was an error by the Dems,...

But, ex-liberal, you've said nothing about how the pro-war position:

a) improves America's security.

b) helps the Iraqi people.

c) brings prestige to America's military.

d) fosters stability in the Middle East.

Shouldn't the "anti-war position" (especially without a looming threat) be everyone's default position. Is it really too much for us put-upon citizens to ask for coherency and caution as our leaders counsel, and then flog, wars of choice? Do you not have the imagination to understand what wars mean?

That anybody could believe, still, in Sept. 2006, that this adventure in Iraq is "what's best for the country going forward", speaks of an inner sickness that I just can't fathom.

Fortunately, this sickness gives off a smell and most voters are becoming repulsed.

Posted by: exasperanto on September 3, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK
Whether or not cmdicely's history is correct, the real question is what to do now. Regardless of how we got here, Bush and Rumsfeld properly sees the war in Iraq as a key aspect of today's GWOT.

No, they incorrectly fail to recognize that the continued campaign there continues, as it has from the beginning, to make our position in the GWOT worse, not better, to create enemies, to lessen our ability to deal with the conditions that drive terrorism.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 3, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Are moderate/radical and centrist/ideologue the same as reality-based/not?

I don't think so. I think these are different kettles of fish. The "comeback" of the reality-based wing of the Republican party is a lot harder to imagine than a restoration of centrism.

Posted by: Jay Rosen on September 3, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Where's Osama, George? How about al-Zawahiri?

How can it be five years after 9-11 and these two are still on the loose? Why are we playing pattycake with Pakistan, when bin Laden and Zawahiri are hiding there and they are governed by a brutal dictator?

Just have to keep repeating how weak Bush is on terrorism and giving concrete examples - no port security, lots of stray nukes, no resolution to anthrax attacks in Democrats, etc. etc. Use political jiu-jitsu and use Bush and Rove's supposed strengths against them. It's really pretty simple...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 3, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

a) improves America's security.
Patriot Act
NSA
No incident to date
Keeps Al Qaeda and other terrorists occupied
New allies in India, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan


b) helps the Iraqi people.

"On a personal level, seven in 10 Iraqis say things overall are going well for them a result that might surprise outsiders imagining the worst of life in Iraq today. Fifty-six percent say their lives are better now than before the war,..."

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/GoodMorningAmerica/Iraq_anniversary_poll_040314.html

c) brings prestige to America's military.

Only a liberal would care about "prestige"

d) fosters stability in the Middle East.

Politically, the survey finds that Iraqis overwhelmingly want their nation to remain united and centralized 79 percent say so, compared with 14 percent who prefer a federated group of regional states, and 4 percent who want the country broken into separate nations. Among Iraqi Kurds, federated regional states but not fully independent ones are preferred.


And you don't think this helps stability?

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Difficult to respond to cjshaver@cox.net, AKA Jay. Difficult to pry out an individual plate from such a seamlessly armored delusional system.

Posted by: Rand Careaga on September 3, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Difficult to respond to cjshaver@cox.net, AKA Jay. Difficult to pry out....blah, blah, blah" - Rand something

More difficult to make sense of this rant obviously from a brain damaged liberal.

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jay's riposte speaks for itself.

Posted by: Rand Careaga on September 3, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

mhr:
The term "Reagan Democrat" is still remembered by many of us who were Democrats at the time. This suggests to me that there were many Democrats who considered Reagan responsible. (though more were snowed by trickle-down and his folksy charm) The "dummy" name-calling as I recall was mostly earned by frequent gaffes and losses of train of thought and really bad ( button pushing) jokes. Your closing points refute each other as well. If Carter had it wrong that communism wasn't a great threat, how did Reagan "bury" the CCCP.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

exasperanto, adding to jay's response. You asked how the pro war position

a) improves America's security.

Victory in Iraq will mean a successful, democratic government. Such a government will not produce terrorists. Democracy in Iraq will encourage democracy elsewhere in the middle east.

Note how successful Truman was in promoting European democracy by means of the Marshall Plan. This democracy led to peace and prosperity throughout Europe.

b) helps the Iraqi people.

Even with the horrendous murders going on now, the Iraqi people are better of than they were when Saddam murdered and tortured hundreds of thousands. If we can help this government attain security, the Iraqi people will have a free, secure country - something they've never had in their history. On the other hand, if Iraq falls into civil war, the Iraqi people will be slaughtered in even larger numbers.

c) brings prestige to America's military.

This is minor, but I think the American military has been terrific in Iraq. Unfortunately, the media has mostly ignored the good they've done and focused obsessively on areas where they've been less than perfect.

d) fosters stability in the Middle East.

Interesting point. Is stability the hiigherst priority? When Saddam controlled Iraq with an iron hand, there was stability. Anyone who objected was murdered. Under the Mullahs, Iran is stable. I prefer a less stable democracy to a stable fascism.

Shouldn't the "anti-war position" (especially without a looming threat) be everyone's default position.

Another excellent question. Bush's answer was that due to the existance of horrendous weapons, we cannot afford to wait until attack is imminant. Also, once we're in a war, it's all the more important to win it. FDR and HST didn't pull back the troops until the Germans and Japanese were utterly defeated.

Do you not have the imagination to understand what wars mean?

That anybody could believe, still, in Sept. 2006, that this adventure in Iraq is "what's best for the country going forward", speaks of an inner sickness that I just can't fathom.

It's not a question of imagination or sickness. It's trying to predict the future. There have been horrible wars that were avoidable. OTOH there have been wars that were postponed too long, such WWII. Tens of millions perished because the US and its allies didn't attack Nazi Germany sooner.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 3, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Jay's riposte speaks for itself" - Rand something


Witty repartee. Skewered again by the "reality based" community.

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Under the Mullahs, Iran is stable. I prefer a less stable democracy to a stable fascism." - ex-lib


EXCELLENT POINT!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan Democrats were generally Blue Collar. White Collar Dems like me hated Reagan with a passion almost as strong as we hate Bush now.

All you trolls--
You are great at calling Democrats names, but you can't defend Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. You can't defend the Iraq Civil War, and you can't defend having an economy owned by China. You can't defend selling defense contracts to Watergate Pimps or $3/gal gasoline or declining median incomes or the price of health care or spending millions of dollars on standardized tests. You can't defend Tom Delay. You are going down, and I am smiling as I write this. I hope you enjoy your final months of power.

Posted by: reino on September 3, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Victory in Iraq will mean a successful, democratic government. Such a government will not produce terrorists.

A constitution limited by Sharia will not produce a democratic government but a representative theocracy and as such will not be immune to terrorist production. I also reject the notion that a democratic government is somehow innured to producing radicals.

if Iraq falls into civil war

IF.....its already happening!


c) brings prestige to America's military

it actually adds to the image of America as being imperialistic and therefore reduces our prestige abroad and deepens hatred toward us, possibly increasing the impetus for attacks.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

1) The WW2 analogy is meaningless bafflegab. Only historical ignoramouses could take it seriously -- and the people who use it who know better (like Rumsfeld) are practicing deceitful propaganda.

2) Iran's regime is hardly "Fascist." It's the actually the most socially progressive country in the Muslim Middle East. There's a tremendous real culture / ideal culture dichotomy that frustrates the mullahs to no end. Satellite dishes are illegal -- yet they are omnipresent. Understanding this would, of course, take a modicum of education on what actually goes on in Iran, which neither of you possess.

The countries in that region that have truly fascistic internal security appratuses are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

You know -- our biggest allies in the region.

To the extent that their regimes are fascistic is the extent to which they're capable of repressing their homegrown Islamist radicals.

Idiots.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

I withdraw my response to c), as it addresses American prestige rather than American military prestige.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

All wrong, all wrong. The two Ts are out. The Republicans this time are going to stress F & N. It is going to be F and N all the time. Fascism and naziism.

Posted by: Mattxq on September 3, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

F & N accusing opponents of it while practicing elements of it themselves.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Why shouldn't Republicans run on killing and capturing the Islamofascist terrorists? They've done a great of doing it."

Of running on it.

Of killing and capturing the Islamofacsist terrorists? Not so much.

Will the American public see the difference? Tune in in November to find out.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 3, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Psiniq - Iraq already has a demcratic government. How do you think the current leadership was selected? The problem is that if security can't be brought under control, this government will fall, leaving chaos or a terrorist state.

Bob - Maybe you can explain in more the good sides of Iran's government. Here are some problems I see:

1. No real democracy. They ruling Mullahs control the elections

2. Support for murdering Jews. In fact, public proclamations by their President about exterminating Jews.

3. No tolerance for gays. AFAIK being gay in Iran would be illegal -- possibly punishable by death.

4. Militarism. Iran has spent much of its oil money on powerful armaments, including an apparent drive for nuclear weapons.

5. Expansionism. Iran is seeking to become the dominant country in the middle east.

6. Using utterly ruthless military means to secure spheres of influence, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Bob - I do agree with you that Iran does have some cultural dichotomy that frustrates the Mullahs. Ironically, that cultural diversity is mostly a holdover from the US-supported Shah.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 3, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

"You can't defend the Iraq Civil War, and you can't defend having an economy owned by China. You can't defend selling defense contracts to Watergate Pimps or $3/gal gasoline or declining median incomes or the price of health care or spending millions of dollars on standardized tests. You can't defend Tom Delay. You are going down, and I am smiling as I write this. I hope you enjoy your final months of power." - reino

Gas now is $2.69 and falling. Median incomes have actually risen since 1999 in most sectors. Standardized tests are improving scholastic scores mainly among minorities and the less affluent.

And in order to actually achieve power, you must have a PLAN. What's your plan reino? Blame other people?

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Bob - I do agree with you that Iran does have some cultural dichotomy that frustrates the Mullahs. Ironically, that cultural diversity is mostly a holdover from the US-supported Shah." - ex-lib

Jimmy Carter was directly responsible for the fall of the Shah and rmck1 is a proud Jimmy Carter liberal.

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

"3. No tolerance for gays. AFAIK being gay in Iran would be illegal -- possibly punishable by death.

4. Militarism. Iran has spent much of its oil money on powerful armaments, including an apparent drive for nuclear weapons.

5. Expansionism. (Insert country here) is seeking to become the dominant country in the middle east.

6. Using utterly ruthless military means to secure spheres of influence, "

Say, ex-liberal, these last three look pretty much like the platforms of the current ReThuglican administration!

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 3, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

My point was that it is a Sharia limited constitution, not empowered to trump Islamic law and as such, is truly a representative theocracy. The elected representatives may or may not be clergy but cannot dispute the Sharia. I agree about the problem of security, but Iraqis should be empowered to provide it. We should be in a support position and be assisting the Iraqis, rather than on the front of the fray. It will not be a pretty transistion, but it is inevitable. As far as chaos goes, it is already present.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Say, ex-liberal, these last three look pretty much like the platforms of the current ReThuglican administration!" - Cal something

Only to a brain damaged liberal.


Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

I would suggest the cultural diversity is a hold-over from the Persian heritage the Shah harnessed with US support.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

"I would suggest the cultural diversity is a hold-over from the Persian heritage the Shah harnessed with US support." - psinig

Really? The Pahlavi family ruled Iran from 1925 - 1979. How much diversity do you think there was prior to 1925 in Iran?

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

What's the point of whether 'centrist Republicanism' makes a comeback or not? It's still Republicansim. It's till going to be the party that gets people to vote for them based on pure horseshit and delivers nothing but largess and privilege to the corporate interests it actually serves while pandering to the gullible with trivia intended to weaken and divide society.

So, who cares if it makes a comeback when its faux centrism is simply a better mask? Isn't its naked evil a more exemplary spectacle?

Posted by: cld on September 3, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

"It's till going to be the party that gets people to vote for them based on pure horseshit and delivers nothing but largess and privilege to the corporate interests it actually serves while pandering to the gullible with trivia intended to weaken and divide society." - cld

Please provide specific examples to back up you delusional brain damaged liberal rant.

Incidentally: Worldcom, Enron, and Global Crossing all happened under Clinton's tenure and all were successfully prosecuted under GW's tenure.

Home ownership among minorities is at an all time high.

You know, just FYI.

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

The mercantilism during the Qajar dynasty featured economic interdependence with Europeans and Turks and tried to support tolerence between Shia and Sunni.

Posted by: Psiniq on September 3, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

> 1. No real democracy. They ruling Mullahs control the elections

Neither Saudi Arabia, Egypt nor Jordan have "real democracy." This
issue is a complete crock of shit. What Iran *does* have is an
extremely diffuse power structure that rules virtually by consensus.
Hence it is an extremely conservative regime. Ahmadinejad is being
allowed by the Guardian Council to prance on the world stage because
it's exceedingly useful to redirect the concerns of his poor religious
supporters away from the economic reforms that he's yet to deliver.

Ahmadinejad is also not the C-i-C of the armed forces.

> 2. Support for murdering Jews. In fact, public proclamations
> by their President about exterminating Jews.

BZZZZT. Iran has the largest Jewish population of any Muslim country.

> 3. No tolerance for gays. AFAIK being gay in Iran would
> be illegal -- possibly punishable by death.

And you have exactly zippo understanding of Persian culture. There's
probably more homosexuality in Iran than in any Muslim country. Men
friends routinely hold hands while walking together. Persian culture
is extremely florid, passionate, emotional -- the Italians of the
Mideast. The mullahs may have cracked down on homosexuality, but
they've also cracked down on drug and alcohol use -- and Iran has
*admitted* it has the largest drug and alcohol problem in the Mideast.

You know where the Shiraz grape came from, right?

> 4. Militarism. Iran has spent much of its oil money on powerful
> armaments, including an apparent drive for nuclear weapons.

And China, Russia, Israel, the US etc. etc. etc. haven't? As far as
a "drive for nuclear weapons" goes, sorry. Too much bullshit about
Iraq for me to take that crap at face value. Zero proof exists.

> 5. Expansionism. Iran is seeking to become
> the dominant country in the middle east.

Bullshit. There is a balance of power between an emerging Shi'ite
power base (which we, naturally, facilitated in Iraq) and the Sunni
bloc, which includes our biggest allies in the region. And news
flash: Khomeneism can't be exported even into southern Iraq,
because it's based on a distinctly Persian interpretation of Shi'ism.

> 6. Using utterly ruthless military means to secure
> spheres of influence, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

As has been reported time and again during the war, exactly
zero proof or even a strain of reasonable conjecture (not
counting the mouth-breathers where you get your news from)
exists that Iran had anything to do with Hezbollah either
taking the prisoners or launching the attacks against Israel.

Hezbollah is a client of Iran. Israel is a client of us.

Another meme bites the dust ... dunt dunt dunt ... dadada dunt da da.

> Bob - I do agree with you that Iran does have some cultural
> dichotomy that frustrates the Mullahs. Ironically, that cultural
> diversity is mostly a holdover from the US-supported Shah.

BULL FUCKING SHIT. You really are a drooling tool, "ex-liberal,"
on par with rdw for my money (minus, of course, the crystal meth).

The Iranian Revolution was (like the Cuban Revolution) *universally
supported* by everyone save the military and the the Shah's elite
courtiers. Everybody from hardcore Marxists, democracy supporters,
religious revivalists, students of all ideological stripes, moderates
who just wanted to live free of internal repression, supported it.
Like all revolutions, it got co-opted by a single faction and the rest
is history. But it was the undisputable will of the entire Iranian
people to throw out that scumbag and his loathesome secret police.

How DARE you talk "democracy" and make noises in favor of the Shah.

That cultural diversity is a direct result of the failures of the
Islamic Revolution. And that's why sabre-rattling at Iran only
delays the day that the mullahs will fall -- because the hardliners
in Iran and the hardliners in America are co-dependent losers.

Two sides of the same abominable piece of chump (chimp?) change.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally: Worldcom, Enron, and Global Crossing all happened under Clinton's tenure and all were successfully prosecuted under GW's tenure.

Please provide one example of anyone who worked at Worldcom, Enron or Global Crossing who ever voted for a Democrat. They were prosecuted only after their catastrophic failure, failure due only to their Republican character. If they hadn't been prosecuted their naked evil would have been too exemplary even for the egomania of Republicans.
(Or would it? There's a story that Republicans in Alaska actually have been giving one another hats labelled 'Corrupt Bastards Club'.)

Home ownership among minorities is at an all time high.

FYI, home ownership is at an all time high for everyone.

Posted by: cld on September 3, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

> Gas now is $2.69 and falling.

Where I live, it's $3.10 and falling, but it hasn't fallen down to 2005 prices. Remember when the GOP complained that it was $1.50?

> Median incomes have actually risen since 1999 in most sectors.

Maybe mean income. Median income is falling consistently. Maybe you should read Kevin Drum.

> Standardized tests are improving scholastic scores mainly among minorities and the less affluent.

Sorry to use a fact, but scores are dropping. Go ahead and fight for more standardized tests if you like them so much.

I'm glad you conceded the Iraq Civil War, Watergate Pimps, deficit, and health care instead of making up facts about those. If you're going to claim that median incomes are rising, then why not claim that the budget is balanced or that the insurgency is in its last throes?

The first step of the Democratic Plan is to put Republicans in the minority. All good things will follow from that.

Posted by: reino on September 3, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Neither Saudi Arabia, Egypt nor Jordan have "real democracy." This
issue is a complete crock of shit. What Iran *does* have is an
extremely diffuse power structure that rules virtually by consensus.

There is remotely diffuse about Irans power structure. The country is tightly controlled by a samll group of Mad Mullahs. The President is picked by them and does nothing without their prior approval.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Men
friends routinely hold hands while walking together. Persian culture
is extremely florid, passionate, emotional -- the Italians of the
Mideast. The mullahs may have cracked down on homosexuality, but
they've also cracked down on drug and alcohol use -- and Iran has
*admitted* it has the largest drug and alcohol problem in the Mideast.


What a transparent crock of nonsense. Islam is a male dominant culture where it's common for men to hold hands. This has ZERO to do with homosexuality you twit. Gays in most of the muslim culture are brutalized and often butchered by men who hold hands.

Are you really trying to associate homosexuality with drug and alcohol abuse?

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

As far as
a "drive for nuclear weapons" goes, sorry.

Come on Bob,

You're a liberal elitist. You have one of the great minds out there.

Let's consider just a few facts. Iran has the worlds 3rd or 4th largest oil deposits. Iran has the worlds 2nd largest natural gas deposits. It costs them about $.50 a gallon to produce a gallon of oil. They have a grossly under-developed economy with a low standard of living and high poverty.

And they're building a nuclear power plant because?????

Not even liberals are this stupid. There is only one reason they are building this plant and it is the same reason Saddam was building one.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

And news
flash: Khomeneism can't be exported even into southern Iraq,
because it's based on a distinctly Persian interpretation of Shi'ism

They don't have to want to export Khomeneism to get control of Southern Iraq nor is that an especially important reason to do so. The last thing the mad mullahs need is a real deomcracy on their border because real democracies are prosperous and strong. Iran is well aware a Us trained and equiped Iraqi Army would destroy the Irani Army.

No Arab army has ever stood toe-to-toe with a modern American trained and equipped Army. The Mad Mullahs and been quite clear in their ambitions and they include Israel and Lebanon as well as Spain ad much of Europe. Hezbollah and Hamas are only two of their efforts. There's much more to come.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hezbollah is a client of Iran. Israel is a client of us.

Another meme bites the dust ... dunt dunt dunt ... dadada dunt da da.

Not even close. Israel has a GDP in the vicinity of $150B while US Aid is near $2B. It is less than 2% of Israeli GDP.

Hezbollah and Hamas are totally supported and controlled by Iran.

It's just the typical liberal smear of an independent and mature Democracy.

It had to devastate you Bob to see the almost total support of the US govt for Israel in lebanon as well as the very strong pulic support. I still can't recall a single senator taking even a hint of a contrary opinion to GWB.

What's more despite feverish attempts by the MSM to trash Israel all they managed to do was further slime themselves by using obviously doctored or staged pictures or other equally dumb tactics. Even their attempts at spinning it for Hezbollah were childish. They were certainly unsuccessful. It's been almost 2 months and we've still to hear any Senator or Presidential candidate question israel.

There's a reason for that Bob. They want to keep their jobs.

BTW: Both Reuters and the AP managed to match Dan Rather for incompetence.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

"I do think that there is hope that they will come to their senses and that building pragmatic technocratic policy coalitions from the center outward will be possible and is our best chance."

And I would like to be a billionaire...and the probability of those two outcomes is dead even...

Posted by: justmy2 on September 3, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

You know, they really ought to give out licenses for debating this stuff. Yours would have been revoked a long time ago. You're worse than ignorant -- your mind has been poisoned by ideological websites, every one of them with a singular agenda.

Rebutting your bilge is *so fucking tiresome* ... you really ought to be a student at a madrassas school. Because just like reciting the Koran -- posting this stuff for you is based on little more than rote memorization of unchallengable sources.

Iran is a particularly florid and emotional culture. Did you catch the Ahmadinejad press conference where one of the reporters wanted to recite his poetry? Holding hands per se is no indication of homosexuality -- indeed, it's also common in Saudi Arabia (which has a growing AIDS problem). It is merely part of a broader cultural picture of Iran of which you have less then a quarter's worth of a clue about.

Homosexuality and drug use are both examples of what a conservative culture might call "loose" or "decadent" morals. Certainly, we hear the two linked often enough by cultural conservatives in this country. A country that has a high rate of illegal drug abuse would, naturally, also be expected to have a high rate of homosexuality.

Nobody said homosexuals are beheaded or put to death in Iran, although there may be some form of corporal punishment on the books. But because in Iran so much of the mullahs' social agenda has come up short (the dress codes, for instance, were discarded by Khatamei and never reinstated), it would stand to reason that homosexuality would be prevalent as well.

And, indeed, this appears to be the case from various things I've read from people in Iran and Iranians themselves. Just as is flirting between highschool age boys and girls in American-style food courts, and just as women in Terhan don't need to go around in a chador in the business dictrict.

In order to push your loathesome, Fascist war agenda, though, you need a conveniently demonizable enemy. So the Guardian Council becomes the "Mad Mullahs." Note the capitalization. It's simply an unexamined concept to you. It never even occurs to you to ask yourself how different their ideologies are to Ahmadinejad's, or to ponder the implications of just how little real power the titular president of Iran has.

All you hear are out-of-context scare quotes from speeches devoid of context. Anything to make Iran look more bombable -- fact or fiction -- works for you.

Heil fucking Hitler, asswipe.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

I hadn't thought about it before but that description makes the Iranian government sound rather interesting. The Supreme Leader is like a theocratic Elector, like the king in Hamlet, while Ahmadinejad is like the prime minister, someone out front to take all the crap until he can't take it any more, then they elect someone else. Meanwhile Khamenei has a free hand.

The psychology of this will be implicit throughout their policies. Ahmadinejad could be dropped like an old Kleenex with little warning.

Posted by: cld on September 3, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Al informed us of the capture of the #2 leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

-- How can that be?

You could have stopped right there....how is it that Al Qaeda #2 is captured once every 4 months...

Just wondering...

Posted by: justmy2 on September 3, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Iran wants to develop nuclear power for essentially the same reasons that it developed its own indigenous auto industry. Part of it's pure pride in technological accomplishment -- but part of it is a drive to autarky (look it up) -- a reliance on indigenous industries and products. Iran doesn't want to be over any barrels with the IMF. It covets its economic independence as a nation.

Now, as you may have noticed, Mr. Far East Expert, there's been rather an explosion of growth in world demand for oil. No nation with an ability to develop an alternative to oil production wants to be in the position of having a one-commodity economy. In any other circumstance, this so follows the neoliberal IMF playbook that you'd be loudly applauding Iran's industriousness and ingenuity. Most oil states are, as you are doubtless aware, hyperwealthy basket cases.

Developing nuclear weapons? After Iraq? We're going to take the word of the likes of *you*?

Pffffffft.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK
Over the past 30 years the Republican Party has gone from Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Dick Cheney
Actually, in the past 30 years, the Republican Party has gone from Tricky Dick Nixon to back again, and a little worse each time
Perhaps centrist Republicanism is poised and ready for a comeback I think it's poised for a major marketing rollout, but that's not quite the same thing. latts at 1:12 PM
Republicans always run on a Democratic platform but govern from Norquist's. They are oozing moderation in election run-ups . It disappears on November Fifth.
Centrist republicans may love the idea of taking their party back, jcricket at 1:16 PM
If you want centrist Republicanism, vote for a Democrat. Truman would have sneered at the current crop the Party is offering.
respects their values minion of rove at 1:18 PM
What American values do the Republicans respect? Christian Fundamentalism, fiscal irresponsibility, illegal immigrants for a cheap work force, an immature foreign policy guided by Dubya's pique, and a big, but incompetent, government are the results of your control of power.
Al Qaeda's number two operative in Iraq Al at 1:20 PM
This must be the twentieth Number Two Guy while bin Laden roams free to surface just in time for Republican needs. Posted by: Mike on September 3, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK
Dems have assured us that the global war against al Qaeda is entirely separate from the war in Iraq. ex-liberal at 2:51 PM
Thanks to the incompetence of your boy, Dubya, Iraq was changed from a secular country to a radical one that now supports Hezbollah. It's a typical Republican success story.
If you guys can't win this race you should take Carville's advice and pack it in. minion of rove at 3:04 PM
Until Diebold or some equivalent finishes counting the vote, nothing is certain.
...taking credit for the biofuels plant built republicrat 3:23 PM
You may not be aware of it, but ethanol was a big issue for Tom Dascle, Democrat.
Voters don't like the fact that Bush isn't winning there.ex-liberal at 3:32 PM
The conditions for victory haven't as yet been defined by the Bush team, nor the strategy for obtaining it.
btw, moderate republicans.......... Jay at 4:45 PM
Both McCain and Hutchinson fully support the Bush agenda and are in no way moderate.
...Regardless of how we got here, Bush and Rumsfeld properly sees the war in Iraq as a key aspect of today's GWOT. Many Dems do not. ex-liberal at 5:04 PM
So the same guys that incompetently fucked it up are the ones whom you expect to fix it up? That is not just delusional, it's batshit insane.
Liberals laughed at his Strategic Defense Initiative calling it Star Wars and him a cowboy and a war-monger... mhr at 6:55 PM
Rightly so, even the last so-called successful test had to be postponed for fog. Fog!. Reagan and the most corrupt administration since Nixon's, gave us the worst recession since the Great Depression, and, adjusted for inflation, the biggest tax increase in history to accompany the biggest deficits know heretofore. Throw in the death squads and Iran Contra and the clown was the third worst president after Nixon and Bush II.
US and its allies didn't attack Nazi Germany sooner.: ex-liberal at 7:22 PM
Republican isolationists made that goal impossible. Posted by: Mike on September 3, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK
Only to a brain damaged liberal. Jay at 8:06 PM
Those are a fair and accurate description of the Republican agenda
...The President is picked by them and does nothing without their prior approval. rdw 9:19 PM
All those crocodile tears for the lack of true democracy in Iran and nothing about Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Pakistan, and other dictatorships too numerous to list, blessed by Republicans, who have no principle but political expediency.
There is only one reason they are building this plant rdw at 9:32 PM
They are building one because they are entitled under the Non-proliferation treaty and for energy use. They believe that the more oil they don't need to use, the more they can sell for foreign exchange. Pistachios are a good export but dont bring in a lot of money.
... There's much more to come. rdw at 9:38 PM
That is one bizarre fantasy world, chum; but in the real one, Iran hasn't attacked any one while the US and Israel have both launched unprovoked wars. Posted by: Mike on September 3, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

exasperanto asked:

a) improves America's security.

b) helps the Iraqi people.

c) brings prestige to America's military.

d) fosters stability in the Middle East.
_______________

Unfortunately, the answers are still:

a. On balance, we don't know yet.

b. Aside from giving them a chance, we don't know yet.

c. The prestige of America's military is safe, insofar as those who are qualified to judge are concerned. In any case, it's of secondary importance to the mission.

d. It doesn't and wasn't intended to, except very long range.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 3, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Now, as you may have noticed, Mr. Far East Expert, there's been rather an explosion of growth in world demand for oil. No nation with an ability to develop an alternative to oil production wants to be in the position of having a one-commodity economy.

Bob,

Your economic IQ is below zero as is your common sense IQ. Iran doesn't have a one-commodity economy it has two. It's natural gas reserves are more extensive than it's oil reserves.

It is absolutely senseless for Iran to attempt to diversify by going into nuclear power. Even forgetting the fact Iran has zero expertise and will remain several decades behind all of Europe, Russia, China, India, Pakitan, Japan, USA, Canada etc., and thus not competitive, diversification would by definition reguire them to get out of ENERGY entirely.

If the value of oil or natural gas would decrease so would the value of nuclear power. There is absolutely no diversification benefit for expanding into nuclear.

Further, it's worse than bonehead stupid eocnomically. It's a disgraceful decision. Iran is a poor, backword, 3rd world nation with a lack of medical care, adequate housing and an extremely poor record of responding to natural disasters. They are going to spend desperately needed funds on nuclear power which would have to cost 50x's as much as power generated by oil or natural gas. That money would do far more good in an area where the Iranians have expertise and could expand the economy.

Economically speaking this is an abomination.

No one with a shred of common sense has any doubt as to Irans intentions.

BTW: I don't have too much of a problem with this. Like most conservatives I am tired of playing the worlds policeman. We've rebuilt the free world and they can assume their own responsibilities and then bitch to themselves if they don't like the results. Two things are necessary to make the rest of the free world wake up.

1st - the pullback of the US defense umbrella. We're out of Europe and dramatically reduced in Asia.

2nd - Credible threats to the other states.

In Asia the threats are NK, China and Russia in that order. We are seeing dramatic events in Japan with the front-runner for the PMs post announcing he intends to change the Japanese Constitution to remove Chapter 9. Japan is taking the initial steps to become the worlds 2nd most powerful military. SK is also shifting away from appeasement as they are now solely responsible for the DMZ and the defense of Seoul.

Europe is evolving with some states still in denial regarding the USA pullback. We are out. Eastern Europe and Germany under Merkel are quite aware however. Angela is very limited with a divided govt but she's clearly distanced Germany from France and aligned with Poland, Italy and the Czech republic.

This has clearly been instigated by Iran.

History would suggest the Germans will not appease. The timely sale of powerful subs to Israel last week with 2nd strike capability was a extraordinary sharp message to the Mad Mullahs. Strike Israel and all of Iran will be vaporized.

The way I see it the nuts in NK have been as useful as the nuts in Iran. The MSM has missed these stories entirely. Military spending and risen dramatially outside the US and it's just getting started.

Think about it. Why do we need to spend money in Asia. Japan is very wealthy and has an incredible military tradition. As a mature democracy the extremism of the distant past is not an issue. A revitalized Japan is China's worst nightmare as well as for Russia. NK has boldly launched missles over Japans airspace. Once Japan takes the handcuff's off it's very unlikely NK will try that again and if they do it will be the last time.

Germany can provide the same role in Europe with help from Poland, Italy, the Czech republic and possibly the Ukrane. Once the Germans understand it's up to them to deter Iran they are certain to do so. It's not in their nature to appease. It was easy for Schroeder to brag about soft power when he had 200,000 US combat soldiers backing him up but they're down to zero. If the Germans know nothing else they know the French won't be replacing those Marines. Either the Germans replace them or they appease. I don't think so.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

in the real one, Iran hasn't attacked any one while the US and Israel have both launched unprovoked wars

Do you think so? I wonder what the Germans think? Last week they announced the sale of two modern submarines known for their 2nd strike capabilities. Extraordinary timing don't you think?

We do know the Mad Mullahs have threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

That would seem to be incredibly risky now wouldn't it?

Let's leave aside the fact Israel is 20% Palestinian and it would be impossible to attack Israel and miss the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, lebanon, etc. Let's even leave aside the fact Israel already had submarines and could wipe all of Iran off the map, along with Syria, anyway.

What do you suppose Germany was thinking? Were they thinking those peace loving Mad Mullahs want nukes for peace? Think that's it moron? Merkel just told the Mullahs to "F*ck-off" and don't threaten Germany or it's friends again.

I don't doubt there's a huge number of liberals convinced of the love in the hearts of the mad mullahs and that they have the best of intentions for their nuclear power. Those libs don't live in Germany or Italy or Poland or the Czech republic. And I'm not sure what the other libs in Europe are thinking but they can't be feeling very good. I'll bet they know what the Germans know. The Germans know the Iranians will never directly attack Israel. That's what Hezbollah and Hamas are for. They also know Iran will never supply hezbollah or Hamas with nuclear arms to attack Israel. The Mad Mullahs know Iran wouldn't last two hours.

The Mad Mullahs are after appeasers. The Mad Mullahs are after Europe. They know were gone and they know that's why were gone.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Oh geez, again with the boilerplate. Do you think I bother to read that stuff, rdw? I *know* you don't write it, just transcribe it from your favorite websites. It's also stuff you've repeated over and over and over again. The exact same points. It gets tiring. I'm here to debate, not be lectured by blog-derived talking points from blogs I'd never read on my own.

As for Iran, you're simply wrong. The more electricity they can generate, the less oil and gas they need for generation. But I don't think Iran is doing it so much for the electrical power. I think they're doing it to develop their indigenous technology. I say more power to them.

I am absolutely unfazed at the prospect of an Iranian bomb. I don't believe you have a clue about either how Iran is governed or its social fabric. And I think your demographic picture of the country is highly skewed. Sure, it's not a modern conurbation. There are many parts of the country which are almost wholly undeveloped, especially the disputed mountanous regions. But you also slight Iran's indigenous industry. They make cars, bro. Not for export; for themselves.

Pakistan is much more worrisome with a nuclear bomb, because the Sunni takfiris and Osama sympathizers in the ISI are much more extremist and unpredictable than the mullahs in Iran, who run a very conservative society and wish to preserve their elites. Iran is also much less terrorism-allied than it's been played up in the news sources you read. They have no truck with Sunni extremist groups -- who've been opposed to the existence of a Shi'ite theocracy since the Iranian Revolution. You'll notice, rdw, that no example of Islamist terrorism targeted at the West since 9/11 has been pulled off by Shi'ites.

Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, not to the West per se. And there is *no* Iranian version of the Caliphate ideology, nor does Iran export its flavor of Islamist revolution like the Sunni extremists are aiming to do. To conflate the two tendencies in the Islamic world is simply to exhibit gross ignorance.

Iran is not yet a fully modern state, nor should it be judged at such. But it's making rapid progress, and it's admirable that they wish to develop in-country talent rather than becoming slaves to foreign investment (replete with economic and technocratic rule by outsiders). They're entitled to this -- just as they're entitled to flip their oil Bourse over to euros if they wish.

Heh, watch your swallow your tongue over that, eh :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

The Mad Mullahs, sheesh. A cartoon version of world events.

Western Europe lost its security umbrella. It's prudent for them to invest in defense, now that the US has substantially pulled out.

*You* spin this into a retarded conspiracy theory that Iran is "aiming for" Europe. What would they do with it? Most European Muslims are Sunni -- and the extremists among them consider Shi'ites *polytheists*.

But what would you know about that, eh.

Enjoy your shuddery masturbatory fantasies. Maybe one European in a right-wing party somewhere believes you.

Does Angela Merkel think the way you do?

I think she'd shudder and wince at the paranoid ooze that crawls off your fingers every bit as much she did at Bush's reptillian touch.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

Do you think any of them at this moment could stand up to an equivalence of men in the Iranian army, as rdw suggests?

Not a rhetorical question.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan and the most corrupt administration since Nixon's, gave us the worst recession since the Great Depression, and, adjusted for inflation

Mike,

Did you get to enjoy the week-long ceremonies after RRs passing? That had to rip your heart out. I watched a fair amount of Peter Jennings just to see if he would have a nervous breakdown on air saying all of the 'right things'. As it turns out Peter did quite well. As it turns out he came to realize RR was far shrewder than he had given him credit and after evaluating LBJ, Ford, Carter, GHWB and Slick Willie he admitted RR stood rather tall.

Peter also immediately understood the genuine and wide ranging public display of positive emotion could not be ignored.

Two other things have to rip your heart out regarding Reagan. I have a fair amount of contact with the under 40 crowd. They remember two big things about Reagan. He gutted tax rates and he defeated global socialism. Few libs appreciate the demographic gap on the left. Few people under 40 have any tolerance for the concept of socialism. They think it's braindead. And ask them about 70% tax rates. They'll ask you if you are crazy and then ask you why anyone in their right mind would work if they were paying 70%.

Their outlook, their reality is dramatically different than their parents. They're Reagan babies.

BTW: RR is in the top 10 on all Presidential rankings. His place in history is well established.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

You* spin this into a retarded conspiracy theory that Iran is "aiming for" Europe. What would they do with it? Most European Muslims are Sunni -- and the extremists among them consider Shi'ites *polytheists*.

Virtually ALL muslims are humiliated at the current state of Islam as a backwords, even medievil society. They've contributed nothing of signifance to modern life and they've been humiliated militarily for 500 years. The whackjobs wish to restore Islam to it's former glory and the Mad Mullahs are among them. This would of course include regaining control over ALL of their former lands and that would include much of Europe.

The splits within Islam are a minor matter compared to the 600 years of humiliations ALL of Islam has suffered at the hands of the Europeans.

Iran is sitting in the perfect position. The mad Mullahs have total control and money coming out of their ears. They have no need or desire for a stong Irani army except to defend againsts other muslim nations. They could never consider
direct combat with a Western Army. That wold mean immediate devastation. They want nuclear arms to prevent the consideration of an invastion and to use against appeasers.

Look at the position of France, Denmark, Sweden, The Nertherlands, Spain, the UK, etc. They have large, angry, uassimilated Islamic minoritoes. Iran knows how to marshal these groups into terror forces as we've seen with Hezbollah and Hamas and others.

They are utterly defenseless against their own native sons within and once Iran gets the bomb they can't touch Iran. The Islamic minorities will demand, and get, total cotrol over thir own people and essentially be one country within another.

We've already seen total capitulation with the Danish cartoon debacle. We all agree if those cartoons had demeaned Christians and Jews they would have run in every paper in Europe. if the pope complained they would have run again with the libs crying censorship and religious intolerance. Except 99% of Europe refused to run the cartoons, every govt apoligized and I believe every Govt has passed laws to prevent it from happening again. Get used to it.

When you add in the demographic disaster we can see that in many place Islamic law will ascend via the ballot box. It will be quite some time before muslims form a majority, or governing minority in any countries but it won't be long before they're a majority in some cities, some major cities, and some regions. It's a rather obvious prediction but before 2020 we'll see at least one large European city with a Muslim as mayor and that mayor will have as his senior advisor an Imam.

By 2020 the trends will be horrible. The ethnic European population will be shrinking quite rapidly and in the schools we'll start to see a majority of muslims in a great many cities.

It's really not hard to see where this is going. For now the Mad mullahs are having a whale of a time jerking off the UN and the EU. There isn't a thing the EU or UN can do to stop Iran from getting the bomb. We both know it.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Listening to you talk about Muslims is like listening to a KKK member talk about "the cuhlids."

You know jack squat about Islam. So much so that it's really not worth trying to educate you about the intense disputes between Shi'ite and Sunni fundamentalists and disabuse you of the "madness" of the perfectly sane and extremely conservative religious figures who oversee the government of Iran.

All you've got are paranoid fantasies.

Speaking of, you know, who's being jerked off by whom.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Mike wrote: Republican isolationists made that goal [attacing Nazi Germany in the 1930's] impossible

A bit overstated, but basically true. The UK and France were simlarly held back by their isolationists. And, some far-right "anti-war" people actually had a soft spot for fascism.

Today, it's mostly Democratic isolationists who try to prevent us from making war on Isalamofacists. And, some on the far left seem to have a soft spot for Islamofascism.

See why I'm an ex-liberal?

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 4, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think she'd shudder and wince at the paranoid ooze that crawls off your fingers every bit as much she did at Bush's reptillian touch.

So you saw that little backrub? I have to admit there are times I wonder what that boy is thinking.

But I wasn't wondering when Angela was standing next to him and condemning Hezbollah for attacking Israel and kidnapping and killing soldiers. She was extremely clear. I didn't see her standing anywhere near Jacques.

I was also interesting she prepared a joint statement for the EU to make prepared by Germany, Poland, the Czech republic and Italy. As soon as Jacques saw that he knew the EU was not going to be condemning Israel.

Merkel has a very interestting task. She's being compared to Thatcher. She has the same challenge but she's got tons more to do. Kouzimi in Japan has moved his people from dedicated pacifism 5 years ago to an election where the primary topic is to remove chapter 9 from the constitution allowing Japan total freedom. It's not done yet but just getting a national discussion is a monumental acheivement. It's only a matter of time. This is merkels task. She's got a great start but a very long road.

Methinks it'll be two steps forward and one back for a while. West Germans are resistant. They need time to absorb the meaning of the US defense and also the nature of the threat. Iran is going to accelerate this process.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Bob asked:

"Do you think any of them at this moment could stand up to an equivalence of men in the Iranian army, as rdw suggests?"
_________________

Probably not, Bob. Building an army in our style takes a long time and the results tend to be less than optimum for quite a while. Then too, strictly speaking, no battalion is intended to fight by itself. A battalion is a maneuver element, designed to function within a combined arms environment. Infantry, armor, artillery, and airpower, supported by robust logistics and engineering corps, work together under our system. The Iraqi military is still too under-developed to operate the way our battalions do.

That doesn't mean they can't fight, and even fight well, but it does mean that they cannot reach their full fighting potential now and won't for some time to come.

An established battalion (as opposed to raw draftees) from a country like Iran has two immediate advantages. First, they have been part of a military which has been around long enough to develop real cohesion and have some expectation of success. Their superior esprit de corps will give them a leg up. Second, the Iranians have doubtless developed their own methods of fighting, tailored to what kind of supporting arms are available. An Iraqi battalion still relies on American supporting arms and are not yet proficient at coordinating everything they need.

All this is (one hopes) temporary. It is almost a truism that any group of recruits (even draftees) can be turned into good soldiers, given enough training, time, and experience. Right now, the Iraqi army is similar to that of the Republic of Korea during the Korean war. That is...decidedly less than world class. Today, of course, the ROKs are renowned as tough, resilient fighters.

Luckily, the Iraqi army doesn't have to fight the Iranians - yet.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Listening to you talk about Muslims is like listening to a KKK member talk about "the cuhlids."

You are really gettimg dumb.

1st you know in your heart these kind of attacks only reflect poorly on you. 2nd you know I am immune. I am not PC. This lightweight nonsense is good for at most a chuckle.

All you've got are paranoid fantasies.

I've got nothing to be paranoid about. I've carefully explained my family is very safe and I don't think the USA has anything to fear. I'm not at all fearful sometime in the next two decades parts of Europe fall under Islamic law. Europe holds no appeal to me. Been there done that. I think Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe will do just fine and Japan will contain both China and Russia. NK will be contained by it's neighbors.

The only countries I fear for is the UK and Denmark. I don't see how they hold off. Blair has been terrific on Int'l terror but abysmal domestically. He's a weird combo of stong on defense but uber-PC. THe UK has the largest and most radicalized muslim population outside lebanon. I think the brits are in for a long period of domestic terrorism. London seems poised to become the most dangerous city in the world.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Let me say this clearly and succinctly: they are desperate to win. Not because they want to govern, but to keep themselves out of jail.

They'll push the last soldier into harm's way in Iraq. They'll push their own mothers into poverty. They'll steal the money from charities to create legal defense funds. They are cornered animals who have done a lot of illegal things and fear retribution. They see democracy more as a danger than an invioble standard of government. Think Jimmy Cagney: "you'll never take me alive, America!"

So, they'll play every intimidation card, rig voting machines, and distort every poll. It may look a lot like Mexico up here, come November.

Posted by: Sparko on September 4, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce A,

You're taking the word "literally" too literally. Even though people say "literally", they don't literally mean "literally". It's usually clear from context that someone is using "literally" figuratively, rather than literally.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on September 4, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

There are quite a few Iraqi battalions with enough training and experience to stand up against militias and insurgents. The small dustup of a week or so ago, in which an Iraqi unit went up against al Sadr's militia is a case in point.

I'm not sure that's a great example. First of all, apparently the Iraqi army had coalition support, including Polish troops which prevented Mahdi reinforcements from arriving and a 500-lb bomb dropped on the enemy courtesy of the U.S.

Even then it was forced to strike a truce with the Mahdi Army, which had actually gained ground during the battle.

http://tinyurl.com/za35n

Posted by: Windhorse on September 4, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Of course the Republicans will slide back toward the mainstream. All it will take is a couple of losses and splash! The ideologues will be gone, the pragmatists will have done what they had to do to get elected. The same thing happens to every party that moves too far from what the people want. Americans may be distracted and a bit slow, but eventually they hear the buzz.

Republicans may love their beliefs, but they love getting elected more.

End-of-the-line Al: thanks for the chuckle.

Posted by: James of DC on September 4, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Nobody on the left, least of *all* the far left, has any soft spot for Islamist extremism.

Islamist extremism is about the most anti-liberal ideology one could imagine. It's not, like Communism, a product of the Enlightenment with basically the same broad goals of a good society shared by liberal democracy. Islamist extremism is not "redeemable," the way many radical leftists thought Communist doctrine was redeemable.

What lefties have is an appreciation for social context and respect for the rights of cultures to determine themselves, within reasonable limits. Don't see to many right-wingers all gangbusters about invading Saudi Arabia to stop that barbaric practice of cutting the hands off of thieves ...

rdw:

I agree with you that Europe, due to a number of factors, is under a long-range threat from Islamists in their midst.

I vehemently disagree that Iran is pulling any strings regarding it. The Caliphate ideology is a product of Sunni Salafists and cannot be linked to Iran as ambition for its foreign policy.

Trashhauler:

Thanks for the response. Haven't read it yet, but rest assured I'll read it carefully. Always good to get feedback from a relatively unbiased military perspective.

Bob

Posted by: lynx on September 4, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Jay writes: This is exactly why the Dems will continue to lose. Their base is comprised of mentally deficient socialists.

Having the mentally deficient as your base never hurt the Republicans. Can't argue with success.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on September 4, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

The above is me.

Wrong macro.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Do you think any of them at this moment could stand up to an equivalence of men in the Iranian army, as rdw suggests?

The Iranian army is poorly trained and equipped. They've been buying arms and beefing up but it's 2nd rate stuff. Iran's economy is a mess. They have great oil wealth but are incompetent. It's not a well run country in any way. The Iraqi army is dramatically better trained but not equipped to meet a conventional army. Iraq has no jets.

Of course Iran will not attack Iraq. The USAF would destroy them immediately. If war were to start brewing after the Iraqi Govt gets control of the country and US troops downsize the US would then equip Iraq as necessary to defeat Iran. Iran's been there before and it's another reason why they won't attack Iraq.

The Iraqi's haven't just been thru an American bootcamp. They've fought side by side extensively. They've planned, executed, reviewed and learned toether. The entire military establishment has been designed with a large support staff for supplies, logistics, maintenance, etc was well as a large, professional officer corps, special forces, etc.

In a few years the Iraqi's Army will be dramatically better skilled and experienced. Iran will not have been in a war in over 20 years and they were horrible them.

BTW: You've got to look at the Arab armies the same as the Russian and Chinese. They are dramatically inefficient governments and their militaries are no different. They can steal western technology but they can't develop it. They will always have 2nd rate soldiers with 2d rate equipment. Iran is 5th rate. The reason why it's so important for Japan and Germany to re-arm is the dramatically ovewhelming edge the worlds democracies would have. China might have 8x's as many people but could never hope to defeat a totally free Japan. The same would hold true for a block of Germany, Poland, italy and the Czech republic

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

*Laughing* which is why Hezbollah was so fifth-rate against the IDF.

Nice job on those Merkava tanks, the pride of the Israeli infantry, huh?

And Hezbollah was trained by, none other than ... can you guess?

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

BTW, save your Israeloid spin on this. I've read the words of commanders who've been there. Hezbollah is considered by the combat officers who fought them a formidable, disciplined and worthy opponent.

Frankly, I'll take Trashhauler's word on this -- as he currently works in the DoD -- over yours.

Whaddaya think, Trashy? As it's shaken out, how did the Hezzies do against the IDF?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

What does work is to have an insurgency. Have you noticed? Seems to be working...unfortunately.

The insurgency is not against the US. There hasn't been a single attack in the US. The attack is against Democracy in Iraq and it appears Iran is supporting the Shites in killing the Sunni. The attacks are mostly against innocent Iraqi civilians and next against Iraqi security and then against the US. Interestingly the Kurdish North has been free of violence. This insurgncy is a holy war within Islam.

If by working you mean killing large numbers of Muslims you are quite correct.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

So what you're saying is logistics and support is the weak link, and it's going to be quite some time before it's fully up to speed to the point where Iraqi units can go into the field sans all American support.

Sounds to me like they'll need some kind of American support for years, maybe a decade or more ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Just for you, rdw. Read it and weep

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 -- After a year of political turmoil, Republicans
enter the fall campaign with their control of the House in serious
jeopardy, the possibility of major losses in the Senate, and a
national mood so unsettled that districts once considered safely
Republican are now competitive, analysts and strategists in both
parties say.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

I vehemently disagree that Iran is pulling any strings regarding it.

I don't think Iran is doing anything now aside from toying over the reactor. Irans 1st focus is on developing nuclear arms and the missle capability to deliver them to anyplace in Europe. They've already stated this.

Their 2nd focus is on developing terror armies loyal to them. Hezbollah and Hamas are but two. No doubt they would love to remove Israel but they know that's not practical or even wise now. The latest episode in Lebanon was in fact a significant mistake. They showed all of their cards and got nothing. This however is quite common. But they have plenty of time to recover and re-arm Hezbollah and form wider contacts.

Iran is taking it's time for obvious reasons. They want nuclear power bcause they think it preempts all possibility of invasion and will be useful to intimidate it's Arab neighbors as well as Europe. By the time they have this power they'll also have better missles and other weaponry. They are collecting more money than they can count. They grow stronger as Europe starts to grapple with their demographic debacle.

By 2012 Iran will have the bomb and have collected $600B in oil revenues. Hezbollah and Hamas will be far more powerful. Every state in Europe will be experiencing declining native populations, the pace will be accelerating and the size of the Islamic minorites will be growing.

By 2020 the population decline is more noticeable and the rate of shrinkage still accelerating. Muslims will be in the majority in some cities and substantial majorities in many schools. The radicals will seek support whereever they can find it and they will find it in Iran. If the choice is between a different muslim sect and the infidels they'll quikly ally with their muslim brothers.

As it now stands there's nothing Europe can do to stop this.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler's answers to my questions:

a. On balance, we don't know yet.

b. Aside from giving them a chance, we don't know yet.

c. The prestige of America's military is safe, insofar as those who are qualified to judge are concerned. In any case, it's of secondary importance to the mission.

d. It doesn't and wasn't intended to, except very long range.

You seem like a smart guy, but those are really dumb answers. Actually, they are non-answers. Was that your intent? Give us noodle-headed liberals the old "if only you could see the big picture, you wouldn't be asking such questions" and then blow off any serious attempt to seek a decent rationale?

You would've needed to say the word "freedom" about a dozen times, but otherwise you sounded just like George Bush there.

Posted by: exasperanto on September 4, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Bob wrote:

"Sounds to me like they'll need some kind of American support for years, maybe a decade or more ..."
________________

That would be my guess, Bob. Not so surprising, really. Heck, NATO still relies on the US for certain things.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Stay the Course

BTW, what exactly is "the Course"?

Posted by: craigie on September 4, 2006 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Like I said, brother man, you know exactly * J A C K * S H I T * about Islam.

To a takfiri Salafist, an apostate (read: Shi'ite) Muslim is a thousand times worse than a Christian or a Jew.

"They'll unite with their brother Muslims." Hehe, that's rich.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

This is standard fare. In every election the liberals declare victory before the vote comes in. Dick Gephardt would declare 5 months before every elections he'd be the next speaker of the house.

You are Charley Brown and Lucy is holding the fotball for you.

You were just as certain about Gore and Kerry. You have many advantages but then you have yet to campaign. As always this is your flaw. Turnout will as always be critical and the GOP in 2002 and 2004 did amazing work in this regard. They are very well funded and staffed and as you know they are very smart.

Living in PA I am watching 3 Senate races very closely. Casey has an edge on Santorum but ricky has been in this same spot before. The polls show him behind by 6% but history is that they under-estimate the GOP by 5% to 8% in elections. By closing the gap Casey was forced to agree to debates and he's a stiff.

You've already counted this in the bag. Don't be sure.

The oher two are Kean in NJ for a GOP pickup is very close and Steele in MD also a GOP pickup is very close. Kwisi Mfumi has run a vicious campaign playing the race card and if he loses he might poison the waters for the white victor. If he wins it'll be hard to beat the moderate Steele.

It's very possible the GOP picks uo all three. There are also 3 close races in PA the Dems expect to win and I suspect they're getting one at the most.

Don't get your hopes too high Bob. It could be just as devastating as 2004, 2002 and 2000. How many times have you under-estimated this guy.

BTW: You've probably also read reports GWB and Cheney can't help with appearances and money because they're toxic. They've already raised significantly more than in 2002 and their wives have been equally busy. Dean has already pissed most of his money away. The GOP has a huge stash. Santorum started his TV campaign before Casey expected and now Casey is trying to buy time. Casey has the lead but he's the one reacting to his opponent.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

NATO is saving our ass in Afghanistan right now, if you want to be fair about it

NATO is doing no such thing. They are playing a more active role but we are still doing most of the killing and they're beating the crap out of the Taliban. They're getting slaughtered by a kill rate of over 25 to 1.

NATO is NOTHING without the US. The European nations were powerless against Milosovich. Today it is but a shell available for coalitions of the willing. There will never be a coalition of the willing without the US. NATO will never again decide missions. The USA will decide missions and some will join and others will not. There will never be a NATO mission without the USA>

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

Jason wrote about NATO relying on the US:

"No, they don't.

It's called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By design and agreement, we do some things, they do others."
__________

Okay, as I said, they do rely on us for some things. You don't imagine the division of labor was decided at random, do you?

Zero. None. Zip. I understand the word, Jason, but you've already admitted that you don't know the current number, as if that number mattered at all. Since the Iraqi army is already engaged in the field by the many battalions, you'll have to explain why the number zero remains so important to you. Are you trying to say that our defeat is inevitable?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

oogity boogity ... oogity boogity boogity ...

Posted by: the white victor on September 4, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

exasperanto wrote about my answers to his questions:

"You seem like a smart guy, but those are really dumb answers. Actually, they are non-answers. Was that your intent? Give us noodle-headed liberals the old "if only you could see the big picture, you wouldn't be asking such questions" and then blow off any serious attempt to seek a decent rationale?"
________________

My intent was to give you honest answers. Sorry if they sound dumb, but let's review them. You asked if the pro-war position:

a) improves America's security.

b) helps the Iraqi people.

c) brings prestige to America's military.

d) fosters stability in the Middle East.

My answers:

a. On balance, we don't know yet. We had some successes and some failures. Logically, we cannot know if our efforts will improve our security. If we fail in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines or a dozen other places, one could argue that our security will suffer. Such is the nature of war.

b. Aside from giving them a chance, we don't know yet. Again, logically, if Iraq becomes a failed state, then we won't have helped the Iraqi people very much. On the other hand, if we succeed, we might find that we will have helped them tremendously. It could go either way or any number of other ways. Like I said, too early to tell.

c. The prestige of America's military is safe, insofar as those who are qualified to judge are concerned. In any case, it's of secondary importance to the mission. I don't know what I said that confused you here, but the performance of the US military has been exemplary. Not perfect, mind. But in all respects that matter to military observers around the world, we're still top dog in all aspects of military performance.

d. It doesn't and wasn't intended to, except very long range. We didn't invade Iraq to stabilize things in the region, but to shift the strategic balance. Taking out Saddam was intended to shake things up, which they might have done all too well. (My personal choice when the Saudis refused to let us use their airfields and ports would have been to say, "Okay, we're going home. Give Saddam our love when he comes for you.") But nobody asked me.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler:

I do have to say you seem to have the patience of a saint in these threads. Thanks for so often not taking the bait when my esteemed antiwar colleagues go off on you half-cocked.

I think I would have endorsed your recommendation. Saddam was writing romance novels, completely in his box. Either of his evil, useless sons wouldn't have lasted two weeks in Saddam's place before being deposed by a military coup.

How much better had we joined with the world in an intervention requested by a faction of Iraqis themselves ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

Jason wrote about the number of stand alone Iraqi battalions:

They had to classify it to keep it from being an ongoing embarrassment.

The number kind of matters...

See, if NO Iraqis can actually stand up and defend their own country, we can't really leave, now can we?
__________________

Oh, that's what's bothering you? Well, that's hardly the case. Many thousands of them are already engaged in combat and will remain so. Many of their engagements are in partnership with coalition forces. An increasing number are done without our assistance.

As far as training Iraqis goes, whoever told you that the Green Berets were the only people tasked with training people in military tasks? All of the Services and all branches within the Services are not only capable, but have actively trained people all over the world since the 1950s. Green Berets are expert in training people in unconventional warfare, as well as conventional tasks, but by no means are they the only troops able to train other militaries.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

Bob wrote:

"I do have to say you seem to have the patience of a saint in these threads. Thanks for so often not taking the bait when my esteemed antiwar colleagues go off on you half-cocked."
_____________

Oh, hell, Bob, I'm not all that patient and I sure ain't no saint. Ask my ex-wife.

The thing is, I've learned maybe a couple things or three about the military and warfare and one of them is thtletting myself get upset over things I cannot change is stupid. It's even more stupid to let myself react badly because someone else gets upset about something.

The thing is, war has a logic all its own. Regardless of one's politics, it is essential to remember that war is unaffected by how one feels about it. Every war involves a traumatic societal change. It is revolutionary, rather than evolutionary. And victory or defeat in war depends on many variables, not least is the morale of the people on both sides. First and foremost, war is an attempt to bend the enemy's will. The military normally can only affect the physical prosecution of the war. The political will to continue fighting or cease fighting should be based on the probable consequences of both. The decision not only requires knowing what is actually going on in the war, but also knowing what might happen if we quit. Either way, things can always get worse.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, back at the topic...
The moderate Republican no longer exists...so what does that tell you?

The Republican Party has dug (and is merrily contiuning to dig away) a rather big hole, from which is will take a generation or more to recover. The Dems will build an unstoppable coalition of people who are bound by a belief in being not crazy. We'll address health care, education, our out-of-control military industrial complex, our corporate greed, etc. These are all goals that a huge majority of AMericans agree on.

But not Republicans.

You see, in the end, we'll win.

"Big time."

Posted by: Jim Pharo on September 4, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - how could you forget the third "T" - Trickery? Do you really think they won't try more voting machine finagling and voter suppression tactics this year? BTW, you should have posting *something* in response to the Rolling Stone article about fraud in 2004 and in response to my email about it!

Posted by: Neil' on September 4, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Kwisi Mfumi has run a vicious campaign playing the race card and if he loses he might poison the waters for the white victor.

Am I losing it?

Did he actually say that phrase?


Yes you moron. Mfumi is a black guy running against a white guy. If he loses that means the black guy will have lost and the white guy will have won. They also call winners victors. You can look it up in the dictionary.

Are you trying to put a little PC to work here moron? Am I being racially insensitive? Did I take your breath away fool? Leaving aside the fact conservatives hold the army of the PC to be full of dickheads you ar also brain dead. It may be verbotten in the reality based community to refer to a white guy as a white guy or a black guy as a black guy but on planet earth that's still an obvious description. You see, and allow me to apologize in advance if this offends you, but black people and white people actually look different. Allow me to explain. Again I must remind you, I mean no offense, but here goes, black people are generally much darker in skin color than white people. Am I allowed to say that? If I am not allowed to say it am I allowed to think it or is that banned too?

Allow me to help you with another concept. When two people run for the same office only one can win. That means someone must lose. Now here's where it can get tricky because we're going to use two descriptions and that can get complicated. If you have a black guy running and a white guy running you can have a black victor or a black loser or a white victor or a white loser. Still with me? I should have explained, victor is another term for winner. So what we have in MD is a result that will either produce a white victor or a black victor. That's it. There are no other possibilities. There's more. If the white guy loses we have a black victor. You see, he's black. If the black guy loses we have the white victor.

To all those who might have been offended I'd like to issue a heartfelt apology except for one little problem. I have this standing policy of never apologizing to PC assh*les. Pull your head out of your ass.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

How much better had we joined with the world in an intervention requested by a faction of Iraqis themselves ...

Except they tried that for well over a decade including the brilliant Bill Clinton. What we learned after the invasion was the utter collapse of iraqi society. There wasn't a faction near able to depose Saddam the top top generals around him we dedicated to his entire family including the good sons.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

You see, in the end, we'll win.

"Big time."


Like in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004.

In 1992 you had 57 Senators and 258 Reps. Today you have 43 and 202. Think you have it together do you?

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK


trashhauler.....


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


and then there were

none...

that was down from three...in the last half of 2005...

if there has been an improvement since feb.....

i'm sure we would have heard about it..

by now....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 4, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

My intent was to give you honest answers. Sorry if they sound dumb, but let's review them. You asked if the pro-war position:

a) improves America's security.

b) helps the Iraqi people.

c) brings prestige to America's military.

d) fosters stability in the Middle East.

My [new] answers: do not further explain, they just add more words.

So let me try:

a) It doesn't. How could it possibly. You know this, but you can't bring yourself to admit it.

b) It doesn't. Rumsfeld, Bremer et al practised willful negligence with regard to security at the beginning of this invasion. This lack of care and good faith sent a message out: you're on your own. People ran around gathering weapons, infrastructure crumbled. Check out the story of Monsanto and the new seed laws imposed on Iraqi farmers.

c) The US military walked into a trap and now they can't get out. Now, I'm not "qualified to judge" (as you were so kind to tell me), but I saw this about to happen BEFORE the invasion. Why didn't the military leadership (smarter than me, I don't doubt) point this out?

Then there's the torture, the rapes, the indiscriminate shooting, the disproportionate force. This all maybe OK or explainable with you (from your lofty perspective) but it's not OK with most of the rest of the world. (Hint: I'm part of the rest of the world.) Add to this the fact that the military is being degraded and exhausted by a lack of new recruits and that many pro-war Americans of soldierly age are refusing to sign up and you've got the most powerful war machine in the history of civilization looking like a bit of a joke.

d) Creating instability causes strife. Strife brings insecurity. How is this desirable?

Is there anyone here who can tell me how this war is a good idea?

Posted by: exasperanto on September 4, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Terrorism,immigration and the spectre of lefty judges is enough to keep republicans from staying home on election day. Incumbancy is another big plus. So your lefty hopes will be dashed just like they have been the last several election cycles. I love it!

Posted by: press1forenglish on September 4, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Add a third, unstated component to Rove's election stragegy as elucidated by Kevin: Keep Democrats from the polling booths by whatever means possible and "fix" the voting machines so democratic votes are entered in the Republican column. This, like terror and turnout, the two points Kevin offered, was Rove's strategy in the last two presidential elections as well.

Posted by: frank logan on September 4, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

What difference does it make if a man is black or white? Where's the real problem, here, Wooten? You have a bit of insecurity in that last retort as well--quite a few cusswords got in there and we don't normally see that from you.

What makes you think it makes a difference? YOU seem to be suggesting one should never point out a man is black. Why on earth not? Is there something wrong with that? Why so you think so?

There's not a shred of insecurity. I am expressing my contempt for race hustlers like yourself. Why you think it's an insult to refer to a black man as a black man you'll have to explain.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans will appreciate the merits of bipartisanship the instant they are in the minority and not one moment before.

And they will forget these merits immediately once they are again ascendent.

Posted by: JHD on September 4, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a play from Casey's playbook:

Casey, though, said he wouldn't "abandon" the mission in Iraq by setting a timetable for troop withdrawal. And he said he would have voted to go to war in Iraq, given the evidence available before the 2003 invasion.

Will that energize the Democratic base to turn out and vote against Santorum? How do that and Casey's pro-life stance predict ill for the Republicans nationwide?

Posted by: republicrat on September 4, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

will that energize the Democratic base to turn out and vote against Santorum? How do that and Casey's pro-life stance predict ill for the Republicans nationwide?

This is just one of the races the Dems counted as won a wee bit too early. Santorum has three very good commercials running now with a very active schedule. His team has also done a nice job ensuring a 3rd party candidate is one the ballot who is extremely Anti-War, anti-Religion and Pro-abortion.

Santorum has also received indirect support from Rendel via his refusal to participate in any negative campaigning for Casey against Santorum explaining he's worked well with Santorum in bringing Federal dollars to PA. That's going to be a Santorum campaign ad in the last weeks along with a clip of ethanol and coal projects Santorum has landed.

Recent polls show Casey up by about 6% but the polling data typically overstates the Democratic vote by 7% - 8% Rendell in his 1st election was supposed to beat a weak Fitzpatrick by 15%. He only won by 7%. Casey must have a large Philadephia turnout and with his lack of any charisma, his positions on abortion, the church, his support for Iraq as well as Alito and Roberts, it's not likely philly libs will run to the polls. While this is Rendells base Eddie is predicted to win easily. Casey has to consider the possibility of Phila blacks staying away as a help to Lynn Swann.

This is far from a Casey lock. If Rove gets his turnout machine in gear Santorum will win.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hang in there, though--that whole thing about Santorum living in a Northern Virginia McMansion is really playing well up there

Actually it's not an issue at all. Ricky just settled and the issue hardly made the news. Casey's strong pro-life stance and support for Robert and Alito is death among philly liberals, especially feminists. He's support for Iraq makes the moveon.org crowd nuts.

Casey fought hard to keep the green candidate off the ballot but lost. He's on the ballot and he's funded. He is what philly libs want. He's strong anti-war, pro-choice, anti-roberts and anti-alito.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

One can be politically correct for asking someone to tone down their stereotypes.

What stereotypes?

Referring to someone as being black is not a stereotype. It's a biological fact. The stereotype is in your mind.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Blacks deserve something in return from Md. Democrats

By DeWayne Wickham, USA TODAY

Kweisi Mfume's announcement Monday that he will seek the seat of retiring Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes will test the commitment of Democrats to their black base, as well as the patience of the party's most loyal constituency.

The entry of Mfume, a former NAACP president and Maryland congressman, into the starting blocks of the 2006 Senate race comes just three days after the state's longest-serving senator said he won't seek a sixth term. Sarbanes' departure is expected to cause a crowded field of Democrats to vie for the party's nomination in a contest that will have national implications.

It's time for the Democratic Party to make a bold statement in a blue state where blacks have always been willing to support white Democrats for office," Mfume told me Sunday. If the party's Senate and gubernatorial bids go to white candidates next year, Mfume said, "There could be a seismic change in terms of voter loyalty (to the Democratic Party) because the black community will feel betrayed."

Mfume's words were echoed on the airwaves of a black talk radio show in Baltimore. Caller after caller Monday said it's time for the state's Democratic Party to reward blacks for their loyalty or risk losing their support in the next election.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

From CBS news


Race Becomes Issue in Md. Senate Campaign

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Nov. 4, 2005


(AP) A blogger's depiction of Lt. Gov. Michael Steele in minstrel makeup has brought to the surface issues of race _ and fidelity to one's race _ as the Republican seeks to become Maryland's first black senator.

A black man in New York who runs a left-leaning news commentary site created the image and condemned Steele last week as "Simple Sambo."

The posting highlighted the perception among some black voters that black Republicans are sell-outs who do not support their race on such issues as education and affirmative action.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin thinks the current Demo leadership is sane?

BWHAHAHAHAHA!!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 4, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, now all you have to do is stop being afraid of black people.

Why would anyone be afraid of black people? What are you suggesting?

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

NATO is nothing without the USA. But with the USA they are quite valuable. The changeover in Canada with Harper is nothing shrt of remarkable.

The taliban is getting crushed.


NATO Presses Advantage Against Taliban

The new offensive against the Taliban remnants in Afghanistan, Operation Medusa, has dealt a severe blow to the forces of Mullah Omar. Over 200 Taliban fighters have died in the fighting, while NATO has only suffered four combat deaths:

More than 200 Taliban fighters have been killed in a major Nato offensive in southern Afghanistan, along with four Canadian troops.
Operation Medusa, launched by alliance and Afghan forces in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province, involved hundreds of troops, backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships.

A Nato spokesman said: "Reports indicate that more than 200 Taliban fighters have been killed since Operation Medusa began early on Saturday morning."

He added that Afghan soldiers had captured more than 80 other Taliban.


The Canadians have fought with tremendous courage and energy in this NATO effort. The attempted revival of the Taliban has necessitated such efforts, five years after their loss of Afghanistan in the American-led response to 9/11. Omar and his followers have built up their resources an an attempt to push NATO out of the region and seize power from the elected assembly, but thus far have nothing to show from their latest strategies.


Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Face reality--US troops will be under NATO commanders and the NATO flag--and that's tantamount to them being under United Nations control in the world of the wingnut

You are stupid. NATO is not the UN. It will never be the UN. NATO is picking up the slack in Afghanistan because Harper in Canada and Merkel in Germany have insisted they play a more active, central role. What they are doing is mop up operations to clean out remaining taliban elements that have been hiding in Western Pakistan.

It's been a total disaster for the Taliban. They are getting slaughtered and they've recently turned toward killing locals they suspect have been turning them in. They are a spent force. One of the ironies is the coalition has been spreading cell phone service throughout southern Afghanistan and with the attractive reward on Taliban members the locals are turning them all in using untraceable cell phones.

BTW: The ground forces are under NATO. The air forces are still USA. In the last battle where taliban casualties totaled 200 the vast majority were the result of US air power. The Taliban simply cannot mount an effective attack. They cannot form in large numbers. When discovered in large numbers their life expectacy falls to less than 5 minutes.

As soon as they are engaged the NATO force determines if they are outnumbered or outflanked such that they are in real danger. Their equipment is so sophisticated they can immediately contact US jets flying overhead with exact coordinates and then it's lights out.

The coalition owns the sky and the night and can't be attacked by a large force. Thus the Taliban is unable to take back land. The local tribes, tired of their brutality, and tired of being used as shields and seeing their hopelessness, are turning them in. The best they can do is small surprise attacks which are strategically and tactically insignificant.

I believe 4 brave Canadians were lost in that last battle. That's a 50 to 1 kill ratio.

BTW: This is a great political victory for the USA and a significant loss of face for France. I never said NATO was useless. I said NATO WITHOUT the USA was useless. It's GREAT this is operating under NATO command. The coalition members need to regain their pride and confidence. I'm sure your saw the speech yesterday by Italian PM Pondi stating his unequivical support for Italy's presence in Afghanistan.

Consider that just three weeks ago Angela Merkel submitted to the EU a statement for all EU members to sign condemning Hezbollah. Angela's statement was co-authored by Italy, Poland and the Czech republic. Chirac was outflanked before he got out of bed by Angela not for the 1st time. France is increasingly isolated will remain so at least until Chirac is removed from office in April.

It's also fitting that the largest contributers in Afghanistan after the US are Germany and Canada followed by Italy and they dominate the command structure. Afghanistan is still a tribal nation learning democracy. It's a noble effort and we're winning. The Taliban is getting slaughtered.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

We're reduced to having to beg for help from NATO, and if you've looked at a map lately, NATO ain't exactly close to where Afghanistan is located. You must be proud--GWB has, in effect, outsourced his responsibilities as Commander in Chief and left it to another country to command US troops in combat. Not training--combat.

Afghanistan is a brilliant success because of GWB. It is indeed a historical event and major accomplishment by GWB in getting NATO to operate outside it's geographical territory with such strong support from Germany, Canada, Italy, Denmark and others. It's a fabulous development.

The only way for these nations to develop a talented and trained military is to face an enemy in battle. Before the liberals took over in Canada in the 90's Canada was considered the best trained and equipped of the NATO members. Then they gutted defense spending reducing it less than 1% of GDP belwo even the Swiss. Canada was humiliated during the tusami relief operations by their invisibility. Harper was able to win by pointing out this weakness often using Australia as a comparison. While only 2/3s the size of Canada the aussies spend 75% more on defense and as a result have a larger diplomatic footprint. The aussies recently passed Canada in per capital GDP after a decade long run of higher GDP (they also shot past France and Germany) and had a much higher profile in Indonesia and as a US ally in other projects.

Since Harper has been elected the Canadian-USA relationship has improved dramatically with the resolution of several long standing trade issues and improved Canadian support in Afghanistan and Iran. Harper is increasing defense spending for equipment by 40% and increasing the size of their forces by 25%. He's only been in office a year.

The Bush engineered changes in Germany has been even more dramatic.

That's why the Afghan story is soooo cool. Canada and Germany have led the NATO developments. They intend to carry their weight. This is a triumph for GWB.

BTW: It's typically liberal to suggest the USA could not handle Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the nation that defeated the great Japanese and German war machinese and then defeated the Russians and the other socialists.

You lose elections because you are perceived as weak. You are weak.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Europeans are in the lead on the issue of Iran--the US has no credibility in the region. Care to explain how that works?

It's perfect you twit. Libs have to be thrilled. GWB has turned over the responsibility for hard negotiations to the masters of diplomacy. We both know the Europeans have perfect displomacy. They invented soft power.

Everyone knows the reason Stalin, and his successors, didn't attack past the Iron curtian was his fear of Europes soft power. It would just have been too rude to comprehend

So what have we seen from both the EU and the UN regarding Iran? If I remember initially it was France, Germany and the UK negotiating. We've seen total contempt. The Iranians are literally laughing at them. They've done everything but spit in their faces. It's been a humiliation for the EU and the UN. There is nothing they can do and they keep on proving it.

GWB has exposed the EU and the UN by taking them seriously. He's been brilliant. The Europeans knew three years ago the US defense umbrella was gone. But they still had they're beloved soft power. Now they know that's worthless. They haven't just failed. They're hopeless. They've received public contempt from Iran while few of their own citizens expected anything more.

Angela Merkel gets it. In selling modern submarines to Israel she told Iran in no uncertain words to piss-off. In taking the lead in Afghanistan she made it clear to Islam Germany is not going to remain soft and flabby. The Germans understand power and deterrance. Angela needed for the West Germans to be disabused of their love for soft power. Getting smacked about by medievil Iran is as hunmiliating as it gets. The East Germans have never suffered such delusions. Angela still has a major re-education step for the West Germans but she doesn't need a majority of them.

Yesterday Japans front runner to replace Kouzimi started him campaign by announcing he intended to change the constitution to remove all military restrictions. He's essentially making his election a referendum and if elected it will be his mandate.

This also was brilliant diplomacy by GWB. Germany was always going to be the harder task. But Merkel is clearly working to change public sentiment to support a far more aggresive Germany fully capable of defending itself. GWB knew two steps has to be taken. By removing the ALL US troops from Germany they are noe solely responsible for their own security. It is up to Germans to defend Germany. The 2nd was in getting Germans to realize THEY were threatened by forces holding their soft power in contempt. Iran has been perfect.

Think about it. Who would have expected The Germans to sell the Jews modern submarines capable of delivering enough fire power to erase a nation of 80 million from the face of the earth?

GWB has led the Germans a long way. They lead in Afghanistan and they lead in telling Iran to piss off. This is not the Germany so beloved by Chirac.

I've predicted by 2020 the 3 greatest military powers will in order be the USA, Japan and Germany. Japan is already well along that path. Germany is still transitioning. If Iran remains this stupid Merkel will have all of the material she needs to convince Germans the post WWII era is over and it's time to resume their rightful position.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

exasperanto wrote (about the prestige of the US military):

"The US military walked into a trap and now they can't get out. Now, I'm not "qualified to judge" (as you were so kind to tell me), but I saw this about to happen BEFORE the invasion. Why didn't the military leadership (smarter than me, I don't doubt) point this out?

Then there's the torture, the rapes, the indiscriminate shooting, the disproportionate force. This all maybe OK or explainable with you (from your lofty perspective) but it's not OK with most of the rest of the world. (Hint: I'm part of the rest of the world.) Add to this the fact that the military is being degraded and exhausted by a lack of new recruits and that many pro-war Americans of soldierly age are refusing to sign up and you've got the most powerful war machine in the history of civilization looking like a bit of a joke."
___________________

Exasperanto, the military doesn't decide when and where it fights and we cannot be totally certain of what advice was provided by our leadership to the NCA.

You know, I didn't say anything about your qualifications to judge the prestige of the US military. "Qualified to judge" referred to those with the professional education and experience to measure the elements of military effectiveness, such as combat power, specific and general capabilities and sustainability. If you have such education and experience than you are qualified to judge, okay?

By all military metrics, the US military is still the predominant fighting force on the planet. In Iraq, we are pummelling the enemy, causing them far more casualties than our own. The enemy no longer seeks force on force engagement above the platoon level with our units. Aside from IEDs, they no longer initiate contact with us, fighting only when we move to contact them. By military measurement in terms of unit cohesion and effectiveness, our casualties have been light to moderate.

As regards the scattered cases of misconduct, the US military is as scrupulous as any military in policing its own - far more so than most. The US military is renowned for its law-abiding character, its members are more law-abiding than any other population of similar size, including civilians. We and other military observers measure that as well, because it pertains to unit cohesion and discipline.

As far as world public opinion goes, the US military is used to being criticized. We cannot allow that to deter us from performing our duty. And frankly, exasperanto, if you consider us a joke, well, it's not like we were counting on your help, anyway.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 4, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah - just ask heroin addicts all over the world. Business is booming, jack.

Business will always be booming for the herion addicts of the world. Now business is booming in Afghanistan where the economy is growing at 20% rates and roads, hospitals and schools for girls are being built.

But to stay on thread we have the brilliant tactical success of making NATO a US controlled agency and expanding it's footprint to the entire world. GWB converted a nature, successful command structure for use by US led coalitions ONLY. NATO now serves everywhere and it only serves the USA.

Almost as important, in time much more important, he set Germany on a path to restore itself to it's rightful place as the dominant military power in Europe and, with the US and Japan, in the world.

Merkels tactical shift from an alliance with France, despised in the rest of Europe, to an alliance with Italy, Poland and the Czech republic creates a much larger and cohesive bloc which can easily dominate the EU when aligned with the UK and can easily block the EU when not.

France is totally isolated and the UK will almost certainly align with Germany on issues. While much work remains we can see Merkel's repeated actions telling the Mad Mullahs to piss-off as proof she is actively removing PC from Germany and regrowing it's spine.

You are watching a turning point in world history.

Posted by: rdw on September 5, 2006 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: Recent polls show Casey up by about 6%


and closing casey's double digit lead from 12-weeks ago only cost santorum...millions...

meanwhile..

casey just bought his very first ad...about 2-weeks ago....

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 5, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

we cannot be militarily defeated in Iraq. We must be politically defeated, if we are to be defeated at all.

You are of course obviously correct and no group understands this better than the Islamic fascists. Their primary focus has always been and remains manipulating the press and public opinion. It's one of the sources of the contempt much of Islam has for the western world. The recent war in Lebanon was about managing the press and public opinion and it was never about anything else. The shock there was the comically inept yet still highly successful attempts to fool the press.

This is why the Islamic fascists have been so successful in Europe for so long and why the restoration of their European lands remains their top objective. Politically Correct Europe is incapable of dealing with the muslim community in their midst and far too weak to project any power. Islam will never have an army to defesat the west but terrorism is the perfect model to defeat a demographically challenged, multi-cultual Europe enamored of soft-power. Europe will raise and provide for all of the needs for their terrorist citizens.

Once Iran has the bomb there isn't a single threat Europe can issue, not even a theoretical threat.

Trashhauler,

Check out todays WSJ editorial page for an article by Bret Stevens on the BBC and their coverage of Israel. The radical anti-semitic attitudes of the Islamic minority in England are only marginally different from the attitudes of the majority in England. Reviewing BBC coverage it's easy to see why.

This is at the same time the Brits are clammoring to stop immigration understanding full well they have the largest and most radicalized Islamic population outside the West Bank. The Brits have become so secularized and so PC they are unable to deal internally with a radicalized culture. All cultures are equal don't you know. Aware of the pending demographic disaster they can't stop they hope to compensate by ending immigration.

The Brits are scared and have every reason to be. The Islamic fascists have crafted a brilliant strategy to attack their weaknesses. Iran and the other radicals don't have to support their European branches. The British government will provide food, shelter, clothing medical care and education. Iran merely needs to arm them and then point.

Europe is defenseless.

Posted by: rdw on September 5, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

casey just bought his very first ad...about 2-weeks ago....

I've read he's had to move up his planned buy and agree to more debates than desired. They expected Ricky to close the gap but not so quickly.

Also the addition of the 3rd party candidate is a serious blow. The GOP will seek to fund this guy aggressively in SE PA to peel off the far left voters who will not vote for a pro-life candidate under any circumstances. In 2006 the larger target might be those who are so anti-Iraq they cannot vote for a pro-Iraq candidate under any circumstances. Casey was also a very solid supporter of both Roberts and Alito who are deeply conservative and will serve for 30+ years on the Supreme Court.

Santorum needs these groups to stay home.

At this point it's a matter of campaign competence on the part of the candidates and party competence on game day. While Casey has to be favored Santorum has all of the material he needs to pull the upset.

"IF" the GOP can get some name recognition for the green candidate as the ONLY pro-choice, anti-war candidate on the ballot they win.

This is a test of a GOP truism that negative emotions will not drive turnout. A candidate must get the populace to like and respect them to bring voter support. There's no way the Democratic base can like Casey with his views on Abortion, Supreme Court Justices and Iraq. If they refuse to stay home give then a green candidate they can support and send a message to the State Democratic Party.

BTW: One the the atttractions of politics for me is the constant ironies. If Casey wins PA will have as its Democratic Sentator a man who is far more conservative than it's Republican Senator. Moreover, an analysis of Santorums loss would have to put part of the blame on Santorums backing of Spector in the prior GOP Senate primary. Pat Toomey was a very strong, authentically conservative candidate for the GOP senate nomination in 2004. Bush, Rove and Santorum all agreed Spector had the better chance of winning the general election and keeping the seat with the GOP and thus actively supported Spector. Ricky angered a very large block of PA conservatives. While the are expected to vote for him in the same numbers fewer will be knocking on doors for him.

In the same vein, I've seen several articles on a little snit between Gov Rendel and Casey caused by Rendel's refusal to do negative ads against Santorum 'because he's worked well woth ricky'. Rendel defeated Casey for Governor (in a primary) and there's no love lost. This 'leak' seems designed to hurt Casey.

If true then Rendell has done a lot more to help Santorum than Arlen Spector. That may be because they're saving him for the post-labor day effort but Arlen has been invisible when Santorum was very active on his behalf in 2004.

Posted by: rdw on September 5, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

shorter space:

....santorum closed the gap...over a 12-week period...by spending millions

while casey didnt spend a dime...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 5, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Trashauler

An example of why Europe is screwed. From Powerline


AFP Channels CAIR

Today's most ludicrous news story comes from Agence France-Presse: an article titled "US Muslims plagued by discrimination after 9/11 attacks."

The AFP piece alleges that:

Discrimination and harassment by law enforcement have come to plague American Muslims in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
There have been suspicious looks, slurs, physical attacks, extra screening at airports and arrests on groundless charges.

And it seems to be getting worse.


AFP relies on exactly two sources for this indictment: Dawud Walid of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group whose links to terrorist organizations we have repeatedly noted, and Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America. AFP retails CAIR's notoriously unreliable statistics as fact:

*********************************************

The European press has such dominance their far left views go largely unchallenged. This is but one reason why GWBs decision to pull ALL troops out of Europe was so smart. They are headed toward another disaster of their own making. Either they defend themselves or not but either way the USA will not be in harms way.

Nations have permanent interests not permanent friends. It could not be clearer the interests and core beliefs of Western Europe and the USA have diverged. As modern, mature Democracies they should follow what they believe to be their best interests. We'd be fools to follow them and conservatives are not fools.

The example of NATO is perfect. It's been remade into a global organization rather than a North Atlantic one and into a coalition of the willing as long as the willing is the USA.

Europe has decided the answer is soft power and political correctness. It is their right. We have disengaged as is our right. Clearly public opinion in each place continues to move even further apart ensuring the disengagement continues. Europe is shrinking, becoming further isloated and weaker as the Islamic threat grows.

Posted by: rdw on September 5, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK


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