Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LEARNING A LESSON....Andrew Sullivan, who is now a full-throated critic of the Iraq war and everyone associated with it, suggests that he now believes that raw military power isn't the best way to fight jihadism:

I believe we have to fight, rather than accommodate, it. It seems to me we can be shrewd and deft and guileful in fighting it on our terms. Fighting does not merely mean brute military force. It can mean more skillful global diplomacy with other great powers to isolate Iran's regime, better counter-insurgency tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan, covert military action, expanded intelligence, as well as subtle but real support for the people of Iran.

That's all well and good. But what does it mean going forward?

But no American president can or should tolerate the Iranian regime's acquisition of nuclear weaponry. And negotiating with theo-fascists is a mug's game. Their God does not negotiate. And they are nothing if not faithful to their God.

For conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between, Iran is really the crucial touchstone. It's one thing to say, in retrospect, that the Iraq war was wrong, and then to suggest that you've learned your lesson and now believe that there are more effective ways of fighting jihadism than bluster and invasion. But the rubber hits the road when you get down to cases. If you've learned your lesson, then why not apply those lessons to Iran?

It's a funny thing. Conservatives have a peculiar habit these days of viewing the Cold War through nostalgically rose-tinted glasses. At least life was simple back then. We had one enemy, and as bad as they were, they had interests. We could talk to them.

But this is just flatly wrong. When Krushchev banged his shoe at the UN and promised to bury us, we thought he meant every word of it. And plenty of people were convinced that it was useless to negotiate with such a regime. At the time, a lot of people viewed Krushchev and the Soviets exactly the way the neocons view Ahmadinejad and the Iranians today.

But guess what? JFK proved them wrong. We now know that he didn't stare down the lunatic Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He negotiated a deal with them, and it worked. Likewise, in Vietnam, anti-communist paranoia blinded us to the essentially nationalist nature of the war we were fighting there. Today we know that negotiations and support for fair elections probably could have worked.

In the 1980s, neocons were aghast that Reagan thought he could negotiate with the Soviets. He proved them wrong. Four years ago it was Saddam Hussein who couldn't be boxed in. That turned out to be wrong too. He sputtered and blustered, but in the end we found out that sanctions and no-fly zones had scared him pretty well after all.

And now it's Iran, yet another country that can't be negotiated with. Why? Religious fanaticism is the excuse this time. But while the Iranians may seem scarier simply because they're today's enemy, that doesn't mean they can't be dealt with just like any other nation state can be dealt with.

Not every problem can be solved by diplomacy. Sometimes, as in the currently fashionable right-wing obsession with 1938, negotiation really is useless. But far more often than not, our enemies can be negotiated with, despite all the convincing reasons the hawks adduce for confrontation and war as the only possible solution. So ask yourself: With a track record this bad, why should we pay attention to the same old hysterical siren song this time? Shouldn't we send the hawks packing and instead figure out more sensible ways to react to our global problems? Shouldn't we have learned our lesson by now?

Kevin Drum 2:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (264)

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But Kennedy had to pretend that he had stared them down. The American public didn't know for quite some time that a deal was made involving American concessions.

Posted by: Joe Buck on September 6, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Kruschev didn't mean every word of "we will bury you." That quote is now generally considered to be a poor translation of a statement that is better translated as "We will outlast you."

See http://www.answers.com/topic/we-will-bury-you

Posted by: Greg on September 6, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

The American public didn't know for quite some time that a deal was made involving American concessions.

True. And we've also already made concessions toward UBL and his jihadi pals; bin Laden wanted no American military presence in the land of the two holiest cities in Islam, and he pretty much got it.

Oh, yeah, that and we didn't kill him either.

Posted by: Wonderin on September 6, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

But Kennedy had to pretend that he had stared them down.

Ah, if only we currently had a President who did the intelligent thing in private and only pretended to be an incompetent boob in public.

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

With a track record this bad, why should we pay attention to the same old hysterical siren song this time?

fear sells. and the simpering ninnies of the right (just like those who will soon fill up these comments) wallow in fear. they crave it. they will invent an enemy, if they have to. but they have to have an enemy to fear.

Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

And now that I think about it, our excessive paranoia in that regard may hold a lesson for this Iranian situation too. Saddam claimed that he had WMD out of egotism and a possibly rational desire to intimidate his neighbors. Given what we know of Ahmedenijad's populist, nationalist public personality, he might be experiencing some of the same pressure. Everything we now read about the Iranian nuclear program suggests that they aren't making fast progress (granted, most everything we read about Saddam's program before the war was wrong, and this may be too, in the opposite direction), and yet Ahmedenijad keeps drawing as much attention to it as he can.

Posted by: Greg on September 6, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

In 1980, we thought Reagan stared down the Iranians to get the hostages back.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Most of all, whatever our tactical blunders or even our moral ones, we had a strategy for dealing with the communists: it was called containment, and it worked.

What is our strategy in this struggle?

Posted by: larry birnbaum on September 6, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK


Sullivan is distancing himself from the Iraq fiasco, but at the same time falling into the very same alarmist pattern that led him to support the Iraq fiasco in the first place.

Posted by: Jon H on September 6, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

So ask yourself: With a track record this bad, why should we pay attention to the same old hysterical siren song this time?

Given that there's really nothing we can do to stop it, I'm going to invest heavily in Halliburton. I'll donate the profits to Democratic election campaigns. Happy?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you Mr. Drum, Prof. Chomsky would probably agree with you. Senator Leiberman will not nor will the DLC. They want Jay's vote.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

they will invent an enemy, if they have to. but they have to have an enemy to fear.
Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is because deep down inside, they know they cannot compete on an intellectual or competence level. It all has to be about power and control, and using force to get their way, and repress anyone who might represent a threat, and lying to get others to go along with them.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Since when did the Soviet Union encourage its followers to kill themselves - and others - to achieve salvation? Isn't the ideology of martyrdom at least A LITTLE different from the shoe-banging at the UN?

Just because Iraq has been a fiasco doesn't give you license to throw up your hands and consign every scenario to the Iraq template or accuse every conservative of over-reacting when they point out that some of the more, shall we say, energetic, commentary issuing from the Middle East.

Posted by: Gregory Scoblete on September 6, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent Kevin to make absolutely clear that Sully is still a fool. Ignore the fact that I was wrong on Iraq - Iran is the great Satan! And the same idiots who brought us disaster in Iraq are now going to be able to handle a far bigger mess in Iran! Yeah!

What a F***ing idiot.

Seriously, we Americans forget how hard it was to do the right thing after WW II - resist the Soviets without blowing up the World. Truman in retrospect was a hero. Funded the rebuilding of Europe. Set up alliances to contain the Soviets. Fought Korea to stop the invasion. And fired idiot generals who advocated using nukes again.

It wasn't at all easy, Kevin, you are absolutely right - many Americans want to go back to being isolationists. But some far-sighted Americans knew better. And the right wing twits weren't the ones.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on September 6, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Sully...It's gotta be hard to recognize reality and still appease his conservative readership...When he finally pulls a David Brock, he's gonna feel so good...

Drum:

Shouldn't we have learned our lesson by now?

You'd think, but with around 38% of Americans still thinking Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11, I'm not suprised that some of us haven't.

I've always felt that, post-Reagan era, Iran was ripe for greater inclusion into the international community. Apparently Russia and China feel similarly.

Posted by: grape_crush on September 6, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

yet Ahmedenijad keeps drawing as much attention to it as he can.

I think you mean the American media oligarchy keeps drawing as much attention to Ahmadinejad and Iran's phantom nuclear weapons as it can.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is because deep down inside, they know they cannot compete on an intellectual or competence level.

Damn, the truth hurts. I winced at that one and I'm on the other side.

I guess that's why so many people voted for a guy primarily because he was the kind of guy you could have a beer with.

He was the avatar of their mediocrity.

Posted by: trex on September 6, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

And now that I think about it, our excessive paranoia in that regard may hold a lesson for this Iranian situation too. ... and yet Ahmedenijad keeps drawing as much attention to it as he can.

Look at those who might threaten Iran:
US (presense in Persian Gulf) - Judeo/Christian - nuclear arms
Isreal (putting subs out) - Jewish - nuclear arms
Pakistan (bordering state) - Sunni - nuclear arms

Hell yes, the Shiite state in Iran wants some deterence - the US and Isreal, at least, have made it clear in the past that no excuse is too small to justify an attack if they so choose.

Maybe some diplomacy and restraint might work better than bullying, if we want to stop the spread of nuclear arms.

Posted by: Wapiti on September 6, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Just because Iraq has been a fiasco doesn't give you license to throw up your hands and consign every scenario to the Iraq template

where did anyone do that ?

Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

To fight wars that diplomacy will not fix takes manpower. Our all volunteer army (or contracted warriors) must constantly be revitalized.

Here is a story of what just happened in Cleveland,OH....is this the end to the means?

here

New target for recruiters: Elementary school?

Posted by: avahome on September 6, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan is a pompous blowhard. I'll give him a smidgen of credit for recognizing the folly that is Iraq, but he continues to criticize those of us who were against it from the beginning, and refuses to apologize for labeling liberals and Iraq critics as a "fifth column".

I'm amazed that people give a crap what he has to say.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on September 6, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Religious leaders, be they Christian, jew or Muslim, have two things in common. They are all politicians, and they are all practical men. They don't want to give up power. They will never fight to the death. They might ask their followers to die for the cause, but they won't voluntarily die themselves.

We have thousands of hydrogen weapons. I suspect we can deter the mullahs from any mischief.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 6, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't we send the hawks packing and instead figure out more sensible ways to react to our global problems? Shouldn't we have learned our lesson by now?

Good gracious, what a rhetorical question. Answer: Yes.

And negotiating with theo-fascists is a mug's game. Their God does not negotiate. And they are nothing if not faithful to their God.

This sort of pap from Sullivan is so boring. Its childish. He still wants to be a strong-no-nonsenseapplier-of-denigrating-labels, then dismiss anybody to whom he applies the label.

By all means Andrew, we trust you to create the label (theo- fascists), then apply it to the appropriate people so that we know who is hopelessly dangerous and must be killed or imprisoned.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 6, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Our all volunteer army (or contracted warriors) must constantly be revitalized.Posted by: avahome on September 6, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Either that, or the corporations who need security provided in these zones can just go pay the going market rate for guys willing to risk getting shot and blown up. (hint: that rate is many orders of magnatude higher than what we pay GI's - not to mention the fact that the taxpayers are paying, not the corporations).

I guess that's why so many people voted for a guy primarily because he was the kind of guy you could have a beer with.Posted by: trex on September 6, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think I could have a beer with that pathetic fratboi poseur.
He clears his own brush, and does endo's on his mountain bike? So what? The twit can't even complete a sentence in english. And he was a cheerleader in college. And he failed to bring home Osama's head on a pike.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranian regime is no longer genuinely religiously fanatic. They talk the talk because that is what justifies the mullahs lording it over everyone else, but they have long since stopped walking their talk. And the Iranian people know it.
People in much of the Islamic world have the fantasy that life would be better and more meaningful with an Islamist regime, but the Iranians know that an Islamist regime just means that the hypocrites skimming off the cream wear robes instead of suits.
Religious fanaticism is a much greater factor among some of our "allies", such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. (Oh the trouble we could save ourselves if we would offer to fund proper educations for all of Pakistan. Not cheap, but when genuinely suicidal fanatics run a Pakistan with nukes, we will look back at an opportunity missed.)

Posted by: kevin_r on September 6, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

What was it General Boinksmen had to say about our God vs. theirs?

The General and Mr. Sullivan would make a great couple.

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

I would like to see a couples match: Gen. Boinksmen and Sullivan vs. Plame and Wilson.

Who's god would win?

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Game theory posits rational actors. If one actor is not rational, then it's impossible to determine a rational response to them; ergo any response that presumes that they will do the most radical/insane/dangerous thing is perfectly rational.

To call an opponent insane is too often a prelude to doing something irrational in response. I'm just so weary of it.

Speaking of which, I've heard that game theory models that work nicely for political science and economics don't work so well for martyrdom. Can anybody validate that idea? If Iran could be legitimately categorized as a martyr, then an irrational response is justified - but it's abundantly clear that this is completely, senselessly, wrong.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on September 6, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

When he finally pulls a David Brock, he's gonna feel so good...

Now, that's funny and plausible.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 6, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Kevin is either ignorant or a liar. I think he, unlike many Democrats, is trying to come up with some kind of national security policy that makes some kind of sense. He doesn't pooh-pooh the threat from the jihadists. And he is right that Iran is where the rubber meets the road. It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback on Iraq, now that we know that Hussein was bluffing about having WMD; Iran is a tougher case because we have to make decisions with imperfect information where the consequences of making the wrong decision can be severe. And I think he understands that a nuclear armed Iran would present a new and different kind of threat than we faced with the Soviet Union. No one thinks that Iran is going to launch missiles at the US for no reason. But it might slip a few nukes to its proxies around the world who might attack the US or US allies in a way that would give Iran plausible deniability. (I trust that the folks here remember that Iranian agents planted bombs in Argentina a while back that killed many people.) Or it might launch missiles at Israel or other US allies in the mid-East or Europe. It might even threaten to fire missiles at the US to deter the US from defending Israel or our other allies.

But I still have no clue what Kevin is proposing. He says we should negotiate with Iran. Negotiate what? Iran has openly defied the UN Security Council's insistence that it suspend efforts to make weapons-grade uranium. Are we supposed to negotiate that? What do we say to them? Does Kevin suggest that we offer to pay Iran to give up uranium enrichment? Offer to help them enrich uranium? Offer assurances that we won't invade Iran, ever, under any circumstances? Give us a clue, Kevin, what the hell you're talking about. Negotiating is more than talking, you have to be willing to give up something to get something. What would you give up to get Iran to give up enriching uranium?

Posted by: DBL on September 6, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Drum's version of that event is a fairy tale. He is either ignorant or a liar. In any event he is not to be believed.
Posted by: mhr on September 6, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think you're posting on the wrong blog, mhr.

Most of us are here because we believe Kevin. And we're smart enough to check facts. Your brand of putrid spew might be more at home on LGF or NewRepublic. We'd all appreciate it if you'd go post over there. Or start your own blog.
Trying to convince Kevin's readers on Kevin's blog that he's a liar is pretty stupid. Only Kevin can do that, and so far, at least on this topic, he's failed.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

This post was excellent on substance.

But don't forget that we didn't find out the truth about the Cuban Missile Crisis until long after the fact. There's something immensely pleasing about narrative in which our enemies are unyielding monsters who can only be defeated by (a) destroying them or (b) "staring them down" as you put it.

The public may have come around on Iraq, but countering the larger narrative will be far more difficult.

Posted by: keptsimple on September 6, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan, who is now a full-throated...

Clicks back quickly. /Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I am surfing at work.

Posted by: anon on September 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

DBL

What is wrong with listening to Iran? What does it hurt to talk? Are you afraid they might not be the irrational monsters you imagine? If they do turn out to be monsters what have you lost by gaining more knowledge?

Frankly, folks who say we shouldn't talk to our opponents scare me. They sound a lot like people who are willing to irrationally act from ignorance. Heck they sound a lot like George W. Bush.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 6, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

In Europe and America, there's a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the President
There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie that we don't believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is that the Russians love their children too

Posted by: Gordon Matthew Sumner on September 6, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

s/Russian/Iranian/

Posted by: Gordon Matthew Sumner on September 6, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/files/jcslongwar_vicedirectorforstratplansandpolicy_j5.ppt

Here is what the Pentagon thinks

Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech on September 6, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

DBL: It's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback on Iraq, now that we know that Hussein was bluffing about having WMD

So the chickenhawks were wrong about Iraq, hey, this time they're right! Everybody makes mistakes, right? Especially when they willfully ignore and/or suppress information that they don't want people to have.

Oh, and my analysis, before the Iraq invasion, was that the whole Iraq WMD thing was a crock of shit. So when I formulate my Iranian policy, you should take it as gospel. Heck, I've got a better Sunday quarterback record than the current crop of ideological idiots.

Posted by: alex on September 6, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Negotiating is more than talking, you have to be willing to give up something to get something.

Or you have to find something that Iran isn't willing to give up.

What are the alternatives ? Invade and occupy Iran ? Bomb a few cities and suddenly Iran will be cooperative ? Maybe if we invade, they will welcome us with flowers..

You better get used to the idea of negotiating with Iran because Dubya blew the military option when he decided to invade Iraq.

Posted by: Stephen on September 6, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

This is exactly what I ve been saying from the very beginning. Toppling Saddam Hussein was by far (!) the most stupid thing a US government has ever managed to do - in the whole history of all US governments, as with the removal of anti-islamist Saddam Hussein and his secular moderate regime - the US handed over the ME to the fundamentalistic Iranians - resp. the Islamists.

And the Saudis, together with Jordans and Egypts have already been exposed as US collaborators and traitors by the Iranians resp. due to the Hizbollah victory in Lebanon and the reservated or even negative statements the US-friendly government mentioned states gave. So now most of the people of the ME are behind the old Baath & Syria or Iran - but nobody from the people of the ME is behind the Saudis royals, the Jordan King's regime or Egypt's prime bastard Mubarak's regime.

So by now the stupid US action of removing Saddam Hussein has led to a real shift in the balance of power in the ME. With US & Israel associated arab regimes completely isolated from their populations - and the US & Israeli armies pinned down or even near to defeated and IRan & Russia & China stronger than ever before - and on the other hand in addition the old Baath in Syria & Iraq more anti-American and anti-Israel and more beloved and their positions and actions more appreciated among the arab people in the ME, than ever before.

Posted by: Seele on September 6, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

I am STILL waiting for an apology from that jerk!

Posted by: Decadent Coastal Elitist on September 6, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is just Iraq writ large.

Posted by: Kenji on September 6, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't we send the hawks packing and instead figure out more sensible ways to react to our global problems?

Having the hawks around to play bad-cop is an important part of being able to do effective deplomacy. We just need to make sure that they don't get their hands on the actual levers of power.

I think that any comparisons to 1938 are incredibly misguided because in 1938 there was no country which, if sufficiently provoked, could have simply destroyed every standing structure in Germany while giving the Germans little possibility to retaliate. Regardless of how Iran is (mis)handled, they simply aren't going to be the sort of existential threat that the Nazis were. We will never let them build the kind of military capacity that the Nazis built, and they know it. At best they are looking for regional dominance. Containment can work in Iran because we have the power to make it work--we just need a plan and the interest to do so.

If China invaded Mongolia, or better S. Korea, and we offered nothing but negotiations, that would be much more like 1938. And the fact that it would be easy to imagine a strong case for doing just that ought to make people think twice about branding people as simplistic appeasers.

Posted by: TWAndrews on September 6, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

RB - You still haven't answered my question. You should never enter a negotiation "just to talk." You need to think through what the other side might say and you need to have some idea of what responses you might make. In short you have to have some idea of what concessions you are prepared to make to get the concession you are seeking. If all you do is go and talk, without ever putting anything on the table, well, then I think the other side could rightly accuse you of acting in bad faith.

So what concessions do you think the US should be willing to make to obtain the end of Iran's nuclear arms program?

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

TWA - If we could be certain that Iran would not provide nukes to its proxies, and that those proxies would never set one off in the US, then the type of containment strategy you are proposing might work.

You can only be sure of one thing, though: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke. I doubt if we'll ever know.

Posted by: DBL on September 6, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

So ask yourself: With a track record this bad, why should we pay attention to the same old hysterical siren song this time? Shouldn't we send the hawks packing and instead figure out more sensible ways to react to our global problems? Shouldn't we have learned our lesson by now?

Answers:

1) We shouldn't
2) Yes
3) Yes

So, what do I win?

Posted by: Game Show Contestant on September 6, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

So what concessions do you think the US should be willing to make to obtain the end of Iran's nuclear arms program?

You've framed the question backwards. It should be: what concessions would the Iranians be willing to make in order to avoid sanctions/be admitted to the world of nations. We don't have to concede anything.

Posted by: ExBrit on September 6, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

DBL

Sorry, I have been negotiating with an opponent.

What were you saying, you should never enter a negotiation "just to talk." Of course, you can just talk. Talking is the way you discover what the other guy really wants. It is the way you discover how he thinks. It is the way you learn his strengths and weaknesses. It is the best way to avoid conflict.

Only fools think negotiation is sign of weakness.

You are right. You don't enter into any discussion without thinking your way through to the potential outcomes, but you never know what the other guy will say until the end of the negotiation. Finding out is why you talk.

You don't do much negotiating, do you?

I have no idea what concessions the US should make to the Iranians to keep them from going nuclear, but I am sure professional negotiators can come up with some that might be good for both the Iranians and the US in the long run. Maybe educational concessions. Maybe trade concessions. Maybe agreeing to protect them from their neighbors. Maybe helping them diversify their economy. All kinds of things are possible.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

You can only be sure of one thing, though: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke. I doubt if we'll ever know.
Posted by: DBL on September 6, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

What would be worse?

Not retaliating?

Or nuking the wrong country?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

DBL - nice to know that you already have ascertained exactly what the evil "liberal left" will do. Kevin's point doesn't rely on mind reading - it hangs on a decent assumption - we shouldn't continue to trust people who've lied and botched the job.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on September 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

You can only be sure of one thing, though: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke.

You can also be sure of one other thing: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the illiberal right will demand nuclear retaliation against their boogeyman-du-jour without regard to any knowledge of the source of the nuke.

Posted by: The Conservative Left on September 6, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

You can only be sure of one thing, though: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke. I doubt if we'll ever know. DBL

It is that kind of irrational unsupported statement that weakens your ability to negotiate or even advance your cause. In other words only a true koolaid drinker would think that any American wouldn't turn the country that dropped a nuke on the US into a glass parking lot.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 6, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

There is no foe on Earth so powerful and dangerous that we cannot fall on our knees in front of him.

Posted by: dnc on September 6, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that if a nuke is set off by terrorists in the US, we should annihilate France. Not that France would have had anything to do with the terrorist attack. But, you know - sweep up everything, related and unrelated, as our SecDef likes to say.

I actually think Iran and Vietnam are very much alike, in many ways. And, as we've seen with Vietnam over the past decade, it's possible for the US to develop a fruitful and cooperative relationship with an authoritarian regime while gradually nudging it towards democracy. Of course, the Israel thing is problematic...as are the material support for terrorists, and the nukes. Those Confucian Vietnamese never really presented problems quite like these.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 6, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Or nuking the wrong country?
Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

or even worse. . . nuking the wrong country on purpose.

Bush used 9/11, and fear of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, to justify a hugely profitable (for his business associates) invasion of Iraq.

So what if someone nuked America, and the sitting president (oh, I don't know, let's say Jeb Bush) lied us into nuking the next convenient target because "I don't want to shoot a $10 million nuke up a $10 camel's butt." - ?

Guys like you would happily push the button to launch on France if a bunch of terrorists in Chechnya got their hands on a decomissioned Russian nuke and deployed it on US soil. Then you'd blame Clinton.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

There is no imaginary hallucinatory monster so ludicrous that we cannot take out the family shotgun and started blazing away at it, only to find out later we've shot the neighbor's cat. - dnc

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 6, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

GOP 06: we have nothing to offer but fear itself

Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

I love what Arianna Huffington calls the Administration's recent series of speeches-- the "Fall of Fear Tour." I am thinking of selling T-Shirts.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 6, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

DBL on September 6, 2006 at 3:57 PM:

..if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke.

And the problem with that is?...

I doubt that any 'state' such as Iran or Russia would seriously consider detonating a nuclear weapon in the US unless provoked by the US...

..Unless by 'state' you mean 'a stateless terrorist organization', which is possible, but would still be a pretty damn dumb thing to do. I can imagine that the last thing a terrorist organization wants to do is build international sympathy for the US.

Posted by: grape_crush on September 6, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

DBL worries a nuclear armed Iran will give nuclear arms to another US antagonist. DBL thinks this way because a nuclear armed government gave nuclear weapons techonology to Israel, which it uses to threaten the rest of the Middle East.

The only major concession Iran wants from the US is to end its regime change policy. What the US wants from Iran is its oil, without having to provide any of the resulting revenue to the actual people who own it. There is very little room for negotiation because the US is a predatory nation that only knows how to bully the weak.

I suggest Iran offer to end its nuclear program in exchange for the US ending all military aid to Israel.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Good post, Kevin.

Posted by: captcrisis on September 6, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

The story of 1938 is so deeply engrained in our culture that mere facts will not change it. It must reflect some deep and valid human need to have a story like that.
However, the usual understanding of 1938 - and of WW2 itself - leaves out the most critical part of the story.
In the run-up to what turned out to be WW2, everyone knew that Hitler wanted and was going to get his war. But both the West and the Soviets were trying to manuever the other side into being the ones that took on Hitler.
Appeasement did not mean "let's be friends". It meant "let's you and him fight". Since the Nazis got their start as anti-communist death squads in the aftermath of WW1 and were imprisoning and killing communists even before they attacked the Jews, no one foresaw that Stalin would be able out-appease the Western appeasers by signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Posted by: kevin_r on September 6, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke

wait. somebody actually wrote that ?

are you trying to say that the correct way to handle such an event would be to simply nuke the first state that comes to mind ? shouldn't there be more analysis put into killing a million people than there is about deciding which pants to wear in the morning ?

Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the first thing Mr. Sullivan can award himself is his own "Poseur Award" followed by a number of others of his own invention.

He didn't know what he was talking about before and doesn't now. Just the accusation levelled at others so vehemently by himself.

A number of those right-wingers, who are in a position to admit they were wrong earlier, still can't make the reality shift necessary to draw the lessons to be learned. There vision is too warped. Sullivan is just another of them, his present vehemence presumably fuelled by the disappointment and betrayal of Bush et al proving to be such ignorant, misguided idiots.

Doomed to continue making the same mistakes. Just like morality and processing prisoners of the war on terror, they don't get it -- just repeat the mantras.

"...in the name of God, go!"

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

You can only be sure of one thing, though: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke. I doubt if we'll ever know.

Someone has been watching too much TV.

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is going to get the bomb. It will be worse if we fail to talk with them. Just put yourself in their place: Becoming the dominant country in an area weakened by surrounding oil-rich terrorist-producing sheikdoms and needing to counter-pose Israel's bombs, who wouldn't want nuclear technology?

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on September 6, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

DBL

You are right, we would demand proof positive of the country that dropped the bomb. I sure as hell wouldn't want to let the real perp off the hook.

Of course, actual retailiation might be an alien concept to you. After all you are a Republican and as such punishing the real bad guy isn't as important as advancing the neocon agenda.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 6, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican position on Iran is another component of their policy of Endless War. They need war to validate their existence. Without war, they are irrelevant. They need, and will prosecute, Endless War.

Posted by: CT on September 6, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

DBL wrote: "... if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke."

So you are saying that if a nuclear device of unknown origin is someday exploded in the USA by persons unknown, that unlike the "liberal left", you would be in favor of a US nuclear attack against some state that had not been shown to have anything to do with it.

Well, tell me please, how many nuclear weapons should the USA drop on this other state that has not been shown to have any connection with the explosion of the nuke in the US? How many of their cities should we incinerate? How many thousands of their innocent civilians should we vaporize? And how many tens of thousands more should we condemn to a hideous lingering death from radiation sickness, starvation, exposure, etc?

Come on, tough guy. Let's hear it.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 6, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Drum makes a good point.

Seems like a pretty significant question, though, is: "What criteria does one use to determine whether an enemy can be negotiated with?"

Maybe he'll do a follow-up giving us his take.

Posted by: Captain Obvious on September 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

I heard COBRA Commander and his 2nd in command Destro have holed up in Iran.

Let's invade with a proxy army of drug warlords then throw up our hands and blame Clinton when he escapes.

Have you not heard? Afhganistan is going 'swimmingly'. Osama Bin Laden is 'irrelevant'.

What is relevant is that the joint chiefs lined up to tell the chimp-in-charge unequivocally NO, they would not support an attack on Iran. Now the messianic drunk and his cronies are looking for ways to force a confrontation.

I'd say I stand in good company when I warn of the possible dangers of this ridiculous overreach.

Posted by: Machinator on September 6, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

You can only be sure of one thing, though: if a nuke is ever set off in the US, the liberal left will oppose any nuclear retaliation against any state unless it can be proven to a certainty that that state was the source of the nuke.

Abso-fucking-lutely right DBL! As it should be. I would be dead-set against nuking any state until it could be proven that they were complicit in attacking us. Wouldn't you? Or are you saying you (the Right) would gladly green-light nuking any old country regardless of their innocence or guilt. The Right's track record post 9/11 would seem to suggest they would. Bring's Iraq back to mind doesn't it? What the hell's wrong with you?

Posted by: ckelly on September 6, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, tough guy. Let's hear it.

My guess is that DBL advocates raping all the 14 yo girls first before dropping a nuke on an innocent country.

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

SA beat me to it...

...How many thousands of their innocent civilians should we vaporize? And how many tens of thousands more should we condemn to a hideous lingering death from radiation sickness, starvation, exposure, etc?

And how does this behavior that DBL and the Right seemingly cheer make us any different from the terrorists in this little nuke hypothetical?

Quick, I need a dose of rightwing moral relativism.

Posted by: ckelly on September 6, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'll point out that the most likely source of loose nukes or nuclear material are the ex-Soviet states where we have underspent and not vigorously pursued the isolation and containment of all possible sources.

The fact that this relatively cheap policy has not been pursued energetically is just one more fact to lay against the seriousness of this administration to keep the country (and world) safe.

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

DBL's position is entirely consistent with the Republican Policy of Endless War.

Posted by: CT on September 6, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

'But, you know - sweep up everything, related and unrelated, as our SecDef likes to say.'
--brooksfoe

Oh, isn't that conspeak cute? "SecDef" - how charming. You know that note that Rumsfeld wrote on 9-11, about "Go massive, sweep up everthing, related or not"? Turns out, Rummy wrote it in the men's room while taking a grizzly shit. It was instructions to the custodian, about the crap he took all over the floor, etc. I guess he did "go massive".

BWAA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA.....

Joe Bob

Posted by: Joe Bob Briggs on September 6, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"So ask yourself: With a track record this bad, why should we pay attention to the same old hysterical siren song this time?"

The track record for negotiation in the Middle East isn't entirely unmixed either. How long have they been negotating between Israel and the Palestinians?

Posted by: freddy on September 6, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

DBL now you pissed me off.Why, why would you advocate using a plan for talking. Your side used no plan for WOT. Why do you think the left has been asking for a plan.I just wish your side would just admit they have no clue as to what to do and let's start talking.If you can't sit down and talk with the Dems you have NO chance to talk to Iran .What a Bush.

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 6, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Many commenters have correctly been shocked at the indiscriminate killing advocated by DBL if a rogue nuclear weapon should ever be detonated in the US, Allah forbid. We should never forget that DBL and those like him represent a large portion of our electorate, which is a terribly sad admission to make, but important to realize.

Those of us who desire our country be a good global citizen have a tremendous difficulty convincing the Chauvinists and authoritarians of the proper way to deal with the rest of the world and those who oppose our national interests, let alone what those national intersest ought to be. I myself am not very good at it, finding it much easier to arrive at disagreement rather than to acknowledge the root fears and authoritarianism of my fellow Americans and addressing them. Our major conflict is not with the peoples of the ME, it is with our neighbors and we need to develop an alternate way to convince them that war and militant hegemony are not in the US' best interests, nor the worlds'.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to sit Andy down with the Connery/Caine version of "The Man Who Would Be King". As they work their way up the valleys, they get the same litany from each tribe:
"We are civilized, but the people up river are barbarians! They always attack us! They burn our houses! They rape our women! They kill our sheep! They piss in our river!"

Posted by: bo on September 6, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Terror begins in an unlikely place. Can it be stopped without addressing it's beginning, cutting off the supply of suicide attackers?

Hell is terror max. The suicider is more terrorized of hell than death itself. http://www.hoax-buster.org will open your eyes to the root cause of terrorism. The cure must be related to the cause one way or the other.

Posted by: BG on September 6, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

"What would be worse?

Not retaliating?

Or nuking the wrong country?"

All this talk about nuking any country has me worried up in Canada. Your air force keeps bombing and killing Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan as it is. They picked off another this week. Now this talk of a-bombs away anywhere.

Time for a regime change in the US to keep the crazies away from The Button.

Posted by: Bob M on September 6, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

DBL would have invaded Argentina in response to Pearl Harbor.

His response reminds me of the tragic story from last week of the guy that killed his next door neighbor because he heard that the police were investigating the neighbor for molesting his kid. Turned out none of it was true, but you know, better safe than sorry.

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on September 6, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Other than the cost to the American taxpayer, the fighting in Iraq is mostly about Sunni and Shia. They have the right to shoot each other, we have the right to watch out for IEDs.

The Middle East is better off to have this squabble between themselves than not have it.

I am voting for the Shia, actually. I do not buy the argument that Iranian sponsored militia are equally bad as the Saudi inspired militia.

I do not have a problem with Iran trying to get the bomb as long as we supply Israel with enough cuise missiles before they get it.


Posted by: Matt on September 6, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

So what concessions do you think the US should be willing to make to obtain the end of Iran's nuclear arms program?
Posted by: DBL on September 6, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

That one is easy and it has been staring us in the face for a long time. In fact the Iranians offered us this road in 2003 through the swiss but bone head black and white Bush told them to piss off.
Complete normalisation of relations between the United States and Iran. A non agression treaty possibly even a mututal defense pact.
You want Iran to stop the nuke game as the world's superpower, you have to guarantee them that you will never use force to topple them.

I think if we had more confidence in the example our country has to offer the world we would have taken this path a long long time ago. Time and demographics will change Iran. The Marines never will.

Posted by: Nemesis on September 6, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

WOLF! WOOOOLLLLFFF! For the love of God, it's a bloodthirsty WOLF! It's got big, pointy teeth, and it's foaming at the mouth! This time I really, really mean it!

Posted by: Right-Wing Pundit on September 6, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Nemesis wrote: "I think if we had more confidence in the example our country has to offer the world we would have taken this path a long long time ago."

Unfortunately, the Bush administration has nothing to offer the world but rapacious greed and malevolent criminality.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 6, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

The other thing is;

I bet the Bushies are pissed off that they let themselves be suckered by Iran (via the Iranian spy, money launderer, and con man, Ahmed Chalabi) into invading Iraq, which basically set Iran onto the path for complete domination of the Middle East.

Boy, I bet that pisses off the Bushies. Iran conned them into spending $300 Bln. taxpayer dollars (BORROWED!) so they could become a mini-superpower.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall where I saw the comment, but it went something like this:

Iran sees Iraq, with no nukes, getting pillaged and destroyed. And it sees North Korea, with nukes, getting the kid gloves. When pressed as to whether to complete the nuke, which way would you go?

Posted by: barbecuesteve on September 6, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Hear! Hear!

Posted by: Mazurka on September 6, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration represents the desires of a large portion of the American electorate. That is what is so scary and sad.

When I was young a Christian group used to run an animated advertisement about a hanging judge. "Hang 'em. That'll teach them a lesson," was his repetitive tag line. Then of course he died and at his judgement God said, "Forgive him. That'll teach him a lesson." Americans have not learned this lesson.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it about time we just told the truth? Torturing people. Proclaiming that people whose skin is not white are the out to get us--whether they are Mexican or Muslim or Macaca, doesn't matter. They are all unamerican, all the enemy. Going to war to puff up patriotism and expand empire. Staying in power by frightening people when intense flag-waving doesn't work. Painting the opposition party as the enemy.

What's preventing us from saying it now that the Republicans themselves have brought out the World War II card, talked about Hitler, Nazis, appeasers.

But they got it wrong. Bush is a Hitler wannabe. And right-wing Republican racists are Nazis.

Anybody who tries to say different is an appeaser. Like Chamberlain.

And if you think that it's not so bad, it's only a matter of degree, remember. It's not yet 1938. It's only 1934.

Posted by: af on September 6, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is a Hitler wannabe. And right-wing Republican racists are Nazis.

don't be an ass

Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing about all those conservatives who tell us this is 1939 is that back in the 30's most American conservatives were either apathetic about Nazism or downright supportive.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on September 6, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't be an ass."

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Posted by: af on September 6, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

2 things:

1) Since it has been objectively established that Andrew Sullivan is a goddamned moron, why are we bothering to discuss his views?

2) Andrew Sullivan is against whatever Bush is doing because Andrew Sullivan finally figured out that Bush doesn't much care for gay people and is happy to throw them under the bus. This does not make Andrew Sullivan a sensible person. This makes him a selfish asshole who doesn't see reality until it punches him in the wallet.

Posted by: Kimmitt on September 6, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing about all those conservatives who tell us this is 1939 is that back in the 30's most American conservatives were either apathetic about Nazism or downright supportive.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on September 6, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Ironic, isn't it?

Posted by: Bonobo on September 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Everytime conservatives 'learn their lessons' about something, a week later they're back voting for the same stupid thing insisting that it's all different.

If Bush were running for election this November there's an excellent chance that nearly all the Republicans who voted for him last time would vote for him again.

Posted by: cld on September 6, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Great Post!

This one should be linked from every Blog.

Good going.

Posted by: frank logan on September 6, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

cld on September 6, 2006 at 6:53 PM:

Everytime conservatives 'learn their lessons' about something, a week later they're back voting for the same stupid thing insisting that it's all different.

Ah...the 'Arlen Specter Syndrome'...

Or ASS, for short.

Posted by: grape_crush on September 6, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

"But guess what? JFK proved them wrong. We now know that he didn't stare down the lunatic Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He negotiated a deal with them, and it worked" - Kevin

JFK didn't negotitate anything, remember the Bay of Pigs? After that debacle and the continued refusal of the Soviets to back down, JFK threatened them with military (amd if needed nuclear weaponry) and meant it.

Monday, October 22, 1962, President Kennedy:


"But it is difficult to settle or even discuss these problems in an atmosphere of intimidation. That is why this latest Soviet threat--or any other threat which is made independently or in response to our actions this week--must and will be met with determination. Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedom of peoples to whom we are committed--including in particular the brave people of West Berlin--will be met by whatever action is needed.

Finally, I want to say a few words to the captive people of Cuba, to whom this speech is being directly carried by special radio facilities. I speak to you as a friend, as one who knows of your deep attachment to your fatherland, as one who shares your aspirations for liberty and justice for all. And I have watched and the American people have watched with deep sorrow how your nationalist revolution was betrayed-- and how your fatherland fell under foreign domination. Now your leaders are no longer Cuban leaders inspired by Cuban ideals. They are puppets and agents of an international conspiracy which has turned Cuba against your friends and neighbors in the Americas--and turned it into the first Latin American country to become a target for nuclear war--the first Latin American country to have these weapons on its soil.

These new weapons are not in your interest. They contribute nothing to your peace and well-being. They can only undermine it. But this country has no wish to cause you to suffer or to impose any system upon you. We know that your lives and land are being used as pawns by those who deny your freedom."

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/jfk-cuban.htm

"In the 1980s, neocons were aghast that Reagan thought he could negotiate with the Soviets. He proved them wrong." - Kevin


Very little progress ever came out of the meetings in Reykjavik between Reagan and Gorbachev. The Soviets were financially overwhelmed by our military build up and SDI, and could not keep up as their economy was in terrible shape to begin with. Reagan dictated the direction of that relationship.


Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

After reading the text of JFK's speech re: Cuba, I couldn't even imagine any leader from the current Democratic party giving that same speech today in terms of this current struggle.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile:

"Those of us who desire our country be a good global citizen have a tremendous difficulty convincing the Chauvinists and authoritarians of the proper way to deal with the rest of the world and those who oppose our national interests, let alone what those national intersest ought to be. I myself am not very good at it, finding it much easier to arrive at disagreement rather than to acknowledge the root fears and authoritarianism of my fellow Americans and addressing them. Our major conflict is not with the peoples of the ME, it is with our neighbors and we need to develop an alternate way to convince them that war and militant hegemony are not in the US' best interests, nor the worlds'."

I basically agree with what you said, with this caveat:

For some of our fellow Americans, "acknowledg[ing] the root fears and authoritarianism" would probably work.

However, I believe that a good many of the diehard Bush supporters are actually clinically paranoid. I can't prove this, but over my 60 years I have observed that certain political figures (mostly Republican in recent years) are, frankly, batshit crazy, and they still enjoy support of around 20-25% of the population regardless of what they do. IMHO, these folks are paranoid.

I have a friend who struggles with paranoid ideation. When she takes her meds, she is able to deal with her paranoia, but because the meds have their own sometimes quite noxious side effects, from time to time she goes off her meds. Pretty soon she is in fullblown paranoia.

She always returns to the same issues over and over again. They aren't the various bugaboos the far rightwing obsesses about. But they seem to not be capable of changing. I, and other friends and her family have tried to show from a logical perspective how her fears don't make sense, but she is impervious to logic when in her paranoid mode.

My mother and a co-worker were also paranoid, and this was equally true of them, though all three ladies had different issues. All impervious to logic. And no amount of therapy helped either my mother or my friend with the paranoia. My co-worker never sought therapy because she didn't perceive that she needed it, which is all too common with paranoiacs.

With these people, their brain chemistry causes them to feel a lot of free-floating anxiety, regardless of life circumstances. So they look around for something to blame. They also read malevolent intent against them in interactions where no such intent exists.

I believe that this is also true for the far right.

By all means, let's try to assuage some of the fears and buy into some of the authoritarianism. But there will be a % of the population for which there is no reasonable way to assuage their fears. We have to work harder to not let these people into positions of power, and we can continue to use the "bully pulpit" of the Net and whatever other influence we can find. Let's get as many Dems elected as we can in November, and hold their feet to the fire.


Posted by: Wolfdaughter on September 6, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, you are really, really stupid. Extremely stupid.

The only thing more appalling than your shocking stupidity is your grotesque ignorance.

And the only thing more appalling than your shocking stupidity and your grotesque ignorance is your utterly conscienceless dishonesty.

Stupid, ignorant and sociopathic -- that's the classic profile of the fascist brownshirt.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 6, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't even imagine ...

someone alert me when the limits of Jay's imagination mean anything.

Posted by: cleek on September 6, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Jay needs to be forceably medicated, for his own good. He's clearly a danger to himself and others in his current state.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 6, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I can't even imagine George W. Bush wiping his own ass. Then again, he probably can't.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

blah blah blah blah............that's the classic profile of the fascist brownshirt" - secular something


I actually have a black shirt on today.


here's a tip sec; try using references and facts to back up your drivel, rather than just pulling vitriolic shit out of your ass.

Let me guess though, you're a Dale Carnegie product, right?

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, it WAS possible to negotiate with Hitler. It just wasn't possible to negotiate in 1938. When Hitler first re-militarized the Ruhr Valley, if the Allies had protested then negotiations probably would have worked.

I think the key is that you need to negotiate from a position of strength. We were stronger than the Soviet Union, Iraq, Iran, and Germany prior to about 1935(?).

You can't negotiate from a position of weakness such as Germany in 1938/39

Posted by: Neil Hecht on September 6, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Our major conflict is not with the peoples of the ME, it is with our neighbors and we need to develop an alternate way to convince them that war and militant hegemony are not in the US' best interests, nor the worlds'." - hostile

The basic premise here being that America is the root of all evil.

Run on that in '08, it will serve you well. Oh, I forgot, you already are. Nevermind.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

The basic premise here being that America is the root of all evil.
Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Typical Conservative.

Unable to distinguish between persons and their behavior.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedom of peoples to whom we are committed--including in particular the brave people of West Berlin--will be met by whatever action is needed." - JFK


Can you imagine Harry Reid saying that? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


Or Nancy Pelosi? Or even better, how about Howard Dean. Now that's funny.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Unable to distinguish between persons and their behavior." - osama something

Oh I know, that's why we need to give child molesters lighter sentences and "understand" them. We need to give bigger hugs to Islamo- fascists and serial killers.

And when a drug addict kills for his habit, it's not his fault, it's the behaviour, right?

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Jay displays his fashion sense:

I actually have a black shirt on today.

More evidence that Jay is not gainfully employed.

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

However, I believe that a good many of the diehard Bush supporters are actually clinically paranoid.

Another reason they fight Nationalized Health Care.

Can you imagine if these guys got ahold of decent mental health treatment, antipsychotic meds?

Republicans would never win another election.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Jay, America is not the root of all evil, you and people like you are, regardless if they are gung ho nuke 'em first and ask questions later Americans or fundamentalist religious beleivers who hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings to kill infidels. You all are part of the same unbroken circle of hate and retribution that represents the worst of mankind's history.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

And when a drug addict kills for his habit, it's not his fault, it's the behaviour, right?
Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

That's the point, asshole.

It's the behavior we want to discourage.

Conservatives just want to punish people, not behaviors.

Which is why, when you criticize America's foreign policy, to a conservative, they can't distinguish that from criticising America - even if only a minority, or a slim majority really support that policy.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Jay, you are really, really stupid. Extremely stupid.

The only thing more appalling than your shocking stupidity is your grotesque ignorance.

And the only thing more appalling than your shocking stupidity and your grotesque ignorance is your utterly conscienceless dishonesty.

Stupid, ignorant and sociopathic -- that's the classic profile of the fascist brownshirt." - secular something

Well OK then, how would you classify secularanimist then?


Yee haw, let's go nuke 'em!

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan is against whatever Bush is doing because Andrew Sullivan finally figured out that Bush doesn't much care for gay people and is happy to throw them under the bus.
Posted by: Kimmitt on September 6, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

. . . or drag them from a pickup truck.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

The sniveling moronic little puke who calls himself "Jay" wrote: "here's a tip sec; try using references and facts to back up your drivel"

The only "references and facts" needed to demonstrate that you are a stupid, ignorant, sniveling little brownshirt puke are your own moronic writings that you post here for the world to laugh at in morbid disgust.

If you want to continue humiliating yourself by making a very public spectacle of your ignorance and stupidity, just keep doing what you're doing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 6, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me while I clean the semen stains off my black shirt

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Which is why, when you criticize America's foreign policy, to a conservative, they can't distinguish that from criticising America - even if only a minority, or a slim majority really support that policy." - hostile


The 2004 Presidential campaign was all about our current foreign policy and by 3.5 million more popular votes, GWB won.


Secondly, The Democrats have just unveiled their plan (after five years, good job) which is strikingly similar to the one already in place:

Tue Sep 05 2006 19:28:01 ET

Dear Senator Reid:Your letter recites four elements of a proposed new direction in Iraq. Three of those elements reflect well-established Administration policy; the fourth is dangerously misguided.

"............"
Sincerely,

Joshua B. Bolten
Chief of Staff


You might want to brush up on the term "slim majority".

In a democracy, even a slim majority still rules.

Doh!


Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

"If you want to continue humiliating yourself by making a very public spectacle of your ignorance and stupidity, just keep doing what you're doing." - secular something

Thank you I will. I didn't realize you were so hospitable.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedom of peoples to whom we are committed--including in particular the brave people of West Berlin--will be met by whatever action is needed

Can you imagine Harry Reid saying that? Or Nancy Pelosi? Or even better, how about Howard Dean. Now that's funny.

What's really fucking hilarious is how that kind of mindset led directly to Vietnam with 50,000 Americans dead, a generation that's never gotten over it, a couple of million Vietnamese roasted and the rise of the Khemer Rouge, because Nixon thought the Viet Cong was so bad, he should bomb the shit out of another country.

Who wouldn't want that? It was a laff riot!

The US getting their ass kicked by a third world backwater even after eviscerating the country and dropping more bombs than we did in World War II was just choice!

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Republican Culture of Corruption:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060906/ap_on_re_us/governor_s_trial_11

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

. . . Now that's funny.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bad choice, Jay!

JFK had his belief in "intelligence" and "experts" in foreign policy immediately and badly burnt with the Bay of Pigs episode.

When it came to Cuba, he stepped very warily, taking advice from the military, people outside the military, and his own counsel (Whoa! A Preswident who thinks!). He negotiated us out of a crisis without even knowing the main fact: nuclear warheads were in Cuba.

Thank God our imaginary-hero cowboy President wasn't (so far) around for a similar problem.

You guys have such a narrow outlook. Bush and all his ilk think ignorance and stupidity and a line to God supply the simple answers to complex problems.

Idiots, every one of you.

But it's not you who pays, is it? It's the sons and daughters of the average or sub-average USian who trust the President's decisions.

I won't call them fools. I blame the dishonesty of Jay, Bush, and all his kind.

I wonder why George Herbert Walker didn't have a cavalier attitude to war? Probably knew the cost, huh?

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

In a democracy, even a slim majority still rules.
Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and thank God we're a Constitutional Democratic Republic! (at least during the 8 hrs our King sleeps).

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

"Pakistan is committed to its policy on the war on terror, and Usama caught anywhere in Pakistan would be brought to justice," the country's top army spokesman, Gen. Shaukat Sultan, told The Associated Press."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Yeah, this tough stance on Isalmo-fascism just isn't working.


What's the far lefts plan again, hide under the bed?

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

"When it came to Cuba, he stepped very warily, taking advice from the military, people outside the military, and his own counsel (Whoa! A Preswident who thinks!). He negotiated us out of a crisis without even knowing the main fact: nuclear warheads were in Cuba." notthere

So I guess you didn't read the speech, or you just don't understand what he's saying. Either way I buy it.

Secondly, a fight against a socio-economic society (communism) is a hell of a lot different than a fight against a violent ideology.

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Some Paki general saying that if OBL just happens to get caught, that he will be brought to justice and not just let go (like GWB did at TOra Bora) is an illustration of GWB's tough stance on terrorism?

Good luck in Nov.

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

"....because Nixon thought the Viet Cong was so bad, he should bomb the shit out of another country." - notlf

Nixon got us out of Vietnam, LBJ got us in.


Learn some fucking history

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK


After today's developments:

"The President just pulled one of the best maneuvers of his entire presidency. By transferring most major Al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo, and simultaneously sending Congress a bill to rescue the Military Commissions from the Supreme Court's ruling Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the President spectacularly ambushed the Democrats on terrain they fondly thought their own. Now Democrats who oppose (and who have vociferously opposed) the Military Commissions will in effect be opposing the prosecution of the terrorists who planned and launched the attacks of September 11 for war crimes."

I do tend to agree with Josh Marshall, Andrew Sullivan, and Mario Loyola. This maneuver of Bush's is going to kick Dems' asses for the midterms. I don't understand though, why he didn't wait until the middle of October. I mean - from a "fighting terror" point of view, asshole should have done this in January of 2002. The only reason to have waited this long is from the "fighting Democrats" point of view. (Fighting Democrats is obviously more important to Bush than fighting terrorists).

He must have more tricks up his ass for October. I was pretty sure, this time last year, that the Dems had already screwed the pooch on the midterms. They started to show some fight within the last month or so, but I don't see how they can recover from this. I watched a few minutes of FoxNews in my lunchroom, they listed out bullet-points of all the intel they supposedly got out of rendering and torturing these guys.

They missed the salient point that bin Laden is still free, still making videos, and still attacking America and our allies. So will the Democrats.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

The tough stance on Islamo-Fascism from the Christian Science Montior:


Terrorism & Security
posted September 6, 2006 at 12:50 p.m.
Pakistan signs peace deal with pro-Taliban militants
Critics say treaty, which calls for end to terrorist actions, seems 'a total capitulation' by Islamabad.
By Arthur Bright | csmonitor.com

In a move that some say appears 'a total capitulation' to pro-Taliban forces, Pakistan signed a peace deal with tribal leaders in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan Tuesday, and is withdrawing military forces in exchange for promises that militant tribal groups there will not engage in terrorist activities.

I hope they made sure they didn't cross their fingers at least!

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

...In a democracy, even a slim majority still rules....

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Tyranny of the majority? Domination? Oppression?

Jay, you are so ignorantly outspoken.

That's why the founding fathers were so careful to try to exclude dictatorship. Why are GW and Cheney, with the help of so many, trying to pursue elevating the Presidency to same?

Fascism comes to mind. Well done with the black shirt. To hell with the minorities, their rights, or any consideration.

Maybe you're just another Al, winding me up. Well done. But if you don't believe what you are saying, you're just dangerous rather than having the excuse of being both dangerous and stupid.

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan is a one-step forward, two-step backwards kind of fellow. I've always thought of him as hopelessly conflicted, not all that bright, and just plain stuck. I'm surprised that he's quoted by anybody anymore, to be honest with you.

Sullivan's has always reminded me of the 'Stinky' character in the old Abbott and Costello Show (Joe Besser, the fat, bald grown man in dressed in the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit, skipping and licking a big sucker). Stinky held all of this pent up aggression inside, and would throw his hand to slap Lou, and then pull it back.

I'm sorry, Kevin, but I think that these are the two stories of the day, about what's going on and what we should be doing: This one and this one.

Are you still honestly operating under the belief that Bush, Cheney, neocons and Republicans are "honest brokers" and that this is a legitimate war, this "war on terror"?

Posted by: Maeven on September 6, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Nixon got us out of Vietnam, LBJ got us in.

So, it was a Republican who lost the war? Oh.

Douchebag, if you recall, I just called out the sainted JFK for painting us in a corner about communism and hot wars -- exactly the mindset that got us into Vietnam -- so this isn't a partisan issue. Kennedy snared us -- but he might have been smart enough to get us out. LBJ lied and blundered us in further while escalating it, and Nixon, after torpedoeing the Paris Peace Talks in 1968, made it go on for four more pointless years at the cost of an additional 25,000 American lives, illegally ascented to bombing Cambodia and helped usher in Cambodian genocide all while settling for the exact same deal LBJ could have had in '68.

Your grasp of history is so twisted by propaganda, you have no idea of the meaning of the word. The idea that Nixon ended Vietnam on good terms and should get credit for four years of pure deceit is quite possibly the most dishonest thing ever said on this board and that's an astonishing notion.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

...So I guess you didn't read the speech....

Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said. Ignorant.

Used to be the politicians made speeches for the people and worked to get the ends they wanted and needed behind the scenes.

Now our politicians tell lies to the people and believe them themselves.

Then there's Jay . . .

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jay --

by the way, JFK got us into VietNam, maybe even DDE with the way the war was going for France, not Johnson.

What was it you said?

"Learn some fucking history"
Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ignorant

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Learn some fucking history
Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton fucked his intern.
Bush fucked our country.

How's that for some fucking history?

"Pakistan is committed to its policy on the war on terror, and Usama caught anywhere in Pakistan would be brought to justice," the country's top army spokesman, Gen. Shaukat Sultan, told The Associated Press."
Wednesday, September 06, 2006

That statement would actually have some meaning if it were made on September 06, 2002.

"We will make no distinction between those who shelter terrorists, and the terrorists themselves." -GWB 2001

So - why has he coddled Pakistan for 5 years?
A: Because they're good customers.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

OBL: "I watched a few minutes of FoxNews in my lunchroom, they listed out bullet-points of all the intel they supposedly got out of rendering and torturing these guys."

Uh, sure. As I said earlier, what went on at these prisons, as well as at Gitmo, is a huge black mark on the US that I certainly won't forget or forgive in my lifetime. The use of torture is simply not acceptable under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. And it was only torture that got innocent prisoners as well as enemy combatants to sing whatever the US wanted them to. Please read Sept Harper's, American Gulag. It will make you sick.

Posted by: nepeta on September 6, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Good catch notthere.

Just to play it again:

Nixon got us out of Vietnam, LBJ got us in.

Learn some fucking history
Posted by: Jay on September 6, 2006 at 8:19 PM

LBJ, of course, continued and escalated our Vietnam policy (which started in the Eisenhower Administration), he did not originate it. But I'm sure in some alternate history something different happened -- what was it champ? Jay?

Free tip, Mr. "Learn Some Fucking History", when you try and call someone out, it helps to actually know even the slightest fucking thing that you're talking about. Otherwise you earn the right to shut the fuck up and that's about it.

If you had an ounce of honesty, you'd apologize and admit how utterly, completely and stupidly you were wrong.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post, Kevin.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on September 6, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

... Most of the American people disagree with you.

Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

NOT, I bet you, if they were subjected to it!!!

Which some nationals have!

It doesn't get the results intelligence needs only the results the politicos want. Well studied and accepted by intelligence services around the world including the Israelis.

Only the US has regressed to where they think this helps. Pure Right-Repugnut politics.

Ignorance.

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Contextual GOP: All public sentiments are operative until they go against the Administration, in which case, polls are meaningless and our president simply doesn't care about the popular will, unless it changes yet again, they he fully supports the wishes of the American people.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

The use of torture is simply not acceptable under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. And it was only torture that got innocent prisoners as well as enemy combatants to sing whatever the US wanted them to. Please read Sept Harper's, American Gulag. It will make you sick.
Posted by: nepeta on September 6, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not defending torture. I'm just saying that this is what's on FoxNews today, it's what GOP/Jay's "majority" is watching today.

My point is, the DNC better have something good in the chamber. Or they're fucked.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

The Israelis use torture for the same reason other countries do: it can be an effective way of acquiring crucial intelligence information.
Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

once again, GOP is blissfully ignorant of the FACTS.

Although, torture IS an effective way of producing hard-ons in sexually-repressed redneck conservatives, as well as bolstering the vote for the Republican radical base.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 6, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the American people disagree with you.

Most of the American people also believe that atheists are the greatest threat to our society, even greater than Muslims.

So if the threshold for your beloved torture ever lowers enough that its use becomes commonplace, you better watch your ass.

Posted by: yep on September 6, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't care that my opposition to torture is 'unpopular' it's called a principle. I think it's sad that you get such glee out of the idea that America supports something that is barbaric, immoral, counterproductive and inherently unreliable -- but ultimately only the most sadistic Americans would base their vote on a pro-torture basis (otherwise, the Bushies would brag about doing it, instead of lying about it, don't you think?).

However, I'm comfortable in the notion that support of Social Security and opposition to a completely botched war are far, far more popular issues with the American people than the thought of electrocuting a guy's balls.

I'll tell you what -- your side should campaign as the pro-torture party and we'll see how that campaign goes. All I ever hear are you guys running away from torture, or framing it as something other than torture. Which is it hero?

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Face it GOP, if you didn't have terroists, you'd have to worry about the scourge of automobile accidents, or deaths by firearms or lighting strikes, or other things that are more deadly to Americans than terrorism.

They are a threat. So is cancer. Which one has, by far, the greater chance of killing you?

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 6, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder when we will be able to get someone in power who actually watches the History Channel.

Basically, our entire foreign policy is still based on a cold war vs. the Soviet Union plan. Not only that, the only reason 9/11 happened is that we did not extract ourselves from our various Cold War committments fast enough. How soon it is forgotten that Israel, essentially was first seen as the U.S.'s staunch Cold War ally in the region.

Not only that, this was at a time when the takeover by the Soviet Union of any country, meant that the natural resources of that country would not be available to the West.

You can make movies like "Syriana" all day long, but the reality is that no one, not even Saddam Hussain, was proposing any limit at all on the flow of oil out of the Middle East. Every oil producing country there is so completely addicted to selling it that the use of military force to "ensure" the supply of oil is really an assertion not supported by any fact.

There was no reason at all that our Middle Eastern policy, as a nation, should cast us as the evil empire. We're thousands of miles away, we don't give a rat's ass about either Arabs, Persians or Jews, and until this ridiculous occupation, no sane person could make any case at all for threatening the security of any of the countries in the ME.

Yet, with every sane analysis pointing in the same direction, that direction being DON'T GET THE FUCK INVOLVED IN THIS TAR BABY. What have we done? Ahh. . its annoying every time I type it.

It would have taken some real balls to show some restraint after 9/11, but it could have been done.

Now, we are in no better shape than we were 50 years ago.

Then, we were stuck in knee-jerk reactions to whatever the Soviet Union did or was perceived to do.

Now, we're stuck in knee-jerk reactions to whatever a bunch of guys living in a cave say that they might do.

When you put it that way, its even more depressing. At least the Soviet Union was a legitimate military threat to the country, as opposed to a couple of criminals who could, if they were extremely lucky, kill some number of people.

Posted by: hank on September 6, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

'What is the sound of one hand clapping?'
--Buddha

Posted by: Quotation Man on September 6, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Great question, GOP, what is your answer?

O.K., you get one sneak attack where a mixture of classic administrative sloppyness (by the way, how come the Bush administration has paid no price, none, for allow the damn attack to happen in the first place?) kills a couple of thousand people.

Even if you get lucky again, it would take thousands of such attacks to have any effect at all on the actual integrity of this country. Frankly, I can't think of something I would worry about less.

If you plan on parrying back with "well what if some terrorist gets ahold of a nuclear weapon" please don't think you get to stop there. I'd like to see your global plan for containing nuclear weapons, in detail, please.

Then explain how invading and occupying a country which does not happen to have them advances your plan.

Posted by: hank on September 6, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

The use of torture is simply not acceptable under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Most of the American people disagree with you.

Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Most Americans don't vote.

Something like 80% of those serving in Iraq think that Saddam Hussein ordered the 9/11 attacks.

In 2003, more than 70% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11, too, although as more time goes by, that number has dropped significantly.

It's still too high, because in spite of the fact that Bush has admitted that there was no connection, he still drops the spin-qualifier ("I created a war zone out of a nation of innocents, a place where terrorists could go - we're going to kill them all there, and all Iraqis who stay, because we have designs on the oil"). Cheney, bless his fricaseed heart, won't budge - no interviewer has dared to confront him on air as a bald-faced liar, so he's sticking to the fable. Americans scratch their head, walk away confused, as Bush and Cheney hoped.

Here's the point:

The people in the business of torture (the military, psychiatrists, etc.) all have weighed in and said the same thing: It's not effective.

Torture's got more downsides than upsides. It creates more terrorists, it solves nothing, you don't get accurate information, and it's not a good precedent to set for the treatment of our own captured service men and women (or civilians - the day will come when we will be invaded at the rate that Bush-Cheney & corporate-America are creating enemies for us). And when you torture, you lose the moral high ground. Objecting won't even pass the old giggle-test. The only upside is that it gives the sadist-torturer a thrill. To him I say, "Get a prescription for Viagra."

What percentage of Americans do you think have lost a loved one in an act of terrorism?

Let's do some addition.

We've got the 3000 on 9/11/01. Being generous, let's throw in another 3000 in lesser spectacular acts over the last 30 years (279 in Lebanon, etc.). 2700 in Iraq so far (let's not forget about 30,000 limbs left on the Iraq's streets), and about 300 in Afghanistan to date?

Most Americans have no dog in this hunt.

We're a nation of 300 million. 130,000 Americans die each year from the flu. Equal numbers die each year from other totally preventable causes. To have lost 3000 on 9/11 is not what is driving this war machine. This is all about economics, and it has absolutely nothing to do with a government caring about the lives of its' people.

When I became one of those who "had a dog in this hunt" twenty years ago, I realized that in a democracy there are no "innocent civilians" (unless you are a child who can't yet vote, vote by provisional ballot, vote in Florida, Ohio, N. Mexico). We in a democratic republic are responsible for what those we put into power do to others around the world with the power we bestow upon them.

While our government's business is decided by the majority who show up, that majority cannot deny the rights of the individual, and among those rights is the right to be safe and secure within one's own person. The right not to be tortured is guaranteed.

There will be no torture committed in my name.


Posted by: Maeven on September 6, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

We couldn't negotiate with the commies and they might blow the world up because THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE IN GOD!

We can't negotiate with the Iranians and they might blow the world up because THEY'RE RELIGIOUS FANATICS!

Posted by: Red on September 6, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Download The Power of Nightmares here (broadband required) and see the truth about the dangers of terrorism and how we have been manipulated by baseless fear.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 6, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the American people disagree with you.

Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fortunately, a large minority of the US disagrees, most of the civilized world disagrees -- particularly those who have been subject to it, as do most of the world's intelligence services, including Israeli, UK and FBI.

The people who use torture are basically delusional as they believe it will give the results they expect despite all evidence to the contrary. Therefore, there is no stopping point; no rational end. It's insanity and you subscribe to it.

These Repugnuts! How stupid are they?

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

the use of torture is simply not acceptable under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Most of the American people disagree with you.
Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006

If the GOP and Bush and all of the Republican incumbents would run on the platform that torture is a desired US policy and really take that message to the people, I have to think the Democrats would win most ballots. I guess I still have some hope for mankind.


Wolfdaughter, I appreciate your post. The mentally ill who demonstrate the kind of paranoia you describe are probably many and do participate politically. Dealing with the fear of our political opponents means trying to communicate with mental illness. Understanding that there is a reason for people to be paranoid is a good step in the right direction. I have to think many Americans became mentally ill with a painful emotional unconscious memory of an existential threat after the 9/11 attacks. This pain can cause the acting out of the basic need to survive, which appears irrational, at least to those who do not want to rashly bomb innocent people. When that irrationalism becomes a national attitude for dealing with political and foreign policy problems, another form of discourse is required to change or reframe the problem our political opponents have.

I am a poor student of Ericksonian hypnosis, but if I have learned anything from it, it is that people can be changed with speech. I said above I am much better at 'getting to no' than finding agreement, but finding agreement is the first step to changing others' way of thinking. I think its true. I think Ericksonian hypnosis can help the people you know, too.

Posted by: Hostile on September 6, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why in the world could you possibly believe that any Jihadi in the middle east would consider refraining from blowing himself up in an Israeli pizza parlor, or any other pizza parlor, based upon recent event?

Talk about a bogus theory!

Its not that people in the middle east think its "O.K." because they figure we or the Israeli's are a bunch of pansy's and John Wayne is dead, its that its pretty goddamed obvious to anyone who has seen "Lawrence of Arabia" that (i) unlike the European-based West, which views nation-state conflict as a political action with a discrete beginning and ending, (ii) the people of the Middle East lead a tribal-based and sectarian way of life in which blood feuds, revenge, and centuries-long animosity are not only "O.K." but are the preferred way of life.

Oh, and the other thing about most people in the middle east is that but for our cold-War based policies, all of these fanatics could not even find the United States on a map, assuming they even knew what a "map" was.

The naivete of those who think that there is some easy way of converting the middle east to European/Western views of nation-state conflict amazes me.

Thomas Friedman might as well be writing about WWII or the cold war, for all the sense that quote makes.

Posted by: hank on September 6, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Like Newt Gingrich, I have come to accept defeat on the Iran nuke issue and think we should throw in the towel. Unlike the meglomaniac Saddam Hussein, the mullahs like their status and perks enough to rein in whatever hothead is sitting in the President's chair in that country.
That said, I think Kevin should concede that talks or negotiations or singing Kumbaya is not going to get what we want - stopping Iran's nukes - anymore than any of his other historical hit parade of negotiations has done. The reason we don't have a Soviet banging his shoe on the table today is not because we negotiated, it's because we had something to negotiate with - Star Wars/SDI. Likewise your rediculous sophistry about Viet Nam is one of the stupidest things I've ever read on this blog. For four years Kissinger and Nixon offered Giap and Ho everything they wanted, just give us a fig leaf to get out. The

Posted by: minion of rove on September 6, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Don't know how that happened. Last sentence should read:

The Vietnamese Communist government put humiliating the USA above hundreds of thousands of its citizens' lives until Nixon was enraged enough to unlease six weeks of the Christmas bombing, which knocked out the SAM assembly facilities and drove the North back to a reasonable stance.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 6, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

Your view is completely vitiated by the massive upsurge of support for terrorist tactics worldwide in the wake of the Iraq invasion.

If the likes of Osama can't be deterred in the fashion of deterring a nation-state with something to lose, then the idea of busting up Iraq just to show them bastids that we're just as committed to death 'n' destruction as they are is an exercise in absurd and tragic futility.

You wanna know how you deal with those mongos?

Deprive them of as much free publicity as humanly possible.

Terrorism is in no way an existential threat to the Western world.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 6, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Bob wins the thread for his use of the word "mongo".

Posted by: Disputo on September 6, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

As much as I can see why you might think it was me mocking you, it wasn't. You fail to remain aware that of the fact that about a thousand people here are tired of your endless crap.

But -- feel free to continue acting out. No sweat off my back. Just highlights what a real cutie you are.

Posted by: yep on September 6, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Awww ... I think I shoulda won for my use of the word "vitiated."

Oh well ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 6, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

No they don't. Don't be silly.

Why sure they do.

http://nanovirus.blogspot.com/2004/12/poll-shows-americans-fear-atheists-and.html

Man, I hadn't read the whole thread. You really went on a spoofing tear, didn't you? You need to know that I just posted that remark and just logged off.

Talk about your massive retaliatory misfires. Case in point why torture is not justified -- too easy to get the wrong guy.

What.a.dork.

Posted by: yep on September 6, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there is an easy way of converting them. It'll take a long time. That's why force will remain a major tool in U.S. foreign policy for a long time.

Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Converting them to what, exactly?

You're the "them and us" guy, along with all your buddies. No imagination that others might want to live a different life to ours. And if they do, they're wrong.

If you can't be a US-Arab and do what we want, better a dead Arab. Nice going. I think they got the message. Strange that any of them might object or even resist US hegemony. Didn't read much history did you? Probably don't believe that any US actions mirror those of colonialists or empire builders, do you?

You want to behave like top-dog and affect other's lives and think that some of them might not organize against you? Keep dreaming! That's what everyone does -- white, black, yellow, brown. If they perceive oppression or domination they just might fight back. And you're surprised?

And you are proposing what? A One Hundred Years War? Yeah, that solved a lot. Mind control? What?

Idiot.

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

>> Your view is completely vitiated by the massive upsurge of support
>> for terrorist tactics worldwide in the wake of the Iraq invasion.

> What massive upsurge? There's no massive upsurge.

*rolling eyes* Google it. Every single report from every single
agency, NGO or governmental, that measures it has reported a vast
upsurge in support for Osama and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
In case you somehow missed this, the governments of our Sunni allies
(Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia) originally made disparaging noises about
Hezbollah's "adventurism," but *had to take back these statements* in
the face of widespread Hezbollah support throughout their populations.

>> If the likes of Osama can't be deterred in the fashion
>> of deterring a nation-state with something to lose, ....

> Individual terrorists, non-state terrorist organizations, and
> nation-states that sponsor terrorism are all subject to deterrence.

Funtional nation-states like Iran can be deterred.
Otherwise, Hezbollah sure was deterred from firing
rockets on Israel during Israel's scortched-earth campaign
against Lebanon, wasn't it. The last day before the
ceasefire Hezbollah launched over 200 rockets into Israel.

As for individual terrorists, I agree, GOP. Let's
propose THE DEATH PENALTY for suicide terrorism.
That'll fix their little red camel wagons, all right.

>> You wanna know how you deal with those mongos?
>> Deprive them of as much free publicity as humanly possible.

> So it's publicity they crave, in your view, is it?

Like any guerrilla campaign, victory is defined in propaganda terms.

> Hard to think of a better way of getting
> publicity than further acts of terrorist.

That's the idea, yes. And the West certainly can't repress press
reports when they happen. But what the West *doesn't* need to
do is to talk about Osama like he was the new Hitler posing this
grave, grave threat to the entire fabric of Western civilization.

Unless you're just interested in giving the guy an excellent hardon.

> Your proposal would incite terrorism.

If we treated capturing terrorists like they were any other
common criminal rather than all the endless bloviation about
about it, we'd marginally reduce the incentive to recruit.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 6, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

...What massive upsurge? There's no massive upsurge....

Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Guess you missed reading the State Department/CIA's reports until good ole Bush asked them to cut the crap and doctor the figures so noone would no the truth.

What a monkey. Whose shoulder you sitting on? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez? Who's grinding whose organ?

GOP -- "Individual terrorists, non-state terrorist organizations, and nation-states that sponsor terrorism are all subject to deterrence."

True. But only if pressure is applied to them, and their losses exceed replenishment and their gains don't exceed their losses.

Where, on that curve, do you put al-Qaeda and OBL, and the USA and chicken-hawk idiot.

I'll answer for you. GW passes all pain onto the people of his country, so far OBL has suffered little, while al-Qaeda has become a household name, and our troops bleed while both Iraq and Afghanistan regress.

About time we applied some intelligence to and in the prosecution of this war.

Posted by: notthere on September 6, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think there is an easy way of converting them. It'll take a long time.

Ummm...in that case, GOP, how long do you estimate the US will need to keep 140,000 troops in Iraq? And, if there is no "easy way of converting them" to democracy, and given that Saddam had no WMD and had nothing to do with any of the terrorist attacks against the US in the previous 10 years (WTC 1, Tanzania/Kenya, USS Cole, 9/11), why the hell did we invade Iraq? So we could park our soldiers in Iraq to get shot and blown up for a few decades, or centuries, while we wait for them to "convert" to democracy?

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 6, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

GOP:

> No, you google it. That's your job. Your claim, your responsibility
> to back it up. You haven't done that. You can't do that.

Pfffft. I owe you *nothing*, my esteemed friend. This crap has been
in the news, relentlessly, since after the first annaiversary of
the invasion when it was first possible to compile stats. If you've
somehow allowed yourself to miss these reports, that's *your* problem.

See, if I told you that the sun is going to rise tomorrow, you
could retort "Oh yeah? Prove it!" And guess what -- I couldn't.
Because as David Hume so persuasively argued, it's entirely
possible to imagine a logically consistent world where
the sun *doesn't* rise tomorrow. All I have to go on
is inductive reasoning, and induction proves nothing
(this is known as The Inductive Fallacy, by the way).

Nonetheless, I am perfectly justified in living my life *as if*
the sun's going to rise tomorrow, which is exactly what I'm going
to do. You choose to disbelieve the preponderance of evidence,
that's entirely your business. We will all enjoy laughing at you.

>> Funtional nation-states like Iran can be deterred.

> As I said, both state and non-state terrorist actors can be deterred.

The only entities which are subject to deterrence are those with
more to lose than to gain by the threat. Hezbollah obviously
wasn't deterred by the full weight of the Israeli Air Force.

> But deterring state sponsors of
> terrorism by itself is an important goal.

Okay, we can agree on that. All states are subject to
sanction of some form or another if their behavior slips
off the scale. That's the very basis of international law.

>> As for individual terrorists, I agree, GOP. Let's
>> propose THE DEATH PENALTY for suicide terrorism.

> You're such a card. "Law enforcement" is the left's absurd proposal
> to address global terrorism. You're the ones who think threatening
> terrorists with criminal penalties is going to work, remember?

Not at all. The purpose of international law enforcement isn't to
deter terrorists with penalties. That's like saying that the law
would deter David Koresh or Timmy McVeigh. The law has no deterrence
value for committed fanatics. Law enforcement, however, can stop
these creeps in the early stages of their plots. That's the point.

>> That's the idea, yes.

> So let me get this straight: You claim they want publicity.

That's not a claim. That's an objective fact.

> You propose to deny them publicity.

Excessive, bloviating talking-head "analysis." I'm not proposing
that we stop reporting on terrorist attacks when they happen.

> You agree that terrorist acts get a lot of publicity.

The acts themselves always will. But we don't have to choose to
inflate them into something bigger than they are. The whole overblown
1938 analogy is entirely counterproductive. All you do is let these
guys fantasize that, oh wow, we have as much power as Hitler did
when he had the full weight of the German military and industrial
capacity behind him. These flawed analogies are counterproductive.

Better to talk about these guys as misfits. Better to have moderate
Muslims on who'll repudiate their ideology. Better to emphasize how
marginal is this ideology, how little it is taken taken seriously.

> But you deny that your proposal is likely to incite terrorism.

If we deny Osama what he fervently wants -- the disruption of
our entire society through fear -- it will be more effective in
the war on terror than to do Osama's propoganda work for him.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 6, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

The reason we don't have a Soviet banging his shoe on the table today is not because we negotiated, it's because we had something to negotiate with - Star Wars/SDI.

How do you figure that genius? Everyone knew Star Wars didn't work -- even the Soviets. Maybe you weren't alive during the 80's, I don't know, but it was a big issue at the time. The Soviets sat down with us because Gorbachev saw his country collasping under its own weight and wanted to exit on good terms, your hallucination about an unworkable failure like Star Wars being a negotiating chip not withstanding.

Likewise your rediculous sophistry about Viet Nam is one of the stupidest things I've ever read on this blog. For four years Kissinger and Nixon offered Giap and Ho everything they wanted, just give us a fig leaf to get out.

Nixon elevated troop levels and Kissinger double-dealed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1968 -- and you think it was the Vietnamese who acted in bad faith? Nixon needlessly prolonged the war and 25,000 Americans died because Dick didn't want to lose face because he certainly shared Ho Chi Minh's view of the Vietnamese people.

This is Nixon to Kissinger in May, 1972:

"The only place where you and I disagree ... is with regard to the bombing," Nixon said. "You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians and I don't give a damn. I don't care."

Even Kissinger thought this was madness.
"I'm concerned about the civilians because I don't want the world to be mobilized against you as a butcher," Kissinger said. "We can do it without killing civilians."


At any rate, that conversation pretty much dispels this: The Vietnamese Communist government put humiliating the USA above hundreds of thousands of its citizens' lives until Nixon was enraged enough to unlease six weeks of the Christmas bombing, which knocked out the SAM assembly facilities and drove the North back to a reasonable stance.

That doesn't even make sense. If the commies weren't concerned with their citizens' lives -- why would they care if even more were killed? Nixon didn't care. Nixon's endless bombing did nothing but give the Viet Cong prestige and sympathy, which should have been impossible to do.

And whatever their moral faults, they saw themselves fighting out of a sense of nationalism, not simply to humiliate a shameless void like Richard Nixon. Or do you really think it was the Vietnamese who were even more cynical than Nixon?

In the end, maybe the Christmas bombing showed them what they already knew: Nixon would kill every last Vietnamese to protect his ego. And they knew another thing: they would never lose.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f on September 6, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the change in behavior from Moammar Khaddafi of Libya as well when reciting successes born not through invasion but from limited attacks combined with economic and diplomatic pressure. That's a success story we need to remember.

Posted by: LibyaReminder on September 6, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Now that they've admitted to secret prisons, how many US laws and European laws and treaties do they admit to breaking all at once?

Posted by: cld on September 6, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe you weren't alive during the 80's,

It's pretty clear that GOP/Thomas/etc was dead for tax purposes during the 80s. The only question is what is his precise state of consciousness at the moment.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Now that they've admitted to secret prisons, how many US laws and European laws and treaties do they admit to breaking all at once?

It'll certainly be fun watching various members of the GWB admin ducking process servers over the next several decades.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

From last April:

"The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/26/AR2005042601623.html

Particularly damning is how they stopped releasing their annual report.

Posted by: cough cough on September 7, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

I think the invasion was probably justified on humanitarian grounds alone.

Priceless.

The one hundred Iraqi civilians who have been murdered in the civil war over the past 24 hours (on average) would no doubt disagree with you on this question, were they alive to make the argument.

Wait 15 minutes, there'll be another one.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, but Brooksfoe, you fergit the neocon equations of justification:

Dead prior to Saddam's fall = wages of sin.

Dead subsequent to Saddam's fall = price of democracy.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

I think the invasion of Iraq sent a hugely powerful message throughout the Arab world that the United States is not going to sit back and do nothing when it is repeatedly attacked by Islamic terrorists, but will instead respond with its own brand of "shock and awe."

I think the invasion of Iraq sent a hugely powerful message throughout the Arab world that the United States is using 9/11 as an excuse to pursue its agenda of dominating and humiliating Muslims in pursuit of their oil wealth, and cares nothing about the suffering of the thousands of Muslims killed and wounded by its bombs and tortured in custody by its troops. If you watch any Al-Jazeera, you will see that this is, in fact, the message Arabs have taken away from the Iraq war. But if you prefer to send and receive little messages to yourself inside your brain, rather than pay any attention to what the people you are supposedly trying to communicate with say about you, then that is your right as an American.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

Thanks, cough. And this is certainly not the only report I recall.

This also completely stands to reason. The decision to wage jihad is not a rational decision, like, say, deciding to become a criminal. It's more akin to joining a cult; there's a great deal of peer pressure involved. And if the goal is martyrdom and redeeming the lost glory of the Islam through striking a blow against its perceived oppressor, the idea of being killed in the process, or provoking a wider war, or even threatening one's relatives is virtually psychologically meaningless.

Israel has been practicing collective punishment against the families of suicide bombers for decades. It surely didn't deter the Palestinians from electing Hamas.

Now if you want to deny the tremendous popularity of Hezbollah throughout the Islamic world right now because it gave Israel its most serious black eye since being taken by surprise in the Yom Kippur War -- you go right ahead. Whatever universe works for you.

Fact is, everybody else who posts here knows that terrorism incidents have been sharply up worldwide for the past three years.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

lol. Now the Chechens *aren't* islamofascists?

I can't keep up with constantly changing neocon spin.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

If you count the foiled plots -- which Bush so loves to do when he wants to prove how safe he's kept us and all -- the rate of *attempted* attacks against the US by Islamist extremists has skyrocketed since the Iraq invasion.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

invasion of Iraq sent a hugely powerful message throughout the Arab world that GOP at 12:05 AM

That message is that the US is a paper tiger. The US is losing a war to a third world insurgency. The US is a helpless giant. The Iraqi insurgency is sending that message. Hezbollah is sending that message. As for the war against terrorism,

U.S. eliminates annual terrorism report
By Jonathan S. Landay
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2002243262&zsection_id=2002107549&slug=terror16&date=20050416
When you're losing, stop talking about it and stop telling the American people the facts.

Modern liberals have no clue how much their Democrat party has changed mhr at 3:11 PM
The Soviet Union was dealt with by a policy called Containment, a policy that a Republican implemented against Saddam. Republicans like Abe Lincoln spoke against the Mexico War, Robert Taft spoke against the Korean War. What your examples show, and what you don't comprehend, is that Democrats are tough, tough on Communism, tough on terrorism, and tough on dictators, but don't sell unnecessary wars to the American people the way Reagan sold the attack on Grenada, Bush I sold the attack on Panama, and Bush sold the attack on Iraq. These wars of choice are nothing more that some presidents acting like warriors for political gain. The people and the press always buy into the war hysteria, but generally some of the smarter ones realize they've been had. Study some history: A Democrat won WWI. A Democrat won WWII. A Republican lost Vietnam. A Republican lost Korea.
Hussein was bluffing about having WMD; DBL at 3:30 PM
Saddam allowed the weapons inspectors into Iraq so he was not bluffing. The weapons inspectors were proving that there were no WMD in Iraq, but Bush launched his attack anyway. There is no reason to expect any honesty from this government concerning Iran either.
Iran has openly defied the UN Security Council' DBL at 3:30 PM
No nation has defied the UN more than Israel. How about enforcing so of those Resolutions to show the world that the US is fair minded and honest?
If we could be certain that Iran would not provide nukes to its proxiesDBL at 3:57 PM
Pakistan is far more likely to do that and Pakistan has already exported nuclear technology for a profit, yet not one Republican has shown any concern about their history or the new reactor they are building. Now that Pakistan as assured the tribal leaders in the Afghanistan area that the Pakistani army will not trouble them, Republicans are still silent.
JFK threatened them with military (amd if needed nuclear weaponry) and meant it. Jay at 7:15 PM
You need to read on the secret negotiations, not the speeches for public consumption. Check When Presidents Lie out of the library. John F. Kennedy lied about the compromise that settled the Cuban missile crisis, and kept the Cold War alive by humiliating the U.S.S.R.
Democratic party giving that same speech today in terms of this current struggle. Jay at 7:19 PM |
Any Democrat could do it Reid, Pelosi, Dean, Kerry, not Lieberman but certainly Gore; it takes a Republican to mumble inarticulate bs to gain your obsequious loyalty.
Yeah, this tough stance on Isalmo-fascism just isn't working. Jay at 8:12 PM
Five years after 9-11, bin Laden is still free. Bush: Wanted Dead or Alive. Bush: Those who knocked down these buildings will hear from us. Five years, five years.
Nixon got us out of Vietnam, LBJ got us in. Jay at 8:19 PM
JFK got us in, Gerald Ford got us out. Posted by: Mike on September 7, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: Here's how a real president with a real foreign policy saw a real problem and dealt with it realistically.


....``With the Cold War over, some people now question the need for our continued active leadership in the world. They believe that, much like after World War I, America can now step back from the responsibilities of leadership. They argue that to be secure, we need only to keep our own borders safe, and that the time has come now to leave to others the hard work of leadership beyond our borders. I strongly disagree. As the Cold War gives way to the global village, our leadership is needed more than ever because problems that start beyond our borders can quickly become problems within them. We're all vulnerable to the organized forces of intolerance and destruction, terrorism, ethnic, religious and regional rivalries, the spread of organized crime and weapons of mass destruction and drug trafficking. Just as surely as fascism and communism, these forces also threaten freedom and democracy, peace and prosperity. And they too demand American leadership.

But nowhere has the argument for our leadership been more clearly justified than in the struggle to stop or prevent war and civil violence. From Iraq to Haiti; from South Africa to Korea; from the Middle East to Northern Ireland, we have stood up for peace and freedom because it's in our interest to do so, and because it is the right thing to do.

Now that doesn't mean that we can solve every problem. My duty as president is to match the demands for American leadership to our strategic interests and to our ability to make a difference. America cannot and must not be the world's policeman. We cannot stop all war for all time but we can stop some wars. We cannot save all women and all children but we can save many of them. We can't do everything but we must do what we can. There are times and places where our leadership can mean the difference between peace and war and where we can defend our fundamental values as a people and serve our most basic strategic interests. My fellow Americans, in this new era there are still times when America and America alone can and should make the difference for peace. The terrible war in Bosnia is such a case. Nowhere today is the need for American leadership more stark or more immediate than in Bosnia.

For nearly four years a terrible war has torn Bosnia apart. Horrors we prayed had been banished from Europe forever have been seared into our minds again. Skeletal prisoners caged behind barbed-wire fences, women and girls raped as a tool of war, defenseless men and boys shot down into mass graves, evoking visions of World War II concentration camps and endless lines of refugees marching toward a future of despair.

When I took office, some where urging immediate intervention in the conflict. I decided that American ground troops should not fight a war in Bosnia because the United States could not force peace on Bosnia's warring ethnic groups, the Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Instead, America has worked with our European allies in searching for peace stopping the war from spreading and easing the suffering of the Bosnian people. We imposed tough economic sanctions on Serbia. We used our air power to conduct the longest humanitarian airlift in history and to enforce a no-fly zone that took the war out of the skies. We helped to make peace between two of the three warring parties -- the Muslims and the Croats.

But as the months of war turned into years, it became clear that Europe alone could not end the conflict. This summer, Bosnian Serb shelling once again turned Bosnia's playgrounds and marketplaces into killing fields.

In response, the United States led NATO's heavy and continuous air strikes, many of them flown by skilled and brave American pilots. Those air strikes, together with the renewed determination of our European partners, and the Bosnian and Croat gains on the battlefield, convinced the Serbs, finally, to start thinking about making peace.

At the same time, the United States initiated an intensive diplomatic effort that forged a Bosnia-wide cease-fire and got the parties to agree to the basic principles of peace. Three dedicated American diplomats -- Bob Frasure, Joe Kruzel and Nelson Drew -- lost their lives in that effort. Tonight, we remember their sacrifice and that of their families, and we will never forget their exceptional service to our nation.

Finally, just three weeks ago, the Muslims, Croats and Serbs came to Dayton, Ohio, in America's heartland, to negotiate a settlement. There, exhausted by war, they made a commitment to peace. They agreed to put down their guns, to preserve Bosnia as a single state, to investigate and prosecute war criminals, to protect the human rights of all citizens, to try to build a peaceful, democratic future. And they asked for America's help as they implement this peace agreement.

America has a responsibility to answer that request, to help to turn this moment of hope into an enduring reality. To do that, troops from our country and around the world would go into Bosnia to give them the confidence and support they need to implement their peace plan. '''

more at
http://tinyurl.com/r3af4

Posted by: secularhuman on September 7, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

Don't "seem to."

That's just the cutest li'l thing I ever *did* see :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Their fellow Iraqi civilians don't seem to disagree.

Yes, they do. Check the polls.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

There has also been a massive upsurge in the number of terrorist acts worldwide. Again, check the figures.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK
I very much doubt that. Their fellow Iraqi civilians don't seem to disagree. GOP 12:30 AM
The latest Iraq opinion polls disagree with that assessment.

...The bottom line: 91.7% of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition troops in the country, up from 74.4% in 2004. 84.5% are "strongly opposed". Among Sunnis, opposition to the US presence went from 94.5% to 97.9% (97.2% "strongly opposed"). Among Shia, opposition to the US presence went from 81.2% to 94.6%, with "strongly opposed" going from 63.5% to 89.7%. Even among the Kurds, opposition went from 19.6% to 63.3%. In other words, it isn't just that Iraqis oppose the American presence - it's that their feelings are intense: only 7.2% "somewhat oppose" and 4.7% "somewhat support."

GOP can make up crap, but the facts on the ground countradict those statements.

Posted by: Mike on September 7, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

You dare attempt to accuse *me* of shifting the goal posts?

I've been arguing the huge surge of support for Hezbollah and Hamas. See much hand-wringing over their tactics on al-Jazeera?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's time for GOP to go to bed. I've never seen his ass so roundly kicked.

I kind of suspect he's actually just a Team Red dude who comes out here to keep our skills sharp. If so, Team Blue crushed you tonight.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

See ... when you have something like an unjustified invasion against a country for what by all rights looks to the Arab street like an attempt to gain control of their oil resources -- and the invasion involves a massive disproportion of military power, the use of napalm, DU and white phosporous -- well, people don't worry too much about the tactical ethics of the resistance to that invasion.

Sure, it gets over the top. Zawahiri himself had to smack down Zarqawi for beheading so many Shi'ites. There is, granted, a level of disgust that Arabs will reach about that *fratracidal* sort of thing.

But IEDs? Suicide attacks against coalition troops? Killing Iraqis who are tools of the US-controlled government?

Not a whole lot of tut-tutting going on in the mainstream Arab media.

That's because the invasion is by far the greater injustice. It's universally understood that the weaker party is going to fight "unfairly."

There are no Marquis du Queensbury rules when your opponent is packing.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

I know you think evidence is irrelevant and that you can make something true merely by asserting that it's true, without needing to bother with all that messy business of facts, but that's not how things actually work in the real world.

Once again the various sock puppets known as GOP/thomas/etc crack me up with their artistic use of irony.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

I was just reading through Kevin's post, and I was amazed all-over again at how ass-backwards the Bush bunch -- and lame enablers like Sully and Friedman -- have been in their approach to dealing with terror.

Are there some folks you can't negotiate with? Sure. You don't negotiate or show weakness with guys like bin Laden who have already attacked you. You don't negotiate with guys (like bin Laden) who have nothing to lose (and therefore can't be bargained with) and who have vowed to attack you. You don't negotiate with states (like the Taliban-run Afghanistan) who've actively supported and are inextricably linked to people who've attacked you. I think it's also safe to say that you don't negotiate with state actors who've marched over their own borders and into someone else's state without provocation (like Iraq in 1991). All of those cases call for use of the military option.

But the situation in Iran isn't even close to one of the above. Folks like Sully love to quote the (admittedly inflamatory and asinine) words of people like Ahmadinejad -- when it's convenient for their argument -- and take them at face value. "He's a crazy Theomuslamofascist whose God does not negotiate," swears Sully. And I might believe Sully -- if I thought we actually had to negotiate with Ahmadinejad's God, or even if I believed that Ahmadinejad's main goal in life was to further his God.

I don't. Iran is a large -- and for the last 25 years or so -- relatively stable regime. Folks don't get as high up as Ahmadinejad is in Iran without being rational actors with a good measure of greed and personal interest in continuing their power. I'm a lot more worried about a creepy coup in Pakistan than about Iran going completely off the reservation, and yet Sully is considered a much more "serious" thinker by the policy elite than I.

Posted by: moot23 on September 7, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

I already explained this. See my earlier Friedman quote

Friedman has already thrown in the towel over Iraq, declaring it and failure and urging that we leave as soon as possible.

Way to back a winner.

And his post facto explanation of why we needed to invade Iraq and the message it would send -- which has little or no connection to our stated reasons at the time -- is sheer wishful thinking. The messages the Arab world got from the Iraq debacle would have to include:

1) the world mightiest superpower can get bogged down by citizens with guns, many of them farmers

2) we're so willing to jump into a confrontation without a plan or even basic cultural knowledge like the difference between Sunni and Shia that it's just as likely that we'll end up creating a situation that politically benefits our presumed enemies like Iran

3) we so don't understand what motivates Arab culture and so don't care that our provacative actions are just as likely to end up being fantastic recruiting tools for our terrorist enemies and campaign posters for political hardliners like Admadinejad and Hamas.

You think invading Iraq was wise, necessary, justified? Great!

But most of the American people disagree with you.

Posted by: yep on September 7, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

You're wrong.

And everyone who's been following this *knows* that you're wrong. They also know that you debate like a troll, and would pick any source I attempted to cite apart for the most trivial and rhetorically unfair of reasons.

You think I haven't watched you debate guys with superhuman patience who attempt to take you at your word like cmidicely?

You're immune to logic, facts and common sense. All you have is your precious ideology.

So I don't give you the time of day, my friend.

Assertions are not only good enough for me -- they're good enough for the peanut gallery who know as well as I do that the facts support my case and not yours.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

yep claims:

Friedman has already thrown in the towel over Iraq, declaring it and failure and urging that we leave as soon as possible.

GOP responds:

No he hasn't.

Yes he has.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh I'm sorry, maybe you were thinking of Kinky Friedman.

I was referencing Tom Friedman, mustachioed sage of current affairs, who said:

"It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are babysitting a civil war," Friedman wrote. "That means 'staying the course' is pointless, and it's time to start thinking about Plan B -- how we might disengage with the least damage possible." (NYT, Aug. 4, 2006)

Oh I know, I know -- he didn't technically say "failure" he just said that "staying is pointless" because we're "babysitting a civil war" and that we need to "disengage."

Cleary he was saying it was a success.

Posted by: yep on September 7, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Bob says:

You're wrong.

GOP responds:

Brilliant rebuttal there, "Bob." Well up to your usual standards of incisive, fact-based argument.

GOP's ironic wit is killing me.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

You're a fucking TROLL, my man.

You wouldn't know an incisive, fact-based argument if it bit you in the ass.

You don't debate fairly.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

notthere -- "Fortunately, a large minority of the US disagrees..."

You're confused. As I said, a majority of Americans disagree with the position that torture is unacceptable.

Posted by: GOP on September 6, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

GOP --

Exactly! You are confused. Your comprehension ability is severely degraded. I gave you the benefit of the doubt as I hadn't checked those polls for a while.

I missed this one and was going to let it slide, but I see you're still awake (misuse of word).

It's all deja vu as I remember saying before (months ago): 49% say not at all or rarely acceptable and 5% don't know, but some how, by your reckoning, the majority approves. Alternately, ask the question, "If the terrorist has knowledge that can save lives" (a presumption that opens the door to any torture) "would torture be acceptable?" -- or some such -- which also opens the door to a speculative answer.


2004:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=90051&page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/Polls/torture_poll_040527.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-07-23-torture_x.htm

2005

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/Polls/torture_poll_040527.html

2006, Pew / Catholic

http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006a/032406/032406h.htm

===================
GOP, please cite your poll with the "majority in favor of torture."

Thank you. But not expecting an actual reply as you dodged it before.

Posted by: notthere on September 7, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Folks like Sully love to quote the (admittedly inflamatory and asinine) words of people like Ahmadinejad -- when it's convenient for their argument

They never quote the good things Ahmadinejad says. In that 60 Minutes interview he said the world had moved beyond nuclear threat. I liked that.

Posted by: Hostile on September 7, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

I'm passing my crown over in this thread to yep.

I think the Friedman quote was the nail in the coffin :)

Right after a "No he isn't! / Yes he is!" exchange, too.

You know, like the kind of one he just tried to rip me for :)

Well, you concretely proved the guy talks out his asshole.

Kudos, my man. Wear it proudly :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

And now look at the pathetic cretin, spoofing yep AGAIN (check the difference in emails) to put words in his mouth that he knows we'd mock him for if he posted it under his own handle.

Fucking *pathetic*. Just how much more stomped on can you *get* in a debate?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

Fouad Adjami has been a fucking tool since the first Gulf War.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Mmmm, more spoofing -- brilliant debate tactic. Although I don't know, that one could be Jay.

He is a well-known coward and disappeared from the thread earlier after being spanked.

I gotta say, coming back after watching two hours of "Eureka" on SciFi only to find my handle being spoofed right and left in futile relation -- *classic*.

Homework assignment: google some quotes from Iraqis who've said they were better off under Saddam. Here's a link for you to start with:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-2091232,00.html

Posted by: yep on September 7, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

Nice parsing there, Bill Clinton.

That's what you call a distinction without a difference.

If Friedman is recommending "disengagement," that means he's recommending that we leave.

WTF else would "disengagement" imply?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

It's what you call an "opinion."

Opinions. Doubtless you've heard of them somewhere?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

...I am not a Muslim. I am not a Jew.

I dare the rest of you to identify your bias.

Posted by: charles on September 7, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

Wow! Don't let any secrets out then, huh?

Let me guess! Christian? then what? Catholic, Baptist, Presbytarian, Lutheran, Latter Day Saint, Jehovah Witness, Amish? Cut the last; you wouldn't be on the computer. Yellow, Red, Brown, Black, White? Germanic, Latin, American, Asian?

Agnostic, Atheist, Druid? No?

Brahman, Buddhist, Hindi?

Gosh! The list of religions, let alone the sects and ethnicities within them are quite overwhelming.

So, just what ethnicity is anyone who is a Muslim or a Jew?

Your narrow outlook defines you as a self-satisfied bigot. Well done!

Posted by: notthere on September 7, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

notthere:

Charles is one of our occasional hardcore anti-semite trolls.

Best not to respond to him at all.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

...Er, did you even follow your own link?...

Posted by: GOP on September 7, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, GOP, thanks for not reading what I wrote and then repeating it in greater detail. I accurately predicted your response. Enough said.

Posted by: notthere on September 7, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

Considering Iraqi culture and the longstanding propensity, from centuries of bitter experience, to tell the foreign occupier what they want to hear, it's highly unlikely that any Western polling outfit would have coaxed genuine opinions out of Iraqi citizens.

"Scientific." Heh.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

This may be relevant to the current absurd argument. In any case, it's worth reading. It was posted by Secular Animist on the preceding thread today.

Nationalism, Not Islam, Motivates Most Suicide Terrorists
by Gary Olson
September 5, 2006
The Morning Call
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Here is today's discussion question: Suicide terrorism is primarily caused by Islamic fundamentalism. True or false? Although it seems counter-intuitive, especially given everything we read and hear in the mainstream media, the correct answer is "false."

In his recent book, DYING TO WIN: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has provided an indispensable public service by collecting data from all 315 suicide terrorist campaigns from 1980 to 2003, involving 462 individuals.

His overall finding: The major objective of 95 percent of suicide attacks is to expel foreign military forces from territory that the terrorists perceive as their homeland. There is little connection with Islamic fundamentalism or any of the world religions. The taproot of suicide terrorism is nationalism and it's "mainly a response to foreign occupation." The objective is political self-determination. The Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a secular, clearly anti-religious movement, have committed 76 of the 315 suicide attacks, the most of any group. Their specific goal was an independent homeland in Sri Lanka. Pape, who has also taught at the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Airpower Studies, convincingly demonstrates that "suicide terrorist groups are neither primarily criminal groups dedicated to enriching their top leaders, nor religious cults isolated from the rest of their society. Rather, suicide terrorist organizations often command broad social support within the national communities from which they recruit, because they are seen as pursuing legitimate nationalist goals." Absent these goals, suicide terrorism rarely occurs.

Only 6 percent of the perpetrators have come from the five countries with the world's largest Islamic fundamentalist populations. (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran and Nigeria). He notes, "Prior to America's invasion in March 2003, Iraq had never experienced a suicide bombing in its history." Further, Pape's demographic profiles of individual suicide terrorists reveals they are not uneducated, poor, mentally unstable, lacking in prospects, or young men expecting to spend paradise in the company of 72 virgins. Almost exactly the opposite is true. The data indicates they have higher incomes, intelligence and education, are deeply integrated into their communities, are highly politically conscious and from widely varied religious backgrounds. A significant minority are female.

Obviously, killing innocents is a morally repugnant act, but the evidence also strongly suggests that these individuals are motivated by a deep sense of duty and view their actions as a sacrifice for a nation's common good, its culture and community goals. Reprehensible, of course. But not caused by religious fervor. Although suicide attacks account for only 3 percent of terrorist incidents, they account for 48 percent of all fatalities. Clearly it's the most deadly manifestation of terrorism and there is every reason to suspect it will increase. It works.

Placing tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the Arabian Peninsula between 1990 and 2001 was the pivotal factor accounting for the Sept. 11 attacks. Pape concludes that given the high correlation between foreign military occupation and suicide terrorist movements, the continued and hated presence of American troops in the region will greatly facilitate terrorist organizers in recruiting fresh volunteers.

My own take is that here we get to the nub of the matter. U.S. military might is concentrated in this region for one reason: He who controls the world's energy resources, especially scarce oil resources, controls the world. He also becomes fabulously wealthy. Permanent military bases in Iraq are crucial to realizing their ends. How much easier, and necessary, for U.S. planners to deceive our citizens that Iraq and all the rest is about a "war on terrorism" related to Islamic fundementalism than to reveal the truth about their motives. They're well aware that an enlightened American public would refuse to give our nation's blessing, blood, and treasure to such a nefarious enterprise.

The so-called "war on terror" is fatally flawed because its planners are incapable of addressing the real political goals of those employing terrorism. They can't afford to do so. Precious little time remains to reverse a U.S. course of action that virtually guarantees a significant uptick in deadly attacks on Americans, both here and abroad.

Gary Olson, Ph.D., is chair of the Political Science Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem. His e-mail address is olson@moravian.edu.

Posted by: nepeta on September 7, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

FUCK!

It's been clear for hours that the poster GOP is either off his nut and not worth arguing with -- a drinker of the KoolAid that can be helped only by medication -- or he's a jackass prankster. Or Hey... maybe he's a DNC plant, and we can all highlight his incivility for netroots activists seeking to prove that the right is actually far nastier than they are.

But why do you folks keep writing responses as if this guy was normal and in good faith? Why waste your time? Kevin wrote a good post on an interesting topic. Why not look at it and deal with it? Why waste your time playing make-believe?

Posted by: moot23 on September 7, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

GOP:

If you'll also consider that any support for Saddam's regime would be considered a crime by the government and a justification for summary execution by various Shi'ite militias -- I'd say if I were an Iraqi, the *very last thing* I'd do was share any positive thoughts I might have about Saddam's regime to anyone I didn't know kind of well personally ...

What, you think Iraqis have *freedom of speech* now or something?

Anarchy is not freedom, my friend. "Freedom" in the vaccum of a clear authority produces its opposite.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, rmck1 --
thanks for the heads up. I think I already recognized the type but couldn't resist.

GOP's not much different. This argument on approval of torture is coming back from May(?), or something. The Pew poll questions are very unspecific but GOP wants to claim any vote not against torture under any circumstances as an endorsement of Repugnut policy.

The fact that I can't find a 2006 poll that gives better figures is, I think, significant.

The idea of this (GOP's) ideology holding sway is more truly the present day reincarnation of Fascism. I only hope I'm right that this person cries to his grave, as many disillusioned cultists do -- if he doesn't find another cult to support his low self-esteem and lack of critical intellectual ability.

Posted by: notthere on September 7, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

But why do you folks keep writing responses as if this guy was normal and in good faith? Why waste your time?

The sock puppet troll GOP/thomas/etc amuses me with his stupidity; my goal is to coax him into greater and greater stupidity.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

What, you think Iraqis have *freedom of speech* now or something?

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

What? You expect GOP to be aware of anything less than the newspeak of the Repugnuts and their fearless leader?

If GOP could recognize sarcasm he would have an intellect, something not really permissible under the regime.

Posted by: notthere on September 7, 2006 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Ha ha ha ha ha! Yes, what's a scientific, nationwide poll of 1,150 Iraqi civilians, 77% of whom believe that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was justified, compared to a newspaper report on a single individual who believes otherwise.

I wasn't comparing the two, I was providing a the opposite point of view to the Ajami quote -- and there are plenty more.

27% of Iraqis, in fact, feel that way as of today -- if, as Bob said, you can take their answers at face value. What's that -- around 7 million people who don't believe they're better off now than they were under Saddam?

That's a lot of damn people, and doesn't include the million plus refugees who voted with their feet and fled the country.

And I think it's fair to presume that the majority Shia think they're better off at least in part because -- no matter what else -- now they're free to wreak revenge on the Sunni, grow their militias without serious government interference, and enact the hardline religious laws and culture that Saddam wouldn't allow, including Sharia law for women and ridding the country of the academics and professionals.

What an excellent fucking outcome.

Posted by: yep on September 7, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

23%, bad math.

Posted by: yep on September 7, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

yep, iirc, if you subtract the Kurds from that poll (for obvious reasons), you get a majority who feels that they were better under Saddam.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta --
your posting of 1:40 am is a good reminder. Thanks.

It's not actually new as this would be an observation over the centuries of people willing to sacrifice their lives, even to the point of suicide, in many situations. Every time I hear someone call "religion", I try to look beyond.

I grew up with the Eire/N.Ireland problem that was constantly portrayed as Catholic/Protestant but was always about politics and control with a sub-theme of religion.

Sunnis have a reality problem in that they are no longer in control; Shias the same, as they cannot control the country without the Sunnis. Kurds within Iraq had better control their own territory but preserve the country before Turkey, Iran and Syria find a way to fragment the total and give Kurds no homeland.

Noone in the US in power bothers to understand anything about the country they aimed to control.

Nor anything about the motivation of the forces involved, although the CIA and FBI psychologists must know.

snafu!

Posted by: notthere on September 7, 2006 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

nepeta / notthere:

Conversely, though, I don't think there somehow *isn't* a connection between suicide terrorism and religion, either. I think by the prevalence of martyrdom videos, the culture of suicide bombers that we know about in Palestine and certainly Osama's and Zarqawi's ideology -- that there is a deep need at least to *justify* and *sanctify* this kind of tactic, to say to the world and to themselves that they're killing themselves for a higher and thoroughly noble cause.

I think one of the problems Westerners have understanding this is that Islam is probably the most inherently political religion extant. Even in the moderate flavors, Islam purports to be a method of conducting every aspect of one's life. There is no "give unto Caesar what it's Caesar's" in Islam. Every act a person undertakes has religious significance.

I do agree that suicide bombing doesn't come out of a political vacuum -- as if the Koran exhorted people to kill themselves to get those 72 virgins. Clearly, the deeper motivation is, rather, nationalism. Religion merely acts as a way to justify the overtly life-deyning act of suicide to oneself and one's community.

But if we addressed some of the longstanding grievances that so many in the Islamic world have with the West, I think we'd do more to undercut the rationale for suicide terrorism than even if Iraq somehow managed to turn miraculously into a shining success.

In fact, if Iraq became a shining success -- it would only further increase the pressure for suicide terrorism -- because this would be seen as a direct blow to Islamic influence in their region.

And that's the great and inherently unresolvable paradox of claiming Iraq as the central front in the global war on terrorism.

You'd almost think these malignant fuckers planned it that way to begin with.

But they were just too fucking stupid to think it all the way through.

Gimme dat oil, baby.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

"Likewise, in Vietnam, anti-communist paranoia blinded us to the essentially nationalist nature of the war we were fighting there. Today we know that negotiations and support for fair elections probably could have worked." -- Kevin Drum.

What a load! What pollyana baloney!

If, big if, a nationwide election in Vietnam was held back in 1954 does anyone with any kind of common sense really believe things would have turned out just hunky-dory? If the communist party of Vietnam lost the election the communists would have just resumed the fighting. If by hook or by crook, the communists managed to win the election, it would have been the last election.

But in Kevin Drum's vision of foreign policy such an outcome would have been just fine.

Posted by: Brad on September 7, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

Brad:

Hey, we have trade relations with Communist Vietnam today.

Just how would that outcome have been any different? Minus, of course, all the dead on both sides and all that fucked-up jungle ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

But why do you folks keep writing responses as if this guy was normal and in good faith? Why waste your time?

The sock puppet troll GOP/thomas/etc amuses me with his stupidity; my goal is to coax him into greater and greater stupidity.

OK Disputo. Thanks for the reason, but I'm not sure you ever had a chance of coaxing GOP to "greater" stupidity. I'm fairly sure you knew GOP was working at a maximum-stupidity threshold. So why shoot at the easy target?

Posted by: moot23 on September 7, 2006 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

moot23:

In over a decade of posting in cyber fora, IME "Don't Feed The Trolls" has never worked as an exhortation.

The whole purpose here is to exchange ideas. Some will be malefactors uninterested in genuine debate. That's okay. Do you think the actual GOP is interested in genuine debate?

The point of troll thwackage is to amuse the *peanut gallery*.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't say, "Don't feed the trolls." And my question wasn't addressed to the troll. It was addressed to a thwacker of trolls after the ridiculous -- quite possibly pseudo-troll -- had been thwacked 60 times.

And the "peanut gallery" is so awfully deadly boring and incestuous. I find Kevin's original post and the original point are so much more interesting.

Don't you? And if you don't, why the hell are you here?

Posted by: moot23 on September 7, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

We haven't exhausted all the fantasy scenarios for terrorist action yet. How about if we get Ray Bradbury to think up a few dozen more for us to fear. What if terrorists invented a secret ray that dislodged the moon from its orbit and sent it crashing into America? What if they figured out a way to levitate Chernoble and dump it in the middle of New York City? Millions would die! Be very afraid and, of course, while you are quaking in your boots, use your free hand to vote Republican!

Posted by: James of DC on September 7, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

Bob

I'm not going to reargue the whole cold-war, though I could. But it's amazing to me that the dominant faction within the Democratic Party today are the anti-Trumans, the anti-anti-communists. And that is in spite of how much is now known about the true history of the cold-war.

How low has the Democratic Party fallen since it's heyday. Today someone like JFK would get run out of the party as a reactionary right-winger.

Posted by: Brad on September 7, 2006 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

moot23:

I've been a regular on this blog for close to 10 months now. I've never seen *you* here before. I dunno if you exactly have the right to ask me that question, truthfully.

If you hadn't noticed, these are the wee hours. Nobody's discussing anything, let alone the main point of the thread. James of DC (another longtime regular) just posted a facetious fantasy scenario about dumping Chernobyl into NYC. You want to thwack *him*, too, for going off-topic?

In case it isn't painfully obvious yet, I don't particularly care for the disdain you express for the peanut gallery here, which is sort of the regular ongoing background chatter among people who've grown familiar with each other. Do I think the thread topic's important? Sure. Do you? Apparently you prefer attempting to play moderator.

If you have something to say on topic, say it. Otherwise, direct your displeasure to Kevin in an email so he can ignore it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

shorter Brad:

I made a ridiculous claim, which I am too lazy too support, but please accept this parting gift of gratuitous Dem bashing.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

Brad:

Nothing quite like the newfound love that right wingers have found for Democratic politicians they would have despised in their heyday. Truman was the man who cashiered MacArthur, and there is good reason to believe Kennedy would have changed course on Vietnam had he not been assassinated.

Hindsight is 20-20, and never more so with history. The Cold War was tremendously misguided, based on what we know now to be a continual overstatement of a threat by a regime that was destined to crumble from its own internal contradictions.

Had we just traded vigorously with the Soviet Bloc (including that dagger at our loins, Cuba), it would have collapsed 20 years earlier.

We won the war with bluejeans, Marlboros and Chevvys -- not ideological bloviation or even military overspending. By continually sabre-rattling, we only gave those tottering regimes that much more ability to consolidate and hang on to power. Nothing a dysfunctional regime loves more than an external boogieman to blame all its problems on.

But again -- second-guessing is easy and cheap.

The lessons this carries for our current confrontation with Osama and friends, however, is quite salient.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

Bob

My last word

I guess the 100 million people killed by communists during the 20th century is just another example of "continual overstatement of a threat". I don't think the Poles, the Lithuanians or countless other examples would agree with your preferred cold-war policy alternative of friendly trade relations with Stalin and Stalin's heirs.

And I pray that the American public understands that your conceptions of recent history, of the cold-war and of proper foreign policy is a perfect representation of the mindset of the leadership of the Democratic Party today.

Posted by: Brad on September 7, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

Brad:

Ahh yes, the ol' self-righteous straw man, appropos of nothing. Nobody said that Communist regimes weren't brutal, repressive dictatorships. But George Kennan spent his entire career making amends for his misinterpretation of Leninist doctrine which he initially claimed supported Soviet expansionism. Turned out the Soviets were more afraid of encroachment; Afghanistan was their only significant attempt to expand the Soviet Union beyond the borders set by Yalta.

As for the proxy wars -- well, Kennedy had the right idea. They were fostered by terrible poverty and lack of education. Had we avoided supporting some of those anti-Communist dictators and instead pushed for democracy and social justice (allowing democratically-elected Socialists like Allende stay in power, for example), we might have served as less of an inspiration for Communist guerrilla movements.

Stalin was perhaps incorrigible, but Khruschev less so. He, after all, opened up the archives and more than anyone, revealed the truth about the Stalin Era that served to disabuse so many Western intellectuals of their support for Stalin's dictatorship. And when Khruschev said "we will bury you!," he meant economically.

We lost a chance to show him just how wrong he was. By trading with these regimes -- flooding them with American consumer goods -- we would have demonstrated to their people that our way of life was infinitely more possible to fulfill their aspirations. Everybody acknowledge that it's through Western goods and Western entertainment that created the popular loss of support for their regimes.

What I'm asking is -- why didn't we accelerate this process?

Oh -- and there was no "missile gap." The CIA estimates of a resurgent Red Army in the 80s turned out to be laughable.

It's those patent exaggerations I'm talking about.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 4:50 AM | PERMALINK

But why do you folks keep writing responses as if this guy was normal and in good faith? Why waste your time?
---------
六合彩

Posted by: peter on September 7, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

"We won the war with bluejeans, Marlboros and Chevvys........." - rmck1

What a ridiculous statement.


Brad, rmck1 is a Jimmy Carter liberal through and through. He means well but is seriously misguided when it comes to directing foreign policy to those that mean us (or anybody else) harm.

Jimmy Carter is directly responsible for what Iran has become and he was, without question, the worst leader of any country to ever occupy this planet.

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Thursday, September 07, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq For the first time since its defeat by U.S.-led coalition forces in 2003, Iraq is in command of its own armed forces.

"From today forward, the Iraqi military responsibilities will be increasingly conceived and led by Iraqis," top U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. George Casey said Thursday, after signing over command of Iraq's military to the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Miliki.

Al-Maliki now has complete control over the country's small navy and air force, and of the 8th Iraqi Army Division, based in the south.

"The Iraqi Army today is rebuilt again away from sectarian violence," al-Maliki said at the ceremony."


So, what was the Democrats plan again?

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, we have trade relations with Communist Vietnam today.

Bob: this is insufficiently vehement. We are Vietnam's number one trading partner today. We have a free trade agreement with Vietnam, not just trade relations. Vietnam is the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia. American businesses with major investments here include Nike, Ford, Coca-Cola, Intel, Motorola, Chevron - the list goes on and on.

The difference is that, if we had not fought the Vietnam War at all, we would probably have stronger investments here, better relations, and do more trade, as we wouldn't have pointlessly thrown away the years between 1954 and 1994.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

And when a drug addict kills for his habit, it's not his fault, it's the behaviour, right?

I thought we let hypocritical drug addicts avoid jail and continue on with their wingnut talk show? Or is that only when they are fat white conservatives?

Posted by: ckelly on September 7, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

First, there is no such thing as "global war on terrorism."
We are at war with Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Iraq we were "at war" with Saddam H. and in Afghanistan with the Taliban.
In Iraq we are now in the middle of a civil war (though no one in the Bush Administration will admit it) between the Shiites and the Sunnis.
In Afghanistan we are tangled up in an insurgent war with the resurgent Taliban and the war lords and the central government.
In neither case are we fighting a so-called war as it originally was thought of.
We also are not at war with Hezbollah or Syria or Lebanon. Hezbollah fought the Israeli Army and used guerilla tactics such as movable rocket launchers,
soldiers without uniforms, forces that lived with civilians, not a "conventional" war at all.
All these, anyone can recognize, are different environments, different conflicts and cannot be treated as a "global war on terrorism." To do so is militarily very stupid and uses tactics that are in effective. Fighting conventional wars is what our Armed Forces have trained for; none of these are "conventional" wars, if wars at all.
Not to mention Al Qaeda, a fragmented secret guerilla group that may, or may not be, responsible for miscellaneous terrorist actions against our country around the world.
So if this administration continues to pour conventional forces into Iraq and Afghanistan, to fight conventional wars, it is a losing proposition.
We also do not have any group knowledgeable enough to perform the task of nation-building; the early Romans had a whole superstructure designed to rule foreign provinces, and build aqueducts and roads, but it took years and manpower and an approach to ruling such provinces all of which we don't have.

Posted by: OCPatriot on September 7, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

First, there is no such thing as "global war on terrorism."
We are at war with Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Iraq we were "at war" with Saddam H. and in Afghanistan with the Taliban.
In Iraq we are now in the middle of a civil war (though no one in the Bush Administration will admit it) between the Shiites and the Sunnis.
In Afghanistan we are tangled up in an insurgent war with the resurgent Taliban and the war lords and the central government.
In neither case are we fighting a so-called war as it originally was thought of.
We also are not at war with Hezbollah or Syria or Lebanon. Hezbollah fought the Israeli Army and used guerilla tactics such as movable rocket launchers,
soldiers without uniforms, forces that lived with civilians, not a "conventional" war at all.
All these, anyone can recognize, are different environments, different conflicts and cannot be treated as a "global war on terrorism." To do so is militarily very stupid and uses tactics that are in effective. Fighting conventional wars is what our Armed Forces have trained for; none of these are "conventional" wars, if wars at all.
Not to mention Al Qaeda, a fragmented secret guerilla group that may, or may not be, responsible for miscellaneous terrorist actions against our country around the world.
So if this administration continues to pour conventional forces into Iraq and Afghanistan, to fight conventional wars, it is a losing proposition.
We also do not have any group knowledgeable enough to perform the task of nation-building; the early Romans had a whole superstructure designed to rule foreign provinces, and build aqueducts and roads, but it took years and manpower and an approach to ruling such provinces all of which we don't have.

Posted by: OCPatriot on September 7, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"We won the war with bluejeans, Marlboros and Chevvys........." - rmck1

What a ridiculous statement. -- the stupidest fucking person on the planet* (*Taking the title from Doug Feith in a TKO)

So now TSFPP has shown his complete ignorance of the power of the free market something that most Americans believe in as if it were holy writ.

And naturally, he overlooks the 1.2 billion or so in SoutEast Asia who still live under communism, yet are poised to kick our ass in the free market for decades to come, in part because we were too persuasive about a market economy versus a centralized one.

While the Soviets crumbled in 1989, without anything resembling a stable market -- GW Bush was already 13 years into his relationship with China, which served to open the Chinese market for trade, thinking so much of the relationship he sent two top advisors (Brent Scowcroft and Laurence Eagleberger) to Bejing in secret two weeks after Tienemen Square to make sure that they didn't take his tepid criticism of their crackdown too seriously.

While I think that relationship was a disaster for American workers, it was great for China (and indirectly Vietnam). They are still in the midst of a transition, keeping the worst aspects of Communism with the worst aspects of capitalism -- but they've maintained a stability that Russia lacked and now the Maoists are poised for the Chinese century, because of the free market.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on September 7, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

"....he overlooks the 1.2 billion or so in SoutEast Asia who still live under communism, yet are poised to kick our ass in the free market for decades to come, in part because we were too persuasive about a market economy versus a centralized one." - notlf


Communism rule but a very de-centralized, capitalist moving market. Just FYI, moron.


"...but they've maintained a stability that Russia lacked and now the Maoists are poised for the Chinese century, because of the free market." - notlf


So what the fuck is your point? Are you saying that China will usurp economic superiority from the west? Hardly? Are you thinking that a burgeoning market in Cjina is a bad thing? Hardly? I will serve to bolster ours and the worlds economy.

You are a defeatist loser. Which is synonymous with being a lefty.

Have a nice day.

btw, our SDI program and our military build up was primarily responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"the stupidest fucking person on the planet" - notlf

No you're not, Michael Moore is. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

"First, there is no such thing as "global war on terrorism." - OCP


This is a great platform for the '08 election. The problem is that most of the Democratic Senators disagree with you.


Posted by: Jay on September 7, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

When you quit caring about trying to win rhetorical points for your "team" in order to salvage an apparently damaged and insecure ego, and start caring about what's true and what's right in a non-partisan way, let us know.

Sometimes the truth is not easy and not popular, which is why independent thinkers can differ with political leaders, be they Democratic Senators, segregationists prior to the Civil Rights movement, or King George III.

In the meantime, you could exercise some restraint and discretion about what and how often you post.

Paradoxically, you might find that it wins you some of the respect you seem to so desperately crave.

Posted by: ck on September 7, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Carter is directly responsible for what Iran has become and he was, without question, the worst leader of any country to ever occupy this planet.

Atta boy Jay. James Earl Earl Carter. Worse than Pol Pot. Worse than Idi Amin. Worse than Papa Doc Duvalier. Worse than Jean-Bedel Boukassa. Worse than Adolf Hitler. Worse than Joseph Stalin. Worse than Kim Jong Il. Worse than Mao Zedong. Worse than Dionysius the Elder. Worse than Ming the Merciless.

Jimmy, we hardly knew ye.

Posted by: Jay's the man!!!! on September 7, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

btw, our SDI program and our military build up was primarily responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

btw, you are wrong, Levi's won the cold war, and Ronald Reagan was a senile moron. Bwa haa haa!

We now return to our regularly scheduled sane people.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 7, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Just because Iraq has been a fiasco doesn't give you license to throw up your hands and consign every scenario to the Iraq template"

I disagree. I think I AM entitled to consign every scenario to the Iraq template, and to its sister, the Katrina template, as long at the Boob Administration controls the executive branch of the federal government.

Until they do something, anything, right (except get re-elected) only a fool would trust them with another important job.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 7, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"So what concessions do you think the US should be willing to make to obtain the end of Iran's nuclear arms program?"

How about we agree to buy oil from them?

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 7, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes it does."

Brilliant retort.

No, it doesn't.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 7, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Republican't talking point about Star Wars defeating the Soviet Union is not that it worked per se, because of course it did not, has not and probably will not.

The point is that the Soviets believed we would spend ourselves silly on it, and for some reason they would have to spend silly on something like it to "defeat" it, or at least to defend against it JUST IN CASE it wasn't completely defensive but had an offensive capability, too.

Well, spending ourselves silly certainly remains a Republican't tactic, I'll have to admit. Iraq is proof that the Republican't will pour money down any rathole, so long as their guys are at the bottom with their MIC companies.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 7, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Jimmy Carter is directly responsible for what Iran has become and he was, without question, the worst leader of any country to ever occupy this planet."

Sorry, jay, but your boy, Commander Codpiece, has taken the title from Jimmy "Ineffective" Carter.

There is bad, like Carter, then there is Awesomely Misguided and Everything he Touches Turns to Crap, like Bush.

At least Carter didn't invade the WRONG country!

(PS, it was Poppy who negotiated with the Iranians to keep the hostages until Reagan was elected, after which the ReThugs promised, and did, sell arms to the Iranians. You know, THOSE Iranians. The ones worse than Hitler and the Nazis.)

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 7, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

> "We won the war with bluejeans, Marlboros and Chevvys........." -

> What a ridiculous statement.

No, it happens to be received wisdom on all sides of the political
spectrum. We obviously didn't win the Cold War because of those
three specific things. That's a rhetorical device called, umm,
synedoche, Jay. Using specific placeholder concepts to stand for
something more broad. Because whether you're William F. Buckley
or Noam Chomsky, you believe that the East Bloc fell in large part
because the people in it craved Western freedoms and Western consumer
goods. You could toss in rock 'n' roll, Frank Zappa (in the case
of Vaclav Havel, who appointed Zappa as special minister for
Czechoslovokian trade relations, literally), jazz, newspapers.

See, if the people in the East Bloc were united behind their
governments, if the police state propaganda had truly brainwashed
them into denying their own desires, if it was capable of meeting
even the most basic needs of all their people so they felt satisfied
-- all the military buildup in the world wouldn't have defeated it.
The Soviet Union fell and yet Red China still stands. There's a
reason for this, Jay. Cultural discontent makes all the difference.

You really need to study this recent history if you want to
understand what it will take to win over a country like Iran, whose
younger generation are very much like those East German kids, dying
to score a pack of smuggled Marlboros or a black-market pair of
Jordache jeans, listening to American pop on Radio Free Europe.

The East Bloc was much easier to win over, because most of those
countries always felt close to Europe (the Balkans, having been
co-opted by the Ottoman Empire, took a little longer and was much
bloodier because of that mixed cultural legacy). That's why so
many conservatives went apoplectic at Roosevelt when he have away
the store to Stalin at Yalta. Of course, he had little choice at
the time, considering the triumphant Red Army, but there you go.

In Iran, you have two different dynamics pulling in opposite
directions. You have a generation of young people born after the
Iran/Iraq war, children raised in the Islamic Revolution, who are
turning away from it in disgust. Why? Because of the internet,
black-market satellite dishes (which dot nearly every dwelling in
Tehran despite the laws), smuggled Madonna CDs, vodka, movies ...
Persians are like the Italians of the Mideast. They're a very
florid, passionate, expressive people who need large degrees of
repression and fear to let a bunch of ancient mullahs tell them how
to behave. The Islamic Revolution conflicts with Persian character.

On the other hand, you have the full weight of Persian tradition and
history: A proud people, once ascendent in the ancient world, who
had been overrun by invaders and conquerors for centuries, always
finding a way to exist and preserve their traditions. In this way,
Shi'ism, a religion of the underdog living under siege, fits the
Persian character perfectly. So you have this tremendous duality.
Most Iranian young people understand intellectually that it would
be more constructive if Iran gave up its nuclear ambitions to cut a
better trade deal with the West. But very few of them -- no matter
how addicted they've become to Western culture -- will disagree with
Ahmadinejad about it. Why? Because of stubborn Persian pride.

This isn't "Islamofascism," Jay. The Iranian police state and
Shariah law get weaker every year. It's the interplay of modern
cultural forces with ancient tradition and history. And we can either
make this interplay work for us -- or was can make it work against us.

> Brad, rmck1 is a Jimmy Carter liberal through and through.
> He means well but is seriously misguided when it comes to directing
> foreign policy to those that mean us (or anybody else) harm.

First of all, little man, Jimmy Carter was *hardly* liberal enough
for me. He was the original neolib, for one; his economic policies
predated Reagan and in many ways were indistinguishable. Secondly,
Carter shared an awful trait with Bush II on the world stage:
a positively sickening degree of sanctimony due to the fact that
he's a Southern Baptist with a great deal of evangelical support.

I'm a domestic policy liberal and a foreign policy realist.
Jimmy Carter, for me, was precisely the worst of both worlds.

> Jimmy Carter is directly responsible for what Iran
> has become and he was, without question, the worst
> leader of any country to ever occupy this planet.

I'll leave aside the cheap shots at the grotesquely immature
hyperbole; others have nailed you on it. But to call Carter
responsible for Iran is beyond absurd. The Shah of Iran would
have eventually died and there would have been an Iranian
Revolution because the Shah was installed by outsiders and
ran a legendarily vicious secret police that tortured people.
*Eisenhower* was more responsible for the Iranian Revolution
than Carter, if you really want to argue like a simplistic moron.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am a little late to respond to this topic but in the article Mr. Drum mentioned that JFK negotiated a deal with the Soviets to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis but what he didn't mention is just as important. My father was on the USS Enterprise during the Cuban Missle Crisis. The flight deck had four fighters with nuclear bombs and orders to launch the strike at 0600. The hold call came at around 3 minutes before launch. So basically Cuba came within 6 to 7 minutes of being vaporized.

I cannot prove this story by way of public record as I can only tell it through the words of an eye-witness but the fact remains clear, negotiations mean nothing without a power military threat.

Posted by: CPLViper on September 7, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

CPLViper:

Of course, if Bush were JFK, he would have just nuked Cuba over an intolerable threat and have had done with it.

Ahh well. Moral of *that* story is that military threats mean even *less* without negotiations.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bob:

The argument you just made regarding President Bush is absolutely absurd. I will quote you, actually, "I'll leave aside the cheap shots and the grotesquely immature
hyperbole".

Your arguement that a military threat means less without negotiations is logically flawed. A military threat without negotiations is not a threat, it is a military action with the element of surprise.

Posted by: CPLViper on September 7, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

CPLViper:

Try the invasion of Iraq. The "negotiations" were entirely bullshit, designed to con the Europeans into a preordained conclusion. The weapons inspections produced the wrong result, ergo chase them out of the country and commence bombing.

That's military action without any semblance of *genuine* negotiations.

Which is why the if-Bush-were-JFK analogy is salient. While counterfactuals are obviously meaningless, it's nonetheless my gut read that Bush would have had exactly zero patience for negotiations and wouldn't have pulled that strike order.

YMMV, but so what.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 7, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bob:

What just happened? I belive the topic we were debating was negotiations with the threat of military repercussions.

I see you are trying to lead me towards a debate of the current administration's foreign policy, the Iraqi war front and possibly the existence/non-existence of WMDs. Although those topics may be near and dear to your heart, honestly, I have had enough of those discussions. I have read all the arguments and talking-points from all sides and I don't believe you or anyone else would be able to convince me of what I believe. Now, if you were to call me from the street outside my home and threaten me, my family and property with sure and sudden extinction, than maybe I would be willing to negotiate.

Hoping you can see my original point.

Posted by: CPLViper on September 7, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

A military threat without negotiations is not a threat, it is a military action with the element of surprise.

Ridiculous. Not only can honest negotiations occur while maintaining the threat of a surprise military action, historically negotiations have often been used as a ruse to lull an opponent into letting their guard down for a military action.

Ask your father.

Posted by: Disputo on September 7, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

What you stated is true but the military threat is am implied threat without specifics. In the Cuban Missile Crisis the threat was specific to nuke Cuba.

Posted by: CPLViper on September 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well Bob, I finally found something to disagree with you on. Jimmy Carter was (and is) tough as nails. We were never in the slightest danger due to the hostage situation, which he responded to admirably.

He had the guts to bring tremendous pressure on Israel and squeeze out a peace treaty between Israel and its most dangerous adversary, Egypt.

He had the guts to push human rights as the proper long term strategy for America as well as the smartest stategic strategy.

Also, he kept his religion and politics separate. He does have any of the prejudices that most evangelicals have.

Look at his whole life. Excelled as a student, naval officer, businessman, politician, writer and ex-president. Pretty tough cookie.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on September 7, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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