Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DEM FOREIGN POLICY....A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post suggesting that after years of disarray and vacillation, the mainstream of the Democratic Party has actually achieved a fairly substantial consensus about what our foreign policy should look like in the age of terror. I'm not going to repeat my arguments here, but if you want to brush up on what I said, the original post is here.

I'm revisiting this because last night I spoke to a local group of Democratic activists and pitched this idea to them. The feedback I got was this: in a general sense I might be right, but there's one specific issue that's so divisive within the party that it really doesn't matter if there's a consensus on everything else.

That issue, of course, is Iraq. As I said in my earlier post, "Nearly everyone in Democratic circles agrees that the war in Iraq was a mistake, though there's still a fair amount of disagreement about what to do about this now." However, if the people I talked to last night are right, that's a wild understatement. These are the folks who walk precincts, participate in party conventions, and help write position statements, and what they told me is that party activists in California are practically at war with each other over the question of whether we should withdraw from Iraq "immediately" or merely "as soon as we can." It blots out nearly everything else.

This is only one data point, and it's from a single state. I don't know how widely true it is. But it's discouraging anyway, if for no other reason than that it's so pointless. If we really do have a rough consensus on what our foreign policy should look like, it's nuts to tear ourselves apart over an issue that we have no control over in any case.

I'm still digesting this, but thought I'd toss it out and see what people thought. On the broader issue of whether Dems are anywhere close to consensus, Shadi Hamid critiques my thesis here and here.

Kevin Drum 2:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (132)

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Comments

I'm at a loss as to why Democrats are even debating pull out now or pull out later. It's just not their call in the current political environment, and I happen to agree that the ensuing bloodbath would bring back all the old criticisms that Democrats can't be trusted in wartime.

Instead, they should be hammering home what a mess Bush has made over there, and that this doesn't leave anyone with GOOD options; however, there is no question that new leadership, without all the baggage Bush and Rumsfeld bring to the situation, and a fresh look at the problem are required.

Posted by: brewmn on September 19, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Kevin, even if its true that the plural of anecdote is data, you don't even have a plural. You've got one story. And it's not so important, probably, since no real Democratic voter is staying home because other Democrats say we should be in Iraq a shorter or longer time. Everybody knows that electing Democrats means shorter, to a considerable degree, and that's what they'll be voting for.

What do you think a Democratic Congress can do about Iraq in January anyway? That's the really interesting question.

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Another issue that divides Democrats somewhat is support for Israel. Obviously, it is political suicide to say that we should stop supporting Israel. However, on the substance of it, I just don't see how supporting Israel helps us strategically.

In terms of the politics of it currently, I think a lot of Democrats think we should at least lessen our support for Israel quite a bit, and I've seen that this issue produces a lot of friction, at least in the blogosphere.

Posted by: Jim W on September 19, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Well, for what it's worth, "practically at war with each other over the questions of whether we should withdraw from Iraq immediately or merely as soon as we can" pretty much exactly describes my own internal process.

Posted by: dcbob on September 19, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's pretty silly.

I'm a county Democratic committee member and precinct walker in Northern Virginia and I haven't seen a single argument like that among Democrats out here. Everyone agrees that Bush is a disaster and getting some parental controls on the White House is what matters.

Hell, I don't really have a position on when exactly the troops should come -- how about when smart and competent military people decide it's a good idea? I'll let Jack Murtha (and hopefully Jim Webb) tell me when the timer pops.

Posted by: Sean on September 19, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the reality injection, Sean. I think rarely but occasionally Kevin stretches too hard to fill up his posting quota for the day. This is one of those rare times.

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin and Sean's experience could be reconciled if the question were rephrased as "should the neoliberal so-called 'hawks' be at helm of the Democratic Party in the future?"

For me, actually a fairly conservative Democrat, and many I know this is the real issue within the party. These neolibs bought the Cheney line lock, stock, and barrel and were very anxious to go to war (not anxious enough to join up, but otherwise very anxious indeed). Now that the results of their collaboration are clear, they want to label themselves "serious" and seize control of the Democratic helm after the hard groundwork is done by people mostly more liberal than they are.

Will these neolibs be put back in power? If they are, I personally will start looking for another party. Problem is, there may be some war-Dems who think the opposite (in northern Virginia perhaps?).

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on September 19, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get the ensuing bloodbath... what the hell is going on right now then?

We need to distance ourselves from Isreal also. It would help in our fight against terror.

Posted by: dee on September 19, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Just to clarify -- I didn't think Kevin's post was silly, I thought that the bickering among some California Democrats was silly.

Kevin,

You should tell the people who were arguing (in your polite and reasonable way) that they're a bunch of dee-dee-dees.

Posted by: Sean on September 19, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I guess this is why I am not a political party type person. Policy is never about what is the best thing to do for the people involved, policy decisions are all about how will it play to the money giving constituents and sometimes about how will it play to the voters.

All those heads the neo-conned think the Islamic insurgents are cutting off should wind up under the sheets of party officials and disturb their corrupt slumber.

Posted by: Hostile on September 19, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another anecdote.

I'm a registered Green Party voter. I think the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is an ongoing crime against humanity, and the troops should be withdrawn immediately. I think the Democratic Party leadership is fatally compromised by corporatism, and has on the whole been pathetic in their acquiescence to Bush's crimes and their (at best) feeble efforts at any sort of opposition.

In November's elections, I expect to vote the straight Democratic ticket. The only ghost of a hope for this country is to remove the Republicans from majority control of one or both houses of Congress.

I think Kevin is worrying too much about this.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky,

I was just thinking today that if things go well, this will be an election like '58 or '74 where a whole different bunch of Democrats gets elected, the kind who will feel they shouldn't be buying into the same old stuff. The new guys are apt to think that the others really made a mistake in climbing on the Iraq bandwagon, for reasons both of good policy and good politics. And some of the remaining old guys are apt to agree. It can make a big change in an institution to have an influx of new views (although by chance not as many this year as in earlier times).

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"If we really do have a rough consensus on what our foreign policy should look like, it's nuts to tear ourselves apart over an issue that we have no control over in any case."

Glad to see Kevin you finally agreeing with me since I've been writing for awhile now in this comment section of how foolish and strategically inept it is to be arguing over withdrawl and thus giving republicans a means to cast democrats as surrender monkeys etc etc.

Did I see today a new poll showing Bush's approval ratings up? Jeez, I wonder why that is. Could it be that all that high minded rhetoric that sounds so good flying with such earnest enthusiasm back and forth across a table at Starbucks just doesn't cut it with the red meat crowd? When are you idiot liberals gonna figure it out? I really don't have the stomach to endure the Bill Frist administration.

And by the way, there is no 'rough concensus' on foreign policy on the left, that's just an illusion based on the flimsy what ifs of the future: Iraq is real and that's why there's such division over: Iraq is the true litmus test re liberal FP.

Posted by: saintsimon on September 19, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Just for the record, "This is only one data point, and it's from a single state. I don't know how widely true it is" means exactly what it sounds like.

Ignoring feedback from people on the ground is dangerous. If no one else is seeing this, that's great, but I think it's worthwhile to get stuff like this out in the open to see if anyone else is seeing the same thing.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on September 19, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Um, there is a rough consensus on foreign policy on the left. No more idiotic wars of choice. Out of Iraq sooner than later. That's pretty clearly both the "left" (I laugh when trolls use this term to describe mainstream thought) and "center" position now.

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Who said Iraq was a mirage?

I thought the map was lying.

Who said it was fake?

Donkey

Posted by: dee on September 19, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

In terms of the politics of it currently, I think a lot of Democrats think we should at least lessen our support for Israel quite a bit, and I've seen that this issue produces a lot of friction, at least in the blogosphere.

This is one reason why it's so hard for Democrats to announce any policy. They would clearly create more distance from Israel and that would just as clearly cost them some of the jewish vote permanently. While it might not matter in NYS you could cross off Florida permanently and it could prove important in other states as well.

It would not just cost them jewish votes. Moving away from Israel in order to appease terrorists would be recognized as moral and intellectual cowardice. Democrats cannot afford to lose jewish votes nor continue to be seen as weak on security. There's a reason the only time a Democratic candidate was above to get above 50% was due to Watergate and Carter was just above 50%.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that the activist Democrats (southern Californian, most likely?) you met with are considerably to the left of the average California Democrat. That was my experience working with them. They also think that they have to take a position on most any question that gets raised, and so their responses end up statistically distributed over the whole left-spectrum. Once anybody raises the more extreme position, others feel that they have to take it up (the "leftier than thou" response), and so you experience the result of that process. My guess is that the broader public of Democratic voters goes with "shorter" rather than "immediately," and if put to the test, would go with trusting the Murtha wing. The group demanding an immediate pullout may or may not be correct, but they are in the distinct minority.

Posted by: Bob G on September 19, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, I think, with the sentiments of brewmn, the first commenter.

A lot of what fuels the desire to leave Iraq "immediately" is the outrage and frustration that we were put there in the first place --not because people are sure it's the best choice. One way to introduce more consensus among Democrats about Iraq, then, would be to insist, as a first step, that there be a measure of public accountability for the mistakes of the Administration; for example, a congressional censure. In any case, if there were some public recognition that mistakes were made, more people could get on board with the effort to rectify them --i.e, not wish to leave "immediately".

Posted by: paul on September 19, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I want to hear that the Dems have an articulated policy on IRAN.

Bush is boxing us into a corner on Iran, where war will be the only option. Will Dems formulate a policy on this NOW, and stand up for it?

Or are we just going to wait until Bush makes a move? By then it will, I think, be too late.

Posted by: John H. on September 19, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Don't "Immediately" and "As soon as we can" boil down to the same time?

Posted by: Boronx on September 19, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
If you would read your own blog, and look at the wide array of opinion among the non-trolls, you would have caught on a long time ago.

There are three camps of (real) Democrats (as opposed to fake ones like ex-liberal and Thomas1):
1. Read My Lips. Troops Home Now.
2. Troops in Iraq are recruiting more terrorists, redeploy to Kuwait or Kurdistan to be able to stop an all-out military civil war, or invasion from Iran.
3. We need more troops to effectively secure Iraq so we can succeed with the Democracy Promotion.

I don't think you're going to get these three camps to see eye to eye.

All three of these camps agree on one thing: Bush lied us into war, and should be brought to account on this via impeachment and/or turning over to the hague.

Very few Dems I know of think Bush should be allowed to serve out his term unimpeached.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

There is no way to get 140,000 troops out immediately. As soon as possible and immediately are essentially the same position.

The difference between these two groups is whether they are actually honest enough to say 'let start the process of withdrawal' and those who are essentially moral cowards who want Bush to get blamed for the war without actually proposing any positive steps to get out.

Posted by: JIMMY on September 19, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine if a Democratic politician had said in 1968, "We cannot win the war. We are going to pull out sooner or later, and when we do, the bad guys are going to take over. It was a big mistake to get us into this position. But whether we pull out now or later, the result is going to be the same. In order to save thousands of lives, we should therefore pull out now."

He probably wouldn't have won any elections. But he would have been right.

The Democrats have precisely the same dilemma today.

Posted by: wally on September 19, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

This current democrat trusts dems with national security. Anyone who lies to go to war should not be trusted in security. Just saying you did something is no good. Jimmy- blow me with your moral cowards comment. I don't want your morals nor should repubs. speak of morals after what they have done.

Posted by: dee on September 19, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

mhr wrote: "This ex-Democrat does not trust Democrats with the national security of the United States."

You are not an "ex-Democrat." You are a liar.

You are also a Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirt mental slave who is incapable of doing anything but mechanically regurgitating scripted Republican Fascist Party propaganda.

In simpler terms, you are an asshole.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Cranky,

Interesting angle about liberal hawks. There is a lot of animosity in the party towards them.

Personally, I opposed the Iraq War and I have no issue with the Democrats who got steamrolled by the BushCo war machine. (Colin Powell's speech at the UN had me wavering for a bit.) I do have an issue with Democrats who can't admit that they got steamrolled and were wrong about the war (like Joe Lieberman).

Note that, with the exception of people over 60 or so, Northern Virginia is not the South. It's an area in flux with lots of displaced Midwesterners or Yankees like me (I moved here from New England about ten years ago) and substantial Asian and Latino populations.

Posted by: Sean on September 19, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic Party's line on Iraq should be to withdraw troops to Kurdistan and Kuwait. That way they are getting the troops out of harms way, but not "cutting and running". It can be portrayed as a responsible strategic move that would be a much better alternative than keeping troops in Iraq proper where they are unable to do anything constructive.

Posted by: mfw13 on September 19, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a Republican, and don't trust the GOP with the security of the United States. 9/11, and George W. Bush's complete inattention to the threat of terrorism before 9/11 was all the proof I needed that he doesn't really care about national security--except as a campaign tool to win elections and scare people into accepting un-American policies.

Real Republican

Posted by: Real Republican on September 19, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

We should withdraw now and apoligize to Iraq for invading and for the deaths of so many of their citizens due to our incompetent king.

Posted by: balls on September 19, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

...since I've been writing for awhile now in this comment section of how foolish and strategically inept it is to be arguing over withdrawl and thus giving republicans a means to cast democrats as surrender monkeys etc etc.
Posted by: saintsimon on September 19, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oh - like that's YOUR original thought. Hah.

This is Karl Rove's idea, and it has served the Republicans well.

Democratic VOTERS need to know that Democratic politicians are going to fight for them. If Democratic politicians don't show any spine on Iraq WRT standing up to Republicans, then why should a Democratic voter vote at all?

It's nothing more than a lame vote-suppression technique. Unfortunately, it worked. But politicians in the Democratic party, and the party leadership, are starting to get the clue that they're not going to win jack shit until they grow a spine on Iraq.

I don't think it matters if the policy is cohesive. I think it matters that they're willing to stand up to Bush. That's about all that matters for this upcoming election cycle. This is a referendum on Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

re: Moral cowards.

its going to be a difficult process to get out of Iraq. Someone should have a plan. We dont have a plan do we? i think we have a plan to have a plan. And that is bs and cowardice.

Its not enought to say we should get out of Iraq, someone needs to say how.

Posted by: JIMMY on September 19, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I think the reason that Democratic party professionals have a difficult time in rallying around a single position on Iraq is that there isn't (to them anyway)a clear alternative to Bush's approach (stay until "the job is done"). There is an alternative (pull out soon) but that path seems fraught with peril to the party professionals. If a pull-out means that Iraq descends into the chaotic nightmare portrayed by the Bushites, the Democratic professionals feel as though they will have stepped into the GOP's biggest trap ever.

So, it seems to me that the reason the professional Democrats are afraid to stake out a clear position on reducing our troop levels is that they are afraid of the consequences of the worst possible scenario playing out. They would be, for several generations, be tarred as the "cut-n-run" party by the GOP. That's a prospect worse than having been right on Iraq but lacking the nerve to correct the problem.

I think the Democrats are far too nervous to pull off an audacious alternative which would play very well among voters right now. They'll practically have to be begged by the electorate to offer a draw-down of troop levels before they'll bite. They want a guarantee of no blow-back on them but there are no such guarantees in politics.

To me, this thing is simple: the longer the U.S. stays in Iraq, the higher the costs go of staying and the more brutal the consequences are TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE are of eventually drawing down U.S. forces. It's the ultimate "you can pay me now or you can pay me later" scenario - with the price going up dramatically the longer we wait.

No pol is exactly eaten up with courage; so you're not going to find any willing to bite the bullet and pay the current price of a draw-down. I suspect the American people are going to have to draft someone and put them into office to carry out the approach THEY want to see.

So, from my perspective, a pox on both Republican and Democratic houses!

Posted by: Taobhan on September 19, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Word games. "Immediately" doesn't mean that, it means as soon as we can logistically get out. The military decides. "As soon as we can" is just b.s. unless you define what the prequiquisites are. If the prequisite is a free and stable Iraq, it means never. But if it means "without unnecessary losses to our forces," then it is precisely the same as "immediately."

Posted by: bob on September 19, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think the main difference is between Democrats who believe that democracy can be promoted by dropping bombs and/or invasion and Democrats who believe this kind of policy is extremely dangerous/hopelessely naive.

Posted by: es on September 19, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

>if for no other reason than that it's so pointless.

I dunno. The Rethugs are tearing themselves apart over "snowflake babies", as much as that argument disgusts me I'm heartend to see some passion over REAL babies (and toddlers, and kids, and teenagers, and adults, and old people) dying in Iraq.

I mean, the amazing thing about this is how antiseptic the entire discussion is. Nobody in this entire country should give a fuck about anything else until we have stopped the bloodbath. The right wing should shut up about "the death tax" the left wing "fair trade", even my beloved environmental causes should tread water for awhile..

Everything should just fucking stop until this mess is cleaned up. It's like a goddam Richie Rich dinner party where one of the kitchen help has a seizure and everybody from the dining party clucks sadly and dispassionately discusses what the best hospital in the area is and which doctor they'd recommend.

And not a fucking one raises their fat ass from their seat to go and help.

Posted by: doesn't matter on September 19, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

rdw said that reducing our support for Israel amounts to appeasing terrorists. This doesn't make any sense. We give Israel $3 billion per year. Many other countries, such as India, also suffer from terrorist attacks. Does this mean that unless we start giving all those countries $3 billion dollars every year that we are appeasing terrorists?

Our policies should be aimed foremost at increasing OUR security. In my opinion, stopping our support of Israel would, in the long run, also be in their best interest too, because it would force them to adopt a more realistic strategy to accomodate their neighbors.

As I said earlier though, this is not a policy that would sell politically right now.

Posted by: Jim W on September 19, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here in Kentucky, we've got progressives and conservatives fighting to the death for control of the Democratic Party, but since the primary ended in May, we're on all the same page on the goal of turning Congress back over to the dems. "Democrats good, Bush bad, republicans very very bad" is our mantra, and otherwise we keep our mouths shut until after the November election. Then we get to start fighting over the gubernatorial primary in May 2007.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on September 19, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"at war with each other over the question of whether we should withdraw from Iraq "immediately" or merely "as soon as we can."" [...] "it's discouraging anyway, if for no other reason than that it's so pointless."

I agree it is mostly a pointless argument, and politically unwise as it relates to crafting and selling a message. But Cranky got in above with a similar interpretation to mine:

could be reconciled if the question were rephrased as "should the neoliberal 'hawks' be at helm of the Democratic Party in the future?"

And that the argument Kevin refers to is kind of a a proxy argument between "liberal" hawks (i.e., ALL of the media, most of the liberal blogs, all of the Democratic politicians) and those who believe that "NO WAR" should be the default position, and only violated under imminent threat. This is the only moral position, and, helpfully, a usually correct, pragmatic, utilitarian position too.

All the schmucks who fell for the last war's sales pitch should step aside. And volunteer to help clean up the carnage you facillitated.

Posted by: luci on September 19, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like the comments posted here support your general argument...Democrats are at a complete loss because the options are all bleak. Fundamentally, the issue revolves around the so called Pottery-Barn rule. Do Americans have a moral responsibility to prevent _armed_ religious factions from slaughtering one another? I for one would love to see a Democrat frame it this way and conclude that no, we do not. If we are not providing the weapons, not involved in the religous dispute, and not encouraging the killing, then it's beyond me why we are morally responsible for it. Intervening on behalf of a civilian population during genocide and wedging oneself in between factions in a religous war are two different beasties. One entails a moral obligation and perhaps military intervention from a "super power", the other, at best, rates diplomatic intervention.

Posted by: Ian D. on September 19, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get the ensuing bloodbath... what the hell is going on right now then?

Think Rwanda with better weapons.

IMHO, We must stay until either Iraq becomes stable(global cooling is more likely) or until the majority of Americans scream for us to get out. A competent, non-corrupt, legitimate attempt at reconstruction(something the Thugs are systemically incapable of) is something the Democrats could offer. A three part confederacy, sharing oil revenues, may be the only positive solution. The groups should be given incentives to move to their respective homelands, with borders between the respective states being secured first by the US, then maybe the UN and in a decade, after the people have come too see the advantages of the arrangement, the Iraqis.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 19, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

This doesn't make any sense. We give Israel $3 billion per year. Many other countries, such as India, also suffer from terrorist attacks. Does this mean that unless we start giving all those countries $3 billion dollars every year that we are appeasing terrorists?

India has 1B people, can take care of itself, and hasn't asked for help. Israel is a nation of less than 5M jews sitting among 1B hostile muslims. Cutting aid by itsef doesn't prove appeasement. Cutting aid for a long time ally for the sole purpose of currying the favor of their sworn enemies is pure cowardice and appeasement. It's treachery.

The democratic party leaders are well aware they cannot afford to lose jewish votes. They are equally well aware they would lose votes among other religious people as well. For a party that's only received over 50% of the vote once in over 40 years they can hardly piss off part of their base.

This is an even more unusual period because the Jews within Israel as well as American Jews are in rare agreement for a very tough line against Isamic terrorists. They felt the deep pain of the disaster of the Clinton's failed peace negotiations.

The Democrats will not even hint at a pullback of support from Israel. They would never recover.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Jim W wrote: "rdw said that reducing our support for Israel amounts to appeasing terrorists. This doesn't make any sense. "

Nothing rdw says makes any sense. He's a delusional, raving nutcase who suffers from irreversible brain damage as a result of constant exposure to Fox News.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

In my opinion, stopping our support of Israel would, in the long run, also be in their best interest too, because it would force them to adopt a more realistic strategy to accomodate their neighbors.

This is exhibit A for why liberals canot be taken seriously. Since Israel's neighbors have repeatedly stated they want the jews dead accomodation means the jews must commit suicide. Don't think that's going to happen.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I am for pulling out right now or yesterday. However, I think if the Dems are smart, they should run on the idea that if they win, they will put a cadre of leaders in place who have military experience, foreign policy experience, and any other experience to make the best decision of the country. Then, they will meet immediately and discuss the situation and come up with a the best action to save as many lives of the troops and the Iraqi people as possible and do that. If they decide staying for a while or whatever, I will accept it. I do believe the people who want to get out immediately, as I am, are that intractable.

Posted by: Mazurka on September 19, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Jim W, Sa,

Read and weep!


Pals No More?--II

"Israel's public standing in both the US and Europe has improved following the war in Lebanon," the Jerusalem Post reports, citing a study by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg:

Israel's support in the US is near its highest level since Greenberg began systematically charting the numbers in April 2003, while in Europe more and more people see Israel as a moderate force in what is increasingly being perceived as a battle between moderates and extremists in the Middle East.

Amir Gissin, director of public affairs (hasbara) at the Foreign Ministry, said the numbers reflected a general trend in the West, where people were beginning to widen the lens they used to interpret information about the Middle East. A positive side effect of the war, Gissin said, was that people in the West had stopped seeing the Israel-Palestinian conflict as the root of all Middle East instability.

Among the findings:

53% of Americans call themselves strong supporters of Israel; only 5% strong supporters of the Palestinians.


74% of Americans said Israel acted in self-defense against Hezbollah; only 16% thought the Jewish state had an "expansionist" policy. On the other hand, 42% thought Israel "went too far," against 45% who thought it acted properly.


"60% of the French public, and 64% of its 'elites,' now believe the heart of the problem in the Middle East is the conflict between moderates and extremists, with Israel on the side of the moderates, along with [Mahmoud] Abbas, Egypt and Jordan."

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "This is exhibit A for why liberals canot be taken seriously."

You are exhibit A for why Bush-bootlicking neo-brownshirt mental slaves who think what Rush Limbaugh tells them to think and say what Fox News tells them to say and mechanically regurgitate scripted Republican Fascist Party propaganda when they are not simply raving incoherently cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 19, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

When I read each day's newspaper, and learn the latest revelations about our preposterous Commander in Chief and his pals, and about the continuing slaughter in Iraq, the idea of pulling out tomorrow looks pretty damn good. In the full light of noon, however, what I really think needs to happen is for a group of knowledgable people to sit down together and seriously examine the full range of options; not just, "Should we stay for five years, or ten, or forever?" We've got to get out, but we need to THINK (a concept foreign to recent US policy) about how to do that as gracefully as possible, and with as little consequent damage as possible. Once we decide, then we need to DO it.
. . . jim strain in san diego.

Posted by: Jim Strain on September 19, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Why the hell do the Dems bother getting worked up over this?

We don't control the Executive Branch, and don't have a chance of doing so until 2009. As such, our views of what *should* happen if a competent administration were in charge are completely moot. Its like having a civil war over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

The best we can hope for is control of Congress, where we can force some accountability to screw-ups currently in charge. As such, I think we can safely punt on what to actually do in Iraq until the 2008 primary season rolls around, where this debate will be hashed out by the candidates.

Posted by: Raskolnikov on September 19, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

The dems have no plan. Our leaders look like idiots to me. Why they cannot agree on a strategy and direciton is beyond me. What will happen when we take over?
I read a great article at http://www.constitutionalmatters.com that illustrates this very point.

Posted by: Shotgun Willy on September 19, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

"This is exhibit A for why liberals canot be taken seriously. Since Israel's neighbors have repeatedly stated they want the jews dead accomodation means the jews must commit suicide."

And that comment is Exhibit A as to why you are a delusional drama queen.

Posted by: brewmn on September 19, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Neocons refer to Israel as a vital "strategic ally". Its like saying that you have strategically attached a a ball and chain to your ankle to help you swim to shore.

We have supported them long enough. The same goes for Egypt. I have nothing against these two countries, but all the money we're throwing at them is just subsidizing bad policies on their part.

Posted by: Jim W on September 19, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

In 1968 there was consensus that a pullout from Viet Nam would be a disaster leading to the Communist takeover in that part of the world (domino theory). It didn't quite happen that way. Now we have American tourists increasingly visiting a friendly Viet Nam and nobody considers them a threat. In the late 1950's the French were convinced a pullout from Algeria would be a disaster with an unstoppable blood bath. That didn't quite happen either. Within a year of French withdrawal that country stabilized. Now Algeria is counted among our western "allies" and there are now plenty of French tourists there. France and Algeria are on friendly terms.

Posted by: RWH on September 19, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

"This is exhibit A for why liberals canot be taken seriously. Since Israel's neighbors have repeatedly stated they want the jews dead accomodation means the jews must commit suicide."

This is exhibit A for why conservatives cannot be taken seriously, because this is the voice of a very few, very loud extremists.

Bomb the extremists, and you validate them and make their voices louder.

Marginalize the extremists, and support the moderates, and the moderate voices will be louder.

Right now, the Bush/Likud approach is what is giving voice to the extremists who are saying "kill them all" - because the Bush/Likud approach is "kill them all".

Time for a new approach.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn,

Did you read the poll?

Support for Israel is at highs. Quess what that means? It means every politician will be sucking up to Israel. There is no chance we pull away from Israel.

The bigger problem isn't American Jews but American conservatives. Conservatives are the largest voting bloc and we strongly support the only mature democracy in the middle east. Liberals are on this question a very small minority. You get no say in the matter.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

because this is the voice of a very few, very loud extremists.

No it isn't. This is very common in the muslim world. The entire leadrship in Iran has made it clear they are devoted to the destruction of Israel and we know from the well stocked missle supplies of Hezbollah they mean what they say.

If you read the above poll you'll see Lebanon was a PR disaster for the far left. We know what Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are about. They could not have been clearer. There is absolutely no doubt they wish to erase Israel from the face of the earth.

The poll also shows aside from liberals Americans are not cowards. We don't desert friends. Your cut and run credentials are well established but they will not be flashed for this election. ROVE and GWB would make mincemeat of your party, again.

Israel will continue to enjoy the complete support of the USA.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

A new USATODAY/Gallup Poll was released today and I would suggest that this recent polling data tells us that voters have a clear perspective on the war in Iraq...perhaps more cogent than either Party. They feel it is being handled poorly, they know what a civil war looks like, they believe Congress has failed to do its part in guiding and overseeing the executive branch, and they realize that the notion of exporting democracy to the Middle East is a Bush Doctrine that fails to recognize the realities in the region. Finally, they believe that Middle East stability is important and that a withdrawal that leaves Iraq in chaos may well be detrimental to the United States.

That, my friends, is one spot on analysis and suggests that voters have discerned fact from fiction with an impressive demonstration of acuity. Perhaps both parties will someday learn that the truth is, in the final analysis, the most powerful campaign strategy available. Don't hold your breath.

Read more here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito on September 19, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

brewmn, jim w, sa

Did you see the news today Chirac is hinting as a separate deal with Iran outside the EU? The split between Germany and France under Merkel could not be more dramatic. Chirac is a back-stabbing coward. Merkel has a strong spine. You will recall a few weeks back as Israel was still under attack Merkel pointedly agreed to sell Israel two dolphin class subs designed to provide 2nd strike capability in the event of nuclear attack.

Angela was flipping the Iranians and the rest the finger.

You are seeing the re-emergence of Germany as a world power much as we have seen with Japan. Japan will soon remove article 9 of their constitution and begin the process of building their military into the worlds 2nd strongest. Merkel has effectly moved Germany to the right such that the rift with France is very wide. There's not a history of German appeasement. The consensus is still forming but theres little doubt the German people will not allow themselves to be held hostage by Iran or depend on the French for security.

It's only a matter of time before they begin a more aggressive re-armament. It would seem very odd that Germany would become such a strong supporter of Israel but they both have a comon enemy.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

In 1968 there was consensus that a pullout from Viet Nam would be a disaster leading to the Communist takeover in that part of the world

That's total crap. JFK got us in on that basis and LBJ kept us in. The consensus on getting out was it would be a disaster for the South Vietnamese and that's exactly what it was. Many were killed, many died trying to escape the tyranny, many risked their lives in getting out and all who remained behinded were punished by the repressive lives only socialism can deliver.

We abandoned those people much to our disgrace. South Vietnam would otherwise be a flourishing mature democracy much like South Korea. Liberal attempts to rewrite history will not wash. We know all about the boat people, the re-education camps, the murders, and today we have a nation with a per capita income about 1/20 that of South Korea.

We were wrong to leave and those people have suffered greatly.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

SA,

Crude was down another $2.10. Unleaded down $.08. I paid $2.17 in NJ for gas last week and saw it as low as $2.13. Looks as though $2.05 is baked in the cake now.

It's also interesting natural gas held onto the 10% drop of last friday and remains near 3-yr lows. Heating bills will be dramatically lower this year.

Allow me to predict futher weakness prior to the November elections as the hurricane season remains a dud and supplies plentiful.

If you needed an electorate angry about energy costs heading into the voting booth you won't be getting it.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw is so wrong and such a dreamer. You can't force democracy at the point of a gun when it's not what those on the ground most want. The thing I remember is that the repercussions in Vietnam when we left were much less bad than what the conservatives had been predicting all along. There was supposed to be this terrible "bloodbath," hundreds of thousands would die; never happened. What did happen was certainly not so bad as to justify the 50,000 soldiers who died there. Anyway, as I remember, it was a Republican administration that handled our departure from there. Blame it on Nixon, if you want.

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

You will recall a few weeks back as Israel was still under attack Merkel pointedly agreed to sell Israel two dolphin class subs designed to provide 2nd strike capability in the event of nuclear attack.

Germany has been selling Israel subs for nuke strikes since after the first Gulf War. It was revealed that some German company had provided the some of the chems for the Iraqi Scuds that hit Israel, and Israel used that info into blackmailing Germany into selling the subs.

This isn't a relationship based on mutual interest.

Oh, forget it; I forgot that I'm talking to a neonazi. Nevermind.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

What did happen was certainly not so bad as to justify the 50,000 soldiers who died there.

Not to mention the 2-3 million VN that we killed, which neonazi rdw careful elides mentioning. If the US would have stayed, the carnage would have continued. But when the US kills someone, that person goes to heaven; when commies kill someone, that person is condemned to hell....

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you Disputo. I did not mean to leave out the Vietnamese killed in the war, estimated at over 2 million as you say, but I didn't have the number handy for their deaths.

I think that the general understanding is that when a foreign invader leaves, the bloodbath diminishes, not increases. That is true in the cases I can think of.

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

I want to hear that the Dems have an articulated policy on IRAN.

Bush is boxing us into a corner on Iran, where war will be the only option. Will Dems formulate a policy on this NOW, and stand up for it?

Or are we just going to wait until Bush makes a move? By then it will, I think, be too late.

This is the only comment I saw in this entire thread that touches on the most vital issue facing the republic. Yes, Iraq is a disaster. Yes, our relationship with Israel deserves some serious scrutiny. Yes, Bush deserves impeachment -- hell, a firing squad. But none of these are even gonna be on the table if the Cheney administration launches an even bigger catastrophe in Iran. The Dems need to get ahead of this, and damn fast. Hint: Even if Tehran acquires nuclear weapons -- and they're surely working on it -- I've yet to hear a non-deranged explanation of why that would be worse than the Pakistani bomb. Dems need to work that angle, or they're just gonna get rolled -- again.

Posted by: sglover on September 19, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

You are seeing the re-emergence of Germany as a world power .... rdw rdw

God ... and this is supposed to be Good?! Have you no memory at all, man?

Posted by: David in NY on September 19, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sean's and Secular Animist's comments together say what needs to be said: Only in a state so solidly Democratic do election activists have the luxury to tear each other apart on the finer points of Iraq policy (if that is what is happening). Here in red and reddish states where we're up against incumbents as corrupt and stupid as Bush but just a little taller, the urgency of removing them calms the internal party waters quite a bit.

Posted by: Nell on September 19, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

The thing I remember is that the repercussions in Vietnam when we left were much less bad than what the conservatives had been predicting all along

Obviously you don't remember the desperation of the boat people. What was it like for parents putting their kids in those things not knowing if they would survive? Many did not? What happened was a massive humanitarian disaster that can never be erased. It's also clear the butchery in Cambodia was a direct result. It's been estimated that over 2M were killed.

The obvious comparison today is between South Korea and South Vietnam. Our actions were reprehensible and the people of South Vietnam paid a serve price they continue to pay today.

The exception would of course be the over 3M than emigrated to the USA.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Nell;
Extremely insightful post.

I still say Dem politicians need some spine.
Eliminating Lieberman was an excellent first step.

I've yet to hear a non-deranged explanation of why that would be worse than the Pakistani bomb.

Compare and contrast: Mushtarraf's rhetoric and Ahmadinijad's rhetoric. (Ahmadinijad may be painting himself into an inescapable corner with extremists in his own government - even if this IS all just bluster to fire up his base).

The other thing that makes an Iranian bomb much worse than a Pakistani bomb;
Israel will tolerate a Pakistani bomb.
Israel will not tolerate an Iranian bomb. Israel will either act directly, or through the pants of American congressmen (via AIPAC - hell, I'm pretty sure AIPAC knows our "launch codes" better than Bush does).

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't a relationship based on mutual interest.

It most certainly is based on mutual self-interest. Merkel's announcement was dramatically timed for maximum effect and the message was directly aimed at the Mad Mullahs.

Germany under Merkel is far different than Germany under Schroeder. Angela is an East German. She did not grow up in a PC world. She knows appeasemnt is not only the worst form of cowardice but also can only result in failure.

The interesting question now is how she guides the German people from West German pacificism to East German realism. She's done great with a minority govt but it's still a minority govt. The model here is Japan. GWB and Kouzimi have been brilliant in moving the Japanese people to assuming total responsibility for their defense. Kouzimi's hand picked successor kicked off him campaign prmising to remove article 9 of the constitution. This election is going to be a referendum.

All of the polling data suggests it will pass easily. In 2007 Japan begins the process of becoming the worlds 2nd greatest military power.

If merkel is successful she will put Germany on the path to become the 3rd most powerful military.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

because this is the voice of a very few, very loud extremists.

No it isn't.Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Um - yes it is.

This is very common in the muslim world.

And becomes more common, the more we give their voices credibility by bombing them.

The entire leadrship in Iran...

in other words, a small, and very vocal minority in Iran - who happen to hold all the power, and all the cards.

... has made it clear they are devoted to the destruction of Israel...

They made it clear that they are devoted to the destruction of the state of Israel. Why can't YOU be clear? This is some very serious shit we're talking about, and your willful conflation of terms only serves to muddy the waters.

... and we know from the well stocked missle supplies of Hezbollah...

You been listening to that liar Ghorbonifar again? Didn't you learn from Iran-Contra?


Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

God ... and this is supposed to be Good?! Have you no memory at all, man?

It's very good. The emergence of Japan and Germany would be fantastic for the US. This is not 1940. These are mature democracies with well educated peace loving people. GWBs plan has been to free up and motivate the worlds democracies to assist in the GWOT.

It was absurd to keep US troops in Germany and Japan when they are wealthy enough and strong enough to defend themselves.

This is especially true now when the rest of Europe has allowed itself to become so weak and now so susceptible toward becoming Islamic states. We never could trust the French and the Brits seemed committed toward cultural suicide. Spain and the Northern European countries are probably already lost.

It is the proud military history, which when separated from the political history, that makes Germany and Japan so promising as allies. We know Japan can be a dominating force in Asia holding both China and North Korea in check. We also know the Germans, with Italy, Poland and the Czech repulic, can hold Eastern Europe together.

If Western Europe is lost, as appears likely, we need to distance ourselves. Nations have permanent interests not permanent friends.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

If merkel is successful she will put Germany on the path to become the 3rd most powerful military.
Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Geogre better start cranking up those backrubs then.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

You are seeing the re-emergence of Germany as a world power much as we have seen with Japan.

Speaking as a half-German...wow, that's some crazy. Sheer babbling lunacy.

Posted by: Stefan on September 19, 2006 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

They made it clear that they are devoted to the destruction of the state of Israel. Why can't YOU be clear? This is some very serious shit we're talking about, and your willful conflation of terms only serves to muddy the waters.

What are you babbling about? They've been very clear. They wish to push ALL of the jews into the sea. They want the jews DEAD.

And it's not limited to the lunatics in control in Iran. It's the common sentiment in the entire muslim world and there are more than a few Europeans in total agreement.

It's also very clear both Hamas and hezbollah are the well supplied proxy armies of Iran. They are well supplied, well funded and well trained. Iran has the perfect model and the EU and UN are defenseless. Western Europe is terrified of terrorism and many have already surrendered.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

I continue to get solicitations from various Democratic affiliated groups all of which talk about GWB's "mishandling" of the war, but seem to be terminally allergic to calling it even a mistake, let alone what it was--a mistake of epic proportions. IMO any Democrat who refuses at this point to at LEAST call it a mistake is grossly, er, "mishandling" the issue.

Posted by: doctorem on September 19, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

And it's not limited to the lunatics in control in Iran. It's the common sentiment in the entire muslim world and there are more than a few Europeans in total agreement.

sheer hyperbole.

It's also very clear both Hamas and hezbollah are the well supplied proxy armies of Iran.

Yeah, and Al Qaeda was a proxy army of Iraq. Right?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Wow !!

Good post Kevin, it sure got the juices flowing in a good direction

Then there`s rdw who, apparently, got a big bonus in his last check from Rover; working for a bigger one next pay cycle eah ?

"The future will be a struggle between huge competing systems of psychopathology." - J. G. Ballard

Posted by: daCascadian on September 19, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't matter what the Dems think. Bush is commander in chief and he calls the shot. All the Congressional Dems can do is provide better OVERSIGHT. However, this is very very important. Bush will be forced to justify his decisions. Questions can be asked. Answers must be given. Believe me, oversight is necessary given all the corruption. Eliminating the corruption (or 90%) of it would go a long way to curing problems.

Posted by: bakho on September 19, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

"the rest of Europe has allowed itself to become so weak and now so susceptible toward becoming Islamic states. We never could trust the French and the Brits seemed committed toward cultural suicide. Spain and the Northern European countries are probably already lost.

"It is the proud military history, which when separated from the political history, that makes Germany and Japan so promising as allies. We know Japan can be a dominating force in Asia holding both China and North Korea in check. We also know the Germans, with Italy, Poland and the Czech repulic, can hold Eastern Europe together."

THAT's your great hope for the future? A Germano-Nippono-American alliance enforces order in Asia and stops the mongrelization of Europe by evil Semites?

So, we were on the wrong side in WWII, huh?

Posted by: rea on September 19, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a half-German...wow, that's some crazy. Sheer babbling lunacy.

Not at all. Germany lost it's defense shield. GWB withdrew ALL combat troops leaving only a few doctors. They now have sole responsibility for their defense. This changes EVERYTHING! It's fun to pretend you've perfected 'soft power' when you've got 100,000 US combat troops on your border. But pacifism is no longer an academic exercise.

The Germans have a choice for the 1st time since 1945. Either they will defend themselves or not. Iran issued a direct threat. They know trouble is brewing with Islam. If soft power works they're in great shape. If not they'll be praying 5x's a day.

Liberals look at Germany and they see Hitler. That's wrong. This is a mature democracy. Germans are well educated and peace loving. But they are not saps. They supported Reagan when he upgraded the missle defenses in Germany.

There's no question this is hard to see now. That's why Japan is so instructive. GWB forced the Japanese have to assume control of their own destiny by removing US diplomatic and defense shields. He's done the same with Germany. The post-WWII era is over.

It will take the Germans some time to decide to re-arm more aggressively. The Japanese face two direct threats in NK and China thus a clearer decision. Germans will not be pushed around. If they decide Iran is a credible threat they will prepare to destroy Iran and all of their allies. Iran is definitely going to become a nuclear power and will be soon followed by Turkey and Egypt. It seems unlikely Germany will rely on diplomacy. They will have a very robust military and the attitude to use it if necessary.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a half-German

Which half? ;)

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

sglover nails it. Seriously.

Posted by: Disputo on September 19, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

"---California are practically at war with each other over the question of whether we should withdraw from Iraq "immediately" or merely "as soon as we can." It blots out nearly everything else.

Is it Nam yet?

Well if not, its getting there, are pretty darn close to it.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 19, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

THAT's your great hope for the future? A Germano-Nippono-American alliance enforces order in Asia and stops the mongrelization of Europe by evil Semites?

So, we were on the wrong side in WWII, huh?


Liberals just can't get over WWII. This is 2006 not 1936. I am hoping for an alliance of the worlds great democracies. Does that not make perfect sense?

I have no idea what your comment means. Japan does not have territorial ambitions. They face real threats from China and North Korea and even Russia. They need to pre-emt any ambitions these historic enemies face to continue their current very prosperous and peaceful existance.

Germany lives in a somewhat safer neighborhood but terrorism has it's own dangers and it's likely at least 3 more Muslim nations will join the nuclear club within 5 to 7 years. This region will become dramatically more dangerous and there's no question radical Islam aims to re-take Europe. They also have a very workable plan. Germany will be confronted.

BTW: This alliance of democracies will also eventually include India as well as most of Eastern Europe and Italy.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Is it Nam yet?

Well if not, its getting there, are pretty darn close to it.


This isn't anything like 1968. This has become a religious war within Islam with the USA well outside the major killing fields. We are training their military and making visible progress. We will be getting out sooner rather than later.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

BTW: This alliance of democracies will also eventually include India as well as most of Eastern Europe and Italy.
Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Will that also include Pakistan? Because it seems to include Pakistan now.

Or, in your master grand plan, do we eventually "turn on them"?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 19, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, rdw, basically the main people the "post WWII period" worked out for was defense contractors.

Its especially ironic to bring up Germany, considering East Germany had such a large hand in ending the Cold War.

Now, it would be a nice break for the U.S. to give up fighting the damn cold war as well.

What is needed is essentially a form of the Star Trek "prime directive" which prohibited interferance with primative cultures.

Sure, democracy works great once the population a certain minimum GDP, but guess what, much of the world is not there yet, and when people are so struggling with living vs. starving to death, totalitarian political control, or totalitarian religious control, is going to arise.

A colonial power with any balls would have annexed both Vietnam and Iraq. There wouldnt' be any question of "democratization of Iraq" Iraq would be a United States territory.

This bizzarre foreign policy where we assume all of the costs and none of the benefits of foreign adventurism must have "old Europe" laughing their asses off.

The biggest joke is worrying about Iran. Rdw, do you live in Southern California? I know more than a few Iranian ex-pats. A more primed bunch of shallow consumers-in-training you could hardley create if you started from scratch. You should see what they do to the places they buy in Beverly Hills.

The entire rest of the world is not our problem as a country. Its beyond clear that stepping up to be "the world's policeman" is an expensive and thankless job, and you end up creating more problems than you solve.

Posted by: hank on September 19, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

The entire rest of the world is not our problem as a country. Its beyond clear that stepping up to be "the world's policeman" is an expensive and thankless job, and you end up creating more problems than you solve.

The rest of the world visited us on 9/11. I agree the worlds policeman thing is expensive and 'often' thankless but timing is everything. There's no question Stalin would have rolled all the way to Greenland given the chance and stopping him at the Iron Curtain was and remains hugely beneficial for the world.

The problem as I see it is in knowing when to leave. Why on earth did GWB come into office with over 100K troops in Germany and so many in Japan and South Korea? We should have dramatically downsized those bases. We should have been out of Germany and Japan and out of South Korea. They are wealthy mature democracies capable of defending themselves.

Already GWBs actions in these 3 states is paying off. They are assuming control of their own destinies and starting to bitch a low less about the USA.

Regarding Iran I am aware the general poplation is vastly different than the leadership however they support the urge of the leadership to become a nuclear power and they know they will be a menace. Until there's real hope the nuts will be tossed out Iran will remain the worlds most dangerous menace.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

This bizzarre foreign policy where we assume all of the costs and none of the benefits of foreign adventurism must have "old Europe" laughing their asses off.

Old Europe is and has been in a sour mood for quite some time. The polls have been consistent on this. They should be miserable. Their cultures are disappearing and they know it. Their economies have been under-performing the anglo world for 2 decades and will continue to do so.

US per capita income is 40% higher than in France, Germany and the UK and we're growing much faster. That 40% is headed toward 100%.
They have welfare state demands every European understands the state cannot possibly meet.

They have their own demographic disaster combined with a rapidly growing problem with Islamic minorities creating severe cultural dislocations. There might be more radical muslims in London than in Cairo and we're familiar with the car-b-ques throughout France.

If one is French or a Brit or a Swede one has to wonder if their grandchildren will be praying 5x's a day. There will be cities and counties in Europe with very large Islamic minorites or even majorities such that they are able to use the ballot box to exert their influence. These regions will not be European. They will be Islamic. At a minimum it will be dramatically more dangerous to be gay in Europe.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

> The Germans have a choice for the 1st
> time since 1945. Either they will defend
> themselves or not. Iran issued a direct
> threat. They know trouble is brewing
> with Islam. If soft power works they're
> in great shape. If not they'll be
> praying 5x's a day.

Even considering your usual line of argument that is bizarre, rdw. Germany's armed forces are sufficient to repel any remotely possible invader except Russia (and maybe even them). The invasion route from Iran to Germany passes through Turkey and Switzerland among others - these peoples are just going to wave the invaders on? The liklihood of Iran actually using any (currently non-existent) nuclear weapon is below zero, but if they did threaten Germany with such the NATO treaty would immediatly come into play (as it did when Luftwaffe AWACS were called to the US to patrol in the weeks after 9/11) and the US would come to its ally's assistance (one hopes, anyway).

So just what the HECK are you talking about?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on September 19, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Will that also include Pakistan? Because it seems to include Pakistan now.

Or, in your master grand plan, do we eventually "turn on them"?


GWB has dramatically improved relations with Pakistan however they are not a democracy and certainly not mature. Large parts of Pakistan are not governed but remain under tribal rule. This is why Osama remains there. I think it's probably necessary for Pakistan to mature as a democracy and for India and Pakistan to settle their differences.

The USA-Japan-Germany alignment I predict isn't necessarily a global alliance. Thre are times the USA and Japan on an issue Germany has little interest. I think formal alliances are effectively over. We'll have coalitions of the willing.

I expect Japan and Germany to be #2 and #3 not because they becoe belligerent but because they have western capitalist societies. The Russians and Chinese still have to steal technology and are grotesquely inefficient. Japan and Germany will pass them on their technological expertise and facilitated by a partnership with the USA.
Japan has committed over $1B and talent to star wars. There will be more joint efforts.

Consider how a strong Japan ensures peace in Asia. China would not dare bully a strong Japan. Even the moron in NK would get his act together. Russia fired on some Japanese ships in a contested area a month ago. In a few years Russia won't consider it.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Regardless of what THE PARTY comes up with THE PARTY has lost The Trust and Confidence of the general population.Trust has been gone since Clinton arrived on the scene. Confidence shortly there after. You cannot be taken serious if everything, everything you do is Political.You just stated that everyone is in a divide over Policy. What Policy? You dont have one.Say this and that. Pull out no no put it in? Kerry said this Hillary said that.Slobber and moonbat druel is not policy. Instead of looking forward to find ways to DEFEND THE NATION you all have been running against a man who WILL NEVER BE ON A BALLOT EVER AGAIN. What the hell kind of policy is that?Look at the only Senator who made his stand on IRAQ twenty years of faithful service to THE PARTY. SO sorry JOE your out of hear OH but wait He'll be back only now he has no allegance to anyone but JOE. Good policy. Great move by an I NET lynch mob. I am convinced THE PARTY is going to lose another Election and another and another. Howard Dean should be the Reoublicans MVP in 06.Good job HOWIE!!!!!!!!! I'm glad I am a Republican you guys are NUTS really F*@kin NUTS!!!

Posted by: Glyn Lockhart on September 19, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

So just what the HECK are you talking about?

Did you read the above? I clearly spelled out the Islamic threat. Iran has been toying with the EU for two years while almost all of it's member nations are spending fortunes investigating their islamic minorities for terror threats. They're also finding them.

Iran is Europes worst nightmare. They'll never confront Europe directly until they join the nuclear club and even then it'll never be army to army. Iran creates terror armies Europe cannot defend. Iran can easily train, supply and fund European citizens.

As of right now Europe has no deterrent capability. While they have modern technology they are uber-PC. They are soft powers only. Every day Iran grows stronger while Europe grows weaker. Spain and Italy are just two states now seeing shrinking populations. The rest soon will. Irans nuclear and missle programs will soon be sucessful.

The only way Europe can deter Islamic fascism is to make it clear there will be a severe price to be paid by doing so. That's why no state is helping to paln any attacks on America. The whack jobs in Iran know we'll come after them 1st. They can toy with Europe.

My prediction for Germany is not limited to defense spending. They will not be the 3rd ranked military power due to their pretty toys. The German War machine was feared because of it's cold efficiency. They were ready, willing and very capable fighters.

Iran will toy with France endlessly. They will toy with the EU. But the Germans won't like it and eventually will put an end to it. They will get to a place where if Iran threatens them the Germans will make Iran back down and Iran will know they better do it. Deterrance is as much about attitude as weaponry. Historically the Germans have had attitude.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

The liklihood of Iran actually using any (currently non-existent) nuclear weapon is below zero, but if they did threaten Germany with such the NATO treaty would immediatly come into play (as it did when Luftwaffe AWACS were called to the US to patrol in the weeks after 9/11) and the US would come to its ally's assistance (one hopes, anyway).

I don't expect Iran to use the weapons. That's why they use hezbollah and other proxies and that's why Europe is so defenseless. They could never attack Iran unless they had proof Iran attacked them. What is extremely unlikely is for Iran to use the bomb. The terror threat will be sufficient for Iran to meet it's goals which will be autonomy for muslims in Europe including the application of Islamic law.

I've predicted Iran will not attack Israel, the USA or Russia or China because they would immediately attacked back. Europe would go to the UN and ask for a resolution.

The NATO treaty is useless to the USA and it's effectively defunct. The so called mmilitary aid provided by NATO after 9/11 was pure political show. Most of NATO is so poorly trained and equipped the USA is much better off operating independently. Aside from the Brits and Danes they have almost no battle experience. Some are in Afghanistan but that's mostly Canada and Germany in forward positions and the rest in support.

We saw in Kosovo what Europe was capable of. Almost nothing.

BTW: It's not impossible Iran would attack israel. While 20% of Israel is Palestinian and any fallout would poison the region the religious nuts are quite capable of deciding mass martyrdom is worth it. The deterrant is in the fact Israel would deliver massive retaliation toward iran and possibly the entire midle east. It's hard to know what the nuts really think and how many of their own they'd sacrifice.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

In my opinion, stopping our support of Israel would, in the long run, also be in their best interest too, because it would force them to adopt a more realistic strategy to accomodate their neighbors.

I have to agree here. The Jewish Israelis have gone totally overboard in their treatment of Palestinians and even Arab Israelis. They have to face a bit of reality for their own good, as well as the general good.

Posted by: Bob M on September 19, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly. Thank you for owning up to the fact that the administration is going to cut and run on Iraq.

We'll cut and run just as we did in Germany, Japan and South Korea. The job is training the Iraqi's and they're doing it. The difference in Iraq is they don't want us there longer than necessary and we don't want to stay.

As you can see there's no pressure on GWB to leave Iraq. Your party is so pitiful they can't even get Rummy fired. GWB will stay as long as necessary. The next GOP candidate will have complete leeway to disagree with GWB and if he wishes pull out all troops his 1st day in office.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree here. The Jewish Israelis have gone totally overboard in their treatment of Palestinians and even Arab Israelis.

This is bonehead stupid. Israeli Palestinians have by far the highest standard of living among Palestinians anywhere and they have more freedoms than arabs anywhere. The only thing Israeli Palestinians fear is a rocket attack from other arabs.

What we learned in lebanon is that except for Syria and Iran Israeli has the best relations with the rest of the arab world now than ever before. It took the rest of the arab world a long time to finally condemn Israel for invading lebanon. It's clear non-hezbollah lebanon, Jordan and Eqypt want peace.

It's unfortunate Arafat was never serious about peace. They'd be prospering today otherwise. The Palestinian people outside Israel have been devastated so far this decade and it won't be getting better anytime soon.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

This is bonehead stupid.

Which, if you think about it, is how I should title all of my posts. It's accurate, and it would make it simpler for those who don't already recognize my special brand of idiocy to quickly note my posts as the dim-witted rantings they are.

Posted by: rdw on September 19, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

'There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.'
--Howard Zinn

Posted by: Quotation Man on September 19, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraq war as a mistake is part of the problem. It was not a mistake. It is an illegal war of aggression and an imperialist attempt to control the Middle East. It is not a mistake. it is a war against the US and Iraq. It is a moral abomination. Democrats cannot seem to get their little minds around this. Kevin seemsto have more problems with this than most.

Posted by: della Rovere on September 20, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Holy mother of fuck, who slipped the PCP into rdw's bong tonight?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 20, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

Those who say that the Dems can't do anything now, that the ball is in Bush's court, are dodging the responsibility of giving the U.S. citizenry information on what choices there are to be made in the upcoming election.

If the Dems don't tell us NOW what they will do, then there is only the choice between Bush's "stay the course" and NOTHING. Just as the people rejected (if you believe the vote count) John Kerry's non-plan for Iraq two years ago, giving them a non-plan now will only play into the Repugs' favor.

YES, the Dems have to have a plan. A PLAN. NOT SEVERAL PLANS. Being a party of diversity that is not easy! (But there CAN be ONE PLAN that can come out of diversity, out of multilateralism, out of multi-culturalism. See below.)

Why aren't the Dems pointing THAT out - that in diversity more voices are heard and that THAT is democracy? The old "two heads are better than one" idea.

Democracy is NOT speaking with ONE voice, but speaking with MANY. That is its strength, and the Dems don't even know it, even though it is all around them. ADMIT IT! we should be yelling out to them. ADMIT! that Democrats don't have ONE simple plan, because the world is complicated and it is necessary to listen to more than one voice, to not put all our eggs in one basket, ideologically speaking.

But the Dems also need to keep hammering that the GOP has failed, that their eggs-all-in-one-basket neoconism and world hegemony over oil has been a disaster, a Disaster, a DISASTER!

Thinking that ONE idea is the solution to everything is complete immaturity and idiocy, and Bush's administration has shown that - PROVEN THAT - beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The GOP should be labeled the party of simple-mindedness, that they can't handle more than reading "My Pet Goat" at a time. The world is complex, and the Dems should be touting themselves as the people who are able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Is all of that ONE PLAN for the Dems? Hey! Dems can handle more than one thing at a time!

There is not ONE thing to do about Iraq! We have to have a plan that does more than just the feeble, simple-minded choices of cut-and-run vs stay-the-course. THE PLAN needs to:
1. Get other countries involved (which cannot happen as long as Bush is in the WH)
2. Under a multinational, neutral, umbrella, get the parties to sit down and agree to a cease fire (again something Bush cannot accomplish) and STOP THE DYING!
3. Once a dialog has begun, the complex issues can begin to be addressed (complications the Brits weenied out on when they abandoned the area 6 decades ago)
4. Replace American troops with UN peacekeepers
5. Make the Iraqis believe that the US has no long term interest in Iraq other than being a buyer of their oil (and being their friend, if we can possibly be that)
6. Start reconstruction of their infrastructure - but NOT by US companies - the Iraqis have to see that the occupation was not colonialism or non-fascism

Finding a way out now vs later? Hah! All the Dems have to do is win the Congress and rescind the AUMF.

Then Bush ceases being a war President.

I cannot stress that too much! Everything becomes clearer once Bush is no longer Commander-in-Chief!

All the neocon arguments hold no water if there is no authorized conflict. And once the "war" is over, the prisoners cannot be held without seriously violating the Geneva Conventions.

The No. 1 issue of Dems once they win the Congress is to rescind that AUMF. They can impeach later; AMERICAN BOYS ARE DYING, along with 10-20 Iraqis for every one of our guys.

A plan CAN happen to withdraw, and WITH HONOR. If Bush won't do it, then Congress needs to do it over his (politically) dead body.

THAT is what the Dems need to convey in order to win in November.

Will they be able to do convey it well enough to win?

And if they do, will they have the moxie to follow through and do the right thing by the boys we have over there and by the Iraqis?

Color me doubtful, but with the slightest bit of hope...

Posted by: SteveGinIL on September 20, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

We live in interesting times. There are serious issues in the Middle East. Some Americans say that whatever Israel does is automatically correct and must be supported and financed by the US. Others say the exact opposite. A wise person would choose someplace in between. Power corrupts. Great power has corrupted both Bush and the IDF. A huge naval armada has accumulated off the coast of Lebanon, including a French aircraft carrier and high value US ships. Its unlikely that all this firepower is needed to support UN and Lebanese troops. Perhaps the US and Israel are going to launch something against either Syria or Iran- would be handy just before the election to rally the fearful, and they can get the CIA to provide whatever info is needed to justify this.
We don't need a coherent Democratic policy to justify voting the neocon lunatics out of power. I have asked my Senators and Representative to promise to vote against any pre-emptive strike on either Syria or Iran no matter what the CIA produces. Thats what it comes down to. How many more countries will we attack?

We have produced civil war in Iraq. It can come to this country, if current policies are extended, but not for a few years..

Posted by: maracucho on September 20, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

A wise person would choose someplace in between.

A mindless coward would choose someplace in between if the purpose is just to show 'balance'. That would be a total fraud. Terrorism is a moral abomination and must be stopped wherever and whenever it is practiced.

It is the curse of the Palestinian people to have embraced terrorism with such gusto that no one wants to be near them. Those who remained in Isreal have mare more freedoms and a great deal more wealth than those Palestinians hosted by other islamic countries and on the West Bank and Gaza.

They are poorer now than they have ever been.

They are more oppressed now than they have ever been.

They have done all this to themselves.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

We have produced civil war in Iraq. It can come to this country, if current policies are extended, but not for a few years

What are you babbling about? Civil war between what tweo parties? Conservatives and liberals? Are you out of your mind? What are liberals going to do? Throw brie in our faces?

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP should be labeled the party of simple-mindedness, that they can't handle more than reading "My Pet Goat" at a time.

That's untrue and unfair. They can do at least 3 things at a time. They passed tax cuts AND the Iraqi war resolution while reading "My pet goat". Actually make that 4 things. They kicked you ass in elections.

But they're the dumb ones?

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

rdw is psyched about his World View!

Posted by: Lucy on September 20, 2006 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

'What are you babbling about? Civil war between what tweo parties? Conservatives and liberals? Are you out of your mind? What are liberals going to do? Throw brie in our faces?'
--rdw

You been listening to too much Rush Dimbulb, candyass. I'll bet you are a real macho guy, aren't you? Here's a newsflash for you, fuckface - Many Democrats work for their living, unlike Republicans. I mean back-breaking, hardlifting work, not pushing a pencil or talking on your cell phone all day. In hand-to-hand combat, I'd be willing to bet I could snap both of your wrists without trying too hard. As you were writhing in agony on the ground, my size 12 work boots would be kicking your capped teeth down your pimply throat. I'm a good shot too. You wanna civil war between Dems and Repubs? Bring it on, little man...

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on September 20, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote:

"It is the curse of the Palestinian people to have embraced terrorism with such gusto that no one wants to be near them. Those who remained in Isreal have mare more freedoms and a great deal more wealth than those Palestinians hosted by other islamic countries and on the West Bank and Gaza.

They are poorer now than they have ever been.

They are more oppressed now than they have ever been.

They have done all this to themselves."

Do you think this would have happened if the state of Israel had not been created in the first place?

Obviously, what's done is done and we have to work with the cards we are dealt now, but the reason the phrase "Middle Eastern terrorism" comes so easily to our lips is ultimately due to the lunacy of creating a state based on a 2000 year old claim in a hostile region. The geniuses who came up with this idea should have known going in that, human nature being what it is, the locals were not going to accept it.

Would you take it lying down if your state was partitioned, and half of it given back to the native Americans?

Posted by: Jim W on September 20, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin is correct on most of the points here. There is a general liberal or democratic position on international relations. At the start of the Clinton administration there wasn't one, but by the end a core set of ideals and policy practices had emerged. They were liberal and institutionalist in nature. They were organized around the idea of US global engagement as necessary, and best put into practice through regional and then global international institutions. Most of the lessons were learned the hard way in the Balkans over the 90s, but they were mostly well learned.

In fact, I think one of the great tragedies of the the Bush II years is that some exciting new perspectives on international relations and foriegn policy got shelved in favor of neoconservative ideologies. In a sense, the Democrats learned the lessons of interventionism, post-conflict reconstruction, peacekeeping and global engagement in the 1990s under Clinton and the Republicans are only just starting to learn those lessons now in Iraq. Unfortunately their ideological commitments make them very slow learners.

I also think Kevin is correct on the point that we (Democrats) don't have a unified argument for Iraq. We know we want out, but we're not entirely sure how to get there. My suggestion is to apply some of the lessons learned in the 90s to Iraq. In short, identify the participants in the crisis / civil war (including recognizing ourselves as such); seek out an acceptable mediator; negotiate a settlement; and implement the settlement, including withdrawals, demobilizations, and deployments of acceptable peacekeepers. That is a VERY rough outline, and I recognize that this is all easier said than done. But, there are people with the skills and experience to take this on, and many of them are Democrats.

Posted by: Fred C on September 20, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Ach, once again "Die Fahne Hoch" can ring across the land - Horst, we hardly knew ya.

Come on, Drexel Hill Dimwit, hum a few bars.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 20, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I agree completely with what Fred C says.

I do think, though, that some of the supposed "lessons of 9/11", which many people have been spouting, may be with us for a long time. One example is the idea that its not ok for us to just support stability in the region. Instead, we need to support in a very active way the spread of democoracy, because that is ultimately the only way to stop terrorism.

How does one kill a meme like this, which might sounds reasonable on the surface but has no supporting evidence or convincing rationale. In fact, as we're seeing in Iraq idiotic "active measures" can easily produce destabilizing and disastrous consequences.

Posted by: Jim W on September 20, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Do you think this would have happened if the state of Israel had not been created in the first place?

It's hard to know what would have happened without Israel. What we do know is the entire region is a mess and has been a mess for 600 years. Israel has not caused the problems in Lebanon or Syria or Iraq or Iran or Jordan or Eqpyt or Libya or Afghanistan or Pakistan. This is a 15th century religion with a 15th century culture. They are not backward and violent because the UN partioned Transjordan.

We do know Irael is the only prosperous and free country in the Middle East. We do know the Palestinains in Israel are the most prosperous and freeest arabs in the world. Do you blame Israel for that? We do know the Palestinains in Israel are free to practice their faith. How many Islamic countries would extend the same courtesy?

Obviously, what's done is done and we have to work with the cards we are dealt now, but the reason the phrase "Middle Eastern terrorism" comes so easily to our lips is ultimately due to the lunacy of creating a state based on a 2000 year old claim in a hostile region. The geniuses who came up with this idea should have known going in that, human nature being what it is, the locals were not going to accept it.


Wrong. The reason "Middle Eastern Terrorism" flows so easily is because it is so accurate. In all of civilization it is only in the Muslim world where it's fine to strap a bomb on your body and walk up to a 3 month old jew and blow them up. It's not just OK this is celebrated. These are hardly the only people who may have been disenfranchised. Their actions are worthy only of total contempt.


Would you take it lying down if your state was partitioned, and half of it given back to the native Americans?

The comparison isn't relevent. 1st Jews have been the region for 5,000 years. 2nd, more jews were evicted from Arabs lands than Palestinians who left Israel VOLUNTARILY. By their despicable actions the Palestinians have destroyed any claim to victimhood. The fact is they've been the foolish pawns of a series of incredibly corrupt and stupid leaders. I offer Yasir Arafat as exhibit A. What has happened in the West Bank and Gaza since the Oslo accords is a human tradegy visited on the Palestinians by their own leaders. They have the lowest standard of living outside sub-sahara Africa and they've earned it.

Those who stayed are the example of what should have happened. They would be free, prosperous and safe.

You might have a better argument if all of the borders of Islam we not stained with blood.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a good shot too. You wanna civil war between Dems and Repubs? Bring it on, little man...

You've got a pea sized brain to match. Democrats are the party of diplomacy and soft power remember?

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

the Democrats learned the lessons of interventionism, post-conflict reconstruction, peacekeeping and global engagement in the 1990s under Clinton

What are you babbling about? What did Clinton ever do. Oslo? Do you really want to claim credit for that disaster? Kosovo? It was a video game war and nothing happened after it. Somalia? Can't be! The infatada? Bill Clinton has no foreign policy legacy.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

"You might have a better argument if all of the borders of Islam we not stained with blood."

The borders that are stained with blood are the ones in Lebanon, which was invaded by Israel, and in Iraq, which was invaded by us. The rest of the region is relatively peaceful.

I am just as opposed to terrorism as you are. But I am not so selective in my outrage.

"In all of civilization it is only in the Muslim world where it's fine to strap a bomb on your body and walk up to a 3 month old jew and blow them up."

You seem to forget all the innocent children blown up by Israeli cluster bombs (supplied by us) just a few weeks ago in Lebanon. These war crimes were cheered on by the neocons.

Moreover, if you were to total up all the civilian deaths caused by Palestinian terrorists over the last 60 years, it would be a trivial number compared to the number of civilians that Bush has murdered in Iraq in just the last 3 years.

"The comparison isn't relevent. 1st Jews have been the region for 5,000 years."

Last I checked, the native Americans are still among us, and have been living here for thousands of years.

"By their despicable actions the Palestinians have destroyed any claim to victimhood. The fact is they've been the foolish pawns of a series of incredibly corrupt and stupid leaders. I offer Yasir Arafat as exhibit A. What has happened in the West Bank and Gaza since the Oslo accords is a human tradegy visited on the Palestinians by their own leaders."

I agree the Palestinians have had terrible leaders. The Israeli leaders have been much better, although their policy of building settlements has been a major contributor in prolonging the conflict. But who cares about claims to victimhood, anyway? Conservatives seem to deal with these situations as if they are legal battles, and our goal is to obtain justice for people who have been wronged in the past, and to keep elaborate score about who is right and who is wrong (and those two categories must always exist, because its no fun if you can't take sides, and cheer on "your team".).

The idea that civilians lose their human rights if they have bad leaders is pernicious. Does that mean that Bush's crimes and stupidity obviate our rights if we are attacked again? I don't think so.

Posted by: Jim W on September 20, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that civilians lose their human rights if they have bad leaders is pernicious. Does that mean that Bush's crimes and stupidity obviate our rights if we are attacked again? I don't think so.

Civilians don't lose their human rights if they have bad leaders. Unless they elected those bad leaders and then support them. Yasir Arafat ordered the infatada but he did not participate. That would have been the civilians. They declared War on Israel. Isreal fought back as anyone else would have.

There is a fair argument about the settlements and Israel has not been perfect. However terrorism cannot ever be rewarded. Sharon will be remembered as a statesman. His policy of killing those who ordered the terror bombings was the breakthrough. To defeat terror the victims must kill the terror leadership. The bomb carriers are nothng more than donkeys.

That will be the model in the middle east. At some point the Palestinians will give up the idea of killing all of the Jews and elect a sane leadership willing to negotiate a real peace.

In the interim Israel will repeat the Sharon program when necessary and otherwise concentrate on gorwing their economy and becoming wealthier and more powerful. It's rather amazing to compare the standard of living in Israel versus that of the West Bank which has taken such a dive after Oslo. This Palestinian govt is barely capable of collecting the trash.

As far as GWB we both know he is the reason we haven't been attack again. The President of Iran knows full well if he orders an attack on the USA or otherwise cooperates to support and attack we will kill him and decapitate the current Iranian leadership. No state entity in the middle east is considering aiding or abetting in any way an attack on the USA. That's why we are safe. Our rights are not and have never been protected or guarranteed by the good will of our fellow global citizens. That's what the Marines do.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Last I checked, the native Americans are still among us, and have been living here for thousands of years.

And they have all of the same rights as other Americans and more. I'm not quite sure what your point is. If you are saying is that the Indians who were in, say PA for example, at the time the 'whites' cane, are the rightful owners of all the land in PA you are assuming those people were the 1st to settle the land. That is of course demonstrably untrue. They were far from the original settlers and they very probably killed those in other tribes to get control of the land.

There are a ton of Indian myths out there that have become conventional wisdom. The fact is the history of the American Indian is no different than the history of Europeans, Asians or Africans. It's a history of war and conquest. Except they were far less technically and scientifically advanced.

If you are saying those who were here 1st are the rightful owners you have the impossible task of identifying who they were but they were definitely not those who were here in 1492.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

The borders that are stained with blood are the ones in Lebanon, which was invaded by Israel, and in Iraq, which was invaded by us. The rest of the region is relatively peaceful.

I am just as opposed to terrorism as you are. But I am not so selective in my outrage.

You are most certainly selective. The lebonese Christians were fighting the lebonese muslims long before Israel was involved. Samuel P Hundington wrote one of the most famous essay's of the 90's which became oone of the most famous books called 'The clash of civilizations". It was he who described the borders of Islam as bloody and it as he who compiled the data to prove it. One of the reason his essay and following book were so famous is that he refused to back down when the forces of the politically correct attacked him full force for being so 'culturally insensitive'. The won the tempest the easy way. He used the facts.

Woe are they defending Islamic terrorism. You are on the wrong side of history. If you are European you will be swallowed by this History. If not your grand-children then your great grand-children will be praying 5x's a day.

The borders of Islam are bloody but because Islam is so backwards they can only prey on the weak (politically correct). That leaves out the USA, Eastern Europe and most of Asia. Soon Islams borders will be extending into Western Europe. This is indeed a clash of civilizations and Western Europe is unarmed.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Moreover, if you were to total up all the civilian deaths caused by Palestinian terrorists over the last 60 years, it would be a trivial number compared to the number of civilians that Bush has murdered in Iraq in just the last 3 years.

GWB hasn't murdered anyone. If the victims of Palestinian terror are trivial it's only because they are so inept. The fact is the number of terror victims can never be trivial and they can never be forgotten. Terrorists are cockroaches and must be exterminated. We own it to our children to eliminate this menace from the world and that we will do.

We could argue all day long about which side was there 1st or which is or evil. It's pointless. We are not going to agree. I think we do agree is what matters is what happens next and that means what the terrorists do next. If they continue using terrorism they will be destroyed and the Palestian people will become progressively more pathetic while the rest of the world grows wealthier.

Do you realize the USA is so wealthy that a mere 3.8% growth rate adds $500B in real wealth to annual GDP? Further, that with a defense spending rate of 3.5% we increase defense spending by $17.5B each year? Israel is growing more quickly than the USA although is not as large. The point is that the western world is growing fantastically richer while the muslim world remains poor. They cannot beat us and we get stronger every day while they can only get weaker.

Posted by: rdw on September 20, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

The argument is assinine. Immediately means as soon as possible without leaving our equipment behind and without getting our troops killed as they pull out. The real question is what do we do next.
Who is going to tell 40,000 of those troops that they are headed to Afghanistan. Are the Democrats ready to change our defense spending so we are replacing our equipment that was chewed up in Iraq instead of preparing for war with China. Are we ready to push for national service and a permanent increase in the size of the Marines and Army? Will we move away from high tech bombs and missles to more civilian affairs/nation building equipment. Isn't time to put the Army back in charge of their own supplies and logistics. These are the topics Democrats should be arguing about.

Posted by: Realish on September 20, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

GDP of select countries from the CIA factbook
Saudi Arabia 310 B
Iran 516 B
Turkey 508 B
Indonesia 827 B
Malaysia 229 B
Egypt 316 B
Israel 129 B

Israels rate of GDP growth is lower than Iran and comprable to Saudia Arabia (estimate rate of growth since 2000 for Israel 5.9, - 1.1, 1.3, 3.9, 4.7, Saudi Arabia 4, 1.6, .6, 6.5, 3.5, Iran 3, 6.5, 6.1, 6.3 and 4.8)

The problems in the "muslim world" have nothing to do with the size of their economies or growth rate of GDP.
rdw you are either a dumb, foolish or lying troll

Posted by: rdw licks my bls on September 20, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

[SteveGinIL:] The GOP should be labeled the party of simple-mindedness, that they can't handle more than reading "My Pet Goat" at a time.

[rdw:] That's untrue and unfair. They can do at least 3 things at a time. They passed tax cuts AND the Iraqi war resolution while reading "My pet goat". Actually make that 4 things. They kicked you ass in elections.

1. The tax cuts were passed long before the Iraq AUMF, so your assertions that they were walking and chewing gum at the same time are incorrect. And neither was done while reading "My Pet Goat".

2. The AUMF was not a "war resolution", and even that was passed only due to mendacity and coercive allegations about the Dems' patriotism. Passing legislation based on lies wins medals in wingnut circles, but what kind of democracy is that? Take the same vote today, now that the facts of WMDs and Saddam's seeking of yellow-cake from Niger are out there; I would venture to say, now that people know the facts, the AUMF would never have been passed. Ask Colin Powell how much of his UNSC speech was correct.

3. The jury is still out on whether the GOP won the 2004 election or stole it (not 2001, which might have qualified as walking and chewing gum at the same time); every month that goes by, more and more people are waking up to the hackability of the e-voting machines, and that vulnerability will make more and more people believe it likely that the exit polls were, in fact, correct, as opposed to the official vote counts. When the counting software security is in question, how can anyone believe that the official count was legit? We are not going to turn back the clock and let Kerrry have four years if it is proven that the election was stolen, but if it was, Bush's entire term is illegitimate.

Posted by: SteveGinIL on September 21, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

Israels rate of GDP growth is lower than Iran and comprable to Saudia Arabia.

Historically Israels rate is dramatically higher but in 2006 we have the rare event of a tripling in Oil revenues and in both cases the jump in GDP is due entirely to Oil revenues. The Israeli economy is vastly superior to all other muslim economies in terms of depth, distribution, diversity, technological capabilities, etc.

Per capita income in Israel is $24,600. The next two highest on your list are Iran and
Turkey at 8,300 and 8,200 while Eqypt is an abysmal 3,900. Saudi Arabia is entirely oil revenues and doesn't count but even at 12,000 is only 50% Israeli levels.

Mo one said Islams problems have to do with economic growth. Their rotten economic growth and lack of distribution of wealth is the RESULT of islamic backwardness and the CAUSE. They are still 15th century.

BTW: Their reports of GDP are next to useless as they are in all non-democratic nations.

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

The jury is still out on whether the GOP won the 2004 election or stole it

No it isn't. GWB is definitely, absolutely the President. There's always a whacko-finge ready to claim every close election is stolen. It's been part of our entire history going back 200 years and if you look around the world it's part of being a democracy. There are whacko fringes in every society.

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

the AUMF was not a "war resolution", and even that was passed only due to mendacity and coercive allegations about the Dems' patriotism.

It was absolutely a war resolution. They gave GWB carte blanche. As far as coercive allegations if you are going to elect senators without a spine you will get the representation you deserve. Quit crying and start finding candidates with a backbone.

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I would venture to say, now that people know the facts, the AUMF would never have been passed

Time to move on don't you think? Your heroes are getting shredded. Joe Wilson has been called a lair in the Washington Post, Time magazine, Newsweek, LA Times and the Phila Inquirer to name just a few liberal rags. Richard Armitage and Colin Powell are getting killed for their dishonesty, cowardice and back-stabbing.

The Niger story has been a disaster for the libs and no one worse than the NY Times. Joe Wilson is the perfect image for modern liberalism. Like Dan Rather he's not just a liar he's a bad liar. Their frauds were so cartoonish even the Washington Post castigated itself for paying them any attention. Oh, Danny Boy! Oh, the disgrace!

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's entire term is illegitimate

GWBs electorial performance in 2004 was the best of any mid-term President since FDR in 1936. He increased his vote totals by a stunning and unprecidented 23% over 2000.

Your party is in total disarray. They don't stand for anything. They've been nothing but anti-Bush for 5 years. Now that GWB will not be standing in any elections your party is in search of a platform. They don't have one and are not close to developing one.

History will record this as your parties losest point since 1928.

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

SteveGinIL,

You'll want to watch the oil markets. Natural Gas is down another 2.5% today and I'm expecting to pay $1.99 a gallon for unleaded in NJ this weekend. Natural Gas is now the lowest in 3 years and 1/3 last years highs.

Further a number of energy analysts are saying inventories are so high and supply so plentiful prices will continue to fall. Thr hurricane season remains a dud.

Look for $1.50 unleaded by Nov.

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Jim W wrote:

"(Quoting rdw) 'In all of civilization it is only in the Muslim world where it's fine to strap a bomb on your body and walk up to a 3 month old jew and blow them up.'

You seem to forget all the innocent children blown up by Israeli cluster bombs (supplied by us) just a few weeks ago in Lebanon."
_________________

No one, liberal or conservative, should allow moral equivalency arguments as shallow as the one above to go unchallenged. There is a very real difference between the deliberate act of targeting civilians and the unfortunate loss of civilians through inadvertent action. Intent always makes a difference.

In a related vein, the currently popular disparagement of cluster bombs is a bit simplistic. Cluster bombs replaced, among other things, the use of napalm on the battlefield. (Perhaps ironically, a napalm bomb generally has a smaller footprint and is less persistent than the cluster bomb which has replaced it.)

Also, for those anti-landmine types out there, remember the oft-cited military people who claim that landmines are obsolete because of new technology? The "new technologies" supporting the anti-landmine argument are the various methods of scattering cluster bombs.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 21, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

No one, liberal or conservative should allow moral equivalency arguments as shallow as the one above to go unchallenged.

It was a judgement call. Some things are so stupid they don't merit the effort. I had already responded to several other silly comments.

Jim W, appears to be one of those libs so isolated within the MSM he really doesn't know any better.

Posted by: rdw on September 21, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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