Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 27, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

I NEED A DRINK....It's stuff like this that almost makes me want to give up sometimes. Here is William Arkin today:

The simplistic story line that the Democrats are pushing is all about and solely about Iraq: withdraw U.S. forces, defeat the Republicans, tidy up foreign policy by giving human rights to prisoners and being nicer in the world, and voila, terror subsides.

I write a blog. That means I make sharp points in very brief posts. But even at that, nothing I've written could even be unfairly caricatured the way Arkin does, let alone fairly. Ditto for other liberal bloggers who are even sharper and briefer than me.

Outside the blogosphere, of course, we have the actual Democratic establishment, the one that wields genuine influence. Some of them are in Congress and make floor speeches about both Iraq and national security more broadly. Some of them run for president and lay out detailed position papers about how best to conduct foreign policy in an age of jihad. Others host symposia at think tanks or write lengthy articles in places like Foreign Affairs and Democracy. Still others write books covering practically every nuance of liberal foreign policy you could ever hope for.

Some of these liberals think we ought to withdraw from Iraq and some don't. I think it's safe to say that virtually all of them believe that a less militaristic and more internationalist foreign policy would be a net benefit. But it's also safe to say that none of them not one believes this is all it will take to put a stop to militant jihadism. And yet, after five years of speeches, articles, symposia, and books by Democrats on national security, that's what Arkin writes.

Jeebus. David Ignatius blames Democrats for not figuring out a solution to Iraq, Michael Kinsley thinks bloggers are lunatics, and William Arkin claims that "being nicer" is all Democrats have to say about foreign policy. I expect this kind of stuff from Charles Krauthammer, not sane people. Is there something in the water?

Kevin Drum 6:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (128)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Buck up, Kevin.

It's just a stupid and easily refuted straw-man argument -- at least in policy terms. Nobody thinks there are any easy answers out there.

Now in *political* terms, maybe the Democrats are trying to frame the issues that way.

Well -- is that any less damned simplistic than the Republicans and their "kill all the evildoers" garbage?

The Democratic meme is *at least* as salable in an election. Democratic policies which recognize complexity perhaps not so much ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 27, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin

Your tone is completely wrong. At best sort of wrong.

You should be more combative about all this nonsense.

Posted by: gregor on September 27, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps, Mr. Arkin isn't as sane as you think he is. Maybe he is just lazy. Generalization is the easy way to analyze anything.

Posted by: Mazurka on September 27, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

No, it`s all inside their head

"...The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power..." - Henry Wallace

Posted by: daCascadian on September 27, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

gregor:

Word.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 27, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe you need to adjust your perceptions of who's sane.

Posted by: KCinDC on September 27, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Don't despair, Kevin! You're the best.

Posted by: Lucy on September 27, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

The one thing national Democrats aren't is insulting.

Republicans are nothing but insulting.

We need more insulting Democrats.

Posted by: cld on September 27, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

What is strange is how Democrats refuse to attack Republicans for making us less safe while making sure everyone knows the things they would do, if in power, that the Republicans haven't; like inspecting 100% of the container vessels coming into the USA. The subject does get touched on from time to time but there's no driving message like there should be. Therefore, the problem isn't that Arkin is confused, it's that most voters are too and the question is why hasn't this very solvable problem been far more aggressively tackled?

Posted by: Chauncy Gardner on September 27, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

...and here I thought Kinsley and Ignatius were such Sensible, Moderate Liberal...

Actually, this is a surprise coming from Kinsley, who as head of Slate published Mickey Kaus, Andrew "Decadent Fifth Column" Sullivan and Christopher "That's Not a Double, Dammit!" Hitchens. Ignatius has been steadily deteriorating since 2000.

Arkin just seems like an asshole

Posted by: Jim on September 27, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's safe to say that virtually all of them believe that a less militaristic and more internationalist foreign policy would be a net benefit.

Ah yes. The same less militaristic and more internationalist foreign policy that Bill Clinton had.

This is the same Bill Clinton who thought "There is not a living soul in the world who thought Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down ..." even though Experts Agree, Black Hawk Down Was Osama Bin Laden And Al Qaeda's "First Victory" Against The U.S..

This is the same Bill Clinton who thought "[In Somalia] there was no Al Qaeda" even though President Clinton's Own Adviser Worried Somalia Was Haven For Al Qaeda.

This is the same Bill Clinton who said he left "a Comprehensive Anti-Terror Strategy" For President Bush" even though Clinton And Bush Administration Officials Agree "There Was No War Plan ... Turned Over":.

Why would you support Clinton's failed policies which led to 9/11 rather than support Bush's policy which has prevented another 9/11?

Posted by: Al on September 27, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

And you just figured out now that Arkin is an idiot and an asshole?

Posted by: seth edenbaum on September 27, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

So, let's review:
Republicans control White House, Senate, and House. Last two named bodies completely roll over for White House, so basically Republicans can do whatever they want for 6 years.

Result: Utter, total fuckup in Iraq, so bad that even conservaloonies can see it.

Solution: Blame Democrats.

Did I miss something?

Posted by: craigie on September 27, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

I would love to watch on television a Democrat embrace snark, and unleash it on the Republicans. Nothing makes monkey go ape-sh*t than being mocked as a monkey.
Kevin, we need some serious mockery, embrace the snark, and unleash it!

Posted by: sheerahkahn on September 27, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

And yet, after five years of speeches, articles, symposia, and books by Democrats on national security, that's what Arkin writes.

Great! How about some links to a few examples of these detailed and nuanced approaches to foreign policy that don't boil down to "withdraw U.S. forces, defeat the Republicans, tidy up foreign policy by giving human rights to prisoners and [be] nicer in the world?"

And is there any definition of "internationalist" that doesn't boil down to "make the U.N. happy?"

Posted by: macready on September 27, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

OK. Al you covered your ass.

Posted by: gregor on September 27, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

ooh! looks like Al finally finished that first chapter of "HTML for Dummies."

Too bad Al hasn't even cracked open "Basic Logic for Dummies."

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 27, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I actually read the entire link, and I have no idea who Arkin is, so I guess I was able to read it without knowing what, if any bias, he has.

But the snipped quote seems to me to hardly be the point, or anywhere near the point, of the piece.

It seems to be actually less about criticizing Democrats than criticizing shallow analysis of the Middle East in general.

Given the spectacularly shallow analysis proffered by the Bush administration, I have to say less shallowness = better.

The piece comes invitingly close to asking why, given the fact that Israel has nuclear deterrent capability (provided by France, no less! That's goddamend right, France!) it is necessary for the U.S. (even if it thought that Isreal was indeed a nice outpost of liberal democracy) to maintain a foreign policy which insures that the U.S. is viewed as such an ally of Israel that the anti-Israel hatred so conveniently spills over onto us.

That same hatred is not exactly spilling over onto Norway, or China, or Brazil, why do we need to be so special, especially because Israel is more than capable of defending itself with no help from us at all.

I would of course go further. Our present global military strategy virtually insures terrroism against us and the resulting "get tough" posture which is sure to follow merely exacerbates the original problem like some "Groundhog Day" replay loop.

I swear, when the other colonial powers were colonial powers at least they exploited the countries they colonized!

We insist on bearing all of the burdens of acting like a colonial power, such as the fact that terrorists find us a target, with virtually none of the benefits.

Is this so far from the conventionals wisdom that its not even worth discussing?

Posted by: hank on September 27, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

"... tidy up foreign policy by giving human rights to prisoners ..."

So, um, wait. It's now generally accepted among the pundit class that prisoners have no human rights? That we can do whatever we want with someone as long as they're in jail or in prison?

Is anyone else as severely creeped out by this as I am?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on September 27, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

I would love to watch on television a Democrat embrace snark, and unleash it on the Republicans. Nothing makes monkey go ape-sh*t than being mocked as a monkey.
Kevin, we need some serious mockery, embrace the snark, and unleash it!
Posted by: sheerahkahn on September 27, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Notice that the only Democrat who has the balls to snap back at the Monkey, is the Big Dog. Who has nothing to fear, because he's already been character-assassinated, and is not running for re-election.

The mighty wurlitzer has the rest of them terrified.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 27, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

You can't possibly be surprised: this is exactly what we've been seeing from the Bush administration since the very start of their campaign. They capitalize on the ignorance of the average voter by redefining reality; they stomp out substantive debate by advancing emotional issues that inspire hate and fear, and they enforce loyalty though blind appeals to party, religion, and country.

This small paragraph simply encapsulates all of these tactics in one.

Duh.

Keith Olbermann is right - we should be outraged. We should have been vocal in our outrage at all of these abuses from day one. Instead, Democrats have become a laughable Stockholm Syndrome (or perhaps battered spouse) victim that is no longer institutionally capable of putting up any meaningful opposition to these Republican abuses. They've been perfecting these strategies since Bush I. And Democrats haven't even started to play hardball for this election cycle, which is just a few weeks away.

Sorry, but moderate voices like yours - which just a few years ago would have been a model of civility and rational analysis on the merits - are now part of the problem. There aren't two sides to a debate on corruption, lies, abuse of power, torture, coordinated and viscious suppression of dissent, and an administration who lied its way into an unnecessary war that has only made the threat of terror significantly greater. Moderate voices of disbelief simply concede far too much ground to these extreme tactics.

Posted by: Augustus on September 27, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are always carefully, calculatedly, subtly insulting in everything they say and do. It's the secret of their success. It's why people more than half the time will think a Republican has won a political debate even though he's failed ridiculously at every single point.

The proper form of address to a Republican is easy, all you have to do is bring to the front of your mind, and this is easy because it's true, that every single thing about this hunk of rat crap is infected shit, and you are here to be polite about it. But you're not going to pretend, either.

Posted by: cld on September 27, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

gregor, here i was going to point out to fake al how phony his arguments were, but then you demonstrated how to do it in a nice, simple sentence! kudos....

macready, there are indeed loads of definitions of internationalist that don't boil down to make the UN happy, but apparently you would be unable to understand them and prefer the nuance-free inanities of george bush.

Mnemosyne, from the time of the revelations of Abu Ghraib, where at least the right wing had the decency to acknowledge that torture was wrong (even if they blamed it on "bad apples") to now, where the right wing regards torture as indispensable, is about as sickening a display of the crap that passes for wisdom among these phony conservatives as you could hope to find. which is to say, yes, i'm severly creeped out by it.

Posted by: howard on September 27, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I expect this kind of stuff from Charles Krauthammer, not sane people.

Or honest people, but why on Earth, Kevin, would you consider anyone who continues to defend the Bush Administration's mendacity, incompetence and corruption sane or honsest?

Still, cheer up -- the increasingly shrill quality of the Republican apologists' straw man arguments just shows how desperate they are. The Republicans don't totally control the media, after all, and as you point out, no actual Democrat voices the position the Republican straw men arguments would have them do. And the characiature is too broad not to be obvious.

Lunacy like Arkin's is not meant to be persuasive to the majority of Americans who have concluded that Bush's fiasco in Iraq is not worth any more American blood and treasure. It's designed to ring Pavlov's bell for the mouth-breathing wingnuts.

That the GOP is trying so very desperately to appeal to their loony base this late in the game is very heartening.

Posted by: Gregory on September 27, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

That's right, Augustus. Go f**k'n nuts. Disavow moderation, civility, restraint, and let the monsters from the id loose. Arkin, Ignatius and Kinsley are evincing a prelminiary sour grapes because they see the Democrats aren't going to make any major gains in the November elections. So go nuts and see what happens.

Posted by: Zhombre on September 27, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

That's pretty disingenuous revisionism, Al. AT THE TIME of Black Hawk Down, NOBODY knew who Bin Laden was. Sure, years later, lots of folks knew, but it really wasn't till the Bojinka plot was uncovered late in Clinton's first term that the recognition of its organizational capacities occurred, and the tracking began.

You and the GOP are suggesting it should have been handled differently when our efforts were peacekeeping, with no knowledge of global anything. Without that same logic,Bush's father was guilty of not taking out Saddam in the 1980s when he gassed the Kurds, and, using your logic, he was also guilty of not taking out Osama during the first Gulf War.

Similarly, 'no war plan' does not refute an assertion of an 'anti-terror strategy.' You're mixing apples and oranges. Please take your disinformation and strawman talking points to fools' forums. We're way beyond such child's play.

And Kevin: such pundits deliberately deceive. Controversy sparks readership and they earn their keep that way.

I've been calling for total withdrawal from Iraq, with half our troops moved to Afghanistan to keep the pressure on the enemies who attacked us. If that's being squishy soft on terrorists, then I'd like to hear how their plans are any harder. Assuming, of course, they actually will ever propose one.

Such punditry deserves condemnation as often as they serve as handmaidens for the No Plan Like the Wrong Plan White House.

Leave innocents, like the water, out of it. All they're after is retirement to the talk circuit where they'll be paid handsomely for fresh versions of the same old lap dance that they're providing now at discount.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on September 27, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

"virtually all of them believe that a less militaristic and more internationalist foreign policy would be a net benefit"

We already tried this, for 8 years during the Clinton Administration. It demonstrably did NOT make us safer.

Posted by: Floridian on September 27, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Incidentally:

withdraw U.S. forces, defeat the Republicans, tidy up foreign policy by giving human rights to prisoners and being nicer in the world, and voila, terror subsides.

Arkin seems to want to claim that this platform would not, in fact, result in a decrease in terror. But isn't that an assertion not in evidence? At the very least, defeating Republicans would go a long way toward more effective anit-terror policies.

And, of course, the elephant in the room is the Palestinian issue, which Bush's incompetence has completely bolluxed up. If "being nicer in the world" means "implementing a just two-state solution" -- and achievement utterly beyond Bush's interest, let alone ability -- then again, less terror would, in fact, result.

Arkin merely reveals himself as a fool and a liar.

Posted by: Gregory on September 27, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

---something in the water?

And Michael Duffy writes that Clinton and Rice are just having a childish tiff.

Actually - what Clinton said was a long time in coming and I want more, much more - like more declassified 9/11 commission work, specifically the Bush/Cheney interview and Clinton one too.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 27, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, who the hell William Arkin?

I've never seen ANY of his work on WP? Why call him sane, we don't even know who he is?

Who do we know this guy is just astro truffing?

Posted by: Cheryl on September 27, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

floridian, do you even know what the words you type mean? exactly what is "safer" about america today than was the case in january, 2001?

Posted by: howard on September 27, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I decided long ago that Arkin is way overrated. He's one of those people who plays the center -- takes condescending potshots at both sides without ever really saying anything meaningful or enlightening. Coincidentally, I checked his blog today to see if he had changed his stripes. Nope. Glad you feel the same way.

Posted by: bob on September 27, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Is there something in the water?

Look, you summed up the Democratic position on foreign policy and the environment in one post! Kudos Kevin.

Sorry, I had to do it.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on September 27, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

And, of course, the elephant in the room is the Palestinian issue, which Bush's incompetence has completely bolluxed up. If "being nicer in the world" means "implementing a just two-state solution" -- and achievement utterly beyond Bush's interest, let alone ability -- then again, less terror would, in fact, result.

A lot of Presidents of both parties, and a lot of Israeli prime ministers from all across the political spectrum, have beaten their heads bloody on this issue. This includes the Great Clinton, who, whatever else you think about him, certainly tried his hardest on the Israel/Palestinian issue. That Bush hasn't succeeded says nothing about his skills, unless you make the same judgment about all his predecessors.

Until the Palestinian leadership is one that accepts Israel's existence, nothing is going to change, no matter who is President.

Posted by: clockwatcher on September 27, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 wrote, Well -- is that any less damned simplistic than the Republicans and their "kill all the evildoers" garbage?

Reminds me of the article in The Onion's Our Dumb Century, about a supposed debate between Carter and Reagan. Carter's line was "Let's talk better milage." Reagan's: "Kill the bastards."

Posted by: liberal on September 27, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

WHo is William Arkin?

Posted by: Matt on September 27, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats had their way, and the "war" against terrorism were just accelerated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, my guess is that "it" would become the new "cause celebre." The "war" against terrorism is the problem at this point, as is our simplistic view of ourselves and what we are fighting.

Well I guess he took Kinsley's word and lost all objectity.

For what hell is that, if nothing but pure opinion, thank you Judith Miller-Arkin of the Washington Post, but if we need Bush's opinion, we'll just ask him for him.


Posted by: Cheryl on September 27, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Arkin's story lines pretty good to me.

We've tried everything else and it doesn't seem to work.

What say we really try to give peace a chance?

Posted by: Steve on September 27, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, this is like the 'Democrats are the same as Republicans!' crud that's tossed at us all the time.

What's so great about troops being killed by ones and twos instead of by tens once every few years?

Plus uncounted (really, we don't count) civilian losses outside the US...

Stupid isolationists.

Posted by: Crissa on September 27, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Zhombre - That's right, Augustus. Go f**k'n nuts. Disavow moderation, civility, restraint, and let the monsters from the id loose.

Thank you for the Republican parody: Clinton responds to cheap, baseless slander and he gets called crazy. The tactics are so effective that even Democrats (Stockholm Syndrome victims) actually start parodying them like commercial jingles.

Any sane, rational, thinking human being is aware that political discourse has more than two tones; 'going nuts' isn't the only alternative to moderation. Stop being a part of the problem and learn to fight back against those that are battering and destroying our nation, not those who are advocating standing up to these abuses.

I'm arguing for people to fight back with tough words. Hold Republicans accountable for their words and deeds, call them on their extremism, accuse them of criminal wrongdoing when the facts support it.

To dumb it down: if you don't have strong criticism about this administration, you're either supporting this administration or you are in every way worthless as a voice of opposition. Sort'uv like John Kerry (and hey, good news! He's thinking of running and losing again!).

Posted by: Augustus on September 27, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Absolute Republican genius! Jeanne Pirro tries to get Bernie Kerik, (after he was revealed as a crook), to plant an illegal bug on her husband,

http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001617.php

Posted by: cld on September 27, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

He's one of those people who plays the center -- takes condescending potshots at both sides without ever really saying anything meaningful or enlightening.

That sounds about right, and Arkin is doing precisely that and clearly this a crack-pots opinion. This is why newspaper go out of business. Because it isn't worth a couple of bucks to read some crackpots cheap potshot. Arkin's column made NO sense as it failed to make a point.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 27, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_been_Forgotten,

Notice that the only Democrat who has the balls to snap back at the Monkey, is the Big Dog.

Not quite right, although I tend to agree with the sentiment. There are a few Dems speaking out. One recent example: Tim Ryan unleashed on the administration from the floor of the House; crooks and liars has the video if you haven't seen it, here.

Posted by: Edo on September 27, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Just wondering--in that NIE about what was inspiring terrorists around the world, did Israel and the Palestinians ever show up?

Posted by: clockwatcher on September 27, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

No. The elephant in the room is that the oil in the Persian Gulf is essential to the global economy, thus resulting in billions of people demanding it be extracted, and this will remain the case for decades in even the best case scenario in regards to developing technologies. If the oil in the Persian Gulf is to be extracted as billions of people demand (and as the U.S. will inevitably be involved in), one three things will happen to the people who live in the Persian Gulf. They will either be killed, or they will be enslaved (as has been done by the despotic proxies of those who demand oil for the past eighty years or so), or they will come to govern themselves and trade profitably with the rest of the world.

The first outcome is too hideous to comprehend For now. Changed context changes popular attitudes about mass slaughter. What was barely conceivable in 1913 became commonplace by 1945. The third outcome is the most desirable, but nobody has a good idea to achieve it with any rapidity. Absent rapidity, we are left with many more decades of option two's status quo.

That status quo, if pursued for several more decades, has a reasonably good chance of changing contexts enought to make option one much more conceivable. Participating in the enslavement of hundreds of millions of Muslims for several more decades, as the ubiquity of destructive technology grows with each passing year, is an exceedingly dangerous thing to do. No major politician and damned few pundits have addressed this damnable dilemma in any forthright way, for the understandable reason that there isn't much that seems to represent a likely way to work through it.

Instead, we get vague generalities, if not outright fantasies, from all parts of the political spectrum. What things that might be useful, if only to speed a slow process a little bit, like a tax on oil (which I would couple with a reduction on payroll taxes on the first $10,000 in earnings), have zero chance of being electorally viable. The surest way to score points against the party in power remains yelping about higher prices at the gas pump.

Given I don't have any magic solutions, I'm loathe to condemn anyone for failing to come up with one either. However, if somebody wants to talk about the politics of the Persian Gulf or our relationship with the Islamic world, and they don't explicitly mention oil, and what political paradigms are available to effect what billions of people demand, that the oil be extracted, and what the implications are of those different paradigms, they don't have anything to say on the topic. At least not anything to say that is worth listening to.

Posted by: Will Allen on September 27, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

So fight fire with fire:

The GOP: Bombing countries that don't have the bomb, but wimps to those countries that do.

Posted by: Thin White Guy on September 27, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

There was a reason the Gingrich Republic congress decided to block pursuit of Osama:

He was a Reagan apparatus and they feared blowback of that fact. He also would have shown poorly on emerging venture capital to the new Russian republics.
Follow the Money.

Posted by: Mr.Murder on September 27, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Aiken is an idiot. Kinsly and Ignatius aren't too swift either. The trolls are deluded fools.

Even so, aside from not being GOP fuck-ups, what is the Democratic message on national security and, if it's any good, why aren't we hearing more about it? Seriously.

Republicans have successfully painted Democrats as weak on national security but the Democrats are still letting the Republicans remain at the center of the issue. So, even when the news is bad, when people think of national security, they still think Republican. Jeez, I'm a Democrat and I do it. The Democratic message is virtually nowhere on this. Robert Reich,incidentally, noted the same problem on This Week and he's a pretty fair political observer.

Yeah, I know polls show more Americans are starting to trust Dems on security issues but look at what it took. Even if we win come November, this does not bode well for the long term. I mean, how much prompting do Democrats need anyway?

Posted by: Chauncy Gardner on September 27, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

"what is the Democratic message on national security?"

Good morning, Rip Van Winkle. How about: Paying attention to important security briefings before things like 9/11 happen. Duh.

An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure and all.

Posted by: Thin White Guy on September 27, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Al carefully documented all three points with links to Gop.com. Our boy is a heavy hitter, all right.

Posted by: humble blogger on September 27, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

"---they will be enslaved"

Somehow, I just don't see that happening. Killing fields, maybe.

BUT whereever there is money to be made there is always a will to produce it, but enslaving Iraqis?

Did Saddam have any gulags? I dont recall hearing anything like that. Iraqis will probably just contract with oil companies from Russian, Germany, France and China. Oil takes a certain level of science to produce and so when Bush leaves the war torn world of Iraq Iraqis will need financial help to get their oilfield back into production again and we know they'll spit on Western oil contracts. BUT NOT to worry Will, you're still going to be able to buy it for whatever OPEC wants to sell it to you for.


Posted by: Cheryl on September 27, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Why would you support Clinton's failed policies which led to 9/11 rather than support Bush's policy which has prevented another 9/11?"

Why would you flog phony premises that no one else here has any respect for? Oh right, because you don't actually read or understand the posts. He was talking about simpletons like you, Al.

Posted by: Kenji on September 27, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Will, you forgot, there is a fourth possibility.

"A totalitarian/Islamic state government will preside over the extraction of the oil in conjunction with multi-national oil companies, and although the lion's share of the wealth will be skimmed by the ruling elite, just enough bread and circuses will be provided to the masses to keep them in line until the oil runs out."

Saudi Arabia has been using this model for decades, and absent who knows what, is going to continue to do so. The one thing that rang true about the movie "Syriana" was when the former Doctor Bashir asked Matt Damon what the rest of the world "thought" about Arabs. Citizens of Saudi Arabia are hardly enslaved, even if you count their attitude towards women.

Really, and I know you'll write back on this, where is the evidence of another oil embargo from the Mid East? Certainly you can't expect to contend that Saddam Hussain didn't want to pump oil for profit? Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are so completely addicted to the cash flow generated by the oil that stopping production is a complete non-starter.

This is one assumption that is really biting us in the ass.

It was one thing when the Soviet Union existed in its prior form. In those times, if the USSR got ahold of some natural resource, that resource was as a matter of geopolitical reality not only out of our control, but unavailable to us.

Now, the only embargos we have going are rather pointless, like Cuba and the former embargo with Iraq.

Prior to the Iraq war there may have been some threat of some kind but where was the threat to the oil supply there?

Posted by: hank on September 27, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Is there something in the water?"

Of course there is, Kevin. Two Navy groups on their way to Iran.

All summer Bill Arkin said "No way no war in Iran not yet trust me." About a month ago he stopped saying this, and started saying stuff about how great the precision bombing working in Lebanon.

World War whatever, Kevin, Dems can't stop it.

Posted by: bob mcmanus on September 27, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

"The elephant in the room is that the oil in the Persian Gulf is essential to the global economy..."

Hi Will Allen, long time no see.

Listen to this guy folks, smart, patient and determined. Scared.

Posted by: bob mcmanus on September 27, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Golly, Cheryl, I didn't know you were no longer a consumer of petroleum-based products. Now why don't you convince 300 millions of your fellow citizens to be the same? Your charming personality will work wonders, I'm sure.

As to the rest of your post, if you do not believe that the people who live under the rule of the House of Saud, or those who lived under the rule of Saddam, or wo live under the rule of Iran's mullahs, are not slaves, in the sense that their very lives can be ended via arbitrary decision by people who do not subject themselves to the possibility of removal from power, well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. If you think pariticipating in that process for several more decades, by paying off the despots in return for access to oil, is the best that can be done, you may be right. It would be preferable if you would acknowledge it forthrightly, and be willing to explore the implications of that decision. Or continue to be a child, stomping your foot. Whatever.

Posted by: Will Allen on September 27, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush manages to trivialize Iraq, associate himself with the Deity and become hopelessly confused in one sentence,


http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/columns/pressingissues_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003157235


But. . . then you think, --maybe he meant Iran, after the comma.

Posted by: cld on September 27, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Thin White Guy,

I think you miss my point. The issue here is message.

But if I'm wrong and this was a big part of the Democratic message, then where were all the Democrats, pre-HRC, who were chiding Bush for ignoring the 8/6/01 PDC and citing it as evidence of his incompetence? If you have cites, kindly present them.

Also, citing fuck-ups, is not the same thing as presenting a proactive security agenda.

I may be sleeping but perhaps it is you who are the one who is dreaming, no?

Posted by: Chauncy Gardner AKA Rip Van Winkle on September 27, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Iranian Nukes in Plain Language,

http://scienceblogs.com/catdynamics/2006/09/iranian_nukes_plain_language_r.php

Posted by: cld on September 27, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Cheryl, I may have misnterpreted your tone. If you didn't intend it as a personal remark, I apologize for my reply. If you did, I don't.

Posted by: Will Allen on September 27, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

That Arkin piece is about as balamced and nuanced as a Progress for America commercial.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 27, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Will, its not a question at the moment of what is "the best that can be done" is it? Or, for that matter, based upon hindsight, was it the best decision when we decided to occupy a country which is clearly more interested in settling sectarian scores than becoming the 51st state and applying for the next expansion team in the NFL.

No, the question is, faced with a massive breach of U.S. security, what is the appropriate response? Well, we know what has happened since, but here you come, lobbing in the fact that because of Middle East oil reserves, some form of military adventurism is necessary to safeguard such reserves.

Notwithstanding the fact that we invaded and occypied the most secular state in the region, again, lets have a bit more than the unsupported assertion that the oil is at risk.

All things considered, I have no problem bombarding Saudi Arabia with Brittany Spears videos until they crack and demand 24/7 access to the Playboy channel, but, views on Muslim morality aside, since when is it the official foreign policy of the United States to retain a free hand to remake other countries into our image, by force?

Posted by: hank on September 27, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Of course there is, Kevin. Two Navy groups on their way to Iran

One has been in place since July.

Call it Perle Harbor.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 27, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hi bob. Thanks for the kind words, although there are a few people here who would disagree vehemently, and no doubt think I am guilty of disagreeing with them, and thus am to be treated with the typical hostility. I don't participate in forums like this much anymore because so many are merely in pursuit of their tribe's agenda above all else.

In any case, this is a topic I do occasionally still respond to, because it is the one where the stakes are highest, and the core of the matter is so rarely addressed in a forthright fashion.

Hank, I view living under any form of a totalitarian government a form of enslavement, and that participating in the totalitarian governance of a few hundred million muslims for the next several decades, in order to effect oil extraction, will carry with it a high price that should be forthrightly discussed.

Posted by: Will Allen on September 27, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

hank, you misrepresent me when you imply that I ever stated that the oil was at risk. I said the oil extraction was inevitable. Now, if you think that participating in the totalitarian governance of many, many, millions of people for the next several decades, by paying off the totalitarians, is the best that way to effect the inevitable, just say so forthrightly, and explain why you think that will not have any negative unintended effects.

Posted by: Will Allen on September 27, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Didn't you have a contest a while back to see who could boil down the Dem's platform to ten words? If Arkin's pithy phrase didn't have more than a kernel of truth in it you wouldn't be so aggrivated.
I consider myself an open minded person; when the Repubs have screwed up I admit it. I have even conceded they have screwed up bad enough to deserve losing this cycle. But when I talk to Dems I am slapped in the face with the reasons I'm still a reluctant Republican - trying to explain to a Democrat that America is not the cause of all the world's problems is like trying to explain to a seven year old that he's not really the cause of his parent's divorce. Show me one foreign policy issue where the Dem position is not summed up by Arkin's phrase.

Posted by: the minion on September 27, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

incomprehensibly, some people think these guys have naythingto say. I am sorry. They are assholes and have been long time. and people who do not recognize it are pretty foolish too.

Posted by: della Rovere on September 27, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Will, please explain why anyone should seriously respond to anything you say, much less follow your requests, since you are obviously only looking to antagonize people and are not interested in intelligent dialogue.

In triplicate, please.

Posted by: Disputo on September 27, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Arkin writes for Big Media. Corporate-owned, Big Media. And you expect that he would come up with something better than his pissy column?

Posted by: islander on September 27, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

I say so forthrightly. Let's focus on Saudi Arabia for the moment. The ruling royal family power comes from its protection and administration of Mecca and Medina. Considering the fact that for the entire Muslim world, attendance at the Hajj (spelling?) is almost mandatory, SA is arguably the largest tourist trap in the history of the world.

I'll also say forthrightly that its certainly not some wonderful result if generations of Saudi women are intimidated by their male counterparts, etc.

What I'll also say forthrightly is that the goddamed bar for attempting to change the social state of affairs in Saudia Arabia, or any other country which happens to sit on oil reserves, OUGHT TO BE PRETTY GODDAMED HIGH, QUITE A BIT GODDAMED HIGHER THAN IT APPARENTLY IS. If we don't want to buy Saudi Arabian oil out of protest of their form of government, fine, lets have a vote. Otherwise, isn't it kind of up to the Saudi Arabians themselves?

When you reference the consequences of paying of despots, despite the perjorative words used, you blithly assume the proposition to be debated. Iraq (and, say the former Shah of Iran) may be special cases, where, in the context of Cold War geopolitics, we did much more than simply buy oil sold by bad people. But the Cold War is over. I think we should not only remind the world of that fact, but also adjust our foreign policy accordingly.

Our polity towards Northern Ireland strikes me as apt.

Posted by: hank on September 27, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

And the simplistic story line about Republicans is that they think we can kill our way to a more peaceful world. Who is more deluded?

Posted by: A Cynic's Cynic on September 27, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmmm. Wonder where William Arkin could have got such a crazy notion??

Uhm, maybe by actually listening to the Democrats? Just Monday, Tuesday and today, the Washington Democrats were saying Bush's policies have INCREASED terrorism.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 27, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

macready nailed it!

(7:21 PM)

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on September 27, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

guys, as a sidebar, just for a moment-- the right wing has been talking a lot of lately about pelosi appointing hasting to run the intel com. if dems get the house,

1. do you think hastings will get the appointment.

2. do you think he should have it... given his past.

--was just wondering what your thoughts were.

Posted by: douglas on September 27, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

guys, as a sidebar, just for a moment-- the right wing has been talking a lot of lately about pelosi appointing hasting to run the intel com. if dems get the house,

1. do you think hastings will get the appointment.

2. do you think he should have it... given his past.

--was just wondering what your thoughts were.

Posted by: doug on September 27, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

hank, if you think that one can consume as much oil as the United States does, without being involved in the extraction of Saudi oil, by somehow deciding not to purchase it, YOU DON'T GRASP THE SLIGHTEST THING ABOUT COMMODITY MARKETS. YOU ARE ENGAGING IN A FANTASY. PLEASE STOP. IT IS SILLY. IF YOU PAY A DESPOT FOR THE ACCESS TO THE NATURAL RESOURCE HE CONTROLS, YOU ARE INVOLVED IN THE DESPOTIC GOVERNANCE OF THE PEOPLE THE DESPOT TYRANNIZES. BEING INVOLVED IN TYRANNIZING PEOPLE OVER MANY DECADES CARRIES CONSEQUENCES. BEING INVOLVED IN THE TYRANNIZATION OF MILLIONS OF MUSLIMS OVER MANY DECADES CARRIES OTHER PARTICULAR CONSEQUENCES. HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE PAST 60 YEARS? DO YOU REALLY THINK BELFAST IS AKIN TO RIYADH?

Gosh, it is so enlightening to use the cap lock button!

Disputo, given it was you who began the antagonistic tone of out last exchange, I can only conclude that you are lacking the self-awareness that is so typical of many in this forum. If you wish a civil exchange, keep a civil tongue. Is this so really difficult to grasp?

Posted by: Will Allen on September 27, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of you posters favored deciding on US troop withdrawal based on surveys, rather than a decision by the peoples' elected represenatives. I wonder how you'd feel about the US using a survey to make to make policy regarding terrorists' rights? Do you think a majority would favor no rights of appeal.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, that last post was garbled. I meant to say that a majority of Americans would favor fewer rights for terrorists on trial.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how you'd feel about the US using a survey to make to make policy regarding terrorists' rights? Do you think a majority would favor no rights of appeal.

Depends how the questions are framed. If Rove were to write the survey questions, most would favor abandoning the Bill of Rights immediately.

We haven't had "terrorists" but we've had criminals from the beginning of the republic, and we have managed to survive giving them rights to trial, habeas corpus, etc. But then, the Founding Fathers weren't Rove or Cheney types.

Posted by: JS on September 27, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

these wise commentators want Dems to put forward their ideas and join the debate. lead me to the debate someone.

Posted by: della Rovere on September 27, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

The simplistic story line that the Republicans are pushing is all about and solely about islamofascism kill more U.S. forces, embrace domestic wedge issues, forget foreign policy by legalizing torture, democracy thru shock and awe, and voila, terror subsides and democracy has a parade of flowers!
,/blockquote>

Yeh just get you a cup of victory gin and enjoy wag the dog Orwellia circa 2006, Btw Limbaugh has the SOMA

Posted by: Dick Chain-Me on September 27, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

If we are going to fix Iraq we need to raise taxes. Let the patriots put their money where their mouth is.

Posted by: Leslie on September 27, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

The simplistic story line that the Republicans are pushing is all about and solely about islamofascism kill more U.S. forces, embrace domestic wedge issues, forget foreign policy by legalizing torture, democracy thru shock and awe, and voila, terror subsides and democracy has a parade of flowers!

Just have a seat in our Lubyanka chair and enjoy the water boarding, and freezing temperatures,not to mention a little sexual torture thrown in!

Soon you will see the light of big brother and the brave new world we face! Oh Ford!

Posted by: Dick Chain-Me on September 27, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin says a column like Arkin's makes him want to give up sometimes. That would be too bad, if it happened. Earlier, Will Allen says he has stepped back from blog commentary most of the time, which is too bad as well.

Will Allen speaks clearly, with what seems like a good sense of the situation; he's informed, thoughtful, articulate and he's civil.

Why anyone would trash this kind of contribution to a discussion blog baffles me. Only on a very slow night, when I am procrastinating, can I bring myself to drink deeply on this blog, or others like it. A couple of screens of name calling, cute but demeaning comments, and e-shouting are more than plenty. When someone is looking for the kind of discussion one might have with a person who's well-informed, invested in his/her ideas but open to hearing yours --- like we used to have over a couple of beers of an evening.

It's such a shame. It's kind of like what happens to a bar, come to think of it, when the "regulars" stop going and the place gets popular with a new crowd. The noise goes up, the lights are neater, the decor and furniture is more "in", there is lots of chatter. It looks alive. But there is no substance to it anymore. It's just superficial buzz.

Posted by: Terry Ott on September 27, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest I understand the Repugs : get what you want regardless of consequences. That they are completely incompetent to do this because it is so much easier to destroy than create tells me everything I need to know about their capacity to run a trading nation.
The organized campaign to deprive the world of relaxed converse and freedom of movement should tell you most of what you need to figure out what's wrong. The latest move to institute terror as American policy - that's what international kidnapping and torture are - reminds us all that George's idea of America being " a beacon of democracy" lacks conviction. Land of the free ? Oh, yeah. Riiiight.

Posted by: opit on September 27, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

JS wrote: We haven't had "terrorists" but we've had criminals from the beginning of the republic, and we have managed to survive giving them rights to trial, habeas corpus, etc. But then, the Founding Fathers weren't Rove or Cheney types.

In past wars, there have been people not in uniform commiting sabotage and other acts of war. Traditionally these people had no rights at all. They could be summarily executed, and some were. Read the classic Civil War short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, for example.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 27, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

In past wars, there have been people not in uniform commiting sabotage and other acts of war. Traditionally these people had no rights at all.

"Traditionally", the United States was not yet a party to the 3rd Geneva Convention, signed and ratified in 1948 IIRC. That convention delineates very clearly the rights of people not in uniform captured during wartime. The Bush Administration wants to violate that convention. There is a name for people who violate the conventions their countries have signed regarding the laws of war. They are called "war criminals".

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

withdraw U.S. forces, defeat the Republicans, tidy up foreign policy by giving human rights to prisoners and being nicer in the world, and voila, terror subsides.

Incidentally, this is a straw man argument; this is not at all what Democrats want to do. However, it is an argument I completely support. Taking the above steps would indeed cause anti-American terror to "subside" -- not to disappear, but to subside. Given that terrorism inside Iraq alone is currently causing dozens of American deaths per month, it is hard to see how one could argue otherwise.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Just Monday, Tuesday and today, the Washington Democrats were saying Bush's policies have INCREASED terrorism.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 27, 2006 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

No! The NIE assessment says that.

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe - The Bush Administration wants to violate that convention. There is a name for people who violate the conventions their countries have signed regarding the laws of war. They are called "war criminals"

Bravo! Why is such a simple, straightforward, factually supported conclusion like this so hard for Democrats to reach? You need a strady stream of backbenchers hammering away on accusations such as this for the better part of 6 months (if not a full year) before they are likely to get any real traction. It is already too late for this election cycle, and if Democrats don't start soon, it will be too late for any chance of holding Republicans accountable for these crimes in 2008.

Arianna Huffington has been preaching the merits of fearlessness - and this is precisely what is needed: the courage to confront and accuse those who have wronged us by violating our nation's laws, constitution, and treaties.

They are war criminals. They are traitors. Simple.

Posted by: Augustus on September 28, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe wrote: The Bush Administration wants to violate that convention. There is a name for people who violate the conventions their countries have signed regarding the laws of war. They are called "war criminals".

Nonsense. The US has every legal right to amend its compliance with an international convention. Congress could even vote to totally withdraw from the Geneva Convention. That might be unwise foreign policy, but it would be perfectly legal.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 28, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib, we have seen a number of stories claiming that many Guantanamo detainees (almost all, some claim) were turned over to US forces by Pakistani bounty hunters for cold cash -- and that the US has no evidence against them beyond what the bounty hunters claimed.

I don't know to what extent this is true, or to how many detainees it applies. But the idea that once someone makes to Gunatanamo (or to any other similar jail) they are automatically terrorists and, therefore, they have no rights to legal process sounds barbaric to me. Do you feel comfortable with it?

Posted by: JS on September 28, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

As with all repugnuts, the never, ever liberal confuses domestic law and world law. He thinks the US can do whatever it wants 'cos it's the biggest baddest bully on the world bloc.

Sure, the US can pull out of any signed agreement, abrogate any treaty unilaterally. However, that will not magically unmake a war criminal. Whether they can be brought to court may doubtful, but the US, already near the bottom, is in danger of reaching the very nadir of civilized nations in terms of morality and protecting individual rights.

And none of it has anything to do with protecting this nation otherwise they would not have left undone all those things they ought to have done!

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

"since when is it the official foreign policy of the United States to retain a free hand to remake other countries into our image, by force?"

I believe you've just described the Monroe Doctrine. So, to answer your question, 1823.

Posted by: RobW on September 28, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1, if I understand you correctly, and you are saying that you consider someone a terrorist simply because a Pakistani bounty hunter turned him over for cash, and you don't want to give this prisoner a fair chance to prove his innocence -- then there is something terribly wrong with you. IMO, of course.

Posted by: JS on September 28, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin- Don't get bleek..drink in moderation and keep up your great work, I love your blog. In time, the harsh light of reality will be the truth. I believe we will still have a nation that can find solutions together and find a way to disregard the garbage. God, I'm feeling mellow tonite...

Posted by: American Idiot on September 28, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's not the water.
It's the flouride in the water.

Great conspiracy theory.

Or, and I'm just putting this out there. You can take it or leave it...
Maybe, just maybe, some of the Democrats you mention are onto something. I know it sounds crazy but give it some thought.

Posted by: Inigo Montoya on September 28, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas 1- If I may ask, what are your qualifications to question anyone's military or mitary decisions on cut and run or stay the course?

Posted by: American Idiot on September 28, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

JS: I don't know to what extent this is true, or to how many detainees it applies. But the idea that once someone makes to Gunatanamo (or to any other similar jail) they are automatically terrorists and, therefore, they have no rights to legal process sounds barbaric to me. Do you feel comfortable with it?

Actually, JS, my idea is that there ought to be some sort of hearings to figure out who's in Gitmo that doesn't belong there. Those hearing have already taken place. A substantial number of prisoners have been released.

I do disappove of using the same procedures used for domeestic criminal defandants. I think our criminal law processes are subject to abuse by enemy soldiers whose goal it is to harm the US as much as possible. For that reason, I don't want Gitmo prisoner to be given classified information. I don't want the possibility of multiple appeals that could go on forever. I don't want so much latitude tha the hearings can be turned into a public relations bonanza by the defendants.

IMHO the Supreme Court was probaly correct in ruling that Congress must approve the hearing procedure. However, the procedure Bush had been using was superior to the one Congress is coming up with IMHO.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 28, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

JS --

don't worry about Thomas1, he was part of the brains trust that came up with the 1% doctrine. He'd lock up his mother if Cheney looked sideways at her.

On Guantanamo of those held there now, I believe the figure is 5% captured by US troops, 95% bounty or turned over by others. Nice way to get rid of the neighbor you don't like and grab his farm!

The suspension of habeas corpus runs agaist the basic tenets of the Constitution and is potentially the most pernicious part of the legislation. In hand with the ability to torture it opens the most hellish of all possible pits by which, by association, all US citizens will be tarred.

I find it somewhat depressing that there are so many representatives and senators willing to vote for this. Going back to Kevin's earlier post about history, it is clear a majority of US politicians haven't learned theirs.

To hell with these criminals! Now!

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

...However, the procedure Bush had been using was superior to the one Congress is coming up with IMHO.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 28, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

First, he didn't use it. He even tried to dodge using it, and that's how it actually got to court. Finally, But now we want to stop anyone else showing up the US "justice" system.

I'm just wondering if you think this: 1) because Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Yoo et al have more experience and better judgement than the ex-Secretary of State, Chiefs of Staff, and all the Generals and civil rights groups willing to speak up; 2) you just have a natural authoritarian/fascist streak; or, 3) you'd back anything that Bush said.

The evidence says 3.

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

notthere, I pretty much agree.

ex-lib, glad to see you want some legal process. The fact that so many have been released from Guantanamo means that the process of deciding who goes there is very imprecise and that makes meaningful legal process all the more important. If we give up on these values I somehow think we are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Posted by: JS on September 28, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Great News! The WH no longer advocates jeopardizing the lives of CIA agents!:

Press secretary Tony Snow said releasing the full report, portions of which President Bush declassified on Tuesday, would jeopardize the lives of agents who gathered the information.

Posted by: Disputo on September 28, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

My comment on Arkin's WaPost site:

Obviously, Mr. Arkin is missing a point; yes, only two of the NIE's four listed talking points are directly about Iraq, but as a whole, as labeled, this NIE is about Iraq and terrorism.

It's not about Gulf States and terrorism; it's not about Arab world birthrates and terrorism; it's not about nationalism and terrorism; it's about Iraq and terrorism.

That said, if Democrats get at least partial control of Congress, or more after the 2008 elections (disclosure: I am an independent left-liberal who voted Green in 2004) Democrats wouldn't be able to make Afghanistan a "cause celebre," whether they wanted to or not.

It's disingenious at the least to hint that Democrats' primary approach to the NIE is to play politics with it, while ignoring that the Warmonger in Chief has been playing politics with Iraq for more than four years now.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 28, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

For those interested in the near-present detainees:

http://law.shu.edu/news/guantanamo_report_final_2_08_06.pdf#search='guantanamo%20detainee%20bounty'

Summary: 8% are al Qaeda fighters, 55% never hostile; of remaining 37%, 40% not al Q, 18% not Taliban, and there were 10 with no nexus to any terrorist group.

While we already conveniently forget how many have been held and mistreated without cause or charge and later released, carrying their true or embellished story of US "hospitality", we should also remember that innocent people have been rendered (love that word -- already sounds like torture) and tortured by our beloved country -- or, atleast, the idiots in charge.

This whole thing is sheer madness, but there seem to be plenty of madmen to condone and carry forward this behavior.

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

...Warmonger in Chief has been playing politics with Iraq for more than four years now.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 28, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

What really gets up my nose, tweaks my tail, makes me talk to the TV is when this idiot tells me other people are misguided, uninformed, or, lately, naive.

I think the evidence is out there on all points. And with no ability to see it, admit it, or change policy. Psycho killer.

Posted by: notthere on September 28, 2006 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

I am so tired and weary of hearing about the terrorists, the al-kaida , the ones who wish to do us harm.

I think the current administration has done more to harm america than any that came before combined. Problem is that most are too dumb or lack the skills to understand anything, anything at all in regard to their constitutional rights. They are a group of contents, fat, lazy, ignorant and mis-informed.

Fate had a hand at this juncture in American History where the public gave up all their rights and handed over the republic in apathy. Blinded by greed and ignorance, divided and confused, the mass of fatties, and flouride numbed sheeple submitted.

Sleeper cells are deep asleep, and never seem to awake, yet "they" have told us about their sneaky tricky ways and can awake at any time. Give up your rights and we can stop the sleepy deep asleep sleeper cells, and stop them before they awake from their scary 5 year slumber..BOO

Are you scared and afraid? I hope so! They want you to be. Becasue the only thing they have to confuse your logic and reason is to pander to your fear.

The two strongest means or control is to pander to either greed or fear, and FEAR is stronger...

Posted by: boo@aol.com on September 28, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nonsense. The US has every legal right to amend its compliance with an international convention. Congress could even vote to totally withdraw from the Geneva Convention.

ex-lib, Congress has not passed any laws "amending" our compliance with the Geneva Conventions. The Bush administration's kidnapping and torture of noncombatants over the last 5 years have violated those conventions. While Congress might vote tomorrow to make it legal to write bad checks, if you wrote one last year, you're still a criminal. And, regardless of what Congress does, the nations whose citizens we kidnap and torture will still have the right to consider our elected officials war criminals under the Conventions, if they remain signatories.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 28, 2006 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

"David Ignatius blames Democrats for not figuring out a solution to Iraq, Michael Kinsley thinks bloggers are lunatics, and William Arkin claims that "being nicer" is all Democrats have to say about foreign policy. I expect this kind of stuff from Charles Krauthammer, not sane people. Is there something in the water?" -- Kevin Drum

Nope.

Not seeing things the same way? The problem isn't them, it's you Kevin.


Posted by: Brad on September 28, 2006 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

宝贝计划下载 性爱图片 台湾18电影网 美腿图片 强奸图片 祼体写真 美女写真 性感美女图片 做爱小电影 美少女自拍 日本av电影 明星裸照 黄色电影下载 免费色情电影 两性健康图片 性教育电影 激情电影 免费黄色电影 成人性爱电影 性电影下载 成人电影下载 性爱视频 偷拍图片 泳装美女 性感内衣 性爱贴图 性生活图片 作爱图片 性交视频 做爱电影 性福 人体摄影 裸女图片 乱伦图片 强暴电影 轮奸视频 迷奸图片 免费小电影 免费电影在线下载 免费影片 最新大片 免费电影下载 免费在线电影 看免费电影 电影夜宴网站 情色电影 激情视频下载 明星露点图片 激情写真 阴部图片 乳房图片 全裸美女 淫荡小说 淫乱小说 美女脱衣视频 裸体女人 女性手淫图片 波霸美女 淫水美女鲍鱼 阴户阴毛图片 美女图库 美女口交图片 美女乳房 性爱小说 美眉写真 激情贴图 两性性生活 作爱电影 性交图片 做爱图片 人体艺术摄影 美女裸照 全裸女 黄色小说 成人小说 强暴图片 轮奸美女 泳装图片 韩国电影 性知识图片 最新电影 宽带电影 经典电影 恐怖电影 人体艺术 美女图片 美女走光 A片下载 毛片 偷窥图片 裸体视频聊天室 成人网站 成人论坛 性爱论坛 变态日本女生 淫女 女大学生 美女下阴图 女性生殖器 操逼操比操屄 激情论坛 免费黄色电影 最新电影 成人性爱电影 免费小电影 免费性电影 免费成人电影 免费电影在线观看 宽带电影 经典电影 恐怖电影 免费影片 免费影院 最新大片 十八电影网 美女写真 免费电影下载 两性生活 性教育片 两性知识 性爱图片 激情电影 免费电影下载 免费在线电影 看免费电影 免费电影网站 韩国电影 美少女图片 日本av女优 情色电影 同志电影 激情视频下载 明星露点图片 写真电影 阴部图片 乳房图片 明星裸照 性爱视频 偷拍图片 美眉图片 泳装美女 美女内衣内裤 人体艺术 美女图片 美女走光 美腿图片 三级片 强奸电影 美女祼体图片 美女自拍 黄色电影下载 免费色情电影 激情图片 激情小电影 性感美女图片 漂亮妹妹图片 做爱图片 性爱贴图 情趣内衣图片 性生活图片 作爱图片 艳情小说 性交姿势 做爱电影 性福联盟 人体摄影 明星裸照 裸女图片 黄色小说 成人小说 乱伦小说 强暴电影 轮奸视频 性虐待电影 迷奸图片 妓女日记 写真集 全裸美女 淫荡小说 淫乱小说 淫书 舒淇写真 美女脱衣图片 裸体女人图片 人体写真 女性手淫图片 波霸美女 淫水美女鲍鱼 阴户阴道臀部阴毛 美女图库 口交肛交图片 A片下载 毛片 偷窥图片 裸体视频聊天室 成人网站 成人论坛 性爱论坛网站 性变态图片 淫女图片 日本女学生 美女下阴图 女性生殖器 操逼图片 美女激情

Posted by: mmf铃声 on September 28, 2006 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Hayden and Gregory are 2 more agreeing with "cut and run" above as well. If it were a Democrat in the Oval Office, they would not be.

Tsk, tsk, Charlie. Lying is a sin.

Posted by: Gregory on September 28, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe wrote:

(Quoting ex-liberal) "In past wars, there have been people not in uniform commiting sabotage and other acts of war. Traditionally these people had no rights at all."

"Traditionally", the United States was not yet a party to the 3rd Geneva Convention, signed and ratified in 1948 IIRC. That convention delineates very clearly the rights of people not in uniform captured during wartime. The Bush Administration wants to violate that convention.
________________

The penalty for performing certain actions whilst out of uniform can be, and quite often is, death, even under the GC. The details of what constitutes due process is generally left up to the Occupying Power. This is true, even if there is a designated Protecting Power.

From the Protocol Additional, 1979, we read:

If a person who has fallen into the power of an adverse Party is not held as a prisoner of war and is to be tried by that Party for an offence arising out of the hostilities, he shall have the right to assert his entitlement to prisoner-of-war status before a judicial tribunal and to have that question adjudicated. Whenever possible under the applicable procedure, this adjudication shall occur before the trial for the offence. The representatives of the Protecting Power shall be entitled to attend the proceedings in which that question is adjudicated, unless, exceptionally, the proceedings are held in camera in the interest of State security. In such a case the detaining Power shall advise the Protecting Power accordingly.

3. Any person who has taken part in hostilities, who is not entitled to prisoner-of-war status and who does not benefit from more favourable treatment in accordance with the Fourth Convention shall have the right at all times to the protection of Article 75 of this Protocol. In occupied territory, an such person, unless he is held as a spy, shall also be entitled, notwithstanding Article 5 of the Fourth Convention, to his rights of communication under that Convention.

Article 46.-Spies
1. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Conventions or of this Protocol, any member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict who falls into the power of an adverse Party while engaging in espionage shall not have the right to the status of prisoner of war and may be treated as a spy.
gb
2. A member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict who, on behalf of that Party and in territory controlled by an adverse Party, gathers or attempts to gather information shall not be considered as engaging in espionage if, while so acting, he is in the uniform of his armed forces.

3. A member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict who is a resident of territory occupied by an adverse Party and who, on behalf of the Party on which he depends, gathers or attempts to gather information of military value within that territory shall not be considered as engaging in espionage unless he does so through an act of false pretences or deliberately in a clandestine manner. Moreover, such a resident shall not lose his right to the status of prisoner of war and may not be treated as a spy unless he is captured while engaging in espionage.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 28, 2006 at 6:12 AM | PERMALINK

thomas1: Better safe than sorry.


The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

....The report says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse, said one American intelligence official.


better safe?

War deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan equal 9/11 toll
September 24, 2006
BY CALVIN WOODWARD Associated Press

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 28, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

you guys were asking for it. Most people form opinions on issues by referencing their emotions not some chain of logical conclusions. Liberals tend to believe that because they think their arguments make sense people will therefore be swayed by them: they act not only as if everyone has a post secondary education but as if that education actually resulted in a more rational agent. It may not be arrogance per se, but it is naive. Conservatives don't worry about such niceties, mainly because their ethos is governed by a fundamental Burkean contempt for the mass of men which makes them fonder, more trusting of manipulation than reasoning. Afterall, what Lord worth his salt would waste time reasoning with a serf? Just get him to do what you want and move on.

This is why the Democrats have screwed up the politics of the Iraq war: the far left thought it was being so rational, so clever talking about withdrawal etc but in reality all you were doing was lending credence to GOP talking points.

And now it all comes to its ugly fruition in the NIE and terror trial legislation. The NIE would be a slam dunk victory for the Dems except it states the obvious about how bad withdrawal would be and all you guys have been doing for the last six months is talking about withdrawal! Brilliant strategy there. And now you're all going on about the detainee trials etc and whining about the Dem senators letting Bush walk all over them but what choice do they have? Your pitifully inept strategy has left them no choice by allowing the GOP to so easily paint them as weak on terror - hell, you practically supplied them with the paint and brushes!! Now even a hint of a filibuster would be ruinous.

You people are idiots.


Posted by: saintsimon on September 28, 2006 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

And there's 'saintsimon', telling us Democrats are idiots because we think and reason. Could anything possibly be more Orwellian?

Memo to 'saintsimon'- scientists can teach a monkey to drive a car and speak a few words on the phone. I see no evidence that you've gone beyond those accomplishments.

As for Arkin, life is full of disappointments. I remember him from more responsible publications, but that was years ago. Writing for the WaPo seems to carry a burden of dissimulation and the need to adopt a far-right lunatic viewpoint of the world.

Time marches on.

Posted by: serial catowner on September 28, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

"The NIE would be a slam dunk victory for the Dems except it states the obvious about how bad withdrawal would be and all you guys have been doing for the last six months is talking about withdrawal! Brilliant strategy there."

I assume you're referring to the following passage from the NIE:

"The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves,
and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight."

The NIE acknowledges both that the occupation is driving radicalization in the Muslim world and that defeat, or perception of defeat, of jihadists will depress their efforts.

What's the hat trick that defuses while catalyzing the jihadist movement?

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, what the hell ever happened to the WaPo, anyway? Who's running this crap hole nowadays?

Posted by: Neil' on September 28, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

JS wrote: ex-lib, glad to see you want some legal process. The fact that so many have been released from Guantanamo means that the process of deciding who goes there is very imprecise and that makes meaningful legal process all the more important.

Yes, any sort of trial of Gitmo detainees will be imprecise, to say the least. If a defendant claims not to be affiliated with al qaeda, how can we verify that? Any of our enemies there will lie. There's no documentary evidence. So, we will make mistakes. In fact, a number of released detainees have re-joined the terrorists and some have killed Americans or our allies.

If we mistakenly keep someone in Gitmo, that person pays an unfair penalty. If we mistakenly release someone, we may be killing an American soldier. Either way, a bunch of formal appeals and legal mumbo jumbo isn't going to help separate the sheep from the goats IMHO.

brooksfoe wrote: The Bush administration's kidnapping and torture of noncombatants over the last 5 years have violated those [Geneva] conventions. While Congress might vote tomorrow to make it legal to write bad checks, if you wrote one last year, you're still a criminal.

Brooksfoe has a point. The trouble is that nobody knew that the Geneva Convention applied to these people until the recent SC decision. Similarly, Bill Clinton's rendition program, whereby terrorists were captured by the US and handed to other nations to torture probably violates the GC, as the SC now interprets it. To me, it seems unfair to fault Clinton and Bush for applying the GC as is was understood at the time.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 28, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Come now, ex-lib, be honest for a change:

"Rendition was originally carried out on a limited basis, but after September 11th, when President Bush declared a global war on terrorism, the program expanded beyond recognitionbecoming, according to a former C.I.A. official, 'an abomination.' What began as a program aimed at a small, discrete set of suspects-people against whom there were outstanding foreign arrest warrants-came to include a wide and ill-defined population that the Administration terms 'illegal enemy combatants.' Many of them have never been publicly charged with any crime."

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050214fa_fact6

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I've been following you since the early days at CalPundit, and I've said this before: The Democrats are NOT good at getting their messages heard.

I live in the central Cal foothills. Most of our news comes from the Sacto media, and some from SF. What we hear, and read in the print media, is Repug talking points, endlessly. What little we hear from Dems is local stuff. If there *is* a Dem message, it isn't getting out to the voters like it should. What little *does* get out here is far to complicated for the average bloke to understand. Sadly, Kick their ass plays far better to the average voter than does the more internationalist foreign policy type of rhetoric.

I'm long retired. I have a lot of time to talk and listen to people, and I can tell you, that by far the most common thing I hear from folks is that they do not hear anything meaningful or inspiring coming from Dems, anywhere. They arent listening to impassioned floor speeches or any of the rest of what you cite. They have only the MSM to go on.

Our own DC Reps in Congress do damn little to keep their constituents here at home informed. Not everyone cares to spend the time visiting websites and reading blogs and digging through all of that. They have families and jobs and more immediately important things to do. Yet these are the voters we need to reach if we're to throw off the Repug cartel en masse, as this country certainly needs to do.

Dems have got to get busy. They need to get the media moving. Clinton's little exchange on Fox is getting air time. Its being seen, heard, and commented upon. That may not be the best way to come across, but it *is* coming across. Sad thing about it is, what's being heard more than anything else is the Repug spin, not more of the same from Dems in support.

Finally, I shall finish this little blurb off with this point: Candidates. Dems need to start ramping up efforts to get 'the opposition' clarified and out in front. 2008 is not that far away. Based on what I hear, our list of candidates, *real* candidates, is all but non-existent in the voters minds.

Based on everything I hear in conversation, Gore, for all his brilliance, is NOT well received generally. Hillary is a laughing point. Kerry has been neutralized. Dems do not have enough votes on their own to win an election (Diebold notwithstanding) and we need to find a candidate that can bring in the wavering middle, and make that candidate a household word. What the local 'wavering middle' has to say about any of our most prominent people is *not* inspiring. We've got to get focused, and soon. We have a lot of Repug spin-inertia to overcome, and the longer we wait, the harder it will be.

Dean is brash, but hes no fool. I certainly hope "The Party" is going to get moving very vociferously on this in the very near future. I greatly fear, that if we do not, we shall see another "more of the same" show from the opposition come 2008. The fear mongering and lies are being heard ad nauseam. Opposition and truth is not getting through as it should be out here in average voter land. Bills refute on Fox was a breath of fresh air. Why are we not making a concerted follow-up effort to blast the lies and spin? If confrontations get noticed, and heard, then perhaps Dems need to be more aggressive. Playing nice with the Repug machine will not work.

Sorry for being so long winded. I don't post all that often, and I'm very troubled by what I hear out here. Frankly, we *both* need a drink.

Posted by: Otolaryx on September 28, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Way to go, Otolaryx!

Posted by: Lucy on September 28, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, the Geneva Convention has utterly failed to protect American soldiers, which was supposed to be its main benefit to us. No enemy has applied the GC to our soldiers, nor is it likely that one ever will. I think the US and the west should amend the GC to something more useful.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 28, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Incidentally, the Geneva Convention has utterly failed to protect American soldiers

Of course this is exactly opposite of what the military is saying, but I guess a chickenhawk such as yourself would know better.

Posted by: Disputo on September 28, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

THE CARICTURE IS SUBSTANTIVELY APT THOUGH RETORICALLY ABSURD - AS IS THE NATURE OF CARICATURE.

Democrats want the U.N. to effectively keep the peace; but the U.N. WILL NOT. And everyone knows it. Kerry runs with the "undisclosed plan" to make the U.N. vigilant. There is no plan and he's a clown. If he articulated a plan, had he one, it would have been ridiculed as naive and impractical because it was.

But today is another day; what is the plan to have the U.N. be effectively vigilant so the U.S. does not have permit it's soldiers to die doing the U.N.'s work? In Iraq? In Iran? In North Korea? What is the plan to get the U.N. to do it's job rather than surrender when bullets fly in these nations? There is no plan because France, Russia, and China think they benefit when the U.S.A. suffers. They are wrong. But regardless they enjoy seeing us suffer for the same reason most individuals have Schadenfreude - because those nations are pathetic - NOT because of flaws - though we have many, we have relatively a tiny few compared to every other nation on earth. If you can't step back and realize that without obsessing in one particular or another, however important that one particular is - if you cannot appreciate the great whole that the U.S.A. is, you should leave. Not because I dislike you, but because you are to stupid to be happy here.

Good luck to all well-intentioned people.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on September 28, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Will Allen wrote: "If the oil in the Persian Gulf is to be extracted as billions of people demand (and as the U.S. will inevitably be involved in), one three things will happen to the people who live in the Persian Gulf."

If all the oil in the Persian Gulf is extracted and burned, one thing will happen to the people who live in the Persian Gulf, and it will be the same thing that happens to people living everywhere else: the resulting rapid and extreme warming of the Earth will at a minimum bring an end to human civilization and the die-off of most of the human species from famine, disease and environmental catastrophe within a century, and may very well lead to a mass extinction of most life on Earth.

We will know it is too late to do anything about global warming when Kevin starts blogging about it on a regular basis.

Posted by: Secular Animist on September 28, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

All things considered, I have no problem bombarding Saudi Arabia with Brittany Spears videos

That would be cruel.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on September 28, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo wrote: "Incidentally, the Geneva Convention has utterly failed to protect American soldiers"

Of course this is exactly opposite of what the military is saying, but I guess a chickenhawk such as yourself would know better.

Disputo, this is not a matter of opinion. It is a fact that our soldiers were not given GC protection by the North Koreans, the Chinese, the North Vietnamese, the Viet Cong, Saddam in 1991 or 2003, the Taliban, al Qaeda, or by insurgent groups in Iraq today.

I don't believe that the military said that our current foes will give our soldiers GC protetion. Please supply a cite if you can.


Posted by: Disputo

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 28, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib, even allowing for the fact that you are a paid troll, you are about the dumbest person on this forum, tommieboy included.

That the GC has not kept people who have not signed the GC (or signatories who have signed the GC, such as the US) from not giving GC protections to our soldiers on occassion, does not mean that the GC has "utterly failed to protect American soldiers" as you assert.

You should retrack your stupid assertion, or explain why you know more than the military in this matter.

Posted by: Disputo on September 28, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly