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Tilting at Windmills

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November 22, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

WAR AND PEACE....Atrios quotes Lawrence O'Donnell's scathing denunciation of pundits who think we need to say in Iraq:

I've reached a Rangel-like breaking point with my TV pundit colleagues who championed the Iraq war and now say we can't leave even if we went there for the wrong reasons. For every one of them, I have a simple question: Why aren't you in Iraq? Or why did you avoid combat in your generation's war? The one unifying characteristic that all of us men in make-up on political chat shows share is fear of combat. Every one of us has done everything we can to avoid combat or even being fitted for a military uniform. Just like George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Dick Cheney, we are all combat cowards. It takes a very special kind of combat coward to advocate combat for others. It's the kind of thing that can get you as angry as Charlie Rangel.

Look: I get what O'Donnell is saying, and the chickenhawk argument is alluring to liberals for obvious reasons. What's more, regular readers know that I agree wholeheartedly with him that it's time to get out of Iraq. But this attitude is still pernicious. When nations decide whether to go to war or whether to continue an existing war everyone in a democracy is entitled to a view and everyone is entitled to be taken seriously. But if non-veterans, by virtue of having never served, are denied the moral authority to advocate in favor of war, their views will quite rightfully be entirely marginalized. After all, why should anyone care what they think if, as O'Donnell suggests, their non-serving status predetermines their only honorable opinion?

I'm not willing to leave decisions on the use of military force solely to combat veterans, but that's where this sentiment leads us. It leads to a place where military veterans are put on a pedestal and anyone who hasn't served is ipso facto less qualified to hold an opinion on isssues of war and peace than someone who has. Let's not go there.

Kevin Drum 2:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (342)

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I don't think that's exactly what he's saying. He is remarking that for the lot of them, he isn't finding any veterans.

Posted by: Fear of Flying on November 22, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not reading it that way. What I see is that there is a difference between supporting a war, and being a cheerleader for death and destruction. Too many of the latter have never been in combat and have never learned that rooting for war, even a "good" war, is not something you should ever do.

Posted by: Doctor Gonzo on November 22, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it's like a Robert Heinlein novel, where only people who have been in the military are citizens, and only they are allowed to vote.

Thing is -- of all the military people currently in Iraq (add in the "contractors" too, while you're at it), don't the overwhelming majority of them support the continued occupation? Don't they want it to be even more bloody?

I wish it were otherwise.

Posted by: Zandru on November 22, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

We are not against anyone who did not serve having an opinion. It is only those who were IN FAVOR of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, were of the right age, had the ability to serve, and did not. They want someone else to take the ultimate risk that they were unwilling to accept. That's what makes my blood boil!

Posted by: Katherine on November 22, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think that the current situation is qualitatively different from the general scenario.

Here we have a bunch of pundits who blindly supported a war for which the decisions were made by the administration on flimsiest of grounds. At least now the pundits know that such was the case, and, despite this knowledge, their continued insistence, that we should stay the course or, worse, send even more troops, is sufficiently pernicious that it justifies O'Donnel's outrage and anger.

Posted by: gregor on November 22, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed. It's a little too convenient when your opposition has to make a sacrifice to hold his position honestly, but you don't have to make a sacrifice to hold yours. Perhaps we should ask war opponents who demand that hawks enlist in the army to refuse to pay their taxes, and if necessary, go to jail for it. That at least would do something to end the war, and it would be an equivalent sacrifice to going to Iraq.

Posted by: Wagster on November 22, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Disagree, Kevin. The essential point is that those with some "skin in the game," either their own or that of a loved one, are more apt to treat military ventures with respect rather than as a cool video game in which Other People die. Rangel is asking the war's remaining supporters (you know, all two of them) to put up--by showing up.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on November 22, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Kevin,

I think the acid-test for whether a war is justified and should be fough, is whether you are willing for you and your family to put thier lives on the line for a war. If not, then you should not advocate it.

War is not like anything else. People will die. Good people will die on both sides.

Posted by: yep on November 22, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with yep.

Posted by: NeoDude on November 22, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's a little too convenient when your opposition has to make a sacrifice to hold his position honestly, but you don't have to make a sacrifice to hold yours.

That's a stupid argument. There is no equivalence between those who were right in the first place, and those who were wrong to begin with and yet continue to pontificate on the necessity for more of the same.

Posted by: gregor on November 22, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You have it right when you say:

"...But if non-veterans, by virtue of having never served, are denied the moral authority to advocate in favor of war, their views will quite rightfully be entirely marginalized. After all, why should anyone care what they think"

Which is why I didn't listen to you when you avocated for the Iraq war...get it...you don't crud on the subject...so keep quiet.

Posted by: S Brennan on November 22, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think you are missing the point. The point isn't about not that veterans have a better say on these matters than non-veterans. He is saying that far too few people have "skin in the game." whether is be direct military service or a relative or a close personal friend who has had to endure the possibility of losing someone close to them. Far too many of the pundits and spinmeisters continue to shovel garbage to the public because they've never thought about the personal consequences. What Mr. O'Donnell and Mr. Rangel are trying to do is ask, "What are you willing to sacrifice for this war?" You brother? a cousin? your neighbor down the street? People haven't been asking these questions.

Posted by: fxk on November 22, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

You would have more of a point, Kev, if people who were in combat (Kerry, Murtha) were not actively denigrated as delusional because they disagreed with the chickenhawks.

In the current climate, somehow you are only allowed to have an opinion on this war if you didn't serve in any previous ones. That's the problem.

Posted by: craigie on November 22, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Thing is -- of all the military people currently in Iraq (add in the "contractors" too, while you're at it), don't the overwhelming majority of them support the continued occupation? Don't they want it to be even more bloody?"

Huh? Evidence please. As a vet and the mom of a soldier in Iraq now, I can't say that is the case. Military people do what they're told, as long as we're talking about legal orders, what they feel in their hearts can be, well anything.

Posted by: Fear of Flying on November 22, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with yep.

Posted by: Wapiti on November 22, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

What Mr. O'Donnell and Mr. Rangel are trying to do is ask, "What are you willing to sacrifice for this war?" You brother? a cousin? your neighbor down the street?

Please draft my neighbor down the street. Not only does he refuse to return my lawn mower, but I would like the chance to screw his wife while he is in Iraq.

Posted by: GOP Chickenhawk on November 22, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're seeing the point too narrowly.

The point is: Anything so profound as war should not be undertaken lightly.

And citizens will think about this hugely significant undertaking only if the entire nation has loved ones potentially at risk.

Just think how casually the US entered into this pre-emptive war. Would we have done that if there was a draft?

Posted by: Vicki Meagher on November 22, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, Kevin.

Posted by: mitch on November 22, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I cringe when I read "skin in the game" as my skin is a much loved 20 year old son. Yet it is so true. I live with a constant knot in my stomach and will continue to until the day he comes home. Chickenhawks disgust me.

Posted by: figmo on November 22, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

O'Donnell's point is particularly valid because one of the main remaining arguments for us being in Iraq is a projected masculinity: "we have to stay because if we withdraw, we'll look weak, and the terrorists will have won". Well, Mr. Conservative Pundit, if you're so worried about "us" looking weak, get your sorry over to Iraq ASAP. This is the type of thinking that O'Donnell's words address specifically. More generally, his sentiment comes out of the frustration that there is no honest discussion of, let alone an answer to, the question "Why the hell are we in Iraq?" No one asked "Why the hell are we in Normandy?"

Even more than O'Donnell's point, I'd like to see someone give voice to this question: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Posted by: uncle toby on November 22, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

There's certainly a danger of a Heinlein-like situtation as described above: Only veterans can comment on foreign policy.

OTOH, specifically with regard to this situation, whether it's the Bush argument--We'll win if we stay the course--the McCain argument--we only need twenty thousand more troops--or the Freidman-Beltway consensus--we need to stay six more months and then make a decision--the logical response at this point to all three of these positions is: "Who's 'we'?" Or to paraphrase John Kerry back when he had, it seems, a better control of his own public speech:
Are you willing to be or have your son or daughter be the last American to die for George Bush's mistake?

Posted by: Jim on November 22, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

The issue is one of sacrifice - if the ruling class is not going to sacrifice its children, it should be sacrificing some of its economic privileges.

Instead, we have a pundit class that both advocates a war that kills and maims a disproportional number of economically disadvantaged Americans AND advocates maintaining economic policies that reward the wealthiest.

This whole argument, beyond it's useful snark, is a reminder that in the contract between classes in capitalism, the poor are getting screwed both ways.

Posted by: bdr on November 22, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

In my observation, most Democrat activists "reached the breaking point" long ago.

Tune in to Air America, listen to angry pundits like Lawrence O'Donnell, read the comments on this blog. These people are angry, intolerant, bitter.

Why have so many Democrats gone over the edge?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on November 22, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I understand your concern about putting soldiers too much on a pedestal and letting them dictate military policy. But I don't think that's at all the point of O'Donnell's piece. I believe O'Donnell's angry at the chickenhawks who are so determined to avoid paying the political price for blundering into Iraq that they don't care how many lives are lost or ruined in the process. O'Donnell may not be expressing it ideally, but I understand how he feels. This war seems to have largely been driven by people who wanted to talk and act tough, but who have generally avoided taking any physical risks themselves. I don't think serving in combat provides one with a special insight into whether we should go to war nor do I think avoiding war precludes one from knowing when to fight. But I do think recognizing the risks of war and the price one has to pay in a war is an important if not essential trait, and I don't think one has to have seen combat to have it. FDR and Lincoln, neither of whom served in combat, both seem to have had it while Bush and most of his chickenhawk allies don't seem to have it. If the pro-war advocates had understand the sacrifices better, they might have realized that Iraq wasn't worth it. Even now, they seem more interested in avoiding embarrassing themselves or tweaking their worldview than they are in the costs both our troops and the Iraqi citizens are paying.

Posted by: guscat on November 22, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: I'm not willing to leave decisions on the use of military force solely to combat veterans

That is not where this attitude leaves us. However, like anything else, putting your money where your mouth is adds to authenticity. People who actually take risks to stand for something, whether it is peace marches, or in the old days refusing to ride in the back of the bus and getting arrested, or getting hounded by dogs, gives force to the views you stand for in a way sitting in the stands does not.
This is particularly true if you are in favor of war when there is a need for soldiers. If you feel this war is the equivalent of fighting the nazis, by all means join up, my father did. If you feel it's like fighting communists in Vietnam, join up, I did.
This is especially true of someone who is so aggressive with other people lives as Bush. Our "Bring em on, stay the course, it's a test of wills" president had his on test of wills moment in his youth, and he decided to stay home and guard Texas. Sorry, Kev, but that counts against him. Especially since he so fervently displays his belief, even now, that the reason we lost Vietnam was lack of support at home.

Posted by: patrick on November 22, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I'm reading too much into O'Donnell's passage- isn't the point that if you have some 'skin in the game' you take things a bit more seriously and don't let dumbasses blow wind up your skirt about non existent WMD etc. Isn't his whole point that folks should take things like war a bit more seriously and it helps if a) you've actually seen combat, or b) you have a least a stitch of empathy and can imagine that war might not be the greatest thing evar! Maybe Kevin's being a tad obtuse (never!) and missing O'Donnell's point that if you're going to advocate war you should have some experience at a) combat or b) critical thinking.

Posted by: DougMN on November 22, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I understand your concern about putting soldiers too much on a pedestal and letting them dictate military policy. But I don't think that's at all the point of O'Donnell's piece. I believe O'Donnell's angry at the chickenhawks who are so determined to avoid paying the political price for blundering into Iraq that they don't care how many lives are lost or ruined in the process. O'Donnell may not be expressing it ideally, but I understand how he feels. This war seems to have largely been driven by people who wanted to talk and act tough, but who have generally avoided taking any physical risks themselves. I don't think serving in combat provides one with a special insight into whether we should go to war nor do I think avoiding war precludes one from knowing when to fight. But I do think recognizing the risks of war and the price one has to pay in a war is an important if not essential trait, and I don't think one has to have seen combat to have it. FDR and Lincoln, neither of whom served in combat, both seem to have had it while Bush and most of his chickenhawk allies don't seem to have it. If the pro-war advocates had understand the sacrifices better, they might have realized that Iraq wasn't worth it. Even now, they seem more interested in avoiding embarrassing themselves or tweaking their worldview than they are in the costs both our troops and the Iraqi citizens are paying.

Posted by: guscat on November 22, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

To follow on craigie, the question people don't ask is "what type of credibility do you have to have to advocate for peace, or at least against war?"

Clearly it is much manlier to be for war when you haven't served than it is to advocate peace ('cause then you are a non-veteran smelly hippy, so what could you know about war?).

Upshot is, no one, verterans or not, are taken seriously when they don't go all gaga about the newest way to have fun with our armed forces. This isn't about advocating war, it is about the absolute dearth of anyone who will be listened to when counseling against war.

The idea that advocating force in Iraq took some kind of mental or emotional toll on those who cheerleaded for it, regardless of their veteran status, is laughable.

Posted by: abjectfunk on November 22, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Why have so many Democrats gone over the edge?

Most feeble troll of the day. You folks really aren't getting paid anymore, are you?

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, if Kevin's interpretation of O'Donnell's writing is correct, O'Donnell is saying that he (O'Donnell) shouldn't have any say in matters of war. I don't think that's what he's saying.

Posted by: DougMN on November 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Return of the Son of the Sensible Liberal!

Just can't keep him under wraps for long, can ya, Kevin?

Posted by: Winda Warren Terra on November 22, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

> Yeah, it's like a Robert Heinlein novel,
> where only people who have been in the
> military are citizens, and only they are
> allowed to vote.

I hate having to defend Heinlein, since I don't think he was a very good writer overall, but if you read that novel carefully you will realize that he wasn't _advocating_ that type of society, he was describing/analyzing it, and that even its inhabitants and proponents realized that it had some significant downsides. At that point in his life Heinlein was a professional writer of speculative fiction, and he was capable of (and did) arguing through ideas that he didn't necessarily believe in or advocate. In other words, he was more imaginative and reflective than any member of the Bush Administration I can think of. Later in his career was a different story...

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on November 22, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

What pisses me off about the sacrifice meme is that if Bush would had the moral courage to have ASKED US, we Americans would have gladly sacrificed for this "war" - especially right after 911 - but he didn't - he told us to go shopping - oh and here's another tax cut you really don't need. It's shameful. World War II may have had the Greatest Generation - he have the most Craven one.

Only the service members and their families are making any sacrifice in this "war".

Posted by: Robert on November 22, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, back to the actual topic: the problem for me is that the chickenhawks don't just advocate (continuing) the war in Iraq. They also call anyone who disagrees with them a traitor (cf Joe Lieberman). I don't quite see how that line of arguement contributes to a civil democratic society; accusing others of "treason" while avoiding all military service oneself seems a bit problematic.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on November 22, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I understand and respect your point. FDR was one of our greatest wartime leaders without ever having served in combat. But the underlying problem is that our miliary is now as unrepresentative of our general population as it may ever have been. This is the core issue, really here.

This is an issue even the ancient Greeks grappled with. Thucydides put it this way: "A nation that continues to make distinctions between its fighting man and its thinking man will have its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards."

And we certainly see the latter in our current government.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I am contibuting to the war effort in other more significant ways. Why do I have to put my life on the line?

Posted by: Jonah Lucianne on November 22, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are righttheoretically. But in practice we have a whole class of hypocrites preaching to the uninformed (and not even the uniformed). And I read O'Donnell as asking if we shouldn't demand more authenticity when the stakes are too high. Not a law about, but a rule of common sense.

Posted by: Kenji on November 22, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

For me I think the point of this argument is that too few of us have any stake in the Iraq war -- I'm not in the military, my son is not of military age, my taxes haven't been raised, I won't notice the national debt until our country goes belly up, we won't "lose" the war in the sense that our country will be invaded, the odds of terrorists killing me or my family are tiny, and there is no draft.

I don't want to cede debate about military affairs only to those who have served in the military. I want a say. But it sure is easy to advocate for a longer war when you have no real dog in the fight.

Posted by: nobody on November 22, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Agree wholeheartedly, Kevin! Based on the feedback you're receiving, I think you should be the next recipient of the Matt Yglesias award.

Many commenters here seem to be saying that unless you have a personal stake in the war ("direct military service or a relative or a close personal friend who has had to endure the possibility of losing someone close to them") you shouldn't advocate for it. So, by that logic, one shouldn't advocate for law enforcement unless one has a policeman for a relative or friend.

A few other commenters seem to be mindreaders of some sort who can determine that various pundits haven't thought things through. Buy a clue folks - don't read them and don't listen. Sheesh! When you don't like what's on TV do you change the channel or do you keep watching and cursing all night at the boob tube like a moron? Are your readers suggesting that these pundits have no right to free speech?

Still other commenters (still) don't seem to grasp the concept of a volunteer. They ask "what are these pundits willing to sacrifice - their brother, father, mother?" No guys, those are all volunteers, adults with the right to decide for themselves whether to serve. A pundit can't 'sacrifice' someone who has volunteered for military service by advocating for war. If I advocate for jailing murderers is it my fault when a policeman is killed by a fleeing suspect?

Posted by: SunBeltJerry on November 22, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

The chickenhawk charge has never been more pertinent than when it's levelled at Iraq war advocates. Maybe if it had been employed a little more frequently and strenuously, we wouldn't be mired in the Big Sandy. As it is, the only reason most of the chickenhawks are expressing regrets, now, is that their reputations are (justifiably) in the toilet, because it's no longer possible to divert attention from the scale of the disaster that they midwifed. Even so, lots of them still urge us on to further, bigger, more tragic adventures. Mr. Drum is flat wrong in this.

Posted by: sglover on November 22, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, but then there's McCain, whose own personal convictions are expediently tucked away somewhere in a duffel bag in a bus-station locker. Still, if more veterans called him on it, he might be able to fish out the key.

Posted by: Kenji on November 22, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think one idea which should be considered is that the Rich have had tax breaks during the war, so it seems pretty reasonable to me that when the war has ended they should pay back those tax breaks to pay for the war. That might make them a little more thoughtful about going to war in the future.

A man has got to know his limitations.

Posted by: MarkH on November 22, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

how about a constitutional amendment that makes it a criminal activity to advocate for war until after you have enlisted.

Posted by: harpo on November 22, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

SunBeltJerry,

The volunteer force is the frontline force, the first to gowe (the nations citizens) should be ready to go back them upyou know, because we are at war (if its "real")

A volunteer army is not supposed to be the private militia of Americas elite.

Posted by: NeoDude on November 22, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

"It leads us to a place where [doctors] are put on a pedestal and anyone who hasn't [gone to medical school] is ipso facto less qualified to hold an opinion on issues of [medical treatment] than someone who has. Let's not go there."

Um, there is still such a thing as "subject matter expertise." Sure, regular people have unchallenged expertise in questions of how much they want their personal moral values compromised by their nation's actions, how much taxes they want to pay or how much they don't want their family members to be drafted as anyone else. No question.

That doesn't change the fact that soldiers will tend to have superior expertise over non-soldiers in most questions relating to their direct military experience, and one should always feel free to challenge the credentials of someone offering straight-up military advice who has not served.

Posted by: BruceR on November 22, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

In his appearance on Scarborough, LO explains that by having a draft, it makes the decision to go to war PERSONAL for every American, because then everyone is likely to have a family member who might go, and their connection to the war be more direct, and that this may give them pause to advocate ill-advised military ventures like the Iraqi invasion. He even notes that just having a draft number can color one's outlook.

It is his attempt to explain Charles Rangel's draft bill to folks who wish to oversimplify its meaning.

LO never said that non-veterans cannot make military decisions (and clearly stated such), and to represent so is strange perversion of his statements.

Thou dost protest too much, methinks.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The whole problem could be solved if a draft was required as a part of war preparation. Let's see how brave the chest beating, faux warrior class is if their numbers go into a bowl on the day war is declared.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

There's a slightly different way to look at this point than the chickenhawk argument: We've got a President and his hordes of supporters saying that this is not only a war on terrorism but a war in which the stakes are civilization itself. How can anyone who really believes that not take part in the effort? It's like someone thinking, "If I don't finish this project, my boss will have my ass fired. . .eh, maybe I'll cut my three-hour lunch breaks down to two hours." I don't necessarily see Republican behavior as general hypocrisy, but it certainly is in this case, from the top all the way down.

Posted by: RSA on November 22, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

> Still other commenters (still) don't seem
> to grasp the concept of a volunteer. They
> ask "what are these pundits willing to
> sacrifice - their brother, father, mother?"
> No guys, those are all volunteers, adults
> with the right to decide for themselves
> whether to serve.

Three words: "stop loss order".

Four more: "Uniform Code of Military Justice".

The "volunteers" argument was perhaps defensible for the 1st and 2nd tours. The military is now sending stop-lossed vets back for their **4th** tours. That is a horse of an entirely different hue.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on November 22, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

everyone in a democracy is entitled to a view and everyone is entitled to be taken seriously.

No. Not everybody in a democracy is entitled to be taken seriously. Just a vote, which will be taken seriously.

If you don't think about the people whom you're sending to their deaths, because nobody you know will be sent, there is no reason for America to take you seriously. You are not a serious person.

Posted by: dj moonbat on November 22, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Nicely put, Drum. But you left out this gem in the passage you cited... "...say we can't leave even if we went there for the wrong reasons."

We either can or cannot leave now. Leaving now (as opposed to later) is either going to lead to good or bad results, compared with leaving later. But what does this decision have to do with the quality of the reasons for going in? Of course, nothing.

Dolberman is just about as empty as empty suits come, even by made-up-talking-head standards.

Posted by: cecce on November 22, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

We hold holidays to honor and give credence to our ancestors who made a sacrifice. I see no holiday on my calendar for people who made no sacrifice.

You are in essence talking about equating the weight of opinion and quality of judgment. In this argumentation you offer, one considers the quality of judgement of pansy-*ss chickenhawks equal to that of veterans. I disagree.

One side has made a sacrifice and via that sacrifice likely has gained wisdom. The other side has made no sacrifice and thus has little or no widsom, IMHO.

Best,

D

Posted by: Dan on November 22, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

SunBeltJerry handily spews out the Yellow Elephant talking points. You know the ones. The squishy white college republicans who think they serve their country better by going into middle management. They say stupid things like you don't have to be a cop to be for law enforcement, or you don't have to be Barry Bonds to root for a baseball team. All straw men arguments that they create and then argue against.

The whole issue is that they're a bunch of cowards who think war is like a game of XBox. And Jerry, YES, you DO have to be willing to risk your life in a war if you expect other people to risk theirs defending your sorry pathetic ass.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Also, re:

"FDR was one of our greatest wartime leaders without ever having served in combat."

I think even the most diehard soldiers I know give you a bye from the chickenhawk epithet if, you know, you previously happened to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy during a world war. Also if all four of your sons volunteered for and were decorated for bravery in World War Two. Sorry, but the current American civilian leadership simply isn't comparable to the man.

Posted by: BruceR on November 22, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

There's a difference between simply being a nonveteran and being someone who ran and hid from war. If I were O'Donnell, I'd qualify the statement by saying that anyone who ran and hid from Vietnam WHILE SUPPORTING THE WAR has no right to ever publicly advocate for any war. That said, I think it's perfectly okay to avoid a war you didn't support and then advocate for a different war. However, a dodger of any war should never be impugn an opponent's courage or patriotism for opposing a war.

Posted by: Dan-o on November 22, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

There is a valid discussion of the sacrifice of Americans in the time of war - particularly at this time - that needs to be had. Having said that, the idea that a discussion of a draft - the involuntary taking of lifetime by the state of individuals based solely on a rather random age - is going to help that discussion is pretty ridiculous. There's a lot of freedom and liberty issues tied up into this that are kinda the point of the nation we are living in.

We shouldn't be involved in political gambits on this issue. We want to talk about fairness and sacrifice, fine. But let's quit talking about bringing up the draft. People in the 60s and the 70s fought long and hard to get rid of the draft because it fed the war-machine and churned out corpses. They succeed, and this is how we respond 40 years later... that's freakin' sad.

Posted by: PSoTD on November 22, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I'm with you on this one. Well said. One of the burdens of national leadership is that you have to be able to take an unemotional approach to the questions and decide what is best for the country, not your family, your financial interests, or anything else. I know it is very hard to do - that is why were supposed to elect highly qualified people of sterling character, not people who would be used car salesmen in Midland if their name wasn't Bush. There - I just offended all the used car salesmen in Midland.

If defending the country militarily is what is best, I don't want the president or congresspeople deciding against it because they have 'skin in the game', any more than I want them deciding for it because they have no 'skin in the game'.

I say that as someone who was for Afghanistan and against Iraq from the beginning. Can't we decide things on the merits, please?

Posted by: DML on November 22, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

From RSA:

There's a slightly different way to look at this point than the chickenhawk argument: We've got a President and his hordes of supporters saying that this is not only a war on terrorism but a war in which the stakes are civilization itself. How can anyone who really believes that not take part in the effort? It's like someone thinking, "If I don't finish this project, my boss will have my ass fired. . .eh, maybe I'll cut my three-hour lunch breaks down to two hours." I don't necessarily see Republican behavior as general hypocrisy, but it certainly is in this case, from the top all the way down.

- Exactly. These are the same type of folks who protest at Planned Parenthood, but only on Saturdays. Their actions show this belief: I want to stop the wholesale slaughter of babies, as long as it doesn't interfere with my career.

Nice point RSA.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce R - I couldn't agree with you more on your points, but you misrepresent my points. While FDR was indeed Ass't Sec. Navy, he never served in combat - yet was still one of our greatest, and IMHO, the greatest statesman of the century. (He did witness the ravages of WWI in his position at Navy.) And, yes, all four of his sons served in WWII (in stark contrast to GHWB's sons), and none of Roosevelt's sons could even make it to his funeral. And think of Bush as the "anti-FDR" on just about every level. My concern is to label someone who did not serve in combat as unqualified on military affairs is a bad thing.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Look, fools. We already HAD a draft in this country. It didn't work all that well in the 60s and 70s, and it would work even less well today.

Draft militaries worked in WWI and II and earlier eras where there was much less technology involved in war fighting. Draft armies, today, are for countries that never ever expect to fight. When countries that DO have draft armies today send soldiers out, they only select elite "rangers" style forces that are NOT draftees. Draftees are good for "home guard" type duties and as cannon fodder, NOT for serious use in a modern war.

To scrap our best-of-breed military today for an inferior version just to score a silly political point against Iraq war supporters would be monumentally stupid.

People who advocate such things are frivolous people and should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: reina on November 22, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: It leads to a place where military veterans are put on a pedestal and anyone who hasn't served is ipso facto less qualified to hold an opinion on isssues of war and peace than someone who has.

As Zandru pointed out, this is reminiscent of Heinlein's suggestion in Starship Troopers that only military veterans should vote.

Cranky Observer: but if you read that novel carefully you will realize that he wasn't _advocating_ that type of society, he was describing/analyzing it, and that even its inhabitants and proponents realized that it had some significant downsides. ...Later in his career was a different story...

Yes, later he suggested that voting machines make people solve a random quadratic equation before allowing them to vote.

Posted by: anandine on November 22, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

People who advocate such things are frivolous people and should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: reina on November 22, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

S/he wrote frivolously.

Posted by: NeoDude on November 22, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Fuckwillie: "The whole issue is that they're a bunch of cowards who think war is like a game of XBox. And Jerry, YES, you DO have to be willing to risk your life in a war if you expect other people to risk theirs defending your sorry pathetic ass."

Actually, dumbshit, you don't. You just have to pay them.

I know it's hard for you to understand, but try to wrap your head around it.

Posted by: jonah on November 22, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Reina:

Draftees are good for "home guard" type duties and as cannon fodder, NOT for serious use in a modern war.

Tell me how this is different from the current staus of our ground troops in Iraq. Caught in the midst of a Civil War, they have become little more than "home guards" and "cannon fodder" thanks to the Chickenhawks (Bush, et al.)

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

SunBeltJerry,

Well said.

Kevin is right - the "chickenhawk" argument is moronic. So is O'donnell.

Posted by: Brian on November 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a freaking minute. Are O'Donnell and Rangel of drafting age? They're not? And advocating something that will not be directly affecting them? CHICKENDRAFTERS!!!!!!

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Look, fools. We already HAD a draft in this country. It didn't work all that well in the 60s and 70s, and it would work even less well today.

Forget a draft. How many kids of our policy elites and their neighbors have enlisted as volunteers? If this policy is so goddamned important to those elites, why isn't the answer "all of them"?

Posted by: dj moonbat on November 22, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

During Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, when you are sitting with family and friends, survey support for Bush's War and challenge anyone who thinks the US needs to stay in Iraq to enlist or encourage their children or grandchildren to enlist.

Anyone who wants the US to stay in Iraq also wants your children or grandchildren to serve in Bush's War.

Posted by: Hostile on November 22, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Nikkolai:

Rangel served. Classic tactic of chickenhawks smearing those who fought. Way to support the troops!!

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try jo-duh but no. People who support a war have a duty to enlist to fight in them.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I should think that a decent human being, having never served in the armed forces (and thus having never risked himself/herself in war), would have to think very hard about asking others to make that sacrifice. As a vet I once spoke to said, setting out to use violence against other human beings is one of the most serious things anyone can ever do.

What I find disgusting in the chickenhawks is a lack of any such seriousness or hard thought in supporting wars. Instead they act as if the decision to support the war is so easy and self-evident that they ridicule anyone who doesn't agree with it. People who would start a war with so little thought are the last people to ask an opinion of about war in general.

Remember the image of Bush pumping his fist when the troops went in? A sign of how utterly unqualified he was to make the decisions he made. And a portent of the fiasco to come.

I'm not saying that only a military veteran is qualified to have an opinion on war. But I am saying that non-veterans who advocate for wars ought to demonstrate they have some grasp of the enormity of what they are doing. And non-veterans who've never met a war they didn't want someone else to fight for them (cough William Kristol cough) ought to have no credibility at all.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 22, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

When rich Republican men and women start acting on their beliefs instead of leeching off the work and dead bodies of everyone else in the this country, we will shut up about Yellow Elephants and the like.

It's not likely to happen. The Example-in-Chief is the king of the draft dodgers. He managed the unlikely feat of being BOTH a draft dodger AND a deserter. That sort of talent sets the standard of irresponsibility pretty high. It's no wonder that young Republicans run from service so eagerly.

It ain't that complicated. It's about duty.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Why have so many Democrats gone over the edge?

Hmm. Let's see. Could it be that smug, arrogant fuckwads without a trace of compassion or conscience have been driving our country into a ditch? And the mainstream sources of communication in the country are dominated by the same sick sociopaths? Just a suggestion, dickhead.

Posted by: Baldrick on November 22, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with everyone who disagrees with Kevin.

I served, in Iraq and returned last September.

All, excellent, cogent arguments.

The chickenhawks disgust me because--and this a "minor" disagreement, Katherine--is they are jingoists who REFUSED to serve, not simply didn't." Cheney(5 deferments), Ashcroft (7 "deferments!) Bill O'Reilly, Steve Hadley, Paul Wolfowitz, Feith, Scooter Libby, Hastert, Ellito Abrams, Ken Adelman, Bill Kristol, Lott, DeLay, George Allen, Britt Hume--the list is long.

Ken Adelman for instance, called for invading Syria next. Max Boot, who thinks the U.S. should embrace it imperial imperatives, (he probably too young for 'nam, but the "Evil Empire" still existed when he was draft age, why didn't he enlist? hell, Boot was born in the Soviet Union! Are they suiting up or getting their kids ready for that invasion? (BTW, Boot is sooo wa of on that imperial b.s. Though the U.S. could argubaly be called a former colonial power, colonialism is not, generally speaking, in the American character. Keeping possesions after the Spanish-American War was a hotly debated topic. Second, isolationist sentiment has been broadly supported since our founding. When you see or read interviews of American service members "do the job and go home" is a common sentiment.)

Why should real men and women have to die or be maimed and disfigured so these chicken shit pussies can feel like men? Don't those pussies feel it is the least bit immoral to support an aggresive war policy, yet assidously shield themselve from risk of harm.

They couldn't care less for the troops, despite the peans they sing to them. Not only hasn't the country been asked to sacrifice (oh, yeah--Dubya's advice: go shopping; wait, that was for the legitimate war and hunt for Bin Laden, a 6'8" Arab, hooked up to a dialysis machine; maybe we can't find him because we deployed FEWER troops to Afhganistan than are in the NYPD--but Dubya had to save troops for his oedipal, vendetta, revenge war aginst Saddam). Even the Pentagon isn't on a war footing. Don't expect the companines that are "up armoring" Humvees to do it around the clock, because Rumsfeld won't approve funds for the overtime costs.

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

He saying that if you are able bodied and so goddamned scared, then you should pick up a gun or stfu.

I have no problem with that point of view.

Posted by: jerry on November 22, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

We know a guy who really loves to eat meat. But he never worked at a slaughterhouse. So now we taunt him with chants of CHICKENCARNIVORE!!! when he orders a cheeseburger.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

People who advocate such things are frivolous people and should not be taken seriously.

Reina, I suggest you should join the military to help out the noble cause in Iraq. No, seriously. You are clearly an unfrivolous person who should be taken seriously, and, that being the case, you should be in Iraq putting your goddamn life where your mouth is.

Posted by: Baldrick on November 22, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

No, Nikkolai, the analogy would be if your carnivore friend advocated other people turning into chickens in a slaughterhouse. How far did you get in school? No reason. Just askin'.

Posted by: Kenji on November 22, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Such venom! Such rage!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

There are lots of ways for these chickenhawks to serve in which they would never see the front line. But they are willing to take NO sacrifices, not personal injury, nor personal wealth.

For the pundits, serving in Iraq would take away from their on-air time.

They incite the country on to a failing losing war. They profit in the meantime. That is cowardice and war profiteering. It's borderline treason.

Posted by: jerry on November 22, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

The volunteer force is the frontline force, the first to gowe (the nations citizens) should be ready to go back them upyou know, because we are at war (if its "real"). A volunteer army is not supposed to be the private militia of Americas elite."

Okay, and your point is ? You dont want pundits to advocate for war because sometimes the President and Congress screw up? Did that make sense when you wrote it in that other dimension you live in?

The "volunteers" argument was perhaps defensible for the 1st and 2nd tours. The military is now sending stop-lossed vets back for their **4th** tours. That is a horse of an entirely different hue.

Correct me if Im wrong but my understanding is that all volunteers are required to be ready to serve (stop loss orders) for a certain period of time after their active duty is complete. They agree to this voluntarily when they sign up.

The whole issue is that they're a bunch of cowards who think war is like a game of XBox. And Jerry, YES, you DO have to be willing to risk your life in a war if you expect other people to risk theirs defending your sorry pathetic ass.

No you dont. Did I miss something in Civics class?

I guess you think that American citizens who are Quakers, Jehovahs witnesses, draft dodgers, or other conscientious objectors dont deserve to be defended because they arent willing to fight for moral reasons.

Your logic is -- what's the word? -- astounding. What you are suggesting above is that if the draft is reinstated that anyone who dodges the draft doesn't deserve the protections guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

Posted by: SunBeltJerry on November 22, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing about liberals and pacifists arguing that only veterans or people who are actually in the military should get to decide questions of war or peace is that it would almost certainly lead to more wars. People who are in the military tend to be just a tad more hawkish on matters of war than the average "Political Animal" poster.

In any case, the poster above who pointed out that draftees do not belong in a modern war was completely correct. It's a function of the equipment involved, the technology, the skills required. Our soldiers have years of training and a very high degree of skill for a reason. Their jobs require training and experience that would be impossible to provide to a draftee army (impossible or hopelessly uneconomical). That's why a professional army is the only possible choice for us.

And anyone advocating a draftee army is just not serious.

Posted by: cecce on November 22, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the draft didn't work in the 60s but did in the 40s was fairness: That 2S deferrment (college) made the Vietnam War possible. That did not exist during WWII - Joe Kennedy's sons served (with Joe Jr being killed), all of FDR's sons served, etc. So a draft once worked extremely well - couldn't have won WWII without it.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

nikkolai touches on the other aspect of it too. By most counts, the Army, Guard and Reserve need MORE people. Right now the US Treasury is being spent on contractors doing the same job as our soldiers but for many many more times the cost. There are concerns amongst the top generals that the army is breaking and cannot sustain this level of effort.

We are at war and don't have the luxury of having able bodied pundits such as yourself shooting only their mouth off. Pick up a gun, nikkolai. http://goarmy.com

Posted by: jerry on November 22, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

We have another friend who truly is a fan of crime-fighting. He appreciates the efforts of law enforcement individuals and supports their goals. Yet he never was a law officer. So, Friday nights around the keg he must endure taunts of CHICKENCOP!!!!!

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

so tell us kevin, if you had a health problem, would you get an opinion from an accountant?

Maybe when it comes to committing people to ventures that entail very high risk to their health and safety, and a very high likelihood that they and innicent civilians may be killed or severely maimed, maybe, just maybe we SHOULD GO THERE, deferring to those who have actually been in that situation before venturing in. Actually have a seat at the head of the table for people who know what the costs in suffering and destruction are, and what the potential is for acheiving the objectives - YOU TRIVIALIZING TWIT!

We use experts in every other thing we do, but when it comes to war...WAR, the ultimate man-made catastrophe in death and destruction, any old shitbob gets a say, and everyone can be an expert, not for any particular reason other than they have an opinion. Cive someone a microphone or space in an opinion page and suddenly they're experts, qualified to send people to their death.

And what defines an expert? Certainly advanced studies is one thing. But in all other cases, experience is also a NECESSARY ingredient for being declared an "expert". So tell us why it is kevin, that we "shouldn't go there', requiring the same criteria when it comes to fucking people over and destroying their societal institutions?

Posted by: justfred on November 22, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Nikkolai is 0 for 2:

We know a guy who really loves to eat meat. But he never worked at a slaughterhouse. So now we taunt him with chants of CHICKENCARNIVORE!!! when he orders a cheeseburger

This analogy is so inept it can't even be corrected. It does, however, manifest Nikkolai's desire to trivialize war and combat as if it were all a simple rask. Another classic chickenhawk strategy.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall seeing too many Quakers, Jehovahs witnesses, draft dodgers, or other conscientious objectors on Hardball advocating for this war.

There's a phrase that describes warhawks that won't pick up a gun, but it's not conscientious objector.

If you are a CO, then fine. If you are an able bodied war hawk, then yeah, pick up a gun.

Posted by: jerry on November 22, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're just trying to make excuses for your own support of the war. I'm surprised you're not doing a puff piece about Richard Cohen's column along the same lines.

Any intelligent, informed person should have easily figured out that the invasion was a mistake from the time it was first being planned. It was perfectly obvious to me, and you are rightly ashamed of the fact that you're one of the "centrists" who didn't see it.

Posted by: Riesz Fischer on November 22, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Let us extend the point still further. Only those who would actually pay higher taxes can advocate any tax rise. Only those who drive can vote on highway bills. Only those who are manufacturers can vote on tariffs.

Posted by: DaveL on November 22, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Cecee:

The funny thing about liberals and pacifists arguing that only veterans or people who are actually in the military should get to decide questions of war or peace...

Nobody, not even LO is advocating this. This is the type of straw-man oversimplification that keeps your comment from having any serious weight or meaning.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed with Cecee. If you're seriously arguing that military adventures should be determined by the military, you're going to get a lot of "oh, by the way, we're now at war, send supplies so we can hold down the territory we just conquered! Thanks!" messages from the territory of formerly peaceful neighbors. Just look at Japanese pre-war history!

Kudos to Kevin. I'll second the Yglesias award nomination. ;p

Posted by: Avatar on November 22, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

And anyone advocating a draftee army is just not serious.

I can only say to you what I said to your predecessor. You, as a serious person who says serious things, should act seriously on those statements. Translation: Go join the Corps. Get serious. Or STFU.

Posted by: Baldrick on November 22, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Try again SunBelt. It's a shame you're not willing to work your "logic" a little closer to the Tigris. But you already put a yellow ribbon magnet on your car, and type 40 words per minute, so I guess you think your "patriotism" is covered.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Never mind the freedom of speach thing, then. Right? The Stalinists have spoken. Those opposed will be purged.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Nikkolai: 0 for 4 and missing the mark farther each time.

Never mind the freedom of speach (sic) thing, then. Right? The Stalinists have spoken. Those opposed will be purged.

No one, even in this thread, has advocated repealing the first amendment. That argument's reserved for the chickenhawks who call their detractors "terrorists" and should have their rights suspended. Ahhh, Foley-esque projection. Gotta love it.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

"I guess you think that American citizens who are Quakers. . ."

I don't have any problems defending Quakers or others who are pacificst from moral or religous reasons. But Cheney ("other priorities) and DeLay (went doen to the draft board and all the spots were taken by minorities; do you really believe that?), Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Britt Hume, etc., supported the Vietnam war and martial service generally. So what was stopping them?

Christopher Shays was a "conscientious objector" during Vietnam, but supports the Bush war of choice policy. Shays was also short on criticism until he was in danger of losing his house seat. Did Shays thinking "evolve" after the coast was clear? Would you want to DIE, or risk your childrn's lives for someone who was against war only to save his ass. I respect the views of conscientious objectors. Some even served in WWII (usally as unarmed, medics or corpsmen), and I think a few served in Korea and Vietnam. One should think Shays has never met a justification for war that he supports. But like the jingoist draft-dodger/combat avoiders, he's all for it as long as someone else will make the sacrafices.

If Al Gore, Ralph Nader (yes. Ralph Nader!), Victor Navasky (of the lefty "The Nation" magazine). Mike Dukakis, Ted Kennedy, Mike Dukakais, Sandy Berger, Herik Hertzberg ("The New Yorker"), George McGovertn (WWII) and a host of moderate and left, left, left, liberals served on active duty or in the gaurd and reserve, is it too much to expect Wolfowitz, Hadley, Feith, Andy Card, Bill O'Reilly, Britt Hume, Ken Adelman, john fraking Wayne (in contrast to McGovern)et al, NOT to have obtained draft deferments?

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, an old sf reader like yourself should recognize this from Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie). There, Heinlein creates a world where only veterans have the right to vote. And they only obtain the franchise after completing their service and a return to civilian life; those currently serving or careerists do not get to vote.

I am not positive I advocate this type of society but there are appealing aspects to it. You restrict the right to vote to those who are willing to risk their lives for the society. You guarantee civil rights to all, but restrict the franchise to those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. And by restricting the franchise to those who have returned to civilian life, you safeguard against the current military taking power.

Posted by: dad23g on November 22, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

DaveL,

It's typical, that warmongering chicken hawks compare war to traffic violations and tax evasion.

Posted by: NeoDude on November 22, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Our soldiers have years of training and a very high degree of skill for a reason.

What the frig are you talking about girlie?

The people they are sending, since it isn't themselves or their relatives, are getting to be, shall we say, less than qualified. We've heard of the guys who didn't complete high school being helped to forge docs and such. Here's a new one.

A guy I know of joined the National Guard some time ago. A year ago he was rejected for service in Iraq because he has a heart murmur. Recently, with just a week to go before final discharge from the Guard, he was informed that he going to be sent over after all. Another 2 years of service.

Increasing desperation by the DoD. Hey, war supporters, sign up so guys with a heart murmur won't have to go and try to survive in 130F heat.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

I served. But so what? What extra weight does that give my opinons here? FWIW, I think that when Nancy Pelosi told Rangel, in not very veiled terms, to shut the fuck up about the draft, that that was a very good call. It's just a dumb idea. And the fact that Rangel served in the military doesn't make it any less dumb.

Normally, I don't even say that I served (Navy) on discussion-boards like this because why bother? Even for real-live politicians to claim or even infer that their opinions carry more weight "because they served" is stupid. But for a blog poster? [Like "Allen" above who claims that he served and is ranting about "chickenhawks" -- oh yea? Prove it.] For an anonymous poster on some internet board to claim he served and merits special consideration because of it is the pinnacle of dumb.

Posted by: toles on November 22, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not willing to leave decisions on the use of military force solely to combat veterans, but that's where this sentiment leads us. It leads to a place where military veterans are put on a pedestal and anyone who hasn't served is ipso facto less qualified to hold an opinion on isssues of war and peace than someone who has. Let's not go there.

The ultimate conclusion you propose is not plausible, Kevin. With such a tiny percentage of politicians being combat veterans now (about 1 in 4, down from 80% in the mid-Sixties), there's no way the combat veterans' opinions will preclude all others.

However, we've come incredibly close to the opposite, where the never-seen-combats have made terrible decisions, over the objections of military commanders from the outset.

Unlike you, I'd be willing to go to the opposite extreme. I'd be willing to marginalize MOST of the so-called chickenhawks and weigh the results.

You may be right. And at my core, I advocate everyone having a say. But I'd be willing to try both ends and the middle, to see where the smartest foreign policy results.

Effectiveness should be our pursuit, not theories based on our beliefs. So long as hundreds of thousands can be killed and millions displaced, for dubious reasons and consequences that resound with failure, then the current way our government functions is disastrous instead of effective.

And I'd be willing to try any route, short of surrendering democracy, to figure out how to weight opinions more effectively. I should think our basic humanity should always favor innovation when the present results are so bloody and potentially perilous for years to come.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on November 22, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

A guy I know of joined the National Guard some time ago. A year ago he was rejected for service in Iraq because he has a heart murmur. Recently, with just a week to go before final discharge from the Guard, he was informed that he going to be sent over after all. Another 2 years of service.

Good thing they can't reverse your 4F if you got an ass pimple.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

The all volunteer army was another tragedy of the commons given to us by Milton Fuckman, the SOB that hated government but greatly respected individuals to do the right thing.

And we see where that has led us. A government and media of rich, corrupt bastards.

Posted by: jerry on November 22, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Senator McCain knows about the consequences of war, yet he still not only advocates for it in Iraq, he wants to send more of our children and grandchildren to fight in Bush's War.

Veterans are just as capable of being as wrong as chickenhawks.

Posted by: Hostile on November 22, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK
But this attitude is still pernicious. When nations decide whether to go to war or whether to continue an existing war everyone in a democracy is entitled to a view and everyone is entitled to be taken seriously. But if non-veterans, by virtue of having never served, are denied the moral authority to advocate in favor of war, their views will quite rightfully be entirely marginalized.

He isn't saying that people who aren't veterans don't have a right to an opinion, he is saying that it is especially cowardly for people who have themselves actively avoided service in a time of national need to advocate for a continuation of conflict while admitting that combat was engaged in for the wrong reasons.

That being said, going beyond O'Donnell's argument to one more related to the comment you make that somewhat misses the point of O'Donnell's argument, while I agree, of course, that everyone has a right to an opinion in a democracy, I also believe that there is a certain dangerously insulating disconnect created by the modern design of the US military, specifically, its design to fight wars relying on professional soldiers without mobilizing the universal militia. Under the kind of system that the US had in practice from its founding through about the Korean War, a citizen advocating war knew that he was likely to be called upon to support that war in some way. Under the modern system, the average citizen is likely to believe that war will not touch them, which makes it much easier to advocate for war without considering whether the cause really necessitates war, as it there is little personal risk and those that take the risk are, after all, in the risk-taking profession. So its easier to get into ill-conceived wars this way.

This is not an easy problem, because simply requiring a universal draft won't change that modern war demands professionals. We're going to have to learn to make things work with this reality, but it is a dangerous reality that cannot be ignored safely.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 22, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

MaxGowan, my point is that someone who did not serve in combat (or at least served in a military) is ipso facto "unqualified on military affairs", unless they have demonstrable and commensurate knowledge and experience. FDR's eight years as AsstSec counts as commensurate.

FDR's support for his sons' military endeavours (and they for his) shows his personal commitment to the cause, which should be rightly a separate issue. Some pundits and leaders lack a personal commitment to soldiers' lives, some lack relevant experience to understand them, and the very worst (of which there are alarmingly many, these days) lack both.

Posted by: BruceR on November 22, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

toles: Thanks for your service to our country, and your very reasoned opinion here.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Definition of Irony: Chickenhawk Nikkolai only respects the opinion of someone who mentioned that they served.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin misses the point of origin for O'Donnel's remarks. This argument originated on a Sacrborough show where a panel was trying to trash Rangel for discussing why a draft is a moral obligation

Posted by: me on November 22, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I got it. Let's talk about invading IRAN instead? Iraq is getting boring. Let's start bombing Iran. We can't wait for their nukes to be ready. I say we just bomb them to pieces now, before it's too late. If we do it right, there might not even BE an Iran after we're done, just a tiny Persian rump-state and lots of little 'stans as breakaway republics. How cool would that be?

The truly great thing about this plan, though, is that it doesn't require us to worry about who served or who didn't when deciding on its merits. From the air there is, like, zero risk to our pilots anyway. So we can just bomb away.

I think this is a very reasonable proposal.

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

RSA's point above is important and worth reiterating.

To me a "chickenhawk" is not merely someone who advocates military action but refuses to serve. More precisely - and this distinction is important - it is someone who insists that the very survival of his society depends on the outcome of the conflict, but who still rationalizes away his own need to sign up.

In a "war of choice," so to speak, one can advocate military action and not personally serve, without being a hypocrite. But in the "War on Terror," the true chickenhawks are those who argue that the very survival of Western civilization is at stake, and who are themselves physically capable of serving, but still do not. Those are the people who deserve scorn. And those are the people truly deserving of the label chickenhawk.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on November 22, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

"No one, even in this thread, has advocated repealing the first amendment."

They probably just didn't realize that when you tell a whole set of people that they should just shut up that you are, in effect, advocating for the repeal of the first amendment.

In fact, here's one who expressly did:

How about a constitutional amendment that makes it a criminal activity to advocate for war until after you have enlisted.

Many others are merely advocating censorship:

Too many of the latter have never been in combat and have never learned that rooting for war, even a "good" war, is not something you should ever do.

I think the acid-test for whether a war is justified and should be fough, is whether you are willing for you and your family to put thier lives on the line for a war. If not, then you should not advocate it.

How about a constitutional amendment that makes it a criminal activity to advocate for war until after you have enlisted. (That one is just too good - had to reprint)

However, a dodger of any war should never be impugn an opponent's courage or patriotism for opposing a war.

Posted by: SunBeltJerry on November 22, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Solution: Everyone serves.

Posted by: dk on November 22, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

They probably just didn't realize that when you tell a whole set of people that they should just shut up that you are, in effect, advocating for the repeal of the first amendment.

Better trolls please.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the clarification, Alek. Since very few people truly believe that AQ/Saddam/etc represent existential threats to the nation (as opposed to a great many of its citizens), we don't have to give any credence to the chickenhawk taunt anymore. Most advocates of the war on terror do not believe that the USA is in danger of being actually wiped out by Osama - but still think we should destroy his gang.

Posted by: reina on November 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Really? Why don't we want to go there? I think Rangel has a point--though your reduction of it cleverly masks its import. The notion isn't that you have to fight(in the interests of full disclosure I am a veteran of the Vietnam era who somehow avoided combat--I'm not sure how)it's that if you spend immense amounts of either your own effort or your daddy's influence to keep you safe at home during the war, those of us who either served or are going to serve have a right to wonder about your sincerity, about your willingness to truly risk something of your own in the fight.

Bush didn't, Clinton didn't--but he didn't squander the lives of our soldiers either. We haven't had a President who was an active duty serviceman since Carter. The fact that he was a career Navy officer also shows that clearly MORE is needed for these discussions than veteran status, because he was ineffective as a president--dearly as I love him now.

No you are quite right that we don't want to make service a threshhold test--actually Turkey not only makes it mandatory, but if you can't serve for reasons of health, you are denied some of the perquisites of citizenship--they take it seriously. We seem to have this notion that we can let people opt out of doing the JOB of maintaining a democracy--voting, paying a fair share of taxes, and serving our country in some way--and yet still have a functioning democracy. But when you dig to the bottom of this argument you are left with the choice--do you want the decision about whether or not to send our children into the horror of combat--for make no mistake there is NOTHING but horror in combat--do you want someone who knows what it means to fight, or do you want someone making that decision whose notion of a war is to dress up in a pilot's costume and "prance around the deck of an aircraft carrier"? Imagine that, Bush actually thought the fucking war was over.

Posted by: carwinrpc on November 22, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

everyone in a democracy is entitled to a view and everyone is entitled to be taken seriously.

After several readings this line stuck out at me. I think it's wrong.

In a democracy, everyone is entitled to a view and a vote.

But no, not everyone is entitled to be taken seriously. When someone tells me that the Grand Canyon was formed 6000 years ago, his or her views on most scientific matters can be discarded.

When someone with no military service, experience, government time working with the military, or military history expertise tries to tell me how a war will be fought and won, I can safely ignore that person's opinion, too.

As citizens, we have rights to opinions and views. But we only need to take informed views seriously.

Posted by: Wapiti on November 22, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Since very few people truly believe that AQ/Saddam/etc represent existential threats to the nation (as opposed to a great many of its citizens), we don't have to give any credence to the chickenhawk taunt anymore.

Well, it has now come full circle. The wingnuts are no longer even bothering to claim that the war was necessary, just a cool thing to do as long as they don't bear any of its costs.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

The major issue to point out is the disconnect between the vocal supporters of the war and the people willing to go. If no one goes, it's a lost cause. And if politicians are unwilling to reinstate the draft, there's no one to go. So why should one more "volunteer" to go over there now to risk his/her neck?

The Cheney/Rummy cabal thought they could conduct splendid little wars with a volunteer professional army and not get their clothing wrinkled. It would be an antiseptic exercise with high tech weaponry and great headlines. But if no one goes, we don't win. They might be just starting to figure that out.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

HEY - what about my Iran idea?

Also, carwinrpc, I think you realize you just made cecce's point (from above). Ah, the mighty Turkish military. It's something to behold.

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

They probably just didn't realize that when you tell a whole set of people that they should just shut up that you are, in effect, advocating for the repeal of the first amendment.

Uh, want to try that again? Dick Cheney having someone arrested for talking to him in public is "advocating for the repeal of the first amendment". See, the government is involved. Get it? Me telling a dipwad like you to STFU is MY freedom of speech. It's a double edged sword. Deal with it.

Posted by: Fitzwillie on November 22, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

shitwillie: shut the fuck up. go back to fistme.com or something.

Posted by: lotta on November 22, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

SunBelt:

They probably just didn't realize that when you tell a whole set of people that they should just shut up that you are, in effect, advocating for the repeal of the first amendment.

Utter nonsense. Chickenhawks advocating prosecuting those who disagree with them for treason are those who are trying to repeal rights. Telling somone to shut up is just another opinion.

In fact, here's one who expressly did:

How about a constitutional amendment that makes it a criminal activity to advocate for war until after you have enlisted.

Could you footnote the quote? I can't find it and suspect it to be an out-of-context chickenhawk quote of the straw man argument type.

The rest of your arguments are so trivial as to be silly compared to the attempts at government sponsored censorship by the chickenhawk class.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I don't disagree, but it's worth noting how much Iraq was a war of choice. Nothing forced it onto our radar. Nothing made us invade when we did. Once inspectors found not weapons, it was really clear that we were choosing this. This is distinct from Kosovo, Afghanistan, Haiti, the First Gulf War, and other conflicts where events inside the Countries at issue really pushed them to center stage, required resolution, and left us little choice.

In the Iraq context, it's weird for a person who did not serve to argue that military force is the right situation. It suggests that military force is the best solution to most problems, and it makes one wonder why they would not serve in such an important function.

Posted by: MDtoMN on November 22, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Prove what, shipmate? Dual naval service. I served in the Marine Corps (active duty)and am currently in the Navy Reserves. Can you prove you served? I really don't care. Besides, I know Rangel's actions are a ploy, but I'm surprised that you aren't even a little sympathetic to his views,

I don't hold that the views of those who have served or seen combat trump the views of those who didn't. Though they should receive a little more consideration. My problem is with jingoists (i.e., people who adhere to a bellicose, chauvanistic defense and foreign policy).

Unlike the average Joe, people such as Wolfowitz, gain positions of influence over our defense and foreign policy, or talking heads, like Britt Hume or Rush Limbaugh, who influence public opinion, or Robert and Fred Kagan and Mike O'Hanlon who are supposed experts and provide advice and make the rounds of the news shows and write op-ed pieces. (BTW another example of these experts respect for the military was expressed by O'Hanlon and Max Boot in a Wsh Post op-ed piece in which they advocated bringing immigrants to this country to serve in our amred forces. Apparently, because they are of the opinion that our forces are botching the job in Iraq--does anyone thing that's the real problem?--and we need more troops, like revolutionary era Great Britain, we should get a Hessian force. They nor their kids should have to serve, is their position. Let's out source U.S. defense.)

They advocate sending Americans into harm's way,on any pretext, yet wouldn't dare subject themselves to such risk. That doesn't offend you in the least? (Do you think Chris Shays is an honorable guy?)

Some here have even noted the low bar that these advocates to clear to be designated defnese or military "experts." That's another point I find shocking. I'm of the opinion that when it comes to the lives of members of the military (especially a volunteer military), revenge, ideology, or hubris shouldn't be driving factors. Some real world experience should be required. "I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night," is a light credential.

Note: I din't say the president of SecDef needed to have served. They are big picture people. But i wouldn't call in "military strategy author" "Newt Gingrich (3 deferments?)to provide advice on military strategy.

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

When was Newt Gingrich called in as an expert on military strategy? I must have missed that.

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

People who foam at the mouth and claim that the Iraq war is the War of Civilizations should enlist or they are cowards. This isn't a question of giving veterans special rights. It is about calling bullshit. The chicken hawks have put themselves in an awkward rhetorical position. If this is truly a battle of civilizations, the chicken hawks are cowards for not volunteering to serve in a war that will settle for the end of time which civilization has the biggest dick. If this ISN'T the battle of civilizations, they need to crawl back into their holes and shut up.

Posted by: InvadeIranForChrist on November 22, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

nick (who is probably Charlie's latest sockpuppet) sarcastically and ignorantly proffered:

Ah, the mighty Turkish military. It's something to behold.

Just because Turkey doesn't see itself as the world's cop muscling its way around the globe doesn't mean it doesn't have a world class military. Not only is Turkey's military the second largest in NATO (after the US), by at least one measure Turkey is ranked eighth internationally in terms of fire power, ahead of the UK.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Never mind the draft:

Nancy Pelosi - "Mr. Rangel will be very busy with his work on the Ways and Means Committee, whose jurisdiction is quite a different jurisdiction," Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters. Ways and Means handles tax matters, not military legislation."

That's a pretty good slap down.

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, the mighty Turkish military. It's something to behold.

Actually, the Israelis do the same thing, linking government benefits to military time.

And as to the Turkish military... Turkey was a valuable ally during the Korean War, and had the largest ground contingent in NATO facing off against the Soviet Union. Since they kicked on the Russians in WWI, it had added credibility.

What have they done lately? They continue to serve as a moderating secular influence in a muslim country. And you know - nobody has invaded Turkey lately, so they must be doing ok.

Posted by: Wapiti on November 22, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Toles

If you really require proof, and are in the Washington, D.C. area, come to Andrews Air Force Base on Sat, Dec. 9. (Drill weekend.) I'll drive you to the Naval Air Facility on the east side of the base, should you require proof beyond my I.D. card.

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Toles

Bring your DD214.

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Allen,

Why would Toles question your veracity regardless? His attack would seem to only bolster your point.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

To Nick;

I read of Newtie being a defense expert in a couple of place, While channeling surfing, I stopped on C-SPan, and heard him introduced at a GOPAC function, as the author of 3(?) books on defense(?), or military(?) by a former acolyte, J.C. Watts.

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

"And you know - nobody has invaded Turkey lately, so they must be doing ok."

Sorry it took me a couple of minutes to respond, I was laughing so hard I almost fell down. I guess nobody's invaded costa rica either in a while. Or the cayman islands. Why don't we emulate their militaries. Tool.

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ran into an old girlfriend the other day. She still looked pretty hot. Told me she was fiercely against the War in Iraq. I asked if she had participated in any of the anti-war demostrations. Said she did not want to be associated with "that crowd." I felt compelled to give her the CHICKENHIPPY!!! treatment, but refrained, remembering our past escapades fondly.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it's not about the logic of who decides. It's about the logic that a politician, whether they've served or not, will be much more careful in making a decision to go to war if it means that everyone will serve .... and sacrifice.

Posted by: Greyhair on November 22, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hate to break it to you, but people who haven't served in combat and argue for endless wars don't have any moral authority. You can't have moral authority without morals.

Besides, how likely is any large scale military operation to be successful if the people who believe in it most fervently refuse to serve?

Posted by: soullite on November 22, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Erm, actually you're right Allen - here's from Newt's website:

"Newt serves as a Member of the Defense Policy Board. Newt is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint War Fighting course for Major Generals. He also teaches officers from all five services as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the National Defense University . Newt serves on the Terrorism Task Force for the Council on Foreign Relations. He is an Editorial Board Member of the Johns Hopkins University journal, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, and is an Advisory Board Member of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Recently, Newt was named co-Chair of the UN Task Force, a bi-partisan Congressional effort to reform the United Nations.


In 1999, Gingrich was appointed to the United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, the Hart/Rudman Commission to examine our national security challenges as far out as 2025. The Commission's report is the most profound rethinking of defense strategy since 1947. The report concluded that the number one threat to the United States was the likelihood over the next 25 years of a weapon of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical, and/or biological being used against one or more major cities unless our defense and intelligence structures underwent a massive transformation. That report was published six months before September 11."

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I read of Newtie being a defense expert in a couple of place, While channeling surfing, I stopped on C-SPan, and heard him introduced at a GOPAC function, as the author of 3(?) books on defense(?), or military(?) by a former acolyte, J.C. Watts.

Those were probably Newt's works of historical fiction about the Civil War and WWII. He likes to write down what he thinks war was like. I guess that makes him an expert to the Chickenhawk class.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Solution: Everyone serves.

Dissolution: many frag.

When you teach people how to kill and excite them to its possiblities, they bring that knowledge home and blow up federal buildings full of children because of some ill-perceived slight.

Posted by: Hostile on November 22, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, The question is not whether advocates of staying in Iraq served in the military in the past. It's whether they themselves are willing to go - or urge their loved ones to go - NOW to help the military effort. That's the point O'Donnell is making. This point is particularly germane now because we actually need more people to enlist to continue the occupation of Iraq. So which pundits will step up and either do it themselves or urge their family members to do it? It's a question that should be asked of all people advocating staying or increasing the number of troops in Iraq - whether they're veterans or not.

Posted by: Matt D on November 22, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

When you teach people how to kill and excite them to its possiblities, they bring that knowledge home and blow up federal buildings full of children because of some ill-perceived slight.

Are you assuming that that was an unintended consequence?

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo just turn off your computer. Or even better, sell it and stop cluttering the internets with your inanities.

Posted by: none on November 22, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Charlie/Thomas/Chuck/Jeffery has indeed decided to change tactics and use a different /nom de guerre/ with every post.

Wonderful.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Who's chuck, fuckwit?

Posted by: none on November 22, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the info Nick.

Gingrich taught a Joint WarFighting (JWF) course for Major Generals? Wow. That's (perversely), amusing. He taught based on what experience? Doesn't JWF cover subjects such as joint operational planning, joint deployment and joint command and control? Couldn't some high level manager/executive teach such a course? (Or someone with specific military expertise such as field grade or flag officer.) What did nwetie teach them? That the Marines are the Republicans so they should use congressional house rules to shut down the Army Democrats?

Ha, ha. Defense Policy Board, U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, Hart/Rudman (both draft dodgers) Commission? Glad to see merit is alive and thriving in the U.S.A.

Posted by: Allen on November 22, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

I was expecting a mass suicide by the wingnuts after Nov 7th, but it appears they simply just stopped taking their meds instead.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

A Chickenhawk is defined as a predatory bird that hunts and devours chickens. Some people simply parody themselves.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 22, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

Apparently "none" is just Charlie/Thomas/Jeffrey.
How dare you call him Chuck as well.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As someone who was unlucky enough to have gone through war let me tell you that my outlooks before and after were drastically different. Isn't obvious that someone without war experience lacks one of the dimensions to assess if war should be waged or not. One can argue that others lack different dimensions. So this fact does not imply that only those with war experience should make such decisions. However, if no one with war experience is in the room when the decision is made, one should be worried, very worried.

Posted by: Yonathan on November 22, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

A Chickenhawk is defined as a predatory bird that hunts and devours chickens.

Would it be too much to expect a wingnut to know that the three species of hawks commonly referred to as a chickenhawks do not actually feed on chickens?

Some people simply parody themselves.

Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

mike - I'm the sock puppet of Hostile/Fitzwillie/soullite. In fact, i don't even know who I am, anymore. So who the hell are you?

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Dis,

I'm the new guy, trying to decide if this is a waste of time.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 22, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

LOL. Less obvious use of a stolen handle, please.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Chickenhawks do indeed eat chickens, that's how they got their name. Their diets just typically consist of birds other than chickens.

Posted by: nick on November 22, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

mike irwin, if you haven't already figured out, that was the cowardly troll who goes by many names spoofing me on the second 6:00pm comment.

I'm leaving now, so any more use of my handle will be coming from the infant troll.

Posted by: Disputo on November 22, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, chicken.

Posted by: none on November 22, 2006 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Mommy!

I make poopy!

Posted by: none on November 22, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Man, I leave you kids alone for just an hour and this is the level you sink to. None, grow up. And Disputo, good riddance, you've been stuck on stupid all day. Nick, who cares what credentials Newt has or not for teaching officers from all branches of our military? Don't you see, he's a chickenhaaaaaaawwwwkkkkk?

Don't you get it? Don't you?

Posted by: reina on November 22, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mommy!

Look at me!

I make peepee! I'm a big girl!

Posted by: reina on November 22, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm not willing to leave decisions on the use of military force solely to combat veterans..."

Saint McCain would be a case in point.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on November 22, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

BruceR - Yes, I agree. Thank-you.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

"everyone in a democracy is entitled to a view and everyone is entitled to be taken seriously.

After several readings this line stuck out at me. I think it's wrong.

In a democracy, everyone is entitled to a view and a vote.

But no, not everyone is entitled to be taken seriously. When someone tells me that the Grand Canyon was formed 6000 years ago, his or her views on most scientific matters can be discarded.

When someone with no military service, experience, government time working with the military, or military history expertise tries to tell me how a war will be fought and won, I can safely ignore that person's opinion, too.

As citizens, we have rights to opinions and views. But we only need to take informed views seriously."

Posted by: Wapiti on November 22, 2006 at 5:06 PM

This comment makes what I see as the critical point in all of this. Everyone is entitled to voice their opinions, however to be taken seriously requires establishing some basis of confidence in the matter of it being an informed/expert opinion on something. When I evaluate the arguments of others, I go by how well informed they are as I can tell given how well informed I am in the same areas, whether they are respected by sources/institutions I have found credible in this and other areas, as well as whatever personal experience they have in the area (as in combat experience, leading troops in combat, to simply applying engineering concepts into making things that actually work as opposed to being a theoretician only).

That is how I establish my sense of credible people to listen to, I do it in those in the media and I do it to those that present comments/arguments here. To be credible for me takes demonstrating you know what you are talking about, can present your case coherently and clearly, and most importantly demonstrate you work from a fact/reality based perspective. I have little use for ideologues whatever their type may be, polemics are used to inflame emotions and not to inform reason, and rhetoricians are by nature out to obfuscate things. It is informed opinion which counts, which is why their opinions deserve additional credence over those without as a general rule, but the idea that this should be the sole determiner is as idiotic IMHO as saying they should be given no more equal weight than someone with zero military experience or even any military knowledge (as in academic) in my view.

I do understand the anger with the chickenhawks, especially after the last few years of having them denigrate any dissenting voices as things like "cheese eating surrender monkeys" "unpatriotic" terrorist sympathizers", etc. Those voices at this point in time by any sane standards should be seen as discredited by their own constant wrong reading of the Iraq situation from the very outset, especially those that were heavily on the WMD/nuclear fear card leading into this war before the occupation proved there never was any nuclear research going on or even chem/bio, nor stockpiles of chem/bio to be found at that. Past predictions point to future accuracy, it is as simple as that, and no amount of spin changes the truth in that concept, and that truth appears finally to be taking root within the American majority once again. Let us hope it will grow and bloom into a sturdy tree indeed after this fiasco.

Posted by: Scotian on November 22, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well I think Kevin's right that we should avoid the position that only vets have moral standing but I do think it's fair to challenge the able bodied (more or less) 101st keyboarders to put their convictions on the line and to point out in a civil sort of way that the President and Vice President are full of shit.

But what REALLY burns my beans is when these bastards question the patriotism of veterans like Kerry, Murtha, my Dad and me when we stand up for the flag we served.

Posted by: BroD on November 22, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

A chickenhawk also cruises gay bars looking for the very young.

Newt is probably oncall incase the draft is reinstated and Halliburton loses it's KP and Permanent Latrine Orderly contracts - Newt would be brought in as an expert witness - He was an Army brat, who probably hung around bases at the time of the draft.

Lincoln served briefly in a militia, was very much anti-war regarding the War with Mexico, but became a superb Commander in Chief.

Served with many draftees (USes) in Germany - most of them as well trained as any RA. But we did not have Halliburton doing KP and latrine duty, so perhaps there could have more time on training for eight inch self propells. This was before drugs hurt many units stationed in Germany.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 22, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

As a Vietnam veteran I think veterans have earned a special status in discussions of war and peace. What they say should be given respectful attention, but we must also be careful to examine the content of veterans' views for evidence of denial, as in Swift Boaters. We all react differently to the stresses of war and its aftermath when we return to society. Yes, our opinions should be given respect, but the public will have to be aware that we may be right or wrong, and who can say?

However, you can make an exception to talk about the VA. That should be listened to very attentatively and soon. The VA needs a huge shot in the arm, mostly money.

Attending to our returning troops' needs should be the responsibility of everyone everywhere. Start with giving them jobs and counseling, and make allowances for the their baggage from the war.

Posted by: frank logan on November 22, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Lawrence O'Donnell, another non-liberal a-hole, that complete lie.

If only Bush could get the draft and only if O'Donnell could help him do it. Fat chance O'Donnell - Charlie Rangel isn't angry, Rangel would love the fuel the war in Iraq, if only liberals were as stupid as rednecks.

Posted by: Cheryl on November 22, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Nice one, Cheryl. Have no idea what it meant, but love it...

Posted by: none on November 22, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

so, i experienced it this way.

growing up in central ohio during the vietnam era, i was the only individual that i knew in my high school opposing the invasion of vietnam.

i vividly recall all those classmates who denounced me. all those fathers who denounced me.

so curious. those fathers were draft dodgers in ww2, korea. those classmates were the guys who "bushed" military service.

in fact, my draft board, local board 40, was the first board seized by lew hershey for long-term and widespread violations of the selective service regulations. it was like this, local board 40 encompassed the black ghetto and the bastion of whitey[the folks who ran the state of ohio]. need i say more? the sons of rich whitey were granted undeserving deferments and they were replaced in the draft with the negroes.

oh, and the white men who ran local board 40 then? not a veteran amongst them. just wealthy republicans.

though i opposed the invasion of vietnam, i did enlist. principally so that no one could ever question my antiwar posture as being one of cowardice.

in some respects, it was the best education concerning the military that i could have imagined.

i experienced a vast clusterfuck. encountered some of the most incompetent individuals that i have ever encountered. would kill you by virtue of their irresponsibility, their incompetence, their politicking for higher rank.

by the way, when you question how large corporations act, consider this fact, their organization is predicated upon a military model.

having said this, it is more than unseemly when individuals who could invest their lives militarily in their beliefs, refrain from doing so.

i think of frum,goldberg, brooks, etc ad infinitum who have been more than willing to invest others' children into the maw of death[victim/perpetrator] yet are more than content to return home each night to the glass of wine, the home-cooked meal, and the children, and the wifey.

that global war on terror sure seems to be a marketing slogan. intended to loot our treasury.

if it was a real war, then these asshole pundits[especially the jewish ones] would be donning the uniform.

if it was a real war, then the sons and daughters of the pols would be donning the uniform. i think of jenna, barb2, the cheney girls, etc, etc. but no, they know that the gwot is a grotesque bit of sloganeering. and they know that it will be enriching their bank accounts. they are more than happy with the way the amerikan public is being manipulated.

and the notion of outsourcing war...mercenaries, et alia. that must be prohibited. if the new congress refrains from doing that, then you will know that they are just another branch of reptillians.

i also think that the all-volunteer military must be terminated. it is tantamount to a praetorian guard. with allegiance only to the paymaster. this is not desirable if you want to preserve something other than a dictatorship[a monarchy].

Posted by: albertchampion on November 22, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Especially the Jewish ones, huh? Let the mask slip a little, didn't you? Lefties are so lovely...

Posted by: none on November 22, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

We are entering an era, perhaps already in it, whereby fewer politicians running for the President will have had any military experience. As the Vietnam era veterans age, there will be fewer people in society who have served. Although I strongly supported the draft because of the citizen soldier aspect of serving one's country, I neither believe that service alone should qualify one for CinC, nor non-service should disqualify one. We should not follow the post-Civil War policy of waving the "bloody flag".

Eisenhower brought the gravitas of having commanded in a great war - He tried his best to keep us out of war - LBJ served with distinction in the Navy and won a Silver Star from flying with the Army Air Corps. Nixon also served in the US Navy - Were LBJ and Nixon great arguments for past military experience ensuring intelligent command of a war? I respected Clinton's bobbing and weaving away from military service and his subsequent leadership in Bosnia and Kosovo far more than I do of Shrub's bailing out of drug testing and then ordering our troops into a senseless war in Iraq.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 22, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Frank Logan,

You spoke volumes about the need of the VA for more funding - An excellent organization, which is being hit hard by lack of sufficient funding and the increase in returning vets - Have to go there on Friday morning and I'm sure that I will see even more veterans in their 20s and 30s who have returned from the Middle East.

As for military experience being necessary for CinC, I believe that Generals George Patton, Edwin Walker, Chesty Pulver, and Curtis LeMay would have been unmitigated disasters and tyrants had they ascended to President. President Wesley Clark had a nice ring to it.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 22, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you 100% on this one, Kevin. We have become a society that glorifies militarism. History teaches that militarism and democracy are incompatible. In fact, the American military is the antithesis of democracy. That being said, I find it interesting that many of the people who have experienced war and combat first-hand, are the ones who most resist dragging our country into another war. Even militaristic leaders like Dwight Eisenhower, William Tecumseh Sherman and U.S. Grant became huge anti-war advocates after their military careers were over. Desk pilots like Kissinger and George W. Bush are more than happy to send other people's children to die in wars without ever having gotten close to a battlefield. Once again, talk is cheap to a conservative....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 22, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Another decorated combat vet who would had a nice ring to it, was President George McGovern.

A fine, very decent man.

Posted by: stupid git on November 22, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks guys for the memories - Bomb's away with Curt LeMay; that George McGovern was a B-24 pilot, a position that required no small amount of courage; many generals would be disasters as presidents (don't forget Douglas MacArthur, or my fave, William Wastemoreland). . . But interestingly, the ones that got in were relatively moderate, more or less. Ike is hugely overrated today, but he was sane.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

I listened to O'Donnell on Olbermann, and did not take it that way. Everyone has opinions, and should be listened to, but the decision-makers, and those that support them, need to examine their own actions before opining. I too avoided Vietnam, and always wondered how Bush (or Clinton) could order troops into combat with their similar backgrounds. When Nam happened I knew dozens that served. Now, as an educated professional, I know no one serving in Iraq, and no family I know has anyone serving. What a difference a draft makes.

Posted by: lk on November 22, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Dead-on, lk. I turned 18 in '71 and won on the lottery wheel of fortune. I had a number of friends, including one of my best friends, serve in Vietnam; wonderful guys. My best friend died of cancer at the age of 44; you can guess why. And like you, with Iraq, I don't really know anyone.

Your point is important: With a real draft, wars of choice are harder to impose, when the children of the ruling class suddently have a stake in it. Problem is, today no one believes the children of the ruling class wouldn't escape a draft - as they did 40 years ago. It's hard to imagine, just as it was impossible to imagine any 18 year-old in 1942 not serving. (Just ask your parents or grandparents, kids.) How far we've come.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

"The Stalinists have spoken. Those opposed will be purged."

Wrong again, Nikkorette. It's not your opinion that is getting reactions; it's the quality of your writing, which ensures that no one can tell what your opinion actually might be.

Posted by: Kenji on November 22, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of nonsense is this? Has Kevin suddenly been possessed by DLC demons or something?

Certainly non-veterans have a right to an opinion, and the _substantive_ merits of their arguments deserve as impartial a hearing as those of veterans. But why raise this bullshit strawman argument? _Nobody thinks otherwise_.

As everyone--including Kevin--knows perfectly well, the problem here is the chickenhawks whose seemingly substantive arguments for the Iraq war (you know, the imaginary WMD and the non-existent links to AQ and 9/11) were comprehensively debunked. The problem is that these clowns are now reduced to impugning the courage and patriotism of opponents of the war (remember the swiftboating of Kerry, Murtha, et al?)

Such bizarre, shameless and utterly hypocritical attacks from the chickenhawks are being called out in these arguments Kevin finds hard to support.

The only question is, why??

Posted by: Amit Joshi on November 22, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible wanders in, confused.

The modifier to all of this is this statement:

It takes a very special kind of combat coward to advocate combat for others.

Captain Sensible reads this to mean that someone who advocates combat is somehow not qualified to do so if they, themselves, are not willing (or have not been willing) to make a sacrifice themselves.

It is not wise to advocate things that are deadly, dangerous or violent in any and all cases; it is especially hypocritical to call for war when one is not about to allow themselves to be subjected to the horror of that war. No one should advocate against civilian control of the military--this is not a junta.

The use of the word "advocate" means encourage, recommend or call for, and in this case, it is probably wise to rail against those who are demonstrable hypocrites.

How this can be extrapolated to mean that no one can comment, no one can criticize or speak is the defender of the hypocrite looking for a way to hide behind something larger than what it is. There are only a handful of people who have the power to command attention inside of the Mass Media. These would be the politicians and the like who, if they advocate war and have never subjected themselves to the danger or threat of war, can rightly be called hypocrites.

Joe blow with no dough, he can advocate all he wants, hardly any country will follow his advocacy into war and strife.

Be careful what you advocate for; the tiger doesn't like being held by the tail much. And this war is the tiger that has decided that it would just as soon eat its tail as be pulled backwards.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 22, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

If this wasn't the last chance in 3 days I'll have to make love to my wife I'd tell you off Kevin...

Posted by: elmo on November 22, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

You don't "get it" Kevin. What you extrapolate from what O'Donnell said is not what he meant.

We've had lots of non-combat war presidents. Abraham Lincoln actively opposed the Mexican War - the war of "his generation" - to the point he destroyed his political career. FDR never served, yet was probably the greatest "war president" besides Lincoln.

What I - as a vet - don't like are the bloody little righty "patriots" who are hypocrites. The ones who had the opportunity to serve and avoided it - Dick "I had other priorities" Cheney, George "I do not volunteer for foreign service" Bush, and the little scumbags I knew 40 years ago who were out heckling me for being a veteran working and speaking against the war who - when I asked them when they were going to quit school, join up and volunteer to go to Vietnam, since they were such war supporters - shut up. I think the guys we're talking about were pretty well illustrated in the Doonesbury cartoon this past Monday about the little "patriot" who said he truly believed he could best serve his country working in a hedge fund.

It's the hypocrites who should be denied their right to foment wars they won't fight. Which pretty much defines Al and American Hawk and the rest of the righty cowards.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 23, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Third Paul:

Lyndon Johnson "won" a Silver Star for being a Congressman-in-uniform who went on a single raid on Lae in New Guinea in a B-26, during which he crapped his pants and cried for mommy while riding along as a passenger. MacArthur gave him the medal personally upon hearing he was headed back to safety in Washington after all Congresscritters masquerading as "military men" were pulled back to enact laws and such, in hopes that Johnson would support giving MacArthur more support for his part of the war.

Award of the medal had nothing to do with individual valor, or achievement in combat, or anything else. It was completely political. And people who knew what it was supposed to mean to get a Silver Star hated Johnson for the rest of his life for parading around and claiming himself some sort of military "hero." You can read more about this in Robert Caro's first volume of his Johnson biography.

Don't ever mention Lyndon Bastard Johnson in the same breath with people who honorably served their country.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 23, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Under the modern system, the average citizen is likely to believe that war will not touch them, which makes it much easier to advocate for war without considering whether the cause really necessitates war, as it there is little personal risk and those that take the risk are, after all, in the risk-taking profession." - cmdicely

Same problem exacerbates the whole military-industrial complex as self-contained interest group. In the old days at least the grunts weren't completely invested in the self-aggrandizement of Big Bullet.

Posted by: brooksfoe on November 23, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

There is a moral component here that is being mostly overlooked. The credo "duty, honor, country" says a lot. Since the WW II generation, we are being led by a batch of shameless yellow slackers full of noblesse without an ounce of noblige. Daddy Bush went into an actual war for civilization as the youngest carrier pilot to see combat in our Navy. That alone helped make him a better man than his sorry son will ever be. Can you truly ascribe any of the words "duty, honor, country" to Greedy, Oil slicked, practitioners of Putrid politics like Bush & company? To Gingrich? To Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney, and on and on as we call the chickenhawk roster? Sure they should have a voice. And surely the voices of those who respect "duty, honor, country" should hoot them out of office, deny them respect, show them for the hypocritical, indecent bastards they are. And I include those who oppose a war out of their sense of duty and honor and because they think the war is against the interest of the country.
X-box warriors may have some small concept of the terror of combat (although I doubt it), but they never seem to give a thought to one of the real horrors: Even if (or maybe especially) you survive intact, you have probably killed or maimed another human being, and whether in self-defense or defense of your own or by accident of war, it is something that does not do great things for the normal human psyche. So you are asking kids, volunteers or not, to experience a horrific thing. That is their "duty" for their "country." And to do it with "honor." It is no small thing to ask. And so many do it in our name. If you do not respect that, I am not sure what what you will respect.
But back to the main point. Where is the honor in draft dodgers and deferment finaglers who support a war by sitting it out? There is none. Their hypocrisy is about as absolute as can be imagined. So why are we in Iraq? Avenging and/or upstaging Poppy? Maybe a little. Oil and graft? Sure. But what if it was just for votes? Just so the slacker-in chief could play dress up in the uniform he disgraced, so he could be a "war president," so he could win a couple of elections, one of which was against a man who won a Silver Star after volunteering for close combat in the war Bush so carefully avoided. So few people now serve in the military that maybe they do not know what a Silver Star means. Maybe they think it is like the medals of freedom Bushlet doles out to keep his minions from spilling their guts to the public. Bush, the pretend cowboy who is scared of horses, showed his true mettle when he pulled the nine-minute freeze frame with "The Pet Goat" on 9/11 and then hightailed it to a bunker in Nebraska. Rove needed all his spinning skills to get around that one. No, they don't know what "duty" means, they don't give a Rovian ratfuck for the "country," and they have no honor. Maybe a prerequisite for federal office should be a minimum of two years of national service. It doesn't have to be military. But it would mean putting your "career" on hold while you had to work along with the hoi polloi for low pay under unlettered and unforgiving NCO types. Maybe you would learn something. Maybe you would gain a concept of "duty, honor, country." Nah. Not those guys. For them it's always "me" and never "us."

Posted by: xpara on November 23, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA at 12:26am gets it right.

When someone tells me that Saddam is the gravest threat to civilization as we know it since Hitler and Stalin and that we have to go to war right this minute, please give me the freakin' right to be suspicious if said person thinks he can just whistle past the recruiting center.

The chickenhawk argument is not "pernicious"; it is common sense. It is the proper shock therapy for a society whose economic and political elite have become dangerously insulated from their own destructive policies. The Iraq War is not the action of a healthy society. Why deny the justice of the argument that cuts right to the heart of the matter? No one is arguing for military control of the military. It's simple: those eager for war will think twice about it if they might die in it.

Even as a thought experiment, "if you want war, then enlist" has the power to stop many a Fox-News zombie right in its tracks.

I don't think you're being "sensible" here, Kevin. You're being a wuss.

Posted by: ppp on November 23, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

It's not a war, it's an occupation, and we won't be able to deal with the situation realistically until we recognize that fact.

Posted by: Brian Boru on November 23, 2006 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

TMI, Elmo...

Posted by: Kenji on November 23, 2006 at 3:49 AM | PERMALINK

The crazies have sure come out of the woodwork in this thread

Maybe someday "We the people..." will actually face this issue square on as adults

"War is the easy part" - Anthony Zinni - General U.S.M.C. (retired)

"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election. - Otto von Bismarck

and last, but certainly not least

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf the Grey

Posted by: daCascadian on November 23, 2006 at 4:23 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin's argument can also be viewed from the opposite perspective. Military leaders don't always make the best civilian (or military!) policy decisions once they leave their military careers behind. But we encourage people like Wes Clark, Jim Webb and Tammy Duckworth to run for high office in part because of the added understanding they bring to national service, international affairs and the limits to what military policies can accomplish.

Senator-elect Webb's son is currently serving in Iraq and look where Jim stands on the issue.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 23, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

People who avoid-or avoided-- going to war because they fear for their lives or because they are too busy amassing wealth have no moral authority to advocate war. This is not complicated.

This does not mean they should not be citizens. It does not mean they should not voice their opinions about the war. It does mean that those of us who have served should treat them with the disrespect they deserve as selfish, greedy, yellow-bellied cowards.

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott on November 23, 2006 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Happy Thanksgiving to all--espescially all the vets who served or are serving. The rest of you turtledoves or chickenhawks can bite me. And be silent.

Posted by: nikkolai on November 23, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

When you get to the point we're at now, where something like less than 1% of Americans have had any military experience, the rules change. I don't think lack of service diminishes one's rights as a citizen. But it is absurd for a shirker like Bush or Cheney to be so damn set on military action as the one and only solution to every problem when they have no personal knowledge of what war actually means. Which, having heard Lawrence O'Donnell discuss this same topic on Al Franken's show, is all he's saying.

Perspective, bitches!

Posted by: Chainsaw on November 23, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

LOL. Nikkolai spends an entire day defending the chickenhawks then pretends he is not one of them. An early Christmas gift of true hypocrisy from a two-faced loser.

Posted by: mike irwin on November 23, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Irony is easily lost on the uninspired, mike. Are you a nancy-boy?

Posted by: nikkolai on November 23, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA,

Thanks for your update on LBJ - typed a little fast and never should have said "served with distinction" - did wonder about his winning a Silver Star for apparently "staying cool under fire and bringing back intelligence" - creative writing at it's best - Your points make a ton of sense.

I was using LBJ as an example of military experience, what ever it was, not translating to being a successful CinC in time of war - LBJ was a disaster in trying to be the ultimate micro manager - He was responsible for the deaths of thousands because of his fear of appearing "soft" on communism, by not only the Republicans, but the Kennedys.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 23, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

The reason the draft didn't work in the 60s but did in the 40s was fairness: That 2S deferrment (college) made the Vietnam War possible. That did not exist during WWII - Joe Kennedy's sons served (with Joe Jr being killed), all of FDR's sons served, etc. So a draft once worked extremely well - couldn't have won WWII without it.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 22, 2006 at 4:12 PM

And it's why we need a draft for one year of universal (not necessarily military) service -- if we attacked many of our domestic problems with the same zeal we used to defeat the Axis powers, there's no telling what this country could accomplish. No exemptions other than health. Women could be drafted, too, but solely for non-military (or at least non-combat) duties. Whether you're a Wyoming rancher's child, a young man or woman on the mean streets of Philadelphia or a person ready to enter freshman year at Dartmouth, you serve...whether it be in uniform, in a modern version of the Civilian Conservation Corps or other service duty. Such work would also help connect a nation that's become increasingly self-isolated.

Posted by: Vincent on November 23, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Ike is hugely overrated today, but he was sane.

Actually Ike was hugely under-rated until fairly recently. Just as liberal historians in academia pumped up the 'accomplishments' of JFK beyond all reason they stomped on Ike as they do all republicans using all of the same silly claims. Ike and Reagan were both dupes controlled by their staffs mostly obvilious to the world around them.

Unfortunately for them we have reams of documentation proving the so-called historians were nothing more than partisan dupes while Ike and Reagan knew exactly what they were doing. At the same time the Camelot myth has been all but fully exploded. We now understand what an ill-prepared and reckless person we had in JFK. History will not be kind. Truman, Ike and Reagan are top 10 Presidents. JFK will join Carter and Clinton as below average Presidents. Carter won't be remembered. Clinton will be remembered for Monica. JFK will be remembered for bumbling into the Cuban Missle crises, causing Vietnam, banging Marlyn Monroe and getting shot on TV.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I too avoided Vietnam, and always wondered how Bush (or Clinton) could order troops into combat with their similar backgrounds.

These men were nominated by their parties after extensive primaries amd elected by poplar vote. Why did you vote to put them in that position? They're doing the job they were elected to do and promised to do. If you don't think such men should be qualified who do so many vote for them?

The real frauds on these posts are those who suggest a Bill Clinton has no moral authority to order men/women into battle and THEN VOTE FOR BILL CLINTON. How stupud is that?

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

President Wesley Clark had a nice ring to it.


Wesley's only claim to fame was getting fired as NATO commander after the Air Force ran the Kosovo air campaign. In one of the weakest primaries fields in American History running as a General for a party craving military experience he was STILL a no-show. He was pitiful.

Wesley is a loser.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

People who served should (but don't always) have less illusions about the glory, etc. of it all. I served during, but not in, the Vietnam War--I didn't have many illusions about being one of "the nation's finest" before I went in, and had less by the time I got out. It's only people who never served (and hope never to) who spout the crap that our soldiers are our finest and put yellow ribbons on their SUVs, because that is as much effort as they care to make in their patriotism. Please don't ask any of them to serve or pay taxes to fund these adventures or to help veterans after their service. I think this week's Doonesbury sums things up pretty well. If a few more people had been in power who had some experience of what war involved, and didn't get all their notions from the Hollywood version, perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today, although there are no guarantees--it didn't keep us out of Vietnam. Still, we might have had a more honest dialogue.

I opposed this war for a lot of reasons, most of which have been validated even beyond my imagining by the current mess in which we find ourselves. It might have helped if a few of the gung-ho types had had any knowledge of the Middle East. For example, those yapping about democracy in Iraq might have wanted to think about the fact that it was 60% Shia--now they're surprised that the Shia want to get even with the Sunnis instead of giving them any share of power? How fucking naive was that, and why didn't any of them think about this ahead of time? I'm not a Middle East expert, but I understand human nature and can do simple math. If the religious right in this country had a 60% majority, what do you think would happen?

Our army is stretched beyond its capacity--some people are now on their fifth tour in Iraq--so those of you who are saying that a draft won't work in these times, please tell me some more about how well our volunteer *professional* army is doing.

Posted by: dogofthesouth on November 23, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Such work would also help connect a nation that's become increasingly self-isolated.

We are not even remotely isolated nor moving in that direction. GWB has been the most active trader of all the Presidents having just signed major deals with India (approved) and Ecuador (pending). He's signed mew deals with most of the Ameria's. Hugo Chavez can look out his front porch and see one huge free trade region all the way to the North Pole. Soon he'll walk to his back porch and see the same all the way to the South Pole.

He's also done more to promote trade with Afria ans Asia than any recent President which explains why exports are surging and our economy remains one of the wonders of the modern world. As Geroge Will aptly described we are the only economy in the developed world still described as a growth economy. With 4.4% unemployment, low inflation, low interest rates, high productivity and incredible innovation we are the envy of Europe.

Removing all of our troops from Europe and reducing our positions in Japan and South Korea is an act of confidence in our allies for meeting their own responsibilities. These are mature, wealthy democracies and it makes no more sense for Anmerican troops in Germany or Japan than Japanese or German troops in America. Each will now develop their military power without restriction and take their rightful place as wealthy, free deomcracies.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Paul, sweets. 'Chesty' Puller not Pulver.

Carry on.

Posted by: CFShep on November 23, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

But, but, but, I thought he was my uncle?

Posted by: Ensign Pulver on November 23, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Nick,
I don't know whether you know anything about Turkey or the Turkish Army--it doesn't sound like you do. I, however, know a bit. The Turkish Army has an enormous sense of pride, and enormously devoted officer corps and a tradition that stretches back for centuries. As someone noted they fought with distinction in Korea, and while you can mock the fact that they haven't been invaded recently as a preposterous suggestion, the fact is that during the fifties and sixties they stood up to the Soviet demands that they internationalize the Dardanelles--a refusal which we appreciated because it would have meant that Soviet ports on the Black Sea could base Soviet fleets. As to the Dardanelles and invading Turkey, I seem to recall that Churchill tried that in WWI and the slaughter at Gallipoli was horrifying. After WWI, Lloyd George tried to give Thrace and the Agean littoral to Greece, and even though the Ottoman Empire had collapsed Mustafa Kemal was able to rally the remnants of the Turkish army in the hamlet of Ankara and drive the invaders into the sea.

So my point, Nick, if you haven't lost interest and gone back to inventing history rather than reading it, the Turkish army(which just for lagniappe, I'll remind you settled the Cypriot army's hash in about 36 hours) is a force to be reckoned with.

As to Cecce's notion that modern warfare has to be fought by professional soldiers, that's a load of crap too. The officers and noncom cadre will always need to be professional, no one is suggesting otherwise. But during Viet Nam, ordinary citizens fought and fought well--we didn't lose the war because our soldiers weren't the best, we lost because it was the wrong war, for the wrong reason, fought beside allies who were themselves shy of combat. If you train your soldiers well and give them good equipment, and lead them well--you have a chance to win.
If you have citizen soldiers fighting a war to defend their country(rather than a war to protect the oil companies raw materials)then they will fight and win. That is why we should have a draft.

The notion that we can farm out the defense of our country to the working class is a contemptible idea. If we're all going to be Americans, then we should all be willing to share the sacrifice. Life is no less precious to the blue collar worker than to the Senator's son or daughter. Let's stop pretending that the choice of whether to defend our country is something anyone can reasonably claim they don't want to be part of. If we're going to have an army, we should all be part of it.

Posted by: carwinrpc on November 23, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Top of the morning to you, CFShep.

I have to take our two male cats out on a leash for their scheduled 2F works; wonder if they will be breezing or handily? No team drills, they. Hey, I'm even starting to talk like a Cajun.

So, I will bid you adieu and refrain from the Larry Krudlow, Tony Montana induced, Chester County deranged comments about supply side that will hold fort for the remainder of the day and weekend.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 23, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Still believe in the concept of the Citizen Soldier, or even more in the concept of Citizen Universal Service of some kind - Hey, this great nation has given all of us a great deal - Why not give some back to this land? But, hell no to elite mercenaries fighting for the whims of the elite Super Rich.

al-Maliki will be at a disadvantage in meeting with Shrub - Maliki is one of the few without a private militia in Iraq - Shrub more and more thinks of our military as his private militia.

Posted by: stupid git on November 23, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

dogofthesouth wrote:

"I served during, but not in, the Vietnam War--I didn't have many illusions about being one of "the nation's finest" before I went in, and had less by the time I got out. It's only people who never served (and hope never to) who spout the crap that our soldiers are our finest and put yellow ribbons on their SUVs, because that is as much effort as they care to make in their patriotism."
______________________

Thanks for your service, dots. But the military you and I joined back in the sixties isn't the military of today. These kids are really something special. (And I've been in the military long enough to think of field grade officers as kids.) Better educated, better motivated, both as soldiers and citizens. They care for each other and sacrifice for their troops more than you can imagine. Many of them sport those silly ribbon things on their cars because their wife or husband stuck one on while their other half was deployed. Our troops are true professionals in ways we could only dreamed of, back in the day.

Anyway, I've never figured out why publicly acknowledging the troops is considered hypocritical. How does anyone know what the driver has or has not done or is willing to do? You ask me, too many folks just look for reasons to knock people they disagree with.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

What do the cats clock for 2f?

Laughing.

Posted by: CFShep on November 23, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Couldn't get a timing - One of them broke it off at the quarter pole, when he saw a bird - The other pulled up with a slight hair ball problem.

Have always preferred long gallops, but, they do appear to be sprinters - Must have been crossed with quarters a few years back.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 23, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

One way of understanding O'Donnell's point is valid. Its not that no one who's not a veteran is allowed to advocate a war. But those who cavlierly continue to advocate throwing away other people's lives even after the war has been exposed as based on a fraud and despite the fact that there is no scenario for victory, have a special obligation to prove their standing to make such demands. If they had been there themselves, then maybe they could continue to make their case. But having been deceitful and wrong, they have a special burden to show that they shouldn't just shut the fuck up.

Posted by: The Fool on November 23, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Frank Logan wrote:

The VA needs a huge shot in the arm, mostly money.
__________________

VA funding is 65% higher today than it was in 2000. The latest VA Appropriations Act set the funding at $78 Billion, a record level and almost $9 Billion over last year's record high.

While it is true that many old VA facilities are being consolidated, that reflects something that usually isn't mentioned in the news. With the gradual passing of the WWII generation, the need for VA services is slowly shifting from some of the more populous states to other parts of the country. While some older VA facilities are being closed, others are being opened or expanded.

I'm not saying the VA doesn't need more money, but nobody should think it that it's being neglected.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

gregor wrote:

"(Quoting Kevin) 'It's a little too convenient when your opposition has to make a sacrifice to hold his position honestly, but you don't have to make a sacrifice to hold yours.'

That's a stupid argument. There is no equivalence between those who were right in the first place, and those who were wrong to begin with and yet continue to pontificate on the necessity for more of the same."
________________________

It's not a stupid argument, gregor. What you've stated is essentially: "We are right and you are wrong, therefore you should shut up."

Don't we all wish we could win arguments so easily? But it doesn't work that way, nor should it.


Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"The VA is not being neglected"

Perhaps this explains why it can take up to six months and longer to be assigned a Primary Care Physician after enrolling in the VA system. This is why PCPs often see over 900 patients. This is why dental and vision care has been curtailed - This is why the Publicans want to discontinue any services for non-combat service members. This is why there has been a hiring freeze.

If you want the truth about it not being neglected, have a chat with the great employees at the VA. Not a great deal of affection for the powers to be. A lot of looking over their collective shoulders as to where the next cuts may and will be.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 23, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

For goodness sake! How many times does this ridiculous misreading of the chickenhawk principle be cleared up, before we conclude that the people misreading aren't being obtuse, they're being dishonest?

"Chickenhawk!" is *not* a way of saying that only veterans get a say in whether to go to war; that's a lying straw man. You can be a lifelong civilian and be for a war, as long as the army can fight the war you want. But when they can't fight it any more, because they're burned out from lack of relief from fresh volunteers, then you have to do one of three things:

1) change from being pro-war to being against it
2) change from being a bystander to being a volunteer
3) change from being honorable to being dishonorable

You don't get to stay an honorable pro-war bystander, when the war is being lost for lack of volunteers. I and far too many other people have explained this basic point far too many times for Kevin to still be innocent when he claims "chickenhawk" is all about some sort of advocacy for a Heinlein-style veteran oligarchy. It's nothing but a nasty lying bit of conversational sabotage invented by wingnuts to jam up the gears of the discourse.

Posted by: derek on November 23, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Don't we all wish we could win arguments so easily? But it doesn't work that way, nor should it.

Trashhauler, you're something of a reasonable fellow. Would you concede that "we're right and you're wrong, so shut up" is more common among conservatives than liberals?

Quiz question: Which President famously told a constituent, "Who cares what you think?"

Posted by: obscure on November 23, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

thethirdPaul wrote:

"Perhaps this explains why it can take up to six months and longer to be assigned a Primary Care Physician after enrolling in the VA system. This is why PCPs often see over 900 patients. This is why dental and vision care has been curtailed - This is why the Publicans want to discontinue any services for non-combat service members. This is why there has been a hiring freeze."
_________________

I don't doubt it for a moment, Paul. It works about the same for us military retirees relying on TRICARE. My left arm is becoming increasingly numb and weak from an old active duty spinal injury. It was three weeks before I could see my PCP back in September and I'll see the neurosurgeon about a month from now. Oh, well, it's not like I actually need two arms, or anything.

I'm a government bureaucrat by trade now and it seems to me there must be some sort of universal truth about all government programs at work here.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Such work would also help connect a nation that's become increasingly self-isolated.

We are not even remotely isolated nor moving in that direction. GWB has been the most active trader of all the Presidents having just signed major deals with India (approved) and Ecuador (pending). He's signed mew deals with most of the Ameria's. Hugo Chavez can look out his front porch and see one huge free trade region all the way to the North Pole. Soon he'll walk to his back porch and see the same all the way to the South Pole.

rdw, you misconstrued what I meant by "self-isolated." I wasn't referring to the U.S. and other nations (the frequent context of "isolationism"); instead, I meant Americans among themselves. With the increase of personal media such as the Internet, cable TV and so on, there's increasingly little we have in common as Americans these days. It's not 1956, when we had three TV networks, four radio networks, dominant mass general-circulation magazines such as Life, and so on. While the fragmentation of media has certainly helped improve communication among various minorities, it's had the downside of making it more difficult for one subgroup to talk to another. And those subgroups now are not only ethnic or racial, but religious and ideological as well. That's where universal service would benefit America, just as the WWII draft brought sons of Iowa farmers together with sons of Staten Island grocers, Indiana businessmen and Los Angeles attorneys to work towards a common goal.

Posted by: Vincent on November 23, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

obscure wrote:

Trashhauler, you're something of a reasonable fellow. Would you concede that "we're right and you're wrong, so shut up" is more common among conservatives than liberals?

Quiz question: Which President famously told a constituent, "Who cares what you think?"
________________

obscure, I really don't know. I tend to avoid the freakier and more shrill sites, both left and right, but I'm sure that stupidity knows no political boundaries. I'm isolated to a degree in that I work in a military setting. While almost universally conservative, the officers and civilians I know are almost uniformly polite and reasonable. Though they might make snarky comments in a bull session, none that I know of would be deliberately insulting to anyone.

Re the President you mentioned, I haven't a clue, but I could guess. I'd suggest that the sentiment, even if not expressed, is one that every probably President has felt from time to time.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler wrote: "VA funding is 65% higher today than it was in 2000."

In and of itself, that tells you nothing about whether the VA is adequately funded. How has inflation changed since 2000? How have health care costs changed since 2000? How many people is the VA system treating now vs. 2000? How have their needs changed? Was the funding in 2000 adequate for the VA's needs?

It is entirely possible for your sentence to be entirely true and at the same time entirely meaningless with respect to the question at hand.

Posted by: PaulB on November 23, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Even as a thought experiment, 'if you want war, then enlist' has the power to stop many a Fox-News zombie right in its tracks."
____________________

Here's a different thought experiment: most military professionals I know would phrase it, "if you want peace, enlist."

The peace advocates I know would scoff at the idea, of course. So, there's no reason to believe that saying "if you want war, enlist" would stop anybody, either.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Vincent,

I did misunderstand. You raise an interesting point but I think the current media environment is far superior to what he had in 1990, 1980 and especially 1968. A concentrated media, heavily biased, is the worst of all worlds. This describes the MSM.

In 1990 Dan Rather does his TANG story and gets a pulitzer prize. In 2004 he gets the shame he deserves and the story dies. How many other frauds have he and his peers produced over the years?

David Brooks of PBS and the NYTs made a great point while the Rather dabacle was percolating that the different media sources have created separated realities for various audiences. You are obviously in agreement. But I don't think it stops these separate audiences from talking. Few liberals have any idea just how pathic the Dan Rather forgeries were. Many still think they were accurate. But Dan Rather is gone just the same. What good is one reality if it's a fraud?

The emergence of alternative media especially the internet with it's search engines has significantly improved communuications. It's far more accurate. More media is better media.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

The chickenhawk argument at its core was the obverse of the trashing of the patriotism of those who questioned the Iraq fiasco from the beginning.

I am not a pacifist, but I questioned the rationale for the war from the beginning. It may be because I never trusted Bush as competent. Look at his record. He drove every company he was involved with into the ground and always got golden parachustes courtesy of his father's friends.

That inconvient fact was and has been mostly overlooked by the pundit class. His greatest "success" as a businessman was running the Texas Rangers- except he didn't. He was just the public face of mangement. They knew better than to put him in charge. Which is why the argument he has good people around him missed the point. Bush would be (and is) in charge. He is the decider, God help us all.

I've gotten off track. My point is in 2002 people with steller credentials in patriotism (e.g. Max Clelland) had their patriotism questioned for questioning the rationale of the war. In 2006 we do delight in the chickenhawk argument, turnabout being fairplay. However, there are serious points mde by Rangel with his draft proposal and LO with Rangel's draft proposal coupled with the chickenhawk argument:

1. Its not whether you have served, it is are you are willing to serve or allow your children to serve.
2. War is a serious national question and if it would make pundits and politicians less cavaliar about war than perhaps a draft roulette would serve as a check. Again it is not whether you have served, its whether or not you or your children have the same chance of ending up on the front lines as everyone else. Would you be so cavaliar about war in general and about Iraq in particular.

LO is dead on, if the majority now understands Iraq to be the most serious Bush fiasco, then a serious discussion of when and how we get is needed immediately. All of this poppycock that "we can't leave just yet because (fill in the blank)" without actual serious planning of how and when we leave is just a bullshit way for those who brought the US this fiasco to shift blame from themselves for the fiasco. Its just laying the groundwork for a "Stabbed in the Back
theory" on how liberals somehow are to blame for the conservatives lying us into Iraq. What LO is saying is, if the pundit- politician class or their children might be the last person to die for a mistake (actually a lie) then just perhaps they would be just a little more serious in figuring the most expeditiious way of getting the US out of the jam they caused, instead of just figuring out the most expeditious way to avoid blame.

What I say to the chickenhawks (as defined in my little rant here) and their ilk is, it is your fucking fault, now lead, follow or get out of the way in getting us out of this jam.

Posted by: molly bloom on November 23, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB wrote:

"(Quoting me) 'Trashhauler wrote: "VA funding is 65% higher today than it was in 2000."'

In and of itself, that tells you nothing about whether the VA is adequately funded."
___________________

Paul, I believe I said that in my post. All of your questions are legitimate and important. That's not to say they haven't been considered, of course. But they always bear asking.

We military types are sorta used to this. There's nothing like a sharp, little war to get folks interested in the VA. In between wars, we notice that most of the urgent questions aren't asked, the political heat dissipates, and the topic disappears from discussion. Just as does most concern for the soldier, in general.

Kipling knew the way of it:

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

That's where universal service would benefit America, just as the WWII draft brought sons of Iowa farmers together with sons of Staten Island grocers, Indiana businessmen and Los Angeles attorneys to work towards a common goal.

Forced universal service would be a disaster and would serve no purpose. It would be impossible to administer fairly and be hugely expensive. The USA has NEVER had universal service and has done quite well. We never will have universal service. Staten Island grocers and Mid-west businessmen are, if anything, better connected and united toward common goals than ever before.

The last thing the military needs or wants is draftees. Our forces are highly trained and motivated professionals. Forcing undesirable amateurs on them would by definition degrade our military. It's but one reason why European armies are so weak. I suspect most proponents of a draft are the parents of slackers hoping someone else can do something to improve on their failures.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

My point is in 2002 people with steller credentials in patriotism (e.g. Max Clelland) had their patriotism questioned for questioning the rationale of the war

Max never had his partriotism questioned. Max had his intelligence questioned. He blocked legislation on security because there weren't more union protections. Coming from a right-to-work state that was not real smart. Max simply wasn't very smart.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems won the election on the back of getting out of Iraq with great haste. That is a huge victory for Iran and a huge victory for Syria. It is all but a death knell for the state of Israel and maybe even for democracy in Lebanon. The future for the Kurds and the Lebanese Christian minority doesn't look very good, for the reason that the Democrat insistence that if they DID actually decide to draw a line in the sand and fight somewhere their technique of war would be much, much more effective than the stupid Bush administration, don't you know, well, no one can take that assertion seriously.

That assertion is all pompous election crap and the Iranians and Syrians know it. They know that they get to divide up the region fighting by third world rules, while the U.S. forces will increasingly become so bound by first world rules that they will become little more than the U.N. totems in uniform you see around the world standing by while in-your-face genocide rages.

I have mentioned here before that I am as working class as they get and I am also a Navy veteran whose combat experience in Vietnam was almost identical to Sen. John Kerry's in duration, intensity, and kind. After returning from Vietnam I read Franicis McDonald's fervent anti-war tome FIRE IN THE LAKE and for a brief moment I regretted fighting for democracy in a region where the people were intrinsically so culturally not ready that it would never take.

Later on I met and got to know many fine Vietnamese boat people refugees living in my neighborhood that I decided that Francis was an idiot. People come here so they can live in peace and freedom. Unless we think 300,000,000 people isn't enough and we want even more refugees to stream into this land, we had better get out there in the world and fix societies that don't like freedom, don't like free markets, don't like elections, don't like religious toleration, and especially don't like other ethnic groups against which they hold long grudges.

The way we fix things internationally is by war and war alone. Point at international cooperation ever solving a problem like Darfur if you can.

Now I don't care if we fight our wars with draftees, elite mercenaries, or robots under contract to Halliburton, the important thing is that when we fight we must win. I will check with y'all in 2008 to see how well the Democrat party is understanding this fundamental concept.

Posted by: Mike Cook on November 23, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

War advocates>

KABUL, Afghanistan - An insurgent rocket attack killed one NATO soldier and injured another while they were on patrol in central Afghanistan on Thursday, the Western alliance said.
NATO soldiers and militants exchanged small arms fire, and air support was used against the insurgents, NATOs International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
The nationalities of the soldiers were not released.

Now, this is a curious thing. There is a sort of detente right now between the factions on this thread; it seems that its okay to call for war so long as one is somewhat honest about it. Or perhaps there's a disagreement about whether the VA is fully funded? Who can say?

What is interesting to Captain Sensible is that soldiers from other nations are dying in Afghanistan, in a just war the United States started to punish those who harbored the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Why?

There aren't enough US troops to do the job.

And, meanwhile, tens of thousands of fat young Republicans bellow and demand war.

Give thanks today that the slaughter of innocents doesn't really include anyone you know right now.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 23, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Max never had his partriotism questioned. Max had his intelligence questioned. He blocked legislation on security because there weren't more union protections. Coming from a right-to-work state that was not real smart. Max simply wasn't very smart.

Morphing Max into OBL in a commercial that suggested he didn't want to defend Americans from terrorism goes way beyond questioning Max's intelligence. It is and was a gross insult to a man who lost 3 limbs defending Americans and America. You are being grossly disingenuous.

Posted by: molly bloom on November 23, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I have little problem with the idea of withholding full citizenship rights from those who have not served their nation in some way or other.

After all, anyone willing to risk their health and perhaps life in furtherance of our national security or even some mundane economic interest should get something a little extra from the nation in return.

And, frankly, I'm tired of chickenhawks labeling their opponents 'traitors' and such when the chickenhawks haven't been under hostile fire in service to their country.

Yes, it seems undemocratic to deny anyone the right to vote 'just because' they haven't been to war, but it seems inadequate to treat veterans the way we do now.

Posted by: Jon Koppenhoefer on November 23, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
My take on Larry's rant is that the pundits he is refering to know this is a lost cause and still want to send in more troops knowing the Marines and "volunteer Army is streched as far as it will go. Just today our local news announced the death of a 19 year old Marine. For what? And like the neocons pushing for this catastrophe, Wolfowitz, Adleman, Perle, Krystol, Cheney, et al, have probably never been in even a schoolyard fist fight let alone any other kind. Rangel is correct in his assesment that poor kids and those (Latinos looking for citizenship for one) needing something enlist. Most seventeen and 18 year olds have to be cheered into patriotism. If it weren't so the malls would be empty. Either we have the worst generals ever or the wimpiest not to stand up for what the proper processes were - force, strategy, or when to leave Iraq. Hearing them criticize now with the extra star for their pensions doesn't mean crap. I don't ever remember a General during WWII saying they couldn't fight like they wanted because Roosevelt or his DO War Secretary told them they couldn't. Eisenhower fired a few for either not following orders or incompetence. Other than Shinseki or Garner (first guy to try to form an Iraqi government) no other heads rolled. Rumsfeld should have been the first the summer of '03. Nobody from the top has come out of this smelling like a rose with the exception of Richard Clarke and Paul O'Niel. Some of these people should be tried for war crimes and profiteering.

Posted by: nellieh on November 23, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think you missed the point, poor boy. The noxious thing about chickenhawks isn't that they are just generic non-military people who think we should fight a particular war (which could be a rational and natural position and circumstance), but the fact that they were so pushy, so suspicious and derogatory of their critics, so willing to use the war issue as a political football, etc. Kevin, sometimes you really miss the ball and show great naivety about what the point is. I keep reading you because you do a good job so much of the rest of the time.

Posted by: Neil' on November 23, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't ever remember a General during WWII saying they couldn't fight like they wanted because Roosevelt or his DO War Secretary told them they couldn't."
___________________

On the contrary, it happened frequently. The invasion of Italy, Operation MARKET GARDEN, the CBI theater, the New Guniea campaign, and many lesser instances come to mind.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible wrote:

"What is interesting to Captain Sensible is that soldiers from other nations are dying in Afghanistan, in a just war the United States started to punish those who harbored the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Why?"
_____________________

Perhaps because their governments realize that the United States is not the only target. It has been possible to secure their assistance because the limited goals at this stage of the Afghanistan campaign make it certain that the chance of taking large numbers of casualties is very low.

The jihadists' main effort is in Iraq, as is ours, and Afghanistan is definitely a secondary effort. In this case, obtaining international cooperation was both possible and logical.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 23, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

It is and was a gross insult to a man who lost 3 limbs defending Americans and America.

It's called politics princess and it's not for sissies. Max refused to sign a security bill because it lacked union protections. That's a sure winner in Michigan. The simple ass wasn't running for Senator in Michigan. He chose the unions above our security. He paid the price for his decision.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

molly bloom wrote: "You are being grossly disingenuous."

He really isn't, as far as we can tell. All the evidence to date indicates that our dear chum really does believe the mindless partisan drivel he spouts. Look at his comment immediately above this one. The poor guy simply has no contact with reality.

Laugh at him for his complete cluelessness; pity him for his blindness; ignore him for his disconnection from reality; just don't make the mistake of trying to engage him in a debate. He has nothing to bring to the table and he is simply not reachable by any combination of facts, logic, or reason. He's in his own little world and you will simply be wasting your time.

Posted by: PaulB on November 23, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler wrote: "The jihadists' main effort is in Iraq, as is ours, and Afghanistan is definitely a secondary effort."

That's not necessarily correct. The primary problem in Iraq has nothing to do with jihadists, at least of the al Qaeda, "caliphate from sea to sea," variety, and everything to do with a civil war. It's dangerous to use such terms as "jihadist" without defining them, since there are numerous groups operating in the Middle East, each with their own identity and their own agenda.

That al Qaeda was delighted at the instability in Iraq and has been playing a role in fostering that instability is pretty much undeniable. How large a role they have been playing, though, is very much open to debate. There is evidence that both the Bush administration and Zarqawi hyped up the threat of al Qaeda in Iraq and exaggerated their role there.

There is also reason to believe that at least some of the players in Afghanistan and Pakistan have increased their efforts there in recent months, seeking to destabilize both of those countries, with some success in Afghanistan.

In any case, Captain Sensible's answer to his own question is quite correct: there aren't enough U.S. troops to do the job. Afghanistan was different, too, in that the war was widely perceived as a just one, and it was fought at a time when other countries were eager to give us a hand, which they have done for five years now.

Posted by: PaulB on November 23, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Rangel is correct in his assesment that poor kids and those (Latinos looking for citizenship for one) needing something enlist. Most seventeen and 18 year olds have to be cheered into patriotism. If it weren't so the malls would be empty.

You and Charlie have something in common. You are both morons. As usual your stereotypes are totally off the mark. The average recruit is high quality and the lower income groups are under-represented among them as are minorities.

The military is doing better than good. They have been amazing. They've had solid recruitment and even better retention. This is by far the most professional military in the history of civilization and the gap between the USA and the entire rest of the world is wider than any other power at any point in history including Rome and Alexander at their zenith.

Better yet is what lies ahead as technology continues to separate the USA from the rest. Russia and China can steal but they cannot innovate. Europe cannot innovate and is economically spent. India is rising and will be a powerful ally but the next great military powers will be Japan. Japan is preparing to remove article 9 from it's constitution and meet the threats from North Korea, Russia and China head on. They are already aggressively cooperating on the development of Star Wars and will soon join the USA and Israel in advancing the variety of drone technologies needed to fight future wars.

If there are a people more patriotic than Americans it's the Japanese. They also have an incredible military history. The technological expertise of the US-Japan-Israeli trioka dwarfs the rest of the world combined. Resistance is futile.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Cook wrote: "The Dems won the election on the back of getting out of Iraq with great haste. That is a huge victory for Iran and a huge victory for Syria."

Iran and Syria, particularly the former, already have their victory -- handed to them on a silver platter by the Bush administration. Their hand in the Middle East has been strengthened enormously, regardless of what happens in Iraq in the months ahead.

"It is all but a death knell for the state of Israel"

Not necessarily. You'll have to come up with a real argument, though, rather than a flat assertion, before we can actually debate this. It may be the death knell for a peaceful, democracy-flowering, Middle East, but that is not necessarily a problem for Israel. It depends on who is attacking whom, and for what goals.

"and maybe even for democracy in Lebanon."

That one always has been iffy.

"The future for the Kurds and the Lebanese Christian minority doesn't look very good,"

The future for the Kurds in Iraq actually looks quite good. Of all the groups there, they are probably in the best position. They control their own territory and have the power to hold it. Their only worry is a war with Turkey.

"for the reason that the Democrat insistence that if they DID actually decide to draw a line in the sand and fight somewhere their technique of war would be much, much more effective than the stupid Bush administration,"

Oh, garbage. Show me a Democratic politician anywhere who has made anything like this claim. It's a strawman argument, and a rather stupid one at that. Various Democrats have been, correctly, pointing out any number of stupid mistakes made by the Bush administration, but that's not the same thing.

"don't you know, well, no one can take that assertion seriously."

That's because nobody has made that assertion.

"That assertion is all pompous election crap and the Iranians and Syrians know it."

Well, no, since the assertion is pretty much entirely in your own mind.

"They know that they get to divide up the region fighting by third world rules,"

Well, there is a little matter that the Sunni vs. Shi'ite violence may well end up broadening, in which case, both countries could find themselves more deeply involved than they want to be. Absent that, though, yes, they are certainly in the driver's seat right now, thanks to the Bush administration.

"while the U.S. forces will increasingly become so bound by first world rules that they will become little more than the U.N. totems in uniform you see around the world standing by while in-your-face genocide rages."

Sigh.... So what would you have the U.S. do? Nuke a couple of cities? Bomb them into the stone age? Indiscriminately kill men, women, and children? Commit genocide in the name of showing how "tough" we are? Spell it out -- precisely what "third world rules" of warfare should the U.S. be following and how will that achieve any meaningful victory?

"we had better get out there in the world and fix societies that don't like freedom, don't like free markets, don't like elections, don't like religious toleration, and especially don't like other ethnic groups against which they hold long grudges."

And how are you proposing to do that?

"The way we fix things internationally is by war and war alone."

Well, no, there is also diplomacy, bribery, sanctions, blockades, trade, and any number of other alternatives. It's simply false to state that there is only one solution. Each problem is unique; each problem requires its own combination of solutions.

In any case, given that we don't have sufficient strength to even finish the job in Afghanistan and Iraq, how the hell are we supposed to take on another couple dozen wars? That's simply insane.

"Point at international cooperation ever solving a problem like Darfur if you can."

Apartheid.

"Now I don't care if we fight our wars with draftees, elite mercenaries, or robots under contract to Halliburton, the important thing is that when we fight we must win. I will check with y'all in 2008 to see how well the Democrat party is understanding this fundamental concept."

Sheesh.... Talk about over-simplification. There are times when we simply cannot "win," by any reasonable definition of that word. There are limits to America's power, which is why it should be applied judiciously. When it is not, as it was in the case of Iraq, we must pay the price.

Posted by: PaulB on November 23, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a winning team, rdw. Better enlist now before the rush.

Posted by: xpara on November 23, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a winning team, rdw. Better enlist now before the rush.

Too old. I served when there was a draft and thus fully understand why no one in the military is remotely interested in restarting a draft. They want talented professionals. Not slackers. I would be very proud to serve with these young men and women.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

``The way we fix things internationally is by war and war alone. Point at international cooperation ever solving a problem like Darfur if you can.''

That and every other syllable you wrote is such an utter pile of horseshit it's barely worth addressing. Darfur, my ass. Your precious neocon visionaries wouldn't lift a pinkie to send a single soldier to Darfur unless it started gushing oil. Halliburton isn't going to help out there either, not unless there's a buck to be profiteered.
Your war in Iraq isn't working out so well for the state of Israel right now, is it, Mike? Or are you so sick and war-besotted you see Lebanon as a big success?
Wars only fix things internationally if the RIGHT PEOPLE are choosing them, running them -- and WINNING them. Check back in 2008 and let us know how that's going.

Posted by: secularhuman on November 23, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

NATO's move into the southern provinces since July sparked heavy resistance from resurgent Taliban fighters. Canadian, British and Dutch troops have done most of the alliance's fighting and suffered dozens of casualties.

Countries with troops in the south want nations such Germany, France, Italy and Spain to reduce restrictions on what role their troops can play in Afghanistan and where in the country they can operate.

So much for Europe helping the USA in it's 'just' war. It's always good to know who you can count on to hold your back, and even better to know who you can never count on. We are out of Europe and NATO is a bureaucratic shell for this reason. NATO functions only when the USA says it functions. And even then it's not for much.

GWB has been extremely shrewd in closing our European bases. Europe has to decide if it wishes to defend itself. They need to make that decision soon or Eurabia becomes inevitable. GWb has forced them to start thinking of life on their own for that's where they are. We're not going back.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Point at international cooperation ever solving a problem like Darfur if you can."

Apartheid.

That was nothing like the genocide in Darfur. But at least you tried to answer the question. The next closest answer would of course by Kosovo but then that was against the UN's wishes after 'coooperaton' had failed and only the USA was able to intervene, with air power.

It will be a very long time before there's another Kosovo and it absolutely will not be in Europe. Unfortunately it will not be in Darfur either. After Iraq and Afghanistan the USA military will be in for a long deserved rest. It's very unlikely conservatives will support any kind of Democratic effort nor will the large pacifist wing of the Democratic Party. The military itself will not support any effort without wide popular support and that's not going to happen with these two groups aligned.

The most interesting theatre of operations will not be the Middle East but Europe. The Iranains are fully aware Israel would wipe them out, as well as Syria, if they chose to attack. Iran wishes to interfere in Europe where these things can be done with far, far less risk and they have so much more land which like Israel was once before under Muslim control.

Posted by: rdw on November 23, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Someone name of Trashhauler>

Perhaps because their governments realize that the United States is not the only target. It has been possible to secure their assistance because the limited goals at this stage of the Afghanistan campaign make it certain that the chance of taking large numbers of casualties is very low.

This is a bit foolish to think; the promise of "low casualties" means they are willing to fight? Not sure if you meant to state something so demonstrably ridiculous, but I won't dwell upon it.

The fact of the matter is, NATO has no business in Afghanistan; NATO should not be taking a mission that is rightly the mission of the United States. What NATO could do is take missions that are engaging the US elsewhere and free up troops. Problem is, there aren't any to send. This is what happens when you break the US military; you have the commandant of the Marine Corps sounding a public warning and you have elected officials scrambling to find a few brigades to send into an ever-deepening hell hole in Iraq. Meanwhile, Afghanistan sinks further into the clutches of these jihadis of which you speak.

The jihadists' main effort is in Iraq, as is ours, and Afghanistan is definitely a secondary effort. In this case, obtaining international cooperation was both possible and logical.

Captain Sensible notes that there weren't too many "Jihadis" in Iraq in 2003, save for a handful of Ansar al-Islam that were spared from an easy killing because the US wanted to use them as a pawn. Too bad the US did not kill Zarqawi in the Alsar al-Islam camps when they could have; they might now have "credibility" when it comes to consistently fighting the Jihadi movement in the Middle East.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 23, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I wish you had said the same goddamn thing when the repubs were saying Clinton did not have the authority to be the Commander-in-Chief as President, you asshole apologizer. O'Donnell's point is that chickenshits shouldn't be cheerleaders for war before, during, and before the next combat operation unless they've tried everything possible to prevent war.

Duh.

Posted by: Zaine Ridling on November 23, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

absolutely goddamn right. Let's debate the merits and cut out the ad hominem. Everytime liberals call their opponents names (be it chickenhawk, Rummy, bushies, repugs, or whatever) they evince a lack of seriousness that woefully dishonors and infantilizes the positions they are defending, and does nothing to undermine their opponents, it rather elevates folk like Rush Limbaugh by demonstrating that a return to the schoolyard is an acceptable level of public discussion. Just so, by demonstrating a desire to win by denigrating opponents rather than by showing how their positions are wrong, it is ultimately just as fascist as what they pretend to be opposing. Thanks, Kevin, for never stooping to this level and for being one of the few bloggers on any side who consistently tries to raise the level of debate.

Posted by: hh on November 24, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

and I second hh's comments, my vitriolic response to Mike notwithstanding (since his contention that only war solves anything is essentially simpleminded and off-topic, I don't feel too bad). the chicken-hawk name-calling makes me as uncomfortable now as the villification of vietnam vets did back then. Rangel's trojan horse push for a draft is not because of issues he has with pundits, nor even necessarily with policymakers who never went to war. I'm sure he would be just as angry if McCain or Kerry were callously exploiting low-income members of society as cannon fodder. The colossal, horrifying mistake that is the Iraq war is the issue. O'Donnell seems to be borrowing Rangel's righteous anger to justify his own disgust with policymakers and pundits who stubbornly persist in trying to justify the Iraq debacle. The term cowardice is especially off the point. Equating today's pundits, who are under no threat or duress whatsoever to fight, with draft-age males in the '60s, who were faced with the near certainty of going to Vietnam, doesn't hold up. The Jonah Goldbergs of today don't even bother with the moral considerations that draft-age men in the Vietnam era confronted out of and in uniform. The context today is radically different than it was then. Rangel's point is that if you created the same context today as existed in 1968 and put the pundits or the warmakers' children directly in harm's way rather than at a comfortable remove (and didn't allow their daddys to grease them out of it) you would be far less likely to see the U.S. starting a major war without bothering to think it through.

Posted by: secularhuman on November 24, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB wrote:

"That al Qaeda was delighted at the instability in Iraq and has been playing a role in fostering that instability is pretty much undeniable. How large a role they have been playing, though, is very much open to debate. There is evidence that both the Bush administration and Zarqawi hyped up the threat of al Qaeda in Iraq and exaggerated their role there."
_________________

Paul, all of the above is probably true. However, not all jihadists are Al Qaeda. While it's true that the greater problem in Iraq is not foreign fighters, there are far more belligerent foreigners in Iraq than in Afghanistan. While that probably wasn't true before our ouster of Saddam, it certainly is now.

The fighting in Afghanistan is now seasonal, which is back to their historical pattern. Now that winter is here, things will subside until Spring, when it will pick up again. Our task there is to strengthen the Kabul government so that it becomes generally accepted by the majority of the country. Provided we keep Al Qaeda presence suppressed and as long as we don't try to conquer the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan will remain the secondary front.


Posted by: Trashhauler on November 24, 2006 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

mike cook: while the U.S. forces will increasingly become so bound by first world rules


well then...

i guess its a good thing that president bush got the aircraft carrier landing in...

proclaiming mission accomplished....

when he did...

Posted by: mr. irony on November 24, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: The last thing the military needs or wants is draftees.


who knew you could win the battle for civilization without them?

Posted by: mr. irony on November 24, 2006 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK


rdw: They've had solid recruitment and even better retention.

that's why..

the gao says the military spent nearly 8-times the budget for retention bonuses in 2005...

almost 500-million...

and..

the number of category-4 recruits is 3-to-4 times the average number over the last 20-years...

finally...

Army faces a major officer shortage

Web Posted: 04/08/2006 12:00 AM CDT
Sig Christenson
Express-News Military Writer


The Army is facing a major officer shortage, expecting to fall short 2,500 captains and majors this year. "We're ruining an Army that took us 30 years to build," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE).

Posted by: mr. irony on November 24, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

who knew you could win the battle for civilization without them?

This is no battle for civilization. Radical Islam is a medievil movement in a modern world. It can cause damage but cannot sustain except where men are weak and ignorant and even then not for long. The USA is not their target. Their target is Europe. This is always as it's been and their current provacation is European weakness.

Everyone understands the disaster of European birhrates combined with the failure of European welfare state economics. Europe simply cannot sustain itself. In a decade or two Islamic minorities will have a much louder voice in European politics. The Imams understand this as do the Europeans. This is merely prep.

It's not about civilization. It's about Europe. Few Americans will be losing any sleep over it and we'll absolutely not interfere. They will defend themselves or they won't. After watching Saddam, Omar and Saddam scurry like rats off a sinking ship no middle eastern leader will support attacks on the USA. Europe poses no problems and it's much easier.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: This is no battle for civilization.


Bush said the war on terrorism was nothing less than a struggle for civilization and must be fought to the end. He said defeat would surrender the Middle East to radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.


Updated: 7:22 a.m. ET Sept 12, 2006

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14788377/


Cheney: 'Battle for the Future of Civilization'
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/4/17/232207.shtml

Posted by: mr. irony on November 24, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Bush said the war on terrorism was nothing less than a struggle for civilization and must be fought to the end. He said defeat would surrender the Middle East to radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.

He's partially correct. It is a struggle for civilization, in Europe. Radical Islam has not and never will make a significant impact in the America's or in places like Russia, China, Japan, Korea, etc. for many different reasons.

Europe is a very different place very much at risk. The Russians and Chinese would not hesitate to use genocide in the event of an Islamic insurgency as we've seen most recently in Grosny. Hence neither faces a threat. While Russia has even worse demographic issues than Europe they have a vastly different culture. Tolerance is not their middle name.

Hence the President of Iran will blithly point out that Paris and Berlin are within range of his missles but leave Moscow off the list. Those pesky Russians, not quite as sophisticated as the French and Germans, might not see the 'nuance'. They might in fact decide to remove Tehran from the planet.

GWB more than anyone understands the risks to Europe. By permanently removing the US security blanket he's forcing them to stand on their own feet for the 1st time since 1942. They will now suffer the consequences of their own decisions alone. You know, I know and they know the Marines are not coming back. It's their only chance. They will defend themselves or they will live to see their few kids pray 5x's a day. It really is that simple

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

the gao says the military spent nearly 8-times the budget for retention bonuses in 2005...

almost 500-million...

Isn't that cool? Aren't these the most deserving? This might be the best outcome of 9/11. Look at the incredible shift of the position of the American military within the culture. The post-68 trashing has been more than fully reversed. Kerry's garbage cost him the Presidency and more veterans have been elected to this Congress than any other.

We now revere soldiers and piss on academics and liberal reporters. We now pay our soldiers huge bonuses to stay on and a far more attractive base salary and benefits package for joining. They have access to almost unlimited training opportunities including doctorate degrees. Twits like you will try to degrade the recruits as being the poorest (untrue) least educated (untrue) desperate (unture) but no serious politicain would even consider uttering such elitists dribble.

Political correctness has been turned on it's head. We now mock Ivy League professors. Tell me that's not grand!

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: It is a struggle for civilization, in Europe.


well...

not according to gwb...

no mention of europe here...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020911-3.html


Bush said the war on terrorism was nothing less than a struggle for civilization and must be fought to the end. He said defeat would surrender the Middle East to radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.


Updated: 7:22 a.m. ET Sept 12, 2006

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14788377/


and only one mention here

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011110-3.html

"These aspirations are lifting up the peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, and they can lift up all of the Islamic world."

you must have a different set of neo-con talking points...

Posted by: mr. irony on November 24, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

not according to gwb...

no mention of europe here...


It's what we do that speaks lourder than words ever can. We are out of Europe. Every combat soldier is gone. None are coming back. We have a hospital, a few airbases and supply depots. We've held a series of base closing ceremonies returning all legal rights to the various host countries. It doesn't get any louder than that. It doesn't get any clearer than that.

I don't have a different set of talking points. I do understand diplomacy and nuance. I do understand the message to Europe and to the Middle East. You had to like that lice check on Saddam. How about checking his teeth? They treat horses better. How about all of those holes in his sons?

The most interesting part of the invasion of Iraq is where it started. On Saddam head. There was no army capable of protecting Saddam. Either he made like drowning rat or he died.

The Europeans are of course far to sophisticated to ever be so obvious. We're going to find out how well that works for them. The bigger problem is they are also far too weak. We're going to find out how well that works for them too.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony,

The book you want to add to your reading list is America Alone by Mark Steyn. Our European friends are in dire straits. They are quite literally disappearing. It's as sad as it is real. But it is what is it is and we must deal with it. Business shifted toward Asia over a decade ago and that process is accelerating. Our military ties are the weakest since 1942 and disappearing. NATO is a shell. Public sentiment for the UN and EU is in the toilet.

None of this will reverse until or unless Europe starts to defend itself. Sending troops to Afghanistan and barring them from danger zones is typically European. You are watching the collapse of European culture as we knew it. They don't breed and they can't fight. Pity.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hear - Hear - Hear - We are out of Europe - We are also out of control of the House - We are out of control of the Senate - We are out of control the Governership in Pennsylvania - We are out of control of Sanctimonious's seat in the Senate - We are out of control of Curt Weldon's seat and the fellow in Wilkes-Barre of "I did not choke my mistress" fame - We are out of control of various state legislature's and governorships across the land.

Must focus on bashing Europe - That is all that is left. and of course Larry KRUDlow's insipid swill of supply side tripe. Must call the number KRUDlow gave me for Tony Montana's guys, thus sayeth the Drexel Hill Doofus.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Just can't resist arguing with that bowl of soggy Froot Loops can ya, cher ami?

Care for some eggnog?

Posted by: CFShep on November 24, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Good idea to not do ad hominem attacks and I will try not to even use the terms Democrat or liberal.

Has anyone noticed that Russia has given the world a quiet demonstration of how to deal with an Islamic insurgency? The Chechnya front has been very quiet lately. You see, Russia has learned to fight by third world rules. Probably they never forgot (except in Afghanistan, where there were other complications), as they have been dealing with Chechnya for centuries.

All you have to do is appoint a strong man who is too young to be afraid of assassination, and to kill all the clans that are traditionally in opposition. Then you kill any Russian reporter who tries to blow the whistle. Also poison any Russian who tries to do a Joe Wilson and embarass your government in any way.

President Putin also demonstrates how to win a nasty guerilla war and not suffer a decline in political popularity. He has survived the bad handling of the Kursk accident and terrorism that reached deep into Russia itself. In a few more years he will have Europe completely licking crumbs out of his hands when he lets them up from licking his boots.

News flash, Putin will honor the term limit on his office but intends to stay heavily involved in the running of the country. I'll bet he means more than the kind of quasi-theatrical things that Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton do.

Posted by: mike cook on November 24, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Must focus on bashing Europe

I am not bashing Europe. The fact is their birth rates are in the toilet. It is what it is. It's been this way for quite some time such that those few European States not shrinking will soon start. This is a well established, indisputable fact. Equally well established is that birth rates continue to fall and we know for certaintly the ethnic populations in Europe will shrink at progressively faster rates for at least the next 35 years. Since birth rates continue to fall with no sign or suggestion of stabilization it's likely ethnic Europe is disappearing and will in less than 2 centuries be gone.

That's a simple biological fact as reliable as gravity.

Now as far as defending themselves that is my opinion. We do know from recent history they have a very strong aversion to conflict of any type such that few of their soldiers have any experience in battle. They can do the crossing guard thing but that's their only experience. We also know they've reduced defense spending consistently the last 15 years and have fallen several generations behind the USA in their weaponry. Europe was powerless in Kosovo against the equivalent of an 18th century thug.

It's not my opinion we've pulled away from Europe phusically and mentally. Polls showed the Europeans did not want us there and Americans do not want us there. Polls now show there would be no support for any type of a return. Americans have defended Europe 2x's but will not do so again.

It's one of those political ironies featuring incredibly strange bedfellows. If for example the Islamic minorities in France were to take the current car-b-que, bus-a-que craze to another level and Iran decided to support them France would have to deal with Iran alone. The USAF could of course destroy the Iranian military in a very short period. The French could do little. While Hillary and Nancy would have a strong desire to defend France the conservative right and anti-war left would prevent it.

Imagine that, Michael Moore and John McCain, brothers-in-arms.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Max refused to sign a security bill because it lacked union protections. That's a sure winner in Michigan. The simple ass wasn't running for Senator in Michigan. He chose the unions above our security.

And why is it either or? Unions and security are not mutually execlusive (though apparantly RDW and logic are).

I am from Georgia. I have lived, worked and voted in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida as well. I know a little something about right to work for less states. What makes you so sure that workers in Georgia don't want union protection? We know why Massa doesn't want union protections for his workers. I suspect from your comments you don't the history of unions and the South.

I gather from your comments you have no scruples or morals as well. Anything goes, might makes right and the end justifies the means. Well since Nancy Peolosi has the might, anything she does is right, so you have no complaint for the next two years.

Newt used to call it defining deviancy down. I don't think we can define it down further than you.

Posted by: molly bloom on November 24, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Newt used to call it defining deviancy down

That wasn't Newt is was Daniel Patrick Moynihan and it had zero to do with Unions.

We know the workers in Ga don't want union because they consistently vorw against them and after the econmomic devastation in Michigan they won't be voting FOR anytime soon.

Max was dumb. That's why he lost.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

CFShep,

A touch more Courvoisier in the excellent nog, perhaps, sil vu plais. No brandy, me, mon cher.

Ah, the Oracle lurks as well -

And now back to your regularly pouletfalcone thread.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, that intrepid Canadian, Mark Steyn, who is such a stalwart Maple Leaf supporter, he maintains a home in New Hampshire, so he can play with his guns and pay far less in taxes for the swill he writes. A protege of Conrad Black and the Hollinger Group, a rabid right winger, he. Oh, yes, tell us more about his weekly commentary on Hugh Hewitt's tripe hour. Love it when the trools bring up far right commentators, writers, web sites, and their ilk to "prove" some point of obfuscation. Proof?, hah!

I belive that Moynihan's coining of "defining deviancy down" in 1993 was prescient in it's useage for today's trools on this fine site - We have become so inured to their swill that it takes something truly horrendous such as Jeffery's scabrous slurring of the wonderful Global Citizen, that finally awakens us to take action. Said to say, that registration may well be on the way to counter the garbage - If so, very reluctantly, so be it.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

I also think part of the issue is that if those who have never served in the military advocate measures and initiatives that go strongly against military advice and experience (earned at the cost of blood and treasure), they should held held to account for those failures.
The Rumsfeld crowd pursued policies and measures that were in direct opposition to military advice, experience and doctrine. They studiusly ignored the advice of those who not only serve(d), but that had experience and education. That is a particular sin of the chicken hawks and that should not be forgotten.

Posted by: Oofda on November 24, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Love it when the trools bring up far right commentators, writers, web sites, and their ilk to "prove" some point of obfuscation. Proof?, hah!

It's really not hard. Quoting commentators proves nothing. Quoting facts in context proves much. In the case of Steyns book it's the facts lovers of all things European have to find so alarming.

You can go into the CIA factbook and I am sure a dozen other reputable sites and verify the birth rates of 200 countries. It's not an opinion that Europe, as we know it, is breeding itself out of existance. We know for a fact how many 19-yr old Spanish kids there will be in 18 years. They've been born. We know it'll only be half as many as in 1971.

Europes demographic crises is a fact.

One can speculate if it'll be 2035 or 2060 when most Europeans pray 5x's a day but it's not speculative to note that muslims will start to amass increasing political power and eventually dominate much of Europe. It's a matter of statistics.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Said to say, that registration may well be on the way to counter the garbage - If so, very reluctantly, so be it.


You really have a hard time with dissenting opinions. I have no idea what happened to global citizen nor what registration accomplishes. This is merely a discussion board for political opinions. If you fear debate why are you here?

And do you really want an echo chamber?

If so you really are pathetic.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I also think part of the issue is that if those who have never served in the military advocate measures and initiatives that go strongly against military advice and experience (earned at the cost of blood and treasure), they should held held to account for those failures.


This is silly. There are hundreds of generals, admirals amd senior staff officers and thousands if you include rtirees. They represent all opinions. It's simply not possible for a Sec of Def to ignore the 'qualified' opinions of large numbers of uniforms no matter what they do.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

he maintains a home in New Hampshire, so he can play with his guns and pay far less in taxes for the swill he writes.

Actually I think he likes it there but it is smart tax management. If you need to know why America attracts so many of the best and brightest you don't need to look much further. If you needed to know why/how the USA economy continues to grow at 2x's - 4x's the rate of Old Europe you need look no further. If you need to understand why the USA remains the engine of innovation you need look no further.

Again, these are not opinions. These are facts. We have the economic stats and the long-standing records of acheivement. It's why people want to come to America.

Marks book is doing quite well. It reached #1 in Canada despite the major book chains not carrying it and it was as high as #3 in the USA. Agreements to translate it are still being negotiated. Mark, already influencial, is becoming quite wealthy. If nothing else you can at least agree he's quite funny.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

The cost of war should be distributed throughout the population both in additional taxes and human life spent. currently we have a system that does neither.

Posted by: ron on November 24, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

The cost of war should be distributed throughout the population both in additional taxes and human life spent. currently we have a system that does neither.

That's not true on either count. By far the bulk of the taxes are paid by the upper middle class and the wealthy. We are of course lucky in America to have such large upper middle and wealthy classes. It's also true our military services are remarkably diverse and do a better job of matching the population than any other large employer. It is true that more white men die than are reflected in their representation in the total population but then more white males volunteer for service and make it a career.

It was good to hear a report today I am sure ALL of you missed but the Army far exceeded it's recruitment goals for 2006 and by a historic margin exceeded it's retainment goals. This was the best recruiting year in over a decade. The Army General in charge of manpower was on Laura Ingrahams show to review the results which were better or much better than plan in virtually every category.

I think we can all agree it's good the base pay and retention bonuses have risen so dramatically over the past 5 years. These are our best and brightest.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"We have the economic stats and the long records of achievements"

Yeah, another reason, you and yours lost dramatically on Nov 7. Iraq, corruption and economic policies which are reducing the middle class drastically are your own nails in your coffin.

Your comments have nothing to do with registration. Neither do contrary opinions expressed without vile, loathsome and scabrous personal attacks on others - No one is trying to turn this into a daily choir rehearsal - The best part of your retort was "I know nothing" - Terse and to the point.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

2,600 new recruits added to the US Army because of lowered GT requirements - Army spokesperson it is because of language difficuties, not mental - Hey, Captain S, another potential buyer of that bridege.

These new 2,600 must be what the Army is looking for in their new Hi-Tech Army Strong.

Halliburton does the KP and Latrine cleaning duties, so is the Army really becoming more of a Low Tech operation? - Maybe they can borrow the old leatherneck line and change it to, "Just looking for a few, dumb convicts." "But, with your signing bonus, you can buy a new three car garage"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

after a record low last year, the ONLY reason the army met its goals this year were the lowered standards for its recruits.

Lower standards help Army meet recruiting goal

A doubling of substandard aptitude test scores, and an increase in the numbers accepted despite "medical, moral, and criminal" issues ... these hardly seem to be the best and brightest that wooten and his ilk persist in fetishising. If anything, this supports the earlier contention that the old white men of washington need some more cannon fodder.

also, the moral deficiencies of our military, from abu ghraib, to rapists of 14yo girls, to isolated murderers, to the various mercenary mentalities, can find their origins in the moral deficiency of the civilian leaders. unfortunately, substandard soldiers will only worsen the worst of the white trash mentality.

just look at wooten's obsession with europe ... it has less to do with white europeans than as a vehicle to spout his anti-muslim bigotry. He's a moral cripple looking for an excuse to justify racism. this sort of white trash will always support US militarism, the less educated and the more racist, the better.

Posted by: Nads on November 24, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

I have very little good to say about the English monarchy but they do get service to the country right. It is a given that all male members of the royal family will serve in the armed forces on active duty after university. At one point this also was the case for America but now your elites avoid service with a fervor.

Posted by: Derry on November 24, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they can borrow the old leatherneck line and change it to, "Just looking for a few, dumb convicts." "But, with your signing bonus, you can buy a new three car garage"

I take it you don't care for our new best and brightest. Something tells me you are an academic. I can feel your pain. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

I can't tell you how cool it is that Kerry lost because of his post-vietnam speeches. Specifically his attacks on the character of the Vietnam Vet. I can't tell you how cool it is that Walter Cronkite is now most famous for falsely claiming the Tet offensive was an American loss. We now know for certain it was a decisive American military victory. I can't tell you how cool it is to watch liberals seethe at the fact they can't trash these vets.

It's a different world my friend. The post-68 sentiment you reflect but represented nationally by Teddy Kennedy is the new trailer park trash. How cool is it that not only did the Army have it's best recruiting year in the last decade but more Vets were elected in this Congress than any other election in our ENTIRE HISTORY.

Academics need not apply. Chuck Schumers new affirmation action program was for Vets only.

Now that's cool!

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

nads,

You really need to do some research. Your old liberal stereotypes just won't do. We have search engines now. We find this stuff out. For example the typical recruiting class is not heavily minority. It's been less minority and more white. The typical recrutiing class is not poor. In fact the poor are under-represented. The typical recruiting class is BETTER educated than the population they are recruiting from.

Check out your own party's recruiting class. You probably voted for a vet because that who the party leaders nominated.

I am not at all obsessed with Europe. But I do so enjoy Europe. All serious libs desire to be French. All serious libs suffer when they feel they're not 'popular'. All serious libs want the same high taxes and the same heavy hand of govt. They want the govt to take care of them too as it happens in France.

It's so cool we have such a terrific example of just how pathetic that result would be. It doesn't take a Rhodes scholar to see the French economic model sucks and gets worse each year. It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to see those people are deeply pessimistic. You would think they had Jimmy Carter as President for a decade.

It's not cool to see the train-wreck that's coming but it is fascinating. As the tolerant liberals shrink and the not so tolerant muslims expand there will be a great deal of conflict that we all know can't end in a tie. One side will win and one side will lose.

Never in human history have we seen dozens of nations with birth rates so far below replacement level as to guarantee cultural extinction in less than 2 centuries.

I don't see how any thinking person, with an interest in science, history and politics could not be fascinated with Europe. As far as I know we have never experienced intentional extinction, let alone on such a massive scale. The ramifications are monumental and we have no prior example to base a prediction.

I do not celebrate what I expect to be the collapse of Western civilization in Western Europe. (that's my guess) But I do celebrate the fact the USA has recognized the pending disaster and moved away to minimize any collateral damage. It's a pity they've become so pathetic but there's no reason it has to effect America.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

The US has a significantly larger immigrant potential than does any european country. In 5 years or so, I can giuarantee that you'll be one of those old, white guys bitching about all the mexican influences in america, and how we all have to learn spanish.

conservatives are so predictable ... you pussies became so comfortable with reagan, newt, and the chimp, you thought that your brand of racism was becoming more and more mainstream. you thought the gutter that represents the southern white voter would eventually overtake the rest of the country.

It didn't, and it won't. 2006 is simply the beginning of the inevitable march of progressive thought.

as for your obsession with european racial purity, it is simply cover for the acknowledgement that the values you feel are somehow uniquely "american" are brutish, violent, and obsolete, lacking much culture. your fetishism of america's military is a tacit acknowledgement that, other than killing darker races, you have very little sense of what americans have accomplished that is of any lasting value.

much like haggard's obsession with faggots masking his own homosexuality, your bloviating about europe's impending existential crisis is simply a sublimation of your concern about the browning of america.

It is also a way for you to pontificate on the value of racial purity and to exercise your own bigotry. after all, people are less inclined to call you an anti-mulism racist piece of white trash when you hide it behind some frog-bashing.

wrt france, I couldn't give a fuck. wrt humanity, you're garbage.

Posted by: Nads on November 24, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

and it takes a special sort of deluded white trash to continually harp on france's nearly negligible between-group differences in reproduction rates, while simultaneously ignoring the VAST differences in birth rates between hispanic and non-hispanic in america.

kinda puts a lie to your concerns about french racial purity and makes you seem like an anti-muslim piece of racist trash. bush and the neocons have already lost the hispanic vote ... go ahead, and let your full-blown racism out of its cage and aim it toward a closer target.

... and try and do so publically, with as many latinos around you as possible.

Posted by: Nads on November 24, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Academic? Nah, had a high GT, but I really would not like to serve with 80 and 90 GTs fresh from some prison. This is your best and the brightest?

However, really have to give credit to Rove - During the election, he was able to change the subject from Iraq to that of our marvelous economy. As a result, the Republicans swept to their overwhelming victories - 60 seats in the Senate - 300 in the House - Governorships galore - State legislatures are now, virtually, all Red. Amazing, simply mind boggling - The Democratic is no more. Yes, that Mahvelous, simply Mahhvelous economy really did the trick. Geez, he should be rewarded by an appointment to UnterGruppenGroppenFuerher.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW - At the moment CBC Radio Two (Online) is playing a live concert from Toronto celebrating The Band and the concert 30 years ago called The Last Waltz, filmed by Martin Scorcese.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 24, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

nads,

You need a bit of anger management my friend. There was nothing remotely racist in anything I said. Islam isn't a race. You are projecting your own anger and that just won't do. At least not an effort as transparent as this one.

Europe's problem isn't immigration and it obviously isn't ours. We are all immigrants. Europes problem is assimilation. They have within their midsts large islamic minorities who do not see themselves as European. Nor do their neighbors see them as European. They have separate and distinct cutures and each groups wishes it to remain so. The Europeans preach multi-clturalism and tolerance for others. Islam most certainly does not.

At some point these rapidly growing minorities are going to offset the rapidly shrinking majorities and gain significant political power. They will attempt to impose islamic law within their sphere of influence. It remains to be seen of the Europeans will try to stop this and in trying if they will succeed.

The USA doesn't have these problems.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

continually harp on france's nearly negligible between-group differences in reproduction rates, while simultaneously ignoring the VAST differences in birth rates between hispanic and non-hispanic in america.

France has higher birth rates but bigger problems as evidenced by the nightly car-b-ques and attacks on police. French society is far more segregated than US society and the economy is far worse. Unemployment is more than double while unemployment among minoritoes is > 4x's US levels. France also has a large islamic population than the rest of Europe.

The birth rates in the hispanic population vary by ethnicity and generation. 1st generation mexican immigrants have larger families than 2nd generation and more than cuban or other hispanic immigrants. But the ethnicity means nothing. These are not religious fanatics. Most are peace loving christians coming to America for the same reason my ancestors did. They want the god life.


The French, if they were not so anti-religion, would pray their islamic groups would be tolerant. It's one thing to be gay in Paris. It's quite another to be gay in one of the Islamic burbs. In fact, there are no openly gay gays! The survival instinct kicks in.

Posted by: rdw on November 24, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Nads - "and it takes a special sort of deluded white trash to continually harp on france's nearly negligible between-group differences in reproduction rates, while simultaneously ignoring the VAST differences in birth rates between hispanic and non-hispanic in america."

So irrelevant. Latinos in the US are assimilating in our society. 'Beurs in France, not so much.

Posted by: cecce on November 24, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible thinks this fellow rdw lives in a world of his own making--it seems the population in his special world is one and reality never intrudes.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 24, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

So irrelevant. Latinos in the US are assimilating in our society. 'Beurs in France, not so much.
Posted by: cecce

of course they are ... that's why the repubs have been so welcoming to them, and not at all why various trailer trash are coming up with half-ass militia groups to keep them out.

Posted by: Nads on November 24, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

rdw, you do mean WHITE birth rates, don't you?

Posted by: secularhuman on November 24, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

``In fact, there are no openly gay gays! The survival instinct kicks in.''

admitting ignorance up front of Parisian ways, I gotta figure that statement is 100% horseshit.

Posted by: secularhuman on November 24, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

As I see it, the best bet that Western Civilization (which is the only current habitat for secular liberalism) has is to take out Iran and Syria right now, or at least within the next 12 months. The U.S.A. should take out Iran's nutty nuclear regime and neutralise Iran's contribution to the chaos in Iraq and Europe must take out Syria. If Europe won't, then Israel must, for the regime in Syria is directly responsible for about 66% of the misery in Iraq and 96% of the problems in Lebanon.

What possible use is it to claim that neither Iran nor Syria would have been empowered but for George Bush invading Iraq? So what? If the "West" uses elitist hatred of George W. as an excuse for letting Syria and Iran today to continue to grow in confidence and strength it will be a colossal mistake. You might hope that Syria and Iran are only getting ready to challenge each other over the bloody remnants of Iraq. But what if they instead decide to make common cause, at least temporarily, to wipe out Israel, ethnically cleanse Lebanon of Maronite Christians, and scare Europe even more than it is already?

I don't think it's worth the risk to bet on Sunnis and Shiites cancelling each other out.

Honestly, I don't think the new U.S. Congress will have anything like the will to do anything significant about Iran, nor will Europe do anything about Syria. This is 1938 and the forces of evil unapologetically stand tall and kick to the curb any humanity or principles in their way. Everybody except the battered Bush administration is flat on their face screaming for mercy and wetting their pants. The danger is not even quite here yet, but even cowards and fools know it is en route.

All the world wonders, what will the new U.S. Congress do as it lets the situation slide to the precipice? Will they do anything whatsoever? Might they even slash American military spending, embargo essential war materials to Israel, and generally give Spain a stiff competition for the title of most eager and groveling french kisser of terrorist backsides?

Posted by: mike cook on November 25, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

dubya has already created more terrorists in 3 short years, and remains the jihadists best recruiting tool.

the title of most eager terrorist-enabling bitch is already his.

Posted by: Nads on November 25, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Someone name of Mike Cook>

As I see it, the best bet that Western Civilization (which is the only current habitat for secular liberalism) has is to take out Iran and Syria right now, or at least within the next 12 months.

Captain Sensible sees that you are a thinking man.

Think again. You cannot bring the full weight of any military down upon Iran and Syria and expect anything other than a vicious bloodbath.

Be prepared for the Syrians to do exactly what the Iraqis are doing; be prepared for Iran to close the Persian Gulf. The resulting world wide shock will cause massive chaos and the immediate reaction of the Chinese, the Russians, India, and forty to fifty other nations that are directly dependent on a supply of oil from Iran.

Is the US ready to fight them all? No fair using nuclear weapons, some other people have them as well.

You can measure how ignorant people are by their insistence that Iran, in and of itself not a great nation or a powerful nation but a nation with resources, money and a worldwide intelligence network, is a 'cake walk' in the making if we launch air, sea and ground attacks upon it.

No, poor fellow, the Iranians do not sit on a table top flat country that is inviting remote controlled video game war.

Just take them out, huh? Just what do you suppose happens when the Persian Gulf is on fire, oil tankers at the bottom, the Straits of Hormuz is choked with mines, wreckage and dead bodies and next course of action is to deal with several million Shiites who close Southern Iraq, trapping 135,000 US troops in Iraq?

Here is a big, gentle piece of advice that will do you well for the next decade or so: try not to listen to what anyone on Fox News is saying.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 25, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

poor, poor Mike Cook>

This is 1938 and the forces of evil unapologetically stand tall and kick to the curb any humanity or principles in their way.

Try to keep your little cowardly lion heart from exploding out of that tin can chest of yours--it's 2006 and the enemies you fear aren't going to cut off your head for titters and giggles tomorrow morning.

So long as the US stops trying to bully people, the world will be fine.

You may stop cowering in your bunker, the jihadis don't have a Panzer Corps as of yet.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 25, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

A cautionary tale:

Just a news story off the Sludge Report for you to ponder...

Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered.

Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a US$700 million (565 million) contract signed in December, according to Russian media reports.

The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel, too, has severely criticized arms deals with Iran.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop weapons.

The UN Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions on Iran for defying its demand to cease uranium enrichment.

The Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any international agreements.

Russian officials say that the missiles are purely defensive weapons with a limited range.

According to the Interfax news agency, the Tor-M1 system can identify up to 48 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Russian media have reported previously that Moscow had conducted talks on selling even more powerful long-range S-300 air defense missiles, but Russian officials have denied that.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 25, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

And yet, are we not to feel outrage when the "president" appoints a former mining lobbyist as the secretary of the interior? Same thing to my way of thinking. You may as well defend the rights of foxes to set themselves up as the gaurdians of hen houses.

If they love this country so goddamn much let them bleed for it, not just hide behind a podium in Washington and make impassioned speeches. I served. Let them.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on November 25, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible wrote:

Just take them [the Iranians] out, huh? Just what do you suppose happens when the Persian Gulf is on fire, oil tankers at the bottom, the Straits of Hormuz is choked with mines, wreckage and dead bodies and next course of action is to deal with several million Shiites who close Southern Iraq, trapping 135,000 US troops in Iraq?
_________________

Captain, the Iranians weren't able to close the Gulf last time and their naval strength hasn't grown very much since. Iran can do no more than harass Gulf traffic. It cannot stop it. As far as trapping US troops in Iraq goes, we can keep our troops supplied by air indefinitely (or even remove them).

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

"So long as the US stops trying to bully people, the world will be fine.

You may stop cowering in your bunker, the jihadis don't have a Panzer Corps as of yet."
______________________

Bullying? Someone always wants the US to do something, somewhere. Stop the killin in Darfur. Settle things in Rwanda, Bosnia, Haiti, etc. Stop the terrorists, support the Palestinians, support Israel, do something about North Korea, and on and on.

One's definition of bullying apparently depends on whose ox is being gored.

Re the jihadist panzer corps, they hardly need one yet. But it might be prudent to oppose them before they get that far.

The idea that everything will be just hunky-dory if only we nasty Americans didn't get in peoples' way is precisely why the public doesn't trust certain segments of the political Left with our defense policy.


Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

Some of the wisest folks on earth voted for the Democratic candidate in the 33rd District in the State of Washington.

But, then there was that mere handful of others.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 25, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK


rdw: It's simply not possible for a Sec of Def to ignore the 'qualified' opinions of large numbers of uniforms no matter what they do.


.

Not all the generals are against Rumsfeld. He still has the support of a lot of generals...

...General Electric, General Dynamics, General Motors.

Posted by: Jay Leno on November 25, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

you do mean WHITE birth rates, don't you?

In France I mean the birthrates of the ethnic French. As you know, the muslim minorities are not considered French.

In Denmark I mean the birthrates of the ethnic Danes. As you know the muslim minorities are not considered Danish.

Etc., Etc.

Their lack of assimilation has nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture, especially religion. The muslim minorities are not considered French, nor do they wish to be considered French. Their 1st alliance is to their religion.

I'll spell this out for you since it's so hard for you to figure it out on your own. As the native French population shrinks, which it will absolutely start doing very soon, if it hasn't already, it will do so at a progressively faster rate for at least 35 years. We know this because we have the exact data. Even if the slide in birthrates were to stabilize, and we've seen no suggestion of that, it will do so well below replacement levels. That means the native French
are heading toward extinction. That means French culture, as we know it, will only be seen in museums.

That's just a scientific fact. There is no dispute.

The other side of that coin is the segregated and unassimulated Islamic minorities. They represent about 10% of the French population and have dramatically higher birthrates. As the French population begins what promises to be a long shrinkage the Islamic population will be growing rapidly.

It really isn't hard to see where this leads. Think Eurabia.

The left has been comical on this. Most are in denial. The rest are suggesting this drop in birth rates is a temporary event and will soon self-correct. There's not a shred of evidence of this happening nor do they offer a reason as to why it would. The fact is Northern Europe is heading the way of Southern Europe. While the Brits and French have birth rates near 1.5 (2.1 needed to reach replacement levels) the Spanish, Italians and Greeks are near 1.1.

The evidence suggest the French and Brits are more likely to hit 1.1 than get back to 2.1.

It is quite the dire situation. While the left remains in denial the imams across the Middle East are quite pleased. Their long term goals of conquest of Europe will be met quite easily and perhaps in just a few decades.

We know for example is several cities in Northern Europe the elementary schools are 40% to 60% muslim. By the time these kids start having kids it'll be 60% to 80%.

There is absolutely nothing Europe can do about the last 35 years or what's baked in the cake for the next 35. It seems extremely likely rates are destined to fall further. Europe, as we know it, is breeding itself out of existance.

Posted by: rdw on November 25, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

It's simply not possible for a Sec of Def to ignore the 'qualified' opinions of large numbers of uniforms no matter what they do.


He didn't. They have been very few generals to disagree with him. So far the only once who have come public have had an axe to grind. Either he washed them out (shinseski) or they're looking for a job in a democratic administration (zinni). Generals are like cats.

Rummy is in fact quite popular despite the fact he had to piss off a ton of Generals, especially in the army, with his transformation. In forcing a shift to a smaller, lighter, faster, smarter and dramatically more lethal units Rummy had to kill off som sacred cows. It's why getting someone this strong with prior experience was so critical and his selection was so inspired.

Rummy has been a great Sec Def. You have to at least be impressed with the fact the Generals feared him. These are big shits in a big pond until he gets in the pond. It's actually quite amazing so few disagreed with him and in most cases their problems are not over military decisions but political decisions.

The two evasions were of couse historic successes amazing in representing the transition to light, quick and lethal. Rummy has created what is by far the most professional fighting force in the history of mankind with the gap between the US Military and the rest of the world greater than at anytime in human history including Alexander and Caesar.

Our longest serving Secretary of Defense will go down in History as our greatest.

Posted by: rdw on November 25, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

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

Posted by: Medal of Freedom Winner Paul Bremer on November 25, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Someone name of trashhauler>

Captain, the Iranians weren't able to close the Gulf last time

The US has systematically attacked the nuclear infrastructure of Iran already? With hundreds of cruise missiles and thousands of sorties?

When, praytell, did that happen?

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 25, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK


"Donald Rumsfeld has been let go. ... Insiders describe Rumsfeld's reaction as shocked and awed. How does that make Rumsfeld feel when George Bush tells you you're not competent enough?

Rumsfeld said he wants to spend more time promoting unnecessary conflicts within his own family.

Donald Rumsfeld was known as the architect of the Iraq war. He can feel proud of what he's built, because it's going to last for years and years and years.

You got to give him credit it though. It might have taken him six years, but he finally came up with an exit strategy.

Posted by: Jay Leno on November 25, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Our longest serving Secretary of Defense will go down in History as our greatest.
Posted by: rdw

You are utterly deranged. I wouldn't be surprised in the least to find that my cat has a better and more comprehensive grasp of history, political science and economics.

Bah.

Posted by: CFShep on November 25, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Someone name of trashhauler>

The idea that everything will be just hunky-dory if only we nasty Americans didn't get in peoples' way is precisely why the public doesn't trust certain segments of the political Left with our defense policy.

Captain Sensible now sees you reveal your bias. He will turn away--it is not unlike a man in a trenchcoat exposing his junk for all to see on a crowded subway platform.

The exact opposite of what you're saying--Americans getting in peoples' way--has now been tried for the last five years. The end result has been the growth of the jihadis on an unprecedented scale, the US military broken down and left in desperate shape, US credibility throughout the world on matters of limiting nuclear proliferation badly compromised and US diplomacy more of a bad joke than a force for change.

The spiralling out-of-control situation in Iraq was brought about based on lies; and when one nation invades another based on lies, that is getting away from any core principles that the US once had. The dismal condition of the efforts to build a democracy in Afghanistan are crumbling, slowed only by the onset of winter.

The Republicans were against nation building long before they hitched their wagon to it. Now we know they were lying the whole time and have no credibility on the subject anymore. As the public's opinion of the conservative right sinks further, the policies of the liberal left actually more closely resemble that of George HW Bush (41), who was a champion of three things: Diplomacy, Negotiation and Coalition Building. How sad for the world that the son has no regard whatsoever for the wisdom of the father.

The deviation from the Reagan-Bush years (1981-1993) is striking. They used a combination of diplomacy, coalition building, negotiation and limited military force to make great changes in the world, namely, the winning of the Cold War and a fundamental shift from the US being a rival superpower to being the only superpower. So when you denigrate the liberal left, what you're really saying is that Reagan-Bush years were a dismal failure. What you seem to be saying that killing tens of thousands of people is the way to go and anyone who advocates diplomacy, coalition building or negotiation is not to be trusted. Reagan cut and run from Lebanon and the people gave him a pass for it, precisely because of his ability to find solutions vis a vis diplomacy and negotiation. Bush the senior did not 'finish the job' in Iraq because he realized his coalition would not allow it--are you denigrating this wise elder statesman who now must stammer out a defense of his deluded son?

The American people have had enough of the methods you champion--witness, the last election where the electorate put Iraq high on the list of their objections.

Let's list the successes you've had in five years of getting in peoples' way with your method of doing business:

[sound of: crickets]

Sadly, you can't point to hardly any. Well, you did buy off the Libyans. Good show.

Had you kept your cards closer to the vest, you might not have revealed yourself to be an ignorant crank, bent on slyly denigrating the liberal left at every turn.

Captain Sensible notices there is really no difference between you and the wingnuts who won't give up the ghost. You are the last men clinging to the myth of a competent George W Bush and his execrable policy of "getting in peoples' way."

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 25, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Someone name of trashhauler>

Oh, and Captain Sensible notices that you didn't talk about how the conservative right is stronger than the liberal left because it tortures people.

Go with that meme. See where "we're stronger because we torture" takes you with the good graces of the American people.

Oh, and don't bring up the illegal eavesdropping by the NSA or any of those other issues the world is going to find out a whole lot more about in the spring of 2007 when the Democrats open the books and examine what "getting in other peoples' way" has wrought upon what is left of the US Consitution.

You seem to also be a champion for shredding that poor abused document as well.

How is that working out for you? Won any elections lately?

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 25, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Far too late to the party, but had to add what I'm sure has already been said:

I'm not willing to leave decisions on the use of military force solely to combat veterans, but that's where this sentiment leads us.

Wrong. Wrong. WRONG!

Really, Kevin, you remind me of my brother's reasoning skills sometimes. That is not the O'Donnell's point, nor does this have to lead to only combat vets making the choices.

This is *really* simple. This war is not a war of shared sacrifice. Because of that, they are completely out of touch with the real costs. Flag waving and cheering are not enough. Attitudes would be much different, overall, if it was *their* kids getting killed, or if there was a supplemental line on tax returns that says "Add $500 for every member of your household to pay for the Iraq war."

The people cheering on this fiasco, for the most part, are completely, totally and utterly out of touch with the realities of the War. Period.

Posted by: Simp on November 25, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

People have been mentioning that Moslems and other immigrants don't assimilate well in Europe, but they don't mention the main reason. That reason would be the lack of real economic opportunity due to the reality that as a practical matter European economies make starting up new small businesses (most businesses are small when they begin) extremely difficult.

Many immigrants come from cultures where they could be entrepreneurs in their own small shops or service businesses. But in socialist Europe everything is so massively over-regulated that the effect is to grandfather in every existing enterprise and to make new family-owned business an almost suicidal waste of energy and investment.

The only entry into true middle-class prosperity is through getting exactly the right education credentials to land a position in the existing corporate empires, some of which are private, many are public, and a lot are somewhere in between.

So, immigrants either find themselves marginalized in housing projects where they are allowed at best to find menial employment, or they become welfare slugs, or they do both and then plot revolution in their ample spare time.

Europe deserves what it gets. To put on my prophet hat for a moment I see the next major terrorist attack against something symbolic in Europe--the Eiffel Tower keeps coming to mind, but also the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, possibly because they are in close proximity.

In the U.S. the Fortress America are not being too intelligent when they support massive security infrastructure to protect hard targets and nuclear plants,reservoirs, incoming container ship docks and such (measures that will also be great employment plums for unionized workers)but they oppose an effective fence on our southern border.

The net effect of this idiocy will be to welcome in terrorists who will probably attack relatively soft targets, like places where people congregate for special events or in the normal course of commuting.

Worse yet, the net effect of cut and run in Iraq will be to create waves of refugees from the whole area. The soft-hearted U.S.A. will ultimately take most of these people in but among them will come plenty of terrorist moles.

Welcome to your future, you who would rule wisely.

Posted by: mike cook on November 25, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Following my comments about Iran's inability to close the Persian Gulf, Captain Sensible wrote:

"The US has systematically attacked the nuclear infrastructure of Iran already? With hundreds of cruise missiles and thousands of sorties?

When, praytell, did that happen?"
________________

Of course it hasn't, CS. Pray to God it doesn't come to that. I was referring to the so-called "tanker war" back in 1987-88. We weren't alone in that effort - the navies of ten other countries joined the US in keeping the Gulf open.

As it turns out, sinking supertankers is very difficult. As a surface warfare officer explained to me not long ago, tankers can shrug off most mines and they cannot be boarded easily. And any hostiles attempting to use aircraft, submarines, or land-based missiles would quicky discover that our technological superiority is still in effect.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible wrote:


"(Quoting me) 'The idea that everything will be just hunky-dory if only we nasty Americans didn't get in peoples' way is precisely why the public doesn't trust certain segments of the political Left with our defense policy.'

Captain Sensible now sees you reveal your bias. He will turn away--it is not unlike a man in a trenchcoat exposing his junk for all to see on a crowded subway platform.

The exact opposite of what you're saying--Americans getting in peoples' way--has now been tried for the last five years. The end result has been the growth of the jihadis on an unprecedented scale, the US military broken down and left in desperate shape, US credibility throughout the world on matters of limiting nuclear proliferation badly compromised and US diplomacy more of a bad joke than a force for change."
_______________________

Oh please, CS, don't be disengenuous. Of course, I have a bias - in favor of the United States and in favor of clear communication and truth.

It is undeniable that the US public largely rejects the blame-America-first concept, a la Noam Chomsky et alia. Stating that is simply acknowledging reality. Luckily, such folks are a minority of the political Left.

The rest of your comment, by the way, is far off the mark. I did not say that America doesn't "get in people's way." We sometimes do. But it is an error to assume that simply the removal of the United States from the world will solve anything.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible wrote, apparently about me:

"Oh, and Captain Sensible notices that you didn't talk about how the conservative right is stronger than the liberal left because it tortures people."
____________________

Well, there's certainly no bias shown in the above statement, is there? ::grin::

CS, may I suggest you reconsider the practice of using multiple posts to ascribe all sorts of evil to anyone who disagrees with you? It makes you sound, dare I say, somewhat less than sensible.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

"The people cheering on this fiasco, for the most part, are completely, totally and utterly out of touch with the realities of the War. Period."
____________________

Heh. That's quite a few absolutes packed into one idea. It suggests that the phrase, "for the most part" is rather pro forma.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler wrote: "It is undeniable that the US public largely rejects the blame-America-first concept, a la Noam Chomsky et alia."

Since nobody on the left, including Noam Chomsky, has any such "concept," I'm afraid that this is just the usual strawman bullshit of someone who does not have a valid argument to make.

Posted by: PaulB on November 25, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Point taken. I wonder if the question should be raised, though, that since the American leadership brought us to this catastrophe in Iraq, what responsibility do we have to mitigate the damage we have incurred? I don't know the answer to this. I do think we owe it to the Iraqis to confer with their "leadership," if there is such a thing, and that of their neighbors to try to find an answer. I feel somewhat like the owner of the bull in the proverbial china shop. Yes, you want to get the bull out, but don't you have a responsibility for cleaning up the mess?

Posted by: candideinnc on November 25, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hey hey hey!

Let's not forget that Hugh Hewitt et al are on the *front lines* of the War On Terror by virtue of sitting on their pasty, flabby white ass in their air-conditioned studio on the 27th floor of the Empire State Building!

You obviously have no clue about the dangers they face on your behalf!

Posted by: james on November 25, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB wrote:

Since nobody on the left, including Noam Chomsky, has any such "concept," (of blame America first) I'm afraid that this is just the usual strawman bullshit of someone who does not have a valid argument to make.
__________________

Nobody, Paul? And denial is more than a river in Egypt. But I'll let it go - "Blame American First" is less a concept than an attitude. If you've never recognized it being expressed anywhere, then you are very lucky, indeed. Others have perceived it, which is enough for my original point to remain valid. Many people do see it and they tend to distrust those whom they think rely on it overly much.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

German Population Plunge Irreversible, Federal Stats Office Admits
Expected that one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025

By Gudrun Schultz

BERLIN, Germany, November 9, 2006 - Germanys downward spiral in population is no longer reversible, the countrys federal statistics office said Tuesday. The birthrate has dropped so low that immigration numbers cannot compensate.

The fall in the population can no longer be stopped, vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse.

Germany has the lowest birthrate in Europe, with an average of 1.36 children per woman. Despite government incentives to encourage larger families, the population is dropping rapidly and that trend will continue, with an expected loss of as much as 12 million by 2050. That would mean about a 15 percent drop from the countrys current population of 82.4 million, the German news source Deutsche Welle reported today.

The low birthrate will cause the German population to age dramatically over the next 40 years--last year there were 144,000 more deaths than births, and that number could increase to 600,000 by 2050, the FSO forecast stated.

With a 22 percent reduction in the workforce and increasing costs for senior assistance and medical care, the drop in population is expected to have a radical impact on the nations economy, along with the welfare budget.

I wouldnt like to use the word bankrupt because its a major challenge for the social insurance systems, thats for certain, Radermacher said in an interview with DW-Radio. But the first thing is to reform the social insurance systemsWe can learn from other countriesIn every case, you need someone who has to work and give you some earnings.

The projections tell us the development of demographic trends will be even more dramatic in the eastern part of Germany, Radermacher said . This is because of the fertility rates in the eastern part of Germany, because of internal migration with the borders of Germany and many other demographic factors.

While immigrants are increasingly relied upon to compensate for low birth rates in European countries, Radermacher said even factoring in a projected annual influx of 100,000-200,000 migrants wont prevent the population plunge.

Even those people who are immigrants adopt after a couple years the lifestyle and the number of children per family. So the assumption that immigrants will stick to their habits is simply not true.

Germany has one of the largest populations of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, with a Muslim community of over 3 million. That trend is expected to continue, leading some demographic trend-watchers to warn that the country is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050, Deutsche Welle reported.

The Brussels Journal reported last month that one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025. There are an estimated 50 million Muslims living in Europe today--that number is expected to double over the next twenty years.

The population losses faced by Germany reflect a trend occurring across Europe--The European Unions statistics agency Eurostat has predicted an overall drop in Europes population of 7 million people by 2050.

Posted by: newdawn on November 25, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Blame American First" is less a concept than an attitude. If you've never recognized it being expressed anywhere, then you are very lucky, indeed. Others have perceived it, which is enough for my original point to remain valid.
Posted by: Trashhauler

that's just your guilty conscience rearing its ugly head ... our military has been responsible for some of the greatest atrocities of the last century continuing into this one.

you're simply being an uber-sensitive bitch about this fact whenever you whine about chomsky et al.

Posted by: Nads on November 25, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Fortunately for germany, the jingoistic bullshit written by xenophobes and bigots at lifesitenews (a xtian antiabortion propaganda outlet) can safelt be ignored.

sorry newdawn ... lifesitenews can suck my balls.

Posted by: Nads on November 25, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

nads wrote:

"that's just your guilty conscience rearing its ugly head ... our military has been responsible for some of the greatest atrocities of the last century continuing into this one.

you're simply being an uber-sensitive bitch about this fact whenever you whine about chomsky et al."
_________________

Yep, nobody can figure out why the Democrats can't convince the public they are the party of national defense.

You're a funny guy, nads. ::grin::

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Nads, was going to say dang it all, you beat me, but Kudos to you for your quick response.

By all means, can newdawn post some more tomes from Gudrun Schultz? - Any of his intrepid work for LifeSiteNews or Catholic Exchange - Perhaps some kudos from Sam Brownback about Schutzie's great work on finding two gays with Osama T-shirts trying to hold hands and passing out condums somewhere on earth, outside an abortion clinic. Gudrun is quite the news hound. Oh, and he quotes the Brussels Journal, another fine Muslim bashing yellow rag.
First, we have some twit trying to pass off Mark Steyn as an intellectual - Guy did not go to college - was writing some criticism for the art section, handpicked by Conrad Black to write right wing political tripe for CB's rags. Wrote a book, which was bought up heavily by right wing Schaife foundations, so it would be a best seller - And then, the wonders of VDH who barely knows his way around the block of Fresno, but who is funded by the Hoover Institute as a "scholar" - Can't you twits come up with some actual heavies on the right?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 25, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

National defense doesn't mean being a mindless cheerleader for each and every military venture we embark upon SIMPLY because it is america doing the embarking. that is the criteria for a good german, possibly, but NOT an american.

pointing out where we've fucked up militarily provides an incentive to not do so again. we shouldn't HAVE TO repeat the lessons of vietnam every generation or so, simply because some dipshits feel that america can do no wrong.

ignorant support of american militarism leads to things like 9/11 ... being strong on national defense means more than just waving the flag and turning a blind eye to our errors.

I want my country to become better ... you seem satisfied with a situation where the president can lie us into a war of choice, and then proceed to profit off the backs of our dead soldiers. you seem to accept that we cannot leave this quagmire because to do so would be to lose face. I don't.

republicans are all about image, not substance ... you've admitted as much in your (ignorant) critique of dems and the armed forces.

Posted by: Nads on November 25, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

nads wrote:

"National defense doesn't mean being a mindless cheerleader for each and every military venture we embark upon SIMPLY because it is america doing the embarking. that is the criteria for a good german, possibly, but NOT an american."
_____________

Well, gee, thanks for the civics lesson there, nads, old son. I am frequently ignorant and it always pays to be reminded of it.

I think we all agree that taking mindless positions on any topic is not the way to go through life. And surely nobody in government or the military has ever examined our methods or procedures or purpose, so it's so very convenient that we have you to serve as a veritable font of moral superiority for us.

You are beginning to bore me now, nads. Go convince somebody else how personally pure and good you are. Maybe you'll get laid.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 25, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

well there's certainly no evidence of any introspection on this current admin's part, or any evidence that these jackasses have learned from recent history.

... otherwise, ollie north would be in prison, negroponte and kissinger executed or at the hague, and the neocon ideology of militarily reshaping the mideast consigned to the trashbin where it belongs.

i'm sorry, however, that my pointing out your mindless cheerleading bores you. ... I was hoping one of you dipshits would learn something. oh well ... try not to exploit any arabs today, and we'll call it even.

Posted by: Nads on November 25, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm fine with not exploiting any Arabs, but can we at least bomb the Persians?

Posted by: nick on November 25, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

After all of the idiotic posts above from whiny lefties, Kevin Drum's original posting still looks very good. Especially the key sentences below:

"When nations decide whether to go to war or whether to continue an existing war everyone in a democracy is entitled to a view and everyone is entitled to be taken seriously. But if non-veterans, by virtue of having never served, are denied the moral authority to advocate in favor of war, their views will quite rightfully be entirely marginalized. After all, why should anyone care what they think if, as O'Donnell suggests, their non-serving status predetermines their only honorable opinion?"

For the "Kids Who Can't Read Good" here's the basics of the argument:

1. You only care about someone's opinion if he/she is capable or having more than one.

2. Kevin thinks that, in deciding whether or not to go to war and whether or not to withdraw from an ongoing war, you want to listen to everyone's opinions, even non-veterans and civilians.

3. O'Donnell's position is that the ONLY acceptable opinion for a civilian non-veteran is to be against the Iraq war (and, one suspects, war in general).

4. Since you only listen to a person's opinion to the extent that he or she is able to have more than one opinion, O'Donnell is in effect saying that he and every other non-veteran should NOT be listened to in matters or war and peace (or perhaps only with respect to Iraq).

Personally, I would be ok with limiting the input on such decisions to current service members and veterans. I really do believe that they will likely make the best decisions, based on how much more expertise they have. But it seems that Drum is not ok with that. What's funny is how many of his fellow lefties disagree with him (and, whether they understand it or not, agree with me).

Posted by: cecce on November 25, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

What O'Donnell is saying is that this war has been fought without any pain or deprivation on the part of most of the population. He hasn't clarified this and that is a mistake. He is phrasing it mainly in terms of those who served in a war and those who didn't, but I don't believe that's his main point.

Posted by: OCPatriot on November 25, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

For all the ones here spreading misinformation about our finest: here is an antidote. Actual information from people who know what they're talking about.

The Reality of Our All-Volunteer Military

By Russell Beland and Curtis Gilroy
Saturday, November 25, 2006; Page A21

For the first time since the American Revolution, the United States is fighting a protracted war with an all-volunteer force. The strain on both the military establishment and individual service members is apparent. But although there has been considerable concern that an all-volunteer approach could not possibly fill the ranks in wartime, both recruiting and retention of military personnel have remained strong during more than three years of American military operations in Iraq.

To be sure, the active-duty, reserve and National Guard components of the military have missed a few recruiting goals, but overall numbers remain solid. Retention rates also remain high -- in many cases a tour of duty in a combat zone actually appears to increase the likelihood of a service member's staying in the military.


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Regardless of one's opinion of the management and progress of the war on terrorism, the concept of an all-volunteer force has been an amazing success by virtually any measure. The U.S. military is sustaining combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq while continuing to meet obligations around the globe. And even with unemployment rates near record lows, the military still has tens of thousands of young men and women on waiting lists to join the active-duty force.

Still, some individuals continue to look for trouble where none exists. One common strain of criticism surfaced in the Nov. 4 op-ed by Princeton professor Uwe E. Reinhardt, who asserted that "it is well known that to fill the ranks of enlisted soldiers, sailors and Marines, the Pentagon draws heavily on the bottom half of the nation's income distribution, favoring in its hunt for recruits schools in low-income neighborhoods."

The implication is that the military scoops up the disadvantaged, uneducated and unemployed from the nation's slums and sends them off to fight while the children of the upper and middle classes remain home in comfort and safety. That conveys an impression of military service as a last resort for those with nowhere else to turn. The reality is far different.

Each year about 180,000 men and women enlist in the active-duty forces (another 16,000 are commissioned as officers, and tens of thousands more, including many active-duty veterans, join the National Guard and the reserves). Those who enlist come from all parts of the country, from all races and ethnicities, and from households across the economic spectrum. Far from being concentrated among the poorly educated and economically disadvantaged, military recruits, the data show, represent the best of America's youth. More than 90 percent of recruits have high school diplomas, compared with 80 percent of American youth overall. About two-thirds of today's recruits score in the upper half of standardized aptitude tests. Military recruits are also more physically fit than American youth in general, and they are subject to strict character screening.

Finally, recruits come disproportionately from neighborhoods with above-average incomes. This was true before the war with Iraq, and it remains true today. In fact, those recruited during the war are more likely to come from affluent neighborhoods than are those who were recruited before the war.

A recent study by Tim Kane of the Heritage Foundation -- which is consistent with our own analyses -- showed that the percentage of recruits coming from the highest-income Zip codes in the United States had increased steadily since 1999, while the percentage coming from the lowest-income Zip codes had declined. By 2005 high-income areas were producing five recruits for every three from low-income areas. At the same time, recruit quality, as measured by high school diploma rates and aptitude test scores, remained high.

Those choosing to enlist in the military do so for a variety of reasons. Many are interested in economic factors, such as skills training and GI Bill educational benefits. For some it is travel and adventure. But the primary reason young people join the military today is service to their country. What we are witnessing in this time of war is a larger proportion of enlistees joining the military primarily for duty, honor and patriotism. Economic factors, while still important, are secondary for many.

An all-volunteer approach, with adequate compensation levels, has provided a steady flow of quality recruits for more than 30 years. Recruiting during wartime poses additional challenges, but even after more than three years in Iraq, the spirit of volunteerism continues to fill the ranks with high-quality men and women who serve because they choose to do so.

Russell Beland is deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower analysis and assessment. Curtis Gilroy is the director of accession policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Posted by: allah on November 25, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

"What O'Donnell is saying is that this war has been fought without any pain or deprivation on the part of most of the population. He hasn't clarified this and that is a mistake."

That's a charitable reading. But most people here won't even see that. And, FWIW, I don't think O'Donnell even understands that. He's not exactly the brightest talking head around. And kudos to Drum for pointing out where his poorly-expressed sentiment leads.

Posted by: cecce on November 25, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Can't you twits come up with some actual heavies on the right?

Steyn and Hanson are as good as it gets. They've found a nice little niche they have. Besides writing best selling books and making millions there they also make a fortune on speaking engagements and writing columns. Each is also fairly young and will be around for a long time. If you are going to follow politics get use to hearing their names.

Posted by: rdw on November 25, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'd never heard of steyn ... apparently he's a canadian high school dropout who regularly gets published in various conservative periodicals, especially conrad black-owned rags.

... that said, a canadian-Brit conrad black cocksucker probably is as good as it will ever get for the right wingnuts.

so to answer the initial question ... No, no real heavies on the right.

Posted by: Nads on November 25, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think that people who didn't fight, who then urge other people to fight, *DO* have a higher ethical bar to clear than people who didn't fight who *DON'T* encourage other people to fight. I call it ... hypocrisy? C'mon Kevin, surely you see that.

Posted by: Piehole on November 25, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

I guess you still don't get it, Piehole, even after I outlined it so clearly for you above. And Kevin's post was really pretty clear to begin with. I guess there's no getting through to the highly perceptive.

Posted by: cecce on November 25, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of ethical bar do you have to clear to put into place a policy of letting Syria and Iran do whatever the heck they want to do? Would I have to reach that ethical bar to be in favor of an immediate military intervention in Darfur?

Matter of fact, I do have blood on my hands from Vietnam. That doesn't make me any smarter than Murtha or Kerry, nor any dumber, nor does it make them and I a whole lot wiser than anyone else. I never actually saw any of the people we killed, but I could certainly see and hear it when they were shooting back.

But old history is old history. I wish I could still fight as it would be dandy to have a little sector to patrol in SE Afghanistan or Western Iraq. Beats me why any young fellow would want to stay home when there is a nice war on somewhere. Truly, it's the best show in the world and if you survive it you spend the rest of your life swapping stories with others who have been through the experience.

Be that as it may, however, I don't think it will be too long before the long respite since 9/11/2001 will be up. Everybody in Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon gets to experience living in a combat zone with more to come. Syria and Iran should not be privileged sanctuaries from which to cause trouble.

I never got a rise out of anybody when I pointed out that President Vladimir Putin knows exactly how to deal with dissent and would-be whistleblowers while he is pacifying Chechnya.
According to some pompous asses, no one can put down an insurgency because guerilla insurrections always win. Actually, the Roman army had a very effective way of putting down a long-running Jewish insurgency. It ethnically cleaned Palestine of all but a small remnant of Jews. Those who remained mostly became Christian, for Christianity from the start tried hard not to irritate Rome. That was tough in the short run when Emperors needed scapegoats and feed for their lions, but in the long run it succeeded brilliantly.

The "young Turks" needed scapegoats for their military misadventures in W.W.I and selected the Armenians to play that role. You can accuse the U.S. of all kinds of things, but deliberately sending villagers and other captives on death marches has not been a big part of our history. There's one allegation from Korea that I don't believe and a couple shameful expulsions of Native Americans from treaty lands. In Missouri from 1860-65 both sides of the Civil War did plenty of atrocities. I believe I'd rather be held indefinitely in Guantanimo bay than be a prisoner of the Yanks or the Rebs for even a month. Of course, Lincoln's policy was to hang young men with Southern accents who were wandering around not in uniform near any sabotage incident.

Posted by: mike cook on November 25, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

But old history is old history. I wish I could still fight as it would be dandy to have a little sector to patrol in SE Afghanistan or Western Iraq.

Why? So you can shoot yourself in the foot and pee down your leg when a car engine backfires?

Poor Mike Cook--the world seems so scary and terrifying to a little man who wants to use a gun to solve everything.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 26, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the Roman army had a very effective way of putting down a long-running Jewish insurgency.

There are plenty of Jews around today who can tell you that the now-extinct Romans did not do so well as you have so ignorantly pointed out.

How can one person be wrong about so much and still have the intestinal fortitude to post something on a public blog?

Goodness. Captain Sensible reads Mike Cook and it looks like spewage left by a retarded duck on the surface of a scum-filled pond.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 26, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Steyn and Hanson are as good as it gets. They've found a nice little niche they have. Besides writing best selling books and making millions there they also make a fortune on speaking engagements and writing columns. - rdw

As usual the criteria the right measures "brilliance" by is the almighty dollar. I guess by your yardstick that L. Ron Hubbard is some kind of super genius rdw?

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on November 26, 2006 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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