Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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

November 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MEDICARE DRUG PRICING....For some reason, this has been "Democrats Are In A Fix Over Medicare" weekend, with nearly identical stories in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the LA Times explaining that Democratic promises to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices are shaping up to be trickier than anyone thought. Oddly, though, none of the pieces really explains what the problem is. They just repeat complaints from the pharmaceutical industry that Medicare is so big that "negotiation" is tantamount to price controls, and that's a bad thing.

And so it is. But there's a fairly simple solution to this, one that only the Wall Street Journal even bothers to mention:

[An] approach Democrats could try would be requiring drug makers to give Medicare beneficiaries their lowest price, as companies must for Medicaid, the state-federal health-insurance program for the poor and disabled.

This, of course, is common practice in the business world, where large buyers routinely negotiate "most favorable pricing" clauses into their contracts. It also addresses the most infuriating aspect of current pharmaceutical policy: the bulk of the companies and the bulk of the R&D in the pharmaceutical industry are done in America, but for some reason consumers in every other country in the world get lower-priced drugs than Americans.

An MFP clause with appropriate exceptions takes care of this, and it's something the federal government already knows how to do since Medicaid currently operates this way. It's not price control, since pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be required to supply drugs at any particular price, but if they did supply them at a price to anyone else or any other country then they'd also be required to offer the same deal to Uncle Sam. This is pretty standard practice when you're the biggest buyer in an industry. Just ask Wal-Mart.

And if it turns out that giving Americans the Canadian/French/German/whatever price prevents pharmaceutical companies from making money, then they'll have to raise prices in other countries. But that's OK. There's no reason American taxpayers should be subsidizing healthcare for the rest of the world, after all.

Kevin Drum 9:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Other countries consumers are able to get lower prices because they forced pharma companies to the bargaining table.
Lets do the same.
The market forces will allow a new equilibrium.
I am not woried about the pharma firm not being able to invest any more in R&D. Consumers and government sponsor plan understand were is their interest.

Posted by: remi on November 26, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Even Bob Corker (Rep-TN) was signing onto the Democratic proposal for reform of the Prescription Drug Benefit mess. If a rightwinger who ran as a racist is for this - the Wall Street Journal should just starting wave the white flag.

Posted by: pgl on November 26, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

The only problem is that is (a) the drug companies are telling the truth and (b) Drum's program works, the result will not be lower prices in the U.S., but higher prices in the rest of the world, which will increase both the trade and budget deficits, without making any actual voters happy. So that is kind of a problem for the Democrats.

Posted by: y81 on November 26, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly, though, none of the pieces really explains what the problem is. They just repeat complaints from the pharmaceutical industry that Medicare is so big that "negotiation" is tantamount to price controls, and that's a bad thing.

Fortunately, since you can't understand the problems with the liberal approach to Medicare, I'm here to explain to you.

First, as the Washington Post points out "The cost was projected to rise to $45 billion next year, but Medicare has received new bids indicating that its average per-person subsidy could drop by 15 percent in 2007, to $79.90 a month." So in reality there's no problem at all.

Second, as the Washington Post also points out, "If government price controls were effective, the theory goes, they could significantly lower drug-company profits and discourage medical innovation." This would be very bad for everyone, especially seniors. Medicare price controls would cause many people to die due to the lack of medical innovation.

Third, the liberal Medicare drug control plan would be a violation of privacy. "Limiting choice would be unacceptable to many Medicare beneficiaries, said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), outgoing chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "I don't think seniors want the government in their medicine cabinets," he said."

Finally, any "fix" you have will probably not generate enough revenue to fix the so-called "doughnut hole" you libs complain about all the time.

Unfortunately, liberals want another feel-good big government price control plan to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

Posted by: Al on November 26, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

What would Harry and Louise do?

Posted by: NeilS on November 26, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote, "There's no reason American taxpayers should be subsidizing healthcare for the rest of the world, after all."

Well, in some cases, there is. AIDS is a disease for which there is no cure, but anti-retrovirals can keep the disease in check, in many cases for years, at a cost of under $100 per patient per year. If we spend just one or two billion dollars helping to provide anti-retroviral drugs to some hard-hit countries in southern Africa, where in some cases over 20 percent of the population is HIV-positive, we can prevent a generation of children from growing up as orphans; we can prevent a generation of girls from prostituting themselves to raise funds to pay their school fees; for the cost of about a week of the war in Iraq (for under $6.00 per year per American) we can create a stable future for 100 million in Southern Africa. It's the right thing to do, but it is also an investment in global stability.

U.S. foreign aid for basic health is pathetically small. Excepting AIDS, the U.S. contributes less than $1 billion per year for international health. Yet lives can be saved with vaccinations costing less than $1.00.

And don't forget, we're on the verge of eraticating polio. Once we eradicate polio worldwide, it will not be necessary to immunize every U.S. baby against this crippling disease. That alone will save about as much as the U.S. currently spends on international basic health care.

Of course, I do agree with Kevin that medicare should have an MFP clause (with possible exceptions) from U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on November 26, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Albot brings up the strawman of price controls and y81 blatently lies for the drug cos.
Private sector prioritizes profit driven research for high cost drugs for the wealthy elderly while doing nothing for the majority of the world. We'd all be better off going back to the days of independant university research funded by government grants like we had in the 40's to 70's. That era had the greatest advancement in health care the country's ever seen.

Posted by: joe on November 26, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Once again - conservatives don't really believe in free markets, they believe in rigged markets. They also think privatization is always the right thing to do, even though the privitization of the war effort in Iraq has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars and hundreds of innocent lives as this movie so clearly illustrates.

Public interest groups have pointed out for years that Medicare is more efficient than private insurance and that privatization will result in higher overall costs, rationing and less stability in health care delivery. Of course, the right-wing free market ideologues control the mainstream media and the truth never gets through to the average American. More reasons to through the right-wing bums out in the street where they belong!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 26, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

It's far too logical. It will never work.

Posted by: craigie on November 26, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Odd, the same story appearing in three national newspapers on the same weekend with three different by-lines.

The real story here is not how the Democrats deal with prescription drug pricing, but how the authors all had the same bright idea at the same time. I wonder if Jane Zhang, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Lori Montgomery and Christopher Lee might be receiving a little something extra in this weeks mail from some of their friends at big Pharma?

Seriously, was there some kind of unreported press release or press conference?

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 26, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum opines: There's no reason American taxpayers should be subsidizing healthcare for the rest of the world, after all.

Heh.

Posted by: TLB on November 26, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Bravo, Kevin !

I'm glad a high-profile person like yourself has finally framed the issue this way in a public way.

Because the U.S. has had its "free-market" ethic, the American consumer has been subsidising every other advanced economy in the world for prescription prices. Further, since the vast bulk of primary research funds has come from Federal grants to educational institutions (which promptly acquire patent rights to medical discoveries), there has been a cascade of perverse incentives that help make the American medical system among the strangest and least efficient in the world.

Posted by: Osama von McIntyre on November 26, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Joe writes: Private sector prioritizes profit driven research for high cost drugs for the wealthy elderly while doing nothing for the majority of the world.

I hadn't realized it was the responsibility of Big Pharma to do something for 'the majority of the world'. It's their responsibility to make drugs that people will buy and thus satisfy their investors.

If you want to to do something for 'the majority of the world', you can support more foreign aid (yup, that's worked well these past five decades), or private philantrophy, or UN aid (so that European apparatchiks can drive Land Cruisers around in third world cities). Or you could support getting third world countries to help themselves by respecting human rights and the rule of law (and by removing a few odious thugs).

As the WaPo article points out, 1) more people are participating than anticipated 2) costs are lower than expected and 3) more plans are on the market than forseen. As Mr. Reischauer in the WaPo article asks: "At some point you have to ask: what are we looking for here?"

Posted by: Steve White on November 27, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

I definitely would like to echo joe's comment. In fact the retort I usually use whenever some fringe lunatic tells me that reducing drug costs would hurt Big Pharma R&D is "who cares?" Big Pharma's R&D is virtually useless when it comes to innovative therapies for important diseases. The vast majority of cutting edge innovation in therapeutics comes from university labs (sponsored by and large by the NIH) and from small biotechs.

As a scientist I've had plenty of friends work in Big Pharma and even they admit that they took those jobs because they wanted an easy 9-to-5 job that paid well, even though the research they do is total bullshit. So excuse me while I don't give a damn about 'hurting their R&D budget'.

Posted by: reader on November 27, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

There's no reason American taxpayers should be subsidizing healthcare for the rest of the world, after all.

I'm glad you realize that, as it tacitly admits that the rich are not obligated to subsidize the less well-off. By the same logic, I hope the Democratic congress institutes a flat tax. It's the exact same principle, after all.

Posted by: American Hawk on November 27, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Osama writes: Further, since the vast bulk of primary research funds has come from Federal grants to educational institutions

Yes and no. Full disclosure: I currently hold NIH research grants, and have been continuously funded these past 20 years. I know a little about these.

You need two kinds of discovery to get new medical advances (e.g., drugs, equipment) to patients -- the first is basic science research, the second is applied research. The NIH (the Federal agency that funds biomedical research) is really, really good at basic research, and really mediocre at applied research. Big Pharma, on the other hand, is really, really good at applied research, and only passably good at basic research.

Read that carefully, and you see a reasonable matching of strengths: NIH-funded investigators (e.g., me and a few thousand others) do the basic work, and Pharma does the applied work to turn basic knowledge into something useful.

You need both to get a new drug to market. We can do all sorts of really cool basic research, but unless someone does the applied research you won't have much that is useful. Pharma is better at that precisely because of the profit motive. Likewise, NIH can take a longer view with its funding initiatives than can a business that has to answer to investors.

You need both. It's right and proper to credit NIH for the funding it provides, and I certainly thank them. But you also need Big Pharma. If you applaud one but denigrate the other, you're missing how medical science advances.

Posted by: Steve White on November 27, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Judging by the initial reception by beneficiaries, Congress and the market alike, the Medicare drug benefit is off to a rocky start. That should come as a surprise to no one for a program that was designed to fail...

For the full story, see:
"Medicare's Prescription for Failure."

Posted by: AngryOne on November 27, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Reader: the 'bullshit' science that Pharma does is the necessary science to make drugs work. Someone has to select a good candidate drug from hundreds (thousands) of potential molecules. Someone has to do all the testing, from lab to animal to human. Someone has to figure out the manufactoring process (doesn't do any good to have a cool drug if you can't make it in quantity). Someone has to figure out the safety issues.

That's Pharma. It may be mundane, routine, '9 to 5' in a lot of ways, but it has to get done, and it sure won't get done by the Federal government.

Pharma doesn't do a lot of cool basic science (though they do some; just look in the biomedical journals). They're not geared up for that. But to turn a basic mechanism into a useful drug -- that they do and do pretty well. Disagree if you like, but then it's on you to say how it could be done better.

Posted by: Steve White on November 27, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's amusing to watch purported free market conservatives try to defend this massive giveaway to big pharma. It's not the world we're subsidizing, it's these companies that, with massive political giving and media buys, control both legislation and publicity. I can't believe drug companies are whining that they can't negotiate a fair price with their biggest customer.

Posted by: GreenDreams on November 27, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Pharma doesn't do a lot of cool basic science (though they do some; just look in the biomedical journals). They're not geared up for that. But to turn a basic mechanism into a useful drug -- that they do and do pretty well. Disagree if you like, but then it's on you to say how it could be done better.

Perhaps as licensees of the NIH which funded the basic reasearch upon which the pharmaceuticals that reach market are based.

All the hand-wringing about how paying reasonable prices for drugs will starve research neglects the fact that Pharma marketing budgets exceed their R&D budgets three to one. Or, that Pharma has the highest return on investment of any industry in America (except, sometimes, media).

There are in infinite number of ways to structure this system. How about aiming for a set of incentives that coincide more closely with the public good?

Posted by: Osama von McIntyre on November 27, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Osama writes: Pharma has the highest return on investment of any industry in America (except, sometimes, media).

Yup, Pharma gets a nice return. Then again, they have longer lead times on their products, and the initial investment is higher. A drug that makes it to market costs $400-800 million and takes 7 to 10 years. Given that a patent lasts 17 years (and you patent a compound very early), you need to get that investment back, plus the time value of that investment.

If you don't, you won't have investors. Wall Street won't buy your paper.

Why would an investor pony up a few hundred million to Big Pharma when they could get 4 to 5% today in T-notes? Answer: Big Pharma offers more. You accept the risk with that, and you get a better return.

That's why Pharma works to get these high profits. Good progressives won't understand this of course, since profit is ucky, but Pharma needs to get investors in the door.

Posted by: Steve White on November 27, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Why should R&D be reduced? If Big Pharma diverts the billions it currently pays for consumer advertising (primarily, TV; and by consumer, I'm not referring to physicians), it should be able to maintain its R&D budget.

As a general matter, I don't support Big Pharma advertising. Sure, it could and is educational, but in the same way lobbyists are merely "educating" lawmakers (I was a researcher for a lobbying firm; there is education aspect to proiding the information, but that is a means to an end)and purveyors of "you name the product" are educating consumers. Let's be honest, consumer advertising allows companies to play fast and loose with the facts(a matter of emphasis?),tailor statistics and use generous dollops of "poetic license." However, though the average consumer is ill-informed, spending his/her money on a trendy pair of jeans is not the end of the world. But companies marketing to an ill-informed consumer on matters of medical treatment,pharmacology and biostatitics? Moreover, unlike the marketing of consumer products that play on people's aspirations or self-image, medical products affect one's health. Pharmacuetical companies even flim flam doctors by selectively with-holding facts in studies, ingratiating themselves with doctors through babelicious sales agents, expense paid, quasi-conferences to tropical (or at least warm) locales in the winter and free samples (which is one of the more perverse aspects of our peverse incentive laden healthcare system, because it offers doctors an oportunity to help there less well-off or plainly indigent patients). Also, unlike full-time medical researchers, doctors have a job: treating patients. I wonder how much time they have to read and analyze drug studies.

Additionaly, what of all the tax-payer funded medical research that ends up in the hands of pharmecuetical companies? Why aren't the savings from passed along to tax-payers? Manufacturing and marketing expenses ate them up? Not likely.

And why is the WP calling price negotiation "price controls." That's objective analysis? The "Post" has bought into Big Pharma's talking points.

Sen. Grassley's point that he doesn't think that seniors want "the government in their medicine cabinets," is ridiculous. Isn't Medicare a GOVERNMENT program. See what I mean by ill-informed? His statement reminds me of one made by former Louisiana senator John Breaux (D)made to illustrate such ignorance. During a point when the federal government as again discussing Medicare reform, he said and old lady approached him in a Lousiana airport (I've forgotten which) and demanded that the stop the federal government take its hands off of Medicare. Apparently, the private(?) Medicare program was subjected to interference by the feds.

Anyway, I think refusal to negotiate prescription drug prices is an abdication of the federal government's fiduciary obligation to the taxpayers.

The federal government is a large purchaser and thus wields substantial market power. However, if the argument against negotiating drup prices is valid, then it should be considered wrong for the feds to negotiate prices for any products it seeks from the marketplace. And how many companies have gone broke selling to the government? Sure, maybe a few have (I haven't any evidence, but I'll concede, up to a point), but is there a shortage of companies that want government business? If not, what does that tell us?

BTW, the Veterans Administration and DoD large are purchasers of prescription drugs--and are allowed to negotiate prices--and I haven't seen pharma compaines going belly up as a result.

Posted by: Allen on November 27, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Er... higher drug prices in other countries would reduce the US trade deficit, not increase it.

The real problem is that drug prices can only be raised so much in foreign countries before those countries decide "to hell with it, we'll make the stuff on our own, screw your patent." That's the very reason foreign drug prices are lower than domestic ones - the pharma companies don't worry that the US might suddenly torch the patent system, but there's much less of a guarantee that, say, Brazil wouldn't do the same. That's still profit turning into nothing, especially if that country's pharmaceutical companies then start exporting your best products themselves!

So they come to a compromise - foreign governments agree to respect the US patents, and the US pharma companies agree to sell their drugs at a much-reduced price in the foreign market. Of course, the US government could always just bully everyone into paying what we pay, but wouldn't that be nasty and hegemonistic?

Not to say that the idea Kevin raises is inherently bad. Sure, there's a limit to how far the drug companies can raise their prices in foreign markets, but that doesn't mean that they can't raise them at ALL, and it's definitely to the US's advantage that the pharma companies push that as far as they can get away with. It wouldn't really hurt if the US government made a few pointed comments on the issue, either...

Posted by: Avatar on November 27, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

There was an article this week about how wheat had lost nutritive value that helped people assimilate needed minerals. Look around and find some competent nutritionists to help make sure diet is not causing much disease ( or conditions ) which stimulate sales of drugs which don't deal with the problem but affect symptoms.
With all the regulations about marketing herbs ( that's plants or "pharma" ) choking off supply of unrefined product so that everything has to be processed ( no guarantees of undesirable effects from that ) I don't see drug companies having to do any competing in a free market.
Nor am I convinced there isn't more money in drugs which are habit forming or solely palliative rather than a cure.
Capitalism does some things really well. Performing acts of public altruism on a regular basis is not something for which I have seen any report at all.

Posted by: opit on November 27, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White has graciously pointed out exactly what's wrong with the system. You have the guys doing the applied research (i.e., the easier part), who are basically mooching off of the government's funding of the hard part of research (the basic science part) and making huge profits off of that mooching. Furthermore (as has been pointed out) R&D spending is not even close to amount on advertising - as long as spending on ads is triple spending on R&D (and let's not forget that a lot of R&D spending is also what most people would call ads) I simply put no stock in Big Pharma's complaints about having to cut into R&D funding if drug costs go down.

Let's put it this way: if the drug companies themselves admit that they'd first start cutting R&D spending before cutting advertisement spending, then doesn't that mean that they themselves realise that their R&D is worthless compared to their advertising?

Oh and it's also simply untrue that university labs are 'mediocre' at things like drug delivery mechanisms and other such applied research - Steve White you might want to Google a guy who teaches in my department named "Robert Langer". You can apologise for Big Pharma all you want, but all I've got to say is "Viagra" and I think I win the battle over which group's research is more valuable for actually curing important diseases.

Posted by: reader on November 27, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

"There's no reason American taxpayers should be subsidizing healthcare for the rest of the world, after all."

That's hitting the nail on the head! Good!

Posted by: a on November 27, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Avatar's post explains why MFP may not work the way its proponent would hope. I do not have the specifics, but about 20 years ago, Canada revised its drug patent law in a manner that many Canadian consumer activists deemed highly favorable to the drug companies (Canada had/has? a large generic drug industry). It would not surprise me that the quid pro quo in that deal was the lower drug prices that Canadian medicare achieves. Perhaps more knowledgeable readers than I can provide more details on the matter.

Posted by: Dazir on November 27, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin-

Not sure why you're able to so easily dismiss the idea of price controls. Price controls have been pretty heartily maligned since the 70s, not without reason. But they do have a place in governance. Minimum wage is a price control (price floor for labor). Patents are a form of price control - monopoly imposed; protected by the government.

For example, it might be that in a free market the profit maximizing function of a drug maker is to produce enough for 1% of the population at a given (high) price, whereas the government can negotiate that 3% of the population receive the drug at a lesser price. In effect, a price control - and yet depending on the numbers, the company may be just as profitable under the price control regime.

Don't write off price controls so easily.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on November 27, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Dear "Reader": Do you have any basis for your seemingly absurd statement that the applied research is "the easy part"? Have you ever been involved in any research project, in any capacity? Is there any reason we should trust your assertion that this research, for which investors are willing to pay billions of dollars, is nonetheless "easy"?

Posted by: sammler on November 27, 2006 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

'I'm glad you realize that, as it tacitly admits that the rich are not obligated to subsidize the less well-off. By the same logic, I hope the Democratic congress institutes a flat tax. It's the exact same principle, after all.
--American Hawk

Conversely, the poor should not be obligated to subsidize the wealthy, although they do every day with regressive taxes like Social Security, massive corporate tax loopholes and giveaways and passive income like dividends and capital gains taxed at lower rates than income earned by the sweat of one's brow. The entire conservative mindset is to privatize profits and socialize costs.

Two questions about your beloved "flat tax":

(1) Do you also advocate making Social Security a flat tax? and,
(2) Are you really willing to pay more in taxes, so that a rich guy can pay less? That will be the consequence of instituting a flat tax - Do the math. The vast majority of Americans would end up paying more under a flat tax, for it to be revenue neutral.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 27, 2006 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent post Kevin! I'll remember those points.

Posted by: Psyberian on November 27, 2006 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Wal-Mart does more than "most favored pricing". Everything I've read has them actively negotiating hard for lower prices from their suppliers. There's both good and bad results from this, but it's not a case of Wal-Mart just asking Widgets, Inc., not to charge Wal-Mart any more than they charge Macy's.

Posted by: sal on November 27, 2006 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

"Steve White" has become a sort of resident troll, patiently explaining to the rest of us how hard Big Pharma works researching new drugs.

I call him a troll, because there are so few new drugs that are actually any improvement.

Big Pharma works tirelessly to develop old drug with a new molecule that makes it possible to take out a new patent and extend their profits. They lobby aggressively to make it hard to use "old" generics. That's what a lot of the "War on Drugs" is about.

The fact is, a lot of Americans would get better medical care if they lived in Mexico. Most of us know what our problems are and which drug works the best. The doctor doesn't have a new miracle cure for us, and, if you're on Medicare, the doctor doesn't even have the old miracle cure for you- you're on your own when it comes to actually getting the drug that works.

If the new Congress can't put a chokechain on Big Pharma, we'll be stuck with co-pays that are too high and fiscal bleeding where the government actually helps with prices that are too high.

Posted by: serial catowner on November 27, 2006 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

[An] approach Democrats could try would be requiring drug makers to give Medicare beneficiaries their lowest price, as companies must for Medicaid, the state-federal health-insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Drug cos. rip off state Medicaid programs big-time with their "Average Wholesale Price" scam, whereby the "lowest price" they charge Medicaid isn't actually their lowest price, but rather a substantial markup over it --- several hundred percent, in some cases.

Several states have sued/are suing over this scam, with uncertain success thus far.

Posted by: Anderson on November 27, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK


3 nearly identical simultaneous stories
No detailing of costs
No summary of costs
Lots of figures as percentages

I'd give that story 9.3 out of 10 on the Uniform Bogosity Metric.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 27, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

If we were talking about the Pentagon purchasing engine parts then we would expect the government to negotiate for the best price. Why do Repubs insist on treating pharmaceuticals differently ?

Is it a free market if one side is unable to try and get the best price ?

Posted by: Stephen on November 27, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Having Medicare D beneficiaries scatter across hundreds of separate insurance providers complicates negotiations. Simplification would mean cutting out the insurance altogether, require the current payments go to Medicare and extend Medicare.

Posted by: bakho on November 27, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

"By the same logic, I hope the Democratic congress institutes a flat tax. It's the exact same principle, after all."
--American Hawk

If a flat tax was instituted, I suspect that conservatives would still be unhappy. Remember the conservative mantra that the rich pay more (or the most) in taxes? The claim is true, but misleading In absolute terms, the rich do pay more in taxes--they make more money, after all. But what is it proportionate to their income? Corporations make the same claim. But just how much do the rich and corporations pay after their accountants and lawyers structure and employ "perfectly legal" tax avoidance (a euphemism of "evasion" no?)schemes to reduce taxable income? Schemes that the average wage slave or even middle class person are not affluent enough to utilize, never mind the fact that they are unable to afford such high-priced surfaces.

The flat tax exposes its conservative proponents as either innumerate or dishonest. Let's use elementary school arithmetic: A flat tax of 10 percent sans any deductions (a "perfect flat tax) would capture $5,000 from a $50,000 earner and $500,000 from a high income earner. Can't the $500K earner complain that the government is taking more money from her? In absolute terms the $500K earner is paying more, but not as a porportion of her income. Why? Becasue the rate (10 percent) is the same.

So in a flat tax world, the rich would still be paying more in taxes (in absolute terms). What will conservatives complain of then? That taxes on lower income earners should be raised so that tax revenue from them matches that of the those in the highest income groups?

Bush used a similar faulty consruction during the 2000 campaign. Surpluses were a result of higher taxes that he would "return" to Americans. But revenue into tax coffers increased because of economic growth. (This despite incrased ta dodging, particularly by corprations.) Not because of federal tax rises. However, our innumerate society, bought that, er, lie, despite having learned fractions and percentages in lower school. That so many people didn't understand that though 5 percent of $10 is 50 cents and 5 percent of $100 is $5, it doesn't mean the proportion of the whole is the different despite the fact that the one sum is greater than the other, is pretty pathetic.

The GOP is the party that gave us the Laffer Curve, which, according to legend, was formulated on the back of a napkin. So what does that tell us?

Which reminds me, in my previous post I didn't memtion that many who oppose the federal government using its market power to negotiate lower drug prices, support privatizing social security. But wouldn't that mean that the government was effectively "nationalizing" the stock market. As the oerseer of the larger program, don't privatization advocates think investors (more now than ever) will demand the government protect their returns and provide all manner of consumer protections not currently instituted or a least strenghten current investor law? What then? More whining from Wall Street and other corporate executives?

I don't think the "Lake Wobegone" effect (all the children are above average)that presently pervades corporate boardrooms and contributes to vulgar amounts of executive compensation, would be aceptable to even a 28-year-old whose 401K has lost substantial value, while hearing reports of corporate shennanigans. Let's not even mention the clever fee structures designed by financial companies. Certainly return and fee information, diclosed in dense, legalistic, opaque language--which usually amounts to telling consumers how the company is f**king you--won't go down well with most owners of private accounts. And who are they going to run to?

Posted by: Allen on November 27, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"What would Harry and Louise do?"

Harry & Louise passed away three years ago in a murder/suicide pact fueled by desperation at losing their health insurance after a massive layoff at Harry's highly profitable pharma workplace.

Posted by: chaboard on November 27, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

"then they'll have to raise prices in other countries. But that's OK. "

- A consequence of raising prices in other countries will be a re-examination in those countries of patent protection for new drugs. This was increased by WTO fiat as a result of lobbying by drug manufacturers and others. Many countries might opt to reduce the length of patents for new drugs should prices go up; that is the real fear of big pharma.

Posted by: richard on November 27, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

One more point. How do I know corporations aren't paying their fair share? Look at the income reported to investors, versus what is reported to the IRS. A big difference.

The law congress passed to allow corporations to bring home income (obstensibley to invest in job creation in the U.S., but by no means required)without paying taxes (or was the tax rate substantially lowered?) is another example.

The average citizen who opens a bank account in the UK, Japan, Singapore, or wherever, is obligated to report and pay taxes on the interest gained from the deposits. He can't set himself up as a related corporate entity and shield his deposit income from U.S. taxes.

Posted by: Allen on November 27, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

One thing nobody is mentioning is how many seniors and disabled people were "forced" into this horrible drug program because they were told if they did not join, they would be assessed l2% per year more! Meaning, join now or you never will.

Well, that coerced me, but now I find that my premiums triple next year. Uh... thus far the drug plan has cost me money, not helped me out. So if it's oging to cost me 3x what it cost me now, I'm dropping out.

I can't believe I'll be the only one.

Until they can come up with a reasonable drug plan, the very LEAST the Dems can do is remove the odious penalty.

The very BEST would be if they scrap the whole damn plan and start anew. It is so bad, with it's crazy donut hole, being privatized,bad for consumers... it deserves to be trashed.

Posted by: Clem on November 27, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Al: Third, the liberal Medicare drug control plan would be a violation of privacy. "Limiting choice would be unacceptable to many Medicare beneficiaries, said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), outgoing chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "I don't think seniors want the government in their medicine cabinets," he said."

Why, these are called "formularies". Just about everyone I know and certainly everybody on Medicare part D has a limited selection of drugs. Frankly, as a physician, that doesn't bother me in the least. There is a tremendous amount of therapeutic overlap in drugs and despite the distinctions that the various pharmaceutical companies attempt to make, there isn't a lot of difference in a lot of drugs within a class.

Opit: With all the regulations about marketing herbs ( that's plants or "pharma" ) choking off supply of unrefined product so that everything has to be processed ( no guarantees of undesirable effects from that ) I don't see drug companies having to do any competing in a free market.

Actually, there is little or no regulation about marketing herbs.

Posted by: J Bean on November 27, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Serial catowner writes: I call him [me] a troll, because there are so few new drugs that are actually any improvement.

Thanks for the chuckle. In my own 25 years in medicine I've seen a couple dozen new drugs just in my own specialty that are a significant advance over what we had before. Every other specialty can tell you the same thing. But I'm just an academic physician, what would I know about what's an improvement?

The fact is, a lot of Americans would get better medical care if they lived in Mexico.

Well then, move to Mexico and see how it goes for you. I may have this wrong, but as I recall most of the migration is in the other direction. Perhaps their willingness to work as landscapers and chicken-processors makes up for the better health care they're leaving behind?

Posted by: Steve White on November 27, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

J Bean, while there is indeed overlap in the formulary, I wouldn't dismiss it so readily.

Different drugs within the same class have different dosing regimens and different safety profiles. Certain patients will tolerate one drug within a class but not another. These differences are useful.

As an example, look at the history of H2-blockers, from Tagamet to the more modern agents within the class. As time went on you went to once a day dosing (from four times a day), fewer drug interactions, better safety profile, etc.

But you can still prescribe Tagamet if you've a reason to.

And there is a demonstrable effect of having more drugs within a class on pricing.

I don't have a problem with formularies most days. But I do use the sometimes small differences in drugs within a class to optimize patient care.

Posted by: Steve White on November 27, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

BEAUTIFUL suggestion, Kevin. The price discrimination against Americans is ridiculous. If Congress going Democratic will lead to this common-sense proposal going through, it will have been worth it, just for that.

It will also be great to not have to listen to people from Canuckistan drone on and on about how their lower drugs prices "proves" their health care system works better.

Posted by: cecce on November 27, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

"The only problem is that is (a) the drug companies are telling the truth and (b) Drum's program works, the result will not be lower prices in the U.S., but higher prices in the rest of the world, which will increase both the trade and budget deficits, without making any actual voters happy. So that is kind of a problem for the Democrats." Posted by: y81

No, it won't. First, since the US drugs market is so huge, the MFP clause would likely lead to a combination of lower prices in the US and higher ones abroad (allowing for stable revenues and profits for the pharmaceutical companies). Second, if prices of US-made drugs go up in foreign markets, that means greater export revenues, and lower trade deficits, c.p.

Posted by: cecce on November 27, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I've made this point before - Just because consumers outside the US pay less than consumers inside, it doesn't mean that drug companies are making less money - It just means the concept of 'insurance' is working better outside the US. case in point: Alzheimer's Medicine Donepezil: In the UK - manufacturer cost to the Health Service: Approx $1500/year - Cost to patient approx $200. In the USA: Cost to patient: approx $900.

Posted by: Mark on November 27, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

- "just repeat complaints from the pharmaceutical industry that Medicare is so big that "negotiation" is tantamount to price controls"

That's actually a fair point. In most negotiations, both parties have the option of walking away from the table. These "negotiations" would be so lopsided (since the whole weight of the Feds would be on one side) that it would go a long way towards price control. And since prices would have to be controlled, oops sorry I meant "negotiated", drug by drug, the process would be extremely costly in itself. An MFP clause solves both problems.

The only thing in your post I don't get is when you say "an MFP clause with appropriate exceptions" - I don't see why there would need to be any exceptions.

Posted by: cecce on November 27, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

"the bulk of the companies and the bulk of the R&D in the pharmaceutical industry are done in America"

Well except for the 50% of the worlds 10 largest pharma companies that aren't american.

Or the 60% of the 50 largest pharma companies that aren't american.

Posted by: kb on November 27, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

How awesome, though, and what a huge testament to American ingenuity and entrepreneurship, that HALF of all the top 10 pharma companies and almost half of the top 50 are from just one country, representing about 5% of the world population. Truly amazing.

It's a good thing that noone out there is seriously thinking about policy changes that might fuck that up.

Posted by: nina on November 27, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"How awesome, though, and what a huge testament to American ingenuity and entrepreneurship, that HALF of all the top 10 pharma companies and almost half of the top 50 are from just one country, representing about 5% of the world population. Truly amazing."

Not really.
The other 5 top companies are from the UK, france and switzerland whose combined population is around 40% that of the USA.

Of the top 50 companies all are from a small group of 10 countries representing around 10% of the worlds population. The US's share is around 45% of that population so the US's share of companies is only marginally above its share of population.

The real overachievers are the swiss with 2 of the top 10 and 4 of the top 50 with a population of less than 8 million people.

Posted by: kb on November 27, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

"These "negotiations" would be so lopsided (since the whole weight of the Feds would be on one side) that it would go a long way towards price control."

Cecce,
The whole weight of the Feds is on both sides. If the federal government had not issued a patent for the drug, the drug company would not have a monopoly on its production and sale. I suppose the laissez-faire approach is for Uncle Sam to take its hands off the process. No negotiating for drug prices and no issuance of drug patents. Let the generic drug companies slug it out.

Of course the Feds could double or triple its drug R&D budget (as Dean Baker as suggested) since no patent drugs means no Big Pharma research... but I suppose that sounds socialistic, doesn't the free market take care of everything?

Posted by: beowulf on November 27, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I actually work in the pharma industry, and while it certainly does its fair share of evil stuff, the reasons that Steve White gives are quite accurate.

Academics do important work, no doubt. They do a lot of hard slogging in identifying potential targets, or new pathways, etc. But to go from that to a drug is like going from a pile of materials to an airplane.

An academic paper says molecule X has an effect on cell line Y means (almost) nothing. It says nothing about toxicity, oral absorption, metabolism, potency, efficacy, etc. All that stuff is done by pharma. All that stuff is extremely expensive and non-trivial. It's like saying giving birth is easy. You just push it out, right? No big deal.

Also, the R part of R&D consumes far less money than the D part, believe me. I'm in R. No one cares about us.

Posted by: Bush Rules on November 27, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

裸体图片 美女自拍 激情图片 激情小电影 性感图片 性交图片 做爱图片 成人小说 偷拍走光 美眉图片 人体写真 性虐待电影 写真集 激情电影 免费影院 日本av电影 美少女贴图 性感美女图片 美女写真 漂亮妹妹图片 同志电影 性交姿势 美女走光 A片下载 毛片 偷窥图片 裸体视频聊天室 成人网站 成人论坛 性爱论坛 性变态图片 淫女 女大学生 美女下阴图 女性生殖器 操逼图片 激情论坛 两性生活 性教育片 两性知识 美腿图片 三级片 成人性爱电影 写真电影 美女阴图 美女乳房 性电影 成人电影下载 性爱视频 偷拍图片 泳装图片 性感内衣 性爱贴图 性生活图片 作爱图片 性交电影 做爱电影 性福 人体摄影 裸女图片 免费小电影 免费电影在线 免费影片 最新大片 看免费电影 情色电影 激情视频下载 明星露点图片 两性写真 阴部图片 乳房图片 全裸美女 美女脱衣电影 裸体美女 手淫图片 波霸美女 淫水图片 阴户阴毛图片 美女图库 美女口交图片 韩国电影 性知识 最新电影 经典电影 恐怖电影 人体艺术 美女图片 强奸图片 色情图片 黄色小说 黄色电影 强暴电影 乱伦图片 轮奸电影 迷奸电影 夜曲 为什么相爱的人不能在一起 约定 不得不爱 触电 秋天不回来 求佛 太美丽 发如雪 生日礼物 那年夏天 我想更懂你 手放开 香水有毒

Posted by: 手机图片 on November 28, 2006 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

"I call him a troll, because there are so few new drugs that are actually any improvement.

Big Pharma works tirelessly to develop old drug with a new molecule that makes it possible to take out a new patent and extend their profits. They lobby aggressively to make it hard to use "old" generics."

A) Having a different side effect profile really is an improvement. Talk to people who can take Cipro but are allergic to Sulfa drugs.

B) What does that last sentence mean? How they make it hard to use generics.

C) The only major drug that sounds like it fits your idea is Claritin/Clarinex. But you can easily get Claritin.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on November 28, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ally with the Sunnis
by Josef Joffe
Post date 11.27.06 | Issue date 11.27.06
Discuss this article (30)


Printer friendly


E-mail this article


he war in Iraq is lost--at least the original one, which was to make the place and then all of Arabia safe through democracy.
The "democratic peace"--the idea that only despots make war while democracies are basically pacific--is as old as the republic itself. But not even Woodrow Wilson, the most fervent believer in the idea, went to war against Wilhelmine Germany in 1917 for the sake of democracy. That was the ideological icing on a power-political cake. The Kaiser's U-boats were sinking U.S. ships, and his armies were threatening to devour all of Europe--the pivot of the global balance at the time. Power came first, pedagogy second--never mind the florid rhetoric of transcendence.
Yet Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed no such threat, and this mismeasure of the power realities--the most grievous mistake of statecraft--is the source of all our troubles. In truth, America's hardcore interests were menaced not by Iraq, but by its far more fearsome neighbor to the east, Iran. It is Iran that has sponsored terrorism from Berlin to Beirut, from Hamas to Hezbollah; Iran that has a viable nuclear program; and Iran that boasts the most powerful army east of Israel.

And now, the worst irony: By rushing into Iraq, the United States acted as unwitting handmaiden of Iran. First, by toppling Saddam and dissolving his army, the United States demolished the single-most important barrier to Iranian ambitions. Second, by dismantling the "republic of fear," the United States liberated the Shia majority from Sunni oppression, opening the way for a natural alliance between Qom (Iran) and Najaf (Iraq), the two ecclesiastical centers of Shiism. Third, by threatening Syria, the United States forced both of Iraq's flanking powers--Damascus and Tehran--into a marriage of convenience, which played out nicely in last summer's war in Lebanon. Finally, the United States embroiled itself in an endless insurgency that Iran can manipulate at will.
So the lesson for the future is this: Forget idealpolitik and think realpolitik. If you have to go to war, think security and stability first and democratic transcendence second. The imperative is to contain Iranian ambitions and to prevent a breakup of Iraq that will invite--nay, incite--Syria, Turkey, and Iran to carve up the place. To regain minimal stability, the United States must engineer at least a standoff between the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds. If you can't beat them, join the weakest to hold off the strongest. This requires a painful change of paradigm: a U.S. deal with the Sunnis, who are the smallest player in this murderous game.
What? With those Baathist thugs? Think again. The Sunnis are fighting for their survival and a chunk of power that will assure them a voice in post-insurgency Iraq. Offer them protection and clout, and so begin to separate the indigenous militias from the foreign jihadists who care not one whit about Iraq but want to humiliate and expel the United States. Think even about reconstituting the Saddamite army--on the simple theory that the "national" force the United States is betting on is a contradiction in terms. Why would Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds--deadly enemies all--add up to a single army just because they wear the same uniforms?
Since the Sunni states in the neighborhood share America's interest in the containment of Iran and its Shia brethren, the United States could count on some useful allies in the background. (No, the Saudis and Jordanians, who have made a living on timidity, won't wade into the fray, but they can help discreetly.)
While masterminding an internal balance, the United States also must take care of external business. The point is not to salvage the Iraqi nation-state--a fiction if ever there was one--but to save Iraq's national space from neighboring predators. The tool here is deterrence, and the method is regrouping. Position U.S. forces athwart the most likely invasion routes from Syria and Iran and so signal to both that they would have to attack the United States if they attack Iraq.
The benefits are obvious. "Tripwire" or deterrent forces require fewer troops than the current order of battle. And, if fight they must, they can do so far from urban settings and play out their natural advantages: mobility, precision, and airpower. Fight them on your terms, not in densely populated Falluja.
What's wrong with this prescription? Alas, the United States, unlike imperial Great Britain, is not cut out for such a game. It demands too much dexterity and cynicism. It requires ditching lofty principles and acting in strictly strategic terms. Support whomever is weakest so as to maintain a balance of power on the inside, but not too much lest your favorite du jour goes on a killing spree against the other two.
Scratch the rhetoric of regime change in Iran and Syria, but draw a line in the sand and threaten them with every B-2 and B-52 in the U.S. arsenal if they cross it. And then, with minimal exposure of your own (reduced) forces, dig in for the long haul. The message to friends and foes must be: We will be here forever because we can't afford to tuck tail--not in the world's most critical strategic arena.
We should expect more from Joffe (1 of 30)
posted by Robert Powell on 2006-11-27 04:37:48 [warn tnr] [respond]
This amounts to a dressed-up version of the Don Imus joke Chait stole for another article in this series-"Bring Back Saddam". The last paragraph here is spot-on, but the rest is full of embarassing mistakes.
-"The war is lost..." Really? The professor should recall, "The success of this occupation can only be judged fifty years from now. If the Germans at that time have a stable, prosperous democracy, then we shall have succeeded."-Eisenhower in Frankfurt, October 1945.
-"Saddam's Iraq posed no such threat" (as Wilhelmine Germany). Actually, the threat was arguably worse. We could manage pretty well without Europe in 1917, at least what was left of it. The Persian Gulf is another story today. Perhaps the professor can recall the "Tanker War", the rape of Kuwait, the shredded UN and US credibility, etc.? Where were the terrorist attacks from Europe in 1917? This is poor analogizing.
-..."by rushing into Iraq" (for sixteen years?) "...the US acted as unwitting handmaiden to Iran." This is oversimplification on the order of "they all look alike". Iraqis are not Iranians, and Saddam is the one who bolstered Iran's regional role by incompetently attacking them and everyone else in the region in such a way as to produce the current mess. In my view, the mullahs in Teheran have a lot more to fear from the influence of a Shiite-dominated democracy in Iraq than the other way round. According to Timothy Garton Ash, many young people in Iran, where they represent 70% of the population, jokingly refer to George Bush and "the thirteenth Imam" for his role in creating the first democratically elected Shiite-dominated government in world history.
Based entirely on the excellent last paragraph, Joffe gets a C-minus. Can do better.
Do not despair. (2 of 30)
posted by oxheadone on 2006-11-27 11:40:23 [warn tnr] [respond]
The US will shortly restore the Baath party leaders to power in Iraq; probably one of the generals we were trying to get to depose Saddam will take over. Just as we let many Nazis return to power in Germany in order to offset the Soviet Union, we need to support the Sunnis to offset the increasing influence of Iran. The Shiites are too divided to run anything and the Iranians are supporting the civil war. This is what the Baker commission is preparing. Billions of dollars and many thousands of broken lives and we are back where we started.
I agree Bob (3 of 30)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 12:14:05 [warn tnr] [respond]
I found this issue on the whole disappointing. If the Baker commission in any way resembles TNR's brain trust, we are doomed. The last paragraph was pretty much the only thing worthwhile in the whole piece.
B+ (4 of 30)
posted by jasinvt on 2006-11-27 12:23:05 [warn tnr] [respond]
Joffe's thoughts merit a better grade. An alliance with the Sunni tribes is indeed the type of realpolitik that may help stabilize the situation, and sober up the Iranians and Syrians. However, we need to accept the fact that this is temporary solution, the creation of a balance of terror, that may only good for period long enough for us to get out of Iraq.
As Kurth points out in his opinion, the Sunni sect is more supportive of the jihadists, and can be in both the religious and secular versions of its manifestations as extreme, intolerant and very violent. After all, it is the Saudis, supposedly our allies, who fund the ideology of Islamic fundamentalism.
All of this leads to a basic conclusion: we need to be strategically independent of the region, with an energy policy to match, notwithstanding the influence of Zionism in Congress and the media.
Who knows... (5 of 30)
posted by mpatrickhendri on 2006-11-27 13:22:01 [warn tnr] [respond]
this debate has only served to deepen my cynicism. If the United States continues along the same path, we are almost certain to fail. The introduction of more troops can not be sustained in the long term and it's not likely that military power can achieve "victory" even if we were able to muster another 20,000 soldiers and marines. But can we just withdraw and allow the country to tear itself apart and allow the conflict to spread into neighboring countries? I have not seen anything resembling a good solution in two weeks of debate here at TNR. Perhaps all the good options were on the front end, now we can move on to what Democracies do worst, admitting that we don't always have the answers.
pro-Joffe; divide et impera (6 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 14:09:10 [warn tnr] [respond]
As realpolitikers go, Joffe's about as mild and balanced as they come. He's not opposed to democracy promotion or idealism; his point is that, when you undertake a war, realpolitik has to prevail. Whether it's Afghanistan 2001 or Europe 1941 or Iraq 2006, the number one priority is to defeat the enemy and capture his territory-- goals that always require either nasty alliances (with Stalin, the Northern Alliance neanderthals, the sunnis etc) or divide-and-conquer strategies.
The crucial facts in Iraq right now are that we cannot win by ourselves, and that the Iraqi government that cannot defend itself with any effectiveness. Objectively speaking, we are in a weak position and must cut some deals, and fast. So the question is simply which side(s) to take, against which enemies.
Obviously, we need to turn the tables on Iran and Syria and their allies within Iraq, which means of course we need to involve Jordan and the conservative sunni Gulf States as much as we possibly can in central Iraq. Troops from Jordan and the other sunni states would be nice, but in any case we need to edge back from the urban tarbabies and redeploy our troops closer to Iran and Syria. Let the sunni and shi'a fight it out in Baghdad, and let us use our air power and mobility to police the borders with Syria and Iran. We should probably urge splitting off Kurdistan and retaining a US airbase there as well.
Berlin analogy: divide Baghdad, occupy it with foreign arab troops (7 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 14:13:56 [warn tnr] [respond]
Mr Joffe,
What do you think of declaring Baghdad an occupied arab city, putting it under an Arab League mandate and dividing it into armed occupation zones, as Berlin was after the war by the Four Powers?
Amerikaneren raus, replaced by Jordanian, Kuwaiti, maybe Egyptian troops as well policing each of the occupied zones. Governed by Arab League mandate. All US troops redeployed to the west and east, far from the capital city, creating a cordon sanitaire of sorts between the center and the provinces close to Syria and Iran.
Any thoughts? danke,
T
Bob (8 of 30)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 14:17:10 [warn tnr] [respond]
it seems like it is only you, me, and Channy who give a damn about the Kurds, or who seem to realize how essential we remain in the region, and in Iraq proper in some fashion.
The final disposition of Iraq must be left to the Iraqis themselves, it is not a jigsaw puzzle for us to rearrange as we see fit, however we must not break faith with those elements of Iraqi society who share our vision of peace, prosperity, and democracy.
tep, welcome back (9 of 30)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 14:25:45 [warn tnr] [respond]
you have been gone a little while. I actually prefer a redeployment to the north, build and invest that region, our air power could destroy any camps we see and if things get out of control we can intervene. Personally, I would love to see the Kurds get the lions share of our largess. If a school is built there, it will likely stay built.
It is good that you do not envision abandoning Baghdad. Even a fantasy United government is better than none at all. I just hope the Arabs pony up when the time comes, if they don't then we have to remain there, to at least secure the green zone and the airport.
(10 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 14:32:10 [warn tnr] [respond]
The Kurds have indeed benefited, hugely, from our efforts. For this we can be proud, and grateful.
The Iraq that is taking shape will likely resemble the Iraq that prevailed in the late 1990s: three zones, one each in the north and south under US protection and a central, hellish zone that is beyond US control. The northern zone that we policed with the NFZ is now essentially a Kurdish independent republic-- an enormous success and a potential bastion of pro-Americanism in the region (perhaps also a forward US air base).
OTOH the southern, shi'a zone needs to be severed from Iranian influence and Baghdad and its environs are a hopelessly chaotic swamp. COntainment is the goal for these regions-- contain Baghdad's chaos, contain Iranian and Syrian efforts to infiltrate and stir up trouble. Both these goals are best accomplished with US air power, incl apaches, dispatched from garrisons along Iraq's eastern and western borders and Kurdistan.
Result: a ringfence around the jihadis in the center and a free, prosperous and pro-US Kurdish republic in the north. Not a bad outcome, that.
(11 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 14:35:35 [warn tnr] [respond]
It is good that you do not envision abandoning Baghdad
I do indeed wish to get our troops out of Baghdad, as fast as politically and tactically possible. The Baghdad Iraqis cannot govern themselves. Make it an Arab-governed (but not Iraqi-governed) city. Contain that city's jihadi radioactivity with air power, withdrawn to parts of Iraq that we can indeed police and that can indeed govern themselves-- the south and north.
democratic peace theory (12 of 30)
posted by alamariu on 2006-11-27 15:02:17 [warn tnr] [respond]
DPT does not suggest that democracies do not go to war, as Joffe implies; rather, that they do not go to war against each other. That was a silly mistake for an academic to make.
Tep, I agree (13 of 30)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 15:13:28 [warn tnr] [respond]
the thing that is making me a little crazy is that few people can envision any kind of outcome other than absolute catastrope. No long term perspective at all. What is so now will always be so, etc. In fact, what you wrote above is more cogent and reasonable than what I read from most of the columnists. At least my subscription also pays for the privelege of reading many more informed opinions in talkback than in the magazine, so it is not entirely wasted money.
teplukhin, (14 of 30)
posted by mpatrickhendri on 2006-11-27 15:14:58 [warn tnr] [respond]
Only a month ago, you were calling me crazy for suggesting a federalized and ultimately partioned Iraq. Did my argument sway you? I'm guessing no, but just wondering...
specifics? (15 of 30)
posted by clifton on 2006-11-27 15:16:26 [warn tnr] [respond]
I'm not sure if I follow what Joffe means by "ally with the Sunnis". Another article suggests (jokingly?) that we put Saddam back in power. I presume that Joffe, on the other hand is serious. Does he mean that we should threaten the Sunnis with abandoning them to slaughter at the hands of the Shia? This should have been done long ago.
It also seems he wants to offer the Sunnis something positive as well. Their own armed forces? Autonomy? A greater say in the goverance of the country as a whole?
How many of these can we actually offer? How many would be accepted in any form that we would offer them?
It's hard to know whether Joffe has anything meaningful to offer the discussion when he gives no details.
As a matter of fact (16 of 30)
posted by mpatrickhendri on 2006-11-27 15:20:17 [warn tnr] [respond]
Only the Iraqis can decide if they want to partition their country. I do believe that the Kurds deserve and will have a Kurdistan. That will be one postive. Beyond that, I don't know.
mpatrickhendri (17 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 15:59:44 [warn tnr] [respond]
You were right; I was wrong. I overestimated the ability of the Iraqi government to govern. It seems obvious to me now, actually should have been obvious to me then, that there is no political grouping or entity in Iraq that now or in the near future can effectively govern. ie police the streets, keep order, enforce the laws, pick up garbage, keep the power on etc.
Without a central sovereign, there is no centralized nation. The tribal jihadis rule Baghdad. It is pointless for us to try to protect something that effectively does not exist.
The other shift in my thinking has to do with Iran, which IMO (probably Joffe's as well) is now a far greater threat to us than disorder in Baghdad. The latter threatens Iraqis only; a resurgent and triumphant, nuclear Iran will threaten the US and the West in due course.
Finally, it occurred to me that the problem is not Iraq per se but Baghdad. The north of Iraq is in excellent shape. The south is reasonably stable. It's only in the center and the ba'athist/jihadi west of the country that you have anarchy. In other words, what we have now is similar to what existed under the no-fly zone era, with the huge exception being the departure of the Saddam-Uday-Qusay killing machine. Retail, insular violence confined to the center as opposed to wholesale, state-sponsored violence extended in every direction. Partition can contain the jihadi-badboyz violence and keep it focused inward.
ally withthe sunni GULF STATES + JORDAN (18 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 16:02:39 [warn tnr] [respond]
.. against Iran and Syria. Bring the sunni arab powers into Iraq, give them some control over Baghdad, let them do the policing instead of US marines. Divide and conquer those Iraqis who are bent on slaughtering each other.
blackton 13: NFZ precedent makes it easier (19 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 16:11:13 [warn tnr] [respond]
Well, it's not rocket science. The fact that everyone overlooks is that the no-fly zones worked-- or at least were working, until the corrupt French and the criminalized Russian states began signing multi-billion $$ sweetheart deals with Saddam.
The essence of the NFZ was using overwhelming US air superiority to protect the Kurds in the north and the shi'a in the south, while putting Saddam in a multilateral-enforced box. I now see that this situation, as sh*tty as it was-- and the sanctions were being manipulated to create a "genocide" per a UN official that was killing far more Iraqis each month than are being killed now-- was a pretty good deal for the US: containment with minimal expense in US blood and $$. What no one knew or could know was the extent of Saddam's WMD efforts.
Now that Saddam's regime is gone, we should build on the Iraqi institutions that exist-- ie the stable, decent and prosperous Kurdish state-in-the-making and the city governments of the shi'a south-- and try to contain the mayhem in the dysfunctional provinces. Which leads us back to the NFZ strategy of withdrawing to the good, stable Iraq and bombing when/if necessary the bad, hellish Iraq. And realigning our troops to face Iran and Syria, perhaps via border patrols to the east and west augmented by a garrison in Kurdistan.
multilateral (20 of 30)
posted by montraville on 2006-11-27 16:57:42 [warn tnr] [respond]
Teplukhin, you tangentially bring up an important point. Major powers outside the region have interests that they want to develop/exploit, and much of their future of Iraq will actually be decided in Moscow, Beijing, London, etc. It is not only Tehran who is able to manipulate the chaos at will.
Any Realpolitik strategy assumes that these other powers will be factors just as out of our control as the people in the region. So let's first exorcise the ghost of unilateralism, and the belief that we have the ability to decisively effect the region all by our lonesome, especially since all the other powers will want their own vig.
(21 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 17:09:51 [warn tnr] [respond]
Not every power with an interest in Iraq should be invited into discussions of Iraq's future, or given a piece of the spoils. The Russians in particular, while crucial to reining in Iran, have brought nothing but mischief to the table: per his regime's own oil-for-food documentation-- and like all totalitarians he kept very precise documents-- Saddam funneled $91 million directly to Putin and his FSB pals. Then there were the sweetheart deals with LUKoil, plus the leaking of US battle plans to Saddam just prior to the invasion.... Russia can be bought off; just keep them out of the power structure. Ditto for the French.
The powers that matter for Iraq are its immediate neighbors and the pther gulf states. Keep Iran and Syria out, keep Jordan and the gulf states in. Balance all against all and let US air power intervene wherever/whenever necessary to keep Iraq under control-- ie neither too weak nor too strong.
(22 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 17:11:48 [warn tnr] [respond]
We could send maybe $500m directly to Putin's numbered account in Geneva and let him divvy it up with his mafiyosi pals as he chooses. For Chirac, maybe $10m and a lifetime pass to a Dubai whorehouse.
Real World Politik (23 of 30)
posted by montraville on 2006-11-27 20:01:07 [warn tnr] [respond]
I think the best way to bribe a foreign tyrant is to offer to make him into an American reality TV star. All tyrants are narcissitic, and charming, hence natural talent.
In exchange for his resignation, give Kim Jong Il a three-picture deal at MGM. I would love to see what he could cook up.
(That being said, nothing I said above should be construed as calling for regional talks. I'm just saying we should take those other state actors into more account...)
tep (24 of 30)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 20:13:00 [warn tnr] [respond]
Dubai has whorehouses? and more significantly, can Chirac still avail himself of them? Is Viagra truly such a wonder drug?
(25 of 30)
posted by teplukhin on 2006-11-27 20:39:36 [warn tnr] [respond]
You still looking for your next destination, blackton?
You're All Wrong - Even the Nuts (26 of 30)
posted by klfoster on 2006-11-27 22:14:43 [warn tnr] [respond]
Saddam himself was and would always be a major risk because of his personal hatred of the U.S. and his desire to get back at the U.S. E.G., the attempted assassination of Bush Sr. As made clear in Clinton Mideast Adviser Ken Pollack's book "The Threatening Storm - The Case for Invading Iraq" Saddam miscalculated in every foreign adventure throughout his reign, with not one exception. It would have taken little effort and a short time for him to reconstitute Iraq's WMD's and initiate his already planned nuclear weapons program (as posted on the internet by our Homeland Security Dept.). He would have been motivated to do so in response to Iran's recent efforts. Our mistake was the groundless and misplaced belief that a democracy was even a possibility in Iraq. None of the facts on the ground were amenable to the basics of a democracy as outlined in our Federalist Papers. Quite the contrary. Bush turned those principles on their head. We should have invaded, as we did, taken out Saddam (with a bullet not a conviction), his sons and top henchmen, which we did for the most part, and left with the dire warning that we would be back if we even thought they were supporting any Islamic groups to our detriment. All of this was accomplished by late summer of 2003. The Bathists would have been left in power unless overthrown from within. We also should have blockaded Siria and cut them off from oil because they aided and abetted the opposition to our invasion from the outset. This may have caused the pro-Iranian Assad to fall to a Sunni powerplay or, at a minimum, would have pointed out clearly to him that we would not tolerate any alliance with any group that represented a threat to the U.S.
The singular point of our strategy should have been to leave no doubt whatsoever of our willingness and ability to quickly remove from power any authoritarian regime anywhere in the world that we thought was providing aid to radical Islamist groups that we deemed to be a threat to the U.S. We achieved that in 2003 in Iraq and lost it thereafter.
incomplete minus (27 of 30)
posted by montraville on 2006-11-27 23:33:25 [warn tnr] [respond]
Decapitating Saddam could just have easily triggered a civil war, with the subsequent horrible consequences. Remember, Saddam was an active tyrant, i.e. he spent his time suppressing real and imagined threats and rivals to his power. I find it difficult to believe that there were not a hundred Saddam clones in Tikrit and elsewhere, waiting to step right in, each of them equally unprincipled, sadistic, and ready to play the anti-American rhetoric card to get local props. End result, no improvement.
This scheme would have the advantage of US troops being in harm's way for a minimum amount of time at the beginning. However, if the unrest spread, the US would eventually have been involved anyway, because of our vital interests. And we would not have had any bargaining history or leverage with the regime that replaced Saddam, because we were in-and-out.
And when we were then, later, pulled into the conflict because of our vital interests in the region, we wouldn't have any ground prepared at all, and would have to build alliances while at the same time inserting ourselves. Not an easy task.
This strategy isn't right, it's not even wrong. It's nothing.
This is a lovely little fluffy bunny daydream strategy which would limit the US body count in the short term, but would have no long term benefit and a lot of long term harm. It is the ideal strategy for a US Congressman who doesn't see past the next term.
You're All Wrong (cont.) (28 of 30)
posted by klfoster on 2006-11-27 23:47:58 [warn tnr] [respond]
What to do now that we are in this fine mess?
1. Increase our troop presence with the singular objective of destroying the Shiite militias and killing their leaders. This will force the government to look to the Army created by the U.S. This will enable the U.S. to reduce troop levels as the military takes force. 2. Iran: Cease negotiations at the soonest possible moment and begin training and arming small groups of Iranian youth volunteers who would return to their country to create small unrelated cells whose primary responsibility is to assassinate the present Iranian leaders and overthrow the government. 3. Syria: This is the only way that Iran has to influence the far reaches of the Arab world. Warn Syria if they do not cease all intervention in Lebanon and support of Hezbollah and anti-U.S./gov't. forces, we will impose a complete blockade (or blow up their ports and air strips if a foreign country does not honor the blockade). We would also arrange that they be cut off from all oil and gas supplies. The objective is the fall of Assad and his minority religious sect.
Without Syrian support, Shiite militia intimidation and by distracting the Iranians who will be preoccupied with internal threats, the Iraqi government will have a chance of survival.
real options (29 of 30)
posted by Robert Powell on 2006-11-28 04:49:20 [warn tnr] [respond]
Much as I agree with tep's general positions, we should be clear that any prospect of Jordanian/Saudi/Egyptian troops setting foot in Iraq and/or policing Baghdad is roughly similar to that of the job being done by space aliens. Just because these people are all Sunnis doesn't mean they don't hate each other, and us. The fact is that many Sunni nations are already involved-they're funding (through private individuals) the Sunni terrorists, including Al Qaeda in Iraq. The official forces of these states can barely keep order in their own countries.
Also, we're not going to be able to bribe Putin as he already has more money than anyone can effectively count.
I like klfoster's ideas. We should be extremely clear that we are in Iraq to protect vital interests, ours and those of the larger industrial world. Any other considerations are peripheral. It is generally a good idea to support a democratic system whether or not it leads to civil war because that will be demonstrably what the people want. If so, let them have it. Then at least you can't credibly blame us as is still done in Iran for our setting of the Shah on the Peacock Throne. The end results look about the same to me otherwise.
There are a lot of people in the Arab world who think our plan from the beginning was to reduce Iraq to a chaotic, fragmented mess because then it would represent less of a threat to Israel and other regional allies, and would have no real shot at reconstituting WMD programs. We may not have intended it, but in fact they are correct that even the current chaos is more agreeable to our actual interests than an enemy totalitarian state.
Would Have Been Could Have Been (30 of 30)
posted by klfoster on 2006-11-28 13:55:02 [warn tnr] [respond]
Montraville imagines many even hundreds of would be Saddams as well as a post-Saddam civil war. This is inconsistent. A new oligarch would have repressed the opposition. The opposition was largely unarmed. We have armed the opposition and allowed Iran and Hezzbolah to do likewise. We have created the basis for a civil war. How could we be drawn into a civil war that couldn't take place under a repressive Baathist regime and without our well-intentioned occupation.
Why could such a regime be in our interest? The new leader(s) would get the message that if they did not cooperate in exterminating or expelling militant Islamist groups, we would be back and remove them from power. Their main interest is staying in power. That was Saddam's interest. He simply miscalculated once again - for the last time.
Where is our base that has been created by the U.S. occupation? The Shiite militias? The foreign invaders? The Sunnis? It is the feckless government that we prop up - ironically with the assistance of Sadr.
Our national interest with respect to the Muslim world is to repress or cause the repression of Islamists who would take action against the U.S. Focus on this!! Instead our occupation has stimulated the growth of militant Islamist groups throughout the Muslim world and put the existence of "moderate" Muslims in danger. We shocked and awed and then became a laughable embarrassment. How to get out of this hole is now the question. I suggested one strategy in a separate posting.
Tongue-in-cheek (37 of 73)
posted by davidgo on 2006-11-27 13:37:59 [warn tnr] [respond]
The point of Chait's tongue-in-cheek piece is that the Iraqis themselves need to get their own house in order. Ultimately, they are responsible for their own fate; they will get what they deserve. Look what has happened to the Palestinians. They voted in Hamas and now their economy is bankrupt and Palestinian factions are attacking each other. Unless educated Iraqis can figure out how to quell the Sunni-Shia divide, they will get what the Palestinians have gotten: chaos, and not a viable future.
great idea - a little late (38 of 73)
posted by JohnnyA on 2006-11-27 14:14:11 [warn tnr] [respond]
I suggested this to my breakfast club about a year ago; might have worked then. At this point the only approach that makes any sense is to return to the status when the English mucked it up, i.e. three separate regions in a loose federation, while concurrently evacuating ourselves and any others who wish to leave. Send the evacuees to Britain, they started the mess and still support it.
Tongue-in-cheek (39 of 73)
posted by randyruiz on 2006-11-27 14:58:59 [warn tnr] [respond]
I think the point of this article is that this pointless adventure of bringing our view of civilization to another country by force of military is insane.
The article hints at that fact that a petty tyrant like Saddam in control of Iraq killing his people is better than us in power killing those same people. Our solution to the Iraq problem is worse than the problem.
Preventative wars are evil. It corrupts the purpose of the intervention. It is also not consistant with the character that Americans belive they and their country share. This is not what America does. I know this is silly but the character Superman in a very simplistic way is a representation of how Americans see themselves and America. Honest, noble, humble and of course a unshakable belife in justice and fairness. America in regards to Iraq has ended up behaving like a supervillian rather than a superhero. Not because we are evil or bad people but because our administration acted with arrogence and hubris while wielding the worlds most powerful millitary.
In fairness to Chait... (40 of 73)
posted by ChanRobt on 2006-11-27 15:18:08 [warn tnr] [respond]
...I believe this whole "What Next for Iraq" series has been meant to be a brainstorm session.
The rules of a brainstorm are that all ideas go on the wall. No criticism, no censorship while they're being proposed.
Now, of course, that doesn't mean you can't rip things to shreds later. And I'm not saying crticism here on the board is incorrect.
But, the point of a brainstorm is to allow for the most creative and original thinking possible. There is no taboo or retribution for what you say. Just a clearheaded sorting out of all ideas on the table later.
So, I recommend we assume Chait meant this as a "what if?" not necessarily his honest to God recommendation.
Given the intractable difficulties we face in the Middle East and in conquering Jihad, every conceiveable idea ought to be ruminated upon.
But, meanwhile, don't worry. This one's a non-starter.
The best part would be... (41 of 73)
posted by ClumsyMohel on 2006-11-27 15:47:46 [warn tnr] [respond]
...after Jeb got elected, he could have a go at Saddam, too.
beyond tongue-in-cheek (42 of 73)
posted by JosephCuomo on 2006-11-27 15:49:28 [warn tnr] [respond]
For anyone who missed it, Jonathan Chait explains over at the Plank that this article is not at all tongue-in-cheek. Instead, it is an "intellectual exercise."
Chait writes:
"If I was granted power over Iraq policy, would I install Saddam Hussein in Baghdad? No.
"On the other hand, I do believe that things are so bad in Iraq it may be worth considering it, at least as an intellectual exercise. . . .I'm not saying I'm sure this is a good idea. But it's worth discussing, because, to repeat the point I was trying to illustrate, the alternatives are all very, very bad."
Which sounds as though Chait is trying to invent some new category of hypothetical argument: suggesting you should do something you don't believe should be done as a viable alternative to something you don't believe should have happened in the first place in order to illustrate how everything else that could now be done (in response to what shouldn't have been done in the first place) is a very, very bad idea, but not any worse than doing something you don't now believe should be done, even if you think that what you don't believe should be done is actually worth considering, simply because you aren't at all sure that what you don't believe should be done is such a bad idea.
This is the kind of reasoning one might have heard some thirty-five or forty years ago, deep into the dayglo night, long after the pipe had made its lazy way around (and around and around) the room. . .
Which, by the way, reminds me of my favorite post on this thread, that of walto010 (#15), particularly this:
"You might as well suggest that we replace our 150,000 soldiers with an army of hippies who will shower Iraq with flowers, tabs of LSD, and pamphelets advocating free love between Sunnis and Shia so that all parties to the conflict can redirect all their negative energy toward mind-blowing, psychedelic sex, thereby melding their individual consciousnesses with the Cosmic Unity."
Blackton (43 of 73)
posted by jhildner on 2006-11-27 16:44:39 [warn tnr] [respond]
The concern in the Balkans was ongoing ethnic cleansing and other ongoing humanitarian emergencies associated with a violent civil (or Serb) war which the U.S. did not start. The point of NATO involvement, as I recall, was to put a stop to it. This is nothing like Iraq. Saddam's attacks on the Kurds were, in 2003, about fifteen years old I believe. It was never the main rationale for the war, and for good reason -- there was no ongoing humanitarian crisis that might justify in anyone's mind the course of action we were about to take. The fact that Saddam's attacks on the Kurds were history, of course, doesn't excuse them, nor does it excuse Saddam's totalitarian regime generally. But the situations are vastly different.
Iraq was stable and *relatively* safe before we invaded. The Johns Hopkins study of civilian deaths in Iraq caused by the invasion and its aftermath -- the only *scientific* study of the issue I'm aware of -- attributes 600,000 unexpected violent deaths to the war. You may say that this number is an exaggeration, but that's probably little more than wishful thinking. It's consistent with an earlier study using the same surveying technique, which is likely more reliable than media reports or sporadic morgue counts -- the other competing methods. Civilian deaths on this scale and the thousands of American casualties might be justified on some pressing security or humanitarian ground. As it turns out, we've made things much worse on boths counts, unleashing a brutal civil war and exacerbating our security concerns in the region (Iran's increasing sphere of influence and Salafist terrorism).
Okay, you say, but it could have been done right. I think it could have been done better. We've read too many accounts of Pentagon bungling not to think so. Still, I doubt that this war would have had much support if we had appreciated the depth of the animosity between Iraq's religious groups, if we had foreseen that the US would *not* be greeted as liberators, understood that much larger forces would be needed for longer periods of time to prevent breakdown of order, etc., etc. This is why delusional pictures were painted for the public on all of those issues. Moreover, given the lack of evidence of a real security threat from Iraq, given that our real problems were Iran and al Qaeda, and given that the invasion and occupation was going to be a very risky and very large undertaking regardless, it strikes me that the verdict should have been "mistake" before the fact, not even knowing what we know now. After the fact, it seems obvious that it was mistake, given that hindsight has revelaed zero security threat. Therefore, I have serious doubts that there was any right way to do it.
I agree with you that Iraq is not Vietnam. Vietnam was much worse. This is still very bad.
All The Kings Horses (44 of 73)
posted by Deimos on 2006-11-27 16:53:00 [warn tnr] [respond]
Whatever Saddam used to stay in power has been destroyed and he wouldn't have much better luck than we have currently.
Like Humpty Dumpty he can't be put back together.
Excellent post by JosephCuomo (45 of 73)
posted by mfranck on 2006-11-27 16:57:22 [warn tnr] [respond]
I agree totally with his assessment. It's really not clear what exactly Jonathan Chait means, with his vague "I kinda sorta theoretically mean this, more or less", but all of the possibilities are stupid.
Cuomo (46 of 73)
posted by jhildner on 2006-11-27 17:30:09 [warn tnr] [respond]
The point of Chait's article is awkwardly expressed, but, I think clear: He really, really wishes we could turn back time and not invade. I agree with him there. Most Americans agree with him there. If it were possible to restore Saddam, I would certainly consider it. If it were possible to install a different Sunni strongman, I would consider that too. I would consider those things seriously for the good reasons Chait has given. No mind-blowing required.
Please! (47 of 73)
posted by sandeepdath on 2006-11-27 17:32:17 [warn tnr] [respond]
I think that perhaps we see a glimpse into Chait's intellect (or lack thereof) here. It would appear that of all the incoherent solutions I've heard over the past five hears, this one definitely wins the prize.
Chait: It may well be possible to reconstitute the Iraqi army and state bureaucracy we disbanded..
Really? And how do you propose going about that?
Chait: ...and if so, that may be the only force capable of imposing order in Iraq.
Um, er, Dear Mr. Al-Sadr. We'd like to leave and let the other guys take over for a while again...
Chait: When people perceive a lack of order, they act in ways that further the disorder.
Just because you can propose a novel idea doesn't make it automatically true. The above statement is probably accurate for a small percentage of any population, but it's really a vacuous over-generalization.
Chait: And he'd probably be amenable because his alternative is death by hanging.
Oh, so there's going to be a quiet, Shiite opposition-in-exile that is going to wait around, see if Saddam's being a "goodie", and if not, remind him of the justice that's waiting around the corner?
Jeez, somebody just shoot me. Or better, shoot Chait.
Better Yet (48 of 73)
posted by sfjamiesf on 2006-11-27 17:58:36 [warn tnr] [respond]
Install Bush as their new dictator.
He's just about done, here, and he really seems to be eager to be in Iraq for the long haul. So, he might as well be there in person.
Now, THAT would be an eye-for-an-eye punishment worthy of Solomon.
Jamie Wagoner, SF
(49 of 73)
posted by JosephCuomo on 2006-11-27 18:23:43 [warn tnr] [respond]
jhildner-
You write (in post #46): "The point of Chait's article is awkwardly expressed, but, I think clear: He really, really wishes we could turn back time and not invade."
But Chait himself seems to disagree with you, jhildner. Just take a look at his "Saddam Revisited" post over at the Plank. He says that the overriding point of his article was not, as you suggest, a wish to go back in time and undo the past--ie, undo the invasion itself--but, as he puts it, "a kind of thought experiment for thinking through the way forward in Iraq."
The way forward in Iraq.
And in the original article, Chait speaks repeatedly of "endless chaos," "a lack of order," and "civil war," all of which are conditions that obtain (or threaten to obtain) now.
Indeed, Chait speaks not of some magical time-machine solution, not of some wistful longing for a past before the great mistake had been made; he speaks (in the original article) of "reinstalling Saddam" and (over at the Plank) of "restoring Saddam" to power today.
"Now, I realize you can't just say," says Chait, "that because the war was a mistake then restoring Saddam is the best option. But it does suggest that dismissing the idea out of hand isn't quite as easy as it seems."
And:
"The disadvantages of reinstalling Hussein are obvious," says Chait, "but consider some of the upside."
And:
"I know why restoring a brutal tyrant to power is a bad idea," says Chait. "Somebody explain to me why it's worse than all the others."
These are not the words of a man, jhildner, who is making the point you seem to think he is making. These are not the words of a man who is longing for a way to turn back time and somehow reinsert us all in the pre-March-2003 past.
These are the words of a man who is proposing something he does not want to propose, but isn't sure he doesn't want to propose it, simply because he can't think of anything else that would work, going forward, which makes him doubt whether what he doesn't want to propose is actually worth proposing, even though what he is proposing is absurd (if not impossible).
Which is to say, these are the words, jhildner, of a man who is thoroughly, sadly, and undeniably confused.
Chait on Tucker (50 of 73)
posted by jeffclark42 on 2006-11-27 18:36:03 [warn tnr] [respond]
Chait was just on Tucker - he said that we wasn't endorsing this approach - just getting people to think about options. It will never happen, Saddam will be at the end of a rope soon and deserves to be but darn it, the violence that occured in Iraq during his reign was never on the level it is now. I don't know this for sure but I can't imagine that he was murdering 100 people a day during his reign. So, are things worse now?
Hey ChanRobert and Mr. Powell.
jhildner (51 of 73)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 18:47:58 [warn tnr] [respond]
"Therefore, I have serious doubts that there was any right way to do it."
To be honest, I never called for Clinton to invade Iraq so it would be hypocritical for me to say I wanted Bush to, obviously knowing what a complete f-up he is I never would have. Really, the solution I would have best prefered (If we can go back in time) is to call for Saddams arrest as a precondition to ending Desert Storm, and the tacit acceptance of any Iraqi general who carried out the arrest. That would have put both Saddam and his generals in a box, he would have had to kill them to prevent them from doing it, and they would have had to kill him to stop him from killing them, plus they would have had the benefit of being the next leader of Iraq. Undoubtedly, the new leader would have been bad, but not anywhere in Saddams category.
Also, if we had called for Saddams arrest at the outset, Bush himself would have backed himself into a corner and had no choice but to finish the job. In any case, Iraq would not be where it is now. The US would have left Saudi Arabia because they would not have had to stay in counterweight to Saddam, Osama would have been missing his one big rallying cry,(the stationing of troops on sacred Saudi soil) and 9/11 might never had happened
Bring back Saddam Hussein. (52 of 73)
posted by buntoon on 2006-11-27 18:49:49 [warn tnr] [respond]
I think this is a sensible idea. After all, Iraqis were happier in general during those days than today. Considering what we experience today, Saddam did a better job for safety of the Iraqi people than George Bush.
And, while we're at it buntoon... (53 of 73)
posted by ChanRobt on 2006-11-27 19:27:28 [warn tnr] [respond]
...since as you point out, Iraqis were happier under Saddam, we can also declare him dictator of the United States. So that we, too can enjoy the limitless happiness and safety that acrues to those who live under a brutal despot.
jeffclark (54 of 73)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-27 20:19:25 [warn tnr] [respond]
what about the Iran-Iraq war, the anfal campaign, the invasion of Kuwait, etc. Saddam has racked up some pretty grisly numbers, and there is no guarantee his heirs would not have continued his glorious work.
Maybe containment would have worked, but we will never know. Counterfactual history is fun, but really pretty much useless to solving the problems of the day. I mean, if I did invest in Microsoft in 86....
Saddam 2 (55 of 73)
posted by Deimos on 2006-11-27 20:53:14 [warn tnr] [respond]
Of course he doesn't want Saddam to return, nor does anyone else.
What he is saying is that Iraq needs a leader like Saddam who will be indistinguishable from Saddam in a few years and by then noone will know the difference.
Cuomo (56 of 73)
posted by jhildner on 2006-11-27 23:50:49 [warn tnr] [respond]
Chait said in the Plank post, as did I back at 23, that the premise of this article is that the war was a mistake. But that wasn't his whole point, and I didn't say that it was. The rest is that, "if it were possible to restore Saddam, I would certainly consider it. If it were possible to install a different Sunni strongman, I would consider that too. I would consider those things seriously for the good reasons Chait has given."
The key phrase there seems to be "if it were possible." It doesn't seem possible, at least in Saddam's case, and Chait should have dealt with that issue in the article. But the fact that we might wish it were possible, and have good reasons for wishing it were possible, shows how utterly fucked up this whole thing has been and how fucked we are now. That's what Chait means by a "thought experiment." I think it's a valid point.
Cuomo 2 (57 of 73)
posted by jhildner on 2006-11-28 00:01:51 [warn tnr] [respond]
.... though I appreciated your hilarious description of his "new category of hypothetical argument."
People who understand the virtues of a republic... (58 of 73)
posted by ChanRobt on 2006-11-28 00:06:38 [warn tnr] [respond]
...and of freedom would say, better to be free men, even if at war with each other, then slaves at the mercy of a despot.
Our of this internal strife freedom can emerge. Iraq has the underpinnings of freedom with a constitution, an elected leader, and two or three electionsunder its belt.
France, Britain, and the United States have all in their histories fought bitter internal wars or full out civil wars. Much blood was shed. But, ultimately out of the conflicts stability emerged.
This may or may not be possible for Iraq. But one thing is certain, as long as she was under the boot of Saddam, Iraq was never going to have freedom or anything like it.
And under Saddam's "peace" millions died every sort of horrid death and suffered every kind of torture.
Chait is allowed his experimental thinking.
But, for people here, presumably all enjoying the fruits of liberty, to really claim that life under is something to better than what we have now, is selfish and wrong.
At least out of this can come something better. Under the Saddam regime, a despotism of horror was all that was ever possible.
typo fixes and a missing paragraphy (59 of 73)
posted by ChanRobt on 2006-11-28 00:11:04 [warn tnr] [respond]
...OUT of this internal strife freedom can emerge. Iraq has the underpinnings of freedom with a constitution, an elected leader, and two or three elections under its belt....
...But, for people here, presumably all enjoying the fruits of liberty, to really claim that life under the tyrant was something better than what Iraq has now, is selfish and wrong...
For starters, the Kurds are living peacefully, with new prosperity, and free from the depradations inflicted by Saddam.
And many other parts of Iraq-- a fairly large country-- are not seeing anything like the nastiness of Bagdad and some of the other cities that come under the eye of the tv cameras
An obvious solution (60 of 73)
posted by JSmith125 on 2006-11-28 00:12:05 [warn tnr] [respond]
As long as we're thinking outside the box, what's wrong with the following idea? According to the BBC, "By 2006, US military estimates ranged from 8,000 to 20,000 [insurgents], although Iraqi intelligence officials have issued figures as high as 40,000 fighters, plus another 160,000 supporters." We're spending perhaps $120 billion a year on this war. If we took just a third of that, $40 bil, and divided it among 40,000 insurgents -- the high estimate -- that's $1 million per insurgent, right?
So why not just pay every insurgent a million bucks, with some strings attached -- it's paid in installments, you have to register with U.S. authorities and submit to something like parole or probation, etc. -- and be done with it?
We could sweeten the deal, and also get those people out of Iraq, by offering U.S. green cards as well. We'll put you in the U.S., albeit at a location of our choosing (so we can make sure they're scattered around), set you up with a $1 million 401(k) that will pay out a comfortable pension, and allow you to live out your days on that pension as long as you behave yourself. And using just a tiny fraction of the money we save, we can set up whatever administrative system is needed to make this work, including some means for sorting among claimants and whatever is needed to check up on all the beneficiaries and see that they're following the terms agreed to. Meanwhile, using some of the rest of that saved $$ -- say, $20 - 30 bil a year for each of the next 5-10 years -- we can do a proper job of rebuilding Iraq, thus creating conditions for a stable, prosperous, peacable country.
OK, so the real hard-core terrorists and suicide bombers might not accept. I think most would prefer to be instant millionaires (or to get the dough for their families) over their current hardships, but let's imagine that we got 0 of the insurgents themselves and just bought off those 160,000 alleged "supporters." That's still very cheap -- under my plan, using only fractions of current expenditures, we could still give every single one of those people a quarter of a million dollars -- and it would be a death blow to the insurgency, wouldn't it? The rest would be left isolated and much easier to mop up.
As Chait says of his plan, it may be stupid, but how is it more stupid than the plans actually being discussed?
Chan (61 of 73)
posted by jhildner on 2006-11-28 01:14:36 [warn tnr] [respond]
I'm curious about your "millions" number as far as Saddam's "horrid death" toll. Do you have a source for that number?
Anyway, my impression is that violent deaths of Iraqis are way up under the U.S. occupation as compared with before the war -- it seems we've made life a lot *more* dangerous and difficult for ordinary Iraqis when compared with life under Saddam. Liberty is just word without order. If you have a realistic way to assure both, I'm all ears. But you don't. Nobody does, it seems.
Indeed, many of the people fighting now are not fighting for liberty. They're fighting to take liberty away from their neighbors, or their wives or daughters. They're fighting for their piece. To answer Mr. Lincoln's question at Gettysburg, yes, a nation conceived in liberty may long endure. But Iraq wasn't conceived in liberty, was it? "She" was conceived in imperialist expediency. There is no more Iraq -- just a battleground for the region's worst elements, with innocents and Americans caught in the crossfire.
Curtain was pulled-away (62 of 73)
posted by danreynolds on 2006-11-28 08:43:39 [warn tnr] [respond]
A practical problem with re-installing Hussein is that the curtain has been pulled-away on his power apparatus.
His power over the country was, in some part, due to the false perception that he had command of much greater miliatry power than he actually had.
With that illusion shattered, I am not sure what tools he would have to establish control over the warring factions.
(63 of 73)
posted by JosephCuomo on 2006-11-28 09:01:30 [warn tnr] [respond]
jhildner-
When it comes to the impossible pipe dream of wishing us all back to the world as it was before March of 2003, I don't think you and I really disagree.
But it seems worthwhile to note that when you quote the words (in post #56) "if it were possible to restore Saddam," you are not quoting Jonathan Chait, you are quoting yourself.
If Chait had actually used the same phrase in his article, or in his explanation of his article (over at the Plank), it would have been a very different piece. But this point--"if it were possible to restore Saddam"--is not Chait's, jhildner, it is yours.
Indeed, Chait makes exactly the opposite argument.
"Hussein, however, has a proven record in that department [of stopping pervasive chaos]," says Chait. "It may well be possible to reconstitute the Iraqi army and state bureaucracy we disbanded, and if so, that may be the only force capable of imposing order in Iraq."
It may well be possible.
Aside from his confusion regarding the relative wisdom of restoring Saddam to power (at times he appears to think it preferable to all other options, at times not), Chait is clearly saying that it may well be possible to do so.
Which is an almost lunatic assertion.
I realize that this is not your assertion, jhildner. But I think it is abundantly clear that it is Chait's.
Anyway, thanks for the kind words in post #57.
re jhildner "millions killed by Saddam"?" (64 of 73)
posted by ChanRobt on 2006-11-28 09:53:33 [warn tnr] [respond]
jhildner writes, "I'm curious about your "millions" number as far as Saddam's "horrid death" toll. Do you have a source for that number?"
I'm counting those killed in the 8-year tench war with iran which Saddam initiated.
There are also the multiple thousands of Kurds killed by Saddam with mustard gas attacks.
Meanwhile, with regularity since we invaded the country pits containing the bodies of tens of thousands killed by the regime have been uncovered all over Iraq.
I'll google around and see what exact figures are offered up.
How many innocent people killed en masse by teh regime do you think will impress people? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Or, should I hold out for a million?
No, jhildner, the Iraq of Churchill was not... (65 of 73)
posted by ChanRobt on 2006-11-28 09:58:32 [warn tnr] [respond]
...conceived in liberty. And, I am not maintaining that our first reason for going into Iraq was to establish democracy. Anymore than that was our first reason for invading Germany and Japan.
But, once we were in power there, we did and have, to our credit, worked to set up democratic instittuions--not just a puppet government.
In civil wars, by definition, not all sides are fighting for the same thing. But at least some of thepeople fighting in Iraq today are trying to keep from being brought under the power of despots again.
One way or the other, under Saddam, the Iraqis had no hope of anything but more tyranny. Under the present circumstance, even with the wide disorder, they do have hope of something better.
And, once more, if nothing else, we have freed the Kurds. They have neither Saddam, tyranny, nor disorder.
channy (66 of 73)
posted by blackton on 2006-11-28 10:37:53 [warn tnr] [respond]
"But, once we were in power there, we did and have, to our credit, worked to set up democratic instittuions--not just a puppet government." ah Channy, the problem was we did not attempt to do it fast enough. It was Rummys intention to set up a puppet gov't with the faux caucuses, it was only Sistanis insistence on election (and his mobilizing of millions of supporters) that got the Pentagons attention.
General Garners original intention, before he was tossed out by Rummy, was to quickly turn over power and authority to the Iraqis. When the history of this war is written the occupation has to rank as one of the most bungled operations in history.
jhildner/jeffclark on Ugly Math (67 of 73)
posted by Robert Powell on 2006-11-28 11:04:37 [warn tnr] [respond]
I think it's easy for people in the West to assume things are worse in Iraq than under Saddam. In the first place, things are undeniably ugly right now. In the second place, there is extremely intensive reporting on the mayhem, not just from Western media, but from the many new Iraqi papers and broadcast outlets, the Arab media, etc. Needless to say there was not much accurate news coming out of Iraq about repression and murder during the Baathist years.
Nevertheless, this idea ("things are worse") has been decisively refuted, even ridiculed, by a number of prominent Iraqis I have seen at speaking engagements here in Europe and read in the press. They are people with real stakes in Iraq who have put their lives on the line to take their country back, and have compelling testamony backed up with facts about the difference between then and now. Seperate from the raw numbers, these people mostly talk about the hope for some kind of decent future available now-rapidly expanding economy, free press, etc- as opposed to the hopelessness of living under the suffocating tyranny of a totalitarian state.
Looking at the numbers, the Johns Hopkins study published in 'Lancet' has been taken to pieces by peer review in Britain and the US. The refutation on the "Iraq Bodycount" website is particularly devastating because they are an anti-war group. The Wall Street Journal has been similarly incisive in their critique which uses significant scientific testamony. In spite of the Republican character of their editorial page, I don't think there's a more consistently factual major newspaper in existence in its reporting than the WSJ. They did, among other courageous reporting, the definitive expose on the foolishness and malfeasance of Reagan's "contra" war at the time, in spite of editorial-page disagreement. I believe them, whereas the "Lancet" study's authors have been quite frank about their hopes for the political impact of the study in question and its predecessor, both released according to them with timing specifically aimed at influencing the elections they preceeded. But even if the "600,000" figure is accepted when it clearly should be divided by five or more,the numbers are far worse for Saddam.
It is more-or-less generally accepted that Saddam was responsible for over a million deaths attributable to the war he started with Iran. In addition several hundred thousand Kurds were documented murders during the "Anfal" campaign. The number of Kurds who died as a direct result of being chased into the mountains after Desert Storm (eventually resulting in Operation Northern Watch), as well as the indirect result of decades of repression before and after Anfal, will probably never be known with any exactitude, but it is surely a very large one. It has been accurately documented by the UN that the rape of Kuwait cost over 300,000 lives (not counting the many thousands of "disappeared" who were to be accounted for per one of the ignored ceasefire terms), and it's generally estimated that the number of Shiites butchered in the wake of Kuwait's liberation is similar. Ongoing repression of the Shia community was a steady source of losses and terror, also virtually uncounted. The case of the Marsh Arabs is a particular one, which may be dealt with in Saddam's genocide trial. This ancient culture was systematically destroyed along with the environment that supported it. Then there was the steady "drip, drip" of people of all confessions who were arrested in the middle of the night, hauled away for torture and murder often along with their families as a function of routine neo-Stalinist "order".
Last but not least is the toll of the "working" sanctions regime. The Iraqi Health Ministry put the number of deaths caused by this program at 1.4 million. The UN checked up on the number and found it to be only slightly exaggerated. UNICEF reported about 500,000 Iraqi children killed, a number that was not disputed by Madeline Albright, who said on 60 Minutes that "it was worth it". There was about an equal number of elderly, sick, and other vulnerable people killed. Two consecutive UN Assistant Secretaries General (Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponnek) resigned in protest-Halliday stating that he "could not continue to administer a program that meets the legal definition of genocide".
Our decision to leave Saddam in power and support these alternatives made us directly culpable in the crimes, which I don't think can fairly be said about the murders currently being carried out in spite of our spending blood and treasure to prevent them.
As far as our own interests, I think we can be quite confident that the Iraqi government is not now working on WMD's, the sort of project that requires nationstate-type resources of the sort Saddam would surely have applied again by now-the Duelfer report estimated "about three months" before deployable WMD's as all the hard work was "in the can"; or planning to carry on underminining US interests and allies in the critical Persian Gulf region.
The current reality is bad, but Saddam's was exponentially worse.
Robert Powell (68 of 73)
posted by jhildner on 2006-11-28 12:07:04 [warn tnr] [respond]
I appreciate your points and will look into them.
it wouldn't work (69 of 73)
posted by fuckzengerle on 2006-11-28 12:49:28 [warn tnr] [respond]
Her

Posted by: sundot on November 28, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Order Generic drugs Buy Generic drugs without prescription

Allergy

Order Allegra Buy Alegra without prescription

Order Claritin-D Buy Claritin-D without prescription

Order Flonase Buy Flonase without prescription

Order Nasacort Buy Nasacort without prescription

Order Singulair Buy Singulair without prescription

Order Zyrtec Buy Zyrtec without prescription

Pain Relief

Order Butalbital Buy butalbital without prescription

Order Fioricet Buy fioricet without prescription

Order Tramadol Buy tramadol without prescription

Order Ultracet Buy ultracet without prescription

Order Ultram Buy ultram without prescription

Order Motrin Buy motrin without prescription

Order Celebrex Buy celebrex without prescription

Erectile Dysfunction

Order Cialis Buy cialis without prescription

Order Levitra Buy levitra without prescription

Order Viagra Buy viagra without prescription

Digestive Health

Order Bentyl Buy bentyl without prescription

Order Nexium Buy nexium without prescription

Order Prevacid Buy prevacid without prescription

Order Prilosec Buy prilosec without prescription

Order Ranitidine Buy ranitidine without prescription

Order Zelnorm Buy zelnorm without prescription

Herpes

Order Acyclovir Buy acyclovir without prescription

Order Famvir Buy famvir without prescription

Order Valtrex Buy valtrex without prescription

Order Zovirax Buy zovirax without prescription

Weight Loss

Order Phentramin Buy phentramin without prescription

Order Xenical Buy xenical without prescription

Order Hoodia Buy hoodia without prescription

Muscle Relaxer

Order Carisoprodol Buy carisoprodol without prescription

Order Cyclobenzaprine Buy cyclobenzaprine without prescription

Order Flexeril Buy flexeril without prescription

Order Skelaxin Buy skelaxin without prescription

Order Soma Buy soma without prescription

Order Zanaflex Buy zanaflex without prescription

Anxiety

Order Buspar Buy buspar without prescription

Order Buspirone Buy buspirone without prescription

Women's Health

Order Alesse Buy alesse without prescription

Order Plan B Buy Plan B without prescription

Order Diflucan Buy diflucan without prescription

Order Ovantra Buy ovantra without prescription

Order Fluconazole Buy flucanazole without prescription

Order Ortho Tri-Cyclen Buy ortho tri-cyclen without prescription

Order Vaniqa Buy vaniqa without prescription

Order Motrin Buy motrin without prescription

Order Ortho Evra Patch Buy ortho evra patch without prescription

Order Mircette Buy mircette without prescription

Order Seasonale Buy seasonale without prescription

Order Yasmin Buy yasmin without prescription

Order Estradiol Buy estradiol without prescription

Order Naprosyn Buy naprosyn without prescription

Order Levbid Buy levbid without prescription

Skin Care treatment

Order Aphthasol Buy aphathasol without prescription

Order Atarax Buy atarax without prescription

Order Cleocin Buy cleocin without prescription

Order Denavir Buy denavir without prescription

Order Diprolene Buy diprolene without prescription

Order Dovonex Buy dovonex without prescription

Order Elidel Buy elidel without prescription

Order Gris-Peg Buy gris-peg without prescription

Order Kenalog Buy kenalog without prescription

Order Lamisil Buy lamisil without prescription

Order Nizoral Buy nizoral without prescription

Order Penlac Buy penlac without prescription

Order Protopic Buy protopic without prescription

Order Renova Buy renova without prescription

Order Synalar Buy synalar without prescription

Order Tretinoin Buy tretinoin without prescription

Order Vaniqa Buy vaniqa without prescription

Order Retin-A Buy retin-a without prescription

Quit Smoking

Order Zyban Buy zyban without prescription

Genital Warts

Order Aldara Buy aldara without prescription

Order Condylox Buy condylox without prescription

Headaches

Order Imitrex Buy imitrex without prescription

Order Esgic Plus-Generic Buy esgic plus-generic without prescription

Order Butalbital Buy butalbital without prescription

Order Fioricet Buy fioricet without prescription

Order Motrin Buy motrin without prescription

Antidepressants

Order Amitriptyline Buy amitriptyline without prescription

Order Bupropion Buy bupropion without prescription

Order Celexa Buy celexa without prescription

Order Cymbalta Buy cymbalta without prescription

Order Effexor Buy effexor without prescription

Order Elavil Buy elavil without prescription

Order Fluoxetine Buy fluoxetine without prescription

Order Lexapro Buy lexapro without prescription

Order Paxil Buy paxil without prescription

Order Prozac Buy prozac without prescription

Order Remeron Buy remeron without prescription

Order Wellbutrin Buy wellbutrin without prescription

Order Zoloft Buy zoloft without prescription

Hair Loss drugs

Order Propecia Buy propecia without prescription

Birth Control

Order Alesse Buy alesse without prescription

Order Mircette Buy mircette without prescription

Order Ortho Tri-Cyclen Buy ortho tri-cyclen without prescription

Order Ortho Evra Patch Buy evra patch without prescription

Order Seasonale Buy seasonale without prescription

Order Yasmin Buy yasmin without prescription

Order Plan B Buy plan B without prescription

Antibiotics

Order Amoxicillin Buy amoxicilin without prescription

Order Sumycin Buy sumycin without prescription

Order Tetracycline Buy tetracycline without prescription

Order Zithromax Buy zithromax without prescription

Osteoporosis

Order Evista Buy evista without prescription

Order Fosamax Buy fosamax without prescription

Motion Sickness

Order Antivert Buy antivert without prescription

Arthritis

Order Motrin Buy motrin without prescription

Order Naprosyn Buy naprosyn without prescription

Order Celebrex Buy celebrex without prescription

Anti-Parasitic

Order Elimite Buy elimite without prescription

Order Eurax Buy eurax without prescription

Order Vermox Buy vermox without prescription

Anti-Fungal

Order Gris-Peg Buy gris-peg without prescription

Order Lamisil Buy lamisil without prescription

Order Nizoral Buy nizoral without prescription

Order Penlac Buy penlac without prescription

Influenza

Order Tamiflu Buy tamiflu without prescription

Cholesterol Control

Order Lipitor Buy lipitor without prescription

Order Zocor Buy zocor without prescription

Overactive Bladder

Order Detrol LA Buy detrol la without prescription

Gout

Order Allopurinol Buy allopurinol without prescription

Order Colchicine Buy colchicine without prescription

Order Zyloprim Buy zyloprim without prescription

Sleeping Aid

Order Rozerem Buy rozerem without prescription

You could get the following medicines at cheapest prices:


attract women pheromones
attract women pheromones

attract men pheromones
attract men pheromones

Attract opposite sex
Attract opposite sex

Human pheromones
Human pheromones

Pheromone cologne
Pheromone cologne

Pheromone perfumes
pheromone perfumes

Breast enhancement
pills
Breast enhancement pills

Breast enhancement
Breast enhancement

Increase breast
increase breast

Natural breast enhancement
Natural breast enhancement

Breast enlargement
Breast enlargement

Breast enhancement
natural
Breast enhancement natural

Breast enhancer
Breast enhancer

Breast enhancement
herbal
Breast enhancement herbal

Herbal breast enhancement
Herbal breast enhancement

Cellulite Cellulite

Cellulite treatment
Cellulite treatment

Cellulite reduction
Cellulite reduction

Cellulite cream Cellulite
cream

Revitol Cellulite solution
Revitol Cellulite solution

Cellulite removal
Cellulite removal

How to get rid of cellulite
How to get rid of cellulite

Rid of cellulite Rid
of cellulite

Anti cellulite Anti
cellulite

Anti cellulite cream
Anti cellulite cream

Reduce cellulite Reduce
cellulite

Best cellulite cream
Best cellulite cream

Remove cellulite Remove
cellulite

Eliminate cellulite
Eliminate cellulite

Cellulite product
Cellulite product

Cellulite solution
Cellulite solution

Cellulite remedy Cellulite
remedy

Cellulite eraser Cellulite
eraser

Cellulite reducer
Cellulite reducer

Cellulite gel Cellulite
gel

Reducing cellulite
reducing cellulite

Cellulite remover
Cellulite remover

Erection enhancers
Erection enhancers

Erection enhancement
Erection enhancement

Orgasm enhancer
Orgasm enhancer

Multiple orgasm enhancer
Multiple orgasm enhancer

Sexual performance
enhancement
Sexual performance enhancement

Sexual performance
enhancers
Sexual performance enhancers

Enhance sexual performance
Enhance sexual performance

Carb blocker Carb blocker

Low carb Low carb

Low carb recipe Low carb
recipe

Carb blockers Carb blockers

Carb solution Carb solution


Low carb product Low carb
product

Low carb weight loss Low
carb weight loss

Dietrine weight loss patch
Dietrine weight loss patch

Easy weight loss Easy
weight loss

Natural weight loss
Natural weight loss

No diet weight loss
No diet weight loss

healthy weight loss
healthy weight loss

Weight loss patch Weight
loss patch

Weight loss diet pills
Weight loss diet pills

Natural pain relief
Natural pain relief

Pain relief

Sexual enhancement
sexual enhancement

Natural glucose natural
glucose

Glucosium glucosium

Hair removal hair removal

permanent hair removal permanent
hair removal

natural hair removal natural
hair removal

Remove hair Remove hair

Sleeping pill Sleeping
pill

Sleeping pills Sleeping
pills

Sleeping aid Sleeping aid

Natural sleeping aid Natural
sleeping aid

Natural sleeping pills
Natural sleeping pills

Natural sleeping pill Natural
sleeping pill

Menopause relief Menopause
relief

Natural menopause relief
Natural menopause relief

Menopause treatment Menopause
treatment

Herbs for menopause Herbs
for menopause

Herbal remedy for menopause
Herbal remedy for menopause

Menopause natural remedy
Menopause natural remedy

Menopause supplement
Menopause supplement

Vitamin for menopause
Vitamin for menopause

Menopause remedy Menopause
remedy

Menopause product Menopause
product

Quit smoking quit smoking

Stop smoking Stop smoking

Help quit smoking Help quit
smoking

Stop smoking help Stop smoking
help

Stop smoking aids Stop smoking
aids

Quit smoking herbal Quit
smoking herbal

Quit smoking aids Quit smoking
aids

Quit smoking patch Quit smoking
patch

Quit smoking product Quit
smoking product

Herbs to quit smoking Herbs
to quit smoking

Quit smoking herbal remedy
Quit smoking herbal remedy

Hair loss treatment
Hair loss treatment

Male hair loss treatment
Male hair loss treatment

Female hair loss treatment
Female hair loss treatment

Hair loss product
Hair loss product

Hair loss remedy Hair
loss remedy

Hair loss solution
Hair loss solution

Female hair loss Female
hair loss

Stop hair loss Stop
hair loss

hair loss woman hair
loss woman

Male hair loss Male
hair loss

Hair loss prevention
Hair loss prevention

Prevent hair loss
Prevent hair loss

Regrow lost hair Regrow
lost hair

Hair loss prevention
Hair loss prevention

Man hair loss Man
hair loss

Natural hair loss treatment
Natural hair loss treatment

Natural hair loss remedy
Natural hair loss remedy

Best hair loss product
Best hair loss product

Hair loss medication
Hair loss medication

Best hair loss treatment
Best hair loss treatment

Hair loss treatment for
woman
Hair loss treatment for woman

Hair loss treatment product
Hair loss treatment product

Stress relief Stress relief

Stress reduction Stress
reduction

Stress reliever Stress reliever

Stress relieving Stress
relieving

Reduce stress Reduce stress

Anti stress Anti stress

Stress reducer Stress reducer

Stress vitamin Stress vitamin

Natural stress relief Natural
stress relief

Stress depression Stress
depression

Wrinkle cream Wrinkle
cream

Anti wrinkle cream
Anti wrinkle cream

wrinkle treatment wrinkle
treatment

natural wrinkle treatment
natural wrinkle treatment

Wrinkle Wrinkle

Anti wrinkle Anti wrinkle

Wrinkle reducer Wrinkle
reducer

Wrinkle reduction Wrinkle
reduction

Best wrinkle cream
Best wrinkle cream

Anti aging wrinkle cream
Anti aging wrinkle cream

Best anti wrinkle cream
Best anti wrinkle cream

Anti wrinkle face cream
Anti wrinkle face cream

Skin care anti wrinkle
cream
Skin care anti wrinkle cream

Anti wrinkle treatment
Anti wrinkle treatment

Anti wrinkle product
Anti wrinkle product

Cream remover wrinkle
Cream remover wrinkle

Face wrinkle cream
Face wrinkle cream

Facial wrinkle treatment
Facial wrinkle treatment

Remove wrinkle Remove
wrinkle

Wrinkle remover Wrinkle
remover

Stretch mark removal
Stretch mark removal

Stretch mark Stretch
mark

Stretch mark cream
Stretch mark cream

Stretch mark treatment
Stretch mark treatment

How to get rid of stretch
marks
How to get rid of stretch marks

Remove stretch marks
Remove stretch marks

Prevent stretch marks
Prevent stretch marks

Natural stretch mark
removal
Natural stretch mark removal

Herbal supplements
Herbal supplements

Weight loss supplements
Weight loss supplements

Diet supplement Diet
supplement

Anti aging supplement
Anti aging supplement

Fat loss supplements
Fat loss supplements

Best diet supplements
Best diet supplements

Natural supplements
Natural supplements

Discount supplements
Discount supplements

Human growth hormone supplement
Human growth hormone supplement

Best weight loss supplements
Best weight loss supplements

Natural health supplements
Natural health supplements

Antiaging Supplement
Antiaging Supplement

Diet supplement products
Diet supplement products

Natural diet supplement
Natural diet supplement

Hemorrhoids treatment
Hemorrhoids treatment

Natural hemorrhoids
treatment
Natural hemorrhoids treatment

Hemorrhoids cure
Hemorrhoids cure

Hemorrhoids relief
Hemorrhoids relief

Hemorrhoids remedy
Hemorrhoids remedy

How to get rid of hemorrhoids
How to get rid of hemorrhoids

How to treat hemorrhoids
How to treat hemorrhoids

Treating hemorrhoids
Treating hemorrhoids

Natural weight loss
Natural weight loss

Natural skin treatment
Natural skin treatment

Skin care treatment
Skin care treatment

Skin treatment Skin
treatment


herbal supplement, herbal supplement

herbal, herbal

herbal medicine, herbal medicine

herbal remedy, herbal remedy

herbal tea, herbal tea

herbal breast enhancement, herbal breast enhancement

natural breast enhancement, natural breast enhancement

breast enhancement, breast enhancement

natural breast enlargement pills, natural breast enlargement pills

herbal life, herbal life

buy herbal product, buy herbal product

herbal essence, herbal essence

herbal cleanse, herbal cleanse

herbal cleansing, herbal cleansing

herbal magic, herbal magic

herbal weight loss, herbal weight loss

herbal product, herbal product

quit smoking herbal, quit smoking herbal

herbal smoke herbal smoke

herbal store herbal store

herbal nutrition supplement herbal nutrition supplement

herbal skin care herbal skin care

herbal nutrition herbal nutrition

Prostate Treatment Prostate treatment


Prostate medication Prostate medication


Prostate health Prostate health
Prostate supplement Prostate supplement
Prostate medicine Prostate medicine
Prostate vitamin Prostate vitamin
Natural sleeping aid Natural sleeping aid
Natural pain relief Natural pain relief
Colon cleansing Colon cleansing
Colon cleanse Colon cleanse
Colon cleanser Colon cleanser
Natural colon cleansing Natural colon cleansing
Natural colon cleanse Natural colon cleanse
Natural colon cleanser Natural colon cleanser
Super colon cleanse Super colon cleanse
Best colon cleanser Best colon cleanser
Colon cleansing treatment Colon cleansing treatment
Colon cleansing recipe Colon cleansing recipe
Natural Colon cleanse recipe Natural Colon cleanse recipe
Ultimate Colon cleanse Ultimate Colon cleanse
Ultimate Colon cleanse Ultimate Colon cleanse
Prevent Hair Loss Prevent Hair loss
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Irritable Bowel
Bowel Syndrome Bowel Syndrome
Bowel Cleansing Bowel Cleansing
Irritable Bowel Syndrone Irritable Bowel Syndrone
Bowel Cleanse Bowel Cleanse
Anti Wrinkle Treatment Anti Wrinkle Treatment
Anti Wrinkle Cream Anti Wrinkle Cream
Best Anti Wrinkle Cream Best Anti Wrinkle Cream
Premature Ejaculation Cure Premature Ejaculation Cure
Premature Ejaculation Premature Ejaculation
Stop Premature Ejaculation Stop Premature Ejaculation
Prevent Premature Ejaculation Prevent Premature Ejaculation
End Premature Ejaculation End Premature Ejaculation
Premature Ejaculation Pills Premature Ejaculation Pills
Preventing Premature Ejaculation Preventing Premature Ejaculation
Premature Ejaculation Solution Premature Ejaculation Solution
Premature Ejaculation Remedy Premature Ejaculation Remedy
Premature Ejackulation Premature Ejackulation
Premature Ejactulation Premature Ejactulation
Premature Ejeculation Premature Ejeculation
Natural menopause relief Natural menopause relief
Menopause treatment Menopause treatment
Menopause natural remedy Menopause natural remedy
Herb Menopause Herb Menopause
Menopause relief Menopause relief
Herbal menopause remedy Herbal menopause remedy
Menopause remedy Menopause remedy
Stretch mark cream Stretch mark cream
Stretch mark removal Stretch mark removal
Stretch mark treatment Stretch mark treatment
Remove Stretch marks Remove Stretch marks
Stretch mark remover Stretch mark remover
Rid of Stretch marks Rid of Stretch marks
How to get Rid of Stretch marks How to get Rid of Stretch marks
Stretch mark prevention Stretch mark prevention
Cellulite treatment Cellulite treatment
Cellulite cream Cellulite cream
How to get rid of cellulite How to get rid of cellulite
Cellulite removal Cellulite removal
Anti Cellulite Anti Cellulite
Cellulite reduction Cellulite reduction
Rid of cellulite Rid of cellulite
Reduce cellulite Reduce cellulite
Anti Cellulite Cream Anti Cellulite Cream
Best Cellulite Cream Best Cellulite Cream
Remove cellulite Remove cellulite
Cellulite remedy Cellulite remedy
Natural Cellulite remedy Natural Cellulite remedy
Cellulite reducer Cellulite reducer
Eliminate Cellulite Eliminate Cellulite
Colon cleansing Colon cleansing
Colon cleanse Colon cleanse
Colon cleanser Colon cleanser
Natural colon cleansing Natural colon cleansing
Natural colon cleanse Natural colon cleanse
Natural colon cleanser Natural colon cleanser
Super colon cleanse Super colon cleanse
Best colon cleanser Best colon cleanser
Colon cleansing treatment Colon cleansing treatment
Colon cleansing recipe Colon cleansing recipe
Natural Colon cleanse recipe Natural Colon cleanse recipe
Ultimate Colon cleanse Ultimate Colon cleanse
Ultimate Colon cleanser Ultimate Colon cleanser
Posted by: top on November 30, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly