Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 22, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE WAR PARTY...."National power" and "military force" aren't the same thing. This is an old and banal distinction. And yet, it still eludes an awful lot of conservatives, who tacitly assume that unswerving support for every single one of America's various wars over the past few decades is the sine qua non for being thought serious about terrorism and national security.

This is, of course, nuts. Some wars are justified and some aren't. I'd be pretty suspicious of anyone who supported every war we've been in for the past 30 years, just as I'd be suspicious of anyone who had opposed every single one of them. Responding to Matthew Continetti's cover story in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, Spencer Ackerman elaborates:

If we're going to talk about military enthusiasms, Continetti owes it to his readers to spend some time grappling with the wisdom of GOP militarism. There are nearly 3,000 American consequences, and more to come, of this predilection. What has it gained America? What did it gain America to invade Lebanon in 1982? etc. Sometimes the exercise of military force is justified (Afghanistan, the Gulf War, we can debate the Balkans) and sometimes it isn't (Iraq Iraq Iraq Iraq Iraq). Relying on military force all the time is a recipe for rapidly increasing the sphere of circumstances in which it becomes necessary. And in a democracy, that isn't even sustainable for the War Party -- if nothing else, ask a GOP congressman as he cleans out his office. Continetti implies that there's a patriotic rot in the sentiment that "American power is not always a force for good in the world." But of course it isn't always a force for good in the world; one should question the judgment of those who would issue such blandishments. For it's clear enough where they lead: to war, again and again and again.

My brain is already winding down for the holidays, so I don't have much to add to this. Aside from the fact that it is, you know, almost self-evidently correct. So why do so many people not get it?

Kevin Drum 1:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (104)

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Kevin Drum >"...So why do so many people not get it?"

Cultivated blind ignorance

"The only barrier to a successfully sustainable planet is ignorance." - R. Buckminster Fuller

Posted by: daCascadian on December 22, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

because attacking hippies is more fun than discussing foriegn policy.

Posted by: jimmy on December 22, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is, of course, nuts. Some wars are justified and some aren't. I'd be pretty suspicious of anyone who supported every war we've been in for the past 30 years, just as I'd be suspicious of anyone who had opposed every single one of them.

How is this a criticism of conservatism? Conservatives support the war in Iraq because we don't want the horrible outcome of such a action. What if Al-Qaeda took over Iraq after we left? With no American troops in Iraq to stop them, Al-Qaeda could use Iraq as a launching pad to take over the rest of the Middle East and Israel. I have yet to hear liberals explain how they could prevent such a horrible outcome by cutting and running. Remember what happened on 9/11? It could happen again if we cut and run in Iraq.

Also, Conservatives DID NOT support every war in the past 30 years. Conservatives were against the war in the Balkins because we thought it was wrong for America to protect the Islamofascists from Christians who were defending themselves against the Islamofascist terrorists. For similar reasons, Conservatives support the Iraq war in order to prevent Islamofascists like Al-Qaeda from taking over Iraq.

Posted by: Al on December 22, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "I'd be suspicious of anyone who had opposed [every war we've been in for the past 30 years]"

Why would you be "suspicious" of a principled pacifist who opposes all war and always stands up for nonviolence? Based on the views that you regularly express in your articles, clearly you would not agree with such a person, but I can't see why you would be "suspicious" of him or her.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 22, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Ackerman's point is kind of a no-brainer. But blandishments is a great word.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on December 22, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

>"...So why do so many people not get it?"

They are afraid. They let fear rule them.

Posted by: Edo on December 22, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"It is very difficult to convince a man of something when his salary is dependent on him NOT understanding it."
-twain?
Inconvient Truth

Posted by: cboas on December 22, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

So why do so many people not get it?

Because ever since Vietnam it's been really important to them to prove how tough we are. They also don't understand that 30,000 nuclear warheads are totally useless against an insurgency.

Posted by: tomeck on December 22, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it's all about nuance. Conservatives don't do nuance. Everything is black and white to them.

Posted by: bigcat on December 22, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I have always credited that quote to Bertrand Russell, cboas.

Now I have to go verify that...

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 22, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"It is very difficult to convince a man of something when his salary is dependent on him not understanding it"
-twain?
An Inconvient Truth

Posted by: cboas on December 22, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

It's all about who is getting very, very, very rich from the USA's half-Trillion dollar per year military expenditures.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

This question and so many frustrating others about why wingnuts persist in beliefs that defy reality are answered in John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience.

Read the whole thing, but the short version is that many conservatives are authoritarian/submissive or authoritarian/dominant personalities. The latter need war to accumulate the power they crave, and the former reflexively support war and authoritarian leaders out of fear.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on December 22, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Because they're the people doing all the drugs. Really good drugs.

Posted by: CT on December 22, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

"What did it gain America to invade Lebanon in 1982?"

We didn't invade Lebanon in 1982. We went in as a peace-keeping force. We did invade in 1958. The Reagan evacuation after the Marine barracks was bombed was a mistake, just like Clinton's evacuation of Somalia was.

I've let you guys enjoy the election results and haven't commented but this requires correction. Interesting to see that, like the Bourbons, the left has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Posted by: Mike K on December 22, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

So why do so many people not get it?

'cuz pride is a bitch.

Posted by: elmo on December 22, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

So why do so many people not get it?

Oh they get it, but for several reasons they choose to ignore it:

1. It makes their weenies hard
2. It strengthens their other political endevours
3. It enforces their self image as righteous warriors.
4. None of their peeps get starched

So for them it has been a no lose situation. Til' just about now.

Posted by: Keith G on December 22, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

fwefwrfw

Two Missing Climbers Still Sought; Body of Third Identified

Posted by: edce on December 22, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001 was the result of blowback regarding the belligerent foreign policy of the U.S. in the Middle East. Al is concerned that al-Qaida wil take over Iraq if and when the U.S. finally leaves Iraq, apparently discounting the possibility that the threat of terrorism has been wildly overblown. As political analyst John Mueller explained in Foreign Affairs a few months back: If al Qaeda operatives are as determined and inventive as assumed, they should be here by now. If they are not yet here, they must not be trying very hard or must be far less dedicated, diabolical, and competent than the common image would suggest.

Second- In all likelihood, al-Qaida's effectiveness has been significantly eroded since 9/11. The former assistant secretary of state, Carl Ford, believes that: "We're overstating their capability, because we can't believe that there isn't a more nefarious explanation for the fact that we haven't been attacked. There aren't a lot of terrorists out there, and they're not 10-feet tall... One appealing hypthesis is: they've been damaged more than we know."

Third- Despite the rhetoric from the White House, the vast majority of the Iraqi resistance is overwhelmingly made up of Sunni, former Baathist, nationalist members of Iraq's former military and intelligence services, Sunni tribal leaders and ordinary Iraqis who want the U.S. to stop occupying their country. For Bush apologists to claim that if the U.S. were to [finally] leave Iraq would mean that al-Qaida would take over the country is simply ludicrous.

Fourth- What should be further understood is that one cannot declare war upon an ideal. Terrorism cannot be fought with planes, tanks, and missiles. This is a problem for the CIA, the FBI, and the intelligence services and foreign police.

Posted by: Erroll on December 22, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K wrote: "Interesting to see that, like the Bourbons, the left has learned nothing and forgotten nothing."

Interesting to see that as always, your so-called "politics" has no real content except your dittohead hatred of the one-dimensional cartoon comic book stereotype you call "the left".

Actually, it isn't very interesting.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 22, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps now the War Party can be more accurately renamed The Endless War Party.

Posted by: CT on December 22, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's all about who is getting very, very, very rich from the USA's half-Trillion dollar per year military expenditures.

Speaking of military expenditures, whatever happened to tbrosz?

Posted by: Edo on December 22, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

So why do so many people not get it?

because they're knee-jerk jingosit wankers.

Posted by: cleek on December 22, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

"One appealing hypthesis is: they've been damaged more than we know."

Mmm... another is that, as the very limited evidence indicates (2 fairly large scale attacks on the US 18 years apart), they could only manage an attack even vaguely like that every 20 years or so. Which would have even Ford overstating thier capability. Even if we hadn't damaged them at all it has only been five years. Unless we have no attack at all like that for the next 40 years or so we can't really draw any conclusions merely from that absence. We can't yet even detect a doubling of thier strength in that way.


I think a lot of right wingers feel about the military the same way a sports fan feels about thier team. They like to watch it play. It gives them a feeling of belonging and vicarious adventure. Thier moral deficit is in being blind to the death and destruction this involves. They work hard to maintain that deficit, hence thier vicious fight against realistic death toll estimates and publicization of even american soldier deaths.

Posted by: jefff on December 22, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Al, your brainless nattering is so over. Buh-bye.

Kevin, said this before but it bears repeating:

Dems should publish the service breakdown of members of congress at every election. The chickenhawk emblem has to be branded into the consciousness of the public AND of the military. We have got to smash that lie once and for all. They don't own this issue and no one ever should.

Posted by: Kenji on December 22, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives don't support every war. They support every war fought by Republican presidents.

Posted by: dj moonbat on December 22, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist on December 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM

Yellow Dog on December 22, 2006 at 3:10 PM

Sums up my response.

There's sucker born every minute but it only takes two minutes to con 'em.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 22, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I know it's useless to argue with Al-bot, but for those who think like him.

What if Al-Qaeda took over Iraq after we left? With no American troops in Iraq to stop them,

Well, then they'd be out in the open again like they were in Afghanistan and we could pound the crap out of them like we did early on in Afghanistan.

Beyond that, there is no proof or reasonable assumption that the Iraqis would let Al Qaeda take over Iraq. The Shiites would take over Iraq. Sadr and Al-Sistani would be kings and there's little likelihood that they'd let bin Laden muscle in on their territory.

We shouldn't go to war, or stay in a war, based on a "What if..."

Posted by: tomeck on December 22, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK
Interesting to see that, like the Bourbons, the left has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

It's more interesting to see a Bush sychophant mention the Bourbons. If you want an example of a Bourbon, look to the owner of the boots you lick.

Posted by: SavageView on December 22, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

"(Good Lord - nobody has said every war should be blindly supported.)

That's right. Just republican wars.

Posted by: repug on December 22, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth

I suspect that there are very few neoconservatives who would say no to a war, especially a pre-emptive war, as long as it serves their own self-interests.

Posted by: Erroll on December 22, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I like al's idea of the "domino theory' in the middle east. It's new and refreshing and well thought out.

Posted by: murmeister on December 22, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, among the most common phrases heard from republicans during the sales job on the Iraq War, "They [the administration] know more than we do".

It's a statement explicitely in support of blind support.

Posted by: jefff on December 22, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Gore Vidal, in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, 1/25/05, after the president's 2nd inaugural address:
"Remember that the U.S.--the people of this country have always been isolationalists, a word that has been demonized, thrown out, an isolationist is someone who believes in a flat earth and is racist and so on--well none of that is true. Isolationalists--most of the left in the second world war, from Norman Thomas to Burton K. Wheeler, were progressive Americans, the very best liberal Americans were anti-war.
We have never been for imperial foreign wars. We have to be dragged screaming into them, as we were after Pearl Harbor and there was a lot of machinations going on to make sure that happened. And it goes on all the time. Events are made so horrible people like Saddam and so on are demonized, and we all have to immediately begin by saying how awful he is for 25 minutes before we can get down to the fact that he was no threat to the U.S., no threat at all. He was not involved at all with Al Qaeda. He was not involved with 9/11. He was not. He was not. You can say it a million times, but there you have a president with the help of the most corrupt media in my lifetime bouying his words across the land and telling lies about the--'We're 45 minutes away from being blown up by the weapons of mass destruction that this master of evil has in his hands.'
To which the answer is, Why? Why would he do that ? There must be some motivation. You see they are beyond motivation, and that is insanity. So, an insane government is not one that you can look to with any confidence."

Gore Vidal said he was born at West Point,with some affinity for the army, spent 3 years in the Pacific during WWII. "Let's hope history repeats itself, and there is a possibility that the American people will get fed up with endless war and endless deaths coming out. I think (Mr.Bush) thinks..we're in a movie...It's real life...these are real dead people. So, he might very well end up like Mr. Nixon....once he got in war, he couldn't get out. Didn't try very hard to get out. Wanted to be victorious. He wasn't. Then he lied and cheated. This one lies and cheats too. So far he hasn't had his Watergate. Let us hope there is one looming."

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 22, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

"So why do so many people not get it?"

Silly!!! It's because we didn't get in and out as our great war success ---Grenada.

Posted by: wlgriffi on December 22, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Well said. What Vidal said here is also reminiscent of a scene in the film The U.S. vs. John Lennon, when Vidal observed that: "John Lennon represented life. Mr. Nixon and Mr. Bush represent death."

Posted by: Erroll on December 22, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is safe to predict that during the 21st century, while we humans are busily destroying the capacity of the Earth to support life, we will devote much of our energy to killing each other in wars.

Currently the human species spends well over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR on weapons, the military and wars. And about HALF of that is the US military budget -- as much as the rest of the world combined.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we spent a trillion dollars every year on improving human well-being, and establishing the ecological sustainability of human civilization.

But we won't. Instead, we will spend a trillion dollars every year on killing and impoverishing each other in wars, and ensuring the extinction of human civilization due to global ecological collapse.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 22, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Aside from the fact that it is, you know, almost self-evidently correct. So why do so many people not get it?
—Kevin Drum 1:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (6)

Anti Communism made a certain pro war or pro militarisation position popular with the common man in America. The people at the top knew it was a just a pose but many many people really believed. When the wall dropped and the USSR imploded, America's hyped up state did not wind down as well. We stayed keyed up and ready to rip, we couldn't climb down. And a determined ideological faction, the neocons, maneuvered to make sure we stayed militarised. 9/11 + necon opportunity + mediocre president = disaster. Iraq is the unwinding of America's Cold War WWII hyper militarism.

Posted by: Nemesis on December 22, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "So why do so many people not get it?"

I agree with many of the above posts, but would also like to add my own observation that it's a lot easier to cheer vicariously from the bleachers and sidelines than to actually lay some skin in the game. In this case, it's the freedom to engage in warmongering without fear of consequence.

The blood being shed in these wars belongs disproportionately to those families who find themselves on the lower wrungs of the socio-economic ladder. Unfortunately, these same people have little or no voice in the affairs that claim the lives of their loved ones.

Bring back the draft without any exemptions, as Charlie Rangle has proposed, and you'll see really quickly how so many of these same mindless cheerleaders will suddenly "get it" about equally mindless militarism.

Even the Bozo-in-Chief and his wife and parents would "get it" if Jen and Barbie were compelled to walk point in Fallujah for their father's follies, rather than allowed to booze it up in Buenos Aires.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 22, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth: "Good Lord - nobody has said every war should be blindly supported."

Talk about straw men!

I suppose it's a complete waste of time for anyone to confront you with your prior cheerleading / warmongering posts, since such a presentation to you and your right-wing bimbo cronies would be akin to watching water drip off a duck's ass.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 22, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

So why do so many people not get it?

Because they think war is like a game of Risk.

Posted by: plane on December 22, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

We didn't invade Lebanon in 1982. We went in as a peace-keeping force. We did invade in 1958. The Reagan evacuation after the Marine barracks was bombed was a mistake, just like Clinton's evacuation of Somalia was.

Ok, quibble if you want, but most people view the injection of military troops as an invasion. And Reagan’s people realized very quickly that we were going to have to either take sides, or leave.

Does that remind you of anything the begins with an “I” and ends with a “q”?
So, we left rather than compound our mistake.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on December 22, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

continetti in his own words: It stands to reason that if you think American power is not always a force for good in the world, you will be less eager to deploy that power than others. But what happens when the peace party holds power of its own and faces a world in which illiberalism is on the march? What happens when the power party faces a revolt in its own ranks? What does it mean when the party of the social elite identifies more closely with those who wish to constrain American power than with those who wish to use it? Will an American failure in Iraq discredit the power party, just as the urban riots and other social dislocations of the late 1960s discredited the party of the Great Society?
...
Contingent, indeterminate, and unpredictable, the course of American politics--and of world politics--is notoriously difficult to predict. No one knows what wonderful and terrible events abroad will influence politics at home. What we do know is that partisans will see these events through different eyes and respond to them in vastly different ways. The divide between the peace party and power party is real. It is sizable. And it will remain a prominent feature on the American political landscape for some time to come.

I don't think he implies that there is a "patriotic rot" in the idea that American power is not always a force for good. I think he implies that a party that really wants to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible is not going to handle the aggressions of foreigners effectively. that is debatable as well, but it isn'g what Ackerman said.

Should the U.S. withdraw rapidly from Iraq, and should there be another declaration war soon (perhaps in defense of S. Korea, which is what our forces there are ostensibly for), then America's friends and foes will ask themselves (and us): How long is it good for this time? Does it last until the military has made 3 mistakes? Until 4 years are up? Until there are 3,000 American deaths? Until the president's party suffers a loss in the elections? Until the French (or whoever) withdraw support? Until they discover errors in American intelligence?

Continetti's article is worth reading in full. In my opinion, the U.S. declared war against Iraq: the 2002 Congressional vote was 3:1; the 2003 resolution in support of the invasion was 9:1. Should the U.S. withdraw too soon, the enemies will believe that they have defeated the U.S. (not just Bush, Cheney and the neocons), and the credibility of the next president will be reduced. That's only good if you believe that the U.S. military is never a force for good, which even Democrats purport not to believe.

In 1864 Lincoln noted in a private memo, before the election, that McClellan had campaigned on such a platform that, should he win election, it would be impossible for McClellan to win the war even if he wanted (which evidently McClellan actually did.) I think that the Democrats are in a similar predicament now, though not so stark. Should they force a premature withdrawal from Iraq, they undermine the credibility of any future American use of force. Even if the president is a Democrat, the cause is just, and the deployment of troops has 100% backing. The enemy will just wait until we pack it in and go home.

To date, most of the Democratic calls for troop withdrawals are conditional on a future date or conditions improving in Iraq.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 22, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Thats very vietnam right there.

We have to stay so people will think we are "credible" next time.

The next president's (especially the next republican president's) credibility has already taken a hammerblow from the lies used by the current president to get us into this war. Impeaching and utterly repudiating the president who lied and bumbled his way through Iraq killing half a million of its people so far is the best way to recover some credibility.

Posted by: jefff on December 22, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff, disclosed that GW Bush was "not versed in international relations and not too much interested,"-- called the Bush doctrine "cowboyism," exposed Condoleeza Rice as "extremely weak," caring more about "her intimacy with the president" than in being honest.
He made it known it was impossible to fix what Bush did to America's image abroad, saying, "It's hard to sell shit."

This administration wants to spread what FDR called "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror"--those were FDR's next words after he declared "we have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Bush's own weapons inspector said there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq.

Someone said we have nothing to fear but Bush himself--Paul Craig Roberts 2/12/05

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 22, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Should they force a premature withdrawal from Iraq, they undermine the credibility of any future American use of force.

What's wonderful about this line of reasoning is that it ignores the option to not engage in unnecessary wars of choice for which we do not prepare adequately. You create a Hobson's choice that absolves the current administration of their mismanagement, and is completely oblivious to the mistakes that led to this war. You seem intent on repeating this problem in the future.

Posted by: cyntax on December 22, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Why are we ignoring the huge contingent on the left that supports this war?

American Jews want war on Islam. We ignore at our peril that huge elephant with the large nose in the democratic wreck room -- There is plenty of ethnocentric support for Israel on the left -- but they hide it.

If we dump Israel, our problems are over. Now watch the jews come out of the woodwork to demonize Muslims.... as evil incarnate ... even as a Canadian woman was beaten to a pulp in a Jerusalem bus earlier this week - when she failed to give up her seat to a man.

That's right... in our only democracy in the middle East... beaten to a pulp because she resisted the Jewish variety of misogyny.

Posted by: Bobby on December 22, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Inconvient Truth: "It is very difficult to convince a man of something when his salary is dependent on him NOT understanding it." -twain?

Global Citizen: I have always credited that quote to Bertrand Russell, cboas.

Mencken's version (from memory, so it's probably not exact) is that you should never trust anything written by someone who would be fired if he said the opposite. It's a reason not to read newspaper editorials.

Posted by: anandine on December 22, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the Democrats have now got their marching orders.

Most of the wars supported by Republicans were begun by Democrat presidents. Need I list them ?

Try to stop being sore winners.

Posted by: Mike K on December 22, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

matt marler:

How about if we stay in Iraq, but only conditional on arresting and trying the current administration for war crimes based on current understanding of how they lied the american public ito this war?

wouldn't we be able to preserve america's credibility as well a maintain ethical standards by holding the current crop of criminals liable?

Posted by: Nads on December 22, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

So, Panama, Grenada, and Iraq were started by Democrats? And, Republican supported the action in Kosovo? And, they were "Democrat" presidents? I think I hear a sore loser. Definitely a loser at any rate.

Posted by: CT on December 22, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the Democrats have now got their marching orders.
How come you guys didn't care of al Qaeda? It's been how many years now?

Most of the wars supported by Republicans were begun by Democrat presidents. Need I list them ?
Sure. Why not? You might want to explain what that'll prove, other than that Deomcratic presidents seem to engage in wars that a majority of people deem justified.

GWB? Not so much.

Try to stop being sore winners.
OK. Try to start making sense.

Posted by: cyntax on December 22, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Nice link mike k ... it sounds like the pussies among american conservatives all found a home on abcblog to whine about how scary the evil brown men are.

I'm not surprised to find you there, wetting yourself amongst them. sore losers indeed.

Posted by: Nads on December 22, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be pretty suspicious of anyone who supported every war we've been in for the past 30 years, just as I'd be suspicious of anyone who had opposed every single one of them.

Clearly, the correct number of wars to support would be about half, thereby positioning oneself beyond reproach, nestled comfortably in the center. I hesitate to point out (as it almost goes without saying…) that in order to be taken seriously one must proclaim, “I am not a dirty, fucking hippy” in countless different formulations and as often as possible. Only by employing this proven technique will we stand any chance of influencing the course of events. To ask a rhetorical question: what good are fine moral principals if they are sidelined by the scent of the dread “idealistic extremism” that has always been the undoing of lefty type, bleeding heart liberals. This question does really answer itself, doesn’t it?

Posted by: antiphone on December 22, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

It matters less to anybody else if America withdraws from Iraq. People learned long ago that America sells out it's friends and has no long term credibility. Anybody that supports American policy supports it for its own ends and not for any idealistic goals. There is no Presidential credibility since the 60's so there is nothing to lose and only young American lives to save.

Posted by: murmeister on December 22, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war...

Posted by: Video Man on December 22, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler: he implies that a party that really wants to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible is not going to handle the aggressions of foreigners effectively

The invasion of Iraq is one of the worst ever cases of handling foreign aggression. Simple reason: Iraq did not attack or pose any credible threat to the US. As Richard Clarke put it, it was like invading Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor. The ultimate example of bad targeting.

In order to attack this non-target, we withdrew troops from the real target of Afghanistan. We outsourced getting Public Enemy #1 in Tora Bora, despite the 4th Marine ID, Army Special Forces, etc., begging to take a crack at him.

Should the U.S. withdraw too soon, the enemies will believe that they have defeated the U.S.

Which enemies are those? Saddam Hussein has been out of the picture for a long time (other dictators take note). We won the war, it's the peace we're losing.

We're there to prevent a civil war - something that adversely affects the Iraqis, not us. Since the Iraqis don't want us there, I say we leave.

the credibility of the next president will be reduced ... Should they force a premature withdrawal from Iraq, they undermine the credibility of any future American use of force.

Already been done. See above about bad targeting.

The enemy will just wait until we pack it in and go home.

Same argument that needlessly kept us in Vietnam. Giap was right when he predicted that they'd loose ten men for every one of ours and still win. The reason is simple: winning the war was essential to the VC and NVA, but just a nicety for us. We didn't care enough, because we had no reason to care at all.

The real lesson is that you shouldn't invade a country unless it poses a true threat to the US. Otherwise Americans will get tired of having their soldiers killed for nothing. Do you think they shouldn't?

Posted by: alex on December 22, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans were not enthusisastic about Clinton's Bosnia war.

Kevin Drum is completely delusional.

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on December 22, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

The real lesson is that you shouldn't invade a country unless it poses a true threat to the US. Otherwise Americans will get tired of having their soldiers killed for nothing. Do you think they shouldn't?
Posted by: alex

If only someone had made these observations before the Iraq war, and perhaps collected them in a book about war...



  • When you engage in actual fighting, if victory
    is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and
    their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town,
    you will exhaust your strength.

  • Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

  • Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped,
    your strength exhausted and your treasure spent,
    other chieftains will spring up to take advantage
    of your extremity. Then no man, however wise,
    will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.
  • Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war,
    cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.
  • There is no instance of a country having benefited
    from prolonged warfare.
  • It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted
    with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand
    the profitable way of carrying it on.
                  -Sun Tzu
Posted by: cyntax on December 22, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Cyntax - so in BushWorld, would the teachings of Sun Tzu be a known unknown or an unknown known?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 22, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Continetti owes it to his readers to spend some time grappling with the wisdom of GOP militarism. There are nearly 3,000 American consequences, and more to come…

Spencer Ackerman is an innumerate fool who is unqualified to use statistics if he throws out a number like 3,000 to quantify the consequences of this war. Presumably he’s referring to the number of U.S. military casualties. He doesn’t count the wounded, some maimed for life or the casualties among the civilian population, including children of course. In scolding Continetti for ignoring the carnage of this war Ackerman himself minimizes the damage. Perhaps this is simply his way of demonstrating that he’s not a “dirty fucking hippy”, but to the contrary, a serious moderate voice. For Ackerman it is more important to—sound moderate—than it is to—be accurate. Only a DFH would have a problem with this. No?

Posted by: antiphone on December 22, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax,

There's no point in writing such a book if the right people don't read it. Admittedly though, I can't hold Gen. Sun responsible for that.

Posted by: alex on December 22, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ohhh.... good question GC. A veritable Rumsfeldian koan.

For the former SecDef, I would say known unknown in that he probably knows the name but has not bothered to read, since it's even older than Europe.

For GWB, I think a whole new category must created: an unknown unknown. He doesn't know Sun Tzu, and wouldn't listen even if someone read it to him.

Posted by: cyntax on December 22, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

All you people with your "Sun Tzu" really crack me up. Anybody with half a brain can see that Sun wasn't writing about war; he was writing (far ahead of his time) about how marketing executives could navigate the shark-infested waters of modern American business. The whole war thing is just there to make it sound cool.

Posted by: dj moonbat on December 22, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well damn. You are correct Moonbat.

I'm just glad those SAC officers were reading it and taking it to heart before that secret code was cracked.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 22, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Lots of good discussion of war and American aggression on this thread - Thank you, Secular Animist, erroll, consider wisely always and jefff. Also, a nice touch with the Steve Earle song, Video Man. Al's assertion that "al-Qaeda will take over Iraq" is preposterous, of course. Considering that al-Qaeda in Iraq numbers less than 1,000 men, according to U.S. intelligence, for them to take over a country of 25 million people would be as likely as monkeys flying out of Bush's ass. But, hey, who knows?

Since someone mentioned Gore Vidal, it is instructive to review a table he had in his book, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. Vidal, a noted historian, points out America has been almost continually at war, or at least participating in foreign aggression, since WWII:

> Berlin airlift - 1948-1949
> Korean War - 1950-1953
> Iran (overthrow of Mossadegh) - 1952-1953
> Taiwan Straits - 1954-1955
> Guatemala (overthrow of Arbenz) - 1954
> Suez Crisis (Egypt) - 1956
> Lebanon - 1958
> Quemoy and Matsu Islands - 1958-1959
> Congo - 1960
> Laos - 1960-1962
> Vietnam - 1963-1975
> Cambodia - 1970-1972
> Suez Crisis II (Six Day War) - 1973
> Somalia/Ethiopia - 1977-1978
> Zaire - 1978-1979
> Angola - 1970s
> Iran - 1979
> Yemen - 1979
> El Salvador - 1980-1985
> Nicaragua - 1981-1986
> Libya - 1986
> Grenada - 1983
> Lebanon - 1982-1987
> Panama - 1989
> Iraq (Gulf War I) 1990-1991
> Haiti - 1992
> Somalia - 1992-1993
> Liberia - 1996
> Albania - 1997
> Bosnia/Herzegovina - 1995-1999
> Sierra Leone - 2000
> Afghanistan - 2001-2002
> Iraq (Gulf War II) - 2003-present

But, hey, we are always the good guys, right???

So, we have been involved in armed conflict for an unbroken 60 years. Kevin, we are a violent and militaristic society. I find it hard to justify any of these acts of aggression. None were just wars. Even the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 could have been avoided, as the Taliban would have surrendered Osama bin Laden had we provided proof of his complicity in 9-11. We couldn't and didn't, so we again used violence and the military to try to solve a criminal problem. It didn't work. Violence never does.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 22, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

There's no point in writing such a book if the right people don't read it. Admittedly though, I can't hold Gen. Sun responsible for that.
Posted by: alex

Well, I'm not sure you want to use quite such a low bar as any book GWB won't read shouldn't have been written.

After all, we might want to have a few other books aside from My Pet Goat and the collected works of Michael Chrichton availble to the rest of us.

:)

Maybe we should say there's no point electing people who are terminally incurious and never look beyond their own sense of certainty for answers and inspiration?

Thought you did a nice job picking apart MRM's fallacious reasoning.

Posted by: cyntax on December 22, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

TCD,

Weird. I was just looking at my copy of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace that lists 250 US military attacks against countries since 1948 that were unprovoked. And here you come along with a tidy list that simplifies the list. Great job.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 22, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

The working of empire are simple. You find a commodity people must have regardless of expense. You corner the market. Everybody must dance to your tune.
It's just that when you have an insatiable drive to consume ever increasing amounts of that commodity yourself you're as doomed as a junkie trying to make
his way as a drug dealer. Sooner or later it will turn to shit.

Posted by: opit on December 22, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives certainly supported the war in the Balkans. It was conservatives who urged Clinton to go to war there.

Al Qaida isn't about to "take over" in Iraq with or without our presence: there are ~1000 al Qaida members world wide. It's a terrorist organization. It is unlike Hamas which has become a political organization despite itself. Al Qaida imagines it wants a return of the caliphate, but it's essentially a nihilistic organization founded on resentment and vanity. (I wonder how soon the GOP will go that route.)

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on December 22, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin--

They don't "get it" because it is always politically permissible in this country to up the ante...never to lower it. So you have politicans vying with each other to increase jail sentences, revoke parole in all cases, and require minimum sentences with no judicial discretion....and you have these other people who beat the drums of war ever more loudly. It is assumed that there is no constituency for actually, you know, thinking these things through.

Posted by: jprichva on December 22, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Conservatives certainly supported the war in the Balkans. It was conservatives who urged Clinton to go to war there.- Jeffrey Davis

Those are sweeping generalizations, while there may have been some conservatives who supported military intervention in former Yugoslavia the Republican leadership did not. People like Bob Dole were constantly objecting to putting U.S. troops “in harms way”. I’d be curious to know what conservatives wanted the U.S. to get involved there because I don’t remember any.

Posted by: antiphone on December 22, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed on the terrorists not being all that. It's a joke. The terorists could buy a few machine guns (from NRA members) and mow down shopping mall food courts. Easy. Dozens of casualties per strike with a two man team. 20 terrorists acting in sink, at the 10 biggest malls in America all at the same time, and you have a news story that keeps going on for weeks.

They haven't. We can't stop them from doing it. Anybody could do it if they were prepared to die in the process. But it hasn't happened. It's because they A either don't want to do it, and/or B don't have the people here willing to do it. It's that simple.

They could take a private plane and rent it and kamakaze a football game, both NFL and college. Imagine that. They could get some anthrax and poison bottled water. They could do a lot of things. They aren't. We aren't stopping them from doing these things. They just aren't willing or able to find people to do it. Period.

But people in bumfuck little town america is convinced Osama is hiding out at the Dairy Queen ready to strike. What a load of shit.

Posted by: trifecta on December 22, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Deflator: "Even the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 could have been avoided, as the Taliban would have surrendered Osama bin Laden had we provided proof of his complicity in 9-11."

Not to sound like a right-winger -- which I most definitely am not -- but by the beginning of 2001, Al Qa'eda and the Taliban were practically one and the same. Al Qa'eda was the driving force behind the initial triumph of the Taliban in the Afghan civil wars of the 1990s, and al Qa'eda personnel were the personal bodyguard for Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

So let me put on my tin-foil hat, and show you that it is nonsensical to believe that the Taliban would ever turn Osama bin Laden over to the U.S. upon deliverance of proof in his complicity for 9/11, for the following reasons:

War in Afghanistan became inevitable once George W. Bush took office, and made an agressive effort to build the proposed Trans-Caspian pipeline from the Kazakh natural gas / oil fields through Afhanistan and Pakistan down to Enron's large power complex in Dabhol, India.

The fact of the matter is that Enron's Dabhol project was a white elephant, one that was threatening to expose the corporation's fiscal house of cards. Vice President Cheney's secretive energy task force adopted a draft energy proposal that included a provision to boost oil and natural gas production in India, but was drafted so narrowly that it apparently was targeted only to Enron's Dabhol facility.

Success of that facility hinged in large part upon Enron's ability to secure a cheap and plentiful supply of natural gas, hence the effort to build the pipeline.

In March 2001, Leila Helms -- niece ot former CIA Director Richard Helms -- was apparently retained by the Taliban to lobby the Bush administration on their behalf during secret negotiations for the pipeline. She brought Sayed Rahmatullah Hashimi, an adviser to Mullah Omar, to Washington to meet with both the directorate of Central Intelligence at the CIA and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department.

The Bush administration attempted to bribe the Taliban. On May 17, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that the U.S. was giving $43 million cash to the Taliban government as a reward for its efforts to stamp out opium-poppy cultivation. That same day, Dick Cheney's task force recommended that "the president direct the Secretaries of State and Energy to work with India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to help India maximize its domestic oil and gas production."

By next month, howver, Enron ran out of funding and construction at Dabhol was halted. Cheney attempted on Enron's behalf to collect what he claimed was a $64 million debt owed Enron by the Indian government, and met with Indian political leader Sonia Gandhi on June 27, 2001.

According to The Washington Post, the National Security Council under then-Dir. Condi Rice formed a "Dabhol Working Group", and an NSC memo dated June 28, 2001 notes "Good news", that "[t]he Veep mentioned Enron during his meeting with Sonia Gandhi", and further requested that India's then-national security director Brajesh Mishra invite Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay to dinner.

Another Dabhol Working Group memo noted the need to "broaden the advocacy" with India on Enron's behalf through forceful diplomatic action by the U.S. Embassy and the Ambassador.

That same memo also notes that Christina Rocca, U.S. State Department charge d'affaires for Central Asian affairs, met first with a top aide to India's prime minister, and then with the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan on August 2, 2001 -- five weeks before 9/11.

According to the French authors of the book Bin Laden: The Hidden Truth, the U.S. government about this time delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban regarding their cooperation with construction of the pipeline, contsaining four demands: Make peace with the Afghan rebel group Northern Alliance, restore the exiled King of Afghanistan to the throne, allow the construction of the pipeline, and turn over Osama bin Laden and al Qa'eda leadership to the U.S. to face trial for their role in planning the 1998 bombings of two American embassies and the 2000 attack upon the U.S.S. Cole.

However, as stated in the beginning of this post, al Qa'eda and the Taliban were joined at the hip. Therefore, the idea that Mullah Omar would turn on his benefactor and protector Osama bin Laden was a non-starter.

War was inevitable. We do know that an operative plan for an invasion of Afghanistan was on President Bush's desk prior to 9/11, awaiting his review and approval.

Two days before 9/11, the leader of the opposition Northern Alliance was assassinated in a suicide bombing by al Qa'eda operatives masquerading as Arab journalists.

I think we all know the rest of the story.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 22, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Continetti implies that there's a patriotic rot in the sentiment that 'American power is not always a force for good in the world.'"

This, of course, is nonsense -- not unless 300 million Americans have miraculously been transformed into angels. But these days, American power almost always IS a force for Israel in the world. And to the Weekly Standard, that's all that really matters.

Posted by: Peter Principle on December 22, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

There was nothing wrong with the military operation in Afghanistan. The 'nation' had become a rogue state, reprehensibly repressive, but worse, training and exporting terrorists. SE Asia (Malaysia, Phillipines, etc) had a particularly difficult time with Al Qaeda trained terrorist groups.

HOWEVER, Bush abandoned the half-hearted effort in Afghanistan - purposely I believe - without capturing Bin Laden and failed to build a viable state there. Now, we see the foolhardiness of his attention to war deficit disorder: The Taliban are resurging, the central government is neither strong nor respected nor capable. NATO allies are questioning the wisdom of the mission.

Great. Good job Bush. Another project you've totally botched.

Speaking of which, Iraq has been a fiasco of Conservative philosophy gone wild: Privatization, External Contractors, Outsourcing Government Responsibilities. Iraq is Exhibit A in the Museum of Conservative Ideas that Do Not Work, i.e., all of them. Conservative concepts are not based in reality and upon science, but upon dogma, ideology and ... well, sheer meanness as far as I can tell.

George W. Bush: Gave the Conservative/NeoCon loudmouths all they wanted and proved the failings of their movement for all time.

Posted by: Yucatan on December 22, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Will all of you please back off Dr Mikey - It is not easy to type while trying on new lingerie from Frederick's of Hollywood.

The Doc is absolutely correct - The US Marines were sent into Lebanon in 82 as part of a three nation peace keeping force - They had been there earlier to provide escort for Arafat and his henchmen for the PLO leadership withdrawal from Lebanon. - The Doc then fast forwards to the truck bombing of the Marine Barracks.

The problem is that he conviently leaves out what happened between our entry into Lebanon and the bombing of the barracks - He does not mention the call by Cap Weinberger and supported by Don Rumdumb to allow our flotilla offshore, led by the USS New Jersey to provide fire support for the Lebanese Army - By this action, we no longer were there as a peace keeping force - We chose sides in a civil war - The Flotilla fired upon Muslim villages - As a result, forces aligned with Hizbollah blew up our barracks, killing over 240 US Marine, Army and Navy personnel. The Doc was probably adjusting his bra, or bro, so he skipped over this use of our Navy. This is what inflamed the Muslim world against us. Yeah, the old saw about the New Jersey being able to drop a 16 inch shell on a VW bug 25 miles out. But, they did not fire at a VW bug - They dropped shells in villages just outside Beirut.

Choosing sides in a civil war - Now, where have I heard that one before?

Go back and play with your panties, Doc.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 22, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Deflator: the Taliban would have surrendered Osama bin Laden had we provided proof of his complicity in 9-11. We couldn't and didn't, so we again used violence and the military to try to solve a criminal problem.

Thank you very much. I have waited for five years to read a mention of that fact. I read it (or heard it somewhere) sometime in the fall of 2001, and have often wondered why it disappeared into the memory hole.

And shortly after the Taliban offered to produce bin Laden if proof of his complicity were on offer, Tony Blair announced that "we" had air-tight proof, but couldn't make it public because it would compromise sources and methods.

I can't find links to sources that document these items, but I know that I read them.

And let me make clear: I am not disputing that bin Laden was connected to 9/11, merely that industrious police and intelligence work could have supplanted the need to go to war in the first place. But the meme unfortunately had already begun to propagate that 9/11 was not a crime but an act of war.

It was a crime. We should never have dignified bin Laden's declaration of war on the US by acknowledging it. We held the moral high ground in the fall of 2001, the entire world was appalled at the actions of the 19 hijackers, and we should have pursued their backers like the criminals they are. We might then still have a measure of respect in the eyes of the world.

(Honesty compels me, though, to admit that I did feel a vicarious thrill watching those who destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas get pounded.)

Posted by: Dave Howard on December 22, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Kevin Drum, for your posts and thoughts that stimulate, and result in interesting discussions.
You seem to have a keen sense of the important.

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 22, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

This is priceless!


The NRA has created a graphic novel


ondensing every element of right-wing hysteria into one seamless theory of paranoic mania. Outreach to the children.


But even loyalists go soft, as the GOP learned last month, and you need some Grade A propaganda to get people riled up again. Let no one accuse the NRA of shirking its duty. Freedom In Peril: Guarding the 2nd Amendment in the 21st Century, is a spectacularly beautiful graphic novel. Here, for example, is one of the biggest threats to the white suburban hunter: dirty hippies and their evil sidekicks: the dynamite-carrying owl, sinister pig, angry Wall Street bull, dire wolf, terror chicken and Land Lobster

I absolutely want one of these things but I don't want to give these idiots actual money.

Can Santa help?

Posted by: cld on December 22, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13:

Thanks - I just condensed Vidal's list and took out duplicates and the operations that were part of the "war on drugs", which has been about as successful as the "war on terror". The point remains that we have a self-sustaining and self-justifying war machine in this country, regardless of which political party is in power. As Thomas Ricks puts it in his great book Fiasco, the Pentagon views the civilians in the White House and Dept. of Defense, including the SecDef, as "temporary help". Until we put an end to this military-industrial complex, we are doomed.

Donald in Hawaii:

Your points are all good ones, but the historical record shows we did not even try to offer proof of bin Laden's complicity in the 9-11 tragedy before invading Afghanistan. In fact, Robert Mueller, FBI chief, many months after the tragedy, admitted the FBI had no proof of bin Laden’s involvement in the 9-11 hijackings.

There are even sources that say Osama bin Laden was offered up to the Bush Administration before Sept. 11th and they declined.

Further, it is part of the public record that the Taliban offered to hand bin Laden over to a neutral Muslim country on September 20th, 2001 and again on October 1st, 2001, if the U.S. could offer proof of bin Laden’s involvement. In both cases, the U.S. refused.

FBI director Mueller would later say that he believed most of the plotting of the 9-11 hijacking occurred in the United Arab Emirates and Germany, by Khalid Sheik Mohammad, Mohammad Atta and others, including Ramzi bin al-Shib.

Your narrative about the Caspian pipeline has merit and if only we could get our hands on Cheney’s Energy Task Force minutes, might lead to the impeachment and imprisonment of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 22, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

why do these brain trusts always come to the conclusion that maybe war wasn't such a good idea AFTER they fuck everything up with war?

when its time to start a new disasterous military adventure they forget everything and are rah, rah, invade, invade all over again, again, again, again.

idiots. this conversition is 4 years too late.

Posted by: pluege on December 22, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

MikeK may be about the only con who disagrees with Clinton's withdrawal from Somalia. As I recall, the GOP was pretty unanimous in calling for that withdrawal long before the "Blackhawk Down" incident.

May I point out that the US forces were sent there by Bush41 AFTER he'd already lost his re-election bid, leaving Clinton to inherit an unpopular military commitment overseas? Maybe it wasn't a cynical abuse of the military for petty political vengeance, but it looked like that to me at the time.

Of course, now that Somalia's warlord-ocracy is out and the Islamic Courts are in, that withdrawal is starting to look like a big mistake. So... if MikeK is claiming that the cons were in favor of staying. I remember otherwise. Maybe it was just him.

Support for President Clinton's military actions from the GOP was erratic at best, usually quite the opposite.

Then there's Bosnia. As noted above, the entire GOP leadership was against that action, from beginning to end.

Airstrikes and missile strikes against Iraq? GOP support was lukewarm and grudging at best.

Missile strikes against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan got even worse treatment. Since it happened during the Lewinsky debacle, it was denounced by the GOP as "wagging the dog." Now, of course, they claim that he didn't go far enough. Not a single one of them said so at the time, they were too busy whacking off to the Starr Report and calling those strikes a distraction from the REAL threat to America- Monika's stained dress.

In fact, I'm trying hard to figure out a Democratic President whom the GOP supported in matters of war. They tore Truman up for not nuking China. Oh yes, they got behind Vietnam... once Nixon was elected in '68. Elected, I should point out, on a promise to end that war with his "secret plan".

For that matter, FDR had to face GOP opposition to involvement in WWII.

So MikeK claims to have been in support of the US mission in Somalia? Well, good for him if that's true. I hope he knows that puts him in a tiny minority of early '90s Republicans.

Say, does anyone else remember Bush43's comments in the 2000 debate with Gore about sending the US military overseas? Something about how it's arrogant, isolating, not in our best interest? Disparaged the whole notion of using the military for nation-building?

Wait, I already know the right's response to this... 9/11!!!!!11!!

Posted by: RobW on December 22, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

I recall a political cartoon in January of '93 that showed George and Bar walking away from the White House, each carrying a suitcase and he says to her "Lets see, I turned off the lights, I bombed Iraq and I invaded Somalia. Okay, let's go."

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 22, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Nice link mike k ... it sounds like the pussies among american conservatives all found a home on abcblog to whine about how scary the evil brown men are.

I'm not surprised to find you there, wetting yourself amongst them. sore losers indeed.

Posted by: Nads"

Hey, the pussies are on your side. You crack me up. Merry Christmas, coward.

Posted by: Mike K on December 23, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

RobW: Then there's Bosnia. As noted above, the entire GOP leadership was against that action, from beginning to end.
...
Airstrikes and missile strikes against Iraq? GOP support was lukewarm and grudging at best.

Those were not the GOP's finest hours. In fact, the GOP was irresponsible. It is a shame that there were none of these blogs back then. Where I worked there was lots of hostility to Clinton, but I thought that he was pretty good. I thought that he ought to have been more assertive in the Balkans (I think this was when they invented the phrase "assertive multilateralism"), and I think Clinton would have been more effective had he tried to introduce declarations of war (Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq) to justify his actions, and make the Republicans vote up-or-down and take some responsibility. Had there been any actual debate, even a short debate like before the AUMF of 2002, I think that the Republicans would have had to quit their carping and make a decision.

Then again, Clinton did the right thing in Bosnia and Kosovo, and Iraq was a different case.

As to backing FDR, Truman, and LBJ, the Republicans voted with FDR and LBJ in the declaration of war and in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Had Truman put a motion before the Congress for them to vote on in maybe Sept. of 1950, he'd have made the Republicans again decide on the issue instead of carping.

Part of the lesson might be that it takes more than a 75% majority to win a long war. Bush I had a slight majority, and the "war" was basically a single large overwhelming flanking attack. Not going for the jugular was in part because of the slim vote of support. Well, maybe. Had Bush II tried, as it seemed he might in 2002, to invade without an AUMF or "declaration of war", the Congress would have been much more hostile already 3 years ago. The votes have a pro forma air about them sometimes, but it makes a considerable difference when the President makes the Congress vote up or down, when it comes to persevering for a long time.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on December 23, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, the pussies are on your side.
Posted by: Mike K

Oh? Then how come Dems won the mid-term election and the majority in the House and Senate?

Merry Christmas, coward.

Happy holiday, loser.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 23, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Cowards, eh?

Cowards like Tammy Duckworth, or Paul Hackett, or Paul Reikhoff, or Phillip Carter or J.D. Henderson? Those the cowards you mean, Skipper?

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 23, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Why do they not get it?

Because conservatives are poopyheads.

Posted by: craigie on December 23, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Read "The New American Militarism" by Andrew Bacevich.

"To state the matter bluntly, Americans in our own time have fallen prey to militarism, manifesting itself in a romanticized view of soldiers, a tendency to see military power as the truest measure of national greatness, and outsized expectations regarding the efficacy of force. To a degree without precedent in U.S. history, Americans have come to define the nation’s strength and well-being in terms of military preparedness, military actions, and the fostering of, or nostalgia for, military ideals"

Posted by: Read on December 23, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

Military preparedness for a nation is essential, but, too many on the neocon side view war in the way the Washington crowd of old rode out for their picnics on the lawn to view the the First Bull Run, or for our rebel brethren, the First Manasses.

If only our neos would have the guts to spend time in actual war settings, they would be a'fleein' and a'screamin' just as those picnicers of old, yelling at the boys in mufti to get the hell out of the way, as was yelled at the boys in Blue.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 23, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

craigie,

"poopyheads" probably is the name on the back of Doc Mikey's yacht.

POPPYHEADS
Newport Beach

Posted by: stupid git on December 23, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Poopy, poppy, er, whatever. They both work.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 23, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

al: Conservatives were against the war in the Balkins




"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."

- Tony Snow March 24, 1999


"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing."

- Sean Hannity 1999 talking about Kosovo


"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - Governor George Bush - Houston Chronicle - 4/9/99


U-S death toll in Kosovo?

zero

Posted by: mr. irony on December 23, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

For more conservative thoughts "supporting" the war in Bosnia, I would suggest:

yellowdogdems.blogspot.com/2005/08/bosnia-anyone.html

Must learn html, however, just this one delight,

Rick Sanctimonious saying "The President is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defind objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress ho much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."

or Tom Delaid saying, "American foreign is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration if trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy" Tom, symbiotic twin of cockroaches added these gems in a much longer statement, "..it is always easier to make war than peace. The Administration is just now learning that lesson right now.....There is no legitimate definition of victory...no contingency plan for mission creep...There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today."

Thanks, Tom for your comments regarding Iraq.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 23, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Donald Trump in today's MoDo column:

“No matter how long we stay in Iraq, no matter how many soldiers we send, the day we leave, the meanest, most vicious, most brilliant man in the country, a man who makes Saddam Hussein look like a baby, will take over and spit on the American flag,” he says. “Bush will go down as the worst and by far the dumbest president in history.”

- Donald Trump!?!

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 23, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

During Bush's 2005 inaugural speech/self-serving propaganda campaign, he offered these telling gems: the force of human freedom, untamed fire of freedom, oppression is always wrong, freedom eternally right, the goal of ending tyranny in the world...

Global war? Justification for his unjustified occupation of Iraq? For the plans to further disrupt the middle east--as investigative journalist Seymour Hersh asserted were advancing?
Recall the president, in an '05 NBC news interview, did not deny Hersh's suspicions that plans for the next country were already in place----he made that >>all options are on the table>>comment.

This is the war/more war, all war, all-the-time administration. Yes, we have had a warring history as a nation,and this administration has continually asserted their presumed right to executive privilege and pre-emptive strikes, excluding the desires of the American citizens.
It is so disturbing as we enter 2007. Get thee to work, democratic representatives and senators.

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 23, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Truly, cwa.

Regime change begins at home.


'Virtue has never been as respectable as money.' Sam Clemens

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 23, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Off thread - what else is new?

But, a highly regarded local intelligence source has, more than whispered in my ear, that callers over at C-Span are ripping our so-called "free trade" policies - They are responding to a recent article in the NYT from newly elected Senator to-be, Sherrod Brown and Senator Dorgan? about "free trade" - Hope considerALWAYSwise, has heard any of the tirades.

However, all is well - Just received my very own CARE package from King Abdullah - So kind, he even included a map of gas stations in the Portland Metro area.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 23, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

'Hey' to Pat for me.

"Our growing national debt to China is a national security issue. Countries such as China that own our debt will soon not only be making our toys, our clothes and our computers, they will be making our foreign policy." Nancy Pelosi

Posted by: MsNThrope on December 23, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul, you are always insightful.
I watched Cspan this morning, they were ripping into the concept of this royal rip off.

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 23, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Bush will go down as the worst and by far the dumbest president in history.

I think Bush's first term was the worst in history. Now it's the second worst.

For the first time ever, I don't even respect the votes that re-elected him. Those voters have problems, mostly problems of prejudice that are not funny.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on December 23, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

little ole jim: Maybe it was some kind of blind loyalty, coupled with the administration working overtime to make people afraid, all the while condemning the democratic party as soft on terror. Some of the republican voters did not even mind the administration's pull-back of civil liberties and constitutional rights with telephone, internet, and library monitoring, searches, access to private medical and financial records, or the potential to jail citizens without just cause or due process.
I was stunned by people saying, well, if I'm not doing anything wrong, I'll be fine, and I would invariably say, but you aren't the one who decides if you are doing anything wrong!!!
And I think some people were just too economically strapped, too engaged with the day-to-day grind to take the time to look into the truth, and the corrupt media misled them as well.

Posted by: consider wisely always on December 23, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

"So why do so many people not get it?"

Did you see Farenheit 9/11? Do you remember the interviews with the guys at the warmakers' convention? There's good money to be made in wars. And ReThuglicans worship money.

Posted by: Cal Gal on December 23, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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