Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 29, 2006

LIEBERMAN MAKES HIS CASE.... Sen. Joe Lieberman just returned from a 10-day visit to the Middle East, but it appears the senator didn't learn much. He's still very much the neo-con.

...While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States. Iraq is the most deadly battlefield on which that conflict is being fought. How we end the struggle there will affect not only the region but the worldwide war against the extremists who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.

The entire argument -- more troops in Iraq, more confrontation with Iran -- is so detached from reality that one almost suspects the Bush White House helped Lieberman draft his op-ed in advance of publication. It is strikingly painful to read.

There's a lot of quality analysis of Lieberman's piece out there, but I'm partial to Steve Clemons' take. For example, Lieberman noted, "The most pressing problem we face in Iraq is not an absence of Iraqi political will or American diplomatic initiative, both of which are increasing and improving; it is a lack of basic security." Clemons responds:

What Lieberman doesn't understand is that his realization of the "security problem" is not new. Our forces have been struggling for a number of years now and not solving this problem. Our troops are considered by many in Iraq to be just another militia among many -- or to even be the primary cause of the insurgency for others. Senator Lieberman fails to deal with either of these impulses behind the violence.

And he seems to be advocating just starting from scratch. Just get the security problem fixed. With what Senator Lieberman? ... Senator Lieberman, let their be no doubt that the outcome you fear was totally predictable -- and was triggered by you and the other enablers of this war. Where is your humility and your own ownership of the consequences of what you have unleashed?

It's an agonizing reminder that those who helped orchestrate and execute this fiasco are not only proud of their work, they're intent on making it worse.

Steve Benen 12:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

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Comments

Lieberman is done. I'm so sick of this guy. Democrats should keep him away from any and all foreign policy. His arguments are so transparently deceptive in linking Al Qaeda and Iran it's ridiculous and a joke (even while being lawyerly enough for Joe to claim he isn't linking them, even though it's obvious he is emotionally in the presentation of his arguments). He couldn't be more wrong or stupid.

Posted by: Jimm on December 29, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

What's the matter with Connecticut?

Posted by: Boronx on December 29, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

WTF? Does he really think that Sunni terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, those that are responsible for the most henious attacks on us and our allies, are led and sponsored by Shia-dominated Iran? Is he really that much of an idiot?

He obviously hails from the "If dey brown and be spekin' wif a funny accent, then dey mus' be bad." school of of foreign policy.

We are led by morons.

Posted by: CKT on December 29, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

The entire argument -- more troops in Iraq, more confrontation with Iran -- is so detached from reality that one almost suspects the Bush White House helped Lieberman draft his op-ed in advance of publication

And how is this detached from reality Kevin? Are you denying that Iranaians are funding and arming terrorists in Iraq? But of course this is true: "Several Iranian nationals were detained in recent coalition raids conducted in Iraq's capital city, a senior U.S. military officer said in Baghdad on Wednesday."
Are you saying we aren't supporting democracy in Iraq? But of course we're doing that because we're supporting the DEMOCRATICALLY elected government of Iraq.
Are you saying Al-Qaeda, the group behind the 9/11 attacks, isn't watching closely what's happening in Iraq? But of course they are. That's why there are Al-Qaeda cells in Iraq and "in Iraq the US military announced that Iraqi forces captured the leader of an Al Qaeda Cell."

Posted by: Real Al on December 29, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Steve - PowerLineBlog eviscerated you and your Moonbat friends at TMP over your weird attack/rant over the recent photo of Kerry at the dining hall in Iraq.

Check out the new photos they posted."

Fuck off, troll. All your misdirection doesn't change the fact that you were stupid enough to support the greatest foreign policy mistake in American history. Your cocksucking of Geroge Bush doesn't change the fact that he is indisputably the worst president in American history.

Chew on that, bitch.

Posted by: brewmn on December 29, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get Steve Cleamons's argument. He says the securtity problem isn't new and was totally predictable. Let's grant that he's right. So what?

Whether new or old, the security preblem needs to be fixed. Lieberman is proposing a way to try to do that.

The one area where I don't buy Cleamons's argument is his allegation that the US is the primary cause of the insurgency. The insurgents are fighting for power in what they see as a power vacuum. Iran is supporting the insurgency in their own effort to gain power over Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-lib" says "I don't get" - Sometimes he can be so clear and concise with such a simple statement of fact.

Terse and to the point - well done FAUXLib

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 29, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest problem I face with my checking account is not an inability to use an ATM or an unwillingness to spend money, it's the lack of actual funds in the account.

Posted by: RP on December 29, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, when I read that, I realized they are now playing the Rumsfeld do over card.

Shorter Lieberman (Shorter Bush?): Rumsfeld is to blame, Rumsfeld is out, therefore we get a do over.

Posted by: jerry on December 29, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

thethirdpaul - Lieberman has proposed a way to deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran. You don't like his analysis. Fair enough.

So, how do you (and others here) propose that we deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran? What's your preferred alternative?

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

What's the matter with Connecticut?

As near as I can tell the black folk don't vote and the white folk all make enough money to get cable and watch Seinfeld reruns instead of the news. There are a few militant triangulators too. They seem to think the democrats are just a mirror image of the republicans and both have to be held in check.

Posted by: FEP on December 29, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

After the 2008 elections, we will not have to bother with the Leiberman's lies anymore. He won't have any political leverage and will be totally marginalized.

Posted by: Brojo on December 29, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Holy Joe gets it wrong again.

I guess he figures he'll retire from the Senate and not run again in 2012.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "So, how do you (and others here) propose that we deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran?"

End US dependence on oil.

Then we can withdraw the US military from the Middle East, and leave the "extremists and terrorists" to fight over who controls the fig groves.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

The Senator from Israel (Lieberman) is as confused as ex-liberal about the root causes of the violence in Iraq and about solutions to the constant turmoil in the Middle East. Iraq is really three countries that were jammed together after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI. Great Britain occupied Iraq for several years after that, and experienced the same problems we are experiencing today. Al-Qaeda didn't exist then, and they have little to do with the insurgency we are seeing today. Until we recognize that the only hope we have for long-term peace there is partition, the more Americans are going to die needlessly. We can learn from history, if we only listen.

To achieve long-term peace in the Middle East, do two things: (1) A crash program for the U.S. to be energy independent, and (2) De-fund Israel until they learn to live in peace with the Palestinians. l

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 29, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

So, how do you (and others here) propose that we deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran? What's your preferred alternative?

I was thinking we should topple a dictator to their north and install a Shiite prime minister beholden to Shiite militias and Shiite Imans. I would also suggest tying up our military in a quagmire or two and working to increase our countries dependence on foreign oil by stifling legislation aimed at conservation and efficiency. If that doesn't work, I don't know what will.

Posted by: B on December 29, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Steve - PowerLineBlog eviscerated you and your Moonbat friends at TMP over your weird attack/rant over the recent photo of Kerry at the dining hall in Iraq.

No, they didn't.

They just revealed the glaring discrepancy between the photo taken with Kerry and the photo taken by Runkle with the newspaper.

But thanks for being stupid in public--it's so much easier to spot your neighborhood wingnut when they post early in a thread, off topic.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 29, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I was hoping George could arm wrestle with Mahmoud.

But, perhaps, we could induce Ahmadinejad to fly to LA and he and Shrub could wrassle in the La Brea Tar Pits. Two pigs in a poke.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 29, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK
Lieberman has proposed a way to deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran.

The problem (well, a problem) is that Lieberman has proposed a false and bizarre characterization of the situation, and then a way to deal with that false characterization. He has, essentially, characterized the war in Iraq as the central battle in global proxy war with Iran, which is exactly coextensive with the war against "the extremists that attacked us on 9/11".

Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck Lieberman.
AIPAC sucking asswipe.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 29, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

....(2) De-fund Israel until they learn to live in peace with the Palestinians.
Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 29, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oh - holy joe won't like THAT. . .


(1) A crash program for the U.S. to be energy independent,

oilman Bush, and oilman Cheney, and tanker Condi won't like that. . .

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 29, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

An article. On the war, the crime and fraud of the Bush administration, and what other more constructive things we could have done with this money.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 29, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

So, how do you (and others here) propose that we deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran? What's your preferred alternative?

I know! I know! Pick me! (raises hand frantically)

Drop the big one on Iran! Right? Or at least extend it to a region-wide conflict by invading Iran and if we're lucky we'll get to nuke 'em too later on. That's what your side is salivating for, and some version of it is in the background of Lie-berman's thinking, rather obviously. Iraq wasn't stupid enough; our only hope is to be more stupid.

Since that's the "plan" on your side, I don't see much point in offering one against it, other than withdraw withdraw withdraw.

Posted by: DrBB on December 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Lieberman's primary concern is Israel and he will do and say anything to protect that country. Let's take the gloves off and state the obvious. The Jewish state deserves to live in peace but that does not mean making war against its neighbors and justifying everything it does to the Palestinian people. We must have an even handed policy towards the countries in that region or we will continue down this destructive path towards perpetual warfare.

Posted by: Genoa on December 29, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Post identifies Lieberman as an "Independent Democratic" Senator from Connecticut. Is this some kind of accepted usage? When Ben Campbell and Richard Shelby switched parties, were they identified by the Post as "Republican Democratic" Senators?

Posted by: santamonicamr on December 29, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Post identifies Lieberman as an "Independent Democratic" Senator from Connecticut. Is this some kind of accepted usage? When Ben Campbell and Richard Shelby switched parties, were they identified by the Post as "Republican Democratic" Senators?

Posted by: santamonicamr on December 29, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I strongly recommend this article to all readers:

The End of the West as We Know It?
by Anatol Lieven
December 28, 2006
The International Herald Tribune


Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman belongs to the comfortable class. Perfumed patricians do not pay the price for the hell of war or myopic misbegotten policies. He is only concerned with the interests of his benefactors and his ideology. No price is too high for his goals since others pay the price.

The neocons are far from defeated and their goals are unaltered. They really do think that Iraq is a proxy war with Iran. They are poised to escalate the war by attacking Iran and sending more troops to the region. The naval carriers are moving into position perhaps for an attack, perhaps an embargo, perhaps a little of both.

They are trying to complete the project they began in the 1980's with dual containment of the Iraq and Iran. Saddam's execution brings an end to one of those regimes and now they intend to cut the other regional power down to size. The mess that happens is just a footnote in the minds of the neocons and George Bush. It comes at a bargain price. A glorious new Middle East free of regional powers that can threaten American oil interests or Israel's security will come in time.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 29, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if the Connecticut legislature will take up some form of "Sore Loser" legislation to keep something like this from happening again?

Perhaps we should all be looking at our own states laws and noodging our state Representatives and Senators into passing such legislation if we don't have it currently in place.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Post identifies Lieberman as an "Independent Democratic" Senator from Connecticut. ...
Posted by: santamonicamr on December 29, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think that newsmedia outlets should stop this charade of identifying candidates by their state or district.

They should be identified by their donors.
Example: Lieberman (I - AIPAC).

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 29, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

*So, how do you (and others here) propose that we deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran?*

Hey, ex-lib!

How about redefining your terms?

Replace "extremists and terrorists" with "defenders of the homeland".

Sorta answers your own question, doesn't it?

Posted by: Sky-Ho on December 29, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: The problem (well, a problem) is that Lieberman has proposed a false and bizarre characterization of the situation, and then a way to deal with that false characterization. He has, essentially, characterized the war in Iraq as the central battle in global proxy war with Iran, which is exactly coextensive with the war against "the extremists that attacked us on 9/11".

I think Liberman is right. Maybe Iraq would not have been a key battle in the war against Islamic terrorism if we hadn't invaded, but it is now. Whether of not the invasion of Iraq was mistake, we have to deal with today's world as it is.

But, set that debate aside. Given that you think Iraq isn't the key, what approach do you favor to deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran?

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Lieberman represents the Israeli Government in the U.S. Senate and he reflects the view held by many Israelis that the U.S. military in Iraq is good for Israel regardless of the cost.

Posted by: samuel on December 29, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Extradite Rumsfeld wrote: "I think that newsmedia outlets should stop this charade of identifying candidates by their state or district. They should be identified by their donors. Example: Lieberman (I - AIPAC)."

That reminds me of an old science fiction novel by (I think) Frederick Pohl, entitled (I think) The Space Merchants, wherein, in the not-too-distant-future, US Senators and Representatives were appointed by corporations rather than by the states. So there was the Senator from General Motors, the Senator from Exxon, etc.

The other day on WPFW, the Pacifica radio station in Washington DC, a commenter pointed out that lobbyists for other countries are required to register as agents of foreign governments, and asked why this was not required of AIPAC. I think that's a legitimate question.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is supposed to be holiday break and we normally don't have pop quizes, but since finals won't be for another month, I'd suggest we send "ex-lib" to Tehran to bore them to deathf and confuse them even more about American history.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 29, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: Given that you think Iraq isn't the key, what approach do you favor to deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran?

Why are you ignoring the multiple answers that multiple commenters have already posted in response to the first time you asked this question?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: That reminds me of an old science fiction novel by (I think) Frederick Pohl, entitled (I think) The Space Merchants

Yes, and co-authored by Cyril M. Kornbluth.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK
I think Liberman is right.

That you agree with Lieberman is apparent. Calling it "thinking" may be generous.

Maybe Iraq would not have been a key battle in the war against Islamic terrorism if we hadn't invaded, but it is now.

It certainly has a relation to that battle, but I don't think that our either the initial invasion or the continued occupation does anything but worsen our position. The war against "Islamic extremism" is a war against an idea, not a force, and will win not be defeating armies but by selling ideals. And the effect of our continued presence in Iraq is not to spreading the idea we need to sell to win the war, but rather promoting the ideas that we are trying to defeat.

Whether of not the invasion of Iraq was mistake, we have to deal with today's world as it is.

Agreed. And in today's world as it is, the continued US policy in Iraq is counterproductive in the effort to produce a stable, free, democratic Iraq, counterproductive in the struggle against the Islamic extremists and terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, and counterproductive in the struggle against Islamic terrorist and extremists sponsored by Iran—which are three distinct efforts, against distinct groups which are sometimes allied and sometimes directly opposed.


But, set that debate aside.

Why?


Given that you think Iraq isn't the key

Well, I don't know if anything is the key, but I certainly never said Iraq wasn't. I said the approach of this administration and that supported by Lieberman in Iraq are counterproductive.

what approach do you favor to deal with the extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran?

The US working to develop credibility in the region to provide a counterbalance to what makes Iranian sponsored groups attractive. A good start there would be providing substantial aid and credible security guarantees to Lebanon to encourage the lebanese people to sideline Hezbollah.


Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Comments about the existential threat to human civilization from global warming -- in comparison with which, "terrorism" is at worst a minor annoyance -- are unfortunately virtually always "off topic" for this blog. Nonetheless:

A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said.

The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north.

Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.

Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.

"This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead," Vincent said Thursday.

[...]

Laurie Weir, who monitors ice conditions for the Canadian Ice Service, was poring over satellite images in 2005 when she noticed that the shelf had split and separated.

Weir notified Luke Copland, head of the new global ice lab at the University of Ottawa, who initiated an effort to find out what happened.

Using U.S. and Canadian satellite images, as well as data from seismic monitors, Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of August 13, 2005.

"What surprised us was how quickly it happened," Copland said. "It's pretty alarming. Even 10 years ago scientists assumed that when global warming changes occur that it would happen gradually so that perhaps we expected these ice shelves just to melt away quite slowly, but the big surprise is that for one they are going, but secondly that when they do go, they just go suddenly, it's all at once, in a span of an hour."

-- Associated Press, via CNN

Without exception, all of the observed changes in the Earth's climate and biosphere caused by anthropogenic global warming are more rapid and extreme than scientists previously believed possible. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels are not only increasing, but accelerating.

The year 2006 may be remembered as the year when humanity finally awakened to the grave threat of anthropogenic global warming -- when it was already too late.

Happy New Year.

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

SecularAnimist: Why are you ignoring the multiple answers that multiple commenters have already posted in response to the first time you asked this question?

Because they didn't seem serious. I totally disagree with those who think Israel's sliver of the Middle East is a part of the problem. Middle East despots use hatred of Israel to help control their populaces. If Israel weren't around, the despots would find some other scapegoat.

Your suggestiong of ending dependence on oil would be wonderful if it could be done, but it strikes me as pie in the sky.

Furthermore, the idea that, if not for oil, we could then leave the terrorists to fight among themselves is belied by all their attacks against the US and other western countries. What 9/11 showed is that we cannot be unconcerned with what's happening in far-off parts of the globe.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

What they really need is for McCain to go in there and tell all the warring factions to cut the bullshit. Until then its all just a bunch of hot air.

Posted by: The Fool on December 29, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Because they didn't seem serious. I totally disagree with those who think Israel's sliver of the Middle East is a part of the problem.

Well that settles it guys, ex-lib has deemed us hysterical, so we must all be wrong.

Seriously, if you don't realize that all roads lead to Jerusalem in the middle east, no one should ever believe a word you post, including and and the, because your starting point is one of abject ignorance.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

If Israel weren't around, the despots would find some other scapegoat.

What makes you think that scapegoat would be the US?

Without Israel's and Big Oil's influence on US policy, then the despots are someone else's problem.

Not ours.

Your suggestiong of ending dependence on oil would be wonderful if it could be done, but it strikes me as pie in the sky.

Well - we tried "democracy promotion" - so how pie in the sky does alternate energy sound now?

What 9/11 showed is that we cannot be unconcerned with what's happening in far-off parts of the globe.

What 9/11 showed is that we cannot be meddling in the affairs of other countries, and giving dictators excuses to point fingers of blame at the US to divert radicals who would otherwise be threats to their power.

Al Qaeda did 9/11.
Al Qaeda SAID that the reason they did it, was because of US support for Israel, and US troops in Saudi Arabia.

Are you saying that Al Qaeda executed 9/11 just for fun, and made up some crap about US troops in Saudi Arabia and support for Israel?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 29, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK
I totally disagree with those who think Israel's sliver of the Middle East is a part of the problem.

I would agree that Israel's existence, as such, is not a problem that needs corrected.

US policy toward Israel (and likewise, though its less talked about, some of the wealthy Gulf states, Saudi Arabia in particular) is part of the problem; while in the context of the Cold War, grabbing what toe-holds we could in the Middle East certainly had a kind of strategic logic, it was also an engine for anti-Americanism (one well exploited, to be sure, by the propaganda efforts of the Soviet Union as well as regional rivals of the states the US supported) in the region. And it remains such an engine with the Soviet Union gone, and at the same time cripples our ability to be a positive force for democratic transformation and stability in the region.

Middle East despots use hatred of Israel to help control their populaces.

Yes, they do. And US policies and the Israeli policies they protect and enable make it very easy for them to do that.

If Israel weren't around, the despots would find some other scapegoat.

And, indeed, despots on nonstate terrorist recruiters in the region have other scapegoats, including each other. But its easier to pass the blame for the suffering people experience on someone if (1) the people are actually suffering, and (2) there is a credible link between the suffering and the person you are trying to blame. US policy toward the Middle East (and not just Israel, though that is part of it) has made it very easy for a diverse array of different opponents to target blame on the US, whether the more proximate cause of the problems their people are experiencing is Israeli aggression, the oppressive tyranny of the Saudi regime, local conflicts like the Iran-Iraq war, etc.

Your suggestiong of ending dependence on oil would be wonderful if it could be done, but it strikes me as pie in the sky.

Neither will defeating the ideas of Islamic extremism and anti-Americanism by spreading chaos and destruction and war throughout the region.

Reducing dependence on foreign oil, to the extent it is accomplished, facilitates the other changes in policy needed the change the US relation to the Middle East. But eliminating that dependency is neither necessary nor sufficient.

Furthermore, the idea that, if not for oil, we could then leave the terrorists to fight among themselves is belied by all their attacks against the US and other western countries.

No, its not, because none of those attacks occurred when the US was not actively involved in the Middle East because of the desire for oil.

But the idea isn't, anyhow, that we could let "terrorists fight among themselves", but that we could allow the people of the Middle East to work out their own solution to self-government, and provide useful assistance in that process, were our interests not so distorted by oil that it led us to constantly support destructive forces which fuel extremism and anti-Americanism.


What 9/11 showed is that we cannot be unconcerned with what's happening in far-off parts of the globe.

The US government has never (at least not since WWII) been unconcerned with what happened in the Middle East and the surrounding areas. The problem is that that concern has always revolved around strategic concerns related to access to oil (and more recently an increasing stance of unswerving support for Israel that seems ever more detached from any strategic value in that relationship), not around peace, human rights, justice, stability, and prosperity for the people living there. 9/11 should, I would agree, have shown the folly of that to anyone paying attention, but as Wolfowitz's comments about the reason for the active approach toward Iraq versus the passive approach toward North Korea being because Iraq floated on a sea of oil shows, it clearly did not for the Bush Administration.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: That reminds me of an old science fiction novel by (I think) Frederick Pohl, entitled (I think) The Space Merchants

ex-liberal: Yes, and co-authored by Cyril M. Kornbluth.

A frighteningly relevant book especially considering it was written in 1953. From the Sci-Fi Channel's website review:

To readers today, it may seem nothing short of amazing that a book like The Space Merchants was published where and when it was—in an America enthralled by the hysterical moral panic that was McCarthyism and driven by a post-war economic boom that had the United States plotted on a steep upward trajectory. The Space Merchants was a radical book back then, and it's a radical book today. It's also still terribly—that is greatly and horribly—timely.

Pohl's and Kornbluth's deeply satirical dystopia is really no less potent an indictment of advertising "culture" (empowered as it is by manipulation and exploitation) and rampant capitalist consumerism (riddled as it is with contradictions and abuses) in the early years of the 21st century than it was in the 1950s. A reader need not be wildly cynical or a paranoid conspiracy theorist to (at least) crack a wry smile of the it's-funny-because-it's-true variety at notions like: Congressmen representing businesses instead of states (as in "the senator from Du Pont Chemicals"), an adman speaking with joy and moral resignation about the incredibly addictive properties of a popular consumable (like the novel's "Coffiest"-brand drink or "Kiddiebutt" cigarettes), people having to wear anti-soot noseplugs because of environmental degradation, or a multinational corporation proudly billing itself as the agency that succeeded in "merging a whole subcontinent into a single manufacturing complex" (thereafter known as "Indiastries").

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

It is our meddling in the affairs of others throughout the Middle East that has caused this mess.

First, we meddled in the government in Iran in 53, to what end?

Then, Cap Weinberger decided to back the Lebanese Army against the Muslims, to what end?

We placed troop in Saudi Arabia, to what end?

And this pipsqueak non former lib, non former military type wants us to place more US Forces in the Middle East and meddle even more, get them killed and for what end?

"ex-lib" and Cliff May are two peas in a pod - probably same bios and organizations. Say hello to Captain Rich Lowery, as well.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 29, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

According to ex-lib:

"The one area where I don't buy Cleamons's argument is his allegation that the US is the primary cause of the insurgency."

or:

"I totally disagree with those who think Israel's sliver of the Middle East is a part of the problem."

This idiot seems to think that the basic facts of Middle Eastern politics depend on his personal opinion. You sir are to geo-politics what Bishop Berkely was to epistemology: a deluded solipsist cut off from the external world.

Posted by: smedleybutler on December 29, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, Smedley. Well put. I hope I never cross you.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Dicely that was a very good post. But what do I know about legalities? As Nathan will tell you, I am merely a biochemist, so my opinion is probably irrelevant.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Extradite Rumsfeld: Al Qaeda did 9/11.
Al Qaeda SAID that the reason they did it, was because of US support for Israel, and US troops in Saudi Arabia.

Are you saying that Al Qaeda executed 9/11 just for fun, and made up some crap about US troops in Saudi Arabia and support for Israel?

Well, not just for fun, but for their own reasons. Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists have been attacking the US for decades. Their attacks began before we had troops in Saudi Arabia.

I cannot prove what would happen if Israel didn't exist. Israel is such a tiny part of the Middle East that it seems unreasonable that it be a valid bet noir. Also countries far from Israel, such as Iran, claim that Israel is the problem, even though Israel has no impact on them.

In any event, I detest the idea of abandoning allies in response to terrorist demands. If they next demand that we give up our support for gay rights and women's rights, as they would, should we acquiesce? I think not.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK
Al Qaeda did 9/11. Al Qaeda SAID that the reason they did it, was because of US support for Israel, and US troops in Saudi Arabia.

Are you saying that Al Qaeda executed 9/11 just for fun, and made up some crap about US troops in Saudi Arabia and support for Israel?

I'd say "propaganda purposes" rather than "fun", and certainly US support for Israel and troops in Saudi Arabia are high on the list of the reasons an attack against the US served their propaganda purposes. I'd be a little cautious, though, about their claimed motivations: a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is, in a way, a kind of armed "political campaign" (or perhaps "cult"). The reason they do things is generally to get more people committed to their cause; they want both to create perceived needs and offer themselves as the route to achieving those needs for their target audience.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps if we really needed more oil, we would be having one of our carrier groups start blowing those smuggling boats out of the water off Somalia. But, then we would not want to offend the Chinese.

And having that gas bag McCain go into the Middle East and start demanding anything is ridiculous. The Hot Air Express would face another flameout. Senor Huff and Puff of Arizona, indeed.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 29, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK
By the way, Dicely that was a very good post.

Thank you.


But what do I know about legalities? As Nathan will tell you, I am merely a biochemist, so my opinion is probably irrelevant.

Yeah, Nathan's big on resorting to argument over qualifications rather than addressing the merits; but you won't get me to say anything bad about biochemists, as I'm married to one...

Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists have been attacking the US for decades.

Did they attack us prior to 1953?

The US has been around since 1776...
That's, let's see. . . 177 years of the US not meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, and now they're attacking us?

In any event, I detest the idea of abandoning allies in response to terrorist demands.
Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

(practically) Nobody to the left of David Duke is saying ABANDON Israel. We're just saying that we need to hold a tougher policy line with them. For example: When we sell them cluster-bombs, we sold them on a stipulation that they not be used against civilians. Yet in the recent conflict with Hezbollah, they were dropped in civilian areas in contravention of both Geneva, and our agreements. That's just one example, among many. I'm not saying Israel doesn't have a right to defend themselves - but they MUST be held responsible for their actions, because the US must hold true to its ideals of respect for human rights.

Don't you believe that these ideals are worth fighting for?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on December 29, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists have been attacking the US for decades. Their attacks began before we had troops in Saudi Arabia.

You are an ignoramous. Osama Bin Laden founded Al Qaeda in large part motivated by his rage at the Saudi royal family for refusing his offer to bring his Islamic mujahadeen fighters to fight against Saddam Hussein's Iraq following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, and to instead invite the US to station large numbers of troops in Saudi Arabia.

The presence of large numbers of US troops as what Bin Laden regarded as "occupiers" of the Islamic holy lands was one of the major reasons that Bin Laden gave -- publicly and repeatedly -- for the 9/11 attacks.

And the one and only reason that the US has a military presence in the Middle East at all is to control the oil supply. This has been the case since the Roosevelt administration first established the "special relationship" with the Saudi royal family, and was reaffirmed in the 1970s as the "Carter doctrine": that the vast oil reserves of the Middle East are a "strategic resource" of the USA, that will be "defended" by any means necessary, including the use of military force.

Oil is the only reason that any of the "great powers" of the world have the slightest interest in the Middle East.

Why do I even bother correcting your falsehoods? You are deliberate liar and an utter phony. When your idiotic lies are pointed out you will simply repeat them. That's what dittohead brownshirts do.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK
In any event, I detest the idea of abandoning allies in response to terrorist demands.

And I detest supporting as "allies" people whose actions violate basic human rights and undermine the prospects for our security, whether or not terrorists seize on the legitimate anger that those actions produce as a propaganda tool.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 29, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

"give up our support for gay right's and women's right's"

What you mean "our", youngin?

The Pubs? Support for gay rights? Support of the Pubs for the ERA? You know, where Phyliss Schafley said that with the passage of the ERA, there would be UniSex bathrooms across the land. Well, she helped defeat the ERA and, you know what, there are UniSex bathrooms across the land.

So which "our" are you speaking of? - You sure the hell are not on the left - You sure as hell are not in the Democratic Party - And the Pubs neither support gay rights nor women's rights - So, which group of rattlesnakes and/or copperheahds are you hangin with?

Posted by: stupid git on December 29, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

you won't get me to say anything bad about biochemists, as I'm married to one...

I knew I liked you! You guys are probably the couple we could have dinner with who, when the topic turned esoteric, wouldn't develop a neutral zone around your heads.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "If they next demand that we give up our support for gay rights and women's rights, as they would, should we acquiesce?"

Of course, the Bush administration has already teamed up with repressive Islamic regimes to fight gay rights and women's rights at the United Nations.

But this would not properly be called "acquiescence" since this agenda is shared by the anti-human "Christian" fundamentalists of the Bush administration and the anti-human "Islamic" fundamentalists of the Taliban, et al.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist: No price is too high for his goals since others pay the price.

It's just a shame that the voters of Connecticut did not fire Lieberman as did the Democratic primary voters. His recommendations, if implemented, will make Iraq a bigger tragedy.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on December 29, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

You asked for a Plan for Iraq? Here is a brief exposition of my plan:

1. Set a timetable of no more than two years.

2. Declare martial law and render the puppet government in the Green Zone moot.

3. Disengage combat operations in Anwar.

4. Build the Sunnis in Anwar into a tough, well-equipped, well-led defensive force. Arm it with heavy weapons, helicopters, and a first-rate intelligence-gathering capability. Don't worry about Al-Queda; the Sunnis will oust them forthwith. Keep a force in Anwar to bolster the Sunnis.

4. Bolster the troops in Baghdad and give them the mission of separating Sunnis and Shias, Sunnis north of the river, Shias south. Keep a force in North Baghdad to bolster the Sunnis.

5. Move other troops to the Kurd north with the mission of maintaining Kurd co-operation. Put Sunnis in control of the oil fields. Make it plain that Sunnis and Kurds will share the oil proceeds.

6. Begin reconstruction as the situation permits in Anwar and North Baghdad, concentrating on policing, schools and hospitals as well as housing, water, power, sewage, etc. Engage Sunni wage earners with good jobs both in the police and in reconstruction efforts in both Anwar and Baghdad. Make certain the Saudis and other Middle Eastern oil-rih powers give plenty of financial help. Make certain the Sunni armed force is as well equipped in Baghdad as in Anwar.

7. Don't worry about the Shias. They'll have the immense oil resources of the south to comfort them as they see fit.

8. Redeploy some troops to the borders (a)to block Iran or anyone else from sending in troops and (b)to reinforce as necessary those assisting the Sunnis in Baghdad, Anwar and those troops maintaining the Kurd-Sunni relationship in the north as well as protecting the oil facilities there. Send as many troops home as possible.

9. End martial law and reinstate the puppet government, letting the Iraqis themselves to decide what to do with it.

10. Hopefully, the Shias, now confronted by a strong American-Sunni-Kurd military force but in control of the South with its oil riches, will want to live in peace and harmony and will want to develop their enormous resources for prosperity. But if the Shias want a fight, they'll get one with the full force of an American-Sunni-Kurd alliance and it won't be pretty.

11. Should the Shias opt for peace and prosperity, offer a helping hand.

12. Learn to live with the reality that some troops must remain in and around Iraq for years but with the satisfaction perhaps that they are unlikely to engage in combat operations but in fact will enjoy a spirited alliance with many Iraqis, if not all at first.

That's the plan in a nutshell.

Posted by: keith on December 29, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen: "give up our support for gay right's and women's right's"

What you mean "our",

I was being kind to the rabid anti-Israel contingent. These people are unaware, or don't care, that Israel is the one country in the Middle East where gays and women have full rights. They don't care that gay Palestinians who are able to move to Israel are far better off there, even though they non-citizens.

I think most people are aware of the subjugation of women in places like Saudi Arabia. Yet, they continue to bash Israel. To me that means they hate Israel more than they care about equal rights for gays and women.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Look at my 2:41 post. I believe you meant to address that to someone else, as I did not comment on gay rights or womens rights. I said not realizign all roads lead to Jerusalem in the middle east was irresponsibly ignorant.

Posted by: Global Citizen on December 29, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Global Crossing. My mistake.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: In any event, I detest the idea of abandoning allies in response to terrorist demands.

So, if the US had supported the Nazis, as many American conservatives wanted us to do, and terrorists had demanded that the US stop supporting the Nazis, then the discovery of the concentration camps and the murder of over six million Jews would have been trumped by the fact that terrorists were demanding our retraction of support.

Got it.

Posted by: Google_This on December 29, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: Yet, they continue to bash Israel.

You continue to grossly mischaracterize those who criticize any action by the government of Israel, or any aspect of the relationship between the government of the USA and the government of Israel, as "bashing Israel".

You do this because you are a deliberate liar.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist - Do you how many missiles were fired into Israel since the supposed cease fire was declared?
Fifty seven!

On the streets of Sderot you can hear over and over, "Oh yeah, 'ceasefire'. We cease. They fire."

This 57th rocket landed on Maccabees Street in Sderot only 10 seconds after the siren went off. A friend of the boys who was hit by the missile related that they were running home, but didn't make it there.
[snip]
A man who saw the boys writhing in pain after the attack had approached them and called the ambulance after seeing that the bones were sticking out of one of their legs, and that the other one had a completely contorted ankle.

Are you aware of the continuing attacks and you don't care or are you unaware? Either way, it indicates someone who isn't concerned with the welfare of Israel and the people who live there.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "SecularAnimist - Do you how many missiles were fired into Israel since the supposed cease fire was declared?"

What does that have to do with your deliberate lies that anyone who criticizes any action by the government of Israel, or any aspect of the relationship between the government of the USA and the government of Israel, is "bashing Israel"?

How can you expect any reader of your comments to take you seriously, when your comments are consistently full of deliberate slanderous lies about other commenters?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 29, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Either way, it indicates someone who isn't concerned with the welfare of Israel and the people who live there.

What indicates that SecularAnimist isn't concerned with the welfare of the people who live in Israel?

In addition to being a liar, ex-liberal, I would say you are quite feeble-minded.

Carry on.

Posted by: obscure on December 29, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

obscure: Suppose 59 rockets had been fired into residential areas of Detroit, killing and maiming various African American people. Suppose I indicated that I didn't care about it. Would you think that I wasn't concerned with African Americans?

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

You would also have to suppose that the Detroit police had been raiding residential neighborhoods and methodically killing "militants" because of earlier rockets -- which had been fired because of earlier raids -- which... and so on ad infinitum.

Which leads to the inevitable question, Who started it. Which of course the parties to the dispute disagree on.

Posted by: JS on December 29, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

JS: Which leads to the inevitable question, Who started it. Which of course the parties to the dispute disagree on.

Well, the warfare began in 1948. Wikipedia says, "After the United Nations proposed to partition the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab, the Arabs refused to accept it and the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq, supported by others, attacked the newly established State of Israel which they refused to recognize."

Various Arab countries and groups of Arabs have continued to attack Israel to this day. As I said, Palestinians have fired numerous rockets at civilian targets, even though a cease fire is supposedly in place.

Israel has now indicated that it wlil finally fight back against these rocket attacks. When they do, watch the Israel-haters blame Israel.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 29, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant, Keith.

Posted by: patriot on December 29, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

ex liberal is a liar. His mission is to hijack the thread. That's what trolls do.
I'm with Steve on this. If the American Intelligence community unanimously declare U.S. presence is exacerbating the situation there is nothing to debate. Contrariwise anyone wanting a continuing presence supports the destruction of Iraq. Q.E.D.

Posted by: opit on December 30, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib writes:

Israel has now indicated that it will finally fight back against these rocket attacks. When they do, watch the Israel-haters blame Israel.

We finally get to the heart of the matter: What both Ed Koch and Lieberman are really saying is, if the US leaves Iraq, and radical Islamic groups become more powerful, they could inflict great harm on the nation of Israel. Instead of disingenuously framing it as a global battle of good and evil where our personal freedom is at stake, they should be upfront and say that they are concerned what would happen to Israel, a ally of the US, if we were to leave Iraq.

Posted by: Andy on December 30, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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