Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 12, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CREATING AN INCIDENT....Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action that we can use as an excuse to go after them? Maybe, maybe not. But we certainly considered doing it in Iraq, so it's hardly out of the question. Jonathan Schwarz runs through the history lesson.

Kevin Drum 12:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (154)

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The best thing about all this is that there are absolutely no real consequences to all these games.

Right?

T. Friedman saying "I'll surge if...". Glad to see he's signing up! He'll make a very popular grunt.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on January 12, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action that we can use as an excuse to go after them?

Irrelevant question, Kevin.

We are configured and primed to go off at the slightest provocation, and we are cutting all diplomatic channels.

Unless you see us pull back from our current position, which is poised to attack, the only relevant (even if it's academic) question is: "Will the provocation be fake or real?"

Posted by: bubba babbajee on January 12, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

We are seriously getting into Operation: Barbarossa wonderland. You know -- when Hitler invaded the USSR for no good reason.

Posted by: Grumpy on January 12, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

America, a rogue state. This is about as blatant as it gets. Not even Tony Blair will back this.

Posted by: guest on January 12, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest we stage an attack on a radio station on the German-Polish border.

Posted by: Pennypacker on January 12, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran has been contributing to deadly attacks agasint American soldiers in Iraq for quite a while.

And U.S. intelligence officials said that during the past year, they have noticed a significant increase of munitions and designs for the construction of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, coming across the Iranian border. IEDs are the largest killers of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

Of particular concern to Pentagon planners is the alleged role of Qods Force, the international arm of Tehran's Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, in trafficking IEDs into Iraq, intelligence officials said. The guard corps is believed to have developed close ties to both the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia headed by the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Badr Brigade, the militant arm of Iraq's largest Shiite political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The Pentagon moves in Iraq to arrest Iranian diplomats in both Irbil and Baghdad over the past month were directly aimed at trying to stanch the flow of IEDs and other armaments into Iraq, U.S. officials involved in the program said. The U.S. has alleged that the Revolutionary Guard corps has used front companies and religious foundations to move some of these armaments over the Iran-Iraq border. And U.S. officials said they have extensive intelligence showing many of the diplomats detained were senior members of the corps.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116856948010274729.html?mod=politics_primary_hs

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib,

How accurate was the media on WMDs in Iraq?

I rest my case.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Why would Iranians aid Sunni insurgents?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

The new Axis of Evil is Bush-Cheney-McCain.

Posted by: art on January 12, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib,

Who were the WH officials on which media based its coverage that there were WMDs in Iraq?

Why do you listen to those who have proven themselves to be unreliable and incompetent?

Maybe you'll say, I don't know.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal is an intellectually dishonest twit who DOESN'T KNOW jack shit. In fact, i contend that if brains were dynamite, he couldn't blow his own nose.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on January 12, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Why would Iranians aid Sunni insurgents?

Bob, presumably because Iran wants to destabilize Iraqi democracyc. A successful democracy next door is a threat to the rule of the Mullahs, especially one that's allied with the US. From Iran's POV, it makes sense to aid all insurgents.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, I am willing to concede that the Iranians have been providing aid and comfort to the Shia militias. I would if I were them. There is no reason at all to believe they are supporting the Sunni insurgents. That job is being handled by the Saudis and Syrians. It seems we are a hair's breath away from going to war against Iran in order to assist the House of Saud in meeting its geopolitical aims. Have you ever had the feeling that the house of Bush are retainers of the House of Saud.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 12, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13: Who were the WH officials on which media based its coverage that there were WMDs in Iraq?

There were quite a few: George Bush, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton were among those who told the media that Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs. I cannot fault these people, since George Tenet, the head of intelligence told all of them it was a "slam dunk."

I would not buy the principle that because American intelligence was wrong about Iraqi WMDs they cannot be trusted ever again -- especially because our intelligence people now have access anywhre inside Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, presumably because Iran wants to destabilize Iraqi democracyc. A successful democracy next door is a threat to the rule of the Mullahs

Pure idiocy. Ethnic strife next door threatens to spill over into Iran and ignite ethnic strife there, destabilizing their state and undermining the mullahs.

The amount of stupid you spill out onto these threads is breathtaking.

Posted by: trex on January 12, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

From Iran's POV, it makes sense to aid all insurgents.

I call bullshit. Got any proof?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

according to the Wall Street Journal, Iran has been contributing to deadly attacks agasint American soldiers in Iraq for quite a while.

Firstly, there is very good reason to doubt the veracity of this claim. The Bush administration has been lying from day one about Iraq; only a chump would assume they've found God and started telling the truth. Evidence, George, or shut the fuck up.

Secondly, let's assume for the sake of argument that it is true.

Guess what?

Bush is required by the highest law of the land to ask Congress if he wants to attack Iran. Period. It does not matter if Iran has just launched a nuke to Baghdad -- he still must ass Congress to attack Iran.

If he's going to ask Congress to allow him to attack Iran, he better bring some evidence to back up his claim that we need to, and then we are back to point 1 (George is probably lying about the need to do so). And if Congress tells him "no, you can't attack Iran, George," he does not get to attack Iran [or Syria] no matter what he want to do.

To do start a war without the Congress is an impeachable offense, and a direct violation of the Constitution. Should Bush do so, he is no longer the President of the US, as he only holds that office by the grace of the Constitution.

The Constitution is not unclear on this. I realize Americans have been living in this polite fiction for the last century: that the President can attack whomever he wants.

Well, he can't. Period. It's long past time to take that power back, Congress.

It's time for America to wake up, and remember that the President is not a dictator. Any attack on another nation requires the say-so of Congress, no matter how messy that is in practice.

And it shouldn't be any other way.

Posted by: teece on January 12, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran has been contributing to deadly attacks agasint American soldiers in Iraq for quite a while.

No, according to anonymous US officials quoted in the WSJ.

The US goverment was wrong about everything in Iraq, "ex-liberal". To believe them now you'd have to be a fool, a liar or both. Which is it?

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Why aren't the Shi'ite militias -- the ones closest to Iran, like the Badr Organization -- using any of these nifty shaped charges?

Why are the shaped charges and the IED-planting always traced to Sunni insurgent groups and not Shi'ite militias?

Moktada's very anti-American. Why don't the Mahdi Army use them?

Why would Iran give its most potent weapon against the Americans to groups -- whether jihadi or Ba'athist -- who hate their fucking guts? I mean, I could see helping them out as part of an overall strategy ...

But why don't their *own* groups get any of these nifty weapons?

Could it be that it's Sunni combat engineers who are constructing them from al-Qa'qa materiel and not Iranians after all?

Just ... you know ... maybe? :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Incursions into Iran and setting impossible "benchmarks" for Maliki are all just set-ups so that GWB can exit Iraq semigracefully by blaming outside influences beyond his control.
We tried but Iran was meddling and Maliki didn't perform will be the official message.

Posted by: Larry Hanry on January 12, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Bob, presumably because Iran wants to destabilize Iraqi democracyc. A successful democracy next door is a threat to the rule of the Mullahs. From Iran's POV, it makes sense to aid all insurgents.

trex rejoineded: Pure idiocy. Ethnic strife next door threatens to spill over into Iran and ignite ethnic strife there, destabilizing their state and undermining the mullahs.

Word. Not only that, it doesnt' follow that if the goal is destabilizing Iraq -- which was plenty unstable on its own (ah, but we can see here how the neocons are trying to shift blame from their failed policies to their next target! Diabolical!) thank you very much -- that Iran would arm militials opposed to the ones Iran itself sponsors. That's gotta be the stupidest, if not the most dishonest, thing you've ever posted here, "ex-liberal," you lying jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13: Got any proof [that from Iran's POV, it makes sense to aid all insurgents.]

My evidence is that Iran is actually aiding both Sunni and Shia insurgents, according to the cited article.

teece, there are a number of Constitutional provisions that have become no longer applicable, even though they were never formally amended. The President's right to commit acts of war for a limited period of time seems to be one of them.

Like you, I would prefer that the original meaning of the Constitution be applied, but the reality is that it's long gone.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Ok, I am willing to concede that the Iranians have been providing aid and comfort to the Shia militias. I would if I were them. There is no reason at all to believe they are supporting the Sunni insurgents."

Why then are they sheltering al Qeada members who fled Afghanistan? The Muslim radicals are united to defeat us. If they do, they might go back to killing each other but they are united right now. Among other things, Syria is run by a Shiite oligarchy and shelters the ex-Baathist Sunnis who are trying to reinstall what is left of Saddam's regime. The Iranians are funding Syria.

"That job is being handled by the Saudis and Syrians."

See above. Both Syria and Iran are working as hard as they can to destabilize the Iraq state.

" It seems we are a hair's breath away from going to war against Iran in order to assist the House of Saud in meeting its geopolitical aims."

Iran committed an act of war in 1979 by invading and occupying our embassey. Technically, we have been at war with them ever since with numerous skirmishes such as the patrol boat attacks that preceded the accidental shootdown of their airliner. What we are doing with the raid on the Iranian safe house is collecting evidence of their activities and showing them we will not tolerate it any longer. We shouldn't have this far.

"Have you ever had the feeling that the house of Bush are retainers of the House of Saud.

Posted by: Ron Byers"

The Bush family along with most retired State Dept officers like Joe Wilson, are far too close to the Saudis. That makes GW Bush's willingness to defy them with the invasion of Iraq all the more remarkable. He is the first of the Bush family to turn on the Saudis. The previous arrangement goes back to FDR. Why do you think Brent Scowcroft wrote the op-ed opposing the war ? His paycheck, and those of a bunch of other people you guys quote, come from the Saudi slush fund.

Posted by: Mike K on January 12, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action ... ?

Could be, but the only evidence is that they are attacking Iranians in Iraq who are thought to be supporting the Shi'ite militia in Iraq. That's one of the tasks that has to be done if the surge is to be successful. A successful surge, even if improbable, is something that everyone will welcome.

I should write "surge" for surge, since it is really just a small wave, but it's te term being used. More combat aircraft in Incirlik; more carriers, including the marine assault carriers, nearby; increased force levels in Djibouti, increased force levels in Baghdad; combined IA/US actions in Baghdad. Kennedy was correct to note that the surge has been underway already for a while. By the time the Democrats can agree what they want a resolution to say, the forces for the surge will have been deployed.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Bush at 35% at Rasmussen.

A drop of 9 points in just two days.

Lowest level of approval in Rasmussen for Bush, EVER.

The "surge" seems to be playing well with Americans.

Bush is approaching Nixon and Carter territory.

In fact, he's likely to break those barriers in less favorable polls.

Why are conservatives so dismissive of the collective judgment of the American people, the same collective judgment they say is always better than the judgment of the government when it comes to every other issue?

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

How accurate was the media on WMDs in Iraq?
Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

They were very accurate, until they failed to report how Saddam Hussein smuggled his WMD into Syria via a secret underground tunnel from one of his palace complexes that he forbade the weapons inspectors from entering; the tunnel was later collapsed so US troops wouldn't find it.

Why would Iranians aid Sunni insurgents?
Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Because they're all muslims, and they all hate America, and Christianity, and everything that is good and pure in this world.

They're ALL working against us, together, in secret. There are secret meetings at their mosques, secret messages hidden in internet pornography pictures, and encrypted to sound as "background noise" piggybacked on domestic phone calls.

They hate freedom, and they hate America, and will do ANYTHING to destroy us. Because they ultimately want us out of the way so they can destroy Israel, prevent the rebuilding of the Temple, and allow the Antichrist to take over the world!

But they're too late - because Jesus's second coming has already happened, didn't you see the comet? Didn't you hear Bush's speech? Was it a coincidence that these two signs happened on the same day? NOT! The end is near evil sinning libs. Repent before it's too late.

We're gonna nuke Iran in the name of the Lord!

Posted by: (fake) ex-lib on January 12, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 1:45 PM

Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore didn't see the intel Bush 43 did in the march to invading Iraq. For you to add their names and any Congress-critter's name to the list is bullshit and blatantly dishonest on your part.

Don't forget the Bush-Cheney WH was wrong about WMDs in Iraq.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Firstly, there is very good reason to doubt the veracity of this claim

Another good reason to doubt the veracity of this claim is that the Brits made it last year and were forced to retract it when the evidence showed the explosive technology clearly didn't originate from Iran but from the IRA -- where it was ultimately funneled to Baathists via Palestinian groups with whom they had connections.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/ulster/article320004.ece

My evidence is that Iran is actually aiding both Sunni and Shia insurgents, according to the cited article.

That's not what the article says, dimwit.

Posted by: trex on January 12, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

For you to add their names and any Congress-critter's name to the list is bullshit and blatantly dishonest on your part....

...which is pretty much what we expect from you lot of malignant miscreants because it's all you drooling trools have left.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on January 12, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

My evidence is that Iran is actually aiding both Sunni and Shia insurgents, according to the cited article.

Your evidence is based on one story from media that got the story of WMDs in Iraq wrong.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: That makes GW Bush's willingness to defy them with the invasion of Iraq all the more remarkable.

If only it were true.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

apollo - if you go into google you can find quotes from both Bill and Hillary stating that there are WMDs in Iraq. These quotes were made when Bill was President and had access to all intelligence info. The mistakes came from incorrect intelligence. Bill and Hillary had little choice but to believe what their intelligence agencies told them.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

My evidence is . . . Iran is actually aiding both Sunni and Shia insurgents . . .

This is a conclusion.

A conclusion is an opinion, not evidence.

Methinks you must have misunderstood the question.

Deliberately so, perhaps, but nevertheless.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Patriot missile batteries.

That's what most haunts me about Bush's speech. More than anything else, that little phrase- that we will send patriot missile batteries.

Patriot missile batteries exist to (try to) shoot down other missiles. Not RPGs, not IEDs, not anything that any group in the current Iraq conflict (except for the US) has ever used. They have absolutely no use in counterinsurgency or in Iraq in general.

There's only one reason to move patriot missile batteries to the middle east- and that's because you expect a group- a nation - that has missiles, to fire them at you or your allies.

To my knowledge, no one is threating to do so - so why does Bush think that may happen? What is he (in our name) going to do that would lead to that?

Posted by: pdq on January 12, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib can't read, comprehend, is blindly obedient to the NeoNut cause, and/or pulling a propagandist's paycheck from Scaife.

To trust the Bushies about anything is to believe crap like this:

SEC. RUMSFELD: Not at all. If you think -- let me take that, both pieces -- the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. ABC Interview, Mar. 30, 2003
What a gullible or blatantly dishonest trool.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

Enough with the WMDs already. It's old news.

Why don't Moqtada or the other Shi'ite militias get to play with Iran's deadly toys?

Why are all the shaped-charge IEDs traced to Sunni groups and not Shi'ite militias?

Why is Iran giving its greatest enemies in Iraq their most potent weapon -- without similarly arming pro-Iranian militias?

I've asked you these questions once already ... stop ducking.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Google_This: Why are conservatives so dismissive of the collective judgment of the American people, the same collective judgment they say is always better than the judgment of the government when it comes to every other issue?

Fair point. Similarly, why do liberals want to defer to the American people on this issue, rather than rely on the expertise of government leaders, as they do on so many other issues?

Anyhow, I agree with your basic point. Bush is terribly unpopular. Chances are the Dems will win a big victory in 2008.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I've asked you these questions once already ... stop ducking

You know what, it wouldn't be terrible if ex-liberal's comments were moderated. He just spews endless nonsense and when his points are refuted factually he refuses to acknowledge it and just moves on to some other point.

That, to my mind, is trolling.

I understand it's possible and even probable that all this arises from sheer mouth-breathing stupidity. The end result is trolling nonetheless.

Posted by: trex on January 12, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

apollo - if you go into google you can find quotes from both Bill and Hillary stating that there are WMDs in Iraq.

No, it's your responsibility to back up your claims, not me. So, run along and prove it with dates and sources.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

By the time the Democrats can agree what they want a resolution to say, the forces for the surge will have been deployed.

Marler, your glee at the difficulties inherent in dealing with Bush's criminal recklessness is nothing short of disgusting, and yet another reason your pretense as a worthwhile commentor is regarded as a sham. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - I cannot answer all your questions. I will disagree with the basis of one of them, though.

Iran's greatest enemies in Iraq are not Sunni insurgents; Iran's greatest enemies there are American soldiers. And, the IEDs they allegedy supply are being used against American soldiers. From that POV it makes more sense for Iran to arm insurgents on both sides.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Buh-bye, ex-lib. You've got some proving to do.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: These quotes were made when Bill was President and had access to all intelligence info.

Information and opinion that was and is utterly irrelevant to conditions in Iraq in April 2003.

When facts are passed through a garbage-disposal brain such as ex-liberal's, garbage comes out.

BTW, the mistake came from manipulation of and selective presentation of intelligence by the Bush administration, not bad intelligence, although our intel could have been better.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: why do liberals want to defer to the American people on this issue, rather than rely on the expertise of government leaders, as they do on so many other issues

Because these "government officials" were wrong about everything in Iraq, "ex-liberal". To believe them now you'd have to be a fool, a liar or both. The Democrats aren't. Which is it with you?

Earlier: if you go into google you can find quotes from both Bill and Hillary stating that there are WMDs in Iraq. These quotes were made when Bill was President and had access to all intelligence info.

Which was before he destroyed them in Operation Desert Fox, you mendacious turd.

Your palpable glee at the prospect of war with Iraq -- I could all but hear the "fap-fap-fap" as you typed that Bush could ignore the Constitutional restrictions against unilaterally making war on Iran -- couldn't discredit the neocons more if you tried.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

teece, there are a number of Constitutional provisions that have become no longer applicable, even though they were never formally amended. The President's right to commit acts of war for a limited period of time seems to be one of them.

Did you really just write that, ex-liberal? Are you on some kind of medication?

Are you a complete fool? So that pesky Bill of Rights, even though never formally amended, can it become no "longer applicable?"

We're not talking about some piddling detail here, we are talking about a fundamental abrogation of the US Constitution.

I hope you're a troll. If you believe that dreck, you don't deserve to live in a free society.

Posted by: teece on January 12, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

From that POV it makes more sense for Iran to arm insurgents on both sides.

No, it doesn't -- again (as it was pointed out to you, and you ignored) it makes no sense at all that they would give such a potent weapon to the side that opposes their proxies and not their proxies.

But you know that, you dishonest toad.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

trex makes a valid point. The mods should banish the regurgitated talking points once they have been successfully refuted.

You remember how to define insanity, right?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on January 12, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

To think that Shiite Iran would shelter, aid, cooperate with or do anything other than shoot on sight Al Queda or any other Sunni insurgent/terrorist group because they're both Muslim is to think that the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan would help each other because they're both radical American fringe groups.

From DAY ONE, when we knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi and they were ALL Sunni, we have known that the real enemy, after bin Laden, is Saudi Arabia.

And Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest have been aiding that enemy from the moment they usurped the executive branch in December 2000.

The shrubbies are, indeed, nothing but the eager servants of the Saudis in all things.

shrub will attack Iran and Syria for one reason and one reason only:

Because it's what the Saudis want.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 12, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

If American troops are Iran's greatest enemies (a debatable proposition, since deposing Saddam very much did Iran's bidding, and the Shi'ite-dominated Islamic state next door America is helping to erect would be a natural Iranian ally, but anyway ... ), why aren't the Badr Organization -- many of whom have been trained in Iran -- hunkering down and blowing up American convoys with shaped-charge IEDs, like the Sunnis are doing?

My guess is that you'd have no answer for this, either ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Patriot missile batteries.

That's what most haunts me about Bush's speech

Indeed, pdq

I really feel Bush has gone unhinged, and sees a Hail Mary against Iran/Syria as saving his legacy. (My only solace is that even Bush can't be so stupid as to think that bringing Syria and Iran into this would do anything but royally fuck the US. Right? A thin reed to hang a hat on. Scary times).

Posted by: teece on January 12, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

teece:

Or as some Senate wag suggested, a Hail Maliki ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

trex wrote: "it wouldn't be terrible if ex-liberal's comments were moderated. He just spews endless nonsense and when his points are refuted factually he refuses to acknowledge it and just moves on to some other point."

"ex-liberal" is a parody, as his comments on this thread make clear beyond question.

He posts cartoonish charicatures of tired, old, long-discredited, scripted right-wing talking points, and quotes laughable claims from the right-wing extremist media like the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, in order to mock so-called "conservatives" for their ignorance, stupidity and dishonesty.

He is a parody just like "Al's Mommy" and "Norman Rogers", and in my opinion, funnier than either of them.

"ex-liberal" is a clown, performing lowbrow slapstick comedy, and should be treated as such.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Iran's greatest enemies in Iraq are not Sunni insurgents; Iran's greatest enemies there are American soldiers.

That's your opinion, not a fact.

ex-liberal: Similarly, why do liberals want to defer to the American people on this issue, rather than rely on the expertise of government leaders, as they do on so many other issues?

Liberals aren't deferring to the American people or using their collective viewpoint as an excuse; no Democrat has said, either expressly or in effect, that "the American people oppose this war and their collective judgment is better than Bush's."

In fact, Democrats and liberals have consistently pointed to military leaders, both current and former, as well as current and former intelligence and foreign policy leaders and experts when justifying their stance, not to mention the known facts about what is happening in Iraq and the president's nearly unblemished record of mistake, incompetence, and lying.

On the other hand, conservatives routinely claim that the collective judgment of the American public, even when polls don't support their contention, is better than that of Washington leaders, in order to support their preferred policy choice.

Quit throwing so many strawmen around; you are creating a fire hazard.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Recommended reading -- investigative journalist Robert Parry discusses the evidence that the Cheney administration is planning to attack Iran:

The US-Iran-Iraq-Israeli-Syrian War
Robert Parry
Consortium News
12 January 2007

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Anatole Kaletsky, associate editor of The London Times, recently revealed an alliance to attack Iran composed of the U.S., Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Here is some of what he said in an article headed "Unholy Alliance Threatening Catastrophe":

"Most people think that the bungled invasion of Iraq, climaxing last week with the bungled execution-assassination of Saddam Hussein, will go down in history as the ultimate symbol of the Bush Administration’s hubris and incompetence. They should think again. With the dawning of a new year, the Bush-Blair partnership is working on an even more horrendous foreign policy disaster.

"What now seems to be in preparation at the White House, with the usual unquestioning support from Downing Street, is a Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War. The trigger for this all-embracing war would be the formation of a previously unthinkable alliance between America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain, to confront Iran and the rise of the power of Shia Islam.

"The logical outcome of this 'pinning back' process would be an air strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, combined with a renewed Israeli military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, aggressive action by American and British soldiers to crush Iraq’s Shia militias, while Saudi-backed Sunni terrorists undermined the increasingly precarious pro-Iranian Government in Baghdad."

What makes the Kaletsky revelation so significant is that he normally does not write on the war; instead he is The Times' leading commentator on economics. As such, his sources can be considered impeccable.

http://tinyurl.com/ykf826





Posted by: aj on January 12, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

The bottom line is this: if Iran really believes that the US is the greater enemy, then they would be securing the cooperation of the Shia in Iraq to quell the violence in the short term which would get the US out of the region (unless Bush is lying about standing down as the Iraqis stand up, which is certainly a possibility from this mendacious twit), only to pick up the violence and influence after the US left.

Much harder to redeploy 160,000 troops after bringing them home after an unpopular war than to keep them in place.

The idea that the Iranians are engaging in any serious interference in Iraq is ludicrous.

At most, they are just giving a few nose-tweaks to Bush.

The real and only major source of violence is internal to Iraq and it wouldn't disappear and the job wouldn't get significantly easier with the removal of any of the minor interference possibly caused by Iran or independently-acting Iranians.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: I vote against an echo-chamber.

I take it you voted against the Bush administration and the GOP Congress then, since no bigger echo chamber has existed since this country was founded in 1789.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

teece, I'm just reporting reality, not what I necessarily prefer. Take the 10th Amendment for example.

Although the Tenth Amendment has never been officially repealed, it's nearly dead. If you read that Amendment, Social Security is un-Consitutional, as is much of what the federal government does. But, nobody is going to end Social Security on Constitutional grounds. Nobody is going to impeach President Bush for allowing this un-Constitutional program to continue.

Similarly, a President is now allowed to commit acts of war without Congressional approval. E.g., Clinton authorized several missile strikes in an effort to fight terrorism. Nobody thinks that was an impeachable offense. On the contrary, it's a mark of pride to his supporters that he took actions to fight terrorism.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Quit throwing so many strawmen around; you are creating a fire hazard.

Now, if "ex-liberal" couldn't post straw men -- or false equivalences, or lying by omission, or...you get the idea -- he/she/it couldn't post here at all! Oh, wait...

"Mike" wrote: trex and Global Citizen vote for an echo-chamber. I vote against an echo-chamber.

See above. Invoking an "echo chamber" hardly justifies trolls like "ex-liberal" posting straw man arguments, long-debunked phony talking points, faulty logic, outright lies and other bullshit, and then continuing to do so when their points are, inevitably, rebuted.

"ex-liberal" is a troll whose posts add no value to this thread. Save your whinging about an "echo chamber"; maybe if dishonest neocons like "ex-liberal" were gone, we'd get some honest conservatives in here. As it is, I don't blame them -- if they still exist -- from not wanting to be associated with fools and liars like "ex-liberal," Marler, rdw, Nathan and their ilk.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

teece, I'm just reporting reality

Now that's the most blatant lie "ex-liberal" has told yet.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Can you folks knock off the ever so clever one-liners?

If precious little one-liners are all you have to contribute, how about taking it to an AOL chat room where the 13-year-olds will be thrilled?

I suggest instead that you take your cues from the more-informed on the list and behave accordingly. There are some excellent posts that deserve consideration and your cutesy-tootsie one-liners are not among them.

Again, if this is too much for you, then take it to an AOL chat room.

And, by the by, grow up.

Posted by: bill t on January 12, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, for the record I disagree with my good compadres trex and Blue Girl / Global Citizen on this as well ...

Ex-lib might be exasperating, but s/he has always been entirely civil and not a passive-aggressive thread-wrecker a la Charlie.

I can stand the disingenuous disagreement just fine.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: What value do "ex-liberal"'s posts add to this forum?

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

Honestly, I can almost prefer disingenuous cherry-picked argumentation to the relentless ad-hominemization of every single debating opponent in every response, Gregory ...

I try to hold back on this; I agree with you on substance 98% of the time.

But your posts are quite insufferable, my friend. I do tend to skim nearly all of them after seeing the first personalized slam.

And you can't defend this on the merits, either. It's simply a question of taste for me. Please carry on as you wish.

I just felt you ought to know my opinion.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Similarly, why do liberals want to defer to the American people on this issue, rather than rely on the expertise of government leaders...

Um, because our current crop of government leaders haven't demonstrated any expertise.

Posted by: ckelly on January 12, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

No I don't think they will; I'm not trying to start a fight with anybody. I just stated my opinion once and will let it drop. Gregory and I have no bad blood, so expect no wars.

Of course I might be wrong about being deleted -- and if I am, that's quite okay. I have ultimate respect for the moderators here.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Although the Tenth Amendment has never been officially repealed, it's nearly dead. If you read that Amendment, Social Security is un-Consitutional, as is much of what the federal government does.

Nonsense.

You simply don't know how to read.

Or more to the point, you read things into the Tenth Amendment which aren't there, like your opinion concerning what has been reserved to the states.

If you want to write about something unconstitutional, you should write about Bush's unconstitutional invasion of Iraq, which was also in violation of international law.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

If precious little one-liners are all you have to contribute, how about taking it to an AOL chat room where the 13-year-olds will be thrilled?

Because 13 year-olds in AOL chat rooms act more like adults and I prefer bantering with real children?

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I think, unfortunately, that ex-liberal is right that Congress will not impeach Bush even if he attacks Iran.

Whether the impeachment of Bill Clinton put them off using the tool ever again, or they don't really want to own the War in Iraq but keep it around Bush's neck, or they don't have the courage to do what needs to be done (i.e. impeach Cheney first), for whatever reason, they'll not pull the trigger. And that's too bad, because only impeachment, first of Cheney then of Bush, can save the US stature in the world, and Congress' stature here.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 12, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

I don't know what to tell you, honestly.

If I were mod, I don't think I would have deleted your posts.

But I'm not the mod, so ...

Remember, this is a privately owned blog. There is no "freedom of speech" per se. Washington Monthly has the right to set its standards however it wishes, regardless of what any of us might think about it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Google_This - the 10th Amendment says, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Nowhere does the Constitution delegate to the United States the power to operate an anuuity plan on behalf of retirees. If the 10th Amendment were truly followed, the states could run Social Security plans, but not the federal government.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie is posting as "Mike" and Charlie isn't welcome here under any circumstances

Posted by: on January 12, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

poster [Mike] has an IP address tied to malicious activity

Posted by: on January 12, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK
…If you read that Amendment, Social Security is un-Consitutional, as is much of what the federal government does…ex-liberal at 2:45 PM
Nonsense

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.”

"The Amendment, which makes explicit the idea that the federal government is limited only to the powers it is granted in the Constitution, is generally recognized to be a truism. In United States v. Sprague (1931) the Supreme Court noted that the amendment "added nothing to the [Constitution] as originally ratified". From time to time states and local governments have attempted to assert exemption from various federal regulations, especially in the areas of labor and environmental controls, using the Tenth Amendment as a basis for their claim."
The constitutionality of Social Security was settled in 1937 and has nothing to do with the 10th Amendment.

Posted by: Mike on January 12, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

blank:

I'd be more inclined to take those posts as official words from the moderator if you had posted them under a name instead of with a blank name field -- a signal strategy of driveby trolls.

Not saying you *aren't* a moderator and Mike *isn't* Charlie necessarily -- just letting you know what that kind of ID "smells" like, is all ...

Bob

poster [Mike] has an IP address tied to malicious activity -- mod.

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder which radio station on the Iran/Iraq border will be attacked?

Posted by: Paul Larson on January 12, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I tend to lose interest in a thread when
posters try to become the story, versus the
general theme of a given thread.

What's the point?

Our military is a massive money making machine.

War is something we can wrap our hands around.

Peace is too fuzzy for most folks.

What will the initial foray into Iran be called?

"Operation Kill All those who call us Infidels" ?

Operation Mideast Renewal?

Operation Spread More DUI

Operation Hawks Rule, Doves Suck.

Etc.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 12, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-lib might be exasperating, but s/he has always been entirely civil and not a passive-aggressive thread-wrecker a la Charlie.

Bob, I have to disagree with you. "ex-liberal" may choose not to use profanity, but he/she/it is (or hopes to be, at least) just as insulting -- and intentionally disruptive -- as Charlie. I invite you to peruse the treads of just the couple of days, for example (where not-at-all-ex-minion, whom you've vouched for, has also planted some choice bon mots).

For one thing, while he/she/it may excuse profanity, "ex-liberal" is hardly above casting aspersions on the motives of those who oppose the neocon agenda. ("Why do you take the word of America's enemies over our government?", for example -- and that's after the lack of credibility of this government has already been pointed out.) Is that being "entirely civil"? How so?

"ex-liberal", as even you have noted, Bob, is not capable of being educated -- his/her/its obtuseness/disingenuousness is quite deliberate. He/she/it is here -- voluntarily or for compensation -- to post bullshit neocon talking points. When they're refuted, he/she/it posts the same

I'm not asking you to approve of my style, Bob. But I see no reason to give the behavior of "ex-liberal" and his ilk a pass.

Where I come from, Bob, deliberately lying is not a mark of civil behavior. It's really quite beyond me why you would apply that term to "ex-liberal".

And noting that someone is lying, or has no credibility due their unabashed lying in the past -- like Nathan -- is not an ad hominem, Bob. It's pointing out, rightly, that someone's claims aren't to be taken seriously, and again, to do otherwise is to give them a free pass for lying in the past. Why would anyone want to do that?

(By the by, I would draw your attention -- reluctantly, of course -- to the Drexel Hill Dimwit, rdw. Wooten's delusional and utterly impervious to reality, but I recognize that he holds his whacky opinions sincerely. I mock his lunacy, but I don't make it a policy to call him a liar.)

I don't want an echo chamber either, and I'd love honest conservatives to debate with. But frankly, with occasional exceptions (there's someone who calls himself "Zathras" who usually does drive-by posting with whom I often disagree, but who isn't entirely a scoundrel) I'd have to go elsewhere; there aren't any here. I realize that fools and liars like "ex-liberal" and his ilk are all we have right now, but let's recognize that they aren't here out of some kind of courtesy; they're here to repeat propaganda, and when refuted, repeat it again. There mere presence, to say nothing of their conduct, is an insult, and I can't at all understand why you give them a free pass.

You're right, no bad blood here, of course. I'm staring my opinion too, and I'm glad to let it drop.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Nowhere does the Constitution delegate to the United States the power to operate an [annuity] plan on behalf of retirees.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it give the president the power to torture prisoners of war or even to torture whatever Bush is calling the Gitmo detainees these days.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it give the president the power to issue signing statements.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it give the president the power to invade another country.

But, in any event, the following gives Congress the power to establish the social security system:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States . . .

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

To wit, Congress shall have the power to make laws that provide for the collect[ion] of social security taxes for the general welfare of the United States.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory wrote: "I would draw your attention -- reluctantly, of course -- to the Drexel Hill Dimwit, rdw. Wooten's delusional and utterly impervious to reality, but I recognize that he holds his whacky opinions sincerely."

I believe "dimwit" is an appropriate, albeit cruel, characterization of rdw.

He clearly suffers from irreversible, progressive senile dementia, which is steadily degrading his cognitive capabilities.

So his "wits" are quite literally being "dimmed" day by day. Now that I realize this I have nothing but pity for him.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, that is precisely what I can see happening. The stance we are creating with our military in region, all they have to do is say that a GI is kidnapped or some other action has happened and that justifies action. Several online blogs have discussed biblical prophecy and the Somark technology as the mark of the beast. The religious right seems to want all of this war going on in an effort to escalate the rapture? What are some of your thoughts about an epic battle and the end near?

Posted by: BB on January 12, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Further, i think it is illogical that people believe that compliance with security measures such as implants, national ids, bar codes, credit cards, can result in eternal damnation. What say you?

Posted by: BB on January 12, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

And he didn't even mention Operation Desert Badger.

Badger badger badger badger...

Posted by: RT on January 12, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: And noting that someone is lying, or has no credibility due their unabashed lying in the past -- like Nathan -- is not an ad hominem, Bob.

Although I disagree with Bob on this issue generally, the Wikipedia definition of ad hominem would appear to indicate that this is an ad hominem attack.

An excusable one in my opinion, since ex-liberal seems primarily interested in debating opinions, rather than facts, and citing opinions (or conclusory statements) in support of his own opinions, rather than evidence.

Since it is mostly his opinion, and not his facts, that are at issue, an attack on ex-liberal's credibility would seem to be a justifiable action.

Since I don't really think you are calling ex-liberal a liar in order to undermine his argument - I think you really intend to simply insult him for being an ass (or a parody of an ass, take your pick) - it really doesn't count as an ad hominem.

An impolite method of discourse?

Of course.

But invited IMHO.

Posted by: Google_This on January 12, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, I enjoy your comments. Please keep posting them.

Posted by: Brojo on January 12, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Google_This quoted Gregory: "noting that someone is lying, or has no credibility due their unabashed lying in the past -- like Nathan -- is not an ad hominem".

Pointing out that someone is lying is not an ad hominem since it is a statement about that person's actual argument -- specifically, negating the factual basis of their argument -- and not a statement about the person making the argument.

Pointing out that someone has lied in the past, about some other subject, and suggesting that the person therefore lacks "credibility", is an ad hominem. Whether or not the person lied in the past has nothing to do with the validity or the factual basis of the argument they are offering now.

Having said that, I would point out that an ad hominem is a classical rhetorical fallacy, and is really only fully applicable in the context of classical debate.

In classical debate, nothing is relevant but the factual basis and logical validity of the arguments being presented. That one debater can be shown to have a history of lying about other topics in the past, or that one debater can be shown to have a clear motive for lying in the present debate, proves exactly nothing about the factual basis or logical validity of the argument that they are actually presenting in the present.

Of course, in the real world, if you know that someone has lied in the past, and you know that they have a clear motive for lying to you now, then you have every reason to be skeptical of the factual basis and logical validity of the arguments they are offering you, and every reason to examine those arguments especially closely to make sure you are not being deceived by lies or rhetorical sophistry.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Since even the neocons have to know we don't have the army to fight Iraq, Syria and Iran all at once they'd have to create a scenario where we could say we were justified in using nuclear weapons against them.

Realistically, what scenario is that?

Posted by: cld on January 12, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Whether or not the person lied in the past has nothing to do with the validity or the factual basis of the argument they are offering now.

As a matter of classical fallacy, maybe, but I submit that in the real world, it is entriely germane to provide the information relevant to assessing the credibility of someone who argues by assertion as often as "ex-liberal" does, as SA pointed out:

Of course, in the real world, if you know that someone has lied in the past, and you know that they have a clear motive for lying to you now, then you have every reason to be skeptical of the factual basis and logical validity of the arguments they are offering you, and every reason to examine those arguments especially closely to make sure you are not being deceived by lies or rhetorical sophistry.

Which is, of course, the problem I think the neocons are going to have with selling the American people on their new pet war using the same old arguments.

I'd also point out that "ex-liberal"'s dishonesty extends beyond lying. In terms of classical fallacy, for example, he regularly pretends that, since Bush is allegedly trying to fight terrorism, by opposing Bush's policies, one is opposed to fighting terrorism.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

Thanks for your well-stated reply. I'm glad there's no bad blood between us, and certainly I don't wish to have a long debate about this -- but I will state my views, because mine do differ strongly about this, on several levels.

First, I'm glad you recognize distinctions, and that it's possible for someone to sincerely believe something even though they're clearly wrong. I guess I just extend that to a wider set of opponents than you do. To me, politics is a lot like religion, and just as you can't convince a believer that what what they believe isn't true by logical proofs -- so you can't flip somebody's political worldview with rational argument. It takes years for committed conservatives to become liberals and vice-versa. Political views entail much more than bodies of evidence, they entail values and aspirations and things which aren't so easily quantifiable or objectified. And people do allow their fundamental value sets to drive the way they look at objective facts and not the reverse. And we *all* selectively interpret data, Gregory. If we didn't, we'd be overwhelmed by information every time we got out of bed. Perception is a filtering process.

As a fan of Huxley's Brave New World, surely you're also acquainted with his The Doors of Perception, and his concept of the mind as reducing valve ...

So I guess for me it just grates to continually see political opponents accused of bad faith all the time. Have you ever noticed how often you accuse an opponent of lying, Gregory? It's literally almost every single exchange.

Now with that said, I am very very glad of the new moderation regime, and don't miss at all the truly disruptive and malice-hearted trolls who've been shown the door. Can intolerable disingenuousness hide behind a mask of outward civility? Of course; one only need recall Charlie and all his many disguises ... And Charlie was truly a pathological liar who deserved to be called out as such every message, too.

I just don't personally feel that ex-liberal rises anywhere near that bar -- as exasperating as he can be to argue with. I guess good faith is one of those things that when you lose it, it tends to be gone for good. I'd rather assume good faith in folks until I have a pretty unequivocal reason to believe otherwise ...

I dunno ... call me naive, if you'd like. As I say, I don't want this to become an issue between us, so consider this my last post on the issue. I only wanted you to fully understand where I'm coming from.

Pax,

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK
Having said that, I would point out that an ad hominem is a classical rhetorical fallacy, and is really only fully applicable in the context of classical debate.

I wouldn't disagree, but I think you avoid getting to the key reason that arguments about the personal credibility of participants in the debate is more relevant, say, here than in classical debate: a lot of the arguments here are, at least in part, offered based on personal credibility. Statements are offered as true without citing evidence or making arguments supporting them. Essentially, in formal terms, these are arguments to authority, specifically, the authority of the person offering the argument. Such an ipse dixit argument is, itself, a fallacy in terms of pure logic, but obviously important arguments about facts rather than merely relations among propositions often will necessarily have to appeal to authority. It is not improper to raise legitimate challenges to the credibility of a source of information (even another participant in the debate) whose credibility is the support offered for a proposition.

Its important to keep on eye on that, because while pointing to a poster's past misrepresentations shows a good reason to disregard the things he claims on his own authority, it doesn't alone justify disregarding what they offer verifiable external evidence, or independently compelling argumentation for. (OTOH, a history of misrepresenting evidence might be a reason not to bother even checking their links...generosity goes only so far.)

Posted by: cmdicely on January 12, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action that we can use as an excuse to go after them? Maybe, maybe not. But we certainly considered doing it in Iraq, so it's hardly out of the question."

That's the thing about the neocons: When they've got something that doesn't work, the stick with it.

Posted by: Peter Principle on January 12, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

And let me quickly echo Brojo -- please carry on as you see fit; this is not at all an attempt on my part to tell you how you should debate. Everybody has a right to their particular style (within reasonable limits determined by the blog, of course).

I think you guys are splitting hairs about ad-homs, though. There's a clear difference between telling a person his facts are wrong and calling them a liar. And "liar" is ad-hom regardless of timeframe, because it's a personal characteristic. It also makes a statement that the person making the argument isn't doing so in good faith, but rather is deliberately hiding a truth that this person knows full well.

That's the essence of my objection. I don't think selectively interpreting a given fact set (something we all do according to our evaluative biases) is tantamount to deliberately lying.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Agreed. Appeals to authority without evidence rest on the credibility of that authority. I'm not criticizing taking someone's authority to task per se -- and there are ways of calling out an argument to show how it's built on systematic misrepresentations which amount to deliberate lying that are entirely in the ballpark.

I just think that needs to be demonstrated in some way before one applies that scourging label. If you believe someone's lying and wish to call them out, you have every bit as much an obligation to demonstrate that as your opponent did in making the false claim.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Bob, thanks for the response. A few quick points, then it's a long drive home:

So I guess for me it just grates to continually see political opponents accused of bad faith all the time.

For me it grates to see the political opponents here using bad faith all the time.

Have you ever noticed how often you accuse an opponent of lying, Gregory? It's literally almost every single exchange.

Well, I'd have to dispute that, Bob. (You're lying!!!!!1! Just kidding. :) ) Like said, I rarely, if ever, accuse rdw of lying; he at least has the Deanna Troi defense of actually believing all that Powerline bullshit.

But again, Bob, is that really a problem when someone is lying? Do I have to recount the whole brouhaha with Nathan, who lied about me, cmdicely and Cranky Observer, refused to admit it or apologize, and still pretends that he should be taken seriously?

Charlie was truly a pathological liar who deserved to be called out as such every message, too

So if I can demonstrate that "ex-liberal" is lying, why does he/she/it deserve a free pass? I still don't understand.

And that's just it, Bob -- I would certainly grant that if all I did was an O'Reilly-esque "yourelyingyourelyingyourelyingshutupshutup!!!!!1!", that wouldn't be worth any consideration. But I believe I do demonstrate where people have it wrong. Example: "ex-liberal" has claimed more than once that Bush's opponents here want to see America lose. I've challenged him/her/it, on more than one occasion, to produce a single post that meets that criteria. Never happens, Bob -- but that doesn't stop that not-very-civil-if-I-do-say slander from surfacing again and again. May we not draw the conclusion that "ex-liberal" is not arguing in good faith? And if so, why give a free pass?

I just don't personally feel that ex-liberal rises anywhere near that bar -- as exasperating as he can be to argue with. I guess good faith is one of those things that when you lose it, it tends to be gone for good. I'd rather assume good faith in folks until I have a pretty unequivocal reason to believe otherwise

Well, I appreciate that, Bob, I really do, but I obviosuly disagree with you. And if memory serves me right, even you noted in public that "ex-liberal" refuses to accept information that runs counter to his programming -- and you're right, Bob. No matter the drubbing he/she/it takes on one thread, he/she/it will post the same bullshit on another thread the next day. That is not good faith, Bob, nor is it civil behavior in my book.

Hell, Bob, even "ex-liberal"'s handle is a lie...if he/she/it were ever a liberal -- and he/she/it has never once written anything to indicate that might be so, but rather claims that liberals no longer believe in freedom, so he/she/it supports Bush, who does (which, of course, is hardly "civil discourse" either)

As I said, I do wish we had some honest conservatves to debate. For example, I heartily welcome the recognition by John Cole and Greg Djerejian of the mendacity and incompetence of this Administration, but that hardly means i agree with them about everything, or even that they're ever going to convert to liberals.

And I guess that's where the rubber meets the road, Bob. I don't pretend we're going to convert honest conservatives into liberals. Everyone's entitled to their opinions, butn o on is entitled to their own set of facts. "ex-liberal" wants to assert his/her/its own set of facts, and will never, ever, ever deviate from the talking points -- at best he/she/it will admit an inability to rebut an argument, but will then proceed on the merry way without a hint of embarrassment or shame.

We've gone from talking about "civil behavior" (I hope you see my point that, even if eschewing profanity, "ex-liberal" exhibits nothing of the kind) to "good faith", but again, I maintain that it's no crime to accuse someone of bad faith if one has the goods to back it up. If the accusations get repetitive, but the evidence does as well, then isn't your beef really with the ones who are here arguing in bad faith, and not me?

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: Honestly, I can almost prefer disingenuous cherry-picked argumentation...

Seriously? Why that's the stuff that got us into a war in Iraq -- cherry-picked dishonest argumentation (pronouncements). I invite you to rethink your preference.

On the Act of War thread, ex-lib states (emphasis added):

Google_This - I guess you find Iranians more credible than American intelligence officers. I wonder whether your sympathy also lies more with the Iranians than with the Americans?
That's the kind of crap I expect to hear from Rush Limbaugh... More ex-lib:
I'm struck by all the discussion of abstruse legal technicalities over what does or does not constitute a diplomat or a consulate. However, I see no concern for the flesh and blood Americans and Iraqis who are being murdered.
Interpret for me, Bob, the underlying meaning behind such statements directed at Google_This, please. Are they not veiled insults?

He/she/it contributes nothing substantive 99% of the time. Mostly, I ignore ex-lib's piffle. Today I didn't.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: "... a lot of the arguments here are, at least in part, offered based on personal credibility. Statements are offered as true without citing evidence or making arguments supporting them."

Beyond even that, some comments posted here are simply opinions offered as though they were facts.

Don P was one who did that a lot.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

To address the topic Kevin presented: Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action that we can use as an excuse to go after them? Maybe, maybe not. But we certainly considered doing it in Iraq, so it's hardly out of the question.

The West has had a history of provoking Iran. A few examples:

  • 1953 CIA coup deposing the democratically-elected Iranian Premier Mohammad Mossadeq [See http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/index.html]
  • Installing the West-sympathizing shah of Iran who was extremely brutal to Iranians
  • More recently, we have the Bushie reaction to cooperation of Iran in the Afghanistan War [See Leverett, http://bluegalinaredstate.blogspot.com/2006/12/redacted-version-of-original-op-ed.html]. For example, "Iran went along, working with the United States to eliminate the Taliban and establish a post-Taliban political order in Afghanistan." Yet Bush named Iran as one of the "axis of evil."

  • Now the news of yesterday's raid in Kurdistan, which comes after Bush rejected diplomacy with Iran.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

    There's a clear difference between telling a person his facts are wrong and calling them a liar.

    What else would you call someone who keeps repeating the same argument even after you've demonstrated their facts are wrong?

    I don't think selectively interpreting a given fact set (something we all do according to our evaluative biases) is tantamount to deliberately lying.

    I don't either, Bob. Example: I've criticized one particular poster here -- I won't name names because i don't think it's relevant and he isn't participating in this thread -- for simply refusing to believe that the government can effectively administer policy, or to do so as well as the private sector. I think this individual is "selectively interpreting a given fact set according to [his] evaluative biases, but, in this case, I don't think he is deliberately lying. Hell, in the Tyler Cowen thread, I said I think Cowen's all wet, but I didn't say he was lying, either.

    But again, I think you're giving some people here (and, just as I already knew you weren't telling me how to argue, neither am I you) waaaaay too much credit. "Selectively interpreting a given fact set according to evaluative biases" is one thing; persisting in false (and often insulting) arguments despite havign been corrected over and over really can't be interpreted as anything else.

    And just as cmdicely said, our reputation here is often key for evaluating one's argument (which is why I abhor spoofing, even if it's posters I disagree with -- parodies are one thing, but jacking someone's handle is unacceptable). So if someone does that, like I said, I don't see the percentage in giving them a pass for their previous lies, especially when that so-called "civil tone" is nothing but a sly rhetorical trick to cloak one's arguments in apparent credibility they don't deserve.

    Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

    Interpret for me, Bob, the underlying meaning behind such statements directed at Google_This, please. Are they not veiled insults?

    No, they are not.

    They're overt insults.

    "Civil tone," my ass.

    Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

    They are insults, true.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK
    I think you guys are splitting hairs about ad-homs, though. There's a clear difference between telling a person his facts are wrong and calling them a liar. And "liar" is ad-hom regardless of timeframe, because it's a personal characteristic.

    Mentioning a personal characteristic, even a negative one, is not necessarily ad hominem.

    Ad hominem is a form of "red herring" where a personal characterization of the person offering a claim is presented as a reason to disregard the claim where that characterization is not relevant to the support for the claim.

    So, if a claim is rebutted and a gratuitous insult appended to the rebuttal, the insult is not usually an ad hominem (its abuse and surplusage, but as its not offered as the reason to reject the claims, but alongside those reasons, its not ad hominem.)

    And, of course, if the characterization is of the speaker's demonstrated honesty or reliability, and offered as a reason to reject a claim whose own support is the speaker's own credibility, its not an ad hominem, in terms of the fallacy, even though it is offered as the reason to reject the claim.

    Posted by: cmdicely on January 12, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

    You know, I find discussions like this extremely interesting, because they get at the ways people process information, not to mention a welter of psychological issues surrounding what the microsociologist Erving Goffan called impression management ...

    This is really a very deep topic ... much deeper than I'm capable of going atm, since I skipped lunch today. But lemme try to lay out some basic precepts.

    I guess deliberate lying in cyberspace is sort of like what Potter Stewart said about pornography: it's hard to define, but you know it when you see it. But just like pornography, people seem to have different threshholds for it ...

    Certain things are obvious, though. Charlie was obvious. Jacking handles is obvious. Misrepresentation -- when the truth can be ascertained -- is obvious.

    A poster like ex-liberal is less obvious, though. I don't consider parroting the talking points -- even when it's obviously insulting (to both one's dignity and intelligence) -- a species of deliberate lying. Piss-poor argument, sure. Nor is obstinancy a species of lying, or deciding in mid-stream that the fact set they had been soundly refuted on is suddenly less salient than this *new* fact set. That's cheesy, sure ... It may well lack integrity. But it's not necessarily dishonest.

    Let me just make it clear that I'm not objecting to the tactic of calling out posters on untruths. I even think you can call a poster a liar if you can demonstrate a pattern of it, along with evidence of insincerity. And I don't want to get into the weeds with you guys on ex-liberal; you obviously feel strongly about your views here and I respect them.

    All I really mean to say is that if you're going to call somebody a liar, you have an obligation to demonstrate the charge, because it's a serious ad-hominem attack. I don't think you should use it as evidence in a further argument unless you genuinely feel it's been clearly established.

    And I also think that sincerity is a trickier thing to refute than some here may credit. YMM, of course, V.

    Carry on ...

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

    rmck1 wrote: "A poster like ex-liberal is less obvious, though. I don't consider parroting the talking points -- even when it's obviously insulting (to both one's dignity and intelligence) -- a species of deliberate lying."

    To call much of what ex-liberal does "lying" is to grant it a dignity that it doesn't deserve.

    When ex-liberal accuses critics of the Bush administration's foreign policy of being enemies of America, as he did twice today, that isn't "lying."

    It's just bullshit.

    Or, as I increasingly suspect, it is the low-brow slapstick comedy of a clown who is mocking the brain-dead dittoheads of the right with exaggerated, cartoonish charicatures of their talking points.


    Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

    Marler, your glee at the difficulties inherent in dealing with Bush's criminal recklessness is nothing short of disgusting, and yet another reason your pretense as a worthwhile commentor is regarded as a sham. Shame on you.

    I deny any glee.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

    cmdicely:

    From what I recall of the definition of ad-bom I've read (and there are scads of textfiles on rhetorical fallacies floating around the internet), there's at least one flavor of it which describes garden-variety namecalling, and that's ad hominem abusive. So the gratuitous appended insults, even though not germaine to the argument, are definitely ad hominem regardless -- at least in that secondary definition.

    Secondly, the only way calling somebody a liar in a blog debate can genuinely be called *not* ad hominem (not a rhetorical fallacy) is if everyone watching the debate *is already convinced* that this person is a liar to begin with. If you use it as a supporting premise without demonstrating it directly, it's classical ad hominem because it's a red herring which presumes the charge you're attempting to make.

    Calling Charlie a liar might be ad-hom abusive, but it's not an ad-hominem argument per se, because everybody knows Charlie's a liar already. If it knocks the props out of an assertion he's making by dint of the authority of his voice alone, it's perfectly fair game.

    But I would submit to you that it's generally difficult to refute a person's sincerity on a blog, the Charlies of cyberspace nonwithstanding.

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

    We're not talking about some piddling detail here, we are talking about a fundamental abrogation of the US Constitution.

    Numerous presidents since and including Jefferson have attacked without requesting permission from Congress.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

    Secular:

    I dunno about ex-lib being a Normanesque parody troll, but I'd strongly agree with you that his backhanded questioning of our patriotism didn't rise to the threshhold of a deliberate lie.

    Plain bullshit is the better appellation, as you say.

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

    In fact, Democrats and liberals have consistently pointed to military leaders, both current and former, as well as current and former intelligence and foreign policy leaders and experts when justifying their stance, not to mention the known facts about what is happening in Iraq and the president's nearly unblemished record of mistake, incompetence, and lying.

    Now that the Democrats are in the majority in Congress, it is time for them to formulate a policy and act on it. Part of the problem is that they have received contradictory advice, and don't agree which advice to follow.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

    MatthewLMarler:

    No, in our constitutional system it's not up to the Democrats to have a unified policy contradictory to that of the commander-in-chief. Since Bush already has so much executive power in our system to prosecute foreign wars, it's enough that the objectors simply object.

    When the Democrats have a Democratic president in office, assuming they're still the majority -- then it will be up to the party to lead by forging a new policy on Iraq.

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK
    Numerous presidents ... have attacked without requesting permission from Congress. MatthewRMarler at 6:33 PM
    The War Powers Act gives the president 60 days

    The purpose of the War Powers Resolution is to ensure that Congress and the President share in making decisions that may get the U.S. involved in hostilities. Portions of the War Powers Resolution require the President to consult with Congress prior to the start of any hostilities as well as regularly until U.S. armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities (Sec. 3); and to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities if Congress has not declared war or passed a resolution authorizing the use of force within 60 days (Sec. 5(b)). Following an official request by the President to Congress, the time limit can be extended by an additional 30 days (presumably when "unavoidable military necessity" requires additional action for a safe withdrawal).
    In Bush's case, this is similar to the requirement of a court-approved warrant. He merely ignores any law that Cheney says limits the Unitary Executive. It is unlikely that the bombing of Iran would last 60 days, but this sort of attack is clearly an aggressive act of war and would kill many innocent persons in addition to having many other undesirable consequences.

    Posted by: Mike on January 12, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

    MatthewRMarler wrote: Now that the Democrats are in the majority in Congress, it is time for them to formulate a policy and act on it.

    I agree.

    However, what "formulate a policy and act on it" means for the majority party in Congress is quite different from what "formulate a policy and act on it" means for the President, because of their different roles with regard to foreign policy.

    My own preference is for the plan that Rep. Dennis Kucinich advocates: Congress should use its Constitutional authority to cut off all further funding for the war in Iraq, and require that the Bush administration use the funding that is already in the pipeline from previous "emergency" appropriations to bring the troops home, as quickly as possible, beginning immediately.


    Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

    from aj: while Saudi-backed Sunni terrorists undermined the increasingly precarious pro-Iranian Government in Baghdad."

    considering the efforts, and some successes, of the Americans fighting against Sunni insurgents in al Anbar province, and Bush's support for al Maliki, that does not sound right. All administration rhetoric, and all recently announced details for the surge, strongly supports the elected government.

    Also, there is a continuing effort to isolate Iran diplomatically. There was action against an Iranian bank, and negotiation between Saudis and the Chinese about oil. It looks more like they are trying to curtail Iran's offensive capability and punish the economy. There are not sufficient forces for a WWII-style invasion.

    That's a story to keep in mind over the weekend, however. Late Friday pm is when they like to make difficult announcements.

    It was reported, and then denied, that U.S. marines had flown in to southern Somalia to engage the huddled ICU/al Qaeda masses there. With the two marine aircraft carriers in the region, a more likely scenario is for the marines to attack and patrol suspected infiltration routes from Iran inside Iraq.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

    ex-liberal, i almost hate to join the piling on, but the following is just wrong: Nowhere does the Constitution delegate to the United States the power to operate an anuuity plan on behalf of retirees. If the 10th Amendment were truly followed, the states could run Social Security plans, but not the federal government.

    There is a famous saying that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own Constitution. No body with the authority to do so has ever judged Social Security to be unconstitutional. It was adjudicated early on. Paraphrasing your (correct) comments above about all the famous people who warned of the threat of Iraqi WMDs, including the famous remark of Richard Clarke in March 2003, you could look this up.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

    poster [Mike] has an IP address tied to malicious activity

    It's only my opinion, but I am glad that you have cut down on the repetitious insulting text that used to appear here in great quantity. What remains is still quite lively.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

    No Einsteins in this administration.

    "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." -- Albert Einstein

    The administration strategy, as articulated by Condeleeza Rice -- All we are saying, is give war a chance.

    US forces raided the Iranian office in the Iraqi city of Irbil arresting several staff--one since freed-- confiscating computers/documents.

    A most provocative act

    Posted by: consider wisely always on January 12, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

    Apollo 13:

    >> Bob: Honestly, I can almost prefer disingenuous cherry-picked
    >> argumentation...

    > Seriously? Why that's the stuff that got us into a war in Iraq --
    > cherry-picked dishonest argumentation (pronouncements). I invite you
    > to rethink your preference.

    Notice I said "almost" :) But this is sort of what I mean, not that
    I took it to heart or anything. You're sort of implying that if I
    wrote what I did above, then I somehow must've approved of the whole
    WMD fiasco. But, since I'm a good leftie, I couldn't have, therefore
    I need to rethink what I wrote above ... That's kind of blunderbuss
    rhetorical manipulation, and although most of us indulge in some form
    of it it from time to time, it can be odious if taken to an extreme.

    > On the Act of War thread, ex-lib states (emphasis added):

    >> Google_This - I guess you find Iranians more credible than American
    >> intelligence officers. I wonder whether your sympathy also lies
    >> more with the Iranians than with the Americans?

    > That's the kind of crap I expect to hear from Rush Limbaugh...

    Well of course it is. But I think Secular's right; it's too brain
    dead to rise to the level of a deliberate lie; it's more like just
    plain retarded bullshit. Nothing to get in high dudgeon about ...

    > More ex-lib:

    >> I'm struck by all the discussion of abstruse legal technicalities
    >> over what does or does not constitute a diplomat or a consulate.
    >> However, I see no concern for the flesh and blood Americans and
    >> Iraqis who are being murdered.

    > Interpret for me, Bob, the underlying meaning behind
    > such statements directed at Google_This, please.

    Sure, because I remember this comment. It's a classic red
    herring (tu quogue), because the deaths in Iraq have nothing
    whatsoever to do with the consulate/diplomatic office issue, as
    if being concerned about one precludes concern for the other.

    > Are they not veiled insults?

    Nahh, I don't think so. More like more Limboid boobishness. I look
    at it like this: I believe George Bush is entirely sincere. While
    some have called him a callous, uncaring piece of shit for getting us
    into this war, I beg to differ. I think he honestly cares about both
    the people of Iraq and our troops. When he broke down and shed a tear
    at that Medal of Honor ceremony a couple days ago for that grunt who
    threw himself on an IED to save his platoon, I don't think he was
    faking it. And I think he honestly believes that remaking Iraq will
    lead to a better life for Iraqis. I think he's profounded *deluded*,
    but that's entirely different. And thus with a guy like ex-liberal.

    The dude really believes that in order to care about our troops and
    the Iraqi people, we have to support George Bush's war. And that's
    why he says stupid shit about how war opponents must not really care.

    > He/she/it contributes nothing substantive 99% of the time.
    > Mostly, I ignore ex-lib's piffle. Today I didn't.

    Well, I think this place would be a little worse if it were an echo
    chamber made up entirely of like-minded liberal Democrats. While
    I agree with Gregory that it would be nice to have intellectually
    rigorous conservatives who didn't resort to so many rhetorical
    fallacies and admitted when they were called out wrong -- we can't
    really pick and choose who our contrarians will be. Ex-liberal's
    palaver is a good thing because it gives our brains the excercise
    in refuting the talking points. While we can certainly hope for
    a lot more, it's all that we really have a right to demand ...

    After all, there's always the ol' scrolling finger ...

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

    rmck1: No, in our constitutional system it's not up to the Democrats to have a unified policy contradictory to that of the commander-in-chief.

    The Constitution gives the Congress considerable power, it's just harder for them to effectively marshall that power. Kucinich and Kennedy are in fact actively attempting to marshall that power and get Congress to end American involvement in Iraq. I think that the rest of Congress will wait and see whether the surge is effective or not; if it's effective, they'll continue to let Bush interpret his authority expansively; if it fails, then they'll pass binding resolutions rescinding his authority. I believe that their lack of resolute action follows from the fact that they do not agree more than it does from the Constitution. Again there is precedent: Ford wanted to attack the NVA when it invaded SVN, but Congress had by that time specifically prohibited it.

    SecularAnimist: However, what "formulate a policy and act on it" means for the majority party in Congress is quite different from what "formulate a policy and act on it" means for the President, because of their different roles with regard to foreign policy.

    I agree, but as I just wrote, when the Congress does agree on a policy, then it will be capable of enforcing it. As I wrote, I agree with Bush, Lieberman and McCain on the surge, but I think that Kennedy and Kucinich are doing the right thing in view of their convictions.

    Mike: Portions of the War Powers Resolution require the President to consult with Congress prior to the start of any hostilities as well as regularly until U.S. armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities

    True, but "consult" does not require the president to get permission for attacks a priori in all cases. As it applies to the surge and to attacks against Iranian assets inside Iraq, the president is in consultation with the Congress, and I think (this can be debated below) that the 2002 AUMF already authorises such attacks within Iraq. Were Iranian forces to attack any U.S. vessels, the U.S. could counter-attack without prior notification to Congress. That the Bush Administration might be trying to goad Iran into such an attack is what initiated this thread.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

    ex-liberal: From Iran's POV, it makes sense to aid all insurgents.

    I agree (gasp!) with ex-liberal on that one. Looking at the twisted relationships in the ME (Iran-Syria, Syria-Sunni, Sunni-Baath, Iran-Shia, Iran-Syria-Hezbollah, ...), it's hard not to conclude that there is likely some Iranian support flowing to many insurgent/malitia/opposition forces in Iraq, even those not directly allied with Iran.

    However, whether Iranian aid to those groups is significant is another matter. It may be in Iran's interest to keep the pot simmering, but not (yet) allow it to come to a boil. That could come later, after coallition troops are mostly gone, at which point any support for Sunni forces is withdrawn, and the Shia hammer what's left of them into the ground.

    Not that it will make a rat's ass difference in the end. Bush's "surge" is either pissing in the wind, or it will result in increased conflict with Iran. Pick your poison. Personally, I'd bet on the latter, as it helps shift responsibility and accountability, and ensures that the fire won't be out before Bush leaves office.

    Posted by: has407 on January 12, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

    Gregory, I actually have pointed out liberal views from time to time. Anyhow, just to put the issue to rest, my liberal activities in the past have included:

    -- Attended a Martin Luther King-led March on Washington.

    -- Long-time member of ACLU and NAACP

    -- Participating in a peace march led by folk singer Pete Seeger (before his Communist Party membership was known)

    -- Campaign worker for Eugene McCarthy in 1968

    -- Participated in anti-war activities during the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley.

    -- And, of course, voted straight Democratic Party ticket

    Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

    MatthewRMarler wrote:

    "I agree with Bush, Lieberman and McCain on the surge, but I think that Kennedy and Kucinich are doing the right thing in view of their convictions"

    and:

    "As it applies to the surge and to attacks against Iranian assets inside Iraq ... I think ... that the 2002 AUMF already authorises such attacks within Iraq."

    Apropos of both those comments, Democratic Congressman Sam Farr introduced legislation Thursday that would repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

    Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 12, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

    ex-liberal: "Gregory, I actually have pointed out liberal views from time to time. Anyhow, just to put the issue to rest, my liberal activities in the past have included, etc., etc."

    Well, that explains why you sound so much like my stepfather -- you're his generational peer! Although, to be fair, my stepfather was probably born an old fart, because his sister told me that he talked like he was 70 when he was 25.

    Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 12, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

    SecularAnimist: Apropos of both those comments, Democratic Congressman Sam Farr introduced legislation Thursday that would repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

    I have mentioned before, and some people seem to think that I am insincere, that I like for both parties to be strong, forceful, and effective. "Ambition must be made to work against ambition" is among the most important ideas of political philosophy ever written. Every word is key, and in this context I emphasize work. The Democrats worked to obtain their majority in Congress because they wanted the power to do what the Republicans wouldn't do. Now that they have the majority, I think that their supporters may be disappointed how much harder they have to work to be effective.

    It really isn't fun when the party you support has a slight majority in Congress -- ask some Republicans about the last 6 years. I think you were hanging around here during the Theresa Schiavo disaster -- aargh.

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

    (Side Note: Donald, have you checked the email you post under lately?)

    Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 12, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

    Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action that we can use as an excuse to go after them?

    I remember years ago having arguments with family members who could not imagine the United States doing such a thing. For example, when some of the Reagan folks were giving every indication that they would like to invade Nicaragua, some American citizens realized that we had invaded countries in our own hemisphere (including Nicaragua) before and that it would not be that unusual for us (i.e., a U. S. President) to manufacture a pretext for war. But for me to suggest such a possibility was to commit sacrilege. Vietnam\Gulf of Tonkin never seemed to register with them.

    Now, thanks to Bush the Outrageous, a little awareness is creeping in.

    OTOH, it seems many Americans (25 percent?) cannot imagine that anything is relevant other than “who are the bad guys”. For it’s ok, you see, to play dirty against the bad guys. A pretext for war against Iran would be perfectly ok since a good guy (and true Christian) has identified Iran as a bad guy. There does not seem to be much examination of why it would be necessary in the first place to dishonestly create a pretext. And anyone who disagrees with that 25 percent is either a collaborator with the bad guys, or just a softie.

    I cannot explain why some people, faced with facts that dispute their beliefs, deny the facts and get really mad. I thinks that’s pretty wimpy for an adult.

    We really, really need to watch George. Yes, yes, yes, he is capable of manufacturing a pretext.

    Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 12, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

    little ole jim from red country, without addressing what the US should do about "bad guys," would you not agree that the government of the Mullahs in Iran is indeed a "bad guy" government?

    Posted by: ex-liberal on January 12, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

    here is a good bipartisan note on which to end:

    http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/01/demint_thanks_democrats.php

    Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 12, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

    No, I wouldn't agree because applying that phrase would imply that I have a lot more knowledge that I have.

    I would agree that Iran does not appear to be a threat to the United States and that we could likely have a constructive relationship with Iran that would be of benefit to the people of Iran and the United States.

    Toward that end, we should get out of Iraq and refrain from calling them part of the axis of evil just because some speech writer thought it a clever phrase.

    Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 12, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

    The new Axis of Evil: Bush, Cheney, McCain.

    Posted by: bill t on January 12, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 12, 2007 at 7:30 PM

    After all, there's always the ol' scrolling finger ...

    I can agree with you on that.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 12, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

    ex-liberal: ...without addressing what the US should do about "bad guys," would you not agree that the government of the Mullahs in Iran is indeed a "bad guy" government?

    It's all relative. To paraphrase an old cold war line, "They may be assholes, but they're our assholes". Not that the Mullahs in Iran are in any way shape or form our assholes, but it could be worse, e.g., Afghanistan in the late 90's.

    Posted by: has407 on January 12, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

    I actually have pointed out liberal views from time to time

    You make straw man caricatures of liberal values, "ex-liberal," that are no more accurate than your other bullshit.

    Anyhow, just to put the issue to rest, my liberal activities in the past have included

    And, what, we're supposed to believe you now? Take your word for it, when you've shown that your word isn't worth a bucket of piss? That's the problem with pissing away your credibility, see, never-was-a-liberal.

    Or were you hoping someone would sympathize and ask what made you change your mind, so you could post more straw man caricatures of liberal values? No one's interested in your phony opinions.

    No one forced you to post the dozens, if not hundreds, of posts worth of neocon bullshit. You chose to sell out your honor (or at least the honor of your phony handle) and for what -- for the worst, most incompetent, most feckless President in American history, you poor dope.

    Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

    Matthew Marler wrote: I deny any glee.

    Your posts on the subject argue against you, alas.

    Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

    But I think Secular's right; it's too brain
    dead to rise to the level of a deliberate lie; it's more like just
    plain retarded bullshit. Nothing to get in high dudgeon about ...

    I'm curious, Bob, do you consider the quotes provided an example of "ex-liberal"'s civil behavior?

    Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

    Personally, I can't let the bullshit pass because if we leave it hanging out there unrefuted, it runs the risk of giving it credibility. Which is why, if the same shit has been posted and refuted repeatedly - especially in a short period of time day - I would have no problem with it being exiled to the ether.

    As for his bona fides as an "ex-liberal" I cringed. I was so afraid someone was going to pretend they care about his disingenuous bullshit and a platform to attack liberal values.

    Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 12, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

    especially in a short period of timeon the same day.

    Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 12, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

    Experience shows that you have to expect the worst from the Bush Administration.

    Posted by: Richard on January 12, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

    Gregory: And, what, we're supposed to believe you now?

    That's your choice, Gregory. There's no way any one of us can prove our bona fides. As the famous New Yorker cartoon said, On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog

    But, consider that Martin Luther King favored a colorblind society, which is now a conservative position. Similarly, Hubert Humphrey was certain that the Civil Rights Act would not permit racial preferences.

    JFK said, "we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." That's more-or-less Bush's policy, while it's strongly opposed by today's liberals. JFK enacted a massive cut in income tax, more weighted to the rich than Bush's tax cuts were.

    Liberals once were freedom of speech absolutists, but today's liberals support politically correct speech restriction. Only the libertarians strongly support freedom of speech.

    Liberals of 45 years ago were proud of the United States, although they recognized that it had some faults. Many of today's liberal see little good about our country. Liberals of 45 years ago supported our ally Israel. Today, the conservatives are the greater supporters of Israel.

    When you notice how many of the liberal positions of decades past are now conservative positions, my switch should be easy to understand. Like Ronald Reagan, I could say, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me"

    Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

    ex-lib writes:

    Liberals of 45 years ago were proud of the United States, although they recognized that it had some faults. Many of today's liberal see little good about our country.

    This is still the greatest country in the world, without reservation. Bush, however, is the worst President we've ever had, because he's violated the Constitution of this great country. If you love this country, how can you possibly not be against Bush?

    Bush won't dare invade Iran. It's inconceivable. If it happens, Bush will lose his legitimacy, and I will pick up a gun and join the revolution to overthrow the Bush administration.

    Posted by: Andy on January 13, 2007 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

    ex-lib: JFK said, "we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." That's more-or-less Bush's policy, while it's strongly opposed by today's liberals.

    Bush has not adopted JFK's words as his policy. That's fantasy on your part.

    Bush has suspended habeas corpus... holding detainees indefinitely, some of whom are innocent without redress. That's not liberty or justice.

    Innocent Americans are not free from government wiretaps. That's not liberty. That's an invasion of privacy without probable cause or a warrant.

    Bush's free speech zones quarantines free speech and arrests people for exercising it.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/01/04/INGPQ40MB81.DTL

    Quakers, gay servicemen and vegans are spied upon...that's not liberty, that's crazy.
    http://guerillawomentn.blogspot.com/2005/12/i-spy-gays-i-spy-peta.html

    Liberals oppose Bush's assault on our liberties.

    And your assertion is laughable.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 13, 2007 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

    ex-lib: Liberals of 45 years ago were proud of the United States, although they recognized that it had some faults. Many of today's liberal see little good about our country.

    Let me fix this for you...Many of today's liberal see little good about the way Bush and conservatives have ruined our country's liberties, diminshed America's reputation in the world, taken us down the borrow-and-spend budget path into deficit spending, conducted an unnecessary war based on WMD pretenses, mishandled Katrina, screwed up Iraq, etc. .

    IMO, many conservatives see little good about our country and blame liberals for the little good they see.

    Check Bush's approval ratings. It is not just liberals who disapprove of his handling of the war, economy, etc.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 13, 2007 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

    ex-lib: When you notice how many of the liberal positions of decades past are now conservative positions...

    Facts not entered into evidence. You haven't provided proof.

    Wishful thinking on your part... Conservatives are backward-looking and regressive. And since when did conservatives adopt a pro-choice stance into their party platform?!

    Nuts...really, you're deluded.

    Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 13, 2007 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

    Well, this was a very interesting discussion and I want to thank
    everybody who participated in it. While I don't think any of us have
    been moved in our positions, it was an airing of views that had me on
    a substantially different side than a number of well-respected blog
    regulars. And notice not a single cheap shot was fired, no motives
    were questioned, good faith was maintained throughout. Again, thanks
    -- I think that's been instructive.

    Notice it didn't have to go down this way. There are other regulars
    who aren't here atm (I'm thinking of one in particular) with
    impeccable ideological credentials, who, if past history is any guide,
    would've taken offense at my initial post to Gregory and used it as an
    excuse to launch a vicious personal attack, attempting to separate me
    from all those who disagree and rally them against me. It would have,
    after only a few exchanges, become moderation-worthy.

    I do separate political disagreement completely from mod-worthy
    behavior and think that's a good principle to honor generally.

    So to answer some remaining questions:

    No, Gregory, I don't take ex-liberal's posts personally and become
    offended by them. In order for that to happen, ex-liberal would have
    to personalize his responses, and single individuals out for being
    unpatriotic or not caring about the Iraqi people. But he doesn't; he
    speaks in generalities. The fact that he's assimilated the talking
    points -- as wrongheaded and perpetually annoying as that is --
    doesn't rise to the bar of offensiveness or incivility.

    As for ex-liberal being an ex-liberal, that makes perfect sense. To
    question it is like questioning that the neocons are ex-liberals:
    "Ex-liberals? What?!? The neocons are fascist imperalists!" And that
    may well be true -- but every single article on the evolution of the
    neocons points out that they were liberals and college leftists who
    fully supported the Great Society but had an epiphany on the Vietnam
    war. Just as nobody can dispute that Ronald Reagan was a solid FDR
    Democrat in his younger days. And it's not only an objective fact --
    it also makes perfect sense ideologically, if you think about it.

    What makes ex-liberal an ex-liberal is a naive individualist analysis
    of social problems that current liberals have grown too sophisticated
    to share. Ex-lib sez that the early civil rights movement was inspired
    by Dr. King's call for a colorblind society. Well duh -- we *all*
    would like to believe in a colorblind society as a *long-term goal*,
    but true liberals recognize that white skin privilege is a structural
    issue that needs to be compensated for until it withers away of its
    own accord; that's why we generally support Affirmative Action.

    Likewise free speech purism. When a bunch of white students chant
    slurs underneath the dorm windows of minority students -- something
    that minority students wouldn't feel free to do in return -- current
    liberals can see a rationale for calling this hate speech, expecially
    because of the social power differential involved. Even ACLU
    absolutists don't believe in yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

    As for Kennedy -- well, I've seen the so-called Kennedy tax cut
    debated before, and I don't think ex-lib's framing it fairly,
    especially considering the war footing we were on since Korea. But
    there's no question that Kennedy was an ardent cold warrior -- much
    moreso than Stevenson and the Democratic left. And there are certain
    loose parallels to Bush: the "missile gap" campaign issue we now know
    to be a fabrication. And while Kennedy didn't allow the use of our
    military, he *did* sign off on the Bay of Pigs invasion / fiasco.

    Would Kennedy have gutten us into Iraq? No way. And the way Kennedy
    was actively engaged in the Cuban Missile Crisis -- listening to all
    sides and making the correct decision -- is something all Americans
    should take great pride in and makes Bush truly look like a shallow,
    closed-minded ideologue.

    As for Globe's two points, well first, I'm not attempting to "defend"
    ex-lib's positions, which I disagree with as strongly as any of you. I
    merely believe in understanding what makes them tick -- just as I
    believe in understanding al Qaeda and Osama the way they understand
    themselves. Understanding one's opponents *never* hurts.

    As for her second point about deleting posts that have been soundly
    rebutted -- I don't think there's anything Globe / Blue Girl has
    written that I've disagreed with more strongly. No way; that's
    political correctness run amok and it would be highly destructive to
    this blog and chase away dissenters. Political views aren't like a
    chemistry exam, where there are only one set of correct answers.
    Political vlews are about more than facts, and people routinely switch
    the facts they emphasize rather than allow their fundamental values to
    be challenged. And don't kid yourselves -- we members of the
    reality-based community do it, too, although doubtless not as
    relentlessly. But to expect anything else is to argue with the terms
    of the universe. If the talking points are still being spewed, there's
    still an opportunity for us to refute them -- perhaps more elegantly
    than last time. That's what blogging's about.

    Besides which, I don't want to give ex-lib any more reason to feel
    unjustifiably smug about how closed-minded he thinks we all are ...

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2007 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

    See ... now this is a post that *nobody* should take seriously
    enough to get offended by. It's just pure clownish hallucination.

    Freeqy Deeqy:

    > Kevin - American troops are being killed by Iranians
    > - and you want us to ignore it???

    How does it feel, Frequency, to be a total and complete *dupe*. Hey
    news flash: The Iraqi government that we're supporting -- Maliki's
    government -- is chock full of *Iranian supported elements*. You know,
    SCIRI and Dawa, two Shi'ite Islamist parties that had their origins
    in Iran, and who make up the majority in parliament? You think these
    guys and their agents, like the Badr Brigades, are *really* the ones
    setting off the IEDs, when these guys depend on the US to fight the
    Sunni insurgency and keep the Ba'athists away from taking power again?

    > Evidently Iran knows it is at war with the USA.

    Iran is at war with Sunni extremists, and if we had half a brain,
    we'd enlist their support in helping us to combat the insurgency.

    > But tennis-playing metrosexuals in the USA can't see it.

    So you're saying that your politics are motivated
    by a deep fear that your dick might not work?

    Bob

    Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

    It is not a healthy thing to tie up a blog by endlessly "refuting" the posted views day in an day out of one or two individuals. It is best to ignore those one or two individuals and get on with the business at hand. Otherwise the blog essentially belongs to those one or two individuals. Some excellent posts are going by the wayside because of what more and more resembles a perverted and obstinate fascination in challenging the views of one or two.

    Listen to yourselves!

    Posted by: art on January 13, 2007 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

    msnbc this morning showed footage from the US forces attack on Iranian government offices in Irbil--the place looked trashed, a door was down, lots of items strewn about the floor. One queen anne type chair appeared to me to have bullet holes on the side. It was confirmed that our president had signed off on the arrests of the people there, had planned it for a couple of months.

    Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

    The neo-con view of Iran is summed up in this cartoon. The cartoonists add:

    I'm not at all hopeful about Bush's "new" Iraq strategy.
    [snip]
    Bush says we will "interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria" and "destroy the networks providing weaponry and training." The plan, it appears, is to limit our military to attacks against terrorists and their supply lines within Iraq and refrain from attacking the source of those terrorists and supply lines: Iran. Bush is attempting to cure the symptoms while ignoring the disease. As such, the weapons and terrorists will keep flowing across the border, and the chaos in Iraq, though it may rise and fall, will ultimately continue because Iran needs it to continue. How can we expect our troops to win a war in which we don't allow them to directly attack the enemy?

    In World War II, we didn't stop with engaging enemy soldiers at the front lines; nor did we stop at disrupting their supply lines. We took the fight all the way to the weapons factories and the command centers from which the war emanated,

    WW II is the last war that we won. Should we fight in Iraq as we did in WW II? If not, why not?

    Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

    Guest: *America a rogue state. This is about as blatant as it gets. Not even Tony Blairwill back this.*

    Oh he will. He will.

    Posted by: mg on January 13, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

    George W. Bush, to quote John Wayne on his headstrong young female employer in the movie True Grit, reminds me a lot of me.

    The WOT is not that complicated. Find terrorists, go kill them. Many who post on this side are probably opposed to the death penalty, or war as a solution in general to the problem of defending the nation, and that's fine.

    The WOT in Iraq has taken longer than our Civil War. Maybe that is because we have no General U.S. Grant, who could get 3,000 of his men killed in an hour, routinely had his own boys shot for being homesick or afraid and running away, and prodigiously hanged and shot suspected rebels whose major crime was to be near railroad bridges while not wearing at least some indication of being a Confederate soldier.

    Our civil war in Missouri and the murders in the post-war South during Reconstruction easily matches the carnage of Iraq today.

    Do or do not the enemies we encounter in Iraq need killing at least as much as pro-slavery forces in the Confederate States of America? We are 8 hours from Iraq for most travelers. Texas was over three weeks away from New York City in 1861.

    Is the Iraq intervention a stupid, illegal solution to problems that don't concern us? That is just what the Democrats were saying in 1861 as we stood on the threshold of killing one in every 12 military age American males in order to subdue a nation (the CSA) that certainly considered itself independent.

    Iraq will be independent by Nov. 2008. If it wants it can nationalize all its oil fields a la Hugo and it can either give the proceeds to all its people more or less equally, or give it all to the strongest faction. Will this government want the U.S. to hang around in our strong bastions as a counter to either Iran or Syria?

    That would be up to them, but I sure hope it is their decision arrived at in some quasi-democratic fashion. Whatever you say about al Maliki, his government did come about by electoral process and it has represented the best attempt at reconciling the major social divisions achievable on the ground.

    IS there also going to be a surge in hiring by private contractors? Are there any such who will take a 60-year-old Vietnam veteran with diabetes?
    I have hundreds of hours of recent weapons training in government employment.

    I kind of like looking at this like Rhet Butler in Gone With the Wind when he explained why he waited until the very end when Union forces were actually burning Atlanta to join the CSA military. His explanation: "Sometimes lost causes are the best ones to fight for."

    In a romantic kind of way, that is exactly the reason I would like to volunteer to be present as the fate of the democracy project in Iraq is decided on the streets and highways of Iraq. I don't particularly hate the under-educated young men who tend to become radical terrorists anymore than I would have hated Johnnie Reb. BTW, four of my ancestors died fighting for Abe Lincoln and the one who fought for the South survived the war, and my immediate family line has been represented in all wars since through Gulf War One, so I suppose there is a historical continuity thing to keep up for our warlike tribe.

    Here is the chance for you leftists to get rid of me--find me a job!

    Posted by: mike cook on January 13, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

    mike cook: Here is the chance for you leftists to get rid of me--find me a job!


    mike that's easy....

    visit your local Army recruiter...

    they're taking just about anyone these days...

    Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

    Actually, the Army won't even take the drop-out kid in the family right now. They want a real high school diploma and no legal history of drug involvement, including needing Ritalin to stay on task at anything. As for me, I tried re-enlisting for decades, but too much PTSD. I have a lot of national level writing credits so I am looking for a gig as a correspondent. The problem is needing to pay the bills.

    Posted by: mike cook on January 14, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

    Well, I'm coming in a bit late, but: shouldn't there be more distinction made around here between dealing with Iranian elements inside Iraq, and a real invasion? Not that I feel really comfortable hearing about it in any case.

    Posted by: Neil B. on January 14, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

    rmck1:

    I don't think there's anything Globe / Blue Girl has written that I've disagreed with more strongly. No way; that's political correctness run amok and it would be highly destructive to
    this blog and chase away dissenters.

    YOU started it, Bob, by asking for blog moderation.

    Posted by: Stefan on January 15, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

    mike cook: Actually, the Army won't even take the drop-out kid in the family right now.


    well there's still hope for you...

    3-years ago...

    the army wasn't taking 35-year olds...now they'll take you even if you are 42..

    they also weren't taking very many category-4 recruits...

    now...they are taking 3-times the previous average..


    Posted by: mr. irony on January 15, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

    "Are we hoping to provoke Iran into some kind of overt military action that we can use as an excuse to go after them?"

    Yes, absolutely, and everyone should go to Wahington on Jan. 27 to express appropriate outrage.

    Posted by: Marat on January 15, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK




     

     

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