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Tilting at Windmills

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March 27, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE REPUBLICAN IMPLOSION....John Quiggin, commenting on that Pew poll that I highlighted the other day, offers an explanation for the Republican Party's cratering support:

Republican support is contracting to a base of about 25 per cent of the population whose views are getting more extreme, not merely because moderate conservatives are peeling off to become Independents, but also because of the party's success in constructing a parallel universe of news sources, thinktanks, blogs, pseudo-scientists and so on, which has led to the core becoming more tightly committed to an extremist ideology.

....The general liberalisation of thinking on social issues is unlikely to be reversed. Moreover, while American faith in military power bounced back after Vietnam, I doubt that the same will be true after Iraq. If you wanted a textbook lesson in why resort to violence is rarely a sensible choice, Bush's presentation of that lesson could hardly be bettered.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First is John's suggestion that the conservative infrastructure built up in the 70s and 80s has become one of the right's biggest weaknesses. I'm not sure I buy this, but it's an intriguing thought because American liberals have recently become pretty entranced by the success of all those right-wing thinktanks and radio bloviators John is talking about. If he's correct that their very success has now backfired on conservatives, what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?

Second, has American faith in military power really been permanently damaged? I doubt this very much, but I'd be interested in hearing more discussion. I'd like to believe John -- that is, I'd like to believe that Iraq will serve as a permanent lesson about the limits of military power and what it can achieve, but I'm just not sure I do. This belief is very deeply embedded in American culture, after all, and I suspect that, just as with Vietnam, most people will simply conclude that Iraq was a bad war, not that it represented a fundamentally flawed worldview.

I hope I'm being too pessimistic, and Iraq really does lead to Americans taking a more sensible view of what we want to accomplish in the world and how we can most effectively accomplish it. For now, though, I'm skeptical. Comments?

Kevin Drum 11:49 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (236)

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"If John is right, what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?"

That we should hold extremely closely to staying within the reality-based community, and resist the temptation to overspin in a desire to create favorable "frames"...

Posted by: Petey on March 27, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem with contemporary conservatism is that it is addicted to moronic stupidity. Anti-stem cell, dynamic scoring, global warming, christian triumphaism, anti-evolution, abstinence sex eduction, NCLB stupidity, CAFE standards, and so forth. They ALL reveal the GOP's fealty to brain-dead dead end idiots, and it's elevation of POLITICS and POLITICAL SUPREMACY over truth.

In today's world, you have to be a total moron to be a GOP member.

Posted by: POed Lib on March 27, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

So now we have quantitive data for Lincoln's "You can fool all of the people some of the time...."

25% can be fooled all the time
75% can be fooled part of the time
100% can be fooled some of the time

The last bit should provide cover for all those presidential candidates who believed the Iraq fictions.

Posted by: Gary on March 27, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

What Petey said.

As for Americans faith in military power, I'm at least as pessimistic as Kevin. Look at documentary Why We Fight and watch Eisenhower's warning about the Military-Congressional-Industrial Complex. Well after any conceivably rational reason, we continue to make vast amounts of military hardware, suitable for fighting the cold war. When you make hundreds of billions of $ worth of hammers, the world tends to look like one big nail.

Posted by: Jeff S. on March 27, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

To the extent the Left has tried to recreate that infrastructure (Air America) it has not been terribly successful. On the other hand, the alternate infrastructure we've started to build in the last 5 years has been very effective in neutralizing the impact of theirs. For example, when their media machine was dominating the way issues were covered without a counter weight, they were able to influence the entire debate. Now that there is a counter pressure from blogs calling out Conservative bias, the Coulter/Powerline/Fox axis is increasingly ghettoized in their influence. We've turned their strength into a weakness by adapting to it, and calling it like it is, not by emulating it.

I hope small online donations will eventually become a similarly effective counter to the money machine they've built.

Posted by: Sam L. on March 27, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty skeptical too, particularly about any prospect of a new realism when it comes to military action.

There will be plenty of future presidents and other high-ranking officials who will have ego (and/or ideology) enough to believe that, yes, those people in the past got it wrong, but this time we'll do it right.

As long as we're the biggest bully on the block, that'll be the case.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on March 27, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

We like war just fine. In fact, I'm particularly enjoying the right wing War on Itself (tm)

Posted by: craigie on March 27, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ditto on skepticism on the military. Two other references: Hedge's book, War Is a Force that Gives Life Meaning, which (among much good stuff--best book I've ever read on war), talks about postwar amnesia--war is so awful we have to forget about it afterwards. Which then leads to the next disaster.

The other book is Chasing Ghosts--Unconventional Wargfare in American History by John J. Tierney, Jr. Turns out that Vietnam is NOT the only disastrous insurgency U.S. has fought. We've done it repeatedly over all of history. Won some, like Indians Wars, through use of Total War, but lost many for different reasons. The point is that we NEVER did lessons learned. Had to improvise & cobble together ideas every single time we tried it again.

Yep, we'll do it again in about 20-30 years. The nice thing about being older is that, with any luck, I'll be dead by then.

Posted by: eCAHNomics on March 27, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

All that demonstrates is that it's really hard to instill civilization in a primitive culture.

Right, like the Republican Party.

Or should that be the Republic Party?

Posted by: craigie on March 27, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

American faith in military power really been permanently damaged?

This will never happen.

Posted by: Lew on March 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

The noise machine -- and the rise of the internet -- did help radicalize the right, but the ossification of ideology is a syndrome of the swinging pendulum and happens regardless of such conditions. After the left enjoyed decades of success, we had some ideological stuckness too... many in the left opposed Clinton's welfare reform out of reflex rather than careful consideration. Now, pragmatism has replaced ideological fixedness for us. Many in the right reflexively oppose government involvement simply because it is that, but you would have to hunt pretty far (probably in academic circles) to find a lefty that opposed private enterprise simply because of what it is.

Posted by: Wagster on March 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

The disconnect between the immense amounts of money being spent on the military and the chronic shortage of soldiers, equipment and vehicles in the actual war zones is not going to go away soon. It's leading people to wonder what they are getting for their "defense" dollars, especially since paying for the actual war is not even part of the defense budget, but is financed through a series of supplements to the "real" defense budget.

The notion that we have the "most powerful military in the history of the world" is true only in the sense that we can blow everyone up, which has been true basically since the Sixties, when the nuclear arsenal expanded to absurd levels. But in terms of usable military power, we're not even close. The feeble British military of the 1920s, for example, was still able put down revolts in Iraq, to name only one situation.

The contemporary U.S. military is unable to fight a war much smaller than Vietnam without aproaching collapse. We're losing two wars to enemies with tiny factions of a percent of our wealth and far smaller populations. The military failure in Iraq and Afghanistan has destroyed the credibility of the American forces in any situation other than a conventional land war fought with conventional armies, navies and air forces, the least likely possibility.

In Iraq, we're giving the world a graduate course in how to beat us, in case they'd forgotten Vietnam.

Actually, they didn't, we did.

We've taught everyone that our army is too small to beat a moderate uprising in a small country (much smaller than Vietnam) and that we have no ability to raise a larger army. We are also completely unable to protect those who join us.

Those are pretty valuable lessons that before the Bush II regime, the world little noted but cannot now forget.

The GOP foisted these fiascoes off on the American public. Now that it's discovering the awful truth, forgiveness will come slowly. Perhaps the Republicans should just hope for forgetfulness. But that's impossible with war dragging on. Bush has put his party into the same impossible situation that he's put the Army and Marines. Except, the GOP casualties simply go off to the K Street lobbying firms. The fate of Army and Marine casualties is altogether grimmer.

Posted by: Edward Furey on March 27, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

> On the other hand, the alternate
> infrastructure we've started to
> build in the last 5 years has been
> very effective in neutralizing the
> impact of theirs.

I am pretty skeptical about this, and therefore Petey's advice as well. The cigarette, beer, and pharma industries don't spend 3x more per year on marketing and advertising than R&D because marketing doesn't work; in fact the evidence is that it _does_ work. The Radical Right is very good at shaping the debate by communicating on a visceral level and to the extent that Democrats try to stick to a reality-based script they will be severely punished for it in the world of emotional political marketing.

I agree with Kevin on the limits of military power thing, but here again the Radical Right is already working on spinning the debate with the "Democrats betrayed the troops", "Clinton cut the military", and outright dolstchosslegende memes and it appears to me that they are having a lot of success.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

We are one terrorist attack away from being enamored with war again.

Posted by: Barringer on March 27, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

> The feeble British military of the 1920s,
> for example, was still able put down
> revolts in Iraq, to name only one situation.

There were no AK-47s, plastic explosives, or shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles in 1920.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin should consider a more obvious explanation first. President Reagan was succeeded by George Bush. After he took the electoral majority Reagan had produced and flushed it after one term, the Republicans turned leadership of their party over to his son.

Look, you can come up with a lot of reasons why Democrats became the majority party beginning in the 1930s, but the biggest one is that a Republican President was overwhelmed in the face of a major crisis and his Democratic successors were both great men. I don't see the second half of that equation coming around again, but the outlines of the first one are evident. The bottom line is that the Republicans turned leadership of their party over to the Bush family, and is now paying the price. It may still be paying that price years from now.

Posted by: Zathras on March 27, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky,

I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the success of the right wing's spin. They aren't saying anything new. The body count is still rising. Polls are showing that support for the war has been dropping steadily and significantly.

Let me put it another way. Can you imagine anyone being for the war, then against the war, and then changing their mind back to being for the war on the basis of yet another whiny "the democrats are aiding and abetting the enemy" accusation?


I know that being against the war and being for a timetable are not exactly the same thing. But the strength of the anti-war sentiment is greater than the strength of the anti-pullout sentiment.

Posted by: Barringer on March 27, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

You don't stop what you're doing until you can't explain away the losses anymore. Bush won in 2004 because Americans could explain away all of the mistakes.

The Republicans have had a nice run of success in elections, and until they lose in 2008 and 2010, they won't be able to change anything.

The Democrats were able to win in 2006 because Dean said "We aren't winning, we need to change what we are doing." And started to lay the groundwork.

Posted by: Dervin on March 27, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

> Can you imagine anyone

Out in my red-purple neck of the woods, a lot of people (more than 25%) like beating up on furriners. They liked Bush because he set out to beat up on a lot of 'em; now they are disliking because he is failing in his job and getting a bunch of them killed (lots of National Guard out here too). I don't think it would be too hard for a Guiliani, say , to get them back on board with the beatdown program, no. Especially if they can blame the derailment on "liberals".

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The war machine has permeated our entire country.

We can rant and rave all we want, screaming for peace.

But the fact is the US is a vast engine for making things that kill and maim.

Check out the defense budget.

Wake up to the fact that parts for the B-1 bomber are made in all 50 states.

Until we realize how wedded we are to violence, the weapons will keep getting made (and sold!!!).

I have no faith in a peace movement unless the defense budget is slashed by 1/2 and the funds put into affordable housing, drug rehab, etc. The sorts of things America needs right now.

The war in Iraq is only a small part of our vast military charade.

Heck, we even have extra aircraft carriers in the waters off of Iran..."take that Iran.!"

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 27, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK


Iraq is a disaster, not just for both countries but for their party. The Republicans should pick another issue to push. At this point, mandatory kitten-strangling classes for sickly senior citizens would be an improvement.

But I can think of a better idea.

Posted by: duh on March 27, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky,

OK - You're thinking more long term than I am. I guess I can see the same pernicious lie being laid out. Giuliani's an interesting phenomenon. Someone said of him (I'm paraphrasing) "His signature issue is Terrorism, and he has no experience or expertise in dealing with it".

Posted by: Barringer on March 27, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

'Political dynasties fall from negligent stewardship. One thinks of the upward redistribution called "tax relief"; of the Iraq invasion sold as critical to the "War on Terror"; of rising poverty, inequality, crime, debt, and foreclosure as America spews its bounty on war and a military so muscle-bound it is like Gulliver. It would be hard to imagine a more catastrophic failure of stewardship, certainly in the biblical sense of helping the poor and allocating resources for the health of society. Once upon a time these errant stewards boasted of restoring a culture of integrity to politics. They became instead an axis of corruption, joining corporate power to political ideology to religious self-righteousness.' - Bill Moyers

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 27, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to believe John -- that is, I'd like to believe that Iraq will serve as a permanent lesson about the limits of military power and what it can achieve, but I'm just not sure I do.

Every generation has to relearn that lesson, unfortunately.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing would please me more than a permanent realignment with the Democrats back on top for a change. But are you really prepared to make this assessment based on ONE poll? Sorry, but Democrats have ALWAYS outpolled the Republicans on a host of issues and then lost anyway. Furthermore, there is already a moderating trend among Republicans, at least those who want to win elections. If Giuliani gets the nomination, he wins the election. Sadly, I just don't think Hillary or Obama have any chance against a moderate GOP candidate.

Posted by: brunchanimal on March 27, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to believe John -- that is, I'd like to believe that Iraq will serve as a permanent lesson about the limits of military power and what it can achieve, but I'm just not sure I do. This belief is very deeply embedded in American culture, after all, and I suspect that, just as with Vietnam, most people will simply conclude that Iraq was a bad war, not that it represented a fundamentally flawed worldview.


Actually, the American belief in military power isn't as deeply embedded as you might think. Historically it's waxed and waned, and there were many eras in our history when military force was viewed with suspicion. The current American fascination with and reverence for military might really stems from post-World War II, thanks in large part to the deliberate creation of a large military national security apparatus and the fostering of a sense of permanent war in the American population by that same apparatus. It's the constant sense of threat that leads Americans to overvalue their military, not an inherent love for the military per se.

For forty years, remember, we were engaged in a Cold War, and now the Cold War has been engaged by the War on Terror (TM). If you keep telling your people that they're at war and that the military is the only thing standing between them and the slavering hordes, well naturally they're going to value that military more highly. If you promote a more realistic assessment of the threat and realize that economic/diplomatic/cultural tools might be equally as effective, then the military will be seen as less necessary.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

What Edward Furey said.

After Iraq we will have no choice but to accept a greater sense of military fallibility. Presumably that will dilute the calls for projection of military supremacy.

That is not to say that there will be more or less external pressure for war. Presumably as resources grow more scarce there will be more need for war.

Posted by: Sam Spade on March 27, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

While I can't imagine that this will be a popular remark in these parts, I think that there is not one, but two real lessons to be learned from the Iraq War, each corresponding to a distinct phase in that war.

1. At certain kinds of military engagement, the US military is likely nearly unequalled in the history of warfare. This corresponds to the truly breathtaking success in the very earliest phase of the war -- that of invading Iraq and deposing its extant power structure.

2. At the task of controlling a population in an occupied territory, the US military has virtually no real capability. This corresponds to the later phase of the war.

Liberals don't seem to want to talk about 1. Conservatives don't want to talk about 2.

But an intelligent use of the military from here on out will take both to heart. I see quick, very precisely limited strikes as being the sensible strategy here, and only under genuine duress. Of course, I'm envisioning a Democratic President, therefore, as being the only type of leader capable of the discipline and deliberateness that would require.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?

A fairly simple one, really: Facts will not disseminate themselves. Our friends on the right set up that infrastructure to obscure what their agenda really calls for. Unlike the Right, we can safely state our agenda, since most Americans actually support it. Here's a quote from Gary Kamiya on Salon today:

But the significance of the Pew study, the latest in a series that started in 1987, goes beyond Bush or the upcoming election. On virtually every issue, it shows that the public holds views that are closer to those of the Democrats than the Republicans -- and that long-term trends are moving in that direction, too.

Trouble is, the public may not actually be aware of that -- and the Democrats never bother to tell them. Instead, they hem and haw when they're accused of being "out of the mainstream", and worry about the pinheads on Fox News calling them names.

The Republicans have better marketing. It's as simple as that. We have a superior product,but it still needs to be marketed properly.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on March 27, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

...really does lead to Americans taking a more sensible view of what we want to accomplish in the world...

How about electing some sensible Americans. Is that so hard?

Posted by: skegmongrel on March 27, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

> Liberals don't seem to want to talk
> about 1. Conservatives don't want to
> talk about 2.

Pretty much every liberal I know said both (1) and (2) explicitly in the runup to W's invasion of Iraq (as did all the pacifists), so in what sense exactly do you mean liberals "don't want to talk about it"?

Also, what good exactly does (1) do without (2)? The US isn't strong enough to invade the PRC, Russia, or Pakistan even given (1), and there isn't any other large force on the planet that would otherwise pose a challenge (not to mention be stupid enough to provoke a standup fight).

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

> OK - You're thinking more long term
> than I am.

That may be so, but I am also simply stating that the Radical Right spent 30 years and several billion dollars building their marketing machine (including the subversion of an entire cable network and its affiliates), and that marketing machine works very well.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Violence works see...
And we are winning in Iraq see...
It's hard work I know...
And we have to sacrifice...
But be patient...see...

Posted by: President Bush on March 27, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

American military idolatry has to be destroyed if we are to prevent future wars of conquest and domination. The reverence the public displays towards its veterans and military power is not an indication that it will be ending anytime soon. No candidate or political platform calling for the abolition of our huge and useless military would survive our toady politics, as the bashing of anti-military progressives by Democrats, who support trillion dollar defense budgets just as strongly as the Republican War Party, demonstrates.

When one looks at recent past military powers that have renounced militantism as a national characteristic, it appears only total defeat and unconditional surrender to a greater power breaks the will to dominate with force. The problem for the US is that is has a huge cache of WMD that it would use to prevent such a defeat, even if it meant destroying the rest of the world. It will take an extraordinary communicator to convince the American people that its weapons and desire to eliminate threats with force are detriments to its security and prosperity. I know of no such leader and cannot forsee one coming to save us from ourselves anytime soon.

Posted by: Brojo on March 27, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Second, has American faith in military power really been permanently damaged?

Only until Hollywood can come up with an Iraq version of Rambo

Posted by: Martin on March 27, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Petey fairly got my view at the top.

If John is right, what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?


A lesson may be that it didn't take much recreating to knock them back a lot.

Posted by: cld on March 27, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Strong on defense? For all of their tough talk, when was the last time a Republican administration sucessfully prosecuted a war? We now know that the Repubs are pathetic at war, useless on controlling government spending, and more than willing to destroy the constitution for their own purposes. Now that we know that the Repubs are capable of far more waste, fraud, abuse, and general stupidity than the Democrats ever exhibited, it is understandable why they need their own echo chamber. Brain explosions would occur if they ever poked their head out of the sound-proof door.

Posted by: Neal on March 27, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

The main principle of conservatism, to wit, the slavish resistence to progress, ensures that conservatism cannot survive in the long run. The main mistake of the current crop of Reagan worshippers was their delusion that they can forge a permanent majority by fooling the poor and middle class into believing that what is not good for them is actually what is good for them.

Posted by: gregor on March 27, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry Kev, The future abounds with "smart wars" for you to cheer for!

Posted by: Mooser on March 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK
First is John's suggestion that the conservative infrastructure built up in the 70s and 80s has become one of the right's biggest weaknesses.

No, he's claiming its become the Republican Party's biggest weakness, because it anchors the Republican Party firmly in the hard right.

He seems to be claiming that the right's biggest weakness is what it always has been since the right was defending monarchy against the early, largely aristocratic and patriarchal, movements to "democracy", the broad and, though occasionally momentarily reversed, largely continuous human drive for progress and empowerment.

The distinction is important because the structure of the American electoral system pretty much guarantees that there will be two major parties in very rough parity. If the Republicans weren't tightly anchored to the extreme right, as the mood of the country drifted farther to the left, so would they; if they are too tightly anchored to the extreme right, they risk catastrophic implosion and replacement, either by a new party that challenges the Democrats from a more moderately right-ish position or by a realignment in which the Democratic Party becomes the major right-ish party and a new party is dominant on the left.

Moving on...

Second, has American faith in military power really been permanently damaged? I doubt this very much, but I'd be interested in hearing more discussion.

I don't think its a binary issue; in the short term, it probably will make Americans more averse to any interventionism. In the long term? Harder to tell. With any luck Iraq will be seen (as you, oddly, "fear") as a particularly bad war, and Americans will have an understanding of why it was a particularly bad war. Neither "force good" nor "force bad" is a sufficient, sane way of running foreign policy, and certainly we should move from an extreme and dangerous version of the one to the mirror image position. Force is sometimes necessary as the least-bad option. We need both to avoid it when that is not the case, and to apply it effectively when that is the case.

But to do that, we need to get past simplistic labels of positions as either "pro-war" or "anti-war"...

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think the wooing of the South and evangelicals first seen in Reagan's run was in large part the seed of the republican's predicament. The fundamentalist groups gained more confidence as well as more representatives in think tanks and lobbying efforts. The press had more association with them as a result and gave them more credence and column space. The coalition Rove worked to build was in fact more hostage to the fundamentalists than perhaps they had planned for. And the fundamentalists realized their power and their expectations went up. Unfortunately, for the republican party, fundamentalists now hold positions in their infrastructure and the fundamentalist views are not shared by an electoral majority. We are now witnessing the coalition forces demobilizing while muttering, "Sorry guys. Your fight is not our fight. Good luck."
All the "enemy of my enemy..." stuff could not hold as a permanent coalition.

As far as the military. I'll be curious to see. Certainly the industry isn't going away. They're more powerful than AARP. But, does it really matter how we see the role of our military now? The one thing that really seems to have transpired in the last few years is that the myth of American military power around the world has been punctured (and I believe permanently)so our ability to gather together military coalitions in the future is greatly damaged. Add in the growing economic strength of China and the EU among others and we just may be entering a new era of diplomacy and goat trading.

Posted by: carsick on March 27, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest problem with modern Conservatism is that it attracts and promotes jerks. President Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, DeLay, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Feith, Bennett, Rumsfeld, Rove, Buchanan, Giuliani, Romney, and the list goes on and on. What do they all have in common besides Conservatism? They are total jerks on the personal level willing to lie, cheat, and steal from their own mothers to gain power. Even if they were correct about every issue of the day, they would eventually lose popularity because the more people find out about them, the more people hate them.

Posted by: reino on March 27, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty much every liberal I know said both (1) and (2) explicitly in the runup to W's invasion of Iraq (as did all the pacifists), so in what sense exactly do you mean liberals "don't want to talk about it"?

Well, certainly there were a good number of liberals who doubted that the invasion of Iraq would be easy to accomplish.

But that's not really my point. My point is rather that many liberals want the takeaway from the Iraq war to be only that use of US military power is destined to lead to a morass and failure -- pretty much the very conclusion you imply when you say "Also, what good exactly does (1) do without (2)?"

I'm arguing that the US military CAN be used to great effect in circumstances in which we have a very carefully limited goal, such as a strike taking out a precisely defined enemy or threat.

You talk as though that would be an extraordinary thing. I think that in contrast it would be exactly the sort of assymetric threat we would most expect to encounter in our current world; I simply don't expect wars with major countries, as in generations past.

For example, deposing the Taliban, because they enabled Al Qaeda would be a good example of such an engagement. Or eliminating a nuclear threat in Iran, if it looks as though radical elements are coming into control of the country, and diplomacy has failed utterly.

Obviously in any such case, good judgment and clear appreciation of the risks are required.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

> Well, certainly there were a good number of
> liberals who doubted that the invasion of
> Iraq would be easy to accomplish.

Can you point to them specifically please? Because if not the rest of your argument is just hash (which it is anyway, but let's begin at the beginning).

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on March 27, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Zathras wrote: The bottom line is that the Republicans turned leadership of their party over to the Bush family, and is now paying the price. It may still be paying that price years from now.

I'm just fine with the Republican Party reaping the disaster that results from convincing itself that Bush the Lesser was the second coming of Ronald Reagan, but the problem is, the rest of the country -- if not the world -- will also be paying the price for Bush's fuck-uppery.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

As to Kevin's first question -- I think there's no chance that an avowedly liberal think-tank and advocacy structure would end up producing the kind of lock-step clones that the right wing has produced. Just look at the cacophony among the left bloggers, commenters, and so on. And more than once, when envy of the right-wing power structure has been voiced in these parts, I have seen the response, "But we'll never be able to do that, we're liberals."

As to the second question, it seems to me that the War of Jenkins' Ear (Iraqi WMDS, Communist menace in Southeast Asia, Remember the Maine, whatever the War of 1812 was about, etc., etc.) will be incited and fought again, and again, and again. Too bad, that, but barring utopia, there we are.


Posted by: David in NY on March 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

On the first point, I don't think we're trying to create a left-wing version of the right wing noise machine. We simply want the press to ascertain and point out reality, not some "he said, she said" "evenhanded" treatment, much less create some lefty reality sphere.

On the second point, I think that eventually we will have to rebuild some semblance of a US economy not based on imports, a housing bubble, and consumer spending. But in the meantime, our military strength, however much its limits have been on display in Iraq, is pretty much what we've got, and the government of the empire, from either party, is going to make do with what it's got. Let's just hope that Dems stop using military strength as a complete substitute for economic, diplomatic, and human capital-building measures.

Posted by: thump on March 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

As long as Americans persist in the idea that America is inherently supreme in the world, inherently correct in its practices, inherently "better" than every other country -- despite any evidence to the contrary -- military misadventurism will persist.

Posted by: Coop on March 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

but also because of the party's success in constructing a parallel universe of news sources, thinktanks, blogs, pseudo-scientists and so on, which has led to the core becoming more tightly committed to an extremist ideology.

this parallel universe that they created for themselves has caused them to become completely unhinged from reality(Inhoffe's global warming "hoax" and all the anti-gay, anti-abortion insanity are just couple of examples)--this is what has put them in a permanent minority status.

Most sane people recognize that the wacko right, the loyal base of the Republican Party, are just plain wrong and their wacko rhetoric is dismissed by the majority.

Posted by: haha on March 27, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Just to elaborate a bit more on what I'm arguing: a quick strike by our military to depose a ruling power or remove a specific threat does NOT necessarily require us to do a lot of nation building afterwards, if any. The only clear constraint is that we can't leave things worse than they were before, at least from the point of view of our own security.

That last point, however, really does mean that we should strike pretty much only in extremis.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0,
You have heard of the Powell Doctrine right? You seem to be describing it.

Posted by: carsick on March 27, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK
Just to elaborate a bit more on what I'm arguing: a quick strike by our military to depose a ruling power or remove a specific threat does NOT necessarily require us to do a lot of nation building afterwards, if any.

If the take-away lesson from this for Americans is that we need to abandon all military action that involves or requires "nation-building", and limit ourselves to quick retributive or decapitation strikes, that will certainly be the wrong lesson.

The problem with Iraq wasn't that it required "nation-building" and the the US is especially incompetent about that. The US has led and contributed effectively to military efforts (both following US-led wars and to end wars which the US was not involved in) which involved substantial reconstruction, nation-building, stabilization, monitoring, etc. That's not the problem with Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Don't learn th wrong lesson Kevin. What goes up must come down. This part of the normal cycylical dynamics of American politics. But even though the Repubs may soon be on the outs that doesn't mean they weren't very successful for a long time. We should learn from that so we can be successful for a long time too before the pendulum swings back yet again.

Posted by: The Fool on March 27, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, certainly there were a good number of liberals who doubted that the invasion of Iraq would be easy to accomplish.

Then I'm sure you won't have any trouble naming some.

By the by, speaking as one who never doubted that the invasion of Iraq would be easy to accomplish: Big deal. It hardly proves your point #1, given the wholly pathetic state of Iraq's armed forces, which never really recovered from the first Gulf War. As Cranky pointed out, there's a laundry list of countries our military wouldn't be able to roll so easily. Those who use Iraq's example, for instance, to predict easy success in Iran are woefully misinformed or blinded by ideology.

Kinda like, as Kevin notes, the modern Republican Party.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Two things make me skeptical of the idea the public will turn against the use of military power.

The growth of Right Wing religious interpretations (calling themselves "fundamentalist" religious interpretations) is happening worldwide. This movement is the same movement that is xenophobic, racist and generally pro-killing. This won't change by the failure of one war.

Also, to eliminate the need for war there needs to be an alternative method of conflict resolution. Are we willing to put into place the political and legal institutions that eliminate the need for war? Will the United States support the creation of legal institutions that allow the Palestinians to sue Israel? The Iraqis to sue the United States and UK? How about political institutions that allow al Qaeda to get elected to a world parliament?

The spin on the Iraq War will be that it was the personal failings of individuals, not that war as a tool is discredited.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 27, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

What will permanently sour the country on war is when they realize the cost. So far this has been a "free" war. When the $1 trillion this war is going to cost is laid against the cost of shoring up Social Security, the public attitude shift against war will be long standing.

Posted by: Bryan Kennedy on March 27, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

It is quite naive to say that the Iraq War has caused permanent damage to America's faith in military power when it is clear that the Vietnam War with its 58,169 American deaths did not.

It's been said that it takes approximately a generation for the blunders of the previous generation to be forgotten, dismissed or disregarded. I fear that the lesson regarding the limits of military power will be one we will be obliged to learn again and again.

Posted by: bcb on March 27, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

You have heard of the Powell Doctrine right? You seem to be describing it.

I won't disagree.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm arguing that the US military CAN be used to great effect in circumstances in which we have a very carefully limited goal, such as a strike taking out a precisely defined enemy or threat.

As others have implied, I don't think anyone is questioning this point.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

If only Powell would have insisted on adhering to the Powell doctrine, we might not be in our current mess.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"On virtually every issue, it shows that the public holds views that are closer to those of the Democrats than the Republicans -- and that long-term trends are moving in that direction, too."
Trouble is, the public may not actually be aware of that -- and the Democrats never bother to tell them.

I've noticed that problem. Of course, TV interviewers don't often just ask what the Democratic position on any subject is, but you'd think a reasonably intelligent interviewee would try to sneak the information in. Reinforces the view that Democrats don't know what they stand for, I think.

Posted by: David in NY on March 27, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, TV interviewers don't often just ask what the Democratic position on any subject is, but you'd think a reasonably intelligent interviewee would try to sneak the information in. Reinforces the view that Democrats don't know what they stand for, I think.

I think it has more to due with lack of message discipline. Dems are easily led off into gotcha traps by interviewers, whereas wingers just ignore the leading questions and repeat their talking pts.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hopefully there will be a fundamental difference between our institutions and the right's institutions. I speak of course of this reality based approach that I hope is fundamental to liberalism.

In a previous post, I had pointed out how libertarianism and conservatism at their core are about ideology. If the results of applying their idiology are disasters in the real world, it is not that important. The important thing is whether the proper world view was represented in leading to those results.

Liberalism, I hope, aims to achieve real world results based on what we believe. And I hope that we are willing to change tactics if our original approaches cause disasterous results.

If this is true, and we can avoid the corruption that is sinking the conservatives, I don't think we carry the same risk.

Posted by: gex on March 27, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK
While I can't imagine that this will be a popular remark in these parts, I think that there is not one, but two real lessons to be learned from the Iraq War, each corresponding to a distinct phase in that war.

1. At certain kinds of military engagement, the US military is likely nearly unequalled in the history of warfare. This corresponds to the truly breathtaking success in the very earliest phase of the war -- that of invading Iraq and deposing its extant power structure.

You mean, the part where the Iraqi military deliberately dissolved, knowing the US strength, and prepared to carry out a lower-intensity resistance by allowing the US in and turning guerrilla, targetting supply lines, etc.?

Sometimes an invasion is remarkably easy because you are more powerful than you think; sometimes its just because the enemy isn't doing what you expect.

So I think this lesson is wrong.

2. At the task of controlling a population in an occupied territory, the US military has virtually no real capability. This corresponds to the later phase of the war.

Really? The US has been involved in both failed and successful nation-building efforts, in failed states (e.g., Somalia, a failure itself), in areas where it was not a belligerent in the preceding conflict (e.g., Bosnia, certainly not the kind of spectacular failure that Iraq is), and in areas where it was a belligerent in the preceding conflict (e.g., Kosovo, which seems to be on the path to success, and Iraq, a dismal failure.)

I don't think you've quite got the appropriate lesson with this one, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The lesson seems pretty simple. The American military is excellent at kicking ass, but suck at everything else besides that and current military operations require a lot of that "everything else."

Posted by: MNPundit on March 27, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote ". . . American liberals have become pretty entranced by the success of all those thinktanks and radio bloviators in recent years."

Could be, but one of the points that George Lakoff makes is that American conservatives have invested in an infrastructure of thinktanks that generate propaganda about conservatism itself, while liberals invest in thinktanks that work on specific issues. And conservative foundations will endow “distinguished scholars” that pay people to sit and think and research and write about conservative thought and philosophy itself, while liberal foundations demand that all of the money support the specific cause — Heaven forbid that anything be diverted to capacity building of the organization or of liberalism as a whole.

As a result, we have organizations such as the Heritage Foundation that churn out endless think pieces that inundate the media and the public with conservative philosophy, and we have pundits and politicians who were trained in their conservative thinktank universities to endlessly promote strict-father-morality conservatism.

And even though strict-father morality doesn't work very well — it's not a good model for diplomacy, or environmental stewardship, or for prevention of crime, or for rehabilitation of criminals, or for economic growth, or even for raising children — the liberal part of the conversation is significantly curtailed by liberal failure to invest in liberalism itself.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on March 27, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

As others have implied, I don't think anyone is questioning this point.

I really don't think you're being honest with yourself about what conclusions many on the left have drawn from the Iraq war.

Are you really asserting that, for example, it's not the case that a great many liberals have concluded that it would be a disaster to take out Iran's nuclear weapons even in a limited strike, even including a limited, targetted invasion, because it would inevitably lead to another Iraq war morass?

I'm not talking about whether it would be a disaster if BUSH did so, but whether even a Democratic President might rightly do so if diplomacy failed, and radical elements seemed to be in ascendancy in Iran.

If you really don't believe that many on the left have drawn quite general anti-war conclusions from the Iraq war, I wonder at how objectively you can look at the liberal movement.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

>"Only until Hollywood can come up with an Iraq version of Rambo"

Hmmm... they don't show the 'Afghanistan' version of Rambo on TeeVee much anymore. Yeah, the one where he and Ronnie help the Jihadists fight that infidel western ideology.

Too funny.

Posted by: Buford on March 27, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Good lawd, frankly0. An attack on a nation posing no immediate threat to the US is illegal, whether a Dem or GOPer orders the strike. You've been watching too much /24/.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't think you're being honest with yourself about what conclusions many on the left have drawn from the Iraq war.

Before we get into discussions of honesty, I'd ask you -- again -- to name this "many on the Left" you keep referring to.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Good lawd, frankly0. An attack on a nation posing no immediate threat to the US is illegal, whether a Dem or GOPer orders the strike. You've been watching too much /24/.

Not only that, but -- while anyone sensible is forced to recognize the risks of a military strike on Iran -- I would, once again, be curious as to who, exactly, denies that "even a Democratic President might rightly do so if diplomacy failed, and radical elements seemed to be in ascendancy in Iran."

Enough is enough -- put up or shut up time.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bob Altemeyer's studies on authoritarianism (leaders and followers), which formed much of the clinical basis of John Dean's Conservatives Without Conscience, strongly suggest that right-wingers are much more prone to this type of unitary mindset thinking. And we're seeing this effect taken to the extreme now with these 25-30%'ers.

Left-wingers are far less likely to fall into this implosion trap. The recent rapid expansion of Internet and grassroots voices across a diverse continuum seems to reflect this, at least so far, especially in comparison to what we hear coming from the right-wing. So, while we should be mindful of the dangers, building up a left-wing infrastructure (think tanks, radio, blogs, etc.) to support idea creation, nurturing and dissemination should still be a prominent goal.

Posted by: Randy Gold on March 27, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Good lawd, frankly0. An attack on a nation posing no immediate threat to the US is illegal, whether a Dem or GOPer orders the strike. You've been watching too much /24/.

And so if we knew that Iran would in few months acquire nuclear weapons, refused to give them up, and was entirely controlled by radical elements, you would argue that the US couldn't take out those weapons in a limited strike, even including a limited invasion perhaps, because doing so was "illegal"?

You see, you are exactly the sort of case I have in mind about how liberals have drawn very general anti-war conclusions from the Iraq war.

I would say instead that the we and the world would be safer by such an attack, and that the capability demonstrated by the US military in the early phases of the Iraq war show how we might readily accomplish such a goal.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Are you really asserting that, for example, it's not the case that a great many liberals have concluded that it would be a disaster to take out Iran's nuclear weapons even in a limited strike, even including a limited, targetted invasion, because it would inevitably lead to another Iraq war morass? I'm not talking about whether it would be a disaster if BUSH did so, but whether even a Democratic President might rightly do so if diplomacy failed, and radical elements seemed to be in ascendancy in Iran. If you really don't believe that many on the left have drawn quite general anti-war conclusions from the Iraq war, I wonder at how objectively you can look at the liberal movement.

The scenario you present above is an example of a Democratic President committing an illegal and hostile act of aggressive war -- I certainly hope that all liberals would conclude that such a course would be not only a disaster, but a grave war crime.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK
Are you really asserting that, for example, it's not the case that a great many liberals have concluded that it would be a disaster to take out Iran's nuclear weapons even in a limited strike, even including a limited, targetted invasion, because it would inevitably lead to another Iraq war morass?

Yeah, attempting a "limited strike" against a nation which has a porous border with one where the US has large numbers of forces already embroiled in a conflict the US is unable to effectively control is a bad idea.

As is the delusion that a limited strike without blowback can be conducted against a limited strike against any country that actually has nuclear weapons that would be a threat of using them in the first place.

Certainly, if there is one idea that ought to have been discredited by the Iraq war, it is the idea of preventive war of the type you seem to be laying out here, where the threat is distant, nonspecific, and speculative.

So, yeah, lots of liberals (and most sane people) would probably see what you propose as a bad idea, in part because of the concrete facts resulting from the Iraq war, but that has little to do with the kind of reflexive anti-warism you are trying to describe as widespread among liberals because of the Iraq war.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, certainly there were a good number of liberals who doubted that the invasion of Iraq would be easy to accomplish."

No, what is certain is that that is the exact opposite of the truth.

Actually the only people I ever heard worry that we wouldn't be able to invade Iraq were far right wierdos (you know, the type who actually beleive Cheney) worried about nuclear bombs and dramatic chemical attacks by the Iraqi military during the invasion. It was the post-invasion stage which worried thinking people. Most of the right was so collossally unthinking about this war that they didn't even notice what the doubts were about at the time and therefore don't remember them correctly today. The recent summaries of Molly Ivan's columns after her death are an excellent example where she says exactly what I describe.

BTW how did you manage to have your breath taken by the early success? That phase really could not have been less suprising. We fought half of the exact same war against Iraq just a few years earlier, and his government and military had only deteriorated in that time.

A stark contrast to that would be afghanistan, where the great majority of liberals thought we could significantly damage the jihadist training infrastructure, and maybe even improve the lot of the regular afghan (given that they were so thouroughly in trouble already) with a limited war. The glorious decider has managed to largely avoid any benefit to regular afghan's so far, but it's hard to say afghanistan has gotten any worse given its previous state.

We also don't need to spend 60% of the worlds defense dollars to mount military operations like afghanistan, kosovo, somalia, etc.

Posted by: jefff on March 27, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

The implosion is hardly a surprise. The Republican Party has completely abandoned all that it claimed to stand for. Smaller government? Less intrusive government? It delivers on neither of these and, at the same time, became even more corrupt in power.

It doesn't require many of your former supporters sitting on their hands in November to remove you from power. Their fall is far from complete. They will lose even more ground in legislatures around the country in 2008, and will foolishly believe it only has to do with Iraq. I foresee quite long journey in the wilderness for legislative Republicans everywhere.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on March 27, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, certainly there were a good number of liberals who doubted that the invasion of Iraq would be easy to accomplish.

This depends on a rather limited definition of "invasion" as being only the initial incursion divorced from any subsequent military action. By the same token I could say that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was a success because they managed to overthrow the Afghan government within a day or two.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Can progressives adopt a goal of finding ways to ensure that America does not forget the lessons of Vietnam and Iraq? There must be a way to influence how the history of these wars are taught in schools and creating vivid reminders in film, video, and posters that can be displayed periodically to serve as reminders.

Posted by: Katherine on March 27, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK
And so if we knew that Iran would in few months acquire nuclear weapons, refused to give them up, and was entirely controlled by radical elements, you would argue that the US couldn't take out those weapons in a limited strike, even including a limited invasion perhaps, because doing so was "illegal"?

The reason it is "illegal" is because it is both immoral and practically unwise.

It is simply neither useful nor moral to engage in the crime of aggression because otherwise someone who might be inclined to engage in the same crime seems likely to gain the tools to do so more effectively.

If it were, every nation in the world would be justified in attacking the United States simply because it has a regime that has shown a propensity for aggressive war and already has the capacity to engage in it.


Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, frankly0, yes indeed some of us crazy, wacko lefties believe in the rule of law, not the rule of Rambo. Tragic that, huh?

That belief however was not forged in the death and mayhem of the Iraq War, but has been around for a long long time. Furthermore, some of us have been alive long enough to know that not only GOPers are incompetent militaristic boobs.

Your naivety would be charming if it wasn't so potentially lethal.

You're looking more and more like a concern troll.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

This depends on a rather limited definition of "invasion" as being only the initial incursion divorced from any subsequent military action.

But really that's the point I'm making: to limit our strikes and invasions to situations in which that initial incursion mostly suffices to achieve what we really are seeking.

Taking out a nuclear capability in Iran, simply as an example, might well fall under this rubric.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're getting it all a bit simplistically? The point is, the infrastructuer does have power, but it's so kooky and repulsive that about as many people are repulsed as are emmpowered or drawn in. Our lesson, is to continue with fairly moderated operations and not get like them.

Posted by: Neil B. on March 27, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I see cmdicely likewise signs up for the view that an attack on Iran even under the extreme circumstances I described would be wrong.

And people on this thread wonder how I might possibly claim that liberals have become very anti-war after the Iraq war -- as if my view were absurd on its face?

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Drum:

John's suggestion that the conservative infrastructure built up in the 70s and 80s has become one of the right's biggest weaknesses.

I'm not sure that is what Quiggin is saying...The infrastructure has facilitated the movement of conservative ideology towards the hard-hard right Lord of the Flies-style, but the hard-hard right had to be there in the first place. It's the extremism that has come to represent the entirety of conservative thought that's shrinking Republican support. The conservative thought infrastructure isn't a weakness; it's the only thing that gives today's conservative ideology the appearance of legitimacy.

..what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?

Every group has its Ralphs, Jacks, Piggys, and Choirboys. While going about creating a competitive infrastructure, decide what the rules are, and stick to them. This way, the tent stays big enough to hold everyone, despite having differences. Otherwise, we devolve into a bunch of competing tribes, and suffer the typical and already-known consequences.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 27, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
But really that's the point I'm making: to limit our strikes and invasions to situations in which that initial incursion mostly suffices to achieve what we really are seeking.

Which is a dumb point; even recently, these kind of instant attacks have been among the least productive of US military interventions. Sure, Iraq is an utter disaster that doesn't fit that model, but that doesn't validate that model as the preferred model for US attacks.

Certainly, where there is an adequate provocation for war, and where a limited strike like that would acheive the US aims in such a war, such an intervention might be appropriate. OTOH, there is no reason US military action should favor such limited strikes exclusively, nor is the particular example you present—an unjustified preventive war of aggression that shares the central problem of the Iraq War—an example of a place where such an action would be either warranted or useful.

Plus, of course, it would be a crime against peace, though clearly that does not concern you.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

The implosion is hardly a surprise. The Republican Party has completely abandoned all that it claimed to stand for. Smaller government? Less intrusive government? It delivers on neither of these and, at the same time, became even more corrupt in power.

And you've supported them all the way, Yancey. How ruggedly individualistic of you.

[Mock applause]

By the by, Yancey, I do relish the fact that the Republican Party has recognzed that at least some of the positions it claims to revere are electoral poison. You are, of course, free to vote for a party that espouses your loony libertarian beliefs, and conveniently enough, there is such a party, named, coincidentally enough, the Libertarian Party.

Go ahead and join the miniscule minority who espouse your faith-based belief system, Yancey, or continue to sell out your beliefs too by supporting the Republicans. Rest assured that neither of these choices, ruggedly individualistic though they may be, are respectable. But neither are you, so that's okay, then.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK
I see cmdicely likewise signs up for the view that an attack on Iran even under the extreme circumstances I described would be wrong.

There is something seriously wrong with any description of a supposed justification of war that includes only the kind of speculative, vague, nonspecific threat that occurred in Iraq or that you speculate on with regard to Iran as "extreme circumstances".

Those aren't "extreme circumstances" justifying war.

Actual attacks or imminent, specific threats are "extreme circumstances" in which war is justifiable.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

But really that's the point I'm making: to limit our strikes and invasions to situations in which that initial incursion mostly suffices to achieve what we really are seeking.

Yes, just like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. And look at how well that worked out for them.

Taking out a nuclear capability in Iran, simply as an example, might well fall under this rubric.

No, it wouldn't -- unless you assume that the Iranians would just sit quietly by, twiddling their thumbs, and wouldn't try to strike back at us. War is the perfect real world illustration of the law of unintended consequences, and anyone who believes we could just attack Iran with an illegal and aggressive invasion and then go quietly along our way, whistling a merry tune isn't really thinking.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
I'd like to believe that Iraq will serve as a permanent lesson about the limits of military power and what it can achieve, but I'm just not sure I do.

I think it serves as a permanent lesson at the limits of applying limited military power, i.e., just enough to almost win.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 27, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, there's piece on Reuters "Iran fears not denting Gulf boom', so there's one less thing to worry about.

I'm sure Halliburton's CEO is a teeny bit nervous. Keeping the old Gulfstream fuel and the pilot on standby.

The piece says in part:

[snip]

'The proximity of Gulf Arab countries to Iran, and fears that Iran could retaliate to any U.S. or Israeli military strike by attacking targets in U.S.-allied Gulf states, mean that conflict over Iran could destabilize the whole region. Iran is building a nuclear power station in Bushehr, not far from Gulf neighbors.

"What worries us is that the Bushehr nuclear reactor is 115 km from Kuwait," Nasra said. "So it's serious." '

[snip]

A conflict on their doorstep could undermine that, scaring away investors, businesses and tourists.

But business leaders at the Reuters summit said the region had weathered similar crises before -- the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979, the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the first Gulf War in 1991 and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"INTERESTING NEIGHBORHOOD"

"We've had lots of different conflicts in this part of the world. We live in an interesting neighborhood," said Waleed al-Mokkarab al-Muhairi, chief operating officer of Mubadala Development, an Abu Dhabi government investment firm.

"But we've always managed to preserve (our) stability and make the UAE a haven for investment. I see no reason why that's not going to continue."

[snip]

Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of luxury hotels group Jumeirah which is owned by the ruler of Dubai, said his company had crisis plans in place but he did not expect severe turmoil.

"I can't budget for the nuclear bomb, that's not something that's within my remit," he said. "We are not expecting a crisis and we are certainly not budgeting for one."

[snip]


Posted by: MsNThrope on March 27, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK
The disconnect between the immense amounts of money being spent on the military and the chronic shortage …Edward Furey at 12:29 PM
That falls into the category of return on investment, or The American Military Boondoggle

There have been anti-war periods in the past, but there is too much profit for the industrial complex from the current military establishment just now.

Regarding think tank investment, those Republican ones are primarily designed to sell unpopular policies with Frank Luntz testing for the best deceitful language to use. Eventually, the disconnect will even show through the compliant media machine they have also assembled. Since the Democratic Party does not primarily serve corporate interests their task will be easier and harder: easier to find popular policies, harder to get funding for marketing. Those blaming the evangelicals for the current extremism on the right are closer to the root of Republican's problems.

There were no AK-47s, plastic explosives, or shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles in 1920. Cranky Observer at 12:32 PM
The Brits had no compunction against using mustard gas however.

… when was the last time a Republican administration sucessfully prosecuted a war?… Neal at 1:16 PM

Panama and Grenada, not exactly major conflicts.
…Then I'm sure you won't have any trouble naming some.
…Gregory at 1:48 PM


There were a number of Democrats who voted against the war and they were all vilified by the media.

Posted by: Mike on March 27, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

But really that's the point I'm making: to limit our strikes and invasions to situations in which that initial incursion mostly suffices to achieve what we really are seeking.

That's also what Bush etc. claimed we were doing in Iraq, limiting our invasion to a situation in which they claimed our initial incursion would be enough to achieve our aim. Remember, the original plan was going to be to go in, remove Saddam, replace him with our paid strongman Chalabi and then be out within a few months, leaving only a token force behind.

It turns out, though, that they were completely wrong about how much force would be needed and for how long, and the same would undoubtedly happen with an attack on Iran.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm...that looks like a classic "egbert" at 12:22 ("Ah, Kevin...") but it's signed "American Hawk". Did somebody at the troll shop hit the wrong macro?

Posted by: DonBoy on March 27, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

And so if we knew that Iran would in few months acquire nuclear weapons, refused to give them up, and was entirely controlled by radical elements, you would argue that the US couldn't take out those weapons in a limited strike, even including a limited invasion perhaps, because doing so was "illegal"?

Oh, we are talking about 24 or some other fictional scenario. My mistake -- I thought we were discussing reality.

Your hypothetical situation, if it ever came about, might spur the kind of debate you seem to wish to have. Given that the combination of circumstances you envision to justify your opinions is, ah, a little far-fetched, I'm afraid your analysis remains faulty.

You see, you are exactly the sort of case I have in mind about how liberals have drawn very general anti-war conclusions from the Iraq war.

Well, at least you've named one, albeit in response to a response made after the fact. But not so fast -- aren't you distorting this opinion to make it fit your mold? For just one example, it's been pointed out to you that America's military victory over the militarily negligible Iraq was hardly surprising; given that, one of the legs for your revernece for American military power collapses, as does your argument. Too bad.

I would say instead that the we and the world would be safer by such an attack, and that the capability demonstrated by the US military in the early phases of the Iraq war show how we might readily accomplish such a goal.

Well, again, the capability of the US military to attack a third-rate power like Iraq -- while not without risk -- was never in doubt. As to your certainty that "we and the world would be safer by such an attack", leaving aside entirely the fact that the scenario you envision -- imminent posession of nuclear weapons by a radicalized Iran (you have, I'm compelled to observe, completely failed to address why Iran wouldn't be just as subject to deterrence as nuclear nations like India and Pakistan, which share longstanding enmity and yet manage to coexist) -- is a completely hypothetical scenario, you, true to your simplistic dualism, focus only on the attack -- which you define in such a way, if I may paraphrase, as to say "you support any attack but only if it'll work" -- ah, there's the rub! -- leaves aside the possibility of, say, an Iranian retaliatory striek in the Strait of Hormuz, which, I submit, would not make we and the world any safer, but quite the contrary.

I see cmdicely likewise signs up for the view that an attack on Iran even under the extreme circumstances I described would be wrong.

Not to speak for cmdicely, but I'm sure he recognizes the purely hypothetical nature of your "extreme circumstances," and rightly notes that unprovoked aggresson against another nation is, in fact, wrong -- a concept the US adheres to by treaty and by law, if no longer in practice under this Administration and its dupes.

And people on this thread wonder how I might possibly claim that liberals have become very anti-war after the Iraq war -- as if my view were absurd on its face?

What I, for one, find absurd on its face is that you've, ah, missed several opportunites to identify this "many on the Left" you keep yammering about, ponting instead to comments made after your inital claims (and which do not, I submit, at all support your contention of reflexive anti-war opinion, but rather show an appreciation for objective reality that you, sadly, seem to lack).

So, again: Your citation of cmdicely, et al, as representative of this vast movement you claim is unpersuasive at best, is after the fact in any case, and moreover -- all due respect to chris et al -- are a couple of commentors on a blog, and not national political figures at all, unless I'm much misinformed.

So please do name names: Who, exactly, did you have in mind as representing that stance? Put up or shut up, please.

Your, ah, inaccurate paraphrasing of your critics -- which does not at all disguese the fact that you've failed to address the substance of their critique -- does you no credit. But then, neither does your analysis.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, my faith our in military power is still what there, I have lost faith in our military leaders and their ability to rein in the politicians who have used our armed forces to advance highly questionable goals. They have knowingly allowed themselves to be co-opted by ideologues whose goals were not what is good for the country but what was in their own interest in consolidating their own power and position.Any military leader who stood and let this happen will always be susect to me because they did and can't be trusted to rein in the civilian politicians the next time. They need to be retired. period.

Posted by: FitterDon on March 27, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike wrote: I think it serves as a permanent lesson at the limits of applying limited military power, i.e., just enough to almost win.

Well, goodness knows the chickenhawks have been doing their part. After all, they've been not volunteering for the Army and Marines in droves.

That uncomfortable fact, by the way, is why I think that while these cowards will convince themselves the US was "stabbed in the back," the argument will not, ultimately, take. There's no draft this time to pad out the ranks while they hide behind their sorry asses behind their other priorities. All it takes is asking, "And what did you do to help win the war?" Because, sorry, folks, reposting GOP blast-faxes and sticking a yellow magnet on your SUV won't cut it.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: Or should that be the Republic Party?

Or maybe the Publican Party. The old definitions are more apt than the current one (barkeeps).

Wikipedia: "In antiquity, publicans (Latin publicanus) were public contractors, in which role they often supplied the Roman military, managed the collection of port duties, and oversaw public building projects. In addition, they served as tax collectors for the Republic (and later the Empire), bidding on contracts (from the Senate in Rome) for the collection of various types of taxes. Importantly, this role as tax collectors was not emphasized until late into the history of the Republic (c. 1st century BC). By New Testament times, publicans were seen chiefly as tax collectors by provincial peoples."

Posted by: anandine on March 27, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

There were a number of Democrats who voted against the war and they were all vilified by the media.

Yes, Mike, but I'm afraid that dog won't hunt for frankly0's definition -- he/she seems to be referring to "many on the Left" whose opinions regarding the use of American military power have changed since the war.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush Administration hasn't damaged my faith in too many things.

The Bush Administration hasn't damaged my faith in military power: the U.S. military was a very powerful and robust fighting force. The best in the world. It could be rebuilt someday to be as good as it was in Jan 2001.

The Bush Adminstration hasn't damaged my faith in lying idiots. They perform as expected, muck things up, and cause people to die if placed in positions of responsibility.

I am disappointed that it has taken 6 years for most voters to realize that the GOP consists almost completely of lying idiots

Posted by: rk on March 27, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

And people on this thread wonder how I might possibly claim that liberals have become very anti-war after the Iraq war -- as if my view were absurd on its face?

It's not that it is absurd -- it's that it is wrong.

There are two distortions here, distortions that that have already been corrected for you, and which you persist on repeating.

1) The left is pro-rule-of-law, not anti-war (excepting pacifists, who are truly anti-war). Your equating of the two is direct from the wingnut playbook.

2) This position on the Left predates the illegal Iraq War, as anyone over the age of 15 should know.

Now, if you would like to correct these distortions, and stop spewing wingnut talking pts (especially the odious "the war could have been won with competent mgmt" and putting sneer quotes around "illegal"), we can have a discussion.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I beginning to wonder if AH has hijacked frankly0's handle, like he once did mine.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

'The big prize here for Bush’s foreign policy is not the acquisition of natural resources or the enhancement of U.S. security, but rather the lining of the pockets of the defense contractors, the merchants of death who mine our treasury. But because the arms industry is coddled by political parties and the mass media, their antics go largely unnoticed. Our politicians and pundits argue endlessly about a couple of billion dollars that may be spent on improving education or ending poverty, but they casually waste that amount in a few days in Iraq.' - Robert Scheer, 'Ike Was Right'

Dwight Eisenhower : “We should take nothing for granted, only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. ... We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 27, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I beginning to wonder if AH has hijacked frankly0's handle, like he once did mine.
Posted by: Disputo

If not AH then possibly someone else. This is 180 degrees from the positions franklyO used to advocate and do not display anything remotely approaching thoughtful analysis.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 27, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Identifying who is radical and extremist, and believing that our military might can be used to eliminate such phantom threats with precision and without retaliation, is a distortion caused by American exceptionalism and the belief in our national righteousness. This belief will be extremely difficult to eliminate from the national identity.

Posted by: Brojo on March 27, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure that American military power will come back after Iraq the way it did after VietNam. After the VietNam the lower ranking officers, particularly in the Army, thought long and hard about what had gone wrong and what should be done differently -- in their different ways, capable men such as Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, Wesley Clark, and Eric Shinseki were concerned with this. It clearly brought results.

The effect of Iraq seems likely to be to drive people like that out of the Army (onto Phil Carter's weblog?) rather than inspiring them to stay and around and fix things. Plus it was pretty clearly the Army that led the strategic and operational rethink after VietNam and Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have consciously disdained the Army and promoted officers from the Air Force, Marines, and Navy, sometimes into inappropriate positions, because they offered less of a challenge to the Bush group.

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on March 27, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The idea of the military being great, perfect, and indestructible is not nearly as old or deep as Kevin Drum thinks it is. It is entirely born of our success in WW2, and has been slowly eroding ever sense. Before that, Americans tended to take a dim view on what could be accomplished through the military. I doubt that this opinion will likely die a well deserved death when the baby boomers start dying. No matter how much money oil companies and defense contractors push into the system, too much war tends to have a pacifying affect on populations.

Posted by: soullite on March 27, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

"The general liberalisation of thinking on social issues is unlikely to be reversed."

One advantage of being older is that one gets to see trends come and go, pendulums swing, etc. The above statement, in even the medium run, seems to me wildly optimistic and ahistorical. Based on what evidence, I would ask; a couple of years of polling numbers? I wish such a prediction would come true, and I will do my part to make it so, but I wouldn't bet on it. Maybe we can settle for only one step back for every two steps forward.

Posted by: jrw on March 27, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of books on the implosion:
Cracks in the House of Rove

Conservatives Without Conscience

Posted by: Mike on March 27, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK
One advantage of being older is that one gets to see trends come and go, pendulums swing, etc. The above statement, in even the medium run, seems to me wildly optimistic and ahistorical. Based on what evidence, I would ask; a couple of years of polling numbers?

No, a couple hundred years of progressive liberalization punctuated by occasional, short-term reverses. Sure, in the shorter term of a few decades, it may seem like there is a back and forth "pendulum" effect, but the long term trend has been toward greater liberalization.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that this opinion will likely die a well deserved death when the baby boomers start dying. - soullite

Well, this Baby Boomer was around to speak out against this Gulf War, the previous Gulf War and the War in Viet Nam. I don't think we're a particularly bellicose generation. But it's difficult to say much of anything sensible in a generality which purports to take in 86 million or so people from every race, creed, and socio-economic background who happen to have been born between 1946 and 1964.

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 27, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

There was always a built-in obsolescence in the GOP's long-term political strategy, going all the way back to the Nixon campaign's "Southern Strategy" of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

When implementing those strategies, Republicans pursued short-term options that were in and of themselves limiting factors that served to inhibit any real long-term growth in their party's political base.

You're not going to successfully appeal to the country's growing numbers of minority voters when your electoral campaigns more often than not in pandering to the base fears and worst instincts of xenophobic white people who feel threatened by those same minorities.

And there were real limits to the public's appetite for the GOP's perpetual appeals for tax cuts -- especially when that same public subsequently watches agog while Republicans run up massive and potentially crippling budget deficits.

When planning for growth, it's best to remember that it's generally far easier to raise the ceiling than to lower the floor.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 27, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

I am a service member and I personally think and have thought for sometime that our military is outdated. Moreover, the tactics we use really need to be updated. This cold war mentality is truly counterproductive. Why is it that we need multi-billion dollar Aircraft Carriers? Hell, the idea of Amphibous warfare is a joke and outdated? Nothing like spinning circles in the ocean for days on end while the Marines are off playing. I say we go the route of Costa Rica and disband our Military. I may be one of the minority but I do not feel that the Dem's have turned their backs on me. Hell I am happy if they prevent me from going to Iraq or some other god forsaken country on trumped up intelligence and piss poor leadership. Where are all the good leaders when you need them?

Posted by: n0rd1x on March 27, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I hope I'm being too pessimistic, and Iraq really does lead to Americans taking a more sensible view of what we want to accomplish in the world and how we can most effectively accomplish it."

I hope the Democrats can get a foreign policy beyond "hand it to the U.N. they will talk them into compliance" - you know, the strategy that’s working so well with Iran.

Posted by: Fitz on March 27, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?

That it should be a critical, thoughtful, outward-looking infrastructure as opposed to a hermetic self-reinforcing propaganda machine. I don't think this will be much of a problem, as it's not like we have many budding Stalinists in our midst. My main worry is marketing / message being taken too far. We need to learn how to use those things as a tool to help communicate about policy, but we can't let them drive policy. I'm not terribly worried about that either though. We have a whole lot of self-correction and self-criticism built into our budding new media system, and I think it is going to be way more distributed and user-generated than the Right's model. That might not last, and we should be diligent about maintaining it if we care about the long game, but we're starting from a much better position(and much better premises, I sure as hell hope) than they did.

Posted by: J. Dunn on March 27, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

One fact that people seem to overlook is that neither party has a lot of support, as evidenced by the fact that 40-50% of the electorate chooses not to vote for Republicans or Democrats (and in fact chooses not to vote at all). When you account for all the people who do not vote, suddenly you realize that it's been a very long time since anybody or any party got the votes of more than 30% of the electorate (for example Clinton was elected with about 21% and Bush43 with about 24%). Even Reagan only got up to about 27-28%.

So when Kevin says that support for the Republican party is "cratering" at 25% percent, he's really a little off the mark. Basically, hard-core conservatives are still identifying as Republican's, but many people who voted Republican in 2000 and 2004 are no longer identifying as Republicans.

Rememeber, looking at traditional party ID numbers shows that both parties generally cycle back and forth between 25% and 35% and independents are always between 30% and 40%.

Posted by: mfw13 on March 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

I'll say one thing for the Democrats. Their primaries are more competitive than the Rethugs' primaries, who run a pretty much top-down operation. Dean's point was that we need to get more people into the pool that competes, so that we get a better crop of survivors. I think in the long run this bodes well for us. To take an extreme example -- look at Boxer's put-down of Imhofe the other day. Deft and deadly. That's the product of long experience in the pit. The Republicans get in with money, not wit, for the most part. They deal in threats and bribes, not persuasion.

Posted by: Knut Wicksell on March 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Gene O'Grady
I'm not sure that American military power will come back after Iraq the way it did after VietNam.
Posted by: Gene O'Grady
Come back? It really hasn't gone anywhere. The Army's equipment has been ridden hard and put up wet, similar for the Marine Corps, but the Navy and Air Force are fresh. Nothing that recapitalizing can't fix. And morale continues to be high in all services. Definitely nothing like the pit of morale during Vietnam. There's a huge difference. Sorry, Gene.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 27, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I hope the Democrats can get a foreign policy beyond "hand it to the U.N. they will talk them into compliance" - you know, the strategy that’s working so well with Iran.

We must thank Fitz for provinging yet another example of Republican Talking Points From Another Dimension. Is it any wonder the GOP is imploding?

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, certainly there were a good number of liberals who doubted that the invasion of Iraq would be easy to accomplish." Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 1:29 PM

frankly0:

You were challenged repeatedly to back this assertion up, and you have not. If you had said "occupation" instead of "invasion" then you would be accurate/correct, but that is not what you said now is it? There was little doubt anywhere that the US military could not easily defeat Saddam's Iraqi military forces, they were majorly defeated at their peak in GWI and then degraded by a decade of sanctions. The idea that this was a military capable of withstanding even just the US military alone was absurd unless unconventional weapons were used and those most concerned with that possibility were not on the left but right as I recall. Now, there were many voices on the left saying there was clearly no plans for the inevitable occupation, which was dismissed by those on the right as nonsense since Iraqis would greet Americans as "liberators" throwing flowers in front of them welcoming them in and therefore no problem. Now *THAT* I recall leftie voices being very worried about, but not voices claiming the initial invasion itself would fail because of successful resistance by the Iraqi military, and apparently neither does Gregory and others here, which is why you were asked to back it up with citations. The fact you have been totally unable to do so to this point therefore undercuts this element of your argument, and since it looks like a significant element that is no small matter IMHO and apparently in Gregory's as well.

General:

On the topic of the thread itself, I doubt that faith in American military power/prowess has taken all that big a hit, especially given the clear record of corruption and incompetence rampant in the Bush Administration. It will be too easy to revise history in a decade or so to place all the real "blame/responsibility" on the political leaders and not the great US forces. I simply think that believing otherwise is simply not supported by American history as I have understood it.

As to the part about how the GOP noise machine is currently a negative element for the GOP because of the ideological rigidity it enforces on the GOP in a shifting political climate, well there is some truth to that I'd say. However, I doubt even with similar infrastructure built up by the American left that it would have the same basic mission, namely devising a unified political ideology/platform upon which all must unite behind. The left is too full of free thinkers, those that like to challenge conventional beliefs and those that take the scientific method approach to politics where everything is first theorized and then actually tried before making determinations. In other words there is not the same underlying drive toward groupthink and herd mentality within the political left in this generation, no that is the property of the right these days, and for a while yet it would seem.

I do think though Iraq will have soured America on "foreign adventures" for a time, the question is how long and how many threats while America be forced to ignore because they no longer have the military/economic strength to deal with them? That is what I think I see coming out of all of this, and while yes many on the left were anti-Iraq war they were also not against the Afghanistan war (at least not until Bushco totally botched it and abandoned it essentially for his Iraqi adventure) which indicates to me a distinction between being against any use of force/war and only being comfortable with it in direct self defence (or because you know an imminent attack is coming and therefore striking preemptively which was not BTW the way the Iraq war was sold indeed Bushco went out of its way to avoid the use of the word "imminent") or as authorized by the proper international body in this case the UNSC. It is called respecting the rule of law, and understanding that war is always messy, always has unintended consequences, and therefore is something to be reached for only when all other reasonable/feasible actions/options have been exhausted. I suspect that is where the bulk of the American left is truly at, outside of the pacifists who by definition are anti-war, but pacifists are not the largest or even anywhere near the largest block within the American political left from what I can see.

Posted by: Scotian on March 27, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian
I do think though Iraq will have soured America on "foreign adventures" for a time, the question is how long and how many threats while America be forced to ignore because they no longer have the military/economic strength to deal with them?

I agree with the first half of your sentence, but not the second. We still have military and economic power in spades. Compared to all our other wars, we've fought this one on the cheap in terms of both dollars and lives.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 27, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

In 2008 the USA will account for ~ 50% of the total global expenditures on defense/military spending.

Peace is more than the absence of war.

I'd say it's time for the planet to tell the US taxpayers that "war sucks, and thankyou very much but buying weapons isn't as important as ......."

Think about it. In 2008, the US will spend $100.00+ for everyone on earth just on defense.

How on earth are we going to fight this all-pervasive economical juggernaut?

The Repugnacans clearly love to lie, cheat, and kill. Oh, yeah, and give the rich back more of their money!

Somehow we have come to a point in history where killing trumps everything else.

War is gold.

Peace is poverty.

Huh?

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 27, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty simple really United we stand Divided we fall.The republican party is the first example,The second example is Iraq.The Dems just need to include Republicans.Not Neo-cons.The Republican party must rid it's self of the parasites. Bush and the Neo-cons are not good for good goverment.So come on Republicans drop the Neo-cons and let's get on with making America great once again.

Posted by: john john on March 27, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Nicholson
Peace is more than the absence of war.

I agree. It's the presence of justice.

I'd say it's time for the planet to tell the US taxpayers that "war sucks, and thankyou very much but buying weapons isn't as important as ......."

So you think our powerful military causes war? That if Saddam ran a democracy we'd still invade him? I'd say our military has been the most stabilizing force on the planet. Every time a moderating force weakens, war breaks out. Balkans are the easiest example.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 27, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that this was a military capable of withstanding even just the US military alone was absurd unless unconventional weapons were used and those most concerned with that possibility were not on the left but right as I recall.

To be fair, there were those of us on the Left who were concerned about Saddam using chemical weapons against US troops, until the GWB admin showed absolutely no concern, which merely provided more evidence that the WMD threat rationale for the war was bogus to begin with.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

So you think our powerful military causes war? That if Saddam ran a democracy we'd still invade him?

Yeah, it's not like the US every overthrew a democracy before....

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm fascinated by American Hawk's attitude both as to how American military power should be used and what it's capable of doing. His is the kind of right wing "romantic" ideas of how the world works that is nurtured by shows like "24" which has been the topic of a couple of Kevin's postings here. It's puerile and fantasy driven. Just seeing how easy it is to bog down the US military in a nearly stone age country like Iraq tells you how laughable it is that "special ops" could just swoop into Iran and scoop up all the plutonium or uranium and skeedaddle out. What a minute!! That's exactly the kind of thinking that goes on in the heads of Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: John on March 27, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to let Red State Mike's stupid response to what he thought my point was, but I need to respond to his "Sorry" at the end of his post. I did oppose the war in VietNam, and I opposed the war in Iraq, but I'm completely convinced of the need for an effective military (and perhaps one that doesn't define its primary role as killing). I have only the greatest admiration for the generation of Army officers that reconstructed and rethought the Army after VietNam.

Besides, what in hell does asserting the Air Force and Navy are still fresh have to do with any conceivable military mission over the next ten years? And who or what will pay for the "recapitalization" that will make up for the equipment (not to mention training) squandered on the ground in Iraq?

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on March 27, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

So you think our powerful military causes war?

Not directly. Powerful politicians look at our powerful military and think, "gee, it would be wicked awesome if we could use the military to accomplish my goals!" Put a big hammer in the hands of a simple-minded politician, and suddenly everything will look to him like a nail.

Posted by: Tyro on March 27, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo at 3:14 PM wrote:

The left is pro-rule-of-law, not anti-war (excepting pacifists, who are truly anti-war).

I'm anti-war and I'm not a pacifist. There is that golden mean, nonviolence.

Posted by: Aaron G. Stock on March 27, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

And who or what will pay for the "recapitalization" that will make up for the equipment (not to mention training) squandered on the ground in Iraq?

Oh, that's easy -- the key point, in fact, for the Republican/chickenhawk crowd: Someone else.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey: The Republican Party has completely abandoned all that it claimed to stand for. Smaller government? Less intrusive government?

Oh, pish posh. Yes, the GOP has always claimed to be for "smaller government," but they've never delivered it -- at least not in the terms under which the general electorate understands it. They've had twenty-five years of Reagan-Bush-Bush (not to mention conservative control of the terms of debate even during Clinton's terms) to do it, and they haven't.

They haven't "abandoned" this so-called principle they possess. "Smaller government" to the reactionary-conservative movement really means less corporate regulation and an upward redistribution of wealth -- in short, a return to the Gilded Age "principles" of money-money-money and anti-democratic oligarchy. They've accomplished this. And this is what they wanted all along. It's not an "abandonment."

Posted by: Alek Hidell on March 27, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, long after the current group of screwups is off the scene and forgotten (about a year or two), that infrastructure will still be there. And the next crop of Republicans will have learned from the failures of these clowns. And that infrastructure will still be there. Either liberals learn to counter it, or build one of their own, because the conservative machine isn't going away, and whatever putative problems it's caused by polarizing the crazy R base (I'm skeptical, as these people have always been crazy -- ever heard of the John Birch Society, et al?), it still has a powerful influence on mainstream politics, by influencing journalists. See Greenwald's column today if you haven't already. The Republicans went too far and were too stupid, that's all.

Here's a question for you: why is it that the major Dems are losing in the polls to the Reps right now? After 6 years of Republican screwups and corruption, with the Reps on the wrong side of every major issue? There's a reason some of us liberals are enamored of that Republican machine.

Posted by: Steppen on March 27, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

GOP crossing the line...........hubris..misuse of power:

The GOP, GeorgeWBush.com and the line that jumped the Congressional Firewall

here

Posted by: avahome on March 27, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

How on earth are we going to fight this all-pervasive economical juggernaut?

One way not to fight it is to keep thinking the Murtha Democrats will stop trillion dollar defense budgets. Clinton kept the miltary strong so W. Bush could use it. The next several Democratic presidents will keep the military strong so the next Republican president can use it. Those Democratic presidents may think they do not have the political capital to reduce the military from its overwhelming position, but they will not even try because moderate Democrats think the US needs to have the most powerful military in the world. Moderate Democratic politicians also like to spend monies given to them by defense contractors, making it even more difficult for them to end the military idolatry that has become synonomous with the American identity.

Posted by: Brojo on March 27, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Gene O'Grady
Besides, what in hell does asserting the Air Force and Navy are still fresh have to do with any conceivable military mission over the next ten years?

If IRan happens, it will be a Navy/Air Force show.

And who or what will pay for the "recapitalization" that will make up for the equipment (not to mention training) squandered on the ground in Iraq?

We will. Compared to the percentage of GNP spent on Vietnam, Iraq has been chump change.

You suggested that it would take years and years ato recover from the danage to our military which has occurred due to Iraq. I am telling you you're wrong. You overestimate both the damage and the time to fix it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 27, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Just one other note military-wise. Iraq and Afghanistan have exploded the use of unmanned air vehicles and similar. They've caused a real revolution in how the military works. The bad guys have gotten smart, but we've gotten smarter.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 27, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

If he's correct that their very success has now backfired on conservatives,

I think that is a misstatement. "Their" success has backfired on Republicans. Considering the prescription drug plan, large deficits, and NCLB, G.W.Bush has not been that conservative. He has in fact been excoriated by conservatives.

Posted by: spider on March 27, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

"In 2008 the USA will account for ~ 50% of the total global expenditures on defense/military spending."

You get almost exactly 50% NOT including the extra 100b+ in completely unexpected emergency war appropriations.

Throw that in and it is closer to 60%.

Posted by: jefff on March 27, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

We can still, however, destroy any government any time we want to.

Bush just happened to start with his own.

Posted by: ckelly on March 27, 2007 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

POedLib: The real problem with contemporary conservatism is that it is addicted to moronic stupidity. Anti-stem cell, dynamic scoring, global warming, christian triumphaism, anti-evolution, abstinence sex eduction, NCLB stupidity, CAFE standards, and so forth.

There is a lot of truth to that statement. The irony (or tragedy) is that those positions associated with conservatism are not intrinsic to conservatism by any particular definition.

Posted by: spider on March 27, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

They've caused a real revolution in how the military works.

Yes, war is now not only a video game, but it is being marketed as such.

(Paging Orwell, line 2.)

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

From orginal post by Kevin:
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First is John's suggestion that the conservative infrastructure built up in the 70s and 80s has become one of the right's biggest weaknesses. I'm not sure I buy this, but it's an intriguing thought because American liberals have recently become pretty entranced by the success of all those right-wing thinktanks and radio bloviators John is talking about. If he's correct that their very success has now backfired on conservatives, what lessons does this hold for the left as we go about the task of recreating much of that infrastructure for our own side?

The element of the rightwing media machine that we need to duplicate isnot the echo chamber that results in all the true believers getting their news from biased, inaccurate, single-viewpoint sources. What we need to duplicate is their ability to get talking points accepted as legimate viewpoints or even conventional wisdom by the mainstream media.

Part of the rightwing success in this regard is that the media (particularly media ownership) is much more conservative than it is generally given credit for. Part of it is their success at "working the refs" with constant accusations of liberal bias.

A large part, however, is their ability to have some lunatic like Coulter or Robertson make an attack on a Democrat, then have it picked up by talk show hosts, blogs, newspaper columnists and television pundits and repeated ad infinitum until everyone forgets where it originally came from.

Alternately, have some bought and paid-for "expert" produce a piece of poorly-researched propaganda for the Discovery Institute or the Hoover Institute or any of a dozen other think tanks and have the same noise machine above treat it as gospel truth until even mainstream reporters who know better are giving it equal time with the facts.

What the left needs is enough of an alternative media presence to make sure that the bullshit gets thoroughly debunked and that the rebuttals get equal (or greater) exposure. And sometimes, character assassinations against Democrats need to be turned around against Republicans (i.e. "if marital fidelity is really an issue that matters to you, look over there...")

One key to all this is to be relentless and disciplined in pushing back and in pushing the debate in completely new directions that favor the liberal point of view. Another is to be scrupulously accurate so that eventually the contrast with the high levels of bullshit coming from the right-wing machine will destroy their credibility.

Posted by: tanj on March 27, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK
If IRan happens, it will be a Navy/Air Force show.

"Iran" isn't an event that can happen. If a war with Iran happens while our Army is in Iraq embroiled in the civil war there, it will not be a Navy/Air Force show, no matter how much those launching the aggression would hope that it would.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 27, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Last year Kevin had a post about a book named "On Bullshit" by Princeton professor Harry G. Frankfurt, and the theme of the book was that modern political conversation went beyond lying, which had some regard for the truth even when they contradicted it, onto sheer bullshit, which had a total disregard for the truth, and which modern political spinmasters were using to further their agenda while disregarding reality.

The post brought a lot of comments, mostly with one of two themes: frustration with the ability of the reality free political persuaders and second, the observation that in the end, reality prevails.

And that is why democrats will get their turn. It the 30's it was the great depression that gave lie to 18th century economic theory, and now global warming is more apparent, the war is costing lives, money and reputation, more sick people are going into debt and dying because of inability to pay hospital bills, tax cuts have caused more debt. Reality can only be held of so long by lies, so, the democrats will again hold office as reality's bite hits home to more and more people.

The problem is, of course, we only seem to act when things so bad that everyday reality overwhelms the bullshit, but by then much harm has already been done.

So for me the question is: how do we get people to pay more attention that go beyond immediate needs? The blogs are doing important work in undermining some of the lies, but so much of what Fox and others say works because it rings true at some underlying gut level. There have been books and articles written about better framing, but I think bullshit has to be confronted at an even more basic level, at the level of assumptions where that "gut instinct" helps the mind sort what makes sense and what does not.

If I was to pick one assumption that underlies much of how many assume the world works, (even before "It's a Christian country") it would be the "invisible hand" theory, which has also become conflated with "the hand of God" and allows the pretense that thinking only for myself is always a good thing and even a holy thing. So, I can go about my everyday business without regard of global warming or national health insurance because they do not harm me and eventually "the invisible hand (of God)" will solve the larger problems. Our over-reliance on self interest has been exaggerated by our dichotomous reaction to communism and has caused distrust of any solutions requiring any large scale participation. We have to get past this gut-level bad reaction to solutions, such as any solution to global warming, that can only be done by long term and large scale cooperation.

Anyhow, reality is harsh, it catches up with people and countries that lie to themselves. Democrats will get their turn because eventually the real problems affect or become apparent to enough people to cause change. And we need to change some underlying assumptions about how Americans think the world works if we want to confront problems early, before they become more harmful and dangerous.

Posted by: patrick on March 27, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't it be the neocons and right-wingers whose opinions should have changed regarding the use of American military power since the war, not those on the left?
That is, if they are capable of learning.

Posted by: ckelly on March 27, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

The bad guys have gotten smart, but we've gotten smarter.

Odd, then, that the bad guys keep winning.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

If IRan happens, it will be a Navy/Air Force show.

Yes, because the Iranians are just going to sit back and not lay a hand on the 150,000 US soldiers and Marines right over the border in Iraq....


Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

150,000 US soldiers and Marines right over the border in Iraq....

Or the American military personnel across the other border in Afghanistan...


Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C) on March 27, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Senate vote preserves withdrawal deadline
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defying a veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March.
Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline failed on a vote of 50-48, largely along party lines.
The roll call marked the Senate's most forceful challenge to date of the administration's handling of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 U.S. troops.
Three months after Democrats took power in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the moment was at hand to "send a message to President Bush that the time has come to find a new way forward in this intractable war."
But Republicans -- and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent Democrat -- argued otherwise.

… but we've gotten smarter. Red State Mike at 5:50 PM

That must make Bush's failures even more galling to you.

Posted by: Mike on March 27, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

You will use it because it's there and you can and because this time is not like the last time and because the people who choose to use only very indirectly pay any price.

Posted by: america is exceptional on March 27, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I was called away by work, so let me respond now to at least one comment above.

1) The left is pro-rule-of-law, not anti-war (excepting pacifists, who are truly anti-war). Your equating of the two is direct from the wingnut playbook.

2) This position on the Left predates the illegal Iraq War, as anyone over the age of 15 should know.

To begin with, respecting "the rule of the law" has a very definite meaning and fundamental importance when it comes to the law of our own land. I certainly think that that is absolutely basic to what's important in our social polity within our own borders.

But when you declare that invading Iran under the conditions you mention would be "illegal", I presume you mean in some set of international laws. I simply don't believe that those laws do or should have the same finality in determining what we do that our own laws should within our own country. Those laws have been settled upon in ways that may or may not be appropriate to our own national security or even in the current era.

I described a particular circumstance in which I think our invading Iran might be called for, namely, one in which

1. Iran will have nuclear weapons within a few months

2. Iran is under the rule of radical elements, and these elements look to be in ascendancy, not in decline

3. Iran has refused to give up its potential weapons

4. Diplomacy has been tried and has utterly and indisputably failed

Now your answer to this situation is that in such a case war to take out those weapons would be illegal, and therefore absolutely wrong. I emphatically disagree with that assessment. This would be a precise circumstance in which an attack would be called for.

Why? because a world in which those weapons were removed from the face of the earth would be a far safer one than one in which they remained in the hands of radicals. And if international law can't allow such a safer world to come about, then that law be damned, at least in that specific case. (I'm not saying that adherence to international laws is not generally a very positive thing -- but it can be overridden in particular ones).

Laws in general must in the end be justified because they bring about a better world. For international law, this is most pointedly true, because they are not part of a larger government that enforces adherence to them, or that changes them swiftly in response to immediate events; nor is there anything resembling a real democracy that fully legitimizes them. Why pretend, therefore, that they have the same standing with respect to our adherence to them?

I simply ask, which choice do you make: a safer world without Iranian nuclear weapons in the circumstances I described, or adherence to the laws you invoke? Please don't pretend that there can't in principle be a disconnect between the two outcomes: that would be intellectually dishonest. Clearly, not every law in every circumstance produces only the best possible and most just result; only children think otherwise.

Likewise, you may pretend that your view is not "antiwar", but what other effect does it have in the precise circumstances I've outlined? And how do you reasonably defend yourself against the accusation that you are weak on foreign policy? (You may regard that as a "wingnut" accusation. But, in my view, it's a perfectly fair one, given the pretty extreme position you're taking in favor of presumed international law over a clear case of basic national security.)

As for the assertion that your type of view predated the Iraq war, of what matter is that? Do you really not believe that the Iraq war is not used as further bolstering the particular anti-war view you are now espousing?

As I said, the Iraq war demonstrated more than one thing. It demonstrated that occupying a hostile country is a very poor use of our military's capabilities. But it also demonstrates that our military is highly capable of performing swift strikes with very limited goals -- and invading Iran to take out their nuclear capabilities, and then pulling out immediately, would seem to be a very good example of such a possibility which, under the circumstances I've hypothesized, could have a positive effect.

Yet, as I've observed, few liberals, clearly you among them, wish to acknowledge that that might be true. And that, again, is because they overgeneralize from the Iraq war.

Finally, let me repeat that I simply don't see how a Republican can today possibly be effective in implementing the sort of policies I've described. This is really the flip side of the "It takes a Nixon to go to China" argument. Republicans can't be believed when they assert that they've tried all diplomatic means, and that they have irrefutable evidence of a potential nuclear threat. Only a Democratic President can make those claims and be credible. Only a Democratic President could attack Iran with the limited goal of taking out nuclear weapons and be believed by the international community or the American people as truly doing so for the reasons stated.

And liberals do Democratic Presidents and the American people no favors when they simply refuse to allow such actions, even in the extreme circumstances I've described. And this is especially true because for diplomacy to work, the credible threat of such an attack is often by far the most effective technique.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 27, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by:RedStateMike "You suggested that it would take years and years to recover from the damage to our military which has occurred due to Iraq. I am telling you you're wrong. You overestimate both the damage and the time to fix it."

Do you claim to know more than this senator?
Look how strongly Republican Chuck Hagel spoke on Sunday, saying "we essentially are ruining our National Guard, we are destroying our Army, we're destroying our Marine Corps. We can't sustain this...I will not accept the status quo."

And as Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md noted, and EJ. Dionne, Jr. wrote today--Bush's harsh rhetoric, his "take it or leave it" approach is "hurting the political standing of his Republican colleagues" in Congress by essentially requiring them to back an open-ended commitment in Iraq at a time when constituents demand a different approach.
Bush's policy isn't making sense. Sadly, for all of us, Bush is in denial that the country no longer supports his war of choice.
Bush is Doctor Feelbad.
Even General David Petraeus estimated success with Bush's war escalation surge at one in four---"Any student of history recognizes there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq."

Tell me something--you big time war supporters aren't awaiting the Rapture, are ya?

Posted by: consider wisely always on March 27, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

shorter frankly0 (or whoever has hijacked his handle): war crimes aren't crimes if I say they aren't crimes.

That frankly0 (or his hijacker) is so willing to ignore US law that he finds inconvenient (yes, intl treaties of which the US is a party to are US law) wrt to his neocon fantasies makes him indistinguishable from GWB.

And one last time you pathetic lying dumbass -- STOP SAYING THAT MY POSITION IS BASED ON A GENERALIZATION FROM THE IRAQ WAR!!!

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

I better understood why Americans want to fight after I reread NPR's piece on Weekend Edition Saturday, March 24, 2007- Peace Department Proposal Rattles Small Town by Daniel Zwerdling.

This is a country where being nice is concidered a weakness and peace is another term for wuss. The Republican juggernaut seems to run a successful political engine off the juxaposition of religious posturing and war-making.

This isn't what I mean but it is as close as I have come so far: theirs is the dead-serious business of keeping a virtuous appearance by bullying anyone who thinks otherwise. Bully isn't the right word but I am not sure how else to describe "Bible in one hand and a high-caliber weapon in the other" mentality that has troubled me lately.

Posted by: Zit on March 27, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

I described a particular circumstance in which I think our invading Iran might be called for, namely, one in which 1. Iran will have nuclear weapons within a few months, 2. Iran is under the rule of radical elements, and these elements look to be in ascendancy, not in decline, 3. Iran has refused to give up its potential weapons, 4. Diplomacy has been tried and has utterly and indisputably failed

You forgot No. 5 -- they're strangling kittens!

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, this can't be the real frankly0. Someone must be using his name.

Posted by: Stefan on March 27, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Or the American military personnel across the other border in Afghanistan...

Or the oil tankers traversing the Strait of Hormuz...

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

But when you declare that invading Iran under the conditions you mention would be "illegal", I presume you mean in some set of international laws. I simply don't believe that those laws do or should have the same finality in determining what we do that our own laws should within our own country.

Believe what you want, but duly ratified treaties have the force of law -- are in fact US law -- as any middle school civics student should know.

Posted by: Gregory on March 27, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Iran's rulers are no more radical and extremist than Amnerica's. The US rejects all diplomatic efforts to disarm its nuclear arsenal and will not discuss withdrawl from its illegal occupations with other countries. Iran, even if it obtains nuclear weapons, is not a threat to the US and its allies unless they want to invade it, which is why the propaganda themes of radicals, extremists and doomsday scenarios are put forth.

Once Iran has nukes, we cannot steal their oil. That is the real reason why their quest for security is such a threat to America and its petro-defense industrial complex.

Posted by: Brojo on March 27, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

rsm: Definitely nothing like the pit of morale during Vietnam. There's a huge difference.


"Only 35-percent of the military members polled this year said they approve of the way President Bush is handling the war." - Military Times 12/30/06

'In this year’s poll only 41-percent of the military said the U.S. should have gone to war in Iraq in the first place, down from 65-percent in 2003." - Military Times 12/30/06


30% of the total survey said they were proud of the Iraq war. - CNN 3/17/07

Public approval of Bush's handling of the Iraq war in April, 2003: 74%

Bush's approval on Iraq March-2007: 27%

(Source: Newsweek)

An all-time low of 29% say things are going well in Iraq. - CNN/Opinion Research Corp. 3/13/07


rsm: Compared to the percentage of GNP spent on Vietnam, Iraq has been chump change.


after more than 400-billion spent there's this:

Bush administration seeks $245B for wars - A.P. 2/2/07


Cost to U.S. government for wars Iraq & Afghanistan: 9-billion a month

Cost to U.S. government for war Viet Nam (1964-1972): 5-billion a month


Congressional Research Service report says fiscal year (2006) costs running more than 100-billion. That cost easily outpaces the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars.


if its one thing the gop knows....its viet nam...


"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."
- Tony Snow March 24, 1999

Posted by: mr. irony on March 27, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, this can't be the real frankly0. Someone must be using his name.

I sent an email for verification. I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

POed Lib: "In today's world, you have to be a total moron to be a GOP member."

I disagree. If you're not a Fox exec or a corrupt congressmember, or Michelle Bachmann (a whole category to itself), you merely have to be a frightened moron to go Repub. And there IS an opportunity, then, in reaching those Taliban-in-a-tractor-cap types who need to be assured, at the very least, that Bush-minded simplicities will not protect them from the sweep of modernity, or anything else.

The other factor in all this, as Kevin grasps better than most, due to his largely ideology-neutral view of economics, is that while Halliburton and a few extra-venal companies may enjoy the Pottery Barn approach to global diplomacy, wars are increasingly viewed as anathema to multinational corporations--outbreaks that disrupt the flow of goods and the expansion of markets. Yet another last gasp of primitivism on CheneyCorp's part, and something that will end up with more US firms behind the 8-ball than out in front of it. (What's Mandarin for "mortgage collapse"?)

Too bad about the polar ice caps. That problem appears to be beyond us. Maybe if there were free blowjobs at the North Pole...

Posted by: Kenji on March 27, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe if there were free blowjobs at the North Pole...

Finally a policy that everyone can get behind.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

While I disagree with FranklyO's hypothetical vis-a-vis Iran, his underlying postulate is hardly radical: that laws are not the controlling feature of international relations, that it is de facto more or less an anarchical society.

Posted by: snicker-snack on March 27, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0 (or his doppleganger) was making a normative argument, not a positive one.

Posted by: Disputo on March 27, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to believe John -- that is, I'd like to believe that Iraq will serve as a permanent lesson about the limits of military power and what it can achieve, but I'm just not sure I do.

Haven't you previously blamed the lack of success entirely on the Bush presidency? Don't you still believe that a military mission (e.g. no fly zone) in Darfur would succeed? How about American enforcement of the recently passed sanctions on Iran? Are you pessimistic about the military success in enforcing them, or about their effectiveness, or both?

In my opinion, you should focus more on some particular possible cases, or questions. (1) should the U.S. defend Taiwan against Chinese attack, and if so should we be prepared to sacrifice more than 3,200 of our own? Those questions may have to be answered. (2) should we continue to guard the oil coming through the Persian Gulf when we can more cheaply make the substitutes here in the U.S.? (3) Should the U.S. continue to promise to defend S. Korea, when (as you say) Iraq has taught us a permanent lesson about the limits of military power? (4) Should the U.S. use military power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and how many diplomatic failures would there have to be before the military option were exercised?

The questions are not necessarily all answered "Yes" or all answered "No", and abstract considerations are not all equally relevant in all three cases.

Posted by: spider on March 27, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

OK, four cases.

when I wrote of protecting all the oil coming through the Persian Gulf, I was including the campaign to drive the Iraqi army out of Kuwait, and the deployment to protect Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from another attack, and America's wasteful support for the Shah of Iran. I am respectful of military power, but it would be cheaper for the U.S. to make synfuels than to continue to deploy American forces to the Persian Gulf. Saving government money helps to support military power.

Posted by: spider on March 27, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Years ago, my grandfather was a doctor practicing in Japan.
In 1936 he overheard (due to the fact that he learned Japanese) some colleagues say "we don't need American doctors anymore." That night he went home and told his wife that they were moving to Honolulu asap as he didn't like what he heard.

His parents chose to stay on despite the increasingly militarization of the country. They were woken up in the middle of the night in August 1941 and told to leave by friends who feared for their welfare. They then went to Honolulu.

The drums of war continued (China ofcourse had already been invaded) and on 12/7/41 my grandfather heard airplanes overhead and immediately knew they were Zeroes (distinctive engine sound) "those aren't American planes."

The Japanese Empire tried to get what they wanted by brute force. The militarization of the country was thought (by some) to be a good thing and the money flowed into the war efforts.

The strike on Pearl Harbor might have been more decisive if they had hit the fuel depots and destroyed the aircraft carriers (which were out at sea and not in Pearl).

The vast war machine exists only in memory today, and ofcourse the atomic bomb attacks were horrendous.

Although the Japanese are not a war-oriented country today, their economy since the war has thrived (more or less).

So there is life after war-mongering.

Peace is more than the absence of war.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 27, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

We have our resident coward claiming we were not brutal enough in our unprovoked assault on the Iraqi people - to which the only responsible answer is, bullshit. Red State Mike, how many wedding parties did we need to slaughter? How many pregnant women did we need to tear limb from limb using 1500lb bombs? How many more cluster bombs did we need to drop so they could be de facto mines for children to step on? Don't you think the 50,000 to 500,000 victims of Bush's war are enough dead human beings? How many people must be brutally killed to fill that void in your soul?

The fact is that our bloated military is, as was suggested above and as I've pointed out before, an attractive nuisance. Monsters like George "I always wanted to be a war President" Bush see the mighty men at arms as a toy to provide them glory and electoral victory. And such things work so long as the costs are hidden. Which is why the war funding is an "emergency request" four years after George W. Bush decided to invade a nation that was no possible threat to the national security of the United States.

Posted by: heavy on March 27, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I probably agree with the guy. Americans will not be happy with their military until it adapts to modern styles of conflict and wins. Don't hold your breath.

Posted by: Richard on March 27, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK
I described a particular circumstance in which I think our invading Iran might be called for, namely, one in which 1, 2, 3, 4…Fake frankly0 at 6:36 PM
The operation in Kosovo demonstrated the use of American air power more effectively than the war you cite. However, you fail to acknowledge the ability of Iran to constrict the flow of oil in the region and the effect that would have on the American economy. Iran, unlike Iraq, has teeth and can strike back. That would be their 'limited goal' and it would devastating.

You claim that a nuclear Iran is a danger, but apparently you have no problems with a nuclear Pakistan when that country has been selling nuclear material and know-how for some time. Pakistan is building a new improved reactor that will produce far more plutonium than their current capabilities. Bush has done nothing about it. Iran has claimed that it is not building nuclear weapons. Do you have contrary evidence? They have a right to nuclear power under the non-proliferation treaty. Why do you grant that right to Pakistan, Israel, India, possibly Egypt but not Iran? Iran is no more of a threat to the US than the others.

As to your enumerated points:
1. That is a claim that contradicts the estimates of their ability by the IAEA, which says it will take them years. If they are quicker, so what? Bush rewarded Pakistan for its nukes and says nothing about Israel's.

2. The US among other countries is under the rule of radical elements. As far as the others go, so what? Clean your own house before piously demanding the same of anyone else. Frankly the governments of other countries are none of Bush's business. People are entitled to their own destiny. Stop interfering with their culture. You have backed dictators and other totalitarian regimes and overthrown democratically elected one like Iran and Haiti. Not once has this interference worked for the better.

3: Iran can't give up what it doesn't have. That is like demanding Saddam give up WMD that he didn't have.

4: The diplomacy thus far consists of bullying. Not much give and take there. The world should recognize Iran's treaty rights.

Posted by: Mike on March 27, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

I hope I'm being too pessimistic, and Iraq really does lead to Americans taking a more sensible view of what we want to accomplish in the world and how we can most effectively accomplish it.

If I remember correctly, you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq until it became clear that there would be no support from the U.N. Considering how little military power the U.N. actually has, (or France for that matter, the only other nation that might have actually helped) how do the events since the invasion affect your thinking about your original support for the invasion?

With the French aircraft carrier de Gaulle supporting the U.S. forces in Iran, do you think that French support makes it more likely that a U.S. attack against Iran would be successful?

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on March 27, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: ...Compared to the percentage of GNP spent on Vietnam, Iraq has been chump change.

I see that mr. irony at 7:17 PM has already provided facts that dispute your assertion among others. It's interesting that you think $9 billion/month is "chump change."

You suggested that it would take years and years ato recover from the danage to our military which has occurred due to Iraq. I am telling you you're wrong. You overestimate both the damage and the time to fix it.

Then, Mike, show us the facts and projections from authoritative sources on it will take to fix the military. How long will it take, how much in dollars, military personnel, etc.? If you are telling us you are right, citing your evidence shouldn't be difficult.

Just one other note military-wise. Iraq and Afghanistan have exploded the use of unmanned air vehicles and similar. They've caused a real revolution in how the military works. The bad guys have gotten smart, but we've gotten smarter.

And where is the evidence that supports your claim?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 28, 2007 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

FranklyO stated:

"...described a particular circumstance in which I think our invading Iran might be called for, namely, one in which

1. Iran will have nuclear weapons within a few months

2. Iran is under the rule of radical elements, and these elements look to be in ascendancy, not in decline

3. Iran has refused to give up its potential weapons

4. Diplomacy has been tried and has utterly and indisputably failed

Now your answer to this situation is that in such a case war to take out those weapons would be illegal, and therefore absolutely wrong. I emphatically disagree with that assessment. This would be a precise circumstance in which an attack would be called for."

Replace "Iran" with "North Korea" and "radical" with "crazy" it sounds like FranklyO thinks we should invade North Korea(or at least launch a pre-emptive air strike). This is exactly why we need to follow the rule-of-law instead of the rule of the playground (i.e., I'm bigger than you so I get my way).


Posted by: getreal on March 28, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

I will be very surprised if Red State Mike provides even the barest of answers. He's not particularly known for his devotion to facts, evidence or personal displays of courage - either intellectual or moral.

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

RSM:

You and I have always disagreed as to the long term damage being done to the US military. You have claimed the authority of direct involvement and I cannot prove otherwise and therefore do not try. However, I am well aware of what the actual hard data coming out of the pentagon in terms of retention of the more skilled senior members of both officer and non-com levels, especially the latter, and they don't look good at all. Without a solid non-com backbone with deep institutional knowledge the American Army and Marines are going to suffer significant weakening/degradation of their ability to train new recruits. New recruits whom have clearly been more and more difficult to obtain given the repeated lowering of age rejection thresholds and education requirements, not to mention criminal pasts even. A *LOT* of major damage has been inflicted upon the US ground forces by this Administration itself with its policies and how it chose to fight this war and run this occupation. It has driven out many that otherwise would have stayed, it has cost that many more in wounded and dead on top of that, and it is not showing anywhere near the ability to even come close to balancing those losses let alone going beyond them which given current circumstances would be wise. No, Apollo 13 is correct, if you cannot show with hard data why you are correct regarding the state of the ground forces of the American military these days you have not made your case given what is already out there in the public record from even the Bushco Pentagon's own numbers.

As for the economics of this war, you are not taking into account all the deferred costs of repairing American infrastructure dismantled by Bushco and the GOP Congress competing with the military's funding, not to mention the interest payments on the debt for which America is already borrowing hundreds of billions a year for. This is the first major conventional war and occupation by America that I know of where the wealthy were asked to sacrifice significantly in terms of getting/taking tax *CUTS* instead of tax increases along with the rest of American society in being told instead to just ignore it and shop as opposed to things like the communal meatless, sweetless, and wheatless days to show communal suport in aiding the "war effort" that once was the norm for Americans.

So Red State Mike I am going to have to continue to disagree with you on this, I think you are sadly mistaken about the ability of America to successfully fight any significant power at the moment without using unconventional weapons, which would cause a global backlash that would make the Iraq backlash seem like a gentle mist by comparison. I think you are grossly overestimating what the Navy and Air Force alone can do against a significant and well armed national opposition given the current state of American military power and resource diminished stockpiles globally thanks to Iraq. I think you are grossly underestimating the human costs within the military in terms of the damage being done to the cores of both Army and Marine institutional knowledge which made them such a respected and capable opponent throughout so much of their respective histories (with alas a few black stains among those many honourable accomplishments). I also think, purely as a result of the way Bush and the GOP have conducted themselves throughout this war will within the next decade shift the conventional view of the military as hard GOP in supporting to significantly preferring Dems. This will be because of how much damage Bushco and the GOP have done to the American military, Bushco by active design by being the ones calling the shots, and the GOP Congress for simply giving him whatever he wanted to do so with without any oversight except in the rare occasion where a public outcry too loud to be ignored was raised like Abu Ghraib, and even there it was minimized as the full story is still under seal and the full imagery is still unknown *and* inaccessible to the general public.

Sorry Red State Mike, but I think the GOP is well on the way to a massive implosion because of their slavish submission of the Congress they controlled to this incompetent, corrupt tool of a bunch of ruthless Machiavellian egomaniacs run out of the Vice President's office starting with the man himself onwards. I think the damage done by Bushco when it is finally fully known will horrify you, and only once you have your nose rubbed in an impossible manner to ignore in it will you accept that what so many of us here have been telling you was unfortunately the sad and dangerous (for America and the wider global community thanks to the instability on that global stage it presents) truth/reality and that you were unfortunately sold a toxic snake-oil via your sense of patriotism and your sense of outrage and anger and fear from 9/11/01, exactly as intended and worked for by this President and GOP for their electoral success in 2002 and 2004. It is too bad you are going to have to learn this the hard way, but you have chosen to blind yourself to all the telltale signs out there making clear just how over stretched the American ground forces are, how America is not in a position to make war with any other nation right now beyond limited air strikes with naval bombardment thrown in (which is not enough against a determined foe without of course those unconventional weapons mentioned earlier) even as a true self defence measure, and yet you do not appear to grasp this despite it coming from the Pentagon itself when testifying to Congress. How much of this is truly your belief in this and how much is hating to either/both admit being wrong on the war and that the liberals/"lefties" were the ones generally right all along on this one? I think a lot of GOP supporters need to ask themselves that given the current realities of where Bushco and the GOP have left you all after the past six years and what you all have to look forward to thanks to it over the next two. This is why I think the GOP is going to implode to only the truly hardcore believers, especially since by taking such advantage of 9/11/01 the way they did the GOP tainted themselves for the long term with pessimism and fear instead of hope and determined positive faith in overcoming all obstacles that has been the traditional American way, especially in the symbolism of the nation. The pessimism charge worked well against the Dems in the past on economic grounds, it likely will be even more potent on the national security grounds thanks to the way it was abused by Bushco/GOP.

It has really got to suck being a GOPer these days, and it shows no signs of sucking any less for a looooong time to come. The joys of the last six years may not be able to offset the deluge that is coming, it all depends on how strong the protections/breakwaters the GOP/Bushco/Rove have emplaced against just this sort of thing. A lot will depend I suspect on the public belief on which side is being the honest ones. I think so long as one side is looking honest and dealing with reasonable cause/basis for their claims (which the Dems have been in their committees, using Administration docs to dispute/discredit the Administration's own public claims including sworn testimony) and the other (Bush) is not then the claims of partisan witch hunts by those not appearing honest against those looking so will only further hurt Bush, it ill not weaken this but only intensify it. This is the price of going to the same wells as often and extensively as Bushco has over the past six years, especially since the grand lofty rhetoric and claims of most everything Bush says will happen in whatever he is talking about almost certainly is contradicted by the subsequent record, usually the question is by how bad/much?

The GOP and Bushco have destroyed much of the best of the American ground forces for several years to a decade, possibly worse by the time the damage is truly examined and real measures taken to correct it which I don't see Bush doing given his record to date. He and the GOP have significantly exposed the American economy to greater strains by how they funded this war on massive tax cuts to the wealthy while shorting the military it is sending into harms way throughout its history to this day. There is massive damage done to the credibility of that military might internationally and a corresponding reduction of fear/worry/concern from it by many of the major powers, of which there are several. Bush has overall weakened the American superpower image/perception/position significantly over his tenure, especially with his tame GOP rubberstamp Congress which GOP supporters cheered on to such a great volume until recently, especially post last Nov. He has made the other major powers job of caching up to America that much easier, and I just do not see how that strengthens American national security. This is a view I expect over the next several years will become increasingly common throughout America even in traditionally more conservative elements of it. Even you in time will likely subscribe to it in large amount as much as that may seem unlikely to you know.

Well goodnight, it is late in my time zone and I am getting more than a little rambly given this comment.

Posted by: Scotian on March 28, 2007 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm...almost sorry I went to bed. Too much to read here, but I'll summarize with a couple of bulleted points.

1. Chumpchange: as a percentage of our GNP, defense spending is at or under 4%, which is well under what we spent during Vietnam. That's what I meant by "chump change". We have the economic power to recapitalize our military. It just takes will.

2. Morale: someone quoted a whole bunch of statistics on how military feel the war is going and their civilian leadership. Not a single statistic was provided on morale. Michael Yon is in Iraq and he watches it closely. He says it is good. Quote...

There’s a lot of talk back at home that morale among American forces is low here. While writing this, I called Rich Oppel from the New York Times, who is in Baghdad, to ask him how morale looked from his vantage. Rich said that a lot of the soldiers are not happy with the extensions of their tours, something I have heard soldiers complain about also. However, I watch morale very closely. More closely than all else. Low morale in a particular unit can be the result of poor leadership in that unit, or just not getting mail, for instance. But gauging morale is not a simple affair of asking a few soldiers. A person has to live with them across Iraq. Having done so, my opinion is that overall troop morale is good to high. (If their morale could be bottled, it would probably would sell like crack, then be outlawed.)

3. I see SecularAnimist is back posing as Heavy. Talk about cowardice, can't even use your own anonymous tag.

4. Scotian, you really need to shorten your prose. I just can't read it all. I will comment on one aspect, about "massive damage done to the credibility of that military might internationally and a corresponding reduction of fear/worry/concern from it by many of the major powers...". Prior to Afghanistan and Iraq, the radicals thought we were soft and would always run away when enough casualties have been taken, ala Blackhawk Down. No more. We have won *every single major engagement* withthe enemy. Every single one. All this while taxing our economy by percentage points. We never committed whole hog to this thing, as a country. Not even close. Bush tried to do it on the cheap. If we lose, it is because we choose to.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

RSM: All this while taxing our economy by percentage points.

It hasn't been paid for. It hasn't been funded. It's been put on the national credit card. There is as of year no discussion of how it is ever to be paid for.

Glorious Leader enacted tax cuts instead of asking that the war be paid for. The economy got juiced with billions of DOD and HLS spending that wasn't funded.


'Bush is likely to ask Congress next month for $100 billion more in emergency war spending this year. That would bring fiscal 2007 spending on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to $170 billion, and push spending on the war on terror to more than $600 billion. The federal debt increased by $2.8 trillion from 2001 to 2006.' - Brian Faler_Bloomberg

"You're probably talking about around $750 billion that is going to be spent on this war that will end up not being funded." Judd Gregg, (R) Senate Budget Committee

The day-to-day cost of Pentagon operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached almost $10 billion a month, according to Tina Jonas, the Pentagon's top budget officer. That is up from an average of $8 billion per month for 2006, Jonas told the committee. - By Andrew Taylor - The Associated Press

"Some way has got to be found to pay for this war," said Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat who heads the budget committee. "The president's plan is to continue to put it on the charge card. That's no longer a viable strategy."

"Remember, to spend is to tax." - Milton Freidman

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

The fact is that our bloated military is, as was suggested above and as I've pointed out before, an attractive nuisance. Monsters like George "I always wanted to be a war President" Bush see the mighty men at arms as a toy to provide them glory and electoral victory. And such things work so long as the costs are hidden. Which is why the war funding is an "emergency request" four years after George W. Bush decided to invade a nation that was no possible threat to the national security of the United States.

Settle down, girlfriend.

The fact of the matter is, "elections have consequences" as the delightful Barbara Boxer said the other day. The 2004 Election was decided in favor of George W Bush. He is the Commander in Chief. If there's a threat to the United States of America, he will raise a mighty hand and destroy it, utterly. The hand he raises is the military which safeguards your right to be a blithering idiot.

Consequently, you should just deal with it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

The scandal here is not that, like most human beings, our soldiers and spies are sure to be desperately wrong on most aspects of their future fictions. The scandal is that we're mortgaging our wealth and our futures, whatever they may be, to their bloodcurdling, self-interested, and often absurd fantasies. After all, they're running a giant, massively profitable business operation off fictional futures, while creating their own armed reality at our expense. - Pentagon Dystopia
Tom Engelhardt - http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?pid=155768

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

We have the economic power to recapitalize our military. It just takes will.

...and manpower. Tell me, RSM, how many of your warflogging brethren -- let's say, just for example, oh, Jonah Goldberg -- have the fucking will to put their own asses in uniform?

That's what I thought.

Posted by: Gregory on March 28, 2007 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory
...and manpower. Tell me, RSM, how many of your warflogging brethren -- let's say, just for example, oh, Jonah Goldberg -- have the fucking will to put their own asses in uniform?

Being in the military myself, pretty much most of the people I hang out with have their asses in uniform. Duh.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

What John Quiggan misses is that as long as those crazy people are the majority of one of the two major political parties, they *will* get time in power, as the public tends to be somewhat short-sighted and also tends to (correctly) "kick the bums out of office" from time to time. So while the public may hate the GOP's stance on social and military issues, they'll still elect them as President from time to time.

And if the GOP can make use of those occasional crazy terms to reshape the judiciary, commit crazy acts of foreign policy, and (important to the funding of the GOP), protect the wealth in this country to the wealthy, then Democrats will be spending all their time in power PARTIALLY unraveling the GOP's actions.

Or to put it another way - who was a bigger influence on American politics and policy - Bush or Clinton?

Posted by: Justin on March 28, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

PS If we learned anything in Vietnam, its that the GOP will scream "we lost because of those damned liberal traitors" so much that 20 years from now, the public will just be ambivalent about the reasons for the war's failure. See Tuchman, Barbara.

Posted by: Justin on March 28, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

We have won *every single major engagement* withthe enemy. Every single one.

We also won every single major engagement with the enemy in Vietnam. Didn't do us a lot of good there either. You clearly don't know a thing about counterinsurgency, or you'd know that it doesn't matter one bit that you win every battle -- all that matters is who's left standing at the end. And since we're fighting on their turf we're going to go home at some point -- they never are.

When Colonel Harry Summers (author of On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War") was in Hanoi in 1975 he was talking to an NVA colonel. Summers told his counterpart "you know you never defeated us in battle." "That is true," said the NVA colonel. "It is also irrelevant."

Posted by: Stefan on March 28, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

...and manpower. Tell me, RSM, how many of your warflogging brethren -- let's say, just for example, oh, Jonah Goldberg -- have the fucking will to put their own asses in uniform?

Look, that poor young man has a weight problem. The military has standards--if they take Mr. Goldberg and try to make him do situps and run in a formation, he might vomit all over himself. If he vomited all over himself and fell down and if his heart exploded, you'd criticize him for that, wouldn't you? Well, it's not his fault.

It is more than enough that there are those of us who are fighting this war by pointing out that the media is biased and that liberals like yourself are unhinged and wrong about virtually everything. I support our troops and I support my President. That's what a good American does, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Prior to Afghanistan and Iraq, the radicals thought we were soft and would always run away when enough casualties have been taken, ala Blackhawk Down. No more.

No, now they know that we're idiots who will foolishly sink ourselves into a quagmire of our own making, and that to beat us they only have to taunt us into overextending ourselves.

You may fantasize to yourselves that George Bush's Excellent Adventure has shown the world how big and tough and manly Americans are, but what it's really shown them is that Americans can be beat. It's shown them that a few thousand lightly armed guerillas can stand toe to toe with the full might of the American Army for four plus years and slowly, carefully, grind them down.

Posted by: Stefan on March 28, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I support our troops and I support my President. That's what a good American does, sir.
Posted by: Norman Rogers


"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President -- or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong -- is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Teddy Roosevelt

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President -- or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong -- is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Teddy Roosevelt

Bah!

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Poor stupid Red State Mike can't tell that there are people besides Secular Animist who might think that dropping bombs from the safety of a mile or two away is the height of cowardice.

As for why our favorite coward is unconcerned with the cost of the war? Simple, he's a parasite who has never held a job where he wasn't sucking off the government teat.

Remind me Red State Mike, how many human beings did you snuff out. How many living, breathing, individuals were slaughtered at your hands? How many of them ever got to see the face of their murderer? How many of your victims posed an actual threat to our national security?

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

This is the central organising principal of my entire life:

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.
Theodore Roosevelt

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

The lesson Red State Mike teaches us is that being allowed to murder people from the safety of a cockpit allows the murderer to completely ignore his victims. You can't hear the screams of the dying, you can't see the limbs torn from the bodies, you can't know how many pregnant women, babies, and children are among the dead and disfigured when you are a couple of miles away. Red State Mike pretends to be a man, he's really a child shielded from the consequences of his actions. He is a coward because he is afraid to deal honestly with the horror of what he has done and the reasons for it.

Those who come back from war and don't want to talk about it? Those are adults. Those who come back from war and want to prevent it whenever possible? Those are adults. Those who played video games where pixels are the only deaths in their minds? Those are cowards and children. That is Red State Mike.

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

You can't hear the screams of the dying, you can't see the limbs torn from the bodies, you can't know how many pregnant women, babies, and children are among the dead and disfigured when you are a couple of miles away.

That's not true. Today's advanced fighter planes are equipped with all sorts of cameras that allow the pilot to share his exploits with his buddies back on the ground and even post them on You Tube, set to music such as "Don't Fear the Reaper and "Pyromania

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Being in the military myself, pretty much most of the people I hang out with have their asses in uniform. Duh.

Oh, that's cute, Mike. But as you know, the Army and Marines are resorting to desperation measures

You know damn well I'm referring to jackasses like Goldberg, Reynolds, Boot, Steyn and the rest of the chickenhawk crowd. You're in uniform, yes, and you deserve props for that at least. But people who call themselves conservative are calling for more and more war -- insisting, in fact, that this is an Existential Conflict -- and yet not only conspicuously failing to get their sorry asses (Goldberg, again) in uniform (anyone here remember the frothingly paranoid "Joe Schmoe," who claimed to have "volunteered," only to admit that he submitted an online resume to a contractor -- with no followup? Hilarious! But I digress...), but are also insisting, as was pointed out to you above, on paying for the war with a tax cut.

You babble about "will," but it's the so-called conservatives who aren't showing any. That's why the Dolschtosslegende you obviously want to believe isn't going to take, Mike, but rather Americans won't trust Republicans with national security for a generation. And given your example, that's clearly a Very Good Thing.

Posted by: Gregory on March 28, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

You know damn well I'm referring to jackasses like Goldberg, Reynolds, Boot, Steyn and the rest of the chickenhawk crowd.

You should know damn well by now that I don't take their direction, that I make up my own mind on how I view the war. So put your strawman argument back in the drawer and save it for the next dittohead that walks by.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

THIS is one of my favorite air strike videos. Apparently, someone decided to shoot at some Americans. Well! That's not going to fly, no pun intended.

The exuberance of our fighting men should not be construed as a love of killing; it is better understood as a celebration of that American maxim, given clear voice by General Patton:

The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

I would have put music under this video. "Rock you like a Hurricane" is a good tune for playing in the weight room and it would be very apropo in this instance.


Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

McCain Checks into Cloud Cuckooland
116 Iraqis Killed in Day of Carnage

- Juan Cole

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

This video is quite loud.

I have the high-end speakers on my desk where I do my computing work and I had turned them up all the way earlier when I was listening to some business updates. The sound of the bomb hitting caused me to fall over backwards in my desk chair. I am alright! Do not be alarmed.

The song I would have put underneath this video is that catchy little tune "You give love a bad name" by that little Bon Jovi fellow.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

And our little boy Mikey comes through with flying colors, no pun intended. Hey, it's not quite as good as my favorite video game, let's add some music. Even better, let's use a song about sex. That way I can get my rocks off to both sex and violence.

Hey coward, how about answering some questions about what a threat to national security all your victims were?

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

And our little boy Mikey comes through with flying colors, no pun intended.

Hello? Reading comprehension? My name is not Mike, nor has it ever been Mike. I have not even been called Mike by accident.

What I like about THIS video is that it takes at least thirty insurgents and makes them into flambe without the least bit of hesitation. This is the cool, calm and collected killing of our enemies, and all Americans should celebrate the fact that we are making our enemies pay. War is hell, sir, and were it not for these men, you would be teaching basket weaving in the Re-Education Camp run by Al Qaeda, Inc., on the edge of the crappy little town in which you live.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

My name is not Mike, nor has it ever been Mike. I have not even been called Mike by accident.

Dick, on the other hand, well....

Posted by: Gregory on March 28, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Dick, on the other hand, well....

No, my middle name is not Richard. Sorry.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

RSM wrote: You should know damn well by now that I don't take their direction, that I make up my own mind on how I view the war.

Yeah, Mike, it's real obvious how different your opinions are from the neocon jackasses I named. One jackass looks pretty much like another to me.

So put your strawman argument back in the drawer and save it for the next dittohead that walks by.

Look who's talking straw man, Mr. "The only way we lose the war is a lack of will." It isn't a straw man at all -- I addressed your silly little reference to will by poitning out that the ones who cheer loudest for the war are the ones who are the most conspicuously lacking in will to fight it. Oh, they're willing to let others fight it, and pay for it, sure. And yet Mister Makes Up His Own Mind seems to agree with this crowd. Strange, isn't it?

Posted by: Gregory on March 28, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

No, my middle name is not Richard. Sorry.

Fair point -- it is, indeed, unlikely that you've been called Dick by accident.

Posted by: Gregory on March 28, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

the ones who cheer loudest for the war are the ones who are the most conspicuously lacking in will to fight it.

How many are they? Ten? Twenty? Thirty people? You base your whole entire perspective on the blabbing of and handful of talking heads? Why are they even relevant to you? You are so wrapped up in your little chattering classes world that you don't even look out the window. There are plenty of people willing to fight, we don't need them...or you for that matter. What is, or what was needed, was for the war to not have been fought on the cheap, with only the military bearing the brunt while people like you and the Jonahs go about blobbering. I blame Bush for that, for not demanding that level of commitment. I guess he thought he wouldn't get it.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

There are plenty of people willing to fight

As evidenced by the surging ranks of well-qualified volunteers to the US Army and Marines. Oh, wait...

(Of course, you don't even address the insistence of The President of the United States for paying for his pet war with a tax cut....but then, one could hardly blame you for skipping over this uncomfortable reality, given your, ah, well established record of credibility, or lack thereof.)

And you talk about being wrapped up in an insular bubble of opinion, RSM? Glass houses, my friend...

Posted by: Gregory on March 28, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Not merely a tax cut. An unfunded, that is not balanced by cuts to spending, tax cut. Spending went UP.

Not merely an illegal war but an unfunded war financed by the Chinese, South Korea and the Saudis.

And we're paying the interest on those debts with MORE DEBT.

"Simply put our nation is on an imprudent and unsustainable fiscal path." - David Walker, the Comptroller General

'The reason our mission in Iraq has proven to be so disastrous and corrupt is very simple -- the advocates and architects of that war are completely corrupt, inept, and deceitful. Recognizing this fact and ceasing to accord people like this with respect and credibility is infinitely more important than any specific debates over particular policy or strategic questions.' - Glenn Greenwald

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

RSM:

For someone that appears to be able to read, serve in a military where a certain minimal intelligence is required your inability to read my posts is quite odd, one might also be inclined to think it is a cop out because you cannot deal with the substance of it. I'm sorry RSM, too many other people, both those that have agreed and disagreed with my comments in the past are able to read through it, and some of those critics have demonstrated significantly poorer literacy levels than you have. So I'm sorry, I don't buy the "prose is too thick" excuse from you.

In any event, you make an assertion based on your contact within the military. Question: How much of the actual ground forces component do you have first hand observation ability over, hmmm? 100, 1000, 10, 000, 100,000? How much of the logistical elements do you have first hand access to to know the status of? This is the problem of using the "I'm in the military and therefore know better about what shape it is in to fight wars than anyone else, even those with strong military sourced data showing exactly that kind of problem." argument, and why you are being required to present more than your anecdotal personal service experiences to counter the information released by the Pentagon showing massive recruitment problems, massive retention problems especially of mid level officers and non-coms (and that last is really problematic, which if you are the military person you claim to be you should already understand), and that the training budgets in both time and resources have been massively limited from pre-Iraq war norms. Taken together these indicate serious degradation of the US ground forces component. If recruiting was so good, why they have raised the age limit, dropped the educational requirements significantly and are increasingly willing to take criminals in as well? That alone is significant evidence of a major problem.

So you need more than your personal experiences to defend against this charge RSM, and you have not provided it. Which is why you are not being taken seriously on this here, even by those of us that respect anyone that will actually wear the uniform as opposed to just calling for others to do so and fight the wars they think should be fought while sitting at home comfortably cheering the soldiers on and calling anyone that disagrees with the mission traitors.

Posted by: Scotian on March 28, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, yes, yes Scotian--that's all well and good. Did the boom from the video I posted make you fall over, too?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

I blame Bush for that, for not demanding that level of commitment. I guess he thought he wouldn't get it.

Seriously? You're seriously peddling that weak-ass line of bullshit and expecting us not to laugh right in your face? Bush thought he wouldn't get it from the lame lapdog GOP Congress he had for four years?

The truth is that until this point not one dime, not one soldier, not one piece of equipment that Bush asked for was ever denied him. This war was fought exactly, 100%, the way the Republicans claimed it could and should be fought. The fact that it's turned into a fucking fiasco is therefore solely and completely their fault, and your pathetic rationalizing about how poor widdle Bush didn't ask for more men because he didn't trust us enough to cowboy up are beyond lame. Grow up, for Christ's sakes.

Posted by: Stefan on March 28, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

What is, or what was needed, was for the war to not have been fought on the cheap,

What was needed was for the war not to have been fought at all.

Posted by: Stefan on March 28, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wearing the uniform is not enough to command respect. You must uphold the ideals of the nation while doing so. If, on the other hand, you simply use it as an excuse to vent your bloodlust on people far away, you disgrace the uniform and are a black mark on our nation. They shot back at me while I was in the middle of an act of war is never a valid excuse. "I was only following orders" is never a valid excuse. If you don't know what national security issues your killing addresses then you are simply a serial killer. If you want that killing set to music then you are also a sociopath.

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

You must uphold the ideals of the nation while doing so. If, on the other hand, you simply use it as an excuse to vent your bloodlust on people far away, you disgrace the uniform and are a black mark on our nation.

Actually, there is very little "blood" that gets spilled when munitions are used on the insurgents in Iraq. All of the "blood" is quickly consumed and evaporated because of the intense heat given off by the explosion and is then dissipated and dispersed because of the tremendous force used. What one is left with is little more than a grease stain or perhaps a metal button where the attack took place.

They shot back at me while I was in the middle of an act of war is never a valid excuse.

No, if you're being shot at, you can defend yourself. There's nothing wrong with that, sir. I suggest you look up the rules of engagement (ROE) for pretty much any military operation anywhere in the world. If someone does, indeed, shoot at you, you can shoot back.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

If you want that killing set to music then you are also a sociopath.

"Put a little love in your heart..."
"To all the girls I've loved..."
"Tommy can you hear me?"
"Litte ditty, 'bout Jack and Diane..."

Any of those will do, I suppose.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Seriously? You're seriously peddling that weak-ass line of bullshit and expecting us not to laugh right in your face? Bush thought he wouldn't get it from the lame lapdog GOP Congress he had for four years?

From the PEOPLE, Stefan. Name one real sacrifice YOU or your friends that aren't in uniform have been asked to make. That is what I mean by commitment. If you lived off in some little nook of the US of A and didn't get the news, you'd have no reason to suspect we are even at war.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
…What one is left with is little more than a grease stain or perhaps a metal button where the attack took place…. Norman Rogers at 1:56 PM
That is a disgusting way to speak of American casualties in Iraq. Disgusting.
Name one real sacrifice YOU or your friends that aren't in uniform have been asked to make…Red State Mike at 2:40 PM
Well, your president and Commander-in-Chief told me to go shopping and I hate shopping, so there… Posted by: Mike on March 28, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian, you remind me of the guy who gave the speech before President Lincoln at Gettysburg. It was a lengthy oratorial that no one remembers. But anyway...
So you need more than your personal experiences to defend against this charge RSM, and you have not provided it.

Others here have made the chartges that morale is down, they bear the burden to prove it, not me to disprove it. But citing Michael Yon, who has first-hand experience after having traveled the length if Iraq, and who has a reputation as a straight shooter who points bad things out as well as good, is good enough for me.

Question: How much of the actual ground forces component do you have first hand observation ability over, hmmm? 100, 1000, 10, 000, 100,000?

I let experts in the field who are observing morale closely inform me.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

That is a disgusting way to speak of American casualties in Iraq. Disgusting.

I think if you watch the videos I posted links to, it is Haji who is getting the shake and bake treatment, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Makes perfect sense. Live by the base, die by the base. It was great while it lasted, but Republicans built a strategy that allows no room for flexibility. The base was energized by giving it everything it wanted, which angered independents and moderates. The base was also fed alternative-reality propaganda that kept true-believers in line but made it impossible for GOP leaders to change course on issues as moderate support began to crumble. It's like the stock market when the speculative bubble bursts. So, today the Bush administration and GOP finds itself in a hole, but because it has to go to war with the army it has the GOP has no other choice than to keep digging that hole deeper.

Posted by: Ted Frier on March 28, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'd guess he's about 10% low on the Republican side. W's approval ratings have ground down to about 30 and I'm sure there are a few Republicans less than pleased with his performance. Probably it will settle down for a period of time at 50%D-35%R before working back to something like 45-40.

I expect the Democratic Party to have a strong advantage in '08 but then a reversion to the mean within a decade. The Democrats got 1 term out of 4 after watergate, they might make 2 this time depending how they do picking a candidate. 2-3 terms seems to be the limit for one party to hold the White House.

Posted by: Don on March 28, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

From the PEOPLE, Stefan. Name one real sacrifice YOU or your friends that aren't in uniform have been asked to make. That is what I mean by commitment. If you lived off in some little nook of the US of A and didn't get the news, you'd have no reason to suspect we are even at war.

Ummm...so if I'm following this reasoning (a polite word for rationalizing) the fact that Bush knew that if he revealed the real cost of the war the American people wouldn't support it, and therefore lied to cover it up, and not only didn't call for any sacrifice or common purpose but instead paid for the war with a tax cut and putting the rest on a credit card to be paid by our grandchildren means that...it's the liberals' fault?

OK then.

Posted by: Stefan on March 28, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Ummm...so if I'm following this reasoning (a polite word for rationalizing) the fact that Bush knew that if he revealed the real cost of the war the American people wouldn't support it, and therefore lied to cover it up, and not only didn't call for any sacrifice or common purpose but instead paid for the war with a tax cut and putting the rest on a credit card to be paid by our grandchildren means that...it's the liberals' fault?

Huh? Where'd that come from? Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it, I guess.

But what I'm saying repeatedly is we'll never know if the Americans (minus most people who post here) would have stepped up and accepted the necessary sacrifices to win this thing clear, because Bush didn't ask. That was a mistake. It's been war-lite for all but the military in theatre. Beyond that, read into my statements whatever your preconceived biases lead you to.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: 1. Chumpchange: as a percentage of our GNP, defense spending is at or under 4%, which is well under what we spent during Vietnam. That's what I meant by "chump change".

Please, I expect more honesty from you. Which war has the higher price tag? And does that 4% GNP that you've cited account for the trillions of dollars borrowed with interest? No, I didn't think so. As MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 9:15 AM illustrated.

We have the economic power to recapitalize our military. It just takes will.

Can you guarantee with absolutely certainty that the U.S. won't suffer an economic depression in the next decade or so? And who is going to pay for rebuilding the military? Taxpayers I assume and for how long on top of the massive debt that's already been incurred?

Still, you didn't answer my questions about rebuilding the military: How long will it take, how much in dollars, military personnel, etc.?

If you are telling us you are right, citing your evidence shouldn't be difficult.

*crickets chirping*

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 28, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

But what I'm saying repeatedly is we'll never know if the Americans (minus most people who post here) would have stepped up and accepted the necessary sacrifices to win this thing clear

Win what? What's winning? If you can't even define what winning means or what it would look like, how can you even know what would have been necessary?

Posted by: Stefan on March 28, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Win what? What's winning? If you can't even define what winning means or what it would look like, how can you even know what would have been necessary?

Huh? Where's the confusion on winning? Having in place a semi-stable government in Iraq, having never let the insurgency gain its foothold, would have been winning. I'm not sure what the target is right now, but it is less than that.

Apollo 13
Can you guarantee with absolutely certainty that the U.S. won't suffer an economic depression in the next decade or so? And who is going to pay for rebuilding the military? Taxpayers I assume and for how long on top of the massive debt that's already been incurred?

Well, duh, master of the obvious.

Still, you didn't answer my questions about rebuilding the military: How long will it take, how much in dollars, military personnel, etc.?

I frankly don't know, but if we increased our military budget we could recapitalize fast. Less $$$ = less fast. But it is not like we are out of budget to do it. And recapitalize = new better weapons anyway. I'm not saying it is a good thing we have to do it. It is not. But I am saying the whole running around with hands fluttering in the air saying, "We have no money, our military is broke, we can't never fight again!" is wrong.

If you are telling us you are right, citing your evidence shouldn't be difficult.

*crickets chirping*
Posted by: Apollo 13

I don't live on this blog, and I choose intelligent people to answer to usually (make an exception for Gregory...we go back aways). So there's your crickets. As for proof, if I was to work that hard to present it, I would take the cost of a vehicle or system, take the rework/remanufacture cost, and multiply them times the number of vehicles. There's your total cost. Again, it is just a matter of $$$.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 28, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Little Red State Mikey choses to answer questions that he invents because he cannot explain what threat to national security any of his victims were. It's that he knows that all of his killings have had no greater rationale than "I just did as I was told." He's a little boy given very expensive toys and told to murder people from afar - the way cowards always do.

Hey bully boy, how much money did it cost the taxpayers of the United States (you know, the people who you've leeched off of your entire life) for you to kill each of your victims? Oh, that's right, you are so blind to the humanity of those you've butchered that you don't even know how many of them there were. Too bad the military has never recognized what a disgusting dishonorable traitor to the nation you are.

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Wow was that first paragraph badly edited. In any case, the point still stands, our little boy Mikey doesn't answer questions unless he can bring out his trump card that he sometimes has a cute outfit to wear. Real Americans give the military the deference it deserves - that is in strategy, tactics, and (when not guided by morons like Bush) planning. But there is a good reason why the military is not put in charge of deciding who to fight - they will find more reasons to fight than not to fight - a concept that it at odds with core American values.

The military view of when to fight should only be given deference when they suggest we not fight. Just as a businessman's views on taxation should only be taken seriously when he asks for more.

Posted by: heavy on March 28, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

One and God make a majority.

Posted by: nabalzbbfr on March 28, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wow was that first paragraph badly edited.

Wow. The dumbass has a moment of clarity and self-awareness.

Oh, it passed.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike and the rest of the Bushbots:

"Hey, here's a trillion dollar pile of shit you can scrimp and save to own. Sure, it has no intrinsic value, and sure it will cost you more money down the line to get rid of, and sure, you don't want it, but isn't this better than having health care for the masses and food for the poor?"

Little Mikey complains that only those in the military are sacrificing. When he gets old enough to understand how the adult world works he will discover that the American people didn't want this unprovoked assault on the Iraqi people. They were fed a series of lies about what a threat Iraq was to our nation and so, blinded by fear of terror, they went along with this Republican war. If the American people had been given the facts and had been asked to pay for it then even little Mikey's friends wouldn't be paying a price.

Liberals were always opposed to anyone dying in Iraq. They should hardly be expected to sacrifice for something they didn't want.

Posted by: heavy on March 29, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals were always opposed to anyone dying in Iraq.

Excuse me, sir? There's a thing called the New York Times I'd like to acquaint you with...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 29, 2007 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

Dear heart, The New York Times hasn't been "liberal" for some time now. Do try to keep up.

Posted by: PaulB on March 29, 2007 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Dear heart, The New York Times hasn't been "liberal" for some time now. Do try to keep up.
Posted by: PaulB

I almost feel sorry for the NY Times. Conservatives think it is liberal and liberals think it isn't.

So what paper *is* liberal if not the NY Times?

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 29, 2007 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't that cute PaulB, conservatives still trying to play the "liberal media" card after all this time? You almost have to feel sorry for their dumb asses, then you remember that it was those dumb asses whose belligerence has killed thousands of our soldiers and now they have the gall to blame those of us who ask why anyone needed to die in the first place.

Posted by: heavy on March 29, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

So what paper *is* liberal if not the NY Times?

There really isn't one in this country. There are some liberal magazines, and there may be some liberal papers in some small cities I'm not aware of, but there's no truly liberal paper of national scope in America.

If you want to see what a liberal newspaper would look like, read the UK Guardian, for example -- and just try to imagine that getting published here. It wouldn't happen.

Posted by: Stefan on March 29, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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