Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE LORD'S WORK?....You know, I sort of admire the way Matt Yglesias continues to take on Charles Krauthammer and Brad DeLong continues to take on Donald Luskin — though I think Brad may have cried uncle on the Luskin thing a while back — but at some point you have to wonder if we're endangering our national resources by allowing this to go on. Surely every moment spent reacting to the increasingly feverish drivel from people like this reduces your IQ by some fracton of a point? And fractions add up. How long before Matt and Brad, Flowers for Algernon-like, end up behind the business end of a mop in an industrial bakery?

Kevin Drum 11:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (88)

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Well they're taking their audiences right along with them.

Posted by: ahab on April 13, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

That was one of the funniest blog posts I have read in recent memory.

Posted by: ruck on April 13, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

I love this site, and reading comments, but I have a request for the management:

Is there a way to filter out everything but the funnies? I love to read those posters first, but it's too hard to remember who they are.

Thanks!

Posted by: anonymous on April 13, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Surely every moment spent reacting to the increasingly feverish drivel from people like this reduces your IQ by some fraction of a point?"

A point of caution for anyone thinking of responding to Al, American Hawk, or egbert.

Posted by: nemo on April 13, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Brad Rocks. I wish he had, if he doesn't, a big national column. He could do the same sort of work but in a tougher and more scholarly way as Krugman.

Posted by: Neil B. on April 13, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

nemo, just as I was going to ask, are those who battle Kevin's RNC fans on his site becoming less informed and witty?

Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Maybe we should just let them make their ridiculous assertions without challenging them at all. I mean, you know, it's not like their assertions are distributed to anyone (only readers of the Washington Post, National Review, and the thousands or hundreds of thousands who buy their books). If we ignore them, maybe they'll go away and maybe no one will listen to them.

Posted by: Wishbone on April 13, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Adding to my above comment, Kevin's strategy has worked really well so far for Democrats, particularly Al Gore.

Posted by: Wishbone on April 13, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but is anyone else experiencing extremely slow loading of this blog as of the past couple of days? I get a blue backdrop immediately, then it takes 20, 30 seconds for the rest of the page to appear. Kevin, is this some kind of fundraising effort? ;)

Posted by: Glenn on April 13, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I used to admire Matt, back when he was writing at Harvard. He was very liberal but open minded and reasonable. Now, he's just another partisan hack.

Posted by: DBL on April 13, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

I used to admire DBL, back when he was posting pseudonymously at Washingtonmontly. He was very liberal but open minded and reasonable. Now, he's just another attention whore.

Posted by: anonymous on April 13, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Mmm... bakery.

Posted by: Homer on April 13, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

People are certainly free to disagree with Krauthammer but Matt hardly took on Krauthammer's latest op-ed. OK, so people have said Iraq is turning the corner many times in the past. That, in and of itself, doesn't rebut anything Krauthammer wrote. Snarky, yes. Funny, a little. "Taking on" Krauthammer's points, hardly.

I'd encourage folks to read Barry McCaffrey's recent report on his trip to Iraq. An honest assessment of the problems in Iraq as well as a fair description of what is going on today. And certainly a more thoughtful take than Matt's little snipe.

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/documents/McCaffrey_Report_032707.pdf

Posted by: Hacksaw on April 13, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

you may have a point with Krauthammer, who is about as pigeonholed as they come. i assume you think that the deconstruction should be saved for guys like Brooks and Friedman who project the veneer of being sensible folks. but the lesson i'm taking away from the imus story this week is that it's time to point out that people who are insane need to be called insane, and not ignored as if they let a stinkbomb in the back of the room.

Posted by: paperpusher on April 13, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Good post. Could something similar be true for your near-obsession with Andrew Sullivan? He's less psychotic, sure, but not any more valuable than Krauthammer and Luskin.

Posted by: shortstop on April 13, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Flowers for Krauternon would make a good short story. He gets a shot, and then slowly starts writing more and more intelligent op-eds until he's ultimately the best in the business. And then slowly the effects start wearing off and his columns become more bellicose and illogical until he's right back to to where he started.

Posted by: Doug T on April 13, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with the Flowers For Algernon metaphor is that Charlie *began* behind the mop handle, and wound up there again.

Perhaps a more apt metaphor would be George Bush: began life with every advantage, and frittered it away on cocaine and booze.

Posted by: Snoopy on April 13, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if it's not really a better thing all around to let the Krauthammers and Luskins be.

The point here is a bit paradoxical, but is based on the paradoxes inherent in our current two party system.

Yes, there ARE people who listen to them. And that would be the positive thing -- because those people are all wingers, the most recalcitrant kind of Republican Conservative. We don't want those people to go away: we want them to be the filter through which all Republicans must pass in order to become Republican nominees for office. The most worrisome prospect, to me, is that the Republican Party might morph into something less cracked, more moderate, and more electable. That's the paradox of the two party system: it's best to have the opposition party mostly populated by people far, far from the center.

Now, I don't see much real possibility of that happening in any case, but why work against it by criticizing the wackos that animate the GOP? In the eyes of the American public, they have zero credibility -- every crazy thing they say renders them only less respectable. However they may argue, they have been decisively refuted by history, and require no further rebuttal from us.

This also ties into my sentiments toward our trolls. They are their own punch lines these days -- if, like Krauthammer, they talk about "turning a corner", how do you outjoke that? For us, maybe stifled laughter works best here.

Posted by: frankly0 on April 13, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a big fan of Kevin--as an analyst. But I've long been baffled by this part of his thinking. Yes, it's maddening to attend to bad argument; it's even worse to tangle with the silly, personality-driven digressions which define our discourse. (Who drawled more at Selma--Clinton or Obama?) But silly, personality-driven digressions seem to define our electoral politics. Invented the Internet (and its handmaidens) kept Gore from the White House. Ditto with Kerry and the Swift Boats. I'm baffled by the idea that we should ignore major best-selling books, WashPost op-ed columns, and the themes that are driving press coverage.

Kevin! Flesh this out more! (But not if it will cost you IQ points...)

Posted by: bob somerby on April 13, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's been years -- decades -- since I last had to think about Flowers for Algernon -- and now this. WAAAAHHH!!
Here in Mass, it's a three-day weekend, too; thanks for making it a morose one at best. Thank you so very much.
Snrf.

Posted by: smartalek on April 13, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

I met Donald Luskin once. Our delegation had lunch with him once and were astuonded by the breatdh and depth of his knowledge. He really took on Krazy Krugman and unmasked him as the willful nebbinsh that he is.

I know. It's fashionable to pile on and be liberal. That's what makes guys like Luskin and Krautheimer all the more admirable.

Why are you guys so afraid to debate these fellows? When you seek en mass to ignore certain targeted individuals, or worse, seek to en mass pile on, you are in effect instituting de facto curbs on free speech. You are sending a dangerous messege to others: "Don't think this way, or you will be persercuted."

Liberals? Tolerant? Heh.

Posted by: egbert on April 13, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Once Brad and Matt have spent enough time correcting these guys that their cerebral functions dip beneath a critical level, they can become reformed liberals and hang out with David Horowitz and Matthew Dowd. For Matt, at least, this will also entail a large rise in income, so he may want to spend more time studying Krauthammer, Coulter, and Kondracke to kill of as many brain cells as possible at maximum speed.

Posted by: Alex F on April 13, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

You must include yourself in this lot, Kevin. You respond to Jonah Goldberg's insipid claims, among others.

Should intelligent liberal people read what intelligent illiberal people write, just to know what the opposition is thinking?

Posted by: jame on April 13, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK
Should intelligent liberal people read what intelligent illiberal people write, just to know what the opposition is thinking?

You are presuming that the intelligent illiberal people are also honest and that, therefore, their writing corresponds to their thinking.

This assumption may be unwarranted.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, look on the bright side. If their IQs drop too much there will be a job for them running the Whitehouse servers and e-mail system.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on April 13, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Bob: One needs to take Friday morning jokes a little less seriously. I wasn't *really* suggesting that no one should call idiots on their bullshit. Just having a bit of fun.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on April 13, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: You are presuming that the intelligent illiberal people are also honest and that, therefore, their writing corresponds to their thinking. This assumption may be unwarranted.

Reminds me of the line from the late Kurt Vonnegut:

Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.

Personally I think Faust got a better bargain.

Posted by: alex on April 13, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Is it time for the kitties yet ?

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Wow, I never realized that you thought Yglesias and DeLong were imbeciles at one time.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on April 13, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Well, garbage in, garbage out.

The basic Krauthammer scam is that if you engage at all, you've lost. Krauthammer and his ilk spend their entire lives learning how to twist and dodge.

Study one of their columns occasionally to stay in practice at spotting the slight-of-hand, but don't read regularly, if only because you could be reading something actually worth reading. Like the label on your breakfast cereal.

This especially applies to people who read the NYT. Enough already, I get it- you're a highly educated person who reads small type, very refined. So carry a little book of poetry to impress us, not a pound of newsprint garbage you put in the trash every day.

Posted by: serial catowner on April 13, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

DBL, you can't be neutral on a moving train.

Is this any reason why Matt shouldn't make attacks on Krauthammer for his idiocy?

I swear, too many people think that the job of "serious analysts" is to take seriously all conservative arguments, no matter how absurd. Sometimes, the correct reaction is mockery, not engagement.

Posted by: Tyro on April 13, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Why do guys like Yglesias do it? Self-promotion. Pick a fight. Blogs can be the same thing as those talking head shows with their faux debates.

Posted by: luci on April 13, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I recently came across a copy of "Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals" by Saul Alinsky in a used bookstore for $3.00. Aside from the heavy dose of alliteration in that title, and the fact that I'm not a radical, I thought it looked interesting.

One of his points: Mock the enemy. And I agree. Understand their arguments, look for holes in them, if at all possible show how they deconstruct themselves, but use that information not to win a rhetorical debate, use it to mock them, to malign them, to tear them apart with sarcasm. Just as DeLong does.

The Daily Show and Colbert Report do it well. And DeLong has amused me for years with his sarcastic take down.

We have to make these people look stupid. They are stupid. Do not mock the people living in the so-called red states. Mock the people they listen to. Make them look stupid. Get our facts right. But use them as mud in the mudslinging contest. Smear them with truth.

Also note that we must be concerned with the dilemma of dying the proverbial death from a thousand cuts. One cannot engage in debate with countless stupid people. It takes too much time. Some should just be ignored. But the best policy is to have enough truth to smear and slime all the postmodernist gibberish spouted by neo-cons, social conservatives, and radical libertarians.

Note: Stupidity, as I’m defining it, need not have anything to do with intelligence, per se. I’m defining stupidity as: (1) the inability or unwillingness to honestly and truthfully assess the pros and cons, risks and benefits of ones thoughts and plans before they are performed and (2) the inability and unwillingness to honestly and truthfully assess the outcomes of ones actions after they are performed--i.e. learn from experience.

An ideologue is the best example of someone who is stupid in my mind. The ideologue is beholden to the ideology, facts be damned. Hence George W Bush and Dick Cheney are both stupid. A lot of Republicans are stupid these days.

Posted by: T.R. Elliott on April 13, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

serial catowner >"...a pound of newsprint garbage you put in the trash every day."

That is sooooo 20th Century.

Read it online and, as a bonus, you get to select the type size.

[Of course much of it is still crap but it is (almost) massless electronic crap which saves some resources from waste]

"First get your facts, then you can distort them at your leisure" - Mark Twain

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad all those "" characters are protected by the symbol, T.R. Elliott...

Posted by: anonymous on April 13, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO all four pundits -- Yglesias, Krauthammer, DeLong, and Luskin -- are smart and knowledgeable. I have learned by following their debates and attempted refutations of each other.

In the cited example cited, as Hacksaw already pointed out, Yglesias's refutation was weak. Krauthammer had a reasonable basis for his assertion. He was quoting a Marine Commandant who had specific knowledge.

Yglesias responded by pointing to failures in the past, then calling Krauthammer a "demented rightwinger" and calling his assertion "crap." It would have been better for Yglesias to have quoted someone with actual knowleged of the situation.

Maybe he couldn't find knowledgeable people who see the surge as already failing. Or, maybe he didn't bother to look. My guess is the latter. For many on the left, it's now an article of faith that the situation in Iraq is hopeless. For these people, no facts are needed to refute any positive assessment. Optimism is automatically ridiculous.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: IMHO all four pundits -- Yglesias, Krauthammer, DeLong, and Luskin -- are smart and knowledgeable.

Yeah, but as you steadfastly point out -- by citing "Hacksaw", for example, or by praising Krauthammer and Luskin -- your dishonest neocon opinion, humble or otherwise, isn't worth a bucket of piss.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Besides, "ex-liberal", your anaysis is, as ever, faulty. You're a demented right-winger whose opinion is crap. Pointing that fact out is enough -- although, as I noted, you make it self-evident.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

some people have to sacrifice themselves for the cause. but this is essential work. greenwald is another one we should worry about. some day we will erect a statue to them all and reminisce about them back in the bad days when they -- and heroes of our time like colbert and krugman -- gave their sanity to save the republic...

Posted by: pontificant on April 13, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Why do guys like Yglesias do it? Self-promotion. Pick a fight. Blogs can be the same thing as those talking head shows with their faux debates.

Krauthammer and his ilk got to where they were thanks to a medium where one could behave in precisely the manner you're ascribing to Ygesias. For years they could serenely vent whatever half-baked assertions fit the needs of the moment, confident that they'd never get challenged in any significant way. Given that history, it's hilarious to suggest that it's Yglesias, and people like him, who are operating out of bad faith or cheap motives.

If Yglesias spent his all time tackling Dowd's vacuous columns*, you might have a point. But Krauthammer is far more pernicious. For instance, the TeeVee gasfests regularly feature him as some kind of "authority". He needs a takedown.

* Not at all intended as a criticism of Mr. Somerby's valuable dissections of Dowd's cognitive, emotional and ethical ailments.

Posted by: sglover on April 13, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Surely every moment spent reacting to the increasingly feverish drivel from people like this reduces your IQ by some fracton of a point?

Who's feverish?

"Turned the corner" is a stale cliche, but what is actually happening in al Anbar province is interesting.

The Congress will soon accede to Bush's request, or else deny him the funds outright. They'll consider all the evidence in their deliberations, and some opponents of the president will surely (maybe surly) note that, at this critical time, they really don't want al Anbar province to revert to the control of al Qaeda. If Obama and Levin carry any weight, Congress will accede to Bush's request. That's a lot more important than the use of a hackneyed phrase like "turn the corner".

In VietNam, it was always "the light at the end of the tunnel", until the armored invasion from the north overwhelmed the forces of the south. Then the hackneyed phrase was "No more Vietnams!"

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing's more hackneyed than your tired defense of the incompetent GOP, Marler, and only your feeble analysis is more erroneous. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw: I'd encourage folks to read Barry McCaffrey's recent report on his trip to Iraq. An honest assessment of the problems in Iraq as well as a fair description of what is going on today.

I agree. There are a lot of good reviews of the present status of Iraq, Iraqi fighting, Iraqi infrastructure works, and so on. No one should cite that "turn the corner" without at least a wry appraisal of how badly chosen the phrase was. But al Anbar is too complex to be simply dismissed as a lost cause. Numerous places want the Americans to stay. Scenes of the peaceful energetic rebuilding of Iraqi Kurdistan are broadcast daily in Iraq, and the Sunnis (maybe a majority) see that in their future if the al Qaeda can be driven out.

It may be that neocons exaggerated how easy it would be to rebuild Iraq after the initial conquest (but see the 2002 article by Carl Levin and Joseph Biden on the same topic), but opponents of the war consistently oversimplify the current mess.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

For many on the left, it's now an article of faith that the situation in Iraq is hopeless. For these people, no facts are needed to refute any positive assessment.

There is, admittedly, a certain "crying Wolf" dynamic in the progressive mind when it comes to the Iraq debacle. After all, it has now been five years and we have "turned" at least half a dozen "corners" to the acclaim of the right wing gasbags--whose commentary after each "turn" never failed to gloat at the imagined disappointment of the non-believing anti-war crowd that Iraq was finally "won".

Seriously, why would we need proof that the gasbags are wrong? They are always wrong.

Posted by: Baldrick on April 13, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Marler, neither you nor Hacksaw would know an "honest assessment" of the situation of the war in Iraq if it bit you on the ass.

Cretins like you and Hacksaw have been claiming the war has been going swimmingly for four years now. Now -- when they're setting off bombis in the fucking Parliament building and blowing up bridges over the Tigris -- the situation is enough of a clusterfuck to tarnish your perfect war-porn fantasies, so now you're claimign that, yes, it's a mess, but it's getting better.

Memo to Marler and the rest of you warfloggers: You have no credibility left. Clear enough?

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I: The Congress will soon accede to Bush's request, or else deny him the funds outright. They'll consider all the evidence in their deliberations, and some opponents of the president will surely (maybe surly) note that, at this critical time, they really don't want al Anbar province to revert to the control of al Qaeda. If Obama and Levin carry any weight, Congress will accede to Bush's request.


Gregory: Nothing's more hackneyed than your tired defense of the incompetent GOP, Marler, and only your feeble analysis is more erroneous.

So, what did I write that was erroneous? Have you not been reading that Obama and Levin have both said that Congress will fully fund Bush's request?

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why are you guys so afraid to debate these fellows? When you seek en mass to ignore certain targeted individuals, or worse, seek to en mass pile on, you are in effect instituting de facto curbs on free speech. You are sending a dangerous messege to others: "Don't think this way, or you will be persercuted."

Brilliant contribution to a conversation about people who actually DO "debate these fellows".

The core of the current Republican Party -- the fuckwit bloc. Airheads who can't hold the thread from one paragraph to the next.

Posted by: sglover on April 13, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

So, what did I write that was erroneous?

Wasn't I clear? Nothing you write is believable. "Posted by: MatthewRMarler" is a label that says "This is GOP apologist bullshit."

How's about this: opponents of the war consistently oversimplify the current mess

I'd like you seem to try to prove that bullshit. Please do include the Parliament bombing and the Tigris bridge destruction in your analysis.

Have you not been reading that Obama and Levin have both said that Congress will fully fund Bush's request?

Memo to you, dope: Congress already passed legislation fully funding the war appropriation (and of course, Bush's dishoenst use of "emergency appropriations", which you tacitly suppor,t is another topic, but another strike against your credibility). It's Bush who plans a veto due to the withdrawal dates.

Plus, since the election you've been trying desperately to focus on minor divisions in the Democratic party while ignoring the crisis this obvious loser of a war is for the Republicans. It's your albatross, Marler, and you're welcome to and richly deserve all the shame it brings.

Sorry, Marler, but you'll have to go back to practicing your Dolschtosslegende. No one's going to believe that either, but I'm sure it'll comfort you more than your disngenuous analysis of the Democrats.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Baldrick wrote: Seriously, why would we need proof that the gasbags are wrong? They are always wrong.

I agree that Bush and his people have been wrong a lot since Sadddam's overthrow and capture. However, Bush was right (and his critics were wrong) about our ability to defeat Saddam in 2003. At the time, some anti-war critics claimed that it would be very difficult to defeat Saddam. They cited his enormous army and his store of arms, including his (presumed) chemical weapons, the difficulty of fighting in intense heat, especially when wearing suits to protect against chemical weapons.

Bush's anti-war critics were similarly wrong before the Afghanistan invasion. In that case, the critics said our soldiers would be unable to fight during the "fierce Afghan winter," whereas in Iraq, the critics cited the heat of summer. They were wrong in both cases.

Another area in which Bush has generally been right is military morale. Unlike in Vietnam, the military in Iraq by and large believe in the war. They see progress to a greater degree than

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory,

If you insist on dismissing out of hand any information that may shed light on the issue you are discussing, how can you claim to be informed on the subject? Aren't you in fact doing what you criticize Marler or me of doing (i.e. blindly sticking to a point of view without considering alternative information)?

"How's about this: opponents of the war consistently oversimplify the current mess

I'd like you seem to try to prove that bullshit. Please do include the Parliament bombing and the Tigris bridge destruction in your analysis. "

Opponents oversimplify the current mess by ignoring everything other than the bad news of the day. You focus on the suicide bombing in parliament while dismissing the fact that parliament even exists. You focus on a truck bomb (this one happened to be on an old bridge, it's not like the terrorists used advanced, special operations techniques to take down the bridge) but dismiss the impact the change in US tactics in and around Baghdad is having. Impacts that a far wider pool than water-carriers for the administration have remarked upon.

Lastly, speaking for myself and all the war supporters I know, none of us has "been claiming the war has been going swimmingly for four years now." Its just that we haven't abandoned all possibilities of success (let alone reveled in the prospect of a US military defeat in Iraq). If you read our comments rather than dismiss then out of hand, you might know that.

Posted by: Hacksaw on April 13, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK
Have you not been reading that Obama and Levin have both said that Congress will fully fund Bush's request?

WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama told the Sun-Times Thursday he never suggested that Democrats should send President Bush an Iraq war funding bill without a timeline for withdrawing troops if Bush vetoes legislation with deadlines.

As for Levin, as far as I can tell, all Levin has said is that if a veto can't be sustained on the current funding bill, he won't vote for cutting off funding entirely. He hasn't said he will vote for funding with no strings as Bush wants, though. So your characterization of Obama and Levin as championing giving Bush what he is asking for is clearly directly contrary to what Obama has said, and, at best, an overstatement of what Levin has said.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: I agree that Bush and his people have been wrong a lot since Sadddam's overthrow and capture.

Yes, and before as well. For instance, Bush's assertion that Saddam had WMD's or was in any way involved with 9/11. Oops.

However, Bush was right (and his critics were wrong) about our ability to defeat Saddam in 2003.

Uh, exactly which critics were those? Please be specific. All the ones that I recall said that the real mess would be the occupation. Which, come to think of it, is true.

At the time, some anti-war critics claimed that it would be very difficult to defeat Saddam. They cited his enormous army and his store of arms, including his (presumed) chemical weapons, the difficulty of fighting in intense heat, especially when wearing suits to protect against chemical weapons.

Again, which critics? What you're saying is more like the criticism of the first Gulf War (you know, back when Bush's daddy went after Saddam because he actually was a threat). Please, keep your millenniums straight.

Another area in which Bush has generally been right is military morale.

Better check the latest Army Times polls. You're using old talking points.

Posted by: alex on April 13, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

The trouble with Krauthammer's assertions is what has always been the trouble with assessing events in Iraq. We don't have firm, clear and proven measures of success and failure.

For a long time (up until the 2005 elections in Iraq) the Bush administration arbitrarily defined success as achieving certain political milestones, for example writing a constitution and electing a government. They assumed that social and economic activity would be driven by the political process, even though that process was unfamiliar to Iraqis and rejected by most Sunnis.

OK, achievement of political milestones proved to be useless in measuring our success in Iraq. What are the new ones? We don't have any. So we get a story of how life "looks almost normal" in a Baghdad neighborhood. We get a story of how the tribes in a province are currently speaking in a hostile manner about al Aqaida, and how they have killed some of its followers. We get a bald statement that not as many bodies are found in the Baghdad streets or in the Tigris at daybreak. We get an assertion that Sunnis are sending their sons to join the Iraqi police or army.

The questions are:
What are the parameters of "normal-looking", and who is keeping tabs on whether this neighborhood remains "normal-looking"? Who is keeping a count of the total number of neighborhoods who become and remain "normal-looking," and a count of how many backslide?

What territory has al Aqaida been forced to abandon? Who is keeping a record on whether they come back? Are we confirming statements about this with observations and evidence collected in the first person by U.S. military?

Who has been making body counts over a long enough period of time to allow a confident judgment to be made about the levels of sectarian violence? Can we trust their numbers aren't politically shaded?

When the Sunni men join the army or police force, is their subsequent behavior noted to find out if they are acting with loyalty to their country, their sect or their tribe? Again, are we confirming statements about this with observations and evidence collected in the first person by U.S. military?

With no systematic way to measure progress, all the incidents and anecdotes in Iraq add up to chaos. There's no way to judge whether a particular strategy is succeeding over the long run. The administration describes constant new "plans" as "reacting to the situation on the ground." What they're doing is trying new stuff without being able to explain why the old plan was failing, or how to measure the success of the new plan in any way, except hoping they'll recognize a vague trend toward "victory."

It's pretty clear the administration in search of a War Czar hasn't got a clue, and is just hoping to run out the clock.

Oh, and by the way, Barry R. McCaffrey's report is a collection of unsourced assertions emphasized with over-the-top adjectives and adverbs and unsupported by numerical data.

Posted by: cowalker on April 13, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw wrote: If you insist on dismissing out of hand any information that may shed light on the issue you are discussing, how can you claim to be informed on the subject?

Nicely dishonest attempt to conflate your own (and Marler's) sad lack of credibility with "dismissing out of hand any information that may shed light on the issue you are discussing." It's because I am informed on the subject that I can and do dismiss your bullshit interpretation of the information -- which, astonishingly enough, amounts once again to "we're making progress/turning a corner"!

Aren't you in fact doing what you criticize Marler or me of doing (i.e. blindly sticking to a point of view without considering alternative information)?

No, I'm rightly dismissing your lack of credibility precisely because you do that.

If you read our comments rather than dismiss then out of hand, you might know that

Hacksaw, it's because I've been reading your bullshit for the past for years tha I dismiss it out of hand now. Again: You have no credibility left.

As to your lame attempt to prove Marler's ridiculous contention, you're amusing if you think that your word or interpetation has any credibility. The fact that you provide any examples is even more amusing; no odubt you might be able to cherry-pick one or two, but good luck establishing your claims apply to war opponents in general. ("ex-liberal", not surprisingly, commits the same dishonesty.)

Just as an example, you pointing to the fact "that parliament even exists" as a counterweight to the fact that the insurgents got a fucking bomb into the supposedly-secure Parliament in the supposedly-secure Green Zone labels you as delusional, dishonest, or both, as does your straw men about the war's opponents, who have been right a hell of a lot more than you, "ex-liberal"'s dishonest implications aside. (Hint for "ex-liberal": even granting that his/her/its characterization of antiwar opinion is correct, opponents have been right vastly more often about the occupation than supporters, period, full stop.)

As I said to Marler: Go back to polishing up your Dolschtosslegende. The American people are sick of the war you support only with your words, not in any important way, and your feeble "but we're making progress now!" after four years of incompetence and failure is a dog that not only won't hunt, it won't even come out from under the porch.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

alex - Yes, Bush was wrong is claiming that Saddam had WMDs, but so was everyone else, including Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, who also said Saddam had WMDs.

Bush never said that Saddam was implicated in 9/11. That's a myth. (However, Saddam was involved in the first WTC attack.)

Regarding those who claimed that the brutal Afghan winter would prevent our soldiers from fighting, you can read Mark Steyn's marvelous article at http://www.rjritchie.com/diatribes/d9.htm

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, some people who were against the invasion of Iraq believed Saddam might have WMDs. They thought the U.N. inspectors should be allowed to complete their work to find out for sure. They just weren't sure enough without more evidence to risk the horror of an invasion gone wrong.

They sure were right about that last part.

Posted by: cowalker on April 13, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama told the Sun-Times Thursday he never suggested that Democrats should send President Bush an Iraq war funding bill without a timeline for withdrawing troops if Bush vetoes legislation with deadlines.

What he did was repeat his statement that Congress would fully fund the war while omitting concomitant statements that restrictions would always be applied. I did not claim that Obama and Levin were "champions" of Bush's view, only that they would acquiesce. Levin was the one Democrat who heard all of Petraeus' testimony, and he has stopped calling for a firmly committed, announced withdrawal date.

The timelines in the Senate version were so hedged about with qualifications, I think bush could have lived with them. They did not in fact require complete American withdrawal by any set time. I think his veto threat is to make sure that they do not get toughened up in the conference bill.

Gregory: Go back to polishing up your Dolschtosslegende.

I don't know why you keep talking about the myth of the "stab in the back". In WWI, the German military high command told the civilian government to sue for peace because they could no longer defend Germany. This was done in secret, and most of the German citizens never knew about it. Hence the legend that the army had been stabbed in the back. The current resolutions being discussed in Congress are right out in the open. Democrats do not in fact agree on what exactly the right policy is, one of the reasons that the calls for withdrawal have no binding dates. If Congress demands a withdrawal in legally binding language, and if American withdrawal does in fact produce a bloodbath, then those Democrats and Republicans who voted both for invasion AND for withdrawal will have a difficult time defending both of their votes. This will be doubly true if al Qaeda and the Sunnis win the subsequent civil war, and subjugate the Kurds and Shi'ites again.

Of the presidential candidates, Obama has the advantage, perhaps Richardson as well. Clinton and Edwards voted for the war; Gore spoke against it because, in part, he was concerned that Americans would withdraw too soon. Biden and Levin did, as I said, write an editorial in the NYTimes in 2002 promising that any American invasion would be followed up by a long occupation; they said that deposing Saddam Hussein would be the easy part.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Bush was wrong is claiming that Saddam had WMDs, but so was everyone else, including Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, who also said Saddam had WMDs.

As was said, "ex-liberal", you're using old talking points.

Only Bush -- no other President -- asserted that Iraq's so-called WMD threat was sufficient to justify invading. Only Bush insisted that the intelligence was more certain than it was. Only Bush knowingly and deliberately used intelligence -- about, say, the Niger uranium -- that he had good reason to believe didn't hold water. Only Bush lied us into this situation. Only neocon tools like you are dumb or dishonest enough to believe him anymore.

Bush never said that Saddam was implicated in 9/11. That's a myth.

It's true that Bush never came right out and said it, but he did make every attempt to conflate the two, an effort as dishoenst as your own dishonest defense of him, "ex-liberal". It's bullshit -- and old, long-discredited bullshit at that -- like this that reminds us why you have no credibility. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure you've figured out by now ex-liberal, that even though Bush was wrong about the WMDs, if he'd pulled off the democratization of Iraq, he would have been forgiven.

You can make a mistake and redeem yourself by following up with a lot of correct decisions that lead to success. Then you're a success. Probably you're someone who learns from mistakes.

But if you make a mistake and follow it up with an endless number of additional mistakes, and end up failing at your goals, then you're a failure. Probably you can't ever recognize your mistakes and learn from them because you know you're always right. Then you're George W. Bush.

To be fair though, I think our invasion of Iraq was a fatal decision that couldn't have been fixed. Like the decision made by a teenager who decides he can drive a car with bald tires on an unfamiliar rural road at hundred miles an hour on a rainy night with a blood alcohol level of .25, some decisions just don't give you that second chance.

Posted by: cowalker on April 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely great post, Kevin. The title makes it a perfectly sarcasmic cycle!

Posted by: CaliforniaDrySherry on April 13, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don unnerstan why mr drum is maykin fun of Charly Krayt, um, Krathammer. I thenk hes a reely smart giy.

Posted by: Charly Gordon on April 13, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: It's true that Bush never came right out and said it, but he did make every attempt to conflate the two, an effort as dishoenst as your own dishonest defense of him, "ex-liberal". It's bullshit -- and old, long-discredited bullshit at that -- like this that reminds us why you have no credibility. Shame on you.

Setting aside whether I should be ashamed of writing a true statement, I think Gregory is raising the "forward looking" vs "backward looking" debate.

After 9/11, some thought we should focus on punishing the perps. From that POV, Saddam was not a 9/11 perp so he should not have been mentioned with al Qaeda.

Others (including the President) thought we should focus more on the ongoing threats. Bush was concerned that Saddam might assist al Qaeda in the future. Of course, we will never know for sure whether or not Saddam would have worked with al Qaeda, since he was overthrown. Still, I am glad that we won't have to worry about Saddam developing nukes (as he almost did in 1991) and sharing them with al Qaeda.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK
What he did was repeat his statement that Congress would fully fund the war while omitting concomitant statements that restrictions would always be applied.

No, what he did was say that he expected to see the Congress continue to "ratchet up pressure on the President", but not "cut off funding at this stage".

That certainly does not suggest acquiescing to the President's demands for a no-strings attached funding bill, either now or at any point in the future.

I did not claim that Obama and Levin were "champions" of Bush's view, only that they would acquiesce.

No, you suggested they would lead others to acquiesce, not merely that they themselves would: "If Obama and Levin carry any weight, Congress will accede to Bush's request."

As that would make them the ones working to influence others to acquiesce to Bush's demands, it would make them champions of Bush's cause. Of course, what you said is not defensible from what Levin and Obama have said, but that's not unusual for your claims.

Levin was the one Democrat who heard all of Petraeus' testimony,

I doubt that.

and he has stopped calling for a firmly committed, announced withdrawal date.

He has offered some speculation as to what he expects might happen in terms of series gradually looser bills that would be offered to Bush if this one is vetoed and that veto not overturned, the effect of which would be to force Bush to acquiesce or face keeping the conflict over policy—where Bush's approach is far from that favored by the voters—in the news and driving the political fortunes of both major parties for longer.

He has not stopped calling for a withdrawal timeline, he has simply outlined his expectation of the course of the political battle if the present bill with its timelines fails.

That's not surrender. (Of course, telegraphing the consequences of the bill failing is, also, in part an effort to get activists interest in preserving the strongest possible restrictions to get off their butts and lobby Congress, to guarantee that even if this bill fails, the strongest possible alternative can be passed next time, perhaps with veto-proof support.)


Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: [Levin] has not stopped calling for a withdrawal timeline, he has simply outlined his expectation of the course of the political battle if the present bill with its timelines fails.

That's not surrender.

This snippet illustrates that cmdicely is fighting a war against Bush, whereas Republicans are fighting a war against America's enemies.

A withdrawal timeline is indeed surrender in the battle that matters -- the battle between the civilized world and various Islamic terrorists in Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

WOW - this blog has some very funny trolls! These guys couldn't break even in a debate with my 9-year old niece.

Liberal: Your statements are all incorrect. Here's a list of the true facts.

Ex-liberal: Well, if you're going to just dismiss outright everything I know, we can't have an argument.

Liberal: !!!!!


I had a co-worker like this. I used to tell him that while I was arguing longitudinally, he was arguing laterally. And walk away, before I said something less in keeping with business manners, like "You're an idiot."

BTW, I love the Saul Alinsky quote in a comment above: "Mock your enemy." I think I'll make it my new sig...

Posted by: CaliforniaDrySherry on April 13, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: No, what he did was say that he expected to see the Congress continue to "ratchet up pressure on the President", but not "cut off funding at this stage".
...
That certainly does not suggest acquiescing to the President's demands for a no-strings attached funding bill, either now or at any point in the future.

ok, he wants to ratchet up the pressure in the future and acquiesce now.

He has not stopped calling for a withdrawal timeline, he has simply outlined his expectation of the course of the political battle if the present bill with its timelines fails.

Levin has in fact spoken out against a firm withdrawal timeline. Otherwise he would not have voted for the Senate's bill.


In view of the theme of this thread, I'll repeat a comment someone else made up above: Yglesias did not address any of the specific points made by Krauthammer. Consider the following:
Why? Because, as Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, the Australian counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, has written, 14 of the 18 tribal leaders in Anbar have turned against al-Qaeda. As a result, thousands of Sunni recruits are turning up at police stations where none could be seen before. For the first time, former insurgent strongholds such as Ramadi have a Sunni police force fighting essentially on our side.

Is any of that false? It may not really be "turning the corner", but it is real change. Exaggerated? Over-optimistic? Perhaps, but it is at least a small success for the elected government.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: Setting aside whether I should be ashamed of writing a true statement

No, let's not set that aside. As you well know, "ex-liberal", you can make statements that are technically true but misleading.

Of course, your stock in trade is usually overt lies, so here's the skinny: You admit that Bush connected Iraq and al Qaeda, for example, and that they had no connection. Now, you attempt a bullshit justification, but the bottom line is you yourself showed why you should be ashamed of your misleading statement, even though it's technically true.

Of course, your continued water carrying for Bush shows, in many ways, that you approve of misleading, so I'm not waiting.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

on the whole, this is a better read:

http://engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/04/troop-surge-vs-al-qaeda-in-iraq.html

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory wrote: You admit that Bush connected Iraq and al Qaeda, for example, and that they had no connection

First of all, Saddam did have various other connections with al Qaeda prior to 9/11, although he had no connection with the 9/11 attack itself.

However, more important than the past was the future. There was the potential risk that Saddam would support terrorists seeking to attack the United States. Since Saddam hated the US, and since he and al Qaeda had cooperated to some degree in the past, and since they shared a culture, it was prudent to worry that they might choose to work together.

I think the possibility that Saddam would aid al Qaeda or other terrorists was a realistic concern. Fortunately President Bush has eliminated this particular risk. You're now free to pretend that there was no such risk. However, if Saddam were still in power and if UN inspectors were still kept out of Iraq, we all would be plenty worried about Saddam's potential risk.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, "ex-liberal": I think Gregory is raising the "forward looking" vs "backward looking" debate.

No, you're raising it; since your contention that Bush's statements that Iraq posed a threat were true has been refuted, you're trying to change the subject. Nice try.

After 9/11, some thought we should focus on punishing the perps.

A pity Bush didn't agree, since bin Laden walks free and "dead or alive" Bush is on record dismissing the fact as unimportant.

Still, I am glad that we won't have to worry about Saddam developing nukes (as he almost did in 1991) and sharing them with al Qaeda.

Don't'cha just love how "ex-liberal" keeps repeating his lies even when he/she/it has been schooled?

Since had no nuclear program and no ties to al Qaeda, we didn't have to worry about that anyway, without starting an illegal, disastrous, costly war.

Oh, I forgot -- you aren't paying any costs, so you don't really give a shit. Well, look at the polls -- real Americans do care. They recognize Bush's war as a failure not worht the cost in blood, treasure and honor, and all assholes like you have is the Dohstosslegende. Have fun with that -- no one else is buying.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bush connected Saddam and al Qaeda the same way Bobby Kennedy or Rudy Guiliani connected the Genovese and the Gambino families -- we declared war on terrorism, not the guys who pulled off the Luftansa job...

This is the second time in recent weeks Kevin has tried to puff that obnoxious twit Yglesias in reference to his intellectual superiors - last time Hugh Hewitt, now Krauthammer. Look, I admit Matty is about as smart as I am - but he's no Ann Coulter, let alone a Hewett or Dr. K. Every time he tries to go up against them it turns into a Bambi vs. Godzilla match-up, which is why you were whining about Hewitt's unfair editing technique last time.

Posted by: minion on April 13, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw wrote:You focus on the suicide bombing in parliament while dismissing the fact that parliament even exists.

Hilarious! I challenge the dead-ender Bush supporters to consider the alarming bombing of Parliament, and this is the best Hacksaw can do? Hacksaw doesn't consider the impact of the bombings at all! He/she/it merely pretends -- dishonestly, since the mention of the Parliament bombing acknowledges, far from dismissing, the fact that said Parliament exists.

I'll help you out: For all the vaunted "surge," the insurgency bombed Parliament and took out one of the Tigris bridges -- without, as you helpfully add, special forces tactics. These facts show that whatever effect the "surge" is having, it isn't enough. (And where, pray tell, does anyone "dismiss" the facts you claim -- other than not being as impressed as you seem to be?)

Assholes like Hacksaw and "ex-liberal" support Bush's failure of a war because for them, it's cost-free. They aren't in uniform, and Bush insists on paying for the war with a tax cut. And yet Hacksaw proves it's they who have the biased, skewed, reality-free perspective. As I said -- hilarious!

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory - over at my place I maintained that yeah, we had turned a corner in Iraq all right - unfortunately that put us on the Sharifiya Bridge...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: Since had no nuclear program and no ties to al Qaeda,

First of all, Saddam did have ties to al Qaeda. e.g., here's an entire book about those ties.

Second, the only reason we know that Saddam had no nuclear program in 2003 was Bush's invasion. Sure, after we invaded we found no nuclear arsenal, but one cannot go backward in time amd uninvade. Had we not invaded, we and the rest of the world would have been very worried about Saddam's possible nuclear program.

Third, Saddam had a very successful nuclear program that was close to producing weapons when we invaded in 1991. Although he had no active program in 2003, there was every risk that he would have re-started a nuclear weapons program. With the expertise his scientists had gained in 1991, it's likely that he could have developed nuclear weapons fairly quickly.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK
ok, he wants to ratchet up the pressure in the future and acquiesce now.

No, what he said was that in the event that the present bill did not succeed, they would continue to ratchet up pressure on the President, but not cut off funds to the troops. Note that there are a number of ways that could be done, and that simply giving in to the President on funding without strings is not one of them.

Twist as you might, your characterization remains entirely inconsistent with what he actually said.

Levin has in fact spoken out against a firm withdrawal timeline.

Really? When?

Otherwise he would not have voted for the Senate's bill.

He spoke out very firmly against an amendment that would have stricken the timelines from that bill. He spoke out firmly in favor of timelines as the bill (and earlier variations of it) were beign debated. But, in any case, the idea that his vote alone could somehow prove anything about what he has spoken out against is ludicrous.


Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, Saddam did have various other connections with al Qaeda prior to 9/11.

Prove it.

I'll save you the trouble: Bullshit. Saddam and al Qaeda were enemies. They had some contacts, but Saddam judged, correctly, that al Qaeda was as much a threat to his secular regime as anything.

As, I might add, the war opponents pointed out at the time. Wrong again, "ex-liberal." As usual.

First of all, Saddam did have various other connections with al Qaeda prior to 9/11, although he had no connection with the 9/11 attack itself

Which is why Bush took care to never mention Saddam when discussing 9/11 and vice versa. Oh, wait -- he rarely missed an opportunity to do so.

However, more important than the past was the future. There was the potential risk that Saddam would support terrorists seeking to attack the United States

Again, "ex-liberal", you're trying to change the subject since your assertions that Saddam was a threat are so laughably false, but again, no -- this so-called "risk," small as it was, didn't and doesn't pass the laugh test, and didn't and doesn't establish Saddam as a unique threat requiring invasion, apart from any other country on Earth. All your handwaving aside, the neocon lust to invade Iraq is and was, like all other neocon fantasies, a pipe dream that most Americans see through and reject. Your adherence to them marks you as uniquely stupid, ignorant, dishonest or some combination of the three. It hardly gives you credibility when you make your bullshit pronouncements here.

Then again, the United States did fulfill the neocon agenda in that she expended her blood and treasure -- and continues to do so -- to remove a strategic rival to the State of Israel. Funny how that worked out, isn't it, "ex-liberal"?

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Had we not invaded, a few foam-flecked reactionaries would have been very worried about Saddam's possible nuclear program.

Fixed that for you.

In reality, the rest of us were pointing to Hans Blix and Scott Ritter and insisting that the inspectors deserved more time.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oh dude - you just referenced Sam Pender...He makes LaRouche look credible!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

the only reason we know that Saddam had no nuclear program in 2003 was Bush's invasion.

Another lie. The IAEA was in Iraq in 2003 and determined Iraq had no nuclear program.

And I see that "ex-liberal" is using the dishonestly vague word "ties" to Iraq.

By that standard, of course, so do many nations on Earth, including the US, Germany, Spain and England.

Too bad even the Republican Congress was forced to admit Saddam and al Qaeda had no operational relationship.

You're a liar, "ex-liberal," and what's more, not a very convincing one. Your bullshit is pre-discredited. Why do you bother?

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

For the record - that "book" ex-liberal points to as "evidence" of a connection between Hussein and al Qaeda is a piece of vanity-press bilge, tapped out by the guy who used to blog as "the Conservative Punk" - and he was certainly right about that last descriptive...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, it goes without saying that posting a link to Amazon is hardly offering evidence. "ex-liberal" conspicuously failed to note a single piece of "evidence" from this book that supports his/her/its assertion.

Not surprisingly, of course, because he/she/it is a laughingstock here as it is.

A book -- so what? Again: You made the assertion, "ex-liberal." Prove it.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

but not cut off funds to the troops.

ok

He spoke out very firmly against an amendment that would have stricken the timelines from that bill.

The timelines in the Senate bill permit U.S. forces to remain in order to protect infrastructure, to train the Iraqi army, and to combat terrorists. In short, they permit what the president is doing now.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, maybe the inspectors should have had more time. But, don't forget that Iraq wasn't really cooperating with the inspection process. Saddam was supposed to tell the inspectors what he had done with his chemical weapons stores, so they could verify what was done. However, Saddam was not giving inspectors that information.

Iraq is a big country. It's hard for me to see how a few inspectors driving around in SUVs, with their route controlled by Saddam, could ever be certain that they hadn't missed some WMDs.

Also recall the aerial reconnosence photos showing moving trucks picking up loads from planned inspection sites. Did these trucks move incriminating material away? Who knows?

I will accept your comment that Sam Pender is unreliable. Plenty of reliable sources have pointed to relationships between Saddam and al Qaeda. Even Gregory and the 9/11 Commission implicitly acknowledged a relationship. (see below)

Gregory, is "operational" a term of art? You say Saddam an al Qaeda had no operational relationship. I guess that means you acknowledge that they did have a relationship, but it didn't qualify as "operational", whatever that term means.

Actually, Gregory, I think the term you wanted was "collaberative". The 9/11 Commission found that Saddam and al Qaeda had no "collaberative" relationship. That means that they acknowledge a relationship, but say it wasn't "collaberative", whatever that word means.

In my book the fact that Saddam and al Qaeda had a relationship ("non-operational" or "non-collaberative", if you like) means we were appropriately concerned about the possibility of them cooperating in anti-US and anti-western acts.

P.S. Clinton senior intelligence officials believed there was a relationship:

The [Clinton Administration] senior intelligence officials who briefed reporters laid out the collaboration. "We knew there were fuzzy ties between [bin Laden] and the plant but strong ties between him and Sudan and strong ties between the plant and Sudan and strong ties between the plant and Iraq." Although this official was careful not to oversell bin Laden's ties to the plant, other Clinton officials told reporters that the plant's general manager lived in a villa owned by bin Laden.

Several Clinton administration national security officials told THE WEEKLY STANDARD last week that they stand by the intelligence. "The bottom line for me is that the targeting was justified and appropriate," said Daniel Benjamin, director of counterterrorism on Clinton's National Security Council, in an emailed response to questions. "I would be surprised if any president--with the evidence of al Qaeda's intentions evident in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and the intelligence on [chemical weapons] that was at hand from Sudan--would have made a different decision about bombing the plant." http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/527uwabl.asp

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 13, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard for me to see

But you're a dishonest neocon toad, "ex-liberal" -- what you claim is hard for you to see has nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with bullshit, long-debunked propaganda that you repeat here.

how a few inspectors driving around in SUVs, with their route controlled by Saddam, could ever be certain that they hadn't missed some WMDs.

Ah, but we were talking about a nuclear program, not "WMDs". A few old, forgotten mustard gas shells rotting in the desert are no threat to the US. A nuclear program might have been -- and the cooperation was enough that the IAEA stated positively that Iraq had no cuclear program.

you're a liar, "ex-liberal." When one of your lies is refuted, you move on to another -- but even these have also been refuted, time and again.

Iraq had no nuclear program -- this was known. Iraq had no relationship of any significance whatsoever with al Qaeda -- this was known, and certainly no credible evidence to the contrary existed (hence Bush's dishoenst implications, which you applaud and parrot). In short, Iraq was not a threat -- certainly not one that justified invading a sovereign nation -- an illegal act -- and certainly not one that justifies the blood and treasure we have spent there.

These points are simply no longer in dispute, "ex-liberal." Your sad devotion to this ancient bullshit merely discredits you further.

But silly me -- I said we. Not you, "ex-liberal." As far as you're concerned, the US acted not in its interests, but those of the State of Israel, and for free. And that's all that matters, isn't it?

Shame on you.

(By the way -- citing the Weekly Standard? That's rich -- a liar citing liars.)

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, "ex-liberal", you dishonest toad, while Iraq and al Qaeda could not be said to have no relationship at all due to the fact that there had been contact -- however it was repudiated by Saddam -- and the fact that Iraq, not being in control of all its territory, could hardly prevent al Qaeda agents from entering any more than the US could -- your disgustingly dishonest seizure of honest qualifications to try to make a dishonest point is nothing short of foul -- to say nothing of a tacit admission that you really have no other evidence. Rest assured, we already knew that.

I note you totally ignore the fact that Saddam judged al Qaeda to be a threat to his secular regime. Par for the course, you lying scumbag.

Your judgment about the "threat" posed by your fantasy collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda has been shown, over and over, both here and by the authority of the 9/11 commission, to be bullshit -- pure fantasy. Not all the desperate clinging to the possibility of some faint, tenuous relationship -- which, I remind you, by which standards the US itself has at least as much of as Iraq did -- can justify it. Shame on you, you liar. I doubt even you believe this bullshit you're slinging.

And whatever Clinton claimed doesn't make it true. It may surprise you, but we liberals don't worship Clinton the way you do Bush.

And if we did, for all his foibles, we picked a better man.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

One last thing, "ex-liberal" -- for all your parsing, you're only supporting the case that Iraq was no threat to the US, nor was even the possibility of a threat sufficient to warrant the cost of invasion and occupation. Thanks, you foolish, dishonest neocon slime.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed. and why legitimize fuck sticks like hyatt and chuck k.

Any bets on when chuck k. will pen a viscious defence of his crooked sole make the wolfowitz.

Posted by: jim on April 13, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I've been mopping wrong all these years, but doesn't the "business end" of a mop go on the floor?

Posted by: DPS on April 14, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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