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Tilting at Windmills

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February 7, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

"SURRENDER TO TERROR"....Mitt Romney, classy to the end, explains his decision to quit the presidential race:

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Sens. Clinton or [Barack] Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Mr. Romney planned to say in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

So electing Obama or Clinton would be a "surrender to terror"? Republicans really know how to bow out gracefully, don't they?

Kevin Drum 1:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (122)

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Comments

In their DNA

Posted by: Keith G on February 7, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

That will be the theme of the McCain campaign.

Sadly, there is a very hight probability that Americans will buy it. All it will take is for the terrorist threat level to go from orange to red, as they did in 2004, or a strategically timed Osama video.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Just call it the Carlyle Group gambit.

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." – Edward R. Murrow

Posted by: daCascadian on February 7, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"All it will take is for the terrorist threat level to go from orange to red, as they did in 2004..."

But that could only happen if there's already a right-wing nut in White House. Oh, right...

Seriously, though, I wonder if the public is possibly beyond that traffic-light fearmongering now. Maybe.

Posted by: Kenji on February 7, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

That was my reaction exactly. Mitt departed as he campaigned: ready to do anything, and say anything -- no matter how dishonorable -- if that's what it would take to win. Yes, I know ordinary politicans have been known to do that. But I've never seen one nearly as shameless as Mitt. Goodbye, and good riddance.

I will say he picked the perfect audience for that kind of politics.

Posted by: bcamarda on February 7, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

At long last, the Mittshegas ends.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 7, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Just curious who added [Barack] to the quotation. Kevin? It's not on the AP page. Glad to see the clarification, so we don't confuse him with another Sen. Obama. Obama bin Laden, perhaps.

Now that Romney's gone, what will McCain do with Huckabee? Team up, or throw him under the bus?

Posted by: JJF on February 7, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Saying that is so much better than "I lost".

Posted by: DR on February 7, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Just go quietly into the night and start planting your turnips, you crazed Republican.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on February 7, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda bared his fangs on that one.

Posted by: Bob M on February 7, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

A vote for Hillary is a surrender to terror. She surrendered to Bush at every opportunity, doubtless because she can't wait to have the same unchecked executive powers that he has unlawfully created in his two terms.

A vote for Hillary is a vote for an end to our way of government, because far from call him out on his unlawful actions, she acquiesced.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on February 7, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

has anyone checked to see if a suicide watch has been posted on k-lo at "the corner"?

Posted by: ben domenech on February 7, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Mitt's saying "I'm a team player who's willing to say crazy things to support the crazy narrative of my party." There's no way in hell that a smart guy like him believes a word of that claptrap.

The interesting thing about Romney was how he took an analytical approach to being a slimy politician. "Pandering" was just another box in this guy's mind.

Posted by: mk on February 7, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

i need work.

Posted by: ben domenech on February 7, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

What a douche.

Posted by: Cazart on February 7, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK
….All it will take is for the terrorist threat level to go from orange to red...gregor at 1:04 PM
I'm anticipating an actual attack of some sort.
….A vote for Hillary is a vote for an end to our way of government….slammin' sammy at 1:23 PM
Has Obama been a leader for the pro-impeachment wing of the party? Posted by: Mike on February 7, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Mitt Romney:

"Yes, I'd love to be your vice president, John."

Posted by: bob on February 7, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Has Obama been a leader for the pro-impeachment wing of the party?

He was against the war. He has publicly condemned Bush's unlawful expansion of executive power. Hillary?

Posted by: slammin' sammy on February 7, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

So now Republicans can lick their wounds from the primaries, coalesce around McCain and aim for November while Democrats spend the next six months tearing each other apart, as happens in thread after thread on this blog.

The only good thing that will come out of this is that Bush won't be president a year from now. Well, maybe Democrats can at least increase their control of Congress. Two good things, then. Maybe.


Posted by: Nat on February 7, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Note the little stink-bomb Romney set off just before dropping out -- the 1976 reference: He's casting McCain as Ford (squishy moderate loser-to-be) and himself as Reagan (resolute conservative nominee-in-waiting).

Posted by: allbetsareoff on February 7, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

That's some prime asshattery there. Good riddance.

Posted by: lux on February 7, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I hope people who follow my comments will recall I've been saying bad things about McCain way before it was cool. It seems the Republicans have put him in the saddle.

Romney acts like the ho he is right to the end.

Posted by: Swan on February 7, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

In a weird way, I am glad McCain won, especially since I might end up voting for him if Hillary is nominated.

He is a bit of a two-faced freak with no principle, like Hillary, but compared to some of the other Republicans, he's at least human.

There was something about Romney, Guiliani, and Thompson that was B-movie monstrous.

Romney was pure, unadulterated pander, the Platonic Ideal of an American Politician. The freak show magician who dares you to believe him or your lying eyes.

Guiliani was like a sniveling half-orc, stabbing people backwise as he pulled his wretchedness across the pile of 9/11 corpses, eager to plant his flag on the mountain of the dead.

And Thompson ... he actually literally was Frankenstein, pieced together and brought to life for the purpose of leading the Republicans away from Fire! Homos! and other primordial fears.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on February 7, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone lay off Mittens. He's angry and hurt and lashing out--hell, I feel the same way, now that I won't have him to kick around anymore.

Posted by: Matt on February 7, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

So now Republicans can lick their wounds from the primaries, coalesce around McCain and aim for November while Democrats spend the next six months tearing each other apart, as happens in thread after thread on this blog.

Well said. Both sides need to calm the hell down here.

Posted by: JM on February 7, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure what he meant was that another several months of his campaign would tantamount to terrorizing the American people and he just can't let this go on.

We should applaud his courage in recognizing this and leaving us poor voters alone.

Now if we could get some of the other 30 people declared and undeclared (hi! Ralph!) to realize this, we could move on as a people.

Posted by: Christopher on February 7, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Like David Neiwert says, if conservatives don't like being called fascists, then they should stop talking like them.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on February 7, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Obama may have been a bit more vocal against the war than Clinton, but using this as a basis for supporting him would be more rational and credible had he really been a radical opponent of the war like Gene McCarthy. To me his statements opposing the war have been quite cautious and I must say sheepish.

Posted by: gregor on February 7, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

And what all these conservative chuckleheads fail to realize is that the very instant they pissed down their legs in fear...is that at that very moment, they surrendered to terrorism.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on February 7, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

So electing Obama or Clinton would be a "surrender to terror"? Republicans really know how to bow out gracefully, don't they?

Ironically, if a Republican wins in November they are still going to be faced with the same completely exhausted and worn out army that can't physically maintain the Iraqi deployment and would end up being forced to draw down troops anyhow even if they wanted to stay, unless of course they plan on drafting the newly unemployed for duty and put them on the government payroll so their families back home can continue to consume Chinese consumer products.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 7, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Now the rest of the Republicans just need to realize, since they can't win, it's time to pack up their offices and go home.

Posted by: Swan on February 7, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

LOL. Yeah, keep up the fear and smear crap. It worked so well in the 2006 mid terms. You f@ckers are the official party of fear now. For all the macho talk you people piss all over yourselves at the thought of someone named Muhhamad or Pedro.

Posted by: vrk on February 7, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Romney bowed out as an altruistic gesture to the Nation, saving us from the Islam o' cringing Dems.
Close your leaking wallet and slink away Mittster!
Huck stayed in and sank Mitt-liar, now that's altruism.

Posted by: cognitorex on February 7, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Such a nice boy. Seriously, this d-bag cost me $30 in my Super Tuesday pool by not dropping out yesterday. One last poke in the eye from one of the most awful people in politics.

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on February 7, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of surrendering to terror, I heard some pinhead on the radio explaining we shouldn't elect a woman because we would have less clout in the Arab world. It was not a potential Obama supporter, not on that station.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK


The nation may well be ready for an African-american president, or a female president. It is just not ready to elect an android.

homer www.altara.blogspot.com

Posted by: Homer Hewitt on February 7, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"We need to begin a world we want, instead if reacting to a world we fear."
--Noam Chomsky

Posted by: Quotation Man on February 7, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

I would like someone to ask each Republican running for public office ONE question.

"What exactly IS 'victory' in Iraq"?

These Republicans keep talking about "victory", but no one defines it.

Posted by: phoebes on February 7, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

So electing a woman would give us less clout in the Arab world than W gives us now?

hhhhmmmmm, thersites, sounds like the radio dudes have been using the same logic process that heatherk has been using. Wonder if they have recent biology degrees too?

Posted by: optical weenie on February 7, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure that at the moment President Obama is being inaugurated, bargeloads of al-Qaeda warriors, brandishing boxcutters, will be arriving on our shores.

How stupid do these assholes think the American people are? Good God.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 7, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Victory is importing millions of Moslem immigrants in order to promote total surveillance and data mining and removing the hindrances of some unnecessary amendments to the "piece of paper"

Security is on the march.

Posted by: Luther on February 7, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have already surrendered to terror. Surrendered rational thought. Surrendered their supposed principals. Surrendered fiscal responsibility. Surrendered freedom. Surrendered their manhood. Surrendered 4,000 American lives ....

Posted by: Greg Worley on February 7, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. It's obvious that nearly all of Romney's votes will now go to McCain instead of Huckabee. This puts the nail in the coffin on Huck's campaign. His only hope now is to be offered the VP job. However, Romney's early exit also puts less pressure on McCain to ask for Huckabee on the VP spot. Big money wants to make sure the indy evangelista has no chance for the presidency? Romney was the big-money candidate...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 7, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Douchebag #2.

Posted by: hollywood on February 7, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that McCain will offend either Romney's or Huckabee's supporters by picking the other one as his running mate. I imagine he'll go for some more orthodox, superhawkish, fundamentalist Southern GOP Senator or Governor as a running mate. (It may not be chance that both of Georgia's very right-wing GOP senators -- including Saxby Chambliss, who got into office by questioning Max Cleland's patriotism -- endorsed McCain before the primary there.)

At any rate, his coming address to CPAC should be a hoot, judging from CNN's description of the audience reaction to him: "Boos rose from the audience at the mention of McCain’s name – and shocked calls of 'no!' as [Romney] made his announcement. One young man in a blue sports coat grasped his head in his hands, his mouth wide open as he watched Romney on-stage...As his supporters filed out of the ballroom where Romney made the announcement, many carrying his campaign signs and merchandise, a moderator mentioned McCain’s upcoming CPAC speech –- drawing an immediate and sustained chorus of boos from the crowd." Anyone want to bet on McCain's speech trying to assuage feelings by promising to declare war on every Moslem nation in the world simultaneously?

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 7, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "In a sense, Romney's charge was unfair. Dems don't want to surrender to terrorism, they just want to pay little attention to it. However, there's little real-world difference between surrendering to a threat and ignoring it."

On August 6, 2001, America's leading R paid little attention to terrorism, thereby surrendering over 3,000 lives, the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon to terrorism. President Gore would have, oh, never mind.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 7, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

M'gosh! I'm sure I saw that comment by ex-liberal, but now it's gone!

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 7, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Phoebe:

You may disagree with them, but there is plenty out there from Republicans regarding victory in Iraq. In fact, the White House has a National Strategy for Victory in Iraq among other Iraq goals on their website. And McCain has a Strategy for Victory in Iraq on his web site as well.

McCain describes the goals of our strategy (in other words he defines victory)as follows: "America's ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country."

Bush has outlined his definition of victory in pretty much every speech he has made on Iraq. Again, you may disagree with him but it is simply wrong to suggest as you did that "Republicans keep talking about "victory", but no one defines it." From his strategy for victory, Bush offers this:

* Victory in Iraq is Defined in Stages

o Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.

o Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.

o Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.

As for Romney's comments that got Kevin all riled up, both Clinton and Obama have repeatedly stated their resolve to unilaterally withdraw troops from Iraq despite the certainty that this would send Iraq into precisely the kind of chaos al Qaeda was hoping to achieve there and thus provide them with the perfect environment to reconstitute their capabilities. Romney may have phrased thing inelegantly, but don't blame him for the fact that both Democrat candidates have sworn to withdraw our forces and end the war without regard to achieving victory. And that, my friends (as McCain would say), is in effect surrendering to the terrorists.

Or will someone here present an argument that giving up and fleeing the battlefield before one's enemies is not the same thing as surrendering?

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 7, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

To Joel's point - Anyone who thinks Republicans are "tough on terror" needs to be reminded that Bush, Rice and Cheney were warned repeatedly in 2001 by the CIA and others that al-Qaeda was preparing to attack the United States and did nothing. Nada. Zippo.

Then, on September 11th, 2001, Bush sat, staring blankly into space for over seven minutes after being told by Andrew Card "America is under attack". He then jumped into Air Force One and hid in a cornfield in Nebraska and wasn't heard from for most of the day, while America waited for leadership.

Finally, when we invaded Afghanistan, defeated the Taliban and had bin Laden and al-Zawahiri cornered at Tora Bora, Bush opted to use a bunch of ragtag Afghan mercenaries instead of U.S. Special Forces and let them get away. Instead of chasing them into Pakistan, he pulled out the bulk of the Special Forces out and sent them to Iraq to attack a Muslim nation that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH 9-11!

"Tough on terror" - my ass....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 7, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bah. Everybody knows when Rudy pulled out the terrorists had won anyway.

Posted by: demisod on February 7, 2008 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Dems don't want to surrender to terrorism, they just want to pay little attention to it. However, there's little real-world difference between surrendering to a threat and ignoring it.

Actually, we want to do the effective thing and treat it like a law enforcement matter. Like the Germans, who thwarted a real threat last fall. Remember? What has all of awol's double-naught spy crap netted us? A gutted Fourth Amendment and those idiots in Florida? You seriously think you have a tenable position with information that proves the contrary to be the side with the facts in favor so readily available?

Posted by: Lurker 420 on February 7, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Doc,
unless of course they plan on drafting the newly unemployed for duty

That would be one option. The second might be the new detention camps Halliburton is building in the US.

From the Halliburton website:

"the contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

Posted by: Tripp on February 7, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

both Clinton and Obama have repeatedly stated their resolve to unilaterally withdraw troops from Iraq despite the certainty that this would send Iraq into precisely the kind of chaos al Qaeda was hoping to achieve there

Not a certainty. In fact, representatives of both Sunni and Shia - not to mention the Iraqi parliament - have said our presence is an impediment to peace and want us out. And 26 million Iraqis can take c re of a few hundred (or few thousand at best) Al Qaeda.

If you can't believe the duly elected Iraqi political leaders who can you believe? The neocon fuckwits who lied and bungled their way into this situation in the first place?

We are paying Sunni insurgents not to fight. We can continue to pay them from here.

Posted by: trex on February 7, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Awww, too bad Willard. And here you spent $35 million of your own money, just to fall flat on both of your faces.

Heh.

Posted by: Joe on February 7, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

...be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Mr. Romney"

Oh, like he gives a rat's ass.

This kind of flat line sincerity makes me cringe. I saw the same thing with Bush Senior soaking up cheers from a crowd for siding with loggers over spotted owls in Oregon.

Had the owls cheered louder, Bush Senior would have sided with them.

Tell me just how deep a consideration this pampered man, well-insulated by American wealth and position, gave the abstract concepts of making war on borderless terror cells, other than how best to utilize the current day buzz-words to get a crowd cheering his name.

Be gone with him.

Posted by: Zit on February 7, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

If I surrender to Terror will they raise my credit limit?

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK
Republicans really know how to bow out gracefully, don't they?

No, but they do know how to recite their partisan scriptures.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Romney's remarks were a disgraceful and exploitative smear, the worst of the Nazi-style "stab in the back" slander. He should apologize to both Democratic candidates and the Party as well on national TV and preferably in person. Journalists and commentators who don't hold him accountable and tolerate such rubbish are not being objective, but enablers of divisive manipulation.

tyrannogenius

Posted by: Neil B. on February 7, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

i wonder about something. Now that there is no campaign for them to "serve" in, might one or two of his five strapping sons visit a recruiting station? He's so resolute in his assertion that we must prevail militarily in a war against a transitive adverb, I would think he would encourage at least a pair and a spare to step up.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on February 7, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think Romney's words were great! He should travel the country and repeat them whenever he can, so he can constantly remind us why we HAVE TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC.

Posted by: CT on February 7, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. I'm surprised and disappointed that Mitt's dropped out.

Surprised because he was the GOP's pick and richer than God, and disappointed because in his spectacular awfulness Romney seemed like one of the easier candidates to beat.

McCain was the last guy I wanted the D's to run against. Give the Republicans credit--they've got their nom and will start circling the wagons while the D's thrash it out in the shark tank we thought had been reserved for the R implosion.

Damn, foiled again.

Posted by: Lucy on February 7, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

In a weird way, I am glad McCain won, especially since I might end up voting for him if Hillary is nominated.
Guiliani was like a sniveling half-orc, stabbing people backwise as he pulled his wretchedness across the pile of 9/11 corpses, eager to plant his flag on the mountain of the dead.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on February 7, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hope you like a Half-Orc as Attorney General.

Posted by: OriGuy on February 7, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

* Victory in Iraq is Defined in Stages

o Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.

o Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.

o Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.

Yes. That's very detailed. There's no way that words like "peaceful," "united," and "stable" could be construed differently by different people. I'm going to start writing goals like this for my job. My projects are going to be done "well" and "timely", and I'm going to make "steady progress" instead of meeting specific criteria by specific dates. Hey-If I start managing my projects like GW Bush does, I might get a raise!

Posted by: slag on February 7, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

The way I figure it, Romney was getting nervous about continuing to "loan" his own money to his campaign based on his assumption that once he won the Republikan nomination, all the money pouring in could be used to pay off those "loans". Plus, since all the Richie Riches of the world have plundered the coffers in anticipation of Armageddon, it was getting embarrassing to fall so far behind the Joneses IV by squandering so much booty on the chance of getting a crappy job.

Posted by: Howard on February 7, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The 2004 election result was a surrender to terror.

Posted by: Brojo on February 7, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Romney is out of the race his sons can step out of the tour bus and fight terror in IRAQ!

Posted by: Sig on February 7, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw wrote: "Or will someone here present an argument that giving up and fleeing the battlefield before one's enemies is not the same thing as surrendering?"

The US invasion and occupation was and is a crime -- a war of unprovoked aggression, based on deliberate, elaborate, repeated, sickening lies about a nonexistent threat, a war which has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and several thousand Americans and maimed many thousands more, a war that has driven millions of innocent Iraqi civilians from their homes.

Those who perpetrate and perpetuate such crimes against humanity are the enemies of humanity. To allow the US occupation of Iraq to continue is to surrender to crime.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 7, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK
He's so resolute in his assertion that we must prevail militarily in a war against a transitive adverb, I would think he would encourage at least a pair and a spare to step up.

Uh, "transitive adverb"? "Terror" is an abstract noun. What is a "transitive adverb"?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

In a weird way, I am glad McCain won, especially since I might end up voting for him if Hillary is nominated.

Ah, 2008's version of the Nader voter.

Be prepared to be treated the same way as Nader voters have been if Hillary loses.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 7, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS wrote: "And what all these conservative chuckleheads fail to realize is that the very instant they pissed down their legs in fear...is that at that very moment, they surrendered to terrorism."
______________________

Neither Senator Obama nor Senator Clinton is likely to "surrender to terrorism," if they are elected. In fact, they are far more likely to anger know nothing peace advocates by continuing basically the same Middle East policy we have today. As President, neither is going to simply abandon Iraq. We'll also still need to protect the region's oil and means of transporting it. Either might attempt to greatly increase our activities in Afghanistan, quite possibly to our regret, just as either will recognize that if we want to stay in Afghanistan, we'll have to keep Pakistan afloat. Either will continue to support Israel, regardless of the usual Israeli intransigence on insisting they know best about their own self-defense issues.

Either will probably make a big deal about "dialogue" with Iran about their nuke program and get nowhere, because we cannot give them what they want and have nothing that they really need. The author of last summer's NIE is already publicly regretting the over-emphasis on Iran's cessation of only one part of their nuclear program. So, we'll still be faced with the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.

So, no surrender and no real change in our basic policy. It's hard to say who'll be pissing down their legs, but the military won't be. The same military now despised by so many here will still be doing the President's bidding next year, no matter who it is.

Posted by: Trashhauler on February 7, 2008 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, "transitive adverb"? "Terror" is an abstract noun. What is a "transitive adverb"?

You know, words like "terrorizely."

Posted by: mk on February 7, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Or will someone here present an argument that giving up and fleeing the battlefield before one's enemies is not the same thing as surrendering?

Geez, does that mean we surrendered to North Vietnam? I must have missed that sorrowful scene where Dick Nixon and Henry Kissinger, manfully wiping back tears, signed the articles of surrender at a camp desk on the USS Forrestal in front of a backdrop of triumphantly grinning NVA generals.....

Posted by: Stefan on February 7, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

"People who suggest that a non-Republican administration would surrender to terror are fools who pollute the national conversation, and indeed dim the whole world, with their ignorance. If they knew shame, or any emotion beyond toxic partisanship, it would be worth telling them they should be ashamed of themselves."

Someone's gotta say that. Or something like it.

Posted by: mk on February 7, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

If I could interpret for just a moment:

'Dear John McCain:

I dropped out before Huckabee so that I could show you how much more I want to be your VP than him. I know you guys are buddies, but won't I look better being your lackey than him?'

Posted by: Chris Miller on February 7, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like that "People who suggest that a non-Republican administration would surrender to terror" in there -- even a conditional inclusion of their statement, wrapped in hypotheticals, is giving them too much credit.

How about: "People who suggest that a mainstream political candidate for president would surrender to terror..."

Posted by: mk on February 7, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Or will someone here present an argument that giving up and fleeing the battlefield before one's enemies is not the same thing as surrendering?

Well, let's let John McCain present that argument instead. Here's what McCain said on the floor of the US Senate in 1993 when he argued for giving up and fleeing the Somali battlefield before the gunmen of Islamoliberalfascist warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid:

There is no reason for the United States of America to remain in Somalia. The American people want them home, I believe the majority of Congress wants them home, and to set an artificial date of March 31 or even February 1, in my view, is not acceptable. The criteria should be to bring them home as rapidly and safely as possible, an evolution which I think could be completed in a matter of weeks.

Our continued military presence in Somalia allows another situation to arise which could then lead to the wounding, killing or capture of American fighting men and women. We should do all in our power to avoid that.

....[N]othing....would persuade me that further U.S. military involvement in the area is necessary....we should leave and leave soon.

Dates certain, Mr. President, are not the criteria here. What is the criteria and what should be the criteria is our immediate, orderly withdrawal from Somalia. And if we do not do that and other Americans die, other Americans are wounded, other Americans are captured because we stay too long–longer than necessary–then I would say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States who did not exercise their authority under the Constitution of the United States and mandate that they be brought home quickly and safely as possible. . . .

Posted by: Stefan on February 7, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

So electing Obama or Clinton would be a "surrender to terror"? Republicans really know how to bow out gracefully, don't they?

Well, at least it removes any remaining doubt I might have had about whether he really is an asshole or just looks like one.

Posted by: Del Capslock on February 7, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: The same military now despised by so many here...

'scuse me? I think you left your straw man out in the rain...

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl: might one or two of his five strapping sons visit a recruiting station?

I think they have urgent business, carrying the light of Mormonism to benighted areas of the world. Like their dad did, in France.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

OK, how about draft 3:


"People who suggest that a mainstream political candidate for president would surrender to terror are fools who pollute the national conversation, and indeed dim the whole world, with their ignorance. If they knew shame, or any emotion beyond toxic partisanship, it would be worth telling them they should be ashamed of themselves. Given their characteristics, however, it seems to me that admonishing them is not worth our time or energy."


The point is, when responding to a troll like Romney you don't want to say "asshole!" You want to say "you are the dirt underneath my shoe."

Posted by: mk on February 7, 2008 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

"The same military now despised by so many here...

'scuse me? I think you left your straw man out in the rain..."
______________________

Pardon, thersites, I should have said, "second-guessed, constantly derided, accused of crimes, and labeled everything from dupes to war criminals." Better?

The point remains, we'll still be doing the same jobs with the same challenges under the next President.

Posted by: trashhauler on February 7, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK
Pardon, thersites, I should have said, "second-guessed, constantly derided, accused of crimes, and labeled everything from dupes to war criminals." Better?

It would still be, at best, an attempt to tar the entire forum with the views of a small number (2-3) of regular posters while ignoring the general sentiment of the forum, and, as such, extraordinarily distorted and, as the distortion is clearly deliberate, extremely dishonest. But, again, par for the course, considering the source.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 7, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

"[T]the distortion is clearly deliberate, extremely dishonest."
___________________

Yes, indeed, the idea that you care very much about any American serviceman or woman is a gross distortion. Those that you don't view as victims, you view as war criminals. At least, you do while they still take orders from President Bush, eh, cm?

But nevermind, cm, zooming in on this is as good a way as any of ignoring the larger point that our policies will be largely unchanged under either President Obama or President Clinton.

Posted by: trashhauler on February 7, 2008 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

second-guessed, constantly derided, accused of crimes, and labeled everything from dupes to war criminals

Wingnuts and neocons, yes. Troops, no. A few generals maybe, but they generally redeem themselves after they retire and abjure most everything their commander in chief forced them to say for selfish political reasons while on the job.

Posted by: trex on February 7, 2008 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

so he just proved it.

He is an utter discrace and unfit for any office.

WOW! what a Nazi scum

Posted by: larry on February 7, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

How about me, Trashhauler? Would you like to malign my patriotism and dismiss my concern for service personnel as feigned? I oppose this clusterfuck with every fiber of my being and have since the run-up in 2002. And pretty much every damned thing I said has come to pass.

What does that make me in your eyes?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on February 7, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

BG, Let it go. Trashhauler doesn't know who he is talking too or what he is talking about.

Trashhauler, I actually know people serving in Iraq. Do you? I honor their service. Do you?

Why do you confuse wanting to fight the right war smart with wanting to surrender?

Posted by: corpus juris on February 7, 2008 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

In my eyes you speak with courage and vision, but I don’t haul trash.

Stefan above, most profound as always.

Posted by: MEG on February 7, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler,

Explain to all of us why the current middle east policy is the correct policy. Start by telling us what the Administration is really trying to do in the middle east. The tell us why anyone of a dozen different approaches wouldn't be better.

My country right or wrong might be a good approach when dealing with people who have actually attacked us, but it is just plain stupid when formulating foreign policy.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 7, 2008 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

The idiot trashy pretends that sending people off to murder and die is "respecting" them. The problem I have with the current serice memebers is that too many of them have bought into the big fucking lie that they are "defending our nation."

Defending our nation isn't done by dropping bombs on people who aren't a threat to our national security. Defending our nation isn't done by inflaming the Middle East by turning functioning nations into basket cases. Defending our nation isn't done by assaulting the innocent Iraqi people for the vanity of George W. Bush.

The fact is, you worthless piece of trash, you pretend to care about our service people while ensuring they are actively undermining our national security. Your hatred for America shines right through.

Don't worry, your hatred for America simply makes you a typical Republican.

Posted by: heavy on February 7, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Trash Hauler is one of the frei republik type of flailing, "knife-in-the-back" spouting neo-cons. All he has is a name co-opted from better men who fly the world's vital supplies where ever needed.

Wasting lives, wasting treasure, wasting possibilities. Wasting terrorists? Not so much. Creating Terrorists? It seems more every day. Some strategy, that one.

That some pin-headed, self-financed, preening fantasist--representing the party who authored this catastrophe yet!--would have the temerity to blame those who might yet right this foundering ship of state? It is gargantuan mendacity. I think I know evil when I see it; it is an assault on good people trying to do right and make a positive difference in this screwed world. Romney is the worst kind of shirking coward. Hell is a world he helped shape closing in upon him. Karma is a bitch.


Posted by: Sparko on February 7, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Jeepers. I read TrashHauler's post and, scrolling down to type an angry reply discovered that I don't have to. Blue Girl, corpus juris, many other regular commenters here -- I've disagreed with all of you at one time or another but overall I'm proud to be associated with the lot of you, however tenuously.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Did I really say "jeepers?" Fuck me, I'm catching the Kevin disease.

Posted by: thersites on February 7, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm........5 sons who "Cut and Run" from serving our country and he claims Democrats surrender. I'll remember that next time I look at my many medals earned serving our country

Fuck Never served only wanna be served, pinky dick, yellow elephant Cut and Run Repugnicans

Posted by: Bob B. on February 8, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

I'd been sort of inclined to think well of Romney for facing up to the numbers, until I heard his bow-out speech. Pandering, frothing git.

Posted by: dware on February 8, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Democrat: Whatever are you doing?

Republican [furiously beating on his own foot with a sledgehammer]: Fighting terrorism!

Democrat [concerned]: Wow, that's got to hurt--and I don't think that it is a very effective way to fight terrorism--you ought to stop.

Republican: Why do you want to surrender to the terrorists?!

Posted by: rea on February 8, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Did I really say "jeepers?"

Gosh, darn it all, thersites, you know, I think you did. It's a slippery slope.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 8, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

If someone wanted to suggest that we surrendered to Aided when we pulled out of Somalia in 1993 (or to be bipartisan, that we surrendered to Hezbollah when we pulled out of Beirut a decade earlier), they could certainly make a case for it. What is undeniable is that bin Laden and other viewed both events precisely as that. Here's just one example of bin Laden on Somalia in an interview in 1998.

Proud of this destruction, America assumed the titles of world leader and master of the new world order. After a few blows, it forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers.

Is there any doubt the terrorists would view America rushing out of Iraq any differently? And, in the long view of history, would anyone say that they were wrong? After all, we did abandon Beirut and Somalia to our enemies, with disastrous results for the people there and, ultimately, for ourselves.

Folks like Clinton and Obama who seem to believe there are no negative consequences to losing Iraq have forgotten (or never learned) that the gravest threat to our national security (Islamic terrorism) has a long history of building from its perceived defeats of Western powers to pursue even larger and more destructive aims. Which is why handing them Iraq would be an epic disaster.

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 8, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw,

All true in an abstract sense of honor and example but back here on earth resources are not limitless and choices must be made. In particular the cost of the Iraq intervention is bleeding America dry. Here's my take, the basic objectives in Iraq have been accomplished, Saddam's gone and there are no WMDs. What's left is a smashed Arab country divided between Shia, Sunni and Kurd all with their own extrmist elements hell bent on victory or death. The point is that it is no longer necessary to physically be in Iraq to steer it to our strategic advantage. A Richelieu type oversight is required, if the shia get too strong, fund the sunni, if the sunni get too islamist, fund the shia and kurds, if the kurds are in trouble send them some cash and arms, in short keep the parties divided and at each others throats while we sit back in Kuwait and Qattar. If the parties quash their hot heads and come together to forge peaceful coexistance, well that's good too. So leaving Iraq becomes a win, win, win, win, for the USA.

There is no reason to keep Americans on the ground in Iraq other then to assuage republican pride. There are smarter ways to deal with Iraq and Obama is damn right about that. Plus more resources are needed in Afghanistan and short of national mobilization and a draft they got to come out of the Iraqi theatre.

Posted by: Northern Observer on February 8, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Watching the CPAC conference I have to wonder how an ideology so blatantly evil and unrealistic ever came to rule America.
It's God's little joke on America.
Most of the USA's pathologies stem from the minds of these truly demented people.

I loved it when mitt delivered his terror line; his face couldn't suppress the fact that crazy horseshit was passing between his lips. Hillarious.

I suspect that if you opened Laura Ingraham's scull cap instead of a brain you would find worms. What an apostle of hate.

Cheney. Jesus, there's a name the will forever live in infamy. "the best vice president the usa has ever had" Ha ha ha The joke's on America.

Posted by: Northern Observer on February 8, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any doubt the terrorists would view America rushing out of Iraq any differently? And, in the long view of history, would anyone say that they were wrong? After all, we did abandon Beirut and Somalia to our enemies, with disastrous results for the people there and, ultimately, for ourselves.

Again, I'll let John McCain speak for me, in his own words which he delivered on the Senate floor in 1993:

I know that this debate is going to go on this afternoon and I have a lot more to say, but the argument that somehow the United States would suffer a loss to our prestige and our viability, as far as the No. 1 superpower in the world, I think is baloney. The fact is, we won the cold war. The fact is, we won the Persian Gulf conflict. And the fact is that the United States is still the only major world superpower.

I can tell you what will erode our prestige. I can tell you what will hurt our viability as the world's superpower, and that is if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aideed's lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige.

We suffered a terrible tragedy in Beirut, Mr. President; 240 young marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia as rapidly and as promptly and as safely as possible.

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Actually I think both sides are wrong on this point.

We are not in Iraq to fight terrorism, but we are in Iraq to defend the American way of life.

Our American way of life is built on the access to cheap oil. We need those resources to build the barricades and US detention camps for when the crash comes.

The alternative is to completely change the global economy and to drop capitalism as we now know it. That won't happen because first there are powerful interests against that and second we don't really have a viable alternative.

Is it fair to say our soldiers are dieing to protect our right to drive Hummers?

Not really. It is more than that. Our soldiers are dieing to protect our entire economy and to barricade us from the hostile world when the collapse comes.

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

If someone wanted to suggest that we surrendered to Aided when we pulled out of Somalia in 1993 (or to be bipartisan, that we surrendered to Hezbollah when we pulled out of Beirut a decade earlier),

Er, why bipartisan? It was the Republican Reagan who pulled the Marines out of Beirut in 1984, and it was the Republicans who wanted the pullout of US forces out of Somalia in 1993 (Clinton was in favor of keeping our peacekeeping force there). In both cases it was the GOP which was in favor of lifting up its skirts and cutting and running before the limitless slavering hordes of the Islamoanarchistliberalveganfascists.

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Northern Observer:

I think you make a more compelling case for withdrawal than Clinton or Obama do (talk about damning with faint praise!) but even under your case, I would think that a more managed process than simply pulling out our forces haphazardly (Obama's plan) or as quickly as possible (Clinton's plan) would be required. In effect, you would seek a more Vietnam-like withdrawal under which (for a little while at least) a fairly functional government was left behind. Until we cut off their funding, but that's another story.

My point is that even under the conditions you laid out, withdrawal would have to proceed in some relation to conditions on the ground. It took the US several years to transition to withdrawal in Vietnam (not that I would use Vietnam as a particularly great model to follow but it serves as an example).

Obama may believe there are smarter ways to deal with Iraq but at a minimum that requires a steady transition for US withdrawal. His stated intention is to simply yank out our forces, cutting the legs out from under what stability we have achieved, and then somehow hope Iraq doesn't completely fall apart. Sorry if I don't share your enthusiasm for his plan.

Stefan,

I'll make it very simple for you. McCain (whom I support) was wrong in his 1993 speech. The withdrawal's from Beirut and Somalia emboldened terrorists like bin Laden and convinced them, along with Middle East dictators like Saddam, that the US had no stomach for fights in which we got bloodied. Unfortunately, very few people on either side of the aisle appreciated in the 1990s the effects of decisions like these.

ou may think you are being clever citing McCain in 1993, but the fact of the matter is that bin Laden himself from his fatwa in 1996 and ever since has made it undeniably clear that the withdrawals from Beirut and Somalia (along with the lack of any muscular response to his other attacks on the US)convinced him and many like him that the US was just a paper tiger ready to fall like the Soviets before them.

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 8, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan - Blaming the GOP for Clinton's decision to pull out of Somalia only demonstrates how ill-informed and hopelessly partisan you are.

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 8, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Folks like Clinton and Obama who seem to believe there are no negative consequences to losing Iraq have forgotten (or never learned) that the gravest threat to our national security (Islamic terrorism) has a long history of building from its perceived defeats of Western powers to pursue even larger and more destructive aims.

Folks like Bush and Cheney who seem to believe that there are no negative consequences to staying in Iraq have forgotten (or never learned) that the gravest threat to our national security comes from overextending ourselves in pointless costly quagmires and wasting our time and resources while the rest of the world races ahead to encircle us with its newfound economic power.

Which is why handing them Iraq would be an epic disaster.

Probably shouldn't have invaded Iraq and opened it up to terrorism in the first place, then. But continually saying "I told you so" is becoming colder comfort.

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I'll make it very simple for you. McCain (whom I support) was wrong in his 1993 speech.

Aiyeeee! Aiyeeee! Heresy! Heresy! McCain was wrong and Clinton was right??!!??!!

The withdrawal's [sic] from Beirut and Somalia emboldened terrorists like bin Laden and convinced them....

Well, we probably should have listened to Bill Clinton, then, who wanted to stay in Somalia. Once again, Clinton was right and the Republicans were wrong. A sobering (and no doubt humbling) admission from Hacksaw.

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

His [Obama's] stated intention is to simply yank out our forces, cutting the legs out from under what stability we have achieved, and then somehow hope Iraq doesn't completely fall apart. Sorry if I don't share your enthusiasm for his plan.

Wasn't that the Bush plan for the invasion and occupation, though? Simply invade with our forces, cutting the legs out from under whatever stability there was, and then somehow hope Iraq doesn't fall completely apart? If it worked so well then why shouldn't it work in reverse?

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan - Blaming the GOP for Clinton's decision to pull out of Somalia only demonstrates how ill-informed and hopelessly partisan you are.

Completely incorrect. Republican senators attempted to force an immediate withdrawal from Somalia and introduced legislation to cut off funding to our troops in the field. They only compromised on a withdrawal in six months after they faced opposition from Bill Clinton, who wanted to stay. How do you not remember this? Were you not alive at the time?

This is what Clinton had to say in 1993: And make no mistake about it, if we were to leave Somalia tomorrow, other nations would leave, too. Chaos would resume, the relief effort would stop and starvation soon would return. That knowledge has led us to continue our mission ... Recently, Gen. Colin Powell said this about our choices in Somalia: 'Because things get difficult, you don't cut and run. You work the problem and try to find a correct solution' ... So let us finish the work we set out to do. Let us demonstrate to the world, as generations of Americans have done before us, that when Americans take on a challenge, they do the job right.

This, however, is what Republicans were saying:

Sen Strom Thurmond (R-SC) - October 5, 1993: It is past time for the Congress to come to grips with this sorry spectacle and force the administration to find a way out of the quagmire--before Somalia becomes the pattern for future United States missions with the United Nations.

Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), October 7: The President's decision to extend our presence for 6 more months is totally unacceptable to me and totally unacceptable, I believe, to the Congress.
If the people of Texas--who are calling my phones every moment, who are sending me letters and telegrams by the hour--are representative of the will of the American people, the American people do not believe that we should allow Americans to be targets in Somalia for 6 more months. I cannot see anything that we would achieve in 6 more months in Somalia.

Sen. Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID), October 5: Mr. President, it is time for our troops to come home.... the longer we leave United States troops in Somalia under U.N. command, the longer we leave United States troops in unjustified danger. I owe my allegiance to the United States, not to the United Nations. It is time for the Senate of the United States to get on with the debate, to get on with the vote, and to get the American troops home.

Sen. Slade Gorton, October 6,1993 (R-WA): We are in a disaster, Mr. President. If we had retreated earlier, we would have left fewer dead Americans behind. It is time to retreat now and leave no more dead Americans behind and to learn the lesson that American power should be used only where we have a clear stake in a conflict, a clear goal to be achieved, the clear means to reach that goal, and the potential of clear support on the part of the American people. As none of those exist in Somalia today, it is time to leave.

Sen. Jesse Helms - October 6, 1993 (R-NC): Mr. President, the United States has no constitutional authority, as I see it, to sacrifice U.S. soldiers to Boutros-Ghali's vision of multilateral peacemaking. Again, I share the view of Senator Byrd that the time to get out is now....As a matter of fact, while we are at it, it is high time we reviewed the War Powers Act, which, in the judgment of this Senator, should never have been passed in the first place. The sole constitutional authority to declare war rests, according to our Founding Fathers, right here in the Congress of the United States, and not on Pennsylvania Avenue. I voted against the War Powers Act. If it were to come up again today, I would vote against it. I have never regretted my opposition to it.

Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) - October 6: Let me close by saying I am willing to support our President, our Commander in Chief, if we have a policy either for decisive, potent, and powerful military action, without quarter, without reservation--or obviously for us instead to withdraw from Somalia. What I cannot continue to support is the continuing endangerment of Americans in the service of a policy that remains absolutely mysterious and totally muddled.

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Completely incorrect. Republican senators attempted to force an immediate withdrawal from Somalia and introduced legislation to cut off funding to our troops in the field. They only compromised on a withdrawal in six months after they faced opposition from Bill Clinton, who wanted to stay. How do you not remember this? Were you not alive at the time?

For Limbots history is constantly re-written to support their view of the present.

Posted by: Tripp on February 8, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

For Limbots history is constantly re-written to support their view of the present.

That, or they're just ill-informed and hopelessly partisan....

Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: Hack refers to someone else as "ill-informed and hopelessly partisan."

As for Trashy, nothing I can say could surpass the smackdown he's already received from some of our esteemed regulars, nor the dishonor he's heaped upon himself with his own blindly partisan dishonesty.

Shame on you both.

Posted by: Gregory on February 8, 2008 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw,

You haven't really made a case for staying. The good government and a pony objectives are completely outside of America's control. It is not up to us to prop up the Iraqi government. That's were Vietnam is instructive. Again we are choosing a government that fits our illusions and needs us to stay. We need to be more free market about it and let the political forces in Iraq find their own equilibrium. If it looks like Iraq will stabalize around an violent anti american polity, well then we know what to do, we smash.

American's are very good at the smash.

Again, there is not compelling reason for America to have large ground forces in Iraq other than to assuage republican pride. It's party over country for the gop when it comes to iraq.

Posted by: Northern Observer on February 8, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Ok let's look at what Clinton actually said versus what you excerpted:

And make no mistake about it, if we were to leave Somalia tomorrow, other nations would leave, too. Chaos would resume, the relief effort would stop and starvation soon would return. That knowledge has led us to continue our mission ... Recently, Gen. Colin Powell said this about our choices in Somalia: 'Because things get difficult, you don't cut and run. You work the problem and try to find a correct solution'

I want to bring our troops home from Somalia. Before the events of this week, as I said, we had already reduced the number of our troops there from 28,000 to less than 5,000. We must complete that withdrawal soon, and I will. But we must also leave on our terms. We must do it right. And here is what I intend to do.

This past week's events make it clear that even as we prepare to withdraw from Somalia, we need more strength there.

It is my judgment--and that of my military advisors--that we may need up to 6 months to complete these steps and to conduct an orderly withdrawal. We will do what we can to complete the mission before then. All American troops will be out of Somalia no later than March 31, except for a few hundred support personnel in noncombat roles.

So let us finish the work we set out to do. Let us demonstrate to the world, as generations of Americans have done before us, that when Americans take on a challenge, they do the job right.

That was just days after the Blackhawk down incident. Before amendments to cut off funding had been sent to the floor let alone debated or voted upon. Oh and the amendment to cut off finding, it was the Byrd (D-KKK) Amendment.

In any event, Clinton was clear on the March 31 withdrawal date (i.e. within 6 months) as this October 13 press conference makes clear:

MS. MYERS: Well, the President laid out what his policy is on Somalia last week. What we're looking for is an amendment that supports the general direction of that policy, which includes the troops will stay there in order to protect the safety of other Americans on the ground, to keep open the lines of communications, the roads, and other things to -- and to keep in check people who disrupted the process of humanitarian assistance. That was the President's policy. He said he was sending additional reinforcements there --1,700 additional troops to Somalia, with another contingent offshore to support there as a rapid response type of operation. And finally that the troops would be removed by March 31st with the exception of a couple hundred support troops.

So let's just put to bed the notion that (1) Clinton knew that leaving Somalia would embolden folks like bin Laden (in fairness, no one really knew this as I made clear above) or (2) he intended to stay and complete the mission but was forced into withdrawing by the GOP.

Google works both ways you know, Stefan

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 8, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Northern Observer:

Sorry, I wasn't trying to make my case for staying. I was using your argument for withdrawal to indicate that doing it responsibly would still require linking the withdrawal of troops to the capacity of Iraq's various groups to handle our leaving. Only then could we hope to be able to continue to influence events in Iraq as you laid out.

The bottom line is that if one cares at all about what happens in Iraq, then it is impossible to support simply pulling out our forces as quickly as possible. The only way to support it is if (1) you believe what happens in Iraq will have no bearing on our future security or (2) you believe Iraq is hopelessly lost, doomed to chaos and collapse, and so we can do nothing more there than delay the inevitable. Needless to say, I don't agree with either of these premises.

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 8, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

So let's just put to bed the notion that (1) Clinton knew that leaving Somalia would embolden folks like bin Laden (in fairness, no one really knew this as I made clear above) or (2) he intended to stay and complete the mission but was forced into withdrawing by the GOP.

Whoa, let's move those goalposts back! The point Hacksaw made was that "Blaming the GOP for Clinton's decision to pull out of Somalia only demonstrates how ill-informed and hopelessly partisan you are." Clearly the implication here is that the GOP somehow wanted to stay in Somalia but that the evil Clinton forced them to pull out. The above Clinton quote doesn't refute this -- instead, it merely reinforces the reality that Clinton favored staying until our work was done, while Republicans favored an immediate and pell-mell retreat. The only reason Clinton wound up advocating a six month withdrawal was as a compromise offered to the defeatist GOP Senators.

Nobody, after all, wanted to stay in Somalia forever. But in 1993 the two choices were (i) the Bill Clinton approach, which was an orderly withdrawal after the job was done, and (ii) the Republican approach, which was surrender to the enemy. Nothing in President Clinton's speech above negates the reality of the GOP quotes I put up, all of which are clearly in favor of withdrawing immediately.

In any event, Clinton was clear on the March 31 withdrawal date (i.e. within 6 months) as this October 13 press conference makes clear:

You'll note that October 13th comes after October 5th-7th, which is when the Republican Senate calls for withdrawal were made. Again, this only reinforces my point that the Clinton only compromised on the withdrawal date after it was clear that our brave troops in the field could no longer count on the support of the Republican Senators, who wanted to surrender to the enemy.


Posted by: Stefan on February 8, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Hacksaw, which do you think is a clearer indicator of racism? Membership in a racist organization which you abandoned six decades in the past, or support for rampant terrorist acts against people who look vaguely like people whose acts scared you so badly that you are willing to drop bombs on innocent civililans?

Stop pretending. Yours is the party of racism and support for terrorizing human beings. Learn to accept reality. If you don't want to be thought a racist, don't associate with the racists who started bombing brown people for no reason related to national security.

The only way you can believe that the continued slaughter of Iraqis for the entertainment of racist assholes like Hacksaw is going to lead to increased national security is if 1) you think that bombing a civilian population into submssion is the right way to engender love, or 2) you think that saving George W. Bush's legacy is more important than our national security.

Only a fucking moron, like Hacksaw, could believe either of those things.

Posted by: heavy on February 8, 2008 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

If it wasn't clear in the remarks I cited, Clinton's decision to set the March 31 withdrawal came on the 5th-6th.

Moreover, I never suggested that "the GOP somehow wanted to stay in Somalia but that the evil Clinton forced them to pull out." In fact, I've said several times that no one in either party really understood the ramification of pulling out. But you distinctly claimed that Clinton wanted to stay and the GOP was to blame for the withdrawal. You wrote:

Republican senators attempted to force an immediate withdrawal from Somalia and introduced legislation to cut off funding to our troops in the field. They only compromised on a withdrawal in six months after they faced opposition from Bill Clinton, who wanted to stay/

The reality is, Clinton decided after the Blackhawk Down incident that the troops needed to come out and he set the six month window to do it. What you originally wrote made it seem that Clinton wanted to stay (and presumably complete the mission) and that pressure from the GOP forced him to settle for a six month window. But an honest reading of the facts makes clear that that is simply not the truth.

Moreover, had Clinton wanted to stay, he would have at least tried to fight for such an option. Instead, he proposed the 6 month withdrawal date before amendments were made to push for a withdrawal. And he was absolutely clear, as you can tell from the quotes above, that withdrawal was his course of action.

Posted by: Hacksaw on February 9, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw, you nastly lying little racist, you know the truth is that the Republicans - as Stefan cited - were clamouring to cut and run.

On the fifth of October the cowardly Republicans were demanding Clinton abandon the people of Somalia. Three days later Clinton said:

So let us finish the work we set out to do. Let us demonstrate to the world, as generations of Americans have done before us, that when Americans take on a challenge, they do the job right.
The truth is that Republicans only "support the troops" if the President is a Republican. That's the difference between Republicans and Americans. Americans support the troops, Republicans support only Republican power.

Posted by: heavy on February 9, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the actual result of your assault on the Iraqi people:

The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture.

The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.

This isn't an accident. This is because racist assholes like you didn't give a fuck about the human beings who would suffer because you soil your diaper over something that kills fewer people every year than automobile accidents.

All your re-writing of history to shift the blame away from your cowardly party doesn't change the fact that they wanted to cut and run when the President wasn't another Republican. All of your re-writing of history doesn't change the fact that Iraq wasn't about our national security until George W. Bush turned it into a haven for terrorists.

Every time you think about the glorious war George W. Bush started to entertain sick fucks like you, you should remember the women whose brutalization is the natural result of your actions.

Posted by: heavy on February 9, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Just finished perusing Hacksaw's link to Bush's National Stratemegy for Victory in Iraq. Oh my god, what a huge crock of horseshit that thing is. Running out the door but here are a few quickies from the Bush Politburo on Iraq:

Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror.

Quite simply false. No terrorist attack has ever come from Iraq. Iraq is a country facing insurgents and guerillas like any number of central and south American countries. To the extent that Iraq is becoming a terror problem it's because Bush destabilized the country with an illegal invasion that literally had no plan for an occupation.

The enemy is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida.

Bzzzt! Patently false. Secular Sunni and religious Shia have absolutely nothing in common with Al Qaeda.

Each element shares a common short-term objective -- to intimidate, terrorize, and tear down -- but has separate and incompatible long-term goals.

Wrong again. Sunni are fighting for rights under the new government, while various Shia groups are vying for power, religious view, oil and aren't trying to "tear down" anything.

Middle East reformers would never again fully trust American assurances of support for democracy and human rights in the region -- a historic opportunity lost.

Actually, we lost that trust by our ill-planned invasion and we ain't gettin' it back. The other ME countries want us out, out, out.

The resultant tribal and sectarian chaos would have major consequences for American security and interests in the region.

We destroyed the peace and exacerbated these differences. We can't fix them. But what's hilarious is that in the next breath they say:

"Exploiting these differences within the enemy is a key element of our strategy. "

So on the one hand we have to fix the tribal and sectarian chaos while at the same time we have to capitalize on it, fan the flames, and exploit it to our advantage.

Genius.

Literally they should use this as an exercise for schoolkids to try and find how many factual errors, logical errors, and historical errors it contains. Could be used in history, logic, or journalism classes.

Further:

Our strategy is working: Much has been accomplished in Iraq, including the removal of Saddam's tyranny, negotiation of an interim constitution, restoration of full sovereignty, holding of free national elections, formation of an elected government, drafting of a permanent constitution wank wank wank

In point of fact, these are all the things that haven't worked. Removing Saddam has made the country a much worse place to live; the constitution and ensuing elections have created an impotent, divided and deadlocked government with no projective power (and a puppet state of the U.S. to boot); security forces are corrupt and ineffective, infrastructure is seeing almost no gains whatsoever, et al.

And last but not least:

"Our mission in Iraq is to win the war. "

What fucking war?!? The war is over! Done! Didn't they get the memo??? It's an occupation now.

So what is the mission?!?!?

Unbefuckinglievable.

Posted by: trex on February 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Tough on terror" = gop translation = more dead americans

Posted by: mr. irony on February 9, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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