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Tilting at Windmills

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May 16, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

TALKING TO TERRORISTS....On Thursday President Bush said that talking to "terrorists and radicals" is appeasement, and later that day John McCain said he agreed. But in the Washington Post today, James Rubin says that McCain hasn't always felt this way:

Two years ago, just after Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections, I interviewed McCain for the British network Sky News's "World News Tonight" program. Here is the crucial part of our exchange:

I asked: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have in the past, working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is now in charge?"

McCain answered: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

I imagine that McCain will wriggle out of this somehow. Maybe by claiming that "sooner or later" means, um, later. Or that "deal with them" doesn't include actually talking to them. Or something. But it sure sounds as if he was in favor of talking to Hamas before he was opposed to it.

Kevin Drum 12:54 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

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Comments

Just because YOU talk to the radicals doesn't mean YOU have to cut a deal with them.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 16, 2008 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Both the conservatives and liberals are too afraid of the Israeli lobby to make any sort of change. Just as liberals equate a Mexican with a Hispanic American, liberals equate an Israeli with a Jewish American. And the Religious Right loves Israel; thus the GOP loves Israel.

Posted by: true on May 16, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

negotiating with terrorists only confirms their sense of the power of terrorism and cleaves them more closely to it.

mccain: we'll have to deal with them one way or another.

oh boy, Kevin, mac is quaking in his boots over that one.

Posted by: neill on May 16, 2008 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Neill, what the hell are you blathering about? If you read McCain's comments, its pretty obvious he's saying "We'll have to negotiate with those in power." Give it another try, you can do it.
I realize it hurts that your cantidate is a flopper on a scale that makes whatever Kerry did seem trivial, but at least take comfort in the fact that the Dems aren't craven enough to swiftboat old Mac. He'll do it to himself.

Posted by: Captain on May 16, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's about time some of his bullsh*t talk is exposed for what it is.

Posted by: Eric on May 16, 2008 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

Neill! Delightful!

Why would you agree to anything with the rebels?

Oh, Neill, cleave means "part", "slice away from", etc. Not hold them to.!! If you don't understand language how can you argue meaning?

Not well, I'd guess!


Posted by: notthere on May 16, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, lil Jamie Rubin is CNN's Iran-luvin' ditz Amanpour's hubby & what McCain said to him in his self-promoting little Sky News interview hardly amounts to "talking without preconditions."

Democrats like Obama "can't handle the truth," as they're all a virtual-bunch of second-rate trial lawyers unable to figure out that bad people are not defendants.

Bad people are 'splodin' dudes who HAVE TO BE STOPPED. McCain said "deal with" and "one way or another" could mean taking them down if they keep rocketing Israeli civilians. No "hypocrisy" there.

Bush & McCain should keep attacking on that line & bring in Pelosi with her ridiculous burka plucking the hem of terrorist-chieflet Bashar Assad's robe in Damascus. That borders on treason, as Syria is a declared supporter of international terrorism & supports Hezbollah and Hamas, allowing Khaled Mashaal to reside in Damascus.

And of course Obama keeps floating like a butterfly on these issues without being called to account by non-journalist Obamaniacs in the MSM. Taking both sides of an issue and instinctively defending culprits and mass-murderers is one of those bad habits that Bush & McCain should keep pointing out.

Posted by: daveinboca on May 16, 2008 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

ugh, trolls.

" I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East."

In other words, time to make a change from the antipathy.

But hey, I hope McCain tries to make the argument that he was arguing for more aggressive action. Please, do your best to convince his campaign to do that.

Posted by: JoshA on May 16, 2008 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

bad people are not defendants.

this is the kind of ridiculous statement that too many americans regard as logic.

Posted by: billy on May 16, 2008 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone but me find it a little ironic that Bush's speech was made at the anniversary of the birth of Israel; an event that was brought about, at least in part, by what could objectively be considered acts of terrorism and "talking to" those people who were, at least indirectly, connected to Irgun, the group that blew up the King David Hotel killing around 100 people?


Anyone else see the irony?

Posted by: adolphus on May 16, 2008 at 3:51 AM | PERMALINK

Rachel Maddow had a piece on Air America radio last evening where she played clips of all of John McCain's contradictory statements on Iraq, terrorism, etc. The old fool is incoherent. He says something different every time he opens his diseased gob. What a pathetic old cancer-riddled fuckhead. How stupid are Americans who vote for a senile coot for president who will be 80 if he is lucky enough to live out two terms???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 16, 2008 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'd guess, however you feel about the matter, that he'd wriggle out if it by the complete failure of anybody to both ask him to justify this any many previous mutually exclusive statements and position.

notthere: Use a dictionary before you make an ass out of yourself again.

Posted by: jhm on May 16, 2008 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK

No one will know about any erroneous statements McCain made unless the MSM repeats them over and over again. They won't know how he treats others to include his wife unless it is reported repeatedly. With only two major televised outlets of news in the United States they will never learn about the 32 tapes he made for the NVA or will they ever read his book and find out that he told the Vietnamese every thing he knew except the names of the men in his squad which he replaced with the names of the Packers defensive line. They will never learn of the men who died because he gave up the routes his unit was flying and the NVA started getting a 60% kill ratio, nor will they learn that those attack runs had to be shut down because the commanders son broke his rules of conduct for personal medical treatment. Without the media being free, they will never find out that he has treated the Vietnamese better after the war then he has the families of POW/MIA's. They will never hear about calling his wife a cunt in public. Without true questions being asked by main stream reporters and then talked about by every MSM outlet the general American public will be oblivious.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on May 16, 2008 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

notthere:

Cleave is one of the weirdest cases in English.
Meaning 1: to adhere closely; stick; cling
Meaning 2: to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, esp. along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.

So it's one of those rare words that is its own antonym.

--
Daryl McCullough
Ithaca, NY

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on May 16, 2008 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

Say, JoeSixPack, none of that could have happened with McCain. After all, he was tortured. Everybody knows that torture doesn't work and that the information gained through torture is totally unreliable.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

One of the major reasons the Cold War ended peacefully without a shooting war between the USSR
and the US is that Ronald Reagan was talking and negotiating with the Soviet leaders and at times giving them significant support in their internal power struggles.

But according to Bush and McCain talking to the enemy is appeasement and traitorous.

Nancy Reagan should demand an apology.

Posted by: spencer on May 16, 2008 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

I've commented on this site and others that Jim Webb would be a valuable asset as Obama's Veep because he would be able to effectively rebut the inevitable national security smears directed at Obama by the GOP. I haven't come across any comments by Webb yet on the statements by Bush and McCain, and if he leaves it up to Biden and Obama to respond I'll be pretty disappointed.

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 16, 2008 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Strong leaders like McCain and Bush never talk to terrorists. That's why the so-called Sunni Awakening is so miraculous. Over a very short period of time, like a bolt from the blue, a number of former violent Sunni insurgent tribes, acknowledged killers of American and other coalition soldiers, both agreed to lay down their arms and to begin accepting payments from the Americans. Those payments also began miraculously, because, of course, there had been no prior talks as to the amounts which would be paid, to whom the payments would be made.

No, talking to terrorists is appeasement. Paying them to stop attacks on American troops (Didn't the old chestnut "A million for defense, not a dollar for tribute" used to be taught in grade schools) is a surge strategy. Come on you liberal wienies, get with the Orwellian doublespeak.

Posted by: RoaringPurpleEagle on May 16, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Some interesting thoughts at War in Context.

As Winston Churchill famously said, “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

Churchill, unlike George Bush, was eminently well equipped to employ the power of language. Churchill understood that negotiation is not the same as appeasement.

Posted by: Gianna on May 16, 2008 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I was surprised at how ignorantly the Obama campaign handled the "Hamas is a terrorist" accusation.

The simple response was the factually accurate response. Hamas was an elected government that declared war on Israel and got clobbered. Hence they return to being an underground guerrilla group using terror tactics.

It is this very frozen fear of saying factually correct statements that characterize the progressive. The more Obama is afraid of factually correct statements, the more I fear that he is too progressive.

It is like the Greenhouse problem, I run for cover as soon as the progressive connects GHG issues with his other rent seeking issues. At that point, I know I will get the fear of the truth from them, then dialogue stops.


Posted by: Matt on May 16, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I think McCain meant that he'd give them a stern talking-to, while Obama would pretend to be criticizing them while giving them a secret Muslim terrorist handshake.

Posted by: shortstop on May 16, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Appease: to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.

Given Mr. Straight Talk's previous willingness to deal with Hamas, one could say he's now appeasing the wackjob wing (is there any other?) of the Republican party by changing his position, you know, sort of at the expense of justice or other principles.

Posted by: jrw on May 16, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Just pass this along to Steve Benen who was keeping track of McCain's flip-flops. It's a long list and getting longer.

Bad people are 'splodin' dudes who HAVE TO BE STOPPED.
That's exactly the line that GwB has handed out for the last 6 years, nice to see you've been effectively propagandized. The only problem with that line is that it's hard, especially without on the ground assets, to tell the "sploding dudes" from the, well, non kind. So, in the interest of taking a probability estimate approach. GwB's military simply kills anything that looks like your kind of bad.
I'm astounded, really, to find that the Baghdad strategy hasn't been copied here in the US. I am waiting until the blast walls start going up in DC neighborhoods.
Dave, your approach, well, GwB's, you're just another parrot, is what has gotten 4,000 soldiers, over 1,000 contractors and unknown Iraqi civilians killed. Nice work.


Posted by: TJM on May 16, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

You don't talk to Iran. That's Ollie North's balliwick.

Posted by: Ronald Reagan on May 16, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Say, JoeSixPack, none of that could have happened with McCain. After all, he was tortured. Everybody knows that torture doesn't work and that the information gained through torture is totally unreliable.

Posted by: trashhauler


Do you have proof that he was tortured other then him saying so ??
He broke his code of conduct to receive medical treatment for injuries sustained in the crash of him being shot down. So we only have his word that he was actually tortured, he has blocked the release of his pentagon debriefing statement except once but it was so heavily redacted that it was useless in finding out anything but his name. The tapes he made for the NVA say that he was treated very well and his actions to help the Vietnamese after the war suggest they were quite chummy, unlike the actions he took against the families of POW/MiA's.

But if you have proof that they tortured him I am willing to look at it.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on May 16, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Adolphus: Does anyone but me find it a little ironic that Bush's speech was made at the anniversary of the birth of Israel; an event that was brought about, at least in part, by what could objectively be considered acts of terrorism and "talking to" those people who were, at least indirectly, connected to Irgun, the group that blew up the King David Hotel killing around 100 people?

Does anyone but you know about these events, that happened so long ago? Granted, not as long ago as Chamberlaine in Munich, but still . . . . How can anyone be expected to know about things that happened more than a week ago? Hey, Republicans, don't let your ignorance of Israel's history stop you from going on Chris Matthew's show and sputtering about how we shouldn't even talk to groups connected to groups that commit terrorist acts.

Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel's right-wing Herut (or "Freedom") party, which led to today's Likud party. Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irgun

Posted by: cowalker on May 16, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

I'm seeing two dodges on this issue among Those Still Stupid Enough to be Republicans:

1) "deal with" = attack, in which case McCain was saying we have to blow up all elected governments. Dictatorships would be safe, natch.

2) McCain was talking about Hamas, not Ahmadinejad. But Ahmadinejad is the elected exec in Iran, so there's no difference, according to McCain's own words.

Watch for Limbaugh, et al., to repeat these two lines of transparent bullshit, 'cause when it gets this bad, the wingnut pundits' function is to give cowards a safe place to hide, rhetorically.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 16, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

One result of the refusal to talk to certain countries is that the US is totally IMPOTENT to help with the disaster in Myanmar. With no basis for political dialog, US aid is locked out. Diplomacy can accomplish many goals that preemptive military action cannot.

Posted by: bakho on May 16, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Diplomacy can accomplish many goals that preemptive military action cannot.

Yes, but only preemptive military action can help the Conservative male briefly forget his little ... you know, problem.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 16, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I predict he'll try to weasle out of it by claiming they have changed over the past 2 years, that what he said then was true at the time, but not now. (Never mind the facts)

Posted by: RollaMO on May 16, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

How long will it be before "Mr Straight Talk" is a term of derision? And how can we speed this up?

Posted by: focus on May 16, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Deflator: pathetic old ... fuckhead

I'm not cancer-riddled, thankfully, but on behalf of pathetic old fuckheads everywhere, I wish to take exception to being compared to that asshole McCain.

Posted by: thersites on May 16, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

All together now:

FLIP
FLOP
FLIP
FLOP
FLIP
FLOP
FLIP
FLOP
FLIP
FLOP
FLIP
FLOP

If there are two sides to an issue, somehow McCain will find a way to take three.

Posted by: afferent input on May 16, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Actually there's a not bad wriggle, which is that talking to Hamas was a pretty good idea when they won the elections and took over as the democratically elected Palestinian leadership, and is a much less good idea once a de facto Palestinian civil war has broken out, complete withlots of Palestinian on Palestinian violence, so we can't as easily talk in good faith with both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas as we could have two years ago. It's not the strongest wriggle but it's reasonable.

Posted by: Sanjay on May 16, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Oh my, nice spin trolls! McCain is the MOST.FRAUDULENT.POLITICIAN.EVER. You can't even call it flip-flopping. It is the rankest hypocrisy, the starkest dishonesty. McCain will say or do anything to fluff his base and get elected. The man has no principles, no foundation.

Toward Hamas, I'm sure McCain will trot out his stalwart diplomacy..."cut that shit out".

Posted by: ckelly on May 16, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

JoeSixPack wrote: "Do you have proof that he was tortured other then him saying so?? He broke his code of conduct to receive medical treatment for injuries sustained in the crash of him being shot down."
_____________________________

You mean, aside from medical records and corroboration from other POWs? Not a bit.

Joe, it's clear you've never been through SERE training nor ever met a Vietnam era POW. If McCain was not tortured, then he must have been unique among all the POWs of that war. Similarly, despite the "torture doesn't work" meme that is commonly thrown into common discourse, any SERE instructor can tell you that you can make anyone do anything, given enough time to exert physical torment.

Joe, the Code of Conduct is an ideal to strive for, not a law that, once broken, might as well be ignored. The military services teach SERE students to expect that they will break under torture, because everybody who survives torture does break. In North Vietnam, the only POWs who did not give in to torture died there. As did all with truly debilitating crash injuries. The North Vietnamese did not waste their time with either of those types of prisoner.

We are prompted by the Code to hold out under torture as long as we can and, if broken, to attempt to abide by the Code once conditions permit.

You're digging in a dry hole here and not bringing credit upon yourself while you do it.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I wish Hamas would just give Czechoslovakia back so we could all get some sleep.

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on May 16, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

How long will it be before "Mr Straight Talk" is a term of derision?

Brutus is an honorable man.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 16, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

despite the "torture doesn't work" meme that is commonly thrown into common discourse, any SERE instructor can tell you that you can make anyone do anything, given enough time to exert physical torment.

That meme is wholly made up in your tiny mind. The "meme" is that torture does not work to yield any viable information exactly because you can make anyone do OR SAY anything.

Posted by: ckelly on May 16, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
Say, JoeSixPack, none of that could have happened with McCain. After all, he was tortured. Everybody knows that torture doesn't work and that the information gained through torture is totally unreliable.

Okay, so you have a strawman (the rebuttal advanced by torture opponents to the "necessity" defense of torture isn't that torture never produces results, but that torture is in no definable set of circumstances knowable in advance to be more likely to produce results than less immoral methods, such that the argument that it is a "necessary evil" because of its superiority to other available means must fail) which you attempt to rebut with an argument in which the conclusion (John McCain cannot have revealed information to his captors) does not follow from the premises (torture never works, John McCain was tortured) because the premise that John McCain was tortured does not rule out the possibility that the North Vietnamese also applied other means to get information out of him. So, really, the discussion you are having over whether or not McCain was, in fact, tortured is entirely beside the point; your argument is complete B.S. even before considering the truth of any of its premises.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 16, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

If you read the entire piece, Rubin describes McCain's original statements as being softer on Hamas than either Obama or Clinton, both of whom have said they would insist that Hamas change its policies towards Israel and terrorism before they would agree to engage.

McCain talk out of both sides of his mouth? Never!

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on May 16, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

You guys are reading too much into McCain's comments. Dealing with a terrorist group "one way or the other" doesn't mean negotiating with a known terrorist group that wants to destroy Israel.

It'll be interesting to see how Obama responds today because it will be important for him to challenge the Republican talking points that he's inexperienced and naive. In fact, McCain has gone so far as to say that Obama as President would be dangerous for this country. Obama's experience is fair game and we'll see if he can step up because this is just the beginning.

Posted by: Noel on May 16, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I guess by Bush's reasoning, no one should talk to him. After all, it's he who is the world's biggest terrorist.

Posted by: Lee on May 16, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

"The "meme" is that torture does not work to yield any viable information exactly because you can make anyone do OR SAY anything."
_________________

Which is why torturers must be judicious in their techniques and use whatever other sources of information are available to confirm what an interrogation has revealed. Real information can and has been extracted under torture, even if it does no more than confirm those other sources.

This is not an argument in favor of torture, but simply an acknowledgement of its effects.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I wish Hamas would just give Czechoslovakia back so we could all get some sleep.

That was funny.

Posted by: Lucy on May 16, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Blah, blah, blah. Now Israel's talking points are ours -- but only in an election year.

McCain's Pinnocchio nose just went that much further up Bush's bum with this one, and the Dems are already relentlessly pushing them together. This is going to help kill off the beast.

Posted by: Kenji on May 16, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

This is no problem some coffee, doughnuts, and a good BBQ can't help cover up.

Posted by: Kryptik on May 16, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

You're digging in a dry hole here and not bringing credit upon yourself while you do it.

Posted by: trashhauler

There is no doubt that we have changed the Code Of Conduct since the tragedies of Vietnam. I fault no soldier for talking to save his own life, but at what point does it become giving aid and comfort to the enemy? John Sidney McCain made at least 32 known tapes for the NVA. After he was elected to office he was adamant about chairing the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA affairs and worked his ass off to stop the families of POW/MIA's efforts to find their loved ones or their remains. He then sought to seal records and changed MIA's to IP's which we no longer seek their return from N.Korea,Vietnam or Laos.

If he has nothing to hide he should release his Pentagon debriefing statement un-redacted.

Many POW/MIA families want answers.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on May 16, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Dealing with a terrorist group "one way or the other" doesn't mean negotiating with a known terrorist group that wants to destroy Israel.

Right on cue, the ignorant talking points I already mentioned.

The rest of the quote, dumbass, makes it perfectly clear that that WAS what McCain was talking about doing:

They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that.

So, yes: McCain was saying we should be "negotiating with a known terrorist group that wants to destroy Israel."
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 16, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

if we had a time machine, we could take mccain back to bitch at kennedy for talking to nikita,
and nixon going to china and ronnie hanging with gorby.

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 16, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

The great thing about a phrase like "deal with them sooner or later" is its ambiguity.

A certain tone of voice, a certain look and when someone says "I'll deal with you later" I'm quaking in my boots. A different tone of voice, and I'm looking forward to a friendly negotiation over coffee sometime after lunch.

And in print, devoid of visual clues, it's there for the reader to project his or her own wishes. Straight talk indeed.
How long will it be before "Mr Straight Talk" is a term of derision?
We're there, dude.

Posted by: thersites on May 16, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"...which you attempt to rebut with an argument in which the conclusion (John McCain cannot have revealed information to his captors..."
______________________

I wasn't trying to rebut anything, cm. I was snarking on the "McCain is a traitorous coward" theme behind all the bullshit speculation about what happened in North Vietnam forty years ago.

All serious interrogators uses variety of techniques, much of it coercive. Even kind treatment is effectively coercive when combined with the threat of its being withheld. Of course, that sounds like BS to you - real life isn't a set of gaming models.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

>"...known terrorist group that wants to destroy Israel."

Terrorism = Violence against civilians NOT APPROVED by the US government.

The Palestinian people want a non-aprathied Palestine and the right to return to the lands that were taken (all too recently) from them at gunpoint.

This means a 'non-jewish' state in the same sense that modern South Africa is no longer 'afrikanner'. Like South Africa, there is a lot of hatred to be overcome.

Most Americans don't know the history of the Zionist movement and are blindingly ignorant of the fact that it is in it's very heart a racist ideology.

Posted by: Buford on May 16, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

adolphus@3:51: EXACTLY!

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 16, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

But McCain was never tortured. He was merely aggressively interrogated or, at worst, subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. But torture, no, not at all....

Posted by: Stefan on May 16, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

re: 'talking to terrorists'

To paraphrase what Israeli PM Yitzchak Rabin said about his opening peace negotiations with Yassir Arafat- as infamous a terrorist as has ever lived: you don't negotiate peace with your friends; you, by definition, negotiate peace with your enemies.

Negotiation is *not* appeasement. Negotiation may just lead to peace. War, on the other hand, has a much more mixed record in that regard.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on May 16, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

I imagine that McCain will wriggle out of this somehow.

It's two years later, and in the intervening two years Hamas has proved itself worse than its American optimists had hoped for. On the whole, they have performed worse than the government that preceded them.

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

that was my post at 12:56 pm.

Besides what I wrote, "sooner or later" includes "as a last resort". So it could mean "practically never."

Posted by: spider on May 16, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

JoeSixPack wrote: "Do you have proof that he was tortured other then him saying so?? He broke his code of conduct to receive medical treatment for injuries sustained in the crash of him being shot down."

trashhauler: You mean, aside from medical records and corroboration from other POWs? Not a bit.

But do you have proof he was actually tortured rather than merely being subjected to aggressive interrogation techniques....?

Posted by: Stefan on May 16, 2008 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK
I wasn't trying to rebut anything, cm. I was snarking on the "McCain is a traitorous coward" theme behind all the bullshit speculation about what happened in North Vietnam forty years ago.

Calling something "snarking on a theme" rather than rebutting an argument doesn't negate or excuse the fact that the thing it addresses is a strawman, and that the premises don't support the conclusion it is offered to suggest.


All serious interrogators uses variety of techniques, much of it coercive. Even kind treatment is effectively coercive when combined with the threat of its being withheld.

This is true, but a non-sequitur. "Coercive methods", particularly when coercion is described so broadly as to include withholding kind treatment, is not the same thing as torture. Certainly, torture is a coercive method, but saying that all serious interrogators use a variety of methods most of which are coercive, which is certainly, especially using as broad a definition of "coercive" as you suggest, true, doesn't have any relevance.

Of course, that sounds like BS to you

No, what is BS is your use of strawmen, illogic, and nonsequiturs in response to any criticism of the political right.

real life isn't a set of gaming models.

True but, again, a completely irrelevant to the discussion. As well as being a non-sequitur, that's also a nice implicit ad hominem to add to the list of fallacies you've employed already in this thread.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 16, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

have you never watched mccain speak?

the man's arms and shoulders are now deformed.

it's especially apparent when he raises his arms.

breaking bones is TORTURE.

Posted by: neill on May 16, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: "...what is BS is your use of strawmen, illogic, and nonsequiturs in response to any criticism of the political right."
____________________

On the contrary, cm. Just because you want to preemptively declare any sentence or idea to be a nonsquitur or off-topic, or a strawman doesn't make it so. Certainly, if you are allowed to determine each and every definition and relevant statement involved in a discussion, it's no wonder you think you win every argument or can dismiss every contrary concept.

Since no one has designated you the ultimate judge of what is on point and what is not, especially in topics with which you have no experience or expertise, it is your dismissive attempts to shape the discussions to your own ends which are the real non sequiturs.

So fuck off, geek.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

breaking bones is TORTURE.

Oh, so when some football player cracks a rib in a game he's been tortured? C'mon. Grow up. If getting a bone broken is torture, then half the kids who've played competitve sports in this country have been tortured....

Posted by: Stefan on May 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter John McCain:

When I say we could be in Iraq for 100 years you MUST include the full context in which I said it and give it the most favorable possible interpretation.

But when I say "we are going to have to deal with them" (Hamas), you MUST ignore the full context of what I said so that you can pretend I didn't mean I would negotiate with them.

Posted by: tanstaafl on May 16, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

have you never watched mccain speak?

the man's arms and shoulders are now deformed.

it's especially apparent when he raises his arms.

breaking bones is TORTURE.

Posted by: neill


Yes his injuries are consistent with a torturous plane crash, had he been only wearing a lap safety belt I am sure it would have cut him right in half. As far as him not being able to raise is hands above his shoulder you should look here at USA today for the photo of his return in 1973 waving at the press.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-03-25-mccainforce_N.htm

Of the 311 known POW's in Laos 9 were returned in 1973, then president Nixon said it was because we were bargaining from a position of weakness. Senator John Sidney McCain's only goal as the chairman of the senate select committee on POW/MIA affairs was to shut down any inquiry and political actions that would try to find our missing soldiers or their remains, and clear a path to do business with the now government of Vietnam.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on May 16, 2008 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

You're digging in a dry hole here and not bringing credit upon yourself while you do it.
Posted by: trashhauler

being an apologist for torture, you're not in a strong position to condemn him.

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

"being an apologist for torture, you're not in a strong position to condemn him."
__________________

Since I've never advocated or apologized for torture, you are wrong. In any case, if you think that was condemning, you certainly have a very thin skin.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Of the 311 known POW's in Laos 9 were returned in 1973, then president Nixon said it was because we were bargaining from a position of weakness. Senator John Sidney McCain's only goal as the chairman of the senate select committee on POW/MIA affairs was to shut down any inquiry...."
______________________

Senator John Kerry was the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. Senator McCain was a committee member. That was from 1991 to 1993, a bit late to affect President Nixon's efforts for our POWs in Laos.

Posted by: trashhauler on May 16, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

A few things to keep in mind...

Bush usually just says what he is told to say, most everyone by now understands this, also his approval is hovering in the high twenties, so does it really matter what he says at this stage?

Next, McCain will say anything to get elected, and most everyone is aware of this (even if only subconsciously) and again, it should be no surprise, but I do wonder why in the hell they think for a moment this strategy is what will get them in the White House.

Posted by: benmerc on May 16, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: trashhauler So fuck off, geek.

Your shtick never changes. It consists of the following essential elements:

1) Redefine any torture as "coercive questioning" then state that the U.S. doesn't torture.

When proof or allegations arise that the U.S. has, in fact, tortured , either 1) dismiss them as propaganda, or 2) excuse them as an "extralegal"necessities.

2) Appeal to yourself as the authority on all things military when backed into a corner in debate. When your analysis is proven to be wildly in accurate, claim that 1) no one knows what is really happening in Iraq, 2) all the negative stories are overblown, and 3) for sure we're making great progress.

3) Uncritically pass along DoD and White House propaganda. When your allegations are refuted (as they were on the Iranian weapons story last week) question our patriotism in light of the fact that "everyone knows" how evil our "enemies" are.

When your allegations are refuted by actual service members, dismiss them as "grousing" or simply illegitimate because they're not official.

Undergird the whole mess with periodic appeals to Biblical authority.

This is played out. I don't see any reason for you to post here anymore.

Posted by: trex on May 16, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

So Kevin, how far behind the news cycle do you intend to fall before you revise the Rubin smear on McCain? Even CNN is more current than you are. Turns out there is additional video footage which contradicts the Rubin claims against McCain.

The SOP vs Republicans, twisting the truth by editing out inconvenient facts.

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/16/mccain-campaign-to-reporters-jamie-rubin-lied/

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Also last night, the McCain campaign pushed back even harder against Rubin, producing the full SkyNews exchange between Rubin and McCain regarding Hamas. The campaign says the full exchange shows McCain's consistency: that he would reach out to Hamas only if it met certain conditions.

Below is the exchange...
 
Jamie Rubin: "Do you think that American diplomats should be operating the way they have been in the past, in working with the Palestinian government if Hamas is in now charge?"

McCain: "They're the government and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with them in one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas is because of their dedication to violence and the things they not only espouse but practice, so, but it's a new reality in the Middle East. And I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and a decent future then they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

Rubin: "So should the United States be dealing with that new reality through normal diplomatic contacts to get the job done for the United States?"

McCain: "I think the United States should take a step back, see what they do when they form their government, see what their policies are, and see the ways that we can engage with them, and if there aren't any, there may be a hiatus. But I think part of the relationship is going to be dictated by how Hamas acts, not how the United States acts."

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

So once again, McCain insists on being given the most generous interpretation of the full context of his remarks while refusing to return the favor.

1) In the extended remarks, McCain doesn't specify what actions Hamas must take or avoid in order to be worthy of negatiating with.

2) During the current debate, McCain has not discussed what specific actions Hamas has taken or failed to take since being elected that makes them unworthy.

3) Barrack Obama has specifically stated that Hamas would need to officially recognize Israel's right to exist and forswear terrorism before he would negotiate with them.

So, given the above points:

1) How does Barrack Obama's position differ from McCain's?

2) Why should we take any of McCain's posturing on this issue seriously when he hasn't addressed the above points?

Posted by: tanstaafl on May 18, 2008 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, what happened to Obama's clear "no preconditions" pledge he made quite publicly during one of the democratic debates then? Flip-flop much? It just demonstrates how unserious a candidate Obama really is and how unready he is for the big leagues.

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

This claim of yours...

"2) During the current debate, McCain has not discussed what specific actions Hamas has taken or failed to take since being elected that makes them unworthy."

Not true. See here...

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/126207

"McCain released the following statement on response to the latest accusations: "There should be no confusion, John McCain has always believed that serious engagement would require mandatory conditions and Hamas must change itself fundamentally - renounce violence, abandon its goal of eradicating Israel and accept a two state solution. John McCain's position is clear and has always been clear, the President of the United States should not unconditionally meet with leaders of Iran, Hamas or Hizbullah. Barack Obama has made his position equally clear, and has pledged to meet unconditionally with Iran's leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the leaders of other rogue regimes, which shows incredibly dangerous and weak judgment.""

And then this statement of yours...

"3) Barrack Obama has specifically stated that Hamas would need to officially recognize Israel's right to exist and forswear terrorism before he would negotiate with them."

Oh really? I can't find such a statement. Perhaps you can provide a link? Then I can retract my accusation of Obama flip-flopping and settle on Obama just being a dunce when it comes to diplomacy with evil characters.

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Edit of my previous post

At the end where I said "Then I can retract my accusation of Obama flip-flopping and settle on Obama just being a dunce when it comes to diplomacy with evil characters."

I meant to say "If not, then I retract my accusation of Obama flip-flopping. Instead Obama remains a foreign policy dunce with his "no preconditions" pledge."

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Took just a couple minutes with Google to find this story from January, 2006.

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=3806933

"At a meeting with Palestinian students Thursday, Obama said the US will never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounces its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel, and Obama told ABC7 he delivered that message to the Palestinian president."

This one from June 4, 2007

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0706/04/sitroom.03.html

"And that, I think, is something that can be achieved, but it's going to require some soul-searching on the Palestinian side. They have to recognize Israel's right to exist; they have to renounce violence and terrorism as a tool to achieve their political ends; they have to abide by agreements. In that context, I think the Israelis will gladly say, "Let's move forward negotiations that would allow them to live side by side with the Palestinians in peace and security.""

and while the original AP post referenced is no longer available, when Jimmy Carter met with Hamas, Obama said "Hamas is not a state, Hamas is a terrorist organization."

Posted by: tanstaafl on May 18, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Those links are not about preconditions for direct Presidential negotiations. Sounds like the "no preconditions" pledge still stands.

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Not quite direct negotiations with Hamas, but via one intermediary agent have already begun...

http://www2.washingtonmonthly.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=13742

...heh.

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops! Not Hamas but Hezbollah! So many terrorist groups so little time, it's easy to lose track.

Posted by: Brad on May 18, 2008 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: jnarow eghlkt on June 15, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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