Return to Kevin Drum's "Political Animal" blog
Return to Political Animal

Email address
Powered by: MessageBot

October 3, 2006
 by Paul Begala
Paul Begala

THE MYTH OF MORAL SUPERIORITY IS SHATTERED: First, congratulations to Washington Monthly for their timely and useful new blog. Paul Glastris has been kind enough to offer me some occasional real estate, and I intend to make the most of it until he comes to his senses.

Let’s begin with the biggest story of the week. But what is it? Is it that Jack Abramoff showered Bush aides with gifts, perhaps illegally, and that they in turn gave Abramoff insider info? Is it that the Bushies were (once again) caught lying about how close Abramoff was to Team W?

In the sweep of history, no doubt, the biggest story is Iraq. And Bob Woodward’s latest blockbuster: that Pres. Bush and his fellow chickenhawks have been lying to us about the level of violence in Iraq, is surely a development that historians will be talking about a hundred years hence. (I love the Bushies’ response: “This is nothing new.” They’re right of course. It’s nothing new that the Bush White House lies. All the time. But for them to be so brazen and blasé about their mendacity is pretty amazing.)

But in my world – campaigns and cable television – nothing matches the Mark Foley story.

I’ve long believed each party has its wrongheaded conceit. Many Democrats have a need to feel intellectually superior, while many Republicans have a need to feel morally superior. Both aggravate the hell out of me (a not-so-bright sinner); neither is remotely true.

But let us now say that as of the Third Day of the Tenth Month in the Year of Our Lord 2006, the Conservative Myth of Moral Superiority has been crushed.

ABC News reports that as long as five years ago, key Republican staffers knew that Foley was a potential danger to children, so they warned pages to stay away from him. And as we’ve all learned in the past few days, House GOP leaders from Dennis Hastert (R-Fat Hypocrite) on down knew something about Foley’s inappropriate behavior and did nothing.

GOP Congressional Campaign Chair Tom Reynolds (R-Soon-to-be-Minority) learned that Foley had been sending inappropriate emails to an underage boy who had been a page in the spring of this year. He did not call the cops. Did not call the FBI. Did not even call the toothless hounds at the House Ethics Committee. But he did take $100,000 from Foley for the NRCC, a contribution the New York Daily News called “unusually large.” Think about that. Reynolds knew Foley was having some sort of inappropriate contact with a child, but he took $100,000 from him. And his spokesliar says he’d be willing to take the rest of Foley’s remaining $2.7 million war chest. Reynolds’ flak didn’t say the money ought to go for counseling and compensation for the children and families this animal harmed. He said Reynolds would like to get his greedy, slimy political mitts on it.

Why? Power, baby. As Henry Kissinger (R-War Criminal) once said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Like his colleagues in the GOP elite, Reynolds is so enamored with power, so seduced by the money that buys power, so enthralled with the Republicans’ one-party rule that he turned a blind eye to a red flag every dad in America would have noticed.

Tony Snow (R-Hair Spray) similarly has lost his moral bearings. The former Fox host (as if) told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien yesterday, “I hate to tell you, but it’s not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill. And there have been other scandals, as you know, that have been more than simply naughty e-mails.”

Naughty emails, Tony? Naughty emails? Is there anything more callous, more cavalier, more corrupt than laughing off a sexual predator as “naughty”?

The Capitol needs a change. Hell, it needs to be fumigated. And as the stench and filth of GOP sleaze slowly oozes away, let us never forget that these slimeballs, these dirtbags, these moral midgets think they’re better than you and me.

Paul Begala 2:08 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (183)

"GOP Congressional Campaign Chair Tom Reynolds (R-Soon-to-be-Minority)"

You got the designation on Reynolds wrong. It should read:

GOP Congressional Campaign Chair Tom Reynolds (R-Soon-to-be-Unemployed)

Posted by: Petey on October 3, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

"Better" -- Foley resigned, for God's sake -- Clinton didn't. Sounds like Hastert did everything he reasonably could.

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, why do politicians spend so much dough on hookers?

Posted by: Boronx on October 3, 2006 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Yay! I'm a hero again!

Posted by: bwoodward on October 3, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie hits the big time.

Posted by: Boronx on October 3, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas1 keeps making excuses for the party that covers up pedeophiles. Sad.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on October 3, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

Boronx >"If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, why do politicians spend so much dough on hookers?"

So the hookers can donate to the politician`s PACS ?

"A house of cards can stand for a long time in a glass cage. But not when exposed to the elements." -

Posted by: daCascadian on October 3, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

This evening my wife and I listened to Pat Buchanan repeat the now standard Republican excuses.

She looked at me and said: "did you hear that? Parents send their kids to Washington. How do you think that makes them feel? Those Congressmen didn't protect kids. They let that Congressman hit on them. Now this clown claims since the pages were 16, Foley did nothing illegal. That is supposed to make it all better."

She, who is not political, understood the essense of the Foley scandal. Grownups charged with protecting young people failed them. Is no Republican ever accountable?

I kinda hope Republicans continue using the Tony Snow "naughty email" take on this scandal. Their polling numbers will drop off into single digits.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 3, 2006 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

A central message of the Democrats' campaign should be that Democrats walk the walk, whereas the elite that rule the Republican Party are hypocrites who only talk the talk. This is true not only for morality (hey, at least Monica Lewinsky wasn't underage) but for all sorts of issues, such as balancing the budget (Clinton was better than Bush), restraining government waste (Clinton was better), and fighting terrorism (Clinton was better). If the Democrats take the disgusting moral hypocrisy of a Republican Party that aids child predators, and use the awareness of that hypocrisy to bring credibility in the public's eyes to the true concept that the Republican elite are hypocrites on all sorts of issues, than the Democrats can be the majority Party that Rove wishes his Coalition of Hypocrites could be. The Democrats must attack the Republicans on the truly disgusting cover up job they tried to pull for predator Foley. But they must also, as Bill Clinton rightfully did, attack the Republicans for weakly retreating from the true battles of the War on Terror. I'm not a Democrat, and I am a conservative. But because I am a conservative, I will vote Democrat in the coming mid term election and hope that the Republican Hypocrites lose this election in a landslide.

Posted by: brian on October 3, 2006 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

The myth of conservative moral superiority was only a myth believed by conservatives. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could make conservatives give up that myth. 6 years of the moral cellpool of the Bush Administration did nothing to change the minds of these mental midgets. Neither will learning that their party leadership covers up for a child predator.

This gives them a chance to gay bash, that's all.

Posted by: Joe on October 3, 2006 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Joe on October 3, 2006 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

Tom Reynolds held a presser yesterday, where he enveloped himself in front of kids. 30 of em. So he couldn't take any questions. The reporters asked him to get the kids out of the room, and he declined. Whoosie.

Posted by: buttercup on October 3, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Remember Mel Reynolds? ". Reynolds and Clinton, who jogged and made campaign appearances together, share much in common. Both were southern Democrats. Both were Rhodes Scholars. Both were manipulative, vengeful, and voracious. Both abused their offices, humiliated their families and their constituents, and lied repeatedly under oath. Both blamed Republicans, the media, and their victims for their sordid downfalls. Both shared the Rev. Jesse Jackson as a spiritual counselor. And neither, to this day, has ever shown an ounce of true remorse for his behavior. Rev. Jackson, now himself a professional penitent, argued with other supporters that Reynolds had paid his dues. But that's not what the court record shows. At his federal fraud trial, Reynolds was obscenely defiant. He threatened a key witness by mouthing the words "you son of a b----" while the man was on the stand. Reynolds also made a vulgar hand gesture at the witness, who had testified that Reynolds ordered him to withhold subpoenaed campaign-finance documents. The incensed judge ruled not only that Reynolds had attempted to intimidate the witness, but also that he lied to the court and the jury, concealed and destroyed evidence, and failed to take responsibility for laundering union political contributions, hiding debts in order to obtain bank loans, and ordering aides to illegally cash at least $164,000 in campaign donations for non-campaign use. If that weren't shameful enough, Reynolds also had repeated adulterous sexual encounters with an underage campaign volunteer, Beverly Heard, whom he met when he cruised her Chicago high school in his Cadillac. They carried on in his legislative office and at a nearby apartment. Reynolds gave the then-16-year-old girl cash at each meeting and supplied her with his pager number and apartment keys. In explicit taped phone conversations, they reminisced about group sex encounters with another woman, laughed about Reynolds' crude nickname for Heard's genitalia, and casually discussed Reynolds' three young children while planning a sexual tryst with a 15-year-old Catholic high school girl Heard had said wanted to have sex with him. "Did I win the Lotto?" Reynolds chortled after Heard made the offer. Reynolds instructed Heard to take Polaroid photographs of the 15-year-old girl's genitals and breasts. No "face shots," Reynolds ordered. Reynolds' lawyers dismissed the talk as harmless fantasy. In classic Clintonian style, Reynolds smeared his young accuser as a "liar" and "nut case." A diverse jury of six blacks and six whites believed the troubled girl, not the conniving Rhodes Scholar. Yet, Reynolds bitterly blamed racism in a 40-minute courtroom tirade: ''When they shackle me, like they shackled my slave ancestors and take me off to jail, nobody in this room will see me crawl." He called reporters who covered the case "animals." As always, the cover-up did in Reynolds. Swing jurors were disturbed by a $4,500 bank withdrawal Reynolds made in an obvious attempt to send Heard out of state and obstruct justice. Reynolds also bullied law enforcement officials and had his employees type up recantation affidavits for Heard to sign. In granting clemency, Clinton must have given his fellow Rhodes Scholar extra points for his hubris, chutzpah, and sneering indignation. To these loathsome bosom buddies, soiling public office means never having to say you're sorry."

Pardoned by Bill Clinton. Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: C.S. on October 3, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

You know, it's a lot harder to make the case for Democrats' moral authority when people like Paul Begala get on the radio and refuse to condemn torture for the appalling moral failure it is. Someone who can't speak to the morality of torture when given an opportunity to do so publicly doesn't need to be talking about the morality of anything. What a disgrace.

Posted by: cerebrocrat on October 3, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

"Clinton did it too, only worse! It's all Clinton's fault!"--the Republican universal, one-size-fits-all response to proof of wrongdoing . . .

Posted by: rea on October 3, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I love the two-wrongs-make-a-right arguments made by Republicans to excuse their misbehavior.

Some Democrat once did something bad, so that makes Republican misdeeds and immorality OK. Someone on CSPAN's morning call-in program is blaming Bill Clinton for Foley's criminal perversion.

It has nothing to do with black pots or kettles. Paul Begala is wrong to say Republican elite think they are morally superior.

The truth is the Republican elite doesn't believe they are morally superior. The moral superiority line is nothing more than propaganda Republicans use to manipulate the weak-minded and trick them into voting against their own self interest and for Republicans.

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I’ve long believed each party has its wrongheaded conceit. Many Democrats have a need to feel intellectually superior, while many Republicans have a need to feel morally superior. Both aggravate the hell out of me (a not-so-bright sinner); neither is remotely true.

I'm an environmental scientist who worked in federal agencies under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. The idea that there is some sort of intellectual parity between Democratic and Republican approaches to science is laughable on its face.

Posted by: Kent from Waco on October 3, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

I agree that Begala is not a good spokesman for the Democratic Party. He is part of the centrist / corporate Democratic Leadership Council. In 1992, that was a great strategy to correct the course and bring the country back towards the center from the extreme right.

In 1996, it was less effective. And by 2000, it was largely responsible for Bush getting close enough to steal the election, and in 2004, it was totally idiotic.

The DLC clouds the clear distinction between Democrats and Republicans on important issues. Tempering the debate to pander to the center is also part of what prevents the Democrats making pre-emptive strikes on the Republicans and diesemboweling them before Republicans go on the offense with their propaganda and control the debate.

Instead of pandering to the right-wing, the way to appeal to centrists is to stand up for Democratic principles as embodied in FDR, remind the centrists how those policies fueled our economy and built the middle class, and convince centrists that we are correct and the right-wing Republicans are wrong.

Here are the issues I think are important to our country and on which Democrats have a better approach: living wage, universal health care, universally excellent public schools, protecting our environment, energy independence, re-building infrastructure, sensible foreign policy, trade policies that build the middle class around the world, real homeland security, and an effective approach to terrorism.

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

rep. foley should do the honorable thing, and switch to the democratic party. he would fit right in with the rest of the swizzledicks.

Posted by: mullah jim on October 3, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

mullah jim: Your post is the typical statement of someone who has no argument. Sliming your opponent is a typical propaganda technique. Did you get that talking point from Rush Limbaugh? Just curious.

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

no, RL, i dreamed it up on my own. i am waiting for the twins game to start, so i have some time to waste on politics.

Posted by: mullah jim on October 3, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Paul, you should blog more, you're dynamite. You make me almost miss crossfire. I read about the $100K before (in the context that the money was potentially re-assignable), but I didn't put 2 and 2 together that the "unusually large" donation was in fact a payoff by Foley to keep Reynolds quiet.
Very damning stuff.

Posted by: Dave on October 3, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Paul is one of those, I'm-in-it-for-the-money-I-could-make selling Cool Aid to True Believers, who has ruined the Democratic Party and decreased civility in the public policy debate. Too bad entertainment-news outlets that pass themselves off as serious journalism believe this kind of writing builds audience. Foley should have been replaced long ago and the Republican leadership should feel the consequences of their actions, but Begala should be drummed out of politics and left to work small town comedy clubs.

Posted by: Joseph on October 3, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

CS: See, you guys can get details correct when you want to. Now, how does that apply to the current situation? Should Foley get a pass? Should those who knew what Foley was doing wrt pages but didn't act get a pass? I'm sure you aren't suggesting either of those things -- oh I know what it is! You don't like the idea of Republicans having to face being scolded by anyone. Since there have been Democrats who have misbehaved no Democrat may scold a Republican? Is that it? Tell you what -- any Democrat who has cruised for kids is ineligible to accuse in this matter. I can go along with that, I remember being incensed at the Republican adulterers who stood up in front of the cameras and shouted 'shame!' at Bill Clinton. If you wish to adopt a broader brush mantra of 'you aren't perfect so shut up' you might apply that first in your own circle before demanding it of others. I'd like to propose a deal with the GOP in general: you guys tone down the moralistic finger wagging and we'll dial back on the schadenfreude.

Posted by: nyclept on October 3, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Paul, we conservative Christians are indeed morally superior. We drum our miscreants out of office; your party exalts them. No contest.

Posted by: Susan Boyer on October 3, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK


What are you jumping on mullah jim for? You just did the same thing to Mr Begala in the previous post--you dumped on a man who has carried beaucoup buckets of water for your party and adduced not one argument, merely a litany of your own political sentiments. These are sentiments, by the way, that will compel your party to wander in the wilderness for some time to come.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Foley is a dirtbag. Dirtbag gets caught. Dirtbag resigns. Hopefully Dirtbag will now go to jail. But what does this have to do with his political party? And this is not corruption. Graft is corruption. Watergate was corruption. This is sexual perversion, which is worse. The only political question involved was "should he resign", which was hardly a question, which he promptly did and that is done. It is no longer a political matter, but a criminal matter. And a spiritual matter. If Dems want to run with this, fine, but it will back fire. It is simply too much of a stretch to try and link a kiddy stalker to the rest of the corruption of the GOP. Stick with the political corruption, that's ammo enough for the Donkeys.

Posted by: Stookey on October 3, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

NYCLEPT: My point, which you seem to have avoided , is that no one deserves a pass. They were both elected officials who abused the public trust and preyed on children. Both should burn in hell. But one, whose crime was arguably worse in that it went beyond sleazy e mails, got a get out of jail free card, because of the D after his name. ( See Ted Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, William Jefferson, Robert Byrd, etc.) No outcry, no calls for Dem leadership to resign .

Posted by: C.S. on October 3, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

The Dems have a history of actually consummating their sex-with-staffer schemes and then, when caught, blowing hard, turning their backs as censure is read, denouncing their persecuters but getting re-elected, nevertheless. This is the Dem notion of the hypocrisy-free, "we're all fallible" way of dealing with waywardness.

As Dems dive in to make hay out of Repub scandal, they get caught short by righteous Repub demands to clean house--all the bad guys and anyone, even the Speaker, who didn't nip such crap in the bud! Why not? If it weren't for such high-handed moralizers, the laws wouldn't be on the books in the first place.

To me, if you can't hold Congress to higher standards, then whom? If representatives of the people wish to conduct themselves as though duty and calling were license, they are contemptible. It's hard to do, though, when Dems don't care to hold anyone anywhere anytime to standards (apart from crying foul on perceived Repub hypocrisy).

The worst thing though would be to have Begala's job and have to go out and try to exploit such pecadillos for political gain. I'd feel so sleazy, I'd have to be taking a shower all the time.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Begala is such a dem hack... it's interesting that he follows (heck, he and Carville probably came up with them!) the "playbook" that National Journal's "Hotline" revealed yesterday ( almost to the letter. Of course there are GOP hacks too... I won't even try to downplay that, but for dems as an intentional strategy to try to condemn every single Republican on the Hill for consipiring to keep Foley's secret is so ludicrous that any author trying to sell it in a fiction book would be laughed off. For Dems to try to play this as their big "October surprise" and lead with this as their rallying cry against the GOP to take back the Hill only signifies all the more the bankruptcy of the dem/liberal agenda for these mid-terms. No substance, no real alternative or plan for addressing issues - only smear, accuse, and demagogue their way back into power. Begala (and his ilk) has been doing it since 1992... and so it continues.

Posted by: Shawn on October 3, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

We drum our miscreants out of office; your party exalts them.

In a word – no. No you don’t drum your miscreants out of office, you re-elect them to compound the monstrous damage they’ve done to our nation. Morality is far more than sex. In fact, sex is about the least of morality. Your party is the party of mass murder – c.f. Iraq. Your party is the party of serial liars – c.f. Iraq. Your party is the party of massive theft – c.f Iraq.

And even in the realm of sex, your party doesn’t “drum [your] miscreants out of office.” Your party covers it up until it is clear that the individuals are causing damage to your hypocritical stances. How many of Clinton’s accusers were doing just what he had done? The only ones to resign were the ones who were extremely high profile. You didn’t drum them all out of office. Which makes you either a liar or a dupe.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Remember Mel Reynolds? ". Reynolds and Clinton, who jogged and made campaign appearances together, share much in common. Both were southern Democrats."

Mel Reynolds was from Illinois, you stupid fuck. and he didn't fuck around with a child that was in loco parentis with Congress. And Clinton pardoned him after he spent five years in prison.

Someone commended you for getting "the details" right. Since you obviously can't even get the simplest facts right, I'm assuming 90% of the rest of your post is bullshit.

And what is it with you right wing pieces of shit and Mel Reynolds? Did you have his story saved on your computers to break out when one of the Republican pedophiles was inevitably caught? Talk about you moral relativism. You're all sick.

Posted by: brewmn on October 3, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

No one with any sense of decency would complain about the Democrats lack of ideas. In particular, no Republican has any right to complain about a campaign in which sexual morality will take them down. The rebuttal is simple: Impeachment.

All the Republicans had against Clinton was sex. They had no ideas; they promoted nothing but the notion that Clinton having sex with an adult woman not his wife was icky. Hoist. Petard. No assembly required.

This was, of course, while Clinton was engaged in attempts to strengthen our national security against terrorists. But the Republicans thought getting Clinton was more important than getting Osama bin Laden. Good job guys, 3000 dead here and tens-of-thousands dead in Iraq. All preventable if the Republicans had just put national security ahead of partisan politics.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Paul, what ABOUT torture? And I predict the fat Hastert will resign today.

Posted by: razorboy on October 3, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I don't agree that it was a quid pro quo - keep quiet about me playing with little boys and I'll give you $100K (or $550K) over the last few years. That's peanuts compared to the downside considering the many millions the RNCC works with.

Here's what I think happened:

The Republican leadership became aware of Foley in a manner similar to what has been reported in the press.

They knew they needed to do something about it, but a "good" time to handle it and take the political hit never came around. Then, we got into this election cycle where Republicans are fighting for every seat. Imagine thinking each day, "Is this the day to handle Foley?" The answer always ened-up being "No".

Further, while the Republican leadership had an idea about what was going on, they didn't want to investigate it because investigating and turning up unpleasant facts increased the probability that the media would find out about it.

So, the Republican leadership put the short-term interests of the Republican Party ahead of the interests of the public and even ahead of the long-term interests of the party.

Then, kaboom! It was reported by ABC. It spiraled out of control and the Republican leaders were caught with their pants down.

There's a certain amount of arrogance on the part of the Republican leadership that is reminiscent of the pedophile priest scandals in the Catholic Church. I've said repeatedly, that when a parent came in to report sexual abuse of their child by a priest, the response should have been, "Do you want to pray before or after we call the police?"

The hubris and arrogance of believing they (Republican leaders and the Catholic Church) could handle a situation like Foley's in private always leads to disaster. Eventually, it will come out and when it does, the issue won't be the pedophiles.

Foley isn't the issue in this affair. It's the cover-up, stupid!

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Let us now say that as of the Third Day of the Tenth Month in the Year of Our Lord 2006, the Conservative Myth of Moral Superiority has been crushed."

Well, it's coughing up blood anyway. But it's a tough old buzzard and isn't going to go down without a fight.

Posted by: billmon on October 3, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK


What was that Jesse Jackson said about Bill Clinton... when you look into the soul of the man all you see is a great Need? Something like that?

The visceral reaction to Clinton was not for getting his wee-wee worked in the Oval Office but for the way he went about it, ordering troop movements will Ms L. hummed away, getting other staffers involved in the skullduggery of sneaking women around, a history of groping, a history of dissimultude when caught, etc. etc.

The legal reaction though was for perjury, not sex. Sex with staffers is a no-no on the order of, "Jeez, why'd you go and do such a stupid thing?" Perjury is a no-no on the order of, "Well, you committed a felony and now we have to do something about it."

Bill was just a mess all around. He was busy alright but not busy protecting the country. Busy taking care of the great yawning Need Jesse saw.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

CS: I did not avoid your point. I pointed out that you react to the current situation by bringing up a past one. What do you want to do about the current situation? Just complain that it isn't new? The GOP brags about its appeal to the 'heartland' to 'values voters', it bitches about Hollywood, it wags its finger in everyone's face and plays the upright 'person of faith' (read - holier than thou) card every freaking chance it gets. Then when its feet of clay get shot out from under them it's a big loud squawk of "Democrats aren't better!"

Posted by: nyclept on October 3, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Mel Reynolds was born in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. And yes, I am talking about your moral relativism, brewmn.

Posted by: C.S. on October 3, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with the notion of Clinton’s “perjury” is that it is a legal term and couldn’t hold up in court. The Republican work to distract Clinton with bogus lawsuits and an impeachment over sex is the elephant in the room. That Clinton did his job and the Republicans did not. His job was to protect the nation and work for the people. The Republicans imagined their job was to grasp for power.

The Foley scandal is merely an extension of their base grasping. They had a sexual predator in their midst, they knew about it, and they did nothing, all in the service of holding power. You would rather talk about oral sex than the Republican’s weakness on national security. I understand that. But it doesn’t change the facts.

The Republicans were more interested in Monica than in Osama Bin Laden. The monument to their failure is a hole in the ground in downtown New York.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

the general rules goes like this..

democrats --get-- bj's in office...

republicans --give-- bj's in office...

Posted by: laffin@charlie on October 3, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

shorter charlie: bu..bu..bu..bu...but clinton

Posted by: laffin@charlie on October 3, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, legal terms are what do hold up in court. It's sort of the language courts use.

If so much was known about Foley, why did the St Pete Times, a liberal paper, not go with the story based on the same evidence the congressional leadership held? However, as I mentioned above, the serious scolds are Republican. They've got their knives out not just for Foley but Hastert too, and in a much bigger way than Dems do. Just sit back and relax and watch how serious folks handle a scandal.

And the hole in the ground in NY has zero to do with Monica or Senate Republicans or Bill or George or Madeleine or Condi or anyone except some pathological jihadists. You should excuse yourself for saying something so wretched.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I got an immediate laugh out of "myth of moral superiority." Seems like only yesterday Dems were talking about the GOP's "culture of corruption." Any attempt to morally characterize either entire party based on who got caught with his pants down this week falls into the "what do you take me for?" category.

Posted by: Varian on October 3, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

laffin man,

If i'd known functional was packin' a sock puppet, I wouldn'ta crossed swords with him.

You're wrong, you know. Dems get bjs in office. Repubs don't give or get, they just fantacize, some of them, but don't know how to carry thru.

Clinton doesn't bother me (well apart from reviewing the ChiCom troops in Tiananmen Square on the 9th anniversary of the massacre--THAT really steams me). All the damage he did was in his own backyard, and his wife and the feminist movement and all Dems are having to live with the aftermath. But not me.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, legal terms do hold up in court, but the word you used does not describe any action by President Clinton. No such charge was brought; no such charge could have been sustained.

As for the hole in the ground, actions have consequences. The Republicans spent the entire Clinton presidency attempting to distract him from his duty. When a store is robbed the watchman must answer tough questions. The answers to those questions determine his share of culpability. In this case we can see that the Republicans cared everything about gaining power and nothing for national security. They didn’t put the hole in the ground in New York City, but they helped make it possible.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

So Charlie, did Bush handing the Chinese a plane to play with for several weeks bother you? Or Regan's sale of arms to the Iranians? Or are you just a mindless partisan?

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Cost of Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA leak probe investigation: $1.4 million

Cost of Ken Starr's Monicagate investigation: $71.5 million

Posted by: mr. perspective on October 3, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

At least the Chinese earned their peek at our spyplane under Bush. With Clinton, they simply bought access to missile and sattelite technology (plus the aforementioned odious troop review) in return for at least $3M in illegal campaign contributions.

And, actually, perjury was the charge. With the sex and lying, Clinton created a mess for himself. By lying under oath, he created a mess that had to be dealt with.

I was a Dem back during W'gate and couldn't help but notice the joy of the hunt atmosphere as Dems took down a Repub president. I got no such sense of joy out of the Repubs dealing with Clinton, well a few, but many more wished the ordeal could just go away. But then, like I said, all the repurcussions are on your side (and not, your continuing vile insinuation to the contrary notwithstanding, involved in the attack on 9/11).

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK
Paul, we conservative Christians are indeed morally superior. We drum our miscreants out of office; your party exalts them.

Uh, except when Republicans found out about Foley, he wasn't drummed out of office. He only resigned when he was about to become a public embarrassment.

Thus revealing the true nature of the "moral superiority" of the Right: they'll act shocked! shocked! to find out about wrongdoing in their midst, and act swiftly to purge it—if and only if they know it will become public.

But that kind of "moral superiority" is just pure, unadulterated hypocrisy.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 3, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK


Respectfully, no. As I pointed out above there actually are people responsible for morality laws being on the books in the first place, and they are Republican, and they expect those laws to be enforced vigorously whoever runs afoul of them.

This is different from Dem behavior--closing ranks when one of your own is accused of X but lustily denouncing one on the other side accused of X. But read the conservative editorials in RCP; the Repubs sincerely expect heads to roll, and they sincerely will not put up with misbehavior of this magnitude whoever is dealing it, just ask Trent Lott, Tom Delay and a host of other former Repub leaders who crossed the line.

No hypocrisy here.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on Paul. You can't possibly believe that the moral values party won''t shrug this off. This is like the tenth major morality failing the party has suffered since bush took office, and none of it sticks. The media will follow the talking points given to them, this will become an exception/democrats have scandals too/what bold new leadership the republicans have shown.

I mean, you've got their major media icon Limbaugh drug shopping, rehabbing and sneaking viagra to a country known for its child sex trade. You've got their major media icon O'reilly sexually harrassing a coworker, talking about "cock shaped vibrators" (which I suspect actually means like a rubber chicken) and rubbing his falafel thing. You've got massive levels of bribery with Abrahoff and the house leadership. Including a prostitution ring for certain congressmen from a company given a huge government limo contract. You've got the Republican defense of the child sex trade and forced abortion in the Marianas Islands. You've got the pedophiles in the DHS. You've got Katrina, and all of the "they deserved it" comentary. You've got an endless string of theft and bribery with Iraqi reconstruction, whjere over 10 billion dollars has just vanished.

Why is this going to stick? The media will let it slide just like they let everything else slide, and minimize the real impact of the story with HeSaid/SheSaid "journalism".

Posted by: Mysticdog on October 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK


"Found out" WHAT about Foley? The email asking one page what he wanted for his birthday, or the sexually explicit IM?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Paul, please stop using comments like: "I’ve long believed each party has its wrongheaded conceit. Many Democrats have a need to feel intellectually superior, while many Republicans have a need to feel morally superior."

Stop with the "I have to apologize to the Republicans for being a Democrat by lowering my party to their level." You're buying into their argument before you even state your own. You are the Democrat here. Be proud of it and state that we ARE both intellectually and morally superior to Republicans. You know damned well that nobody on the Right is going to take such a 'fair and balanced' approach.

I've heard so damned much meally mouthed pablum from Democratic candidates who have bought into Rush Limbaugh's caricature of us that I want to yell "Stand up and be a Proud Democrat, or shut up and go home!"

People WANT a clear alternative to the cesspool known at the Republican Party, not some whiny middle-of-the-road mush!

So - Welcome to the fight. But be warned, we've had enough and we're not going to take it any more!

Posted by: liberalpercy on October 3, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

The email Foley wrote included: "did you have fun at your conference? what do you want for your birthday coming up? what stuff do you like to do?" None of the salacious content like from the IM, but Foley was still told to cease contact with the boy, and the parents did not want to make any more of the issue.

As I said above, from everything we know, it sounds like Hastert did everything he reasonably could. What more would you have done, Chris?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

What an incredibly stupid theory. When the Democrats ran the show, they allowed Congressional sexual page predators to remain in Congress with only a censure. But I do want to thank Mr. Begala for the laugh. No wonder your side has been losing more national elections for the last 12 years. Begala, is one of your shining stars.

Posted by: Brian Goettl on October 3, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

T1: Hastert did everything he reasonably could

like condi before 9-11...

like gwb before 9-11 and katrina..

like rummy during iraq war..

paddle faster t1...

Posted by: mr. irony on October 3, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Better" -- Foley resigned, for God's sake -- Clinton didn't. Sounds like Hastert did everything he reasonably could.

Gee, if Clinton resigned -- Al Gore would have be President. He could used his family values (remember his passionate smooch with Tipper) to win the Arab American vote and he would have carried Florida. Apparently the Democrats were better at heeding the Al Qaeda warnings than Dubya and his minions.

Maybe 9-11 would have been a bust (for Bin Laden), maybe the big govenment of the Democrats might have turned more of the Saudi hijackers away from boarding those United & American flights.

Posted by: Ray Waldren on October 3, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

It really is tiresome that everytime a Republican gets caught doing something wrong, the wagging fingers come out with "Democrats did / do it, too."

The Republicans attack the Democrats for moral relativism and other claimed moral short-comings to rally their base. They play the "morality", "God", and "family values" cards for propaganda value and fund-raising.

But, Republicans don't actually believe it themselves.

How do I know this?

If Republicans actually believed what they were saying, they would have simply cleaned house when Mark Foley first came to their attention. Instead, Republicans protected Foley until he was publicly exposed and they were caught covering it up. Then, they tried to justify it by pointing fingers at Democrats.

What others do or don't do isn't an issue when assessing morality in absolute, Biblical terms.

Apparently, instead of telling their children, "I don't care if Johnny does it", Republican mothers tell their children, "If Johnny does it, that'll be a good excuse if you get caught."

And, Republican mothers, apparently, teach their children "two wrongs, do make a right."

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Paul Begala, I believe to be one of the biggest slime balls of all time- coach to Clinton, for God's sake ! Paul: are you one of the demokrats who have known abiout the Foley thing since last November? (note: if you say 'no' I will not believe you.)

Posted by: MITmike on October 3, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK


I've only seen reporting on the Republicans who knew about Foley. Democrats on the Page Board have clearly stated they were not told about Foley's problems and the Republicans have not contradicted them.

So, I'd like to see your source for the claim that Begala or any other Democrat knew about Foley.



Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK


I think you're betterer than Harriet thinks Bush is, I've been watching you on Crossfire since '92, and you are awesome. However, I haven't seen much of you lately or heard much. Tell me the comments here about your avoiding the torture issue are wrong. Please don't tell me you are advising Dems to duck the issue until Nov. I don't care what party you're supporting, do not enable torture to become an acceptable mode of interrogation by degrees. That's a deal breaker for me, and I'll vote Green even if it means keeping the torturers in power.

Posted by: jf on October 3, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

mr. irony:

What else would you have done?

Fall 2005: A 16-year-old former congressional page forwards e-mails he says he received from Foley to another party, who has a House e-mail address. The e-mails include a request for the teen's picture. In another exchange, Foley purportedly asked the teen what he wanted for his birthday and "what stuff do you like to do?" And in another, the congressman is quoted as making comments about another former page, saying he "acts much older than his age" and "he's in really great shape."

In his forwarding message, the former page comments that he found the request for his picture "sick." The teen's family contacts the office of Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Louisiana, the page's sponsor and hometown representative, about e-mails to the boy from Foley.

Alexander's staff contacts House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office, which refers the matter to the House clerk. According to a statement issued Friday by the House speaker's office, the clerk asks to see the text of the e-mail, but Alexander's office declines because of concerns about the family's privacy.

"The clerk asked if the e-mail exchange was of a sexual nature and was assured it was not. Congressman Alexander's chief of staff characterized the e-mail exchange as over friendly," the Hastert statement continues.

The clerk refers the matter to the chairman of the Page Board, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois.

Shimkus tells Foley to "immediately cease any communication with the young man." He recalls later that Foley assured him and the clerk of the House that the e-mails would stop.

Ray Waldren:

I voted for Al Gore to be President. Maybe 9/11 would indeed have been prevented. How wonderful that would have been.

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm so excited. Now we can really get these guys (ESPECIALLY ROVE AND CHENEY!!!) for not having outed Valerie Plame and not having lied about the yellowcake in Africa. If they had any real nuts, they would defend their molesters and cheaters, like the Dems do.

Posted by: BJ on October 3, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK


Until 2 1/2 years ago, I lived in the most indigo of blue counties in the country (SF Bay Area). Now I live in the most crimson of red counties (N Central Texas). I've got close friends and relations who are yaller dog Dems, and others who are Bible-thumping conservatives.

Myself? I'm libertarian, meaning I believe in the Ninth Amendment (unlike conservatives) AND the Tenth Amendment (unlike liberals).

It seems to be important to you (and other commenters here) to believe that Republicans are not sincere about morality issues. I can tell you from experience that they are. As soon as Foley's more blatant IMs were revealed by ABC, there was sincere outrage all around the Right. Foley's head has rolled and Hastert's probably will too even though there are arguments in his defense (as some commenters have pointed out).

It is this very staunch moralism that has many conservatives abhoring the Ninth (the source of our unenumerated rights). Yes, they wag their fingers at you--naturally, they can't understand that you condone such loathsome behavior.

But, I'll tell you something from years of political discussions with people of all political stripes. You can talk with socially conservative Republicans. I can make a case for gay marriage, say, or open border laws, and they will listen respectfully, most of them, and even acknowledge the stronger points.

You can't debate with progressives though. Soon, their hands are over their ears, and they are going "LA LA LA LA" when something said does not comport with their world view.

Tell me. Just what is it you find so threatening in the opinion of others?

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

With Clinton, they simply bought access to missile and sattelite technology

And now the mask slips (along with the faux – “I used to be a Democrat”) and we see that there is nothing there but a raw partisan hoping to distract from the hypocrisy party’s latest abuses. It may not be the Charlie of old (posting alongside his sock-puppet Thomas1, and explaining why he was so quick to trot out claims of sock-puppetry), but it makes no difference. One would waste all day refuting the lies (there was no legal perjury charge, only an exercise of political muscle by the Republican Party, the technology he speaks of was sold by George H. W. Bush), but the fact remains that the Republicans got caught hiding the serial sexual predation on underage pages. Even the Majority Leader has thrown over the Speaker in an attempt to salvage his career. Face it hypocrites, the house of cards is falling.

Your party is going down because you hold sex to be the only moral issue. The fact that your President is a lying scumbag whose dereliction of duty led to a gaping wound in our nation’s largest city is why you should have been driven from power, but I’ll take the outrage of our citizenry over your petty grasping. Because the result is the same.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I am not Charlie. Again, though, what else would you have done given just the Foley emails above?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Foley should have resigned. I'm glad he did. I hope that sleazy emails were all that he did and that he does the maximum jail time for any crimes he might have committed.

But all the partisan bickering above is a symptom of a really nasty "inside the beltway" disease. Republicans and Democrats both are playing sexual politics and I'm reasonably certain that a good chunk of you wouldn't mind spreading a bit of sexual innuendo, fake a few e-mails, etc. if it served partisan purposes. You don't even have to prove anything, just muddy up a guy enough for the witch hunt to start.

That sort of sexual hit job does more than take down politicians, it desensitizes the system so leadership won't get fooled again. The result is Foley and it's only luck that it wasn't the Democrats this time.

The biggest scary moment of the whole scandal for me is that the Republicans didn't feel safe calling in the Democrats on the page board to make this bipartisan. Can we cut out the bitter partisanship at least to the point where Republicans and Democrats would feel safe taking out their own trash? That sort of cleanup might start getting done better and some children might be protected who would otherwise have their lives ruined.

Posted by: TM Lutas on October 3, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

what bull. republicans get caught in sex scandals all the time. Lying the nation into to unnecessary, illegal invasions and corruption as far as the eye can see are also a moral issues, but the myth goes on unabated. Not to mention that republicans have cornered the market on hypocrisy.

The Foley story is big because 1 or 2 republican fat cats will have to fall, and because mid-terms are only 5 weeks away. It is also big because US corporate media LOVES selling smut. But this idea that it will stop republicans from continuing to tell lies and deceive about their mythical morality, and that the US corporate media will not drink their alixir and disseminate their mythology holier than thou BS all of sudden because of yet one more revelation of republican immorality - NO WAY! Dream on!.

Also, a big, big story (perhaps the biggest of the week) from Woodward's book is that condi-LIE-zza rice, and apparently also ashcroft, and rumsfeld were all specifically dragged to meetings in July 2001 by the CIA to specifically be told that al queda attacks on US interests were imminent. And that in usual fashion the alarms were ignored by the bushliar-criminal regime group of incompetents.

Posted by: pluege on October 3, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

What mask, functional?

As a libertarian who believes in our two-party system, I choose Republican. Say it loud, say it proud, eh? even though I hardly agree right down the line with them.

Not only was I a Dem, I'm sure you could still find my outraged editorials over the Johnson/Humphrey Vietnam War policies in the student newspaper (I was in the McGovern/McCarthy camp). I sided most closely with Jack Brooks (if that rings a bell) during Watergate. Good ridance to Nixon I say to this day. Then I trusted in VVAW John Kerry when he insisted no harm would befall the people of the South when the North Vietnamese took over, just before millions were executed, imprisoned or displaced. And the Dems, except for me and Joan Baez, just whistled and looked the other way.

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out with the electorate. I'm not too concerned how "my party" fairs. I think there's something to the argument that the gambit of the Dems getting one or the other Houses in '06 will insure a Republican sweep in '08. You guys just don't realize just how much all the rudda-rudda puts people off.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of resigning, he should have demanded privacy, announced "I am a gay American," and called his critics homophobes.

Hey, it works for Democrats.

See, that's the moral superiority Republicans do in fact have, regardless of their other failings: when they're caught, they generally resign, and accept that their behavior was disgraceful. Dems often fail to do the first, and almost always fail to do the latter.

Posted by: TallDave on October 3, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

The proper comparision is between Foley and Studds. Studds, as you'll recall, for ACTUALLY HAVING SEX with a minor male paige, was "censured" and given a STANDING OVATION on the floor of the House by his democrat colleagues. Republicans are cheering, too, but only that Foley, who thusfar, only has been shown to have talked dirty on an e-mail and text message,had the good graces to quit.
Based on these two practical examples, who has the moral high ground?

Posted by: Harry A. Christensen on October 3, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, why do politicians spend so much dough on hookers?

Professional courtesy.

(Some punchlines just write themselves).

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on October 3, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

See, that's the moral superiority Republicans do in fact have, regardless of their other failings: when they're caught, they generally resign, and accept that their behavior was disgraceful. Dems often fail to do the first, and almost always fail to do the latter.

The fallacy of this argument is that Foley was "caught" over a year ago and the Republican leadership in the House covered it up.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on October 3, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

What a smarmy piece of liberal partisan garbage, Mr. Begala. The Bush White House lies every day? If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black. Your b.s. is laughable.

"Pay no mind, to what they say,
Doesn't matter anyway, hey hey hey...."
(From "Our Lips Are Sealed", by The Go-Go's, circa 1981.)

What October surprise scandals that you knew about at least a month ago do you have in your hip pocket so as to desperately try to deflect the electorate from thinking about the issues, Mr. Liberal Kool Aid server Begala?

Posted by: Michael on October 3, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The war on the Vietnamese people is over. Now we have the war on the Iraqi people. It is possible that you aren't a Republican, but if so you are the least well informed libertarian I've come across. A libertarian view of Clinton's behavior holds that it was no one else's business. This dovetails nicely with reality. Most libertarians are aware of the summary judgment and its effects on the notion of perjury. A libertarian view of the sale of arms technology is that it happened under George H. W. Bush and cannot be blamed on his successor. And as for satellite technology, that’s the beauty of the free market, not so much a political problem. That you don't cotton to a reality based view of events makes your protestations of not being a Republican rather hollow.

All of which has nothing to do with the Republican Leadership giving a Congressman preying on minors a free pass to continue doing so long after they were informed of this despicable behavior. Nor does it address their culpability in the slaughter of Iraqis for political gain (a far greater crime against morality).

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Fair and Balanced" Dave:

Foley was "caught" over a year ago send the emails I outlined above -- he was told not to contact that boy and as far as we know, he did not -- what more would YOU have done to him?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Fair and Balanced Dave,

Foley was caught for emails that were "creepy" as some are calling them but hardly clearcut wrong. Even so, he was called on the carpet.

With the very recent revelation that his IMs went over the line, Repubs are righteously indignant. Even the WSJ is demanding Hastert's head and chastizing Repubs for failing to police themselves.

It was funny listenin to Newt Gingrich saying how they tred softly because they had been charged by Dems with insensitivity in the Studds and Franks incidents (back in the '80s tho' he didn't refer by name). That may seem like a ludicrous defense to libs, but I have no trouble seeing Repub leadership off-balance in these kinds of proceedings given how often they've been broadsided in the past.

Bottom line is, Repubs, by and large, see this as a scandal and want to and will deal with it. Trouble is, they are on surer footing dealing with one of their own; there's little enthusiasm for correcting Dem misbehavior anymore since it means a trip down the rabbit hole.

Finally, when will the Dems realize how silly it looks to get in high dudgeon over such escapades when you get all defensive and sanctimonious whenever Dems are caught at the same thing?

I'm glad to see Foley go. I wouldn't mind seeing Hastert go too. And Studds, Frank and Clinton should have gone. This is not because I am a moralist but because I believe politicians should have respect for the dignity of their offices.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK


What else would you have done given just the Foley emails above?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK


There are many different foreign policy schools when it comes to war. I did not like the way Vietname was managed under Johnson and his crowd nor under Nixon/Kissinger realpolitic.

Unlike George Bush, they lost track of the purpose of conflict being to keep people free. Democrats showed their indifference to human freedom and dignity by turning their back on the tragedies that ensued in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

There is no war ON Iraqis. Personally, WMDs were never on my mind and terrorism does threaten me. I have had Iraqi and Middle Eastern friends. I know how they long for freedom, and I don't have any qualms about us expediting the quest for freedom anywhere in the world.

Through the mid-60s that sentiment resided in the Democratic party, and I was a Dem. It resurfaced in the Republican party in the 80s. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is freedom from coercion.

Thanks to the courage of George Bush, 40 million people are free from tyranny and on the road to self-government. Tell me how that is a bad thing.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

That should read "terrorism doesn't threaten me".

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a bad thing.

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me and Charlie left to battle Begala?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 3, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like it's just you and me left at the cash bar, Thomas1. Just as well; I've got errands to run, too.

laffin man,
& Fair and Balanced Dave,

Good chatting with you. Just remember, it's dumb to accuse the Right of false moralism; that moralism is real enough.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

t1....looks like that record for most resignations by one political party this century will continue to grow in the gop's favor..

kind a like the national debt..


deaths in iraq...

hey...congrats on the dow...

Posted by: mr. irony on October 3, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Foley resigned. He should be prosecuted big time. Clinton, Barney Frank, and Studds however did not resign. In fact, Frank and Studds continued (and continue in the case of Frank) to be hailed as some sort of gay rights pioneers. I guess if one is gay and republican [Foley (R not really gay)], or if one is black and republican [Mr. Steele (R really disgusting minstrel images on a democrat website)] or a Black female republican [Ms. Rice (R Racially charged cartoons)]... that moral high ground thang just flies right on out the window huh Mr Begala? Thanks for the clarity.

Posted by: Dewey on October 3, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Poor liberals don't get it. The difference is consevatives reaction to the Congressman. Resign now. Democrats embrace their fallen immorals. The intant messages were NOT known by republican leaders but by liberals. If there was a concern, the fiasco should have been revealed in June. The facts are the Dems aren't outraged by this type of conduct at all, but want to use it as a political ploy. It won't work because the Repubs all condemned the actions. There is no way the Dems would chance losing power by making one of their own resign for immoral conduct. Yes, the conservatives still have the moral high ground and the libs are shown as hypocrites.

Posted by: Rick on October 3, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK


I'm sorry you didn't understand from the context that when I said that the Republicans used their claimed superior morality as propaganda to trick the weak minded, "Republican" meant Republican elected officials, strategeists, etc. and that "weak-minded" meant those who believe the propaganda and vote for Republicans.

As for your claim that progressives and liberals won't listen, but right-wingers do, that is not my experience. I constantly see right-wingers writing that we on the left do not have a right to our opinions and inviting us to move to another country - since we hate the U. S. so much.

Here's the bottom line: At the moment, the Republican party has been taken over by a cabal of hate-mongering Christians, crooks and corporate imperialists. They are working to destroy the middle class, deny civil and human rights to those they don't like, destroying our reputation and moral standing around the world, attempting to make their twisted version of Christianity the official religion of the United States, replace science in the schools with religious doctrine, and enacting laws to force the rest of us to behave the way they think we should under penalty of law.

This group is NOT conversative. They are NOT Christian. They are radical extremists. They apparently want a corporate theocracy in which corporatins are free to destroy the environment, destroy our health, and rob us blind in the name of Jesus.

Who do you think opened diplomatic relations with China? Richard Nixon. Who do you think started the EPA? Richard Nixon. Who do you think was first to seriously propose national health care? Richard Nixon.

When do you think the first African American addressed the national convention of a major American political party? Maud Richardson seconded the nomination for re-election of Dwight Eisenhower at the 1956 Republican Convention.

Unfortunately Richard Nixon was the last tradional Republican to be elected President and Gerald Ford was the last tradional Republican to serve as president.

The Republicans sold their soul to the devil when they recruited the Dixiecrats that had been kicked out of the Demorcratic Party into the Republican Party. The deal was sealed when Ronald Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi for his first campaign stop after he was nominated at the 1980 Republican National Convention. He gave a speech on state's rights. In case you are not aware of this, Philadelphia, MS is the location of a heinous hate-crime. Three civil rights workers named James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwermer were arrested by the sheriff's department on trumped up chargesm and then released in the middle of the night so that members of the sheriff's department and the KKK could kidnap them, murder them, and hide their bodies and their car in a swamp. Segregationists claimed that "States' rights" made it unconstitutional for the federal government to pass and enforce civil rights laws.

When I extend the Golden Rule to the current crop of Republicans or their supporters, they grab it from my hand and beat me with it.

So, if you are talking about those who have taken over the Republican Party and destroyed it, I have no interest in anything they have to say. It is my patriotic duty to stop them with all legal means before they destroy our country.

If you are talking about the real conservative Republicans that are now standing up to the Bush cabal, I am thrilled to help them in taking their party back.

In fact, I was actually a Republican and Chair of the Teenage Republicans in Georgia during the mid 1960's. I supported my cousin Bo Callaway who was running against segregationist Democrat Lester Maddox (of ax handle fame). Bo got a plurality of the votes, but the Democratic controlled state legislature gave the election to Maddox because the legislature makes the decision if none of the candidates gets a majority. Bo went on the be Secretary of the Army for Nixon and Ford and resigned to head Ford's election campaign.

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

There is no question that Bush forgot the purpose of the war on the Iraqi people. He never had a clear one. There were never and WMDs, there was no connection to terror; there, quite simply, was no threat from Iraq and therefore no reason to invade. This post-hoc notion that it was about freedom is contradicted by everything Bush said prior to his assault on the Iraqis.

Bush’s “courage” amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and the slaughter of innocents for his own self-aggrandizement. Sure, it helped the Republicans win a couple of elections, but at a cost of thousands of dead Iraqis. A Faustian bargain? No, Faust sold only his own soul and looks like a paragon of virtue by comparison.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK


This is dispiriting. You and I went in opposite directions. We are matter and anti-matter; we cancel each other out.

My mother was from Mississippi. I spent a good deal of time there in the 50s and 60s, hence my early dislike for Democrats--they were the racists. I don't recall that Southern Dems were kicked out of the party as you say. I simply thought it rather appalling that Nixon pandered to them to woo them away with a "wink" on the race issue. My thought at the time was fine, let 'em go. They belong together.

I left the church at 13 and haven't looked back. Stll, I have no trouble talking politics with hardcore Christians. Now, it takes some tact to get political debates started with anybody. All I'm saying is that I have found Christians more willing to listen to opposing points of view than progressives, most of whom would be much closer friends.

I now live in a state where you can, for instance, sell rubber weenies but be busted if you ever suggest they should be used in a private part. The SC just turned down the chance to review an appeals ruling that upheld that Texas statute. Every time I think I can get comfortable with Repubs, they start railing about anti-sodomy laws and illegal immigrants, and I recoil.

The main point I think, though (and perhaps the only salvation for your party), is that we start making the effort at dialogue. Hold to your positions, yes, with passion, yes, but speak respectfully and listen respectfully. One of the traits of Dems I find far from endearing is the obvious contempt for the opinion of others and the resulting desire to end-run the democratic process of hashing matters out.

I hate to say, I couldn't really glean why you thought Nixon/Ford okay but can't abide the current admin. I have just the opposite take. As far as I'm concerned, this is the only admin in my lifetime on the sunny side of getting it right half the time. What can I say?

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, but has the myth of Democratic intellectual superiority died? If you read the blogs, you'd get the feeling that hell would freeze over before a Democrat would actually admit that they don't have all the answers, and maybe, just maybe they need to rethink how they approach electoral politics (there has to be a reason Dems haven't captured over 51% of the popular vote in Presidental elections in over 40 years and why the past dominance they enjoyed in the House & Senate is gone forever).

Of course, this'll NEVER happen. But having said that, I'm pleased as punch that self-righteous, holier than thou Republicans got exposed AGAIN.

(As you can see, I think both parties stink equally)

Posted by: Skeptical on October 3, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK


What were there, 18 points in the Iraq War resolution? Passed with how many Dem votes? And with WMDs where on the list? About 2/3rds of the way down, yes? Plus, I think if you look back at the quotes from '02/'03 it was people like Jane Harman and John Edwards making the most inflammatory statements about the WMD threat. I think you will also find Bush speaking passionately about Iraqi freedom early on.

What is more, I was only really talking about my take. From my POV, it is not about WMDs or another terror attack. It is about smacking down tyranny and standing steadfast while freedom takes hold. Period. So, again I ask, what is so wrong with 40 million people being freed from tyrants and getting on the path to self-government?

I say export the American Revolution. Free markets and the pursuit of happiness for everyone in the world!

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Read the document again. It doesn't get to the notion of a Democratic Iraq until about 14 clauses in. Instead it tells of a grave threat that must be faced. The first mention of nuclear weapons appears in the second clause, the first clause being a recitation of not-particularly-relevant trivia.


You have your facts entirely reversed. You couldn't have been more wrong if you were deliberately lying.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." - G.W. Bush 3/6/03

very clear...democracy?


Posted by: mr. irony on October 3, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK


I am a Democratic precinct chair in Dallas, Texas. I am proud of my congresswoman, Eddie Bernice Johnson and know many Democratic candidates and elected officials across the country. I know them to be good people who care deeply about our country - contrary to Republican claims that they love terrrorists, and hate God.

My core value is that all persons in the U. S. and throughout the world are deserving of equal respect and dignity. To use the Christian version of this concept, I believe in extending the Golden Rule to all persons and when dealing with criminals or terrorists, treating them with the same respect as they are processed through the legal system and punished for their crimes. The problem with the current crop of Repbublicans and their supporters is that they demand the right to pick and choose to whom they will extend the golden rule and whom they will beat over the head with it.

It is quite instructive to watch the Amish in Lancaster County Pennsylvania talking about forgiving the man who murdered their children. (Foregiveness in no way prevents us from dispensing appropriate justice and punishment to those who break our laws.)

When we Democrats take back our country, we will do something that the Bush Cabal isn't doing and will never do. We will protect the rights and liberty of the very people that tried to use their political power to harm many of us.

Please note, that as someone who lives 5 blocks from Dick Cheney's house and 15 or 20 blocks from where Bush lived when he lived in Dallas, I am intimately familiar with how crude, vulgar, and down right mean George W. Bush is.

George Bush is a man who, by his own admission, lived a life of irresponsibility until (what?) age 40 who supports trying 14 year olds as adults and executing 16 year olds. This is a man who mimicked Karla Faye Tucker pleading "Don't kill me. Don't kill me." after he refused to commute her sentence and signed her death warrant.

My cousin was killed in Iraq last year.

Now, it turns out that Bush said on September 12th, 2001 that he was going to attack Iraq. Bush lied when he claimed he gave the armed forces commanders all the troops they asked for. Bush put unqualified political cronies in charge of FEMA, and sent unqualified cronies to Iraq as the civilians in charge of rebuilding Iraq. Bush refuses to admit that he has made mistakes, get the best information and opinions available, and correct the course. Bush thinks it is a mark of weakness to admit mistakes and ask for help.

My brother, who retired as an Air Force Colonel in January after returning from Iraq told me he retired early because Bush is the most dangerous man on the planet and he thought that if he stayed in the air force, that he would be faced with orders that would require him to commit war crimes or be court marshalled for disobeying a direct order.

I believe that I have a responsibility as a human being and as a citizen of the United States to protect our country and our planet from the evil that George Bush represents. I do not want to make the mistake that Germans made by not opposing Adolph Hitler. (I am not comparing Bush to Hitler. I am simply giving an example of the possible (if extreme) consequences when we don't stand up to those who are working to subvert our country and our democracy.

So, I am no more interested in having political discoures with Bush or his supporters than I would be in having political discourse with WWII era Nazis. I do not have the courage of the Amish required to forgive Bush, his cronies, or the Republican congress that has refused oversight and allowed Bush to visit his reign of terror on the United States and on the world.

Once the threat is contained, perhaps then, I will have the courage to forgive the Bush cabal for their actions.

As I am sitting here in my living room, the faces, names, and hometowns of the latest batch of troops killed in Iraq just flashed by. I'm not doing it tonight, but often I (a 54 year old man) cry when I see what we are doing to these valiant men and women whom George Bush has killed.

I was opposed to the war in Iraq. But, even worse than invading Iraq, Bush and his Republican cabal have refused to take the war seriously by not planning properly, sending sufficient troops, matierelle, or qualified civilians to manage the rebuilding of Iraq. And, the Republican congrss has refused any oversight or to hold anyone accountable. Instead, they attack as unpatriotic, the Democrats when they attempt to use what little power they have to push the issues.

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK


I can't be lying. As I stressed, I am stating my personal opinion--why I supported the overthrow of Omar and Hussein. That said, you have twice dodged the question what is so wrong with 40 million people being on the road to self-government.

Are you really saying that if no large stockpiles of recent vintage mass-death weapons were found, we should just do to the people of Iraq what we did to the people of South Vietnam, abandon them to an ugly fate at the hands of the most murderous and regressive elements on the planet?

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK


It isn't that Democrats are more intellectual than Republicans.

It is that Republicans are anti-intellectual and attack liberals for being intellectual.

Posted by: on October 3, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK


We're not so far apart after all!

You're in Dallas. I grew up in South Oak Cliff. I moved back to Denton Co. from California.

We're not so far apart politically either. My mother, a Southern Baptist who spent her youth as a sharecropper in the depression, taught me "God made each and every one of us, and He didn't play favorites." The one thing I made sure each of my three sons read was King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Are we on a similar wavelength?

Now, I look at Bush and see good in his heart, as much as possible with a politician who must, after all, take political stances. However, I have imputed evil or ineptitude to just about every president before him and have had discussions with devotees of each of them. That is something I can set completely aside. It bothers me not, personally, if you don't like George, and I feel no compunction to defend him. I hope it doesn't bother you that he's the one president I've though worthy on balance.

My next door neighbor here was blown up by an IED two weeks into his Iraq tour. After 18 months in military hospitals and 30 some-odd surgeries, he says it was worth it and hoped he could get back there despite his prosthesis.

There are different opinions out there. What poisons it, is the unwillingness to engage in the give and take that allows us to come to respect the integrity of others whether or not we care for their opinions. I take it you don't have that problem; you tolerate other viewpoints well while sticking to your own.

As for the management of the Iraq War, I can't help but remember the pre-war doom and gloom statements. I was a wild-eyed optimist believing it would cost us a division of fatalities to free Iraq. Instead, it's been a fraction of that.

Have there been mistakes in Iraq? Sure, there were plenty in WWII and especially in Korea as well. The dif has been the lack of good will toward this president, including by many of those who voted to commence this war. Plus, I've known Iraqis. Some had enough testosterone to fuel a dozen average college seniors--wild men. There's no way you don't make plenty of mistakes engaging with a culture so different.

Did Martin Luther King, Jr. make mistakes in his campaign for civil rights? Absolutely. Was the end result more than worth it? Absolutely. I have a hard time getting worked up about bad intelligence and mistaken decisions when the end result is 40 million people of this world, our brothers, with a boot lifted from their faces. Just call me sentimental.

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

"I say export the American Revolution. Free markets and the pursuit of happiness for everyone in the world!"

So, Charlie, what did you do in the war--any war?

Posted by: buck on October 3, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

What were there, 18 points in the Iraq War resolution? Passed with how many Dem votes? And with WMDs where on the list? About 2/3rds of the way down, yes?

This was clearly untrue. I didn't say you were lying. I said you were wrong. The entire AUMF is based on the premise that Hussein posed a threat to the United States. There are 18 instances of the word "weapon" and only one instance of the word democratic. There are four instances of the word "nuclear" and zero instances of the word "free."

In other words, for all of your wishing and hoping to distract from the fundamental lies that characterize the Bush team's assault on the people of Iraq, that's really all there is.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

I joined the U.S. Merchant Service in 1969 and shipped for 3 years. Few know that the Merchant Marine historically suffers the highest rate of casualties, more than twice that of the Marines in WWII.

Furthermore, I've got three sons, aged 18 to 24. I've explained to each that there is hardly any enterprise so honorable and worth the risk of one's life as bringing freedom to your fellow man.

My father was an Air Corps captain, a belly gunner on bombers in the Pacific. His older brother was a field doctor in the Philippines and his younger brother a forward artillery spotter from Normandy till the end of the war. Their father, my grandfather was a pursuit pilot in WWI, a colonel in the Air Corps died in 1939 teaching combat maneuvers to RAF pilots, one of whom stalled at low altitude.

What's the big deal with the chickenhawk thing, buck? Would I not be entitled to an opinion if I hadn't served or had daughters instead?

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK


First, I'm not wrong about the Iraq War Resolution. To the extent you feel you've got the better read on it, I'd simply reply that such documents get dressed up as expedient and remind you that Kerry, Edwards, Harman, Clinton and a host of other Dems were making very dire claims about ol' Saddam, very much in keeping with the final language.

Let me stress once more that I'm from the "any stick will do to beat a dog school," and Saddam was definitely a dog. Freeing Iraq from his tryanny cannot be described fairly as "an assault on the people of Iraq."

This being the third time you dodged the question of what is so wrong with 40 million people being on the path to self-government, am I now to assume you wish no better for the people of Iraq than the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia got?

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

You aren't entitled to your own facts. You claimed, falsely, that the WMDs didn't show up until 2/3 of the way through the AUMF. That was flatly false. I've linked it, you are welcome to re-read it, but your repeated dishonesty about what it contains demonstrates a severe unwillingness to take part in a rational debate. Implicit in the notion of rational debate is a reliance on facts. You have clearly demonstrated an unwillingness to accept simple facts. Attempting to change the subject does not make your false case any stronger. You have no right to an answer to your question because the Republicans didn’t go to Iraq to free the people – as clearly demonstrated by the document they claim gave them the right to invade.

The simple fact is that the Republican Party engineered an assault on the people of Iraq under false pretences. In truth, that destroyed both the myth of Republican “moral superiority” and the myth of Republican concern for national security.

Posted by: functional on October 3, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK
Paul, we conservative Christians are indeed morally superior. We drum our miscreants out of office; your party exalts them. No contest. Posted by: Susan Boyer on October 3, 2006
    Ney Ney Wey Hey! Wey Ney! YaY!
Posted by: Ney Hey Way on October 3, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

The neo-cons were for sexual predators before they were against them

Posted by: Ney Ney Ney on October 3, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK


I think it was Mark Twain who counseled young journalist Rudyard Kipling, First get the facts right, then do what you will with them.

In that spirit, I went back and double-checked the Iraq War Resolution (not the AUMF that you mention, which pertained to Afghanistan a coupla years earlier).

Sure enough, there were 18 "whereases" (You see, I couched my points as questions because I wasn't entirely sure I had it precise--turns out I did) and the whereas pertaining to WMDs is the 14th of 18.

It was preceded by the point about promoting the emergence of democratic governments (though, to be accurate, I mentioned that only in the context of Bush's statements, not the IWR). And, true, there was mention of weapons in other whereases but in the context of thwarting inspectors, failed agreements and so on--not weapons per se.

Now, unlike other commenters today, you have been fairly uncharitable, accusing me of dishonesty, of flirting with lying and of refusing to acknowledge facts presented in rebuttal (though I honestly have no idea what you were referring to there). Any fair reading of the Iraq War Resolution will show that I am entirely correct.

So what? I wasn't holding it up as Holy Writ. We both know Congress passes stupid stuff from time to time. Whether or not it is good law, my point in citing it was to debunk your claim that Bush "forgot the point of the war on the Iraqi people." The document clearly shows there were many points endorsed overwhelmingly by Congress as a whole.

Given that, your indignation is especially inappropriate. Do you want to continue in a civil vein or are you vexed out?

Posted by: Charlie on October 3, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Provide a link, because the one I provided is exactly the opposite of your characterization. And once again you have managed to make a statement directly at odds with the facts. The AUMF I linked was not about Afghanistan; it concerned Iraq. The title?
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

Were you honestly concerned with civil debate you might have bothered to scan the link long enough to read the title. You get that? The title. Do you see the word “Afghanistan” in there?

What makes you think misrepresenting such an easily observable facts makes you civil?

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

I note that "functional" never answered my question either: "What else would you have done given just the Foley emails above?"

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 4, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK


Same document. You simply had me confused by referring also to the AUMF, which was a different thing. I'll leave it to anyone who cares to to read and see if I made any statement at odds with the document you link.

I'll take your reply to indicate that, yes, indeed, you are too vexed to continue on civilly.

And so, good night!

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie, once again you are wrong. AUMF is “Authorization to Use Military Force” it is the abbreviation for the document I linked. My vexation comes from the fact that you have clearly failed to read the document. The first mention of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” comes in the fourth “Whereas.” Not the 14th.

Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

The next doesn’t occur until the very next whereas
Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in `material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations';

In all, there are seven citations of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and only one about Democracy.

Your ability to smarmily claim the moral high ground while making demonstrably false claims about easily verified documents is the hallmark of a troll. Good to see you go, sorry you think so little of the readers here that you would attempt to tell them tales as if they were gullible children.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

I understood what you were saying, Charlie. Don't let the Bush-haters like "functional" (barely) get you down.

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 4, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK


We are miles apart. You think that George W. Bush has a good heart.

I see no indication of a good heart. George W. Bush is a vile, hateful, greedy, cowardly, third-rate, third-grade school yard bully who doesn't have a shred of decency in his body.

In fact, he is the only U. S. President I believe to be evil.

Bush doesn't have the maturity to admit mistakes or to seek competent advice. Instead, he makes up his mind and then declares that all who disagree with him are his enemies and does everything he can to destroy them politically.

If you want to understand what George W. Bush is all about, rent the film The Dead Zone. Martin Sheehan plays Bush in that movie. How the Hell Stephen King predicted Bush 30 years ago I'll never know.

By the way, you said you told your sons how important it is to serve your country but you didn't say any of them are in the armed forces.

I will say to you, Charlie, what Bush has said many times: Either you are with us or you are with the evil-doers. Apparently, you have chosen to be on the side of the evil-doers. So, please do not make any claims that we are in any way similar on anything.

Posted by: on October 4, 2006 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bush admitted he made a mistake trading Sammy Sosa (are you sure you didn't think Ronald Reagan was "evil" too? ; )

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 4, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

functional and RadioLeft,

Well, gee, seems I've hit nerves all around.

functional, I apologize for my confusion if you were using AUMF in a generic sense when I think of it as a specific document that pertains to Afghanistan. With respect to the IRW, there is one whereas pertaining to weapons per se and others pertaining to weapons in other contexts as I accurately pointed out.

I also pointed it that this is not germane. You falsely accused Bush of missing the point of WMDs and links to terror in his war on the Iraqi people. However the IRW is worded, it is clear that 1) it contains lots of points and 2) was passed by Congress, not foisted on us by Bush.

It is your false point that is demolished, not mine.

RadioLeft, what can I say? Enjoy your Bush hatred. I simply don't share it, and I don't expect some 30-year-old Stephen King/Martin Sheen movie to change that.

What would you have me do, march my sons to the recruiting station and enlist them? They may well yet do it on their own. Is attacking this absurd point your way of not wanting to deal with your conflictedness over the value of fighting for the freedom of our fellow man?

And I have no idea what/who you mean by evil-doers, but I don't think I want to.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK


The more I think about your position, the more I think you need to look deeply into your heart.

You clearly feel the sacrifice of the lives of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwermer was in a noble cause, brutal and wrong as their murders may have been. I do too.

Why then the unwillingness to sacrifice on behalf of oppressed people elsewhere? Are civil rights only right for people who made it to these shores?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK


Thanks for the *************moral************

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

I see Charlie was lying when he said goodbye. But that's typical for a troll. I further see he agrees with his sock puppet that anyone who looks at the ineptitude and malice with which Bush has conducted his affairs and sees ineptitude and malice must be a deranged Bush hater. Sorry Charlie. The AUMF (which is what nearly everyone calls that – even if you dishonestly pretend I’ve made some unique faux pas) has very little to say about spreading democracy and quite a bit to say about how much of a threat Iraq is.

This document was written by the Republican Congress – at the behest of the Bush Administration. It is a product of the Republican Party. The party headed by George Walker Bush. It has the signature of George Walker Bush giving it the force of law. That it only makes a passing reference to democracy demonstrates clearly that Bush’s reason for going to war was to “eliminate the threat.”

What does this mean when we know that there never were any WMDs in Iraq? It means that Bush attacked Iraq without cause. It means that Charlie hasn’t a leg to stand on and the only false statements about the AUMF are his. It means that Bush and the Republicans are clearly unfit to make any pronouncements on national security. They cried wolf, and there was no wolf. They failed on September 11, 2001 and the result is a hole in the ground in New York City, an empty field in Pennsylvania and new construction in Washington DC.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK


Who you calling a troll? This article was posted on Real Clear Politics. If you prefer cloistered, like-minded commentary, write WM and tell them not to allow posting on sites frequented by people open to multiple points of view.

The rest of your post just goes over ground already stridently plowed by you. Except, I did not accuse RadioLeft of being a Bush hater. He claimed that status for himself, if you'll just take a peek at his post. And I didn't make anything out of it one way or the other.

You may also want to contact Wikipedia (for starters) and let them know just how wrong they are about the AUMF. Here's their mistaken take:

The Authorization for Use of Military Force ("AUMF") (Public law 107-40) was a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 2001, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all "necessary and appropriate force" against those whom he determined "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. The AUMF was signed by President George W. Bush on September 18, 2001.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK


Your post sure has attracted attention. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 4, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Ron and functional:

I offered on a different thread to take a bribe to leave -- then you won't have to deal with the troll -- want to put your money where your mouth is?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 4, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

you can tell saddam was a threat with possible nukes...

1991 invasion - 400k troops

2003 invasion - 150k troops

Posted by: mr. irony on October 4, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Once again we see that Charlie has no respect for facts. He directs us to whose entry on AUMF states as follows:

AUMF may refer to several authorizations to use military force granted by the United States Congress. In 2001 Congress issued another authorization, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists as a direct result of September 11, 2001.
Once this preliminary is out of the way, which of those authorizations does it go on to discuss? The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. The one I have been referring to as the AUMF.

This, Charlie, is what makes you a troll. Not that you disagree. If you wanted to have a civil discussion, one where observable facts are respected, we could have had one. But you didn’t. You wanted to come in with stories of how George Bush was trying to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. I’ve demonstrated that this was not the case using a document first introduced into the conversation by you. That document contains (as I’ve mentioned) seven instances of the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” and only one of democracy. It contains (again, as I’ve already pointed out) the word “nuclear” four times, but not a single instance of the word “free.”

By the way, didn’t claim Bush hatred. You put that in his mouth.

And really, who are you to whine about my going over the same ground (ground which you have failed to refute except to complain that a simple recitation of facts is “strident”). We are still arguing over the words in a document in the public record. And you are still getting the facts wrong every single time you post.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK


Once again you twist my words into something you can attack.

I have said that I was opposed to the war in Iraq AND that I am more upset that Bush ignored counsel from his commanders, lied about what they told him, sent incompetent political cronies to overess the rebuidling of Iraq, and has refused to send sufficient troops and materiel to Iraq causing the death and permament injury of over 25,000 brave men and women in our armed forces, and over 100,000 innocent Iraqis.

If Bush had competently and resolutely executed the war, I would have to give him credit for that - even if it weren't going well.

Your claim that I don't care about the freedom and liberty of people around the world is a blatant and deliberat distortion on your part to distract from the fact that your defense of Bush is indefensible.

You implied by stating that you told your sons the impportance of military service that they are serving in the armed forces.

Do your sons support the Bush and the war in Iraq? If so, why are they cowards willing to let others die while they are safe here at home?

It constantly amazes me that people can support Bush and his incompetent and corrupt execution of the Iraq war and are willing to send others to die in Iraq while they and their families are safe at home.

My positon is this: It is not appropriate to bully other countries, to label them as evil, or to invade other countries on false pretense and then conduct the occupation incompetently.

We should have used 9/11 as an opportunity to advance energy conservation, alternative energy, and to achieve energy independence. We should alos have used 9/11 as an opportunity to settle the Israel / Palestine situation, and we should have left Saddam Hussein alone until we had a real plan with international and especially Middle Eastern support to do something about him.

To all accounts, Iraqis are actually worse off under the American occupation then they were under Hussein. It is anyone's guess whether Iraqis will be better off for the overthrow of Hussein in 10 years. That is because of Bush's corrupt, incompetent, and cowardly execution of the American occupation.

Since you claim to see good in Bush's heart, please state evidence to that effect.

Posted by: on October 4, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK


You make my point about Bush political cowardice and unwillingness to send sufficient troops to Iraq.

400K in 1991, 150K this time. Bush's commanders told him they needed 400K troops, Bush refused, and then lied when he claimed that he had given his commanders everything they have asked for.

My suspicion is that if they used 400K troops last time, it would take far more troops this time because the mission is much more complex.

Posted by: on October 4, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I think Charlie is one of those right-wing bloggers paid by the Republican National Committee.

Posted by: Geoff Staples on October 4, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

So I'm chickenhawking, huh? I just find it interesting that so many men and women who have never been to war are the first to decide that someone else should go, that's all, Charlie. And as I suspected, you're one of them. I guess you've never stopped to wonder why 9 of 10 veterans running for Congress are Dems, have you? No, I guess that wouldn't fit with your preconceived ideas. I guess you also have no problem with the fact that your sainted Bush & Co have made such a mess of our greatest treasure, our volunteer armed forces, especially our best boots on the ground, the U.S. Marine Corps.

Oh, and Charlie, having daughters is no excuse. Last time I looked, there were MANY women serving in Iraq.

From where I'm sittin' Charlie, you sure look and sound like a chickenhawk to me.......but what would I know. I just have a son (previously in Iraq) and grandson (now in Anbar province).

All I can say is, if you believe so heartily in exporting the American Revolution, I would expect to see you (and your new best friend thomas1) out there in Iraq doin' your thing.

Posted by: buck on October 4, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Paul Begala was so affected by his years as presidential toady that he has completely lost his capacity to think. He has never voiced an opinion not echo what Bill Clinton himself might have said. Liberals- a herd of independent minds.

Posted by: m on October 4, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'll get to each of you in turn.


I think I apologized earlier if I was confused on your use of AUMF. Also, I actually did not see your post with the link to it until much later when I began to suspect I'd missed something.

When people of goodwill debate, there's often a period during which they get on the same page on terminology. It's fine with me if AUMF and IWR are interchangeable.

Once more, I was pointing to the AUMF/IWR in response to your specific point about WMDs and links to terrorism having nothing to do with with Bush's war ON the Iraqi people.

Now, when you brought up WMDs, I thougt you meant in the context of Iraq HAVING them or not. I didn't think you were claiming that Hussein was not thwarting weapons inspectors or that he was not violating weapons agreements. You would be pretty much alone in arguing such, but, okay, I grant all of that to you.

Let's agree that in the AUMF/IWR, there are four of eighteen points dealing with weapons. This still leaves you needing to explain how the preponderance of points having nothing to do with weapons or terror links doesn't quash your argument.

Furthermore, Republican genesis or not, it is still a document that overwhelmingly passed Congress, making it OUR war. In fact, the chance is quite good that your own representative and senators voted for it.

And it seems to me that 8 million purple thumbs put the lie to the war being ON the Iraqi people.

Back when I was a liberal Dem, issues dealing with the Holocaust were still frontpage news from time to time. The liberal catchword was NEVER AGAIN. I think, looking at liberal democrat fecklessness from the waning days of the Vietnam war on, that should be revised to NEVER AGAIN (except on our watch). Plus, it always made me queasy when libs would start idolizing mass murderers like Stalin and Mao.

The papers didn't carry much about the killing fields of Cambodia during Jimmuh's admin. Was it because the hostage crisis in Iran dominated the news or because that was precisely what they media dogs (and especially John Kerry) had assured us would not happen if we would only get the hell out of Vietnam?

I've traveled a lot and have friends from all over the world. Jews from Russia told me of their travails. Russians from Russia too. One Russian scientist told me of the pistol shoved in his face by KGB agents with the threat of confess and die here quickly or stay quiet and die in the Gulag.

Fact is, the Holocaust is being replayed all the time. Saddam's sons enjoyed picking women at random off the street and having their goons kidnap them for a bit of rough play. Their dad enjoyed subjecting his adversaries' (imagined or real) wives and daughters to rape rooms or to rooms equipped with plastic shredders capacious enough for two or three people at a time too.

Many conservatives say we shouldn't be the world's policemen, and I concur. Let people resolve their own differences. But when people are held down with no means of redress and the person holding them down is a scummy despot who can be peeled off easy as a scab, well then what are we waiting for?

Oh, but the cost, you say. If you check here (, you will see that US military deaths from all causes were almost precisely the same in Clinton's first four years as Bush's. Only Clinton didn't have 40 million people liberated to show for it.

My take, and please feel free to correct me if you think I am wrong, is that you are conflating the minutiae of the AUMF points because you simply cannot bring yourself to address the humanitarian issues I keep raising. THESE are the ones that matter, my friend.

But, if your were to tackle the humanitarian consequence head on and have to say whether or not freeing 40 million people from tyrrany has been a good thing, then you might have to give up your oh-so-romantic, man-the-barricades-style sloganeering about wars ON the Iraqi people.

Oh, and the no-terror-links thing... Just the fact that Saddam provided roughly 5-year's wages to any Palestinian family willing to waste one of their own as a suicide bomber to blow up Israelis, well, explain how that's not a bad terroristy kind of thing.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Let's agree that in the AUMF/IWR, there are four of eighteen points dealing with weapons. This still leaves you needing to explain how the preponderance of points having nothing to do with weapons or terror links doesn't quash your argument.

Let’s agree that you have once again made a claim at odds with the facts. Nine of the 18 points use the word weapon. A simple scan of the document demonstrates this. Again, you couldn’t be more wrong if you were lying.

As to WMDs, the evidence is in. There were none in Iraq. There is no debate on this, it is simply a fact. That the Republicans guessed wrong on this is a mark against them as a serious party on the subject of national security. That they guessed wrong on this and invaded Iraq based on that guess marks them as unfit to hold high office.

What you are now calling minutia is anything but. It is the reason the Republicans took us to war. There is no support for the notion of a “humanitarian” war. Can you find that word in the AUMF? How about the word “Israel”, the word “Palestine,” or the word “payments?” Are you truly suggesting that the United States went to war solely for the benefit of Israel?

Remember, it was you who told us that the issue of weapons didn’t appear until 2/3 of the way through the AUMF. That was false. It is you who claimed that only four of the 18 clauses referred to weapons. That was false. None of your arguments are based on facts, and the fact that there are more people dying violent deaths under George W. Bush in 2006 than under Saddam Hussein in 2003 demolishes your humanitarian argument even if it hadn’t already been shown false by the authorizing document.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

The most important point in the Foley Follies was noted only in the local news here: Foley is from NEWTON, MASS! That is just outside of Boston, and is a bastion of elitist liberalism. . The next thing you know he'll be getting married to another man at the Brookline Town Hall (home of Michael Dukakis! --- cue the ominous music). Surely that explains everything.

Or perhaps, like Cardinal Law, the Vatican can find something for him.

Posted by: jprfrog on October 4, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK


I have no desire to twist your words, far from it.

You said:

"Your claim that I don't care about the freedom and liberty of people around the world is a blatant and deliberat distortion on your part to distract from the fact that your defense of Bush is indefensible."

I did not claim this. I asked you about it because, if it were the case, I think it would be unfortunate unless you can help me to understand otherwise. Please feel free to explain your position. I'm open to your answer.

However, you did call my sons cowards apparently for not joining the military right out of high school (one's not out yet). That's just plain spite talking.

You also rehash the arguments about numbers of troops on the ground and what the generals said. I am no expert in this area. But I do know that there was hardly a concensus advising Bush that more troops were needed. And, as I sift thru the arguments, a lighter, swifter, more lethal force (the Rumsfeld position) makes perfect sense to me. (I also think we need to design for the future a force for peacekeeping, but that's another argument.)

As for whether or not Iraq is a misadventure, we can kick that can from here to doomsday. I'd just back up and say that I have a hard time seeing how the Middle East will heal itself and find peace when it lacks any governing structures to help people who desire lives of purpose and prosperity to pursue that goal free from the frenzies being whipped up by the myriad active power mongers playing on ancient hatreds and hurts of many different descriptions.

It is precisely for that reason that I think it is worth the gamble (and gamble it is) to attempt to hold things stable in Iraq while structures that permit popular input and discussion and the resolution of grievances are put in place. Like I pointed out in my post to functional, the casualty figures for the first four years of Bush's term during which the bulk of this work has been accomplished differ almost not at all from the casualty figures from Clinton's first term during which no such liberating work was being attempted.

If I may challenge you, you appear to me to have the same problem as functional. You walk right up to the leap of faith on behalf of your fellow man, and then... and then... and then just what happens? Clearly, you appreciate that many made that leap on behalf of the civil rights movement. Why the hesitancy now? I'm not baiting you. I am sincerely ready to understand your take on this important question.

As for Bush, call him evil. As I said, I have no compunction to defend him. I correspond with old friends from the Bay Area all the time who think he is the devil incarnate, and they are still my friends. I think he's been the only good apple in the barrel; you think he's been the only rotten one. Such is life. I can live with it if you can.

While we are talking about my sons, the oldest lived with a family in Guatamala City and then lived among the Maya in the mountains there. He heard many tales of civil war atrocities. He also visited Cuba for a couple of weeks and made a documntary movie there.

The middle one visited China and stayed adjacent to Tiananmen Square for two weeks. He studied the events there. Now he's living and studying in Buenos Aires. He has researched the desaparecidos, though it's still not a topic to be openly discussed there.

The youngest spent a month in Bolivia including visits down into the mines, where workers begin about age 11 and seldom live beyond their early 30s. He also spent a summer working in a factory in Jackson, Mississippi.

Why did I encourage these sorts of life experiences for my boys? Because I believe what my momma told me, "God created each and every one of us, and He didn't play favorites." I want them to know that the family of man is just that, one big family, all equally deserving of respect and all capable of good and productive lives if only we as men are willing to stand up to the kind evil influences, especially tyrannies of the Right and the Left, that interfere from time to time.

Plus, I am confident, that, whether or not any of the three ever join the military, they will always, always treat others with dignity and respect and, should the occasion arise, be willing to extert themselves for others.

Posted by: RadioLeft on October 4, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, I typed the name of the person I was addressing (RadioLeft) as my name. That prior post is by me, Charlie. My bad.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

The moral superiority doesn't reside with Republican politicians... it resides within the much maligned socially conservative majority of GOP supporters.

Foley is gone. Gingrich couldn't survive charges of adultery. Neither could Livingston. Thirty year old charges of alcohol abuse almost sunk W.

Trent Lott couldn't even survive saying complimentary things at the retirement of a senile old man. "Insensitivity" isn't even tolerated if someone happens to be Republican and votes conservative.

Dems OTOH excuse behavior like the Clintons', Studd, Kennedy, Byrd, Berry, Frank, etc.

The greatest hypocrisy demonstrated by this article is that of Begala himself.

Posted by: sjt on October 4, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK


No, but if there is a paying position for doing this that you know about, please provide contact info.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK


Yes, you're chickenhawking. You say so yourself.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK


Okay, nine of eighteen points mention the word weapon. Your argument is still shredded.

And if the whole helping 40 million people achieve self-government enchilada is too big for you to tackle at one sitting, try this.

What did you think of the 8 million people voting in Iraq?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

How does the fact that in the entire document there is only a single mention of the word democracy shred my argument? It bolters, it supports, it confirms my position. The war on the people of Iraq was not done to free them, it was not done to liberate them, it was officially done for the purpose of eliminating weapons and enforcing UN resolutions (which points make up the rest of the clauses).

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

"A central message of the Democrats' campaign should be that Democrats walk the walk, whereas the elite that rule the Republican Party are hypocrites who only talk the talk."

Are you serious? Democrats say they will protect the country from terrorism but their record is one of sleeping at the wheel and de-fanging our intelligence agencies.

The day after Clinton's tirade the guy responsible for bin Laden at the CIA during Clinton's tenure said he was lying... again. He said that bin Laden is alive because Clinton wouldn't approve effective action against him.

Democrats lied to us for 40 years about being the party of the "middle class" while systematically confiscating rights and liberties while centralizing more and more power inside the Beltway.

My disillusionment with the GOP such as it is comes from their loss of the 94 idealism. They've lost their sense of limited gov't and learned from their Democratic successors that the way to get votes is to use tax payer dollars to buy them.

Unfortunately for them, this practice divides their base... and will probably lead to their loss of control.

Unfortunately for us, this will leave the Dems in charge by default. A party so aware that its ideals are repugnant to the majority of Americans that their chief strategists have laid their fortunes on being anti-Bush/anti-Republican while not giving any vision of their own at all.

"This is true not only for morality (hey, at least Monica Lewinsky wasn't underage"

So that's an excuse?

BTW, I don't know what Foley actually did but we have solid testimony that Clinton sexually assaulted Broderick... of course Dems excused and poopooed that too.

Whatever he did, as a conservate, yes Christian, voter who has in recent years voted GOP, I hope they investigate fairly and expose anyone with a hand in it... even if there are political costs. It is never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.

"but for all sorts of issues, such as balancing the budget (Clinton was better than Bush),"

a) Not a moral issue

b) Clinton did nothing toward balancing the budget and in fact proposed socialized medicine which would have exploded the budget prior to Republicans winning Congress. Most of his "fiscal restraint" was a direct result of the GOP Congress saying "no". Remember the gov't shutdowns? Who was wanting more spending? hint: it wasn't Congress and the spending wasn't for anti-terrorism.

"restraining government waste (Clinton was better),"

Nope... The EPA is an example of an entire agency that has streamlined while remaining effective and even improving standards in most areas. They are also benefited now by not having leaders with kneejerk antagonism for industry. Partnerships are inherently more efficient than conflict. OTOH, they have been very aggressive in enforcement and fines.

"and fighting terrorism (Clinton was better)."

Do what? Are you delusional?

Whether Iraq has made terrorism worse or not is largely subjective. What is not subjective is that our military is now fighting terrorism in the terrorists back yard (and former safe haven). We are destroying their assets in Iraq and worldwide. We are seizing funds. They now have to hide their training camps. During the Clinton years, the reporters were able to locate and publish the locations.

To be fair, Clinton acted according to the paradigm of the time. He didn't want to cause more problems by acting aggressively. 9/11 upped the ante and Dems should be doing as Republicans did during the Cold War. Stop politicizing the most urgent national defense issue in our country's history. The war on Islamo-fascist terrorism should be where politics end and common cause begins.

God help us all that the Dems, devoid of ideals that appeal to the public, are seeking to use demagogury over our security to win power.

Posted by: sjt on October 4, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, indicative of more Dem hypocrisy, think the Foley issue through.

What if Hastert had started discipline against Foley... what would have been the Dem's line then... "The GOP once again demonstrates its bigotry toward homosexuals", right? They'd have been accused of invading privacy Foley's privacy on some "Religiously intolerant" witch hunt.

That's pretty much what the libs did with the Clinton sexual scandals.

Posted by: sjt on October 4, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Ah the power of creating a different situation, creating the response to it, and condemning that (invented) response. Good job. Along with the previous post I see you have a rich fantasy life.

When you have something resembling facts you will have reached Charlie's level of disconnect from reality (at least he has heard of reality - even if it doesn't find much outlet in his arguments).

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

more americans have died in iraq..

since saddam was captured..

than all his time in power...

heck of a job

Posted by: mr. irony on October 4, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK


No, the fact that bringing democracy to Iraq is mentioned in the AUMF/IWR, approved by Congress, as even one of our goals means that your claim that it was Bush's war and solely about WMDs and links to terror was simply wrong.

Furthermore, you're not just wrong as in, well, I still have a valid point. You are wrong as in such authorizations set forth fundamentally important rationales and purposes and you can't just decide they mean what you think they mean.

The reason you don't get even partial credit is that, setting the AUMF/IWR aside, it was Democrat rhetoric that was at least as shrill as Bush's, and I would argue shriller. I do believe it was Edwards who label WMDs in Iraq an "imminent threat." Any number of other leading Dems, now busy looking for cover and hoping for public amnesia, were in the forefront of denouncing Saddam and his weapons and his tyrrany.

And on at least one important occasion, I believe it was a SotU, Bush give a fantastic speech in which he spoke only about bringing peace and freedom to Iraq and the Iraqi people--no mention of weapons or other purposes. I'll warn you in advance, you won't be successful in goading me to fact-check that one. 1) It's merely icing on a well-baked cake, and 2) I don't really care if you buy it or not inasmuch as you don't seem to be able to work up one bit of enthusiasm for exploring the potential for real progress for people in that region.

But, consider this, when I was old enough for political consciousness to start dawning, there were fewer than ten democracies in the world (I want to say fewer than five). Now, something like half the countries in the world are democracies.

You, very likely, are concerned about issues of the environment and energy allocation and freedom from poverty and hunger and world health and the ready availability of health care, yes?

Tell me, since the last pared-down enchilada was still too much for you, do you think these issues will be more satisfactorily dealt with with more or with fewer democracies in the world?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony,

You claim more people are being killed in Iraq today than under Saddam. I assume your conclusion, "heck of a job" is meant to be a sarcastic quip on our bad handling of the situation.

Numbers I have seen contradict you, but let's say you are right.

Under Saddam, you might have been awakened in the night and agents of the state might have whisked any of you and your family off for who knows what fate.

Under Saddam, you might not have been able to get adequate food or medicine for your toddler because he was busy violating sanctions and turning the proceeds to palaces and weapons.

Under Saddam, you might have been walking down the street minding your own business, a young, chaste woman, and have Saddam's boys' goon squads deliver you to their limo for rape and sodomy and eventual murder.

Under Saddam, you might have seen all the people in your community gasping for air as the gas clouds enfold your village.

Under Saddam, you might have had to make the choice to jump in the shredder headfirst and go quickly or feetfirst and die painfully.


Since Saddam, you might be a peaceable citizen walking down the street minding your own business only to have a sniper or suicide bomber end your life.

Or, more likely, you might be part of a Shiite or Sunni militia group on the prowl for trouble and revenge and find it.

Under Saddam, all the ways to meet your maker were on-going, state-sponsored apparatuses.

Post-Saddam, the threats are not only not condoned but increasingly handled by the police and military, more and more the Iraqi military.

If you read the Iraqi blogs (there are many good ones), yes they are dismayed by the violence. But they now have a realistic expectation that it is coming to an end.

That seems better to me. Does it seem better to you?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong again. There is no SOTU speech prior to Bush's assault on Iraq that fails to mention the threat posed by Iraq. In other words, you don't even get partial credit for an oblique reference to democracy in the Whereas clauses. There is no follow-up in the action items. That is, there is no requirement that Iraq be a democracy after Bush attacks them, only a requirement that it make us safer. That's his job. And he failed at that.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK


Do you mind if I point out that you are kind of building yourself a safety barricade of meanings and word play and fact checking from which you launch sort of verbal hand grenades?

Is this because, as I suspect, you actually began thinking about the people of Iraq as brothers and sisters who might prosper under self-government, your sullen and uncharitable worldview might just come apart?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

charlie:You claim more people are being killed in Iraq today than under Saddam.

you need better comprehension skills...

more americans have died in iraq..

since saddam was captured..

than all his time in power..

g.w. said saddam was a threat...and now americans are safer..

weird huh...

Posted by: mr. irony on October 4, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

america is safer...yet more americans have died there....

weird huh...

Posted by: mr. irony on October 4, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie, do you mind if I point out that your attempts to psychoanalyze me are doomed to failure because you have nothing but a few posts on which to base them? Do you mind if I point out that almost every factual assertion you have made has been clearly refuted by reality? Do you mind if I point out that the Iraqi people are now dying violent deaths at a rate higher than under Hussein in the 3 years prior to Bush’s assault on them? Do you mind if I point out that the evidence is in and the invasion of Iraq makes America and the world less safe?

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony,

It is weird and kind of ironic, eh?

Thank you for pointing this out.

Guess I'll have to ponder it.

While I'm doing that, did you have any response to my comments about how the Iraqi people fared under Saddam versus today?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK


I would never attempt to psychoanalyze anyone and certainly not on the basis of a few posts. However, in those few posts you have seemed quite reluctant to come out and discuss the human dimension of any of this, resorting instead to definitional points that, as you can see, have got us nowhere.

I just wonder what is behind that. I'm beginning to think that a steady reading diet of guys like Paul Begala is not wholesome for a well-rounded, open and humanistic worldview. You may want to think about broadening your horizons a bit. (Heck, read some of the Iraqi blogs--get your info first-hand for a change.) Then maybe you won't feel as anxious and threatened as you seem to indicate you do.

I say that realizing it comes across as quite tacky and patronizing. But I also know that it is true (a concept we don't seem to agree on, so substitute "well-meant" if you prefer), and it would be beneficial.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK


I said that your sons are chickenhawks IF they support the war. You conveniently left that out.

If Republicans weren't Chickenhawks, the College Republican and Young Republican clubs would have no one attending their meetings because they would all be in Iraq fighting.

I never said I was opposed to overthrowing Saddam Hussein. I think there was a probably a better way than invading Iraq at the time it was done and without sufficeient international or Middle Eastern support.

BUT, more imporatantly, I do not like the fact that Bush sent UNQUALIFIED POLITICAL CRONIES to run the rebuilding operation instead of qualified people. I do not like the fact that Bush ignored his commanders' statement they needed 400K troops and lied to the public about it. I could go on.

So, the problem is that you refuse to look at what Bush has done and is doing, and then dismiss the facts as "rehashing".

Instead you claim that Bush has a good heart with no evidence and when I offer evidence he doesn't, you dismiss it with the claim that I am a Bush hater.

Apparently, you believe that past performance is no indicaction of future performance. That is wrong in business and downright dangerous when your discussing the president of the United States.

It is quite obvious that you are in a State of Denial.

Since your only response is to brush away the facts as if they don't matter, there is no point in discussing this with you further. You will only continue with more of the same approach.

It is people like you, who blindly follow George Bush and make excuses for him, that have gotten us into trouble in exactly the same way those who made excuses for Adolph Hitler allowed him to perpetrate his evil on the world.

You are more responsible than Bush for the deaths of our troops in Iraq because he couldn't do it if you didn't put him in office and elect him again in 2004.

So, Charlie, the next time you see your sons, safe at home, think about all of the permanently disabled and dead troops you have assisted George Bush in killing.

If you are paying attention, the jig is up. The public - at least those who are not in denial like you - are going to make the Republican Party pay a heavy price for what they have done.

Posted by: on October 4, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I've discussed the human dimension. You have conspicously avoided discussing the increased violence, the tens of thousands of dead, and the cost in both dollars and lives on the part of the invaders.

As to “anxious,” once again we see a transparent attempt to marginalize disagreement by associating it with mental unfitness. Classic troll behavior. And, let’s be honest, a well-rounded world-view is exactly what I have demonstrated here. This contrasts quite nicely with the incessant repetition of falsehoods.

What were there, 18 points in the Iraq War resolution? Passed with how many Dem votes? And with WMDs where on the list? About 2/3rds of the way down, yes?
This isn’t even your first attempt to bring false information into the thread.

You, Charlie, are a troll.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK


"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many." - Dick Cheney August-1992

4-years after the gassing of the kurds...

and then....we go in more than a decade later..

and he doesn't have wmd's..

weird huh...

Posted by: mr. irony on October 4, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

RadioLeft, paragraph by paragraph

1. Then, yes, you are calling my sons cowards.

2. The whole chickenhawk thing is a red herring (buck will be disappointed to find out). The military is not the only way to do good in this world.

3. What international support were you going to wait for? France? As you should have seen by now, there's precious little else in the world. Unfortunately, as the rest of the world snoozes in the embrace of Pax Americana, evil rears its head.

4 & 5. I saw a lefty talking point piece on this subject that was soundly fisked. All the people placed in key positions were shown to have had relevant expertise, contrary to the assertions.

You are right. I do not want to hash this. Why? Because there is no heart in it, no compassion, no humanity, which is where the discussion needs to be centered. You and and functional keep getting hung up on he-said-this/they-said-that woolyboogers. Find someone else to go trip over such hobgoblins with you. I prefer to stick to the heart of the argument, how to we do right by oppressed people in the world? Care to join me?

6. I claim that I perceive Bush as having a good heart. I hardly care to argue such a subjective point just as I don't care to get worked up over whether you are a Bush hater (which I infered, yes, but not in any charged or dismissive way) or simply call him evil (which you did do).

7. Not only is past performance a reasonable indicator of future performance, my optimism is based on being impressed by past performance. As briefly as I can, I was a venture entrepreneur. It is a whole different psychology from just showing up to your cubicle for your job day-to-day. You literally step off into the unknown, every decision you make is subject to second-guessing and any day can see your plans crash or soar based on events that are probably unforeseeable, though you always feel like you should have foreseen them.

Based on that psychology of the unknown, I supported the invasion of Iraq, yes, but I had what I felt was a realistic pov of the hardship it would entail. In terms of casualties, in terms of political progress and in terms of infrastructure progress we are way ahead of the metrics I had in mind and which I feared might be pollyannaish.

I'd have to say, based on my expectations, that Bush and team has done a smash up job. Just to be clear, I don't care if you dismiss that out of hand as simply my derangement. Again, the interesting question is what to do for oppressed people, not my take on Bush's progress.

8. No, I'm here in the State of Texas with you.

9. Fair enough on the brushing away facts thing. I'd only reply that you and functional seem to interpose facts as a way of not having to deal with the issues that really require grappling with your heart. That's a hard charge to make to another person, and I don't say it lightly and I don't say it maliciously.

It could be nothing more than you feel like you've got certain pet facts down pat and you'd like the discussion to stay where you're comfortable. I simply answer, screw that. Meek people push little factoids around with each other. Bold folks speak from the heart and with compassion and, yes, with due regard for the facts--but not consumed by them alone.

10. Now you're just getting nasty. I have disliked every other president, so I'm not simply a blind lover of authority. And, as a curious little input, my Russian Jewish friends sometimes point out who they think would be the Nazis here or Communist true-believers. I was shocked when they first talked about people I knew, Americans, in this fashion, but you could, when you thought about it, see what they were getting at. They had a lot more experience with the totalitarian mentality than you or I do. And, guess what? They overwhelmingly support George Bush.

11. 40 million of our brothers and sisters liberated from tyrrany and on the road to self-government all in return for a handful more casualties than occurred during the Clinton admin, and you want to quibble? Look at the number of newspapers in Iraq, the politcal diversity, the number of satellite dishes, the number of air conditioners, the number of purple thumbs... are you really so indifferent?

12. I don't know if this is your attempt to "get" me with ghoulishness, but, like I said, my next door neighbor was one-such casualty, and his belief in the righteousness of the cause and the desire to return to his mission were undiminished. Why should my belief be?

13. Hey, who knows? Maybe this Foley mess will hand both houses back to you Dems on a silver platter. What will you do then?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK


Actually, I just discussed the whole death thing in my reply to Mr. Irony above. Check it out.

And don't forget the link I provided for total military casualties. We liberated two whole countries for what was it, something like one fatality per week more than during Clinton's admin when they weren't liberating anybody?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Irony,

That Cheney! Always mouthing off.

It's a good thing he kept casualties down then, huh?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I read your link, it demonstrates that under Clinton military deaths went down every year and that under Bush it started going back up. By the end of the graph it shows that "Hostile" deaths were even greater than the accidental deaths. Under Clinton it only lists (as I recall) one death owing to hostile action (this is broken out distinctly from terrorist attacks).

In other words, you want to compare the first four years of Clinton, before changes that apparently cut the accidental death rate, and the suicide rate, to Bush's first four years when those things were already done. In other words an honest commenter would have compared the last four with Bush's first four and discovered that the military death rate was already on its way up.

This is the strongest of your “facts.” It requires one selectively compare and then add in an invalid claim of liberation. If the nations were liberated they would not still have an occupying force.

You aren't interested in substantive discussion. You are a troll.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, more Americans died under Bush in Iraq than died under Hussein.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK


Au contraire, my friend. It is precisely because I am interested in substantive discussion that I have hung in here. Not that I'm getting it, mind you.

I have simply been curious to sound you and RadioLeft out to see if there was any heart to you, any compassion, in short, any ability to rise to the substantive level of this issue.

If you got it, I can't see it. I don't need to worry about the quibbles that seem to consume you. Time will answer those questions, not you and me.

Hey, and it's not just you. I didn't see one statement anywhere in this thread that indicated a since of humanity--not about Foley, not about Iraq. I shouldn't be surprised, given that it's a thread kicked off by all-cunning, no-heart Paul Begala.

Oddly enough, your best solution might be the very trolling you seem to abhor. Go. Go look around some sites with different povs. Go get in some disputes on Righty sites. Open your mind a bit. Slowly, surely, you will get better.

You can say I'm judging you harshly, but I say just try giving up the fascination with trivia and get in touch with the people side of the equation. See if that doesn't give you some wings.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK


BTW, I'm not saying you need to change your opinion of the world. I'm just saying that you might find much more lively, engaging and potent defenses for it than your present clamshell mode.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Your judgment is quite obviously suspect. You are once again attempting to deflect the questions about your factual errors by questioning my mental state. This does not speak well for your ability to process information contrary to the talking points stored in your head. Not one of your assertions has stood the reality test. In the end you are left defending the Bush team that failed on 9/11, failed at their attempt at empire, and have no plan to make Iraq the fantasy camp you seem to imagine it already is.

Perhaps if you had presented a single fact, rather than discredited talking points you might have ground to complain of my closed mindedness. But there have been none. Appeals to look at the facts emotionally aren't going to change the facts. That's just pounding on the table. And, as a lawyer, you know what it means when counsel is reduced to pounding on the table.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK


Here's a reply from James Haveman one the "incompetent" operatives in Iraq you refer to. He answered the charge at Power Line blog. They have much more on the issue if you'd like to get a more balanced take.

"Your recent article (Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq, Sept. 17) is inaccurate and imbalanced. It is telling that you have already posted one factual correction to the story by your reporter, Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Chandrasekaran ignores material facts that are central to my work in Iraq because they don’t support his notion that I failed. Instead, he prefers to mold his stories around peripheral issues, portrays them as if they were primary goals, and supports them with quotes from sources who were at least once removed from policy-making roles. Chandrasekaran argues that I spent more time on secondary issues than on real threats such as childhood disease. The fact is that one of our earliest achievements was acquiring, distributing and administering vaccines to protect three million Iraqi children from debilitating and potentially fatal diseases such as polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis and measles.

Our reform of Iraq’s pharmaceutical distribution system is another of Chandrasekaran’s smoking guns. We blew it, he says, by limiting the number of drugs available. His understanding of the issue is so shallow that one hardly knows where to begin. The fact is that Kimadia, Saddam’s medical supply bureaucracy created under the UN’s failed oil-for-food program, was so riddled with corruption and bribery that little medication was available. Suppliers received kickbacks and sent expired drugs that were exorbitantly overpriced. Half of the medications on hand were unusable, and some were 30 years old. Chandrasekaran completely ignores the systemic issue, complaining instead about the smaller formulary matter. We did not, as he reported, attempt to sell Kimadia to a private company.

Chandrasekaran indicts our health team for imposing U. S. solutions without regard for Iraqi input. In truth, all initiatives were developed in a collaborative, consensus-based manner with the involvement and agreement of Iraqi counterparts.

When the Coalition Provisional Authority health team first arrived, there was no functioning Ministry of Health. Employees had scattered and the headquarters was a looted hulk. The remaining staff was clustered outside the ministry. Their first request was for chairs. We removed six tons of trash from the fire-scarred building and refurbished it. In concert with Iraqi counterparts, we enticed more employees back to work with improved salaries and reenergized them with a sense that they were back on their feet. Together, we developed a strategic plan for the Ministry of Health, including a focus on long-neglected maternal-child health issues.

Yet another inaccuracy is Chandrasekaran’s version of health-related funding. Under Saddam, the Health Ministry had $16 million to cover health care for Iraq’s 26 million people. That meager funding was stretched across 1,200 clinics, 240 hospitals and 120,000 employees. Eleven months later we had an actual budget of $1 billion, all funded by an Iraqi government that was no longer being parasitized of cash by a malevolent dictator. The $793 million Chandrasekaran reports was part of a separate multi-billion-dollar supplemental U.S. appropriation. He reports we spent “almost all” of it for maternity hospitals and community clinics, leaving none for rehabilitating emergency rooms. In fact, $130 million was used for new medical equipment in a variety of health programs, including general hospitals. Another $50 million funded a new pediatric hospital in Basra. We budgeted $25 million for new capacity to manage programs to reduce maternal and infant mortality, and $17 million for critical training programs in nursing, primary care and other technical assistance.

Chandrasekaran fails to recognize the significant underlying challenges to health sector reconstruction, most of which were beyond the control of our team. Some occurred after our tenure. These include widespread violence, sectarian strife, continual turnover among officials with four ministers of health in as many years, and a legacy of corruption and inefficiency in contracting and oversight.

Notably, Ambassador Bremer and senior Iraqi counterparts recognized the Ministry of Health’s transition as the first to earn full Iraqi autonomy, months in advance of other ministries and before Iraqi sovereignty.

Chandrasekaran accuses us of staying in the safety and supposed grandeur of the Green Zone. In fact, we traveled daily to hospitals and clinics all around the country. We spent many late nights at the Health Minister’s home in the Red Zone. When we were at the Republican Guard Palace we spent our share of time in the basement dodging mortar attacks. Our room at the Al Rasheed was two doors down from one that was destroyed by a missile. Our later quarters were trailers where stray bullets fired miles away ripped through the sheet metal siding.

Sadly, Chandrasekaran trivializes the sacrifices made in the reconstruction. Our team often traveled with minimal security. Twelve attacks were launched against us. Unfortunately, our casualty rate rivaled that of some combat units. An Iraqi member of the Health Ministry staff was assassinated. Some CPA health staff members were shot. Others were wounded by IEDs. The chief of my personal security detail was murdered.

Chandrasekaran questions my qualifications. As Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, I managed a budget of $9.5 billion and participated in national health policy strategy. As CEO of the largest international adoption agency, I directed 55 offices in the U.S. and 12 other nations. I am proud of an exemplary record during a 40-year career as a leader in health and human services.

Chandrasekaran, ironically, is accused of significant journalistic shortcomings by fellow writer Eric M. Johnson. As a Marine reservist on active duty in Iraq, Johnson witnessed Chandrasekaran in action in Al Kut. He characterizes Chandrasekaran’s reporting as “utter rubbish”.

Had Chandrasekaran been interested in reporting the truth, he would have balanced his stories with at least a few of the facts I provided in a three-hour interview. Only two partial sentence fragments were quoted. For a complete and accurate account I commend to your readers the 99-page report about the CPA-Ministry of Health team, Iraq Healthcare—The Road to Recovery from Decades of Neglect. I gave a copy to Chandrasekaran. Obviously, he didn’t bother to read it.

Reconstruction in Iraq, including the health sector, has not progressed as rapidly as hoped but there has been notable progress. When the CPA returned full sovereignty to Iraq, the World Bank, the UN and other agencies had pledged to step in with long-term technical and economic assistance. It has been slowed by sectarian violence, but still continues today. I also continue to work with Iraqi counterparts, providing medical staff with training and consultation.

I accepted an appointment to the CPA not to capitalize on my Republican connections or to act as a political officer enforcing a party line. I believed in the mission and in contributing my expertise to a poignantly compelling humanitarian cause. I still hold those convictions, even more strongly today.

Chandrasekaran’s reporting and his deceitful book contribute nothing constructive."

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK


You are quite correct. I didn't put a lot of energy into facts (although, if you would just double-check above, you will see that I handled them quite accurately as a matter of fact).

Pretty much each time I replied to you, I gave you a choice. Talk about PEOPLE and how you feel about them, what is it worth to help better their lives OR talk about more FACTs.

You always jumped at the facts to the exclusion of human content. It ain't gonna perturb me if you ignore my advice, but you may find it some of the most worthy advice you ever get--get in touch with your feelings about people, about the human side of all this. Quit doting on the dead, and figure out what you want to do about the living.

Death comes to everyone. But no one has to cut himself off from living life while he's got it. Playing with factoids while leaving aside the people part is not. What is another's freedom worth to you. What is another's health and prosperity worth? Is it okay to let petty tyrants play havoc with people's lives? If you could put 40 million fellow human beings on the road to freedom and independence, what would that be worth to you? How do they feel about it?

These are the questions that heart leads you to.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Note the formulary issue is given short shrift in the defense. This is a serious question, but rather than answer it the well connected Repbulican Party member who was sent instead of a competent administrator chooses to dodge the issue.

For those interested in just how corrupt the Republican adminstration was in Iraq, here's a link to the reporting.

The man was unqualified, his "work" resulted in waste fraud and abuse, and the situation in Iraq speaks for itself.

Indeed, Charlie's cut and paste job does nothing to improve the life of a single Iraqi and does considerable damage by supporting those whose incompetence and greed have made Iraq the disaster it is. No one with the slightest concern for humanity would do so.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK


Hey, don't stop at trashing the guy.

Give us the benefit of knowing how you would have taken care of Iraq's health care needs and done it right.

Just how would you, functional, go about taking care of actual people's actual needs?

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea. How about we don't invade, don't destroy their Ministry of Health, and don't send Republican Party hacks to decide on a new formulary to fix corruption that isn't the problem? How about we don't send people whose end result is:

When Haveman left Iraq, Baghdad's hospitals were as decrepit as the day the Americans arrived. At Yarmouk Hospital, the city's largest, rooms lacked the most basic equipment to monitor a patient's blood pressure and heart rate, operating theaters were without modern surgical tools and sterile implements, and the pharmacy's shelves were bare.
That would be the humane thing to do. That would be what a good hearted person would do. Given the level of waste, fraud, and abuse prevalent in Iraq (hey, isn't there about $10 Billion (that's with a B) missing, with no documentation anyere. Wouldn't that have covered any amount of corruption and bribery in the medical procurement system?) on the part of the United States, it is laughable that this person would allow fixing that to take precedence over filling the shelves of the pharmacies.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK


Save a ministry of health running on 65 CENTS per citizen with woefully scant drug stocks and no ability to vaccinate children!!??

Ooh, you really are hard hearted.

I thought Dems were all about improving health care. It is a shame about the 10 bill tho'; coulda helped lotsa people.

Posted by: Charlie on October 4, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK


Charlie knows that George Bush has a good heart and facts will not disuade him from that belief because he claims that looking at the facts is re-hashing the past and we need move forward.

It is quite clear that Charlie is either swigging Bush Cult Kool-Aid or he doesn't actually believe this stuff and he's putting it out there for propaganda value.

So, I suggest you ignore him. Nothing constructive can be gained from engaging Charlie and you are wasting time that you could spend block-walking for the strongest opponents of the Republicans running whereever you live or telephoning voters to remind them to vote.

I'm just glad I live in a building with 24 hour security. I've had death threats before and you never know who will come unhinged.

Posted by: Geoff Staples on October 4, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it you have nothing to say about the fact that:

When Haveman left Iraq, Baghdad's hospitals were as decrepit as the day the Americans arrived. At Yarmouk Hospital, the city's largest, rooms lacked the most basic equipment to monitor a patient's blood pressure and heart rate, operating theaters were without modern surgical tools and sterile implements, and the pharmacy's shelves were bare.
That’s pretty unfeeling. It mocks your whine that “I thought Dems were all about improving health care.” There’s no evidence that the health care has been improved by the Republican assault on the Iraqi people, and there’s plenty of evidence that there are tens of thousands fewer Iraqis to take advantage of whatever improvements there might have been.

In fact, like your profession of good-heartedness on the part of George W. Bush, your professions of good-heartedness appear to be empty platitudes you use when it is demonstrated that your statements are at odds with reality and the people you’ve enabled to kill those tens of thousands of Iraqis aren’t doing it for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

And really, "It's a shame?" That's your entire indictment of the criminals who made Iraq a disaster on your tax dollars? Your heart isn’t just hard – it is, like your grasp on the facts, non-existent.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Geoff, I will take your advice in the spirit it was given in and I will cease to respond to Charlie. He has demonstrated that he is not interested in a debate where facts or human decency matter. I’m happy that this is clear to outside observers and I am satisfied to turn the thread over to his lies, distortions, and propaganda knowing that no one will be confused by it.

I had a bit of fun, but no more time will be wasted on this.

Posted by: functional on October 4, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK


Don't waste your fingers responding to Charlie.

Posted by: on October 4, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK


At 2:23 PM, October 3rd, Charlie said:

"You can't debate with progressives though. Soon, their hands are over their ears, and they are going "LA LA LA LA" when something said does not comport with their world view."

Thank you guys. You just proved my point in spades. Didn't take that long either.

And it wasn't what I was saying... the secret lies within.

Check ya later. Sayonara.

Posted by: Charlie on October 5, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK


At 2:23 PM, October 3rd, Charlie said:

"You can't debate with progressives though. Soon, their hands are over their ears, and they are going "LA LA LA LA" when something said does not comport with their world view."

Thank you, guys. You just proved my point in spades. Didn't take that long either.

And it wasn't what I was saying... the secret lies within.

Check ya later. Sayonara.

Posted by: Charlie on October 5, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

charlie; It's a good thing he kept casualties down then, huh?

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." - Dick Cheney 3/16/2003

2900 and counting...

"I think we are welcomed (IN IRAQ)," President Bush said. "But it was not a peaceful welcome." - 12/12/05

no it wasn't a peaceful welcome..must have been the violent kind of welcome...

for the money side....

"We believe ..Iraq... can finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon." - Paul Wolfowitz 2003

400-billion and counting...

heck of a job....

charlie...clap harder...

Posted by: mr. irony on October 5, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

We were greeted as liberators, although we underestimated how quickly and violently the insurgency would take hold. As for the money, we don't complain about the Marshall Plan anymore, do we? "Relatively soon" is a RELATIVE concept.

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 5, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

T1: we underestimated how quickly and violently the insurgency would take hold.

"We never had enough troops on the ground to keep order in Iraq, and both George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld knew it." - PAUL BREMER 1/8/06

T1:As for the money, we don't complain about the Marshall Plan anymore, do we? "Relatively soon" is a RELATIVE concept.

Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed articles in several newspapers this week asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year.

Mr. Wolfowitz said at a hearing of the House Budget Committee "Every time we get a briefing on the war plan, it immediately goes down six different branches to see what the scenarios look like. If we costed each and every one, the costs would range from $10 billion to $100 billion."

400-billion and still counting...

dead enders...

lucky for america...there aren't too many left..

Posted by: mr. irony on October 5, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

No. George Bush refused to listen to those who told him how many troops it would take and how much money it would cost.

George Bush was desperate to invade Iraq for reasons that only he may know. He's a political coward who refused to put together a realistic plan because he was afraid the voters wouldn't support the war if they knew how much it would actually cost.

Posted by: on October 5, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Can you answer the question, mr. irony: we don't complain about the Marshall Plan anymore, do we?

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 6, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

thmas1: is it because wolfowitz didnt say it would cost a fraction of what it did?

Posted by: mr. irony on October 6, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

There were plenty of people upset about the Marshall Plan when it first came out and how much is was going to cost -- the Truman Administration knew it would be unpopular and even tried to keep how open-ended it was to be out of the American press -- some $13 billion of aid was eventually paid out (equivalent to around $130 billion in 2006 dollars):

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 6, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I do recall Marshall wanted the Soviet Union included in the recovery (which didn't happen). If you keep reading that Wikipedia article, you will see even today the Marshall Plan's impact on history is up for debate:

The early students of the Marshall Plan saw it as an unmitigated success of American generosity. Criticism of the Marshall Plan, however, became prominent among historians of the revisionist school, such as Walter LaFeber, during the 1960s and 1970s. They argued that the plan was American economic imperialism, and that it was an attempt to gain control over Western Europe just as the Soviets controlled Eastern Europe. Far from generosity, the plan was the result of the United States' geopolitical goals.

Other historians emphasize the benefits of the plan to U.S. industry. One result of the destruction in Europe as a result of two world wars was that the U.S. farming and industry had world superiority. American private enterprise thus could only gain financially from opening new markets and free trade policies. Yet while European reconstruction required products from the U.S., the Europeans in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War did not have the dollars to buy these supplies. That was, it is argued, the basic economic problem; essentially European capitalism suffered from a dollar shortage. The U.S. had large balance of trade surpluses, and U.S. reserves were large and increasing. The credit facilities of the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development could not cope with Western Europe's large trade deficits, and the IMF was only supposed to grant loans for current-account deficits, not for capital finance and reconstruction purposes. The U.S., therefore, began to create dollar credits in Europe, by various routes of which the Marshall Plan was one.

In the 1980s, a new school developed with some historians arguing that the Marshall Plan might not have played as decisive a role in Europe's recovery as was previously believed. The first person to make this argument was the economic historian Alan S. Milward and the analysis was developed by the German historian Gerd Hardach in Der Marshall Plan (1994). Such critics have pointed out that economic growth in many European countries revived before the large-scale arrival of U.S. aid, and was fastest among some of the lesser recipients. While aid from the Marshall Plan eased immediate difficulties and contributed to the recovery of some key sectors, growth from the postwar nadir was largely an independent process. European socialists argue that a similar amount of reconstruction money could have been obtained by nationalizing the holdings of wealthy Europeans who deposited their money in U.S. banks during World War II.

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 6, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand what the Marshall Plan has to do with George Bush sending his incompetent cronies to sabotage the rebuilding and constantly lying about what the generals told him would be required.

Posted by: on October 7, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

I was bringing up some historical context since mr. irony was complaining about Paul Wolfowitz and Iraq financing its own reconstruction (try reading the thread next time).

Posted by: Thomas1 on October 7, 2006 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

------ ADVERTISERS ------

Search Now:
In Association with