November 12, 2005

"And yes, he should question their patriotism. Because they're acting unpatriotically."

Glenn Reynolds has that to say about Bush's Iraq speech. That provokes quite an outcry, as I'm sure he expected. He reports "hatemail" and responds:
[T]he Democratic politicans who are pushing the "Bush Lied" meme are, I think, playing politics with the war in a way that is, in fact, unpatriotic. Having voted for the war, they now want to cozy up to the increasingly powerful MoveOn crowd, which is immensely antiwar. The "Bush Lied" meme is their way of getting cover. This move also suggests that their earlier support for the war may itself have been more opportunistic than sincere, which I suppose is another variety of unpatriotism....

[I]t's not "dissent" that's unpatriotic... It's putting one's own political positions first, even if doing so encourages our enemies, as this sort of talk is sure to do.
"Unpatriotic" is a very hot word. If you use it, you've got to know you're going to make the other side steaming mad. They get mad, in part, because it works as such a powerful criticism and hurts their cause.

Creating a fuss over the use of the word "unpatriotic" might be a good strategy for Bush opponents though. Speaking in generalities about the grand tradition of dissent might be a somewhat effective way to detract attention from the specific problems about the current dissent that President Bush raised in his great speech. And in fact, Bush treated his opponents fairly and respectfully in his speech:
Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It is not justified....

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began....

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.).

UPDATE: You know, back in the days of the Vietnam War, protesters and other anti-war folk didn't give a damn if you called them unpatriotic! In fact, "patriotic" was used as a slur. They called themselves unpatriotic. That's how I remember it -- from where I was at the time (the University of Michigan, 1969-1973).

159 comments:

Jeff said...

Transnational progressivism is unpatriotic.

Defering to the UN, the EU, the IAEA is unpatriotic.

Hoping for a quagmire and a deafeat is unpatriotic.

Reveling in the outcome of the Vietnam War and hoping to repeat it is unpatriotic.

maxkennerly said...

It is not possible to be more at odds with the American political tradition than to demand fealty to a single person for all past, present and future decisions arguably related to security.

paulfrommpls said...

maxkennerly -

I agree. I'm curious though: you are referring to my left friends' deferral to Michael Moore on all such questions, right?

EddieP said...

maxkenney

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began....

This is your definition of fealty?

paulfrommpls said...

Anyway, we've had our fun. On a serious note, I've always been 100% totally confused by the idea that the administration has viciously "questioned the patriotism" of anyone who adres criticize the war.

I mean, there are probably some statements along those lines from some right-wing morons somewhere, the only practical effect of which would be to feed the illusions of the left.

But along with the strange general idea that there is a "war on dissent," I think the hardcore anti-war people use this notion to lend themselves a veneer of rare courage, and the consequent duty to say whatever the hell they feel like saying.

Dissent during wartime is fine, wonderful. Dishonest dissent - and by that I mean anything less then scrupulously honest dissent, dissent that bends over backwards to make sure it's right - is bullshit. Unpatriotic? Whatever. It's bullshit.

maxkennerly said...

Michael Moore is some guy who makes sensational documentaries about current issues. I've never met anyone who defers to his opinion on anything; I don't even know anyone who even knows what his views are, except that he dislikes the Bush Administration and is against the War in Iraq.

Regarding the other post, the only person rewriting the history of the war is George W. Bush. See this exerpt from WaPo for more. http://tinyurl.com/btb6x

whit said...

The left has indignantly claimed that their patriotism has been questioned just as they have hypocritically claimed that the Bush administration has engaged in "smear and fear."

paulfrommpls said...

That original maxkennerly comment, when I look at it, could not do a better job of encapsulating the political problems the left has. Simply stated: high-toned, condescending sheer stupidity.

It's like I said somewhere else, I think the long-term political impact of the last few years is complete. It's set in stone, regardless of what the next election brings and regardless of whether people are beginning to have doubts about W himself.

That impact is that some small but significant percentage - 10% net maybe - of the reading, thinking public has left the left. And it's because of comments like that, multiplied by 100,000,000 in editorials, web sites, and conversations.

PS: Already read the whole article, maxkennerly.

Roger Sweeny said...

...back in the days of the Vietnam War, protesters and other anti-war folk didn't give a damn if you called them unpatriotic! In fact, "patriotic" was used as a slur. They called themselves unpatriotic. That's how I remember it -- from where I was at the time (the University of Michigan, 1969-1973).

That's how I remember it too (Dartmouth College, 1967-1969; U. of Chicago, 1969-1971).

Most war opponents today are more politically sophisticated. Some are less honest. Some are both. And some love America but think the government is in the wrong.

chuck b. said...

Bush treated his opponents with far more respect than they will ever give him.

Hearing anyone on the left complain about being called unpatriotic always leaves me incredulous.

Before I too said "good bye to all of that" (a la Christopher Hitchens), I listened to and even participated in countless discussions about sick, racist, evil, exploitative, hypocritical, insert-your-pejorative-here America.

Those discussions never wrapped up with anything like, "But damn I love this country!"

Quite the contrary.

paulfrommpls said...

As for specifics on intelligence use, it is arguably true that the administration should have been more careful in describing the caveats appearing. In fact it angers me (if it's fair) because not doing so opened the door for so much nonsense.

But I would guess - because it is their modus operandi - that the left has been exaggerating the extent of those caveats. And I know that most on the left have almost no idea why many of us believe that the presence or not of actual WMDs in Iraq is not the determining factor on whether the war was justified.

pr9000 (paul) said...

funny, how that link starts immediately after this paragraph:

The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.

Dave Schuler said...

Michigan 1969-1973? You're a precise contemporary of my sister and her husband there. Of course, it's a huge school and unless you were an Art major it's unlikely you would have run into them. Doubtful even then.

PatCA said...

It is not possible to be more at odds with the American political tradition than to reflexively condemn one's own government for all past, present and future decisions arguably related to security.

Mark said...

You know, Leo Tolstoy has once said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It remains very true today.

Mark said...

paulfrommpls,

You are missing the point. It is perfectly legitimate to justify the war on other reasons. If Bush had said: Saddam is a tyrant, he oppresses his people and we need to get rid of him, that would be fine. Then, the country would have had a honest debate whether it should go to war to establish democracy in Iraq.
However, Bush's main rationale was WMD weapons. Remember all those scary things about mushroom clouds, etc. That's what makes many people (I think, the majority) so incensed about him: that he seems to have taken us to war on the bad intell which was manipulated to create an appearance of total agreement within the intell community about Saddam.
That's all Democrats are asking: let's investigate whether or not the intell was manipulated. And the Republicans have been stonewalling this investigation since 2004.

Mark said...

And when the WaPo says that none of the assertions was totally accurate, it means that Bush lied (without sugarcoating.) Not that politicians don't lie, they do; but people on the right are so righteously indignant when they hear Bush and lie in one statement.
So, I assert that Bush lied (ok, misled) about the fact that Democrats saw all the intelligence. There are far more people refuting this statement than proving it.

APF said...

If it can be said that there is a fine line between patriotism and jingoism, so too can it be said that there is a fine line between dissent and anti-patriotism. The "line" in both cases is intellectual honesty; the line is presenting your best argument against an honest construction of their best argument.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Your patriotism was questioned? Get real. Try being taken away by the secret police, fed into a paper shredder, or sold into sexual slavery. Can we get some perspective please? This kind of childish whining is offensive to the reality of people who suffer genuine persecution every day.

If you've got a charge to make, then start articles of impeachment. Otherwise, shut your trap. You're trying to score political points against a President you can't stand, but all you're doing is undermining support for an important mission. Do you want Iraq to end like Vietnam?

The Democrats have spent the last 2 1/2 years looking backwards. What's your plan?


If Bush had said: Saddam is a tyrant, he oppresses his people and we need to get rid of him, that would be fine.

Mark,

Please reread the '03 State of the Union address and Bush's pre-war speeches. This talking point (It was all about MWDs!) is baseless.

Mark said...

But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE. And even the doubts expressed in the NIE could not be used publicly by members of Congress because the classified information had not been cleared for release. For example, the NIE view that Hussein would not use weapons of mass destruction against the United States or turn them over to terrorists unless backed into a corner was cleared for public use only a day before the Senate vote.

This excerpt from the WaPo proves that it's a bald face lie to say that Democrats had access to all of the intelligence that Bush had. It's simply false. Get over it.

Now, it does not necessarily PROVE that Bush had lied when he took us to war. That's why we need an independent investigation of how the intell was used and how the country was taken into war.

Mark said...

pastor_jeff,

The main reason was the WMD. While Bush used shifting rationale, the main reason to get us in the war was WMD.

And yes, nobody asserts that we live in a police state. However, it's still offensive to question anyone's love for the country, especially by lying hypocrits.

NUC said...

I'm not sure that unpatriotic is the correct word to describe the anti-war types, but I can't think of a better one.
I believe it is the duty of good citizens to question policy when it is being debated and discussed. Once the President makes a decision however, it is also your duty to support that decision. We are the United States of America and we speak with one voice. Any less is disloyal.
You should question future policy. What conditions are nessisary in Iraq to declare victory and come home? When is the price too high and we should declare defeat and come home? Those are valid discussions. Stateing that the President lied and that the war was wrong are not appropriate and are indeed disloyal if not unpatriotic. It is an important distinction to make.
It is the right of every citizen to question, critisize or even dissent what the government has decided, however is is not the right thing to do.

dick said...

Mark,

Amazing that we should take the word of the WaPo, a newspaper that has been in the forefront of the anti-Bush attacks and that took almost as long as CBS to admit that the Rather documents were false. Do you even know how intelligence is presented to the officials in the government yourself? Talk to people who have worked on the presentations that are made and the intelligence that is presented before you take the word of a couple of people who adamantly find no merit in the president at all and do nothing but try to tear him down.

Joe Baby said...

One man's paper shredder = another man's comfy chair.

Jeff said...

What the Democrats are doing is trying to criminalize the political process.

It's a narrow legalism to relentlessly focus on WMD to the exclusion of all of the other, excellent reasons for deposing Saddam and the Ba'ath party.

If you're going to bitch about the war, then own up to the consequences that would have been the result of not fighting it. All of them. You can't have yor cake and eat it to. We hear every day about the cost of war from those that opposed it. What about the cost of not fighting it?

Let's hear from the WMD critics why it would have been such a good idea to abandon the Kurds and the Swamp Arabs, to tolerate the rape rooms and human shredders, to turn a blind eye to the massive system of oil-for-food bribery that left Iraq's children dying of malnutrition while politicians around the world were lining their pockets with oil money.

If that's alright with you, if you would rather Americans stay home and let those things continue, fine. Say so. Come out and say that American lives, treasure, and honor are too precious to spend solving those injustices. Come out and SAY IT!

Elizabeth said...

I believe it is the duty of good citizens to question policy when it is being debated and discussed. Once the President makes a decision however, it is also your duty to support that decision. We are the United States of America and we speak with one voice. Any less is disloyal.

I've heard that argument floated around in various places, and for the life of me, I cannot make sense of it. Once a decision is made, I have to support it? Based on what? What reasoning supports this dictate? How paternal, and how utterly, completely wrong.

Mark said...

Dick,

What exactly are you saying? That Democrats saw all of the intelligence? Including PDBs and the dissent? I don't think even Bush is claiming it; he carefully chooses words, i.e. he's saying "the same intelligence", not "all of the intelligence".

Let me explain,
Say intell consists of A, B, and C.
Bush sees A, B, and C. Democrats are shown A and B. Now, it's technically true that they saw the "same intelligence" in the sense that Bush also saw A and B.
But Democrats did not see C.

Mark said...

Elizabeth,
Precisely! Many on the Right, including many commenters herem though not all, want to silence all the dissent despite their statements to the contrary.
Of course, we don't have to support the wrong decision. We should do all we can to correct it, anything less is disloyal to the country and what it stands for.

michael a litscher said...

paulfrommpls> And I know that most on the left have almost no idea why many of us believe that the presence or not of actual WMDs in Iraq is not the determining factor on whether the war was justified.

That's because most on the left are willfully ignorant of all the other justifications for the war which did pan out, such as harboring terrorists:
Abdul Rahman Yasin
Abu Nidal
Abu Abbas
Ansar al-Islam
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

funding terrorists:
"President Saddam Hussein has recently told the head of the Palestinian political office, Faroq al Kaddoumi, his decision to raise the sum granted to each family of the martyrs of the Palestinian uprising to $25,000 instead of $10,000," Iraq’s former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz, announced at a Baghdad meeting of Arab politicians and businessmen on March 11, 2002, Reuters reported two days later.
Reuters, "Hussein vows cash for martyrs." March 12, 2002. Published in The Australian, March 13, 2002, page 9

and training terrorists:
Salman Pak / Al Salman

They prefer to concentrate on the one justification which didn't pan out, because it serves their political purposes.

APF said...

The claim that any and all possible counter arguments to any intelligence estimation/analysis must be accepted and embraced as truth is ultimately circular and self-defeating; it reminds me of the claim that Intelligent Design MUST be taught in science classes since it is a dissenting view from the mainstream consensus viv evoultion, and to do otherwise is intellectual dishonesty and suppression of dissent. It's easy in retrospect to challenge the NIE with dissents that were noted but passed over. Plus the fact that the dissents you point to were released to the public softens your LIARS!!!!! argument quite a lot.

paulfrommpls said...

mark -

I wasn't clear enough. What I mean is, beyond those other justifications that were in fact part of the debate and part of the overall case for the war, most on the left don't make any attempt to understand why it's perfectly possible to believe that the lack of WMDs does does not destroy even the WMD-based, security-based reasons for the war.

It boils down to two things.

First, and most obviously, we simply never could have known with anything like certainty what we know now about the lack of weapons. It's very easy to forget or ignore that. It's why Clinton famously said that the only real inspections process would involve regime change.

So yes, W perhaps should have said: look, there are doubters, maybe we'll find nothing, but that is not the point. But that's a criticism of his competence as an explainer, not something that goes to heart of the situation. (And like I say, I'm far from convinced that the extent of the doubts pre-war means that clearly what he should have done. But if it was, I'm pissed. But for far different reasons than you, because I'm able and willing to separate the underlying situation from what W an crew said.)

Second, in evidently destroying the weapons some time ago (and not telling anyone, for various reasons, but that in itself was defiance of the UN, and not unimportant), Hussein was explicitly planning long-term and and strategically to start it all up again. The oil-for-food machinations fit in there, too, incidentally. The Duelfer Report (much loved by the left in other ways) lays it out in some detail.

That second reason is maybe a stand-in for saying: the problem was the regime. The regime had to go, no matter what. Many politicians here, of both parties, had been saying for years that it was imposible to envision a time when it would be wise to welcome Hussein back into "the community of nations."

It's also easy to forget, then, that had we backed off from the war, it wasn't like our efforts to overthrow the regime would have ended. It would have remained as a prime goal of our foreign policy. You can easily see politics evolving to a point where the Dems would criticize W for "dithering on this intolerable situation, all the more intolerable in the wake of 9-11." And of course that all would have been taking place within a context of sanctions and inspections and growing French-led cries to "let the Iraqis be."

That's maybe the basic thing that bothers me about the left base, and really bothers me about Democrats in Congress: their willful historical amnesia regarding (especially) the weeks after 9-11, when almost everyone in Congress was saying - we can't just focus on Afghanistan, it's obvious we need to resolve the Iraq situation once and for all.

The White House is resisting hearings because any White House always resists hearings. But if you read the right-leaning blogs and press at all, you'll start to see a growing chorus of fine, jerks, let's talk about it. You gotta understand, the anger on this side is growing, and based on a far deeper understanding of the situation than you typically find on the left.

Lack of rigor in pursuit of moral outrage, their grail, is what motivates the Kos/DU/Atrios/Moore world, near as I can figure.

Mark said...

Jeff,

There are many injustices in the world. It's sad, but it's a fact.
If Bush was so concerned with injustices and oppressive regimes, why didn't he take on North Korea, arguably the biggest security threat to the USA and oppressive, Stalinist regime?
You again present the false dilemma: doing nothing and going to the war the way Bush did. The way Bush went to the war was the height of bullying, incompetence, jingoism, misleading, and pissing off the whole world. There were many ways to accomplish the same goals without going to the war the way Bush did. Or you also see everything in black and white: you're with us or against us?

APF said...

I think it's absurd and anti-intellectual to assert that one should shut-off their critical facilities once a political course has been set; however I think Instapundit gets it right in the abstract when he suggests that spinning/lying to make political points that undermine the efforts in Iraq, is ultimately being dishonest in the cause of defeating American policy. Which is a tricky environment in which to operate.

Ann Althouse said...

"jingoism" -- I haven't heard that word in a while. I heard it all the time in the weeks after 9/11 and the run-up to the war in Afghanistan. That was when those who wanted our country to respond to the attacks were being criticized by people who wanted to say there was too much patriotism going around. I think a lot of people got the memo to say "jingoism" because it wouldn't sit well to criticize "patriotism," in that flashback to Vietnam way. Later the memo was: say that you're patriotic too and dissent is patriotic.

Pastor Jeff: amen.

Mark: What good do you hope to achieve with such investigations? It looks like one party trying to score points against a President who is doing something they should be helping him with: winning a war. Why concentrate on the past, which can't be changed? We went to war. Now, we need to win. Are you on the side of people who are saying, we've already lost, we need to just give up and get out? They are encouraging our enemies! Why don't you care about that? That's about the future -- the things we can affect. I simply can't understand why you aren't desperately concerned about that. Call it a lack of patriotism, blind party politics, or sheer stupidity. I don't know your motivation, but I'm repelled by your argument.

paulfrommpls said...

mark -

Your last comment tells me you;re captive to the left-based caricature version of the case W and crew made, which they insist is the only accurate version. So you're not going to change.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Okay, Mark, let's put your patriotism to the test:

Bill Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical lab in Sudan on the day of Monica Lewinksy's grand jury testimony. It turns out the decision was based on bad intel - intel that wasn't shared with Congress. And administration officials who suggested waiting to confirm bin Laden's connection to the embassy bombings and the factory were overruled. Innocent civilians died with no warning and no provocation. And the factory that produced 50-60% of the antibiotics, pain relievers, malaria and tuberculosis drugs, and veterinary medicines for one of the world's poorest countries was needlessly destroyed.

Now - where were the Democrats calling for an investigation? Why didn't Clinton share his daily breifings with Congress? Where's the outrage? Clinton lied, people died.

PatCA said...

Mark,
The intelligence in the Clinton administration was essentially the same as in the Bush administration and in foreign intelligence agencies. If the Dems didn't trust Bush, why didn't they ask for further intellingence, or hearings, or maybe not vote at all for the resolution to remove Saddam? We should surrender in Iraq now because the loyal opposition are too dumb to do their jobs or were scared by Condi's use of the word "mushroom cloud"?

And sanctions and inspections were not working. How many flights are we required to make to enforce the no-fly zone, how many billions in graft to UN cronies are we to wink at, how much deprivation of the Iraqi people should we tolerate, before we finish the war which started 12 years prior?

I was a Democrat until recently, and I never thought WMDs were the main reason. It was the totality of having a maniac with money in the ME. And please read history if you don't believe terrorists work together even if their philosophies differ.

Believe what you want and dissent! But when you question the patriotism of this government, they are free to question yours. (Thanks, Glenn.)

paulfrommpls said...

Also would simply love to hear of the many ways to accomplish the same ends that obviously, obviously would have worked, and which would not have also meant a large measure of violence and suffering in Iraq.

I'd also point out that in that comment, you accept as a proper the goal of regime change.

Ross said...

How quaint to see people arguing about the origins of the war -- as if anyone will change anyone else's mind at this point.

As to the content of our host's post, however: It would be easier to take the Instapundit's argument about politicians' point-scoring seriously if this fellow had not been, ahem, questioning the patriotism of war opponents since 2002.

I may be wrong, but I believe he was a lead pusher of the "They're not anti-war; they're on the other side" meme back in the day. Now he thinks Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Mike Thompson, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Robert Byrd, etc., are principled disseters? What rot.

Mark said...

Ann,

Without understanding the past, the same mistakes will be made in the future. Your argument appears to be that no matter what happened, we just need to get over it. Sorry, but it's the recipe for future governments to behave in the same way. Assume for a minute that we were lied to get in the war. Do you really want this go unpunished and unexposed? Think about incentives it creates for future governments to lie and use hysterical claims about some imaginary threats to get us in other wars.
I wish this war were winnable. It would have transformed middle east if there were a democratic Iraq. But this is an incredibly overly optimistic view, the one that is challenged by the reality. We want USA to win but we also want our government to be HONEST.
I am very sorry you call it stupidity or lack of patriotism or whatever.I am also sorry that you cannot see the good that comes out in making sure governments do not lie.

wildaboutharrie said...

NUC, interesting. Is this your vision of government for the Iraqi people?

Re: the no WMD. Please, do not try to rewrite history and tell us that WMD and the nuclear were NOT the PRIMARY reasons given to the public for this war. Yes, other reasons were given. No, they were not the primary ones. Read the speeches given by the President and his administration leading up to the war. Just. Do. It.

No, I'm not saying they lied. I believe they were sincere.

Yes, I believe the intelligence presented MAY have been "cherrypicked". If so, the Senate should probably have discovered it.

Yes, I supported the war in Afghanistan.

No, I'm not saying the Iraqi people were better off with SH. I think war is a last resort and we were not there yet.

No, I'm not a diciple of Michael Moore, no I have not seen F9/11.

No, I did not "change my mind" about the war because of Move On.

No, I did not believe the presentation given by Powell to the UN Security Commission was sufficient evidence.

No, I don't believe we should bring the troops home right now.

Yes, I want to see success and peace in Iraq.

Yes, I fault those who voted Yes on the war and are now against it for not pushing for more debate at the time. I think if an idiot like me was suspicious of the supposed intelligence on WMD, the people in charge of our troops should have done more to get at the truth.

Yes, I think Phase 2 of the Senate investigation should get it on and get it done.

Yes, I want to know why those in the CIA doubted the intelligence did not speak up. Or if they did, what happened to their input.

I have two sons. If they get sent to war one day, I want the process to have more transparency than this one did.

I also want a better planned war.

Guess what? I can admit that maybe I'm wrong and the time WAS right for this war, that it WAS the right thing to do. Humility and a willingness to listen - what a concept.

Am I unpatriotic?

I am so sick of this partisan BS. On both sides.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Mark,

No, it's not all black and white. But Bush believed that same thing that the UN, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and everyone else knew and believed at the time - that Saddam was a dangerous tyrant, intent on developing WMDs and thwarting 12 years of UN sanctions. No intelligence is perfect, and no President can make decisions by either sharing every piece of info with Congress or constantly debating "on the one hand ... on the other."

Assume the worst case - Bush intentionally lied becuase he's eeeeeeevil and wanted to go to war. Can't you see that the way the Democrats are pursuing this is undermining not the current war against terror and the efforts to rebuild Iraq?

Pretend that it was northern agitators who actually bombed Ft. Sumter to get the Civil War going. Two years in, anti-war Republicans in the north are waving documents and calling for investigations. What do you want to do - impeach Lincoln? Pull the army out of Virginia? Recall Grant from Vickburg? So you sack your hated political opponent. Meantime there's a war on and your accusations are sapping public support. Still feel patriotic?

Just tell me: What do you actually hope to accomplish? What is your preferred final outcome?

Mark said...

Pastor_Jeff:

I, for one, was upset and outraged when Clinton bombed that lab in Sudan. It was probably based on faulty intelligence, but still I thought that it was an incredibly bad decision. Many Democrats thought so, too.

Paulfromplls:

I am not captive to any caricature versions. If you don't know that the main argument used to get us in the war was the WMD, check your history. Now, Bush and Fox News did an excellent job of muddying the waters and making sure that rationales for the war shifted once the WMDs were not found. But in August 2002, before the Senate voted to authorize force, the main reason was that we cannot have in post 9/11 world a tyrant with WMD and aspirations to have nuclear weapons. All the human rights talk was only corollary, and was not emphasized.

michael a litscher said...

Mark: You are missing the point. It is perfectly legitimate to justify the war on other reasons.

No, you're missing the point. The war was justified on many other reasons. You're just too willfully ignorant to acknowledge that easilly verifiable fact.

Mark: If Bush had said: Saddam is a tyrant, he oppresses his people and we need to get rid of him, that would be fine.

Exerpted from my link above:
Whereas in December 1991, Congress expressed its sense that it "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1)," that Iraq's repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and "constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region," and that Congress, "supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688";

Mark: Then, the country would have had a honest debate whether it should go to war to establish democracy in Iraq.

Not as long as the willfully ignorant and/or willfully dishonest people, such as yourself, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Harry Reid keep lying with impunity in your attempted re-write of history.

knoxgirl said...

mark says:
"I wish this war were winnable. It would have transformed middle east if there were a democratic Iraq. But this is an incredibly overly optimistic view, the one that is challenged by the reality."

...do you watch the news? these little things called "elections" and "voting" have happened...

But I understand. You've got your eyes on the prize: Bush wrong at all costs.

Mark said...

Pastor_Jeff,

Thanks for being honest. At least we now know that your position is that even if Bush had lied, it is pointless to investigate it now.
I wholeheartedly disagree, but at least it's refreshing to see some candor.

I disagree for the same reasons I gave to Ann a few commments ago. Letting the lies go unchallenged is 1) unfair, 2)a bad public policy
because it encourages others to lie to accomplish their goals. It seems to be the old debate of whether means are justified if goals are good. While it may sound great to say, well, we should have used all means we could to accomplish a noble goal, i.e. to get rid of a terrible dictator, in reality it leads to bad consequences, as we can see now.
Just because Saddam was bad, doesn't mean we should not get to the bottom of what had happened so it doesn't repeat in the future.
And troops, more than anyone else, deserve to know exactly why they are there and how they happened to be there.

APF said...

There are too many posts coming in for me to keep up, but at least Re: jingoism, I recall being shocked at people appalled and "oppressed" by the "jingoistic" displays of American flags that cropped up right after the attacks. I think if you can't even look at the flag w/o mentally-invoking Orwell, you have a Patriotism Problem.

Joe Baby said...

I'm still trying to figure out how Bush forged all those docs/evidence that were available before he got into office. Probably those PNAC'ers.

Or maybe Sammy Berger has been shoving docs down his undies longer than we suspected.

Ann Althouse said...

Mark: "I wish this war were winnable." So your motivation then is: We can't win. We can't succeed in the future, except to the extent of preventing other wars. That is your justification for concentrating on the past. I didn't say I don't care about the past, just that it makes no sense to concentrate on it when there is something we are involved in now and must finish. You've explained yourself, Mark, and you're in exactly the position that is hurting the war effort: defeatism. Do you think it's okay to hurt the effort, because it is doomed? That is incredibly presumptuous and dangerous thing to believe. I am repelled by it.

Mark said...

Michael:

As one of the commenters said, check your history. The main rationale to get us in the war was WMD. You cannot change history. The fact that Congress included other rationales in the Authorization or the fact that the White House's link points to other rationales, doesn't change this fact. Human rights were not why we got in the war!! Don't you remember all the talk shows, all the scary talk about Saddam giving WMDs to terrorists, aluminum tubes, uranium from Niger, mushroom clouds, etc. Please don't re-write history!

knoxgirl:

Elections and voting are fine. Afghanistan under Soviet occupation also had elections and voting. The sad fact was that once the Soviet troops had left, all the illusion of democracy fell apart within 2 years and eventually, Taliban came to power.
I don't want it to happen in Iraq, but it's very likely to happen.

paulfrommpls said...

wildabout -

"Guess what? I can admit that maybe I'm wrong and the time WAS right for this war, that it WAS the right thing to do. Humility and a willingness to listen - what a concept."

You are vanishly rare. On the left, anyway.

The reason people like me keep making the arguments we do is because the substance of what we say basically doesn't get addressed. It gets ignored. And we see those on the other side usually propping up their arguments with nonsense.

I boils down to a diagreement on the meaning of the lack of WMDs: for what that says about the case W made (which the left is more than willing to talk about, though not usually honestly), and for what it says about the underlying situation and basis for the war (which they really shy way from, certainly in an honest way).

Mark -

Read my looong post above for why I believe the lack of WMDs does not in the final analysis do much to destroy the security- and WMD-rationale for the war.

I have said many times that if W intentionally misled, he's impeachable. I have no great love for the guy, though I feel a certain amount of empathy for this sad sack suddenly handed the worst set of problems any president has ever had. (And I'll stand by that, by the way; we've never faced an actual existential threat from a suicidal opponent.)

But it's intellectually dishonest for the left to refuse even to try to separate the case W made from the underlying situation, especially since all the detailed kind of stuff I and others refer to has been part of the ongoing debate since before the war started.

Iraq presented a total diplomatic and military dilemma. The left pretends it didn't. That's how they get away with their language and political approach.

Mark said...

Ann,
Sadly, you mischaracterize my position. I am not at all a defeatist. I believe, for example, that the war in Afghanistan is completely justified and winnable. If anything, I'd like to have more troops there.
Your position assumes that we cannot do both: concentrate on winning and investigate the past. We can, and in fact we must. It's just that winning this war (in Iraq) is next to impossible, in my opinion. You cannot impose democracy from abroad, especially in the environment of an artificial country such as Iraq. Having permanent democracy there requires many more troops than we currently have and even then it's far from assured. Not all wars are winnable,not even with best intentions and superior military.
As I said before, I agree with Russ Feingold, we should set a timetable and leave. It would only increase the US national security.

And I am repelled when smart people willfully close their eyes and refuse to accept the reality and don't even want to know what the reality is or was! It's very sad!

JBlog said...

I almost choked on my Froot Loops when I saw Ted Kennedy quoted in a Reuters story responding to the president's speech.

Shouldn't he be off nailing a bimbo or murdering a campaign worker or something?

The man is a pig and has no moral authority to criticize anyone about anything. Ever.

PatCA said...

Mark,
You say we should assume he was lying for the sake of your argument. But many of us cannot assume that because we don't believe it. And he and the Republicans have been punished--look at the election returns from last week and the falling polls. Your side has almost won the argument, but the people stop at supporting your surrender agenda. But if it's impeachment you really want as punishment, count me out, as well. The successive Nixon, Clinton, and perhaps Bush impeachments have weakened the nation.

As for the emerging democracies, I give both of them our support in troops and money and rhetoric for the same amount of time we gave to Japan and Germany. If we abandon them too early, it will be because the opposition wins the argument. I've said before, the opposition seems to be unable to tolerate any war that lasts over two months and any democracy that takes longer than a year to build. Buck up!

paulfrommpls said...

Mark -

You seem to be responding directly only to your version of the weakest arguments being made here. Especially, you seem fixated on those times when people sort of say there's no reason to go over the past now.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Mark,

I don't believe I ever said "Don't investigate." Of course administrations shouldn't lie to take us to war. Nobody would make that argument and we don't need an investigation to reinforce the point.

I still want to know, "What do you want? What is your preferred outcome?"

What are you hoping to gain and is it worth the cost? I'm perfectly willing to believe that Bush misled us. I'm just less ready to do so than you are. And I'm willing to weigh the costs in political and military terms. I have trouble reconciling "I support the troops" with political grandstanding that undermines the mission the troops are trying to accomplish.

Go back to my Civil War fantasy - Lincoln ginned up evidence of Confederate aggression to start a war he thought we needed. So impeach Lincoln - fine. Does it matter if you also destroy public support for the war and encourage the rebels because your cause is "unwinnable"?

And are you as outraged at Clinton as you are at Bush? Will you call for a similar investigation into the deceit that led to unjustified aggression in Sudan, civilian suffering, and what appears to be the use of the military force to take attention away from an ongoing investigation of the President? Because if not, why should I believe your argument is anything but partisan hackery?

Mark said...

paul:
that's why the Second Phase of investigation is vitally needed: to know whether Bush had intentionally misled by exagerrating or twisting the intelligence. So far, this question has not been addressed by an independent investigation, and as we see on this thread, we are reduced to stating our own positions which we cannot prove with certainty. Let's investigate and then come back to it.

wildaboutharrie said...

OK! My last post was sort of bile-ridden. I don't like it.

Here, in my new position of candor and humility, for those saying that people like me are "mistaken" in saying that WMDs were NOT the primary reason we went to war, here is the text of a few presentations/speeches leading up to the war in which WMDs are given as the primary reason to go. Want more? I'll find them, just ask.

Now, please, find me some major addresses in which WMDs were NOT given as the primary reasons for war and post the links.

I'LL READ THEM! I promise. I'm not too proud to be wrong.

The President:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/
releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html


http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/
releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html

The Vice President:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/
releases/2002/08/20020826.html


Powell

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/
releases/2003/02/20030205-1.html

Sorry, you might have to cut and paste.


Why bother? Well, I don't like being called a liar, or knee-jerk, or casual about facts.

I've thrown down the gauntlet. Politely.

paulfrommpls said...

It also pays to remember that in W, we have - literally - perhaps the least-qualified person in the nation for explaining such a difficult situation. And sometimes it strikes me that another aspect of left cravenness is how they are taking advantage of that fact, rather than realizing it's a tragedy we all share.

I wonder if he would ever schedule an address to the nation and then step aside and let me take over. Feign sudden hoarseness, or soemthing. I've done a little public speaking, I think I could handle it.

wildabout -

There's no doubt WMDs were the primary reason given. Many on the left tend to say it was the "only" reason given, which for me seems like a stand-in for ignoring the complexity of the dilemma I refer to.

Pastor_Jeff said...

wildaboutharrie,

I don't think anyone said WMDs weren't the primary cause. I freely admit that was the major theme of Bush's presentations.

But the current anti-war talking point is that WMDs were the ONLY justification for war. Now why do you suppose this has to be refuted every time the war is discussed?

Mark said...

Paul,
That's what Ann and you have essentially said: that there's no point in going back since we must concentrate on winning the war. It is a weak argument, I think, but it's the one that is being made here.
Patca:

Assuming for the sake of argument does not require agreeing with the position. I only wanted to show that IF bush had lied, he should be exposed and punished. Yes, through impeachment if necessary. Clinton was impeached for perjuring himself about sex, if Bush lied (even not under oath) about why we need to get in Iraq, absolutely he should be impeached for defrauding the United States.

Pastor:

Fine, at least you are willing to accept that we were misled. We just differ on what should be done about it. My position is that exposing and punishing the perpetrators is morally just and in the end will increase the US's security. As far as Iraq, I don't believe that it would make a difference. If we can win the war (which i don't think we can), we'll win it even with investigation of the reasons why we went there.
Your Lincoln analogy is not fair. First, in the Civil War case, it was a war between Americans, a CIVIL war. In that case, of course, it would be imprudent to investigate Lincoln if it would damage the North's cause. This war, however, is a war against a nation which did not attack us, did not have WMDs. Nothing bad will come out of investigation, only good.
And yes, if Clinton had taken us to war under the same circumstances, I would be equally opposed.

michael a litscher said...

Mark: As one of the commenters said, check your history. The main rationale to get us in the war was WMD. You cannot change history.

Who to believe? Mark, or my lying eyes as they read the congressional record?

Mark: The fact that Congress included other rationales in the Authorization or the fact that the White House's link points to other rationales, doesn't change this fact.

Certainly not when they don't fit your agenda, no.

Mark: Human rights were not why we got in the war!!

What's the official name of the campaign? Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Mark: Don't you remember all the talk shows, all the scary talk about Saddam giving WMDs to terrorists, aluminum tubes, uranium from Niger, mushroom clouds, etc.

A) Yes I do, which is irrelevent, as the Bush administration doesn't control our press. The talk shows are free to talk about whatever they'd like to talk about, and if they chose to talk about WMDs 24/7, then that is their choice, and their responsibility.

B) I also remember much talk about how the oil for food program was an absolute joke, because the Iraqi people were still starving while Saddam was building more and more palaces.

Mark: Please don't re-write history!

I'm not re-writing anything. I'm the one providing links to information which backs up my assertions. I'm letting the facts speak for themselves, unlike you.

Mark said...

I am glad we can agree that:

a) the WMD were the primary reason why went to the war (although, not the only one).

b) a government should not be unpunished if they lied to get a country in the war

paulfrommpls said...

Do you mean where I said there's a growing chorus on the right saying fine, let's have hearings? Is that where I "essentially" said there's no reason for hearings?

That argument is not the "one being made here." It's the one you're choosing to respond to, because (I'd guess) it's the clear path for you to take the moral high ground.

wildaboutharrie said...

Michael, see my request above and let me have it, really, or I'll start to think I'm having false memory syndrome.

The speeches I linked actually just about ONLY address WMDs. I do remember other reasons mentioned...but I can't find them.

Anyone???

Mark said...

Michael:

Read the documents that wildaboutharrie posted. They demonstrate conclusively that the WMD were the primary reason we were given for this war.
Your point that it's relevant how the war in Iraq is called is laughable. You can put a lipstick on a pig all you want, it doesn't make a pig less a pig. Putin called war in Chechnya something similarly, it doesn't change anything.
The talk shows were manipulated by the Administration: whenever someone from the White House wanted to appear on any Sunday show, the shows gave them the platform for scaring us into the war. The modus operandi was:
a) leak bad intell to press, such as NY Times;
b) have NY Times publish articles based on this leaked intell
c) appear on Sunday TV show and say: see, even NY Times writes about the WMDs, etc.
And it worked!
Also, the Administration worked tirelessly to muddy the water about connection between 9/11 and Saddam. To the point that most of the public, and especially FOX News watchers, mistakenly believed that Saddam had some connection to 9/11 which, of course, is patently false.

F15C said...

Mark, do you want America to win the war in Iraq? If no, (I fully assume you believe yourself to be a loyal, patriotic American), please explain why America's loss in Iraq would be the best outcome for Americans, Iraqi's, and the world? Especially considering the chaos that would ensue with America's too-early exit, versus the continued slow but steady movement toward a form of democratic government we are seeing now?

Second, if you want America to win, what are you personally willing to do to help ensure that? Nothing? Everything? Only selected actions eschewing others for 'patriotic' reasons?

The issue with the right - myself included - is not the right to dissent per se. It is that we hold the reasonable expectation that during times of a war, (especially against an enemy that has claimed the right to kill four million more Americans, two million of them our children), honest, responsible, and productive dissent regardless whether the dissent is coming from Americans from the left or right.

The Bush lied line, for all the bluster behind it, simply is yet unproven. So why would truly patriotic and thoughtful Americans continue with that line? For instance, the WaPo article purporting to prove that Bush lied shows nothing of the sort. Does it *prove* that the PDB contains intel *not* available to Congress through other means? Does it *prove* that the information summed up in the NIE was *not* available elsewhere? No, it does not. It expects the reader to not be that nuanced and just take it that the President had his PDB, and the Congress does not get his PDB, so Bush lied. I'm sorry, that doesn't hack it in terms of intellectual honesty and reasoned dissent.

So, if you can prove that Bush deliberately lied, then provide substantiated evidence that unequivocally makes your case - or admit it is just what you believe and remains unproven. The burden of proof is on you, not anyone else. And, unless you can unequivocally prove that Bush lied, intellectual honesty and support for the America value of presumption of innocence, demand that the possibility that he did not lie remains as the working truth of the matter. That there is a strong probability that matters unfolded pretty much the way the available data and information indicate. That the decision to go to war in Iraq by the President, and the support provided by Congress for that decision, was based upon the best available intel, and - though we certainly can argue about the merits of the decision - it was well within the constitutional prerogative of the President to make, and was fully supported by an informed Congress.

Honest, patriotic, and loyal dissent during times of war must (or at least should) not be undertaken lightly and must be made upon firm and unquestionable data and information, not on misleading innuendo. I think we would all agree that during times of war, deliberately using misleading information to support one's dissent is unpatriotic and disloyal. Failing to adequately research information used to dissent in times of war may or may not render someone unpatriotic and/or disloyal, but it still harms the nation by the unwarranted dividing of public support and opinion, which clearly supports the enemy. Great care should and must be taken by dissenters to ensure there data is correct, complete, and clear.

paulfrommpls said...

wildabout -

2003 State of the Union; and the 2002 war authorization passed by Congress, both mention quite a few reasons beyond WMDs.

For me, the essential undeniable justification for regime change was simply his 12-year defiance of many, many UN resolutions, which increasingly promised "the most serious consequences" for non-compliance.

The WMDs came into play as W's main argument for why we have to, in the wake of 9-11, start taking such pronouncements seriously.

And the decision we faced, at the time, semed to me to be: are we ever going to start doing that? Because if we didn't do it with Hussein's Iraq, in the face of 12 years of defiance, it would be hard for me to see where we ever would do it.

paulfrommpls said...

Mark -

You won't believe me, but it's been a particular study of mine; I've been in periodic contact with the researchers at the U of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, where the best polling has been done. In fact I'm working on a long piece about this for potential publication, if I can ever finish it AND make it lightly amusing.

But anyway: the idea that a majority of Americans ever believed that Hussein was behind 9-11 is a myth. It's based on really bad polling, and inaccurate interpretations of that bad polling.

It's a very important myth, because it functions exactly as you use it here, as proof of administration dishonesty. Al Gore uses it a lot.

But again, you won't believe me. For the benefit of other people here, mainly.

wildaboutharrie said...

Paul, 2003 State of Union discusses Iraq almost entirely in terms of WMD.

I'm reaching the "so?" point here, but I can't let that pass.

Looking up the other reference, thanks...

wildaboutharrie said...

He briefly addresses the horrors of torture, yes, and who can disagree? But that's one tiny paragraph.

Glad he's against torture, though. He should have a sit-down with Cheney...

michael a litscher said...

wildaboutharrie: The speeches I linked actually just about ONLY address WMDs. I do remember other reasons mentioned...but I can't find them.

Anyone???


Exerpt from the 2003 State of the Union address:

"Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained: by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.

If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning."

michael a litscher said...

Mark: The modus operandi was:
a) leak bad intell to press, such as NY Times;
b) have NY Times publish articles based on this leaked intell
c) appear on Sunday TV show and say: see, even NY Times writes about the WMDs, etc.


Someone seems to have skipped their meds this morning. LOL!

Now I HAVE to get back to work. Teaching pigs how to sing is too time consuming, and much too unproductive.

Pastor_Jeff said...

If we can win the war (which i don't think we can), we'll win it even with investigation of the reasons why we went there.
Your Lincoln analogy is not fair. First, in the Civil War case, it was a war between Americans, a CIVIL war. In that case, of course, it would be imprudent to investigate Lincoln if it would damage the North's cause. This war, however, is a war against a nation which did not attack us, did not have WMDs. Nothing bad will come out of investigation, only good.


So an investigation that undermines the cause of a civil war would be bad, but an investigation that undermines a foreign war (esp. Bush's) will be good - because it's unwinnable anyway. Explain to me again how this isn't motivated by simple opposition to the war at all costs.

And I'm not sure why your outrage against Clinton doesn't rise to your level of outrage against Bush. Aside from Clinton's despicable use of the military to wag the dog, it seems that American war casualties are the only difference. That leads me to conlude that if we had simply killed brown people from afar with missiles, there would be no outrage. That seems a little cynical.

paulfrommpls said...

wildabout -

You're right, on reading.

I was remembering this section:

Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained -- by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning. (Applause.)

And tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. (Applause.) And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation. (Applause.)

But he does couch almost all of it in terms of WMDs.

I'd also point out that quite a bit of what he says was and is true; that is, the parts relating to Hussein's defiance of the UN.

Brando said...

More than half of the american public believe that Bush has been dishonest. I wonder why that is? Alotta unpatriotic folks out there.

We should round up those lying lefties and send them to the Bush sponsored gulag achipeligo of prison camps around the world. That'd teach 'em Hell, why don't we put the prison camps right here in the UUS in, like, san fransisco since according the Bill O'Reilly that city should be bombed by Al Queda anyway.

wildaboutharrie said...

Yes, Michael, I agree, he briefly addressed torture and good for him. That's it, from that speech. The rest, and there is a LOT of text, is WMD. My point is, you cannot say those of us who are saying we went to war over WMDs are rewriting history.

Paul, thank you, the Congressional resolution is heavy on the WMDs but it does also include the brutality of SH's regime and ties to terrorist groups.


I'm still looking for a Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice etc. address that really features these other reasons. I cannot find one yet, but in the interest of fairness, I'm looking...

Mark said...

f15c:

Yes, of course, I want America to win in Iraq if by winning you mean establishing a stable democratic secular government friendly to the United States. I also want global peace, eradication of all diseases within 5 years, and many other good things. I also think that they are next to impossible to achieve.

What am I personally willing to do to achieve it? To hold our leaders accountable because it's the best way to achieve any good result. If America is seen throughout the world as an honest and fair country, it will improve America's security and will increase the chances of America's achieving its goals. Covering up and pretending that it doesn't matter how we came to be where we are does nothing but disservice to America's ideals and does not in the smallest bit increase our chances of victory in Iraq.

I agree that dissent should be honest, responsible, and productive. Although, it all depends on how you define these terms. Honest, absolutely. Responsible? What does it mean exactly? If you mean that people should say responsible things, yes. If you think that people cannot criticize because Administration or Ann or you assert that it would harm our troops, then resounding NO. Productive? Again, it depends. I believe that the goal of finding out whether we were misled or lied to is productive in itself because it keeps this and future governments in check.

Now, about "Bush lied". It's not proven until the investigation in the Phase 2 is complete whether he lied about the intelligence. It's a possibility but it's not a certainty, I agree. Now, the WaPo article exposes how Bush again muddies the water with his misleading claims about Democrats seeing all the intelligence. If Bush claims that Democrats saw all of the intelligence that he saw, then why dooesn't he release the PDB and the censored parts of the NIE? Do you honestly think that if there was a dissent in the intell community (and we now know that there was), Bush shared it with Democrats? It's highly unlikely; if Bush did that, Democrats and many Republicans would not have voted for the war and would have at least told us about the dissent. Since we knew nothing about the dissent in the intell community until well after the war, it strongly suggests that the information about dissent was not made available to lawmakers.

APF said...

What your missing in your, "do you really think dissent was given to the dems" tirade is that the existence of a dissent != the overall acceptance of that dissent. What you’re ignoring is the overall opinion of the intelligence agencies (and agencies around the world) regarding all this, not the most conservative and most ass-covering statements an agency has made. The reality is that by your argumentation, no conflict will ever be legitimate unless each and every piece of opposing evidence is given “equal time” regardless of its relative impact or importance (SEE: Intelligent Design being taught in science classes)

wildaboutharrie said...

APF, but at least here, dissent might have been of critical importance. No? At least in hindsight?

Mark said...

Pastor_Jeff,

Thinking more about your analogy, I am far from convinced that investigating Lincoln would have truly undermined the North. The North was united in its desire to keep the country whole and, later, to eliminate slavery. It was not disputed that the South wanted to secede, i.e. undermine the North's goals.

sCritical difference with Iraq: a) civil war vs foreign war; b) that war was winnable and this war is most likely not. Iraq did not threaten the USA in the ways that the South's secession did. Therefore, the USA is not as united in its attitude to the war as the North was in its attitude to the Civil War.

Also, the whole survival of the nation was at stake it might have been imprudent to investigate the reasons until the war is won. Here, the survival of the nation is not at stake.

Again, I am deeply convinced that investigating the Iraq war and finding out if we were lied to, not only would not undermine anything, it would strengthen the United States.

Mark said...

apf,

ID doesn't belong in science classes because it is not science and is not relevant to scientific theory. You are mixing apples and oranges. The existence of dissent which undermined the strongest reasons we were given for the war is relevant because it directly relates to whether or not we should have gone to the war.

Mark said...

That's what General Clark said, who is not some far leftist:

WC: Well, I think he, ah, there's a lot to answer for because the intelligence that was available was hyped. I was one of many people who had seen previous intelligence that said the best judgment of the intelligence community was there might be weapons of mass destruction, some materials were unaccounted for. But the talk about mushroom clouds that Secretary Cheney was certain they were going to get a nuclear device fairly soon and so forth; it was irresponsible, it was ungrounded in the facts and the Congress that voted on the resolution never had the chance to see all the dissenting opinions within the intelligence community so I think there's a lot to be looked at here. I think strategically, though, we can see now, four years after 9/11, that going into Iraq in a way to fight the war on terror was a strategic blunder. Al Qaeda is in Iraq right now because there is not strong control over Iraq.

APF said...

I'm not mixing apples and oranges so much as I am applying a set of logic which doesn't apply in either case (although I note that your comment re: ID begs the question). Also, what both of you are doing is arguing after the fact, that dissenting opinions were accurate. But that's a red herring of course, because we're arguing over the mindset at the time.

paulfrommpls said...

Of course, another problem is I don't trust the Democrats in Congress to be totally honest in the pursuit, nor do I come close to trusting the press and the Democratic base to interpret the hearings fairly. That's just life and life only, I guess.

F15C said...

Mark - good response.

"If you think that people cannot criticize because Administration or Ann or you assert that it would harm our troops, then resounding NO."

I think you and I agree that in America we are, and should remain, free to criticize the administration. (Don't get me going about Bush's lack of control over our borders...)

What I don't support, and especially as a former military person, can't support is criticism of the administration, congress, or the military during times of war that clearly or even tacitly (perhaps unintentionally) supports our common enemy. Again, our enemy has clearly stated for the record that they intend to kill millions of Americans - half of them American children. I believe that they mean what they said, and in my opinion only a fool would not.

“Times of war”. That term makes a difference in how we on any side of the discussion comport ourselves. I personally believe it wrong to participate in activities that provide any kind of aid or comfort to the enemy. Does this mean that anti-war (not even, or necessarily, anti-Bush) dissenters have a special burden to comport themselves with special care so as to ensure that their activities are not supportive of the enemy?

Yes. I believe that. That is just one more thing about war that sucks. But it is necessary.

Mark said...

apf,
That's exactly what we are trying to figure out: the mindset of the Administration at the time of the war, i.e. whether it honestly believed in the WMD threat or whether it hyped the intelligence to get Congress and the USA to go along.

wildaboutharrie said...

Paul, I agree with you, only if you're equating "Democratic base" with "Move On". Most of us gag on spin.

wildaboutharrie said...

"Does this mean that anti-war (not even, or necessarily, anti-Bush) dissenters have a special burden to comport themselves with special care so as to ensure that their activities are not supportive of the enemy?"

f15c, good post, I wish we could focus on intelligence and how it was used and can the "he lied" rhetoric for the time being...

paulfrommpls said...

Mark -

I don't think Cheney ever said they were about to get nukes "fairly soon". Maybe I missed something, but his famous quote about "reconstituted nuclear weapons" I accept as an obvious misstatement. It doesn't make sense gramatically. So that seems like Clark being disingenuous.

wild --

Much like the case with the mythical moderate Islam, I wait patiently for moderate Democrats to assert their role as primary muscle and voice of their party.

Mark said...

f15c:

Thanks for your response and also thank you for serving the nation in the military. I can only applaud that.

I understand your position and even share your sentiments that in the time of war the dissenters should be extra careful to avoid aiding the enemy. However, again it all depends on how you define what "aiding the enemy" means. The enemy, i.e. radical islamo-fascists hate us all, Republicans, Democrats, indies. Our whole country, and the West in general, is anathema to them. It doesn't matter to them in the small bit what we say internally about the reasons we went to the war; no matter what the reasons are, they would keep hating and killing us.

But it does matter to us, as Americans, and to moderates in Islamic world that America is not going to wars under false reasons and if it discovers it did go to a war under false reasons, it investigates and punishes the culprits. That's why, for example, investigating the Abu Ghraib scandal served well to America: it showed to the whole world that America investigates and doesn't cover up the atrocities that are made in its name. I only wish the investigation was allowed to proceed further, as I believe Rumsfeld is responsible for creating an atmosphere where Abu Ghraib was possible. Nothing will improve America's security more than sacking Rumsfeld and the woefully incompetent advisers that got us into this war.

While the dissenters have the burden of having the dissent being honest and fair, the Administration also has the fundamental burden to justify why we are where we are. Nothing has ever helped more to islamo-fascists than this war in Iraq.

brylin said...

Ann, From 1969 to 1973, while you were at UM I was in Vietnam and Ethiopia serving with the US Army Security Agency. (I'm sure I would have rather been in Ann Arbor then!)

I always thought that the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is given the same intelligence that the President gets. Anybody have any information on this?

And, for me, the fact that Clinton and Gore made the same statements about WMDs leads me to believe that both parties had the same information at the time decisions were made. There was a consistency of contemporaneous statements in two administrations of both political parties.

ABC News President David Weston (UM LAW 1977) has stated that he feels that patriotism is inappropriate in the fulfillment of his duties. (I believe he made this statement in a speech at Columbia.) Mike Wallace says the same. Are they right?

And what was Sandy Berger up to anyway?

APF said...

No. What I'm talking about is the mindset of the intelligence agencies, which isn't in question here. That there was dissent/conservatism does not mean that the overall picture of the intelligence was in question at the time. That there was a large intelligence failure is also not in question; how could there be a "failure" if the intelligence agencies did not come to the wrong conclusion? By definition there cannot. You're arguing around this point for some reason, I guess because it doesn't support your conclusions. That's sad

F15C said...

Mark: "I think strategically, though, we can see now, four years after 9/11, that going into Iraq in a way to fight the war on terror was a strategic blunder. Al Qaeda is in Iraq right now because there is not strong control over Iraq."

Reading your sentence, in my mind as a former military officer, it directly contradicts itself. We are battling our enemy. On a field of battle that is not in our homeland. In a military sense (with the presumption that nothing is ever perfect) strategically, the situation is about as good as we could ask for given we are fighting an enemy that does not have an actual geographic fixed location.

(I’m speaking militarily here not politically) We are battling Al Qaeda right this moment in Iraq. Tactically, once we killed and captured as many as possible from Afghanistan, the rest were flushed into hiding in places we could not easily reach them. Had we left matters at that and not drawn them out into the relative open in a defined field of battle, they would be fighting us in a different manner right now. One they are most comfortable with, and we the least, and that is covert acts of terror.

Rest assured that Al Qaeda knows they can not win a war of attrition against the coalition, or even the US alone. They know that their only hope for victory on the current battlefield (which is even more critical for them than for us) is that we leave before their inevitable effective defeat in Iraq.

When this war started, I believed (and still believe) that we would be in Iraq for six to eight years prior to completion of the mission. I see nothing that indicates that we will be there any longer than that, and I think there are signs that we could possibly leave a bit earlier - but no much.

Can you explain in detail, why you consider the war a blunder in the ostensibly greater war on terrorism? Do you see Afghanistan the same way? And also explain what you would have done to go after Al Qaeda and affiliated, and similar groups given their lack of geography and their residency in many nations.

wildaboutharrie said...

Paul:

"But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors -- including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam's direction. Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."

He doesn't say it's a fact, just that he's convinced...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/
releases/2002/08/20020826.html

APF said...

(BTW that "no" post was a reply to Mark)

Pastor_Jeff said...

Mark,

Please go back and put the decision to invade Iraq in the context of a post-9/11 world. Reasonable people believed that our survival was (and is) threatened by Islamic terrorism. Maybe Bush overstated the case against going into Iraq. Maybe he went to war on shaky ground. But again, everyone in the world knew and believed Hussein to be actively involved with WMDs and supporting terrorists - he paid money to the families of suicide bombers, remember? This is not something Bush made up. Put the decision in its historical context.

You're convinced the war is unjust and unwinnable. If that's your starting point, I understand why you argue the way you do, and why you think undermining support for the war and encouraging terrorists doesn't matter.

Assume you investigate and find out Bush lied. Fine - impeach him. You win. Now what do we do about the troops in Iraq and the Iraqi people? What do we do about terrorists who are determined to destroy us? Will impeaching Bush and bringing home the troops help our enemies or hurt them?

You're focused on Bush. I'd rather focus on winning the war you think isn't worth fighting.

Starless said...

wildaboutharrie said...
f15c, good post, I wish we could focus on intelligence and how it was used and can the "he lied" rhetoric for the time being...

It would be nice just to see the old "Bush=Hitler" chestnut go away. Bush, frankly, is a pantywaist compared to Hitler.

paulfrommpls said...

wild -

Again, you're right. Not sure what he means by fairly soon, of course. Or if he was lying or just mistaken.

It's also reasonable, by the way, given what we know about the Pakistani smuggling network and Saddam's right-up-to-the-last-minute negotiations with North Korea to buy missile parts, and so on, that had we let him out from under, it's likely true that Hussein could have had nukes by some reasonable definition of "fairly soon."

But no, you're right, there's the quote I'd missed.

Mark -

Perception of dishonesty in the administration by those dissenting is a given. It has nothing to do with the holy duty of dissenters, especially during a war, to be totally, scrupulously, bend-over-backwards honest and thorough in checking their own arguments and perceptions.

That seems to me a very obvious point that has been totally ignored by the modern left. That's why I get so pissed that so many of them/you literally have no idea why anyone intelligent might disagree with them. It's almost enough to make me dismiss them completely, because it's almost enough to convince me that they really don't give a damn about the truth.

Like I said above, is it unpatriotic? Whatever. It's bullshit.

There's nothing worse for a country than dishonest, bullying, braying dissent. Because there's no way to answer it.

F15C said...

Wildaboutharrie:
“He doesn't say it's a fact, just that he's convinced...”

Intelligence is not the same as judicial fact finding. Rarely, if ever, is a President going to be provided with unequivocal proof of anything. Given the nature of intelligence gathering and processing, if one requires the same standards of proof from military and diplomatic intelligence that we expect in a court of law, no President, military leader, or member of Congress, would ever make a single decision based upon intelligence. I wish it were different, but that is the reality.

The International Dictionary of Intelligence defines intelligence as "the product resulting from the collecting and processing of information concerning actual and potential situations and conditions relating to domestic and foreign activities and to domestic and foreign or US and enemy-held areas."

Anyone who has ever had to make a decision based upon data and information that is anything other than 100% complete and accurate went through the same essential process that Bush and the vast majority of Congress did. They considered the evidence, weighed the consequences, and made a decision.

I’d be disappointed and very skeptical if he wasn’t convinced… As it is, I understand that is the best that could be expected of him or anyone else who had the unenviable job of making such a decision.

wildaboutharrie said...

Paul, yes, "fairly soon" is vague, so neither here nor there.

As for your last, I hope we can agree there are asses on all sides. I think you meet more of the liberal flavor because of where you live, perhaps?

Mark said...

f15c,

First of all, it was not my statement but General Clark's. He's a military man, like you, so I think what he says makes sense from a military standpoint. Let me defend his statement.

The war in Iraq is a blunder because it made Iraq a central front of war on terror (which is a misleding term; the war is really with radical Islam). For all his faults, Saddam was a secular dictator who did not like Al Qaeda and did not let it operate in Iraq. True, Al Qaeda was present in Iraq, but it was there on Kurdish-controlled territories under which Saddam had no control.
The war in Iraq allowed Al Qaeda to turn Iraq into its battlefield. In the process, it radicalized many previously seculat Iraqies and served as a major recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. The USA, in the process, lost its moral clarity and the support of the whole world when it shifted from Afghanistan (again, completely justified war) to Iraq. It's hard to imagine a more stupid, more incompetent way to lose the global support.
Now, almost 3 years into the war, what do we have?
a) A Constitution rejected by most Sunnis.

b) Rising casualties, both on the US side and Iraqi side;

c) greater influence of Iran in Iraq

Has anything good come out of the war? Sure. Saddam is on trial and the people in Iraq are probably on the whole are better off. But these benefits are outweighed by negative consequences: USA is almost universally hated in the islamic world; Al qaeda is stronger despite arrests of many of its leaders (stronger because it commands a greater support); the tentative democracy in Iraq is unstable and only exists due to US troops.

You asked me what would I have done. I am a diletant in military matters, but I would a) concentrate on Afghanistan; b) worked with the world to further isolate and weaken Saddam; c) supported reformers in Iran (another negative consequence of the Iraq war is that it led to decline of reformers' in Iran and led to rise of hardliners there); worked with other governments to defeat Al qaeda.

wildaboutharrie said...

f15c, yes, I just didn't want anyone using the quote I posted for a "Cheney lied!" post.

Mark said...

Pastor_Jeff:

"Will impeaching Bush and bringing home the troops help our enemies or hurt them?"

Neither. If anything, it will probably hurt them because it would improve America's standing in the eyes of the whole world. Also, impeaching Bush makes it impossible for him to engage in other avanteurs which strengthen Al Qaeda ;) I am only half-kidding here.

Mark said...

Personally, I don't think that Bush lied to get us in the war, at least, I am not sure of it; but he probably exagerrated evidence and did all he could to create a false link between Al Qaeda/9-11 and Iraq.

I also fault US media for being completely complacent and for not being more critical of the Administration's claims. The jingoism in the so called mainstream press was appalling. I remember even Dan Rather saying something to the effect that when forced with a choice of being a loyal citizen or an honest journalist, he'd choose being a loyal citizen. The media should be ashamed of themselves for not being more skeptical of the claims by Bush, Cheney, and others.

wildaboutharrie said...

Pastor Jeff - a lot of us looking at how we got into this war are looking at the future. If we engage with Iran, or Syria, or whomever, we want to do so in good faith and as a last resort.

Also, we can investigate intelligence failures AND help Iraq establish its democracy, no?

PatCA said...

"Yes, through impeachment if necessary."

So that's good for the Country and for Iraq?

Again, Mark, you're cherrypicking your arguments and responses. A judge would have tossed you out of court long ago. So, I'm done. No use trying to convince a true believer. And if any site has fewer right wingnuts, it's this one.

paulfrommpls said...

Wildabout -

As I think you know I believe, it seems to me that the structural problem with politics these days - and it goes beyond the war - is a massive lack of knowledge on the part of the left regarding the possibility of an honest or moral framework on the right.

There are asses on both sides, but I don't think the prevalance of lack of understanding is anywhere equal.

Part of the reason is because the basic left impulses - the inherent problems associated with greed and profit - have been part of our media and political atmosphere for over a century. Put another way, the right understands the possibility of its own moral problems. It's impossible not to get that. Everybody does.

And another aspect is because the left impulse is simply easier to get, and I don't mean that as an insult necessarily.

"Compassion" is easier to grab onto as a guiding principle than "it may be more moral in the long run to actually prod people to fend for themselves."

So too many on the left don't understand the deep moral problems that can result from that perspective: the poison of voctim-think. Al Qaeda is victim-think run wild. So was Nazism. And this isn't just hypothetical. In Europe, the left has been playing footsy with the worst kind of (largely) Arab-sourced anti-Semitism for some time now.

On the Iraq debate, I do mean "the left is easier to get" as an insult. Once you hear "Bush lied,people died," or "Who profits, who dies," you pretty much got the argument. No further resarch is required.

F15C said...

Mark, excellent response - thanks.

I disagree that Al Qaeda was allowed to turn Iraq into a battlefield. I think we turned Iraq into a battlefield with Al Qaeda (as well as with other Baathist insurgent elements). Bin Laden is hyper-sensitive about infidels (and even other non-Islamist Muslims) in his holy land. Philosophically, the worst thing that could happen on his watch as the leader of radical Islamists is for western infidels and non-radical (my term) Muslims to rule Iraq. I assume he did not like Saddam, but Saddam was worlds better than what is forming in Iraq. If America succeeds in Iraq to any degree it will be a crushing defeat for AQ, Bin Laden, and his supporters. Tactically and strategically they will be at a tremendous disadvantage especially as pressure mounts on Syria and Iran and to a different extent Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East had to be destabilized in order to begin its move toward a more democratic era of governance. Left to its own devices, it will degenerate into an Islamist cesspool. Admittedly, democratizing the ME is a Herculean task at best and near-impossible at worst. But, as democracies rarely - if ever - attack each other, it is one sure way to finally cure the problem in the long term sense. If it can be done, the world will be better for it, and if not, well it won’t be much worse off.

I do agree that collaterally, AQ has gained membership which would they would not have (at least as readily) due to the war in Iraq. But, the reality is that those who are fanatic enough about Al Qaeda’s mission against the US for any reason are our enemy as well regardless of where they live. And importantly those people from Iraq, Iran, Syria and elsewhere that are fighting Americans in Iraq at this moment would be unable - for the most part - to help or join Al Qaeda were it not for Iraq due to the global restrictions upon support of terrorism.

So in the global war on radical Islamism (I agree whole-heartedly with you on this term being the correct one) they would then take much longer to ‘smoke out’ if you will and would serve effectively as long term reserves for AQ to draw upon in any war of attrition. Militarily it is always better to draw a hidden and inferior enemy out into the open on a field of battle than to leave them hidden, allowing them time to regroup, adapt, and attack when and where they see fit. AQ is better a terrorism than at battlefield combat. We are better at battlefield combat and don’t do terrorism. So which is the best way to battle them?

Mark said...

Patca,

I said IF NECESSARRY. Impeachment would only be deserved if there's serious evidence that Bush intentionally misled or lied to the nation. I was not the one who raised the specter of impeachment, I'd much prefer political means, such as elections.

wildaboutharrie said...

"On the Iraq debate, I do mean 'the left is easier to get' as an insult. Once you hear 'Bush lied,people died,' or 'Who profits, who dies,' you pretty much got the argument. No further resarch is required."

Well, "What part of Support Our Troops don't they get?" always draws wild applause, but it's almost as dumb. So is "They're the assholes who bombed us." So is hurling insults at anyone wearing a turban. All part of the idiot wing of the right.

There are good, moral, smart folk on both sides, though. Maybe these days the idiots on the left have the mike, but is that so different from the right in the go-go 80s? It's about how I remember them.

The compassion vs. tough love "easy/hard to get" I'll grant you. I think it took having children of my own to begin to find a better middle ground there.

wildaboutharrie said...

OK Paul my reply is too facile, ignore it. I won't delete it as that always looks suspicious to me.

I enjoy your posts, as always. I'm off to Mass, I'll check back later.

BTW, Mark, how are you a wingnut? It seems to me you are supporting your position well, but that you're not unpersuadable.

paulfrommpls said...

"There are good smart moral people on both sides" - that distinguishes you from almost everyone on Kos, at DU, in Moveon, and so on.

Again: I just think the psychos are dominating the left these days. There are pscyhos on the right, but they don't dominate. For rational open debate, you increasingly have to go to the right.

Brando said...

As I think you know I believe, it seems to me that the structural problem with politics these days - and it goes beyond the war - is a massive lack of knowledge on the part of the left regarding the possibility of an honest or moral framework on the right.

My god, this is about the most specious bogusity (yes, i coined a new word for it) i have ever read.

"the possiblity of an honest or moral framework"? Perhaps this "possibility" is what is being taught in the ethics courses recently mandated by Bush for his administration. (funny, seems Bush should take the course himself.) So unbelievably laughable and pathetic. Seems folks on the right are having the "lack of knowledge" about that ethics and morals thing.

I'm sorry, you righties should really be ashamed of your dear leader. ashamed.

F15C said...

"Personally, I don't think that Bush lied to get us in the war, at least, I am not sure of it; but he probably exagerrated (sic) the evidence and did all he could to create a false link between Al Qaeda/9-11 and Iraq."

I would agree that what Bush *may* have done is exaggerate the evidence by emphasizing that which supported his decision, and de-emphasizing that which may have tended to weaken his rationale for going to war. But the question is, by doing so, was he exhibiting scurrilous behavior, or leadership?

Again, all this information was/is in the form of intelligence which no one ever states is equivalent to fact. Certainly there are facts included in the makeup of intelligence, but intelligence is the *product* of fact and opinion, and therefore not to be construed as fact only. I wish it were different, but that is the nature of international relations. Always has been, and always will be.

Bush’s job was to assess the situation and make the best decisions he could based upon the information at hand in the form of intelligence, experience, and history. It most assuredly was not his job to create a public debate within the American public, and wait for that debate to make the decision(s) for him.

And, I just have to disagree with the assertion that the Bush admin. did all they could to create a link between AQ/9/11 and Iraq. I was paying a lot of attention to the matter from the Cole disaster right up to now. I did not see the Bush admin. establishing that link, rather it was others on the right and the left that were doing so. The fringe far-right no-nothing commentators were stating it outright with no proof out of simplistic hate of all things Arab emanating from 9/11, and the left were implying it so as not to be wrong about it should it ever be proven. That is how I saw it. I can’t tell you how many discussions I got in with friends an co-workers who couldn’t understand why Bush just didn’t come out and say that Saddam had something to do with 9/11 after all ‘everyone’ knew he was involved somehow.

To me the fact that Saddam enjoyed and applauded the death and destruction of 9/11 (which is undeniable) did not mean he was involved in the planning or execution. Not that I believe he would have done anything to stop it had he been given the chance, I just don’t believe he was behind. But to be clear, in my mind, anyone and everyone who applauded 9/11, or felt vindicated by 9/11, or danced as people of all nations died and the world changed for the worse that day, is an enemy of America and an enemy of mine.

Eugene said...

Consider the last time we were really wrong about WMD. In the early days of WWII, compelling circumstantial evidence convinced the Allies that the Nazis had embarked on a parallel program to the Manhattan Project. Consequently, shipments of heavy water from Norsk Hydro in Norway were repeatedly targeted with bombing raids and sabotage, killing many innocent Norwegian civilians in the process.

After the war, it turned out that the team led by Werner Heisenberg never got their reactor to work and wouldn't have, with or without the heavy water shipments. And even if they had, the manufacturing infrastructure didn't exist in Germany to produce sufficient bomb materials before the war ended (compared, for example, to Wernher von Braun's V-2 factory, which was heavily supported by the Nazis).

Heisenberg himself later tried to rewrite history, saying that he had failed on purpose, a claim strongly refuted by Niels Bohr in letters found after his death (Bohr, a class act, didn't wish to publicly trash a longtime colleague). But the question remains: should we have done what we did? Well, knowing what we know now, Norsk Hydro could have been safely ignored and many lives spared.

However, lacking a time machine, "what we know now" is not the adult option. Prior both to 12/7 and 9/11, we assumed the best about the intent and capabilities of our enemies. But when it comes to madmen and WMD, the only responsible course is to assume the worst. So any assessment of the appropriateness of our actions should be based on what we thought we knew then, not on what we have figured out hence.

Ditto the tedious conspiracy theories that Roosevelt knew that the Japanese Navy was going to attack Pearl Harbor. The intel was incredibly shoddy in the case of Heisenberg (who was operating with almost no security) and Pearl Harbor. But "should have known" does not equal "did know," no matter how insistently the equation is repeated.

F15C said...

Mark - btw, thanks for maintaining a civilized tone to the discussion (not that I think you are predisposed to do otherwise). It just that it is good to have this kind of give and take. And to be clear, I do not hope, nor do I want, to change your mind about anything. I just want to be able to participate in a reasoned and reasonable discussion on subjects of importance that rarely today can be discussed in such a way.

It helps reaffirm my belief in my fellow Americans.

Starless said...

Brando, you to seem have completely missed the point of paulfrommpls's comment. The rhetoric which has been coming from the Left has consistently been "conservatives are evil and immoral" (simplified to Bush=Hitler), which is an irrational and hysterical statement. There's no way to enter into a reasonable debate if one side is thinking that way. You may not agree with their morals, but to claim that they are immoral is to ignore reality.

In political parties, there needs to be someone to "put a bit of stick-about"--to keep everyone centered on the reality of what they're trying to accomplish and not let people go off on hysterical public ideological jags. Who was the last person to do that in the Democratic party? Tip O'Neil? Lyndon Johnson? The Democrats have lacked someone to do the sort of back room ass-kicking and deal-making necessary to win for some time now, while the Republicans perfected their mechanisms for staying on message and keeping the troops in line.

EddieP said...

Saddam lied, people died

NUC said...

I believe that now is not the time to decide if the war was a good idea. It is done, we went to war. Historians can decide later if it was the proper thing to do. In the present the correct debate is on the future and when or if to leave.
The reason I believe that it is our duty to support a decision once it is made is dificult to explain but I'll try. We are one country, if you did not agree with the decision to go to war is irrelevent, the USA went to war in Iraq. If you are part of the USA then this was your decision also. We elect representatives, they represent us. George Bush did not go to war with Iraq, the USA did. Reguardless of your personal veiws this was our collective decision as a country. Unless you renounce your citizenship right or wrong you went to war with Iraq. The diference between a country and anarcy is that we speak with one voice. We have all pledged our alegence to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, ect. You cannot pick and chose witch decisions of the USA you are a part of, its a package deal. Again I don't think unpatriotic is the right term, patriotism is "love and devotion for ones country" disloyal is closer. I'm not sure if this makes any more sense. I just believe we are not a collection of individuals who happen to live on the same continent, we our a country and it is our duty to support the desisions once they have been made.

Mark said...

F15c: Thank you for thoughtful and civilized replies as well. I really enjoy having this discussion, as opposed to trading insults and accusation of unpatriotism and lies.

Let me try to respond to your arguments. I wrote a long post and my computer froze on me, so it all got lost :) Oh, well, that's my luck.

"I disagree that Al Qaeda was allowed to turn Iraq into a battlefield. I think we turned Iraq into a battlefield with Al Qaeda (as well as with other Baathist insurgent elements)."

I agree. I think it's semantics; my point was that the Iraq now is a battlefield while it was not before.

" Bin Laden is hyper-sensitive about infidels (and even other non-Islamist Muslims) in his holy land. Philosophically, the worst thing that could happen on his watch as the leader of radical Islamists is for western infidels and non-radical (my term) Muslims to rule Iraq. I assume he did not like Saddam, but Saddam was worlds better than what is forming in Iraq. If America succeeds in Iraq to any degree it will be a crushing defeat for AQ, Bin Laden, and his supporters. Tactically and strategically they will be at a tremendous disadvantage especially as pressure mounts on Syria and Iran and to a different extent Saudi Arabia. "

Yes and no. I agree that having a democratic Iraq with moderate Muslims in charge is anathema to Bin Laden. However, I disagree that Saddam was worse for him. First, the democracy in Iraq is so feeble that AQ can operate almost in any region of Iraq with impunity. The new Iraq is simply to weak to fight it on its own. Second, and more importantly, for groups like AQ it's almost always more difficult to operate under a totalitarian secular regime, such as Saddam's. Being a dictator, Saddam could not stand a thought of having an armed religious fanatical organization operating in his country, as it would have been a direct threat to him. It's know that Osama considered Saddam to be an infidel. Therefore, there was no love lost between Saddam and Osama, at all. I would argue that even if democracy in Iraq is stronger, it would still be easier for groups like AQ to operate there, especially as long as US troops are stationed there. There's always a tradeoff between totalitarianism and security. It's known that under totalitarian regime, there's very little crime, at least compared to a democratic regime. Now, this is not to say that totalitarian regimes are better than democratic ones; this is just to illustrate that it's more difficult for armed fundamentalists to operate in democratic countries than totalitarian ones.

Now, I agree with you about positive consequences of this war for Syria, Lebanon (to some extent), and for Saudi Arabia (again, to some extent). However, I think that these positive developments are counterbalanced by the negative effects of this war on Iran. The war is largely responsible for weakening of reformers there and for elections of relatively hardcore fundamentalist as President. Most analysts agree that the Iraqi war strengthened radicals in Iran as it played into their demagoguery about US wanting to control the ME.
Also, recent elections in Bahraine also were won by radicals, to a large extent due to the war.

"The Middle East had to be destabilized in order to begin its move toward a more democratic era of governance. Left to its own devices, it will degenerate into an Islamist cesspool. Admittedly, democratizing the ME is a Herculean task at best and near-impossible at worst. But, as democracies rarely - if ever - attack each other, it is one sure way to finally cure the problem in the long term sense. If it can be done, the world will be better for it, and if not, well it won’t be much worse off."

I have to disagree here. I don't think that the way to democratize ME is to destabilize it. The war achieved destabilization all right but it failed to achieve democratization (with possible exception of Lebanon). The way to democratize ME, if there's one, is through painful, long, difficult process of supporting fledging democratic movements there, reducing support of totalitarian regimes, pressuring the authoritarian regimes (i.e., Egypt, Saudi Arabia) to liberalize, etc. The way is very hard and difficult, but it is the only one, I believe. It's extremely difficult to impose democracy by force, generally countries should grow themselves to achieve it. As Voltaire said, each people has the government it deserves.

"And importantly those people from Iraq, Iran, Syria and elsewhere that are fighting Americans in Iraq at this moment would be unable - for the most part - to help or join Al Qaeda were it not for Iraq due to the global restrictions upon support of terrorism."

Again, I have to respectfully disagree. I think the dichotomy that you create: AQ in Iraq vs AQ elsewhere is a false one. As recent bombings demonstrated, AQ has more than enough manpower, recruits (as opposed to US army, by the way), and resources to wage terror war on multiple fronts. Sure, the Iraq war drew a lot of AQ there. However, it more than made up for it by recruiting in other countries. There's unfortunately enough of AQ to be simultaneously in Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, etc.

I am looking forward to your thoughtful arguments, as always.

F15C said...

One glaring and obvious gap in the left's ongoing argument about Iraq is their almost complete ignoring of the most important player in the whole mess - Saddam Hussein. As though Saddam has no culpability, had no control of outcomes, was not even a factor in the events that unfolded. The truth is he was instigator and driver of much of what transpired prior to the war and was ground-zero for the reasons there is a war in Iraq today.

Though Saddam is a ruthless, murderous dictator, he is not stupid. On the contrary, he is a master at diplomatic manipulation. Had we not removed Saddam from power, the probability was that UN sanctions would have been removed within six months as he was furiously exerting oil-for-food and other petroleum based ‘diplomacy’ with some members of the UN Security Council.

Importantly, removal of sanctions would have been a major diplomatic coup for Saddam Hussein. As a matter of fact, it probably would have been ranked as one of the greatest diplomatic achievements by a tyrannical dictator since Hitler’s time. Why? He would be viewed in the ME as having stared down the US and the UN (ok, admittedly not much of an accomplishment) on the most important topic in the world - WMD. That was his goal. What he did not count on was Bush calling his bluff and actually doing something besides talk.

Saddam was losing face in the region and had been for years. He was not one to stand by and allow that to continue. Such is not his makeup. To me the evidence points toward Hussein manipulating intelligence to make it seem that he just might have WMD, while still being able to pass inspections, and using oil money to leverage the UNSC to remove sanctions. As such, once sanctions were lifted he would be perceived (and make no bones about it, perception is crucial in the ME) as the most powerful leader in the region. He would then not only be held in awe by most of the ME, he would have humiliated the US, and there would be nothing stopping him from then resuming his development of WMD for whatever purposes.

Mark said...

"To me the fact that Saddam enjoyed and applauded the death and destruction of 9/11 (which is undeniable) did not mean he was involved in the planning or execution. Not that I believe he would have done anything to stop it had he been given the chance, I just don’t believe he was behind. But to be clear, in my mind, anyone and everyone who applauded 9/11, or felt vindicated by 9/11, or danced as people of all nations died and the world changed for the worse that day, is an enemy of America and an enemy of mine."

At least publically, Saddam condemned 9/11 and I don't think that he applauded it. He was not a dummy and could have seen that it may lead to his downfall. He was a dictator but a secular one, and I have seen no evidence of him approving or applauding the 9/11.
Palestinians' behavior was despicable and shameful; and Saddam bears his share of blame for supporting the suicide bombers. I am not supporting him at all and I am glad he's gone.

However, again, the war is conducted extremely unprofessionally, and the goals (removing Saddam) do not justify means (the way this war was started and conducted).

paulfrommpls said...

Starless -

Yeah, thanks. brando was engaging in the left trick of missing the point and reacting with rage to the missed point. Very charming. And of course insisting that W is somehow "my" leader, in a way that doesn't apply to him.

It goes beyond Iraq, of course, as I say; there are a lot of issues where too much of the left has no concept of a rational defense for policies they don't like, and simply pre-defines their view as moral. Environmental policy, welfare reform...Don't have time to get into it cuz I have to rake.

But a guy like brando pretty much proves my point every time he opens his mouth, I'd guess.

Mark -

My memory is not perfect, but I think Hussein did praise the 9-11 attacks. Just a memory of something I read. Not a huge point either way, of course.

Brando said...

The rhetoric which has been coming from the Left has consistently been "conservatives are evil and immoral" (simplified to Bush=Hitler), which is an irrational and hysterical statement.

Starless, this looks to me like a straw man. If this is your understanding of "the left" well then it strikes me that you are the irrational and hysterical one. Either that, or you're watching too much Fox news.

gs said...

My impression is that the Democrats have more than their share of 'idealists' who may implicitly ally with those who wish this country ill; and the Republicans have more than their share of 'realists' who take refuge in patriotism.

Speaking of which, note that Bush used his Veterans Day speech to endorse the so-called flag desecration amendment.

Given the choice of being governed by realists or idealists, I may favor idealists in peacetime, but in wartime I'll take the realists. (Feel free to replace 'idealists' and 'realists' with more vivid terms.)
**********
The part of the speech which I emphatically agree with is the contention that we must not walk away from Iraq as we did from South Vietnam. It's arguable whether either intervention was appropriate, but it was a national disgrace to abandon the South Vietnamese once we had gotten involved. (Bush did not mention that we encouraged the Iraqis to revolt after the Gulf War, and then we stood by while Saddam butchered the rebels.)

He mentioned our friends the Saudis and did not mention Wahabism.

"The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes — allies of convenience like Iran and Syria — that share the goal of hurting America..." Huh? Am I to understand that the Iranian regime is not radically Islamic?

(For that matter, I've never understood why we attacked secular Iraq when the enemy is Islamism.)

No mention of North Korea or the Axis of Evil. Nor of the French situation, for that matter.

Needless to say, no mention of "Mission Accomplished" or "Bring It On". No indication that the occupation of Iraq might be a teensy weensy bit more complicated than had been anticipated.

"In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast." That is, if they don't succumb to Iranian influence. That is, if they don't succumb to corruption, which is a serious issue that is hardly discussed.
**********
Both parties are playing politics with the war. Our commander in chief is a marginal war leader at best. His successor may not be better and could be worse.

From a historical perspective, that's probably business as usual.

The moving Finger writes on...

Brando said...

But a guy like brando pretty much proves my point every time he opens his mouth, I'd guess.

If only you had a coherent point to prove, paulfrommpls. Pray tell, what is an "honest moral framework"? What is this thing that we hapless liberals do not understand?

F15C said...

Mark - again, great response. (Sorry for the delay, had to make and eat lunch. Even right-wing loonies need food too. Contrary to popular belief, we do live off sucking the blood of the poor. At least not on the weekends... :) )

First, I guess I was unclear, but I did not mean to say that "Saddam was worse for" Bin Laden. I agree with what you wrote and thought I was saying that Bin Laden, though he did not like Saddam, preferred him to a fledgling democracy. And I think your state the case well in your paragraph. Better than I did.

"I don't think that the way to democratize ME is to destabilize it. The war achieved destabilization all right but it failed to achieve democratization (with possible exception of Lebanon). The way to democratize ME, if there's one, is through painful, long, difficult process of..."

There is no pretty answer to this war against Islamic radicalism. In my heart I want to side with your perspective, but my mind based on my experience and research leads me toward more overt action begin required.

When I say destabilize, I'm referring to forcing a change to the status quo such that greater change has the opportunity to begin and occur.

I find myself wishing your "painful, long..." process would work. However, given the UN's ineffectiveness wrt Saddam (and others including Iran and Syria); Saddam's position of economic leverage with Russia, Germany, France, and others, I find it beyond difficult to believe that such a process no matter how painful would stand any chance of success.

Stable regimes are incredibly difficult to change. The ME was chock full of (relatively for the area) stable regimes. Those regimes - Saddam's being the poster child - were and are not good for their people or the world.

I just can not bring myself to believe that - especially in a post Iraq sanctions ME - that diplomacy would suffice to make needed changes in the region.

Starless said...

Brando said...
Starless, this looks to me like a straw man.

Is it, or is it not, your contention that the Right lacks morals and ethics?

If this is your understanding of "the left" well then it strikes me that you are the irrational and hysterical one.

I said the rhetoric is irrational and hysterical.

Either that, or you're watching too much Fox news.

I've never actually seen FoxNews. You're going to have to do better to try to call me names like "Right Wing" or "Conservative".

What is this thing that we hapless liberals do not understand?

That Conservatives may actually have morals and ethics, but that they just happen to be different from yours. Tolerance? Anyone? Tolerance from the Left for "difference"? Oh, wait, it's the wrong kind of "difference".

F15C said...

Mark, in context I should have stated that Saddam 'publicly' denounced 9/11 at least in front of western media. To the ME and his own people he presented a vastly different position.

See the photos at this link:

http://www.spiritoftruth.org/911mural.htm

(NOTE: I do not endorse the above website, for my purpose it is just a quick source of pictures nothing more. It was the first returned in a google search. )

These murals and similar works of propagandic art were found all over Iraq. Though I can't find it right now, (will post when I do) the accounts are that these were part of Saddam's faux adoption of Islam (read up on the additions to government symbols to include Islamic symbology over the last few years of his regime) in an attempt to coopt Bin Laden's popularity to increase his own.

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
My memory of my days of opposition to the war in Vietnam (I went to Ohio State from 1971 to 1975) are different from yours. I was at pains then, to explain that my opposition was rooted in patriotic concern for the country.

This concern may have been relatively rare among college students, although not among my crowd, most of whom were already engaged in partisan politics.

But Glenn Reynolds addresses his charge of being unpatriotic not at today's student activists, rare though they are and who might ordinarily be expected to be less concerned about being labeled "unpatriotic." Rather, he's talking about professional Democratic Party politicians who voted to authorize the war and are now condemning it.

Back during the Vietnam War, there were members of Congress who voted for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which authorized the war, but who later became fierce critics. They too, were accused of being "unpatriotic" and they too, attempted to refute the charge.

Whether today's Democratic pols are being cynical, unpatriotic, or displaying a genuine change of heart based on new facts is not something about which I'll express an opinion. For one thing, it requires more armchair psychologizing than I feel I could responsibly do. But leveling the charge of being upatriotic against someone who voices dissent from the policies of our government is a very serious matter.

It's interesting to me that it's a charge always leveled by the "ins," be they Republican or Democrat, or by their defenders and rarely, if ever, used by those on the "outs." It's normal, especially in contentious times, for leaders to take the "l'etat c'est moi" attitude toward dissent. It's equally normal for those leaders' defenders to empathetically join them in the bunker. But, as I recall, the founding documents of the country hold that sovereignty is in the hands of the people, assigned to them by their Creator. Policy is to emerge from the often chaotic debates that happen in the society at large. Those debates aren't advanced when people start wielding the "unpatriotic charge."

Pols may decide to voice the concerns of dissenters out of cynical or unpatriotic motives, of course. But that doesn't make the people for whom they position themselves to speak unpatriotic. Nor does it render the cynical pols' critiques inherently invalid.

In the run-up to the war, I refused to take a public position on it. There were too many people on both sides of the question I respected. As a pastor, I felt it important to avoid the appearance of a "Thus saith the Lord" position. But I think it's out of bounds for Glenn to imply, however subtly, and even more than the President did, that opposing the war is unpatriotic.

Mark Daniels

F15C said...

Mark: "However, again, the war is conducted extremely unprofessionally, and the goals (removing Saddam) do not justify means (the way this war was started and conducted)."

I will not argue that the war is being prosecuted as well as it should be. It could be managed better, but as complex as matters are there - militarily and politically - it is too arm-chair-general of me to criticize too heavily. One thing I do know is that in a one on one with any of the commanding generals responsible for prosecuting this war, first, they would eat me alive in terms of my criticizing their strategies, and two, they would (off the record) have reams to say about how difficult their jobs have been made by the fact that they alone (not the enemy) are being held accountable for warring in such a way as to not offend the sensibilities of way too many groups, theologies, and special interests.

To be clear, in my opinion, the goal of removing Saddam is only one presaging many others and in and of itself, though highly visible, militarily is not the end game by a long shot. I believe there is a long term (10 year?) strategic scenario being enacted, and toppling Saddam was merely one necessary step.

wildaboutharrie said...

"And, I just have to disagree with the assertion that the Bush admin. did all they could to create a link between AQ/9/11 and Iraq."

f15c, Cheney did. Now I have to go find the instances...grrr...

F15C said...

wildaboutharrie: I think I know what you are talking about re Cheney and remarks. I will search too and we can discuss.

My point is not to deny that links may have been made, but that the Admin. was not 'doing everything it could' to establish those links in the minds of Americans.

Again, the question being begged is should Bush then have been actively working to completely dispel any notions that there were links between 9/11 and Saddam? I don't fault him for not doing that. Though, honestly, as I've stated, I sincerely tried to listen to as much of the information as available and did not come away thinking Iraq was behind 9/11. However, at the time, I honestly felt that *if* Saddam had anything to do with 9/11 it was not indicated by any evidence I'd seen or heard, nor did it fit with my understanding of AQ and their modus operandi which I had been following since the Cole incident.

wildaboutharrie said...

I don't think this was it...hmmmm...this is more not dispeling a notion...(interested in the fake poll info, Paul)...

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3080244/

MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

We know, for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93 that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of ’93. And we’ve learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.

Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.

MR. RUSSERT: We could establish a direct link between the hijackers of September 11 and Saudi Arabia.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We know that many of the attackers were Saudi. There was also an Egyptian in the bunch. It doesn’t mean those governments had anything to do with that attack. That’s a different proposition than saying the Iraqi government and the Iraqi intelligent service has a relationship with al-Qaeda that developed throughout the decade of the ’90s. That was clearly official policy.

wildaboutharrie said...

This isn't it either...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/
wp-dyn/articles/A47812-2004Jun16.html

"In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was in power, overseeing one of the bloodiest regimes of the 20th century. He had started two wars -- produced and used weapons of mass destruction against Iran and the Kurds, and was in repeated violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. He was a patron of terrorism -- paying $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers in Israel, and providing safe-haven and support for such terrorist groups as Abu Nidal and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He had long established ties with al Qaeda."

I know what Mark is referring to, it was there again and again, linking Iraq with 9/11, taking advantage of public ignorance. Not illegal, but...was it right?

Does it matter?

Starless said...

Mark Daniels said...
But leveling the charge of being upatriotic against someone who voices dissent from the policies of our government is a very serious matter.

Is it really that serious, though? Isn't it part of the great American tradition of political mud-slinging to try to make yourself look patriotic and the other guy unpatriotic? The differences being the matter of degree depending on the times.

It was acceptable to a certain extent in the '70s (after Vietnam and Watergate) to be "unpatriotic", then after the Iran Hostage Crisis (remember "Tie A Yellow Ribbon"?) it bacame less so, then after the Reagan Revolution and during Gulf War Part I: Let's Not Finish The Job, the notion of being "unpatriotic" being unacceptable solidified, and now, with Gulf War Part II: Revenge of the Chickenhawks, the sides are now completely polarized, with both sides throwing the "unpatriotic" invective around with equal venom.

I dunno, it's hard for me to think of a time in this country when the label "unpatriotic" (whether directly or indirectly) hasn't been used in American political rhetoric as a way to tear your opponent down.

wildaboutharrie said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3118262.stm

An overseas perspective (BBC) on the issue in 2003, saying that people were confused either through bad communication or deliberate means.

OK I'm done on this, I can't find anything yet that's explicit.

Sorry for the over-posts.

F15C said...

wildaboutharrie, the Russert/Cheney thing is exactly the one I had in mind, but couldn't find. Thanks.

As I read through the conversation I don't honestly get that Cheney is making the connection. I also do not get that he is trying to dispel any notion of a connection.

I think he - in typical Cheney analytical fashion - stated what they did know and what they did not know.

And I think his point at the end that though the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian and Egyptian, intelligence showed AQ as an organization had more of a relationship with Iraq's government than either of those other governments.

wildaboutharrie said...

f15c I agree, he's not making the connection, but he does take advantage of ignorance, I think.
I need to fact check the rest.

This comments section is good for my brain, too immersed in diapers and such.

More later.

paulfrommpls said...

Can't get into detail about the stuff yer bringing up, wildabout. I'd just say, in the long Cheney quote you provde, there's almost nothing there ins't at least defensible. He's simply correct about the one WTC bomber being given refuge in Iraq. The training stuff is in dispute, but not obviously false. The red flag in front of a guy like brando is the Atta thing, but again, Cheney's correct - the visit is much in dispute, not totally disproven; that's according to Andrew McCarthy, first WTC bombng prosecutor. (cell phone records are what people and one committee rely on for saying it didn't happen; he didn't need to be the one using his cell phone, is the main point. And there is no other evidence putting him in the US at the right time.) And what most people don't know - and I don't think there's any dispute about this - is that around the same time, Attamade a visit or two to the Prague airport and only the Prague airport, meeting someone out of range of security cameras. So, a bunch of "hm" stuff.

But the basic point: I don;t think it's kosher to take a ot of basically accurate statements and make the claim that of couse what he's doing is relying on people's stupidity to make a connection he doesn't actually make. And that basically is the form of "lie" that is always referred to on this topic.

My take on Cheney is: he's a guy who actually suspects Hussien was invovled, and sometimes can't quite keep himself fomr sort of hinting at it, like when he says tings like "we just don't know."

Gotta leave the typos and fly, monkeys, fly.

Oh brando: market-based solutions to enviro problmes, That's one.

Brent said...

KUDOS to all who back-and-forthed with Mark! I was wondering where he went after our comments on Ann's earlier post of "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal. . . " yesterday at 6:49 pm about the President's speech.


Mark - where did you go?

Oh, to THIS POST.


I am pleased to see that Mark took several of my points about PROOF and LYING to heart:


Particularly, I like the fact that Mark now says above at 11:15 am:

"Now, it does not necessarily PROVE that Bush had lied when he took us to war."

WOW! That shows real growth from the things that Mark claimed as PROOF in yesterday's post's comments,


--------- AND ! ! ! ! ! ! ------


Mark DID say in yesterday's post's comments section (2:26 AM Nov 12, 2005):

"it is Bush who took the country to war through false pretenses and, most likely, lying"


But Mark TODAY (2:15 PM Nov 12, 2005)said: -

"Personally, I don't think that Bush lied to get us in the war, at least, I am not sure of it."


Mark - that shows GROWTH and the ability to reason well. Good job!


You're welcome.

F15C said...

wild... "I agree, he's not making the connection, but he does take advantage of ignorance, I think."

You know, one could say that his saying essentially, 'we don't know Saddam was behind 9/11', 'but we do know there are connections with AQ', he is attempting to imply guilt by association.

That is not a too unreasonable interpretation of the conversation I think. But when it comes down to it what it means is that there are two ways to interpret what he said. Either it is exactly as he stated with no other implied meanings, or he was engaging in a verbal attempt to make us pull the wool over our own eyes.

I don't know for sure which it is, but the information he provides at face value seems accurate in the context of the time, is not presented in a manner that over dramatizes the situation, and he does not resort to any obvious innuendo.

The interpretation of this one seems to me to reside in the mind of the reader and what they want to make out of it. Which in and of itself is not wrong.

Mark Daniels said...

Starless:
I think you're right that the "unpatriotic" charge is routinely used...and I think, usually most unfairly.

Mark Daniels

Mark said...

f15c, thanks as always for your thoughtful responses. Sorry I was away from the computer for a while and will be away for another hour or so.

Brent,
yes, I am not sure whether or not Bush was lying. In any case, I have no proof, even if I believed that he did. That's why I used qualifiers such as "most likely".
In any case, I agree that it is important to have a strategy of what to do now given that we are where we are, but is also important to understand how we came to be here.
I was just very resentful by Bush's speech yesterday when he claimed that those of us who want to find out what happened are "revising history." Talk about pot calling a kettle black.

But again, I very enjoy intelligent conversations on this subject.

Starless said...

Mark Daniels said...
the "unpatriotic" charge is routinely used...and I think, usually most unfairly

That's what makes watching political fights so fun. It's professional wrestling, except without the awesome costumes.

wildaboutharrie said...

Paul and f15C - I put in too many quotes for you to wade through, sorry. I agree, again, not much "there" there in the Cheney stuff.

It may well be that those implying Iraq involvement in 9/11 were more pundit types. I'll poke around some more.

Why bother? I guess I'm being a curmudgeon, but I cannot stand revisionism. The lead-up was what it was. (You two are not doing the revising, I know, it's others in these comments sections.)

wildaboutharrie said...

PS revising on both sides is offensive, I should have said. What's so scary about the truth?

Sloanasaurus said...

I agree with Mark that the war in Iraq was all about WMD. However, Mark and others on the left and the liberal media have distorted the original argument to mean only WMD that may have existed in Iraq at the time. This is not the case. The number one fear for policy makers is WHAT TO DO ABOUT WMD PROLIFERATION, particularly nuclear weapons in the age of terrorism. Both GWB and Kerry said proliferation was their number one concern during the debates.

The invasion of Iraq was done primarily to take out Saddam's regime - to take him out of the WMD game. There is no doubt that Saddam wanted to get into nukes. Iraq was the most dangerous regime in the world. Saddam had more concentrated power and wealth in a single individual than anyone else in the world. He had a proven track record of aggression and ruthlessness. Others on this board have cited North Korea, but who has North Korea invaded in the last 50 years? How much money does Kim Il take in on an annual basis? How much conventrated power does Kim Il really have? North Korea is a danger but it is nothing compared to Saddam's regime.

People pooh pooh Bush's other arguments. However, Bush's other arguments are all about WMD also. Consider the argument to bring freedom to Iraq. Bush decided that the "freedom" argument is the only permanent viable way to combat proliferation. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle. It is only a matter of time before they become common place everywhere in the world. The theory is that free socities, which are ruled by law, are more predictable and more moderate than tyrannical socities... simply, free socities will see little reason to proliferate or to be aggressive.

Bush's ideology is brilliant because it merges spreading democracy (a la Woodrow Wilson) with defense of the nation.

Creating a democracy out of Iraq is the long term goal. We could have left after Saddam was captured and his regime disbanded because no single individual would again control Iraq. The short term goal of taking Iraq out of the WMD game would have been achieved. However, the long term goal of creating free socities would have remained unresolved.

I disagree with those on the baord who state that a war in Afghanistan was winnable. Afghanistan is a terrible place for a modern army. It is the graveyard of armies. Bin Ladin chose Afghanistan as a battlefield. We have gleamed from intelligence that Bin Ladin's number one goal for 9/11 was to lure us to attack him in Afghanistan. He wanted to repeatr the Jihad all over again (as he did against the Soviets).

Afghanistan is only successful today because of the invasion of Iraq.

We screwed Bin Ladins dream of caliaphate when we invaded Iraq. We chose the battlefield in Iraq because it is much easier to win there than in Afghanistan.

Sloanasaurus said...

Eugene, its interesting that you bring up the Nazi nuclear project. You are right that it was determined after the war the the Germans never even got close to a Nuke. Nevertheless, we lost many men trying to bomb supposed heavy water plants and other potential facilities. FDR should have been impeached.

wildaboutharrie said...

Sloanasaurus - there's a lot of sense in your post. Particularly refreshing - we chose the battlefield of Iraq.

If you had been making the case for war instead of the administration, I don't know if there would have been less resistance, but at least it would have been more transparent.

(No sarcasm here, I really appreciate your perspective, it's given me lots to think about.)

Sloanasaurus said...

If I would have been a military planner, Afghanistan would have been the worst place to fight Al Qaeda. The country is quite rugged and full of mountains and valleys, perfect for defense. Second, there is no port to supply a large army in Afghanistan. We would have to rely on the souurounding countries, none of whom are really that friendly to us. It would be strategically dumb to have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Second, there are no local Afghan allies, that we have a long term relationship with, unlike Iraq where GWB is the most popular person in Kurdistan.

Third, we could not ever leave Afghanistan. The local population is too impoversihed to ever put up a fight against Al Qaeda's foreign fighters on their own. It would take generations to get the local population to the same level as the people Iraq. Iraq is much more able to become an ally in fighting Al Qaeda (which is proving to be true).

Bin Ladin made a mistake in fighting in Iraq. Now, the thousands of arab fanatic fighters who would be fighting in afghanistan are fighting in Iraq where they are much easier to kill.

You could argue that the only way to win in Afghanistan is through Iraq. If we were to fight the terrorists on their own turf, Iraq is the best place (from our perspective) for the fight.

Roger Sweeny said...

Mark,

I think we have actually made progress here. Most everyone now agrees that

1. Prior to the war, Bush and his people gave a lot of different reasons to go to war, but

2. The major reason proposed for going to war was that Saddam had a functioning WMD program that could have a usable weapon within a fairly short period of time.

3. Saddam did NOT have a functioning WMD program.

4. However, Saddam had tried to get WMDs in the past, and with the potential collapse of the sanctions regime, might well have tried (and succeeded) in the future.

Okay, 4. is still in play, but we're a lot further along than we were.

To go back over a century, during the American Civil War, the North was far from united. There were many, many people who thought the War was not worth it--or even that secession was okay. In the election year of 1864, a number of Republican notables tried to get Linclon to stop the war and try diplomacy.

The Democrats nominated Geroge McClellan, a general Lincoln had fired, and adopted a resolution stating, "After four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war ... justice, humanity, libery, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of histilities .. to the end that, at the earliest practicable moment, peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States."

Had Jefferson Davis said, "Yes, let's have a cease fire and talk peace" and had the union army and navy done as poorly as they had prior to Gettysberg, Lincoln probably would have lost and the war would have ended with the South either out of the Union, or with a great deal of autonomy to "preserve its way of life."

Brando said...

That Conservatives may actually have morals and ethics, but that they just happen to be different from yours. Tolerance? Anyone? Tolerance from the Left for "difference"? Oh, wait, it's the wrong kind of "difference".

What, starless, so it is okay if Libby to lie under oath, but not for Bill Clinton? Torture is wrong, except when we do it? So this is what conservatives mean by "tolerance"? Seems like conservatves have done a real good job of cornering the market on relativism, duplicity, hypocracy. Is this what it means to be "born again"?

wildaboutharrie said...

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0314/
p02s01-woiq.html

http://www.globalpolicy.org/
security/issues/iraq/justify/
2003/0918proof.htm

Interesting, in retrospect, re: juxtaposing 9/11 and Iraq...

(2003, CS Monitor and LA Times)

Paul, these reference polls about Americans connecting Iraq and 9/11. I know you're writing about this, and I'd love to know when you've posted somewhere...thanks!

Starless said...

brando said...
What, starless, so it is okay if Libby to lie under oath, but not for Bill Clinton? Torture is wrong, except when we do it? So this is what conservatives mean by "tolerance"? Seems like conservatves have done a real good job of cornering the market on relativism, duplicity, hypocracy. Is this what it means to be "born again"?

Speaking of straw men and/or begging the question.

If you want to get into an argument over which individuals in which political party lied more, we could go on for hours. Likewise, a debate on what is and isn't "torture" could go on forever. And tolerance, well, I've watched more consveratives recently who are willing to sit and listen patiently to liberals than vice versa.

What you are missing is that to completely disregard your opponent as immoral and unethical is to ignore his greatest strength. The Right believes very strongly in a set of standards (I would call it "morals and ethics", you apparently would not) and while they don't agree on everything, they have a shared, general understanding of what those standards are. This is due, I think, to being disciplined and organized.

It's much easier to defeat an immoral opponent than it is to defeat a moral opponent. The immoral opponent is weakened by his lack of specific conviction, whereas a moral opponent is strengthed by his belief that what he is doing is right. The Left is trying to pretend that the Right's set of values is it's weakness, but it is, in fact, it's greatest strength. This unwillingness to recognize reality is why the Left has been losing.

pst314 said...

"In fact, "patriotic" was used as a slur.

And, just like today, the left liked to smear its opponents as "fascists" and "racists."

"Later the memo was: say that you're patriotic too and dissent is patriotic."

And the latest memo: say that you're more patriotic because it's always more patriotic to criticize our government.

"I believe he was a lead pusher of the "They're not anti-war; they're on the other side" meme back in the day."

Er, perhaps because they were demonstrating their treasonous tendencies by rooting for our enemies? By marching under various communist and anarchist banners? By interpreting American actions in the worst possible light while excusing and justifying anything our enemies do?

"If you don't know that the main argument used to get us in the war was the WMD, "

Well, I guess we've made progress if a liberal is willing to talk about "main argument" instead of "only argument." Which reminds me: What happened to the public demands back then that Bush give a simple justification for the war? Didn't that have something to do with emphasizing WMD's over every other reason?

wildaboutharrie said...

"Which reminds me: What happened to the public demands back then that Bush give a simple justification for the war? Didn't that have something to do with emphasizing WMD's over every other reason?"

What is this referring to? What public demands?

Thank you.

wildaboutharrie said...

I'm picturing a Greek chorus, entering stage left...