July 27, 2006

"The Iraqi prime minister is an anti-Semite."

Said Howard Dean:
"We don't need to spend $200 and $300 and $500 billion bringing democracy to Iraq to turn it over to people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah."
So it's the usual anti-war position, with a new spike of rhetoric... that doesn't seem likely to appeal to anyone.

33 comments:

Al Maviva said...

He's not an anti-Semite, Howard. He's just against Zionism, that's all.

Pogo said...

When Dean said, "people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah", does he mean we'll see Dean come out with a statement condemning US payments to support the UN and Kofi Annan for the same refusal?

Henry said...

I get that Dean is against spending the money. But what does he think about democracy? Is he against democracy when it costs too much money? Or is he only against democracy when the elected leaders are disagreeable?

Who knew that Dean was such a realpolitic cold warrior! Hugo Chavez, beware.

tjl said...

When Dean said, "people who believe that Israel doesn't have a right to defend itself and who refuse to condemn Hezbollah,"
could he have been referring to the readership of the Daily Kos?

No, obviously not, that would presuppose some logical consistency on his part.

Stankleberry said...

Howard Dean is a dumb moron.

Doug said...

So if Howard Dean is going to condemn this act of anti-semitism, is he going to go off on his girl, Randi Rhodes, who accused Israel of committing genocide. http://edcone.typepad.com/wordup/2006/07/hannity_in_drag.html

I doubt he will, Air America is Dean's base, especially nutjobs like Rhodes.

ignacio said...

To state that Howard Dean is a shameless hypocrite does not even begin to express my disgust with him (and by extension, unfortunately, other Democrats insofar as they allow him to speak for them).

Danny said...

What a stupid comment. I cannot imagine a less-winnable argument than trying to pick a fight with the incredibly fragile Iraqi government.

stephen said...

Dean just needs to put a good face on his party. We won't see him condemning the UN or Koft Annan...those are his constituents (apparently).

Dawn said...

Howard Dean has become the GOP's Secret Weapon. Doesn't he put brain in gear before mouth in motion? Yeesh.

SippicanCottage said...
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JoeOlson said...

To those on the left: Is Dean a leader or a liability?

djmetronome said...

Saying someone who is anti-Israel or anti-Israel policy is an anti-semite...is a great way to avoid critical thinking about a country that commits many human rights violations. I can be against one's country and people without beinf against thier religion of race.

dave said...

That was one helluva rousing speech al-Maliki gave to Congress in defense of Israel today, wasn't it, Ann?

Ann? Ann, are you there?? Why so quiet, Ann???

salvage said...

Wow.

Are you drunk?

Paolo said...

Whoops...

Annan condemns Hizbollah attack, calls for immediate release of Israeli soldiers

But don't feel bad, Pogo. This just came out, only... two weeks ago.

jsmdlawyer said...

Can you please explain to me how you can reconcile this breezy dismissal of Howard Dean with your criticism of Daily Kos for its allegedly anti-Israel comments?

I mean, either criticizing Israel is good, or criticizing Israel is bad. The fact that one set of comments is from our alleged ally in Iraq and the other is from those icky unwashed people at Kos really shouldn't have anything to do with it, right?

But you're not biased, no. Not you. You're a law perfesser, after all.

gj said...

So it's the usual anti-Democrat position, with a new spike of rhetoric... who will that appeal to, and what will add to the conversation?

Pogo said...

Re: "But don't feel bad, Pogo. This just came out, only... two weeks ago."

Yeah, two weeks ago Annan 'vigorously' condemned Hezbollah, then promptly got back to work condemning Israel for not adopting the necessary supine position. Ever since 'two weeks ago' Hezbollah's been forgotten.

Or have you been reading a steady drumbeat from the UN demanding Hezbollah cease fire, release the hostages, and surrender? And have UN officials had their pictures taken at the destruction in Israel amongst the carnage there? Well, it was two weeks ago.

Well, nope.

Jonathan said...

The problem with what Dean said is not that it's untrue. Maliki may indeed be hostile to Jews and is certainly hostile to Israel. The problem is Dean's otherworldly lack of perspective and his ridiculously partisan petulance and obstructionism. As someone else here put it, Iraq's democratic govt is fragile. It's a tenuous coalition put together after much wrangling and rough compromises after years of dictatorship. It's probably the best that they can do right now and it's real progress.

Given Maliki's Shiite constituency, even if he wanted to he could not express sympathy for Israel without putting himself into a difficult position. So what does Dean do? He complains that Maliki isn't perfect, that he doesn't share the pro-Israel stance of American politicians. As if there's a better alternative to Maliki just waiting in the wings for some sign of support from the Democratic Party.

I don't know if what Dean said was merely naive or if it was a more calculated appeal to pro-Israel Democrats, or maybe a cheap attempt to compensate (at the Administration's expense) for the Left's anti-Israel bias. Maybe all of the above. Either way, it was the wrong issue to emphasize at that time and place and reflects poorly on Dean's judgment and leadership .

hygate said...

I mean, either criticizing Israel is good, or criticizing Israel is bad. The fact that one set of comments is from our alleged ally in Iraq and the other is from those icky unwashed people at Kos really shouldn't have anything to do with it, right?

Maybe I'm dense, but this comment doesn't seem to make any sense in the context of this conversation.

It is the avowed position of a significant part of the Democratic Party (especially the part that Howard Dean represents) that:

1) Israel stole the land it currently occupies from the Palestinians.

2) Therefore, they have every right to resist this occupation and that organizations such as Hizbollah (sp?) are freedom fighters, not terrorists.

3) And that holding such believes does not constitute anti-Semitism. You can be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite.

Furthermore, a resolution supporting Israel was voted against by some house democrats because they felt that Hezbollah shouldn't be condemned and that Israel was the aggressor.

To me this indicates one of two things:

1) Howard Dean believes that a significant number of Democrats are anti-Semitic.

2) He will say anything at all if he thinks it will damage George Bush.

gawker said...

All you jackasses on the right are interested in is demonizing Howard Dean with your usual contentless arguments while conveniently overlooking the fact that he has been correct about everything that the neocons have been wrong about.

This post doesn't even make sense. It is criticizing Dean for ..er what?

wyatt gwyon said...

As I recall, the Bushies saw their Iraq adventure as the keystone to a new era in the middle east, an era that would include democratic reform and peace between the Palestinians and Israeli's. Is it really Dean who deserves the criticism here, or the fantasists who thought that there could be some Arab regime we'd put in place that wouldn't toe the virulent anti-Israel stance of the rest of the Arab world?

SippicanCottage said...
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Coco said...

Hygate said:

"A "significant part" of the Democratic Party believes:

1) Israel stole the land it currently occupies from the Palestinians.

2) Therefore, they have every right to resist this occupation and that organizations such as Hizbollah (sp?) are freedom fighters, not terrorists.

3) And that holding such believes does not constitute anti-Semitism. You can be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite.

Furthermore, a resolution supporting Israel was voted against by some house democrats because they felt that Hezbollah shouldn't be condemned and that Israel was the aggressor."

I back Israel 100% on the current issue and believe Dean's comment was stupid. But this post is pure rubbish IMO. If you can provide any factual support for the assertion that a significant portion of the Democratic Party believes this I'll give you a shiny new dime. Its utter bs and the vote on the resolution that you also mention disproves it as the resolution was even more pro-Israel that the WHite House's position. Moreover, your summary of the reason why the 8 (1 of whom was a Reublican) voted against it - "because they felt that Hezbollah shouldn't be condemned" appears wrong as well. Another shiny dime if you can provide any evidence to support that claim.

Let's talk facts to make our points...not make them up.

Scott said...

Are you people dense, or are you having a collective bad hair day?

What could possibly be wrong with Dean's statement? He poses a perfectly valid question: why are we spending billions of dollars (not to mention 2500 lives of our soldiers and 20,000 wounded) to "free" Iraq or establish a democratic government there on a government that apparently does not believe that Israel has a right to defend itself and does not condemn the acts of Hezbollah?

Whatever happened to "you're either with us or against us" in the War on Terror? If Iraq's government isn't with us (and by "us," in this case, I mean our interests and those of our long-time ally, Israel), what in the hell are we doing there? Are we really spending blood and treasure to erect a government in Iraq that is going to align itself with Syria and Iran?

I understand that some people reflexively hate Dean, but is it too much to ask that people actually examine what it is that he is said before jumping on the band wagon to attack him?

SippicanCottage said...
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Henry said...

There's a difference between "bringing democracy" and "having in power the guy we like."

As the CIA demonstrated in the '60s, prioritizing the latter is not so good an idea.

Democrats used to know that.

Pogo said...

Scott, while I have in fact come to reflexively hate Dean (and his hair), Even when I take off my pointy neo-con hat I cannot but help to notice that Dean's concern for Israel stops precisely at complaining about Iraq, and not, say, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the other usual anti-Sem ..er.. anti-Zionists.

Opportunism is Dean's watchword, and his density.

ddoodd said...

I understand that some people reflexively hate Dean, but is it too much to ask that people actually examine what it is that he is said before jumping on the band wagon to attack him?

Apparently, yes, at least here. If you'll just remember that any calling into question of our presence in Iraq is despicable, no matter how it is phrased or who does the phrasing, you'll be just fine.

Elizabeth said...

Pogo, if the subject was the Iraqi prime minister's speech, then why is does it matter that Dean doesn't go on to criticize the rest of the usual suspects?

There's a clear whiff of "no matter what the Dems say, it's wrong" to this critique. Kos sucks because the Israel-Hezbollah conflict isn't being discussed, Democrats are anti-Israel, except when they're anti-being anti-Israel, and then that's bad, too, because they're criticizing the poor, defenseless, fragile Islamists who run Iraq now, and by extension, criticizing Bush. If only those insane Bush haters would stop with the criticisms, we'd win the war on terror, and everyone would appreciate the booming economy.

Those Democrats, they're just crazy, no matter what they say!

Stephen said...

Two things –

1. It’s not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. It is anti-Semitic, if you hold Israel to a standard you aren’t willing to hold its neighbors to. Not saying that applies to anyone in particular here, but if you criticize Israel as owing more concessions to Palestinians, but never give a second thought to Jordan, a place that literally massacred them by the thousands during their uprising (intentionally, not just as stray bombs targeting leaders), you aren’t a Nazi, but you’re applying a double standard to a Jewish state and a bunch of Arab ones.

2. There was a standard line I remember hearing from the left before we went into Iraq.

- A. Before Iraq’s invasion: America is responsible for starving tons of kids in Iraq through the embargo. More importantly, we prop up dictators in the Middle East. Because we do business with dictators, we’re doing things that lead to the rise of terrorism.

So we invade Iraq. We topple a dictator. We try to set up a democracy. And we spend billions of dollars putting the state back together as well as fighting the war. (Apparently we’re also there to steal oil. But since I haven’t received my share of the loot yet, if we are somebody’s welching on me.)

Anyway, this has led to point B.

- B. We’ve invaded a sovereign country that wasn’t a threat to us. We’re wasting American lives and money. By invading the country and having our troops there, we’re doing things that lead to the rise of terrorism.

And now since the prime minister of Iraq criticized Israel, it’s all a waste of money.

If you followed this evolution in your thinking, I just wish you could have clarified your position earlier.

Do you feel this way about some other countries there and, if so, could you please say so now?

Also, what’s your plan for getting the one guy in the Middle East who won’t say anything bad about Israel elected in a place that has been taught that Israel is Satan’s spawn?

I share your goal. It’s just like Israel and Jordan, I think it’s applying a standard that wouldn’t be applied to other leaders.

For instance, toss in another country--a lot of people have criticized the U.S. and the Bush Administration for connections to the Saudis.

- If we toppled the Saudi dictatorship and just wound up with a prime minister who said the same things Maliki did, would it be a waste of time?

- Since this is likely, should we never push to end the Saudi dictatorship?

- Should we just force an end to our business connections with the Saudis? If so, to what extant would your plan differ from the Iraq embargo before the war? (This is what I’m getting at: are we responsible for killing millions of kids again, then, as opposed to us creating terrorists and being imperialists right now? There always seems to be a flip side where America the cause of evil. Much like everything causes cancer, America causes evil. So what do we do here that makes us the good guys?)

- What is your plan for a democracy in Iraq? If we should leave and be ambivalent about it, how is your plan different from what we did in Afghanistan in the 90s?

SippicanCottage said...
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