August 8, 2006

Primaries.

Are you hanging on the news of the primaries? How emotionally invested are you in whether Lieberman wins or loses? Do you care about the McKinney race?

UPDATE: I'm watching Joe Lieberman's concession speech right now. The theme is that Lamont represents the past -- the old partisan politics. He says -- tone-deafly? - that he went to Washington to "unite, not divide" -- reminding us of George Bush. Perhaps that is intentional though. Maybe he means to say that it's good that he works easily with the other party. Maybe he can come out of this loss stronger, but it's a strength that disrespects his own party. "Tonight, our campaign will file the necessary petitions." He's going to run without his party's nomination. He wants to go back to the Senate as "an independent Democrat" and to continue to work with the other party and for strong national security. "I will always do what I believe is right... regardless of what the political consequences may be." Aw, Joe. Good luck.

61 comments:

Dawn said...

I was interested in both, and am not surprised to see Cindy losing, but am disappointed that Lieberman has lost. The one good guy the Dems have, and this is the thanks he receives.

Drudge has him possibly running as an independent, I wish him the best.

Daryl Herbert said...

Are you hanging on the news of the primaries?

A little; but then, that's the only domestic political news thing going right now.

How emotionally invested are you in whether Lieberman wins or loses?

Very little. It's not my party and it's not my state, and I've never felt that Joe has represented me or my interests in the Senate any more than other Senators. Dems get to decide what course they want to take.

Do you care about the McKinney race?

Yes, a bit. I don't like her at all. It would be disappointing if the Dems chose to keep her, but again that's their choice. You get to define your own party, that's not for outsiders to do.

Seven Machos said...

I am very happy to see McKinney losing. I think that the majority of Connecticut's Democrats (which may even mean the majority of Connecticut's residents) is opposed to the war. They should have representation as such. (I don't think that Lamont is substantially different from Lieberman on most other issues.)

Incidentally, I am pretty disgusted with the Bush administration regarding the war. Not because I don't support it. I do. The problem is that Bush has shown himself to be unable to explain his foreign policy to the electorate. He may be a capable leader, but he is not a capable speaker. And it sucks.

Counter-example: Clinton, of course. Social Security: "Save Social Security first." You can call it spin, and Clinton did do much dissembling (sic?) and spinning, but the guy could communicate. Conservatives need a communicator of themes and essential ideas right now.

Jim H said...

I really don't see an upside for the Democrats to the Lamont nomination. Lieberman may still win the seat, and this event underscores that the fringe has assumed control of the party.

SteveR said...

Independents are 44% of CT votes, Dems 33%, so Joe could win the general election without it being a huge upset. Historically he's gotten more than a few republican votes (remember Lowell Weicker was a CT republican).

Don't care anything about McKinney, she a place holder of no importance. A vote for her is wasted.

Faeless said...

I agree about Bush not being able to communicate effectively, but some of that is the noise put out by the media. I disagree about Clinton, he didn't communicate, he obfuscated, he filled the air with volumes of words that meant whatever someone happened to interpret from them.

WisJoe said...

Sen. Lieberman apparently believes the republic will implode without his leadership. His ego and moralizing are so tedious I can see how an average voter (especially in Connecticut) would tire of him.

The Democrats should strongly encourage him not to run.

---

Rep. McKinney seemed like a nut from what I read, so it is not surprising she got pummelled in the primary.

Simon said...

This is simply a superb result for the GOP - the razor-thin majority is just the icing on the cake. As I explained yesterday:

"the best possible outcome ... [for the GOP] would be for Lamont to win the primary and then go down to a crushing defeat by an independent Lieberman. Lamont losing the primary would only demonstrate the impotence of the nutroots, but Lamont beating Lieberman in a sparsely-attended Democratic primary and then being crushed in the General Election would show that the nutroots have some power in the Democratic party, but that their ideas are utterly antithetical to mainstream voters. The former essentially continues the status quo - defeat has never withered them yet - but the latter will encourage other voices in the Democratic party to fight harder against those who would drag their party down into irrelevance."

I have no doubt that our friends in the nutroots will see things differently, but they are, none-the-less, standing over the exsanguinating corpse of the Democratic party's credibility, holding a bloody knife. A moment of thrilling exhileration that will wilt and fade in the cold light of day. I'm not really especially pleased to see Schwartz bow out in Michigan, he's an honorable fellow with whom I disagree on a great number of things, but he's ultimatrely on the same team, so I'm sorry - although neither saddened nor disappointed in particular - to see him go, and naturally, to be rid of the simply lunatic McKinney is cause to look around for a bottle of Dom.

Simon said...

WisJoe said...
"The Democrats should strongly encourage [Lieberman] not to run [as an independent]."

What do you think the chances are that Lieberman is going to be particularlyreceptive to that message right now? Of course the Connecticut Democrats should encourage Lieberman not to run; if he does so as planned, he'll very likely cream them.

Madison Guy said...

Sorry, sometimes you can only say it with a picture. Santa comes early for the netroots as "deer" old Joe crashes and burns and incumbents everywhere cry, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" For good reason. It's that kind of year.

ChrisO said...

Simon

Keep whistling past that graveyard. Lamont was a challenger with zero name recognition a few months ago, and now he's the Democratic nominee for Senate, having knocked off a veteran Senator and former VP nominee. But does that mean it's an indication of deep seated discontent among Connecticut Democrats, both because of Lieberman's stance on the war and his tendency to take his constituents for granted? No, it's because all those Connecticut voters are in thrall to the "Nutroots". When are you folks going to get it? Blogs can create a stir, but they just ain't that important yet. Neither Kos nor anyone else can anoint a netroots candidate. Connecticut voters got real insight into Lieberman when he ran simultaneously for VP and Senate in 2000. If he and Gore had won, a Republican governor would have appointed Lieberman's replacement, with the real possibility that it could give the Republicans control of the Senate. But better that than Joe taking a chance on not having a job. Do you really think that didn't make an impact on Connecticut voters, especially since it fits so well with Joe's current attitude that he has some sort of inherent right to keep his office?

The majority leader of the Connecticut House supported Lamont. Since he was elected majority leader, I guess that means the entire Democratic state house contingent is part of the lunatic fringe.

These crocodile tears from Republicans over Lieberman are getting tiresome. The fact that he's every Republican's favorite Democrat is hardly something that makes him more appealing to Democratic voters.

I like the way you set up a no lose proposition for yourself. Lamont, a political neophyte, pulls off one of the stunning upsets in recent political history, fueled, according to you, by support from the netroots. However, if he had lost by three points, that "would only demonstrate the impotence of the nutroots." However, since he won, it apparently doesn't demonstrate that the netroots are influential. No it means that the Democratic party has been taken over by the "lunatic fringe." However, that's just "icing on the cake" now, because Lieberman is now positioned for a stunning victory in Novemeber. So if Lamont loses it means the lefty netroots have no power, which is good, but if he wins, it destroys the credibility of the Democratic Pary, which is good.

Joe had a weak campaign organization, the bulk of the national Dems who campaigned for him are now going to be making nice with Lamont, and he has the stink of a loser about him, but apparently his victory in November is all but assured.

Seven Machos said...

Chris -- Yearrrggghhhh!

michael a litscher said...

This Lieberman business reminds me of a conversation I had on the 4th of July with a liberal Jewish pro-Israel Democrat, where he was extolleing the virtues of Jimmy Carter.

Fast forward just over a week, and Hezbollah is firing rockets into Israel.

Hezbollah, who is armed, financed and trained by Iran.

Iran, who's current president is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Five of the former Iranian hostages claim that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of their captors.

Carter, instead of sending Ahmadinejad and the rest of the hostage takers to whatever hell awaits them, allowed these radicals to butt-fsck us for 444 days.

And here we are, Democrats STILL refusing to learn from the past.

Here's a clue, Democrats - If we pulled every last piece of our military out of Iraq and Afghanistan, radical islam will still continue to wage this 35+ year war on us, weather we acknowlege it or not. Denial is not peace.

Michael Farris said...

"If we pulled every last piece of our military out of Iraq and Afghanistan, radical islam will still continue to wage this 35+ year war on us. Denial is not peace."

Then why doesn't the president actually _say_ "the war on radical Islam"? Denial is not good foreign policy either and having to read between the lines and infer what you (hope) the president _really_ means makes for bad domestic policy. Screw the mythical WOT, when the president starts talking about the WORI then I might believe that's what he's interested in.

Al Maviva said...

Chriso saysThese crocodile tears from Republicans over Lieberman are getting tiresome. The fact that he's every Republican's favorite Democrat is hardly something that makes him more appealing to Democratic voters

You take the one national figure in your party I'd consider voting for in a presidential race, and do everything in your power to drive him out of the party, and to humiliate and ostracize him. It's not enough to beat him, Kos is calling for some kind of bizzare blacklisting/removing him from the Rolodex type of treatment.

Good luck on picking up any votes outside the rabid base with that approach. Ever heard anybody say "as the Connecticut Democratic senatorial primary goes, so goes the nation"? No, me neither.

Most regular Republican voters I know are *pissed* beyond belief with the current Republican leadership, but I can't think of any of them who are willing to vote for people from a party led around by its nose by loonies like Hamsher, Kos, Armstrong, and Howard "Talk Like A Pirate Day is September 19th - Yeeeeaaaaarrrgghh" Dean.

Conservative Guy said...

Joe Lieberman: American Hero. Who would've thunk I'd ever be saying that! I love those crazy Dems.

George said...

It looks like the 2008 Presidential race will echo 1968 with the peace wing of the Democratic party pulling the party left. If Sen. Clinton does win the nomination, she'll be so weakened by her party's internal strife, that a GOP candidate who can somewhat distance himself (or herself) from Pres. Bush will squeak out a victory.

My question to left-wing Democrats is this--What would be the global consequences of a sudden US pull-out from Iraq? Wouldn't this only embolden Iran and Hezbollah? How exactly would you deter them? Thru "diplomacy?" Haven't we tried that for decades with Iran? As ugly as the consequences of Pres. Bush's policies may be, the consequences of chatting with the Nazis of the 21st century would be far worse.

MadisonMan said...

Mayeb Joe Lieberman can be the write-in candidate for Tom DeLay's seat. Apparently he's willing to do just about anything to keep a job to which he thinks he's entitled.

Pogo said...

Michaell Farris said, "Screw the mythical WOT, when the president starts talking about the WORI then I might believe that's what he's interested in."

Michael, I rather doubt you were witholding your vote to support a the war against the jihadis because Bush picked the wrong acronym. Bullocks.

The far left owns the Democratic party, infected by the same idiots that over-ran the Democratic Convention in '72. Time to dig out the old McGovern campaign slogan, I wager: Come home, America. Not sure how that will play when Iran has the nuclear bomb and decides to use it, the decision made by the very man who held our citizens hostage under that great former President and apologist for communism, Carter.

But if waiting for the right nom de guerre is all that's holding you back in your tireless crusade against islamofascism, then WORI it is. Welcome, Michael!

Daryl Herbert said...

It's not enough to beat him, Kos is calling for some kind of bizzare blacklisting/removing him from the Rolodex type of treatment.

There's a simple explanation for that, and that is that Lieberman is contemplating a running as an independent. As long as he remains a threat, it makes sense for Kos to attack him.

If he agreed not to run for this Senate seat, this year, then I think Kos's tactics would seem ugly and heavy-handed (even if Lieberman said he would run for some other office). But as long as Lieberman wants to run, it's fair game to campaign against him!

It's a serious thing to go against the result of a primary election, it smacks of disloyalty, and all Kos is calling for is punishing disloyalty.

Madison Guy said...

Americans hate sore losers. A month from now, we'll wonder what all the fuss was about. The comic onslaught alone will be withering -- November is many Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and Colbert shows from now.

Lots of good material in Joe's website saga alone. Paying $1,500 to a consultant who sets you up with a $15/month web hosting outfit and pockets the rest? Pretty funny.

Michael Farris said...

"I rather doubt you were witholding your vote to support a the war against the jihadis because Bush picked the wrong acronym. Bullocks."

I'm saying there's no such thing as a "war against the jihadis" and W has no intention of waging such a thing. The choice of name is a small, but telling, detail. His foreign policy is mostly a blank slate that his supporters see what they want to see in it. Go ahead and see what you want, but at the moment I just see a blank.

David said...

McKinney is a divisive flake who needed to be removed. The angry black, female, professional victim, left-wing moonbat routine is tiresome and counterproductive. Hopefully she will join the other's of her ilk at Rainbow Push.
I also note Jesse Jackson and Al (Tawanna Brawley) Sharpton standing behind Ned Lamont last night after Joe Lieberman's concession.

Joe Lieberman represents a party I don't agree with, especially these days. He is, however, a patriot and a gentleman. His views, therefor, are worthy of review particularly as they regard the war on terror.

His loss is a blow to a great American party that is bent on remaining out of power. Joe Lieberman was the only candidate they have who was a serious voice on foreign policy and national security.

The fact that his site was hacked by jew-haters will gradually become known to the non-blogging community. The Reuters debacle involving doctored photos needs to be viewed in the context of anti-Jewish sentiment, French perfidy, and George Soros' machinations.

Good luck Joe!

tjl said...

Re Ned Lamont: it's odd how the Democratic Party's leftward march is led by so many self-indulgent trust-fund types. Howard Dean was born on Park Avenue, while John Kerry ... what more needs to be said? Could it be that life in a cocoon of wealth and comfort predisposes people to believe that those "terrorists" are really just like us here at the country club?

Seven Machos said,

"I am pretty disgusted with the Bush administration regarding the war. Not because I don't support it. I do. The problem is that Bush has shown himself to be unable to explain his foreign policy to the electorate. He may be a capable leader, but he is not a capable speaker. And it sucks."

This hits the nail on the head. Aside from the few months following 9/11, the administration hasn't conveyed the gravity of the situation or attempted to rally the people to join in some kind of collective effort. Instead, there is an anodyne message that life should go on just as it always has, while the troops take care of it for us.

No wonder the left has made so much hay with its "Bush lied" mantra -- the people sense a disconnect between the administration's bland pronouncements and the carnage they see nightly on cable news.
Perhaps it's too much to ask that there should be a Churchill in every generation, but we need leadership that can communicate and inspire.

knoxgirl said...

from the San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 7, 2005

President Bush delivered a vigorous defense of the war in Iraq on Thursday, framing it as part of an expansive effort to prevent terrorists from establishing a "radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.''

link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/10/07/MNGLQF42PD1.DTL


specific enough?

David said...

Interesting that there is a controversy regarding the handling of absentee ballots in Connecticut. Seems as how quite a few townships failed to mail absentee ballots to the military in time to be counted before the polling places closed.

What a coincidence! The DOJ filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Secretary of State, Susan Byciewicz
because some 85 town clerks failed to send absentee ballots to their citizens serving overseas.

Must be tough being a town clerk in Connecticut these days!

jpe said...

If we pulled every last piece of our military out of Iraq and Afghanistan, radical islam will still continue to wage this 35+ year war on us

It's a tactical error at best, then, that we went into Iraq to dethrone a secular tyrant to replace him with a radical Islamist democracy.

ChrisO said...

When are you guys going to get it? The fact that Republicans find Lieberman to be the only Democrat they can support means next to nothing to Democrats. Having the support of the Republicans and not the Democrats is not the most attractive quality in a Democratic candidate, believe it or not.

The fact that Lamont's victory is continually attributed to the bloggers and lunatic fringe says a lot. Coming from the Republican party, it's just spin. When I see it voiced on blogs like this, it's an indication of how shallow your analysis is.

Pogo said...

Re: there's no such thing as a "war against the jihadis"

Well, Michael, I know you wish it weren't true, but jihadis are in fact trying to kill us. They don't want demands met, or appeasement, or to be left alone. They want to destroy the West. (That's not merely my interpretation, of course, it's what they themselves are saying, and have been saying for years.)

I'd say there isn't enough of a war against the jihadis. But they're certainly making war against us. As inconvenient and distasteful and unmulticultural as it sounds, we have only two choices: fight back, or die.

Perfesser Barrett is absolute proof that the left is very, very good at telling itself outrageous lies so as to protect its fragile self-image. In psychiatry they call it a delusion, in politics they call it the New Left.

Simon said...

Chris,
I don't have to "set up a no lose proposition for [my]self," Ned Lamont and his merry band of kossacks did that when they entered the race; and the reason I'm whistling past that there graveyard is because I'm on the way to the bank. If you guys could keep your commitment to the belief that opposing Bush and the war are you tickets to victory, and campaign on those grounds for, oh, at least three more years, that'd be great. Just keep doing exactly what you're doing. Check's in the mail.

I'm not kidding. Keep it up. We're counting on you guys. The Congressional GOP's gotten quite corrupt and ineffectual in recent years, and this of course is the season where anti-incumbency is at its apogee, so we really need something to get us past that. This is just the tonic. I really thought that we would lose the House this fall, and really, it's hard to imagine in times like this that an opposition party couldn't by default win the House, but I've got to tell you, I'm less and less confident in that prediction. you guys are doing a superb job of reminding America why they abandoned the Democratic party in the first place. First rate.

I'd casually remind saner members of the Democratic party that we have a neat benefits package if you want to swap sides...

David said...

Pogo; your analysis is spot on! Apparently it is too succinct for those who regard history and truth as mere spin.

Chris O; this is not about Joe Lieberman losing because he was respected by the Republicans. This is about a party that is desperately burying their collective heads in the sand of denial in order to regain power at any cost.

Israel is tasked with fighting Islamofascists in the Middle East. If they were not fighting jihadists there, we would be fighting them (jihadists) in the CONUS.

Joe Lieberman is the poster boy for those, democrat and republican, who are delusional in thinking that the GWOT can be won by negotiation, appeasement, and a group hug for the 'misunderstood' jihadists.

The Drill SGT said...

A couple of observations.

1. I consider myself a moderate to liberal Republican. I like Joe overall. He seems to be a honest hard working politician and that is extremely rare. The only time I had issues with him was after he joined Gore in 2000 and flip flopped on some issues to get his polarity in line with Gore. oh well. Though his loss is good for the GOP in the long run, I think it is terrible for the country overall. Joe was a Senator that was willing to reach across the aisle to get things done. His absence means that there is less motivation for Republicans to be moderate on any issue as well. Joe's loss increases the vacuum in the political center to the nation's detriment.

2. Bush has been a poor President overall IMHO, but he has a couple of good qualities that are redeeming. He knows what he wants to accomplish and is willing to expend political capital to try to get things done. That was the worst thing and the focus group driven Clinton presidency. Clinton had huge positives and refused to spend a single % point of that popularity to get something done like Social Security reform. Gutless.

Simon said...

Michael Farris said...
"[Am I witholding my vote to support a the war against the jihadis because Bush picked the wrong acronym? No, ] I'm saying there's no such thing as a "war against the jihadis" and W has no intention of waging such a thing."

I agree, but are you really saying that if the GOP nominates a candidate like Newt Gingrich who really will wage a war on radical Islam - something I also agree is and should be the named enemy, and not only because it declared war on us - and call it by its name, that you will vote for him? I mean, surely there are two implications to your post: either "there isn't a war against the jihadis and there should be" or "we aren't fighting back in the with the jihadis and we should NOT be." Which is it? Is it really the case that your criticism of Bush is that he is not prosecuting the war vigorously enough?


Madison Guy said...
"The comic onslaught alone will be withering -- November is many Jon Stewart, Jay Leno and Colbert shows from now."

I've got to say, we don't normally have a cable package with Comedy Central, but for the last couple of weeks, I guess there's some kind of glitch that means we're getting channels like CC and the Discovery Channel and whatnot. So anyway, the point is that I'd never watched the daily show before - I'd seen the odd clip on YouTube, but never watched a whole show. Figured I'd watch it last night, since we've got the channel, and you know what? It turned out to be lame. Maybe that show was aberational, but it just wasn't funny; just a mix of snide high school jokes and bits that didn't work. The Alaska pipeline story is a comedic gift, and they couldn't even do that right. I was expecting That Was The Week That Was, and instead we got an only marginally less infantile Leno monologue stretched to and past breaking point. Really pretty disappointing.

me said...

"Here's a clue, Democrats - If we pulled every last piece of our military out of Iraq and Afghanistan, radical islam will still continue to wage this 35+ year war on us, weather we acknowlege it or not. Denial is not peace. "

I agree, denial is not peace. But, do you actually think we are SUCCEEDING in Iraq and Afghanistan? The Taliban is coming back in Afghanistan, and the people of Iraq seem much more interested in having their own religious civil war than in becoming a peaceful democracy. I would support letting Iraq go its own way and sending all the troops to Afghanistan to root out the Taliban, but of course we can't because they just hide out in Pakistan until we turn our backs for second. And, letting Iraq go its own way isn't a great idea since it probably will just become another Iran. Right now our troops are bogged down in Iraq and we have no meaningful military capability to attack the jihadis anywhere. So, what shall we do -- what kind of war do you advocate? It seems like you are advocating a "total war" strategy of using the military to pacify the Middle East. It might work if we had like a 100 us - 1 of them ratio of soldiers, and could set up armies of occupation throughout the entire Middle East, but we don't and we can't. Unless of course you are advocating the old "nuke'em until they glow" strategy, which would definitley get rid of most of the jihadis in the middle east, too bad for the rest of the people. I don't have a solution to getting rid of jihadists, but I don't think us trying to take over the middle east is the right strategy. I think we should bring our troops home rather than let them keep dying day by day for the next few years until we finally declare victory and leave. Or do you really think we are going to have some magical success in Iraq?? Or in Afghanistan, with the current troop levels there? The whole war is FUBAR, and the American people know it.

Michael Farris said...

"are you really saying that if the GOP nominates a candidate like Newt Gingrich who really will wage a war on radical Islam --- you will vote for him?"

(Some of) My opinion(s): Radical Islam (as in politically violent Islam) is one of the worst ideas of the last 100 years or so. It's also very, very dangerous. I don't doubt that. At the same time you have 100's of millions of Muslims who are just humans doing the best they can in life under the circumstances and you need to be able to distinguish (potential) friend from foe (real and potential). In other words addressing the real danger that radical Islam (RI for short) represents requires clarity and careful judgement, two qualities I've never noticed in Bush.

There are lots of ways of counteracting RI and the military is a blunt instrument that is often not what's called for (sometimes it is but often it's not a good option).
What's called for just as much as anything else is positive engagement with predominantly Arab/Muslim states with the strongest civil societies (hint: Egypt isn't it and elections alone aren't a good indicator of civil society) Tunisia is a good bet (since they have a lot invested in remaining open to western countries through tourism). Until recently non-Hezbollah Lebanon was. Maybe Morocco.
Also, the best place to turn the tide isn't in the heart of the Arab world but in the fringes of the Muslim countries (perhaps the only thing I've ever agreed with Ralph Peters about). Indonesia, Turkey and some other Central Asian/African countries are places that could use investment and encouragement and rewards for good behavior (sometimes instances of this are few and far between but ...)
I was against the Iraqi invasion for the simple reason that I thought this administration would make a mess of the subsequent occupation (and things have actually gone mostly worse than I expected). That said, quick withdrawal would just create a power vacuum of the kind that ends up with the worst kinds of government in the world.
My problem with Bush's handling of Iraq/Afghanistan etc is that it's deeply unimaginative
1. invade Iraq
2. ?????
3. PROFIT!!!
and he doesn't seem to learn from failure (current policy is a failure and no one seems to have any bright ideas on how to turn things around).

Simon said...

Michael,
Your post seems to focus almost entirely on Bush, but that ignores the fact that he is GONE. He cannot run for the White House again. He is gone in two years; by comparison, radical Islam's war on America predates the Bush Administration, and in twenty years, we'll still be fighting them. I fully and readily agree with you that the Bush administration has made serious mistakes in handling the GWOT, but that is of no relevance to the question of who replaces him. I would rather replace him in two years with a Republican who comprehends the challenge before us, rather than a head-in-the-sand Democrat, even if in every other way - on domestic policy - the Democrats were not supremely noxious and keeping them out of office not a growing national imperative.

Stephen said...

The Taliban is coming back in Afghanistan just like Hezbollah is winning its war against Israel. The fact they haven't been completely destroyed is beating expectations, but the most the Taliban has been able to do in Afghanistan is work up control over a region to the point where we notice them and whack them back down again. Overachieving? Yeah, but it's not a victory.

Besides what would happen to U.S. interests in Iraq, would you agree it would be a slaughter for the Iraqi population if we left?

Assume the highest estimate for insurgents in Iraq--at most we're talking about 10s of thousands of people in a country of 36 million. The whole reason people who aren't extremists sit back and don't counter the terrorists is the impression that one day we'll leave and the extremists will be the ones they answer to. So say we leave. Wouldn't anybody in any country we take action in around the world support these guys more in the future? You'll have people less helpful to the U.S. in future, people who were cynical about us to begin with having they're cynicism justified ("Help people? Ha! the U.S. just went in there, got what it wanted and left 100,000s of thousands of people on their own to die"), Iraq turning into Afghanistan in the 1990s, and terrorists who are, instead of attacking trained Americans in Iraq, having to go elsewhere to find Americans to kill.

Bin Laden made a point of emphasizing Somalia to his followers. His point in talking about this wasn’t that U.S. was evil there, it's that we were weak. "People will see that Al Qaeda is the strong horse and people always follow the strong horse..."

Besides that, if we left Iraq and then tried to do anything in the Middle East in the future, wouldn't we wind up just having to fight them again? This is one reason I still support the original war-If we did something in a neighbor of Hussein's we would have just wound up having to fight him anyway-getting rid of the guy was a sine qua non in accomplishing anything. Unfortunately there are two other sine qua nons--but when one of those guys is pursuing a nuclear weapon and sees us walking away from much less of a fight than that would pose, he's not going to seriously believe we'll stop him in getting and using an a-bomb.

David said...

Since there exists no playbook for fighting suicidal insurgents hiding among civilians, how about giving Bush the benefit of the doubt?

The military ignorant among us complain when our troops get killed/maimed fighting this war so we use less troops and reduce our casualities. Bush gets hammered for insufficient troop strength.

Israel and the U.S. keep civilian casualties to a minimum at the risk of our own troops and gets hammered when a diaper ends up on a power pole; collateral damage (probably staged). Then the MSM uses photos of coffins to disrespect and politicize the ultimate sacrifice of our military who died so more innocents survive?

This war will not go away and it is coming to a theater near you in the not to distant future. For our fighting men and women, it is already here.

It will interesting to see if and when the Egyptian students turn up. Student exchange in Montana? Give me a break! Two seconds after they arrive they violate their visa's and disappear. The fact that they are 18-22 years old, from the middle east, Egyptian (like the ones who executed 9/11) shouldn't be a matter of concern in the PC world of the cumbaya dimmicrats!

BrianOfAtlanta said...

I was hanging on the news of the 4th district primary here in GA, but then I live next door in the 7th district.

ChrisO said...

Simon

I take heart from your attitude, as well. Keep talking about how the country "abandoned" the Democratic party. Ignore the fact that Gore won the popular vote in 2000, that Bush won re-election by the smallest margin of any incumbent in history, and that the Democrats would have picked up Congressional seats in 2004 but for the Texas gerrymandering. And let's not forget all of the polls that show the Democrats being strongly preferred by the electorate this November. No, keep talking about how you've got it in the bag. I hope the rest of the Republican party feels the same way.

Seven Machos said...

The plan to invade Iraq was and remains a good one. We had to get troops out of Saudi Arabia but somewhere else in the Middle East; we needed to maintain military pressure against Syria and Iran; we were able to strike at a government that was financing and otherwise supporting terrorist activities. People like Michael Farris can't get past their fantasies about "profit." That's too bad.

The problem with Bush is not that he is not giving speeches. He gives plenty of speeches. But anyone could sit down with the best speechwriters in the United States and create decent speech. The problem is that Bush cannot speak off the cuff -- in press conferences, in interviews, stepping off Air Force One -- in anything approaching a cogent way. For this reason, his presidency has been a massive failure with regard to rhetoric, and rhetoric is very important to a presidency.

Michael Farris said...

"People like Michael Farris can't get past their fantasies about "profit.""

I've graduated to the "people like X" category? I'm flattered. If it'll make you feel better I'll rephrase what I think Bush's plan was:

1. Invade
2. ???
3. Democracy!!!

(I can certainly find no evidence he gave it any more thought than that)

Seven Machos said...

Way to repost your cute step-by-step thing, Mike. Do you have a lot of fierce bumper stickers on your car, too?

Michael Farris said...

Seven, do you work at being that dismissive and rude or does it come naturally?

Michael Farris said...

And for the record, I don't own a car at present (no need where I live) and I'm certainly not foolish enough to try to spread political messages thru bumper stickers and/or t-shirts.

As Fran Whats-her-face said (paraphrasing) "If I don't want to listen to you what makes you think I want to listen to your t-shirt?"

Seven Machos said...

Michael -- I seem to have hit a nerve. Good. Now, let's stick to real argument, not cheap step-by-step thingies.

I would suggest that President Bush has very wisely tried to limit the war to political goals. It is difficult to wage a convential military, diplomatic, and political war against an -ism, no matter how radical.

I would also suggest that you see a blank slate precisely because Bush has been able to articulate a rationale for the war during unscripted moments. And not just public ones. Think about, for example, all the meetings that go on. It's hard to maintain a vision when your leader cannot articulate one. This isn't to say that Bush does not have one. Only that he has failed to talk about it successfully.

me said...

"the most the Taliban has been able to do in Afghanistan is work up control over a region to the point where we notice them and whack them back down again. Overachieving? Yeah, but it's not a victory."

Its not a victory that they can take over a REGION? We whack them down, when we go away they come back. I wouldn't call our operation in Afghanistan a success in getting rid of the Taliban -- and, now that Karzai's retiring, who knows what kind of man will end up in power.

"Besides what would happen to U.S. interests in Iraq, would you agree it would be a slaughter for the Iraqi population if we left?"

Yes, I agree that will happen. But, its happening now anyway and our troops are smack in the middle of a religous war. Unless we decide to commit more troops that we happen not to have (now 42 y/o's who score less than a 30 on the army intelligence test can enlist, yay!), in the next few years we'll have guys with 5 or 6 or 7 tours of duty in Iraq, trying to accomplish an impossible mission.

"The whole reason people who aren't extremists sit back and don't counter the terrorists is the impression that one day we'll leave and the extremists will be the ones they answer to. So say we leave. Wouldn't anybody in any country we take action in around the world support these guys more in the future? You'll have people less helpful to the U.S. in future, people who were cynical about us to begin with having they're cynicism justified."

First, are you labeling the Al Qaeda insurgents, the Sunni militants, and the Shia militants all as terrorists? There are big differences in their motivations and the ways to counter them. Al Qaeda -- kill'em all. Muqtada al'Sadr and his Mehdi Army? Numerous Muslims all over the world would be very upset if we killed him. Second: you're right, leaving Iraq in the mess it is now would undermine US legitimacy and promote cynicism. However, I don't think anyone thinks we got what we wanted out of Iraq -- what happened to flowers and billions worth of oil that would pay for the war? we've fought a war that is going to cost over a trillion dollars that we don't have, lost 2000+ American soldiers, and resulted in a chaotic mess of a war-torn country. It hasn't really worked out all that well for US interests, unless you count the millions KBR has made on gov't contracts.

Abondoning the effort to bring democracy and security to Iraq leaves a bad taste in most American's mouths. BUT, WE HAVE NO STRATEGY AND NOT ENOUGH TROOPS to win. If we REALLY wanted to win, if we thought we HAD to win, we'd enact a draft to get the boots on the ground to secure the country. No one really wants to do that. So, we're involved in a war where no one wants to do what is necessary to win it. Therefore, I see no reason to keep US troops there, suffering and dying, when eventually we will have to just declare victory and leave anyway.


"Besides that, if we left Iraq and then tried to do anything in the Middle East in the future, wouldn't we wind up just having to fight them again?"

Fight who? Al Qaeda? Doing anything militarily in the Middle East is messy and difficult and will provoke an insurgency against us. To win, we have to use our advantage -- overwheliming military and techonological force. The people don't really like us, but they might tolerate us if we gave them stability, water, and reliable electricity. When we don't have enough troops to secure the country, and I mean secure like seriously occupy and prevent museums from being looted and make sure there is electricity and gasoline to run generators, we can't win. Our current administration's strategy will not allow us to win -- and we won't win in the Middle East in the future unless we make a serious commitment, which the current President is unwilling to do.

"This is one reason I still support the original war-If we did something in a neighbor of Hussein's we would have just wound up having to fight him anyway-getting rid of the guy was a sine qua non in accomplishing anything."

What do you mean? We had troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabaia before the war. If we went after Iran, Hussein would have been happy -- they were sworn enemies. If we for some reason went after Turkey, he also wouldn't have cared. So I really don't know what you're talking about. We fought Saddam and won back in the first gulf war -- Bush I wisely realized the quagmire that would have followed if we took over Iraq, and decided to allow Saddam to safely rot away inside his palaces writing romance novels.

"Unfortunately there are two other sine qua nons--but when one of those guys is pursuing a nuclear weapon and sees us walking away from much less of a fight than that would pose, he's not going to seriously believe we'll stop him in getting and using an a-bomb."

I guess you mean that Iran's President (I have no idea how to spell his name) will be emboldened by our weakness if we left Iraq, since pacifying Iraq and installing democracy there should be easier for us than taking over and installing democracy in Iran? And if we leave Iraq we certainly are too weak to prevent him from getting a nuclear bomb?

Preventing him from getting and using a nuclear bomb is actualy easier then trying to install democracy in a country that apparently wants to have a religious civil war and live under some kind of theocracy. The whole international community supports preventing Iran from getting the bomb. We can bomb the bomb-making facilties, we can impose santions, we can send in inspectors. It turns out the inspectors actually worked on Saddam. Or are you arguing that the only way we could keep Iran from getting the bomb is to have the threat of military force sufficient to remove him from power? Because even before Iraq, we didn't have that -- our army simply isn't big enough to take over and isntall a new government in Iran -- again, we'd need a draft. Or are you saying he won't believe we have the balls to use a nuclear weapon on him if we leave Iraq? Personally I wouldn't support killing millions of innocent Iranians to 100% ensure Iran doesn' get the bomb, but that's just me.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I wanted to point out that people who support staying in Iraq also need to support some change of strategy, including more troops, because what we are doing now isn't working, and if we keep doing it for the next 2.5 years of Bush's presidency, all that will result is more American deaths and an unstable Iraq. Can someone offer a rosier outcome, if we don't change how we are fighting this war? If not, can you say that Bush is going change the way he's fighting the war, when Rumsfeld keeps going on about how his strategy is correct? If not, how can you support continuing to keep troops in Iraq?

David said...

Me; the situation on the battlefield is undergoing a serious change. Iran, through Khamanei and Ahmadinejad decided to stop helping the U.S.

This was a strategic maneuver to take advantage of anti-war sentiment in the U.S. and the fickle west. The Sunni's gave up Zarqawi which made the Shia's nervous. Still wanting to be a nuclear entity in control of the Middle East, without fear of a resurgent Iraq, they set up Israel for a two-front war.

The battlefield plan now includes the Israeli's fighting in the Gaza and Lebanon while the U.S. appears to be setting the stage to take on the Sadr militia in the south. The Saudi's, with the most to lose, are setting up alliances with Turkey and probably Lebanon.

The battle plan has to be as fluid as the situation on the battlefield. This is a chess game not checkers.

As far as strategy goes, most probably couldn't take the truth of the art of warfare. Six years of failed UN resolutions has led us to the point where we are barely concealing an all-out war with Iran.

It is comforting to believe the hype that we are fighting Hezbollah. The truth is the U.S. and the Israeli's are fighting an implacable foe that most of the civilized world hope we beat. That foe is IRAN!

Iran is watching public sentiment in the west and what they see emboldens them. This will be messy so if you don't have the stomach for an extension of 9/11, don't watch!

As for Lebanon, they are a prime example of why a country cannot cave in to Iran or it's proxies. Hezbollah in their midst fighting on their soil is what they get for cozying up to Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran; Terrorists all!

Stephen said...

“Its not a victory that they can take over a REGION?”

By my counts-No. they had the entire country-now they don’t. If temporarily taking over a region once in a while is a victory for Taliban and taking the rest of the country plus, usually that region, is not a victory for the U.S.--that’s a bit of a double standard isn’t it?

“But, its happening now anyway and our troops are smack in the middle of a religous war.”

No--it’s not happening now. Terrorist attacks are currently happening. A couple thousand U.S. soldiers are dead. A few thousand civilians have died a year from terrorist attacks. But we’d be bailing on a country of 30+ million people and leaving them to these guys.

If leave right now we’re looking at a few hundred thousand Iraqis dead as a best case scenario.

“we decide to commit more troops that we happen not to have”

Sure we have them. There are a couple million people in the U.S. Army. There are ~150,000 people in Iraq. Feel free to make an argument over whether it’s worth the cost, but the troops are there. In fact, this is my biggest complaint with Rumsfeld (and a lot of other people’s criticism of him, for the matter): the fact that he hasn’t been willing to commit more and commit sooner to stopping them.

“Muqtada al'Sadr and his Mehdi Army? Numerous Muslims all over the world would be very upset if we killed him.”

I’d be happy if they just threw down their arms. If we can get them to commit to a truce, cool. If we can’t--yeah, kill em. Anybody who’d hate us because of that already hates us right now.

“However, I don't think anyone thinks we got what we wanted out of Iraq”

See, I do—I obviously don’t think we got everything we wanted. You can make a good argument we didn’t get most of what we wanted. But we toppled a dictator that constantly made threats to the U.S. and sent money and training to terrorists around the Middle East. We have a democracy there. A stable one? Nah. But we kiss what we have goodbye if we bail.

”what happened to flowers”

Depends on the group. The Kurds still toss out flowers aplenty. The Shia less so and the Sunni less so. Again, though, we’re talking about ~10,000-20,000 terrorists in a country of 36 million. That’s a lot, but it’s also only ~20,000 out of a country of 36 million. Argue over the specific amounts, but the guys willing to toss out flowers still outnumber the guys with guns. The insurgents are their sympathasizers among the candidates in the general election. Those candidates didn’t win.

“billions worth of oil that would pay for the war?”

Yeah, I never got my share, somebody welched on me there, but I’ll get him back.

“we've fought a war that is going to cost over a trillion dollars”

Hasn’t cost a trillion dollars yet. The last I checked $400 billion was it, but yeah, that’s still a lot and as mercenary of a thing as it is for me to say, that could have been spent accomplishing other things. That’s the criticism I’m most sympathetic to.

“BUT, WE HAVE NO STRATEGY AND NOT ENOUGH TROOPS to win. If we REALLY wanted to win, if we thought we HAD to win, we'd enact a draft to get the boots on the ground to secure the country. No one really wants to do that.”

Here’s my strategy: send more troops (yes. Again: we have them) and train the Iraqi army and pay them enough so they can fight these guys while they’re there. We’re only following half this strategy. I don’t like that fact. But the fact of the matter is U.S. deaths have been declining. They peaked in the first half of last year.

See page 4, here, and, for that matter, look over the stuff that follows (there’s a lot of fodder for you here throughout this--it’s not a rosy picture but it’s also not the seventh level of hell that’s it’s painted to be and that it would be if we left: the economy is expanding, the Iraqi army has growing, the number of civilian dead is a fraction of what it would be with the terrorists in charge):

http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf

“Fight who?”

The guys who wind up coming to power when we leave. Al Qaeda? Sadr? Hell if I know. But I do know is that they’re guys who are game for killing us.

“If we went after Iran, Hussein would have been happy -- they were sworn enemies.”

Iraq and Iran being sworn enemies hasn’t prevented Iran from funding and training terrorists to go into Iraq to go in and attack us. I don’t think it would have prevented Iraq from doing the same thing in Iran. That’s what I’m talking about.

“Bush I wisely realized the quagmire that would have followed if we took over Iraq, and decided to allow Saddam to safely rot away inside his palaces writing romance novels.”

See, I would have loved to have heard more about how wise Bush I was during the 90s. What I remember was Bush I always being criticized for not taking out Hussein, leaving the Shia to fend for themselves and get killed, and this point always being brought up in arguments to show that we didn’t really care about democracy in the Middle East.

“Or are you arguing that the only way we could keep Iran from getting the bomb is to have the threat of military force sufficient to remove him from power?”

“Preventing him from getting and using a nuclear bomb is actualy easier then trying to install democracy in a country that apparently wants to have a religious civil war and live under some kind of theocracy.”

I actually agree. (except with the second part--a lot of guys in Iraq want to have a Civil War and a Theocracy. If it was most of the people in Iraq who wanted that they’d already be in charge of the government by now) The problem is, even though I think you’re right--stopping Iran from getting the bomb would have been much easier than what we’re currently doing--I don’t think Iran will see it that way. Not going after Saddam in the first Gulf War was seen as weakness. This definitely will be.

Michael Farris said...

"Now, let's stick to real argument, not cheap step-by-step thingies."

It's called a teaching-aid, the most accurate picture of how I perceive Bush's Iraq policy (circa 2003 and no sign he's changed anything since then).

Meanwhile, what's there to argue? I can't perceive any coherent goals or policies in Bush's policy and you think you can. The odds of either of us convincing the other are very slim and I can't hang around anymore right now.

Finally, in politics the inability to articulate a policy is functionally the same as not having a policy because if you can't articulate it you can't convince anyone you're right (except for the fortunate who have telephathic abilities).

me said...

Stephen and David: you could be right. things could be changing. things could be getting better in iraq instead of worse. I don't see it that way. It does seem like the 7th circle of hell to me. See http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com, this post: The battle for Baghdad; the view from my alley. We won't know for at least 4 or five years if us going to Iraq actually accomplished anything. I hope it will have, but I have grave doubts , especially with Bush and Rumsfeld in charge for the next 2.5 years.

michael a litscher said...

Michael Farris: "Then why doesn't the president actually _say_ "the war on radical Islam"?"

So your cluelessness is Bush's fault.

jpe: "It's a tactical error at best, then, that we went into Iraq to dethrone a secular tyrant to replace him with a radical Islamist democracy."

Yea, Iraq was chock full of kite-flying, peaceful secular humanist intellectuals until Bush invaded Iraq, and then the entire Iraqi population spontaniously converted to radical islam - and different sects, too - and then started shooting at each other.

me: "But, do you actually think we are SUCCEEDING in Iraq and Afghanistan?"

Yes, I do. The governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are no longer actively and willingly financing, training, nor harboring terrorists, unlike before.

me: "Right now our troops are bogged down in Iraq and we have no meaningful military capability to attack the jihadis anywhere. "

Our troops may be quite busy at the moment in Iraq, I'll give you that, but go find yourself a map of the Middle East. Remember, we have troops, equipment, command and control centers, and access to airports and sea ports in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE, plus we're now allied with Pakistan. You'll never guess which key country Bush now has surrounded.

But go ahead and convince yourself that all these chess pieces just happened to surround Iran totally by accident because Bush could never be this clever, and carp and moan that we should pull our chess pieces off the board voluntarily. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be ever so thankful, though that won't change his mind about killing you.

michael a litscher said...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be ever so thankful, though that won't change his mind about killing you.

And let me add, if the Democratic Party is successful in repeating Carter's fecklessness, allowing Ahmadinejad another unfettered 35 years to cause trouble, where will we be then?

I can already read the headlines - "Bush's pullout allows Iranian nuke in Tel Aviv." Then all the leftists can carp and moan about how stupid Bush was to pull out of Iraq back when we had Iran surrounded.

me said...

michael: If you'll read my comments, you'll notice I never said anything about Iran. I agree we need to contain Iran. Do you think us pulling out of Iraq will cause Iran to nuke Tel Aviv? Do you think we can win a war to take over Iran and install democracy there? I would support bombing if it will take out there nuke capability and I'm glad we have military resources surrounding Iran. Did I ever say otherwise?

I certainly do NOT think we should pull all our troops out of the Middle East, and most democrats do not think that either. They think we need to find an end to the bloodshed in Iraq and find out a way to end the war, because right now our troops are dying and we aren't accomplishing much of anything. I would support actually trying to win in Iraq, which our government isn't doing.

"The governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are no longer actively and willingly financing, training, nor harboring terrorists, unlike before."

You are correct about that. However, those governments soon will be aiding and abetting terrorists again if an Islamist takes over in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Do you think our military will be successful in stopping those two events from occurring? Because under our current president, with the way things are now in Iraq, with the Secretary of Defense saying our strategy is perfectly fine, I have absolutely no confidence that we have enough troops to accomplish that job.

"But go ahead and convince yourself that all these chess pieces just happened to surround Iran totally by accident because Bush could never be this clever, and carp and moan that we should pull our chess pieces off the board voluntarily. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be ever so thankful, though that won't change his mind about killing you."

I don't know why you are taking this tone. I never have advocated pulling our military out of the bases in the middle east. I haven't insulted you, please don't talk to me in a condescending and offensive way.

me said...

PS: my last post was addressed to michael litscher, not the other michael on this thread.

David said...

Bush and Lieberman share a common trait; neither of them care what people think of them and their reasoning. They are secure in the knowledge that history will vindicate them.

It is part and parcel of their positions that the messenger is always shot. They know that but they also know they are doing the correct thing and they answer to a higher being, not Dean, Pelosi, Reid, and Kos!

"Shane, come back!"

The Drill SGT said...

Me, I would point out that we pulled all our troops out of the middle East before 911.

Osama still didn't like us much.

We have no bases in the middle east (absent Iraq and Afghanistan) that I know of.

I dont count Diego Garcia, it's not in the middle east.

David said...

Me;

In the complex world of politics and tribalism that is the middle east, we are winning because we are forcing them to face their failures. The Middle Eastern pathology of blaming everyone but themselves for their failure to adapt and assimilate to human progress is coming home to roost.

It will cost them the utter destruction of a generation of their children but that is the price they will pay for the ARAB dream.

That is the definition of 'winning' we will have to accept if we are to prevail in this war of a thousand cuts!

ChrisO said...

michael a litscher:

Are you actually saying that the primary reason we went into Iraq is because of Saddam's support for terrorists? The Republicans have managed to create a straw man controversy, in which if it can be demonstrated that Hussein ever had any contacts with terrorists then the invasion was justified. Even stipulating that some terrorists may have been around Iraq, or that Hussein somehow expressed support for Osama, what evidence is there that Iraq's support of terrorists was so robust that it justified an invasion of that country out of all of the usual suspects? Your claim that the invasion was a success because Iraq is no longer supporting terrorists implies that its support was exceptionally significant. Can you back that up?

michael a litscher said...

ChrisO: "Your claim that the invasion was a success because Iraq is no longer supporting terrorists implies that its support was exceptionally significant. Can you back that up?"

It seems as if I have to repeat this information every so often, so here goes one more time.

Exerpted from: President Speaks on War Effort to Citadel Cadets
"Above all, we're acting to end the state sponsorship of terror. Rogue states are clearly the most likely sources of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons for terrorists. Every nation now knows that we cannot accept -- and we will not accept -- states that harbor, finance, train, or equip the agents of terror. Those nations that violate this principle will be regarded as hostile regimes. They have been warned, they are being watched, and they will be held to account."
President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001

Congressional approval:
Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq

Iraq harbored terrorists:
Abdul Rahman Yasin
Abu Nidal
Abu Abbas
Ansar al-Islam
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Iraq financed 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

Iraq trained terrorists:
Salman Pak / Al Salman

ChrisO said...

michael a litscher:
Thanks for giving me a bunch of useless links to plow through. Even though I knew better, I followed every link. What a waste. I think the reason you feel the need to repost them every once in a while is because people see them for the BS that they are. First, citing a speech by Bush as documentation of something is absurd on the face of it. And no, not because I think Bush is a congenital liar. Bush, like most politicians, clearly has an agenda, and can hardly be considered an impartial source for information. The same goes for the legislation cited.

Second, wikipedia? Really? A source that anyone can add information to, and that depends on two sides of an issue fighting over who gets the last entry? And I might point out that the entries you cite totally support my point about the straw man argument the Republicans are using, that any connection between Hussein and terrorists justifies the invasion. So if "Hussein" and a terrorists name appear in the same wikipedia paragraph, why that's all the justification we need to commit hundreds of thousands of soldiers and billions of dollars from our treasury. Not to mention the flaws in the paragraphs themselves, or the fact thay they often refer to incidents that are 20 years old.

The first link, on Abdul Rahman Yasin, states that the US government never tied Yasin to the World Trade Center bombing, and that when Leslie Stahl interviewed Yasin in Baghdad, he was in handcuffs and prison garb. Yes, it could all have been a setup for Stahl's benefit, but it hardly supports your point.

The second one, on Abu Nidhal, reports that, according to a journalist, Baghdad took responsibility for a terrorist act by Nidhal in 1973. Assuming the word of a single journalist can be used to justify an invasion, that's still a bit of a delayed reaction, don't you think? The entry also says that Nidhal was killed by Iraqi security forces. Boy, that's some support.

Next, Abu Abbas. Mastermind of the Achille Lauro, he later accepted blame for the incident and apologized. Not to say that his apology should be accepted, but that's hardly the rhetoric of an active terrorist. And while Hussein was "sheletering" him, there's this note: "Israel allowed him to travel freely in the Gaza Strip throughout the 1990s because he supported the peace negotiations." So do we invade Israel next?

Ansar al-Islam: They operated in an area of Iraq not controlled by Hussein, and constantly declared their hostility to Hussein. Their support came primarily from Iran. This point has been made so many times I can't believe you've never heard it.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: Again, from your wikipedia cite: "A CIA report in late 2004 concluded that it had no evidence Saddam's government was involved in, or aware of, his Baghdad medical treatment, and that "There’s no conclusive evidence the Saddam Hussein regime had harbored Zarqawi."

Now, this is all assuming that the wikipedia entries you cite are accurate. In each one, your point is undermined. Since you supposedly keep posting these cites, you might want to take a minute to read them.

Then, you cite a Reuters report that Hussein was providing cash payments to Palestinian suicide bombers. Putting aside the accuracy of the report (which may well be true) are you suggesting that we should invade countries because they support suicide bombers in Palestine? I mean, I know we support Israel, but isn't that a bit much?

As for your cite from globalsecurity. org., I think you'll find that cites to blogs are generally not considered credible. And the page you linked to is a report without a shred of supporting evidence. Frankly, I don't know enough about the site to determine its agenda, if any, but a report that lays out a lengthy scenario with no backing evidence is hardly persuasive.

Hey, Hussein was a bad guy. The world is better without him in it. But we didn't invade Iraq because he was a bad guy. We invaded because he was such a threat to us that we couldn't let him remain in power. The slender threads you cite hardly justify the cost of the invasion to this country. Thanks for wasting my time.