September 12, 2006

"It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation."

Okay, now that I've warmed up on Keith Olbermann, let's look at the President's speech itself. (Olbermann was anticipating what Bush would say.) I watched Bush's speech last night, but I was too tired to write anything about it, even just the kind of post that would have given readers a place to put their comments. Sorry. I was really tired. Anyway, it's just as well. It helped to sleep on it.

Last night, it wasn't making much of an impression on me. I was observing the superficial things, like how he kept his hands flat on the desk, one on top of the other, and occasionally the top hand would release the bottom hand, which would then flap about in the tiniest of gestures. The text seemed to be the sort of thing he needs to say and does say once in a while. As in most cases, it didn't seem extraordinary-- as if he really wants to communicate -- but dutiful -- as if he's doing that thing a President needs to do. He had his inflections right, but it came out in the usual singsong. Trying to think how he could have done better, I pictured President Reagan and imagined his inflections. I have the feeling the people who coach Bush have studied Reagan and extracted some tips, and Bush is doing what he can. But, as Bush might say, it's hard.

Let's look at the text, just the core of it here:
Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy -- but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam -- a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations. The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.
This invites us to support his military efforts not by scaring us about violence, but by inspiring us about American values. We can appreciate and want to protect our own freedom, and that should make us want to fight an enemy who would deprive us of it. That merges into an argument that we should want to engage in a struggle, the struggle of the century, to bring our values to people around the globe. He can't say this ideological struggle is between American values and Islam. The Islamic values here are a "perverted," "radical" distortion of Islam. The implication is that there is a real Islam, and the President knows what it is, and it's something much more like the American values. This all goes by so quickly when you're listening to the speech.

He speaks next of the threats of violence to us. "We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes." To keep the enemy out of "our homes" and to avoid having the "Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons," we need to fight the war to victory. He argues that we have had much success so far, in Afghanistan, "put[ing] al Qaeda on the run." What about Iraq?
I'm often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat -- and after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.
This is a very minimal restatement of why we went to war, and it won't satisfy anyone who wants to concentrate on that point, but it's not surprising that he moves quickly to the subject of the importance of sticking it out and making a success of it now that we're there.

Skipping some text:
We can be confident that our coalition will succeed because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence.
The fact that things are so bad is the reason why things are so good. You can mock that rhetorical move, but I suspect it's appeared in thousands of war speeches. What else can he say (considering that he's not going to give up)?
And we can be confident in victory because of the skill and resolve of America's Armed Forces.
He needs to inspire us to believe in victory, and he takes advantage of our respect for the troops. I'm eliding the sentences that detail his respect. From this paragraph, he goes to honoring the people who work in homeland security, as if the subject has been honoring the men and women in public service. The Iraq section of the speech is over.
Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil, but they've not been idle. Al Qaeda and those inspired by its hateful ideology have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States. They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens -- and we are determined to stop them.
This really is impressive and much more inspiring than Iraq. I can understand his frustration. Where things are going badly, in Iraq, there are events and pictures to demoralize us. Where things are going well, what we see is the lack of anything bad, and it is hard to get people to see that as anything at all.

Here's an interesting line tagged onto the end of that paragraph:
We'll continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.
There's your legislative agenda for the election season.

Now he returns to the theme of ideological struggle:
One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, girls enrolling in schools, or families worshiping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we're fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.

We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.
People given the choice will always choose freedom? Many people, it seems, accept mere order and security. Others give up every earthly freedom in exchange for the promise of heaven. It's a serious question, but he raises it only to drop it. He brings up 9/11 right there, so maybe you won't notice. And how does what happened on that "bright September morning" prove we need to remake the Middle East? Putting one sentence after another doesn't mean the ideas follow logically. There's some real sleight of hand in that last paragraph, and I think everyone knows it.

To stave off the doubts, he brings up Franklin Roosevelt, D-Day, Iwo Jima, and so forth. "Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged, and every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination." Every time? Whenever we fight, we win, because we fight for liberty.

The conclusion:
On this solemn anniversary, we rededicate ourselves to this cause. Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country, and we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies. We will protect our people. And we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.
I agree with the basic point of the speech: We must continue the fight to victory. I don't think he's created any new inspiration here, though. People who think Iraq is a lost cause love liberty too. They're still going to criticize the war. They aren't going to "put aside [their] differences." He said "our differences," but clearly he's going to stay in his position and defend it. So, essentially, that means: Stop disagreeing with me. And, yes, you can laugh at the irony: Freedom is so wonderful that you should shut up.

We must "work together to meet the test that history has given us." Note the passivity. I didn't choose this, history made me do it. And since it's history, you need to get in line, get serious. There's a core of that that I absolutely agree with. We're in a war, so we need to concentrate on winning, and you should only want to do the things that help. But I don't think the assertions here are going to convince anyone, and he's given his critics new material. They are going to resent and resist the demand that we perceive ourselves as caught up in a massive, historical ideological struggle.

240 comments:

1 – 200 of 240   Newer›   Newest»
George said...

The most striking thing about Bush's speech, aside from the fact that it came in the middle of a movie about 9/11, was how boring it was.

Almost all Presidential TV addresses are unspeakably tedious and at 15 minutes excruciatingly long by modern attention span standards. There's been no technological progress in White House addresses since when....Eisenhower, JFK?

One day, some smart President is going to start using film clips in his TV speeches, so that he looks more like what we're all accustomed to seeing on TV: An anchorman.

How much more powerful his 15-minute address would have been had it been accompanied by footage of terrorists being arrested or footage of the destruction caused by terrorists. Al-Qaeda uses video footage to rouse its supporters; why are our leaders still using cave-age video technology?

David said...

We, as a country, need to stop the whining that is distracting us from winning this war.

Watching the coverage and comments from the 9/11 experience makes me simmer with rage at the monsters of Islam that perpetrated that attack, and others, on our citizens.

Focus that rage on beating the enemy and not who gets pork barrel spending privileges after the next two elections.

Doug said...

I missed the speech last night, 40 Year Old Virgin was on cable and eventhough I voted for him, I hate to hear Bush make a speech.

I awoke to Good Morning America and all these democrats were whining about Bush exploiting the day for political gain, yet as I read here, Olbermann lamely attempted to exploit it as did much of the lefty blogs, like KOS. And within the last two weeks, many democrats used the anniversary of Katrina to score political points against Bush. So maybe in demoland, it is ok to exploit a tragedy as long as it aids the cause of the party of victimhood

Joan said...

They are going to resent and resist the demand that we perceive ourselves as caught up in a massive, historical ideological struggle.

But we are caught up in a massive, historical ideological struggle. Why is that so hard for them to accept, when it's happening everywhere? Do they think that just because Theo van Gogh was murdered in the Netherlands, that sort of thing could never happen here? Haven't a few synagogues been shot up recently by Islamists? Beslan was just a year ago, and we've nabbed terrorists with the plans to NJ schools. What is it going to take to convince these people that Bush's struggle for civilization was not hyperbole?

Sheesh.

Dave said...

I am so glad I had the foresight last night to pick lint from my navel instead of watching W's speech.

(And this comment comes from a guy who is generally a W fan.)

Todd said...

This bit:

"Putting one sentence after another doesn't mean the ideas follow logically. There's some real sleight of hand in that last paragraph, and I think everyone knows it."

might be right, but it might not be, too. Certainly it's very possible that the ideas do follow one another logically, no?

We hear the term "wake-up call" all the time in regard to Sept. 11. It's a hateful, addy sloganized little thing for sure, but it doesn't mean it's not correct about how that morning illuminated a number of years of failed policy.

I'm not sure whether you're stating that merely as an invitation to debate the merits of that section of his speech or disagreeing with it.

The sleight of hand part suggests (to me) that you see trickery or insincerity in that sentence.

I agree with Toby Ziegler (West Wing) who said, "They'll like us when we win."

Todd...

The Drill SGT said...

At least W gives a speech better than his father...

I guess that is one reason I made the mistake of voting for Clinton the first time...

Too Many Jims said...

Definition of "damning with faint praise: At least W gives a speech better than his father...

Meade said...

(Confession to Drill Sgt.: I too voted against Bush before I voted for Bush.)

"And we're fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity."

Resent and resist (psychologists would refer to it as the immature defense mechanism of denial) as "they" may, grownup true democratic Liberals recognize the core truth of that statement, also found in our own Declaration of Independence. And it is what grownup true democratic Conservatives seek to protect and allow all People.

Goesh said...

Yes, I too voted for Billy the first time, Drill Sgt. Wifey often reminds me of that when I say bad things about Hillary. An ideological struggle he says? I think it's more like having our mitts on each other's throats and whoever can knee the other in the groin is going to win. From a death fatwa on Solmon Rushdie to the cartoon vehemence and beheading videos that sell like hotcakes to hundreds of bombings, the word struggle is a gross understatement. I mean they bombed the Red Cross building and UN Headquarters building in Iraq for cryin' out loud. They've hit dance halls and ice cream parlors and pizza parlors and hospitals. You think they won't nuke is if given the chance?? Holy Cow! We couldn't even buy them off if we wanted to.

Goesh said...

nuke us if given a chance...these devils really have me riled up

Doyle said...

"And, yes, you can laugh at the irony: Freedom is so wonderful that you should shut up."

Thanks, but I don't find it especially funny.

The only thing daffier in this analyse de text is where Bush paints his portrait of radical, militant, and expansionist Islamofascism, and Ann concludes that "[t]his invites us to support his military efforts not by scaring us about violence, but by inspiring us about American values."

Yeah I got misty.

Fenrisulven said...

And how does what happened on that "bright September morning" prove we need to remake the Middle East?

Its a reminder that our policy of supporting dictators to promote stability bit us in the ass. The House of Saud allowed Wahhabi Islam to promote hatred of the west because it kept the arab street from turning on them.

Bush:Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither

Too Many Jims said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
noah said...

Ah, Bush caught crushing dissent again with rhetorical sleights of hand and by trying to make his case.

The bastard!

Too Many Jims said...

"We couldn't even buy them off if we wanted to."

Are you longing for the days of Iran contra or rueing the day that the Reagan administration made the deal?

Fenrisulven said...

Freedom is so wonderful that you should shut up.

I didn't hear it that way. I heard it as a demand to recognize that we are in a war to preserve our civilization: like it or not, we are at war. Knock off the partisan cheap shots for political traction [Bush=Hilter], contribute constructively, stop poking America with a stick every time we stumble, offer alternatives to improve our effeciency and bring the war to an end without retreat or surrender.

noah said...

Michelle Malkin links to an apology by an American muslim for 9/11. He says that he had written essays in the past but was too frightened to have them published.

First one I recall seeing. It was refreshing.

Too Many Jims said...

Excellent post Prof. Althouse. I think your observation that "People who think Iraq is a lost cause love liberty too" is well put. I would go further and say that there are some who simultaneously think that (1) Iraq was the wrong war to fight and (2) we are in an historic ideological struggle. After all, if it is the calling of our generation to fight those who woul "build a radical Islamic empire" why would we take out the biggest buffer against that in the region?

Fenrisulven said...

After all, if it is the calling of our generation to fight those who would "build a radical Islamic empire" why would we take out the biggest buffer against tta in the region?

Because we're multi-tasking.

Saddam would have handed WMDs off to terrorists. We had to eliminate that threat in the short term.

In the long term, the Iraqi people are the most sophisticated in the ME and stand the best chance of making Democracy work. That will then cascade to Lebannon, Syria, Saudi, and Iran.

We're not enabling Stalin in order to defeat Hilter this time around.

Doyle said...

Noah -

Republicans are masters of "rhetorical slight of hand." Just ask the Defeatocrats.

Not being a regular Malkin reader, I could use clarification on why American Muslims should have to apologize for 9/11.

John said...

I realize this speech was intended for the American people but I wish he would have added some context I recently read elsewhere: "We are not at war with the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, or Muslims in general. Just as we were not at war with German or Japanese citizens during WWII. And today, Japan and Germany are thriving and the citizens of both countries have tremendous freedoms and opportunities because they were given the chance to pursue their dreams and aspirations without fear." He tried using the "perverted" and "radical" qualifiers, but he could have done more.

Derve said...

For everyone who is still playing follow the leader behind President Bush and crew in the global war on terror:

"Don't you want to win this thing, dammit?"

Sloanasaurus said...

"....Just as we were not at war with German or Japanese citizens during WWII...."

Huh... the success of Hitler was that he got the German people to back him and they loved him for it. Of course we were at war with the German and Japanese people.

Bush needs to be clear with people in the Muslim world that if they choose to support terrorists, we will go to war with them. I think he has been clear about that. Unfortunately, the media still plays these games, such as with the poor palestinians - "its not their fault that they elected a terrorist government to go to war with Israel." Hah! Israel now has the moral right to bomb the palestinian people and take their land. After all, they have chosen war through the ballot box - just as we here in a America chose war with the terrorists by reelecting Bush.

Eli Blake said...

As far as the Afghan war is concerned, I believe that most people still support it, and recognize it will be hard. And yes, Afghanistan was thrust on us by history (though the Iraq war was by Bush's choice). As a Liberal, I fully support whatever action the President takes in Afghanistan, and my biggest criticism has been that it hasn't been a big enough priority. I only hope that the current focus on it represents a real change of focus, and that it isn't just politics (i.e. that it will still be the main focus by, say, Christmas).

Fenrisulven (10:32):

In the long term, the Iraqi people are the most sophisticated in the ME and stand the best chance of making Democracy work. That will then cascade to Lebannon, Syria, Saudi, and Iran.

Is that why the Iraqis elected members of parliament who lead anti-American demonstrations, burn American flags, have ties to militias and several of whose numbers were on Zarqawi's cell phone?

What we've achieved in Iraq is that we've given the same crowd who hate us legitimacy-- instead of being anti-woman, anti-western, religious zealots, they are now elected anti-woman, anti-western religious zealots.

And I disagree with the premise that there has not been an winner in Iraq. There clearly has been: Iran.

Iran has now achieved two goals-- 1. the removal of Saddam Hussein and 2. the installation of a friendly, Shiite dominated government, that they failed to achieve in a decade of warfare in the 1980's. They see the U.S., the biggest threat to them five years ago, bogged down in an unwinnable war in Iraq which at the very least will prevent us from actually doing something about Iran for at least the next five years (plenty of time to finish building their nukes). Yes, we can bomb the crap out of them, but as we recently saw in Lebanon, bombing campaigns are no substitute for 'boots on the ground,' which we certainly don't have available in the quantity we would need to invade a country like Iran (three times the size and twice the population of Iraq) considering that they are now going back to more 'involuntary recalls' of former service members just to fill current needs in Iraq. They watched while their double agent, Chalabi, fed us the lie about Saddam being able to deploy WMD in 45 minutes, got him to tell them that we cracked their defense code, and now have the U.S. troops that used to be a credible deterrent against them propping up a pro-Iranian government against Sunni rebels and terrorists who consider Iran to be a nation of heretics. And our powerlessness is shown every day when Ahmadinejad crosses a new line in the sand and we do nothing about it-- because there is not much we can do.

I don't know if those mullahs have a sense of humor, but if they do I'm sure they are laughing hysterically at what they must consider a gift from Allah.

Fenrisulven said...

"Don't you want to win this thing, dammit?"

We're still not getting it. You'll have be more obvious. Try increasing the font size?

Fenrisulven said...

Is that why the Iraqis elected members of parliament who lead anti-American demonstrations, burn American flags, have ties to militias and several of whose numbers were on Zarqawi's cell phone?

Of course not. But this is not jiffy-pop. Its a long term solution. We have to be patient. This will be an arab democracy with their values [that we nmay not like] but will evolve as their culture evolves in tandem. Look at our own country after 1783. How long did it take us to free the slaves? How long after that for Woman's Suffrage? Patience.

The Shiite goverment is not friendly to Iran. Their nationality trumps their religion.

But your other points re Iran are valid. I'm hoping we will deal with Iran directly. And soon.

Jim said...

Bush wants everyone to be free to worship God according to his own traditions. From the point of view of the humanist or atheist, Bush is just as bad as the Muslims in his attempt to force God on us all.

noah said...

Google "michelle malkin"...that will take you to her site. The American muslim in question cites Western freedoms and values in his essay as his reasons for finally speaking out.

"Should" American muslims apologize for 9/11? No. But they "should" speak up if they disagree with them. That would help I think.

John said...

Sloan: "Huh... the success of Hitler was that he got the German people to back him and they loved him for it."

But it wasn't sustainable. Sure Hitler instilled German pride and nationalism to a people that were beaten and isolated. The Emporer was worshiped. And Mussolini kept the trains on time. It was a better life for many to be ruled by these fanatics - just as it is for many in the ME now. Look at what Hezzbollah has done in Lebanon. They actually provide services like schools and hospitals for "the people". They are winning the hearts and minds of the people - then using them as shields. Al Quaeda and the Taliban haven't yet used that tactic. They just use the people as shields or as fodder (especially non-beleivers).

I'm just suggesting that we need "inside" help. A resistence against the appeal of Hezzbollah and the fear of Al Quaeda reprisal. Iraq (the Kurds especially) was ready to overthrow Saddam after GW1, but we abandoned them. Just one more tactic in the strategy.

We given the message to other regimes that if they support the fanatics, they are at risk. We could also send the message that there is hope and we will not abandon you if you resist.

noah said...

"them" being of course the jihadists or whatever the term du jour.

Freder Frederson said...

Its a reminder that our policy of supporting dictators to promote stability bit us in the ass. The House of Saud allowed Wahhabi Islam to promote hatred of the west because it kept the arab street from turning on them.

Yep, and over the past five years we sure have forced serious reform in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and throughout the Middle East. They are just beacons of democracy in the middle east. We even render detainees to Saudi Arabia and Egypt because they have denounced torture.

OOOhhh. . . never mind.

Editor Theorist said...

GWK said: We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

AA said: People given the choice will always choose freedom? Many people, it seems, accept mere order and security. Others give up every earthly freedom in exchange for the promise of heaven. It's a serious question, but he raises it only to drop it. He brings up 9/11 right there, so maybe you won't notice. And how does what happened on that "bright September morning" prove we need to remake the Middle East? Putting one sentence after another doesn't mean the ideas follow logically. There's some real sleight of hand in that last paragraph, and I think everyone knows it.

I say: I disagree with Ann here. There is no sleight of hand, although there is room for disagreement. Indeed, I think this is a clear, and moving, statement of what changed on 9/11.

The US (and the UK) really did begin to change their policy after 9/11 - the old policy was to allow rulers to do whatever they wanted in their own countries so long as US interests were not threatened. The new policy is that the only long term security is for all the nations of the world to become liberal democracies, interlinked by market economies, and with all the other aspects of modernization: independant law, science and technology, the mass media etc.

We are seeing the early, necessarily piecemeal attempts to try and make this goal a reality - it is a process of trial and error. European countries such as France (as well an countries such as Russia and China) do not agree with this goal, yet, and still hold to the old idea that tyrannical regimes should be left alone.

But I think that this mission to create liberal democracies worldwide is probably the noblest international aspiration since the abolition of slavery. I don't think anyone knows just how accomplish it, but I am pretty sure that it is the right thing to be trying.

Fenrisulven said...

Bush is just as bad as the Muslims in his attempt to force God on us all.

Bush is forcing people to convert to Christianity at swordpoint?

Did you for a moment even consider saying Bush is almost as bad?

This is what I'm talking about when I say BDS has immunized Bush from legitimate criticism. The Left seems to just pull stuff out and toss it against the wall to see if it sticks. And then complain that no one takes them seriously...

J. Peden said...

"People who think Iraq is a lost cause love liberty too." Ann

Right, but they also think "Iraq is Vietnam". Compared to Vietnam, what's transpiring in Iraq is not even a war, except perhaps in that the French would have lost yet another one in Iraq, too, just as they did in Vietnam, after using that country as a Colony for 150 years.

The term "Vichy Americans" somehow comes to mind.

But I did hear one more critically important bee story on ABC's hourly radio news program. Thankfully, this time the bees did not turn into "wasps". ABC is at least learning something.

noah said...

Not being a free speech fanatic, unlike Feingold (lol!), I think we should outlaw all speech calling for violence against others (foreign or domestic) based on religious differences. That would put a stop to muslims (or crazed MIT jewish intellectuals) calling for the destruction of Israel, which acts as a proxy for speech against all "infidels" everywhere.

Eli Blake said...

fenrisulven:

Deal with them as in negotiate? Possible, but we don't really have much in the way of bargaing chips right now.

The point I made is that thanks to Iraq we don't have the military ability right at the moment to invade and/or occupy Iran. If we consider General Shinseki's advice (who calculated that 400,000 ground troops would be needed to occupy Iraq post-invasion in order to prevent an insurgency from getting started and was promptly punished by Rumsfeld) to have been validated by recent history, and then consider that Iran has 2.5 times the population of Iraq, we'd need a million troops to prevent it from turning into a much larger version of Iraq. Unless we implement a draft, I don't see where we will get a million troops.

There is another option though. The same one we used against the communist world. 2/3 of Iran's population is under 30 and has no memory of the Shah, the revolution or Ayatollah Khomeini. His rhetoric is as dead to them as the rhetoric of Lenin is to Russians. They don't like living in a strict Islamic society. They don't hate Americans, maybe they have been told we are bad but it's by the same people they don't trust or like, who are their leaders. So let's use our best weapons:

Disney. McDonald's. Hillary Duff. MTV.

Trade with them until they can't stand it anymore.

Let little Mohammed grow up wanting to go to Tehran-Disney instead of aspiring to blow himself up in a holy war. Just as some religious leaders here bemoan the effects of materialism on religious orthodoxy, the same is true there.

Let mammon go to work.

What we need to realize, is that if we shoot our way into a country (i.e. Iraq) then patriotic people will shoot back, whatever they may think about their present government (think of the 'Red Dawn' scenario). But come with a smile and bearing consumer goods, and there is no door that can keep us out.

Freder Frederson said...

Sure Hitler instilled German pride and nationalism to a people that were beaten and isolated.

Well, that was the brilliance of Hitler. By scaring the German people shitless and blaming Germany's problems on others (the Jews, communists, Versailles) and turning all those threats into existential ones, while suppressing dissent (if you disagree with me you are not a good German) he was able to slowly strangle the freedom of the German people. Then, one day they woke up in a country they didn't recognize, full of secret police, concentration camps, torture, and no civil liberties.

All their rights had been sacrificed and the country was being led to its eventual destruction, all in the name of "security".

Fenrisulven said...

I don't think anyone knows just how accomplish it, but I am pretty sure that it is the right thing to be trying.

Exactly. And I'm not sure it will work either, but its not like the other side of the aisle has any solution other than submission.

noah said...

freder, Hitler did not "scare" the German people "shitless" regarding external threats. That just you, an abysmally ignorant "historian", trying to gin up the Bush=Hitler meme. Give it a break.

Freder Frederson said...

Compared to Vietnam, what's transpiring in Iraq is not even a war

I really love all you rightwing chickenhawks who claim to "support" the troops yet take every opportunity to denigrate and belittle their service and the risks they take every day in Iraq.

Do you even know anyone who has been to Iraq? Do you have any idea how many casulties (not just dead) we have suffered in Iraq? Do you have any idea how many Iraqis are dying in this thing you claim is not "even a war". Do you have any idea what it is like to send your loved ones to a war zone for two of the last three years, knowing they are going back again next June.

You disgust me.

MadisonMan said...

I've seen this alluded to in some comments, but I am genuinely curious as to how Bush's born-again religious beliefs color his view of what's happening. Is it apocalyptic? I hope at least that he's writing it down so historians will know.

For all the talk about the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century (isn't it a little early in the century to call it that?) -- precious little is being asked of US citizenry -- other than to follow Bush. How easy. I have to think that if a politician were serious about this war, he (or she) would be suggesting taxing or rationing gas, or rationing food, or talking about a draft, or building up the Army. Something other than the business as usual that seems to be the message. The mixed messages really are deafening: We're in a big fight, but keep on driving your SUV to the Health Club to exercise! No need to sacrifice, all we have to do is follow Bush!.

I think the US Government could benefit from a nice purge of incumbents, but I worry that it would be read as license to impeach the President, which is really that last thing needed at the moment.

J. Peden said...

"But I think that this mission to create liberal democracies worldwide is probably the noblest international aspiration since the abolition of slavery."

Wrong, editor theorist! We should have never freed the Slaves. After centuries of being culturally moulded to slavery, the Slaves were not "ready". They should have freed themselves. This is the only correct way allowed by our holy multicultural cultists. Lincoln lied, people died, and you see the horrible result today.

Fenrisulven said...

Eli, thanks for the excellent post

Deal with them as in negotiate?

No, I meant deal with them with force. They watched Saddam dance the UN shuffle and are amused. Hell, if the stakes weren't so high, I'd be amused at how easily they play the UN.

But you're right [I've seen similar reports] a ground war in Iran would be a nightmare and could be counter-productive.

Your other option reminds me of our hope for revolution from the younger generation - it never seems to materialize. I would support your market approach, but only IF we could separate the nuclear problem from it.

Iran cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons. The UN cannot be trusted to monitor sanctions. Iran is a tough call and I really don't see any solution it. Force may be the least worst option.

noah said...

freder, I call your "disgust" and raise you an "expletive deleted". You are pathetic.

Fenrisulven said...

Freder: I really love all you rightwing chickenhawks

Go pound sand. I am a US Marine. Your kind do not exist without my explicit permission. I'm about ready to step aside and let the jihadists cull our parasitic weasels. You want to play the chickenhawk card? Here's my trump: If you never served, you're not allowed to criticize the war effort. Good. Goose. Gander.

Stupid troll. Go back to DU.

madawaskan said...

This is the part that got to me most-maybe because it seemed to affect the President the most-

Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. That day I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son, Patrick, accept his commission in the finest Army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City. On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th -- and never came home. His sons lost their father that day, but not the passion for service he instilled in them. Here is what RoseEllen says about her boys: "As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety -- but as worried as I am, I'm also proud, and I know their dad would be, too."

The sons of RoseEllen and Kevin Dowdell perhaps they are a living memorial to 9/11.

Freder Frederson said...

trying to gin up the Bush=Hitler meme

I have never ever claimed Bush=Hitler. Bush is merely an incompetent, bumbling fool. I don't think Bush is evil (or even stupid--just a man of ordinary intellect who is profoundly uninterested in knowledge), just totally incapable of performing the job he was elected to do.

Besides, Bush is not nearly as good a speaker and when his country called, Hitler didn't pull strings to get a cushy job behind the lines. He spent his war in the trenches where he earned an Iron Cross.

Bush will be long forgotten while Hitler will be forever cursed.

Now, if you want to discuss some other people operating behind the scene in this administration and compare them to Nazis, I will only be too happy to do that.

J. Peden said...

freder, I was talking about the war-meme only.

My 19 y.o. daughter was born on a 9/11. Her boyfriend is a Marine, just finishing his second eight month tour in Iraq. My daughter made a 17 min. killer video in highschool giving the other side to the denigration of the military mantra from the Fliberal Cult. She used some of her boyfriend's still shots in it. She concluded, approximately, "We don't fight for mom, the flag, or apple pie. We fight for one another."

I also know quite well a 30 y.o. man - whom I've known for 14 years - who just finished two tours in Afganistan as a Reserve helicopter pilot. He re-upped to learn how to fly transport planes instead of choosing to return home to his intact crop-spraying business.

Your use of the term "chickenhawk" is what is suspicious. I opposed the Vietnam War, and stick to my reasons. Iraq is not Vietnam.

noah said...

There was a good post at another site...inadequate summary: intellectuals need to discount external religiously based threats because reason is powerless against them and in that context of what use are intellectuals? ("intellectuals" as they fancy themselves that is).

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...

"But come with a smile and bearing consumer goods, and there is no door that can keep us out."

Hey... no OT talk about China here. :)

Pogo said...

Re: "Now, if you want to discuss ...., I will only be too happy to do that."

Much to my regret.

dearieme said...

If we are in a death struggle, some advice:-
1) Don't funk the fight (Clinton did).
2) Don't fight it badly (W in Afghanistan).
3) Don't fight the wrong fight (W in Iraq).

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisluven said:

Because we're multi-tasking.
And doing so horribly.

In the long term, the Iraqi people are the most sophisticated in the ME and stand the best chance of making Democracy work. That will then cascade to Lebannon, Syria, Saudi, and Iran. This is two or three ratinales for the war ago now, isn't it?

We're not enabling Stalin in order to defeat Hilter this time around. Just so I have the metaphor straight, does Osama = Hitler or does Saddam = Hitler?
-------------------------------
Personally, I tend to agree with Sen. Graham when he said: "I know Iraq is a mess and we have screwed up seven ways from Sunday. We underestimated how hard it would be. . . . If we back out of this fight ... your children and grandchildren will never know peace." But I think until we acknowledge the mistakes it isn't going to get any better.

Mary said...

If we are in a death struggle, some advice:-
1) Don't funk the fight (Clinton did).
2) Don't fight it badly (W in Afghanistan).
3) Don't fight the wrong fight (W in Iraq).

4) No parking on the dance floor.

Doyle said...

Remember when the object of the Iraq War was to prevent a nuclear attack from Saddam?

Then remember when we found out that not only was that impossible, but that the case presented to the American people and the UN was largely bogus?

This wasn't an "intelligence failure." This was intelligence manipulation.

Call it part of a decisive ideological struggle if you want, but don't forget that such language was not in the brochure.

noah said...

jim c., if asked I am sure you will provide the standard litany of "mistakes made"...Bush, Rumsfeld, Pace, et al, have offered some, disputed others.

My take of your comment: public mea culpas must be offered. And if their list doesn't match your list then Bush is "evading responsibility". Bleh.

The real question at this very moment appears to be: how do we stop a full-scale sectarian war in Iraq without taking enormous casualties ourselves? Is there a utilitarian calculation we should make here, when the price may be very high and even then success is not assured?

My preference is that we do what we can with the resources we have. And that is best determined by the Generals in Iraq...not me, not you.

Pogo said...

Re: "But I think until we acknowledge the mistakes t isn't going to get any better."

Garbage, as usual.
Jim wants to have us put the mistakes on the table. For what? Discussion? Closure?

It's disingenuous claptrap. What you want can't be granted. Come up with advice on next steps that don't involve surrender, appeasement, or self-flagellation.

We're in Iraq. Finish it. Win. At the same time, set up for Iran and Syria. Watch North Korea and Palestine, watch Pakistan and Egypt.
So tell us how you'd do it. Your 'demand' for navel-gazing is childish and stupid. Grow up.

Doyle said...

Pogo -

While I understand the desire to let bygones be bygones, there remains the issue of credibility.

The same people who are now telling us that we must attack Iran before they acquire nukes are the same people who said the same thing about Iraq.

Of course, we now know that the Iraq hawks were disastrously wrong about both the need to fight a war and how long and costly that war would be.

So it does matter, on a "going forward" basis, who has been right and who has been wrong on foreign policy.

Henry said...

Even without Iraq, I don't think the Bush administration or the U.S military would have ever considered a ground-troop solution to Iran. In the Iran-Iraq war of attrition, Iran suffered as many as 1M casualties; it fought against the better-equipped Iraqi military with massive infrantry assaults. There is no way the U.S. would undertake a conflict in which the winning strategy would be to slaughter tens-of-thousands of helpless Iranian conscripts.

Iraq was the one Middle Eastern country that proffered even the remotest success of a military solution. There is no serious hypothetical that we should have invaded Iran instead.

As for the idea that a belligerant Iraq was a useful counterbalance for Iran -- that may be true, but one thing I like about the neoconservative ascendency is to see that kind of realpolitik thinking get trashed. Our Iraq policy in the 1980s is hardly one of our foreign policy successes.

Re: "Hitler didn't pull strings to get a cushy job behind the lines"

Good grief, Freder, you've jumped the shark today.

J. Peden said...

"Remember when the object of the Iraq War was to prevent a nuclear attack from Saddam?

"Then remember when we found out that not only was that impossible, but that the case presented to the American people and the UN was largely bogus?"

No, Doyle, I can't remember what never happened, for some odd reason. This is only possible through the magic of the Cult, as you well know. When will the next Comet get close enough?

Goesh said...

Former Marine, Viet Nam Vet here, Freder, and I do know two Vets that were in Iraq. I think the WIA count is around 20,000 but you need to keep in mind that any time paper work is done by medical staff for an injury, it is considered WIA unless specifically occuring in activities not connected to direct or indirect engagement. This means routine and minor injuries, i.e. a bad scrape while on patrol with no enemy contact, get recorded as "wounds". Obviously spraining a wrist while falling down drunk off duty does not count. Thousands of purple hearts are handed out which some of us older Vets sort of secretly smile at but don't say anything about, if you know what I mean. You maybe don't since you seem imply that our volunteers are themselves victims, despite objective data to the contrary, i.e. met enlistment quotas, voluntary extensions of in-country service and the return of wounded to their units at the request of the wounded. The perceived reality of the Left does not mesh well with what the actual participants are saying and feeling, and please don't cite any Iraqi 'polls' either as evidence of gloom and failure.

Fenrisulven said...

Fen: Because we're multi-tasking.
Jim: And doing so horribly.

Not horribly. 3,000 deaths is an unsually low number for MOUT operations. We have had great success against Al Queda and also in rebuilding Iraq's government and infrastructure. The more sensational events are centered around the capitol [b/c thats where the media is, and they have to get to you through them]. You might want to check out the following for a more balanced look at the war effort:

"In the past five years, the United States of America has not had an easy task, but so far, it has managed to inflict very severe losses on al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Al Qaeda, despite a lot of threats on videotape and audiotape, has not managed to carry out a single attack on an American target since 2001. That is probably the biggest – and most unheralded – sign of success"

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htwin/articles/20060911.aspx

[Steyn]"...we found out that we were at war, which was better than being at war and not knowing it, which was the case until five years and about five minutes ago. Until five years and five minutes ago, for example, we didn't know the name AQ Khan. We didn't know that Pakistan was being Talibanised from within, that there were al-Qaeda sympathisers in its nuclear program - and we weren't doing anything about that either. We didn't know, incidentally, that international black market of rogue states: North Korea, Libya and Iran, linked by AQ Khan and exchanging nuclear and other technologies, formed the corners of the box in which we thought had Saddam Hussein."

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/09/how-not-to-hunt-tiger.html

Fen:In the long term, the Iraqi people are the most sophisticated in the ME and stand the best chance of making Democracy work. That will then cascade to Lebannon, Syria, Saudi, and Iran.

Jim:This is two or three ratinales for the war ago now, isn't it?

I never understood that line of reasoning. I got married for several reasons. I joined the Marine Corps for several reasons. Is it possible that we went into Iraq for all seven of the reasons Bush stated? Do you often do things for only one reason? Multi-tasking.

Fen:We're not enabling Stalin in order to defeat Hilter this time around.

Jim:Just so I have the metaphor straight, does Osama = Hitler or does Saddam = Hitler?

Saddam = Stalin, Ahmadinejad = Hitler

Keep your eye on Iran. Thats the endgame.

J. Peden said...

"But I think until we acknowledge the mistakes it isn't going to get any better."

We need also to sniff and cry a bit in order to be cleansed enough so as to be accepted into the warm fold of the Fliberal Cult. Either that or start to repeat, "Death to all Infidels." It's about the same thing - thought or at least speech control. No wonder the Fliberals and Islamofascists find such a great soul-bonding with each other. Such death-of-free-thought worshippers do "understand" each other at a very basic level.

J. Peden said...

I do remember prior to the Iraq invasion when the MSM started demanding only one reason for the invasion. I kept thinking, "Can't these morons keep more than one thing in their minds at the same time?" No.

shimmy said...

Bush said: "On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them."

In a nutshell, this is why his mindset will never bring peace. He does not understand people. I believe that most of the Muslim world does not hate America, they are merely pointing their anger at us. All people have anger. And it cannot be a reason to declare war on masses of people.

It's possible that the number of people who actually want to "wage war" on America is so small that this W.O.T. is a sick joke.

Am I hopeless for believing in "law enforcement" when others call for "war," or for saying "psychology" when others point to "evil," and (most of all) for believing in Robert McNamara's learned plea, that we must communicate and empathize with our enemies? (Not sympathize.)

Ways To Win The War (that Bush did not mention) :
1. Arms control
2. Energy conservation & innovation
3. Cultural understanding & education
4. Fresh political dialogue

This is rapturous negligence.

Doyle said...

If no one reason (say, national defense) is good enough to stand on its own, it's probably not a very strong case.

Fenrisulven said...

Ways To Win The War (that Bush did not mention) :
1. Arms control
2. Energy conservation & innovation
3. Cultural understanding & education
4. Fresh political dialogue


"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." - Hussein Massawi, Hezbollah

Fritz said...

Freder,
No one sends their loved one to a war zone, it is an all volunteer military. If LBJ had the situation we have in Iraq today, in 1968 Vietnam, he would have been re-elected. The "blow up one's self" tactic is directed at the weak Euro appeasers.

Fenrisulven said...

"But I think until we acknowledge the mistakes it isn't going to get any better."

Yes, mistakes should be [and have been] studied in after-action reports. Corrections made.

But I'd like to point that in something as difficult as warfighting and nation-building, mistakes are going to happen [Tora Bora, disbanding the Iraqi Army].

If we had taken a different course, we would have made an entirely new set of mistakes. And I sense that the same people who poke at us for say, disbanding the Iraqi Army, would be outraged if we hadn't disbanded it and Baathist elements within had massacred the Shia.

The Drill SGT said...

Goesh,

I know for a fact that the Iraq dead count includes additional people beyond those that you and I would have called KIA. examples

- heart attacks in theater
- cancer deaths to folks diagnosed in theater, who subsequently died in CONUS
- auto and helo accidents (lots of those as you know)
- accidental and of course self inflicted gunshots

the other term you wanted for additional non deaths beyond WIA as:

DNBI: Disease, non-battle injury.

Before somebody shrieks about KIA in Iraq, you need to understand that in peacetime, the military is a very dangerous place. hundreds, if not thousands of soldiers dy each year in training. subtract those deaths out and the BATTLE deaths are greatly reduced. I'll find the link

Too Many Jims said...

Noah: Not much on public mea culpas. Don't think they help much. I agree with you that would be be much better off if the "generals" in Iraq were given all the resources they needed and allowed to prosecute it. You may believe they have been given the appropriate resources and lattitude, I tend to think they have been hamstrung by the adminisistration's unwillingness to take political hits at home for unpopular decisions. I know it sounds like an odd thing to say but I believe to have a more effective war effort, we need more (e.g. Kristol/Lowery's more troop proposal) unpopular decisions be made.

Pogo: No desire to gaze at my navel. The central point Bush made in his speech (as put by our Hostess) is that our enemies want to build a radical Islamic empire. With that, I am in agreement. But if that is the case why are Syria and Iran on the top of the list to go get next? Are they a threat? You bet they are but they have little in common with the ideology that attacked us. So you want to know what I do? Take down the fricking house of Saud! Find the Wahhabi mullahs who to this day say things supportive of the ideology and produce their heads on pikes in the streets of Riyadh.

Pogo said...

Re: "The same people who are now telling us that we must attack Iran before they acquire nukes are the same people who said the same thing about Iraq."
And they are right. Again.


Re: "Of course, we now know that the Iraq hawks were disastrously wrong about both the need to fight a war and how long and costly that war would be."
Not "of course". You are simply wrong. And Bush stated from the beginning this would be a long haul. Now you're just makin' stuff up.

So it does matter, on a "going forward" basis, who has been right and who has been wrong on foreign policy.
I agree. And the isolationists were wrong about Hitler, wrong about Stalin, and wrong about the Middle East. They can be completely disregarded.

Pogo said...

Re: "...why are Syria and Iran on the top of the list to go get next? Are they a threat? ...they have little in common with the ideology that attacked us."
They have enough in common to hate the West. Don't miss the forest by describing different species of trees, or even differently-colored leaves.


Re: "Find the Wahhabi mullahs who to this day say things supportive of the ideology and produce their heads on pikes in the streets of Riyadh."
Easier said than done, I suppose. I agree it's a good idea. How do you propose we proceed with that, from where we are today?

Goesh said...

I'm with Shimmy! Why can't we just send the FBI into the Paki frontier, cow down them heavily armed tribesman with 3 piece suits, slap the irons on Binny and end the WOT? I note that in Yemen, 41 people were killed and 50 injured in a pre-election campaign rally stampede. It goes to show that principles still count for alot these days.

Cedarford said...

"I missed the speech last night, 40 Year Old Virgin was on cable and eventhough I voted for him, I hate to hear Bush make a speech."

I agree. Though I voted Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004 (CANNOT STAND KERRY!) - I hate listening to the guy. I hate listening to the guy so much that I hit the mute button when his wife's pervasive PSA mentoring ad comes on, just because she reminds me of Bush talking.

Doyle - " Not being a regular Malkin reader, I could use clarification on why American Muslims should have to apologize for 9/11."

Nice sly insertion of the phrase "HAVE TO APOLOGIZE". Of course we are not expecting ALL Muslims in the USA to line up for obligatory rote apologies every time Muslim terror happens here or abroad, or some Muslims here make incendary vile speeches - but we expect some group remorse as expressed through a few individuals. When a black man was dragged to death in Texas, we had many whites there express their total disgust with the actions of a few racists. Apologies or just expressions of "we're sorry" (our firm's plane crashes, our teacher misbehaved, our office didn't give proper service, a boy scout in our conference caused a fire) are actually common in America outside "oppressed" groups so locked into a sense of victim entitlement that they reject any apologies for anything.

A Muslim-American "manning up" and expressing regret for violence done to fellow Americans in his religions name is refreshing.

Fenrisulven said...
[Bush is just as bad as the Muslims in his attempt to force God on us all.]

Bush is forcing people to convert to Christianity at swordpoint? Did you for a moment even consider saying Bush is almost as bad? This is what I'm talking about when I say BDS has immunized Bush from legitimate criticism. The Left seems to just pull stuff out and toss it against the wall to see if it sticks. And then complain that no one takes them seriously...

Well stated, one of the core problems of the Left is they have lapsed so deep into theatrical hyperbole that they appear deranged to the average American who is not "tuned" into political activism.

Leaving the American people with an apparant choice of deciding whether to let corrupt corporatist Republicans or letting insane Leftist nuts with a hatred of most US institutions and actions from what they say on top of BDS run the country and control our nuclear weapons arsenal.

No, the average American is not worried that Leftist Democrats would use nukes. Just worried they would GIVE nukes to the Islamic terorrists to make the war "fairer" and "to hopefully deter the next Bush McHitlerburton".

Goesh said...

Shimmy, my wife who is a registered Democrat made me do that last post. She is gone shopping now and I think you would agree that I at least have the right to express my true feelings, wouldn't you? I know you have a sense of fair play, may I call you Shem instead? But the world can be real poopy when you believe God wants all non-muslims dead, so here goes:

"LGF and others are reporting a big fish al qaidah boss was taken alive on 9/11/06 in Afghanistan. Let him cry Hamdan when Afghani interrogators apply hot irons to his balls. "Welcome to the real war on terrorism, baby" they will tell him. Do you suppose some wag with the Black Ops boys will send a picture of it to Justice Roberts with those words as the caption? One can speculate, one can surmise, one can hope but one can Never Forget."
goesh | 09.12.06 - 10:22 am | #

Too Many Jims said...

Pogo: Saddam and (to a lesser extent) Syria do not have as their goal the establishment of a radical Islamic empire. They are secular pan-arabists. They use religion like Bill Clinton used his religion. Which is to say, to demonstrate that he was a "regular guy" even though they are otherwise hostile toward religion. Iran is a different case admittedly. Though their goal has always been regional influence and respect in light of their religious and ethnic differences with the other powers in the Middle East. I do not want to leave the impression that I think Iran is anything other than an enemy of the U.S. but it is a different kind of enemy tha Al Qaeda. The Sunni al qaeadaists want to come kill us here, there is far less evidence that Iran (either as a State actor nor as a sponsor of terrorist activities in the states) is sending people to carry out those missions.

Fenrisulven said...

/blogger ate my commnets twice in a row...sigh

Take down the fricking house of Saud! Find the Wahhabi mullahs who to this day say things supportive of the ideology and produce their heads on pikes in the streets of Riyadh.

If we take down the House of Saud now, they will be replaced by the Wahhabi mullahs. That would be much worse.

Also remember that the Saudi's use their reserves to keep the price of oil stable <--- thats key, because wildly flucuating prices would spin western economies out of control, Recession for America, Depression for Europe, followed by anarchy and chaos.

We are trapped by our own past policies re the Saudi's. We can't deal with them until we dispatch the more immediate threat. But I agree they should be on the list.

If Iraq grows into a vibrant and prosperous Democracy, what effect do you think it will have on the Saudi street?

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

My bottom line is this: we can't change them into us. They have an entirely different worldview based on submission (Islam) rather than on individual liberty. For them, virtue is defined as rigorous submission to a set of 7th century rules for living. This is so deeply woven into their societies that there is nothing we infidels can do to convince them to change. It is a fool's errand. But because we are so convinced in the rightness of our vision, we can't yet see that. But we will, in time, and many of us have already.

There is a false choice posited by people like Bush and Ralph Peters that goes something like this: we have to help them change to be like us, because the alternative is catastropic war and devastation. But those aren't the only two choices, nor are they the best. The third alternative is seaparation of ourselves from muslims and Islam, and quarantine of Islam in its part of the world until such time as it changes, if ever. Unfortunately, in our current predominantly liberal universalist political atmosphere, advocating separatism is seen as something nearly as unthinkable as genocide. The Israelis eventually came around to the need for separation, and built a wall which immediately ended the intifada. Sooner or later we will come to the same realization and quarantine muslims in the Middle East.

Joe said...

Ann, you said,
"And how does what happened on that "bright September morning" prove we need to remake the Middle East?"
In a nutshell - because we are less threatened by democratic societies than by totalitarian regimes.

J. Peden said...

"If no one reason (say, national defense) is good enough to stand on its own, it's probably not a very strong case." Doyle

The Bush Doctrine stands on its own. The Humanitarian approach stands on its own. The need to adhere to surrender agreements stands on its own. The fact of the Islamofascist threat stands on its own, and was even voted on positively in Congress.

Doyle, your rules for thinking do not work.

Btw, precedent also stands well: Bill Clinton attacked Iraq rather massively, along with the U.K., in 10/98 on the mere justification that Saddam was not complying with U.N. resolutions relating to Iraq's surrender agreements. He sent 300-400 Cruise missiles against suspected WMD sites, along with conducting 600 bombing missions. Clinton still defends his action. I supported it.

The Congress authorized Clinton's action. But he did not go to the U.N. at all. The U.N. did not censure Clinton's action, and did nothing further itself. The inspections did not resume until the one in late 2002, at which time Saddam was given an ultimatum by the U.N..

As previously, the U.N. has not defined the "serious consequences" it promised in return for Saddam's noncompliance - that is, if they are not what Congress authorized Bush to do. Nor has the U.N. acted in any way to censure the U.S.. The Mother of all Inspections has occurred.

The Bush Doctrine has been resoundingly successful, and no one on the Left has proposed any reasonable alternative.

shimmy said...

I said...

Ways To Win The War (that Bush did not mention) :
1. Arms control
2. Energy conservation & innovation
3. Cultural understanding & education
4. Fresh political dialogue

Fenrisulven said...

"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." - Hussein Massawi, Hezbollah

I reply: If Bush had done the things that I suggested, globally, at home, with the "enemy states", with "supporters" of the enemy, and put a truly competent administration behind vigorous international law enforcement -- and accepting that it's a dangerous world -- then how worried would you be right now about a guy like Hussein Massawi?

My dream is that the path I propose will marginalize and neuter men like him. Bush's dream is that war will.

Hmmm...

Too Many Jims said...

"If Iraq grows into a vibrant and prosperous Democracy, what effect do you think it will have on the Saudi street?"

That would (can I be optimistic and say "will"?) be great. But wishing it to be so will not make it come to pass. In my view, the administration's plans going into Iraq were based more on wishes than reality and that this view did not give the military all the resources and options it needed to deal with the situation appropriately.

Sloanasaurus said...

What about Nuclear Proliferation? Remember that both Kerry and Bush, in a unqiue moment, agreeed that nuclear proliferation was the most dangerous security threat to the United States. If this is so, then the Iraq war is an astounding success.

People often forget that before the Iraq war there were four countries on the terror list pursuing nuclear weapons. Now there are only two - Iran and North Korea. In the long run terrorism mixed with nukes is the nightmare scenario. That risk has been significantly reduced.

Saddam was the most dangerous of the four because he had complete totalitarian power over his state and had ulimited access to its oil wealth. In contrast, North Korea is an impovershied state, Iran is ruled by a committee, and Libya is in transition.

Even if Iraq descends into Civil war and emerges as three entities, it is virtually forever off the list of a WMD producing state and will never again create programs to pursue nukes.

And the argument that Saddam had been contained is Bull S*#t. Everyone knows that Saddam was ready and willing to restart his program the moment the sanctions were lifted.... and that was just a matter of time.

John said...

I just watched the WH press briefing and had to shake my head in wonderment. How anyone can deny that some (many?) in the MSM are not biased is beyond me.

Three "journalists" whined about, and questioned why the President gave a political speech last night, when they were promised that it wouldn't be! Tony Snow did his best to explain that the speech was NOT political, but the cry went out. He TALKED about IRAQ in an ELECTION year and it was linked to 911 because, - well because it was 9-11-2006!

An earlier post mentioned that the left are uncomfortable dealing with more than one issue or thought. This confirms it. Bush, and only Bush, LIED about Iraq. We are doing NOTHING else in the WOT because we are in IRAQ. And even though we are doing nothing else, they are all wrong anyway and IT'S BUSH'S FAULT. And now he gives a political speech during 911 and is only trying to get Republicans elected. He doesn't believe any of it. It's all about the election. Wah. Wah. Wah.

J. Peden said...

Mark, culture is not a heritable trait. Also, see the Japanese case, and that of the Slaves.

Quarantine - physical enclosure, +/-inspections, or economic and political sanctions - will not work. It is not possible in the real world, as it exists today, to make quarantine work.

Doyle said...

And the argument that Saddam had been contained is Bull S*#t.

Cheney made this argument in 2002. Sorry I don't have a link, but the clip was played on the last MTP.

What was he going to do without nukes or a formidable army?

Elizabeth said...

What is "fliberal"? What is the fliberal cult"? Can you write in English, and avoid the wingnut bloggerease?

Seven Machos said...

Doyle --

1. Does the United States need a formidable military force in the Middle East?

1a. If no, how will we get the oil to run our cars and light our hospitals?

1b. If yes, where are we to put it?

Robert Kaplan's article on North Korea is instructive. We have many thousands of soldiers in South Korea. Part of the reason is to protect South Korea. That is certainly the given, surface reason. But look beyond the surface. We have a huge military presence there for vastly more important geopolitical reasons. To keep China at bay. To keep Japan at bay. To make sure that we can influence what happens in that region.

The fact is: Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction. The left chose to buy into that small piece of rhetoric. And you cling to it. Like a tick. You cling to the superficial reasoning offered solely as the "cause of war." And yet you claim to be so much smarter than the right. Strange.

John said...

Doyle: "What was he going to do without nukes or a formidable army?"

I guess he would have seen the light, ended his brutality and given up his power by conducting true democratic elections and become the shining beacon of light of the Middle East and all the people of Iraq would rejoice!

Or, perhaps he would have diverted dollars to anti-American and Israel forces and terrorist groups so that they could conduct more deadly attacks that would eventually divert the attention of the world from him so he could re-establish a formidable army and resume a nuclear quest so that he could rule the Middle East as he saw fit.

One or the other. Who knows?

Pogo said...

Re: "What was he going to do without nukes or a formidable army?"

You have more confidence that Saddam wouldn't obtain nukes than most of the rest of the world could muster. That would have been fine if you were his psychologist, uging him to become a better man, but his history suggests otherwise. I wouldn't trust the man if he told me the sky was blue. He lied and lied repeatedly, to everyone. He bribed, hid weapons, cozied up to al Qaeda, and sheltered terrorists. He treid to kill an ex-President.

What does it take to get you riled up?
Blow up an NPR affiliate maybe?

Elizabeth: 'Fliberal' is new to me, too. I thought it was a typo at first. Can't for the life of me figure it out, except it's meant to be insulting in some way.

Maxine Weiss said...

When does American Idol start up again?

Peace, Maxine

Fenrisulven said...

put a truly competent administration behind vigorous international law enforcement -- and accepting that it's a dangerous world -- then how worried would you be right now about a guy like Hussein Massawi?

What are the odds that he would be released because we didn't read him his Miranda Rights or somesuch?

Or that we would pass on taking him into custody b/c we felt we couldn't make our case in court? [Osama]

How many Americans would be snatched to negotiate his release?[see Israel].

Sorry, but he's a terrorist, not a criminal. I would only be satisfied when he has a bullet in his brain.

My dream is that the path I propose will marginalize and neuter men like him. Bush's dream is that war will.

No, Bush's dream is yours, just more realistic. Spread liberty and democracy and prosperity through the ME. Free them from the Islamic Theocracy. Give the suicide bomber a reason to live. Reform his civilization or he will tear down yours.

Your dreams are so similar. Is there a specific reason you refuse to buy into his? Are you anti-war or pacifist?

J. Peden said...

Sammy, the U.N. would not even enforce its own imposed surrender agreements with Saddam. And how long did it take us to catch the Unabomber [about 9 years], or Claude Dallas, who was hiding out for two years in Paradise, Nevada, about 30 miles from Winnemucca, when the whole town had to have known he was there?

How could you get Osama, et al., without essentially conducting war - invading other Countries in the mix?

How do you achieve your energy goals without nuclear sources? It even takes nuclear energy to get enough hydrogen fuel, the new alleged savior of us all. Why hasn't even the American public altered its discretionary driving habits in the face of, and as a major cause of, increased gas prices - not to "dis" the oil cartel, "environmentalist" strictures on searching for, extracting and refining oil, along with the futures' markets also as big factors

How do you achieve World wealth and stability without the eventuation of societies dedicated to democratic capitalism? What else has worked?

How, then, will despots and terrorists come to simply wither away?

No, war is a necessary tool, certainly for self-defense purposes, and so that developed societies conferring individual rights can even exist.

Fenrisulven said...

When does American Idol start up again?

And is it approved under Sharia Law?

And what about Monday Night Football?

Freder Frederson said...

He bribed, hid weapons, cozied up to al Qaeda

Okay, of these three, even the president admits he only did one. And Cheney is sticking to the Al Qaeda connection only because he stubbornly refuses to read the report signed by Senator Pat Roberts that finally puts the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection myth to bed. (hasn't had a chance to read the report yet--he'll get to it sometime in 2009).

tjl said...

Shimmy proposes that we win the war with "Cultural understanding & education" and "Fresh political dialogue."

These are the methods that worked so well for Jimmy Carter when he tried to free the embassy hostages from the mullahs. No doubt they'll be just as effective on the current generation of Iranian theocrats and their Hezbollah clients.

Most of us are willing by now to believe Hezbollah etc. when they say they'll destroy us, but Shimmy prefers fond hope over experience.

Freeman Hunt said...

I looked up "fliberal" because I hadn't seen it before either.

Fliberal: Fake, non-Classical, Liberals

Sloanasaurus said...

"....The fact is: Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction...."

I disagree with this notion. Iraq was almost totally about WMC It is true, however, that Iraq was never about Saddam's current stockpiles of weapons. The true WMD was saddam himself and his regime and his obvious intent to continue to pursue nuclear weapons as a terrorist state. The current stockpiles were obviously maningless because we were willing to invade the country despite them. We would have never invaded if saddam hade nukes - we needed to get him before the nukes. Bush has made this point over and over.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Fliberal: Fake, non-Classical, Liberals

I thought it was Fun Liberals!

Fenrisulven said...

He bribed, hid weapons, cozied up to al Qaeda

Fred: Okay, of these three, even the president admits he only did one.

Wrong. Bush says he did all three.

And Cheney is sticking to the Al Qaeda connection only because he stubbornly refuses to read the report signed by Senator Pat Roberts

Wrong again. Cheney was on yesterday debunking that report. Don't get to cozy with it - coming soon: many errors that will embarrass anyone who embraces it. They even overlooked factual evidence of Al Queda > Iraq ties.

And before you raise the strawman, no is saying or has ever said that Iraq was linked with Al Queda to 9-11. Roberts really stepped in it and is going to look like an idiot. sigh.

Mary Mapes. Truthout. Reuters. Aren't you tired of getting burned?

Pastor_Jeff said...

I seem to recall something about the Tryant Formerly Known As President for Life giving large cash rewards to families of suicide bombers.

"Since Iraq upped its payments last month, 12 suicide bombers have successfully struck inside Israel, including one man who killed 25 Israelis, many of them elderly, as they sat down to a meal at a hotel to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. The families of three suicide bombers said they have recently received payments of $25,000."

No connection to terrorism here. Move along.

Doyle said...

They even overlooked factual evidence of Al Queda > Iraq ties.

Right. That would be totally in keeping with the Senate's anti-Bush motives.

Cheney didn't "debunk" the report as much as he claimed not to have seen it (as of Sunday).

Fritz said...

shimmy said...

Ways To Win The War (that Bush did not mention) :
1. Arms control
2. Energy conservation & innovation
3. Cultural understanding & education
4. Fresh political dialogue


1, 3, 4 require honest people. If they acted in good faith, there would be no need for tension. #2, when is our largest provider of oil, Canada, going to launch Jihad against the US?

Fenrisulven said...

Cheney didn't "debunk" the report as much as he claimed not to have seen it (as of Sunday).

As I said - yesterday, which was Monday.

But don't trust me. Go ahead an embrace it...

---

TONY JONES: The Senate committee report, which was released yesterday - in part, two chapters of a five-charter report - it concluded there were no links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Politically, the interesting thing about the release of this report was that two Republican senators voted to release it. It's incredibly embarrassing, if true, incredibly embarrassing to the President. So what is going on there?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, I don't think that's going to prove to be true. I've already read at least one very trenchant critique of this report. I think the Senate committee will deeply regret having issued such a half-baked and unfinished piece of work. It would be very difficult for me to do this on the air now with your audience, unless you gave me a great deal of time, but I can point out - I will be able to tell you now - that when you read the critiques of it, you'll find that the report spells people's names wrong, doesn't realise it's using the same name twice of a very important individual. Takes the word of the CIA on a very important subject where the agency just happens to have got it all wrong. You won't be quoting this report with quite the same - what shall I say - assurance in a couple of days. It's really disgraceful. I have to say it's really disgraceful that...

TONY JONES: The one direct quote the 'Washington Post' used from the report, straight from the CIA, says, "The Iraqi regime did not have a relationship, harbour or turn a blind eye towards Zarqawi and his associates."

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: That's flat out false.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1738468.htm

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/015248.php

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/015238.php

Fenrisulven said...

/edit - just realized I mixed my attribs on a 12:29 post. That should have been credited to Christopher Hitchens, not Steyn.

[Hitchens]"...we found out that we were at war, which was better than being at war and not knowing it, which was the case until five years and about five minutes ago. Until five years and five minutes ago, for example, we didn't know the name AQ Khan. We didn't know that Pakistan was being Talibanised from within, that there were al-Qaeda sympathisers in its nuclear program - and we weren't doing anything about that either. We didn't know, incidentally, that international black market of rogue states: North Korea, Libya and Iran, linked by AQ Khan and exchanging nuclear and other technologies, formed the corners of the box in which we thought had Saddam Hussein."

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/09/how-not-to-hunt-tiger.html

Doyle said...

Well if Hitchens doesn't believe the SIC report, and has read scathing critiques of it, then there must have been a connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.

You must admit: the vast international conspiracy to hide the evidence of an Iraq/Al Qaeda connection has been incredibly effective.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Freeman. I shoulda thought to do that. My first thought was of that old Disney movie, about Flubber. Jeff and I think alike: Fun and bouncy liberals.

Elizabeth said...

Can't for the life of me figure it out, except it's meant to be insulting in some way.

Pogo, you think so? I think the attempt went awry. I was too flummoxed to be insulted, then it just got funny.

By the way, for some reason I rarely am in a screenview where I see user icons. I love yours!

J. Peden said...

elizabeth, "Fliberal" = Faux or Fake Liberal, those who ignore the basis of Classical Liberalism - individual rationality, and the responsibility to use it - but still trade on the original meaning of the term "Liberal". It's a well known argumentative or propagandistic tactic to retain a name or term while changing its functional meaning to the opposite of the original meaning.

See, "diversity", for example, which now does not mean diversity, but Diversity, that is, only that amongst the universe of diversity which I say it is. Or take, "equality", or "tolerance, if you like, and see how the meanings have changed, while still alleging to retain their essential meanings.

One of the most glaring transformations among alleged Liberals is the one which converted Martin Luther King's ethic, to wit, that one should judge a person not on the basis of his or her color, but rather on the content of his or her character, to its opposite. See further, Multiculturalism, and dividing people by use of physical traits such as race and sex as an alleged way to judge their natures, or contents of their individual characters. Now bigotry and stereotyping prevails among "Liberals" and "Liberalism". Such has also become the essence of "identity politics".

Fliberals are, thus, groupists who simply adopt the "correct" positions on matters - positions which themselves end up to be only simple mantras or dogmatic sounds/noises or appearances. Groupists adopt these mantras or memes very simply because these noises and appearances are accepted by the group, either from a kind of acclaimation process - a rumor-like spreading of "correctness", or because the mantras are generated by an "esteemed" authority figure - usually a charismatic person, or one who has simply learned that a certain number of people will respond to the entrancing verbiage of "nuance" or catch phrases, and wants to garner the power involved.

Thus mantras are stated such as that "Iraq is Vietnam", or Bush's tax cuts are "for the rich", or that George Washington was a "terrorist", or that "It's all about the oil", etc.. In each such example, I find that no argument is made to back up the mantra. It's simply stated as fact without any support at all, and we Classical Liberals are supposed to disprove the mantra, into which no individual's rational thought has gone to begin with, at least if judged by those who repeat the mantras.

But as mantras, such memes of the dedicated groupists cannot possibly be disproven, especially since they appear to have come from no individual rational process to begin with. They just sound good to the susceptible groupist, and probably fill some subrational need, which I won't go into now.

But Faux Liberalism looks like a cult to me as much as does any other cult. It's divorced from reality and rationalism, and it doesn't care. It just repeats various, rather meaningless or untrue mantras. If you listen you will see that they are "a dime a dozen", and are asserted nearly every day by brilliant meme-generators who lead the cult, or who at least are trying to manipulate the cult members. Again, listen.

I used to be able to call myself a Liberal. It was the change in the functional meaning of the word, mainly into one involving gross bigotry and speech control, which really got my attention, some years ago.

Joe said...

Doyle, even assuming for argument's sake that al qaeda was NOT in Iraq pre-invasion, they sure as hell are there now. So you still advocate walking away from that?

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, J, for the detailed explanation. I think I go with "faux liberal" over "fliberal" just for dignity's sake. I find myself agreeing with some of your points, but detaching from the over-intensity of the "cult" analysis. I certainly wouldn't argue with your conclusion that liberalism as we know it today is not the classical liberalism of the past.

I eagerly await your analysis of the faux conservative cult, the weird devotion to authority, big government, big spending, and big privacy invasions. I don't think fconservative works as a catch-word though; if you say it too slowly it's downright obscene.

Doyle said...

They are there now, because if killing Americans is your game, it's the easiest place to do it. They've got 140,000 targets to choose from, and they're all wearing uniforms.

Remember that these Al Qaeda types are not so easy to target. It's not like they're all gathered on a particular stretch of desert or even in a particular building. This makes them hard to kill (and I am in favor of killing them, for the record).

I'm sure our forces have had some success killing them when they try to attack, but the basic question is this: Is our occupation of Iraq lessening (rather than growing) the number of fanatics who want to blow up Americans, or lessening their ability to do so?

I think on both counts the answer is at least no, and probably the opposite is true.

John said...

Elizabeth. I think fconservative pronounced slowly IS one of the memes J. was referring to in his post!

Fritz said...

Doyle,
We are not occupiers in Iraq. Coalition forces are controlled by the Iraqi defense ministry. Yes, Iraq has become the central front in the GWOT. OBL never thought we would last this long, like Ralph Peters says, this has become al Qaeda's Vietnam.

Troy said...

Madison Man... I won't read every post between this and yours to see if someone else has dealt with Bush's Christianity and his foreign policy.

Bush is a Methodist -- has been for most, if not all of his devout Christian life (since 40 I think). He grew up as an Episocopalian I believe, but didn't take his faith seriously or have a faith so to speak).

Some Christians have what theolgians call a dispensationalist view of the end-times which holds to a complex view (but think the Left Behind series or the old 1970s book The Late Great Planet Earth are vastly simplistic manifestations of this view). In a nutshell, in this view, Israel is still the Chosen People from the Old Testament and God is not done with them yet. Babylon in Revelation is seen literally.

I'm a Southern Baptist and have been for 30 years. Most Methodists I've met and read do not hold to this view of the end-times. Indeed -- I would estimate most evangelical Christians (and most Christians as a whole) do not hold to this view of the end times.

Christian haters like many on the left take the views of a few well-known Christians (Pat Robertson, Jery Falwell) and think we all think the same way. Very few Christians follow or give any money to these guys. They make for good TV, great exposes, etc. It's akin to smearing all lefties with Michael Moore-esque views -- and just as simplistic.

I haven't read a detailed view of his ideas on the apocalypse, but I would wager he has a view like the thousands of Christians I've known in my life. That view: the world will come to an end, I have no control over how or when, I'm going to try to live my life as Christ would have me to, and the rest will sort itself out. It sounds fatalistic to a non-Christian, but to one who believes the world works according to fundamental principles and a God "who is there" it makes perfect sense.

In other words -- Bush defends Israel because it is a democratic and strategic friend in a hotspot of the world, it is politically valuable for him to do so, and he believes it's the right thing to do because its neighbors want to see it destroyed. For a group who sees conspiracies and theocracies in every corner that's just too hard to believe.

I'm not denying that there are folks who say that we should protect Israel because of the Old testament, etc. In that sense an atheist like Heather Mac Donald (of City Journal) might have common cause with Pat Robertson in the defense of Israel though for different reasons. Or for that matter Alan Dershowitz and Jerry Falwell !!pmtzouvm

Doyle said...

We're no longer in control of U.S. forces in Iraq?

Look, Ma, no hands!

Fritz said...

Would the left be happy if 10,000 Americans died in a chemical attack during the Iraqi invasion? If our troops didn't have to endure a WMD attack, good. The real intel failure acronym IED. Why we are there doesn't matter, the fact is we are and the only goal of al qaeda is for the US to retreat.

Doyle said...

Why we are there doesn't matter

Aren't you at least curious?

And as for whether the left "would be happy if 10,000 Americans died in a chemical attack during the Iraqi invasion," I speak for the entire Left (f/k/a the Center), in saying no.

Cedarford said...

Referencing Mark's laying out a "separation option" between the rest of the world and Islam, J. Peden said...
Mark, culture is not a heritable trait. Also, see the Japanese case, and that of the Slaves.

Quarantine - physical enclosure, +/-inspections, or economic and political sanctions - will not work. It is not possible in the real world, as it exists today, to make quarantine work.


No, as much as the transnationalists and folks like Peden wish to pretend separation as a practice does not work or is "not possible in the real world", the 20th Century gives guidance and shows that separation works and is far preferable to mass slaughter up to genocide.

Besides the German and Japanese ethnics cleansed out of E Europe and nations in Japan's periphery, some 40 Muslim and African nations cleansed European settlers out after independence. In Algeria, over 2 million Frenchmen were booted as unwelcome infidels after the French declared they would leave. A pattern repeated in many other lands as persons of disfavored ethnicities and religions (mainly in Muslim countries) were declared persona non grata. The black Africans also got rid of East Asian Muslims are say to this day they are happy they did. Further separation of ethnic factions is happening today, much to the chagrin of those who have 2-5 passports and wanted "One World" of open borders.

Even in domestic life, here in America, we prefer physical separation from people we don't have much in common with or have concerns about. And that is natural and it works. Despite efforts of social engineers to "force" us together, we find away to get the distances or closeness we feel comfortable with.

With Muslims, if this is to be a long war, where Islam has largely forbidden other religions from it's sphere save in enclaves or a long-term tolerant nation like Syria...we have to look at the option of separation if other measures fail. Admitting Muslim assimilation failed would be a huge blow to multi-cultis, and the transnational elites would have partially justified fear that members of their own groups might be asked to leave nations if they are judged not connected to and harmful of the predominate culture. But:

1. Presently the social costs of having Muslims in countries outside the Ummah are significant.

2. The economic costs of Muslims outweighs their contributions, sad to say, when the huge new internal security costs incurred by Western nations from their presence is added to existing social welfare costs.

3. Separation would - despite how you felt about it otherwise, largely return us to a 9/10/2001 world where internal security and security around business and travel and infrastructure in "Muslim-free" nations would return the public to a far freer and less hassled and safer existence. And with less costs to each member of the public. The only place where extensive security would need to be emplaced would be with "contact points" with the Ummah or with nations outside the Ummah with a "radical Muslim problem". Flying between NYC and Miami would be like it was in 1996 vs. 2006.

***Separation would be extreme, but it is so common in history and so effective, if sometimes quite ugly in process and in sacrificing rights of the few for the many.....that if this is a long war and it gets worse - it can't be ruled out.***

Fritz said...

Doyle,
We can't go back. Unlike Democrats that want to, our troops deserve the support for the original decision. Those Democrats that voted for the Iraq resolution out of political convenience rather than principle, have shown an unseemly political motivation for sending troops into harms way. Our troops deserve better. I also take issue with those Americans that supported the mission but have soured out of impatience.

MadisonMan said...

Troy, thank you.

I thought I had read Bush was a Born Again Christian (whatever that means) -- and I took it to mean that he believed in the End Times dogma. But maybe that was fiction presented as fact. His own biography (at the WhiteHouse site) doesn't mention religion at all!

Freder Frederson said...

Would the left be happy if 10,000 Americans died in a chemical attack during the Iraqi invasion?

This of course is a ridiculous scenario. The best the Iraqis could have done, even if they hadn't destroyed their existing stockpiles, with their degraded stockpiles of battlefield weapons, would have been to slow our progress.

Our NBC detection and protection systems for our soldiers are pretty impressive, probably the best in the world. Remember, we expected the Soviets to use chemical and nuclear weapons. And if there was anything that the administration was almost certainly lying about, it is that they really believed that Saddam was actually producing new chemical weapons and had reconstituted his nuclear program. The rest I will give them a grudging benefit of the doubt on that they actually believed that Saddam still had his pre-1991 stockpiles.

Freder Frederson said...

Unlike Democrats that want to, our troops deserve the support for the original decision.

So that's it, once the decision is made you ride it to the bitter end even if it turns out to be a horrible mistake? Is there a point when we can stop? What if two years from now the situation hasn't changed at all? 1500 Iraqis and 50 Americans a month are still dying. Do we still keep plugging on because the original decision was made and to do otherwise would show a lack of support for the troops? How many tours do you think a soldier should be required to serve in Iraq?

Fritz said...

Freder,
It is not a ridicules scenario. Our troops were prepared for such attacks. If 10,000 had died in such an attack, the WMD argument would be replaced with something else that Bush failed. My proof; Our forward teams went ahead to secure WMD sites, what did Kerry complain about, Bush allowed conventional weapon sites to go unguarded. Like I said before, the greatest intel failure, IED. Saddam trained 10,000 bomb makers.

Freder Frederson said...

"...we found out that we were at war..."

Who is the "we" Hitchens is referring to. Maybe he was so drunk he didn't know. Maybe since 9/11, instead of being drunk 23 hours a day, he is only drunk 16 hours a day and is finally paying more attention to the world around him. So he thinks, in the arrogance and typical narcissism of an alcoholic who finds all the answers in the bottom of a bottle, all the magical things he has learned in the few hours of sobreity, and the boneheaded conclusions he has reaches once he settles down with his bottle, are new to the rest of the us. I certainly hope by "we" he doesn't mean the U.S. government. That would mean almost criminal negligence on their part.

Freder Frederson said...

My proof; Our forward teams went ahead to secure WMD sites

Oh no they didn't. And don't you even pretend they did. Even when Rumsfeld claimed we knew "exactly" where they were, we did nothing to secure them. And the "WMD sites" as you call them were one in the same as the conventional sites. We just rolled through them all.

There is no evidence that Saddam trained "10,000 bombmakers". That shit is just made up.

knoxgirl said...

F,
It goes without saying war is a long and difficult enterprise. You can't pull out as soon as it gets long and difficult! Well, you can, but you lose all credibility.

Why would anyone join the military if they feel the very people who helped send them to war will turn around and tell them: "Hey, you're taking to long to topple that government, help secure a new one and completely rebuild that country!"

Pulling out would set a very dangerous precedent, in the minds of our enemies and our soldiers.

Revenant said...

The fact that things are so bad is the reason why things are so good.

That's not how I parsed that statement. Since the goal is the establishment of a democratic state in Iraq, the measure of failure would be that establishing such a state is no longer possible. The fact that most Iraqis still favor such a state even after all they've been through IS strong evidence that we're not losing the war -- we can only lose if the *Iraqis* give up.

Freder Frederson said...

Our troops were prepared for such attacks. If 10,000 had died in such an attack

It is ridiculous to say that 10,000 would have died in such an attack. VX (sarin) as a battlefield weapon is mostly an exclusionary weapon. After the initial attack which can cause mass casulties in poorly trained troops without protective equipment (neither of which is applicable in the case of the U.S. military), it will keep you out of an area. Not only that there were serious questions about the stability of Saddam's VX. Apparently it was so unstable they had to complete the last step as they filled the shells to prevent degradation of the chemicals.

All the other weapons Saddam had were World War I chemical weapons which rarely caused mass casulties then, and are not going to cause them in a well trained, modern military with advanced detection and protective equipment.

John said...

FF: "There is no evidence that Saddam trained "10,000 bombmakers". That shit is just made up."

What shit is made up: the "10k" or that he "trained them"? And where is your evidence?

Me. I don't care if he trained 1 or 10k. He was a bad guy doing bad things to his own people and would have done anything he could to extend his reach to the US - through any means.

Fritz said...

Freder,
You are vested in defeat. Now that the DOW is going to be hitting all-time highs, no hurricanes, oxidized fuel controls coming off, speculators drowning in oil, November looks exciting. Gee, all Maliki needs is his Washington's defeat of the Hessians moment, and Iraq could quickly look promising. The Democrats are the party split in 1968 anti-American left, and they need to be marginalized once and for all. Moveon and Kos, good riddance.

SteveR said...

At least Q didn't cuss and call people names. sigh

Revenant said...

I thought I had read Bush was a Born Again Christian (whatever that means) -- and I took it to mean that he believed in the End Times dogma.

"Born again" basically just refers to making a conscious, informed decision to chose a Christian life over a non-Christian one (as opposed to just being "Christian" out of inertia because that's how you were raised).

tjl said...

Freder says Christopher Hitchens "instead of being drunk 23 hours a day, he is only drunk 16 hours a day."

Do you have any basis for this, Freder, other than your own malice? I doubt Hitchens shares his party schedule with you. In any case Hitchens is able to construct a logical argument -- maybe a few drinks would do you good.

Fenrisulven said...

They are there now, because if killing Americans is your game, it's the easiest place to do it.

Except that they are also targeting Iraqi's who cooperate/participate with the new government. Why do you think that is? The terrorists know a democratic Iraq is a lethal threat to them, even if you don't.

Freder Frederson said...

What shit is made up: the "10k" or that he "trained them"? And where is your evidence?

You made the wild assertions. I called you on it. You prove it.

When I make wild assertions, you can call bullshit on me and make me prove it.

Fenrisulven said...

Do you have any basis for this, Freder, other than your own malice?

Freder is just frothing b/c he is impotent when confronted with facts. Leave him to rot in his own hell.

Doyle said...

Fritz -

I am extremely disappointed in the Democrats who voted for the AUMF. I have no problem condemning them all the more to the extent they acted out of political self-preservation. I don't rep Russ Feingold for nothing, ya know.

But I have to take issue with this:

We can't go back. Unlike Democrats that want to, our troops deserve the support for the original decision.

What we owe our troops is our government's best judgment in deciding how they are deployed.

Regardless of what you consider the best course of action from this point onward, we have to evaluate the judgment of the incumbent government on the basis of the decisions they've made thus far.

That's how we go about making sure, as best we can, that the civilian leadership of the military is competent.

tjl said...

Freder throws out this challenge: "When I make wild assertions, you can call bullshit on me and make me prove it."

Please see the following on Hitchens:

"Do you have any basis for this, Freder, other than your own malice?"

Freder Frederson said...

Do you have any basis for this, Freder, other than your own malice?

Actually I do. When a man appears on National repeatedly television shows obviously drunk (most recently Late Night with Bill Maher) and is disheveled, hostile, and acts inappropriately and boorishly, he obviously has a serious drinking problem.

Now I realize I shouldn't make fun of him, since he needs help. But he is such an obnoxious drunk, and so wrong on so many levels, I can't help it.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder is just frothing b/c he is impotent when confronted with facts.

Facts? This entire thread has been entirely fact-free. Just a lot of macho talk and "stay the course" and the "left will cause us to lose". SSDD.

Fenrisulven said...

Ah no, its worse than that - its the plantation syndrome.

I posted the same quote at 12:29 PM, but Freder didn't touch it, because I [mistakenly] attributed it to Steyn. But when I corrected it at 3:00, giving Hitchen's the credit, Freder responded.

Steyn v Hitchens. The difference? Hitchens is a liberal democrat who has wandered off the plantation to support the war. That cannot be tolerated by the Left. He must be purged with extreme malice. Thats what set Freder off.

The rest of you Dems, be careful - nod vigorously and pretend to drink the kool-aide. Or you're likely to be next.

Fenrisulven said...

Freder: Facts? This entire thread has been entirely fact-free. Just a lot of macho talk and "stay the course" and the "left will cause us to lose". SSDD.

Yes siree *pretends to drink* whatever you say Freder Jones.

Doyle said...

On foreign policy, there's not a whole lot of difference between Steyn and Hitchens. They're both riding first class on the Neocon Express.

Steyn is just a bit more openly eliminationist in his rhetoric.

Fenrisulven said...

Regardless of what you consider the best course of action from this point onward, we have to evaluate the judgment of the incumbent government on the basis of the decisions they've made thus far. That's how we go about making sure, as best we can, that the civilian leadership of the military is competent.

Thats reasonable. But lets be careful not to repeat the same mistakes of Viet Nam - we don't want a bunch of wiz kids like Clarke playing cya games with our soldiers lives.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, I haven't seen the plantation metaphor since Hillary was piled on by the right for racial pandering, when she described the GOP-led congress as a plantation. Goose? Gander?

madawaskan said...

Doyle-

Regardless of what you consider the best course of action from this point onward, we have to evaluate the judgment of the incumbent government on the basis of the decisions they've made thus far.

That's how we go about making sure, as best we can, that the civilian leadership of the military is competent.


Well then we can go back to how the last Democrat leadership performed can't we and draw some logical conclusions from that?

Let's see -the bombing of Serbia.

Unlike Saddam-Milosevic did not invade a sovreign country, did not use weapons of mass destruction to massacre an ethnic group and did not ignore UN sanction after sanction.

Just how many UN sanctions did Holbrooke get out of the UN before Clinton prosecuted that war?

zero

As for the professionalism of the civilian leadership of the military-holy crap who did you guys 'gift' the military with?

Perry, Aspin-no tanks for Mogadishu, and Cohen....

Doyle-this isn't patheons of genuis that you liberals like to pretend/aspire to.

In comparison look at the qualifications of this undersecretary-and this guy is hands on-this is the kind of guy that Bush nominates and it puts the kind of nominations your "team" made to shame.

You really out to be embarrassed and we get the message of what people think of the military. {Keep your hands clean and cast judgement-noble.}

Undersecretary John G Grimes

Elizabeth said...

Hello again, Fen. I don't tend to buy into the Iraq-Vietnam parallels because there are too many differences b/w the wars, so we're in agreement there. But you make a reasonable point that we shouldn't repeat the mistakes of Vietnam. I'll add to your item the mistake of manipulating the death statistics to leverage public support. I don't want to be told that the murder tolls in Baghdad are down, as evidence that our security efforts there are more successful, only to find those figures don't include deaths from bombs, mortars, rockets and suicide bombings (that story's on msnbc.com today).

Aspasia M. said...

We even render detainees to Saudi Arabia and Egypt because they have denounced torture.

OOOhhh. . . never mind.


um. Indeed.

Its a reminder that our policy of supporting dictators to promote stability bit us in the ass. The House of Saud allowed Wahhabi Islam to promote hatred of the west because it kept the arab street from turning on them.

(raises eyebrow)

Egypt? (um, don't they have some civil rights and election and democracy issues there? What's that Islamic Brotherhood thing about?)

House of Saud? (uh? what is our policy, again, there? I hadn't realized that we no longer support Saudi Arabia's theocratic state.)

John said...

FF: "You made the wild assertions. I called you on it. You prove it."

Um. Actually I didn't make the assertions. That would be 'fritz'. I just returned your snarkiness because you seemed to need it.

As for Hitchens being drunk on Bill Maher, how else could the man put up with the self-absorbed wind bag also known as the host?

Aspasia M. said...

Hitchens is a liberal democrat who has wandered off the plantation to support the war.


Not your usual definition of liberal Democrat.

Old Dad said...

Doyle,

The "Neocon Express" does not exist. In fact, there are no "neocons," if by that term you mean those who share a political philosophy--one that can be credibly articulated.

I might surmise that you are a "liberal," or a "cut and runner," but I would be guessing and using sloppy terminology--same as you.

Troy said...

Madison Man -- "born again" is a tak eon a New Testament.

The MSM does a great disservice to Christians in this country. With very few exceptions Christians -- not nominal Christians, but those who take their faith seriously and with varying degrees of success I might add) are doctors, lawyers, poor people and people of all races and ethnicities. They are in fact, in many parts of the country -- the rule and not the excpetion. George Bush has more in common -- in a very fundamental way -- with Martin Luther King, Jr. (and Martin Luther for that matter!) than he does with a conservative that is not a Christian. We are not a monolithic bloc.

If you want to understand Bush's Methodism (and are not in the mood for proselytizing which I would never inflict on you) then read either works and sermons by John and Charles Wesley from the First Great Awakening or evangelical Christianity through CS Lewis' Mere Christianity which is his spiritual autobiography or Chesterton's Orthodoxy which is an apologetic from a Catholic (Christian brothers and sisters too) perspective.

There is a book by a guy named (Aiken or Aikman -- not the singer or the quarterback) about Bush's faith that I have and haven't read that got good reviews. Anyway.... The opinions on the end of the world run the gamut in the Christian world from "Revelation is literal." to "Revelation is a full allegory and describes events already fulfilled in the first century AD."

Aspasia M. said...

The critique of the phrase "neo-con" is funny -- especially in light of the new word "filiberal."

A "classic liberal" has a established understanding in American political philosphy. (Adam Smith, laissez faire, ect.)

I would suggest, instead of the term "filiberal" the use of a more precise term, such as "Keynesian Economics"? or perhaps "supporter of FDR style economic policies?" for a more casual term?

Neo-con is a word, often used to designate people who have turned away from what was casually called "realist" politics. (James Baker, ect.) Where realists tended to support stability in the middle east -- a neo-con is more likely to see "instability" as an "opportunity."

Doyle said...

John G. Grimes, eh?

So he worked for the White House, then the DoD, then he went to Raytheon before being brought back into the fold as DoD's CIO.

Couldn't you have found an example of bureaucratic "bench strength" that didn't also exemplify the porous border between the DoD and the defense industry?

Plus it seems thin otherwise. Why there is no mention of what he was doing until 1984. He doesn't appear to be a young man.

Some time must have passed between his graduate studies at [cough] Shippensburg University and his initial appointment.

madawaskan said...

Doyle-

Pup-asked YOU some questions-got any answers?

I didn't think so.

It's his military experience-FUNNY how that escaped you.

Doyle said...

Ah yes. There it is. "...following his military service in the Air Force." They don't dwell on it, do they?

Look, I'm not saying the guy is UNqualified. I just fail to see how his employment by the Defense Department even implies that U.S. foreign policy has been a success.

Revenant said...

On foreign policy, there's not a whole lot of difference between Steyn and Hitchens. They're both riding first class on the Neocon Express.

I love how "neocon" has replaced "fascist" as the term left-wingers use to mean "person I don't like".

Hitchens is not, by any definition of the term other than the above, a conservative -- neo or otherwise. Read his anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian articles sometime when you find yourself doubting that fact.

Doyle said...

The term I usually use for "person I don't like" is "asshole."

Neoconservative just applies to people who read Bill Kristol and think: Brilliant!

Old Dad said...

geoduck2,

I'm not sure if a critique of the usage of "neo-con" is funny or not. Truth be told, I think it's tedious. But we bandy it about as if it meant something.

I don't think Norman Podhoretz, perhaps, the most truly vetted neo-con alive, would agree with your redefinition.

Anyone who supports the war in Iraq is a "neo-con." Anyone who opposes it is a cut and run "liberal." Bullshit any way you parse it.

Old Dad said...

Doyle,

You said:

"The term I usually use for "person I don't like" is "asshole."

Neoconservative just applies to people who read Bill Kristol and think: Brilliant!"

Translation: "Asshole just applies to people who read Doyle's posts and think: Brilliant!"

Freder Frederson said...

George Bush has more in common -- in a very fundamental way -- with Martin Luther King, Jr. (and Martin Luther for that matter!) than he does with a conservative that is not a Christian.

I am sure MLK, a man devoted to non-violence and a virulent opponent of the Vietnam War (and if he were alive today, I am sure would be at the forefront of the opposition to this debacle in Iraq), is spinning in his grave at this comparison. MLK was a true Christian, not some pathetic faux-Christian who can't even find time to listen to the leadership of his own Church or worldwide religious leaders (e.g., the Pope) when they want to tell him that his warped concept of Christianity and just war is simply wrong.

Freeman Hunt said...

... not some pathetic faux-Christian who can't even find time to listen to the leadership of his own Church or worldwide religious leaders (e.g., the Pope)

Protestants are led by the Pope? Who knew...

Freder Frederson said...

Translation: "Asshole just applies to people who read Doyle's posts and think: Brilliant!

I knew it. Doyle tries to be polite, rarely stoops to crude language, and is always civil. His posts are well thought out and reasonable and hardly radical. Yet you still insult him.

MadisonMan said...

troy, as a former Episcopalian turned lapsed Catholic (we never discussed the end of the world), I'll say I've met and appreciated some truly Holy people. Really lived the Word. My lapsedness has to do with the Sex Scandal, and it really is a hole in my life that is going unfilled at the moment. Just as I'd love to see a Political Party that mirrored my views -- strong defense, sound fiscal policies, stay out of my bedroom and body -- I'd love to find a church community. Alas, no time for shopping. All I know is that I don't like Jesus By PowerPoint, which seems to be the rage in the larger non-denominational churches around town. I'm a sentimental fool for chants, censers, old stained glass and the organ at full throttle blasting out Lift High the Cross.

Derve said...

"or"


Two little letters.
So much meaning

Freder Frederson said...

Protestants are led by the Pope? Who knew...

President Bush expressed open admiration for Pope John Paul II numerous times (except of course when it came to the war or the death penalty--then he just turned a deaf ear). So don't be such a smartass.

the President absolutely refused to see the leadership of his own denomination prior to the war when they tried to present a letter to him that the war was unjust under the tenets of his very own denomination. Hardly makes him a "good" Methodist, does it? He wouldn't even discuss the issue with the leadership of his own Church.

MadisonMan said...

freder, I have to agree that MLKJr and GWB could find a whole lot to talk about in Christianity than could MLKJr and a non-Christian (or GWB and a non-Christian). So yes, they do have much in common that way.

There are many Christians I disagree with -- that doesn't make them less Christian. Thinking that way gets you to a Sunni/Shi'ite-type schism.

Bruce Hayden said...

Back to the reason not to cut and run.

The problem with pulling out of Iraq right now is that it is tied to 9/11. Not via Saddam, but rather, OBL. He apparently came to the belief that we were a paper tiger after we cut and ran before. Before we evicted the Taliban and al Qaeda (mostly) from Afganistan, he believed this, and repeated stated this, based on our actions in Somalia, Lebanon, Iran, etc.

So, the message that we would send to the militant portion of the Islamic world (as well as to other terrorist states like N. Korea) is just that - bloody us enough, and we will run back home.

Think of it as operant conditioning. If you reward an animal after a long period of no rewards, then they just get to expect that that is how long they have to wait the next time. In order to extinguish the behavior, you need to not reward the behavior until they are no longer seeking the reward (in this case, us leaving).

Freder Frederson said...

Thinking that way gets you to a Sunni/Shi'ite-type schism.

Or a Catholic/Protestant schism like they have in Northern Ireland? To pretend that Christian schisms, or terrorism, is a thing of the past is sheer fantasy. I'm sure if we stacked up the dead Catholics and Protestants killed in sectarian violence and put them next to the Sunnis and Shiites killed likewise throughout history, some years the Christian stack would be higher, some years the Muslim stack would be higher, and some years they would be about even.

Also, it has been less than ten years since Christians were slaughtering Muslims by the thousands in the Balkans. And no matter who started it, in Chechnya right now, Christian Russians are killing Muslim Chechens who want nothing more than to be independent from Russia.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

They aren't going to "put aside [their] differences." He said "our differences," but clearly he's going to stay in his position and defend it. So, essentially, that means: Stop disagreeing with me. And, yes, you can laugh at the irony: Freedom is so wonderful that you should shut up.

Cold. Nice analysis. However, he is talking as a liberal Republican which means, first and foremost, 'don't call people names (or treat them as if they deserve them).' He will respond to argument, pressure and, by his actions, admit that he is wrong, viz. Harriet Miers. He finds it hard to reason with people who say he 'lied' about WMD and miss the argument re: that again presented above in comments. So just for a fortnight, for starters, he would prefer Defenders of Liberalism say, not yell, that he "fudged" about WMD. There, don't we all feel better?

Bruce Hayden said...

MadisonMan

I don't think that MLK, Jr. and GWB could ever be friends or see eye to eye on this war. But their faiths are much closer together than those of the Shiites and the Sunnis. To some extent, the parallel might be better between Shiites/ Sunnis and Roman Catholics/ Protestants. I do it this way, because many Sunnis disgree with the Shiites because of their idolatry and don't accept their 12 Immans. I would think that a better comparison would be between Grand Aytollah Sistani and the Mullahs running Iran. Of course, if you go there, you also have to throw in the President of that country, who is probably more apocolypic than almost any of the most zeleous end-of-times Christains in that regard.

Doyle said...

Bruce -

So by staying in Iraq, we're conditioning Islamic fanatics not to attack us?

That has to be the corrolary argument if leaving would make an attack more likely, and it's hard to believe.

How are the fanatics in Indonesia, for example, "learning their lesson" by our staying in Iraq? Secondly, does this effect outweigh the less desirable one: that it is proof that we are bent on military control of the region.

Doyle said...

Clarification: the negative effect I'm referring to is merely the perception that we seek regional hegemony in the Middle East.

Old Dad said...

Freder,

Read more carefully. Doyle doesn't like assholes. Who does? He characterizes neocons as assholes. Fine. How is that civil? And while we're assessing relative civility, I note in one of your above posts that you have a problem with Christopher Hitchens, whom you most charitably characterize as a drunk, and go on to disparage alcoholics. How liberal, tolerant, inclusive, and pathetic.

Do you know Mr. Hitchens?

Aspasia M. said...

I'm not sure if a critique of the usage of "neo-con" is funny or not. Truth be told, I think it's tedious. But we bandy it about as if it meant something.

What is "fliberal"? What is the fliberal cult"? Can you write in English, and avoid the wingnut bloggerease?
2:00 PM, September 12, 2006



oh - i think a discussion of the term neo-con is quite useful.

I thought it was funny in the context of the earlier introduction of "fliberal."

----------
And no matter who started it, in Chechnya right now, Christian Russians are killing Muslim Chechens who want nothing more than to be independent from Russia.

Freder,

I like how you are historically specific about these different conflicts.

I used to think that the Bush admin, et. all was using the "War on Terror" in such a rhetorically sloppy way for political purposes.

Now I wonder if they do just lump in the many sects and conflicts in together? And if they listen to researchers who could explain the differences between what's going on in Baghdad, versus Hezbollah, versus Iran, versus Afghanistan, Sunnis vs. Shiites...

I wonder if the people with power in this administration understand Iran's relationship to Afghanistan and their interests in pacifying the Taliban forces, or Russia's relationship to Iran -- ect, ect. -

I've come to the conclusion that the thoughtful adults are not in charge.

Aspasia M. said...

RE: Civility?

Freder is just frothing b/c he is impotent when confronted with facts. Leave him to rot in his own hell.

5:21 PM, September 12, 2006


There's a difference between criticizing a public figure like Hitchens and writing "you disgust me" to someone who has commented on a thread.

One is a personal attack -- the other is an attack on a public figure who is not participating in this discussion.

Freder Frederson said...

How liberal, tolerant, inclusive, and pathetic.

Hey, I was defending Doyle. I never said I was upholding a high standard. I know I am down here wrestling with pigs. I expect to get dirty.

Freder Frederson said...

There's a difference between criticizing a public figure like Hitchens and writing "you disgust me" to someone who has commented on a thread.

Those who trivilize the sacrifices of our soldiers in Iraq (like claiming it is safer in Iraq than Philadelphia) while claiming to support them do disgust me.

Old Dad said...

Freder,

With friends like you, who needs enemies? You're defending Doyle, who doesn't like assholes, by being an asshole? Or pig? Of course, it's perfectly obvious that you're only acting like a pig, asshole, what ever, for perfectly liberal reasons--the defense of Doyle, who thinks that neocons are assholes.

So you're defending him why?

Aspasia M. said...

Old Dad,

On the critique of realism:

This is Bush - from a recent speech:

For decades, American policy sought to achieve peace in the Middle East by pursuing stability at the expense of liberty. The lack of freedom in that region helped create conditions where anger and resentment grew, and radicalism thrived, and terrorists found willing recruits. And we saw the consequences on September the 11th, when the terrorists brought death and destruction to our country. The policy wasn't working.

You can call it a "neo-con" critique, or you can call it a critique of realism from the right -- or give it your own label.

But the idea is to push change - and use instability as an opportunity. For example - invade Iraq and shift the power ballance in the middle east.

Or try to remove Hezzbollah through military force.

Shake up the ballance, as it stands -- to hopefully bring about nations more friendly to the US.

Of course "neo-Con" is a very unstable term. But this does seem to be the philosophy that Bush applies in his foreign policy.

(I disagree with this dismissive approach to stability.)

Freeman Hunt said...

President Bush expressed open admiration for Pope John Paul II numerous times (except of course when it came to the war or the death penalty--then he just turned a deaf ear). So don't be such a smartass.

Admiration doesn't make someone your religious leader, and the fact that you disagree politically with the leaders of your own denomination does not make you a bad Christian.

tcd said...

FF said, "And no matter who started it, in Chechnya right now, Christian Russians are killing Muslim Chechens who want nothing more than to be independent from Russia."
How soon you liberals forget atrocities committed by one of your pet "victim" groups, Muslim terrorists. Do you all suffer selective amnesia? It must be convenient to be able to erase historical events inconvenient to your worldview. Historical events like the Beslan massacre of schoolchildren by Arab and Chechen muslim terrorists, or the bombing of a Moscow subway station or the bombing of two Russian jetliners, all of which occurred in the span of one year, 2004. Death toll estimated at over 400 people from these 3 terror attacks.

Links to refresh your memories:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/08/opinion/main641946.shtml

http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2004/02/12/moscow_subway_bombing_death_toll_hits_41/

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/27/world/main639171.shtml

Aspasia M. said...

freder,

To be clear - I think you've been very tolerant of some ugly things that have been flung at you in the last few days.

In particular, Fenifulvin has been somebody who has flung a bunch of insults around. I haven't seen him around much here before the past few days. Usually things are a bit more civil. In the past few days we've had a lot of posts with very "poopy-head" kind of responses.

I understand your sentiments.

One thing that is kind of nice about this blog - is that while it leans to the right (no doubt about that!) - there have been political debates that didn't automatically degenerate into name-calling and personal insults. People could ask why they thought something in a thoughtful way - and get a response. I've been seeing that disappear in the last few days.

I don't know why - but I do think you and Doyle have been very patient with some very rude people. And I can't blame you for responding in kind.

It seems like this blog is beginning to turn into Red State blog where somebody can't state an opinion that is not conservative without being called a "big fat poopy head and Michael Moore is fat!!! so there."

My two cents.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Freder, the statistics comparing deaths in Philadelphia to deaths in Iraq do not in my mind trivialize the sacrifices or dangers of being in Iraq. They merely respond to the braying that the meme of the left 'Got to get out because of the destruction of human flesh' in Iraq ought, logically, to lead to similar abhorrence of Philadelphia. The unanswered question here is, 'What is so dangerous about Philadelphia?'

tcd said...

geoduck,
Calling someone a drunk without any actual proof of their drunkenness is OK? That's your idea of a legitimate criticism of someone?

Old Dad said...

geoduck2:

The old realpolitik regime failed in the Middle East--and it was a bipartisan failure. 9/11 happened.

The Bush Doctrine may be flawed, and it should be rigorously debated. We the people will have something to say about it in a month or so.

But the elephant has not yet left the room. The jihadists want us dead. I've yet to see a credible, data driven assessment of this threat. In the absence of good data, I think it's prudent to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The worst is very bad.

What do you propose that we do about an asymetrical attack with a dirty bomb?

Aspasia M. said...

The unanswered question here is, 'What is so dangerous about Philadelphia?'

Remember when those two crazy guys were sniping at people in the WA DC/ Virginia area?

How many people did they kill? Was it five? more? less? I don't remember.

But I do remember the hysteria. The violence was unpredictable. You couldn't control it. It was during the day - as you went to Target or to get gas for your car.

Now consider that happening, with snipers killing 15 at least 15 people a day in, say, Richmond or WA DC. And it went on for more then a year. Unpredictable, unexpected violence.

We'd be hysterical.

Aspasia M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aspasia M. said...

Calling someone a drunk without any actual proof of their drunkenness is OK? That's your idea of a legitimate criticism of someone?
There are different degrees of civility. And they are two different types of communiation and social practice.

Making fun of a public figure is in a different classification then making fun of somebody you are in dialogue with.

(See the Michael Moore fat jokes in the recent threads. I didn't find those jokes to be in good taste - However, that type of political insult is just not in the same range as personally insulting somebody on the thread. It's up to you, if you decide to go there. But surely you can see the practical social differences?)

Aspasia M. said...

Old Dady said:

What do you propose that we do about an asymetrical attack with a dirty bomb?

I just deleted a long post I wrote in response to this. My answer was sloppy and way too long.

It's a complicated question - here's my short answer.

1) excellent intelligence and investigative work.

2) Be real-politick where it helps us.

3) Pressure states like Egypt to become more democratic. (we give them money - use that influence)

4) Put a lot of time and resources into trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

5) Democracy is more then voting.

I do think democracy in the Middle East should be promoted and that it will lessen the influence and danger of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.

The simple act of voting is not democracy. Civil institutions are crucial to a democracy. In particular, the growth of institutions outside of religious organizations are important to the growth of secularism. These public institutions widen the public sphere - which, of course, is necessary to any democratic Republic.

A free press, a independent court system, protection from torture (human liberties), the growth of public spaces and free debate are all necessary in a democracy.

Human rights (liberties) are an essential part of our conception of democracy. (Our use of rendition to countries like Egypt to torture people is quite counter-productive to encouraging the growth of democracy in that country.)

Abraham said...

Geoduck: You do realise that Freder was the first person to say "You disgust me" to a fellow commenter in this thread, don't you? I'm honestly surprised you are defending that, and acting surprised that others might find that rude.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Ann Althouse said: "People given the choice will always choose freedom?...It's a serious question..."

It is a serious question. Is freedom what people really want? I believe they do, but I believe "want" and "choice" may be the wrong words.

Human beings are inherently free; freedom is inherent to being human. It's not that people want or choose freedom. They are free. They can no more choose to be free than they can choose to be human.

Slavery is a perversion. But it is an exterior state only. The soul of a human being cannot be enslaved.

Of course, people have the right to choose slavery. I suspect many people would choose a luxurious slavery over a hardscrabble freedom. But the choice itself would be an exercise in freedom.

But the question is no longer abstract. The unfreedom in a certain part of the world has revealed itself to pose a threat to our very existence. This clarifies things, because self-defense has nothing to do with philosophy.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Ann,

I apologize for butchering your quote. I just wanted to riff and those were the words I needed.

Aspasia M. said...

You do realise that Freder was the first person to say "You disgust me" to a fellow commenter in this thread, don't you? I'm honestly surprised you are defending that, and acting surprised that others might find that rude.

I didn't realize it when I wrote my first post. I thought the other fen - what's his name said it.

In the past few days I've seen comments that were much more personally insulting then usual. Haven't you all noticed this?

Aspasia M. said...

But if you all are enjoying that sort of verbal exchange - I'll butt out.

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