April 26, 2007

"Since some indeterminable hour between the final dousing of the pyre at The World Trade Center...."

"... and the breaking of what Sen. Barack Obama has aptly termed '9/11 fever,' it has been profoundly and disturbingly evident that we are at the center of one of history’s great ironies."

Does anyone serve up more horrendously muddled verbiage than Keith Olbermann? I mean if something is "profoundly and disturbingly evident" why is the hour "indeterminable"? Something is either clear or it's not. And must those dreadful metaphors also be mixed? A pyre and a fever are two different kinds of burning, so it's not clever to put them together, and the burning buildings of 9/11 are not an appropriate place to demonstrate cleverness, if in fact you were capable of it.

But, you say you've identified "one of history's great ironies"? (By the way, what are the great ironies of history? I've never seen that top 10 list.)
Only in this America of the early 21st century could it be true that the man who was president during the worst attack on our nation and the man who was the mayor of the city in which that attack principally unfolded would not only be absolved of any and all blame for the unreadiness of their own governments, but, moreover, would thereafter be branded heroes of those attacks.
Excuse me a minute. I just want to diagram that sentence. Or, class, the assignment is to rewrite that in English.

Oh, blah, I can't continue to reprint this blather. Let me summarize. He quotes Giuliani saying that America will be safer with a Republican President because the Democrats will take us into a defensive policy in the war on terror and that "we will have more losses and it will go on longer." Translating Rudy's pithy remarks, Olbermann manages to avoid verbosity. What Giuliani is really saying -- don't you know? -- is: "vote Democratic and die."

Olbermann's portentous zinger: "How ... dare ... you, sir?"

What I'd like to see is not all this ridiculous gasping about who is and who isn't a monster but a serious discussion about whether the presidential campaign is offering us a choice between an offensive and a defensive response to terrorism and, if it is, which we ought to prefer. But it seems we've all already formed emotional attachments to one side or the other. Or else we've tuned out politics for now. Whatever, I recommend tuning out Olbermann. What a gasbag.

ADDED: Kevin Drum has a better response to Giuliani's remarks and the lame comebacks from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:
Neither one of them took the chance to do what Rudy did: explain in a few short sentences why the country would be safer with a Democrat in the Oval Office. Is it really that hard? Giuliani's position is clear: more war, more domestic surveillance, more torture, and fewer civil liberties. And while it's true that the liberal position on making America secure is a little more complicated than the schoolyard version of foreign affairs beloved of Bush-era Republicans, it's not that complicated. So instead of complaining about how mean Giuliani is, why can't Obama and Clinton just tell us what they'd do?

Whining just reinforces the message that Democrats are wimps. The real way to be "hard hitting" is to explain why Giuliani is wrong and what Democrats would do instead — and why the average Joe and Jane would be safer and better off without guys like Giuliani bumbling recklessly around the globe leaving a stronger al-Qaeda and a weaker America in their wake. Until they do, Rudy and the Republicans are going to win every round of this fight.
I say that's better, but I hear in Drum's prose a contempt for the voter. Aw, it shouldn't take much to tip "the average Joe and Jane" the other way. Republican's fight incompetently, so fighting only makes things worse. Get it, you dummies?

158 comments:

B said...

"profoundly and disturbingly evident" . . .

. . . is actually a description of the moral bankruptcy of Keith Olberman.

The poor guy is suffering from delusions of relevance.

Wow Ann, you keep posting on pathetic losers on the political left this morning: Olberman, Reid, Hillary.

Surely there is someone on the left that can be inspiring . . .

George said...

The problem is no politician wants to articulate what the future may hold....

100 or 200 years of conflict with Islamist terrorists...

The possible failure of the Chinese state to satisfy the needs of 1 billion impoverished peasants...

A US housing bubble that's only starting to unwind and a greatly weakened industrial base...

Another looming Hezbollah (i.e. Iranian)--Israeli War....

It's easier just to babble.

B said...

And Kevin Drum said the words, "a stronger Al Queada"

Doesn't he read the papers?

The Drill SGT said...

Well you can sure tell that Oberman got his talking points from Howard Dean today :)

Tim said...

"whether the presidential campaign is offering us is a choice between an offensive and a defensive response to terrorism and, if it is, which we ought to prefer."

Yes, it is offering us a choice between fighting the war on offense or defense; no one wins a war fighting on defense, so the choice should be clear. As for Drum, one should notice that after telling us "the liberal position on making America secure is a little more complicated than the schoolyard version of foreign affairs beloved of Bush-era Republicans, it's not that complicated", he didn't bother to actually state how liberals would make America secure. I'm betting its because he cannot.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monkeyboy said...

the burning buildings of 9/11 are not an appropriate place to demonstrate cleverness, if in fact you were capable of it.


Better said than the anything in the complete works of Olberman.
What exactly is 911 fever and why is Sen. Obama in charge of letting us know when its over?

and more importantly, why does Blogger keep losing my password?

Sloanasaurus said...

Great post. I think Rudy is smart to frame to debate as offense vs. defense. Let us hope that a real debate continues about what to do about Islamic fascism. There is no doubt that the Democratic strategy is to put our resources into defense (we should inspect more containers, be less aggressive abroad, form more alliances...). There is no doubt that Bush has gone on almost total offense with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc).

So far there has been no attacks in 5 1/2 years. Why switch strategies?

Playing defense is a legitimate strategy. The problem is that it leads to two circumstances 1) it leads to fighting on your own ground and 2) giving the initiative to the enemy. In terrorism, initiative is everything.

Historically, playing defense usually leads to defeat. Defense should only be used when you don't have the resources to go on offense. We have the resources to go on offense and we should, which is why Rudy is right. We will be less safe under the Democrats because the Democrats will choose to fight the enemy in America rather than Iraq.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Roger said...

B: there is a piece in the most recent foreign affairs by Bruce Riedle that argues Al Queda has gotten stronger since 9/11 (primarily because the US failed to pursue in Afghanistan and got bogged down in Iraq.) My impression of it is that unless he is privy to a lot better intel than can be gleaned from open sources, its long on speculation and short on fact.

Fen said...

whether the presidential campaign is offering us is a choice between an offensive and a defensive response to terrorism and, if it is, which we ought to prefer.

Offense: Accomplish the mission in Iraq. Continue to kill Al Queda there and in Afganistan. Pre-emptive attacks on nation states that support terror networks. Removal of the leadership in Syria, Iran, North Korea.

Defense: Fortress America. A Police State that will have you pining for the good ole days of the Patriot Act. Rare instances of terror attacks on metropolitan centers - car bombs, ricin, sarin. Maybe some excessive radiation in LA.

As for Drum...he didn't bother to actually state how liberals would make America secure. I'm betting its because he cannot.

I noticed that too. For all his moaning and whining, Drum doesn't have a plan either.

Roger said...

To build on Sloan's post, it is instructive to look at the Democratic agenda for 2007; under the topic heading "real security," they propose:

"We will protect Americans at home and lead the world by telling the truth to our troops, our citizens and our allies. We believe in a strong national defense that is both tough and smart, recognizing that homeland security begins with hometown security.

Democrats have a plan that is comprehensive-- from repairing our military, to winning the war on terror, to protecting our homeland security, to ensuring success in Iraq and freeing America of its dependence on foreign oil--and it will finally prepare America for the security needs of the 21st Century. And we honor the sacrifices our troops, their families and veterans by making sure we take care of them when they come home.

Democrats are unwavering in our commitment to keep our nation safe. For Democrats, homeland security begins with hometown security. That's why we led the fight to create the Department of Homeland Security and continue to fight to ensure that our ports, nuclear and chemical plants, and other sensitive facilities are secured against attack and support increased funding for our first responders and programs like the COPS program so we keep our communities safe. We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."

Discounting the rhetorical excesses in the agenda, it appears that the Democratic strategy is, as Sloan points out, to play primarily defense at home; the agenda is strong on that aspect, and I have no problem with that part of it. How they intended to "ensure success in Iraq, is a bit more problematic. Repairing the military--which is stressed, imo, but not broken, could be achieved by taking them out of combat. (One point often overlooked, is that our military is also a learning organization and is learning, just like its opponents in Iraq, how to function in that environment.) There are a number of questions that do need to be fleshed out: (1) Is the war on terror valid at all? if so (2)who is the enemy? (3) will the US retain the patriot act or change it? (4) will we pursue the enemy abroad in coordination with allies or alone? (4) will we rremain in Afghanistan and shift resources there to track down OBL?

When a democratic candidate can start addressing those issues, they we as a nation will know a bit more about their strategy; until then, they will continue to mouth the platitudes that Obama and Clinton did in response to Guiliani's remarks.

For the record, I don't believe the democrats are "soft on terror." But at this point, their strategy can charitably be described as inchoate.

peter hoh said...

The first Democrat to frame the debate as between a smart offensive against terrorism and a failed offensive against terrorism wins. Provided, of course, that he or she can articulate a smart offensive against terrorism that looks different than the current mess.

And yes, I think the current approach is a mess. And I am hoping that Gen. Petraeus is successful -- but I'm still unclear how to understand what success in Iraq might look like. I wish the White House could articulate that.

Is al-Qaeda stronger today than it was 8 years ago? I don't know.

I don't think bin Laden's strategy relied on al-Qaeda getting stronger. He counted on his kind of terrorism going viral, and I think it has.

In Iraq, the terrorists are changing and adapting their tactics, and they have learned much from their protracted engagement with superior forces. This concerns me. The information that they've learned is something that cannot be contained.

I take no comfort in the fact that there have been no attacks on US soil since 9/11. (Of course, one has to ignore the anthrax incident, still unsolved, at least as far as I know.) I assume that al-Qaeda is not interested in small attacks, and in the past, they have demonstrated a certain amount of patience.

Finally, I am concerned about the stability of Pakistan. If that nation collapses, or Musharraf is replaced by a coup led by al-Qaeda sympathizers, well, then our interests will have been badly damaged. And if the only way Musharraf stays in power is by cracking down harder, well, that doesn't hemp much, either. Remember that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are our allies, and yet they have proved to be fertile ground for terror organizations.

Tim said...

"For the record, I don't believe the democrats are "soft on terror." But at this point, their strategy can charitably be described as inchoate."

Well, you're welcome to your opinion, of course, but no Democrat save for Lieberman comes remotely close to trying to make the case that terrorism should be fought as a war, let alone unilaterally. Dems consistently frame the response to terrorism in one of four ways: 1) we (the U.S.) are responsible, as are policies provoke terrorism; 2) acts of terrorism against the U.S. are crimes, not acts of war; 3) terrorism can ONLY be fought by law enforcement, multilateral diplomacy and the consent and support of international institutions and foreign governments; 4) funds and programs need to be prioritized for homeland security, first-responders and domestic law enforcement instead of the military and taking the fight to the enemy.

Dems want us to stop fight terrorists overseas and 'Save Darfur.'

I'd like to save Darfur too, but defeating al Qaeda is more important.

Sloanasaurus said...

Is al-Qaeda stronger today than it was 8 years ago? I don't know.
I don't think bin Laden's strategy relied on al-Qaeda getting stronger. He counted on his kind of terrorism going viral, and I think it has.


Al Qaeda is not stronger. They have lost most of their leadership. They hold no land our resources and they have no army. In 2001, one could argue that they had these things.

Bin Ladin's plan was for us to come to Afghanistan to fight him there just as the Russians did. Afghanistan is one of the best places to fight a guerrilla war in the world. Bin Ladin hoped that this new war of Jihad would attract muslims to come from all over the middle east to fight us in Afghanistan just as the Russian war attracted him to go to Afghanistan.

Bin Ladin hoped that he would defeat us in Afghanistan and that he would be left standing with a formidable army of followers and a lot of standing in the middle east. His ultimate goal was to use this army and support to take down the other middle eastern governments.

Bin Ladin's plans were all screwed up by our invasion of Iraq. Al Qaeda's change in tactics (killing muslim civilians) has doomed his popularity and the movement. We just need to stay there until its done.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Tim said...

"Finally, I am concerned about the stability of Pakistan. If that nation collapses, or Musharraf is replaced by a coup led by al-Qaeda sympathizers, well, then our interests will have been badly damaged."

So, you oppose the war in Afghanistan? Or do you think there was another way to fight that war without putting Musharraf and Pakistan at risk?

Please explain.

Roger said...

I suspect the war in Afghanistan has had the effect of prolonging Musharraf in power. It might be even more disastrous geopolitically for the US to pull out of Afghanistan than Iraq.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Dems consistently frame the response to terrorism in one of four ways:

Or as John Kerry famously stated, at least get terrorism reduced to a nuisance level like prostitution and illegal gambling.

But don't let anyone say they're soft on terrorism.

Fen said...

Or do you think there was another way to fight that war without putting Musharraf and Pakistan at risk?

I don't think we had much choice re the Afganistan front putting the Paki government in a precarious position. Bush should get some credit for walking that tightrope. Al Queda would gain control of approx 60 nukes with a successful coup.

MadisonMan said...

Al Qaeda is not stronger. They have lost most of their leadership.

True. Does their weakness translate into ineffectiveness, however, or has their structure changed from one with OBL running the show, to a more decentralized structure? Does the perceived lack of leadership hamper their goals? That's a question that I don't think we have an answer to.

Roger said...

MM: that is Riedel makes here in Foreign Affairs.

Roger said...

insert "the argument" after "is"

Mark said...

In fairness to Olbermann, do you really think he actually writes the columns that appear in his name or the stuff he reads on the air?

I think not. He is after all just another pretty face whose only talent is reading a teleprompter. Just ask Katie Couric.

Tim said...

"It might be even more disastrous geopolitically for the US to pull out of Afghanistan than Iraq."

I think both would be disastrous, albeit in different ways; I'm not sure the scale of disaster is estimable. Political will, perseverance and morale are more important than capability and materiel; the enemy clearly enjoys a decided advantage over us in that regard.

And for that we have no one to blame except those amongst us who shout from the rooftops our cause is unjust and our means evil.

peter hoh said...

Tim, no I don't oppose our presence in Afghanistan. I suspect we could have done more to keep the tribal areas in the border region more secure. Border security never seemed to be a concern for Rumsfeld. Get in, get out, and do it with a small footprint (relying on high technology) was the Rumsfeld plan. Unfortunately, we were given the job of nation building with a defense secretary who didn't believe in nation building.

We're dealing with an area of the world where tactical victories are not enough. Hezbollah got their butts kicked tactically last year, but they consider themselves victorious in their skirmish with Israel.

Now, Tim, explain why certain allies in the region are so good at producing terrorists.

peter hoh said...

Tim, you still want to blame those opposed to the war? C'mon, how about blaming the incompetent way it's been conducted. The American public were in support of this war, and thanks to Rumsfeld, were led to believe that it would be a fairly short engagement.

That, and the constant stream of "last throes" rhetoric from Cheney did more to sour US public opinion than anything Cindy Sheehan or her ilk ever said.

PatCA said...

I think we need Geraldo to search for the actual Democrat Plan. Drum is mum too.

So far it's shaping up to be the biggest mystery of the 21st century.

Palladian said...

Olbermann should stick to describing the little balls being struck by millionaires with hickory sticks.

Fen said...

The American public were in support of this war, and thanks to Rumsfeld, were led to believe that it would be a fairly short engagement.

Not sure where you get that from? Some off the cuff remark? Bush has been saying since day one that we would be in Iraq for a long time. I've been expecting at least a decade to move it from the Gap to the Core.

Too many jims said...

In general, I prefer offense to defense (well, except in football) and I suspect most Americans do. The problem politically, as I see it, for Republican presidential candidates is that to be successful in the general election they are going to have to be supportive of the Bush position that we need to play "offense" but at the same time be critical of the ineptitude and incompetence of this Administration's administration of the war.

Tim said...

"Now, Tim, explain why certain allies in the region are so good at producing terrorists."

Well, obviously, I don't have all the facts, but I'd start with five points: 1) "certain allies'" governments don't specifically produce terrorists; 2) most of these governments, for a variety of reasons, aren't especially stable or strong; 3) most of these governments are playing a "middle game," trying to balance outside demands with internal pressure from extremists, especially in light of extreme mal-distribution of power, wealth and economic opportunity; 4) as the U.S. has indicated, over and over again, it isn't committed to the cause, and is prepared to ditch any ally at any time if the next election requires it, these governments cover their risks; 5) the underlying religion and culture are extremely problematic.

What does it mean? In the long run, Bush and the neocons are right - we have to help modernize and democratize Arab and Islamic nations so they can accommodate themselves to the modern world so they don't respond to internal and external pressures by killing us. And if we fail, we'll have to kill them - or die. In the short run, we have to let them know by action terrorism will not be tolerated and the U.S. cannot be defeated and will not allow itself to be defeated. Right now the enemy thinks, with an assist from the Congressional majority, news media and opinion leaders, we haven't the will to sustain the fight.

John Kindley said...

"What I'd like to see is not all this ridiculous gasping about who is and who isn't a monster but a serious discussion about whether the presidential campaign is offering us is a choice between an offensive and a defensive response to terrorism and, if it is, which we ought to prefer."

I recommend as a classic answer to this question Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler's "War is a Racket," written in 1935 and available in its relatively short entirety on the internet. At the time he wrote this, Smedley was a recently retired Marine who had twice been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Mark said...

What a lame criticism of Olbermann and Drum.

Olbermann said exactly what needed to be said; I wish Democrats were more willing to adopt his style.

I note that again, as usual, neither Ann nor most commenters discuss the substance of the opposing side's comments.

The whole debate about offense versus defense is ridiculous because no sane Democrat proposes a defensive war against terrorists. On the contrary, Democrats propose to end the distraction from the war with terrorists (meddling into the civil war in Iraq which flames anti-americanism everywhere) and focus on fighting terrorists.

Roger said...

Mark--up thread I looked at the Democratic agenda and posed some questions I had about it--I would genuinely appreciate your views on those questions because frankly, I havent seen a lot of specifics. The material I quote is from the 2007 Democratic Congressional Agenda.

peter hoh said...

Within the Pentagon, in the lead up to the war, Rumsfeld told his advisors that he didn't want then planning for an occupation.

At the start of the war in Iraq, Rumsfeld stated (for public consumption) that it would be a matter of weeks, not months. When it was apparent that we were facing an insurgency, Rumsfeld publicly denounced such talk.

Here's a citation, http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=1900

When asked about deployments of reserve and national guard troops, in Feb 2003,
We don't talk about deployments in the specific, but we have brought a good many Guard and Reserve on active duty. Fortunately, a great many of them were volunteers. We have been able to have relatively few stop losses. There are some currently, particularly in the Army, but relatively few in the Navy and the Air Force. And it is not knowable if force will be used, but if it is to be used, it is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.

citation on my first point:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2006/09/11/BL2006091100257_pf.html

Was there sufficient planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion? Orin Kerr notes that "the Daily Press, a local paper in Hampton Roads, Virginia, has a fascinating and very troubling interview with Brigadier General Mark Scheid, commander of the Army Transportation Corps who was one of the early planners for the war in Iraq. Scheid is retiring from military service in a few weeks, and he spoke to the local paper in Virginia about Donald Rumsfeld's instructions for drafting plans for the invasion of Iraq.

" 'The secretary of defense continued to push on us . . . that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave,' Scheid said. 'We won't stay.' Scheid said the planners continued to try 'to write what was called Phase 4,' or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

"Even if the troops didn't stay, 'at least we have to plan for it,' Scheid said. 'I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that,' Scheid said. 'We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today. He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war.' "

Tim said...

"Tim, you still want to blame those opposed to the war? C'mon, how about blaming the incompetent way it's been conducted."

Your argument might resonate if there were a scintilla of evidence those who oppose the war devoted the slightest effort in supporting the war. There is, as you and all of us know, not a hint of intellectual energy devoted to how to win the war; or even honest, heart-felt support (save for Lieberman) on the necessity of winning the war.

The Dems have opposed this from the beginning, some of them only voting for it out of crude political calculation in October of 2002; they couldn't wait for the war to go bad and start blaming Bush.

One can disclaim how the war has been fought and blame those in charge without opposing the necessity to win. You do not have to be a copperhead. The Union took too long to defeat the South; but it was in the nation's interest to do so, and if Lincoln had listened to the defeatist, we'd all be worse off.

And so too with Iraq. There is no national interest, either tactical or strategic, in losing this war in Iraq. We clearly have the means to win; the enemy cannot defeat us on the battlefield. But he can, as we we've seen, defeat us in the halls of Congress; Reid and Pelosi and all their Democrat colleagues gladly give the enemy in Congress what he cannot get from our soldiers on the battlefield - victory. And too many Americans support that defeat as well.

May God spare all of us friends who promise to support us like the Democrats "support" the troops. I wouldn't wish that "support" upon my worst enemy.

Speaking of which, our enemy understand us better than we understand him or ourselves; he knows we are weak, irresolute, and seek the false comfort of our homes, willfully choosing to ignore the threat because the price of confronting it is too high and too painful.

Except, of course, if we fail to do so now, the price will only be higher and more painful. Pity for us the Dems, for all their self-proclaimed intelligence, cannot understand that, let alone articulate an alternative strategy - you know, the one Drum says is simple, but then fails to disclose; or Sen. Kerry's plan we're still waiting on since 2004...

peter hoh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk said...

"For Democrats, homeland security begins with hometown security. That's why we led the fight to create the Department of Homeland Security... [emphasis added]"

Hmm, given that the only direct experience people have with Homeland Security is pointless-but-intrusive security theater at airports, should the D's really be touting this so openly? Doesn't seem like a vote-getter to me.

Getting back to Olbermann for a moment: it's a common phenomenon that, even if you aren't clever or intelligent or wise, if you pile up enough big words into complicated, meandering sentences, lots of people will think you are. This approach certainly worked for Kerry! (Now by "worked" I of course don't mean "won the election for him", but rather that it got him a reputation for being thoughtful that is completely undeserved.)

Kirk said...

John Kindley, we're supposed to be impressed that Gen. Butler went off the deep end later in life?

Too many jims said...

Fen said...
The American public were in support of this war, and thanks to Rumsfeld, were led to believe that it would be a fairly short engagement.

Not sure where you get that from? Some off the cuff remark? Bush has been saying since day one that we would be in Iraq for a long time.


One of the biggest failings of this Administration, in my opinion, in this war is that the American people were never adequately prepared for what it would take to succeed in Iraq. As the commenter noted Rumsfeld made clear that he thought it would not be a long fight. Before the war started he said: "I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that." That was in November 2002. So perhaps Bush didn't ever say that it would be quick, but Rumsfeld and Cheney ("weeks, not months") certainly did.

Now, some will suggest that both Cheney and Rumsfeld were talking about how long it would take to subdue Iraqi forces and not to the subsequent occupation and insurgency periods. I think that nuance is lost on many people who started out supporting the war and who now do not support the operations.

Mark said...

Roger,

I'll try to answer your questions as I understand Democratic agenda to be.

(1) Is the war on terror valid at all?

Answer: The war on terror is a misnomer because terror is a tactic, not an ideology. This is recognized by most everyone, from British to Rumsfeld.
Valid in what sense? Of course, it's vital to be on attack and disrupt terrorists' plots, and be aggressive in forcefully fighting terrorists.

if so (2)who is the enemy?

See above. Enemies are Al Qaeda and other violent Islamic organizations.

(3) will the US retain the patriot act or change it?

It has both good and bad parts. The oversight needs to be enhanced given the terrible record of the incompetent Bush administration. The good parts of the Act need to be retained.


(4) will we pursue the enemy abroad in coordination with allies or alone?

Of course, in coordination as much as possible.


(4) will we rremain in Afghanistan and shift resources there to track down OBL?

Yes, it is vital for the US to make sure that Taliban does not become a ruler of Afghanistan again and Afghanistan doesn't turn into a failed state.

Roger said...

Mark--thanks

Joshua said...

Political will, perseverance and morale are more important than capability and materiel;

And there we have the conservative Green Lantern theory of the war on terrorism in a nutshell. Good for appealing to 14-year-old boys. Not good for much else.

peter hoh said...

Tim, I think the 2006 vote represented frustration with the administration, rather than a vote to withdraw the troops. The Democrats continue to misread the American public, in my view. It was unfortunate that, last November, Americans were unable to vote for more competence in the war on terror.

I think the Virginia US Senate race was lost when Bush announced his confidence in Rumsfeld a week before the election. I believe that statement pushed a lot of pro-military folks in Virginia over the edge.

I wish those who support this war could be a little more critical of the way it's been conducted.

Roger said...

Mark--I think, BTW, yours is the kind of response that Kevin Drum would have liked to see from some of the democratic candidates--

Mike said...

Mark said: I note that again, as usual, neither Ann nor most commenters discuss the substance of the opposing side's comments.

The problem with commenting on the substance of the Democratic plan is that there is little substance.

Mark said: The whole debate about offense versus defense is ridiculous because no sane Democrat proposes a defensive war against terrorists.

Again, what exactly are they proposing? Not only are they against offense, they're against defense too. A real defense would emphasize surveillance and intelligence collection, but thet're against that. What they're for is giving more money to firemen and paramedics so we can deal better with the aftermath of an attack.

peter hoh said...

And none of my criticism of the way this war has been conducted should be read to mean that I support or make excuses for the abysmal rhetoric coming from the Democratic leadership.

Mark said...

Roger, I agree. I think Democrats should more clearly explain their positions on issues and speak in the terms most people would actually understand (and no, Ann, this is not contemptuous of voters. As Rove brilliantly recognized, most voters don't really understand the issues; what they do understand, however, is whether candidates can speak in their language. Part of Democrats' problem is that they often sound too smart, too sophisticated, too European).

Tim, where did you get the idea that Democrats are against surveillance and intelligence gathering? Please demonstrate with links. All sane Democrats support these tactics; however, they insist that they be performed legally and with oversight.

AJ Lynch said...

Wonder how much longer til the nutroots libs rush to defend Olbermann re Ann's post here?

Roost on the Moon said...

"What I'd like to see is not all this ridiculous gasping about who is and who isn't a monster but a serious discussion about whether the presidential campaign is offering us is a choice between an offensive and a defensive response to terrorism and, if it is, which we ought to prefer."

It doesn't look to likely, but gee-whiz I hope this happens. Given that the posts above this are concerned with whether our current situation is the fault of anti-war activists (!!!), I'm not holding out too much hope.

But here is an invitation for someone in Sloan's position to explain it. I don't understand the "offense is the best defense" strategy. I don't understand how offense is helping at all. Is the argument that we are somehow pinning down the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq? (Preventing them from leaving the warzone and keeping them too busy to plan further attacks?) Typed out, it looks absurd, but I'm not trying to be cute.

I don't believe that the occupation of Iraq helps prevent terrorism. But that might be just because I've never understood the argument. Can anyone explain it to me?

MadisonMan said...

It was unfortunate that, last November, Americans were unable to vote for more competence in the war on terror.

Boy, ain't that the truth. Competence in a bureacracy, alas, is extremely rare.

Darone said...

Tim, I think the 2006 vote represented frustration with the administration, rather than a vote to withdraw the troops. The Democrats continue to misread the American public, in my view.

Or maybe you and others on the right continue to misread the public. Every poll shows that the American people trust the Democrats on our strategy in going forward than Republicans, and you have had the "bully pulpit" to articulate your message for years now. The fact is that this stupid "offense v. defense" parallel that many of you speak of is only based in your right wing fantasies. Only on the right wing is "offense" solely bombing the crap out of people. Democrats like myself think that this bluster is short-sighted and stupid and typically doesn't resolve much.

An offense that we see is formed of using "soft power" techniques as well as your favorite war-making strategies. You empower your spy agencies to do a better job of seeking intelligence instead of kicking Arabic-speaking translators out, you talk even to your enemies to help in not just diplomacy but in learning more about your enemies to develop strategies to defeat them, you involve other countries to help you in intelligence gathering and look at effective strategies of using the military such as special forces when they might do a better job. This is what the Democrats are articulating and most non-hacks see this as a possibly more effective way than the current course that we are on.

Freder Frederson said...

Yes, it is offering us a choice between fighting the war on offense or defense; no one wins a war fighting on defense, so the choice should be clear.

Actually, World War I was won by fighting on the defense. Also, if you want to classify the Cold War as a real war (which the right just loves to do), it was also won by fighting on the defense.

While your point is generally true, it is also true that many wars have been lost because of reckless, ill-conceived, overreaching and poorly planned offensives. Napoleon in Russia, Port Arthur, The March 1918, offensive by the Germans in World War I. Even the Battle of the Bulge condemned Eastern Germany to occupation by the Russians, instead of the western allies,and all the bad consequences that entailed for both Germany and the world as a whole. The Iraq misadventure will join those debacles in the annals of military history.

ShadyCharacter said...

All you people blathering on about "incompetence" are so full of it. Even supporters of the war have started to make this claim, as an attempt to establish bona fides as they attempt to argue with lefties that we need to continue and win instead of conceding defeat. This is so freaking counter-productive. The lefties are not convinceable. They do not argue in good faith. They have a desired outcome, an American loss and humiliation, either based on extreme and irrational partisan hatred for Bush/republicans or run of the mill lefty hatred of kapitalist amerikkkaa. If you concede "incompetent" prosecution, they will simply take your concession and doggedly push for complete defeat. You're not building bridges, you're providing ammunition for their attack on American interests.

Bush's prosecution of the war is deemed "incompetent" against a baseline of what, exactly? What is the evidence of this incompetence? Is it the gobsmackingly low allied casualty rates compared to any past war? The failure to turn the armpit of the middle east from despotic tyranny to Switzerland on the Tigriss in 4 years?

peter hoh said...

Darone, it's been a while since anyone assumed that I am a right winger. I guess I've been sucked into the Althouse vortex.

Roger said...

Roost on the Moon: I am not speaking for Sloan, but just providing what I think are a couple of arguments that are both strategic and tactical. Strategic arguments, I think, assumes that at this point, terrorist activity flows directly from the Islamic world, and it is desirable to be located as close as possible; Strategically a presence in either Afghanistan, Iraq or both provides us leverage on the Iranians and the Syrians; an major US presence also signals our intent to fight an offensive rather than (however defined) a defensive strategy. rom the tactical standpoint there is the so-called fly paper argument that you pose (IMO, thats an ex post facto justification for a failure to plan post combat ops).

I think proponents of all arguments (so called defense versus offense) have to be explicit in defining terms. Defensive ops could mean law enforcement approaches, enhanced intelligence gathering or any number of things. Offensive operations could mean anything from outright military operations to "extraordinary renditions" or assassinations.

One final issue: Terrorism, as Mark rightly pointed out above, is a tactic; and as such, there is absolutely no way to prevent a determined enemy from carrying out an act of terrorism. The issue, it seems to me is what level of risk we can accept resulting from what approach we take to prevent terrorism.

Needless to say, these are my personal thoughts and totally unrelated to any "official" positions.

peter hoh said...

Shady, sorry 'bout ragging on the incompetence. How's this instead?

The Glorious Leader is the Bestest ever, and I look forward to supporting an occupation of Iraq that will last a generation. 4 more years? That's the slogan of wankers. My new slogan: 40 More Years!!

Mark said...

ShadyCharacter:

If you think that Bush administration has been competent in anything, you are living in Oz land. This is truly a moronically incompetent administration from the top on down. Have you read any of the books on the Iraq war? Have you lived in a bubble for the past 6 years?

And it's you who doesn't argue in good faith. I suspect you too realize that Bush has been extremely incompetent but because you are so blinded by your hatred of Americans (Democrats), you won't acknowledge it. Shame on you.

Mike said...

where did you get the idea that Democrats are against surveillance and intelligence gathering?

In the abstract, of course they're "for" it. But any actual program undertaken by this administration that they have expressed support for?

Intercepting calls into the U.S. from suspected terrorists: Can't do that.

Collecting records of phone numbers, unassociated with names or actual contents of the phone call: Can't do that.

Monitoring banking transactions to look for terrorist activity: Can't do that.

nick danger said...

Tim, where did you get the idea that Democrats are against surveillance and intelligence gathering?

Have any Democrats of stature criticized the Democrat-friendly New York Times for publishing the details of the SWIFT monitoring program, a program that was by all accounts effective, perfectly legal, and in cooperation with our allies?

Mark said...

Roger,

Your analysis is spot on.

I would only add that supporters of the Bush administration's foreign policies deliberately fudge and confuse the terms of the debate for political purposes (to paint Democrats as weak on the war).

Overall, you're exactly right that there's a balance between adapting a defensive, reactive posture to terrorist threats and blowing up every mosque where we think Islamists may plot the next attack. Noone is advocating either of these extremes. Most Democrats and most Americans now believe that the Bush's foreign policy has been short-sighted and therefore, has been counter-productive to US national interests and weakened the country.

Roger said...

Irrespective of the level of (in)competence of the current administration, the next administration, whether democrat or republican, is going to have some heavy lifting to do. It would behoove us a nation to be clear about how we plan to proceed. Terrorism isnt going away, Iran isnt going away, the Saudis remain perfidious etc. At some point we need to stop dealing in the past and looking toward the future because we WILL have a new administration in less than two years.

Troy said...

Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Sunday night ESPN Sportscenter....

Things can never stay pure can they?

Mark said...

Mike:

Again false.

Democrats did never say what you are accusing them of saying. They are FOR all of these programs if they are done legally and with oversight. Just because Bush administration comes up with an illegal program and Democrats are against it, doesn't mean that Democrats are against all surveillance, etc.
Blame Bush for coming up with illegal programs to begin with.

Seth said...

Summary of Ann:
I can't refute any of Olberman's comments, so instead I'll take potshots at his choice of words and phrasing. Ha ha, I'm so clever.

Mike said...

Wonder how much longer til the nutroots libs rush to defend Olbermann re Ann's post here?

I feel sorry for serious Democrats that Olbermann is one of their standard bearers.

Mark said...

Nick:

First, yes, some Democrats have criticized NY Times for publication of that program (i.e. Jane Herman of California).

But this is besides the point, politicians should refrain from stiffling free media. If NY Times did something illegal, prosecute it. If not, then let the reporters do their job.

As Bill Moyers' documentary demonstrated, our problem is not too inquisitive media, the problem is that media have been far too servile and far too willing to believe the administration.

Mindsteps said...

Professor Althouse shared:

Whatever, I recommend tuning out Olberman. What a gasbag.

From what I hear, Ms. Althouse, Mr. Olbermann speaks very highly of you.

peter hoh said...

Shady, here's my serious answer.

A call for competence is not an attempt to convince the 10 or 20 percent of the population that is rabidly anti-intervention.

The Americans in the middle matter, and they are giving up on something: this President, this war, or the way this President has been waging this war.

If supporters of the war insist on tying support for the war to blanket support of this President and his handling of the war, then the war is doomed.

Mark said...

Mike:

I feel sorry for Republicans that they will for a very long time be associated with Bush. I also feel sorry that their media allies are the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other lying hypocritical idiots.

Sydney Carton said...

Democrats focus on incompetence of the Administration because they don't have a plan to defeat the terrorists. I don't think their plan can fairly be characterized as "defensive." I think their plan amounts, basically, to passivity, if that can even be called a plan at all. More money for cops to pick up the bodies of people murdered in the next terrorist attack is not exactly a plan to fight terror.

Of course Bush has made mistakes. But he fights. That's the most important thing. He fights. Democrats will not fight. They don't believe in fighting. And hence, I think Rudy Guliani is 100% correct that Americans will be at greater risk under the Democrats.

Democrats would avoid the entire offense/defense issue entirely, because it is so fatal to them. That's why the Administration's mistakes are elevated into monstrous mistakes, when in perspective with other conflicts they don't seem so bad.

peter hoh said...

And one more thing, how can one support the surge without acknowledging that it represents a shift in the prosecution of this war? And implicit in that understanding is an admission that what went on before was not working.

I pray that the surge and the current counter-terrorism approach will work. I wish that it had begun several years ago.

Doyle said...

Intercepting calls into the U.S. from suspected terrorists: Can't do that.

Quit lying.

PatCA said...

Mark,
It is indeed smart and European to talk in generalities when discussing pragmatic policy needs--and look what that got Europe when they faced tyranny. I look at history and I see that we tried the soft, defensive, diplomatic way for 30 years and were served up 9/11--which would have been stopped by Clinton had he acted with force after the '93 attack. Remember too that we bailed out the smart, sophisticated Euros after they appeased themselves into Nazi servitude in 1939.

Changing the culture of the ME, IMO, by force if necessary is the only real alternative I've heard to tossing the odd Tomahawk or imposing sanctions or "dialogue" with insane megalomanics.

Note: telling voters they are not smart enough to understand your policies is self-defeating.

joe said...

Our military victory in Iraq was brilliant. The occupation since then, not so much. The people started to turn against this war (the vast middle, not the nutroot left who have always been against it) when it appeared that our troops had become mere targets going on patrols, instead of doing what they do best, actively fighting the enemy. This is why the change of tactics represented by the surge - reinforcements - has a chance to work, it lets the troops fight. But the Democrats can't support the troops, they are too invested in defeat, it is more important that we lose so their position is validated. Their only fear is that they may be blamed for failure.

Mike said...

Democrats did never say what you are accusing them of saying. They are FOR all of these programs if they are done legally and with oversight.

I didn't say that they SAID they were against the programs. That would be politically stupid. Of course they SAID what you just said. But, IMO, saying they're FOR it, just against the current implementation, is just convenient cover for their real concern; scoring political points. I'll come around to your point of view when the Democratically controlled Congress puts forth serious, vigorous intelligence/surveillance
programs (yes, with oversight)rather than just carping on those programs that have been tried.

Mark said...

Sydney:

You are just wrong about Democrats avoiding the debate and being passive. I challenge you to prove your words.

Just because Bush can "fight" and has the false image of a "macho" man doesn't mean that Democrats won't fight when needed.

We are not against all wars, we are against stupid wars. (c).

peter hoh said...

Patca, why stop at Clinton in '93? How about Lebanon in '83?

Mike said...

Mark: I was sincere when I said I feel sympathy for those who are stuck with Olbermann as a spokesman for issues they care about.

Der Hahn said...

Yes, it is vital for the US to make sure that Taliban does not become a ruler of Afghanistan again and Afghanistan doesn't turn into a failed state.

It's vital that a pile of rocks in the middle freakin' nowhere doesn't become a failed state, but who cares if the government of a large oil-rich state occupying a strategic location in the Mid-east goes south or comes under, say, Iranian control?

This is the reason I don't believe any anti-war types who claim to support action in Afghanistan. Pretty soon the brutal Afghan winter will come around again, and they be all for us bugging out of there, too.

Doyle said...

Oh my God. Peter, Sydney and Mike might crank out more dishonest or ill-informed garbage than any troika since Sloanasaurus, Fen and Pogo back in the glory days.

Bush is a miserable failure, and Rudy is a squirrelly little tyrant with delusions of grandeur.

Whether or not Keith likes to hear himself talk won't do anything to change that.

The Republican party isn't getting anywhere near the oval office for at least 12 years. You assholes had your standard-bearer, and he was the corrupt phony that half the country thought he was, and all but the fully brainwashed have finally come to realize it.

Enjoy the wilderness, you jackals.

Mark said...

Mike,
First, it is the province of the executive branch to conduct all these operations legally. I believe this can be done under present laws.

That said, the FISA law (surveillance) perhaps needs to be updated to better deal with new advances in technologies.

However, isn't it interesting that as soon as Democrats won, Bush abandoned its famed domestic surveillance program since it overnight became "compatible" with the FISA law?

And what basis do you have for suggesting that Democrats are against surveillance of terrorists? You seriously believe Democrats are that stupid or treasonous?

Nicholas said...

The first return in a google search for "great ironies of history" leads to a comment about how the chinese communist party makes a lot of money in real estate.

Mike said...

First, yes, some Democrats have criticized NY Times for publication of that program (i.e. Jane Herman of California).

And how well did that go over with her fellow Democrats?

Mark said...

Mike:

I was sincere too when I said about Bush, Limbaugh, and Hannity.
I believe history will judge them very harshly.

Mark said...

PatCa:

First, I expressly said that talking as they are too smart doesn't help Democrats.

Second, the lesson of the twentieth century is not that diplomacy should not be used, as you apparently believe. The lesson is that the foreign policy needs to be smart: fight when necessary, but don't fight stupid wars alienating your allies and inflaming anti-americanism throughout the globe. Democrats got this lesson, Republicans did not.

GeorgeH said...

Keith Olbermann was a sportscaster. He thinks he's the Grantland Rice of politics, glossing over the play by play to write blanc verse giving the mood or feeling of the entire game.

Too bad he hasn't Grantland Rice's talent. Pomposity isn't an adequate substitute.

Sloanasaurus said...

it is also true that many wars have been lost because of reckless, ill-conceived, overreaching and poorly planned offensives. Napoleon in Russia, Port Arthur, The March 1918, offensive by the Germans in World War I.

Except that these are not applicable comparisons. In those cases, the offensives were on a much greater scale with more to lose. If you want to compare the war in Iraq to a failed offensive it is better to compare it to individual battles such as the invasion or Peleliu or Cold Harbor. Both were setbacks in wars that we won. While I don't consider Iraq a Peleliu or a Cold Harbor, they are better comparisons than the Grand Armee's invasion of Russia.

If the Democrats want to stay on the offensive they should explain how. Some argue that we should pile all of the troops from Iraq into Afghanistan and go after Bin Ladin... except they never explain how we would supply them with no port of friendly neighbors.

So far the Dems have offered nothing but plans for defeat.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Mike said...

That said, the FISA law (surveillance) perhaps needs to be updated to better deal with new advances in technologies.

We agree, but what is Congress doing about that? Nothing that I'm aware of.

And what basis do you have for suggesting that Democrats are against surveillance of terrorists? You seriously believe Democrats are that stupid or treasonous?

I do sincerely believe that for most politicians their political future comes first, the country second. I further believe that, in the case of the Democrats, the policies which they must support to please their base endanger our future. The Democratic base is not treasonous for supporting the policies they do, they're just wrong.

Mike said...

I was sincere too when I said about Bush, Limbaugh, and Hannity.
I believe history will judge them very harshly.


I consider Hannity to be the rights Olbermann.

Monkeyboy said...

Roost;

Strategic Offensive does wins wars, and is the only thing that does. The most important thing it gives you is initiative. You get to decide when and where you fight and the enemy has to react to you. It makes planning easier because the Act-React-Counter-Act cycle starts with you, and you don't have to guess the enemy's action. Once inside his OODA Loop (observe, orient, Decide, Act) it becomes harder for them to create coherent operations.

Sydney Carton said...

Mike: "You are just wrong about Democrats avoiding the debate and being passive. I challenge you to prove your words."

I didn't mean to imply that they're avoiding the "debate." I do think, as a campaign tactic, they're correct to focus on the Administration's mistakes instead of talking about an offensive/defensive plan, because they have no plan and the mistakes make better sound bytes. Frankly, I don't care about a "debate." I want their answer, period, on what they're going to do to defeat the Islamofacists.

Mostly, what I've heard from them is passivity - more money for cops to pick up dead bodies from the next terrorist attack.

I do think that there is merit to the idea that Democrats (especially their supporters at MoveOn.org and dKos) are against surveilance of terrorists, since they seem to resist every possible manner of doing so and tend to delight when the NYT exposes these operations. I also think that it's fair to say that Democrats do not believe in fighting for America. Most liberals were against the invasion of Afghanistan.

Sydney Carton said...

My prior comments should've been addressed to "Mark", not "mike." Apologies.

Troy said...

Mike,

I actually agree somewhat with you on Hannity though I think he's a basically more decent guy than Olbermann. Hannity has turned shrill. Limbaugh does schtick -- he thinks he's correct, don't get me wrong, but he's never lost sight of the enteratinment focus of what he does for his audience. He's a professional radio guy.

Olbermann is a sports guy (he needs Dan Patrick bad to balance him out I fear) and is out of his depth. Hannity is also out of his depth often and seemingly parrots Repub talking points. His glee over Alec Baldwin's recent brouhaha was disgusting. It's one thing to lambast Baldwin over a bad act -- it's another to relish it. That's the Left's job.

Freder Frederson said...

If you want to compare the war in Iraq to a failed offensive it is better to compare it to individual battles such as the invasion or Peleliu or Cold Harbor.

The apex of the battle at Cold Harbor was twenty minutes in an otherwise effective offensive. And if anything, if Grant had brushed it off like he had all his other bloody days and pressed his advantage at Petersburg a few days later he could have wrapped up the war by the end of the summer. But by the time he got to Petersburg, he had finally lost his nerve which led to the long siege.

Bush has committed the entire Army to Iraq without adequately resupplying, rearming or reinforcing it. He has destroyed our ability to react to another crisis and this surge will break the Army if it continues beyond the end of the year. Yet he recklessly pretends he can fight this war while cutting taxes and never asking for any sacrifices from the American people.

Mike said...

Sydney said: "My prior comments should've been addressed to "Mark", not "mike." Apologies."

Accepted. I agree with everything in your 12:24 post.

Skip Intro said...

Profoundly disturbed is Olby to a T.
I liked him better when he was just
describing baseball games. Now he is
relentlessly stupid, smug, and highly
unfunny. He wants so desperately to
be significant that it's pathetic and
so are the three Countdown views in the US.

Revenant said...

By the way, what are the great ironies of history? I've never seen that top 10 list

I'm not sure what the list is, but the death of John Sedgwick has got to be on it.

clever name here said...

Gee, Ann, I don't know. I am a bit right of center politically, and I find I really like Kieth Olberman. Sometimes he is insightful, and sometimes sanctimonius - but I hang with law profs all day too and I find him well within the standard deviation.

The sentence you despaired of digramming had a few long dependent clauses, but the subject and verb (in the subjunctive!) weren't so hard to decipher.

Ok. Ironies of history is a bit hystrionic - but the first one that came to my mind was the US Constitution. You know, "cradle of modern democracy" resting up the sanctioning of slavery. Maybe that's Alanis Morisette's version of irony, and not true to its Greek etymology, but you get the point, right.

Or, how about forcing democracy on Iraq at gunpoint.

You have to admit, it is at least worth noting that Republicans are trotting out the "they will get you attacked" card, even though Republicans were at the helm on 9/11. I am not saying its causal, but the rhetoric of the Republicans begs for it.

Roger said...

Congrats to Ann for at least getting the quote of Guiliani right; Apparently the provenance of the Guiliani's "quote" is a bit muddled. See Tranto's Best of the Web today. Guiliani never mentions 9/11.

Sloanasaurus said...

Yet he recklessly pretends he can fight this war while cutting taxes and never asking for any sacrifices from the American people.

What is this??? Are you insane? blind? Ignorant? People are paying more taxes now than ever before. The federal government rakes in $500 billion nearly 20% more today than it did in 2001. That is an astounding increase. Bush may have cut rates in 2002, but taxes were not cut.

And you ask about sacrifice? The one thing Bush asked for was your patience in fighting this war. You are obviously not willing to give that, why should Bush rely on anything else from you.

Monkeyboy said...

Perhaps it would help if the left put out a list of those populations that do not want democracy but would have to be "forced" into it. Arabs of course, and probably Africans if the latest elections in Nigeria prove anything. I'm not sure about the Slavs or the Chinese.

That way we can fill in the small print todays Democrats have added to JFKs "Pay any Price" speech. (Not available in...)

aquariid said...

Ironic History:
When Brutus killed Caesar in order to preserve the Republic. When the French followed Napoleon in order to fulfill the goals of the revolution. When British commercial interests opposed Americans' representation in parliament in order to preserve their trade advantage. When America used the threat of military force to open up Japan to trade and modernization. When America went to war with Spain in order to be rid of the last vestiges of colonialism and ended up with its own colonial possessions, the Philippines and Guantanamo(still problematic!). When Harry Truman refused to support independence for French Indochina in order to insure French help in opposing communism. When Johnson escalated in Vietnam in order to preserve his political capital. When the Bush administration sought to form a global alliance by defining 9/11 as the result of a pan-Islamic terrorist conspiracy. When Israel supported the overthrow of Saddam in order to increase their own security and bring stability to the Middle East (this is ongoing and there is still hope).

Irony is when the result is not merely unintended consequences, but the exact opposite of what you sought to achieve. Hindsight is 20/20 and it is hard to criticize choices that appear to have been made in good faith (or desperation). Principles are more lasting than the self-interest of the moment, and courage is better than desperation.

What I want from a presidential candidate is sincerity, grim gravitas in the face of crisis, an ability to transcend partisan politics and special interests. I want a president wise enough to understand that Americans are conservative because we need security and stability in our lives, and that Americans are liberal because we can't enjoy the good things in life when we have misery sitting on our doorstep.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Sloan: the distinction between tax rates and tax revenues is often lost on some observers and most politicians.

Mike said...

Clever said: "Kieth Olberman ... I hang with law profs all day too and I find him well within the standard deviation."

Wow. Ann, can you confirm this?

SteveR said...

Hannity (and certainly not Limbaugh) makes no pretense of being anything but a right winger and in fact its the basis for his shoutfest on FNC with (proud and admitted liberal) Alan Colmes. They bring different people in and argue both sides.

Olbermann claims no bias and brings left leaning "newsmakers" (actually reporters and others within the echo chamber) on to discuss issues which are presented as anything but lefty talking points. So whatever he is, he's not honest and I'd say his production of solids and liquids in addition to gas makes him a full fledged A-hole.

Mark said...

Clever name:

No offense to Ann, but she has a history of making these types of comments (unfairly criticizing writing or speaking style) when she disagrees or has little/nothing substantive to say. Glenn Greenwald comes to mind.

I understand why right wingers and Ann don't like Olbermann: he fights back. But wait, don't they accuse Democrats of being too defensive?

Roost on the Moon said...

Monkeyboy said...
Strategic Offensive does wins wars, and is the only thing that does. The most important thing it gives you is initiative. You get to decide when and where you fight and the enemy has to react to you. It makes planning easier because the Act-React-Counter-Act cycle starts with you, and you don't have to guess the enemy's action. Once inside his OODA Loop (observe, orient, Decide, Act) it becomes harder for them to create coherent operations.


I understand “the best defense is a good offense” in general. And sure, I understand it as applied to anti-terrorist operations. You don’t wait for an attack, you pro-actively infiltrate and disrupt. Makes sense to me. In fact, everyone seems to agree on this stuff.
My confusion comes in with the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We hear the “BOiaGD rationale” all the time as a primary justification of our Iraq involvement, and I don’t see how it works toward the ends you have lain out. “You get to decide when and where you fight and the enemy has to react to you.” It’s a great aim, and needs to be what we’re trying to do, but when you aren’t dealing with a nation or even an army, I don’t see how military invasion/occupation helps at all. Nothing about our presence there is forcing a confrontation with terrorists. Anyone intent on committing acts of terrorism against the US can easily choose not to engage us in military struggle. That is, the war in Iraq does nothing to disrupt the OODA loop of a true terrorist. What would a terrorist planning to attack the U.S. be doing in Iraq now anyway? (That one was rhetorical.)

Roger said...
Terrorist activity flows directly from the Islamic world, and it is desirable to be located as close as possible;

But we already had bases in the region, so that can’t be it.
Strategically a presence in either Afghanistan, Iraq or both provides us leverage on the Iranians and the Syrians;
If it does, we don’t use it; we’re receiving no cooperation from either.
a major US presence also signals our intent to fight an offensive rather than (however defined) a defensive strategy.
I don’t believe we did it for its symbolic value. C’mon, you don’t either. In fact, I think every member of the current administration, all of their supporters, and all of their critics would nullify the symbolic content of the Iraq occupation if we could. There is no question that that is stoking international anti-Americanism.

Mark said...

Stever:

Olbermann is honest. He provides a refreshing breath in the talk show world dominated by shoutfests and pseudo-balanced shows like Hannity and Colmes (count the number of conservative guests and liberal guests on that show before you talk about it being balanced!).

Olbermann is a liberal and he doesn't hide it. His guests lean left, but so what? Until and unless you can respond to the substance of Olbermann's comments, your criticism will ring extremely hollow.

Mark said...

Sloan:

Why do you hate America and piss on our constitution?

That's just about at the level of your "argument."

Roger said...

Roost: you asked for reasons, and I provided some; I really dont give much of a damn if you like the answers or not. If you don't think the presence of 200K american troops is significantly greater in the region than prior to 9/11, not much else I can say. And I cited these as STRATEGIC considerations, not tactical. And precisely how do you know our presence hasnt had an effect on other mid eastern states? And I do believe my last point. In fact, it may be the most important.

Sloanasaurus said...

That's just about at the level of your "argument."

Agreed. My point was pretty juvenile. It's worthy of deletion.

Roger said...

Roost--sorry--I should flesh out my last point that you think I don't believe. I do NOT believe that was a reason for getting involved; it has however become a reason for not leaving. I take the position that the lessons OBL and others have learned from US actions in the mid east is Viet Nam, Lebanon, and Somalia. In short, we as a nation dont appear to be able stay in for the long haul, and that immediately means for the bad guys, they can bide their time. We would reinforce those lessons that OBL has already learned.

Roger said...

Roost--sorry--I should flesh out my last point that you think I don't believe. I do NOT believe that was a reason for getting involved; it has however become a reason for not leaving. I take the position that the lessons OBL and others have learned from US actions in the mid east is Viet Nam, Lebanon, and Somalia. In short, we as a nation dont appear to be able stay in for the long haul, and that immediately means for the bad guys, they can bide their time. We would reinforce those lessons that OBL has already learned.

Monkeyboy said...

Roost;

What Iraq adds to the offensive doctrine is that it places a US and coalition precense in the region, by attacking a region that the enemy sees as vital (geographically and regionally) it forces him to defend there rather than attack here (classic Sun Tzu actually.) A functioning democracy also puts him on the defensive with his message that a Taliban type theocracy is a better choice, when Arabs can see the benefits first hand.

Thats off the top of my head, the important thing is not Iraq, but that we went somewhere after Afghanistan, Iraq was the logical choice.

Thats my opinion.

Roost on the Moon said...

Roger,

I'm not attacking you, I appreciate you responding, I'm not even asking you to give a damn what I think. Just, if you want to discuss, lets discuss.

I didn't say that I don't believe we have more "troops" (ugh...) there, I said I don't understand how that is supposed to help prevent terrorism.

I don't doubt that our presence is noted and reacted to by the neighboring states, but if that helps us, it isn't clear how. They certainly aren't doing anything to help.

You think the most important reason to invade Iraq is to demonstrate that we are pro-active on terrorism? Seems kind of a high price to pay. Would invading more countries send an even stronger message?

Roost on the Moon said...

Alright, I did misunderstand, strike the final paragraph of my last post. As a reason for not leaving it makes more sense.

But we didn't invade Terrorism, we invaded Iraq. And eventually, we are going to need leave. And when we do, a Bin Laden tape will come out declaring that "He won." Which is nice for him, because it didn't cost him anything. He isn't commanding the militias we're fighting. He isn't planning all the suicide attacks. He has no vested interest in Iraq. Our presence there doesn't cripple him, it just gives him more zealots. (It "proves" that we're imperialist swine, or whatever.)

We aren't fighting terrorists in Iraq, we're fighting Iraqis. And they want us gone.

Roost on the Moon said...

And Monkeyboy,
it forces him to defend there rather than attack here (classic Sun Tzu actually.)

That's exactly what I don't get. How are we forcing anyone to defend? They aren't defending. They don't need to. They are hiding, they are planning.
We're getting nothing we don't already have. It costs us enormously, it costs them nothing, and they get an entire war-torn generation that hates America.

Sloanasaurus said...

the important thing is not Iraq, but that we went somewhere after Afghanistan, Iraq was the logical choice.

Agreed. In fact if I were a military planner and I wanted to fight the terrorists, Afghanistan would be the last place. It's too mountainous, there is no port to supply troops, the population is impovershied and has no resources, you could never get them to have a standing army to help you in any way. The country is surrounded everywhere by enemies or tentative allies (Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan). There are no groups in Afghanistan that were friendly with before the war there, etc...

In contrast, Iraq has resources to put into a standing army, it has a port where we can supply troops; we have allies there (the Kurds), its not surrounded on all sides by enemies, and it is more hospitable to our way of warfare than fighting in the mountains. Iraq is a much better place to fight.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

SteveR said...

Mark: I never used the word "balanced", only stated that it is advertised as left vs right.

If Olbermann has ever admitted to being a liberal and that his show is anything but left leaning, I've yet to see it. Not saying he hasn't but I think his misrepresentaion of facts, including his own orientation, makes the label dishonest, accurate for my purposes.

Yeah I can understand his appeal but I wouldn't want to admit I took it seriously as a source of news of information any more than I wouldn't want to say that my source of information was Michael Savage (cough cough)

ShadyCharacter said...

Again, supporters of the war, you are wasting your time "arguing" with the likes of Mark, Freder, etc...

Nothing you can say. No argument you can make. No fact you can muster. The question isn't one of changing their MINDS with argument and information, but exposing their MOTIVES, at the very least defeat for America in the service of partisan victory for the Democrats or, defeat for America as an end in itself.

Good arguments on the "incompetence" front guys. Yeppers, a change in strategy is a sure sign of incompetence. Because we all know three fundamental facts:

LEFTIST FACT ONE: A war is a set-piece, like a chess board. A static environment where circumstances don't change. Thus any change in strategy is evidence that the original strategy was INCOMPETENT, not merely better suited to a different phase of the conflict. [Ignore the defeat of Saddam's military and the breaking of the Taliban's regular forces. It didn't happen. And leftists weren't arguing that we were going to lose "scores of thousands of soldiers" in the seige of Baghdad, or to the brutal Afghan winters that stalled the Russians in the 80's...]

LEFTIST FACT TWO: A war is a zero sum game. Any decision made by a military commander is either wholly good or wholly bad (competent or incompetent). There is no such thing as the less bad of two options, only good and only bad. If an insurgency isn't put down immediately, that is evidence of incompetence. Soldiers killed in an IED attack? Incompetence. If something bad happens in a war, the only explanation is incompetence. Just ask any veteran and they'll tell you the same thing, right? War is a kabuki dance and if it's not going perfectly, then the only explanation is incompetence.

LEFTIST FACT THREE: Our goal posts have wheels and we're not afraid to move them! We'll tell you what a "perfect" war should look like. And if you meet those benchmarks (crickets, crickets) we'll tell you what a perfect war REALLY looks like...

SteveR said...

Also Mark, I have no interest in responding to the "substance" of Olbermann's comments and whether my criticism could be considered hollow.


Anyway from Wikipedia:

Keith Olbermann has responded to accusations of liberal bias by saying, "I'm not a liberal, I'm an American

ShadyCharacter said...

Here's a little thought exercise. Let's see if our house defeatists can describe what "winning" would look like. Let's take the wheels off the goal posts for just a second (don't worry, you can put them back on once we're done here) and get your description of the desired outcome of the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's see some specificity.

What would victory look like and what "competent" steps (you don't have to give all the steps, just give ONE of those easily identifiable steps Drum so inadvertently failed to provide) were taken to get us there?

Iraq - one year from now. Victory? Steps?

Iraq - five years from now. Victory? Steps?

Afghanistan - one year. Victory? Steps?

Afghanistan - five years. Victory? Steps?

The truth is, war is inherently messy and inherently complicated and inherently FUBAR. The whiny defeatists on this board and in congress are no more be able to distinguish between a competently waged war and an incompetently waged war than they are able to levitate.

The same holds true for the war supporters with their mealy-mouthed talk of "incompetence". By what measure? What baseline?

I'm sure I'll get some pretty convincing arguments by assertion. "The war has been incompetently waged. If you can't see that you're just blind or a Bush supporter. Etc..."

I'm guessing leftists have the same standards for judging competence that they have for setting strategy. They can't articulate it, but just trust them...

Mark said...

ShadyCharacter:

You are truly pathetic. When you have no arguments besides cheap political points, you accuse war opponents (that is, 60% of americans) of being intellectually dishonest. You are nothing but a coward.

Your substance ranges from extremely shallow to non-existent. You lie when you present so called "Leftist Facts"; get it: you lie. Liar.
No sane democrat subscribes to the "facts" that you presented.
They are beneath even responding to.

You cowardly smear all Democrats as defeatists; shame on you. You say that Democrats should define victory. Vice versa: YOU define victory. You cannot of course. Every person with brains knows that there are no good options in Iraq; there are bad options and there are worse options. We are in this terrible situation thanks to Bush, servile media, and people like you, who don't use their brains. The best possible outcome in Iraq will be withdrawal of most forces; letting civil war play out (it's bad but everything else is worse) and focus on destroying terrorists. It's Bush and his supporters who enabled him who are responsible for this situation.

Shame on you.

Roger said...

Roost--sorry to have been snippy; sometimes there are commenters who really arent interested in discussing. Here's my thought: I suspect the Iranians are capable of much more mischief in Iraq than they would be if we werent there. In other words our presence there serves a deterrent for even greater mischief and until the Iraqis get up and running we are serving as the cop on the beat.

The point was made about forcing them to fight there--while we may not be forcing all of them to fight there, I do believe we are forcing some of them to fight there In that sense we put them on the defensive a la Sun Tzu. I dont for a second think that OBL or AQ has any qualms about sacrificing young jihadis on their behalf; and those guys arent going away (the leadership); but I hope that eventually even fantatics will get tired of blowing themselves up.

As for fighting Iraqis--we are not fighting Iraquis; AQ is fighting iraqis sunni vs shia and I suspect that is really a dead end strategy as it, in Chairman Mao's words, deprives the foreigners of the sea in which to swim. My understanding is that the sunni tribal sheiks have turned against AQ and most importantly the number of intel tips is up. While many may believe the US is fighting Iraqis, I dont believe the Iraqis believe that; the polling data that I have read is simply contradictory on that point as far as I can tell.


Any way--sorry to be short; We frankly dont have many folks who are willing to really discuss rather than fling poo. your presence is welcome.

ShadyCharacter said...

So according to Mark, I'm -

1) pathetic (check)
2) a coward (check)
3) shallow (check)
4) I lie and am a Liar (check)
5) shameful (check)
6) a person who doesn't use his brains (check)
7) shame on me (check).

It's almost like I touched a nerve with the heretofore somewhat rational sounding Mark. Now let's parse the response, minus the ad hominem and see if he substantively responded to any points I raised.

Let's see what we've got here substance wise:
1) 60% of Americans are "war opponents" who I've just maligned - we've got an appeal to authority (and a false authority at that) - The figure's made up and the subject class is not defined. Is every "war opponent" pulling for an American defeat? No. Does that mean that specific war opponents like Mark and Harry Reid are not pulling for an American defeat (for whatever reason)? No.

2) No "sane democrat" subscribes to my Leftist War Facts. Well, that doesn't necessarily narrow down the applicability does it? ;) In fact, I don't think that any democrats/leftists "believe" any of these things. Merely that their arguments are premised on them being true. For Bush to be declared an incompetent by these armchair military historians, and for this war to be "lost" given the facts on the ground, all three of these points must be assumed true. What conclusion does the fact that none are true lead us to? What happens to our arguments if all the premises are unfounded? Don't they founder? I love the "They are beneath even responding to." following a quite spirited, if non-responsive, response!

3) Now I'm smearing "all democrats" as defeatists. See #1.

4) "no YOU define victory" - I'll take that as Mark's admission that he can't define "victory" because the very concept of Bush/America "winning" the war is both unfathomable and deeply discomforting. That'd be like rooting for the Nazi's or something! What do you know, that was my point all along!

Well, you asked for it, Mark. I'll define victory. Going forward in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next couple of decades, the incidence of terrorist attacks on civilians declines as a civil society slowly emerges and the ordinary Iraqis and Afghanis recognize their future lies in a modern democratic state.

HEY! We're on the road to victory today! How uncomfortable that must make you...

5) "The best possible outcome in Iraq will be withdrawal of most forces; letting civil war play out (it's bad but everything else is worse) and focus on destroying terrorists."

In a nutshell, we've already lost, we can't win. Let's let the backwards brown people kill each other like we did in Vietnam and Cambodia. I mean, jeez, at least in the 70's people pretended like they didn't know what would happen when we cut support for South Vietnam. Now these cold-blooded heartless lefties actually admit that a couple hundred thousand dead Iraqi's are the price we should pay to grab a US defeat from the jaws of victory...

Shame on me? Man, shame on YOU!

ShadyCharacter said...

So, all you war supportes who wasted part of your day trying to convince Mark to support the war, what was gained by conceding the "incompetently waged war" point? Mark's pulling for immediate surrender. You aren't going to change his mind, it's his MOTIVE you need to be concerned with.

Sloanasaurus said...

The Dems and the liberals now have the burden of proving that the war in Iraq has not prevented another attack on American soil. Bush argued that the war would help prevent attacks. So far there has not been another attack in 5 1/2 years... not even a car bomb. After 9-11 it was conventional wisdom that we would be attacked again soon. Bin Ladin said he was going to attack us again soon. Still no attacks. A lot of this has to do with the war in Iraq. If you say it doesn't prove that it doesn't

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

Pogo said...

Damn; ShadyCharacter made my entire day.

Mark, my son would just say Pwned!

Mark said...

ShadyCharacter,

I don't know why I am wasting my time debunking your smears. Obviously, it's YOUR mind which is already made up and is fire-proof to any facts or rational arguments. But here it goes.

"1) 60% of Americans are "war opponents" who I've just maligned - we've got an appeal to authority (and a false authority at that) - The figure's made up and the subject class is not defined. Is every "war opponent" pulling for an American defeat? No. Does that mean that specific war opponents like Mark and Harry Reid are not pulling for an American defeat (for whatever reason)? No."

Sorry, but it's crap. According to most polls (most recent is WS Journal/NBC), around 57% of Americans believe that military victory in Iraq is no longer achievable and want Democrats to have the upper hand in setting Iraq policy.
You attempting a sleight of hand by claiming that you never stated that all war opponents long for American defeat. But your very basis for this smear was the statement that Democrats are defeatist. Now, if 57% of Americans don't believe that military victory is possible, then it should automatically make them defeatists, and therefore, "pulling for American defeat" according to your logic.
If your point was that only SOME of these people are pulling for US defeat (like Reid and me!), then you provided no logical or factual support whatever.


2) No "sane democrat" subscribes to my Leftist War Facts. Well, that doesn't necessarily narrow down the applicability does it? ;) In fact, I don't think that any democrats/leftists "believe" any of these things. Merely that their arguments are premised on them being true. For Bush to be declared an incompetent by these armchair military historians, and for this war to be "lost" given the facts on the ground, all three of these points must be assumed true. What conclusion does the fact that none are true lead us to? What happens to our arguments if all the premises are unfounded? Don't they founder? I love the "They are beneath even responding to." following a quite spirited, if non-responsive, response!

False. Again, you create a straw man, accuse Democrats of believing in these straw man premises and then point out how absurd these straw man premises are.

I again repeat (calmly) that you are a liar because you know full well (unless you don't have any brains) that Democrats do not believe in these straw man premises. They are so ridiculously absurd.
But just in case you really do believe Democrats believe in them, no, Democrats don't believe that war is a zero sum game or that it's a static environment, or whatever else idiotic statements you came up with.
Even McCain believes that the war was extremely poorly executed; now that's some left winger!!


3) Now I'm smearing "all democrats" as defeatists. See #1.

Yes, you are. Falsely and cowardly smearing.



4) "no YOU define victory" - I'll take that as Mark's admission that he can't define "victory" because the very concept of Bush/America "winning" the war is both unfathomable and deeply discomforting. That'd be like rooting for the Nazi's or something! What do you know, that was my point all along!

Well, you asked for it, Mark. I'll define victory. Going forward in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next couple of decades, the incidence of terrorist attacks on civilians declines as a civil society slowly emerges and the ordinary Iraqis and Afghanis recognize their future lies in a modern democratic state.

HEY! We're on the road to victory today! How uncomfortable that must make you...



Dream on. At least you admitted that you would require US military presence there for at least 20 years. And what makes you think that Iraqis want to see us there for at least 20 years? Are you really that stupid to think that US troops in Iraq for 20 years won't radicalize Muslims even further? Have you not read any history books about civil wars?
You are extremely naive if you think that merely keeping US troops is all that's required for democracy to evolve. Thanks to the mindset like yours we are in the deep doo-doo.



5) "The best possible outcome in Iraq will be withdrawal of most forces; letting civil war play out (it's bad but everything else is worse) and focus on destroying terrorists."

In a nutshell, we've already lost, we can't win. Let's let the backwards brown people kill each other like we did in Vietnam and Cambodia. I mean, jeez, at least in the 70's people pretended like they didn't know what would happen when we cut support for South Vietnam. Now these cold-blooded heartless lefties actually admit that a couple hundred thousand dead Iraqi's are the price we should pay to grab a US defeat from the jaws of victory...


You really are something. Don't you understand, that Democrats are patriots, like other Americans, and it deeply hurts to see their country suffer. But it suffers thanks to fools like you, who engage in idiotic military adventures with naive hopes of bringing democracy with American troops into an artificial Muslim state such as Iraq.
Deaths of all those Iraqis if they happen once we leave, will be YOUR responsibility. It is you who is cold-hearted because you got us into this adventure without thinking through the consequences of the occupation.

And you have the gall to accuse us of being cold and heartless! Shame on you, again.

Mark said...

And you know, ShadyCharacter, I am questioning your motives now. This war has objectively weakened the US. You have been supporting this war from the start. Now, what was your motive in weakening the US? Why do you want to weaken it even further by staying in Iraq? Why do you hate our country? It really looks shady...

B said...

Mark,

This war has objectively weakened the US

Come again?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Just for fun...

For Iraq war supporters, a trip down memory lane with Tom Tomorrow, click here.

ShadyCharacter said...

Mark, this is getting fun, but I bet Ann's going to kick me off any second now for wasting her bandwidth.

Let’s begin. Numbers are so boring. I’m going with Letters this time:

A) "around 57% of Americans believe that military victory in Iraq is no longer achievable and want Democrats to have the upper hand in setting Iraq policy." So you’ve backed off of one made up number “60%” and replaced it with a more precise sounding made up number, “57%”. For future reference, it will sound even more truthy if you say 57.3% next time. You’ve sort of added a citation to like an actual poll, WSJ/NBC, but I guess putting a link in is a little too much effort. You then interpret the made up poll results by saying 57% of Americans want control of Iraq in democrat’s hands. It’s a lot easier to win arguments when you just make shit up, isn’t it?

B) And then we get to this gem: “Again, you create a straw man, accuse Democrats of believing in these straw man premises and then point out how absurd these straw man premises are.” I’ll simplify. THE POINT: Democrats don’t believe the Leftist War Facts, but their arguments are dependent on them being true. If the premises of their arguments about the war are false, consider that their conclusions might be as well. If it’s still too complicated have someone you trust read this section to you out loud. Sometimes that helps…

“I again repeat (calmly)” - I am CALM you lying liar who is cowardly telling lies with your not having any brains at all lying stinky face!

“But just in case you really do believe Democrats believe in them, no, Democrats don't believe that war is a zero sum game or that it's a static environment, or whatever else idiotic statements you came up with.” See THE POINT above.

C) “Falsely and cowardly smearing.” Remember Mark, “calmly” now… ;)

D) “At least you admitted that you would require US military presence there for at least 20 years… Have you not read any history books about civil wars?” 20 years actually sounds a little low. Let’s ask the Germans, the Japanese, the South Koreans and the South Vietnamese about whether they appreciate our continued presence after these many decades. Oh, wait, we should probably leave out the South Vietnamese as you leftists succeeded in abandoning them to the depredations of the North Vietnamese… Damn those history books, always undermining leftist talking points…

“You are extremely naive if you think that merely keeping US troops is all that's required for democracy to evolve.” Yeah, unlike those Japanese and South Korean people with no prior experience of democracy, we all know those lousy Arabs are just genetically predisposed to tyranny and medievalism…

E) “You really are something.” I know, I’m a lying liar, who cowardly smears with my lies.

“Don't you understand, that Democrats are patriots, like other Americans, and it deeply hurts to see their country suffer.” Yeah, I’m sure it really, really hurts them. Like an abusive husband – “Really honey, it hurts me more than it hurts you. If you just wouldn’t make me so crazy. You know I asked for pork chops, not meatloaf.”

“Deaths of all those Iraqis if they happen once we leave, will be YOUR responsibility.” Uh-huh. It’s not the people agitating that the Iraqis be abandoned to their fate (as you just advocated), it’s the people who argue against abandoning them to a civil war and unchecked sectarian violence. I’m willing to keep American troops there as long as it takes to avoid that disaster (not to mention the disaster of granting the Islamists the greatest victory EVER against the West), so when you and your ilk succeed in proving America faithless once more, it’ll be my fault for not stopping you.

Your “logic” makes my head spin. I had thought you were malicious, now I realize you’re just stupid.

B said...

Cyrus,

I'm an Iraq War supporter.

Your choice of punditry items s useless to me.

That all ya got?

Roost on the Moon said...

No worries about earlier, of course.

Here's my thought: I suspect the Iranians are capable of much more mischief in Iraq than they would be if we werent there. In other words our presence there serves a deterrent for even greater mischief and until the Iraqis get up and running we are serving as the cop on the beat.

I think we agree on this. Mischief is a little vague, but when we leave, they will definitely be arming Shi'ites.

The point was made about forcing them to fight there--while we may not be forcing all of them to fight there, I do believe we are forcing some of them to fight there In that sense we put them on the defensive a la Sun Tzu.

This is still the crux of our disagreement. People argue that we are putting terrorists on the defensive, but I don't understand how we are forcing any terrorists to the fight there. Any international terrorists operating in Iraq are choosing to do so. They have nothing to defend in Iraq. It's to their advantage to stir up trouble there, so they do. But this doesn't diminish their abilty to weigh their options. If they want to attack here, they will attack here. They certainly can fight us in Iraq, but it doesn't follow that they must.

Mark said...

Shady,

Don't be so lazy, and look up the latest poll here:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/WSJ070425_APRIL2007-poll.pdf

It's really not that hard to find it, if this link doesn't work.
This point showed that 55% think that victory is not possible and 56% want Democrats to have the upper way and to set a deadline.

"Democrats don’t believe the Leftist War Facts, but their arguments are dependent on them being true. If the premises of their arguments about the war are false, consider that their conclusions might be as well."

This is a lie, again (what a surprise!). Democratic arguments are not dependent on these idiotic premises being true, no matter how many times you say it. You provided ZERO support for your assertions. For example, how does Democratic argument for the end of war requires a belief that the war is a static environment, you liar?

"20 years actually sounds a little low. Let’s ask the Germans, the Japanese, the South Koreans and the South Vietnamese bla bla bla bla"

Your argument rests on a dubious assumption that situations in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and South Vietnam are analogous to the situation in Iraq. Moreover, they also rely on the assumption that had the US troops remained in South Vietnam, the things there would have turned out better.
You provided no support for either of these propositions. Further, it is much more likely that the presence of US troops inflames the civil war there.
"Economist", a right wing magazine, believes that it is quite possible that there is no better option than leaving. While they still suppport the surge, they are acutely aware that it may not work and US will have to leave. Are they treasonous too?
I differ with Economist in that I don't believe the surge has even 10% chance of success; but my analysis of the situation there is largely similar to Economist's analysis.


In any case, ALL of Bush's and warmongerers' predictions about the war turned out to be false, so why should we believe what they are saying now? Fool me once, etc.

You are very stupid if you believe that just by keeping US troops we can enable liberal democracy in Iraq. It will not. Maybe some day you'll understand that people who realize it don't root for US defeat; rather they root for the country, while you are doing everything you can to (unwillingly) weaken it.

ShadyCharacter said...

Mark, it's been a blast. It's evident you're too stupid to make any further back and forth worthwhile, so I'll leave you to stew in your bile (ugh, that's an ugly image).

Good luck with the defeatism / hate America thing.

With all due respect (hint, this is another jibe - ask someone to explain it to you),

Shady

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Shady,

Sorry, can't return the compliment.

It should become obvious to readers that you have no arguments besides your venomous smears. When I asked you to specifically show how Democrats' arguments are based on the premises that you said they were premised on, you ran away, as cowards do. Bye, shady Chickenhawk.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

b,

Well, as long as you're issuing an invitation...

1. Do you agree that jihadists are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion?

2. Do you agree that if this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide?

3. Do you agree that the notion "we fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" is nonsense and has already been proven wrong?

4. Do you agree that the Pentagon has significantly underreported the extent of the violence in Iraq?

5. Do you agree that US attention on Iraq has diverted important resources from Afghanistan?

b, let's see how you do on these questions before I give you more.

Roger said...

Roost: I am guessing we are pretty much on the same page--I dont know how many al queda fighters in Iraq--my only point would be that to the extent we have some there, they arent available to carry terrorism elsewhere. I simply cant quantify that past that.

ShadyCharacter said...

Mark, yes yes, I'm a chickenhawk who uses venemous smears. You do realize that's pretty much right up there with Harry Reid's "I'm not going to get into a name calling match with the administration's chief attack dog", right. No, you probably don't follow.

I'll explain. "Chickenhawk", is what they call a smear. You're accusing me of smearing you in the very same sentence you're using a slur to describe me.

I actually just came back to concede that your poll looks legit. How happy you must be that leftist defeatism from the MSM, not to mention Harry Reid and internet trolls such as yourself (now that's arguably a smear, though they say truth is an absolute defense), could be well on its way to achieving victory in Iraq.

And by victory, I obviously mean defeat for America and victory for America's enemies. No, I'm not calling Democrat's the enemies of America. If all it took were hatred of America and wanting to see it fail to be an enemy of America... oh, wait.

Finally, the left gets to relive their glory days after the fall of Saigon. The killing fields can't be too far behind! That'll show Bush!

Roger said...

Cyrus--I dont mind taking your questions
Question 1: havent got the remotest idea--I dont think we have a base line for knowing how many jihadists are where
Question 2: To the extent there are more jihadists world wide, I would expect the number of world wide attacks to increase
Question 3: nope--dont think it is wrong and we havent been attacked at home--if you have any evidence to the contrary, I'd like to see it--
Question 4: no; but I dont know what you consider to be violence. The Pentagon can comment on violence directed at US forces; the Iraqi government is sovereign there and is the reporter of record for iraqi on iraqi violence
Question 5: No, not at all

Well--theres my take on them--what are your thoughts?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Roger,

Thank you for your polite response. Here are my thoughts:

1. I took the premise for this question from the information in last year's NIE. It includes the statement:

"Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion."

2. Again, from the 2006 NIE:

"If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide."

3. In addition to the US taking the fight "over there," we've had a few allies join us. Unfortunately, the Spanish (March 11, 2004) and the British (July 7, 2005) have had attacks on the homeland. Here's what the Director General of MI-5 said about it:

“We judge that the conflict in Iraq has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism and will continue to have an impact in the long term. It has reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the West and motivated others who were not. Some jihadists who leave Iraq will play leading roles in recruiting and organising terrorist networks, sharing their skills and possibly conducting attacks. It is inevitable that some will come to the UK.”

This disproves the notion that "fighting them over there" keeps them from bringing the fight here.

4. The Iraq Study Group concluded that Pentagon significantly underreported the extent of the violence in Iraq (page 62).

5. The Iraq Study Group concluded that US attention on Iraq diverted important resources from Afghanistan (pages 28,30 and 41).

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Shady wrote:

Finally, the left gets to relive their glory days after the fall of Saigon.


No offense, but I think the talking points memo you're using tells you NOT to mention Vietnam when you talk about Iraq.

And about your "Democrats are enemies of America" song and dance...
I guess you don't know that a lot of Democrats fought in Vietnam and didn't come home. My uncle was one of them. You know, my family didn't consider those "glory days." Right now, in Afghanistan and Iraq, Democrats are fighting alongside Republicans and Independents Strangely, all refer to themselves simply as "Americans."

So if you don't mind, Shady, tone it down a bit. Thanks.

ShadyCharacter said...

"No offense, but I think the talking points memo you're using tells you NOT to mention Vietnam when you talk about Iraq."

Talking points memos must be your bag, they're certainly not mine.

"And about your "Democrats are enemies of America" song and dance...
I guess you don't know that a lot of Democrats fought in Vietnam and didn't come home."

That's really relevant. Because clearly I'm arguing that Democrats that died 40 years ago are among that subset of Democrats today that are pulling for an American defeat. So I can point to Republicans who died in the civil war as evidence... oh never mind. Arguing history with a leftist is about as useless as a hat full of busted assholes (google it).

"Right now, in Afghanistan and Iraq, Democrats are fighting alongside Republicans and Independents Strangely, all refer to themselves simply as "Americans."

If I was making an argument that all Democrats are defeatists, I guess you might be halfway to a point. But since I'm not, Whoop-de-dilly-doo. Liberman, for one, Ann Althouse, for another (hell, there's probably a couple more even) would be clear examples of Democrats who are not pulling for an American defeat.


I'll. Try. Going. Real. Slow.

Saigon/Vietnam. is. relevant. because. leftists. like. Harry Reid. and. Mark. and. yourself. that. argue. that. the. war. is. lost. and. we. should. surrender. and. leave. Iraq. to. face. unchecked. civil. war. with. massive. Iraqi. civilian. casualties. don't. seem. to. have. learned. anything. from. the. experience. of. Vietnam., where. we. cut. off. aid. to. the. South. and. as. a. result. millions. of. people. (albeit not white europeans, so apparently not that important to American leftists) died.

hdhouse said...

Awww you poor baby republicans. Olberman called you out and you don't have a dog that can hunt.

tell you what - I'll leave a big space here and instead of trying to figure out if Olberman was wrong about any part of it (he wasn't by the way..he was as one of your lifeless nabobs says "spot on"...why don't you just complete this sentence:

"Rudy Guliani will be the republican nominee because of ........................"

Mail your answer with a box top from a Crackerjack Box to

Rudy for President
3 Mean Dog Street at Kerick Way
Pompusass New York oh oh oh oh vey

Revenant said...

Awww you poor baby republicans. Olberman called you out and you don't have a dog that can hunt.

Being called out by Olberman is marginally more worrisome than being called out by you.

Does anyone watch the guy who hasn't already drunk his cool-aid? He's basically a left-wing Rush Limbaugh, only with a much smaller fanbase.

hdhouse said...

Well Revenant, apparently a lot of the rightwingfascists on this board watch him and after he set their hair on fire then have posting for several hours about how wrong he is and how right Bush is...now that is an argument from hell let me tell ya.

Good God, we even have that spittle Sloan giving lessons in military tactics - talk about something Patreus wants to hear! Haha. and now there emerges another moonbat shady character who seems to have taken a cup of stupidity from any number of the zealots on here and rolled some sort of psycho joint that blocked any of his synapses from firing.

What an amazing lot. Not an ounce of brains among them. "I've looked at my arguments and I find them good" lol. "I declare myself the winner".

Hats off to the idiots gentlemen. Hats off.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Shady,

You've officially hit rock bottom. Your "Democrats are pulling for a defeat" nonsense just goes to show that since you can't form an intelligent argument to support your position, you've chosen instead to try to smear anyone who disagrees with you.

Shady, this is what you wrote:

Finally, the left gets to relive their glory days after the fall of Saigon.

Why don't you show a little courage and explain why this doesn't

a) assert that liberals rejoiced after defeat in Vietnam; and
b) imply that liberals are hoping for defeat in Iraq?

I've seen your "Shady Shuffle" once now as you avoided responding substantively the first time around. Do you want to try one more time or are you worn out from dodging?

And by the way, Shady, if you're going to pretend that GOP support for a continued presence in Iraq is humanitarian, why haven't Republicans pushed for intervention in Darfur?

Roger said...

Cyrus--as I mentioned upthread somewhere, I have no doubts that terrorists can pretty much strike anywhere any time. Any predictions with respect to terrorist incidents within the NIE have a pretty good chance of coming true. There is no way that the US can defend the homeland with anything approaching full confidence. Too many borders, and we are a free society with almost complete freedom of movement.

With respect to the NIE, I dont personally put a lot of stock in it, in part because I know how it is written. Here's my concern with it as a basis for policy (and the NIE has been this way for 30 some odd years). The NIE, Director of National Intelligence nothwithstanding, represents a consensus document from the 13 or 14 agencies responsible for generating intelligence across at least three cabinent departments. It usually papers over significant difference with vague wording. It ends up being written in some part to cover the respective kiesters of all the agencies: so vague it could account for almost eventuality. It is, again IMO, the equivalent of an astrological forecast or the message inside a fortune cookie.

I know that doesnt address all the issues you raised eg; underreporting by the Pentagon, but with respect to the NIE, unless it has changed dramatically from my experience with it, is a really lousy basis for policy making.



Not that I have a better approach, BTW.

Roost on the Moon said...

Roger, I'm not sure we're on the same page yet...

Granting that our military might is being badly strained by Iraq, and that we have made a huge investment in resources (financial, human, and focus) that increases every day,

and granting that "my only point would be that to the extent we have some there, they arent available to carry terrorism elsewhere",

can we then agree that this war is an absurdly inefficient way to "fight terrorism"?

Roger said...

Roost: Agreed: the use of military forces to fight terrorism is tremendously inefficient and probably doomed to failure.

And I would agree with your point to the extent we are diverting resources to fight a military effort, those resources are not available to fight terrorism more directly. IMO, terrorism is better fought in the shadows by less than open means: assassinations, renditions, and extra-legal methods. Not consistent with our normal methods, but terrorism calls for a different type of response. Playing by the rules and trying to use major military forces to fight terrorism is indeed inefficient and is akin to using a sledge hammer as a fly swatter.

Contra the administration's rhetoric, I suggest our forces in Iraq have only a tangential role in fighting terrorism; they are serving other more geotstrategic purposes. To the extent that those who would come to Iraq to either learn or practice terrorism and get whacked in the process removes them from total pool of available terrorist. How many that is? I havent the remotest idea; but I suspect the number is more than one.

ShadyCharacter said...

Cyrus, I'd respond, but see my response above about hats full of busted of assholes.

Have a great morning!

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Roger,

I wasn't proposing the NIE as a basis for policy-making. I was suggesting that the consensus opinions therein are one way of judging the results of policy decisions and addressing problems. It seems to me that our policy needs to be flexible to adapt rapidly to changes in circumstance. This means we need regular policy review, and a willingness to admit mistakes and change course when advantageous. Unfortunately, when policy decisions are driven by electoral considerations, admitting mistakes and changing course seem fairly unlikely to happen.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

shady wrote:

Arguing history with a leftist is about as useless as a hat full of busted assholes (google it).


Yeah shady, I noticed that you used the expression incorrectly. Thanks for pointing out that fact for a second time.

When I asked you to "show a little courage" and respond, substantively to my question, I was fairly confident that you wouldn't be able to muster the small amount of courage required. In that sense, and in that sense only, you didn't disappoint.

Steve S said...

Rudy must have really struck a sensitive cord with dems. It’s been amusing to watch the apoplectic reactions from all quarters of the democrat party. From Olbermann’s iconoclastic and factually inaccurate rant to Obama’s “nuanced” statement I think it’s safe to say the dems have officially come unhinged. I find it amazing how frequently the dems revert to a defensive posture whenever their supposed patriotism is called into question either directly or indirectly as Giuliani did. Clearly, they are terrified of being portrayed as weak on security as well as on matters of foreign policy and must collectively understand how their ineffectual reactions to this war, Iran, N. Korea and other significant security issues impact people’s perception of their seriousness toward these very real threats. They must also realize how tenuous the stances they have taken are to their future success. Most of the front-runners have progressively shifted left in their positions on the war in order to mollify the leftist elements of their Party. Unfortunately for the dems, this is a strategy fraught with peril and is fragile at best. God forbid, there is another foreign policy conundrum that comes to fruition in the next 18 months, but if there is it will assuredly have a devastating impact on the democratic select’s standing with the electorate. Voters will rightly question the dems approach to national security and will ultimately view their policies incompatible to their individual security in this time of war.

They may, in the end, win the White House in ‘08, but it will not be because they offer any bold policies that will enhance our nation’s security. Rather, their victory will be rooted in a crossed fingers hope that nothing dramatic happens that will engender support for the Republican Party who have clearly demonstrated a willingness to fight this enemy head on. Ultimately, I prefer to take the fight to the enemy and, as Giuliani so amply pointed out, not revert to a defensive posture that waits for the attack to come to our shores where our wives, children, mothers and fathers will be the most vulnerable. If this makes the dems uneasy - good. We should call into question their ability to stomach this fight, because, too date, they have demonstrated a weak and incompetent approach to this protracted battle of incompatible ideologies.

Steve Standridge
www.rudysfirefighters.com