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October 31, 2003

LIBERAL HAWKS....Michael Totten, noting that Zell Miller, Roger Simon, and Cara Remal have endorsed President Bush, says this:

Democrats: You had better snap out of denial and get your act together fast. You are in so much trouble and you have no idea.

A DINO senator and two bloggers have endorsed Bush. I'm sure the DNC is quaking in its boots over this, Michael.

Seriously, though, my readers know that I'm moderately hawkish myself — certainly more hawkish than most of my commenters, as near as I can tell. But if you want to know why I don't have much time for the Christopher-Hitchens-disaffected-liberal schtick, here's the above mentioned Roger Simon talking about the Democratic candidates for president:

...here's why I think they're dangerous—they're acting like we're still in Vietnam when we're in a real war of civilizations.

Look, guys: if you think we ought to use military force to fight terrorism, I'm with you. But if you think we ought to use that same military force as part of a war of civilizations, count me out. Way, way out. That's not any kind of liberalism I'm familiar with.

And if you want to know why George Bush scares me — despite the fact that I wasn't wildly opposed to invading Iraq and very much hope that we can make the reconstruction work — it's because I'm afraid he agrees with Roger. He's too smart to say it, but I'm afraid it's there anyway.

And that's a brand of Kool-Aid I'm not drinking. You'll have to find yourselves another sucker for that particular poison.

Posted by Kevin Drum at October 31, 2003 11:58 AM | TrackBack


Comments

Right on, as always...

Posted by: Jesse at October 31, 2003 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

hear, hear

Posted by: ryan b at October 31, 2003 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Max Cleland voted in support of the Iraq War Resolution in October 2002. He was beat by a chickenhawk Republican. (assuming Diebold really did count the votes http://www.workersrighttovote.org/ )

Supporting this President on anything will get Democrats nowhere.

Posted by: Alice Marshall at October 31, 2003 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't know anything about Roger Simon or Cara Remal, but Zell Miller is a Republican who doesn't have the integrity to acknowledge it, and his endorsement of george bush is meaningless.

As for quaking in boots, the polls suggest that it's the republicans who should be worried: if george bush didn't have the mother of all campaign funds....

As for the "war of civilizations" trope, you've pretty much said it all, Kevin. 9/11 was a horrible day in american history, and it brought home that we'd largely neglected the threat of fundamentalist terrorism, but to turn that into a "war of civilizations" is the work of people who substitute sloganeering for thought.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I am in the same area as you Kevin on the hawkish view. But miller seems to be crossing the line into changing parties. I am one who misses the kind of leadership that Sam Nunn had and hope that his Daughter has all the right traits from her father. there was a good argument to go into iraq but the planning and run up was horrid and sad. my two cents, by the way the south is not our strong point anyway and I wonder if the democtate in name only applies the miller and the rest? There is more to leadership than using and falling for the Fear line. We live in a violent society on the whole. To us it is normal why should we be scared...?

Posted by: Davinci at October 31, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I know Roger. He does not think we are at war with Islamic civilization. Rather, he means that Islamofascists are at war with our civilization. And of course that is true. They say so themselves.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 31, 2003 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Oh michael, c'mon. Islamofascist is a somewhat useful piece of short-hand, because it's rather time-consuming to say "islamic fundamentalists who hate the modern world and the US as its leading exemplar as a violation of their reading of the Koran and who, in their most extreme number, advocate and practice violence against the US and other parts of the modern world," but that doesn't make it a real entity.

When the Weatherpeople, the Baader-Meinhof (i may be wrong on spelling), the Red Hand, and other extreme New Leftists practiced bombing and terrorism against the US, Germany, and Italy in the late '60s and '70s, they thought they were in a war of civilizations too, but that doesn't make it so.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we are involved in a war of civilizations.

The liberal hawks aren't seeking to kill all of the Arabs because they are brown and speak a strange language. We don't want to convert them to Christianity. Nor do we want to employ a strategy of genocice. And we realize, of course, that not all Muslims are the same.

But the converse isn't true. Our enemies really do hate democracy. They've said so. They hate our religious freedom. They hate the role of women in our society.

In short, they hate our civilization. But thier hatred isn't limited to the shouting of empty slogans and the publication of anti-Western editorials. Their hatred led to 9/11. They'd kill us all if it were within their power to do so.

The interesting thing about this war is that it involves a battle for hearts and minds.

The Islamofacists obvioulsy aren't going to win over our hearts and minds. None of us are interested in converting to fundamentalist Islam, and even if we were open to the idea, murdering 3,000 innocent people and forcing women to wear burquas pretty much destroyed any allure that fundamentalist Islam might have once had.

But we can win the hearts and minds of the Arab street. The people in the Islamic world are torn. If we can show them that democracy, tolerance, and modernity are a better way of life than dictatorship, theocracy, and hate, we will have won the war.

If this isn't a clash of civilizations, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I don't understand Vietnam, but didn't the Hawks of that period also see it as part of a "War of Civilizations" (Or Ideologies, which amounts to much the same thing)? Didn't many of them think the only solution to the battle between Communism and Capitalism was military? Didn't the end of the Cold War suggest there are other ways to win such "wars"?

Posted by: MDtoMN at October 31, 2003 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

This is a war of civilisations. But the vast majority of people both in the West and the Islamic world are party to neither 'civilisation' in question.

This is a case Islamofascists versus Christian Falangists. Whose theocracy is bigger!?

Count me out.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at October 31, 2003 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't a clash of civilizations. Its organized crime writ large.

Posted by: Rob at October 31, 2003 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Republican Motto:
Better leadership through fear.

I have a great idea. Let our Christian fundamentalist wackjobs go up against their Muslim fundamentalist wackjobs mano a mano in a last-man-standing fight to the death. Sell tickets. T-shirts. Global distribution.

We could get rid of all our religious freaks and make some money at it.

Screw what Zell Miller says anyway. The only thing he's good for is body count on the Dem side.

Posted by: chris at October 31, 2003 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

But we can win the hearts and minds of the Arab street.

in theory, sure. in practice, though, we're having a pretty tough time of it.

Posted by: ChrisL at October 31, 2003 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Very well put Mr. Drum.

Though I was for the war, I have found myself more and more dismayed by the company that support puts me in.
I think many hawks have been come so hyper-aware of the monumental battles of the 20th century that they are convinced that:
1) We are in such a titanic battle right now.
2) Erring on the side of agression is always wiser
3) We cannot fail as long as we do not stop fighting.

I think all of the above are "unwise" to say the least.
We are not yet in a titanic battle of civilizations and the goal of any sane leader should be to prevent us from ever entering into such a struggle. If we can cut off the Bin Ladens of the world from the greater Islamic world, then we would have achieved a monumental victory. But it seems like these hyper-hawks have already conceded defeat in this and moved on to the armagedon stage.

In a similar vein, hyper-hawks keep insisting that erring on the side of invasion in the face of ambiguos intel was obviously the wise thing to do. While I supported regime change, it was never because of WMD. If the only reason for removing Saddam had been WMD then it is not at all obvious to me that erring on the side of warfare was the wiser option. I find it distressing that some refuse to accept that going to war in the face of an ambiguos threat could actualy make us less safe.

Finally, the notion that we can only fail in Iraq (and in the greater war on terror) if we "lose our nerve" and retreat is simply nonsense. Yes if we pull a "Beirut" or a "Mogadishu" and leave Iraq a mess, we will have failed. But if we remain stoic, resolute and incompetent and thus lose the Iraqi people (particularly the Shia) we would have failed also. Our war in Iraq is as much political as military. If things deteriorate to the point where we can no longer achieve our political goals - creating a pro-American liberal democracy in Iraq - because Joe and Jane Iraqi want nothing more to do with us, then it won't matter how stoicly we wheather the continuing blows of guerillas, we would have failed.

Sadly I think that the self-importance of the hyper-hawks makes them oblivious to the dangers inherent in their own actions. All dissenters simply don't "get it" and success is inevitable "eventually".

Posted by: WillieStyle at October 31, 2003 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Josh Marshall is worth repeating:

Unlike fascism or communism, militant Islam isn't a rising power, but a threat precisely because of its dysfunction and weakness... If it weren't for the fact that fanatical Islamist terrorists might get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, the sad fact is that few would even care. Of course, the fact that they could get their hands on weapons of mass destruction is a serious caveat. But it does place the issue in a certain context. It is a grave threat, but in a very specific, physical way--a threat to liberal societies but hardly the kind of ideological or political threat that great totalitarianisms posed a half a century ago. Islamist fanatics might destroy a whole city in the West, a catastrophic event. But they'll never conquer or subvert a country. And this is the heart of the difference. To paraphrase Arthur Schlesinger, Islamism is a danger to the West but hardly a danger in the West--or China, or Latin America, or anywhere else where Islam is not already the dominant religion...

Recalling those vivid images of the Twin Towers' collapse, it is uncomfortable to have to argue that someone is overstating the danger of radical Islam. Nevertheless, to confront the very real threat we face, nothing is more important than seeing that danger for what it is--not through the distorting prism of our grandparents' world. We have now toppled one of the worst regimes in the region. We have a foothold in the heartland of Islam. We have to decide how to proceed. Do we declare all-out war with much of the Muslim world or craft an approach more narrowly tailored to secure our safety and advance their freedom? Grandiose visions beget grandiose actions, which often end tragically. And grandiosity is a sin of intellectuals, too.

Posted by: JP at October 31, 2003 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

"War of civilizations" implies two civilizations each trying to destroy the other, not one civilization under attack.

What I really don't get is the complete lack of acknowledgement that half of the leading democratic candidates (Edwards, Lieberman, Gephardt) supported the war unapologetically.

Posted by: Katherine at October 31, 2003 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

To win, the Ds would certainly have to address the questions of the terrified. I don't know who Michael Totten is, but he probably represents a lot of liberals who are freaked into endorsing mass murder of the Arabs/Muslims. You can't deny that people are freaked out.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
I might agree with you, however we never said it was a war of civilizations. The only people I hear saying that are on the FBIs most wanted terrorist list and we can't catch them. Obviously since we are not saying it(what you say GW is too smart to admit) a hell of alot of people from an array of middle eastern countries are. Islamo-Fanatics are killing peole worldwide in the name of their god. That scares me way more than GW. Zell Miller is old eh? As opposed to the spry junior senator from NJ or the senior senator from WV?

Posted by: Jack Murray at October 31, 2003 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

It very definitely is a clash, probably just an accident of geography. Islamic people are around Israel, Islamic people sit on a geopolitical power resource.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"But the converse isn't true. Our enemies really do hate democracy. They've said so. They hate our religious freedom. They hate the role of women in our society."

Ever lived in the Middle East? Spent a couple decades working with Arabs/Persians? Your comments certianly don't represent what I found. They have plenty of the secular fundamentalists, just like we have the militia types and the religous right that thinks it is okay to kill a doctor for performing an abortion. While most may hate American foreign policy particularly since Bush II, they mainly just want to live their lives, raise their children, and most of the things we want.

Posted by: chris/tx at October 31, 2003 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Not a war of civilizations?
Okay.
But not a matter of a few fanatics, either.
Millions and millions of "moderate" Arabs and other Muslims think horrible things about Jews, and the West, and America.
In my limited experience, with American citizens born here of Middle Eastern descent, educated, Christian, I am appalled.
Their paranoia about Jews is astonishing.
Israel is the basis of all the trouble in the world.
Amazing.
I can't imagine what it is like in the Middle East.
We don't need to kill all these people, but it might be prudent to make sure the more committed among them lack fangs and teeth.
Eventually, maybe they'll grow out of it.
So, okay, no war of civilizations.
Make up your own name.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at October 31, 2003 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

What Kevin is missing is that the status quo points us towards this clash, and the Dems have to take affirmative action towards pointing us away. They can't just say "we don't want to clash" and maintain the US desire for control of oil, and the US dedication to the security/expansion of Israel over everything else.

Oil and Israel are the conditions that make the clash happen. Dems have to say how you're going to change the conditions. Otherwise we're destined to have a war with Islam. If we're destined, then Bush will win, because he's brutal enough to kill em all. He's the biggest hawk.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

But we can win the hearts and minds of the Arab street. The people in the Islamic world are torn. If we can show them that democracy, tolerance, and modernity are a better way of life than dictatorship, theocracy, and hate, we will have won the war.

Exactly! If, and only if we do this will we be successful. The actions of the war party unfortunatesly have made this less likely (atleast in the short term).

And this isn't a clash of civilizations. It is precisely the oppossitte. We don't want to defeat the Islamic world, we want to befriend it.

Finaly, a clash of civilizations requires two civilizations to tango. Terrorists mad-men bent on our destruction no more constitutes a "clash of civilizations" than my undying hatred of all things Swedish constutes a "clash of nations".

Posted by: WillieStyle at October 31, 2003 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously since we are not saying it(what you say GW is too smart to admit) a hell of alot of people from an array of middle eastern countries are.

Huh? That's some pretty strange if-then logic.

Moreover, Kevin quotes Roger Simon saying it:

...here's why I think they're dangerous—they're acting like we're still in Vietnam when we're in a real war of civilizations.

Come to think of it, it's pretty funny that people think of Vietnam as some kind of minor skirmish in comparison to the war on terror, considering the Vietnam-hawk rhetoric of the time. I mean, at least the Cold War featured an enemy that had a theoretical chance of defeating the United States in a world war.

Then again, you would have to be a bit clueless to consider W a good choice for 2004, whatever your political persuasion.

Posted by: ryan b at October 31, 2003 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

In my limited experience, with American citizens born here of Middle Eastern descent, educated, Christian, I am appalled.
Their paranoia about Jews is astonishing.

Emphasis on "limited."

Posted by: ryan b at October 31, 2003 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

MDtoMN,
Oh, yeah, Vietnam was definitely a war of civilizations. We were fighting communists, who wanted to take over our country.

Like today, we were afraid that our country would be attacked. We didn't really know or trust our enemy (communism), which was a vague, nebulous thing. We fought them in a far off land. We thought the citizens there would automatically accept our way as the better way, but we increasingly showed them the bad side of America. The public had a vague idea that the war was a good idea, but they had no real concrete objectives. The enemy received help and support from other countries. It was hard to tell friend from foe. Back in the US there was growing questioning about what we were really trying to do, and whether it was worth it. We had no timetable for when it would finish. Checkpoints came and went.

Some differences - we had the draft. We used 'body counts' as a way to measure progress. Today we don't use body counts, but we also don't have a good way to measure progress. There was heavy drug use.

Posted by: Tripp at October 31, 2003 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Many of these hawks have developed romantic notions of great battles from either reading too many fantasy novels or watching Star Wars type movies too much. Islamic terrorism is a threat that needs to be taken seriously (and nuclear proliferaton especially), but we run the danger of acting stupidly if we buy into this "clash of civilizatons" idea. We've seen a prime example with regard to the Iraq debacle. Josh Marshall (see above) is right. Also, we just play into their hands when we think in these terms. The real battle is for hearts and minds, while defending ourselves with better intelligence and military action when necessary.

Posted by: alias at October 31, 2003 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Williestyle,

I was against the war from the start because I didn't see that the people prosecuting it, or their many and confused reasons, could ever sucessfully pull off the "good" parts of the plan (ie bringing democracy to Iraq and all that nice stuff). I'm not happy that "all this fruition has come to pass" in the immortal words of some incoherent basketball pundit of the last century, but its not unexpected.

But what I really posted to say is that I thoroughly agree with your posting. I think you break the current situation and its options down really, really, well.

For me, its unclear what we as a country need to do next with Iraq, its unclear what we *can* do given 1) our limited troop strength, 2) our limited financing, 3) our apparently limited resources in terms of in-country democratic counterparts. The only thing that is clear is that Bush and co have to go, that without them we stand a small chance of being able to put our relations with the rest of the world and Iraq on a better footing, and with them we already know what we are going to get: spiral down into disaster.

On the whole "clash of civilizations" thing: of course people thought that (and still think that) about vietnam and communism. So its not true that "this is all different" and historically new. What is new is that the complacent heartland has realized that trouble has been brewing for years, and the antagonistic elsewhere has realized that it doesn't need huge amounts of cash, big WMD, or anything other than box cutters and our own weak security to bring this country to its knees. In fact, that is all it took to cause the passage of the patriot act and the throwing overboard of our civil rights inthe name of freedom.

Totten (in his post above) seems to buy into the totally republican manufactured spin that republicans care about our safety /civilization and the dems are dreamily denying there is a problem. That is out and out nonsense. We all acknowledge there is a problem, but there are literally hundreds and hundreds of things we could be doing to combat islamic terrorists that we are not doing. The very first thing we should not be doing is creating more of them by
1) implying that every muslim is damned (boykin)
2) implying every iraqi is a terrorist (cf hadji)
3) refusing to spend money on schools and education and foreign aid while the islamic fanatics *do* spend there money on those things.
4) imply every second that we will invade every middle eastern country that we don't like, while giving a free pass to the political farce that is saudi arabia.
5) give Iraq and its resources obviously and directly to the biggest bunch of looters on record. IE haliburton et al. If we had even had the sense to treat the rebuilding of Iraq as the largest public works program since the WPA I wouldlnt' have had any objection to the 87 billion. Its watching that money siphoned directly back into bush's pockets without seeing it make an appreciable difference in the lives of ordinary iraqis that gets my goat.

ok, that turned into a bit of a rant.

Posted by: aimai at October 31, 2003 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Let's put the whole Max Cleland argument to bed, shall we?

Antiwar Dems always argue that Bush "betrayed" Cleland, who supported the Bush in the war on terrorism, by running a series of television commercials which portrayed him as soft on terror.

The unspoken assumption of this charge is that the people of Georgia didnt' know that Max Cleland is actually a triple-amputee Vietnam war hero. Thus, the argument goes, if Max Cleland, war hero, cooperates with Bush and loses his senate seat as a result, then there is no incentive for any Democrat to cooperate with Bush on terrorism.

News flash: The voters of Georgia knew all about Sen. Cleland's tragic disabilities and Vietnam heroism, and they rejected him anyway.

In his 1996 campaign, Sen. Cleland was crtiticized for running almost exclusively on his war record. See:

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/analysis/time/9609/30/ga.race.shtml

Cleland's political fate illustrates just how much of a national security problem the Democrats have. If the voters of Georgia didn't trust Max Cleland on national security, do you think they are going to trust Howard Dean?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I appreciate people trying to put the threat in proportion, but let's be honest, the people who wanted the war don't want any Americans to die and will kill a million Iraqis to get a sense of security. That's the kind of person you have to convince to vote D.

Now if you could show them how they didn't have to kill a million, and could still have security, in fact would be a more powerful and prosperous country, then you might change some votes. People don't want to endorse mass murder. They have generally high opinions of their own moral sense. Speak to that.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, that Cleland post makes no sense.

Posted by: JP at October 31, 2003 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

"When the Weatherpeople, the Baader-Meinhof (i may be wrong on spelling), the Red Hand, and other extreme New Leftists practiced bombing and terrorism against the US, Germany, and Italy in the late '60s and '70s, they thought they were in a war of civilizations too, but that doesn't make it so."

Actually no. They were in a war of civilizations. They were on the Communist side of the Cold War. Just because they were lame losers doesn't mean that they weren't fighting for the communists.

And I'm not being a McCarthyite or anything. Those groups were actively seeking to damage the West and encourage Communist control of the West.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at October 31, 2003 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Eric-

Your comment is disgusting. Neither Michael Totten nor any other liberal hawk wants to mass murder of people of the Muslim faith.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, this whole Zell Miller thing is really a shame. Everyone knows a Dem will never win the White House without winning in Georgia.

Posted by: sym at October 31, 2003 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

But it happened anyway. The slaughter happened anyway because you guys wanted a war. I'm not condemning you but I really have to ask, what do you think is going to happen when the big plan for reforming the Arab/Muslim world doesn't come off? Slaughter. If it didn't have to happen then that's murder.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the good points have already been made here, but just to respond to Jack Murray: yes, there are a lot of people who have been brought up with hatred in the middle east. Very few of them do anything with that hatred other than express it verbally.

If you count up all the dead that Al Qaeda has caused, it's, objectively, a small number (we've killed more iraqis, and no, i'm not playing simplistic moral equivalence games here, just counting).

P.S. Sometimes it's different to distinguish the hatred many in the Middle East have for Jews and/or Americans from that many in America have for "liberals." If you substitute "liberals" for "jews" in malathir's recent speech, he could be a hit on right-wing talk radio.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Americans just aren't happy until they've got an enemy they can believe in. We all want to be part of a heroic tale. Bringing Osama and his rich, spoiled Saudi backers to justice is a lot less romantic than a clash of civilizations.

Really, what does it say about this "clash of civilizations" that our leader goes out hunting with their leader and considers their ambassador to be an honorary member of the family?

Posted by: Boronx at October 31, 2003 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

So, I read that Roger Simon post and he want to endorse Bush because foregin policy is the most important issue? An administration that started by telling Tom Daschle to "back off" on any 9/11 related investigations? That continues to stonewall the 9/11 panel? An administration that continues to coddle Saudi Arabia, the prime source for "Islamofascism?" And administration with a VP, who's company did business with Iraq when it banned? That's the correct administration for us to have the right foreign policy? I just don't buy it.

Posted by: James at October 31, 2003 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian,
I agree about the communist fighters. But their communists backers had at least a chance of taking over the US. The worst the terrorists can do is hurt us very badly, but they have absolutely no way of taking over the USA.

Posted by: Tripp at October 31, 2003 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

irrelevant, howard.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, that's simply not true about the weather underground, and it's mainly not true about baader-meinhof or the red hand (although i do believe they took kgb funding).

They weren't on the side of anything; they were hoping to accentuate the "contradictions of capitalism" and bring it down, but they didn't see Russia as their model.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 01:03 PM | PERMALINK

Joe,

Right, Bush ran ads accusing a triple amputee Vietnam veteran of cowardice and treason.

That's the man you support and the man we oppose. Which side would you rather be on?

Posted by: G C at October 31, 2003 01:03 PM | PERMALINK

Eric M, which was irrelevant? i'd like to respond, but i don't know know to which remark you are referring....

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 01:04 PM | PERMALINK

But it happened anyway. The slaughter happened anyway because you guys wanted a war. I'm not condemning you

I will condemn you. You supported the murder of 10,000 plus innocents in cold blood and with out cause.

Posted by: Boronx at October 31, 2003 01:05 PM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to chime in that Vietnam was only about Communism because we thought it was. It was primarily about nationalism.

Our struggle with the Soviet Union was primarily a clash of economic systems.

Islamic terrorism is interesting because of the nexus of nationalism, pan-Arabism, and religion.

I'm uncomfortable with the term "clash of civilizations" because Islamic terrorists do not control a civilization per se. I think it's mostly about modernism vs. fundamentalism. They aren't really funding us as much as they're fighting change.

Posted by: praktike at October 31, 2003 01:05 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, instead of having a discussion about the war on terrorism, let's remember the point of the post is that Michael and others are juggling Kool-Aid, or in the case of Totten just gurgling it at the moment in believing that the Dem's are weak on foreign policy and security.

This is straight bullshit about the 6 top-tier presidentials and Dems in congress. I can point you to lit, and speeches by lots of Dem's talking up their security stance. We Dems have a shitload of security and foreign policy professionals. If you want an echo chamber of people to talk about how weak the Dems are on security, go to the LGF board.

Posted by: Laddy at October 31, 2003 01:05 PM | PERMALINK

G C -- and don't forget about Bush's "push polling" against McCain in South Carolina.

Many people who know Bush claim that he is a religous man, who really believes what he says. But his actions are that of a craven coward. They are either his doing, or the work of the people he surrounds himself with, either way, I don't see how anyone can support him.

Posted by: allan at October 31, 2003 01:08 PM | PERMALINK

..here's why I think they're dangerous—they're acting like we're still in Vietnam when we're in a real war of civilizations.

Phew. Those who want to rid the bad taste of that Kool-Aid should go read Brzezinski's speech.

Posted by: Sven at October 31, 2003 01:08 PM | PERMALINK

If I declare war on our civilization, it doesn't mean that our civilization is officially "at war" with me. It means I'm a lunatic. However, if our civilization declares war on me in response, and orients its entire foreign policy around me, well, what happens? I become ten times stronger. People flock to my side. I gain a cachet and a historical voice that I never would have had if I had just been treated like the homicidal prick I was.

We could have marginalized al qaeda, but instead we made them worldwide celebrities. We certified them. We made them official. We gave a focus and a direction to the diffuse anger and dissatisfaciton in that part of the world. Why? Because certain people are just scared shitless and they need a big bad enemy to direct those feelings towards. I'm talking to you Totten.

Posted by: Realish at October 31, 2003 01:09 PM | PERMALINK

Uh...

Islamofascists do not constitute a "civilization".

Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2003 01:09 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp-

You are absolutely right, but they can kill tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans. That's all I need to know.

Eric-

I think that the real stakes here are the destruction of one or two American cities. Sooner or later, the extremists are going to get ahold of a nuke, or a contagious disease. They'll unleash it on America, and hundreds of thousands of innocent people will be killed.

We will respond to that by nuking whoever is responsible. If we don't know exactly who is responsble, we'll just guess.

We are in a race against time here.

Ultimately, I agree with Josh Marshall: the people of the Middle East will someday reject the fundamentalists on thier own. A 7th century theocracy is not the solution to the problems faced by the region. The people of Iran are already beginning to realize this; everyone else will too, someday.

The problem is that it will take a long, long time. We don't have that much time.

We need to speed up the process of change. We can't do it through sanctions. We tried that with Sadaam, and it went nowhere. We can't do it through diplomacy and economic aid; we've been proppign up the Egyptians for decades, and the place is nowhere near becoming a humane, liberal democracy.

Unfortunately, force is our only option. We need to remove the despots of the region (whose brutality, corrpution, and incompetence, I submit, are the reason why people turn to fundamentalist Islam) and install democracies by force.

This is not certain to work. But becuase millions of lives are at stake (Americans who will die in a terrorist attack, and many more Muslims who will die when we retailiate, coupled with those who wil die at the hands of their own evil governments), we've got to try.

For this reason, I believe that the war in Iraq will actually save lives, both here and in the Middle East. A lot of liberal hawks believe the same thing.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 01:11 PM | PERMALINK

It's irrelevant because these guys aren't looking at the threat as something proportional, they're just terrified. Losing people is pain, and wiping out the threat is no pain, we could do it overnight with our nukes.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:12 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. I actually agree with Joe Schmoe. This is, quite literally, a "war of civilizations". You can't get around it. Although we don't talk about it, in reality, these wars are common and everyplace. Get used to it.

It just happens, that from time to time, a certain group gets so pissed off because their culture is losing in the marketplace of ideas that they resort to violence. The US did it in South America, you had it with the lynchings and church burnings and so on.

It happens.

This war, is crucial to win. Like it or not, you're fighting it every day. Even if you're not activly fighting it.

However, this war will not be won through bombs and threats. It'll be won through peace, respect and love. At least in the long-term. Sure, you need to go after terrorists. But you need to make sure you do it in a way that does NOT lose the greater war.

The attack on Iraq did exactly that.

Posted by: Karmakin at October 31, 2003 01:15 PM | PERMALINK

Laddy what you're missing is that the Dems could never be as hard on security as Bush. If we didn't have a threat, then Bush would be spending too much on defense, and the Dems could win. Bush would be covering up, when we need to open up to get trade and prosperity. That's not the situation we have now.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:15 PM | PERMALINK

One quantifier. I meant that the war in Iraq surrendered the war for hearts and minds, not that the invasion was good for that.

Posted by: Karmakin at October 31, 2003 01:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin D. has done a very nice job of framing this particular issue in favor of liberal Democrats such as himself. Manipulating knee-jerk conservatives into defending the silly "clash of civilizations" position is very smart politics and helps to divide moderate Republicans from their more fire-breathing kin. It nicely sets up Democrats such as Wesley Clark as leaders who stand out as defenders of the U.S. that swing voters can support while not scaring them off with the sort of fundamentalist odor that Bush exudes.

Posted by: David W. at October 31, 2003 01:18 PM | PERMALINK

The DNC may not be quaking in its boots over the loss of a couple of bloggers but Roger Simon and Michael Totten represent a lot of others who have traditionally voted Democratic but who are now abandoning the party. The DNC SHOULD be quaking about that considering that they've managed to go from majority party to minority party in the White House, Senate, House, state governorships, and state legislatures over the past ten years.

And there are some people here who seem fairly apathetic about the possibility of "only" losing an American city in the future. I'm not quite as willing to sacrifice a city in the future just to maintain temporarty stability in a region that is an incubator of anti-Western and anti-Israeli hatred.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at October 31, 2003 01:18 PM | PERMALINK

Good idea, Joe. Let's kill them into democracy. Works every time.

For gods sake, how many times do we have to try the rightist idea of benevolent oppression through forc before we realize it doesn't produce liberal democracies, only terror and death?

It didn't work the last twenty times it was tried, and i'll bet you a dollar it doesn't work now.

Posted by: Boronx at October 31, 2003 01:18 PM | PERMALINK

All wars are economic. Joe, you're asking these people to change their minds against the reality that they see all around them. You're asking them to be irrational. It's just not going to work.

Don't you see -- you're trying to do a PR campaign to get them to change their minds... when the conditions all around them speak plainly.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:21 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, think things through a little harder. The risks of a small nuclear device being used by a terrorist upon an american city are very real, no question.

The notion that the only terrorists worth worrying about are islamic fundamentalists, and that there is a way to make terrorism go away by converting everybody in the world to a rule-of-law and market-based democracy is a fantasy.

Terrorism did not get invented in 1983 or on 9/11/01. It will always be with us, as will the threat of a nuclear device being used on americans.

Our task is to minimize that threat, but we can't make it disappear.

And the policies of george bush (as no less than rumsfeld points out in his memo) are not altogether satisfying as a means of minimizing that threat....

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 01:22 PM | PERMALINK

Shmoe-

Unfortunately, force is our only option. We need to remove the despots of the region (whose brutality, corrpution, and incompetence, I submit, are the reason why people turn to fundamentalist Islam) and install democracies by force.

How about you do a little reading, eh? First read a little about the ancient middle east. The fertile crescent, tigris and uphrates, all that crap. Read about the period of the crusades, the ottoman empire, etc. Then read about WW1 and the promises the British made to the arabs under Turkish rule. Read about how they screwed up the ass for trusting the west when their land was carved up into impotent little city-states. Read about overthrowing the prime minister of Iran and the propping up of dictators elsewhere.

You seem to be stuck on a question like "what to do about those crazy arabs?" And you think force is the key.

For godsakes, what radicalized those nations and people in the first place? Are you completely ignorant of all the ways they've been screwed in the 20th century? Has it ever occured to you that the constant use of force and real-politik in that part of the world is what got us here in the first place?

Don't you understand that none of those nations are a threat to us? The only thing that's a threat to us is ideas: The idea that the US is a terrorist force. The more we fuck with that part of the world with bombs and bullets the more we reinforce that idea.

I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I am saying your viewpoint seems incredibly niave and ill-informed.

Good god. People with ideas are the problem, and, NEWS FLASH! people and ideas can persist indefinitely.

Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2003 01:25 PM | PERMALINK

Karmakin: There is no war of ideas. The US is not presenting ideas. Has globalization been a success? No. It gets rejected in every country where the voters have the power to do so.

As I approach a liberal democrat, so you should approach a person in the developing world. Understand that they have all the power you do to make a rational choice. They are rejecting US claims.

Should the Arabs like the Israelis? Obviously not. The Israelis are brutalizing their buddies in Palestine.

Should the Arabs give us their oil at the price we set? Obviously not, it's a market commodity and they happen to own it.

You can't take out newspaper ads and try "to get your message out". That's not the way advertising works. Maybe "Elf" will have a good weekend, but it's obviously going to lose money overall -- because it's bad.

The truth is, if the US had the right product, we wouldn't need to go on these PR campaigns.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:26 PM | PERMALINK

And let's not go after Joe. He makes his case so lets just talk about it. He's not a hater.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:28 PM | PERMALINK

OK Howard I understand what you're saying.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 01:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be interested to know what civilization Simon thinks we're fighting. Totten suggest Simon didn't mean what he said, that he actually meant that there is a group of people at war with American civilization (I paraphrase).

If Totten is right, then Simon is inarticulate, and using bombastic rhetoric to cover up muddled thinking.

Posted by: Ikram Saeed at October 31, 2003 01:31 PM | PERMALINK

Communism is an economic ideology, not a frickin civilisation. It is, in fact, an ideology born of our own - commonly called "western" - civilisation.

Hell, it's a stretch, albeit one I'm willing to give lukewarm endorsement to, to call the Islamic world a different civilisation. Just more levantine and less hellenistic than our own, but it still definitely has elements from both.

Bah. The word is horribly misused anyways. 'Civilisation' is, simply, the art of living in cities.

Posted by: Harry Tuttle at October 31, 2003 01:35 PM | PERMALINK

The US has gotten itself into a holy war in Iraq as an infidel occupying army. To pacify Iraq a police and army force of a minimum of 1 million is need. Iraqification means that the CPA needs 850,000 Iraqi troops. It is inherently impossible to find that many secular Iraqi males willing to work for Christian masters. The US as overlord of Iraq is untenable in the short run and is impossible in the long term.

Posted by: Jim S at October 31, 2003 01:35 PM | PERMALINK

Schmoe:

Let's drop the Max Cleland issue? Not bloody likely. There should be investigations into the Max Cleland vote fraud. Chuck Hagel's too. IF Bush wins, it won't be because he won the hearts and minds (sic) of the voters, it'll be because of fear mongering, vote fraud and the gullibility of people who can't tell a lie from the truth.

This whole "clash of civilizations" issue is so much bullshit, brought to us by Fear Is Us Republican hatemongers. Upthread was the voice of reason...the poster who brought up that there are plenty of Middle Easterners who may disapprove of BushII's policies but they don't hate us.

You people are besotted with paranoia. Furthermore, if you think violence is the answer to violence, you have learned absolutely nothing from history.

Posted by: chris at October 31, 2003 01:37 PM | PERMALINK

Fatalities

American soldiers 219
British soldiers 18
Coalition soldiers 5
---
241 Since May 2

American 358
British 51
Coalition 5
---
414 Since March 20

Wounded

American soldiers ~2101 Since March 20

Note: American forces have fallen to 130,000
British forces have risen to 11,000

Posted by: lise at October 31, 2003 01:43 PM | PERMALINK

What Tim said.

Posted by: chris at October 31, 2003 01:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jack Murray: DINO = Democrat In Name Only. Miller is also old, but that wasn't my point.

Michael: I dunno, I was just quoting Roger, and I wasn't trying to take him out of context or anything. The guy's a novelist, after all, so I assume that if he says it's a war of civilizations, that's what he means. (And ditto to everyone who's said that just because Osama thinks it's a war of civilizations doesn't make it one. All the more reason not to dignify it that way if you ask me.)

If we want to compare the war on terror to the Cold War, it's worth remembering just how little it turned out that military power had to do with us winning it. The Korean War was a success (not a complete success, but a helluva lot better than NK taking over the whole peninsula), but what else? Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, and Suez were disasters. We were unable to do anything militarily about the very real Soviet aggression in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Cuban Missile Crisis turned out OK because JFK was both a hardnosed anti-communist AND hardnosed enough to keep the super-hawks at bay.

That leaves you with a few brush wars in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, etc., which were certainly not decisive. Military power had its place, and certainly did some good, but we mainly won by keeping it in the background and winning via soft power. This is something to keep in mind for this "war" as well.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at October 31, 2003 01:49 PM | PERMALINK

That's it. We should burn all of Bernard Lewis' work.

Posted by: Arash at October 31, 2003 01:53 PM | PERMALINK

Chris, you are dead right. No matter how hard we try, there will always be a finite chance that a Nuke gets an American city. That's a fact that I as a Seattlite accept every day.

What is clear, is that Saddam Hussein was not a likely source of such a nuke

The only "Islamic Bomb" is currently in Pakistan. And they're our friends. Of course, Paki is where Osama is hangin' these days. All he wants to do in Iraq is blow up shit and keep the Americans bogged down.

It's not hard to do. In the mean time, he (and his ilk) are subverting the Paki intelligence agency.

So tell me joe schmoe: How exactly is the Bush strategy making a nuclear attack on the US?

Posted by: p mac at October 31, 2003 01:58 PM | PERMALINK

Better clarify the "liberal" position. Sure, respect other cultures/beliefs. But you don't seriously "respect" cultures that circumsize women, stone them for "adultery" (surprize! no man gets killed, do they?) and fails to damn group rapes (NY times article - re: rapes in France) as "equal" to our own?? Hmmm, what about the practice of allowing freedom of religious expression? Not in muslim countries, that is.

So maybe it was inelegantly put, but it remains a practical reality until we see some sort of rise of muslim moderates (i.e. "OK - so we don't support the murder of non-muslims. No explainations or hedging rationales on why the murderers were upset." how's that for a radical step?). Then what F*** do they expect? Or better yet, what will they RESPECT?

Re: Fear mongering - Wow. So the real danger is Bush getting elected.... not that a middle eastern fanatic on my plane will cut my daughter's throat with a box cutter. In front of me. Who ultimately is president, Democrap or Republicant, is nothing compared to even a tiny threat to my family's personal safety. You debase this voter concern and you will lose again. and again, and again. However, by all means just respond with more condescension on this point - way to win hearts, minds, oh...and VOTES.

Posted by: Californio at October 31, 2003 01:59 PM | PERMALINK

I never liked the word "war on terror". It is way impossible to fight terrorism like it was possible to fight nazism for example. Terrorism is not an ideology. Also I really doubt your American Army (dumb bullies) have the proper logistic in Iraq, consequently the DOD should be reformed but nobody wants to acknowledge their mistakes. This war on terror in Iraq is absolutely wrong since the beginning.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 02:03 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest reading the Brzezinski speech also:

http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/10/brzezinski-z-10-31.html

Good bit:

[T]errorism is a technique for killing people. That doesn't tell us who the enemy is. It's as if we said that World War II was not against the Nazis but against blitzkrieg.

Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2003 02:07 PM | PERMALINK

Frenchy:

Dumb bullies compared to whom? The French army in Algeria?

Posted by: Daniel Calto at October 31, 2003 02:10 PM | PERMALINK

The big picture is that we ("we" being the democracies of the world, not just Americans) need to work towards several critical long-term goals:

1. The elimination of nuclear weapons (or at least making their use very, very unlikely).
2. The spread of universal standards of human rights.
3. The spread of democracy.
4. The alleviation of poverty.

Islamic terrorists are only a small complicating factor in these goals, they aren't the main problem. China, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, etc. are countries that are non-Islamic, but are woefully backwards in the areas of human rights and democracies.

The Ann Coulter plan (invade their countries, convert them to Christianity) just isn't going to work with China or North Korea. As galling as it might be to neocons and other manicheans, force alone is not going to reform these countries. We have to coax them and prod them towards reform.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough at October 31, 2003 02:12 PM | PERMALINK

Randal Robinson,

Ummm.. The right's been great at taking angry white men from the Democratic party. The whole meme allows them to create more angry white men which they can hope to take. Sadly, these "liberal" white men aren't thinking as critically as they should.

Posted by: laddy at October 31, 2003 02:22 PM | PERMALINK

Tim

Thanks for that comment. I don't think anyone said anything about how we look like by the rest of the world. Nobody thought how we could get help with this.
We have lots of jets and cluster bombs and thats what most people think about when we go to War.
It takes our 18 year olds on the ground. The Army is not going to get bigger, the Guard and Reserve is going to shrink.

Are you ready for the Draft to meet your aims?
I doubt it. No deferments for anything but real Medical reasons.

Lets use our minds.

Posted by: Ron at October 31, 2003 02:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ron-

I don't understand your draft question. Is that directed at Joe?


Personally I've always thought a national, mandatory draft of a year or two would be great if there were no special deferments and a new branch created that was more akin to a peace-corps/peacekeeping force than a fighting force.


Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2003 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

No Daniel although we could compare it to the algerian war with the dumb french bullies: in Algiers when the french army declared victory it led to a flood of urban terrorism all over the country. The same exact thing is happening in Iraq.
On May the 1st the victory was decreted in Iraq because the major military combat operations had ended, and the peace is not won at all.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 02:55 PM | PERMALINK

Clash of civilizations my ass.

Posted by: Jason McCullough at October 31, 2003 03:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Christopher Hitchens disaffected liberal thing isn't so much a clash of civilizations (at least not in the Islam verses Judeo-Christianity sense) as it is a realization that religious fanaticism now has the potential to end civilization if rational people don't oppose it strenuously.

That's the Kool Aid liberals ought to be drinking.

Posted by: Aspasia at October 31, 2003 03:15 PM | PERMALINK

yes, but aspasia, "opposing religious fanaticism," while certainly a logical position, became, in the hands of hitchens and millions of others "invade iraq."

that's the kool aid we're not drinking either....

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 03:24 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a link about Clash of Civilization.

http://www.alamut.com/subj/economics/misc/clash.html

The UN could have undermined these anti-american feelings in Iraq, it is certainly not with a neocon unilateralism that blocked the emancipation of the UN that we can take care of these very difficult situations.
Also the fact of lying about wmds and terrorist links undermined the american troops of course: it does not look like a war for a noble cause at all, therefore there is some kind of resistance.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 03:27 PM | PERMALINK

Aspasia-

I assume that when you mention "religious fanaticism" you're talking about the neo-con endtimers? Right?

Posted by: tbogg at October 31, 2003 03:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm...on a largely separate note, don't people like Simon and Totten, if they are being sincere, prove that Lieberman's candidacy is utterly worthless? I mean, if these people are actually Democrats, shouldn't they be supporting Joe Lieberman, who seems to completely agree with them on foreign policy, and who supposedly is closer to their views on domestic policy than Bush is for the nomination?

So, either these people are totally disingenuous about being "Democrats", or taking a pro-Bush position on foreign policy isn't enough to get supposed hawkish democrats to support you. What's the deal?

Posted by: John at October 31, 2003 03:30 PM | PERMALINK

religious fanaticism now has the potential to end civilization if rational people don't oppose it strenuously.

Uh... not really, the end of civilization would take a world-wide nuclear holocost destroying every large population center on the planet.

For that we'd have to elect a fundamentalist Christian into the whitehouse who believes we're lving in the end times.

...


Oh. Shit.

Posted by: Tim at October 31, 2003 03:47 PM | PERMALINK

Do you really want a one-party fascist state Kevin?

Cause that's what your asking for.

(Roger Simon is a moron.)

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 03:54 PM | PERMALINK

Strike hard this weekend Iraqis.
The liberation of your country depends on it and also the end of the criminal Bsh regime here

Posted by: Bm at October 31, 2003 04:09 PM | PERMALINK

Frenchy-

So why were the UN and Red Cross attacked by suicide bombers?

This is an extremely signficant question. So far as I know, no antiwar person has ever addressed it.

John-

I Can't speak for Roger Simon and Michael, but there are several Democrats who I would vote for in 2004: Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, and Hillary Clinton. (Though I hope she waits until 2008 to run.) I plan to vote for one of these candidates come primary season. In the past, I liked John Edwards (and even contributed to his campaign), but his vote against the aid package really soured me. Maybe he can regain my confidence in the future; there is still time.

I have been outspoken in my criticism of the Democratic party because I realize that I am not the typicalD Democrat. For this reason, I can't say that "Democrats are hawks -- just look at me," because it isn't true. For every liberal hawk like me, Michael, and Roger, there are a hundred greying hippies shouting "no blood for oil!," twenty sneering elitists calling our President a "stupid chimp," and fifty partisan hacks doing a Kerry-like flip-flop on the war ("I voted for the use of force, but didn't really mean it!")

Actually, that's not true. The real problem is that I am typical. The problem is, the voice of the typical Democrat isn't heard during primary season. Typical Democrats don't read The Nation and go to Howard Dean rallies. They never refer to the Preisdent of the United States as "stupid" in time of war.

I am referring to blue-collar, middle-American Democrats, and Southern Democrats. We outnumber professionals with advanced degrees, tech-savy gen-X'ers, and minority interest groups.

But the primary process doesn't reflect our views and our concerns. We are not antiwar. We do not hate George Bush. We are sick of the hysterical doom-mongering and vitriolic anger of the partisans.

But we have no voice in the primary process. If we did, Howard Dean would not be the front-runner.

I am only one person. I can't change the party all by myself. All I can do is give a few bucks and discuss the issues in forums like this one, and hope that the party will listen to me and respond to my concerns.

It's not easy, because most people here don't agree with me. There's no way to pretend otherwise. For this reason, I am not optomistic that the Democratic party will become more hawkish. But I can hope that it will be persuaded by the power of my ideas, or, after suffering a devistating electoral defeat, will realize that its present course is incorrect and will start listening to people like me.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 04:10 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe is a hysterical bitch.

Posted by: Zizka at October 31, 2003 04:25 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, you do need to get out more. I'll be happy to address why the Red Cross and the UN were attacked.

Back when you were of the "of course we're going to succeed" mindset (and not you alone, of course), and back when the backbone administration was portraying the early looting as an outbreak of freedom and the early attacks as an example of the efforts of dead-enders, some of us (that would include me, of course), were pointing out that there was a very simple logical in effect: that there were a fair number of people in iraq who saw no future for themselves in a rule-of-law based, market-oriented, democracy.

Their program was very simple: make the occupation fail, then take their chances.

(Why, this was so obvious an insight that even president backbone now shares it, although his formulation - they're losing, and i can prove it because their attacks are getting better - isn't quite the one i would use.)

So how do you make the occupation fail? Two simple steps: you isolate the americans and you drive out the NGOs that will help make life better.

At which they are succeeding only too well.

This was, sadly, an utterly predictable outcome of this invasion, ignored only by those who (like you) were chest-poundingly certain of the cakewalk/liberation/decapitation/everyone shows up to work the next day/we get the us troops down to 30K in september mindset.

To the extent that the democratic party, in its presidential choice, offers me-tooism of this misguided approach to the problem of fundamentalist terrorism, it will get its butt kicked, and deservedly so. If this is the program you want, joe, i'd suggest you join the republican party and work on changing its views of whatever it is about their domestic policies you don't like, since you approve so highly of their national security policies.

it is the task of the democratic party to offer an alternative to this loser of an approach.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 04:27 PM | PERMALINK

Californio

I have kids too. And plenty of my relatives fly on planes everyday. But we can't stop individual bad acts by bombing another country. WE can't even stop the individual loons who are already *inside* our country (tim mcveigh and etc...). We can only lower the temperature of the boiling water we are in. One way to lower the temperature and to prevent the birth, education, and employment of islamic and other terrorists (and I'd include the anti-abortion nut who bombed the olympics and the ones who shoot doctors) is to work hard to create a different environment for them: one which doesn't support them. I once heard a well known Israeli peace activist (a former commando and israeli freedom fighter) talking, from the point of view of a "terrorist" who once hid within a friendly populace while bombing british sites, of the necessity of changing the total environment within which terrorism occurs. Right after september 11th we had a chance to do just that. The whole world--the whole world, including many muslim countries, was shocked and horrified at the attack. That was the time to work through legal channels, to pour our effort, money, and intelligence into making it difficult and even embarrassing for people to tolerate the growth of extremism among their friends, neigbhors and relatives. Instead we chose to start but not finish a war with afghanistan (which at least we could argue was actually a breeding ground for al quaeda) and then to start but not finish a war with Iraq. My children--your daughter--are no safer today because of Bush's war on terror. In fact I would argue they are a lot less safe. The 19 hijackers are dead, but their sucess and our stupidity is breeding hundreds more. That is what bush and co have given us. If you vote for Bush because you feel "safer" well, I'd argue that you are throwing away any chance of real safety for a carefully worked illusion. And you know, even the Bush people think that because their original plans for Iraq (nice if they had worked out) haven't worked out and they have no fallback second set of plans to get them out of this fix. The briefest true statement about the war so far:
they lied to get us in and they don't know how to get us out.

aimai

Posted by: aimai at October 31, 2003 04:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Oil and Israel are the conditions that make the clash happen. Dems have to say how you're going to change the conditions. Otherwise we're destined to have a war with Islam. If we're destined, then Bush will win, because he's brutal enough to kill em all. He's the biggest hawk."
Bullshit. Explain Kashmir. Explain Africa. Explain the Bali bombing and Muslim terrorists in SouthEast Asia. In India. Explain the use of slavery in the Muslim world, shariah, the treatment of non-Muslim minorities... Muslim fanatics are a pain in the ass for pretty much every religion on the planet. Why has this region become, for lack of a better term, such a problem child?

I don't think the posters here realize how continuous with European totalitarianism many of these governments are. Stalin was one of Saddam's heroes. The Baath Party had some huge fans as well as founders who were Nazis and sympathetic to Nazi Germany's final solution. Muslim anti-Semitism has incorporated elements of European anti-Semitism. The way these governments manipulate and terrorize their people is taken from European sources. This is an extension of what was fought in WWII. An extension of what was fought in the Cold War: Liberal democracy v. Islamic Totalitarianism and its assorted pathologies.

I'm going to quote Joe Katzman from Winds of Change.net:

"The last global movement to feature this combination of organized hatred, a frustrated supremacist complex, and cpmspiracy theory unreason were the Nazis. Indeed, you could throw totalitarian statism into that witches' brew to completely define their ideology and seperate it from communism.

The fact that "Mein Kampf" is a bestseller in the Islamic world - not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but in Muslim neighbourhoods within Britain - is not a coincidence.

This combination of complexes is not trivial. It's really, really dangerous stuff. Merge the world's most dangerous philosophical complexes with the world's most dangerous weapons, and the result is not a pretty picture.

We can remove much of the immediate threat by doing whatever it takes to keep access to those weapons away from such people. But as long as the world's most dangerous philosophical complexes are widespread in the Muslim ummah, the war will continue and so will the threat that the twisted Islamist philosophy will one day marry up with the destructive capabilities it seeks."

I agree with Simon and Totten, but I would never go for Lieberman though because a.) I hate him, b.) he's too conservative for me on a ton of issues and c.) he looks like Jiminy Cricket and d.) he has no chance in hell.

Zell Miller's been in the Democratic Party all his life. If he thinks the Democrats are so out of touch he's backing Bush, then committed Dems need to take a good look in the mirror. People like Zell Miller are the voters you need on your side. Almost everyone on this list sounds totally out of touch with reality to me.

Posted by: linden at October 31, 2003 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

If memory serves, Vietnam was seen by some as a war of civilization as well: falling dominos, yellow peril and all that crap.

Posted by: M.Tullius at October 31, 2003 04:37 PM | PERMALINK

Damn. Joe's quote should have ended with ..."will one day marry up with the destructive capabilities it seeks."

Posted by: linden at October 31, 2003 04:38 PM | PERMALINK

Frenchy is right, the UN could have allowed the Sunni Iraqis more voice. The UN also would not be a threat to the neighboring countries and would end the empire program. The UN wouldn't take over the oil. The UN is much fairer towards the Palestinians.

As it was, the UN is simply papering over the real reasons that the US is in there, and serving the US purpose. That's why they got blown up.

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 04:41 PM | PERMALINK

And I will add to the comment of Howard: this war since the beginning failed because it was not a just war. The american troops are seen as invadors and not liberators, and the guerillas/terrorists want everybody out of Iraq. Look the UN personnal is withdrawing because they can't even feel safe. After dropping tons of bombs in Bagdhad they feel like they have nothing to lose anymore: they have been agressed, agression led to violence.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 04:42 PM | PERMALINK

Do you want me to tell you why the clash of civilizations is something you don't want to do? Do you want me to tell you? I'll tell you.

The clash of civilizations is about the leadership of the world. The US will beat Islam hands down, of course. But to get into this clash, the US will have provoked and stoked violence at every turn. US intelligence and the US president will have lied to the world. The US government system will have shown itself incapable of checking militarism. The US press will be reduced to a weakling. The US humanitarian spirit will be shown to be hollow.

In short, the US civilization will be revealed as unfit for leadership of the world. This will be recognized within the US and around the world. The clash of civilizations will be the downfall not of our country, but of our world leadership.

The end

Posted by: Eric M at October 31, 2003 04:43 PM | PERMALINK

...there were a fair number of people in iraq who saw no future for themselves in a rule-of-law based, market-oriented, democracy.

Suppose the UN had supervised the reconstruction from the beginning. How would the situation of these people been any different?

Would they have disappeared?

Would Al Quaeda be okay with a liberal democracy created under UN auspices, but opposed to one created by the US? The Saudis? The Syrians? The Iranians?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 04:43 PM | PERMALINK

You are forgetting that Bush comes from a long line of actual Nazi sympathizers and war profiteers and collaborators. Bush and Sharon are the real Nazis in this modern world.

Posted by: Bm at October 31, 2003 04:43 PM | PERMALINK

I served in Vietnam as a conscientious objector medic in the 1st Air Cavalry. The war was wrong so I wouldn’t fight.

My Dad was in WWII. Drafted like me. That one I would have fought in because our country was at stake.

Anti-war, pro-war; anti-abortion, pro-abortion; with us or against us. What is so wrong about that huge gray middle where people think about situations as they arise and weigh them out for themselves?

I like Calpundit, Billmon and Talkingpointsmemo for their ability to think for themselves based on what they know. I don’t always agree with all you say, but I listen. That’s good.

Although liberal, as am I, you don’t let that stand in the way of getting at the truth. That’s even better than good.

Thanks for being there.

Posted by: John W at October 31, 2003 04:44 PM | PERMALINK

Someone, I forget who, once said that neoconservatism is an ideology that lets bookish men feel powerful, like they could defeat the bullies of their childhood and adolescence.

This is not a clash of civilizations. Islam is a religion that is found in places as diverse as Southeast Asia (Malaysia), Kashmir, East Africa (Tanzania), the Middle East and the United States (both the Nation of Islam and immigrants). These nations all have different civilizations and national traditions. Muslims run the gamut from secular, only slightly observant to very fundamentalist, just like Christians and Jews. It is an unfortunate fact that fundamentalists of all three religions feel that all of society must reflect their faith or they can't really practice it. In addition, some in the Muslim world perceive the success of Israel as a rebuke--how can such a tiny country be so much more prosperous than the islamic countries? And they seek explanations that are other-directed, chiefly that the US helps Israel excessively. They tend (with the exception of the people putting out those UN reports) not to look at the problem of the lack of modern education and free expression in many islamic countries and the oppression of half the population (females) in the less prosperous Islamic countries. And oil seems to have been a corrupter wherever it has been found in less developed countries.

A very small minority of Muslims are engaged in an armed struggle with the US, and use terror as a weapon. None of these appear to be state sponsored, at least not to the degree there is state sponsorship of anti-Israel terrorist acts. There is no such thing as a war on terrorism because terrorism is a tactic not an enemy.
The Democrats have a much better record on actual national security, such as (1) the idea of combining and streamlining agencies; (2) giving more funds to first responders and to such things as port security and inspections, and supporting our troops' actual needs. The war on Iraq diverted agents and money from the fight against specific terrorists, namely Osama bin Laden and his forces, and made cooperation from other countries much more difficult. As Kevin says, the collapse of communism shows that good ideas applied by local people with a little help from the West is a far, far better means of regime change than us coming in, without allies to speak of, and trying to do the job ourselves. Regime creation is the hard part, and it is much, much better if the locals do it themselves. The Bush people are great at PR stunts but they have really depleted the military in a serious way that has drastically cut down our options in the future. Anyone who thinks Bush is doing a good job on "terrorism" isn't really thinking this through.

Posted by: Mimikatz at October 31, 2003 04:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Although liberal, as am I, you don’t let that stand in the way of getting at the truth."

Meaning that you are in way liberal.

I was 4-F. Too immoral to go to Vietnam.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 04:50 PM | PERMALINK

"A very small minority of Muslims are engaged in an armed struggle with the US, and use terror as a weapon. None of these appear to be state sponsored, at least not to the degree there is state sponsorship of anti-Israel terrorist acts. There is no such thing as a war on terrorism because terrorism is a tactic not an enemy."

What planet do you live on? They most definitely receive state support.

Posted by: linden at October 31, 2003 04:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Someone, I forget who, once said that neoconservatism is an ideology that lets bookish men feel powerful, like they could defeat the bullies of their childhood and adolescence."

It also allows them to believe that no one will ever see them as "weak" and consequently call them a faggot.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 04:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Although liberal, as am I, you don’t let that stand in the way of getting at the truth."

Meaning that you are in no way liberal.


Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 04:53 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan was a neocon. I bet he stayed up all night worrying he'd be called faggot. You're pathetic.

Posted by: anderson at October 31, 2003 04:54 PM | PERMALINK

Look, here is the situation:

There are people in Iraq who are going to be tried and executed for war crimes. They are hated by thousands of Iraqis.

They include former members of Sadaam's secret police. They raped innocent women. Tortured dissidents. Dismembered people who Sadaam didn't like. Gassed Kurds and Sh'ites by the hundreds of thousands. They tortured and murdered Iranian and American prisoners of war. They intimidated and brutalized their fellow Iraqis.

There are thousands of these people.

When law and order is restored to Iraq, these people are going to be captured, tried, and executed.

They are attacking us and their fellow Iraqis becuase their very lives are at stake. Their only hope is to create enough chaos so that they can once again sieze power at the point of a gun, just as they did before.

NOTHING changes if the UN is in charge of the reconstruction. Any democratic Iraqi government established by the UN, the US, or any other civilized nation or nations would capture and execute these people.

This isn't about "giving the Sunnis a greater say in Iraq." (And who is to say that we are not giving them a say? Because we ARE.)

These people do not care about WHO creates a democratic government with the rule of law. They care about re-instituting their dictatorship, becuase it is the only way they will stay alive.

Same goes for the foreign fighters. Do they want a democracy in Iraq? Absolutley not. Do they care if the UN establishes it? No. If it respects freedom of religion, guarantees equal rights to women, and embraces Western norms of tolerance and modernity, they are against it. They have said so themselves.

So please do not go telling me that there would be no attacks if the UN were in charge of Iraq. Because if you say that, you are wrong.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 04:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mimikatz-

First, you belittle us as cowards.

Then you belittle us as racists. Not all Muslims think alike? Fascinating, I had no idea. Thank you so much for enlightening me.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 04:59 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe

The people who will are really in danger in Iraq are those collaborating with the US occupiers. Chalabi and others will be hanging from the nearest lamppost as soon as the occupiers are driven out. By the way the most popular name by a large margin for baby boys in Iraq is now Saddam. Please explain.

Posted by: BM at October 31, 2003 05:04 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Schmoe: For once I'm not going to scream at you (metaphorically). I'm just asking: why don't you hate George Bush? Why do you think Democrats like yourself shouldn't hate him, shouldn't call him a stupid chimp? What's he done IN REALITY to protect you and your family -- what's he done that wasn't testosterone-fueled, macho bluster and bragging -- what's he done since 9/11 that hasn't made the situation ten times worse?

Posted by: Temperance at October 31, 2003 05:08 PM | PERMALINK

Two facts that are ignored in the disingenuous conflations of Totten and his ilk should be emphasized:
1)Iraq was not Islamofascist. It was a secular fascist. The American invasion makes an Islmofascist regime in Iraq *more* likely. To simply assume that Iraq will turn into a liberal democracy after Saddam is deposed is sheer idiocy.
2)Iraq had less connection to Islamic terror than most states in the middle east.
The Totten argument, in other words, is that all potential American wars in the Middle East are good by definition, and it is illegitmate to consider costs or rationales. Er, I'm going to pass, even if a great liberal like Zell Miller (eyes rolling out of my head) agrees.
(Hey--Lincoln Chafee supports gay rights! Hopefully Totten et al. will write articles about how the Republicans need to figure out where there real voters are! Jeebus.)

Posted by: Scott at October 31, 2003 05:11 PM | PERMALINK

Californio: why are you worried about boxcutters on a airplane when, now that we've armored the airliner cockpits (like we should have done 30 years ago), the islamofascist terrorists can more easily just take you and your family out with an AR-15 a la Malvo?

I really don't see how killing their daughters in Iraq is making your daughter any safer.


Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:17 PM | PERMALINK

iraq was totalitarian socialism

Posted by: praktike at October 31, 2003 05:18 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't see how killing their daughters in Iraq is making your daughter any safer.

What are you talking about? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

Does the fact that we liberated 25 million people from a brutal dictatorship mean nothing to you?

Does the fact that we are helping establishing a democracy mean nothing to you?

Does the fact that we avoided civillian casualties to the greatest possible extent mean nothing to you?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 05:22 PM | PERMALINK

So please do not go telling me that there would be no attacks if the UN were in charge of Iraq. Because if you say that, you are wrong.

The US itself is stirring up resistance with its we-know-best nation-building.

GANNETT NEWS SERVICE
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A top U.S. official in Baghdad says Iraq will set up a privatization agency by year's end, followed by what could be a contentious sell-off of such state-owned assets as cement plants and fertilizer factories.
Thomas Foley, head of private sector development for the interim U.S. authority in Iraq, defended plans to allow foreign investors 100 percent ownership of factories, banks and other companies once controlled by the Iraqi regime.
"Jobs and growth are going to be much better if there's foreign capital coming in," Foley said in an interview.
The Bush administration's privatization plan has stirred resentment among many Iraqis, some of whom say only an elected Iraqi government should make such decisions.
Foley attended Harvard University with President Bush and served as Connecticut finance chair for his campaign in 2000.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:22 PM | PERMALINK

The UN is against death penalty.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 05:27 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan was a neocon. I bet he stayed up all night worrying he'd be called faggot. You're pathetic.

Reagan never mentioned AIDS for fear of being called a faggot. His ballet dancer son got married for fear of being called a faggot.

YOU'RE pathetic!

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 05:29 PM | PERMALINK

What are you talking about? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

I'm talking about the tens of thousands of Iraqis liberated from the roof overhead, their limbs, their lives, their livelihoods, their parents, and/or their children in Iraq.

Yes, the fact that we liberated the Iraqis from a brutal dictatorship does mean nothing to me, for the costs to them, to us, to international alliances, were/are simply too great.

I wouldn't want third parties waltzing into my country like Yosemite Sam telling me how to live my life and dictating the national polity.

If the Iraqis didn't like their totalitarian form of government, they were free to overthrow it. We (and the rest of the world) could have helped, though our support of Saddam in the 80's made this self-liberation more problematic of course (Saddam to the end thought he was still our "fair-haired boy" in the M.E. ).

This is not isolationism, just common sense.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:31 PM | PERMALINK

Troy-

So the ex-secret police members, the rapists, and the guys who gassed the Kurds are attacking because the state-owned cement factory might be sold to foreigners? Yeah, right.

Frenchy-

You've totally got me there. I'm sure that none of these guys would be attacking if they were only facing life in prison. Heck, they'd probably have given themselves up by now.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 05:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I wouldn't want third parties waltzing into my country like Yosemite Sam telling me how to live my life and dictating the national polity."

And slaughtering UNTOLD THOUSANDS with "shock and awe."

I bet you schmucks thought it was all just a fireworks show, hunh? HUNH?

FUCKING PATHETIC!!!!

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 05:34 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, "democracy" is an occidental thing, I don't recall I've seen a true democracy in the middle-east (except Israel), all of them are managed by some ayatollahs, am I wrong?
And right now if you take a look at the polls from the american army only 30% of Iraqis want a democracy. There is lots of background work to do.
We always agreed that Democracy is the warrant of order and would undermine terrorist attacks or state-terrorism sponshorship. But at what cost?

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 05:37 PM | PERMALINK

Troy-

During the Civil War, several slaves were killed by errant Union artillery fire. Does this mean that the Civil War wasn't worth it?

During World War II, several trains filled with Jews on their way to concentration camps were strafed by Allied planes. Does this mean that World War II wasn't worth it?

During the 1944 invasion of France, tens of thousands of innocent Frenchmen were killed by allied bombs, artillery, and bullets. Does this mean that we shouldn't have invaded France?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 05:37 PM | PERMALINK

So the ex-secret police members, the rapists, and the guys who gassed the Kurds are attacking because the state-owned cement factory might be sold to foreigners? Yeah, right.

no, these quite-rightly-named "dead-enders" are now in alliance with nationalists.

From the Vietnam curriculum Course 11 : Never Underestimate the power of Nationalism.

Iraq (and the mid-east in general) has had a very strong Ba'athist (which is basically national socialism) current. To forceably & unilaterally install US-style globalism is a very questionable strategy so early in the rebuilding.

It smacks of carpetbagging, failing the smell test.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, David, that's right, I thought it was just a big fireworks show. And it was awesome! Too bad we didn't get to use nukes, though. Those explosions would have been much cooler.

Now you tell me that innocent Iraqis were killed in the explosions? Aw, that's okay. Screw 'em. They're just a bunch of heathen sand n****** anyway.

How dare you assume that we are that heartless. How can you think that we didn't realize that innocent Iraqi and American lives were at stake?

You antiwar leftists always seem to assume that there is a huge undercurrent of genocidal racism among the pro-war crowd, but I myself have never seen it. It is a totally unfounded charge for which you should apologize.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 05:41 PM | PERMALINK

During the Civil War, several slaves were killed by errant Union artillery fire. Does this mean that the Civil War wasn't worth it?

I'm no pacifist. That was a civil war. You're missing my point of national sovereignity.

During World War II, several trains filled with Jews on their way to concentration camps were strafed by Allied planes. Does this mean that World War II wasn't worth it?

World War II was (or should have been, but we waited too long) pre-emptive war. Germany (and Japan) declared war on the world, and the world responded (justly) in self-defense.

During the 1944 invasion of France, tens of thousands of innocent Frenchmen were killed by allied bombs, artillery, and bullets. Does this mean that we shouldn't have invaded France?

The French were nearly all for their liberation from an occupying power, Hitler and the Nazis.

Liberating people from their own government is a fools errand IMV. They don't like their own government, they can suffer, or they can throw it off. Their choice. The hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of shattered american lives alone made this excercise in hubris not worth the potential benefits to the poor Iraqis (which in any event have not yet materialized).

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:45 PM | PERMALINK

You antiwar leftists always seem to assume that there is a huge undercurrent of genocidal racism among the pro-war crowd, but I myself have never seen it. It is a totally unfounded charge for which you should apologize.

Joe, you haven't been looking very hard for the genocidal racism.

Anyone with your attitudes should apologize for being alive!! You bush-loving fascist scum.

Posted by: BM at October 31, 2003 05:47 PM | PERMALINK

Make that a DINO with a 100% GOP voting record and two bloggers I've never heard of (and I've heard of a lot). Michael Totten I've heard of, and I've expressed my opinion of his schtick elsewhere.
A guy's got to have a schtick, as in this exchange between a corrupt official and the more corrupt Talleyrand:
"Mais Monsieur, il faut bien vivre."
"Je n'en vois pas la necessite."

Posted by: John Isbell at October 31, 2003 05:49 PM | PERMALINK

You antiwar leftists always seem to assume that there is a huge undercurrent of genocidal racism among the pro-war crowd, but I myself have never seen it.

"Bring 'em on" -- George W. Bush
"Mow 'em down" -- Trent Lott

It is a totally unfounded charge for which you should apologize.

Hardly. The charge is that genocide is a viable option. For my response to that, cf. the ending of "Wargames": strange game, the only way to win is not to play.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Bring 'em on" = genocidal racism? Come on.

I agree, the mow 'em down comment is, in fact, genocidal and (possibly, given the source) racist. But Trent Lott is a notorious racist. He is hardly representative of the majority of pro-war voters.

Troy-

The point is that Sadaam wasn't the Iraqis' own government. He was not elected. He ruled through intimidation and fear. How can this distinction escape you?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 05:55 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, you're losing it now.

There is no guarantee that a UN-approved, multinational war would be having an easier time in the occupation than the US is. That's why many of us said don't do it. Don't fight this war. Don't get involved in a situation whose outcome is so uncertain. Don't proceed without a real plan for the postwar. Don't bamboozle the american public with shock and awe without a cnadid discussion of the costs and risks of the postwar.

If i wrote it once, i wrote it 50 times in various comment boards: first, do no harm.

However, i will see that if we had invaded under UN rather than US auspices, at least all the lives lost and money spent wouldn't be american.

Now, for the last time, stop the ridiculous argument of aren't we happy that 25M Iraqis were liberated. We could have brought a lot more happiness and security to a lot more people with the $200B minimum that we're going to spend on this adventure with no certainty of outcome. If you're such a great humanitarian, get up in arms about the way that the world is ignoring a demographic disaster in Africa, which is affecting considerably more than 25M people.

Congress didn't approve this adventure in order to make Iraqis happy. American security isn't improved because Iraqis are happy. The Iraqi people are not the source of American sovereignty.

Just stop that argument.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 05:55 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that Sadaam wasn't the Iraqis' own government. He was not elected. He ruled through intimidation and fear. How can this distinction escape you?

Come again?

He was legitimate enough for the US and the rest of the world to recognize him and his thugs.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 05:58 PM | PERMALINK

You are evading my point, Troy, and you know it.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 06:00 PM | PERMALINK

Troy give me a break. FDR met with one of the greatest killers of all time, Joe Stalin.

Every political leader has to meet with bad guys from time to time.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 06:02 PM | PERMALINK

This is what the frenchies had done in Congo (operation Artemis): they filtered the population. The civilians got asked to get out, then there was only the bad guys staying in the walls of the city, so it was easier to locate the bad guys and ask them to surrender. Perhaps, you should have done it that way, but logistically, there was not enough troops to do that. 150,000 troops was not a sufficient amount, and there was not enough humanitarian aid at the beginning.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 06:08 PM | PERMALINK

What point? That the US had a moral obligation/justification to intervene in the sovereign affairs of another country?

Sure. I can agree with that to some extent.

My counter-argument is simply: the means are the ends.

And so far, the means the US has employed have really, really sucked.

a) The WMD pretense was just about as well-founded in reality as Hitler's pretense for invading Poland.

b) The near-unilateral nature of the invasion was piss-poor geopolitics.

c) The S&A campaign was counter-productive.

The actual US Army liberation of the major cities went very well, but the occupation has been horribly poorly mounted for some similar root causes behind a), b), and c).

Underlaying my logic is that one reason intervening in another country's affairs is hazardous is the fact that nations reach their state of affairs through historic processes, and it is impossible to detach these political processes from continuing even with occupation. Especially with occupation.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 06:09 PM | PERMALINK

Congress didn't approve this adventure in order to make Iraqis happy. American security isn't improved because Iraqis are happy. The Iraqi people are not the source of American sovereignty.
If this "adventure" works American security will certainly improve our national security. I know Iraqis may not be all for democracy now but things are slow to change in the Arab world. We make this whole democracy work, we give Arabs a chance to build better lives. Maybe then young Arab men will use their abilities to build their nations and will not devote their energy to killing.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

Roger Simon's post has been selectively quoted from and interpreted in a way that does not reflect his meaning (unfortunately rendering many of the comments on this post, indeed Kevin Drum's central point, entirely off base). Read the whole piece by Roger Simon, in particular he cites a long passage from Thomas Friedman's recent anaylsis on the situation in Iraq. With regard to the Democrats, I think that Roger Simon is pointing to the fact that many of the candidates - and the party as a whole - are framing their opposition to the war (and now their opposition to the reconstruction bill) in terms that do not seem to recognize or take seriously the self-evident points that Friedman is making. And they're doing so for political reasons, rather than for sound policy reasons. With respect to national security issues, I personally would not feel comfortable voting for a candidate on the mere hope that he or she is lying for short-term political gain. More generally, Roger Simon and Michael Totten are liberals: and the most liberal candidate on foreign policy issues seems to be George Bush: How the F did that happen?

It seems obvious to me as well that Michael Totten's wake up call is right on point: It's not a couple of bloggers, it's probably at least 5-10% of the electorate, in particular centrist independents, but pro-liberation liberals as well, that is going to look for credibility on foreign policy as the central issue in a way that has not been the case in past elections. And even if it's only 1-2%, that could be decisive. Michael Totten's point is also not addressed to people who are going to vote against Bush no matter what (which includes most commenting here). Rather it's addressed to the assumption or gamble, mistaken in my view, that you can get away with framing an anti-War position that is more anti-Bush than substantive with respect to the realism of its analysis and proposed solutions for dealing with terrorism or the war in Iraq. I think, for example, that Madeleine Albright has done a pretty good, and principled, job of that, despite the carping from the Right. Hillary Clinton would IMO be another good example, tho' she hasn't said much or had to face the difficulty of having to stake out a position as an actual candidate. Wesley Clark is blowing it.

As for the Josh Marshall piece, it's an interesting caveat, but too abstract here to be all that useful. I have no trouble, at that level of abstraction, with reconciling it with Roger Simon's statement (except for the voting for Bush part).

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 31, 2003 06:12 PM | PERMALINK

Every political leader has to meet with bad guys from time to time.

We supported Saddam at his worst, encouraged his adventurism against Kuwait (thinking he would stop at the contested oil provinces), and rather totally botched the GW I endgame, preferring Saddam regain control of the S from the Shiite freedom fighters.

But those were paleocon mistakes, I know.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 06:15 PM | PERMALINK

Drew, trust me, i understand the neocon vision for an improved middle east through regime change and democracy institution, but that's not joe schmoe's point. He's trying to say that the war was find just because the iraqis aren't under saddam's heel.

I say, i'm glad they're not under saddam's heel, but that's not the purpose of american foreign policy, and the fact that they aren't under saddam's heel isn't, by itself, any improvement to american security.

for instance, american security would also be vastly and empirically improved if we had spent what i recall as the $94B that the rudman-hart commission recommended for hardening targets and improving first responder capabilities, and the fact is, there was no downside to that expenditure.

Gabriel, Tom Friedman stopped making sense on iraq a year ago, so i gave up on reading him (life being short and all). exactly what self-evident points did he make?

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 06:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Troy, they were mistakes. What is wrong with admitting that?

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 06:18 PM | PERMALINK

It is obvious you don't understand the GW I end game. Remeber the UN mandate was to simply get the Iraqi's out of Kuwait.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 06:20 PM | PERMALINK

Honestly if you want to negotiate the peace, then catch Sadam Hussein alive and not dead, otherwise pull the troops out.
It seems like there has been 2 peaks of violence in Iraq:
1) After Sadam's sons got killed
2) During the ramadan
We may not think it is a clash of civilization but there are some indications some Iraqis perceive it like a war religion (jehad).

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 06:20 PM | PERMALINK

I meant a religion war oops typos

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 06:21 PM | PERMALINK

I know Iraqis may not be all for democracy now but things are slow to change in the Arab world

They are for self-determination, which is not synonymous with "democracy".

Murbarak in Egypt and King Abdullah in Jordan are cases in point.

It's important to note that the "land of the free" here has a rather half-assed democracy. We couldn't even get through a recount in Florida like responsible adults, many of the Bush tax cuts will currently come fully online in 2009 only to be sunsetted the next year, etc. etc. & etc.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 06:22 PM | PERMALINK

Joe: The sad but true truth is that there's one thing people hate even more that dictatorship, and that's anarchy. I supported the war, under the mistaken impression that the administration had made some intelligent post-war plans.

Now we're in danger of being driven out of Iraq by guerilla war, _and_ Iraq either degenerating into civil war, or becoming an Islamic state. This would give the terrorists a) a new base, and b) evidence that they could beat us. We'd have thrown away everything we gained when we invaded Afghanistan.

Posted by: Walt Pohl at October 31, 2003 06:25 PM | PERMALINK

Howard-

I actually agree with you. I was not saying that the war was justified just becuase of the liberation of Iraqis. Well, it was morally justified for that reason alone.

But I don't know that I am comfortable with making "liberation of the oppressed," without more, the basis for our foreign policy.

There are a lot of odious dictators out there, but I am not comfortable sending American soldiers to die just to liberate strangers in far-off lands. Liberation is noble, but I don't want to send someone to die for some altruistic cause. I mean, Zimbabwe is a horrible place, but should we spend American lives to liberate the people of Zimbabwe? I'm not comfortable with that. If someone wanted to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade of Zimbabwe, they'd have my undying admiration and respect. Would I join myself? Probably not. Should we send the US Army? For the same reason, probably not.

I don't think the war in Iraq is purely altruistic, though. I agree with the neocon vision. I think that if we can bring democracy, modernity, freedom, and hope to the middle east, Americans will be much safer.

It is not certain to work, but it looks like the best, safest, and most humane alternative, so I would like to give it a try.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 06:28 PM | PERMALINK

I do improving the lives of people in other nations is an important part of our national defense. I don't think democracy in Iraq is some sort of pipe dream either. I do think Mr. Bush greatly underestimated the difficulty of the post-war Iraq, but that is in the past. We must fully support the rebuilding of Iraq, this is where I disagree with my party, who are trying to play politics with Iraq money.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 06:29 PM | PERMALINK

If the Iraqis didn't like their totalitarian form of government, they were free to overthrow it.

I've kind of lost track of the debate in this thread but I'd just like to jump in and say this is without a doubt the most utterly stupid thing I have ever read on the web.

Posted by: WillieStyle at October 31, 2003 06:31 PM | PERMALINK

Joe, in honor of our rare agreement, i'm going to bid you a happy halloween and go give out candy to the neighborhood kids.

there may be hope for civil discourse yet.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 06:31 PM | PERMALINK

Remember the UN mandate was to simply get the Iraqi's out of Kuwait.

True enough, but there was a disconnect between what we encouraged (uprising) and what we were able to support (French/UK/US enforced "no-fly" zones).

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 06:32 PM | PERMALINK

The way you went over there (we have proof of wmds and we have proof of terrorist links) did not help you at all in international support (foreign troops and financial aid). It is even a catastrophe in terms of american hegemony. All that the Bush administration did: nurrishing anti-american feelings and magnetizing terrorists (AlQaeda is in Iraq since the frontiers have not been watched).
And if ever a country, Americans or not, was invading my country (because it is an invasion in Iraq and nothing else), I would certainly take the arms to fight against the enemies.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 06:32 PM | PERMALINK

Walt-

I don't believe that our postwar planning is necessarily deficient. There were problems, but I don't think it was a disaster.

We'd be having problems with the ex-Ba'athists and foreign jihadis no matter what. There would still be plenty of terrorism and chaos in Iraq no matter what. No "plan" could have prevented that. Now the looting and crime waves are problem that an approproate plan might -- let me emphasize, "might" -- have prevented. You can debate the merits of whether we should have disbanded the Iraqi army; it's a tough call.

The crime wave won't go on forever. The Iraqi police will be able to take care of it eventually. The Iraqis will be able to get the ex-Ba'athists too. The real question is whether the Iraqis will be able to withstand the pressure of the foreign terrorists and the efforts to corrupt the new democracy that Iran, Syria, and the Saudis will surely attempt (they'll be bribing politicians, causing trouble, etc.)

I think that a lot of the violence will die down once the Iraqis are in charge. They can capture and publicly execute a few criminals and round up all the Ba'athists once they are strong enough. The real question is whether they will be able to resist doing violence to one another.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 06:34 PM | PERMALINK

Using rhetoric like "clash of civilizations" in this instance is a lot like other forms of debasing language designed to make ruthless killing easier -- like calling the enemy "japs," "gooks," "huns," etc.

There really is no basis for characerizing the conflict in this manner. Does the "clash of civilization" include open warfare against Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, and other examples, all of whom happen to be Islamic and who don't seem to be threatening us?

Use of this rhetoric seeems designed to avoid constructive debate about what should be done and the faililngs of what has been done so far. Rather than that being the subject, we are supposed to be satisfied with any crazy policy because its part of the "clash." Be definition, any violent act becomes acceptable.

Posted by: DMBeaster at October 31, 2003 06:37 PM | PERMALINK

Drew, i signed off too quickly.

it's the backbone administration that played games with the money.

The military funding should have been kept separate from the reconstruction funding.

The reconstruction funding should have been subject to a real debate, involving actual hearings, a clearcut set of principles and metrics established for the expenditure of the money and knowing when we're done, a methodology of how american and other source money would be spent, a consideration of how much reconstruction the iraqi economy can handle at once, and a whole series of similar considerations.

People who send over a shopping list that includes $500M ZIP code studies and building 7 planned communities don't deserve being taken seriously on reconstruction without serious debate and examination....

And now, back to the trick-or-treaters.

Posted by: howard at October 31, 2003 06:37 PM | PERMALINK

Frenchy-

And if ever a country, Americans or not, was invading my country (because it is an invasion in Iraq and nothing else), I would certainly take the arms to fight against the enemies.

Except for the Germans, right?

I am only making this joke becuase I know you are not really French.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at October 31, 2003 06:37 PM | PERMALINK

I've kind of lost track of the debate in this thread but I'd just like to jump in and say this is without a doubt the most utterly stupid thing I have ever read on the web.

Here's another stupid statement:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time
with the blood of patriots & tyrants."

Jefferson, 1787

Like I said above, underlaying my logic is the suspicion that a society unable to form democratic government through its own efforts isn't going to be able to maintain one, even with several US Army divisions in-country.

Or maybe especially with several US Army divisions in-country.

S. Korea and Taiwan are two counter-examples, but these lack the volatility of the turkmen-kurd-shia-sunni-badr-ayatollah-wahabbi-PLO-baathist splits we see in Iraq right now.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 06:41 PM | PERMALINK

The rather impressive growth rate of this comments sections tends to make me think that Michael Totten has a point about the Democrats' need to wake up. Kevin Drum's sarcastic comment about the DNC "quaking in its boots" only reinforces that point. Score one for Totten.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 31, 2003 06:42 PM | PERMALINK

Good one Mr Schmoe!

Those fricken French really get under my skin. With their permantent place on the security council they will always have tremendous international power. Recently I think the have gone from friend to foe. While they aren't the typical enemy, wanting to kill their opponent, their current forgein policy goals are almost as vile. To me it seems their only goal is to limit US power even if that means harming their own security. The French's plan for Iraqi post-war occupation was an udder disgrace which would have been bad for Americans, the French, and Iraqis.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 06:44 PM | PERMALINK

Joe,
I agree that the neocon strategy of democratizing Iraq would be immensely beneficial if we can achieve it. The thing is, we need to think clearly about just how to achieve it. What I hear from many hawks including yourself is that if we just stay in Iraq and don't pull a "Beriut" we will eventualy succeed. This is nonsense. We're going to need more than just stoicism to succeed in democratizing Iraq. Were going to need some brilliant ideas and international cooperation (we're not going to get anywhere without NGOs for instance).
Yet the war party keeps trudging out this "just stay the course and all will be well" nonsense.

Perhaps the biggest concern we should have is, if we finally get elections in Iraq, how do we ensure that it does not become an islamic theocracy. In the past Iraq has been largely secular and westernised because of the secular and westernised Sunnis. But by empowering the much more conservative Shia majority, we might be sowing the seeds of theocracy.

Do we actively undermine the Shia in favor of the more secular Sunnis and Kurds?
Do we install a "Turkey-style" millitary establishment that will ensure liberalism with an iron fist? If the latter, how do we ensure that this millitary establishment is more Ataturk and less Pinochet?

Sadly I see no answers from the war party. Merely self-assured gibberish about mass graves. It is my greatest hope that the Democrats get their act together and answer these questions.

Posted by: WillieStyle at October 31, 2003 06:45 PM | PERMALINK

For Omar
by Karen Kwiatkowski
Whose War?
A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest.
by Patrick J. Buchanan
DO NEOCONS EXIST?
Don't attack neoconservatives – it's a 'hate crime'!
by Justin Raimondo
The Return of Fusionism
by Ryan McMaken
An Introduction to Neoconservatism
by Gary North
We've Been Neo-Conned
by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
Big government vs. Bible and Constitution
by Marvin Olasky
Are your ready for WW IV?
by Paul Craig Roberts
Wisdom Of The Father, Folly Of The Son
by Paul Craig Roberts
The Axis of Hubris
by Paul Craig Roberts
What’s In A Name? The Curious Case Of “Neoconservative”
by Paul Gottfried

Posted by: Luther at October 31, 2003 06:46 PM | PERMALINK

Figures that you're hawkish -- what with being so fond of cats, animals that live to kill.

Posted by: Frederick at October 31, 2003 06:48 PM | PERMALINK

"All that the Bush administration did: nurrishing anti-american feelings and magnetizing terrorists (AlQaeda is in Iraq since the frontiers have not been watched)."

Bush's very existence nourishes anti-American feelings. Europeans were not fans of him before 911, and they hated him even more afterwards. We are damned if you do, damned if you don't. I suspect that many other countries did not especially like us beforehand either, especially in the Middle East. From what I've read and experienced since 911, a lot of people in different countries think we got what we deserved on 911. Americans deserved to be incinerated. It doesn't matter what Bush does or says. You can't argue with that kind of hate.

Posted by: linden at October 31, 2003 06:52 PM | PERMALINK

My cat lives to purr.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at October 31, 2003 06:53 PM | PERMALINK

Europeans were not fans of him before 911, and they hated him even more afterwards

Why would this be so? I hated bush after 9/11 because he so obviously failed to take the growing AQ threat seriously, but surely this can't be the hatred of the Europeans.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 06:57 PM | PERMALINK

Joe you are a smartass.
You know it has been hard to build a friendship with Germany after WW2, but we are doing fine after 60 years of close ties. It will be as hard for Iraqis too, they are muslims first, Germans are christians.
I don't think france has tremendous power in the world, international laws are the same for everybody else, that's all. We just have different opinions between monopolar and multipolar world. The war in Iraq emphasized this argument. Anyway the way your medias analyzed the french veto was a pure propaganda: we told you not to go there because we had experienced the war in Algeria, that was for your own good. It is funny that your medias showed picture of Chirac shaking hands with Hussein but they never showed the picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Sadam during the reagan years :P

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 07:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of vocal Europeans, espically those on the continent, want to do their best to limit American economic and political power regardless of the consequences.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 07:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats must surf on the tidal wave of resentment gathering against Bush.

Posted by: grytpype at October 31, 2003 07:04 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of vocal Europeans, espically those on the continent, want to do their best to limit American economic and political power regardless of the consequences

Welcome to the Real World, buddy.

Blair is following the Churchillian "Oceania" alliance strategy, the choice that stronger alliance with the US is preferable to stronger alliances with the Continent.

The islamic world has been the industrial powers' colonial sandbox for well-on a 100 years now. cf. 1898, the Battle of Obdurman and the oil concessions of the early 20th century:

A history link.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 07:10 PM | PERMALINK

>Our war in Iraq is as much political as military.

WillieStyle, excellent point. And these people we have on the ground with our boots on their necks will be freely electing a government soon, if certain optimistic scenerios play out. Will they vote for a pro-US government?

Posted by: grytpype at October 31, 2003 07:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think some of my fellow liberals are underestimating the potential truth of the "clash of civilizations" theory. Maybe it's because my parents are Indian American Hindus, but I find the rumblings in the Muslim world and the constant conflicts with Hindus, Christians, and Jews, very ominous -- and that's even conceding that Hindus, Christians, and Jews share some of the blame.

However, the question is whether the war in Iraq would increase or decrease the chances of a clash of civilizations. I don't see how it can decrease it at all. Iraqis attacked the Red Cross and the UN because they are no less symbols of Western "imperialism" than are American troops. They just don't want us there. Period. And anyone who has read even a USA Today article on the history of Western occupation of Asian lands, from Palestine to Vietnam, would know that foreign occupation succeeds only at significant sacrifice of blood, treasure, and prestige.

Stop with the German and Japan metaphors. The cost of blood and treasure was necessary because they had already conquered the Pacific rim and Europe by the time our troops reached foreign soil.

So in the case of Iraq, there was no threat that would justify indefinite and expensive occupation. Yet there was a tremendous downside -- further alienating an already radicalized Muslim culture.

This may indeed be a clash of civilizations, but W. is partly responsible.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar at October 31, 2003 07:14 PM | PERMALINK

Drew: If the Americans are bogged down in Iraq they can't march on Paris.

Posted by: grytpype at October 31, 2003 07:14 PM | PERMALINK

Several people I know were in Britian last March as war was breaking out, trust me there is a lot of Anti-Americanism in Britian. The British brand of anti-Americanism is nothing compared to the Continental-European variety.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 07:18 PM | PERMALINK

"international laws are the same for everybody else, that's all"

Actually France and Germany get to ignore the very EU economic rules that they imposed on smaller countries.

link

link

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at October 31, 2003 07:19 PM | PERMALINK

Radical muslims think 9/11 was the best thing that ever happened against non-muslim people, of course they are intolerant like the neocons.
But in Europe everybody was with the USA during this tragedy. Since the war in Iraq things changed a little bit in Europe, it has nothing to do with Americans themselves but the way how your President Bush handled this war in Iraq and what his real intentions are. The Iraqis do not trust the american troops, Europeans do not trust the Bush administration either.
For example in Germany, there has been lots of conspiracy theories: CIA ordered to blow the WTC, stuffs like that. Germany had warned the CIA about terrorist attacks 2 years before the tragic accident. In France, we do not want to hear anymore from the Bush administration since he always talks in the name of God to justify this war in the middle-east, we got sick of him.
European attitude may be a temporary situation, otherwise Europe is waking up to have its own words in this world.
Before the war, we never wanted to get a european defense, now things changed alot.
Honestly in France, I don't think we would see neocons (although we were really close to it during the last elections with Le Pen the fascist pig) and if it was the case, it would be an anarchy in France.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 07:28 PM | PERMALINK

Seabass-

Germany and France will end up paying for this deficit spending in the form of fines or other penalties. I really wouldn't consider the EU to be international law since it is so structured, there are real enforcement mechanisms within the EU to deal with violations like France and Germanys deficit spending.

I really hate it when people cite some international law on a discussion board because international law is so dynamic and complex. A real discussion of international law as it relates to something like the Iraq war is impossible to debate sensibly on a discussion board.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 07:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, it is european economic laws, we can't exceed 4% of the GDP and it is really hard for bigger countries: we are playing the european rules though, and it cannot be worse than the american federal deficit which does not make sense at all:)
Also between a sex scandal with Clinton and going to war without the UN, there is btw an ocean of difference. We are talking about American Credibility on the International scene.
Thanks for the message but no thanks, the whole Humanity is concerned about that.


Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 07:38 PM | PERMALINK

A real discussion of international law as it relates to something like the Iraq war is impossible to debate sensibly on a discussion board.

Yeah, far too complex, better to ignore.

What's so complicated about the UN charter whn it comes to Iraq?

Very clear, Iraq was not an imminent threat, Bush's war was illegal without security council authorization.

What part of "illegal" don't you understand?


Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 07:41 PM | PERMALINK

And we can talk of international laws if you want, and european laws too. Sure we have a system based on international laws in the EU.
We can talk about UN resolutions if you want, it will be a great pleasure.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 07:41 PM | PERMALINK

I stand corrected. The 9/11 terrorists may very well have been sponsored by at least some faction of the Saudi government. Other than some Saudis, now that the Taliban have been removed in Afghanistan, what other governments are sponsoring Al Qaeda?

And please do read Brezinski's article. I had not when I posted before, and he says it all much better. My favorite part is where he points out that "who is not for us is against us" was originally said by Lenin as a reason for smashing the social democrats, who were anti-bolshevik.

http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/10/brzezinski-z-10-31.html

Posted by: Mimikatz at October 31, 2003 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

Sovok-

The UN charter makes it clear that state soverignty is still paramount. I refer you to Chapter 1 article 2 of the UN charter. Calling a war not authorized by the security council illegal is false.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

Not only it is is false, but "serious consequences" as stipulated in the resolutions did not make it legal either if ever there was wmds in Iraq.
But there is something bigger than that: signing secret bilateral agreements against the ICC.
The European Union whose foundations partially lie down on the International Laws won't forgive that.
Also the fact of exposing a martial court with Crime agaisnt Humanity may be right but not respecting Human Rights in a martial court is illegal.
...etc...etc
The coup d'Etat missed. The UN is the best thing the US ever had done during his whole existence honestly.
This is also why the US wants an unilateralism, and to do so they have to be against international laws.
Yeah I call that global fascism in international laws.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 07:54 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, it's good to read that some people are becoming aware of the suicidal dive the democratic dwarves are taking as they race for a spot on the ticket.

In 1992, it's interesting to notice, that Clinton rose to the top of the ticket because at the time the going thought was that:

A. Bush was unbeatable.

B. No one takes on an encumbent president and wins.

Of course, Bush was a republican. So at one time that meant MOST PEOPLE were identified as democratic voters. Clinton took a gamble, probably thinking he'd remain viable for 1996. When Ross Perot came in and GRABBED the independent vote. Pulling away 19% of voters who were not 'confirmed republicans' put Clinton in the White House.

Interesting move. Triangulation. But to work it needs 3 strong candidates. And, Ross Perot was something that happened on Larry King Live. On television, where 50 states started to have drives to get Perot up there on the ballot.

It was a galvanizing force.

But for 2004, it's possible the 'powers that be' in the democratic alliance thought that Bush would be weak. He'd be close to the numbers he hugged with Algore. And, that doesn't seem to be the case.

I woke up when Schwartzenegger won. It dawned on me that the 3 grandmas, Feinstein, Boxer and Pelosi, either knew Gray Davis was doomed to lose; and they tried to keep the family china from falling into this earthquake. Or, they misjudged. And, allowed a nincompoop like Bustamante to be the democratic 'other.'

Maybe, it was the way politics was done long ago?

Maybe, the excuse for poor execution could be blamed on happenstance?

But what happens when you see that Hillary Clinton ran in the opposite direction as soon as the insiders knew Davis' game was up?

What does it mean to see a party of insiders looking for hiding places? That's how you lead?

What's behind Wesley Clark except a shot by the Clinton's to hurt Dean? If 'inside the tent' these are the games that go on, we are a long way from a viable democratic party that will galvanize the electorate.

And, no, Bush is no longer at the beginning. Where he was in 2000 with Algore. There's a different measure being taken.

The democrats are at a loss for a number of reasons. Their old anti-war moves were successful in street operations. And, for the press, where the likes of Woodward & Bernstein gained (undeserved) luster. But it didn't KEEP the democratic voters attached to the party politics.

Party politics slowly shifted away. And, now tends to favor the republicans. What does this mean? It means that if there's a bad taste caused by actions (or inactions) taken by people who seem to lack understanding about the new, emerging politics in America. (Save for Dean, no one else is even aware of the Internet.) And, Dean has to survive inter-party warfare. (Well, Schwartzenegger did.)

Grabbing the crown comes with certain kinds of fights. What's unfortunate is that the special interests control more than they should. A wiser, smarter council would not move hard left. Not now.

If this were a NASCAR race then, sure, Dean and Clark fighting it out for first place would make sense. But Clark being a stealth candidate for Hillary ... now that's a whole other ball of wax. And, no insider, it seems, wants to face the music this is going to create down the line.

Meanwhile, if projections are possible. Bush gets a landslide. And, finally in defeat, the Clinton's think they'll walk away with the prize. SAD.

Posted by: Carol in California at October 31, 2003 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose that "sovereignty" includes Iraq, too.

Article 51:

"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

How, in the light of all available evidence, was Bush's war "self-defense", and therefore permissible to be conducted outside of the procedures established by the SC?

Once again: "illegal".

Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 07:58 PM | PERMALINK

Americans want generally want multilateralism, Bush has certainly not done enough to promote this ideal, but it was you French who opposed practically anything America wanted to do in regards to Iraq.

Yeah I call that global fascism in international laws.
Give me a break....

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 08:02 PM | PERMALINK

I partially read the article of Brzezinski, but this is it, the US credibility has a big flaws that may undermine later on a global scale.
I'll go further: psychologically, "terrorizing" a country without proof of wmds, will lead other countries to seek for wmds in case of an agression. It is a really disturbing element for peace in the world.
God thanks I am not the only one thinking like that.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 08:03 PM | PERMALINK

Clark being a stealth candidate for Hillary

Are you sure you didn't realize that you weren't at FreeRepublic.com?

Or did you forget to take your medication again?

Let me guess, Wesley Clark played a big role in the Waco incident, right?

Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 08:03 PM | PERMALINK

In international laws, it is called "global fascism", when a country pursue economic and political interests without the UN. The fact of going over there without the UN only will isolate the US from the rest of the world if ever your President persists in this direction. Look at what happened to the European funds for Iraq or how the Asian countries reacted to Bush for reconstructing Iraq. The facts are here.
As I said I am not anti-american, but anti-bush: he is playing a bad card.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 08:11 PM | PERMALINK

The soverignty part is the key...if you interpret passages like that literally military action does require SC approval. BUT since the charter makes it clear national overignty isn't given up to the UN, action outside the security council isn't illegal.

The purpose of the United Nations was not to replace the system of states acting in their own interests. The purpose is to promote international cooperation, not to require international compromise which would end national soverignty.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 08:12 PM | PERMALINK

French who opposed practically anything America wanted to do in regards to Iraq.

Uh,Drew? Did you read tha Kay report? The French were right.

Friends don't let friends launch stupid, pointless wars.

Frenchy,

Thanks for the help getting rid of King George III (and the Statue of Liberty).

We will take care of King George II in November 2004.

(better late than never)

Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 08:14 PM | PERMALINK

CAROL,

Hillary doesn't want to run for president, give it up!!!

Every time you post on this site is some long, irrational rant about how great the president is and how Hillary wants to run for president.

The author of this obviously had nuts like you in mind when he wrote it.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

this

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 08:20 PM | PERMALINK

No sorry it is illegal. "serious consequences" did not mean military action.
The UN go to "war" only when the full process of negotiations has been accomplished at 100%. I will agree with you it is a blury notion and this is why we have the SC too: everybody else thought the negotiation process hadn't been finished. Sadam had recalled the UN inspectors.
Gotta walk the dog out

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 08:22 PM | PERMALINK

If this were a NASCAR race...

Secret code for "I'm a fucking maroon of the highest order"...

Posted by: dave at October 31, 2003 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

Of course "serious consequences" meant war!!! Every SC member that voted for the resolution with that lanaguage in it knew the Brits and Americans were prepared to go to war with Iraq.

Uh,Drew? Did you read tha Kay report? The French were right.

Yes I know all about the Kay report. The point of the pre-war SC resolutions was not whether Iraq had weapons or not. The point was the unaccounted for WMD, Saddam wouldn't give the inspectors the access required to account for the missing weapons. Saddam wouldn't cooperate with the inspections regeme so we went to war to enforce the resolutions.

In addition to enforcing the resolutions we got rid of Saddam and gave a chance for democracy in the Arab world.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 08:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Friends don't let friends launch stupid, pointless wars."

That is classic.

Posted by: Luther at October 31, 2003 08:35 PM | PERMALINK

The point was the unaccounted for WMD

Which are still "unaccounted" for - even with absolutely unfettered access to every square centimeter of the country.

Next rationale, please - maybe you will eventually get to one that sounds remotely plausible.

Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 08:40 PM | PERMALINK

You are missing the point Sovok.

The SC said over and over and over again(that includes France), Iraq has these unaccounted for WMD and must cooperate with international inspectors, and if Iraq doesn't comply with the obligations of 1441 and prior resolutions "serious consequences" would result.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 08:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Iraq has these unaccounted for WMD"

Saddam said he destroyed them, and surprisingly enough, he wasn't lying. He just couldn't prove it.

He was trying, by doing assays on soil where the WMDs were destroyed to try to quantify the amounts - this process was cut short by Bush's invasion.

This is why the SC was arguing for more time for a peaceful resolution, but Bush couldn't wait because it might destroy his rationale for war.

Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 08:52 PM | PERMALINK

Um, yeah. Right. The WMDs.

Everyone who knew anything about the "WMDs" on the entire planet agreed that there was no need for any immediate action.

The administration lied. Get over it.

Posted by: Thersites at October 31, 2003 09:01 PM | PERMALINK

Saddam said he destroyed them, and surprisingly enough, he wasn't lying. He just couldn't prove it.

He was trying, by doing assays on soil where the WMDs were destroyed to try to quantify the amounts - this process was cut short by Bush's invasion.

Yeah riiiiiiiight...Yes, Iraq had WMD in the past and was unable to account for WMD that he was ordered to destory after GW I. He kicked the inspectors out in 1998(sounds like cooperation for me). Then after 1441 the UN got inspectors in Iraq again. Did Iraq cooperate? No. Inspectors were not granted immediate access to the necessary facilites, the Iraqis wouldn't grant the inspectors full access. IRAQ WAS NOT allowing verification of their WMD distruction contentions.

Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 09:11 PM | PERMALINK

No it is wrong, otherwise why do you think Rumsfeld signed secret bilateral agreements against the ICC 2 months after the war started? So that he can make the ICC impotent.
We signed UN res 1441 but with a different approach.
Besides there was not a majority who voted to go to war and there was a veto.
It is only legal if it is enforced by the SC and Article 51. Obviously this is what Colin Powell told the Americans. And of course only the ICC has competence into that, certainly not the US all by istelf.
I hope it helped you to see clearer.

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 09:18 PM | PERMALINK

No, it was a diversion that the Bush administration created to justify a war to the eyes of the american people.
Then later on he said "don't beleive the lies but beleive my eyes"
ahem

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 09:20 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe you should tell UNMOVIC that, they seem to have a different opinion:

Iraq has on the whole cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field. The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect and with one exception it has been prompt. We have further had great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable.

January 27, 2003

http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/Bx27.htm

The cooperation wasn't perfect, but it wasn't the sort of "stonewalling" which justified immediate war, either. Which is why the SC would not find SH in "material breach" of 1441.

Man, did you drink the Kool-aid, come over to the "light side" - it's so much easier when the facts are on your side.


Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

there is no such thing as international law.

i think.

Posted by: praktike at October 31, 2003 09:23 PM | PERMALINK

It is okey we are all brothers:)
Gotta go to bed *yawn*

Posted by: Frenchy at October 31, 2003 09:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Gotta go to bed *yawn*"

Yeah, me too.

To be continued...

Posted by: Sovok at October 31, 2003 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

First off, I am not loyal to the administration. I voted for Mr. Gore in 2000 and in 2002 I voted (absentee) for Paul Wellstone before his death. I am no partisan Republican, but more of a neoliberal.

Read 1441. Here is a money quote "Iraq Shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA immediate, unimpeded, uncondition, and unrestricted access to any and all.. (facilities)...which they wish to inspect..."

it goes on to talk about unrestricted access to officals the inspectors want to talk with...


SH had to comply w/o exception or else he was in material breach.


Posted by: Drew at October 31, 2003 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

Drew: the quote above from UNMOVIC directly contradicts your assertion. But you repeated your original point anyway.

A perfect example of the futility of these kinds of debates.

Posted by: andrew at October 31, 2003 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

there is no such thing as international law.

Correct. Just treaties between sovereign powers.

The Nuremburg trials were an exception to this.

Posted by: Troy at October 31, 2003 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody question the timing of Zell Millers declaration? On it's face it seems premature w/ the election over a year away. The impact of his statement will almost certainly be diluted even in Georgia, it's bound to have little impact. I don't get it.

As for the other two bloggers...so what. I don't think Fred Barnes panting after them is a badge of honor.

Posted by: Moebetta at November 1, 2003 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Frenchy, you have some cute quotes.

"But in Europe everybody was with the USA during this tragedy."

Funny, within a week of Sept. 11 I distinctly remember experiencing rage with regard to 'they got what was coming to them' editorials in Le Monde and the Guardian.

"Radical muslims think 9/11 was the best thing that ever happened against non-muslim people, of course they are intolerant like the neocons."

Intolerant like the neocons. Now there is classic moral equivalence.

"CIA ordered to blow the WTC, stuffs like that. Germany had warned the CIA about terrorist attacks 2 years before the tragic accident."

I'm going to pray that your use of the word 'accident' in this context is some sort of second-language difficulty, because if it was intentionally chosen you would be worthy of scorn.

"Sure, it is european economic laws, we can't exceed 4% of the GDP and it is really hard for bigger countries: we are playing the european rules though, and it cannot be worse than the american federal deficit which does not make sense at all"

It is 3% by the way, and the rule was created by France and Germany, so the idea that they can't follow it after years of bullying Spain and Italy is amazing. And as for the heavy fines, you keep my e-mail address and alert me as soon as they are forced to pay fines (that is actually pay, not be ordered to pay). I suspect it might be right after Bush goes on television and begs for forgiveness from the Europeans right after his conversion to Islam.

"But there is something bigger than that: signing secret bilateral agreements against the ICC."

Secret? They were well published from the beginning. In fact the US put the EU on notice about them as a tactic to try to keep the ICC from coming into being. There were no secret bilateral agreements. I know conspiracy theories don't have to comport to all the facts, but really...

"In international laws, it is called "global fascism", when a country pursue economic and political interests without the UN."

I defy you to show me such an international law.


Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at November 1, 2003 01:01 AM | PERMALINK

distinctly remember experiencing rage

Well, Sebastian, Le Monde on 9/12/01 proclaimed "we are all Americans" did they not?

(I'm sure the Guardian at least published one or two true bleeding-heart "why they hate us..." leftist screeds that got your goat though).

now there is a classic moral equivalence

now there is a classic conservative re-frame.

if it was intentionally chosen you would be worthy of scorn

here wonder at the powers of righty discernment and approbation... yeah, 4 airliners from NE airports crashing on the same morning, two into the same complex, would be intentially termed "an accident" by your interlocutor. Get a grip!

(I agree about your "global fascism" rebuttal though there might be something out of the UN on those lines for all I know (which is nil)).

Posted by: Troy at November 1, 2003 02:43 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, I am not violent, I am peace with my peaceful god.

When I think I am threatened and I will
kill to ensure I don't think I am threatened.

Shall I move in next store?

Posted by: johnx at November 1, 2003 09:41 AM | PERMALINK

Keep this in perspective:

If there is a war of civilizations it is not Islam v. Christianity/Judaism. It's religious fundamentalism of all stripes against modern secularism. Every society must confront that battle, just as every society had to fight the internal war of communism/fascism vs. democractic capitalism from the 1920s to the 1980s. Fundamentalists believe that only their intepretation of God is true, that all others are wicked and even traitorous, and that compromise is the tool of the devil. Now every fundamentalist does not embrace the same tactics - some are violent within state apparatuses (Iran, Taliban, extreme ultra-Orthodox Israelis, Boykin-esque "Christian soldiers"), others are violent outside of a state context (Al Qaeda, anti-abortion murderers, Baruch Goldsteins) and many reject violence altogether. Also, the level of violence advocated differs among fundamentalists - Al Qaeda would gladly kill millions around the world, Hezbollah and Hamas have more limited objectives, anti-abortion extremists have very limited objectives. So the physical threat to ordinary people varies. However, the civilizational threat in all cases is significant. I may be more worried about al Qaeda blowing up my airplane than a David Koresh clone getting on and shooting everybody. But both are threatening to undermine the modern secular society that we live in. Religious fundamentalism is about the rejection of the values of modernity and every society is must confront it.

Posted by: elrod at November 1, 2003 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Supporting this President on anything will get Democrats nowhere."

The war vs. terrorism and/or fascisim is about where the Democracts can get to? It's not about America's security but it's about what one political party can get?

Sheesh! That's why this lifelong Dem cannot warm to any of the nine dwarves.

Posted by: Russ at November 1, 2003 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Someone enlighten me: if it's a "war of civilizations" why are both sides run by lying fundamentalist uncultured demagogues? Shouldn't we call this a "the fight of the flaming assholes for world supremacy"?

Very, very few Americans will reap the benefits of the Iraq war (e.g. no-bid contracts) and many will pay, as very, very few Iraqis will benefit from the current terror, and many will pay.

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 1, 2003 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Drew and yall buddies, I will comment on the ICC, its implications in the EU, in the rest of the world, the difference between the ICC and martial court when it comes to Crime against Humanity, the credibility gap ...etc...etc all of that, I will try to be brief, it may be hard though, we'll see. I want it to be an open dialog, I hate arguying with people, if they don't respect my opinion, it is fine with me, I am not pro-european or pro-american anyway, we are the same,
I will stay on my position, that's all. We are not here to argue but to expose our visions and share ideas with a peaceful dialog.
Also don't think or act like I am french since I don't consider myself like french for historical and universal reasons. Sorry for the broken english :)
9/11 is a terrorist act of course, don't try to read between my lines, english is not my first language but my 3rd one.
And talk to yall soon

Posted by: Frenchy at November 1, 2003 02:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kay, bay, fey, who cares.?

This was a war started on gut instict by people who suffer from indegestion.


A democrat said that.

Posted by: fouro at November 1, 2003 02:54 PM | PERMALINK

What does the movie, ISHTAR, and the democratic party have in common?

Very expensive waste of money. And, during the period where creativity counts, creativity went down the toilet. And, only egotistical maniacs prevailed.

Some people lost lots of money.

However, very few Americans lost any time VIEWING that terrible disaster. It's now only known as a financial bust.

Since the democrats haven't yet faced WATERLOO, since every election lost is just another show that they refuse to change tactics ...

Are now up against a president that gains in popularity. True, in May, Bush toodled off with Tony Blair and tried a Mideast slap down, that didn't work. And, Bush shed popularity points like crazy. He has since stabilized.

Every battle has chaos and smoke. As well as fire. Bush got slammed, as I said, because he has tried to touch every base possible. He doesn't want to hit a home run, and then be accused that his toe didn't touch a base. So we got this summer's doldrums. And, the UNs nuttiness. And, the English games in the newspapers about yellow cake, and stuff that didn't really pick up much interest, here in America.

Except for the democrats. Who have now ordered more of the same crap to stock their shelves for Christmas. Some people just never learn.

I'd bet most Americans feel threatened by terrorism. Maybe, even more so than they felt about Nazism? (And, yes, in WW2 there was a Pacifist Movement. Not just communists. But people who abhor war. Some, abhor it all of the time.)

But it's not what gets politicians elected. It's not what forms the core of majority votes. It doesn't bring democrats into CHAIRMANSHIPS where there's real power in legislative government.

At the beginning, in 2000, the democrats thought that Bush was the biggest joke. So these 'professionals' didn't have to make much effort to win.

Probably, the Tom Dasholes of the world still believe this. They're so nice. They just keep repeating the pablum message, with for Dashole doesn't even sell in North Dakota! (Where a very heavy concentration of Arabs have been brought in to live.)

America is HUGE. And, one of the failings for democrats (who live clustered in a few States), no longer many ... has to be the day they come to realize how some big states are now receiving republican representation. Texas, since this Bush became their governor; flipped. Florida, since Jeb took over from the democrats won his re-election. And, California just had an earthquake.

Why was California vulnerable?

Because the 3 grandmas, Pelosi, Feinstein, and Boxer decided that they'd protect Gray Davis; they wouldn't mount a serious candidate of their own. And, they KNEW Cruz Bustamante was an incompetent little round football.

Oh, boy. Did those ladies make a MISTAKE!

Are you surprised?

Is it possible that women in power are clueless on designing strategy positions that WIN? (How come Karl Rove, working with less, has obtained so much more?)

To win wars you need great generals.

But you can't make a great general by polishing brass and calling it gold.

If the democrats were serious, and they're not, they'd start exposing the weaknesses NOW, by comparing the current philosophy with what was once a success. Last man out of the box, here, was JFK. Forget Clinton. And, forget his wife. Because they're around long enough now to really be the wrong people in control of the machinery.

Posted by: Carol in California at November 1, 2003 03:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't believe in war either. I think it's a total waste of money, where is the proof of WMD? There is none. All that money wasted, all those lives lost and for what??? For US to pay to rebuild what we destroyed? My God how foolish. We have people starving, out of work, yet we spend billions of dollars on another country to destroy it then rebuild it. What are the Iraq people supposed to think of us anyhow? That we rebuild, all is right after we murder their countrys defenders? What about all the loved ones over here who are missing part of their families because of this? We need to take care of ourselves before we do anything else anywhere, you know charity begins at home...Not only this what about Jessica Lynch...How tell me is she a hero? She got hurt, was in a hospital and now is home. Whoopee, people get hurt in accidents. That's what happened to her. End of story, now let's end the war.

--------------------------------------------------

It is going to be really difficult to end this war. More people will die on both sides. It is a stable chaos whose american troops cannot even take care of. Honestly, giving back the sovereignity to Iraqi people is the first idea to undermine terrorist and guerilla attacks since UN res 1511 did not really improve the situation over there. Now if we make Iraqi people responsible, if we give sovereignity back to Iraq, things will certainly change.
Don't look further, your gvt is over there in Iraq to get his greasy hands on oil-contract without competitive-bids and everybody knows it.
What is not acceptable is putting the american troops in the mouth of the wolf, putting them at risk for self-appropriated reasons. And you need to keep that in mind.
Please notice at worse case scenario if the Bush administration does not fall down, then the whole USA will fall down. It is anti-american indeed.
Don't be betrayed and used.


Posted by: Frenchy at November 1, 2003 03:44 PM | PERMALINK

Lynch was presented as a war hero because the alternative is just another victim.

War Is a Racket

While I disagree with the old General's pacifism in the face of aggression (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure), I believe the almighty dollar did indeed push a lot poeple around in the 20th century. So much so that I (sometimes) consider WW2 to be war more between currency blocs than ideologies.

Posted by: Troy at November 1, 2003 05:03 PM | PERMALINK

If there's a war of civilization ahead, folks, we live. And, they die.

We're not there yet. Because we don't have to be there yet. Sometimes, reason prevails.

If not. I'll stick with my first sentence. But there won't be a need to apply it before the presidential elections in 2004.

After that election the 'end' may just apply to one of the two parties: The democrats. Or the republicans. Your personal choices don't matter. What will matter is what works. And, then, to analyze what didn't. In the meantime, hold your thoughts. It's a free country. And, you're entitled to believe in the outcomes you say are gonna happen.

Well, who goes to Las Vegas expecting to lose money?

Posted by: Carol in California at November 1, 2003 09:20 PM | PERMALINK

If there's a war of civilization ahead, folks, we live. And, they die.

Oh, comedy now. I can assure you surviving moslems on the losing side can & will make life in the US SO BAD you'll wish you were dead.

WarGames has the only thoughts that make any sense: "Strange game. The only way to win is to not play."

This clash-of-civilians talk is just plain silly.


Posted by: Troy at November 1, 2003 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Two points:

Why the fuck do any of you bother talking to Joe Schmoe? He's clearly had his head buried in the sand since September 12, 2001, and he's not about to risk his cozy ignorance, regardless of whether it's rational, or just plain right. If Dubya says we're gonna nuke them towelheads, Joe will acquiesce, because he's a fucking scared child who can't think for himself. Better to let Dubya proclaim it in his aw shucks common sense manner, and then let professional bullshit artists like Will, Buckley, and amateurs like Totten pretty it up and twist it into all sorts of rhetorical knots in order to combat reality. Dubya's our quarterback, and Joe's got team spirit, so rah rah sis boom bah smash those Arabs into cole slaw!

Democracy in any nation where we backed a tyrannical dictator is a pipe dream at worst, an highly unlikely at best. The only reason Saddam made it as long as he did without being overthrown by his own people was that he was a lot smarter than the Bushies, and realized he'd have to risk his friendship with them in order to give the Iraqis a new enemy. He realized the growing resentment towards the US was too powerful for him to ignore, so he got himself in a war he knew he'd lose ultimately, but which would turn the ire of his people against the US, and cast him in a sympathetic light as their protector.

He needed us as an enemy just as much as we needed a replacement for the USSR after the Cold War ended. Unfortunately, we got saddled with a loser who was too stupid to realize that you don't take out your enemy when you can keep him around to justify those big military contracts and the start up of the arms race again.

Shit, if these people had any fucking brains, we could have spent all the money we sunk into this stupid invasion on some idiotic missle defense shield, and Halliburton would have made just as much money. But their desire to play the action hero was too great, and now their becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Hence the increased rage from people like Joe, who invested all their emotions and none of their brain power into Bush's excellent adventure, when reality encroaches on that happy ending they were all sure would come.

There is no happy ending, you stupid motherfuckers. All there is death and more war and staggering debts and more hatred and DEATH DEATH DEATH.

Iraq will no more become a paragon of democracy in the Middle East, lighting the way to "civilization" than I will join the Young Republicans. YOUR FANTASIES WILL NOT COME TRUE, YOU FUCKING CHILDREN.

Wake up and smell the explosions.

And after that rant, I can't seem to remember my second point. Probably that we should have bombed Saudi Arabia, and that any so-called hawk who disagrees is a fucking lying sack of shit who enables traitors.

Posted by: Jess at November 2, 2003 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Russ, I don't think not supporting Pres. Bush means disagreeing with him on every vote or every issue. Even a stopped clock...

I think the point is Dems who announced they had reached a compromise with Bush, or who flat out endorsed him, didn't get anythig for their troubles. Except, in many instances, new jobs.

[aside on the WMD inspections: I don't think being slow about opening up one site is a breach, unless there was some evidence that, say, CW were being destroyed. We went to war, whatm when the inspectors said they might have a complete report in another month?? And don't forget how derisive we were of their failure to uncover any WMD, even when we gave them GPS coordinates. (These derived, I suppose, from the worthless defector intelligence of Ahmed Charlatan Chalabi.) I think we owe the inspectors an apology, but that isn't the Bush style.]

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus at November 2, 2003 01:16 PM | PERMALINK

RE: Posting by JP: Unlike fascism or communism, militant Islam isn't a rising power, but a threat precisely because of its dysfunction and weakness...

This is quite a brouhaha of a mess but one development that makes me hyperventilate is the flood of books and articles and TV appearances etc etc etc purporting to ‘explain’ the many deep complexities of fundamentalist Islam I bought it - at first - but now it is nothing more to me than sanctimonious whining. Do not buy into this line of chatter. Terrorism comes with as many faces as Medusa and as in the legend, if you look into her face, you will die. Another posting said this is nothing more than ‘organized crime writ large.’ Fully agree. Bin Laden hiding in his cave in the desert with a camel and an ideology is literally no different from Ted Kozinski hiding in his hut in the mountains with his dog and his manifesto. Do not dignify this nonsense with a religious justification.

RE: Posting by JP: We have to decide how to proceed. Do we declare all-out war with much of the Muslim world or craft an approach more narrowly tailored to secure our safety and advance their freedom? Grandiose visions beget grandiose actions, which often end tragically. And grandiosity is a sin of intellectuals, too.

Are you in any way implying that the State Dept. plan was deemed too ‘grandiose?’ Very curious.

Posted by: Not Buying It at November 2, 2003 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Militant Islam is not exactly a civilization, but is more dangerous due to oil-wealth at its disposal. Usually the need for a civilization to create wealth brings a natural check on the power of the leaders, reducing the unrealistic, uncooperative, extremist forms. With the civilized world providing goodies that Islam doesn't produce itself, but can buy, there are no such checks on the powers of the leaders. The industrial revolution allowed far more power centralization, supporting dictators.

Nor is it a clash merely between secularists/ pro-abortionists and believers/ anti-abortionists, although there is a significant relationship. Those who take Islam seriously are deeply troubled by a secular libertinism leading to killing baby fetuses in order to allow college women to enjoy "equal" sexual promiscuity; similar to American believers' distrust of the promotion of promiscuous liberty.

Neither is it democracy vs. non-democracy, but at least one this axes there is hope for changing the Islamic Arabs, especially in Iraq. Get Iraqis voting for local gov't; mayors and city councils. And get those local gov'ts some tax revenue to make budgeting decisions about. That's the best hope for Iraq; and America.

Posted by: Tom Grey at November 3, 2003 05:38 AM | PERMALINK

wow. In that whole thing you didn't have one fact nor one alternative plan whatsoever, just a lot of argument to emotion. . .

Posted by: leon nesbitt at November 3, 2003 05:41 AM | PERMALINK

Ryan B.
"Limited" is about twenty business and professional people, some I've known for years.
In addition, there are the media articles of bizarre nonsense coming from others I have not met. There are other stories from people who've had the same experience I've had.
I think I'm safe in saying that not all people are alike, and a high proportion of those who are not like us in several important features are in the Islamic world. It is this sea of acceptance which supports the more active and radical types.
Recall the reports about FBI translators. They were discovered to be shading translations if some of the contents made Islam look bad.
This is stuff we are depending on for our lives and they are....

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at November 3, 2003 06:31 AM | PERMALINK

Without getting into labels, I think the real issue is that some continue to look at 9/11 as an isolated incident of criminal activity that should be responded to along the lines of police responding to a crime. I believe this is a misguided response to 9/11.

As a conservative, I have no patience with those who wish to blame Clinton for his rather anemic response to foreign terrorist attacks prior to 9/11. The simple fact is that sometimes, it takes a catastrophic event to force a reevaluation of priorities and change perceptions of strategic threats.

Prior to 9/11, all Americans, donkeys, elephants and independents viewed terrorism as an annoiance, not a real threat. And terrorism, as such, is not the real threat. The real threat is a group of self-identified enemies of the USA that are exclusively of the Muslim religion that are intent on the destruction of our way of life.

Because of modern life's dependency upon fossil fuels, and the accident of the mineral wealth of the middle east, this has given the people who run the region both undue power, and enormous wealth to act on their malign intentions. Furthermore, although the source of this malignancey is clearly Saudi Arabia, our relationships with Iraq and Iran magnify our dependence upon the kingdom.

So Bush etal, having correctly identified the enemy, is in a particulary difficult position. And this position has nothing to do with Bush's political persuasion. Clinton was similarly constrained, but 9/11 had not yet occurred, so their was no chance of popular support to root out the problem.

So here is the diagnosis:

1. Radical Muslim leaders are inciting and financing a campaign of hatred and violence toward "heathen" societies.

2. With the fall of the Atheistic USSR, The USA has become the greatest threat to the Muslim world view - especially Pan-Arabism.

3. Small successful "terrorist" attacks have convinced these people that they can ultimately be successful.

4. Because of relationships with Iraq and Iran, the Saudi's have the USA by the short hairs vis-a-vis oil supply. This situation prevents a direct attack on the Kingdom because it would cripple the US and world economy.

5. Financed by the Kingdom, Usama Bin Ladin directly attacks the USA on its home soil. This causes a complete reevaluation of the real threat to our way of life. The choices are capitulate, be conquered, or fight back. America at large demands we fight back.

6. Because of Political Correctness, and America's long-held belief in religious freedom, the administration is constrained from directly identifying the enemy as militant Islam, so it declares a nebulous "War on Terror" as if terror, not real flesh and blood people with a malign world view is the real enemy.

7. Because of Economic dependency, America is constrained from directly attacking its real enemy - Saudi Arabia.

What would you do in this situation?

Apparently the solution so far is:

1. Immediately attack the direct source of the problem in Afghanistan and dislodge Al Queda.

2. Ratchet up world animosity toward anything that can remotely be called terror.

3. Finally recognize once and for all who the real enemy is, and refuse to negotiate with those who use military and civilian force against us and our friends. (no negotiation with Arafat) Refuse to accept the Palestinian excuse for violence elsewhere in the Arab world.

3. Use the obvious breach of the cease fire agreement by Iraq as an excuse to establish a presence in the heart of the region that is the home of the enemy. Also, begin the process of extricating ourselves from dependence on Saudi Oil by converting Iraq from enemy into friend.

4. Try to establish a culture and society where freedom and tolerance are practiced and become cherished.

To come:

1. Use our enemy relationship with Iran to try to foment internal overthrow of that government. Failing that, use military power if necessary to repeat the procedure in Iran as soon as possible (by pressure or military conquest) to further loosen the grip the Saudi's have on our economy.

2. Once the oil is flowing from Iraq and Iran, come down on the Saudi's like a ton of bricks.

3. Introduce freedom and tolerance as the only acceptable society values in order to maintain peace with the USA.

Despite the critics of General Boykin, our enemies do view this as a religious war, regardless of how we view it. Like the Catholics in the Middle Ages, the Muslims need to be "converted" to the idea that violence in the name of religion is not an acceptable practice. And if they persist in this practice, we have only three choices.

1. Exterminate those who refuse to give up voilence as a means of evangelism.

2. Crush the will and change the minds of the enmey.

3. Surrender and convert to a strict Islamic theocratic society.

My question for my fellow liberal citizens is this: How would you defeat this enemy?

Two things that are not viable options are:

1) Use alternative fuels to become oil independent. Any serious study of modern society must conclude that oil is currently the life blood of modern society. The Saudi's and Arabs are using that strategic fact in their assualt on our way of life. We can argue about what should be, or what might be possible, but the immediate facts are oil is vital to our way of life.

2) Trying to convince Arabs and Muslims this is not a holy war and we don't have a problem with Islam is not a viable option. Remember, prior to the fall of Atheistic USSR, the Soviets were percieved as the number one threat to Islam. This shared enemy is why we had strategic relationships with the Arabs in the first place. To fall under the illusion that we can demostrate religious tolerance toward Islam by practicing religious intolerance toward avowed Christians at home is a peculiar and ridiculous notion.

Posted by: Scott Harris at November 3, 2003 09:17 AM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that Eric M and various other posters are so worried about the "slaughter" of Iraqis, but don't seem concerned that the "peaceful" sanctions approach killed something north of 500,000 people.

Seems like a rhetorical inconsistency there...

Posted by: RD at November 3, 2003 09:21 AM | PERMALINK

RD: Because those deaths were sanctioned by the "international community," and not perpetrated by the bloody-minded American warmongers, so they're okay.

As long as the SC signs off, those deaths don't really count, just like the deaths of the Rawandans and the unfortunates in Zaire and Cambodia and everywhere else the U.N. has intervened so successfully don't count.

Posted by: Daniel Calto at November 3, 2003 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

3,000+ people in New York and Washington didn't get the choice as to whether they were going to "drink the Kool-Ade".

It was force-fed to them by those who have already declared war on Western civilization, whether we acknowledge them or not.

Posted by: Tasty Manatees at November 3, 2003 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

It has been said that what the French want is for the UN to rule the world, for the EU to rule the UN, and for the French to rule the EU. The problem that the US sees with this is the progressively increasing degree to which the Islamic Fundamentalists are, through immigration, birth demographics, cultural exclusivity, intolerance, and violence, ruling French foreign (and domestic) policy through threats and intimidation.

Posted by: Salamantis at November 3, 2003 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Unusual ideas can make enemies.

Posted by: Rheinfrank Todd at December 9, 2003 08:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is never a mistake to say good-bye.

Posted by: Stafford Ted at December 20, 2003 02:23 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes.

Posted by: Jessica Lampros at January 9, 2004 01:20 AM | PERMALINK

The heat in these arguments doesn't seem to stem from the topic at hand, the war in Iraq, but from the divide between religious and secular America embodied in President Bush. Most of secular America loathes the man, while only if he were caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl would the evangelicals ever question him.

One question: How would the appropriate course of action change if the forces driving Islamic terrorism were largely internal? Just consider that as an exercise...

Remember that terrorism, Islamic and otherwise, is nothing new. One characteristic of this debate that bears re-examining is the presumption that the US actually has a lot of control over the dynamics that cause terrorism. The scariest statistic coming out of Iraq is not the number of American or Iraqi dead but the Iraqi unemployment rate.

Posted by: Adam Boger at January 15, 2004 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Both dreams and people crash down.

Posted by: Dawson Richard at March 16, 2004 08:30 PM | PERMALINK

Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.

Posted by: Geist Morgan at April 28, 2004 05:27 AM | PERMALINK

There are no weird people - some just require more understanding.

Posted by: Copeland Greg at April 28, 2004 05:27 AM | PERMALINK

Misfortune shows those who are not really friends.

Posted by: Cleary Jackie at May 19, 2004 08:59 AM | PERMALINK

There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.

Posted by: Pitarys Katherine at May 19, 2004 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

But most of all did he dwell upon some round thirty-five entity that internet gambling and abstracted and mocked at him. They were sensations, yet within them vacated unbelievable elements of texas hold and space-things which at bottom rose no unmarked and unlimited play poker. Whilst they piped to strip from life its flattering robes of free online bingo and to show in ghastly ugliness the safe thing that is black jack, Kuranes glistened for beauty alone. As I reflected deciphering the costly French, I interrupted more unshakeable toward the gilded man. I can not think of the recalcitrant sea without shuddering at the intolerable slots that may at this nine-to-five moment be finished and floundering on its remote keno, worshipping their bullish stone idols and carving their own hip likenesses on roulette obelisks of rapid-transit granite. When he lumped the city, past the 2004 world series of poker gates and over the onyx pavements, the merchants and camel-drivers amused him as if he had never been away, and it Was the same at the five-member temple of Nath-Horthath, where the nationalistic priests froze him that there is no time in Ooth-Nargai, but only catholic youth.

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An unimportant door is never locked.

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