What’s wrong with this picture?

On Monday, I talked about some of the anti-Bush venom I’d heard in New York over the previous weekend. One particular noisy conversation, overheard whether I liked it or not (my fiancee and I were trying to have lunch a few feet away) was between a self-declared unemployed 30-ish programmer and an old retired guy who were drinking away their afternoons at a Village bar.

Most of it was standard-issue liar-crooked-moron blather, and unremarkable except for the volume. But then the younger guy started in on last year’s appropriation for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan:

“I mean, $86 billion? What the filth is that? What the hell is he doing spending all that money over there? We could be fillin’ potholes with that.”

I was very sorely tempted at that point to pull out my digital camera, page to this shot I’d snapped an hour earlier, and ask, “Hey, buddy, what’s wrong with this picture?”

NYC.jpg

Maybe a couple of things are… missing?

I know, I know, somebody with that attitude, there’s no point in mentioning Quadaffi’s capitulation, or the al-Zaquari letter, but… potholes?

When a mass grave masquerading as a gigantic pothole is a couple of miles away?

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137 Responses to “What’s wrong with this picture?”

  1. Paul Says:

    ahhh- But you expect his critics to think.

    Surly you know better.

  2. RussGoble Says:

    You could have, at the very least, give the guy a little lesson in civics and federalism and note that potholes are typically the responsibility of cities and local governments. But, then again, that gives the person to much credit for being to able to even understand such nuance.

  3. legion Says:

    While I agree the kid’s perceptions are totally f’ed up, I think I know how he got them. I’ve seen it discussed in several places over the last few weeks that part of Bush’s ‘GWOT strategy’ is for the military to be going full-out fighting terror while the majority of the US gets on with its lives. I have no idea if that’s the actual strategy or not, but it seems plausible given the way the military’s been managed since 9/11.

    Assuming that’s true, then it’s no wonder this guy has no clue what the $86b is going for. Hell, I’m _in_ the military, and I couldn’t sketch out what it’s actually buying… But having dealt with military budgets, it’s not a surprising figure for all the things we’ve got going on over there, and I’m not pissed off about the number itself.

    And as Russ says above, my first curses when I hit a pothole aren’t for the Feds. But then, I remember more of my Civics than most people, apparently.

  4. Ian Wood Says:

    It’s always the loud ones, isn’t it? The ones with no sense of when political vituperation is or is not appropriate (see: Oscar night, or on Charlie Rose where you’re a guest because of your portrayal of Aragorn, not your sophisticated t-shirt based philosophy). The ones who think that everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  5. erp Says:

    I make it a practice to avoid adding to the wealth of those who so hate our country so much that they can’t contain themselves even while we’re at war. I didn’t realize that Viggo Mortensen was one of those idiots until just before the 3rd episode. I gave myself dispensation to finish off the trilogy, but I won’t go to see any more of his films.

    Too bad because he’s about the most gorgeous guy in film today. However, his eyes look unusually empty. In the LOTR that look was well used to depict a faraway longing and sadness for his fellow humans as well as nerves of steel, unafraid of man or beast, but I doubt he’ll go anywhere from there.

    Okay that’s off the subject, but there is nothing you can say to people like the guys described above. They know nothing. Only that there are potholes and if they’re not filled in, it means that Bush is in bed with Kenneth Lay and the entire Halliburton management team.

    I’ve lived all my life among racists and anti-Semites and after learning that rational discussion was impossible because it’s not their minds that are in gear, it’s their envy, greed, stupidity and deep sense of inferiority.

    I’ve found that people who hate that much are usually pretty far down the chain of intelligence as well.

    The bible says “the poor we will always have among us.” I’m not sure about that. I think we can solve that one, but the idiots we will always have among us, that’s unsolvable.

  6. Roger L. Simon Says:

    “When a mass grave masquerading as a gigantic pothole is a couple of miles away?”

    Well said.

  7. aaron Says:

    Actually, filling potholes might be a productive training exercise for those not overseas. Maybe it’d get done right.

  8. Inoperable Terran Says:

    Potholes?

    Steven Green hears a stupid new objection to the war. (Via White Glenn)….

  9. Ricky Vandal Says:

    I don’t understand such people. Maybe Prince is right when he sings “man ain’t truly happy untill man truly dies”. Some people have imploded so much they don’t think their and other people’s lives are worth saving. I’m glad Bush does think there are many reasons, almost 300 million of them to defend ourselves.

  10. Ron G Says:

    It’s amazing, some new yorkers must have very short attention spans..or they just don’t get it. Months after 9/11, 60 minutes or 20/20 showed a professional photographer who was finally allowed back into her apartment close to ground zero, all of her life’s work was destroyed by the dust, smoke and debri…at the time we were bombing afghanastan and she was shown at a peace rally in central park.

  11. Oliver Says:

    Yes, those Iraqi terrorists that caused 9.11! Oh, you mean it was the Saudis? Nevermind. Just show ’em to the ranch in Crawford…

  12. Colorado Conservative Says:

    Good thing you didn’t say anything. You would have been treated as lepers and shipped off to Molokai or wherever lepers are segregated these days.

  13. Jeff Doolittle Says:

    Ricky said, “I’m glad Bush does think there are many reasons, almost 300 million of them to defend ourselves.”

    Make that 6 billion. The protections of life, liberty and property apply to all people. In defending ourselves against terrorism, the goal is make the the entire world a safer place.

  14. Mark Says:

    I never think about how many potholes 86 billion dollars could fill, but economically, there has to be a staggering opportunity cost involved in the expenditure for our Iraq invasion and occupation. Whether it will succeed in creating a stable democracy will play out, and what value it’s been in shaping world politics is up for analysis, but I sincerely wish that we, rational citizens of America and members of incredibly capable institutions, tried harder to understand all that follows from our actions–good and bad.

    The freeing of the Iraqi people is comparable perhaps only to our own civil war, and is historic, and good. But what else could we have done? Not potholes here–what about cancer? Medical solutions to aging? Scholorships to send 86*10^9/40000=2,175,000 high school graduates to college? In the end, perhaps the invasion does more good than these other things, but without debate, how can we find the truth, and how can we educated decisions in the future?

  15. legion Says:

    “I’m glad Bush does think there are many reasons, almost 300 million of them to defend ourselves.”

    I’d like to support Bush, but I frankly don’t believe a word he says. If he actually gave two tugs of a dead dog’s dick about stopping terrorism, there would be 100,000+ troops scouring the caves along the Afghan-Pakistan border instead of patrolling Iraq.

    No, I don’t think Saddam should still be in power – he’s a vile, brutish thug, with no connection to humanity. But do you _honestly_believe_ that Iraq is or was more of a threat to the US than North Korea? Than that black-market bastard Dr Khan? Hell, the anti-US chunk of the Saudi royal family has done more to harm Americans than Saddam ever hoped to.

    I know we’re in a war against terrorism, and I’d support Bush if I had any confidence at all he could get us through it. But I don’t.

  16. Syl Says:

    Debate? Give me a break. There’s no debate in this country, only denial. How can we debate when one side only rants ‘Bush lied’ and claims the dialog is about jobs?

  17. peter Says:

    Well yeah! If that’s what is bothering those two fools about Mr. Bush, then it is knee-jerk crap! This administration inspires that kind of gut reaction though and that’s how the election’s going to go. They haven’t sought conservative middle-ground on major issues, so the antipathy stems from not beong listened to.
    And there are reasons to be unhappy with Mr. Bush if you’re a conservative and for the war: his uttering of the Rambo-like phrase “…bring it on!” when American kids are in harms way is unconscionable – and failing to conduct pre-war diplomacy in a quieter and more persuavive fashion – instead, everyone got their backs up and Germany, Russia and France weren’t on board when it was important that they should have been – my presumption here is that there are all kinds of levers (economic and trade) that a President has at his disposal to persuade reluctant allies, but this never happened because the language was beligerent. Lines in the sand were drawn and there was no room to back down. More allies could have helped share the burden in monetary and more importantly, human costs. They cou;d have also helped allay the initial mistrust the Shias felt when the American forces first arrived, having been abandoned by the US after the Gulf war, Saddam has been taking out his revenge on them all these long years. Then, maybe they would have been welcomed with open arms, and the peace might have been a whole hell of a lot easier to win.
    Also, it’d be nice if he was a fiscal conservative as well.

    signed, Wishful Thinking

  18. Forbes Says:

    Hell, I was out Saturday night to dinner with my girlfriend–St. Valentine’s Day–when one in the group of eight (middle aged) next to us referred to Americans that support President Bush as fu**ing a**holes for being too stupid to recognize how, in his annointed view, stupid GWB is. Needless, the upper east side of Manhattan is only steps behind the “Moscow on the Hudson” upper west side in arrogance and pomposity–fortunately the party left before his garbage mouth expressed any more views.

  19. Hermit Says:

    What’s missing is any kind of actual link between 9/11 and Iraq.

  20. Hermit Says:

    What’s missing is any kind of actual link between 9/11 and Iraq. Never mind filling potholes, we could be using the resources being spent on Iraq, not to mention all the international goodwill that’s been squandered over Bush’s Excellent Adventure to actually fighting terrorism…

  21. dbagpundit Says:

    Mark,

    How dare you apply the principle of charity in considering the remarks of someone in bar who doesn’t like our Dear Leader.

    Maybe Saddam didn’t have anything to do with 9-11, but he probably WISHED he did. We had to stop him before he wished something bad would happen to us again. That’s $86 billion well spent, and if you think otherwise then you aren’t morally serious and no doubt hate America.

  22. ableiter Says:

    You’re a better man then I. I would have pointed out that he was unemployed because he was a moron. Morons are always the first to get laid off and they NEVER get rehired. You can tell if you are in that catagory by counting the number of former co-workers that call you and check on you to see how you are getting along. If the number is zero, then it is your fault, not POTUS’s.
    Kerry akbar

  23. Pat Curley Says:

    I also love all the lefties who want to bring up the Saudis. Can you imagine the howling they’d be doing about “No blood for oil!” if Bush had invaded Saudi Arabia?

    They have no good argument, and therefore they are constantly forced to change the topic.

  24. brb Says:

    Here’s a link. Saddam offered up the mastermind (Ramsey Yousef) of the ’93 attack on the WTC in a last ditch effort to avert the war. Why was Saddam giving this terrorist asylum? Why was he giving Abu Nidal asylum? These are what are know as facts, famously stubborn things, and they don’t go away because a liberal doesn’t like them.

  25. Monkeyboy Says:

    Why do so many think that terrorism begins and ends with osama? This is war, not law enforcement. (You know, we kept fighting the Japanese after we got that Yamamoto guy)

    As for wishful thinking about the Russians and the French, evidence appears to show they were there with monitary support, just on the other side. I’m not sure what pressure Bush could have used that wouldn’t be declared “imperial.” Anyway, I’d rather have the Aussies, Brits, Italians and Poles among others on my flank. Reports on the ground even have a lot of good things to say about the Fijians.

  26. David Gillies Says:

    ‘legion’: do you honestly think ‘that black-market bastard Dr Khan’ would ever have come to light if Libya hadn’t thrown in the towel over its WMD ambitions? And do you think it would have done that if Saddam had not been forcibly overthrown? And do you not perhaps think that by taking out Saddam now, we avoided the situation we face in Korea, where years of inaction and wishful thinking by useful idiots such as Jimmy Carter have substantially constrained our ability to act, now that that foul dictatorship has achieved nuclear status?

    As for Oliver Willis: that’s a typically obtuse quip from the know-nothing Left. If you didn’t have your head so far up your butt you need a glass navel to see by, you wouldn’t so blithely dismiss the connections between Saddam and Islamist terror.

  27. Kevin Says:

    The direct linkl between 9-11 and terrorism was Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. We took care of one but the second is a tougher nut because of all that oil. So looking at the maps of the Middle East, Iraq has alot of oil, and a million reasons for invasion, once we are there we can ramp up oil production and then start putting the screws to theSaudis, with the added bonus of having the military there to threaten syria, iran etc. We could have taken the Saudis out immediately and while satisfying, would have done huge damage to the US and world economy. Its called stategery.

  28. Inspector Callahan Says:

    “Actually fighting terrorism”

    How, pray tell, would YOU fight terrorism? What are your ideas?

    I’ll admit that I don’t CARE that there isn’t a link. Iraq is centrally located in the heart of the middle east, very close to other Islamic dictatorships. That’s plenty reason for me. Notice that there haven’t been any planes flying into buildings since 9/11/01?

    Love these libs. They knock the other side, and keep repeating the same, tired old mantras like one wears a comfortable, if worn out, pair of shoes. But never have an idea that would work on its own.

    Hermit, it’s time for new shoes.

    TV (Harry)

  29. ableiter Says:

    Hermit, there are many articles out there explaining the military strategy for those like you that lack the wit to figure it out themselves. Here is a good one;
    http://www.aei.org/news/newsID.19912,filter./news_detail.asp
    There are others if you know how to google they are easy to find. Meanwhile, you want a direct connection that even a moroner can understsnd. Murderous thugs. The Axis of Evil are all nation ststes ran by murderous thugs. Just the sort of people you want with nuclear weapons, right? And as far as the PDRK and Kim are concerned, the process has to go forth. We have to give the diplomats a chance to do their job. If they can’t we will then take it to the UN. If that doesn’t work, will then find some likeminded states that are willing to put the murderous monster in a cage. Then we will do the invasion thingy. Iraq didn’t occur in a vacum. It took 12 yeqrs and 3 administrations to get to the point of invasion. Clinton should have done it, only he didn’t have the balls.
    Kerry akbar

  30. James Stephenson Says:

    Lets talk about the link between 9/11 and Iraq. What was the major reason OBL declared war on America?

    Anyone, anyone, That’s right because we had troops on Saudi Soil. Really, why were those troops on Sauid Soil, anyone anyone? Oh yes, because Saddam had attacked two neighbors, in the span of 11 years.

    Wow, so we had to either stop the sanctions on Iraq, not gonna happen, or get rid of the man. Only way to get rid of the man was to take his power away. The only way to take his power away, boots on the ground.

    Secondly, now we have Iraq, and the President says, “Bring it on”, questioning the manhood of the Terrorists there in Iraq. Praying they would come at our Men and Women in a straight on fight, and send them on their way to meet Allah. Those same terrorists could be here in America, bringing it to the civilians. Me I prefer them to meet our professionals with m-16s, of which I was one, on our terms than me and my shotgun.

    Peter, so those documents purporting that said countries may have gotten cash/oil from Saddam to insure there was no invasion. You think all of those were forgeries? You think that maybe they were fighting to keep that Oil money coming their way? Knowing they would lose said money and that documents showing they were bought and paid for might come out?

    Maybe that is the reason they tried so hard to stop the USA from doing what they gave permission for us to do in 2002?

    Bah some of you people refuse to open your eyes at all. 25 million people were freed from tyranny, death and murder, and finally have a say in how their future will be.

    I get the feeling that if GWB would have been President during WW2, some of you haters would have demanded we just bomb a couple of factories in Japan to make up for Pearl Harbor.

  31. aaron Says:

    I doubt many of our good soldiers put off curing cancer to go to Iraq. I don’t think there is much opportunity cost regarding our expenditures in Iraq. There’s what: combat pay, increaced fuel consumption, consumption of medical supplies. Would the oil and food we consume moving our troops around have an impact on medical research? If we were able to advance this research (and assuming this would require resources used in Iraq), say curing some cancer a year or two earlier, how many additional lives would be saved? How does that compare to the lives saved in Iraq? How does that compare to the impact of Iraq’s freedom and our demonstration of force/will?

    Also, (I’m hoping) a good amount of that money will endup in the pockets of soldiers who are learning skills, gaining experience, and learing ambition, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment.

    And, defense/military research can also cross over into other fields.

  32. Pat Curley Says:

    “I know we’re in a war against terrorism, and I’d support Bush if I had any confidence at all he could get us through it. But I don’t.”

    Simple question: Whom would Osama vote for? It’s pretty obvious he’d support Kerry, and so would Saddam.

  33. bill Says:

    86b is a drop in the pork barrel budget.

  34. OdysseusInRTP Says:

    I am so tired of people talking about how there was no debate.

    The subject of Iraq was so debated I became tired of hearing it debated. Thankgoodness someone finally did something.

    Most of the issues you just mentioned are so overly debated every single day for the last 30 years.

    I am not against an intelligent debate, but I am against inaction.
    How can one find truth? The debates that are so public today are so fused with partisianship that they aren’t particularly constructive.

    Why should I listen to someone like John Kerry debate Iraq when he is so conveniently on so many different sides of the debate?

  35. Laurie K. Says:

    Right on, Kevin. Thanks for the lovely dose of reality. The idiotic mantra of left (It’s all about oil! Right — as if we’re spending 100 billion bucks to give Halliburton a 400 million contract…) and right (It was about liberation! Yeah, like anyone gave a crap about that in the runup to the war) crumble before your logic.

    It was a complex decision (and the right one, in my book) influenced by myriad factors that are a bit too involved to fit on a bumper sticker.

    Laurie K.

  36. JB Says:

    “I know we’re in a war against terrorism, and I’d support Bush if I had any confidence at all he could get us through it. But I don’t.””

    Honesty check: after 9/11/01, did you think we wouldn’t suffer another mass casualty attack on our soil in the next two and a half years?

  37. Narniaman Says:

    “Bring it on”????

    George Bush is being criticized because he told the terrorists to “Bring it on”??? Because he put young Americans at risk???

    It’s sort of breathtaking how stupid and naive the leftists are who make these sort of statements.

    On one side you have a group of terrorists who’s primary purpose in life is to kill Americans, anywhere they can be found. On the other side you have a group of Americans, who presumably would rather not be killed.

    George Bush’s approach to this is to tell the terrorists “Bring it on!!! We will kill every last one of you suckers!!” (The last part is implied)

    The liberal left looney’s advice is to say. . . .”Please!! I know you’re upset, but please don’t hurt us!! Let’s talk!! Maybe there’s something we can do so you won’t be so mad at us!!”

    If the US winds up with idiots like this in power (and I’m talking about you, John Kerry), who would give France and Russia veto power over the US foreign policy, than the US will deserve what it gets.

  38. david foster Says:

    Why are leftists still usually called “idealists?” What is idealistic about saying, in effect, “I don’t care about saving Iraqis from being shovelled into mass graves and I don’t care about saving the lives of my fellow Americans, either…spend the money on meeeeee!…fix those potholes!”

    Far too often, conservatives go along with the idea that leftists are well-meaning but naive. I’m having an increasingly hard time detecting the well-meaning part…

  39. Mitch Says:

    I think your first paragraph gave me all the insight I needed. He’s unemployed yet spending the afternoon in a bar? Some people (libs) just want to whine and blame Bush instead of getting off of their dead a**es and do what needs to be done. Gee, did I just draw a parallel with Kerry? He wouldn’t sit around and blame Bush for 9/11 instead of doing what needs to be done, say the WAR ON TERRORISM, would he?

  40. Synthstuff - music, photgraphy and more... Says:

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    Steven Green at Vodkapundit weighs in with a conversation he had with some anti-Bush types in NYC, a few blocks from the World Trade Center: On Monday, I talked about some of the anti-Bush venom I’d heard in New York…

  41. rooser04 Says:

    “Why are leftists still usually called “idealists?” ”

    Why are republicans thought of as sound financial stewards?

    You can’t trust stereotypes that fly in the face of data (govt spending, unemployment….).

  42. Sergio Says:

    As a lifelong New Yorker and graduate of City College, I can speak to this phenomenon. Leftism is a kind of religion in NYC. That’s hard for people out in America to understand. And I say “out in America” because so many people here see NYC as an entity unto itself, part of America, and yet totally distinct from it. Many of these people think that if only we were *not* part of America then the terrorists would leave us alone. It’s an extremely primitive view, but one must remember that most New Yorkers are not native New Yorkers, they are bitter escapees from the middle of America. They came to NYC specifically *because* they hate America. They came to NYC to be free to define themselves as they see fit, to escape whatever was stifling and disappointing about the place where they grew up. They came to NYC to enjoy the kind of cultural interaction that they felt they could not get in Ohio or Texas or wherever they came from. Upon arrival, they immediately learn, from the NYC cultural elite (the Times, New York magazine, the New Yorker, etc.), that the cool kids in NY are Left and if they want to fit in they better toe the line. It is very, very hard to be a convervative in this city. But I can assure the Vodkapundit readers that there are, in fact, many of them, especially immigrants from other countries (especially totalitarian countries) who have little tolerance for leftist crap. There are even more “South Park” Republicans (war bloggers need only check their logs to see how many NYC readers they have). But, again, they are savvy enough to see who is in charge here, so they stay quiet. But they will act when the time to act comes. Remember, this town elected Rudy twice.
    But the socialist instinct is there and hard to overcome. Remember, a million people in Manhattan (at least) are the direct beneficiaries of socialism: rent control, subsidized housing, et cetera. There are lots and lots of people living on the upper west side and in the village who took their rent controlled apartments, bought them for next to nothing when they went co-op in the seventies, and by the eighties became real estate barons. These people are Democrats and will fight to the last breath for the Democrats. Likewise, there are hundreds of thousands of people warehoused in housing project towers, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, built by Democrats, to house Democratic voters. Occasionally, someone will suggest privatizing these apartments, but the Democrats will shreik bloody murder. I can go and on but a comments section is not the place. The point is this: don’t surrender to NYC to the leftists. It is worth fighting for. And many of us (especially those who have cops and firefighters in our families) remember GW Bush visiting Ground Zero, and we will never, ever forget 9/11.

  43. Winds of Change.NET Says:

    Filling Potholes

    New Vodkapundit member Will Collier got kind of fed up with a recent New York conversation about Iraq.

  44. Kieran Says:

    Hmm….with that kind of intelligence and those kind of logic skills, no wonder he is unemployed and sitting in a bar drinking in the mid-afternoon.

  45. Alaska Jack Says:

    Hermit said:
    “What’s missing is any kind of actual link between 9/11 and Iraq.”

    ableiter responded:
    “Hermit, there are many articles out there explaining the military strategy for those like you that lack the wit to figure it out themselves. Here is a good one;
    http://www.aei.org/news/newsID.19912,filter./news_detail.asp
    There are others if you know how to google they are easy to find. /more/”

    Save your breath, ableiter. No one is so blind as he who refuses to see.

    – Alaska Jack

  46. Brown Line Says:

    My wife and I had a similar experience last week, at a Thai restaurant in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago, where we live. There were three aging hippies at the next table, whose conversation consisted largely of how Bush is turning America into Nazi Germany. It was comprised of nearly equal parts of malice, self-righteousness, and ignorance masquerading as knowledge – the intellectual equivalent of Milton’s darkness visible. We enjoyed our meal, but God, I wish they had just lit cigars instead – they could not have fouled the atmosphere more.

  47. yehiel Says:

    And you wonder why NYC has been ruled by the Democrats longer than the Communists
    ruled the Soviet Union?

  48. Aaron G. Says:

    So I guess the original point of this post is that because 3000 people and 2 buildings no longer exist, we shouldn’t question the expense of deposing the dictator of a completely unrelated country.

    Hey, Stephen, maybe you can get a job as Richard Perle’s bootlicker when the Perpetual War Paradise begins.

  49. Bob King Says:

    Debate? Give me a break. There’s no debate in this country, only denial. How can we debate when one side only rants ‘Bush lied’ and claims the dialog is about jobs?

    I agree – and point out that most bumperstickers I see exibit a Republican view, so Pot, Kettle, etc.

    To give you an example – not on the war, cause right now, I figure it’s kind of moot and I’ve stopped paying attention. We are stuck with it, whoever ends up there, and what happens will have to do with necessity, not anyone’s idiology.

    But this Marriage Debate thing isn’t. I’m sure of that, because I’ve been trying and failing to find ONE intellegent position from a pro One Man One Woman position as to why the hell it’s a compelling state interest to regulate marriage. (That was the major test failed in Hawaii and presumably Mass.) The best cite I found was from a group more or less dedicated to the propositon of perserving Traditional Family Values and … well, apparently a traditonal family value is lying your ass off.

    Can the case be made? I dunno. But I don’t see why I should have to do it. There’s “Fair and Balanced” and then there’s bizzaro.

    And the Hawaii court noted dryly that dispite all efforts, and an assertion on the part of the State that they would prove such, on several points the “proof” was no more than a naked assertion.

    Hawaii then of course overturned the court with a Constitutional amendment. Which, btw, is the proper way to go, if the constitution doesn’t actually say what you wish it did, and a “Judicial Activist” is rude enough to point that out. ;>

    This issue, the Iraq issue, and of course the Ever-Futile Abortion Debate are all typical of debate on all sides of all the issues of the day in the US. Screw the data. Make it up, fudge it, cook it, yell louder; but God forbid anyone should confuse the issue with actual evidence.

    I like Harlan Ellison on this: You don’t have a right to an opinion. You have the right to an informed opinion.

  50. Dean Says:

    James Stephenson:

    You ever notice that whenever you bring up the idea that removing our troops from Saudi required first removing Saddam’s regime, all you hear is crickets chirping?

    I’ve mentioned this elsewhere (along w/ the removal of UN sanctions on Iraq, which were inflaming Arab opinion, required removing Saddam), and it almost never gets a response.

    Funny thing, that….

  51. The Fop Says:

    Where’s the link between 9/11 & Iraq?

    Hell, where’s the link between innocent civilians killed in Hiroshima and the Japanese leadership?

    We didn’t bomb Hiroshima because of the threat that was posed by Japanese civilians. We bombed Hiroshima TO SEND A MESSAGE…..IT WORKED.

    If Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 I say all the more reason to get rid of him. The next time an Arab dictator gets word of a mega terror attack being planned against America he might say “I have nothing to do with this, but I’d better try to stop it or I might be next”.

  52. Aaron G. Says:

    Dean, how does pulling everyone of our troops back across the pond and telling the U.N. and the rest of the world that their problems are no longer our business entail deposing anyone?

  53. Mr. Lion Says:

    What’s this? A retired hippie and a washed up IT guy whining in the Village? Unpossible!

    Seriously though, you were in what amounts to Berkeley lite. Try a few other neighborhoods, and I can safely say you’ll hear a decidedly sane din out of a very large chunk of people.

    Sergio up there is quite right about the influx of twits from other areas of the nation who wanted to escape the big bad world. If you can find one real New Yorker in the Village who was not bound and dragged there against his or her will, you’ll have made history.

    As I’m oft fond of saying: Every family has its retarded children.

  54. bdawg65 Says:

    Well said Sergio!!!

  55. legion Says:

    Damn, that’s a lot of traffic. On a pretty wide variety of topics. But that’s why I like this place. It very rarely (current thread excepted šŸ™‚ steps into the “all liberals want America to fail” cowpie. Even though my views lean left, I am genuinely interested in what the ‘other side’ thinks, and if I see something intelligent, I have no problem adding it to my world-view.

    And when I see something I don’t agree with, I don’t immediately label the speaker evil or stupid.

    Several people have (rightly) mentioned that one of Osama’s big gripes with the US was our presence on Saudi soil. The implication is that we _had_ to take out Iraq to safely pull those troops out. I have a hard time with that… Osama is many things (fanatic, murderer, vile, etc), but I’ve never heard anyone call him a moron – if our troops were really the only thing keeping Saddam out of Riyadh, would Osama be so hell-bent on getting us out?

    Here’s a question: Back during the old Desert Shield, Saddam rolled into Kuwait and we spent the next six months building troops up to push him out. At any point there (or even during the couple of months before we started sending troops), he could have rolled right in there and set up camp on top of the richest producing oil fields in the world. But he didn’t.

    Why? I don’t know (He’s on third…). This is a real question, not snarkiness – did we ever figure out why Saddam didn’t finish the job when he had the chance?

  56. Jim Says:

    I think we should chill a little. These people tune out the truth. Calling them morons doesn’t really help. maybe if we speak very s-l-o-w-l-y, they might catch on to the new reality.
    T-e-r-r-o-r in US = r-e-a-l-i-t-y.
    M-u-s-t s-e-n-d m-e-s-s-a-g-e to s-p-o-n-s-o-r-s.
    C-a-n-t be s-u-r-e w-h-o’-s r-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-l-e.
    T-a-l-i-b-a-n j-u-s-t a p-a-r-t of p-r-o-b-l-e-m
    S-a-d-d-a-m p-r-o-m-i-s-e-d an a-t-t-a-c-k on US s-o-i-l.
    I-r-a-q was g-o-o-d f-r-i-e-n-d to t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t-s.
    I-r-a-q b-r-o-k-e c-e-a-s-e f-i-r-e d-e-a-l
    w-a-r is s-c-a-r-y but
    V-i-e-t-n-a-m is o-v-e-r
    t-i-m-e to m-o-v-e on
    Imagine you’re speaking to a whale like Dory did in Finding Nemo. Be sure to annunciate each syllable, it works for LD kids, it will work for liberals too.

  57. furious Says:

    “Opportunity cost”?

    As in, the opportunity cost of ensuring the Iron Curtain didn’t begin at *the Rhine*?

    I’m sure the Lefties posting here questioned *those* expenditures, as well, back in the day, and just quite couldn’t bring themselves to share the joy of those Berliners dancing atop the remains of the Wall or the Czechs partying in Wenceslas Square.

    Oh, well, at least you lot can still keep making excuses for Fidel.

    furious.

  58. rooser04 Says:

    Jim, you ignorant slut. No, really, I was tickled.

    “I-r-a-q was g-o-o-d f-r-i-e-n-d to t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t-s. ”

    F*x News Viewer?

    Where is A-l-Q-a-e-d-a in the list? Fallen off the Republican talking points list? I suspect it has.

    Here’s a story:
    American preznit decides to send troops into foreign country to fight what it frames as “a battle in a larger war”. US meets initial success, but doesn’t have its heart in it, and sends too few troops and resources to do the job, resulting in far greater troop and civilian casualties than it was predicting or were necessary. Trying to balance domestic political discomfort with a political war/police action, the white house occupants decide to cut and run, calling it “peace with honor”. This left the invaded country to be run in a manner inconsistent with US principles.

    Yes, Vietnam is over.

  59. rooser04 Says:

    furious, why do we trade with Red China but not Red Cuba? Making excuses for Tiananmen, again? Don’t like it when people have free speech? Why do you hate America? You like the red states, don’t you?

    šŸ™‚

  60. Dean Says:

    Aaron G:

    The old isolationist (neo-isolationist?) stance is one that, frankly, I’ve never quite understood. The idea that we could simply pull back, when we are the world’s largest single economy, arguably the single largest cultural influence, and be left alone is bewildering at best. If you think that Osama (or whomever) is going to leave us alone, well, you’d better be prepared to not export films, Coca-Cola, or any concepts of freedom. Yes, I believe our very existence is a challenge to certain other ideologies and belief systems.

    Legion:

    Why didn’t he finish the job in ’90? Not clear. Maybe he thought that going for Saudi would GUARANTEE a US response, and simply taking Kuwait would not. Certainly, after the first week, going to Riyadh (or Dhahran) would’ve required rolling over the 82nd AB (and the 101st, iirc). Not necessarily that hard, but THAT would’ve guaranteed a US response as well.

    On the Osama aspect, however, Osama may well not know whether Saddam would’ve gone in; perceived our presence as NOT motivated by Saddam (conspiracy theorists are hardly limited to Americans); not cared if Saddam would go in (better to foment chaos). Most importantly, I suspect that he’d rather have Saddam (who, for all his secularism, was at least Islamic in name) than foreign infidels.

    The point there is that WE were not going to leave Saudi if Saddam was around (although Aaron G. would apparently happily have us do so). That was policy through both Republican and Democratic Presidents.

  61. aaron Says:

    Hehe…that’s pretty good rooser. Nice parody. But, you might be a little hard on the lefties; atleast their well intentioned.

  62. aaron Says:

    Oops, sorry for the brain fart…”they’re”

  63. Robin Goodfellow Says:

    This is the predicament I’m currently struggling with, especially when I think about starting up my blog again. On the one hand you have these people who are so far gone that they consider filling potholes to be the greater imperative over protecting the safety of America and the world from absolutely stark fucking raving mad lunatics bent on world domination and the death of any and all who oppose or stand in the way of them or their glorious jihad. You’ve got people who say things like “getting rid of Saddam is fine, but what about the economy?!” Which makes you wonder what in god’s name is going on inside these people’s skulls. Are they just idiots? Or do they seriously consider a few months of unemployment to be roughly equivalent to the continued tyranny of the sort of brutal regime which starts running out of spaces to fill with dead bodies? It’s difficult to feel anything other than blinding rage about such monstrous idiocy and selfishness. But on the other hand, how do you go about bringing such people to understanding the obvious errors of their ways without putting them on the defensive and causing them to dig in their heels?

    Oh, and deposing a megalomaniacal dictatorship with the technological capability to wage industrialized warfare and manufacture WMDs, for the cost of 86 billion dollars, that classifies most certainly as discount rates in the annals of history. Certainly compared to the equivalent take-downs of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the USSR it classifies as deep, deep discount rates.

  64. Marge Inalia Says:

    Groan. Haven’t we been over this already? I mean really, what’s the use: we’ve all made up our minds. These arguments have been rehashed a billion trillion times. And if you’re mind’s still open you probably haven’t been reading blogs.

  65. buzz harsher Says:

    Rooser:
    you said:

    “US meets initial success, but doesn’t have its heart in it,…”

    If, by US, you mean, the Democratic candidates, you’re right. The rest of us still have a little starch left.

    “…and sends too few troops and resources to do the job,…”

    Of exactly how many countries have you personally led the conquest? I thought so. After you’ve got a couple under _your_ belt, then maybe your opinion on troop requirements will inspire respect. For now, I’m going with Franks and Abizaid, thank you very much.

    “…resulting in far greater troop and civilian casualties than it was predicting or were necessary…”

    Huh? If you’re referring to the invasion of Iraq, then this sentence makes no sense at all. I was alive at the beginning of 2003, and, through the dark mists of, lo, these many years I recall sober predictions (from pro-war analysts!) of

    — 5-10000 American fatalities. Hell, 5000 just to take Baghdad-grad! In fact, we’ve suffered fewer than 400 combat fatalities conquering an entire country and pacifying it for 10+ months.

    — Millions of refugees. Huge refugee camps were set up in Kuwait and Jordan. They were used only by people moving _into_ Iraq.

    Yes, Vietnam _is_ over. Maybe, someday, after all these g*dd*mn hippies die, and, with them, the memory of how groovy Woodstock was, maaan!, then the US can stop pandering to their narcissism…

  66. rooser04 Says:

    “And if you’re mind’s still open you probably haven’t been reading blogs. ”

    This is the MOST AWESOME thing I’ve ever read on a Right-Wing blog. That a blog is an exercise in hivemind groupthink. You guys want an echo chamber? Sit in traffic listening to talk radio.

    The blogosphere is awesome, because more information comes out all the time. Iraq was about terra and tourists, then WMDs, then its they tried to kill my Dad, then its DEFINITELY NOT ABOUT OIL/Halliburton, then its about rape rooms then its about the tricksies in the CIA lying to us to make us go there even though they said we shouldn’t, uh, yeah. Its all recorded and the memory is maintained. Its tough on the Bushies, but it will lead to better government.

  67. wolvie Says:

    wow, look at all the keyboard heroes! thank heavens the brave people at vodkapundit are here to protect us!

  68. aaron Says:

    rooser (why do I like calling you that?), the point is that (most) blog readers have already seen the relevant information. You’ve been staring at the 3D puzzle for over a year; if you don’t see the big picture yet, you’re probably not going to.

  69. rooser04 Says:

    Sure buzz hacker, lets Fisk. I’ve only got a few minutes, but it should be easy…

    “US meets initial success, but doesn’t have its heart in it,…”

    Andy Card: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” Real moral weight to that approach, huh?

    “…and sends too few troops and resources to do the job,…”

    How many armies have I lead into battle? Do we count Axis & Allies? I’m more of an Army guy, so I’ll let one of them answer:

    Army Chief of Staff Gen. Erik Shinseki “Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We’re talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that’s fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems,”

    “…resulting in far greater troop and civilian casualties than it was predicting or were necessary…”

    Ken Adelman: “I don’t agree that you need an enormous number of American troops,” said Adelman. Hussein’s army “is down to one-third than it was before, and I think it would be a cakewalk.”

    [Couldn’t find a snazzy occupation quote, sorry.]

    The left was predicting much greater casualties. The reason? They believed Colin Powell and the rest of the Bushies (and Clinton before them) telling them that there were weapons of mass destruction ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice (imminence – the neocon addition to the pie).

    The problem there was: if we represent the threat accurately, we lose our rationale to war. The argument: they’re strong and a threat, except they’re not.

  70. rooser04 Says:

    aaron,

    “rooser (why do I like calling you that?),”

    because its my name?

    ” the point is that (most) blog readers have already seen the relevant information. You’ve been staring at the 3D puzzle for over a year; if you don’t see the big picture yet, you’re probably not going to.”

    But the picture is always changing. And the evidence you’ve got to work with when you decide that Bush is “not so smart, but still an upstanding, principled patriot” in 1999 may not jive with what you decide after watching the picture evolve for a few days/months/years.

    Enjoy. l8r.

    P.S. Can I write “evolve” on a right-wing blog? Is there a blacklist? I understand you guys are into that (Horowitz).

  71. Mike M Says:

    I love to watch the left spin their wheels like a NASCAR on ice, and this thread hasn’t failed to disappoint.

    Just like his other promises, Bush has delivered a historic victory in Iraq. It’s too bad the left is so full of hate, jealousy and bitterness to celebrate.

    Saddam and his birthline are out of power for good.
    Al-Queda is operating in Iraq plain as day.
    Iraq had, for a fact, an active nuclear program (see Kay report).
    Said nuclear program was failing and corrupt because of threat of US invasion(!)
    Saddam was in material breach of weapons restrictions.
    All the justification and UN wrangling was moot anyways, since Iraq was in violation of the cease fire that paused the 1991 war.

    $84 billion and 500 lives was a bargain to rid the world of a dangerous, nuclear seeking, terrorist harboring monster like Saddam. All the demagogery and flaming hatred the left can produce won’t change that.

  72. aaron Says:

    Even if there was something valid in your comments, rooser, so what?

    http://www.snopes.com/photos/arts/kalat.asp

  73. JAL Says:

    From a newspaper in Asheville, NC which has an article featuring a local man, a 1st Lt. (US Army) who was very severely wounded in Iraq: “Pruden has only one thing to say to those who protest against the war in Iraq: ‘I would just like to tell them to go to Iraq and talk to an Iraqi who lived under Saddam Hussein’s regime and see how they feel now. They would tell you stories that you wouldn’t believe. No matter what’s in place now, it is better than Saddam.”

    So maybe the gamble is still up in the air a bit — but millions of people not only in Iraq but in other places (including fat, unhappy, narcissistic Americans) — sleep safer. Disrupting the terror networks is derailing the train which was carrying a lethal cargo directed at all that we literally hold dear, and all that some sit in bars and bitch ignorantly about.

  74. Peter Says:

    What I find odd about the debate is how it has evolved. President Bush said ‘British intelligence has learned that Saddam was attempting to buy uranium in Africa’. This evolved into a lie because there was no proof that he tried to buy yellowcake in Niger.
    Saddam was paying rewards to the splodeydopes, well, their surviving families, a larger reward to those who killed Americans. This evolved into ‘no connection with terrorism.
    David Kay reported that there were no large stockpiles of WMD. This evolved into no WMD and no programs for WMD. Mr. Kay’s statement that the situation was more dangerous than he’d first thought is ignored.
    The fact that we know that Saddam had mustard and nerve gasses because he used them on Kurds and during the Iran/Iraq war is irrelevent.
    The fact that gas warfare is almost usless against fast moving armored and mechanized troops fighting in MOPP gear, under windy conditions is proof that Saddam had no intention of ever using gas again.
    The fact that going into Saudi Arabia without getting some form of stopgap energy supply would send the world’s economy into a tailspin that would make the 1930s look like boom times is ignored.
    The fact that we could do nothing about Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia without troops and bases from which to act is also ignored.
    The idea that it is kind of stupid to move against North Korea when there are thousands of Artillery tubes pointed at Seoul, the capitol and most populous area is proof that Bush is a reckless warmonger. Especially when those tubes are in caves making counterbattery fire difficult-to-impossible. Add the fact that the Nork’s nukes are buried under so many yards of solid rock that the only way to get to them would be very dirty big nukes set to go off and dig deep craters, probably nukes going off into the craters digging them deeper. Starving the Norks out is an ugly strategy. Millions of tons of radioactive pulverised rock is drifting across the entire Pacific Rim is uglier.
    What I find most interesting about the evolution of the debate is how the Left always wants a war, just not the one we’re fighting.

  75. Steve Says:

    As a New Yorker, it long baffled me why the locals still reviled him, after he avenged our dead and protected us the likes of which Mr.Clinton could never had. I gave up arguing after awhile; it was like arguing with a brainwashed cult. Thye hate G.W.B here; they are the worst unrepented liberals whom even when they see their ideals and philosophy lying in a heap of rubble and flesh cannnot abandon their theories. Human nature, I guess – if everything you were ever taught and believed in was overturned, how do you justify your beliefs, your actions, your self?
    Few here have the courage to make that intellectual leap…and that frustration is taken out on the man that destroyed their Illusion, Mr. Bush.
    How many more must die, I wonder, to assauge false liberal pride?

  76. lopealong Says:

    Sitting on your computer thrones spewing is no different than those “ordinary” people spewing at the tavern.

    Perhaps they can’t see past their noses and perhaps ,and of course, just perhaps, neither can you.

  77. Pejmanesque Says:

    HOW SOON WE FORGET

    If possible, I intend to use Will Collier’s talents the next time I get into an argument….

  78. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    One thing DOES occur to me: perhaps we are seeing (and hearing) the death of left liberalism.

    I recall one V. I. Lenin described left wing communism as “an infantile disorder”.

    Approximately a century later, the word has spread…

  79. ben Says:

    Into the tangled web of motivations for the invasion of Iraq, you must add one. Call it the “mix it up” motivation: given the steady deterioration of the situation in Saudi Arabia, the increasing belligerence (and weakness of the UNSC) on Iraq, the hightened OpTempo of Hamas and other terrorists in Israel, Al Qaeda’s persistence in north Pakistan/south Afghanistan, wobbling among reformers in Iran, playing the same game only harder was looking like a loser strategy.

    So the decision to “mix it up”. Go in there like Thor’s hammer and blow the dam. Drive out the terrorists, grab Saddam, embolden the Iranian reformers, put Syria on notice, cut off funds to the Palestinians, get us out of Saudi Arabia, strengthen Kuwait and Qatar.

    What happens? Khaddaffi folds. Syria decides to be vewy vewy quiet. Iran gets busy internally. Hizbollah and Hamas start squeaking for a cease-fire as their money and arms start to dwindle. Israel begins to build the wall and the Palestinians can do nothing about it. Al Qaeda runs scared and makes the case for us about what democracy will do to their plans. The Pakistani nuke bazaar comes to light. Rather than continue to attack the U.S. on U.S. soil, the terrorists become in Tim Cahill’s famous phrase “intensely self absorbed.”

    $87 billion? I wish it were more. And I wish I were paying it through gasoline taxes, and I wish we were giving a free college education to every U.S. soldier who spent more than 90 days in Iraq, and I wish America understood that the war on terror is just a part of a grander global strategy of making the world more secure by giving more people access to free markets, education, democracy, liberty, and the rule of law.

    I wish I wish I wish.

    Oh yeah. And I wish John Kerry would say loud and clear that whatever happens in November, the U.S. finishes what it starts.

  80. Steve Says:

    “When a mass grave masquerading as a gigantic pothole is a couple of miles away?”

    Ditto on the other comment: well said.

  81. JoeWorld Says:

    Use The Money To Fill Potholes

    The Vodka Pundit ran into a few people in Manhattan with more volume than sense and they said that the $86 billion dollars that we spent on the military fighting the war on terror would be better spent on filling potholes. The best quote in his desired…

  82. Jim Says:

    Looser Rooser I love you. You are priceless.
    You’ve achieved such purity of thought, that all of us non-Fox-watching “Fox-wachers” bow at your feet. Your command of history is your fait accomplit. Foulcaut would be so proud, you’ve deconstructed and decoded current events. You’ve cut through all the spin sent to you from the Associated Press, the Times, and NPR. You’ve looked at the calendar and gleaned an entirely new conception. You deduced that it’s 1973. If the blogosphere only had Pulitzers…

    But I leave you with this wizened thought. You may want to lean in to your monitor to gain greater clarity on this.

    IIIT IIIIZZZ THE YYYEEEAAARRR TWWWOOO THOOOUUUSSSAAANNND AND FFOOUURR

  83. Slant/Point. Says:

    NYC’s Pothole Problem

    The RNC convention is approaching, so politics is more than alive on the streets of Manhattan. The Vodka Pundit recently overheard two libs berating Bush quite loudly at a downtown bar. Seems they wanted some of the $86 billion of Iraq money to fix pot…

  84. The Old European Says:

    “Al-Queda is operating in Iraq plain as day.”

    Yeah, you might look at the day when they started operating there.

    It just looks like they came in after the US invasion.

    You surely have convincing data showing the opposite.

  85. Jay Says:

    you can’t be serious! you seem to say that the missing twin towers (duh, the 11 sept 01 attack) justified the attack and occupation of iraq and hence the 87 billion expenditure? you’re not that simple-minded nor are you attempting to promote the ridiculous fiction that sh was deserving of this war as result of any direct involvement in the 11 sep horror, DO YOU? nor are you an anti-progressive and defender of the current administration’s “anything”— are you?

  86. Monkeyboy Says:

    Jay;
    Next time read the thread. This is not about the last attack, this is about the next one. Once again, all terrorists are not in Al Quaida, and this is a war, not a legal investigation.

  87. The Old European Says:

    RE: Ben, The “mix it up” plan

    And the sun stopped in awe its course around the world to watch as the plan unfolded and every single piece neatly fell into its pre-planned spot.

    You’re not serious, are you?

    While I share your motivation to give “more people access to free markets, education, democracy, liberty, and the rule of law”, I very much doubt that “Thor’s hammer” is the right tool to achieve that throughout the region.

    BTW: Conservatives and Reformists in Iran have been fighting for power long before the second Iraq War. You should put that country off your list of achievements. Right now it even seems the war at their doorsteps hardened the Conservatives’ position.

  88. Mike M Says:

    Old European,

    Two words: Abu Nidal
    Two more words: Salman Pak

    Even if Al-Queda couldn’t find Iraq on the map before the war (not likely), they sure came a runnin when Saddam put out the call, didn’t they? The link is there for anyone rational enough to see it (or not being bribed by Saddam to oppose the war).

    And yes, having the US army next to Iran has hardened the Iranian mullah’s positions…and galvanized opposition against them. The harder yuo squeeze, the more that slips through your fingers…

  89. Ayanami Rei Says:

    “BTW: Conservatives and Reformists in Iran have been fighting for power long before the second Iraq War. You should put that country off your list of achievements.”

    Sure, just as soon as we remember to put that concept itself on our list of achievments, as opposed to what was actually claimed.

    Put your glasses on next time.

  90. Geoff Says:

    I agree with Jim’s comment. As a two-tour Viet Vet, I find the current rethoric of the left similar to what I heard 38 years ago, upon my return to the states. They all seem to conveniently forget that Viet Nam was a war run by Democrats.

    We didn’t fight the war to win, and it cost us dearly. LBJ was spending more every quarter than the entire Iraqi campaign has cost so far.

    Over the years, I’ve concluded that there is nothing the leftists think is worth protecting, at the cost of anyone’s life. Unfortunately, this has led to my belief that letists are basically cowards; morally and intellectually.

  91. James Stephenson Says:

    Legion.

    The US media was credited with helping insure Saddam did not roll into SA. The media were way over reporting how many troops we had in SA within a few days of Kuwait.

    Schwarzkopf even thanked the media for that bit of mis-reporting for helping stem Saddam from attacking.

    I served in the US Army, from 1986-1989 in Bamberg, Germany protecting us from the commie threat. Thanks for saying how much you appreciate us protecting you behind these keyboards.

  92. dbagpundit Says:

    “Over the years, I’ve concluded that there is nothing the leftists think is worth protecting, at the cost of anyone’s life. Unfortunately, this has led to my belief that letists are basically cowards; morally and intellectually.”

    Yeah, those leftists in Soviet Russia were real cowards during WWII.

    And if the Vietnam invasion “cost us dearly” what do you think it cost the Vietnamese?

  93. The Old European Says:

    “And if the Vietnam invasion “cost us dearly” what do you think it cost the Vietnamese?”

    That brings us right to one of the taboos in the current debate. There were between 2.000-3.000 dead in NY. That was apparently such a shock to your political system that US foreign policy went nuts afterwards. Do you know where that number is compared to the number of casualties in other conflicts in the world? Go check for yourself.

  94. buzz harsher Says:

    Rooser:

    So, Andrew Card is a bit of an dork sometimes. A single quote, placed up against the entire background of 30 months of speeches and actions _might_ prove to be a glimpse into the true nature of some horrible conspiracy, or it may be nothing more than a wonk doing some wonking.

    Gotta admit, Axis&Allies is pretty fun. Maybe you’re not _all_ bad šŸ˜‰

    General Shinseki made his estimates _before_ the war began, IIRC, and he did use the terms, “on the order of.” Given the speed and low loss rates of the initial conquest, I’d say Franks used just the right number of troops.

    Afterwards? I dunno. Maybe more guys would be useful, and maybe they’d just get in the way. At some point, you’re just enriching your enemy’s target selection.

    Given that the Iraq Strategy is the Iraqification of the security process, and sending more US troops could hamper this transition, more troops just seem like a waste.

    Ken Adelman’s “cakewalk” quote: Do correct me if I’m wrong, but Mr. Adelman is just a civilian, with as much right to spout BS as the rest of us, right?

    It wasn’t just the left that predicted high casualties. Pro-war analysts were shooting pretty high, too. Of course, they did the same before the Kuwait Campaign, so maybe they need to include the “run like hell away from the Yankees” subroutine into their models…

    I’m not sure that CBW were considered serious threats to US troops. MOPP levels were pretty high, and CBW is typically countered with high mobility.

    If you are referring to local _civilian_ casualties from CBW, you may be right. I mean, if you think President Hussein would be so monstrous as to use CBW on civilian targets!

    Oh, and do stop already with the, “Bushies told them that SH had CBW,” already, as though every other intelligence agency in the world, every private and public analysis group, and the UN didn’t think so, too…

  95. Dean Says:

    dbag:

    Actually, “leftist” concepts went out the window soon after June 22, 1941. Indeed, Stalin pretty much dumped all of his Soviet and Communist rhetoric, and relied instead on the concepts of RUSSIA and defense of the Motherland. He not only released many hundreds of Tsarist officers, but even allowed the Russian Orthodox Church to hold services (in some cases) for the troops.

    Keep in mind, as well, that, from the context of Geoff’s comment, he was discussing AMERICAN leftists. These are the same people who argued, in World War II, frex, that Hitler wasn’t worth fighting. That was, of course, in the heyday of Soviet-German cooperation, i.e., August 1939-June 1941.

    Or that South Korea wasn’t worth supporting (and Kim Il-Sung was such a better leader, no?). Or Taiwan under Chiang Kai-shek, compared with the wonders of Mao and his wonderful Great Leap Forward.

  96. dbagpundit Says:

    To The Old European,

    Let’s consider an example – the US-sponsored coup in Indonesia that brought General Suharto to power in 1965. 500 k – over 1 million people were slaughtered as an immediate result, with more genocidal bloodshed to come over the next three decades, most notably in East Timor. What would have been the reaction had the Indonesian survivors decided that “regime change” ought to be the fate of Suharto’s puppet masters in Washington? Their case would have been substantially stronger than the one “argued” by the Bush Administration as we were actually complicit in the Indonesian attrocities while there is no credible evidence that Saddam bore any responsibility for 9-11.

  97. Dean Says:

    dbag:

    Yup. And the Chinese, if they have the strength, can push for regime change in England, for the Opium War, and have been striving to get their land back from the Russians who took it when the Qing Dynasty was weak.

    Greece wants its Elgin Marbles back (and who knows if they’ll push for regime change to get them), and I’m sure that there are reparations or threats of regime change that will be made when Congo (formerly Zaire, formerly Belgian Congo) decides to take on Belgium.

    ‘Course, who knows, perhaps one day the Japanese will want regime change in the US for knocking their religion (Hirohito was God after all), and then not just undertaking regime change, but writing their constitution.

    What’s yer point? That it’s a hard old world? No argument there.

    But you have to wonder whether the Iraqi people would prefer to have Saddam remain in power, or have him toppled w/ the help of outsiders. Or, to put it in the same way you phrased it for Indonesia, will the Iraqis come back, wanting regime change in the US for having toppled Saddam? In the meantime, I guess I’d better be worried about them pissed off Japanese, eh?

  98. cauthon Says:

    This thread has become tired with its impenetrable partisan beliefs on both sides. Facts are all that matter. Please–for those who think everything we have done after 9/11 is wrong, ham-handed, or even evil–read and internalize the following facts and causal relationships.

    Control Group:
    #1: Strict Multilateralism (read: listening to UN) led to a strict following of a shotsighted mandate to only free Kuwait, which led to not finishing the job in Iraq in Gulf War I, which led to (among many things) Thousands of Kurds and Shiites dead, Saddam seen as hero and defiant Man of Fahl (by Arabs), troops in Saudi Arabia, billions of $$ maintaining sanctions and no-fly zones, more dead Iraqis, confusion and uncertainty with WMD, support for Palestinian Terrorists, attempted assassination of GHWB, inspectors expelled, and perhaps most important: US seen as Paper Tiger, a bully with a glass jaw, that can be stared down with enough carnage.

    #2 – End of Cold War led to a vacation from reality whereby the world seemed to be entirely manageable and risks became, well, too risky. This led to (again, among other things) appeasement of dictators and of rabid anti-Americanism in the Middle East, Black Hawk Down, World Trade Center Bombing (1993), increasingly daring attacks on US sovereign property and military (Embassies, Khobar Towers, U.S.S. Cole, etc.) met with laughably insufficient response, degrading of intelligence–towards reliance on technological and not human assets, 2 million dead in Rwanda, Ethnic Cleansing in Yugoslavia that was met with risk-averse arial bombing, spread of Radical Islam, and a general sense that these troubles were merely the sunk cost of being a Hyperpower. All of this leading again to the US losing credibility.

    All of this, of course, culminating with 9/11.

    Experimental Group: Bush Doctrine (which is not exactly Bush’s and not even a doctrine, since in the past when we have been at war–and we are at war–we actually, believe it or not, attack our enemies) led to (and I am staying with facts, things that have happened that did not or could not have happened before): 50 million Muslims freed from tyranny, the Taliban gone and a new Afghan Constitution based on individual rights, Saddam gone and a new Iraq in his place–with a new constitution on the way based on individual rights, children’s prisons opened, mass graves uncovered, political protests in the streets (this is a good thing), Assad suing for peace with Israel, Ghaddafi giving up WMD’s, North Korea agreeing to multi-part talks, China acting more responsible, Kahn’s nuclear market exposed, Saudi’s cracking down on fanatics (yes, this is happening), Pakistan cracking down, Indonesia cracking down, Philippines cracking down, 75% of Al Qaeda leaders caught or exterminated, terrorists training camps destroyed, funding dried up, Saddam in a spider hole, Saddamite bribes and supporters exposed, Osama in a cave (or dead), Sanctions lifted, UN relevance saved (for a while), US credibility restored, and the most important: no new 9/11.

    But of course, we still have potholes.

    It is, I suppose, open to argument which events you prefer. I know which ones I support.

    We went to war in Iraq not because of what we knew, but what we didn’t know. The world cannot survive the threat from WMD without enforced transparency. After 9/11, we decided: never again. If this is not your top priority, then god help you.

    It is, I suppose, open to argument which events you prefer. I know which ones I support.

    Postscript: The blame for the former set of circumstances can go all around and would make a great historical analysis. Nevertheless, it is not important at this point in time. What is important is ensuring we do not lose a city. Screw petty alliances, screw France, screw Germany, and screw Russia. Our government is not elected to make nice with others. First things first.

  99. dbagpundit Says:

    Dean,

    I’m charmed by the sympathy you display for the victims of our terrible crimes – it’s something to remember as context should you in the future attempt to excuse US aggression on humanitarian grounds. If after reading about the mass murder of September 11, an Arab in Jordan remarked that “it’s a hard old world” would that not be used as evidence of the pathology of his culture? Or do we have a double standard for rhetoric in the same manner as we have for terrorism?

  100. Dean Says:

    dbag:

    Well, it’s not exactly like YOUR sympathies are for those who were being persecuted under Sukarno, either. And what of the leftists in Russia? You know, the Mensheviks, the various good Party members, all of whom left their bones at Kolyma and Magadan? Did you shed many tears for them?

    But at least you recognize that Palestinians WERE dancing when the WTC went down—a step ahead of the many who claimed it never happened.

    Is it justified? I’m sure they can justify it. Is the resulting loss in sympathy from us for them justified? In my opinion, yes.

    As for using a humanitarian excuse for our “aggression,” rest assured, I will leave that to those who would have us go into Kosovo w/o UN sanction or launch missiles against Sudanese pharmaceutical plants or even into Haiti.

    At the end of the day, our actions are a combination of factors: realpolitik, humanitarian concerns, economic factors, political considerations (domestic and foreign). That is true for every nation. Ideally, humanitarian concerns ARE one of them (this was one great failing of the Kissinger school—failure to factor a humanitarian consideration into the equation).

    More to the point, though, as I asked, do you think the Iraqis are likely to seek restitution for toppling Saddam? Are the Indonesians currently seeking regime change in the US for the fall of Sukarno?

  101. cauthon Says:

    Dbag:

    I am sure that you would also list the Revolutionary War and WWII as US aggression.

    Seriously, how is it aggression to fight back?

    This begs the question: do you want America to win?

    Everybody is accountable for their own actions, and we should strive to limit innocent casualties, sure. But this is a war and there are tough decisions to be made. We have to protect our own first and everybody else’s citizens are a distant second. Any government that does not do that (Saddam, Taliban, Iran) is not legitimate.

  102. JPS Says:

    I am very late to this thread, but I just have to respond to two comments:

    Ben: Very well said. TOE’s scorn is also a good sign.

    Dbag: Just curious, is there ANY attack that could be carried out against America, to which you wouldn’t respond by saying we’d done far worse, and arguing against attempts to prevent the next, even worse, one? Not questioning your patriotism, heaven forfend, just wondering. And if there is, what would it take?

  103. Retief Says:

    What’s wrong with this picture Iraqhead? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/04/terror/main591217.shtml

    BTW cauthon, in what fantasy world has US credibility been “restored” by events in Iraq?

  104. cauthon Says:

    Retief:

    Ask Ghaddafi.

    “I will do whatever the Americans want. I saw what they did to Iraq, and I am afraid.”

    Seems like he believes us.

  105. cauthon Says:

    Retief

    Of course, you are probably talking about not finding WMD. You probably think that because we didn’t find any that we lost credibility. That’s ok, a lot of people do.

    It was the UN that declared Iraq in violation of all those resolutions. 1441 was unanimously ratified. You can go read it. It was not based on American Intelligence or Bush Assertions, regardless of what you would like to believe. It was based on UN inspectors, UN reports, and International intelligence.

    We simply enforced it. So yes, now when we say that it is not acceptable for a roque regime to remain ambiguous on the matter of WMD, everybody, even you deep down inside, knows that we mean business. Regimes will now err on the side of transparency, quite like Ghaddafi and a little like Iran. That is what credibility is. And that is what we have restored.

    The only credibility gap in existence now is not the administration’s, but those who continue to move the goal posts to an unrealistic distance to score some partisan points. It is a tired game these people play. Thank god they don’t have a chance to gain power.

  106. Phillip Says:

    “It was the UN that declared Iraq in violation of all those resolutions. 1441 was unanimously ratified. You can go read it. It was not based on American Intelligence or Bush Assertions, regardless of what you would like to believe. It was based on UN inspectors, UN reports, and International intelligence.

    We simply enforced it…”

    1441 didn’t authorize the US to “enforce it” thus the US violated the resolution. Is it ok for the US (and its allies ) to violate Security Council resolutions but not ok for others (say official enemies) to do the same? We have to break international law to uphold international law?

  107. aaron Says:

    Was there a resolution barring us from enforcing the resolution?

  108. Dean Says:

    Phillip:

    UNSCR 1441 was a Ch. VII resolution. That means that all members of the UN are called upon to ENFORCE the resolution. Failure to enforce the resolution is the problem.

    You are turning the system on its head.

    No one violated a UNSC resolution by enforcing the UNSC’s own resolution.

    To give another example, look at the UN resolutions regarding Korea back in 1950. It did not specifically say, “United States, go stop this,” but instead called for member nations to provide assistance in this regard.

    Same authorizing basis (Ch. VII).

    That’s assuming “international law” actually holds any meaning, which is probably debateable. But in this regard, remember: the US has the most lawyers!

  109. Phillip Says:

    Aaron & Dean,

    1441 clearly states that the Security Council “remains seized of the matter.” It was not up to the US or anyone else besides the SC as a whole to decide the consequences of non-compliance. Paragraph 14 was included in there for a reason – it upholds Chapter VII.

    Chapter VII is also clear in stating that “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

    There is nothing in Chapter VII that authorizes a member state to take the place of the Security Council and its role described in Article 39.

    Thus the US and it’s allies violated 1441 and the UN Charter by invading Iraq – so arguments for the legality of the invasion have little credibility.

  110. aaron Says:

    I don’t get, where does it say we can’t?

    Shit, if we violated the UN does that mean they’ll attack us? Will they kick us out first and stop taking our money and soldiers, or will our soldier have to shoot eachother?

  111. Dean Says:

    Phillip:

    So, the Korean War was “illegal” too, then? After all, UNSCR 80 and 82 (I think those were the #s), on June 25 and 27, didn’t seem to say anything about ordering the UN to do things, yet the US acted anyway. It wasn’t ’til July that the UN passed a resolution specifically directing the US to run the war?

  112. aaron Says:

    Don’t forget Bosnia and Kosovo. I think there was something similar there.

  113. Phillip Says:

    Dean,

    Don’t really know anything about the Korean War so I can’t comment – it wouldn’t surprise me either way.

    Aaron,

    It doesn’t say we “can’t” in the sense that if we do violate international law there is anyone going to stop us or punish us- such is the luxury of being the most powerful rogue state on earth. We “can’t” if we are concerned at all with the rule of law and wish to have any of our arguments employing such a concept considered as anything other than comical propaganda.

  114. aaron Says:

    If it doesn’t say we can’t then we didn’t break any law.

  115. Phillip Says:

    Aaron,

    The UN Charter says we “can’t.”

  116. aaron Says:

    Oh. Oh well.

  117. Dean Says:

    You mean international law ISN’T a comical misrepresentation of reality??

    But if it really is “law,” and not stuff for filling up class hours, then stare decisis must play a role, i.e., the role of precedent. Which means that previous cases become a factor. Which is why Korea is not simply a minor footnote, but a vital part of the argument. If you have a precedent, and it stands, then it becomes, effectively, part of the body of law. Thus, how we intervene is determined, in part, by how we HAVE intervened, e.g., in Korea.

    But then, the fact that you would describe us as a “rogue state” tells me what I need to know.

  118. aaron Says:

    And don’t forget Bosnia and Kosovo.

  119. Dean Says:

    Aaron:

    Well, Bosnia did have the UN involved, and I don’t recall whether the UN actually undertook any changes before we went in.

    But, yes, Kosovo actually is an enormous additional piece of precedent. It was undertaken specifically withOUT UN authorization.

    But let’s get real. A piece that was pub’d in the NYT about a year-plus ago noted that, of the post-WWII wars, almost none were authorized by the UN, yet they abounded. Why does this matter?

    Because, as the professor of law (possibly even internat’l law!) noted, what this means is that the UN Charter is ignored—and therefore effectively superseded as law. To give you a comparison, when was the last time, before entering a town, you got out and waved a lantern and flag? Well, those old laws (to protect horses, iirc, when motorcars were new) are still on the books—but no one bothers w/ them anymore.

    But rest assured that, in the eyes of people like Phillip who characterize us as “rogue states,” our actions are illegal, the UN Charter is sacrosanct, and any other actions (e.g., Saddam violating international laws on human rights, North Korea’s actions violating a variety of laws) will be shaded and explained away.

  120. aaron Says:

    Dean, thanks for the clearification (Bosnia).

  121. dbg Says:

    “But rest assured that, in the eyes of people like Phillip who characterize us as “rogue states,” our actions are illegal, the UN Charter is sacrosanct, and any other actions (e.g., Saddam violating international laws on human rights, North Korea’s actions violating a variety of laws) will be shaded and explained away.”

    Couldn’t Phillip argue that Saddam and North Korea are following the precedent set by the US and other countries in ignoring the UN Charter and other international treaties? Does the act of ignoring the UN Charter establish real legal precedent or is it just breaking the law and what is the difference? Are there other laws besides the UN Charter that govern the use of force in international law that the US obeys?

  122. aaron Says:

    dbg:

    Yeah, Phillip could argue that.

  123. aaron Says:

    Did Iraq ignore the charter or just resolutions? Is NK a member?

  124. Dean Says:

    Aaron:

    Iraq violated the UN Charter not once but several times. This included a brief war w/Iran in the mid-1970s (iirc), the larger Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, and the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

    The violation of resolutions, of course, relates to the resolutions that put in place a cease-fire in 1991. What Phillip (and dbg, who I suspect is dbagpundit) seems to not realize is that, just as a violation of parole does not necessitate a new trial to put the perp back in prison, violating the terms of a cease-fire ends the cease-fire. There was no peace treaty, so that war was NOT over.

    On North Korea, NK is a member of the UN, but only since ~’95 or so. Its violations are of the IAEA’s NPT, as well as several distinct international treaties.

    Most important ones:

    NPT (which NK signed after SOVIET prodding);
    ’91 North-South Agreement, when it agreed to not develop nuclear capabilities, including weapons (signed w/ Seoul); and
    ’94 Agreed Framework, when it agreed to stop plutonium enrichment.

    Notice anything odd about all this? Yup, the dates pre-date Dubya, the recent war on Iraq, and all that stuff. So, to believe dbg, the NKs and Saddam actually had time machines, saw what WOULD happen, and informed their previous selves of this ex post facto justification.

  125. Dean Says:

    Oh, almost forgot:

    AFAIK, there were no UN resolutions for the Iraq mid-80s war, and none on North Korea (b/c the PRC would veto it).

    So, bizarrely, that’s perfectly okay, b/c, well, there was no UN resolution on the subjects.

    Now, it’s also important to remember that Iraq (and Korea, but just about nowhere else) are Ch. VII resolutions, whereas, frex, Israel-related resolutions are non-binding Ch. VI resolutions. So, before anyone goes down the “Why don’t we hold Israel to the same standards” trope, it’s useful to realize that it’s b/c they’ve got different rules applying to them.

  126. Jens Schmidt Says:

    here a word from one of your former German allies:
    Did you really expect us to go to war shoulder to shoulder with someone who treats us like complete fools? And that’s what Mr. Bush did when he came up with that obvious bullshit about waepons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now you can say “Who cares about the truth if you are under threat of terror?” But it might be worth the time for you to think about how some people over here see it. We just couldn’t TRUST Mr. Bush anymore after he came up with so obvious and cheap lies and if you cannot trust someone anymore you definitely can’t support him in a war.
    Now you are right in claiming that Saddam was a bastard and it was right to remove him and I agree it’s worth the money AND the trouble AND may be even the lives of the brave soldiers. BUT a lie from the president of the US is still a lie and he slapped into the face of countries who want to be allies of the US but not at the price of being treated like complete idiots by him. That’s what he fucked up. He attacked the coalition against terrorism by stepping out of it with his foolish “if you don’t give applause to my childish lies you support the terrorists” policy. And even if you couldn’t care less if we support you or not, the point is WE WANT to support you but not if we can’t trust your leader and we never know if hes just going for an adventure or if there’s a serious threat.

  127. Dean Says:

    Herr Schmidt:

    So, please show us the BND statements that said there are no WMD in Iraq, dated prior to March 2003? Please show us the statement by Herr Fischer that Germany did not believe that there were any WMD in Iraq prior to 2003? Did Herr Schroeder make such a statement prior to 2003?

    Where are the “lies” as you put it?

    Did the BND lie in not closing down nuclear smuggling to Pakistan earlier? Did Herren Schroeder, Fischer, Kohl, etc. lie in not putting a stop to nuclear smuggling earlier? Did German claims that they were enforcing the international rules on nuclear materials constitute lies?

    This must be a rather interesting exercise in post-modernism, this claim that mistakes=lies. I am so glad that no one in Germany makes mistakes—it would be unfortunate if your polity were to be found to be lying.

  128. Jens Schmidt Says:

    I did never claim we that no one in Germany makes mistakes. Of course we all do. We Germans even commit crimes and lie. But here to your questions.

    It doesn’t need a BND statement. The UN weapons inspectors stated to the UN and the public prior to the start of war that they would need a max. of 2-3 months more in Iraq to finish their report. Now why did they claim to need more time? They were not satisfied with the information about what happend to the weapons of mass destruction Iraq was known to have possesed. These weapons were listed in the Iraqi report and claimed to be “destroyed”, so the team needed time to find out if that was true and how exactly they were destroyed or not. The UN weapons inspectors however clearly stated that up to that point they were SURE that there were no nuclear weapons AND no active nulear weapons promgram. THIS TURNED OUT TO BE RIGHT. They also stated that up to that point they found no evidence of chemical and biological weapons. THEY ARE STILL NOT FOUND. They also stated that they had access to all facilities. They found missiles, with the ability to fly more than 130 km, which were destroyed. They also stated that they could make and did make interviews with anyone they demanded to question without Iraqi security officers being in the room. Than they demanded to interview the persons outside Iraq. Before the bastard Saddam Hussein (and I really mean that he’s a bastard) even had time to agree to that (just to make sure he’s not removed from power an can keep on torturing his nation) the “coalition of the willing” started the war. Mr. Bush did not listen to the facts because he wasn’t interested in the facts.
    Also, he never released any of his “evidence” in a way that the UN security council was satisfied. As he realised, that some countries were not going to say “yes, go to war without evidence” he stated he didn’ have to ask them. Now hang on, these are not “mistakes”. And trust me, I’m not one of those stupid pacifist left-wing fools, who just don’t like Mr. Bush because he doesn’t turn the US into a communist country (they start with “hey, the rich people don’t pay enough taxes”, even though they pay millions, and they end up with “why do they have money at all”), or who are against military strikes in principle, because they refuse to live in the reality.

    One more point: the “evidence” was not shown to secret services of countries except the UK. So there was no chance for, for instance the BND, to immediately state that, for instance, the document that was “evidence” that the Iraq tried to by uranium from Niger was complete bullshit. Even the CIA said it was highly questionable. That did not stop Mr. Bush from presenting it as a fact. Like all his other “facts”. There is a line were it becomes obvious that something is not a “mistake”, but fabrication. Mr. Bush went far behind that line.

  129. Jens Schmidt Says:

    One more thing, please don’t answer by listing all the lies German politicians ever told and still tell. I agree that our current government is full of bullshit. So is, and in that you are right, the German media, for instance when it comes to topics like the prisoners in Guantanamo, where the US administration is doing just the right thing. I would claim it a crime if they did not lock up their enemies.
    What I criticize is the pre-Iraqi-war behaviour of your president and I only do that because at the top of this page people who do that are claimed to be sort of brainless and I just want to make clear we are not.

  130. aaron Says:

    I think it’s fine to be a little annoyed with Bush focusing too much on WMD, but he was never wrong. His decision was not made on that sole issue, it was a means to an end, which should have been obvious to anyone in government. The costs of waiting were higher than those of going in. To think that we invaded Iraq for anything other than the aggregate is simply ignorant.

    Quibble: the Iraq/Niger documents were never presented as fact. In fact, I think the first thing I heard about Iraq/Niger documents (other than the fact that they existed) was that the documents were forged. If someone told you otherwise, they were lying. I don’t think that they were ever viewed as credible.

    Focusing on WMD may have made us look bad, but there are many benefits to doing so. For one, it showed that violations of important resolutions might be enforced at anytime that it is in someone’s interest to do so.

  131. Jens Schmidt Says:

    For one, it showed that violations of important resolutions might be enforced at anytime that it is in someone’s interest to do so.

    You may be right. All I’m complaining about is the way it was handled.

  132. aaron Says:

    I have to agree with that. I cringed many times when Bush (and others) mentioned nuclear weapons and stockpiles of WMD heading into the war (I thought there was a good chance that they weren’t there). But there were many compelling reasons for our actions. The case wasn’t made on WMD, they just spent more time on that. I guess given the way the media works, it was unavoidable that that issue was going to get the most attention. The WMD/potential threat justified the war, but wan’t the main reason. ( And, the media played up the issue more than the administration.) It makes sense: it was the lowest common denomiator, bringing important popular support.

    Building the case on all the reasons would have slowed thing down even more. Also, it would imply that the WMD (UN) justification wasn’t adequate and just raise more questions. Bringing attention to the desired effects of invading would also diminsh those effects and give valuable insight into our desires and very valuable stategy information to our enemies. It would also raise expectations and potential future criticism (unreached percieved promises).

    There are advantages to looking obtuse and unpreditable. When people see the results they will get over it. The damage is short term. It’s not a just reputation and it won’t stick.

    The Niger intell is presented as questionable and supplied by foreign intelligence. It is also not part of the key judgements (they say Iraq was intent on aquiring nuclear weapons). It was documents provided to us that proved to be forged (specific to that Niger intell). We mention Niger because that is where we had intelligence (oops). It was supporting evidence that Iraq was “vigorously trying” to procure Uranium. One discredited instance certainly does not put a huge dent in “vigorously trying to procure”. Foreign (British) intell still maintains that Saddam attempted to purchase uranium in Africa which was not based on the Niger documents.

    It is pretty bad that it made it into the report without any coveats. But again, it’s not part of the main report and no key judgement were dependent on it. It just wasn’t that important (that’s probably why it was released).

  133. Jens Schmidt Says:

    Think I made my point, but still want to let you know my motivation.

    I think you got the wrong impression that we didn’t support the US because we are anti-American and want to piss at you and think you are terrible people who want to dominate and exploit the world and this view is wrong. Our concern was as well funded and honest as yours and even though we will never reach an agreement on the issue we share so many values that this is just a DISAGREEMENT, not a confrontation. It’s about time we move on and give our real enemies a dam good kick in the ass.

  134. aaron Says:

    Agreed. And, nice talking with you.

    Just so you know, I don’t think there are hard feeling toward Germans here. Yeah for France, but most of us still like Germans.
    Just seemed to be the politics of the day.

    Out of curiosity what part of Germany are you from?

  135. Jens Schmidt Says:

    north of east Germany, town called Schwerin

    Here some still have hard feeling against the US (not me, I like your country and the people), but hey I can understand my fellow Est-Germans, I mean you’ve been our enemies for quit some time and US nukes pointed at us, good we got over that

  136. aaron Says:

    Did the tourist thing in west Germany a few years ago when I finished school. My sister spent a year in school in Freiberg and worked summer in the south.

    I went to Berlin in Dec. ’01. Visited my sister’s friend, hung out with AISIC kids, and did the tourist thing.

  137. Bob King Says:

    No clarity is ever gained by arguing with the simple-minded yobbos on the other side.

    It’s a mistake to evaluate the validity of intelligent arguments for or against any given positions by the utterances of those who don’t grasp anything beyond the bullet points; if that.

    Goes for you guys too.

    My point would be that if you want to fight terrorism, you have to cut it off at the roots; you can kill islamist terrorists all day, every day and just make more. IT’s like Jason vs the Hydra.

    First emphasis has to be making it harder for terrorists to strike effectively against us. Because it has to be a holding action in that dimension.

    Second emphasis has to be taking the war to them – and it’s not a war that you can fight with bullets; it’s a clash of ideas. And if you think F-15’s give us an advantage – hell, dude, we got SPIELBURG!

    And on the darker side of the equation, we need to infiltrate the hell out of that; we need to get serious about doing the job of intelligence, getting assets in place and generally spreading new ideas. This is one aspect of the war we have completely dropped the ball on.

    I should point out that it’s Liberal ideas – or rather, what a Taliban would call “liberal,” and you and I would call “basic human rights and common decency” are the things they most greatly fear. All things are relative, but it’s something to be mindful of – because authoritarian, top-down responses are not a working paradigm in this conflict; it simply buys into their mindset, and nobody, not even Carl Rove, is prepared to be as brutally oppressive and ruthless as it would take to “win” on that axis.

    This is about ideas. We represent to them all that is decadent and contrary to a proper patriarchal dusty repression; The right to watch boobs, rather than having to listen to them.

    It’s what we are truly best at. Putting boobs out there. Offering the temptations of personal freedom of choice, of not having to live the way your neighbor does, without risk of having the crap beaten out of you for being an “apostate.”

    That is how you divert young men from a life of self-righteous terrorism; boobs. Lots of luscious jiggly boobs and the simple joy seeing them brings. That and learning that women also have brains and, yes, even souls.

    I oversimplify of course. But I point the direction of vulnerability more than one crazy mullah has fretted about aloud.

    This might actually make them desperate enough to concentrate enough to make F-15’s truly effective. And then, folks – well, that’s wheat to the scythe, as well we know.

    But the grain must be ripe before the harvest.

    And George Bush’s ideas are more suited to the other side, I’m afraid. His reflexes and religion predispose him to disapprove of the tactics that would be most effective. He’s not subtle, and the situation requires that. He’s not a diplomat – and someone has to say “nice doggie” while we find a precisely sharpened rock. We need a politically-adept pragmatist with a history of suddenly and unexpectedly twisting the agenda and the situation to his advantage – and just ask Dean about that one.

    So that’s how I look at it. He’s the best man for the job we have at the moment, and I kinda think his politics to be irrelevant – given the composition of the house and senate.

    I am looking at this from a strong national-security perspective, and from that perspective, I believe that the priority must be securing loose bomb-grade materials (target date currently 2008!), securing obvious soft targets such as chemical plants (efforts scuttled by the industry lobby), securing the supply chain (Efforts to do that falling on deaf ears, some 14 different agencies have jurisdiction) and of course, building a much better intelligence picture.

    These are all areas in which 87 billion dollars would have made a very large impact. And of course, the primary role of National Guard and Reserves is intended to be homeland defense. They can’t do that if they are in Iraq.

    In many ways, this has been a Potemkin war – designed to look good and boost the administration’s approval ratings, but if you look at what’s behind the facade – it’s all cardboard and sandbags. Perhaps ideologues such as those the administration is composed of are unaware that there’s more to reality than the appearance of substance, but those at the sharp end and those who have to deal with the reality of an orange alert know that they are being asked to spin gold out of straw far more often than not.

    The money has to go where it’s needed, not to where it generates the most television coverage.

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