Fact-Checking Snopes’ Ass

Scott Ganz links to a Snopes.com article supposedly debunking John Kerry’s votes against major US weapons systems, some of which were recounted by Zell Miller last night. Echoing a lame defense offered last night by Chris Matthews (and a frankly dishonest column by Slate’s Fred Kaplan earlier this year), Snopes hides behind the ‘procedural votes and votes against giant appropriations bills don’t count’ argument:

The three votes cited

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77 Responses to “Fact-Checking Snopes’ Ass”

  1. Stephen Green Says:

    Will,

    Had Kerry lived in ancient Israel, he would have voted against David’s sling.

  2. McGehee Says:

    I decided some time ago that Snopes knows what the Kool-Aid™ tastes like. And there’s only one way to know what the Kool-Aid™ tastes like.

  3. Bryant Likes Says:

    I’ve used snopes a lot in the past to debunk many of the mindless email forwards. Snopes always seemed to be slightly tilted to the left, but balanced enough.

    However, as soon as I saw this:
    http://www.latimes.com/wireless/avantgo/local/ventura/la-me-snopes22aug22.story

    I knew that Snopes was going to be much more left tilted (as demonstrated here).

  4. John Says:

    I have so much to say about Kerry’s Senate record, I think I’m going to start a blog and make my first post a thorough exposition on Kerry’s votes and activities.

    Hopefully vodka will link it when I’m done! Basically, I think the discussion so far has been too limited. Part of the problem is in digging up what his votes were– there were indeed specific votes on many defense issues.

    I think his complete opposition to helping anti-communists abroad is very germane. He didn’t want to help the Contras, the Afghans, the Angolans, or the Cambodians.

    Funny, you would have thought the man of the magic hat would want to help end communism in Cambodia.

  5. Will Collier Says:

    Steve, don’t you know advanced Israeli slings were inherently unfair? Especially when the Philistines were only able to *throw* rocks…

  6. HobbsOnline Says:

    The Kerry Record on National Defense

    Here is John Kerry’s Senate record on national defense. Also, you can read the memo from 1984 where Kerry outlines his proposal to end funding for virtually every important weapons system that, as it turns out, the American military is…

  7. Frank martin Says:

    OUCH! That’s excellent work.

  8. Paul Says:

    I’m sorry, did you say “Philistines” or “Palestinians”?

  9. Jim R Says:

    The ‘procedural’ argument can only go so far. We are talking about a 20 year pattern of lack of support for our military.

    A lot of history to rewrite in 60 days. Damn those records.

  10. Sharp as a Marble Says:

    Sometimed the Comments are Better than the Posts IV

  11. Sharp as a Marble Says:

    Sometimed the Comments are Better than the Posts IV

  12. 29 Says:

    Too bad the Congressional Record doesn’t have a ‘delete’ button.

  13. Darwin Finch Says:

    Oooooh yeah. Deliciously devastating. Funny how the truth can be that way.

  14. Frank Martin Says:

    Hey – none of you were ever in congress, John Kerry served in congress, you cant judge him!

    While the rest of you were doing tequila shots in some bar somehwere with a topless waitress, John Kerry was serving under Ted Kennedy. That image is seered – seered into my mind. to this day the words “where’s my gin bottle” in a flat new england accent sends me into flashbacks over the great budget wars of 1984.

    shame on you, shame on you all! You should know by now that he’s better than us, we should be grateful that he’s taken time away from his busy windsurfing schedule to come in to attempt to fix our broken country.

  15. ed Says:

    I have neither the time nor the skills to research Kerry’s votes on the Nuclear Repository at Yucca Mtn., in Nevada, but we here are being subjected to a barrage of TV ads claiming Kerry is Nevada’s best friend and has always voted against the establishment of it. The ad rails about Bush’s perfidy in signing the bill to fund it. Anybody?

  16. The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill Says:

    ‘Fact-Checking Snopes’ Ass’ from VodkaPundit.

    Laying the rod to Snopes behind. Is Snopes going the way of Old Media already? Snopes has been depended on by both left and right for facts not the ravings of one particular branch of political philosophy. Their credibility is even more fragile than Ol…

  17. The Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion Says:

    SOME REMINDING

    Courtesy of Tilted Fish, and thus courtesy of Snopes, comes an article you must keep in mind when listening to the GOP Convention. UPDATE: Yeouch! Between Vodka’s fact check and this clip of Sen. Miller on “Harbah!”, John Boy has some ‘splaining to do….

  18. E. Nough Says:

    Steve, don’t you know advanced Israeli slings were inherently unfair?

    Of course they were, which is why they were banned by the Second Jericho Convention. I believe the Egyptians also tried to write in a ban on biological weapons and attacks on their water supply.

  19. Frank Martin Says:

    on the Nevada thing, I have a passle of relatives who live in and around Las Vegas, the word is the Kerry can’t pronounce “Yucca” or even “Nevada”, and when he was campaigning im the area, even the local news laughed at his pronouncing “Yucca Mountain” as “Yoooka Mountain”. Apparently in this speech, he did it more than once. I noted that Bushs numbers went up after that visit.

  20. Baseball Crank Says:

    POLITICS: Inside the RNC

    Through the efforts of a friend, I managed to get into the Republican convention last night, and will be returning tonight. A few thoughts on the evening: *I only had to go through security twice to get in; although security…

  21. Simon Says:

    I agree it damages the Snopes’ pieces credibility, but I think it’s still unfair to claim Kerry voted against every major defense program because he voted against 3 defense budgets.

    Looking at LT-Smash’s list, I see a lot of programs that deserved to be cancelled, and I think he was right that the Soviet threat was overstated. Yes Glasnost was still far away, but he was right that the CIA and others were violently exagerrating Soviet power and capability in order to justify expenditures.

    Certainly Kerry was wrong about some of those programs, and he should say so, but I think this is about a difference of opinion about what actually won the cold war.

    I think the Cold War definitely could’ve been won at a far lower price if we’d focused on useful military programs instead of Star Wars and other big budget, big name items that did nothing but emphasize what the Soviets already knew: We had them beat economically.

  22. Jesse Walker Says:

    Funny, you would have thought the man of the magic hat would want to help end communism in Cambodia.

    The Cambodian rebels were dominated by Pol Pot’s forces, who wanted to oust the Vietnamese occupiers and restore the even-worse butchers of the ’70s. Officially the U.S. was limiting its assistance to two smaller, non-communist armies, but those forces were aligned with Pol Pot and the U.S. was effectively aiding him.

    It was one of the worst mistakes of the Cold War. I don’t care for Kerry, but if he spoke out against that, my opinion of him just went up a notch.

    While I’m at it, UNITA’s war in Angola didn’t turn out very well either. And forgive me if the Afghan aid doesn’t look like such a hot idea in retrospect.

  23. Judicious Asininity Says:

    There They Go Again

    Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there seems to be quite a crowd of liberals squalling that Zell Miller spewed a pack of lies about John Kerry’s voting record on

  24. Outside The Beltway Says:

    Kerry’s Defense Votes

    Will Collier fact checks Snopes on Kerry’s voting record. It turns out that Zell Miller was unfair: Kerry wouldn’t have voted for spitballs, either.

  25. The Shape of Days Says:

    Spitballs

    Will Collier does a bang-up job digging up documentation to back up Sen. Miller’s laundry-list of Kerry’s nay-votes. Along with some help from his friends, he managed to find a copy of Kerry’s 1984 memo, “John Kerry on the Defense

  26. damnum absque injuria Says:

    Snope a Dope

    Methinks this Snopes entry on John Kerry’s service in Vietnam could stand a leetle updating.

    UPDATE: Make that a lot.

    UPDATE x2: This entry is much more recent, but not much better. Between this, their hatchet job on Annie Jacobsen and their c…

  27. Dishman Says:

    “Reagan” on PBS has a lot of wonderful interviews with former Soviet officials. One of the less palatable conclusions was that Reagan’s military buildup played a major role. SDI was (from the Soviet perspective) a major factor. They didn’t know if we could pull it off, but they knew we thought we could, and they knew they couldn’t. Its psychological impact was enormous.

    Regarding the Afghans, IIRC one of the major recipients of our aid was Amhed Shah Masood (assassinated 9/9/01). At that time, ISI was trying to aid Gulbuddin Hekhmatyer. The Taliban did not even exist until years after the Soviets left.

    The Cold War finally ended when the Soviet Union lost its “will to fight”. John Kerry opposed essentially every tool Reagan was using to destroy that will to fight.

    … and he thinks he has some notion of how to win the WoT?

  28. Frank Martin Says:

    Simon – the best way to test “Kerrys Stance on Defense” is not just to ask as what did he stand against, but to ask:

    “What has Kerry ever been for”?

    ” What weapons systems has Kerry ever championed”?

    ” What alternative approaches to defense has Kerry ever championed”?

    ” Has kerry ever once proposed improving the lives of soldiers or sailors anywhere at any time”?

    When I check Kerrys background, one key phrase jumps out at me, on Nicaragua, he said:

    ” The United States should not act quite so ‘haughty’ when telling the Sandinistas how to run their country”.

    In Fighting Communism:

    ” The United States should know by now that It cannot fight communism everywhere and that it is foolish to try”

    That tells me all I need to know about the mans committment to Freedom and liberty.

  29. Jeff Harrell Says:

    Simon, we didn’t need those programs to defeat the USSR militarily. We needed them to defeat the USSR at the negotiating table.

    It was our build-up, specifically of intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe but also of conventional forces, that forced the Soviets to join us at the table, first in Geneva and then in Reykjavik. And it was the President’s refusal to shut down SDI that forced Gorbachev back to Moscow in disgrace, essentially into the waiting jaws of a hard-right coup d’etat. (That’s a gross oversimplification; I know it, you know it, and the American people know it. But you get my drift.)

    We didn’t know that at the time, of course, but we know it now. If we ever find ourselves in an arms race again, we’ll know that the way to win it is to win it. No half measures, no concessions, no “sensitivity.” Full speed ahead.

  30. Sandy P Says:

    SDI has given us some bennies, also, a few years ago the WSJ(?) had an article and listed 4 advances out of it, I remember one of them aiding dentistry.

  31. Sandy P Says:

    SDI has given us some bennies, also, a few years ago the WSJ(?) had an article and listed 4 advances out of it, I remember one of them aiding dentistry.

  32. Simon Says:

    I agree they all played their role. Still, I think Kerry’s statement that the actual threat of the Soviet Union was being overstated to justify military funding for every project imaginable is an accurate one. And if that sort of thinking did help win the war, it also created unecessary problems for the future by giving US intelligence a free ride to do pretty much whatever they wanted in South American and other regions.

    It’s perhaps unfair for me, looking back from the post-coldwar peace to claim it could’ve been handled a different way, but I do think that there had to be something better than investing billions in satelites that would never exist and system that would never fly. It was a good overall strategy but I think the execution relied on the fact that Reagan himself really thought the ridiculous systems would work.

  33. Simon Says:

    Oh, and as for Kerry.

    I don’t actually like him much. I respect that he served his country and I think he will take a hardline against terrorism if only to escape criticism.

    Frankly, I voted for Edwards. I still stand by my intention to vote for Kerry though because I don’t think Bush would actually do a better job on foreign security, even if he talks about it with more conviction.

    Bush’s strategy of taking a stand regardless of facts, reality, or any other guiding data is not, to me, a superior situation to Kerry being a wishy-washy guy who does whatever the polls tell him.

  34. HobbsOnline Says:

    The Kerry Record on National Defense

    Here is John Kerry’s Senate record on national defense. Also, you can read the memo from 1984 where Kerry outlines his proposal to end funding for virtually every important weapons system that, as it turns out, the American military is…

  35. Feste...a foolsblog Says:

    Divine Carrion

    The blogosphere is examining Kerry’s senate record as the Dems try to spin Miller’s condemnation. The problem with a twenty year career in any field is the paper trail, Kerry’s senatorial campaign documents give lie to Edwards weak rebuttal. However,…

  36. Dman Says:

    Simon, with all due respect, you have repeated the famous last words of many a skeptic.

  37. Simon Says:

    Famous last words?

    I’m doubtful that I’m going to die in the next few hours and I have no political career to be ruined by stating a purely theoretical take on the Cold War. If a skeptic died or lost his career because he didn’t support SDI, I’m not sure how that applies to me now.

  38. small dead animals Says:

    Kerry: No To Spitballs!

    James Joyner; “Will Collier fact checks Snopes on Kerry’s voting record. It turns out that Zell Miller was unfair: Kerry wouldn’t have voted for spitballs, either.” Go read Collier’s post….

  39. Steve Says:

    Simon, don’t you understand metaphor?

  40. Simon Says:

    I understand the concept of metaphor. Your specific metaphor I don’t understand as you didn’t tell me which part of my argument you’re referring to?

    Are you saying that I’ll end up regretting my support of Kerry? Or are you talking about my cold war comments and saying that I’m regurgitating the ideas of old liberals from the 80s who were shown to be wrong by the success of Reagan’s military build-up?

    I’m fine with metaphor, I just don’t know what you’re referring to.

  41. ed Says:

    Hmmm.

    1. Yucca Mountain and Kerry.

    Deja vote in the desert
    A Washington Times article on Kerry’s multiple flip-flops on Yucca Mountain. Basically he voted for Yucca before he started campaigning for the Presidency. Since then, he’s voted against it.

    Yeah yeah yeah. Voted for it, before against it. It’s sad that I’m not either surprised, elated or dismayed. Carter is an unprincipled idiot, Clinton screws around and Kerry is a schmuck.

    2. People make the mistake of thinking the Soviet Army was a paper tiger simply because the US military has been so effective since 1990. The simple fact is that the US military was NOT nearly that effective in the 1980’s. We didn’t have stealth. We didn’t have GPS guided weapons. We didn’t have smart bombs. We didn’t have drones. We didn’t have IVIS (a specialized communication system). We also didn’t have much of the electronic training infrastructure that we have now. In short the US military was far far less effective than it is now and trying to judge the situation in the 1980’s based on today’s experiences is a serious mistake.

    People forget that the Soviet Army might be riddled with corruption and not well trained. But quantity has a quality all of it’s own. And the Soviet machine had an enormous amount of quantity. Pretty much every single analysis of a Fulda Gap scenario resulted in a Warsaw Pact win that would then escalate into a mutual exchange of nukes. People forget that the Soviet Army was designed to die. It was designed to absorb enormous losses and continue fighting. Entire divisions and even corps of units could and would be thrown away on direct assaults. Tactics like this is incredibly costly, but extremely difficult to stop in modern warfare.

    The basic issue, at that time and now, is logistics. A fighting unit can only carry so much food, fuel, water and ammo. At various pre-scheduled times it must be resupplied. If the tempo of battle is sufficient quick, the unit will run out prior to the scheduled supply. The Soviet system was to advance the tempo of battle in order to break the logistics chain. That this would also break the chain of command was entirely secondary. A unit devoid of ammunition or fuel is largely useless. Later on the American military adopted the increasing of the tempo of battle as a means of breaking the chain of command rather than the logistics chain. By forcing unit commanders to react faster than they were trained to or able it became possible to advance the tempo of battle to a point where the unit commander became stuck in an eternal stasis of surprise and unable to react.

    But the American method was only possible if it didn’t include a massive increase in the problem with logistics. If the only way to increase the tempo of battle was by deploying more and more bombs, then you needed more and more bombers. With the advent of highly sophisticated weaponry such as smart bombs, GPS guided munitions, MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems), drones, IVIS and etc, it was then possible to massively increase the tempo of battle without a corresponding massive increase in logistics and in delivery systems. A single bomber, or group of bombers, could inflict the same amount of damage that would have taken dozens or perhaps hundreds of bombers previously. In addition to vastly increasing the firepower of the American military, such weapons also enabled massive increase in the tempo of battle by the virtue of being able to strike many more targets simultaneously.

    To shorten this a bit.

    As far as Kerry was concerned, none of this mattered and ALL of it was on the chopping block.

    (wow. I really need to not do stuff like this I guess. sorry.)

  42. Common Sense and Wonder Says:

    A Broken Record

    From a 1984 Kerry campaign memo (via Lt Smash and Vodka Pundit): Congress, rather than having the moral courage to challenge the Reagan Administration, has…

  43. Tom Maguire Says:

    I think we can agree that Kerry’s positions from 1984 were ill-advised and stupid.

    In fact, Kerry himself provided that assessment to the Boston Globe back in 2003:

    In retrospect, Kerry said some of his positions in those days were “ill-advised, and I think some of them are stupid in the context of the world we find ourselves in right now and the things that I’ve learned since then.”

    I don’t often find myself agreeing with Kerry, but this time, yes.

  44. Neil Says:

    Is there a reason you fail to acknowledge that Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney opposed a majority of these weapons systems himself during his reign in the Pentagon? Moreover, many of the systems that you listed should have been slated for elimination–such as the MX missile.

  45. urtu Says:

    Oh, man. This is predictable, I guess. Fox News and the neoconservative PR parade have convinced you all that we’re still fighting the Cold War. Re: “…an enemy dedicated to destroying and/or enslaving us…” There are few main points here, none of which I have time to go into fully enough right now. First of all, the Cold War IS over. We can stop extrapolating the Cold War into the modern era. Secondly, Reagan’s approach to fighting the Cold War — when we actually had a Cold-War-style enemy — was nowhere near as aggressively, preemptively militaristic as Bush’s reckless approach. So if we’re going to compare somebody to Reagan, let’s compare a president in Bush who’s started two major wars, one of them completely unnecessary, to a president who knew how to exercise restraint, and who ultimately prevailed in the battle with his charm and grace as much as anything else. Third, you have to love Reagan, but Reagan’s Cold War Reality wasn’t quite THE Cold War reality. We loved to listen to Reagan’s spin on the Soviets, but his approach wasn’t the only one, and it was not without its flaws. While Reagan wore down the Soviets economically, inner-city gang violence exploded in the US as Reagan ignored the inner-cities. While Reagan wore down the Soviets, he established a precedent for questionable fiscal responsibility that may yet seriously haunt this nation. Short-term deficits are sustainable, but some people seem to have gotten the impression that EVERY president can simply keep piling up deficits and never pay anyone back. And with the baby boomers getting ready to retire, this is risky. The last time we had a real burden of debt like this — after WWII — we were fortunate enough to enjoy a period of prosperity in the 50’s so we could pay it back. The Clinton years were somewhat similar. But when we carry so much debt, we are taking needless risks with our financial and economic future, at least if you believe Alan Greenspan. Fourth, the above assessment of Kerry’s take on the military is spun yet again. It seems it’s almost impossible to find objective analysis this time of the campaign season, but that’s the way it goes. This is sort of equivalent to how some candidates like to say the other guy has voted for 483 tax increases or something. When in fact nowhere near 483 tax increase bills have even been introduced. A bill that has 10 tax cut provisions and 10 tax increase provisions will count simply as “plus 10” in the tally. And viola, after a few of these, you have your 483. The fact is, you can’t simply tally up the sum-total of what someone has voted to eliminate and then say that represents their vision for the military. That’s too easy. For instance, when Kerry supposedly flip-flopped on the $87 billion, he supported a funding bill BEFORE the Republican-led Senate did, but did not support a bill that did not explain where the funds would come from. If you want to make Kerry look good, this would go in the “fiscal responsibility,” and “I don’t want to pass the burden onto my kids” column, not the “I hate the troops” column. If you want to make Kerry look bad, you put this in the “flip-flop,” “doesn’t support the troops,” or “wants to raise your taxes” column.

    Let’s say 10 military spending bills have passed in a row, and the person votes against the 11th. Does he not support the troops? Let’s say the 11th passes. So he doesn’t vote for the 12th, and so on. He might vote against 10 bills in a row, simply in the interest of providing a counterbalance of moderation. You can’t take that to mean that if each bill had failed, he would have continued to vote down the military to ZERO. As I said, this is too easy.

    Fifth, Kerry has evolved over the years. He was never a dove; that’s drawing on some cartoonist stereotype of him. As a young guy living in France, he was awed by what the allied troops sacrificed on D-Day. One of his early heroes was Winston Churchill. Remember that he VOLUNTEERED to fight in Vietnam. That’s not a dove. When he got to Vietnam he realized it wasn’t World War II. This was a much different war, and America wasn’t living up to its promise. So when he got home he did what patriotic people do in a democracy: he voiced his opinion about where the country should head. He did move somewhat into dove territory at that point, although it was a focused dovishness. He didn’t become a pacifist. He simply became adamant that Vietnam had become unproductive.

    If you look at what Kerry has said over the last few years, you’ll realize that his Vietnam politics are a distant era. Like John McCain, he was critical of Clinton’s passive stance on Iraq. He felt the US should do more to deal with that situation. He wanted the US to do more to force Iraq to accept inspections, and wanted a longer-term solution to the stubborn problem of economic sanctions. He wanted the US to think more about regime change, which doesn’t necessarily mean war, and it certainly doesn’t mean the kind of highly impatient, reckless affair Bush introduced to us. But it means no-nonsense. Kerry’s neither hawk nor dove. Contrary to how he’s painted by the Bush team, Kerry is a moderate. He doesn’t believe war is the answer to everything, and he believes alternatives to war ought to be exhausted before war is pursued. But he is NOT a dove, and even in the 70’s he never quite fit in with that often-oblivious crowd because he’s not a pacifist. He was against the VIETNAM WAR, not against WAR. He and Jane Fonda, in other words, diverge pretty quickly once the subject moves beyond the topic of “We made some mistakes in Vietnam.”

    Since I mentioned John McCain, I’ll mention what McCain said about Kerry. “No, I do not think he is, quote, weak on defense.” John McCain is a guy who was endorsed in 2000 by William Kristol, a neoconservative’s neoconservative (co-founder of the Project for a New American Century).

    It’s important to note that Kerry is NOT a neoconservative. The neocons were split in 2000 over who to support because neither McCain nor Bush is really a neoconservative. Kristol probably figured McCain’s pretty tough in the Middle East, he’s a safer bet. Richard Perle figured Bush is more gullible, so he’ll be easier to manipulate. In the end, the Perles of the world probably got it right.

    While we’re on the topic of neoconservativism, let’s bring everything full circle. Reagan, Bush, Kerry, national defense, neoconservatism, terrorism. George W. Bush has been manipulated by his staff into embracing a foreign policy agenda that is very poorly suited to the dilemmas we currently face. Specific members of his staff have their own reasons for pushing this agenda, and it’s not that they’re unpatriotic, it’s just that they haven’t thought through the al-Qaeda problem from all angles. They believe this is a state-sponsorship problem. It isn’t. The State Department listed 45 countries in which al-Qaeda was operating on 9/11, and Iraq wasn’t one of them. It would certainly be on a current list. So would England. Italy. Spain. Canada. Turkey. Jordan. And the list goes on and on. Here is what the Bush administration won’t tell you: al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization that is almost entirely PRIVATELY-SPONSORED. We knew it wasn’t funded by Saddam. Saddam thought bin Laden was a maniac. We knew Osama wasn’t itching to work with Saddam. He called the Iraqi government “infidels.” America was attacked on 9/11 and we lost two skyscrapers and 3000 people. And I think it’s about time we do something about it. We need a president who will look at the critical issues that have emerged since 9/11 and face them openly and honestly, not jump to conclusions or force through a preexisting agenda. (Yes, preexisting. Go back and read the letters to Clinton people like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz sent in the late 90’s urging him to focus on using military force to topple Saddam.) We need a president who will properly invest in homeland security, rather than make excuses. We need a president who will be transparent enough about where we stand that people can make educated, intelligent decisions when an election comes around. And lastly, we DO need a moderate. Al-Qaeda is a bunch of extremists. The way to extinguish extremism is to make the case for moderation. Bush is fighting extremism with extremism. And extremism plus extremism equals Dante’s Inferno. We need a new perspective before it’s too late.

    p.s. One final point re: “…an enemy dedicated to destroying and/or enslaving us…” An enemy has to be more than “dedicated to destroying and/or enslaving us…” Anyone can be dedicated to doing something. He has to be a reasonable THREAT to actually accomplish his goal. Some of the neocons have tried to spread fear in America that the enemy we face is trying to wipe out America as we know it and install a Taliban-style regime — or whatever the scare tactic of the week is right now. The fact is, this ain’t gonna happen, so who cares whether some nutcases are dedicated to it or not? We have to focus on realities, not on some lunatic fringe fantasies. Preventing attacks is a reasonable goal. Preventing terrorists from overthrowing America’s democratic institutions and remaking the Ottoman Empire is, contrary to what you may hear from Fox News, not.

    And one other minor point. For all the whining the neocons did throughout the Clinton years about the need to rebuild the military, guess what? The Bush administration left the military almost exactly as they found it. They reconfigured it a little, and that’s about it. The rest of the extra spending is all related to war expenses, not the military size and robustness. Rumsfeld has, in fact, continually refused to make serious requests to increase the size of the military, in spite of the fact that Bush’s foreign policy is ultra-war-centric! That’s why we see troops overextended, and Bush having to move troops away from Korea at the most inopportune possible time.

  46. Patrick Chester Says:

    Amazing. The “spew as much as possible” method of debate.

    Nice use of scary words like “neo-cons” and references to “FoxNews” and pounding the table about the evils of Bush’s “extremism” while accusing people who disagree with you of using scare tactics.

  47. Jesse Walker Says:

    Dishman: Yes, it’s important to draw distinctions within the mujahadin. But without the U.S.’s efforts to build up the resistance in Afghanistan, I doubt that country would have become the first major gathering place for the transnational jihadists who went on to create Al Qaeda. It’s the law of unintended consequences at its absolute worst.

    Furthermore, the U.S. began aiding rebels in Afghanistan before the invasion of 1979. (The country had gone Marxist before the Soviet troops came in, following a coup by radical officers in the Afghan military.) Given that the country was traditionally part of the Russian sphere of influence anyway — and given that the first Marxist government, tyrannical though it was in many ways, was still secular, supportive of women’s equality, and not mired in the sixth century — I’m inclined to agree with Ralph Peters that we may have been better off to leave it in place.

  48. 'Berg Says:

    “An enemy has to be more than ‘dedicated to destroying and/or enslaving us…’ Anyone can be dedicated to doing something. He has to be a reasonable THREAT to actually accomplish his goal. Some of the neocons have tried to spread fear in America that the enemy we face is trying to wipe out America as we know it and install a Taliban-style regime — or whatever the scare tactic of the week is right now. The fact is, this ain’t gonna happen, so who cares whether some nutcases are dedicated to it or not? We have to focus on realities, not on some lunatic fringe fantasies.”

    Cold comfort to the, what, 2,976 or so souls killed on September 11, 2001. And obviously, to their families as well. The enemy we’re fighting now MAY not have the wherewithal to completely overthrow the United States government overnight, but my question is this: How many noncombatant casualties are acceptable to those of you on the Left before “something has to be done”?

    I guess nearly 3,000 dead in less than two hours isn’t a “reasonable THREAT”? Take a minute and examine that assertion as well, and reflect upon this: If those aircraft had hit those three buildings no more than 45 minutes later, the death toll would most likely have been at least an order of magnitude greater than it was, and to assume that exactly that wasn’t the intent of Al-Qaeda leadership is simply peurile. Would 30,000 have been an acceptable threshhold of human fatalities for those on the Left to demand that “something be done”? How many is too many?

    Both Iraqi and non-native insurgents are attempting to impede and, if possible, stop the democratization of that country. And Iraq wasn’t a terrorist sinkhole? Please elaborate. I’m in love with the argument that “Bush took ill-advised and hastily-concieved decisions with regard to the war on terrorism” when his principal opponent just last week came out with the admission that had he been Commander In Chief at that time and given the intelligence available to all (include Kerry himself) concerned, he’d have done the same thing. Hmmmm . . .

    ‘Berg

  49. The Pirate's Blog Says:

    Zell Miller 1, Lardball 0

    I thourghly enjoyed Zell Miller’s Speech last night…
    …Update5: In reference to Kerry’s record on military equipment, Vodkapundit has a great post about fact-checking, along with reference Citizen Smash’s post on a 1984 Senate campaign flyer for…

  50. The Dead Parrot Society Says:

    What Kerry ought to say on defense funding votes

    Vodkapundit lays out a case backing Zell Miller’s charges against John Kerry’s record on military support. He cites a campaign memo from 1984 in which Kerry called for the cancellation of a wide swath of weapons programs, including the F-14 and F-15 fi…

  51. Croooow Blog Says:

    The Senate record

    The subject that Kedwards avoids……

  52. Croooow Blog Says:

    The Senate record

    The subject that Kedwards avoids……

  53. FreakBoy Says:

    Neil, please be more concise. You’re making a comment not writing a blog.

    Simon, I disagree.

    Arguing that Kerry would take a hard line in the WoT to stave off criticism sounds good in pixels, but what will Kerry do when the criticism attacks from all sides, as it does in time of war, and he has no clear direction to run?

    Any hard line response is sure to offend the Axis of Weasels, and at least half of the Democratic base. Pandering to the UN is bad too because it will piss off the other half of his base, and most of the Republicans. ‘Course France would love it…

    What kind of decision will he make amongst the din, when half scream go and half scream stop?

    Based on his reaction to the Republicans, it seems he will prefer to hide from us.

  54. FreakBoy Says:

    Sorry for the newbish Blog comment Neil. Jeez these guys are fast typers.

  55. damnum absque injuria Says:

    Snope a Dope, Part Duh

    A little over a month ago, Kevin Roderick rightly noted that Snopes’s purported debunking of Annie Jacobsen’s story did not seem particularly convincing. Despite agreeing with their conclusion, Kevin rightly noted that it appeared to be based on rela…

  56. rush22 Says:

    “But Kerry still explicitly called for the outright cancellation of:”

    “* B-1 Bomber — Cancel — $8.0 billion”

    Umm, Proof please. Thanks.

    Where’s the bill that says “DOD Requests $8.0 billion for manufacturing B-1 Bombers?” and which Kerry voted against?

    Where’s Kerry explicitly calling for the “cancellation of the B-1 Bomber”

    Can’t prove it? Can’t prove any of it? I thought so. Sensationalist propaganda garbage. This isn’t debunking, this is calculated perpetuation of propaganda.

    Straw-man anyone?

  57. Lord Whorfin Says:

    rush22-

    Did you read the whole article? Like the part that says “Kerry’s memo from his 1984 election campaign?”

    But you may have a point. Kerry changes his mind so often, nothing he says or writes can be used against him.

  58. Eric E. Coe Says:

    “rush22” – That list is from one of Kerry’s own Senate campaign memos. Read it and weep:

    http://billhobbs.com/hobbsonline/004440.html

    “Sensationalist propaganda garbage.”? No, just his own campaign materials from yesteryear coming back to bite him.

    Take your Kool-aid somewhere else.

  59. pm Says:

    Berg-

    You are missing Urtu’s point. He’s saying let’s focus on those (relatively) small scale attacks like the WTC bombing, and not freak out about a foreign enemy destroying our entire democracy.

  60. Simetrical Says:

    Snopes’ response: http://www.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/37/t/000843/p/1.html#000004

  61. deathtosocialism Says:

    The entire national discussion today really comes down to one simple division: do you want government to serve the people, or do you want the people to serve the government? Last century this was the pivotal issue, which led to two world wars and a bitter cold war with the USSR. Only America truly stood on the side of the individual. Europe and Asia have consistently experimented with the creation of a top-down utopian system run by elites. Only America has rejected this approach outright (thanks to our visionary founders).

    Today’s Democrats have aligned themselves with the Euro-left, the apologists for communism’s extremes for the past decades. Their decadent cultures are a prediction of what today’s Dems plan for us. Beware America — beware!!!

    And look who the Dems have nominated for president? A man who made home movies in Vietnam!!! He reenacted scenes!!! Unbelievable!!! Then he gets out as early as he can with bogus purple hearts while his comrades stayed and fought with even worse scars for worse injuries. Then he comes back and slanders his buddies, scarring them psychologically for life. Then he flies over to Paris and meets with the enemy independently, vouching for their credibility. Again — Unbelievable!!! And this doesnt even touch his Senate career and his working for Dukakis.

    Hey Dems — one question — do you really think America, in this time of crisis, is going to hire on Kerry, given his weak, far left record? Hell no!!!!!!!!!!!

    God bless Bush.

  62. Will Minnette Says:

    Responding to deathtosocialism:

    Please understand that from where I stand, looking at Bush’s policies on drugs, education, taxes, and the ill-conceived Iraq war, he is trying to institute a country where the people will serve the government. I see overtones of 1984 in Bush’s policies.

    I will always, gladly, support someone who says, “I was wrong, I changed my mind, I made a mistake.”

    Those who say, “Those who question me are un-patriotic” are not fit to lead this country.

    I felt urtu’s comments to be very well-reasoned.

  63. Jeff Says:

    I’m amazed:

    – At how many people are willing to support and defend a guy who attacked a country for reasons that turned out to be completely false.

    – At how many people are still calling Kerry a “flip flopper” when their own boy said the WoT could not be won, then said it would be won just this past week (oops). Who said that Iraq had WMD then said he “miscalculated”. Who’s all into Jay-sus, yet spent a good part of his life doing the Fratboy/DUI/Coke thing… and is responsible for killing a lot of people under a false pretense (not exactly WWJD).

    – At how many people consider a guy who opted to go fight a war “weak” and a guy who used daddy’s name to get out of going to war “strong”.

    I for one wish some of Kerry’s real or alleged “anti-military” votes had worked. Maybe if GWB wasn’t so well-armed, he’d make damn sure he knew what he was doing before using his weapons.

    Prediction: More US citizens will die in Iraq than on 9/11… and the WoT will still not be won. Who will you blame for that? Will you be as critical of Bush then as you are of Kerry now?

    Doubt it.

  64. matt Says:

    Still no mention of Cheney voting AGAINST the majority of these weapons systems.

    Still no mention that Cheney voted to kill the APache 6 years BEFORE Kerry.

    Typical Republican cowardice – afraid to even mention (much less rebut) facts that undermine their entire position.

    So I guess it’s OK if I assume that Cheney is at least as unfit to lead as Kerry.

    Bunch of draft-dodging, chickenhawk, play-soldier idiots.

  65. Anticipatory Retaliation Says:

    President Clinton

    Best wishes and prayers to President William Jefferson Clinton

  66. Anticipatory Retaliation Says:

    National Security and Gay Marriage

    Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of more than a little bit of hypocrisy in the comparison and contrast of candidate positions on gay marriage and national security.

  67. Anticipatory Retaliation Says:

    National Security and Gay Marriage

    Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of more than a little bit of hypocrisy in the comparison and contrast of candidate positions on gay marriage and national security.

  68. Knowledge Is Power: SondraK.com Says:

    The Sounds of Scrabbling Toe Nails in the Morning — Kerry on De Fence

    like Moonbats in the attic… In my email come more Moonbat droppings [eww – hand me the lysol] from MooreOn MoveOn.con claiming that “much of [Zell] Miller’s speech was cribbed from a long-circulating (and false) email chain letter.” Whaaaa? They’re a…

  69. evsp15a (troll) Says:

    urtu: Awesome post! Thoughtful and cogent. I don’t read many conservative blogs (I’m a left-liberal) — does that really work?

    “extremism plus extremism equals Dante’s Inferno” Beautiful line.

  70. rosignol Says:

    Heh. Matt, in case you hadn’t noticed, Cheney isn’t at the top of the ticket, Kerry *is*- but FYI, I *would* prefer to see Condi as Veep.

  71. Takingitallin Says:

    Simon writes:”I agree it damages the Snopes’ pieces credibility, but I think it’s still unfair to claim Kerry voted against every major defense program because he voted against 3 defense budgets.”
    ————
    Maybe it’s too fine a point, but I don’t know what all this counting of Kerry’s Senate votes on defense has to do with Zell Miller’s speech. What he said about each item on the list is that Kerry “opposed” it.

    Senators do more than vote; they write, make speeches, give interviews, meet in committees, talk to each other at lunch, etc.

    The only time I recall Miller using the word “vote” was in his (hardly debatable) summation of Kerry: that you can tell more about a man from 20 years of Senate votes than 20 weeks of campaign rhetoric.

  72. Random Observations Says:

    On Urban Legends, Snopes is Slanted

    Apparently Snopes.com is not interested in being credible. I’ve noticed they were extremely quick to “debunk” any popular “urban legends” which leaned left, but appear uninterested in doing the same for slams against conservatives…

  73. Squidly.com Says:

    Dulling our sword…

    The truth behind Kerry’s national defense voting record.

  74. Anticipatory Retaliation Says:

    Repost: National Security and Gay Marriage

    Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of more than a little bit of hypocrisy in the comparison and contrast of candidate positions on gay marriage and national security.

  75. LGF Watch Watch Says:

    Election Watch: Seven Points of Blight

    John Kerry tells us that George Bush is leading us in the wrong direction. He tells us we need to take a new path, and finally, he’s told us what that path is. Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve got us a…

  76. socalgail Says:

    Our defense dollars fund a jobs program, not national defense or offense for that matter. Why are we losing in Iraq? Short of nukes, soldiers win wars. And we don’t have nearly enough of them. Expensive weapons systems are just Congressional pork funneled to defense contractors in the states of well-positioned Congressional committee members. Consider the immensely costly failures of recent times: Commanche, F/A-22, StarWars. Would any nation actually launch a nuke at us when the trajectory is easy to follow and retaliate against? And JSF is well on its way to becoming another ridculous boondoggle.

  77. HobbsOnline Says:

    Kerry Opposes Another Vital Weapons System

    Soon after the 9/11 attack on America, the Bush administration and the nation’s defense establishment began to mull how the nation could be defended against terrorists who might seek to attack armed not with hijacked airplanes but with a nuclear…

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