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September 20, 2004

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De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: “The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me.”

How many world leaders have that same trust in America’s president, today?

As someone who worked to defeat systems that the French sold to Hussein after Gulf War I allowoing him to target our airplanes... I think asking the question, "Can we have the same trust in foreign leaders as our President's once had?" would be more relevant.

Ahh, the remarkable durability of the "When in doubt...blame France" approach.

What's any of that got to do with whether Bush should be re-elected or not, Blue?

In addition to this speech, which I think was excellent, I'd point supporters of the Bush administration, along with anyone and everyone who refers to Kerry's stance on Iraq as "pull out and pray" towards Bob Novak's piece in the Sun Times today. First paragraph:


Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.

That, folks, is pull out and pray.

Can we have some serious questioning of the Adminstration's plan for Iraq now? Can we please know what "Staying the Course" actually entails?

On topic, though, this speech was excellent. Kerry said good things on the subjects I think he needs to address. National Security, the War on Terror(ism). He had the temerity to mention Osama Bin Laden, and to say lay out portions of a plan for Iraq.

crutan

You are implying that Bush is not respected by foreign leaders.

If respect from foreign leaders is a factor in how we should cast our vote, then it may be meaningful to point out that atleast one of the foreign leaders that really dislikes Bush and doesn't respect him is the same one that supported selling equipment to our enemies that put our pilots lives more at risk.

If Kerry wants the support of that individual, after he knowingly endangered an ally, then that makes a bigger statement about Kerry than it does Bush.

blue
You didn't have to work to defeat any systems in Iraq built or designed by Dresser Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump did you?
Or any designed by the Canadian wing of GE?
Or Brown and Root?
You shouldn't have worked so hard because the vice president could have told you weaknesses of the systems at least his company sold them. (3 out of 4 above)

Of course, he wouldn't have told you unless you contracted his company first.

Blue,

a) Edward is not implying anything at all about Bush, he's quoting from a speech given by John Kerry.

b) Do you have a cite for the fact that france sold weapons to Iraq after Gulf War 1? I'm curious, mostly. I know they sold weapons to Iraq before the gulf war, but hell, so did we. I can't seem to find any evidence that Iraq bought weapons from France after 1990, so if you've got any, please share it. I'm not contesting your claim, just curious as to where your information comes from. (My source: http://projects.sipri.se/armstrade/atirq_data.html)

That is, however, beside the point. Whether you agree or disagree with France's actions in recent history, the quote from De Gaulle, in the 60's, is still relevant. Your attempt to distract from the actual meat of the speech is, well, changing the subject. (And look! I've fallen for it!)

crutan

You don't quote his list of things wrong in Iraq (mostly accurate I'll agree). His response:

"I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do."

Ah and what policy proposal did you suggest in response to Vietnam? I believe you wanted to withdraw. And in Iraq....?

But wait, this sounds promising:

"In Iraq, we have a mess on our hands. But we cannot throw up our hands. We cannot afford to see Iraq become a permanent source of terror that will endanger America’s security for years to come."

I agree with that. And since Kerry has outlined what he thinks Bush is doing wrong, you would expect that he would follow that sentence up with some concrete ideas about a plan to change that. Let's see what he comes up with:

The President should convene a summit meeting of the world’s major powers and Iraq’s neighbors, this week, in New York, where many leaders will attend the U.N. General Assembly. He should insist that they make good on that U.N. resolution. He should offer potential troop contributors specific, but critical roles, in training Iraqi security personnel and securing Iraq’s borders. He should give other countries a stake in Iraq’s future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq’s oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.

Oh, back to the allies would love to put troops on the ground in Iraq if we would just ask nicely fantasy. That's reassuring.

The President should urgently expand the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq. He should strengthen the vetting of recruits, double classroom training time, and require follow-on field training. He should recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq. He should press our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries. And he should stop misleading the American people with phony, inflated numbers.

That bolded text is somewhat brazen considering that Bush has specifically requested that for months. Hmm, France doesn't want training in Iraq. And they aren't thrilled about training in Turkey. And they don't want to train in France either. Hmmm. I wonder if France is one of Kerry's potential allies?

Recruit more in Iraq? Hey, good idea. But terrorists keep blowing up recruiting lines. That discourages recruiting. I would say that Bush needs to hit back hard against the Sadrists and the like in order to make the country more secure for such recruiting. Criticizing Bush on that basis would be a good idea. But Kerry doesn't complain that Bush failed to hit hard enough. He then veers off in the infrastructure question.

The terrorists keep blowing up the infrastructure. You have to kill them, or you waste time and money building infrastructure which isn't allowed to survive.

Because Iraqis have no experience holding free and fair elections, the President agreed six months ago that the U.N. must play a central role. Yet today, just four months before Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls, the U.N. Secretary General and administration officials themselves say the elections are in grave doubt. Because the security situation is so bad… and because not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission… the U.N. has less than 25 percent of the staff it needs in Iraq to get the job done.

The President should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force. This won’t be easy. But even countries that refused to put boots on the ground in Iraq should still help protect the U.N.

The bolded part may qualify as the understatement of the year award. It took months and months of arm twisting to get a minimal 2,500 man increase in Afghanistan for the limited purpose of helping out with the elections. Afghanistan, the clear case.

If the President would move in this direction … if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces … train the Iraqis to provide their own security …develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people … and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year … we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

Frankly this is just a lie. Next summer? Is Kerry completely clueless? Even if we got 100% cooperation from the UN and huge numbers of troops from NATO countries (and we absolutely will not get either no matter who is president) we couldn't expect to draw down 9 months from now. That is ridiculous. And all the troops within 4 years? Absolutely crazy.

The thing that pisses me off about this whole election is how none of the major party candidates are taking Iraq seriously. Some of Kerry's analysis of the symptoms in Iraq are spot on. Some of Kerry's analysis on administration mistakes is absolutely correct. And then when it comes to dealing with the future he inhabits a fantasy-land of serious UN aid and withdrawing the troops in 2005. And on the other hand, Bush doesn't talk about his misteps and doesn't tell us how/if he is going to correct them.

Arghh.

Sebastian
It doesn't help your cause when you point out how hard it is for Bush to get the things Kerry is looking at.
It only shows how little leadership and credibility Bush has.

Sebastian
Of course it also doesn't help your argument when you outright make stuff up either:
"...withdrawing the troops in 2005..."

You don't think that "we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years...." is talking about 2005?

You missed out a bit, Sebastian.

If the President would move in this direction … if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces … train the Iraqis to provide their own security …develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people … and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year … we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

This is what has to be done. This is what I would do as President today. But we cannot afford to wait until January. President Bush owes it to the American people to tell the truth and put Iraq on the right track. Even more, he owes it to our troops and their families, whose sacrifice is a testament to the best of America.

There's a whole lot of ifs there - good solid Iraq policy suggestions.

Kerry's right: the problems of Iraq shouldn't have to wait till January 20. It seems likely, however, that that's just what they're going to have to do - because Bush won't deal with the problems: Bush is too busy trying to pretend they don't exist.

Do you really want to have a semantic debate about the definition of "the troops" versus all the other alternatives Kerry has by attaching the words "could" and "aim" to troop withdrawal?

Sebastian: just to echo carsick's point, the fact that allies are unwilling to commit troops when Bush asks them does not show that they would be unwilling to commit them if Kerry asks. My read on the situation is that for the most part they are, by now, so completely disgusted by Bush, and so deeply skeptical of his ability to carry out the various goals he claims to have, that they will not help him out; but that they are also deeply worried both about Iraq and by the state of their relations with the US, and might -- not would, might -- be willing to commit troops if he is not reelected. Of course, this depends a lot on what the situation is in January, supposing that Kerry wins -- it's altogether too easy to imagine the situation getting so bad that no one in their right mind would go into Iraq who wasn't already there. But for my money, Kerry has a much, much better chance than Bush.

"My read on the situation is that for the most part they are, by now, so completely disgusted by Bush, and so deeply skeptical of his ability to carry out the various goals he claims to have, that they will not help him out; but that they are also deeply worried both about Iraq and by the state of their relations with the US, and might -- not would, might -- be willing to commit troops if he is not reelected."

I don't buy it at all. Before Iraq, there was Afghanistan. In Early 2002, long before the formal recognition of Bush hatred or incompetence, we were already having trouble getting allied assistance in Afghanistan.

I don't buy it at all. Clinton had trouble getting allied assistance against Iraq.

I don't buy it at all. In Kosovo the US had to do all the heavy lifting, and when it didn't there was the whole genocidal-massacre-while-the-Dutch-actually-physically-looked-on thing.

There also are not available troops. The bulk of deployable NATO forces are US troops. US troops from NATO don't count as augmenting US troops in my world.

I'll admit that a Kerry presidency would increase the chance of getting foreign support--but it is equivalent to saying that you increase your chance of winning the PowerBall lottery if you buy 10 tickets instead of 1.

In other words, don't make it your retirement plan.

"but it is equivalent to saying that you increase your chance of winning the PowerBall lottery if you buy 10 tickets instead of 1."

In arguendo, if you could buy either 1 ticket or 10 for the same price (1 vote), what would you do?

When I buy lotto tickets, I buy one. If I could buy ten for the price of one I could. If I was forced to choose between a financial planner who has had an awful disaster and one who is talking about buying lotto tickets I would choose to do my retirement on my own.

Unfortunately for me (but maybe fortunately for the world?) I don't have that option on Iraq.

Badnarik/Campagna feel your pain.
Well. . maybe not:
"As your president, one of my first tasks will be to begin the orderly process of bringing our troops home as quickly as can safely be accomplished."

Okay, Nader has you covered.
Or. . :
"The quagmire of the Iraq war and occupation could have been averted and needs to be ended expeditiously, replacing US forces with a UN peacekeeping force, prompt supervised elections and humanitarian assistance before we sink deeper into this occupation"

Doh!
Hm.
"LaRouche Campaign Releases Eagerly Awaited
Report on Synarchism and Terrorism"
Never mind.

Where are the aggressive conservative internationalists when you need them?

Sebastian
I think this:
"I'll admit that a Kerry presidency would increase the chance of getting foreign support"
is about the closest to an endorsement you'll ever give. With the actual fight against international fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups needing a tremendous amount of worldwide cooperation, your statement says perhaps more than you intended.

Carsick,

I think you are talking about pre-1990. Most of those systems were destroyed by Gulf War I. Atleast, to my knowledge they were destroyed.

Crutan,

I don't have any cites whatsoever. If you know anyone who worked in EW for the Air Force just ask them... they will tell you the same story I have. Since, 1990 Iraq has integrated their radar systems with both French and Russian technology in order to compete with our jamming systems. Their hybrid systems were effective... for a few days atleast.

Edward selected the quotes he did. I don't know his intentions, but based on knowing him through his posts I think he was making an implication by his selection.

"That is, however, beside the point. Whether you agree or disagree with France's actions in recent history, the quote from De Gaulle, in the 60's, is still relevant. Your attempt to distract from the actual meat of the speech is, well, changing the subject. (And look! I've fallen for it!)"

My momma always said... "You are your friends."

How much respect one obtains from people like Chirac, Annan, Schroeder may say more about a person than they care to admit.


Edward selected the quotes he did. I don't know his intentions, but based on knowing him through his posts I think he was making an implication by his selection.

If that argument were ice, you'd be cold and wet by now.

I was quoting the most clear statements. The most forceful statements. That's all. Crutan is right.

Blue,

So isn't it possible that the systems the Iraqis were integrating were purchased before Gulf War 1? I mean, seriously, complaining about the arms trade is kind of a weak indictment of French behavior. After all, many countries, the United States included has sold arms to any number of countries in the Gulf. If we were to go to war with Iran, for instance, we'd likely be flying against American-Built F-14 Tomcats, along with Russian and Chinese equipment.

But again, that is pretty much beside the point. For my part, I'd prefer we have friends in the international community, than alienate them. I'd also like to think that we, as a nation, can temper our arrogance a bit and listen to our friends when they have something to say.

Edward's aim was, I think (indulge me a bit of mind-reading, here, and Edward, please correct me if (and when) I make a mistake) to encourage and entice people to go read the totality of the speech. Picking quotes that would draw people's attention would be the most likely way to do that. Though he may have been trying to nefariously implant in all of our minds the idea that Bush is not well respected by world leaders.

Why this bothers you, Blue, I'm not sure. Your own implication seems to be that most of the world leaders out there aren't worthy of respect to begin with.

Anyways, I'm awfully far off topic now. My apologies, Edward.

crutan

Your own implication seems to be that most of the world leaders out there aren't worthy of respect to begin with.

The Sour Grapes of Wrath, and all that you know...

I think the reason both major candidates are living in a fantasy world regarding what to do with Iraq is because the situation there is a genuine disaster, and there are no really good options. Things aren't moving toward stability, they're at best staying dangerously unstable, and at worse going downhill.

An honest discussion of these issues would involve some really hard choices, like pulling out and letting Iraq go to pieces if necessary, or backing some strongman who can maintain order in the time-honored third world bloodthirsty dictatorship way, or staying there and continuing to get bled until the whole country ignites into a civil war.

But we'll simply never hear that in an election year, for the same reason that the solution to the deficit is essentially never "everyone's taxes have to go up, and everyone's favorite programs have to go down."

--John

Crutan,

"So isn't it possible that the systems the Iraqis were integrating were purchased before Gulf War 1?"

Not really... we can tell the difference.


" I mean, seriously, complaining about the arms trade is kind of a weak indictment of French behavior"

If France is in a low level conflict with a country and we supply weapons DURING the time of the conflict then I don't think France would consider us an ally.

"I'd also like to think that we, as a nation, can temper our arrogance a bit and listen to our friends when they have something to say. "

Friends? With friends like the current French gov't we better watch our back.

Kerry makes a comment about respect... he relates it to France... who has actively worked against our current administration. Poor choice of an example.

"Your own implication seems to be that most of the world leaders out there aren't worthy of respect to begin with."

Hmm... I mentioned Chric, Annan and Schroeder. I am confused how you conclude I meant MOST.


"How much respect one obtains from people like Chirac, Annan, Schroeder may say more about a person than they care to admit."

How about instead of posturing and deciding who deserves our friendship best and 'looking into their eyes' to determine their inner manhood, we actually do what it takes to win the war on terror? Even if that means buddying up to the meany French? I'm sure you don't have any problems with Bush's buddying up with Pakistan. Consider those two countries for a moment and get back to me.

Side,

This line of discussion started because Kerry used an example of a Frenchman that once showed respect to the U.S.

I am all for buddying up with anyone that has common interests, whether it is Pakistan or France. (Side note... I have only enjoyed my trips to France.)

To me Kerry is saying that we aren't respected like we used to be. That's probably true. But, that is not necessarily Bush's fault or America's for that matter.

In the case of the current French gov't who actively works against U.S. interests I'm pretty much okay not being repsected by them. Kerry brought up France... not me.

Like I said, to be respected by them is it's own statement.


Blue
By the way, Cheney wasn't with Halliburton et. al. pre-Gulf War I he was the Secretary of Defense.

"I think you are talking about pre-1990. Most of those systems were destroyed by Gulf War I. Atleast, to my knowledge they were destroyed."

No, I was talking about Halliburton and its subsidiaries' dealings with Iraq DURING Cheney's tenure as the CEO.

Granted, there is no knowledge of Halliburton being involved with any WMD or Nuclear power or radar equipment but...

Carsick,

I never even mentioned Cheney... so I am not sure why you feel the need to point that out. I was talking about weapon systems.

If you were talking about legal trade, then I'm not sure what your points was... it wasn't completely illegal to deal with Iraq after Gulf War I... we are all aware of the Oil for Food program.

I can only conclude that you were knowingly being misleading. Either you know that Halliburton traded in illegal weapon systems or you don't.

"He should give other countries a stake in Iraq’s future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq’s oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process. "

That would seem to be a big difference from the Bush administration and a huge incentive for other countries to get involved.

I don't buy it at all. In Kosovo the US had to do all the heavy lifting, and when it didn't there was the whole genocidal-massacre-while-the-Dutch-actually-physically-looked-on thing.

The Dutch who dutifully defended an area that was known to be indefensible, but weirdly enough no one wanted to take over. They had hardly any ammo for guns that were not suitable for the task, they had no backup, did not get the promised air support, they had not had food-supplies for weeks and were with only 400 instead of 600 peacekeepers. Amongst others. Most sources I know are in Dutch, but here you can read a bit more about it.
Afterwards there was a long investigation. The conclusion was that the government was responsible for putting our troops in this undefensible position without adequate means to do their job, relying to much on others for protection. The government decided that they were accountable and resigned, so we had new elections.

The Dutch have had troops and materials in Afghanistan since 2001. The Dutch have troops in Iraq and allready two soldiers lost their lives - not for defending Dutch interests, but to help clean up the mess the US made. We currently have troops in Afghanistan, the Balkan en Iraq.

The last decades the Dutch participated in :
2004: Liberia: United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
2002: Macedonië: Task Force Fox
2001: Eritrea/Ethiopië: UNMEE
2001: Djibouti: Apache-detachement
2001: Macedonië: Essential Harvest, Task Force Harvest
1999 - heden: v/m Joegoslavië: Kosovo Force (KFOR) - Joint Guardian
1999: Albanië: Operatie Allied Harbour
1999: v/m Joegoslavië: Operatie Allied Force
1998-1999: Macedonië: Extraction Force - Joint Guarantor
1998-2001: Cyprus: United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
1997-2001: Albanië: Multinational Advisory Police Element (MAPE)
1996-heden: v/m Joegoslavië: United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH)
1995-1996: Israël/Syrië: United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
1995: v/m Joegoslavië: Operatie Deliberate Force
1994-1996: v/m Joegoslavië: Task Force Mostar (WEU)
1994-1996: v/m Joegoslavië: International Conference on Former Yugoslavia (ICFY)
1994-1996: Georgië: CVSE/OVSE
1993-1996: Haïti: United Nations Mission in Haïti (UNMIH)
1993-1996: v/m Joegoslavië: Operatie Sharp Guard
1993-1996: v/m Joegoslavië: Operatie Deny Flight
1993-1994: Rwanda: (UNOMUR, UNAMIR, Provide Care)
1993-1995: Mozambique: United Nations Operation in Mozambique (UNOMOZ)
1993: Zuid Afrika: United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA)
1992-2000: Cambodja: UNAMIC, UNTAC, CMAC, UNDP
1992-1995: v/m Joegoslavië: United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)
1991-1999: Angola: UNAVEM, CMATS, UNOPS
1991-1998: Irak: United nations Special Commission (UNSCOM)
1991: Irak: Operatie Provide Comfort
1990-1991: Irak/Koeweit: Tweede Golfoorlog
1989-1990: Namibië: United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG)

You show your appreciation for the countries that *do* participate in a weird way Sebastian.

dutchmarbel,

"... don't buy it at all. In Kosovo the US had to do all the heavy lifting"

"They had hardly any ammo for guns that were not suitable for the task, they had no backup, did not get the promised air support, they had not had food-supplies for weeks and were with only 400 instead of 600 peacekeepers."

Sorry, but I think you are making his point...

"I don't buy it at all. In Kosovo the US had to do all the heavy lifting, and when it didn't there was the whole genocidal-massacre-while-the-Dutch-actually-physically-looked-on thing."

Err, Sebastian, the Dutch were the *only ones* willing to guard the safe areas after the Canadians pulled out; their lack of heavy equipment was delibrate as they were intended to be peacekeepers, not an aggressive force. The US wouldn't put our precious, precious little darlings in the way; nor did the UK, which was the instigator of the idea of safe areas. The UN commander of the area wanted to pull the Dutch out, so that there would be a clear field for NATO strikes, but Albright (then US ambassador to the UN) nixed that; one of her many, many screw-ups while UN ambassador. For more, you can read DeKooning's book on Srebrnica.

To answer your question: post the revision of our security policy to include the possibility of pre-emptive action, our erstwhile allies are distinctly reluctant to encourage/support the US in Iraq, because to do so would implicitly be supporting the so-called pre-emptive stance. Plus the Bush administration is ludricously unpopular abroad, which makes it domestically very difficult to support George's Bogus Iraqi Adventure. Kerry has repudiated the pre-emptive doctrine; which makes our allies distinctly more comfortable, as our foreign policy will now be more predictable than the, well, random & incoherent policy we've been following in the past 4 years.

"post the revision of our security policy to include the possibility of pre-emptive action, our erstwhile allies are distinctly reluctant to encourage/support the US in Iraq, because to do so would implicitly be supporting the so-called pre-emptive stance. Plus the Bush administration is ludricously unpopular abroad, which makes it domestically very difficult to support George's Bogus Iraqi Adventure."

What an odd explanation for UN and European failures in the pre-Iraq-war era. Afghanistan.

Also note that I'm not the one embracing so silly fantasy about European involvement in Iraq. I know that it isn't going to happen with any substantial troops. Kerry is the deluded one.

As for your point on the Dutch, do you realize you are making arguments that work better for my side than yours?

"the Dutch were the *only ones* willing to guard the safe areas after the Canadians pulled out; their lack of heavy equipment was delibrate as they were intended to be peacekeepers, not an aggressive force." Ahh, brilliant.

"The US wouldn't put our precious, precious little darlings in the way" Ahh, good argument about the effectiveness of foreign troops.

and dutchmarbel with the helpful:

"They had hardly any ammo for guns that were not suitable for the task, they had no backup, did not get the promised air support, they had not had food-supplies for weeks and were with only 400 instead of 600 peacekeepers. "

I'm glad you guys wrote it, because I would have sounded over-the-top in my complaints if I had pointed all that out.

"Kerry has repudiated the pre-emptive doctrine; which makes our allies distinctly more comfortable"

...and our enemies.

Which is why Kerry-lite is most likely not going to win the election, since it is the American people who are voting.

Now, the Extra-Strength version of Kerry who showed up to NYU today could possibly win:

"In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies"


But, then you might only support Kerry-lite.

I am all for buddying up with anyone that has common interests, whether it is Pakistan or France.

Here's the problem, Blue: about half the poupulation of the US doesn't agree with your interpretation of what US interests are.

Even our allies, such as the UK, have populaces deeply opposed to the Iraq occupation. Some of our so-called allies provide little more than lip service in return for the hope a few bucks flow their way. The problem with buying allies is they tend to last only as long as the checks keep coming; also, they've been known to shift priorities when there's a better deal to be had.

You can pretend that it's just a few jerks hoping to stick a thumb in the eye of Dear Leader but the reality is much, much greater in terms of our national security. Believe it or not, international credibility is a cornerstone of our national security.

I always find these arguments about the motivations of world leaders and the supposed inability of Kerry to suddenly produce allied troops out of thin air to be, well, a little bit amusing. For one, I have yet to hear anyone who's pointing out Kerry's inability to motivate the French seriously try to argue that Bush will have any /more/ luck doing so.

I don't think any such argument can be made, personally. A mediocre teacher might not be able to motivate chronic problem students to study, but he's far more likely to motivate them than even a good teacher who regularly insults them and makes them feel superfluous.

So the real question is: does the ability to muster foreign support, or at the very least not /actively/ alienate other nations, matter at all?

If it does, even a little bit (and I think it matters quite a lot), then this is unequivocally a point in Kerry's favor.

"Here's the problem, Blue: about half the poupulation of the US doesn't agree with your interpretation of what US interests are."

I think it would be more accurate to say that half the population doesn't like Bush... and we will find out for sure in November.

But John Kerry and I seem in agree on U.S. interests:

December 16, 2003
On December 16, at Drake University in Iowa, Kerry asserted that "those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president."

August 9:
Speaking in Arizona on Monday, Kerry declared that "even knowing what we now know," he would still have cast his vote in the Senate to authorize the Bush administration to invade Iraq. "I would have voted for the authority," said Kerry. "I believe it was the right authority for the president to have."

Again, I personally prefer Extra Strength Kerry.


"international credibility is a cornerstone of our national security."

I don't think so. Our military and intelligence services are the cornerstone of our national security.

International credibility is important, but not the cornerstone.

"international credibility is a cornerstone of our national security."

I don't think so. Our military and intelligence services are the cornerstone of our national security.

You seem to have exchanged the indefinite article for the definite. "A" != "The". It might sound like minor quibbling, but your substitution changes the entire argument; it is /not/ a minor point.

Saying that international credibility is a cornerstone of our national security allows for others. I agree that our military and intelligence services are among them.

On the other hand, "the" is pretty exclusive in this usage. It implies that it is of paramount importance, above and beyond all others. Fortunately, you're the only one who used it, and found yourself arguing against a stance no one took.

I'd echo John Kelsey's comment. It's in neither candidate's interests to address the seriousness of the situation, unless they come together in Bizarro World and make a joint statement. That doesn't mean that either of them are planning to bug out anytime soon.

I understand Sebastian's dismay, but I don't think someone who wanted to vote for the major-party candidate most likely to get us out of Iraq would find the choice any clearer -- Kerry's drawdown schedule is predicated on his ability to elicit substantial foreign aid, and he's left himself plenty of wiggle room should that not pan out. All we can do is guess at what he would do then, as his public statements don't address the possibility.

Wow.

I was impressed with the text. It's actually even better as delivered.

Best speech John Kerry has given in decades. Best speech I have seen delivered on Iraq.

As for the crap about how Kerry is secretly planning to "cut and run"--wasn't there talk from the administration in early 2003 of the U.S. drawing down to two divisions (about 40,000 troops) by the end of that year? Unless I'm much mistaken there was. Talking of fantasyland...

Catsy,

As I stated... "I don't think so"

I stand by that assessment.

"On the other hand, "the" is pretty exclusive in this usage. It implies that it is of paramount importance, above and beyond all others"

Yeah... that was really my point. I'm glad you got it.

You were referring to a cornerstone... I came back and emphasized what I thought is THE cornerstone.

I pretty much meant what I said, and you seem to have understood it.

To go one step further...

Our military, intelligence services, our leaders, our people, technology and money are cornerstones to our national security... not international credibility.

You can never have the necessary credibility to accomplish your goals with govt's who are opposed to your goals.

International credibility is just too unreliable. Not that it isn't important... but it isn't a cornerstone.

How much international credibility did we have in Revolutionary War... the War of 1812?

How important was our international credibility to Germany and Japan?

Again, I'm not saying it plays no role. As I stated, it does. It just isn't a cornerstone of our national security and never should be.

Relying on others judgements of you is a risky proposition when it comes to national security. How much international credibility did Poland have right before Germany invaded it. France, Belgium and so on. How much international credibility did the Soviet Union have before and after creating the Iron curtain. History is filled with examples of international credibility providing ZERO national security.

If relied upon too much it would actually put you in a position of weakness not strength. See France and Germany for examples.

Regarding:

"He should give other countries a stake in Iraq’s future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq’s oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process. "

Edo wrote:
That would seem to be a big difference from the Bush administration and a huge incentive for other countries to get involved.

Really, how so? Seems to me that by restricting bidding on certain Iraqi contracts to only those nations that provide security forces, the Bush administration is already providing an incentive for countries to get involved.

Seems to me that by restricting bidding on certain Iraqi contracts to only those nations that provide security forces, the Bush administration is already providing an incentive for countries to get involved.

Just a question, I honestly don't know/remember -- was Bush saying "if you join us [now], you'll get to bid on these contracts", or "if you joined us [already], you'll get to bid on these contracts"? I.e. was it presented as an incentive or a reward?

I'm fairly sure it was the latter, kenB, but I don't know what brokerage might have been conducted prior to the war so it's conceivable that this might have been a carrot all along.

Thanks, Anarch, that was my recollection as well, but my memory has started failing me in my old age.

""the Dutch were the *only ones* willing to guard the safe areas after the Canadians pulled out; their lack of heavy equipment was delibrate as they were intended to be peacekeepers, not an aggressive force." Ahh, brilliant."

Sebastian, you seem to have missed the part that the Dutch would have been pulled out *but Albright prevented it*. Hence the lack of airstrikes against Bosnian Serb troops when they overran Srebrnica. It is all very well to sneer at the UN's effectiveness in military operations, when, in fact, it was permanent members of the security council, like the US, who were limiting said effectiveness.

It's worth noting that the incident led to the resignation of a Dutch government; a level of accountability rather lacking in certain Anglo-Saxon administrations.

"Really, how so? Seems to me that by restricting bidding on certain Iraqi contracts to only those nations that provide security forces, the Bush administration is already providing an incentive for countries to get involved."

Name the companies that are part of the reconstruction and oil development/marketing in Iraq. There may be one British firm. But that's it. Also, I don't remember seeing any big notices regarding bids for contracts being open to all comers. I do remember reading about no-bid contracts being awarded to Halliburton.

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